Category Archives: Finance

Being smart is a crime in America

This all started with the BBC, I saw an option to slap Americans around and I decided to take a look. We can at times argue when a thing is no longer fun, but an act of civic duty and with ‘Coronavirus: US Senators face calls to resign over ‘insider trading’‘ i thought I had a nice opportunity. Yet the more I looked, the more the sensation came over me that Republicans Richard Burr and Kelly Loeffle were merely being smart and did nothing illegal, in addition James Inhofe, and Dianne Feinstein might be on that very same page.

So what happened?

They are accused of insider knowledge in trading and it all refers to the Coronavirus, basically they got out in time. It all refers to “It is illegal for Congress members to trade based on non-public information gathered during their official duties“, the fact that this information was globally available is (as I personally see it) not considered, in addition it all happened last month, all whilst the Coronavirus impact was not overly visible (and openly denied) by president Trump a week later, so what gives?

Mrs Loeffler, of Georgia, is reported to have sold holdings worth up to $3m in a series of transactions beginning the same day as a Senate briefing on the virus“, yet when we check the news from those days we see in February “U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R–AR) added fuel to controversial assertions on Fox News earlier this month when he noted that the lab was “a few miles away” from a seafood market that had a large cluster of some of the first cases detected. “We don’t have evidence that this disease originated there but because of China’s duplicity and dishonesty from the beginning, we need to at least ask the question to see what the evidence says“, as well as CNN who gave us on February 28 “The latest numbers: The novel coronavirus has killed more than 2,800 people worldwide, the vast majority in mainland China. There have been more than 83,000 global cases, with infections in every continent except Antarctica” at this particular stage there were 64 cases involving Americans. If there was insider trading then it is that the US has been keeping vital information from its citizens and that (as we see the tidal wave of media articles) does not seem to be the case, as such the BBC is repeating and forwarding a envy situation (as I personally see it). In support, the first one (James Inhofe) gives the situation “Inhofe’s account manager sold stocks valued at $150,000-$350,000 on Jan. 13 and another $170,000 – $400,000 worth on Jan. 27. The stock markets were near record highs at the time.” we see the news giving us that the entire matter did not come to blows until February 25th (13 days after the first drop by the senator) and the second drop was a day later, after the media slams us with “Dow closes down 1,000 points as coronavirus fears slam Wall Street” which was TWO DAYS BEFORE the second sell off, as such I wonder what wrong James Inhofe did exactly, I am not seeing it and the public information out there shows that he was two days late with the second sell off to reel it in (as the fisher would say).

Personally I will contemplate that all this is a play by Senator Chuck Schumer on getting into the limelight by making non related issues around his ‘no’ statements around the McConnell GOP bill. There is nothing like a political foul to make the person crying to get some extra limelight.

In the case of Dianne Feinstein we also get “During my Senate career I’ve held all assets in a blind trust of which I have no control. Reports that I sold any assets are incorrect, as are reports that I was at a January 24 briefing on coronavirus, which I was unable to attend,” she tweeted” (source: FoxNews), now I will be honest, I did not check that last bit, yet if that part is true, some interesting questions should be asked of the BBC and in particular Whoever was the editor that decided to blatantly repeat news that should be scrutinised to a much larger degree. It took me initially 15 minutes to find out the goods (I merely decided to be lazy this weekend, as any person is allowed to do), over those three days there has been no insight from the BBC who seemingly dumped emotional driven news, perhaps BBC News is now under the control of Paul Dacre? #JustAsking

This is not the case of that news just hitting us. The setting that Dianne Feinstein can claim the status of ‘Blind Trust‘ is a larger part, this should have been clearly known in the Senate, as such we should push for a much larger penalty towards Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (for intentionally misinforming us) if he was not intentional then the ‘silly’ gauge is too high to allow him to be a senator, but that is merely my take on the matter. I personally believe that as a Democrat he should know better, but apparently he is from New York, so anything is possible in that case.

I believe that the BBC made a mistake on the 20th of March 2020, I let you decide, most news (and facts) are out there.

 

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Insensitive Me

Yes, at times I tend to be truly absent of empathy, especially when I see small items like ‘as companies struggle with debt‘, so as I am given ‘Experts warn companies that have gorged on cheap money for the past decade face going out of business‘, some of them relied on the famous sales quote ‘Fake it till you make it’, and now we see the ‘warning’ sign “A worldwide credit crunch triggered by the coronavirus will set in motion a wave of corporate bankruptcies that will make the global financial crisis look like “child’s play”, investors have warned.” In this my sober response would be ‘And? Why (the eff) would I care?‘, these people relied on the debt, money they never had to get beyond the point of faking it till they made it and one small flu event is now driving them out of business. So as the world is throwing trillions against it all, I wonder just how short sighted they are. The EU spent 3 trillion on an economy to start it and it never did. As such there will be a much larger toll to everyone involved. There is no upside in “The sudden loss of revenue faced by airlines, tourism-related businesses and carmakers make them extremely vulnerable” OK, we get it, it is not their fault, but we have seen an economy giving out ebts, loans and cheap travels all over the world. Now that there will be an actual cost, there is always an impact we did not see coming. And as we are treated to: “many companies will struggle to refinance debt due to a repeat of the sudden change in credit conditions that sparked the 2007 credit crunch, banking collapses and then the GFC. The prospect of no revenue for months meant creditworthiness had plummeted in exposed sectors and cut off access to funding” we see the shortsigted issues that not having reserves bring. There is now a larger cost to rolling over debts and the stage that zero revenue brings will kill off the smaller players, those players thinking that they were in the same league of the big boys and the big boys are indeed wondering if they survive this age, as such the small fishes have almost no chance. 

As such as we consider the impact of “$2 trillion worth of corporate debt is due to be rolled over this year” all whilst we see no validation of debt rolling over, and the absence of paid off debts, we see a much larger field and everyone is in a stage ‘but why me?‘, as I personally see it, it will affect everyone who did not take the option to reduce their debts. I get it, some will be in a shabby situation and none of this is on them, but to give a rise to 5 out of 500 is a little shallow, is it not? It is the station that we see with “Lindsay David, of independent consultancy LF Economics, said the coronavirus shutdown had exposed longstanding imbalances in the financial system that had been disguised by more than a decade of ultra-low interest rates and trillions of dollars from quantitative easing schemes in the major economies“, we see the stupidity of ‘longstanding imbalances in the financial system‘ and the question attached to that ‘Why was it unattended for so long?‘ is a station that no one wants to be at, no one wants to answer that part of the equation. 

As such, the quote “We know everyone is overleveraged, full-bore, full-risk,” he said. “All we were waiting for was a trigger and unfortunately that has come in the form of a health crisis.” As such it is not the fault of the Coronavirus, any trigger would have sufficed, as such being the one adhering to some Wall Street need, is set to zero and the house will take it all, it is in that light that some see players like Virgin Australia who needs to roll over $5 billion whilst it is in a stage where it cannot bring more than $500 million to the table, a mere 10%, even in the better stage where it would have been double that, rolling over is a doubtful stage for a few lenders, yet this health trigger is not the one anyone hoped or even wished for, it is a stage that was well over 10 years in the making and greed driven people filled their pockets and walked away with a multi million bonus, enough to live in luxury for the next 10 years. After which the market will resettle and their stage of profit comes again, that is what we have catered to.

So as we are introduced to “A full repeat of the post-Lehman Brothers crisis was on the cards, he said, as banks scrambled to hold on to liquidity” a lot of people have not considered the stage we see where the panic driven people first bought out all the pasta they could and after that take out their ATM and saving balance before the bank runs out, at that stage the initial point leading to the worst of the worst will be a much larger stage for everyone.

And the larger issue is seen at the end of the article with: “Let’s say you are a pension fund in Canada and six years ago you gave a bank $1bn. Every year you roll over that bond and the deal remains in place. But now you’re saying, ‘you know what, can I have that money back now?’. So the problem for the company is, where will I find $1bn? Not from its deposits or its liquidity because it’s now got more money going out than coming in.” and that is not where it ends, in October 2019 we saw “regulators should be ensuring the strength of the financial sector to withstand future risks, not weaken it, but that is not what is happening in the U.S.  Recent moves to ease regulations suggest financial stability risks are at an inflection point. Incentives to leverage will continue to rise as interest rates remain low amid a global search for yield.  Vulnerabilities that have been “moderate” could escalate quickly to “elevated”, as they did in the lead up to the 2007 – 2008 crisis“, as such some tried to ‘ease’ the Basel 3 regulations as fast as their greedy needs required, as such, we see “Phase-in arrangements for the leverage ratio were announced in the 26 July 2010 press release of the Group of Governors and Heads of Supervision. That is, the supervisory monitoring period will commence 1 January 2011; the parallel run period will commence 1 January 2013 and run until 1 January 2017; and disclosure of the leverage ratio and its components will start 1 January 2015. Based on the results of the parallel run period, any final adjustments will be carried out in the first half of 2017 with a view to migrating to a Pillar 1 treatment on 1 January 2018 based on appropriate review and calibration” (at https://www.bis.org/press/p100912.pdf), now that was then and it got a little more time “The leverage ratio1 and the Net Stable Funding Ratio (NSFR), which took effect in January 2018, and the supervisory framework for measuring and controlling large exposures, which took effect in January 2019, have yet to be adopted by all jurisdictions (Graph 1). The leverage ratio is now in force in 16 jurisdictions (one more since 2018), while 11 jurisdictions have final rules in force for the NSFR (unchanged since 2018). Only 10 jurisdictions have final rules in force for the large exposures framework.” (at https://www.fsb.org/work-of-the-fsb/implementation-monitoring/monitoring-of-priority-areas/basel-iii/) as such it is not required until 1 January 2022 (as some stated), and now that it is too late, we will get the larger impact. So how happy are you with those people making 6 figure numbers and delaying it all again and again? You will feel that part soon enough when internal systems start to buckle. We might think that President Trump $1 trillion dollar bailout is a good thing, but when that money dries up (and it will dry up a lot faster than you think) he will a scared little mouse, as he will see firsthand what 300 million angry Americans look like and corporations will see the impact of their delay and rollover tactics. Even now as we are told ‘Trump administration is asking states to hold off on releasing unemployment figures as economy plummets‘, we might start to see a much larger failing. We are in a stage where we set ourselves up for a much larger stage, one that outstages the great depression of the 30’s, it merely took a case of the flu to get us there.

Should you think I am exaggerating, consider the Bloomberg headline (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-03-19/goldman-sees-deepest-australian-downturn-since-great-depression) a mere 2 hours ago. It might have the sobering ‘Goldman Sees Deepest Australian Downturn Since Great Depression‘ headline, but in part the overp[aid delaying factors are to some degree cause of it all and they are hiding behind “Most of the contraction is expected to be driven by a collapse in ‘social’ consumption“, the essential part of ‘the stage of reserves is not what it needed to be‘ is not mentioned anywhere, you have to distill that from other parts and read through the emptiness of what they claim, they might claim facts, yet they do not give any part of the whole story and it will hit the US, Australia, the UK, France, Spain, Italy and to some degree even Germany. That is what we have to look forward to, at least as the Covid panic continues. It seems to me that the makers of pasta and pantry items are in a much better position. Until a month ago, the idea that San Remo ends up being one of the richest companies in Australia would have been laughed at, when you look at the empty shelves almost everywhere last week, that stage is a lot less laughable at present, I wonder in all this whether the new economic superpower will include San Remo and/or Barilla, as there is a chance that the seat of Virgin Australia on that board will be up for grabs soon enough.

 

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Just Saying “Haachoo”

We all get it, there is an overreaction at present, the overreaction (for the most) is people buying too much of whatever they do not need. So Saturday I saw a person getting back to the supermarket who wanted to return some of the toilet paper he had bought, I wonder if second hand toilet paper sells. He didn’t go to see if he can offload some of the toilet paper to his neighbours and break even that way. I did because 36 rolls is all they sold and 12 should keep me in shitty paper for at least a month, keeping more than that is a little excessive. My neighbours did not mind, they both paid their $5 and as such I broke a little better then even, I made $1 and created two happy neighbours. In my  case, 36 rolls was the only option. Yet as we see the supermarkets, we see empty shelves of toilet paper, tissues, pasta and a few more items. It is panic buying in a Coronaviral atmosphere, even as Coronabeer is not sold beyond the normal amounts it does.

Why is it overreaching?

I get it, we want assurances, yet consider the numbers. Around 170,000 people got it at present. Until last week, 93% of ALL cases were in China, Italy, Iran and South Korea. As such over 3 billion people got overly angst in regards to an optional infecting 1,000 people, that was then. Now we see that Spain (7,845), Germany (5,813) and racing to the top 6 positions France with 5,423 cases. We get it, it is the flu and this one is growing fast, but in the end, France is looking at a 2.3% mortality rate, which is still better than the 3.6% that is the global number. Italy with a whopping 24,747 cases see a rising 7.3% death rate. 

Now, I get it, it is scary, yet here in Australia, the mortality rate is set to 1.67%, a lot lover and now we see the stage where fear is more likely than not killing us before the flu will.

Yet the numbers show something else too, the numbers do not add up in all this. How did that one person in Suriname get infected? The one in Mauritania, Mongolia, or Gabon? There was one case in Gibraltar, but that person is now cured. We are all pointing at China, but the setting does not add up. There is even a case on St. Barths. How is this flu spreading, because all the information does not add up. It did for a while and now we see a pandemic and it is growing and growing in numbers on a stage that is not properly identified, as such the pandemic will only get worse.

For me I see one flaw, in all this there is no mention of Yemen, or Syria. I agree with anyone who states that they have enough problems, but this flu is larger than we think and these people need a lot, they do not need the Coronavirus to help a hand in killing them, yet that is also the larger issue. Two nations where the immune system is close to destroyed to bad water, no food and other means, the flu has a free reign in those places and even as the Middle East Eye gives us ‘Syria insists it is coronavirus-free‘, I believe that this is not the case and through there (and Yemen) it will spread further still. Beyond that, as we look at the numbers, the spread of the disease is largely uncontained as there are too many unknowns and as such when there is no containment, others will get infected, how? We cannot be certain.

It becomes a lot less certain when we consider the quote “Pakistani health officials said on Tuesday that at least five of their country’s cases originated from patients travelling to Pakistan from Syria via Qatar” as such, what else is being spread? And to what extent is Pakistan involved in the Syrian escalation? Because the last time I checked, refugees cannot afford a trip via Qatar, making Qatar also a larger target in other ways.

There is also the stage of consideration around “It was not immediately clear whether the infections could have originated in Qatar, where cases have risen to 337” (401 as per yesterday), even if that is a larger rise in the Middle East where, as per yesterday, Saudi Arabia had 118 cases, Oman had 22 cases, and Bahrain had 214 cases, the stage is larger than we realise because in a setting of non clarity containment cannot be reached. In all this, humanitarian help in Syria and Yemen could be spreading it faster, they have a better immune system and as such until they get noticeably sick they might be spreading the disease to dozens upon dozens more. and whomever they give it to, those infected will hit the mortality rate hard, they are malnourished, have underlying health issues, they tend to be dehydrated and have no way of keeping clean. It is a much larger stage that we cannot predict and it will hit every one of us in one way or another.

In all this, the mortality rate went from 3.4%, to 3.6% (last week) and is now set to 3.8%, as what stage will governments take the lead and have actual solutions in place? The fact that containment is not reached implies that whatever solution they think of is merely a non solving patch on a hole that hides a few other holes that are not patched at all. 

Am I exaggerating? 

Consider that last week 4 nations had 93% of all the cases, that has now dwindled down to 75.1%, the numbers and nations with cases are growing and we see no actual answers and no factual solutions other than post event considerations, giving a much larger rise to hysteria. and in all this the mortality rate does not add up. Globally it might be 3.8%, yet in Sweden it is 0.28%, in the US it is 1.83% and Italy wins with 7.3%, which is a lot higher than China with 3.9%, the numbers do not add up and the media is not informing a hysteria driven population, all whilst the guardian gives us ‘UK coronavirus crisis ‘to last until spring 2021 and could see 7.9m hospitalised‘, in this I wonder how spring 2021 is tested? There is enough doubt on the lack of containment, as such we have much larger fish to fry than ‘A Complete List of Trump’s Attempts to Play Down Coronavirus‘ (source: NY Times).

The setting in any war and believe me, this is a war against the flu, we need to set the stage of containment, as this is not achieved we see that the flu will win in the end. Personally I am not fuzzed, I will be either dead or better employed, either way is a win for me, yet for the US government, the flu is not about the sick (at https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/12/business/economy/coronavirus-response-wall-street.html), it is seemingly about the volatility of Wall Street. And as we are being fed “The Federal Reserve, in a drastic attempt to ensure Wall Street remained functional as volatility roiled even normally staid bond markets, said it would promptly inject as much as $1.5 trillion in loans into the banking system and broaden its purchases of Treasury securities. But neither the Fed’s actions, nor a plan by the European Central Bank to offer cheap loans to banks and step up its bond-buying campaign, were enough to assuage investors, who sent the S&P 500 down 9.5 percent“, we need to consider that there is a mechanism to keep wall street afloat, even when the sick are being denied that. The lack of containment pretty much guarantees it.

And as we are being given (in this case by the Financial Times) “Spain has followed Italy’s lead in imposing a shutdown on its entire population to fight the coronavirus, while France is closing all non-essential shops and restaurants” in this we forget about one small little event. If there is no containment, how does it help and for the matter of imposing self isolation for two weeks, will that actually solve it? Consider that the people were infecting others BEFORE the disease struck them, is the idea that they are still contagious after they feel better two weeks later that strange? Consider that on  December 4th 1872 a ship was found its crew missing, we used that event (Mary Celeste) in several weird occurances, yet the idea that a cured population becomes a Mary Celeste, is that so far fetched? In this Live Science dot com (at https://www.livescience.com/can-coronavirus-be-cured.html) gives us “Currently, however, there is no cure for this coronavirus, and treatments are based on the kind of care given for influenza (seasonal flu) and other severe respiratory illnesses, known as “supportive care,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)“, and as we accept the numbers giving us that 77,450 have recovered, can we be sure that they are not still spreading the flu? I am not telling you, I am asking, because I do not know and it seems that there are plenty of medical specialists in the dark. The quotes we can consider in the article give a larger rise to it and as such the over acting governments are merely showing that they are at best partially limiting the events of spread of the virus implying that the virus could last a lot longer.

There are too many unknowns and the fact that the numbers show that there is no actual containment, are my thoughts out of bounds? It is in that path that I see the actions of the WHO (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/13/european-countries-take-radical-steps-to-combat-coronavirus), slightly out of bounds. I agree with the language, but it cannot be connected to actions, actions require us to acknowledge that we know how to contain this and the numbers show a different story, containment is not reached and as far as I can tell, it was never merely a Chinese issue. It might have grown there faster and more radical, but the rest of the world got infected in other ways, and the medical world is staring in one direction all whilst they have no clue on the powers and the spreadability of the Covid-19 virus. It became a pandemic too quickly and we are now getting the smallest confirmation that the movie by Steven Soderbergh called Contagion (2011) was optimistic, it seems that we have to learn that part the hard way. In those days Manohla Gargis of the New York Times gave us :”“Contagion,” Steven Soderbergh’s smart, spooky thriller about contemporary plagues, is a paranoid freakout for the antigovernment, Tea Party age“, I merely wonder how she will react when Covid-19 comes knocking on her front door.

To support it we get Warner Brothers giving us: “the film ranked 270th in views in the company’s catalog at the end of 2019, when the existence of COVID-19 was not yet public knowledge. Now, it’s the second most-watched movie, bested only by the Harry Potter films“, it seems that the people are being made aware of what was out there and the fact that it is becoming reality will fuel more than a few wandering minds. We might all see this as providence, but it isn’t (at present), apart from the mortality rate not being on par, we have another consideration. It is the fact that there are cases in Mauritania, Mayotte, Mongolia, Suriname, Eswatini, St. Vincent Grenadines, Honduras and the Channel Islands, all with less than 5 cases, yet how did THEY get it? Containment is almost non existent and that is a larger need, when we walk the street we see 50-150 people, and there is every chance that up to 10 have Covid-19, up to ten in every street, that is the reality we face, not now, but in a weeks time? Who knows?

In a setting of non containment, the flu gets free reign, we have known that for decades, and often in the workplace.

 

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The defining moment

We all have seen it, we all have experienced it, yet what happens, if the definition does not align to what a government or a funded overreaching group likes? I am referring to those small grocery stores like the EU and the WHO, and should you doubt it, then consider the following part that has been published in several papers and online sources.

WHO mission director warns world is ‘simply not ready’ for pandemic, as well as ‘prepare for a potential pandemic‘. This was the news today, yet when we consider “A pandemic is an epidemic of disease that has spread across a large region; for instance multiple continents, or worldwide“, I raised it in the beginning of the month (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2020/02/03/corona-i-never-touch-the-stuff/) with ‘Corona?  I Never touch the stuff!‘. In that piece I wrote “there are now close to two dozen nations with confirmed cases. The one from Sweden is perhaps the most illustrative one. “The patient is a woman in the Jonkoping region of southern Sweden who had visited the Wuhan area of China. She sought medical attention after arriving in Sweden on Jan. 24. “One case doesn’t mean that we have a virus outbreak in Sweden,” said the agency’s Karin Tegmark Wisell, who added that the country’s health-care is well prepared to deal with the virus.” I do not disagree with Karin Tegmark Wisell, yet she was a carrier and passing on the disease before the patient knew she was a carrier, as such she would have been in Arlanda (most likely), then a train or a car with stops and for some time she was unaware that she was sick. There is every chance that she infected 3-50 people” in the meantime the disease has now grown the amount of infected in 20 countries (Italy, Japan, Iran, USA, Bahrain, Germany, Algeria and Australia) that implies a growth of the infected on 6 continents. So when exactly will the WHO (or the EU) decide that this is a pandemic?

All whilst the media is happy to report “prepare for a potential pandemic as the outbreak spreads across Europe“, this is a much larger issue, an issue that is bigger than the media, we are being sold a bag of goods and there are players who are too scared for their value when the ‘pandemic’ becomes official and they are willing to sell the world population down the drain to protect their profits (a personal assumption).

And now (as per 16 seconds ago) the situation is “total number of cases in mainland China to 78,064, and 2,715 dead“, whilst the new deceased numbers include China (the bulk) and South Korea, Italy and Iran. So when will it become a pandemic? I believe it already is and it is not the worst pandemic to face, this part we get from a fatality surpassing 3.4%, these facts are available (at https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/), the fact that these numbers also appear in the Guardian (and a few other sources) validates them for me. 

Yet there is one nice epitaph to my consideration of Pandemic, it is found in Wikipedia (at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pandemic) and gives us “Further, flu pandemics generally exclude recurrences of seasonal flu.” Yet it gives us a much larger setting too. 

With the header ‘Economic consequences of pandemic events‘ it introduces us to “In 2016, the Commission on a Global Health Risk Framework for the Future estimated that pandemic disease events would cost the global economy over $6 trillion in the 21st century – over $60 billion per year. The same report also recommended spending $4.5 billion annually on global prevention and response capabilities to reduce the threat posed by pandemic events

That is an amount that scares Wall Street (and therefore the US administration) to a larger degree. The economic part we get from ‘The Neglected Dimension of Global Security‘, that document gives us a lot more too (added atthe end). Even as the preface introduces us (again) to “After the outbreak was recognized, the international response was slow and uncoordinated. Mechanisms for the establishment of public–private partnerships were lacking. For example, the development of lifesaving medical products was reactive, rather than proactive.” It is seemingly the smallest stab to the Ebola event in West Africa, yet the goods on page 23 gives us “National public health systems are essential components of resilient health systems and the first line of defense against the threat of pandemic disease. Robust public health capabilities and infrastructure at a national level are thus the foundation of a global health risk framework” and here is the first pebble that starts the avalanche, on a global scale the stage was to do as little as possible as there were no budgets, the US, UK, Netherlands, Belgium, France have been showing larger failures for several years. Germany is not far behind, yet still in a slightly better position and the less said over failing Greek healthcare, the better (at present). 

In this environment a pandemic is a larger issue for the people in and connected to Wall Street as they need to be ahead of the curve and not trailing it. As such pushing the statement ‘We have a Pandemic’ back further is for them essential, it is at present more likely than not that the Coronaviirus will be seen as a pandemic AFTER the fact, especially after the greedy people have their profit ducks in a row.

The weird part here is that this is not a new issue, Pandemics were the focal point in writing as early as 1350 (Decamerone), films and TV took the subject as early as 1957 (7th seal) as well as several games on PC, consoles, iOS and Android. Enough people knew of the dangers that this issue brought, it even made it to the comic books, although there the setting was warped massively beyond reality as we know it (the Extinction Parade). 

In all this the references make sense, it is seen on that same page when we see “Public health objectives can only be achieved within a highly-functioning and resilient health care system with effective primary care delivery (WHO, 2008)“, a statement seen 12 years ago gives rise to the dangers that nations have brought onto themselves and those remembering that 12 year old statement are now not ready to answer the questions from voters when the ‘pandemic’ is made official, in a more healthy style we could argue that political heads will roll when that news comes out a little too soon to their needs. This is more true when one considers “both sets of capabilities and infrastructure are necessary to prepare and respond to the threat of infectious diseases. A primary health care system without the support of strong public health capabilities will lack the ability to monitor disease patterns and be unable to plan and mobilize the scale of response required to contain an outbreak. A public health system without strong primary care capabilities will lack both the “radar screen” to pick up the initial cases of an outbreak and the delivery system to execute an effective response strategy“, in all this China has shown a decent degree to deal with it, and as such we see in the Guardian ‘Expert tells nations to access the expertise of China and prepare for a potential pandemic as the outbreak spreads across Europe‘. The move makes sense, but the larger issue is not the reactive side, it is the proactive side and most of Western Europe is seemingly not ready. In all this Western Europe is the second stop as International travel is the highest there and what is in one nation could hit a dozen nations a week later, basically one infected person in an international airport could in theory be the global exporter on the spot. If Virgin calls a $130,000,000 loss and a large chunk of that is the Coronavirus, could it be possible that the $60 billion a year seen earlier might be somewhat optimistic? In that consideration look at Virgin and its size, with the fact that this one company is 0.1% of that annual number, and this is not my imagination. 

Only 4 hours ago the New York Times gives us ‘Wall Street Is (Finally) Waking Up to the Damage Coronavirus Could Do‘ (at https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/25/upshot/coronavirus-wall-street-analysis.html), in all this, all the issues I filed over a month, with connections to reported issues 12 years ago and now we see: “there has been a strange divergence among those trying to predict what coronavirus might mean for financial markets and the world economy“, “People in the trenches of global commerce — supply chain managers, travel industry experts, employers large and small — warned of substantial disruptions to their businesses. And public health authorities feared that the disease could spread far beyond Wuhan in China” with the closing phrase of “financial markets and most economic forecasters projected the virus outbreak wouldn’t do much harm to the economy and corporate profits” where we need to notice that ‘corporate profits‘ was the centre of attention, as such we now get to live with the image “last Wednesday, the S&P is down more than 7 percent. And on Tuesday, yields on 10-year United States Treasury bonds fell to their lowest levels on record“, Wall Street is finally waking up having to reek the shit they shovel. All whilst the New York Times also gives us “if the virus becomes a global pandemic that causes meaningful pullback of commerce across major economies” it is the setting we needed to see, certain influencers do not want the claim of ‘pandemic’ to become reality, they are just not ready to see all their long plays become shorted stocks, the fallout would be massive for some players and they are not ready to adjust their economic game play. In all it seems that all over the world, medical centres are nowhere near ready and even as we admit and should realise that this can never be the case, the spreading of any pandemic is likely to hit all over the place and fighting one is not set to what we can do, but to what we can detect. It requires a larger proactive engine and as we see in the UK (NHS), as well as the US, they are lacking in proactive stages and as such, the statement of pandemic will require two elements the first is to find the real cases (any pandemic is likely to cause a panic in equal measure) and to deal with the real cases, it is there where we see that those running with a panic end up running into a disease spreading cluster (an acceptable speculated situation). 

When we see the facts and the situation where this had been going on for two months, CNN gives us ‘Trump claims coronavirus is ‘going to go away’ despite mounting concerns‘, as well as ‘Spread of coronavirus in U.S. appears inevitable, health officials warn‘ (Washington Post), as such we have a larger issue. The numbers give us that the US only had 57 cases and no additional ones since then, they only show 6 recoveries, so what happened to the 51 others? they might still be sick and more importantly there is no telling who the 57 infected, the lack of reporting there leaves a lot to be desired. That part is seen when we look at the CDC (at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html), here we see only 14 confirmed cases, now that does fit better with the 6 cured ones, yet the discrepancy of 57 and 14 is important, it also gives rise to larger clusters of people unknowingly affected. 

In all this we are still ‘heading towards’ a pandemic? I think the pandemic hit us all in the beginning of the month and too many are eager to hide (or oppose) that part and they hide themselves with numbers. In all this, we can argue left, right and centre, yet the definitions were clearly set and a paper with references to facts 12 years ago make for a larger case that politicians are too much in denial of the hardship hitting their lives, their welfare and their economy. A side that the Guardian reported on a week ago with “The coronavirus could cost the global economy more than $1tn in lost output if it turns into a pandemic“, as such, Samsung might end up seeing its stock shorted sooner rather than later, they did get help though, 1146 people with COVID-19 helped the forecasted need to short the stock, I wonder where those 57 Americans were and how Wall Street is optionally setting a different stage, one that has them seemingly unaffected by a so called optional pandemic that is set in China.

When these defining moments surpass the expectations of the people with stocks against the people with expected sick relatives, at that point will we see a first engagement of what Wall Street states versus the impact of the victims, the victims that could get not be cured in time because the proactive medical needs were numbered away by other means. Consider that against the fact that some of these white papers and warnings have been out for years, at that point reconsider the culling of funds in healthcare. There are too many related factors and they all survive as their test for ‘pandemic’ is not passed.

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Change the question

If the answer does not fit the situation, change the question. It is one one of the oldest concepts in political sciences and Microsoft needs to hold onto that thought. Even as we saw a little over two weeks ago ‘Xbox exec insists that Microsoft is no longer competing with Sony and Nintendo‘, we see the setting, but we forget that the Xbox One, the most powerful gaming system was surpassed by the PS4 in the early beginning and has been surpassed by the weakest gaming system (Nintendo Switch) as well. So as Microsoft people are making some claim of “we see Amazon and Google as the main competitors going forward“, they are leaving out that Google Stadia has the option of beating Microsoft as well, leaving Microsoft in 5th of 6 positions. And as I see it, there is no guarantee that Apple will remain in 6th position, implying that in the console war, Microsoft will end up being the massive loser of the lot. 

Reasons (as I believe them to be)

I believe that stupidity (read: non-comprehension), deafness (the lack of listening to gamers) and the short sighted Azure stage all interfered with the Xbox. And that is before people realise that bullying people to go online as well as having a 1TB system and the lacking the options for gamers to replace the drive without nullifying the warranty. All solutions that Sony adhered to in a much earlier stage, after which the brilliant execution by Nintendo (with their Switch) pushed the console to third position, two elements that could have been fixed upfront in 2012, is now the massive anchor chain around the neck of Microsoft games and I believe that it was the board of Microsoft that pushed stupidity, not Phil Spencer, issues that could have been fixed in the month of release never was and now the people are a little fed up with Microsoft and left for happier shores. More importantly, Sony and Nintendo are actually not rivals, they both have packages of software that are not competing, in a more drastic light, the group that has the larger console next to the docking station of the Nintendo Switch is growing fast.

And in all this, the PS5 is coming (as well as the new Microsoft console) leaving Microsoft behind even further, even as some might bite towards the hype creation video’s, there are a lot of gamers that are not willing to trust Microsoft anymore, implying that Microsoft is heading for even more news of dread on a large scale. It is still too early to tell, yet the video’s we see are still part of the hype creation whilst essential facts are left out. For example (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Nl9Aj8N7ew) we see the hype of SSD, yet the size and size options are left out of the equation, all whilst the hype is hiding behind all those lovely downloads, it is interesting how size (which actually matters here) is left untouched. Whilst we see ray tracing and 4K, everyone is forgetting that this implies the need of 50Gb-100Gb per game extra. for example Fallout 4 required 100GB install sizes as a minimum in 4K, so with a 1TB drive it will only hold 8 games like that, or the essential need to reinstall games, especially in RPG, size will be an issue, yet not only that Gears of War 4, for example, required a chunk the size of 103GB so count your chooks and smoke those! And that is before you consider the storage that 8K gaming takes. 

This is merely one source, yet the amount of sources (including Microsoft) is vague on the space available, they give “NVMe SSD (we’ve heard read speeds of anywhere up to 2GB/s)“, just the size of their bloody drive is avoided as much as possible by everyone. Even at this stage, several sources make the claim that the PS5 will have 2TB (which is not enough) yet in the past we could upgrade that drive to our content without invalidating the warranty, and at present you can get 4TB for $650. Yes, I understand that not everyone needs that and that is fine, there are however plenty of gamers who want to upgrade and as the price is now $650, there will be every indication that this price within the first year will diminish by a lot (as it always does), the idea of 4K gaming without space restrictions is a lot more realistic in 4TB than in what the Xbox has done so far (1TB), as such the issues will become cumbersome sooner, not later. 

Microsoft never learned that lesson, all whilst Sony told the users what the needs were and they could upgrade at their own leisure. Microsoft did not see a reason to offer that, because you could buy a second drive, which means more stress on the machine, another cable and more devices, whilst most people merely wanted one device.

The Nintendo (Sony too) never had the demanded requirement to be online, you could sync when you were online and that was a gift to many, Xbox demanded to be online with their little issues (like achievements). So, whilst the Tech Insider gave us last week ‘The price of the PlayStation 5 may top $450, and that could cost Sony the next major battle with Xbox in the console wars‘, I personally have a hard time believing that this is the actual case, the drawbacks that Microsoft pushes for and the benefits that the PS5 give you leave us with the reality that $450 (perhaps $499) is not the worst feeling for all the benefits that Sony offers. 

It is in that same article that offers “More than just a high price, the history of video game console pricing dictates that charging over $US400 for a new game console is likely to result in a sales flop.” Really? When was that? Perhaps you all forget about the Xbox 360, I paid $699 for that one and it was a hell of a lot more successful than the Xbox One ever was, almost 100% more successful. And that was with the 20Gb drive, the 120Gb drive was an additional $119, an amount I was happy spending, giving me all that storage space. The PS3 was initially $599, and that was before I replaced the 60GB for a 300GB solution ($79 extra), Yet, we now need more storage, but that is the consequence of resolution, and that is all before we consider the offline issue. You see in many places internet is a drag, not all the customers of a console live in London or New York, as such there are places where the broadband is an issue (the places are more and more rare nowadays), yet when we consider that the EU gave Belgium (the entire nation) a fine because its internet was too slow, how much fun will streaming and downloading of games bring? And they are not alone (but the group is not that big either), yet these are all issues that Microsoft does not seem to ‘care’ about, they still bully (as I personally see it) people to be online. Good luck!

The Dutch give us that around 180.000 houses will get 9 MB.sec maximum, so there is that, and I believe that there is a group that is between that and the 30MB/sec minimum of streaming, and that is before we consider the additional issues of going online and updating your profile or download patches. Or perhaps you want to consider “Many rural areas of France have slow and unreliable internet connections” and lets not forget that these are the better places in Europe to be in. We still avoid Germany and a few other places, so in all, there is a group of Europeans that are not regarded as gaming material by the Microsoft standards, they can be happy with the other two players, as such they will not be unhappy, but it shows just how far behind Microsoft is, they could have fixed their issues a long time ago and for them issues will be harder soon enough.

So as we change the question from the price of a console (‘Xbox Series X Vs. PlayStation 5: Microsoft Is Still Holding A Huge Wild Card‘ source: Forbes), to who will have the infrastructure to enjoy their console, Microsoft is not doing that great at present. So even as Forbes gives us: “Sony has been struggling to get its build price for the PlayStation 5 below $450“, all whilst we see that the PS4 Pro 1TB (on Amazon is $319), whilst the launch date was set to $399, in a stage where we now see a new console, well over twice as powerful with an SSD drive and a few other issues, in that setting $500 is not the weirdest price and even as Microsoft beats that, the downside that the issues that Microsoft has not fixed is still dragging their gamers down (as I personally see it).

As I see it, Sony has over time done what Microsoft seems to refuse: ‘How can I include the most gamers towards our Sony console‘, they achieved this to a much larger degree by allowing for larger drives (at the need of the gamer) and set the policy towards off-line gaming without having to mess up achievements or other needs, Microsoft never properly fixed it, all whilst the Xbox 360 had that in perfect working order (like the Playstation then). So whilst Microsoft needs to consider a switch (pun intended) from the board of director choice of console towards a gamers need for a console, we see that their need to change is massive and at present missing, they are much more in the need of some hype creation whilst the gamers miss out too much and that is not including the lack of exclusive console games.

No matter how we slice it, the Sony consoles have an advantage and Microsoft has too much to catch up on, we will see how 2020 ends and as both systems gain traction over 2021, we will see who ends up being the winner, my money is on PS5, price difference or not, when the first issue hits the Xbox Two (or Scarlett), the people will start running towards the Sony solution fast and hard, there will always be those who worship the Xbox and that is fine, dedication is part of the gamer credo and as such there will be enough people going for the Xbox Two, yet the population of the Sony system is well over twice as large, with backward compatibility on both systems, the numbers on the Sony side will unlikely be the one dwindling down, the fact that the PS4 games work and they will now work in 4K mode, will imply that there will be a dozen games that will be replayed under those conditions. The idea of my replaying my Fallout 4, God of War 4, Skyrim, Horizon Zero Dawn and several others can now be admired in 4K is appealing. Yes, I know that the Pro and the Xbox One X had these options, yet buying a new console and a 4K TV was not in the cards, in addition, I was really happy with my PS4 original edition, now I will (have to) upgrade both, especially as I can now get a 4K TV for well under $400, which is a lot cheaper than it was in 2016 (almost 1/3rd the price), so well worth the change.

When we change the question we can look at the old axiom, we can have something cheap, fast or better, but we can only select 2 of the 3, I believe that in gaming, most people will select fast and better quality and accept the price that comes with it, because when the numbers pan out, I will have used my PS4 for almost 7 years and in all 7 years without any issues at all (one small one in the very beginning), only now 7 years later am I in a more essential need to upgrade my 2TB drive, that is a very good run (and deleting 1-5 games makes sense in this day and age). All whilst I had that issue on and off with the Xbox One since I had it past 2 years, so as such the PS4 was efficient and banked on my needs, other systems should take a lesson from that.

Cheap system – Expensive system

Fast system – Slow system

Good Quality – Bad Quality

What will be your needs? And in the end, will the two choices you make hinder or help you, in finality, how will you feel when the choice you made hit you in a less nice way?

When I look at those questions, I am left with the personal conviction that Sony wins, which is actually a large issue when you compare the PS3 and the Xbox360, Microsoft gave up the benefit that they had and they only got surpassed near the next gen console release dates, an advantage they lost completely in one generation of console, we seem to forget that. Which is weird because even today, the Xbox 360 is still played by some and the games have always been decently amazing, even by today’s standard in gaming (not referring to resolution). It took Sony nearly everything to keep up with the Xbox360, a field they need not worry about with the nextgen systems and optionally even less with what comes.

Now Microsoft needs to wonder if they can get close to the Nintendo Switch, an issue that the PS5 is less likely to have, that is how I see it and whilst Microsoft hides behind ‘Xbox exec insists that Microsoft is no longer competing with Sony and Nintendo‘, all whilst the reasoning should be how can we become part of the larger population again, we see the optional stage where Microsoft is no longer worthy of real consideration, a sad day for gamers indeed.

 

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Some small bits

We all see them, we all face them and even as there is no overwhelming story out there, I think it was time to set up a look at the small bits, the parts I have already given view to and now I am adding to them. 

Huawei

The first part is ‘Huawei row: Trump chief of staff to meet Dominic Cummings‘, here we see another media driven attempt to ban Huawei from the UK, the UK is now as much a bitch as the Australian government. So far the US has not given any evidence that the Huawei hardware can be used to spy on people by the Chinese government, so far the US is not even sending that person with a really bad haircut, so that he could compare barbers with Boris Johnson, no he is sending his acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney. Even after Richard Grenell gives us “to make clear that any nation who chooses to use an untrustworthy 5G vendor will jeopardize our ability to share intelligence and information at the highest level“, in my response ‘what intelligence?’ at present the CIA is regarded as one of the least trustworthy intelligence providers, we could argue that Facebook has better intelligence than the CIA does (hurts doesn’t it?)

Now, if the US had provided intelligence on Huawei several Cyber experts would nitpick that intel, yet the setting is out there, there is no evidence whatsoever, the US is fearing for its life and its economy. The backdraft is also there, any nation will get an advantage over whatever paperback spinal cord is supporting the US without evidence. All because the US cannot control its national corporations, we all must pay.

We can treat “A group of backbench Conservatives also wants Johnson to commit to remove all Huawei kit from British phone networks over time” with optional disgust as well, even as there is no stage set on ‘over time‘, as I personally see it these acts are profit driven, not national security driven, even as some will make a claim in that direction. 

Jeff Bezos

You know the man, the intelligent man with the really long forehead (read: bald), was hacked, it happened in 2018 and the media keeps on blaming the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, yet there is no evidence. In light of all that had happened, the idea that any Crown Prince is THAT hands on with an issue is overlooked on several levels. The FTI report reads like a joke and personally, if Mr. Bezos pays THAT much for what I personally see as trash, than I have optionally 4 IP stages, one unfinished book and over a 1000 articles for same for the mere price of $50,000,000 post taxation (50% for the IP and the rest is a gimmick), you see at least I am willing to say that upfront. In addition, his own paper gives us on January 28th “Indeed, in October 2018, Michael Sanchez and AMI entered into a nondisclosure agreement “concerning certain information, photographs and text messages documenting an affair between Jeff Bezos and Lauren Sanchez,” according to three people who have reviewed the agreement. The existence of the contract was first reported by the New York Times. One of those people also confirmed a Wall Street Journal report that federal prosecutors who are investigating whether the Enquirer tried to extort Bezos have reviewed the text messages that Lauren Sanchez allegedly gave to her brother and that he then provided to the tabloid.” as I personally see it several parties owe Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud a few apologies and all kinds of Saudi catering hoping that it will appease his royal highness. On a personal note, I reckon he will be jealous of my yacht by the CRN ship wharves, so as we see the wealth of Jeff Bezos, he might just want to say ‘Sorry!’ to his royal highness and spend 0.5% of his wealth to appease that rather rich party with a yacht (so that mine will remain optionally safe, when it is completed). And no matter how it all get spinned, the UN report needs to be nitpicked and rather quickly, too many questions remain and even as we see that a person with knowledge of the investigation who was not authorized to speak publicly about its progress, or as the Washington Post is skating around the trandsetting term ‘anonymous source‘, which would place them on the same scale as the Enquirer, they give us “It’s possible that the Saudis hacked Bezos’s phone and Michael Sanchez independently got the photos from his sister and some people were trying to get paid and some people were trying to get Bezos,” all whilst there is no actual evidence that the hacker was Saudi, I did away with that quite nicely in ‘6 Simple questions‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2020/02/03/6-simple-questions/), whilst the 6th question ‘Why on earth is the UN involved in an alleged Criminal investigation where so much information is missing?‘ was never answered by any media EVER! (OK, as far as I know).

Yet there is a reason why we bring this all, it is seen (at https://www.inc.com/jason-aten/facebook-says-apple-is-to-blame-for-hacking-of-jeff-bezos-phone.html) where we get introduced to ‘Facebook Says Apple Is to Blame for the Hacking of Jeff Bezos’s Phone‘, with the optional part “Nick Clegg, said that the hacking of Jeff Bezos’s phone wasn’t the fault of WhatsApp, pointing instead to the Apple iOS that powers the iPhone X Bezos was using. Or, at least, that’s presumably what he was trying to say, though his answer when asked by the BBC was largely incomprehensible“, as well as “he argued, “It sounds like something on the, you know, what they call the operate, operated on the phone itself.” To be clear, he didn’t specifically mention Apple by name, however it had been previously known that Bezos was using an iPhone X at the time he was hacked“, I find it debatable, but it takes the court away from the Saudi Crown Prince and a few others, if that hack is not one that NSO Group’s Pegasus or Hacking Team’s Galileo uses, then we have a much larger issue, one that is not identified and even as it takes the Saudi players off the board, it does not take the issue away. The NSO group has loudly denied the entire issue and this gives them the option to do that, so far the FTI report is too shabby, it does not seem to warrant or deny the optional allegations. So as we see: “someone actually took advantage of a vulnerability that WhatsApp itself has already acknowledged was an issue and issued a fix. It’s even more confusing that he attempted to pass the blame to Apple“, I personally feel in agreement with the writer, the entire WhatsApp feels like to comfortable solution, yet that vulnerability was out in the open and there is still no evidence that it was done by Saudi hands, even now, the list of perpetrators is growing, pushing the optionally (and alleged) Saudi players to the bottom of that list. I would advise Brainy Smurf Jeff Bezos that he pays up as fast as possible (and sizeable) before it becomes a behemoth of an issue that a mere sorry and a box of chocolates will not solve. 

Yemen

You might have heard of that place, apparently there are a few humanitarian issues playing and even as we now see ‘UN Condemns ‘Shocking’ and ‘Terrible’ US-Backed Saudi Coalition Bombing That Killed 31 Yemeni Civilians‘, we are given “Those who continue to sell arms to the warring parties must realize that by supplying weapons for this war, they contribute to making atrocities like today’s all too common“, yet the EU and the US are happy that this all continues. My evidence? Well consider that we see today ‘The EU has agreed to deploy warships to stop the flow of weapons into Libya‘, all whilst a similar action in Yemen would have diminished the dangers over two years ago, so how many ships had the EU to set up a blockade to stop weapons going into Yemen? As far as I can tell, there is an unwritten consensus to give as much freedom to Iran as possible. I gave that part in ‘Media, call it as it is!‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/11/03/media-call-it-as-it-is/) almost 18 months ago, so why exactly is Yemen not an issue and Libya is? It is oil and everyone is dancing around the stage hoping for a barrel full of the substance. Yet the Yemeni don’t matter, if you doubt that you merely have to read the articles, all about complaints and condemning, not about action packed events, are they? And in all this Xavier Joubert, director of aid group Save the Children Yemen is equally to blame, does he give the stage in a proper setting? Does he give any information on the actions that Houthi forces have been eager to take forward (including those on children)? Nope! So when we see “after Houthi rebels claimed to have shot down a Saudi Tornado jet Friday in Al-Jawf province“, as well as ““possibility of collateral damage”—a common euphemism for civilian deaths“, yet how many enemy troops were there? that part is not given as it takes the power away from their own story, yet the story they give us is out of whack. So whilst people like Lise Grande come up with “it’s a tragedy and it’s unjustified“, all whilst for well over two years a blockade could have optionally limited the damage that could have occurred, yet no one is willing to skate that track, are they?

All whilst we see (at https://www.timesofisrael.com/pompeo-calls-for-action-against-iran-after-us-navy-seizes-weapons-sent-to-yemen/) ‘Pompeo calls for action against Iran after US Navy seizes weapons sent to Yemen‘, a stage that was set this week, we see the laughingly entertaining ‘World’s silence has emboldened Saudi-led war crimes in Yemen: Iran‘, all whilst we see Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi giving a speech on what he calls War Crimes, at the same stage where they send hundreds of missiles into Yemen, there is only so much hypocrisy I can stomach and Iran is handing us way too much. So whilst the Islamic Republic of Iran continues to defy the UN Security Council, we need to start being honest about the Yemen situation, the EU does not care about Yemen, it has nothing to offer, yet the US has on this occasion stopped one of several Iranian supply ships. I wonder how many were missed, the ongoing war clearly gives rise to the fact that this war will not be over soon and as such more civilians will die, it is the clear consequence of a war.

These are three of the small bits that I am adding today, there have been a whole range of issues I touched on in the last few days, yet these small bits are important parts to other information I gave out. 

Have a great day, see you all tomorrow

 

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Choo Choo Ego

Before we get to the article ‘Can the cost of HS2 be justified?‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/feb/03/at-307m-per-mile-of-track-can-the-cost-of-hs2-be-justified), I need to take a step back, you see when I was young, stupid, eager and sceptic 6 years ago (I am still all that except young), I wrote on August 16th 2013 ‘Political ego and their costs‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2013/08/16/political-ego-and-their-costs/), there I wrote “As reported by the Guardian in July, there have been voices that the high speed North-South line, which will cost to the scope of 40 billion Euro is going in a not dissimilar direction. Even though the UK government is claiming a 20% nett return, the additional factors might have not been weighted enough. Consider that the current issues involving price hikes for train rides are growing between 4% and 9%, the group that can no longer afford these kinds of prices is growing fast. More important, these price hikes are now pushing people away from rail and towards buses for the sheer cost of it. This is an entirely opposing reaction to what the UK government needs it to be.

Those in favour of HS2 claim in the quote “This is a massively misleading oversimplification because it doesn’t take into account the significant financial returns that will be generated from an investment in high-speed rail.”

There was already a clear path of non-affordability and I am happy that people almost 7 years later give us ‘At £307m per mile of track, can the cost of HS2 be justified?‘, there is hardly an economy, there are spending sprees all over the place and the infrastructure needs serious fixing, yet some MP’s thought it was a good feeling (their ego) to give out 40 billion on a train ride that has more problems than fixes. 

The idea that the required budget has more than doubled requires a few more investigations of those trying to push this project. So even as we go with “Allan Cook ordered a “chairman’s stocktake” when he arrived at HS2 in December 2018 and last September came up with £72bn-£78bn in 2015 prices, or £81bn-£88bn in 2019 prices.

Nils Pratley informs us on the The official Oakervee report, which concludes that if problems are not fixed, the outstanding bill will increase with an additional £20,000,000,000. So there is that to look forward to. As such as we consider “Every escalation in costs has dented the economic case for HS2 – £106bn equates to an astonishing £307m per mile to build 345 miles of high-speed track.” I was of the mind that a clear case could not be made when it was still a mere £40 billion. Even as we are given “Government studies used to say the full Y-shaped line would generate benefits of £2.30-£2.50 for every pound spent.” It is not merely disputed, I wonder where the actual data on that model is. You see, if we take time into consideration between Leeds to Birmingham, how much time gain will the traveller see if we compare normal train versus high speed train and is that person willing to pay for that difference. In light of the Oakervee report where they give us “put the benefits at only £1.50 for every £1 spent. Lord Berkeley, the dissenting member of the Oakervee panel, reckons 60p is more like it“. The argument from Lord Berkeley is important. He gives us “running 18 trains per hour, as assumed in original projections of HS2’s revenues, is impossible. No other high-speed network in the world achieves that“, which amounts to one train every 3.5 minutes. In what reality do we have that many people travelling from one end to the other? Even when we accept that 14 trains is possible, the entire matter is set on trains that will never reach 50% filling (personal view). In all this we still need to consider that this is a train that merely stops at large cities, in all this I have some serious questions on the entire project and the stage of how many tickets will be sold, for as I see it at present, we are sold a bag of goods (optionally containing one High Speed Train) with a lot of problems that could have been seen in 2013, all this to feed the ego of politicians?

 

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