Redrawing Europe’s energy map will fuel multifaceted benefits for Israel’s future
The $7 billion Israeli-Greek-Cypriot EastMed pipeline has the potential to forge Israel’s presence as an energy provider to Europe.
By Jesse Bogner
October 5, 2019 19:17

As the recent drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities as well as ongoing US-Iran tensions threaten the stability of energy markets worldwide, the opposite trend is taking hold in Israel, a nation that has long grappled with the challenges of being surrounded by hostile oil-rich neighbors.

The once-unthinkable notion of Israeli gas exports to Egypt is on the verge of becoming a reality following an agreement reached this month that enables the East Mediterranean Gas Company to operate Europe Asia Pipeline Co.’s coastal terminal in Ashkelon. At the same time, the $7 billion Israeli-Greek-Cypriot EastMed pipeline has the potential to forge Israel’s presence as an energy provider to Europe.
Yet a different pipeline project which is rarely mentioned in the same breath as Israel carries a dual promise – propping up the Israeli economy while bolstering the Jewish state’s long-term security, with or without Israel’s direct participation in the initiative.

Though Israel has yet to sign onto the project, the Azerbaijan-led Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) should be squarely on the nation’s radar as it looks to expand its influence economically. SGC’s scope is staggering. Spanning 2,200 miles (3,540 km.) across seven countries and connecting three linked pipelines, the $41.5b. project will reshape the geopolitical landscape of European energy consumption.

Continuing the geopolitical revolution ignited by the so-called “Contract of the Century” signed 25 years ago this month between 11 international oil companies representing seven countries, SGC seeks to diversify Europe’s energy supply by diminishing dependence on Russia. The Azerbaijani-Turkish component of SGC was completed in July, making both nations ready to export gas to Europe.

Questions remain about whether Israel has a direct role to play in SGC. Some have argued that the possibility of Israeli participation in the gas corridor is something of a “distant hope” given the inherent economic complications, while others have emphasized the immense potential of Israel amplifying its gas ties with Turkey and by extension, Europe.

“The option of [Israel] exporting gas to Turkey seems to me still the most viable, as it not only gives access to a growing market but also will be an option to bring it to Europe,” said Cyril Widdershoven, a Middle East geopolitical specialist and energy analyst with the Dutch risk consultancy VEROCY. “The main issues here still to be solved will be the costs and technical challenges of a deep-water subsea gas pipeline, which will be staggering.”

THERE APPEARS to be a natural foundation for Israeli collaboration with SGC, given that Israel already imports 40% of its natural gas from Azerbaijan. Experts like Widdershoven have floated the possibility of Israel’s potential gas sales to the thirsty European energy market flowing through SGC, despite the financial and logistical hurdles.

With the source of Israel’s gas lying deep under water, energy exports will always be rife with challenges. Nevertheless, the benefits of Israel exporting gas to Europe are too large to ignore. Capitalizing on Israel’s limited natural resources is a worthy challenge for the ever-ambitious Start-Up Nation and its partners.

The importance of Europe not being beholden to Russian energy resources also cannot be understated. Although the mainstream media has spilled much ink on castigating US President Donald Trump’s supposed “bromance” with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump recently championed SGC in two separate letters to Azerbaijan’s president. While Trump did not mention Russia by name, the letters indicate his administration’s nuanced understanding that European energy dependence on Russia is not in the best interest of America, Israel and their allies.

Commerce associated with Russian energy trade will continue to buttress Bashar Assad’s dictatorial rule and war efforts in Syria. The fact that Trump has been aggressively trying to weaken Assad in the Syrian Civil War further illustrates the absurdity of how the mainstream media and the Mueller Report have painted Trump as a Russian stooge. In reality, Trump is fighting an under-the-radar proxy war with Russia in Syria.

For Israel, the chief concern that continually hovers over Russia’s military presence in Syria is that Moscow maintains relationships with Israel’s enemies in the region – Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran.

In fact, some experts have suggested that Iran’s regional aggression has been inspired by Russia’s own “hybrid warfare” tactics. While Israel coordinates security mechanisms with Moscow to avoid tension over the Russian military presence in Syria, the Jewish state must continue to be wary of Russia’s regional behavior. A potential end to Russian energy dominance serves to keep the Kremlin in check – including by decreasing its capability to scatter funds across the Middle East and into the hands of America’s and Israel’s mortal enemies.

Therefore, regardless of the prospects for Israel’s direct or indirect involvement in SGC, redrawing Europe’s energy map is naturally beneficial for the Jewish state’s future.

The writer is an author and journalist. His memoir and social critique, The Egotist, has been translated into five languages. His work has been featured in The Daily Caller, MSN and The Huffington Post. His book of articles, Tikkunim (Corrections), was released in January 2018.

米国IRS 金持ちの税務調査は大変だから貧乏人から徴税する


The IRS Admits it is Targeting the Poor Because it is “Easier and Cheaper” Than Auditing the Wealthy
By Jenny Jayne
October 15, 2019

The IRS has announced that it’s “too expensive” to audit the rich. Affluent taxpayers, the 1%, are too well protected from government intrusion. Their tax returns are complex and take more time and more experienced auditors to review them. The IRS then has to pay these more experienced auditors a higher price to audit those larger accounts. It’s become an expensive hassle for them. They encounter resistance from the teams that the affluent have behind them to defend them from the IRS. So, what is their solution?

Target the poor.

It is easier and cheaper for the IRS to go after the working class.

As if the struggling working class in this country doesn’t have enough to deal with, watch out for Big Brother! Because lower-income families have fewer resources to guard their finances, the IRS finds it a “better use of their resources” to target the poor instead of the wealthy. Because the wealthy have the means to fight back against government intrusion aka well-paid attorneys and accountants, the IRS has decided that any effort to monitor the “haves” is not worth their time. They will instead focus on the “have nots,” or the poor working and middle class.

It’s easier and cheaper to go after the poor and audit them. Those who make less money have fewer defenses to combat the IRS and their returns are simpler. It requires less expense and effort from the IRS to go after a much more fragile portion of our economy – the working poor.

It’s no surprise that the middle class in this country is disappearing at a rapid rate. One contributor is the mountainous debt that many Americans have saddled themselves with, especially when it comes to predatory student loan lenders. Some people are paying exorbitant interest on student loans when they didn’t even achieve a degree. This compounds the problem for the lower-income American that already exists: a country bordering on financial collapse.

What this doesn’t address is a hidden target in the sights of the IRS. Whom this really means the IRS is targeting: The Shadow Economy.

The IRS is targeting people who supplement their income with side hustles.

The Shadow Economy is made up mostly of the poorest in our economy, those struggling to get by even if it’s a two-income household. The industrious working poor who struggle to pay their bills, even on two incomes, turn to the side-hustle to make it.

Over 50% of Americans have a side-hustle. What was once the oddity of the entrepreneur is now mainstream. There are a lot of factors that may have contributed to this, including stagnant income growth nationwide and the rising cost of living. But the fact is, most Americans are now using a side hustle to cover household bills because their day job is just not enough.

The side hustle has exploded in the American economy over the last decade, and the IRS has taken note and put us in their sights. Because apparently hard-working people are “bad” for the economy.

Not all side-hustles are part of the Shadow Economy, but many are. A side-hustle becomes part of The Shadow Economy when it’s paid for in cash under the table. The side-hustle is the growing movement in the United States of the freelance worker and gig economy. Sometimes it’s on the books, but oftentimes, it is not. And here is where the “side hustle” meets “The Shadow Economy” and becomes a means for those who are pinched in our struggling economy to get by.

The government is targeting those who need to keep every penny.

The Wall Street Journal spouts doom and gloom with its definition of The Shadow Economy saying that because those who operate their business under the table with cash-only can potentially hurt the overall economy. But it’s also a larger issue of governmental control.

Think for second who would be driven to this kind of enterprise. If you can’t find a job or you’ve already got one, but it doesn’t pay the bills, what are you going to do? Get a side-hustle.

Anything I do personally, I keep above board. I pay taxes. But people who are desperate are often driven to operate outside of the law. Desperate people who are already working two jobs and still falling behind probably aren’t going to be thinking about Uncle Sam looking over their shoulder.

And the US government, instead of addressing the growing desperation of the American workforce that’s behind the boom of the “side hustle,” has put them in its sights.

The IRS is targeting the most desperate in our failing economy rather than going after “the big guys” and fighting their many well-paid attorneys and CPAs. It’s the equivalent of the police going after a kid selling lemonade on the sidewalk instead of the home break-in down the block.

It’s an easier target with far less resistance.

Does the government want to keep us broke and powerless?

Consider this. It’s in the government’s best interest to keep people from bettering their lives if they don’t want to relinquish control. If citizens are self-sufficient and financially stable, they might have the time and energy to fight back or question motives. But no, if the populous is off balance and hungry they focus on surviving day to day and don’t ask questions.

So, those who want control send the IRS after the poor just struggling to get by. They ignore the elite because they are too time-consuming and expensive to go after.

Instead, the IRS has decided to double down on the most desperate and vulnerable in our society.

I know you might be thinking, what about illegal workers or drug dealers who may be paid under the table?

If that’s the case, that still leaves the IRS going after desperate workers instead of the corrupt employers and drug lords…who would take too much “time” and “money” to go after. Instead, they are really targeting drug addicts and those who are being preyed upon by the demand for cheap labor.

Of course, paying taxes is a law. It’s not a law that I’m going to break. But for some people getting paid under the table is the only way to make ends meet. Consider those on disability. If they “make too much” they will lose their check. But many times, those on disability can only work sporadically and on bad months they cannot work. Without their check they can’t make ends meet. They aren’t allowed to work, but they don’t want to starve either, so they work, but don’t declare their income so they can keep their disability checks.

Of course, we should follow the law. Of course, we should pay taxes. But with this kind of discrimination by the IRS against the poor, where is “all men are created equal?” And who among us should be considered above the law?

マンビジュ米軍基地にロシア記者が潜入 酒を飲み散らかした痕を発見(笑)

トランプが発したシリア撤退命令が急だったことを示すかのように、ホワイトボードの落書き、食べかけの動物型クラッカー、飲み散らかした酒のビンの数々がそのままの状態で放置されていた。(Manbij, Munbij)



Full Video Inside 'Secretive' US Special Forces Base In Syria Released By Russian Media







Turkey using Israeli-upgraded tanks in anti-Kurd offensive in Syria
Between 2003-2010 around 170 M60-A1 tanks were upgraded by IMI at a cost of $687 million.
By Anna Ahronheim
October 16, 2019 16:57

Turkey is using M60-A1 tanks upgraded by Israel during the height of diplomatic relations between the two countries in their offensive against the Kurds in northern Syria.

Pictures of M-60 tanks upgraded by Israeli Military Industries (IMI) near the Turkish border town of Akcakale during Operation Peace Spring have circulated on social media. In the week since Turkey’s offensive began in northern Syria, hundreds of Kurds have been killed and 160,000 people, including 70,000 children, have been displaced from their homes.

All the main systems of M60-A1 tank, which were originally manufactured in the United States in the 1960s, were replaced with more advanced and modern systems already integrated into the main battle tanks of the IDF at a cost of $687 million.

Between 2003 and 2010, around 170 M60-A1 tanks were fitted with a 120 mm. cannon as well as advanced fire and turret control systems, and a new power unit with a 1000HP engine and transmission. The tanks were also fitted with hybrid armor (both active and passive) over its frontal arc.

Dozens of other subcontractors were involved in the project, with Israel’s Elbit systems as the primary subcontractor and smaller defense companies Urdan and Orlite also taking part.

“In order to continue with the positive contribution to peace and stability in the region that Turkey is located, it makes it compulsory for our armed forces to possess strong as well as deterrent capabilities,” Turkey’s then national defense minister Vecdi Gönül was quoted by the Defense Turkey news website as saying.

Turkey and Israel had been close allies in the defense industry, security cooperation, intelligence sharing and military training since the 1960s and peaking in the 1990s with the 1994 Defense Cooperation Agreement and 1996 Military Training Cooperation Agreement.

With those two agreements, the military-security ties became one of the closest in the Middle East, with Israel even providing intelligence to Turkey in its ongoing fight against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Ankara cooperated with Israel on Iran by providing intelligence it had gathered.

In addition, Turkey used to be one of Israel’s primary arms customers with Israeli firms upgrading F-4E planes for an estimated $1 billion as well as supplying Turkey with armed Heron drones for $200 million, electronic reconnaissance and surveillance systems at $200m. and advanced missile systems and smart ammunition for $150m.

The upgrades to the M60-A1 tanks were done as part of a larger defense pact between Israel and Turkey that spoke of the possible Israeli sale of a spy satellite, the Arrow missile defense system and Merkava tanks.

The Turks have in the past lost tanks in Syria, but in April 2016 an M60-A1 tank that had been upgraded by Israel was only slightly damaged in an attack by ISIS, which fired a Kornet anti-tank missile at Bashiqah in Iraq.

Israel's defense ties with Turkey came to an end in 2010 as relations broke down between the countries following the Turkish flotilla's attempt to reach the Gaza Strip.