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The Qatarian debacle

There is no denying it, we sometimes take the most stupid steps, even though it was for the best intentions. Yet when we are confronted with the reality, it becomes a different thing, especially when corruption and corporations intervene. First we were confronted with the prospect of Qatar 2022, I was actually pretty happy about it. To bring the enthousiasm of Soccer into the Middle East is a good thing, it opens all kinds of dialogues between Middle Eastern nations and as Europe has one universal event in common, soccer could have become the bridge between the nations in Europe and the Middle East. That’s how I naively saw it. But it took merely a week or two until suddenly the accusations of corruption came out of the woodwork. More and more news outlets have become the ‘whores’ of shareholders and stake holders, all in fear because it wasn’t merely about Qatar, it was the fact that it would be held in winter overlapping the normal soccer season, leaving us with the clear set that clubs could not play with their stars representing the national teams. With all that advertisement opportunity gone, they are all screaming like bitches. The biggest of them (Martin Ivens) is part of this (at https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/plot-to-buy-the-world-cup-lvxdg2v7l7w), and when we see “revealed for the first time this weekend in a bombshell cache of millions of documents leaked to The Sunday Times“, the editorial has a clear duty to inform the public showing the evidence. The fact that ‘millions of documents‘ were parsed is close to impossible, but that’s going to be another story. Yet since June 1st 2014, we keep in getting more and more speculations, yet no evidence was presented. In the end, the FIFA corruption was merely parsed aside, no clear imprisonment, merely ‘a six-year ban from participating in FIFA activities‘, the corruption and the facilitation to the stake holders and shareholders have gone that far, yet no one presented clear evidence at any level to the public, partially my setting for demanding Martin Ivens that he gets the hell out of journalism.

In all this, Qatar has remained the battered victim (in this instance) and I thought it was good for those shareholders and stakeholders to feel the consequences of diminished value for a change. Yet that is not happening. Still, we see is some olive branch towards soccer by setting the news as we saw it in the Washington Post with ‘FIFA could expand World Cup to 48 teams in 2022, ahead of schedule‘, either it is a 50% bigger strain for Qatar to keep up with the changes or it collapses and the torch quickly gets handed over to another soccer nation pleasing all stake holders involved.

Yet the issue is now escalating and not in a good way, it is also not on the soccer side that things are becoming a mess. In this case it is not about the article (at https://www.thenational.ae/world/britain-warned-over-qatar-s-london-intelligence-network-1.749819), where we see the quote “A group of Arab countries demanded action from the British government to restrict an expansion of Qatar’s intelligence activities in London, including surveillance operations as well as political and propaganda activity“, I am not sure if this is actually happening, but it is one part that increases the pressures going on. The actual dangers are coming from two siders, the first is seen in Haaretz (at https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/how-qatar-is-warming-ties-with-both-trump-and-iran-at-the-same-time-1.6247714), where we get ‘How Qatar Is Warming Ties with Both Trump and Iran – at the Same Time‘, it is the Iran side that is a worry. We might take notice of an old fact given in “Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed ties with Qatar in June 2017, accusing it of fomenting regional unrest, supporting terrorism and getting too close to Iran, all of which Doha denies“, yet that is not the danger (at present). In addition we see the actions (the clever actions) from Qatar with “A review on Monday of Foreign Agent Registration Act records show that since May 31, six U.S. companies or individuals have registered new Qatari lobbying contracts with the Department of Justice. That number includes the major firms Ogilvy (which is being paid $10,000 per month) and Portland PR ($20,000 per month)“, in addition, Ogilvy gives them full access to the Commonwealth, so London (as mentioned earlier), Canada and Australia are part of the setting to change public opinion, a task Ogilvy is very good at. The second part is different, when we look (at https://en.mehrnews.com/news/135396/Iran-1st-quarter-export-to-Qatar-quadrupled-year-on-year), we see something that seems harmless enough, yet the fact that “In the first quarter of the current year of 1397 (March 21, 2018- June 21, 2018), 74 million and 61 thousand dollars of goods were shipped from Iran to Qatar, which has increased by 214 percent year-on-year“, seems innocent enough, yet it also gives us that with over $300 million of trade goods before the end of the year, a large amount of people go back and forth, which also optionally offers military advisors as well as people of the Hezbollah persuasion opportunities and now it becomes a very different game, now we have a setting that allows for the settling of units and their sole reason for playing possum the next three years is to go out with a bang in November 2022. Consider this setting against the Washington Post of April (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/hacked-messages-show-qatar-appearing-to-pay-hundreds-of-millions-to-free-hostages/2018/04/27/46759ce2-3f41-11e8-974f-aacd97698cef_story.html) where we see ‘Hacked messages show Qatar appearing to pay hundreds of millions to free hostages’, the operative word is ‘appearing’. When we see both: “with a half-dozen militias and foreign governments jostling to squeeze cash from the wealthy Persian Gulf state. “The Syrians, Hezbollah-Lebanon, Kata’ib Hezbollah, Iraq — all want money, and this is their chance,” Zayed bin Saeed al-Khayareen, Qatar’s ambassador to Iraq and chief negotiator in the hostage affair, wrote in the message. “All of them are thieves.” And yet, the Qataris were willing to pay, and pay they did, confidential documents confirm“, as well as “they appear to consent to payments totalling at least $275 million to free nine members of the royal family and 16 other Qatari nationals kidnapped during a hunting trip in southern Iraq“, there are issues that do not add up. Now consider that such a large group of dignitaries was too unprotected as well as the fact that this event did not become world news on every level!

Now we have a series of players like Kata’ib Hezbollah and Hezbollah-Lebanon ready for the next event. This they will play really clever, with $150 million ready, they have the time to prepare and truly make the beginning of Qatar 2022 go badaboom (big badaboom); Qatar gets to play the wounded victim and whatever happens will be in the news for years to come after that. The fact that this threat is actually growing and no longer unrealistic is also part of the issue now for considering the relocation of Qatar 2022 to somewhere else. That setting was not there in 2014, or not as far as I would be able to tell. What is now a given is that not only is there an actual danger here, the fact that this setting exists, is an additional threat to Saudi Arabia, if they will be able to attack the stadium as well as fire missiles on Riyadh, the stage changes as Riyadh is now a mere 449.23 Km, very much within range of several missile solutions. Tactically speaking they would come into Qatar into parts, like as spare parts for engineering equipment, most could be hidden in several ways and with $300 million in goods, the chance of finding even one part is close to impossible. They will have 3 years to assemble it all. Saudi Arabia is not alone, as this situation unfolds, we need to realise that the UAE and Abu Dhabi is a mere 200 Km away, an equally appealing target for Iran. You might think that it is not an option, yet the ‘goodwill’ that Iran bought with missiles for Hezbollah is exactly why it is an optional reality to face; it is the cost of doing business.

So, as we consider the cost of doing business we can only hope for the places like Ogilvy that if this happens that they have all the right paperwork ready for their presentations on what they facilitated for. It’s not like it might actually impact its parent company WPP plc, is it? We can only watch (and smile) from the sidelines when its £55.56 billion value starts fading like snowflakes in the summer sunshine. Should you think that I am kidding and my view is far-fetched? Consider what happens when 200 countries filled with an estimated 3.5 billion devoted soccer fans go berserk. I will be selling tickets and popcorn to that event and make a killing (figuratively speaking).

The Qatarian debacle was poorly set from the very start, it was a non-issue and whilst people filled their pockets we saw close to no concise actions against FIFA for decades. Now that the world stage, especially in the Middle East is polarising and escalating on several fields, we see that the allowed setting is becoming more than merely ‘optionally hazardous‘. The actions on several sides give a clear danger that no matter how you slice it Qatar 2022 is a clear tactical target, not only for the players, but the amount of dignitaries attending are now are set in a stage where the tiger gets offered a pound of flesh and everyone on the sidelines is considering that the tiger might be a vegetarian whilst it all gets aired in prime-time to every part of the world, you tell me who the short sighted player in that stage is.

 

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IQ versus PI

I could not believe my eyes this morning. OK, I admit I had a weird night. It was suddenly too warm (for winter) and I ended up cleaning my kitchen at 03:00, that’s how I roll at times. So when I got my morning routine together which was delayed by 30 minutes, I ended up having to wake up to ‘Moscow using UK as dumping ground for poison, says Sajid Javid’ (at https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/jul/05/sajid-javid-uk-to-consult-allies-over-novichok-response-russia-poisoning), whilst having my first (and second) coffee. Now as a conservative, I am worried. For the most, I do not consider politicians to be overly intelligent. Now that is not really a big deal, my IQ test was around 12 point lower than Alan Turing, so I don’t have the biscuit on Intelligence, I know that much. Yet as a former boss of the Deutsche Bank, I would have thought that Sajid Javid had a decent handle on things (like common sense). So when I get confronted with “using the UK as a “dumping ground” for poison and urged Russia to explain “exactly what has gone on””, I do wonder whether Sajid is smitten with IQ or with Plenty Ignorance (PI). So as the article is giving us things like “Sources close to the investigation dropped a hint that they may now know the identity of the would-be killers who targeted the Skripals”, that whilst the transmission method was never determined, for either case, the fact that the goods cannot be traced as the individual parts were never found, we are confronted with ‘dropped a hint’ that comes across as an almost desperate attempt to shake the tree and wonder if anyone will be running away. The additional part where we are all still confronted with what the fans of the Hammers might regard as a ‘load of bollocks’, so when you see “the novichok that harmed them may have been in a sealed container left following the attack”, we need to realise that the operative part in all the unknown parts is ‘may have been’.

Now, this is nothing against the metropolitan police or the counter terrorism units, as this is not ANYONE’S cup of tea and we can add the CIA to that list as they are learning the issues that the Salisbury detectives are confronted with and with Salisbury with an utter lack of CCTV’s, the detectives get to work with a lot less than their peers in Sussex and Brighton currently have access to.

Now, the article also gives us “The incident in Amesbury is being viewed by the authorities as an after-effect of the March attack rather than a major new development. This would suggest the police do not regard the agent as being from a fresh batch” and that is important as I mentioned towards that yesterday (it was speculative at the time), and the fact that it might have been thrown out (if that is true) then it was a dump, but I feel certain that it was not done as a state driven action. People in that setting do not leave evidence behind. In addition, we need more factual data before we can draw on any speculative conclusions, yet it seems that Sajid does not have them either. The ‘may have been’ and ‘dropped a hint’ give us that much.

I do get it, they are all about smothering optional panic, but being stupid about it does not tend to be a solution, it pretty much never is. So when we see: “Our strong working assumption is that they came into contact with the nerve agent in a different location to the sites that were part of the initial clean-up operation”, we see to a decent regard a factual part, yet most common sense brains would have gotten us there, in addition, there were only two affected in both initial cases, so the investigators do not have anything and the additional police officer hit, would have been most likely from a transfer from one of the initial victims, which makes sense. In addition to that, the fact that the second pair was hit so much later, knowing that all the Novichok versions are highly unstable. Now in all regards, we cannot give Sputnik news the sentiment of being unbiased yet they gave us in April parts that were already known. “the Novichok is a very unstable substance, which depends on [exposure to] water, on alkalis, on everything”, So when we consider the rain and humidity in the Salisbury region, how likely are some of the presented facts? They also gave a part that I did not know (having no degree in Biomedicine or Ways of Mass Discomfort). The quote: “Mirzayanov said that the toxin did not kill Skripals since the substance is vulnerable to humidity, and there was fog in the United Kingdom on March 4, the day of the poisoning attack on Skripals”. I surmised part due to its instability, yet the given ‘the substance is vulnerable to humidity, and there was fog in the United Kingdom on March 4, the day of the poisoning attack on Skripals’ gives us that humidity is a much stronger factor in negating the efficiency of the substance, making it a lot less terminal. Something a state ordered visiting person would have been made aware of. So as we are confronted with more and more media outbursts, we are watching a show where the cast is unflatteringly (and undeserving) caught with their pants around the ankles doing the penguin.

The final part that is questionable is the quote: “scientists had said novichok degraded in the natural environment over time, adding to the notion that the substance Sturgess and Rowley came into contact with was in a container.” Yet when we accept that all the Novichoks are unstable and that humidity impacts it in a larger degree implies that there was no ‘degradation’ not after such a long time, not to remain this potent. So if it was a sealed container, there might be some reflection on that, but that requires a lucid person to answers a lot of questions and the victims are still “critically ill and doctors at Salisbury district hospital are trying to stabilise them”, so there is that part gone. In addition, they either have the container, or they do not. It might make most sense, but in the end it seems that some people of authority are setting a stage of implied emotion through speculation and half truth, so whilst they are all members of the Ignoranus clan and basically blaming the Russian government on this (this one time they might actually be innocent, so go figure), we see ‘The eyes of the world are currently on Russia, not least because of the World Cup’. It is a dangerous setting, not because of the fact that it is done, but merely because the people are not looking and perhaps realising that there was something that they missed which might have actually helped the detectives working on this.

And in the end Sajid Javid made it worse with: “We will stand up to the actions that threaten our security and the security of our partners. It is unacceptable for our people to be either deliberate or accidental targets, or for our streets, our parks, our towns to be dumping grounds for poison” the mere fact that there is close to no evidence linking the Russian government to this event because they basically invented the stuff, is almost like blaming Alfred Nobel for all the blown up buildings in Syria in the last 5 years when dynamite was used. The fact that the man has been dead for almost 122 years is the smallest of issues that the media will find a loophole for. Adding: ‘Sources close to the investigation’ or ‘may have been’ usually does that trick.

Yet no one denies that there is an issue, there is one that needs a resolution and we need to realise that one of several Novichok nerve agents are out in the open. There is even the consideration that someone with an utter lack of common sense is playing with one (or more) of them. The fact that there are no terminal cases might imply this, yet the wielder and the reason are unknown. We can also agree that in the Skripal case there might have been Russian government employee involvement, yet no evidence was ever brought to light. In the second case it is so much less likely, yet there we do not know how the nerve agent was set upon the couple, the timeline clearly indicates that she was the initial infected and the setting of a third unharmed person implies with a level of certainty that it happened outside of their premises and that is about all we have been exposed to. There might be more, but the police will not and optionally should not reveal that for the longer of times, which is fair enough, they have a hard task ahead and they can do without the Monday morning quarterbacks called bloggers (including me) and journalists (pretty much every paper on the planet). I do hope that they can solve and close the case, yet until that point comes, I do hope that Sajid Javid gets clue and gets it fast, because the PI he is showing is getting to be exponentially larger than his IQ ever was.

 

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They are still lying to us

There is a piece that the Guardian gave us less than 12 hours ago. The title ‘Greece ‘turning a page’ as Eurozone agrees deal to end financial crisis‘ should worry you. You are getting played! The article (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jun/22/eurozone-greece-financial-crisis-deal) is giving a dangerous situation as it is downplayed on nearly every level. Now, to set the stage, we need to understand that government budgets are complex. No one is denying it. Yet, what is complex about: “Eurozone member states reached an agreement on the final elements of a plan to make its massive debt pile more manageable, ending an eight-year bailout programme“, can you tell me that? You see in the heart of this is ‘its massive debt pile more manageable‘, we all see that. Yet do we understand it?  €328 billion, the interest on that small sucker is well over €500 a second! The debt is around 180% of GDP, it was 178% last year. These are issues that matter, because it gives Greece no options. Then the Guardian gives us the bit that matters a lot more. You see, in part one we consider “The plan allows Greece to extend and defer repayments on part of its debt for another 10 years and gives Athens another €15bn (£13.2bn) in new credit. Tsakalotos said it marked “the end of the Greek crisis … I think Greece is turning a page.”“, so an option to get even MORE DEBT. When was that a good idea? Now consider that the interest on the current loan is €640 million a year, so how does raising the debt by 5% help? You see, we see the game played, because the next elections are 20 October 2019. This is the beginning of an election stunt and the Eurozone is happy to help only if the current government does what the Eurozone tells them to. How is that for an option?

The next pack of non-truths is given by PM Alexis Tsipras with “The prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, told a meeting of MPs: “Greece is once again becoming a normal country, regaining its political and financial independence.”” I hope you understand that financial independence will not happen until 2045. The debt is that severe. The banks are not willing to be soft any longer, when the access to the markets are given it will merely take one screw up, one act of short sighted stupidity and people all over Europe will rally to demand the barring of Greece from the markets for decades. So when we are presented within: “The plan allows Greece to extend and defer repayments on part of its debt for another 10 years and gives Athens another €15bn (£13.2bn) in new credit“, you see this is what the beginning of slave labour looks like, a debt that cannot be repaid, a setting where €15 billion is merely a smoke screen and the coming years when you think your life is getting better, the truth is merely that your options are taken away. That is how you enter into slave labour. And the Eurozone will be nice and humane about it, they will not call it slave labour, they will call it new zero hour contracts and with the definition “Any individual on a zero hours contract who is a ‘worker’ will be entitled to at least the National Minimum Wage, paid annual leave, rest breaks and protection from discrimination” and the Greeks will realise too late that this government AFTER its election will set the stage where because of the high debts the National Minimum Wage would optionally have to be lowered by 20%, until the debts are better dealt with. So there you are sitting on a terrace having your last pita gyros with an Ouzo realising that you can no longer afford to do that, your income got cut by 20%. The opposing party reacted to the credit buffer with ‘Kostis Hatzidakis said it reflected the lack of faith international creditors had in Athens’ ability to successfully return to capital markets.‘ And in this Kostis is right, the international markets have zero faith in their return, they rely on a small thing called mathematics and the clarity there is that the scales are not in the favour of the Greeks. The financial market is hailing the success, especially those making money of every trade, and until the money is gone, some parties on Wall Street will love the Greek, give parties in their honour. The parties behind this were shown in the NY Times last week (at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/19/business/economy/greece-europe-bailout.html). Here we see “To play it safe, Greece won’t start selling bonds until well after it exits the bailout. Instead, the government, which is being advised by Paris-based Rothschild & Company, will pick a moment in the next two years when market conditions seem favourable. A cash buffer of up to €18 billion, funded by creditors, may help Greece secure the liquidity it needs in the meantime“, so now the credit makes a lot more sense, does it not? A credit to pay the bills until there is one more fish to cook for Wall Street ending the existence of Greece. Well, actually the Greek elected officials will do that all by themselves. Because it will be there choice (through whispers) that benefits could be gained through 10 year bonds giving 10 more years of relief. Yet those billions come at a cost, a 2% cost which goes to the traders, they will cash in millions at the expense of a few parties costing them mere thousands, after which they switch off their phones, walk away and it is no longer their problem. For them it was merely good business, the direct application of a mere fool and his money getting parted.

Yet, this is not the only part. In what I would regard to be a direct outright lie, we see the actions from Pierre Moscovici as we are treated to: “Greece had received €275bn in financial support from its international creditors over the past eight years and twice came perilously close to being kicked out of the Eurozone group, the EU commissioner, Pierre Moscovici, said, adding: “There have been enormous sacrifices. But at last Greece will be capable of moving on its own two feet.”“. This is what I personally see an outright lie! Let me explain why I think that this is as bad as such. The documentation gave us (I already published it before). It is a paper from 2009 from the ECB and I gave light to it in my article on July 1st 2015, yes, almost 3 years ago. The article was ‘Dress rehearsal (part 1)‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/07/01/dress-rehearsal-part-1/), the original paper is there at the end. It is called ‘Withdrawal and expulsion from the EU and EMU some reflections‘, a paper written by Phoebus Athanassiou. Here we see “The idea that the treaties should explicitly provide for a possibility of expulsion was discussed in the 2001-2003 Intergovernmental Conference responsible for drafting the ill-fated Constitutional Treaty, but was abandoned“, on page 32 it gives the premise that greed driven politicians did not consider that expulsion should be an option. In addition, the EU observer gives us in 2011 ““Neither exit nor expulsion from the euro area is possible, according to the Lisbon treaty under which participation in the euro area is irrevocable,” he added, referring to the European Union’s rule-book.” and there is May 2012, where we get “The Mechanics of Eurozone Withdrawal, It has frequently been stated that the EU Treaties contain no legal framework for a withdrawal from the Eurozone.  This is true and, indeed, the Treaties make it clear that the process of monetary union was intended to be “irreversible” and “irrevocable”“. The last we got from Locke Lord LLP, a Texas Lawfirm. So I now need to revert to my original Dutch Diplomatic self stating: ‘Moscovici, you stupid fuck! There is 9 years of documentation from people better educated than me stating that kicking out of the Eurozone was not an option in any way. So get a fucking grip on your stupidity and amend it or resign your post, your choice!‘ (Sorry, I needed to get that off my chest, I feel a little better now).

The final straw for my ego is found in the Guardian quote “But it means the left-led government in Athens will have to stick to austerity measures and reforms, including high budget surpluses, for more than 40 years. Adherence will be monitored quarterly“, when we consider that my setting was without the ‘discount’, the proven setting that the debt will be a 3G debt, it will push hardship on three generations. A setting I was able to prove with an abacus is now finally recognised by those less fortunate as they were not able to get basic calculus done. I am happy for me being correct, but not for the hardship that the next generation of Greeks face, they never had any choice in the matter, merely have to clean up after grandpa’s bad political choices, to them it is massively unfair.

The final part if given with: “At almost 180% of GDP, Greece is burdened with the highest debt load in Europe. The €320bn debt mountain is widely recognised as the single biggest obstacle to economic recovery. The International Monetary Fund had resolutely refused to sign up to the country’s latest bailout unless Eurozone creditors agreed to a restructuring that would ultimately make the debt sustainable“, most will not recognise the miswording that is used here. With ‘widely recognised as the single biggest obstacle to economic recovery‘, which is actually ‘Greece has no options to recover from a debt that high, not ever‘. Which leads to ‘International Monetary Fund had resolutely refused to sign up to the country’s latest bailout‘ and ‘make the debt sustainable‘, which needs to be read as: ‘the IMF cannot allow the support of a debt that cannot be paid off, lower it!‘, yet when is the setting for sustainable made? Making it longer by setting the €328 billion in three stages of 26 years each? Who will sign up for that? How many forward pushing bond programs will it require and we understand that among the banks (read: financial institutions), they are willing to do that as long as it is set in 25% profit stages, giving light to the fact that the additional pressure beyond the debt is the Greek population paying an additional €78 billion in sustainable bonus. If you’re Greek, would you want your child to inherit a €75 billion invoice at birth? That was what I predicted three years ago and I have been proven correctly and I have been conservative, when you consider the cost of the bonds, the interest paid to the people buying the bonds as well as the impact of devaluation of a nation that cannot fund its infrastructure. It is a mess and when you consider Forbes on 28th Jan 2017, where we see: “The IMF projects Greek debt will reach 170 percent of GDP by 2020 and 164 percent of GDP by 2022 but will rise thereafter, reaching around 275 percent of GDP by 2060” (at https://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2017/01/28/amazingly-yes-the-imf-is-still-saying-that-the-greek-debt-problem-is-not-yet-solved), we see that they were off last year by close to 10%, so the prospect for Greece is even worse than the IMF predicted (I admit a slight overbearing assumption at present).

To illustrate that, I will revert to a source that I cannot vouch for, yet they give (at https://www.thenation.com/article/goldmans-greek-gambit/) “As a result, about 2 percent of Greece’s debt magically disappeared from its national accounts. Christoforos Sardelis, then head of Greece’s Public Debt Management Agency, later described the deal to Bloomberg Business as “a very sexy story between two sinners.” For its services, Goldman received a whopping 600 million euros ($793 million), according to Spyros Papanicolaou, who took over from Sardelis in 2005“, a fee closing that surpassed half a billion euros.

So in the end, the news, the papers the quotes, it will be up to you to decide how Greece is given a fair go, yet they themselves have mostly only themselves to blame. You see, in all this, how many Greek politicians went to prison? How many got their assets taken from them? Or are we all agreeing that there was no legal option? Now wonder if the legal options exist at present, if not. Then this is the bed of hardship that the Greeks made for Greece.

So, are the Greeks still being lied to? If that is so who exactly is presenting their version of the ‘facts’ to the Greeks?

 

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Who’s Promptly Promoted?

The Guardian is giving us the news that Moody is downgrading WPP (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/apr/17/moodys-downgrades-wpp-martin-sorrell-departure-ratings-agency-negative). It is a weird situation! You see, some do not like Sir Martin Sorrell (I personally never knew him), some like the man and some think he was a visionary. I think I would fall in the third category. There is no way that under normal situations the departure of a CEO, even a founder would have had such a massive impact when he left and let’s be clear when a departure sparks not just the downgrade of WPP, but we also see “WPP has hired a New York-based recruitment firm as it begins the global search to replace founder and chief executive“, his impact has been a hell of a lot larger than anyone is willing to admit. There are however other parts. When I see “In Moody’s view, the high-profile departure of Sir Martin Sorrell raises concerns over the future strategy and shape of the group, increases client-retention risk and could hence hinder WPP’s ability to meet its 2018 guidance“, I feel a strong desire to disagree. When we consider that within WPP is Millward Brown, TNS and IMRB, we need to acknowledge that WPP already had problems. You see, I was a partial witness to the laziness and stupidity, I saw how executives looked at presentations, were unwilling to listen and it was their right to do so, but in the end part of their market got screwed over. You see SPSS was the big analytic and as a program it is still the Bentley for analysing data. Yet beyond the program the corporation faltered. It fell to meetings, and presented concepts, yet no delivery. I still have the presentations, 1994 parallel processing, never came to be. Yet the biggest bungle was seen in 1997, when SPSS acquired Danish software company In2itive Technologies Corp. They had actual perfect software. The interface was intuitive and flawless. I was so looking forward to teaching people this software and for a while did. It was amazing to see dozens of people literally making a running start in their own designs in an hour, by the end of the day they did all kinds of things that most market researchers could not conceive. It was a jackpot acquisition. Yet SPSS had its own Data entry solution called Data Entry and apart from a few flaws it had regarding memory and larger data entry sheets, it worked really well, it was a work horse, so internally we were so happy to hear that it had become a Windows program. The backlash was Titanic in proportions. It was hard to work, the initial versions weren’t even stable, there was processing power issues, saving issues and a whole range of issues that were not solved, not even within the first year. It was all about the holy ‘Data Entry‘ and whilst the issue of the perfect In2itive was set to the sides and whilst the internal corporate marketing decided that Data entry was a ‘Form Design Program‘, the audience was left without quality Data Entry. So as I (and others) pleaded for In2Form and its suite to be evolved and set towards the users, we were told it was merely a 16 bit program, and SPSS is 32 bit and larger only (mainframes excluded). So there I was watching the mess evolve for well over 3 years whilst the redesign of a 32-bit In2itive suite would have been done in 160 days (rough estimate), no, at SPSS they really knew what they were doing. So they decided to up the ante, there was going to be a server edition of Data entry, the SPSS Data Entry Enterprise Server. I saw how the confidence of users went down further and further. Yet, the corporation did not sit still in all this and we got to see the Dimensions 2000 part, now that blew us away, we saw software on a whole new level and it was amazing. The 2 programs mrPaper, mrInterview, both truly steps forward, options to format webpages using XML so that the web interview could flawlessly fit in any corporate website. We saw the good days come back and with mrPaper we saw paper interviews with options to link to Readsoft’s scan software, so that data entry was almost a thing of the past, scan the returned interviews and reading the data with a scanner. It was not flawless, but it was really good to see a stage where government sites all over Europe could do quality interviews on many levels. Yet the program had issue as any large program had and there were more issues and they stacked up. Only then was I introduced to Surveycraft. It was an utter shock. Even as it was old, DOS based and looking like the old Data Entry, Surveycraft was miles ahead of mrDimensions. It had working quota’s it had all kinds of options that were ahead of the Quancept software in the UK, it was a shock to be a decade ahead and finding the old software visionary. SPSS had acquired it, and after that the developers managed to get less than 60% of the functionality transferred. Even later when I worked actively with it, I was finding issues that the new software never had, or it worked really badly. So when i tried to emphasize the need for new software to be made as i was no longer part of SPSS, the need for better software was essential, especially in Market Research. They decided not to listen and to believe the SPSS executives that better versions were coming soon, they never came! The entire market research industry was lucky, because other players like Tableau and Q Research software were just like me; they never trusted the SPSS executives and they now corner the market. In this the market research agencies that had the option to push forward decided to wait and basically cut themselves in the fingers and lost on two fronts. With the 2008 crash the markets changed and they lost loads of customers who had to massively trim down, it was a mere effect of events. Yet Tableau and Q-Software were still in a small stage, yet their software was for a much larger audience, so not only did the market research Industry lose customers, the two software programs allowed for mid and larger ranged corporations do it all themselves and that is what happened. Market research companies still get the larger projects, but they lost the smaller stuff, a group of revenue representing near 60% (a personal speculation) and as Tableau and Q-Software grows, the mr market is in more and more peril that is where WPP owning Millward Brown, TNS and IMRB finds itself. It takes a visionary to not merely grow the market, but to spread the options of a market. That ship has now sailed and beyond less than a dozen former SPSS people I worked with, I have merely seen a lack of vision. Some of these market research agencies are now all about ‘telling a story‘, setting the presentation that can in most cases be done with SAP Dashboards and a karaoke system. In this the only part that is still tacky is that when we want to buy the SAP solution (approximately $500) we get to see “Please contact your local SAP account executive for more information on how to buy and implement SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards“, was adding a price that much of a reach?

So as we see the pressures of one branch, we need to see that the overlap is large, even as some are in different territories we know that they are intertwined. Yet this market is also as incestuous as it gets. Lightspeed Research acquires part of Forrester (the Forrester’s Ultimate Consumer Panel business), Forrester is growing in different directions and they are all connected to some degree. There is every chance that the higher echelons will have worked in any combination of SPSS, Forrester, Lightspeed, SPSSmr and ConfirmIT. Likely they already worked in 3 of the five players. Yet the visionary growth has remained absent to a larger degree and digital media is all about evolution and implementing new technologies and new solutions to drive consumer engagement, because the future here is consumer engagement, that alone will get you the data to work with and to set the needs of the industry.

That is the part SPSS as a company ignored and now that we see the shifts, especially in WPP, we see that both Tableau and Q-software have a massive opportunity to grow their market segment even further. The moment they or a third player comes with consumer engagement software, at that point IBM will also feel the pinch, even as it hides behind Watson, options like IBM Statistics (formerly SPSS) and IBM Miner (formerly Clementine, SPSS Data Miner), they get to realise that these two programs also brought new business as the consultants were able to see the needs of the larger customers. When that diminishes, IBM will feel the loss of a lack of visionaries in a very real way. A loss only accelerated by the impacts on WPP and all its subsidiaries. This last part is speculative, but supported with data. As we saw ‘Paul Heath resigns was Ogilvy worldwide chief growth officer and non-executive director of AUNZ‘, we need to realise that the larger insightful players will be seeing more changes. Ogilvy & Mather might be merely the first one, but these people all realise that changes will be different and market shares will change, not all in favour of WPP. We can see “Heath is resigning all his titles at WPP worldwide to return to Brazil to start a new streaming tech venture“, we can read this as a positive: ‘he is going to try something new‘. Or negatively ‘he knows who is on his level at WPP‘ and he has decided that he can grow a nice personal global market share by setting his view on the new player with a promising option for mucho growth. I believe that he is setting his view to become the larger player himself. This is good news as it optionally invigorates the market research market which WPP desperately needs, yet WPP is a lot more than merely market research. It is digital advertising, a field that SPSS (read: IBM) ignored until it was too late, yet when we see some of the services: Branding & identity, Consumer insights, Design, Digital Marketing, Market research, Media planning and buying, Public relations, Relationship marketing’ all valid groups yet there is a lack of options for consumer engagement and several of the other groups are options that many offer, some in niches, some only to midrange players, but effective due to expertise. That should have been a massive red flag and reasons for alarms at WPP, yet not too much was seen there. In all a situation that does not merely warrants the downgrade by Moody’s, the fact that it was averted whilst Sir Martin Sorrell was there as CEO is an actual much larger issue then most identified.

So the problem is not merely who can replace him, but who can alter the course of failed objectives will soon become a much larger issue for WPP, which optionally pushes down the market value by a mere 5%, which considering the 2017 revenue of £15.265 billion becomes an interesting amount.

 

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The wrong claim to make

I have been taking a much larger interest on the entire Facebook and Cambridge Analytica issue. Not because of what was done, but because of what US politicians are about to try. In that view it seems to me that the media is assisting the US government. Pretty much every media publishes ‘Zuckerberg on Tuesday faced a variety of questions from 44 senators‘, yet not one gives us that list of these 44 senators. Online publication Vox had a list of 103 which was equally useless. So why are the readers not getting properly (read: more completely) informed?

As I have a promise to keep (to myself at least), let’s take a look at the first one who really pissed me off. The person in question is U.S. Representative David McKinley, not even a senator. Yet with the quote “Your platform is still being used to circumvent the law and allow people to buy highly addictive drugs without a prescription. With all due respect, Facebook is actually enabling an illegal activity and in so doing, you are hurting people. You’d agree with that statement?” he opened himself to all kinds of issue. So let us take a look. CNN gives us (at http://money.cnn.com/2018/04/11/technology/mark-zuckerberg-questioned-over-facebook-opioid-sales), with the additional quote “Google agreed to pay $500 million to the Department of Justice for showing prescription drug ads from Canadian online pharmacies to U.S. consumers. It stopped the practice in 2009 once it became aware of an investigation by a U.S. Attorney’s office. But sellers are still finding ways of posting about drug sales on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, which critics have accused of being reactive, largely waiting for activists, or the press, to surface issues and help police their platforms“, so the issue is a lot larger and has been around for a long time. So the US representative is not opening legal avenues attacking the Canadian Online pharmacies, no it is attacking Facebook and Google. The issue here is hypocrite on several levels. You see we see part of that evidence (at http://www.cbc.ca/news/opinion/oxycontin-in-canada-1.4607959), even as the investigation into Purdue Pharma is underway, the issue is a lot larger. We get one part from ‘OxyContin was aggressively marketed as a revolutionary painkiller. But many patients became addicted, leading to a country-wide class action lawsuit against its maker‘, the other part is seen in the NPR event “Doctors In Maine Say Halt In OxyContin Marketing Comes ’20 Years Late’“, so we see the news that is given in February 2018. These facts alone give rise to the geriatric dementia dangers that are possibly within business man David McKinley, a man currently elected as a U.S. Representative. In addition to that part, the fact that the US government failed its citizens is open to discussion in the 2015 release of “the Food and Drug Administration. (FDA) approved, in August 2015, extended-release oxycodone for use by children between 11 and 16 years old with “pain severe enough to require daily, around-the-clock, long-term opioid treatment for which alternative treatment options are inadequate“, so there is a much larger failure in play. The fact that the FDA approves (for specific reasons mind you) the use of OxyContin and the fact that it is FDA approved makes it a much larger issue.

The fact that there is ample evidence that US politicians were sitting on their hands for close to 2 decades gives rise to the thought that U.S. Representative David McKinley should give up his seat in what I personally would see as too old to hold any public office position, perhaps at 71 he no longer sees the need to correctly set the dimension of information of any issue. His attack, the fact that this is a lot more complex, in part because the US government chose to not act for 2 decades is also decent evidence to add in this case. In addition, we see that the reformulation to make it harder to abuse opioids (which is an act that makes perfect sense), gave way to ‘Making opioids harder to abuse led to a spike in heroin overdoses‘ (at https://www.axios.com/opioids-heroin-overdose-deaths-1523481019-63cfb423-e1fc-4925-9a80-3406625389b5.html). Here we see “Adapted from Evans et. al., 2018,  “How the Reformation of OxyContin Ignited the Heroin Epidemic”, The National Bureau of Economic Research; Note: “Opioids” includes all opioid related deaths aside from those that are exclusively attributed to heroin“, so basically the junkies and their facilitators found another way to get high and they died in the process (serves them right). It seems that as I found all this evidence in less than 30 minutes and there is almost 20Mb of unread text for me to go through, shows just how lame (or is that blatantly idiotic) U.S. Representative David McKinley is showing himself to be. There is an accepted issue that in some cases non-US advertisements have no business being shown in the US, yet in that situation, my e-mail wad been flooded with the options for silicone tits, 14 inch sausages, Viagra and Cialis for well over a decade from US sources, so how much ‘policing’ did these US senators opt for from 1996 onwards to ‘protect’ non US citizens from these ‘illegal’ drugs? It seems to me that this is an almost perfect example of ‘sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander‘, yet we can feel decently certain that U.S. Representative David McKinley will not see it that way. In addition to that CNN gives us “More than 63,600 lives were lost to drug overdose in 2016, the most lethal year yet of the drug overdose epidemic, according to a new report from the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most of those deaths involved opioids, a family of painkillers including illicit heroin and fentanyl as well as legally prescribed medications such as oxycodone and hydrocodone. In 2016 alone, 42,249 US drug fatalities — 66% of the total — involved opioids, the report says“, this has been going on for a while; this was not merely some Facebook advertisement issue. The CDC shows data going back to 2000, long before Facebook became the behemoth entity it is now. So whilst everyone is kicking up every stink in the place, the issue remains that the FDA approved Purdue Pharma to start making it, so even as U.S. Representative David McKinley could have been visiting their office in Stamford, Connecticut, USA. It is now shown that kicking it on the soul of Mark Zuckerberg is much more personally rewarding for him. In that his quote “why Facebook hasn’t done more to remove posts from sellers offering illicit opioids“, in equal measure does not show the efforts that the FBI has done to crack down on the sellers either. You see, if he had done that we would have ended up (at https://www.cbsnews.com/news/opioid-fentanyl-darknet-drugs-fbi/), showing just how easy it is to the evidence we see here: “Attorney General Jeff Sessions said darknet vendors are “pouring fuel on the fire of the national drug epidemic” and this year doubled the number of federal agents working on those cases. It’s part of the Trump administration’s tough approach to the drug crisis that has focused on harsh punishments for dealers. Critics say the overall strategy resembles a return to failed drug-war tactics and that the record $4.6 billion included in the spending plan the president signed last month is not nearly enough to establish the kind of treatment system needed to reverse the crisis“, it does not absolve Facebook, but it shows that when you are in a house without a roof, blaming the faucet for all the water is just as stupid as it gets. So with this small article I introduce the honourable U.S. Representative David Bennett McKinley, who should, as I personally see it, be up for replacement at the next election.

And may he be replaced by someone who truly takes a proper look at the dimensionality of events and present them equally correct and fair. So we will leave that consideration up to the people who are part of the West Virginia’s 1st congressional district. I reckon that with a population of 615,991 (2010) there is at least one other person who is up for the job.

Now, let’s take a look at the data of the next elected numbskull, have a great Friday all!

 

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The congressional sham

The papers are ‘covering’ live the entire Facebook hearing, we see several papers covering it and I think that this is a good thing. Yet, most papers are not without flaws. The fact that I have been writing about the entire mess of data privacy since 2013 makes it to the best of my knowledge a Capitol sham at best (pun intended) . you see, these so called senators are all up in arms and we see the Washington Post (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2018/04/10/mark-zuckerberg-facebook-hearing-congress-testimony) give quotes like “from data privacy to Russian disinformation“, you see, it is a lot less about data privacy than it is about the Russians. The anti-communist gene in Americans is too strong; the yanks get too emotional and become utterly useless in the process. So is it about the 44 senators grilling Mark Zuckerberg, is it about their limelight and about their re-election visibility, or is it about global data privacy? I can guarantee you now that it will not be about the last part and as such we will see a lot more warped issues shine on the congressional dance floor.

In that regard, when you read “They demanded new detail about how Facebook collects and uses data and elicited assurances that it will implement major improvements in protecting personal privacy“, it might be about that, but it will be a lot more on oversight and how the US government wants to be able to ‘check’ all that data. They wanted access to all that data since Facebook became one year old. So when we see ‘Sen. Kennedy: “I don’t want to have to vote to regulate Facebook, but by god, I will. That depends on you.”‘ you better believe that the ‘depends on you‘ can be read as ‘as long as you give us access to all your data‘, which contains the shoe that fumbles.

So when we see “Several asked for detailed answers about how private, third-party companies, such as the political consultancy Cambridge Analytica, gained access to personal data on 87 million Facebook users, including 71 million Americans“, we see the valid question, yet that did not require a congressional hearing, so that is merely the icing that hides the true base element of the cake. It is the honourable Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Commerce Committee that gives the first goods: “Many are incredibly inspired by what you’ve done. At the same time, you have an obligation, and it’s up to you, to ensure that dream doesn’t become a privacy nightmare for the scores of people who use Facebook”, you see, freedom of data and misuse of information as set by insurances. The statements like ‘Insurance companies warn that under certain circumstances, posting about your holidays on social media could result in your claim being declined if you are burgled‘. These senators were not really that interested in all this whilst the entire insurance issues have been playing as early as 2010; they were likely too busy looking somewhere else. The entire privacy mess is a lot larger. We see this at the Regis University site when we take a look at: “A new survey by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) reveals nearly one in five Americans (19%) has been the victim of some form of cyber stalking, defined as any persistent and unwanted online contact with another individual. Through aggressive social media contact, repeated emails or other methods of online connectivity, cyber stalkers represent a serious and growing threat to men and women who otherwise wish to disengage from those who make them feel uncomfortable. Still, the NCSA report shows only 39% of those who believed they were being stalked online reported the incident to authorities“, so was there a senatorial hearing then? No, there was not. In addition, a situation where one in 5 Americans is subject to stalking, yet in all those years almost nothing was done. Why is that? Is that because the overwhelming numbers of these victims have tits and a vagina, or merely because they are less likely to be communist in nature?

Does this offend you?

Too bad, it is the direct consequence of inaction which makes todays issue almost a farce. I stated almost! So, is the issue that the data was downloaded, or that the data on millions of Americans is now in the hands of others and not in the hands of the US government? This loaded question is a lot more important than you might think.

The fact that this is a much larger farce is seen when the Democrat from Illinois decides to open his mouth. It is seen in “Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL), asked Zuckerberg what hotel he stayed at Monday night and the names of anyone he messaged this week“, was it to break the ice? If all 44 senators do that, then we see evidence why the US government can’t get anything done. It is actually another Democrat that gives rise to issues. It is seen in Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said, “We’ve seen the apology tours before… I don’t see how you can change your business model unless there are different rules of the road.”, the man makes a good case, but I am not certain if he is correct. You see, unless the US government is ready to lash out massively in the abuse of data towards any corporation found using social media on exploiting the privacy of its members, and insurers are merely one part in all this. You see, the rules of the road have been negated for some time in different directions, unless you are willing to protect the users of social media by corporate exploitation, Richard Blumenthal should not really be talking about traffic rules, should he? This directly links to the fact that 90% of hedge funds were using social media in 2014. Were they properly looked at? I wonder where those 44 senators were when that all went down.

The one part that will actually become a larger case comes from Massachusetts. “Democratic Sen. Edward J. Markey (Mass.) plans to introduce a new bill Tuesday called the CONSENT Act that would require social giants like Facebook and other major web platforms to obtain explicit consent before they share or sell personal data“, it will change the business model where data is no longer shared, or sold, but another model where all this is set up by Facebook and he advertiser can get the results of visibility in top line results. That is the path Facebook would likely push for, a more Google approach in their setting of AdWords and Google analytics. Facebook is ready to a much larger extent on this and it is a likely path to follow for Facebook after all this. Yet in all this the theatre of congress will go on a little longer, we will know soon enough. In the end 44 senators will push regarding “The Federal Trade Commission is investigating violations of a 2011 consent decree over privacy policy at Facebook that could lead to record fines against the company“, in the end it will be about money and as it is more likely that the data on Americans made it to Russia, the fine will be as astronomically high as they could possibly make it. They will state in some way that the debt of 21 trillion will have nothing to do with that, or so they will claim. In the end Mark Zuckerberg partially did this too himself, he will get fined and so he should, but the entire theatre and the likelihood that the fine is going to be way overboard, whilst in equal measure these senators will not chase the other transgressors is a much larger case and calls for even more concern. You see, there is a much larger congressional sham in play. It was exposed by Clay Johnson, formerly of the Sunlight Foundation, (more at http://www.congressfoundation.org/news/blog/912). The issue is not merely “On the Hill, congressional staff do not have the tools that they need to quickly distill meaning from the overwhelming volume of communications that they receive on any given day“, it is that Facebook has been able to add well over 400% pressure to that inability. That given is what also drives the entire matter of division in American voters. I myself did not think that ‘fake’ news on events did any serious damage to Democrat Hillary Clinton, from my point of view; she did that all to herself during her inaction of the Benghazi events.

In the end I believe that the bulk will go after Mark Zuckerberg for whatever reason they think they have, whilst all hiding behind the indignation of ‘transplanted data‘. The fact that doing this directly hit the value that the rest of his data has is largely ignored by nearly all players. In addition, the fact that the BBC gave us ‘More than 600 apps had access to my iPhone data‘ less than 12 hours ago is further evidence still. So when will these 44 senators summon Tim Cook? The fact that the BBC gives us “Data harvesting is a multibillion dollar industry and the sobering truth is that you many never know just how much data companies hold about you, or how to delete it” and the fact that this is a given truth and has been for a few years, because you the consumer signed over your rights, is one of those ignored traffic rules, so the statement that Richard Blumenthal gave is a lot larger than even he might have considered. It is still a good point of view to have, yet this shown him to be either less correct on the whole, or it could be used as evidence that too many senators have been sitting on their hands for many years and in that matter the least stated on the usefulness of the European Commission the better. So when we read “The really big data brokers – firms such as Acxiom, Experian, Quantium, Corelogic, eBureau, ID Analytics – can hold as many as 3,000 data points on every consumer, says the US Federal Trade Commission“, we see that Equifax is missing from that list is also a matter for concern, especially when we consider the events that Palantir uncovered, whilst at the same time we ignore what Palantir Gotham is capable of. I wonder how many US senators are skating around that subject. We see part of that evidence in Fortune, were (at http://fortune.com/2017/10/10/equifax-attack-avoiding-hacks/) we see “Lauren Penneys, who heads up business development at Palantir, advised companies to get their own data and IT assets in order—both to better understand what risks do exist and to improve readiness to respond when a breach does happen“, she is right and she (validly) does not mention what Palantir Gotham is truly capable of when we combine the raw data from more than one corporate source. With the upcoming near exponential growth of debt collection, and they all rely on data and skip tracing of social media data, we see a second issue, which these senators should have been aware of for well over two years. So how protective have they been of citizens against the invasion of privacy on such matters from the Wall Street Golden Child? Even in London, places like Burford Capital Ltd are more and more reliant on a range of social media data and as such it will not be about traffic rules as the superrich are hunted down. We might not care about that, mainly because they are superrich. Yet as this goes on, how long until the well dries up and they set their nets in a much wider setting?

We claim that we are humane and that we set the foundation for morally just actions, but are we? The BBC actually partially addresses this with: “Susan Bidel, senior analyst at Forrester Research in New York, who covers data brokers, says a common belief in the industry is that only “50% of this data is accurate” So why does any of this matter? Because this “ridiculous marketing data”, as Ms Dixon calls it, is now determining life chances” and that is where the shoe truly hurts, at some point in the near future we will be denied chances and useless special rebates, because the data did not match, we will be seen as a party person instead of a sport person, at which point out premiums would have been ‘accidently’ 7% too high and in that same person we will be targeted for social events and not sport events, we will miss out twice and soon thereafter 4 fold, with each iteration of wrong data the amount of misconceptions will optionally double with each iteration. All based on data we never signed up for or signed off on, so how screwed is all this and how can this congressional hearing be seen as nothing more than a sham. Yes, some questions needs to be answered and they should, yet that could have been done in a very different setting, so as we see the Texan republican as the joke he is in my personal view, we see “Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) asked Zuckerberg about 2016 reports that the company had removed conservative political news from its trending stories box, and followed up with questions about its moderators’ political views. When Zuckerberg said he didn’t ask employees for their political views, Cruz followed up with “Why was Palmer Luckey fired?”“, we wonder if he had anything substantial to work with at all. So when you wonder why Zuckerberg is being grilled, ask yourself, what was this about? Was it merely about abuse of data by a third party? If that is so, why is Tim Cook not sitting next to Zuckerberg? More important, as I have shown some of these issues for close to 5 years, why was action not taken sooner? Is that not the more pressing question to see answered?

 

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Identity denied

There are moments when we resort to other ways of expressing ourselves; it is in our nature to find alternatives to the story, so that we can tell the story. Nearly every person does it. Sometimes we ask ‘would you take that extra pastry?‘ instead of telling someone that you really feel like having another pastry. So when it comes to social media, we see not ourselves, but the person we want to be. We want to own the Hall of Faces (Game of Thrones) where we can mask ourselves with the identity of a dead person, like Ethan Hawke in Mission Impossible, walk in, sound like the person we are not, because we do not like ourselves in that particular moment. So when we look at Facebook, are we thinking the Hall of faces? In light of all that was revealed, are we in a stage where we prefer to be someone else?

You see, the shit is on the walls as some would say. Mark the Zuckyman did the right thing, he stood up (after a few days of silence) and held himself responsible and we are all over this that he is the culprit, but is he truly guilty? We see all kinds of articles on Facebook, like ‘You’ve decided to delete Facebook but what will you replace it with?‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/mar/31/youve-decided-to-delete-facebook-but-what-will-you-replace-it-with), even after a week this is still highly valid, because for millions of the multibillion users of Facebook, it has yet to sink in. Go to WhatsApp? Instagram? Both are owned by Facebook, so where does that leave you? So when we try to trivialise it with #DeleteFacebook, we need to realise that this is new territory. We now talk about the Social Media Landscape and it is not small. It is huge and most importantly, this is the first true generation of the Social media generation. We were not ready, and i have been trying to explain that to people for nearly 3 years. Now we see overreactions whilst sitting down contemplating it all was never an option. The law was missing it as it is more interested in facilitating for commerce, exploitation and profit (Sony and Microsoft are nice examples there), Human rights are failing, because the issue of Digital rights is only seen in the relation of commerce, not in the relation of privacy, in this the entire Google and the people’s rights to be forgotten is merely a reason to giggle, a Google giggle if you preferred.

The article has one funny part, with “For those determined to exit the Facebook ecosystem, the best approach is more likely to be a patchwork of sites and apps that mirror individual features. Messaging is the easiest: apps such as Telegram and Signal offer messaging and group chats, as well as voice calls, with encryption to keep your communications private. Telegram even has a thriving collection of chatbots, similar to Facebook Messenger“, you see, it is done on a smartphone (mostly), so you could consider dialing a person and have a conversation, your mum if she is still alive is not the worst idea to have. You see, the plain point is where you end up. So when we see “Part of Vero’s appeal to Facebook deleters is its determination to be ad-free. It is planning instead to start charging a small annual subscription at some point“, you see these people designed it for wealth (as one would) so where are they getting the money? The small annual subscription does make sense, but in light of that you better remember where all your data is and even as we see ‘emphasis on privacy‘ we need to realise that there are clear situations where the word Privacy is open to suggestion. What people forget is that ‘The boundaries and content of what is considered private differ among cultures and individuals, but share common themes‘, so are their settings of what is private the same as yours? Also, when they sell their company for a mere 2 billion, make no mistake, the word privacy is not open for debate, it will be whatever the new owner decides it to be. This is merely one side of data, as data is currency. That is what I have been trying to explain to nearly everyone (for 5 years now) and they all shrugged and stated, ‘it’ll be right‘, so is it right? Is it all right now? If you are considering becoming a member of the growing party of #DeleteFacebook it clearly was not.

So when we are treated to ‘News of Facebook’s secret tool to delete executive messages caps days of chaos‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/apr/06/facebook-using-secret-tool-to-delete-messages-from-executives) we see another part of Facebook, we see new uproar. The question is whether this is justified. You see, when we see “the company has a two-tiered privacy standard (one for executives, one for everyone else) and over its use of facial recognition software“, in most cases this makes perfect sense. Corporate executives tend to be under scrutiny a lot, as it sometimes is valid; they still have a job to be done. I was amazed on how many people Mark Zuckerberg was connected to in the beginning of Facebook. It was awesome and cool, but I reckoned that it was not always constructive to productivity. I have been in places where the executives had their own server for a number of reasons, mostly for HR reasons and whether it is valid or not, it is a corporate decision, in that light I am not amazed, only when I was doing work for Google was I on a system where I could see everything and everyone all including what I thought was the board of directors. Here is where it gets interesting, because Google has a (what we refer to) a true open system for all who work there. It is invigorating to get access to so much information and my first night was me dreaming of combining things, what if we did ….. and ….. would we then be able to …..? It was exhilarating to feel that rush of creativity, in areas where I had no skill levels to boot. With a ‘closed’ system like Facebook, we need to consider that by setting the state of all is open that it is a legal trap when you give billions of people access to systems and situations. The mere legal differences between the UK, US and AUS, all common law nations would be the legal nightmare of decades. Shielding the executives from that is a first priority, because without them at the wheel it all falls to chaos.

That reality is seen with “Facebook says the change was made following the 2014 Sony Pictures hack, when a mass data breach at the movie studio resulted in embarrassing email histories being leaked for a number of executives, ultimately costing co-chair Amy Pascal her job“, some might remember the mail that George Clooney send in regards to the Monuments Man, it made pretty much all the papers. I love his work, I enjoy the artistic values he has, shares and embodies, but without certain levels of privacy and shielding his artistic side might take a large dump towards uncertainty, not a side I am hoping for, because even as he is merely 360 days older than me, he should be able to create another 30 years of movie excellence and I would like to see those movies, especially as we see that he is doing to Matt Damon in Suburbicon, what the Coen brothers were doing to him in Burn after reading and Hail, Caesar!, so plenty of fun times ahead for all us movie fans.

Even as we are all looking where we want to go next, the foundation of issues remain. There is an utter lack of Social media legislation; there is a mess of issues on where privacy is and what is to be regarded as privacy. The users gave it all away when they signed up for options, apps and ‘solutions’ again and again. Until that is settled, any move we make moves the issue and moves the problems, it will not solve anything, no matter what some of the app developers decide to state. In the third part “‘The third era of Zuck’: how the CEO went from hero to humiliation” (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/apr/06/mark-zuckerberg-public-image-cambridge-analytica-facebook), I think he got kicked in the head real hard, but not humiliated, although he might think he was. So as we recall Dean Martin with Ain’t That a Kick in the Head? we need to realise that is what happens. That is what happens when Social media becomes a multi-billion user behemoth. Mark Zuckerberg made mistakes plain and simple. What do you do? You get up from the floor, fix it and restore the need for growth. And now still we see that mistakes are made. This is seen with “On Friday morning, the company apologized and pledged to stop deleting executives’ messages until they could make the same functionality available to everyone“, the largest mistake and it opens social media to all kinds of organised crime. Merely send the threat, tell the people to do …. or else and after an hour, after it is seen to have been read, the message is deleted, it becomes a miscommunication and no prosecution is possible.

That is the biggest mistake of all, to set a multi-billion user group open to the needs of organised crime even further then it likely is. How stupid is that? You see, as I interpret this, both Sheryl Sandberg and Mark Zuckerberg are in the musical chair setting, trying to do things on the fly and that will hurt them a lot more than anything else. We get it that mistakes were made, fix them, but not on the fly and not just quick jumps overnight. Someone has pushed them into defence play and they actually suck at that. It is time for them to put their foot down and go into offensive and attack mode (pun intended). When we consider what was before, we get it that Zuckerberg made mistakes and he will make more. We merely need to look at Microsoft and their actions over the last 3 decades to see that they screwed to pooch even more royally than Zuckerberg will be able to do, but the media is silent there as it relies on Microsoft advertiser funds. IBM and Apple have made their blunders in the past as well, yet they all had one large advantage, the impact was never towards billions of users, it potentially could have hit them all, but it mostly just a much smaller group of people, that was their small blessing. Apple directly hurt me and when I lost out on $5500, I merely got a ‘C’est la vie‘ from their technical centre, so screw that part!

There will be a large change sooner rather than later, the issue with Cambridge Analytica was too large to not make that happen. I merely hope that Zuckerberg has his ducks on a row when he makes the jump, in addition to that was Steve Bannon arrested? Especially when we consider Article 178, violating the Free decision of Voters. You see, it is not that simple, social media has never been used in that way, to such an extent, the law is unclear and proving that what Cambridge Analytica did would constitute a clear violation of the free decision of voters, that is what makes this a mess, legislation on a global scale has failed when it came to privacy and options regarding the people in social media. Steve Bannon can keep on smiling because of all the visibility he will get for years to come and after years when no conviction comes, he can go on the ‘I told you so!‘ horse and ride of wealthy into the sunset. That situation needs to be rectified and it needs to go way beyond Facebook, the law itself has faltered to a much larger degree.

The fact that politicians are all about terror cells and spilling inflammatory messages whilst having no resolution on any of this is merely showing what a bunch of apes they have proven themselves to be. So when we saw in January ‘Facebook, Google tell Congress they’re fighting extremist content‘, where were these congressmen? Where the fuck was Clint Watts, the Robert A. Fox Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, and National Security analyst as CNN now reports that optionally 78 million records have been pushed onto the Russian servers? (at https://edition.cnn.com/2018/04/08/politics/cambridge-analytica-data-millions/index.html), now implying that Cambridge Analytica has undermined US safety and security in one operation to a much larger extent than any terrorist has been able to achieve since September 13th 2001. That is 17 years of figments, against one political setting on the freedom to choose. I wonder how Clint Watts can even validate his reasoning to attend the US Congress at all. And this goes way beyond the US; in this the European Commission could be regarded as an even larger failure in all this. But it is unlikely we ever get treated to that side of the entire show.

The media needs both players a lot more and bashing Facebook makes for good entertainment they reckon. Time will tell whether they were right, or that the people at large just never cared, we merely end up having no social media identity, it will have been denied for reasons that were never real in the first place.

 

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