Tag Archives: Amazon

Ding ding goes the alarm clock

The Guardian is waking us up. I was already awake as I have mentioned this danger close to two years ago; actually I gave rise to the risk even before anyone had heard of Cambridge Analytica. As we see the quote: “The government is launching an inquiry into the use of personal data to set individual prices for holidays, cars and household goods, amid rising fears of a consumer rip-off” from the article (at https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/nov/04/inquiry-personal-data-dynamic-pricing-consumer-fairness). You see, the issue is a lot larger and people are just not waking up to this danger. They all think that it isn’t really an issue, or that it will not hit them. Well, think again, it is already hitting you and the field of impact is growing on a nearly daily basis.

Setting the stage

The quote goes way beyond “Philip Hammond, has asked a panel of experts led by Jason Furman, a former adviser to Barack Obama, to examine competition in the digital economy, including how machine learning and algorithms are used to set prices and whether firms could gang up to disadvantage consumers“. You see, the large issues are actually the ones that are known in advance. World Business Forum, Forbes Women’s Summit, B2B Marketing Forum, E3, ComiCon, Call Center Week and so on. Some of these places are not merely known in advance, some will go to known places like Viva Las Vegas, so the impact is not as large as one would think, although an additional 2500 hotel rooms is still an impact. No, it is the other stuff, the IP World Summit – Amsterdam, the London Law Expo 2018. Niche markets where we think that it is merely a business venture and the expenses will not be noticed, that is where the coin is found and the impact and influence is felt over a larger group.

Even as it is currently states as ‘could’, the quote “when you think about posting to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, you probably don’t consider how it could affect your insurance. The truth is, social media could very well become a standard part of the insurance underwriting process in the not too distant future“, I personally believe that it is already impacting people. The example in the US Insurance agent is: ‘Taking pictures while driving and uploading them to social media could result in having your policy non-renewed based on the implication that you are a distracted driver‘, Yet in Ireland alone we see ‘14,000 drivers caught on their phones in 2017 – and some were posing for selfies‘. Now consider that you must comply with: “If you received a fixed penalty notice for a road traffic offence, you will need to disclose this to motor insurance providers for five years if you were 18 or over at the time“, at this point your premium goes up by a fair bit, it is something that can often be checked and even those not convicted can be hit with an increase, you have become a risk. In addition, tat lovely new phone you have is also the issue as ‘Why social media posts could invalidate your home insurance‘. Here it is not merely what you do, but where you were. So as we see: “Insurers are increasingly rejecting claims made by customers whose houses have been burgled while on holiday if they have shared the fact that they are away from home on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram“. Yet, this is the small stuff. Life insurances are seen harsher. Insurance companies are getting more and more savvy in analysing photos online. You see, that one cigarette, or even a cigar to celebrate a birth has impact. The policy is: ‘if you smoke at all, you are considered a smoker and your rates will be higher‘, it gets to be worse. If you claimed that you were a non-smoker and the insurance company can find two pics of you smoking, you could be regarded as fraudulent and it nullifies your life insurance, so as you get planted six foot deep at some grassy field, whomever you left behind ends up not getting a penny. Decades of premiums paid down the drain. This is the direct and clear stuff, yet in that stage, we see the impact of fees, premiums and algorithms. The story takes a deep turn for the worse there.

The real and the not so real stage

Consider that every convention is online, every events is documented. Instead of the airlines setting the stage of the need for an additional plane in advance, they do that and increase the price of the fee. We might think that it is normal when we see: “The average cost of a flight out of the UK to all destinations between the 16th and 31st of December is 12 per cent higher on the big day itself“, yet if you knew this a year in advance, the increase is a little less normal, even as we understand that the bulk wants to get there on that day, now consider that this is applied to a stage where it is not thousands, but hundreds more and the issue is not Christmas, but an event in New Jersey, or a convention in Budapest. Yet, this is still merely the top of the iceberg. What if it is not a flight, but an item you desperately need to buy online? Not some Ubermeal, but the version of ‘John Lewis to launch £10,000 ‘private shopping’ service‘, a service where you always pay premium. Now, we might not care as these people are wealthy and they will not mind paying a few extra £’s on the dollar. Yet, that model will also impact the general population, it’s merely the stage as something becomes a ‘phase’ we all want it, most people tend to be sheep, and there is a loaded part here. Is it wrong for a place like John Lewis to maximise on their stock? It is merely ‘whether firms could gang up to disadvantage consumers‘, is that still the case? The point is that this is becoming a grey area. Even as we see the customer care part of: ‘another new service is called the Shopping List, under which a member of John Lewis’s team can be booked free of charge to gather either a specific basket of items or to help pick out gifts for specific people‘. The data behind it can become much more lucrative. Even as we see the battering that many of these stores have taken, and we are notified (again) of ‘It has also spent millions of pounds on improving its home delivery infrastructure and IT systems to cater to demand for online shopping‘. That data can prove to be invaluable setting the next stage in all this and the question is not merely what the watchdog is saying it is, but the underlying part becomes, if this is about staying afloat, about maximising the revenue, is there a case of ‘disadvantage consumers‘, or are we seeing the data impact of optional fraudulent claims of healthcare benefits whilst the subscriber was not completely honest on the application form. Even as I agree that the people need to wake up, even as I have stated that the people are in a vice, part of it is done to themselves. Now, I am less inclined to stand on the side of the insurance on the burgled house whilst doing the dance party 24:7 on Ibiza. It was not the person; it was the burglar in all this that is at fault. Yet the opposite that ‘telling’ a person that a house is safe and unguarded is still a dangerous step and even as we are so shareable in some ways, we need to see that this data is now a hazard to the quality of our lives. The question is more ‘what should you never do‘ and not ‘did you set yourself up to be the disadvantaged consumer?‘ We all know that Christmas presents are the best bought two days after Christmas, so even as we know that the price is higher on December 24th; can we blame the seller for charging 110% 21-24 December, knowing he will try to sell it as 65% on December 27-30? We forget on the stage that we set ourselves. On a rainy day an umbrella might optionally be £1 more expensive, yet is this data we are looking at, or can we claim that we know that we are knowingly selling to aquaphobes that day? The second is a clear stage of ‘disadvantage consumers‘. This stage is moving as dashboards can be changed in every way. You see if the answer does not match, you merely change the question which is politics 101. Data is actually almost the same, it is not on the results; it is now the population that makes the result. It is the grasp of an Old Dutch joke: “We see the impact where mothers are no longer working in families with 2.4 children“, so basically a pregnant woman with 2 children is unlikely seek employment, or to be employed; it is the same yet presented completely different. And when you consider the stage (the 70’s) is behind that, we see that this stage has merely matured in both the application of the spoken word, as well as the stage of presented facts. If we see that a number is, or that a factor applies, we automatically assume certain stages. As it is about a gender, or a location, yet it is still a weighted part, a presented population (the people that were part of the equation) and this field is growing exponentially. Consider that Google is adding close to a million facts every hour (highly speculative), this ensures not merely what is known about a person; it also makes its advertisement drive more efficient. Google’s non advertisement share grew by 14% in the last year. The other side, its advertising accounted for a total of 111 billion U.S. dollars. To make this grow, data granularity becomes increasingly important and even as Google does not allow individual access to data, the fact that some facts can be found, means that more and more will be known about everyone and a lot of it through our own actions. Selfies, Geo-tagging, and other parts are making identification and classification happen in all this. Even as we push forward in one direction, we give it away in another. It does not matter whether we move in Google Ads, or push towards Amazon Ads. We give away our details and we think that what one sees, none of the others see it, it is that part that is the folly, whatever we share online is almost instantly known to everyone and machine learning is merely making the exchange (read: collecting) of our details more efficient.

How we get charged

Yes the alarm clock needs to go ding dong, preferably at 100db so that you actually wake up. Even as it was a little over 6 months ago, Miles Brignall gave us: “Next time your car insurance renewal comes through, don’t fall into the trap of describing yourself as unemployed if, for example, you are retired, a student or a housewife/house husband. If you do, you could end up paying 50% more“, a comparison where they merely changed recorded occupation, now consider how up to date your LinkedIn account is. Do you still think that it will not matter your case? When you are confronted with: “MoneySuperMarket says students and retired people who mistakenly describe themselves as “unemployed” have the most to lose – potentially up to £700 a year in the worst cases. Retirees who do the same may have to cough up an additional 37%, it found.” Now we see the danger, this is not maximised ‘retail effort’ this is clearly a stage of ‘disadvantage consumers‘ and it came from an optional direction we never considered, because if LinkedIn is the one place where we can get a new job, how dangerous should their system be regarded when our cost of living could be hit by an additional 50%? And this is not via Hacked Data, this is you the optional consumer and in need of services being as visible as possible, a part you never expected is now affecting you in other ways too.

I have always believed that LinkedIn is a massive force for good, yet others have found an alternative use of that and with hundreds of thousands facing an optional £250 a year extra; we now have merely one side that starts amounting to some serious cash. So when you tell me who ignores such serious levels of cash, I will at that point introduce you to a liar. It is that simple in this day and age, machine learning is merely changing the threshold of you paying extra. It is a great benefit, but in some hands it will be their revenue benefit, and takes your cost of living through the roof.

Yet the question for me remains that even as I believe such a watchdog to be essential, there is a question on how effective they will be at the end of the day, because when the conversation degrades to a ‘he claimed‘, whilst ‘he gave in writing‘ against ‘he posted freely online‘, to the opposition trying to make a ‘disadvantage consumers‘ case, we will end up seeing a case that is unlikely to ever be won.

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, IT, Media, Politics, Science

Taxation solved the old way

Yes, that is a nice weird way is it not? It all started yesterday when I was confronted in the Guardian with: ‘‘McMafia’ law: woman who spent £16m at Harrods is jailed banker’s wife‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/oct/10/wife-of-mcmafia-banker-with-16m-harrods-spending-habit-named). The article by itself was not the issue; it woke up a spark in me. Now, I have nothing against wealth, I do not have any and that is fine (for the most mind you). Yet we all have ‘duties’ that we should be bound to and that is fine for the most as well. So as we understand that the UK is close to two thousand billion in debt, does it not seem fair that we all pay our share? From the HRMC point of view, especially those who should be regarded (to its wielding commander Jon Thompson, formerly Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence) as an HRMC positive and subjects of interest. So as such, it was interesting to read that Zamira Hajiyeva, wife of Azerbaijani banker jailed for defrauding his state-owned bank out of as much as £2.2bn gets to live her life with a monthly spending spree of well over £100,000 a month at Harrods alone. So as we are introduced to: “The court of appeal has lifted a veil of secrecy to allow the publication of details of the UK’s first unexplained wealth order (UWO), in which the National Crime Agency alleges that stolen funds were used to buy a £11.5m, five-bedroom property in Knightsbridge, 100 yards from the doors of Harrods“. How is this even possible? And when you consider “The NCA also claims suspect cash funded the £10.5m purchase of Mill Ride golf and country club in Ascot via a company based in Guernsey. The Knightsbridge home was allegedly bought via a firm in the British Virgin Islands, which the NCA alleges is controlled by Hajiyeva“, which for me implies that she will optionally be my neighbour (or nearby neighbour) in the future (nudge, nudge, wink, wink). So when we are casually told that “Hajiyeva’s lawyers had convinced a judge to impose reporting restrictions that prevented the woman, her husband, his bank or their nationality from being reported“, I merely contemplate on how the HRMC has been wasting the time of too many people. When we see that a court ruling gives us: “Hajiyeva could only be referred to as “Mrs A”“. How does any of that make sense? So after well over ten years we see: “The court also heard that Hajiyeva had access to a $42m Gulfstream G550 jet and had a wine cellar stocked with some of the world’s most expensive bottles. Mr Justice Supperstone has ordered that Hajiyeva must comply with the UWO and explain how she amassed the money used to fund the property purchases. If she is unable to prove the legitimate source of the funds, the properties could be seized“. You would think that I care, but I do not, because it all dwarves against ‘Facebook’s UK tax bill rises to £15.8m – but it is still just 1% of sales‘, which implies that the HRMC did more damage to the UK treasury in one year then the labour party could have achieved in a decade of ambitious overspending. OK, that was an exaggeration, but the message is clear. This is an amazing amount of wrong issues regarding corporate taxation and it is time that it is addressed. The mere fact that certain political players have been paying a fast and loose game whilst we all facilitate to keep the treasury coffers in deep debt is just too large an issue. So when we see: “Margaret Hodge, a Labour MP and former chairman of the public accounts committee, said it was “absolutely outrageous that Facebook’s UK tax bill is 0.62% of their revenue here; on an income of £1.2bn they really should be paying much more than £7.4m”“, we can agree that Margaret Hodge is not whistling Dixie, yet her own party did their share of damage between 1997 and 2010, if they had ACTUALLY stepped up to the task, this situation might not have as dire as it seemingly is at present. So both isles are in the wrong here and have been so since close to 1995. When I see: “The chancellor, Philip Hammond, has pledged to push ahead with a new “digital services tax” to force the US firms to pay more tax. He said the UK would introduce its own levy if other countries fail to follow through with a globally coordinated tax plan” I would optionally refer to him as a pussy and a whimp. You see, this could have been solved by taxing at the moment of sales, in the country of the purchasing customer from the get go. Sales tax on anything sold, online through ITunes, Google Play, Facebook and all parts. It would have been so simple, but we see: ‘the UK would introduce its own levy if other countries fail to follow through with a globally coordinated tax plan‘ sounds nice, but that takes years and by the time it is implemented there is a new administration and we see delays and other objections; politicians (mostly) with the spine of a paperback, not one solid spine among them. It has gone on for way too long.

So how does one compare to the other?

Consider: “Hajiyeva is the wife of Jahangir Hajiyev, 57, the former chairman of the state-owned International Bank of Azerbaijan. In 2016 he was sentenced to 15 years in jail for defrauding the bank out of up to 5bn manat (£2.2bn)“, so someone walks into the UK, her husband in jail for allegedly stealing over £2,000,000,000, his wife is  spending well over £100,000 a month for over a decade in one shop alone and no one acts? You tell me! Who has been on social services in the UK and got a sly look for spending an additional £200 on a birthday? And it gets better! That we get from Out-Law (at https://www.out-law.com/en/articles/2018/october/new-uk-offshore-tax-evasion-and-avoidance-measures-/). Here we are ‘treated’ to: “longer time limits for assessment are being introduced for those who do not voluntarily settle past non-compliance. Criminal prosecutions will also be easier. A register of people with significant control over non-UK companies owning UK real estate is to be introduced in 2021. It will also become mandatory to disclose cross border tax planning“, so the wealthy and the creative with access to accountant and tax lawyers will get three years to plan additional barricades and avoidance discussions, as well as contemplate life outside of the UK.

So how long until we get the news that delays and bad investment timing rears its ugly head from some MP who is required to keep the wealthy just where they are? After all how can we ever afford: “£65 per person including a glass of Harrods Premier Cru Brut, NV Champagne“, well the answer is simple merely because a rough 78.4% of the British tax paying audience will never really be able comfortably be able to afford that unless they give in on essential needs, optionally for months.

In all this there is a wave of not mere injustice, it is seemingly a wave of facilitation towards the overly wealthy, criminal or not. The fact that we are seemingly lulled to sleep by too many is an additional worry. So even as we thought that the police was on top of things with the August article of the Daily Mail (not the greatest source, mind you) giving us: ‘Roll up, roll up for the criminal auction! More than £2.4million worth of crooks’ ill-gotten gains to go under the hammer including a house, diamonds, emeralds, a luxury‘ and we see: “Luxury ill-gotten goods with an estimated value of £2.4 million that were once owned by criminals are set to go under the hammer this month. The expensive items that were seized by police include Rolex watches, gold jewellery, Cartier and Hermes belts and a diamond worth £22,000“, yet this optionally alleged spender of ill-gotten gains (Zamira Hajiyeva) got to spend 15 times the confiscated auctioned amount all by herself, which includes the five-bedroom property in Knightsbridge, and a lot more that is not part of the amount I mentioned here. So, even as we are introduced to a banker who has the wealth levels of a Rothschild, we are seemingly in the dark how this is achieved. You see, I do not care about her or her husband and how they got to do it, I truly do not. The fact that for well over a decade this level of facilitation is possible in the UK and Europe is just insane. And the issue is not that there is an optional solution from 2021 onwards. Italy did something ‘innovative’ years ago. There we see: “For at least a decade, the European Parliament has approved documents that specifically ask to extend the offence of mafia association to all member states – a law that is known as 416 bis in the Italian penal code. The parliament also calls to allow unexplained assets to be confiscated, even without a criminal conviction, which is another cutting-edge “innovation” of Italian legislation to combat organised crime. But these documents, despite being approved by the parliament, have all remained dead in the water due to the opposition of several member states, and despite constant requests from Europol and Eurojust – the EU’s police and judicial cooperation agencies.” Let’s call this: ‘all shout and no progress, welcome to the EU‘, or as we saw it in the US in the 70’s with their mafia cowboy senate events, all air and no prosecution. That is what we face and before we consider going after Zamira Hajiyeva, consider that politicians are enabling Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google to get away with hundreds times more then we could ever collect from the Hajiyeva family. Are you still wondering why government treasury coffers are so empty? So as we were treated in March to ‘The European Union will propose a 3% tax on digital revenue this week‘, the fact that it is below 10% should be hanging offense, a hanging offense for the majority of ALL EU politicians mind you. It is time to get serious, but we are shouting against a group of people who need that FAANG group for juicy connections down the road, so I do not believe that something actually will be achieved before 2030, and as the head of Facebook northern Europe, Steve Hatch gives us: ““By the end of 2018 we will employ 2,300 people in the UK and we are doubling our office space in London’s King’s Cross, with capacity for more than 6,000 workstations by 2022. “We have also changed the way we report tax so that revenue from customers supported by our UK teams is recorded in the UK and any taxable profit is subject to UK corporation tax.”“, we are already seemingly informed of an optional one year delay regarding cross border tax planning for Facebook. Funny how that would work out, is it not?

so when you read another headline like: ‘Fury as Starbucks pays just £4.5m tax on £162m profits‘, you might feel that there is a need for fury, also realise that there will be no results, not any day soon and that should anger you a lot more and the Labour side is just as guilty as the Conservatives are, I would claim that Labour is more guilty because at the dawn of the digital age they had the option to set up a fence from the very beginning and they decided not to do that, or claim to do and fail to do, whatever seems more correct to you.

So as you were contemplating how naughty some bankers are, consider how weak politicians have been for the longest times as billions that should have been collected got facilitated for and pushed to the board of directors of corporations in America (read: their ‘fat cat’ bonus).

In the end, we could use statistics and get creative, when we consider that between 1620 and 1725, women without brothers or sons to share their inheritance comprised 89 percent of the women executed for witchcraft in New England. When you consider that, do you still think that those witch trials in Salem were stupid and narrow minded? Perhaps they were in the end really creative in legislatively through allowed legal means, acquiring large shares of wealth, who was going to stop them? Perhaps Facebook with a: ‘share if you care’ option?

Nowadays we see that ‘criminal’ has become for the most a person who got convicted, because they did not have the right tax lawyer & barrister in his/her arsenal, how the times have changed. In this we merely have to hold a candle to the thoughts of Oscar Wilde who stated: “Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people we personally dislike“. So as our acceptance of wealth and money takes over, morality becomes a mere obstruction towards further gains.

I should have applied to Mossack Fonseca with my Law degree when I had the chance.

 

1 Comment

Filed under Finance, Law, Media, Politics

A short sighted Senate?

This was always going to happen. Whenever there is a political setting, it will always be about the money. In this, I will be trying to have a field day. So, a paper will be drawn, demanding that the Australian psychiatrists and researchers will have to sign; they will not get a choice in the matter. They do not deserve a choice in the matter. It will be fun for them to openly condemn Telstra, Apple, Amazon, JB Hi-fi, David Jones and a few other places, because in the end they are all linked in this, even though they do not even realise that yet. It is as I see it, the consequence of a biased setting and we need to make sure that these people will not merely get the limelight, they will, in this setting be responsible for the economic fallout. That is as I personally see it the consequence of greed driven bias.

You see, it is clear that this is about money. The fact that we see the flock gather around a person, who is so stupid that I equally demand that this British person, who is clearly too stupid for his own thoughts must be barred from credit cards for life! If he cannot control himself to that degree, we must protect him from being that stupid ever again.

You see, you think that it is an emotional part, but it is not. Even as I accept “Video games have generally been considered games of skill rather than games of chance and thus are unregulated under most gambling laws, but researchers from New Zealand and Australia, writing in Nature Human Behaviour, concluded that “loot boxes are psychologically akin to gambling”“, a setting that I do not agree with (explanation to follow), the quote coming from Aaron Drummond and James D Sauer, which was published in ‘Nature human behaviour‘, I feel uncertain to comment on, or oppose that part as I lack the proper psychological education in this.

Why is it not gambling?

That is the important part. Yes, there is a setting of luck, but ever loot box has a similar setting. We see one rare element, 2-3 uncommon elements and the rest will be common elements. So how did this come to be? For that we need to look at the father of loot boxes, the game Magic the gathering. Consider that on a piece of paper (size A0) cards are printed. An A0 page (841 x 1189 mm) will fit 12 cards per row, and 12 rows. The cards (usually 63 x 88 mm) get 144 cards on one page. In this setting we work with 288 cards, and if printed on 4 pages, we get 576 cards. So here we see the initial setting where we see that on these pages, the rare cards would be printed once, for example, two columns of 12 per page, in total 96 cards, the uncommon would be there twice, which gets us 192 cards and the remaining cards three times getting us the 576 cards, a set of 288 cards. So we always know that we get a certain combination, but we merely cannot tell which one. So this Australian government that allegedly is ruled through law, sets the stage (at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-02/crown-casino-pokies-maker-aristocrat-court-decision/9387168), where pokies are not deceptive, whilst loot boxes are?

Am I digressing?

No, you see, in the CCG we see that there is a physical part to all the cards, with the virtual loot box it is not entirely the same setting. So even when we consider the ABC Quote “It argued the Dolphin Treasure machine, which is manufactured by Aristocrat and available to players at Crown, had been deceptively designed to give players the impression they had won, when they had in fact lost money“, yet in that same light, we see that a loot box, always gives a price, yet is it the price the buyer wanted? In this case I revert to the previous setting, now we add what is called a booster box. In a box are 35 packs (can be 30-36 depending on the CCG game), so we could argue that when we buy 3 boxes, we should have the complete set, yet with the 105 packs, we do get 105 rare items, but in that same setting, over the 96 rare items needed, if only 10% is double, we no longer get the complete set and we will have to swap with others. With physical cards that is an option, with virtual items that is not always possible. This is indeed the trap, yet is that gambling? When we know that we get a rare item, yet we cannot guarantee that item is that gambling? That is the question, yet in the case of the Crown Casino, the judges stated that that there was no deceptive conduct, and neither is there in this case. With Loot boxes you are ALWAYS a winner, but is winning and winning the price you want enough difference to warrant it gambling?

The economic setting

That is also part of this, because some power players are all about facilitating towards casino’s (go to Barangaroo if you doubt me), and we are also treated to “This is a win for 140,000 Australians who have jobs because of poker machines,“, as well as “Every year Victorians lose more than $2.6 billion on the state’s 27,000 poker machines that operate outside of Crown Casino“. This hypocritical setting is about money, plain and simple. This is a setting where the loot boxes are funds that go directly to the makers of those games and they are not in Australia. Unlike the other setting where we see “The State Government receives more than $1 billion in tax revenue from pokies every year“, yes all things are definitely not equal!

Are there issues?

Well, the quote “Games with loot box mechanics have long proven controversial” is actually true. There are two settings. Loot boxes you can earn and those you can buy. We will forever hear the argument of the game Mass Effect 3, for all, the golden standard. They could be bought, or won, the same loot box. Earn enough points in the game in multiplayer mode and you had the option to buy a golden box with earned points, instead of purchased credits. That was the best of all settings. Now we have these boxes that can be bought only, yet the foundation is that the game can be played and completed WITHOUT EVER buying a loot box, so those people are merely buying the boxes to get the insane chance of getting an over the top powerful item, which is weird in some ways. In support of some we must also acknowledge that EA Games as one of the players in all this decided to cut themselves in the finger and that is all on them. End Gadget gives u that (at https://www.engadget.com/2018/06/13/electronic-arts-loot-box-mea-culpa-e3/), so when we see ‘How EA talks about loot boxes depends on who’s listening‘, which might be good business practice, but it is really really stupid. You see, with “EA wants you to know that it has changed; that it isn’t the same company that put pay-to-win progression systems and loot boxes in two of its biggest games last fall. “We are always trying to learn and listen, and are striving to be better,” CEO Andrew Wilson said before closing out the keynote address“, we see one side, and with: “He thanked the investor for his question, saying that EA was working with “all the industry associations globally” and talking with regulators in territories where loot boxes had been deemed gambling, without naming any specific regions. He said that his company and the regulatory bodies concluded that Ultimate Team wasn’t gambling. Since players know they’ll get a certain amount of cards in each pack, and that the distribution of each pack is the same (i.e. one rare footballer, three uncommon, two common in each) it doesn’t break any laws“, here we see the part that I partially agree with, but it also shows that EA Games is all about the money and the ‘FIFA Ultimate Team‘ part of all this represents billions, billions that they do not want to lose.

There are two big parts in all of this, that is aside for that one person who could optionally be the most stupid person in the United Kingdom, especially when he ‘discovers’ he’s spent £7,500+ on FUT Ultimate Team cards (source: Daily Star 29th July 2018). The first is that FIFA is a game played by non-adults, so they will desire to optionally spend on these cards. The fact that there is no limit set is optionally an issue, if EA Games has set the stage where per month no more than £25 would be spend, that is close to half the cost of the full game, so it might need to be lowered. The second is the chance to swap any double won, so the fact that you are missing a Beckham, but have two Pele’s, you can seek someone who had the opposite setting. That could have saved a lot of issues, possibly all issues and EA Games merely made it harder by (as I personally see it) being stupid. That evidence is seen (at https://www.fifauteam.com/best-packs-fifa-18-ultimate-team/), Yet is also gives us that EA Games has free packs and they also give us “FREE PACKS. Not available to purchase on the store. They are assigned to you in the beginning of the game, as daily gifts and as draft, SBC, FUT Champions, objectives and seasons rewards“, so if free packs can be won, why is the entire matter still an issue? We also are given “Jumbo Premium Gold pack and Silver Upgrade pack both cost 15,000 coins but the first one may be purchased with 300 FIFA Points while for the second we only need 50 FIFA Points. Players should also pay attention to this aspect“, Yet I am also given “You can earn FUT Coins by playing FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT) and trading within the Transfer Market, but you can’t buy them. Buying coins from a third party, promoting coin buying, or coin distribution is against our rules“, so we can transfer? Then again, why is there an issue, when there are so many factors that are not funds driven?

There is an interesting video on this (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=25&v=Igs5Ca9Nw4M), the man talks too fast for his own good, but it is very informative, giving us a clear view that there is a clear way to get items and players making it weird on how someone would have paid £7,500+ on FUT Ultimate Team cards. I do not doubt that this was done, yet it asks a few additional serious questions on the mental status of some video gamers. In all this I see several issues on both sides, but for the most, the entire setting is gambling and with the options for free packs and transfers, there is less and less a setting of gambling, merely the oversized need of greed by a government wanting non-taxable parts to stop. Yet at the bottom of the FIFA team page is also a comments section and we see the most interesting part that was also on the video.

Q: You say that we can buy coins directly?

A (Admin): My main suggestion is to trade. Buying low and selling higher is easier than most of the people think.

All given actions based on common sense, a part that someone paying £7,500+ for these cards is the setting of a person lacking common sense in spades, diamond and in clubs, basically the buyer was seemingly without hearts and common sense. Reverting to overspending and hiding behind gambling statements when there are trades and free options is overly unbalanced.

Yet I agree that this is all mostly based on FIFA, so how does that fare in other parts? With Overwatch (at http://overwatch.wikia.com/wiki/Loot_Box), we see that they are bought, yet they are also awarded.

  • One Loot Box is earned every time a player levels up.
  • One seasonal Loot Box is earned for the first time accessing the game in a seasonal event.
  • One Loot Box is earned for the first time winning some game modes in the Arcade, for example 1v1 Mystery Duel or 3v3 Elimination.
  • One Loot Box is earned for the 3rd, 6th, and 9th winning by playing Arcade game modes within the time between 2 resets. This cycle resets every week whether or not you win 9 games.

So these are options that do not require funds (yet can also be bought). It merely requires you to be a decent player. A decent player will have the option to three boxes a week by winning enough times, in all this, we see skill based progression.

This is the setting that we are faced with, and in this I wonder how thoroughly is the issue investigated, or will this merely be a senate exercise on lost (read: non-taxable) revenue?

In the end, when we move back to the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/games/2018/aug/17/video-game-loot-boxes-addictive-and-a-form-of-simulated-gambling-senate-inquiry-told) and we see no mention whatsoever that loot boxes could be earned, or are optional (under the right setting free), what other parts is the writer Patrick Lum not informing us on? In addition, when I see “Australian psychiatrists and researchers have called for greater regulation of video games that encourage players to purchase chance-based items“, whilst there is no mention on the earning option, or the initial free options that pretty much every game seems to have offered. When that part is equally missing, how fair will this inquiry be?

The article has two additional issues. the first is seen with: “The Office of the eSafety Commissioner estimated that 34% of young people made in-game purchases in the 12 months before June 2017, while the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia cited research finding that around 20% of simulated gambling players moved on to online commercial gambling and 5% of young Australians would develop gambling problems before they were 25 years old“. When we see ‘estimated‘, it should be made clear that this is not factual evidence, more important, what was the estimation based on? We are unlikely to get clearly informed on that part. In addition, the part ‘the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia cited research finding that around 20% of simulated gambling players moved on to online commercial gambling‘, is under scrutiny, because in that regard, I would want those so called ‘Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia‘ to produce the evidence and the raw data on how the ”around 20%” was obtained.

The second issue is seen with “Dr Marcus Carter, a former president of the Digital Games Research Association of Australia, argued that “predatory” practices were “pervasive”, citing potential variable odds manipulation, push notifications about limited-time offers and other player retention mechanics“, although I find his setting a much better one, there are still issues with the use of ‘potential’ in that, without evidence it is merely highly speculative and even as I would accept the danger of ‘variable odds manipulation‘, that part can be addressed clearly enough. The requirement is that there needs to be evidence that this is happening and a pre-emptive setting of making the optional issue of ‘variable odds manipulation‘ unacceptable in legislation is not wrong, yet requires proof. In addition, the entire setting of ‘push notifications about limited-time offers and other player retention mechanics‘ is equally valid, but can be stopped by an opt-in setting, in addition if that is addressed, we need to accept that all ‘limited-time offers’ in advertisement on media and TV are to be equally banned, because we could optionally get a ‘buy a new pair of shoes’ addiction (for a limited time that is). If that is to be accepted (cheating small time businesses out of advertising as well as taxable advertisement funds go right ahead, Or perhaps make it illegal to have ‘limited-time mobile offers‘, and we leave Dr Marcus Carter to explain that change to mobile providers, who will be crying over lost revenue. You see, when all players are equal there is no setting of fair play at all, merely the setting of expedited needs, in this case the government. All that when it was made aware of lines like “EA earns $1.68 billion in micro transactions in FY2017“, that whilst Australia’s biggest super villain (read: Taxman) never got a cent of any of that.

That is the actual setting and that got all those trying to set this all to gambling. Including the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and now Australia, they are all about getting a slice of that micro transaction pie, all that could have been prevented 15-20 years ago by them using their brains. Yet at that time ego and greed got the better of them and they were unwilling to kick Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and all other e-store players where it would have hurt, they were in my personal view mere cowards letting actual physical shops fend for themselves, as their business was pushed online and away from them. Now we see patch upon patch, all players trying to get as much of the cream as possible whilst trying to hide the fact that they had no backbone in the first place, all merely equipped with paper backs ready for recycling.

The mere setting of ‘All online items are GST set and paid for in the country of the purchasing consume by that nations legal setting‘ would have sorted 98% of all this, but the politicians in those global nations were, in the end merely as ‘solid’ and morally strong as wet tissue paper.

So in all this there is a huge issue with the loot box and gambling setting, merely from the point of view that I have that this is not about gambling, it is about non-taxable income, a very different issue to say the least.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Gaming, Law, Media, Politics

Pushers of media value

We all heard of the name ‘pusher’, usually it is seen in the drugs community. People who prey on children and weak students with: ‘try this, makes you feel good‘. Knowing that as their customer base increases, he can continue his lifestyle of booze and bitches, because that is his only priority, to feel good and to live like a rock star at the expense of everyone and anyone else. So when I saw ‘Alarm for Netflix as shares plummet on worse-than-expected subscriber growth‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/media/2018/jul/16/netflix-subscribers-numbers-forecasts-wall-street) and was confronted with both “But it also warned that subscriber growth in the current third quarter would likely be around 5 million, again below analysts’ expectations of 6.3 million“, as well as “spooked investors and suggested the company’s explosive subscriber growth may now be slowing. Netflix shares fell 14% to $346.05 in after-hours trading in New York. For the second quarter, Netflix reported a profit of $384.3m, or 85 cents a share, up from $65.6m, or 15 cents a share, a year earlier“, I wondered what the analyst had to offer that gave rise to the situation.

In a world where we see that the quality of life is down, where we are struggling to merely pay the rent in some places, in that world where we learn that “Netflix has almost reached the 100 million mark for streaming subscribers, thereby more than doubling its subscriber numbers from the start of 2014“, so the numbers are showing us an almost 25% year on year growth, that is pretty amazing in many settings.

In this day and age, getting over 10% growth is pretty well done. We all recognise that 100 million users might not be that much on one side, yet the entire business is set against a facade where there is more to the picture. Still, in this the entire setting a 14% drop seems a little extreme. It is set against what I regard to be the pushers of the world (also known as analysts). I have had issues with these analysts before; they are like the drug pushers of Wall Street. They might not see it in this way, but I do. In this setting when we see “that subscriber growth in the current third quarter would likely be around 5 million, again below analysts’ expectations of 6.3 million“, so explain to me where they got that 6.3 million new subscriber issue? Where is the evidence that expected 15 people from Hoboken New Jersey decided not to become a member? Sickness, getting laid off, hospital cost, daughter getting married, all optional reasons where 15 people decided on not becoming a member, now set that number in EVERY zip code in the United States. We can go on with the thousands of additional cases in the US alone, yet the wisdom of some person telling us that a mathematical model should have produced another 1.3 million uses cannot be vetted is merely the setting of a person giving a speculative result and that speculator is the cause of a 14% drop in value?

Now, we do understand that Netflix has responsibilities and with their expected growth is of course linked to the content they can afford to buy. So when I see “Netflix is expected to invest as much as $12bn on content this year, but could face growing competition in the streaming market. Apple is upping its spending on original content in video, music and publishing to $4.2bn by 2022 from $1bn this year. Amazon is expected to almost double its spending on original content from $4.5bn to $8.3bn“, there are two issues. The first is that if we quadruple the quarter and consider the 1.53 billion in profits (or expected profits) for 2018, how come that this year the acquired spending is $12 billion? We get that content is a long term pay off and all the movies acquired now will fuel the customer base for a long time, yet the fact that the profits merely represent 7.5% of the annual content spend is very unbalanced. It also gives us the additional setting that the 1.3 million additional members would not have made a dent there. The setting is fishy and it does not add up. Now, we can all agree that such services are perhaps a lot more complex, but the value long term is also setting the pace that something does not seem to add up. To see that picture we need to realise that Netflix realised well over $11.5 billion in revenue last year alone, so by giving you this, the $20 billion is not only no longer a stretch, it implies that Netflix still ends with $1.5 billion of pure profits, that is nothing to be sneered at, and in that light the spooking of the shareholders make less and less sense and in this, the entire analyst setting comes to the foreground once more, especially when we also add the one small fact that Netflix has $19 billion in assets. It is even more puzzling when we add the NY Times findings with “The company also saw its net income rise to $130 million, well over last year’s third quarter total of $52 million but short of the $143 million that Wall Street expected“, again the analysts now imploding, or is that setting back the market, whilst the records are still showing enormous growth, we see that dark cloud called Wall Street stating that it should have been better. There is nothing that shows evidence of the numbers that Wall Street holds others accountable to. In a system that is unrealistic, punishing realistic growth is not merely dangerous, it tends to be counterproductive in the end.

An additional part seen in the NY Times is now giving another light. They gave “Netflix already outspends its rivals, including HBO, FX and CBS, while Apple has recently signalled to Hollywood it would spend more than $1 billion on original content“, whilst the Guardian treats us to “Apple is upping its spending on original content in video, music and publishing to $4.2bn by 2022 from $1bn this year. Amazon is expected to almost double its spending on original content from $4.5bn to $8.3bn“, so the other two players are also spending billions in a market that is short of resources creating a bubble and bubbles are never good, so then the question becomes, is Wall Street intentionally creating bubbles to overinflate the mess and then short sell the cycle to make it implode in the future?

The fact that three players will represent close to $4 billion a year, each year is already a signal that the big screen, through internet or big screen itself is still flourishing, as the IP is brought through different ways, the only way will be up. So when we consider Australia who gives us “Netflix Australia starts from $9.99 per month for the entry-level, single-stream standard definition package, all the way up to $17.99 for the deluxe, 4K quality, four-stream package“, we see the simple selling point that a month of maximised streaming is close to a mere cinema ticket. That is the simplest of selling points and when we consider that, when we consider that this is not merely on that level, but that the setting also needs to fit the bandwidth that people sign on for, some will not charge Netflix, some do. That is also an influence. So there is more than one player that impacts the Netflix subscriber, all elements in that equation and some we can predict to some extent, but we remains in a setting where the analysts all claim that predictions were outclassing achievement in a place where growth is pretty sweet, it does not add up and that might just be me.

Yet this is where we get the Washington Post with ‘Netflix’s subscriber growth slows, panicking Wall Street‘, this is where we get to the golden egg, the part that Americans never understood, not in 1994 when some made claims on ‘saturation is a myth’, giving us an example with an elastic band, showing that 20% stretch again and again is possible and not today when we see that especially in Australia where housing prices in the big cities are through the roof, where we see that making a budget work is to cut out all extra excesses. In that setting many people can’t merely afford the $18 a month extra. That is supported with: “Professor Muir said it was important to realise that not all of those who live in poverty were unemployed. “One in three people who are living in poverty actually have wages, so we have challenges not just about how we make sure people have jobs, but we also want people to have stable jobs,” she said“. So we have an Australian setting where 1/3 is in poverty and a chunk of that has an actual income. So at that point, who of those people will have Netflix? Will they be willing to sacrifice two meals just to have Netflix? This is not a setting that is only seen in Australia. In America the UC Davis center for Poverty treats us to the setting of a few important characteristics of the 50% percent of minimum-wage earners with an age that is 25 or higher, 50% has a part time job. They have an average family income of $42,500 per year. At this stage it comes down to 20%-25% that live in poverty, when you consider that in 2016  around 43 million Americans were living in poverty, how much of an influence does that stop others from spending sprees outside of the Christmas season? When you see the hardship of anyone in your street, a person who works, fights and does whatever he can to feed his family, often both working, still not making the bills go away. How long until others start to save for the rainy day? I believe that these people are set to the economy as missing values. They do not matter, but they are still part of the total count. I personally believe that there is intent.

When we look at Wiki for a quick explanation, we get the optional view of an economic bubble with the text: “One possible cause of bubbles is excessive monetary liquidity in the financial system, inducing lax or inappropriate lending standards by the banks, which make markets vulnerable to volatile asset price inflation caused by short-term, leveraged speculation“. Yet what happens when it is not the ‘financial system‘? What happens when a bubble is pushed through analysts on the places like Netflix, creating friction with investors that apparently get spooked when a company still reports an optional 1.5 billion annual profit? So what happens when we see ‘volatile asset price inflation caused by short-term, leveraged speculation‘? Now take the leveraged speculation, asset price inflation (due to Apple and Amazon in the market) and it all suddenly implodes as all the analysts stated that Netflix could have easily gotten a million more subscribers that quarter. I hope that you get the drift now!

I am no Netflix fan (I have nothing against Netflix either). I always preferred to watch the big screen whenever I could afford it. I prefer to buy the season DVD/Blu-ray of a TV series I enjoy, that’s how I roll. Some prefer Netflix and that is fine by me too, whatever loads their canon, I say.

So when we see the Washington Post treating us to “they could validate investors’ fears of a company in slowdown mode for the first time in years. Wall Street has already been watching closely as Disney ramps up its subscription-content efforts and HBO, under incoming owner AT&T, is adopting a new strategy to compete“, we are treated to the setting of Pluto and two other dogs competing for the same bone, it is called market saturation and I have had the impression for the longest of times (around two and a half decades) that Americans either do not comprehend that part of business, or they merely do not care and ignore it. Now, we understand that at such points, the stock value of Netflix slows or even halts, yet to see a 14% drop is equally weird, which leaves me to think that Wall Street and all their analysts are in a bubble creating setting, which I believe has been going on for the longest of times. Do I need to remind you of Moody’s and S&P regarding the 2008 events? In the end they paid a fine, but compared to the damage done, it was miniscule. So when we take a step towards FLETC and the ‘Economic Crimes Investigation and Analysis‘ parts. They seem to be all up in arms for investigators, auditors, analysts and individuals serving as direct law enforcement support personnel who provide a foundation for fraud and financial investigations. Yet, when we look closely, how much effort has been done to investigate the Wall Street Analysts and other analysts who seem to be tweaking the expectations?

So when we look at the FLETC syllabus and see: “Successful completion of the ECIA will enable students to:
(1) identify various investigative techniques that may be used to investigate economic crimes;
(2) identify evidentiary documents that may be used to prove the source and disposition of monies;
(3) demonstrate how computer software may be used to organize, analyze, and present information;
(4) identify various ways that an accounting system may be used to conceal the true nature of fraudulent transactions;
(5) demonstrate how indirect methods may be used to identify illegal income; and
(6) demonstrate how effectively present investigative findings

Yet as I see it, in all this the global analysts who are spiking the expectations are all considered not a factor and have the privilege of remaining outside of the scope of all this. That also gives us that unless a 2008 version disaster happens; they and their overpaid asses quite literally get to walk away.

So how does that make sense in any universe, especially when we see the damage others faced over a decade?

Which gets us to the last quote in the Post with “Hastings did acknowledge the second quarter has historically been rough for Netflix, noting another under performance in 2016. “We never did find the explanation [for that],” he said“. In this we need to ask, was this merely a real under performance, or was it all based on a flawed algorithm, one that all the analysts using them will happily silence away?

A group of people never scrutinised, whilst a company making a clean billion plus a year is axed by 14%. Some will say it is all logical and that my lack of an economic degree makes it all my ignorance issue. Yet the Margin Call quote “2 and 2 no longer makes 4” gives the indication that it was not math and according to the math involved the 14% cut is optionally wrong, yet the reality of bubbles and the intentional creation of them is set on greed and that is the one thing that Wall Street thrives on and I wonder how closely some of its players are actually watched, more importantly, once proven, will the events actually be acted on, or will they merely receive a $401K fine in the mail?

 

1 Comment

Filed under Finance, IT, Media, Politics, Science

Waking up 5 years late

I have had something like this, I swear it’s true. It was after I came back from the Middle East, I was more of a ‘party person’ in those days and I would party all weekend non-stop. It would start on Friday evening and I would get home Sunday afternoon. So one weekend, I had gone through the nightclub, day club, bars and Shoarma pit stops after which I went home. I went to bed and I get woken up by the telephone. It is my boss, asking me whether I would be coming to work that day. I noticed it was 09:30, I had overslept. I apologised and rushed to the office. I told him I was sorry that I had overslept and I did not expect too much nose as it was the first time that I had overslept. So the follow up question became “and where were you yesterday?” My puzzled look from my eyes told him something was wrong. It was Tuesday! I had actually slept from Sunday afternoon until Tuesday morning. It would be the weirdest week in a lifetime. I had lost an entire day and I had no idea how I lost a day. I still think back to that moment every now and then, the sensation of the perception of a week being different, I never got over it, now 31 years ago, and it still gets to me every now and then.

A similar sensation is optionally hitting Christine Lagarde I reckon, although if she is still hitting the party scene, my initial response will be “You go girl!

You see with “Market power wielded by US tech giants concerns IMF chief” (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/apr/19/market-power-wielded-by-us-tech-giants-concerns-imf-chief-christine-lagarde) we see the issues on a very different level. So even as we all accept “Christine Lagarde, has expressed concern about the market power wielded by the US technology giants and called for more competition to protect economies and individuals”, we see not the message, but the exclusion. So as we consider “Pressure has been building in the US for antitrust laws to be used to break up some of the biggest companies, with Google, Facebook and Amazon all targeted by critics“, I see a very different landscape. You see as we see Microsoft, IBM and Apple missing in that group, it is my personal consideration that this is about something else. You see Microsoft, IBM and Apple have one thing in common. They are Patent Powerhouses and no one messes with those. This is about power consolidation and the fact that Christine Lagarde is speaking out in such a way is an absolute hypocrite setting for the IMF to have.

You see, to get that you need to be aware of two elements. The first is the American economy. Now in my personal (highly opposed) vision, the US has been bankrupt; it has been for some time and just like the entire Moody debacle in 2008. People might have seen in in ‘the Big Short‘, a movie that showed part of it and whilst the Guardian reported ““Moody’s failed to adhere to its own credit-rating standards and fell short on its pledge of transparency in the run-up to the ‘great recession’,” principal deputy associate attorney general Bill Baer said in the statement“, it is merely one version of betrayal to the people of the US by giving protection to special people in excess of billions and they merely had to pay a $864m penalty. I am certain that those billionaires have split that penalty amongst them. So, as I stated, the US should be seen as bankrupt. It is not the only part in this. The Sydney Morning Herald (at https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/how-trump-s-hair-raising-level-of-debt-could-bring-us-all-crashing-down-20180420-p4zank.html) gives us “Twin reports by the International Monetary Fund sketch a chain reaction of dangerous consequences for world finance. The policy – if you can call it that – puts the US on an untenable debt trajectory. It smacks of Latin American caudillo populism, a Peronist contagion that threatens to destroy the moral foundations of the Great Republic. The IMF’s Fiscal Monitor estimates that the US budget deficit will spike to 5.3 per cent of GDP this year and 5.9 per cent in 2019. This is happening at a stage of the economic cycle when swelling tax revenues should be reducing net borrowing to zero“. I am actually decently certain that this will happen. Now we need to look back to my earlier statement.

You see, if the US borrowing power is nullified, the US is left without any options, unless (you saw that coming didn’t you). The underwriting power of debt becomes patent power. Patents have been set to IP support. I attended a few of those events (being a Master of Intellectual Property Law) and even as my heart is in Trademarks, I do have a fine appreciation of Patents. In this the econometrics of the world are seeing the national values and the value of any GDP supported by the economic value of patents.

In this, in 2016 we got “Innovation and creative endeavors are indispensable elements that drive economic growth and sustain the competitive edge of the U.S. economy. The last century recorded unprecedented improvements in the health, economic well-being, and overall quality of life for the entire U.S. population. As the world leader in innovation, U.S. companies have relied on intellectual property (IP) as one of the leading tools with which such advances were promoted and realized. Patents, trademarks, and copyrights are the principal means for establishing ownership rights to the creations, inventions, and brands that can be used to generate tangible economic benefits to their owner“, as such the cookie has crumbled into where the value is set (see attached), one of the key findings is “IP-intensive industries continue to be a major, integral and growing part of the U.S. economy“, as such we see the tech giants that I mentioned as missing and not being mentioned by Christine Lagarde. It is merely one setting and there are optionally a lot more, but in light of certain elements I believe that patents are a driving force and those three have a bundle, Apple has so many that it can use those patents too buy several European nations. IBM with their (what I personally believe to be) an overvalued Watson, we have seen the entire mess moving forward, presenting itself and pushing ‘boundaries’ as we are set into a stage of ‘look what’s coming’! It is all about research, MIT and Think 2018. It is almost like Think 2018 is about the point of concept, the moment of awareness and the professional use of AI. In that IBM, in its own blog accidently gave away the goods as I see it with: “As we get closer to Think, we’re looking forward to unveiling more sessions, speakers and demos“, I think they are close, they are getting to certain levels, but they are not there yet. In my personal view they need to keep the momentum going, even if they need to throw in three more high exposed events, free plane tickets and all kinds of swag to flim flam the audience. I think that they are prepping for the events that will not be complete in an alpha stage until 2020. Yet that momentum is growing, and it needs to remain growing. Two quotes give us that essential ‘need’.

  1. The US Army signed a 33-month, $135 million contract with IBM for cloud services including Watson IoT, predictive analytics and AI for better visibility into equipment readiness.
  2. In 2017, IBM inventors received more than 1,900 patents for new cloud technologies to help solve critical business challenges.

The second is the money shot. An early estimate is outside of the realm of most, you see the IP Watchdog gave us: “IBM Inventors received a record 9043 US patents in 2017, patenting in such areas as AI, Cloud, Blockchain, Cybersecurity and Quantum Computing technology“, the low estimate is a value of $11.8 trillion dollars. That is what IBM is sitting on. That is the power of just ONE tech giant, and how come that Christine Lagarde missed out on mentioning IBM? I’ll let you decide, or perhaps it was Larry Elliott from the Guardian who missed out? I doubt it, because Larry Elliott is many things, stupid ain’t one. I might not agree with him, or at times with his point of view, but he is the clever one and his views are valid ones.

So in all this we see that there is a push, but is it the one the IMF is giving or is there another play? The fact that banks have a much larger influence in what happens is not mentioned, yet that is not the play and I accept that, it is not what is at stake. There is a push on many levels and even as we agree that some tech giants have a larger piece of the cake (Facebook, Google and Amazon), a lot could have been prevented by proper corporate taxation, but that gets to most of the EU and the American Donald Duck, or was that Trump are all about not walking that road? The fact that Christine has failed (one amongst many) to introduce proper tax accountability on tech giants is a much larger issue and it is not all on her plate in all honesty, so there are a few issues with all this and the supporting views on all this is not given with “Lagarde expressed concern at the growing threat of a trade war between the US and China, saying that protectionism posed a threat to the upswing in the global economy and to an international system that had served countries well“, it is seen in several fields, one field, was given by The Hill, in an opinion piece. The information is accurate it is merely important to see that it has the views of the writer (just like any blog).

So with “Last December, the United States and 76 other WTO members agreed at the Buenos Aires WTO Ministerial to start exploring WTO negotiations on trade-related aspects of e-commerce. Those WTO members are now beginning their work by identifying the objectives of such an agreement. The U.S. paper is an important contribution because it comprehensively addresses the digital trade barriers faced by many companies“, which now underlines “A recent United States paper submitted to the World Trade Organization (WTO) is a notable step toward establishing rules to remove digital trade barriers. The paper is significant for identifying the objectives of an international agreement on digital trade“. This now directly gives rise to “the American Bar Association Section of Intellectual Property Law also requested that the new NAFTA require increased protections in trade secrets, trademarks, copyrights, and patents“, which we get from ‘Ambassador Lighthizer Urged to Include Intellectual Property Protections in New NAFTA‘ (at https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/ambassador-lighthizer-urged-to-include-52674/) less than 10 hours ago. So when we link that to the quote “The proposals included: that Canada and Mexico establish criminal penalties for trade secrets violations similar to those in the U.S. Economic Espionage Act, an agreement that Mexico eliminate its requirement that trademarks be visible, a prohibition on the lowering of minimum standards of patent protection“. So when we now look back towards the statement of Christine Lagarde and her exclusion of IBM, Microsoft and Apple, how is she not directly being a protectionist of some tech giants?

I think that the IMF is also feeling the waters what happens when the US economy takes a dip, because at the current debt levels that impact is a hell of a lot more intense and the games like Moody’s have been played and cannot be played again. Getting caught on that level means that the US would have to be removed from several world economic executive decisions, not a place anyone in Wall Street is willing to accept, so that that point Pandora’s Box gets opened and no one will be able to close it at that point. So after waking up 5 years late we see that the plays have been again and again about keeping the status quo and as such the digital rights is the one card left to play, which gives the three tech giants an amount of power they have never had before, so as everyone’s favourite slapping donkey (Facebook) is mentioned next to a few others, it is the issue of those not mentioned that will be having the cake and quality venison that we all desire. In this we are in a dangerous place, even more the small developers who come up with the interesting IP’s they envisioned. As their value becomes overstated from day one, they will be pushed to sell their IP way too early, more important, that point comes before their value comes to fruition and as such those tech giants (Apple, IBM, and Microsoft) will get an even more overbearing value. Let’s be clear they are not alone, the larger players like Samsung, Canon, Qualcomm, LG Electronics, Sony and Fujitsu are also on that list. The list of top players has around 300 members, including 6 universities (all American). So that part of the entire economy is massively in American hands and we see no clear second place, not for a long time. Even as the singled out tech giants are on that list, it is the value that they have that sets them a little more apart. Perhaps when you consider having a go at three of them, whilst one is already under heavy emotional scrutiny is perhaps a small price to pay.

How nice for them to wake up, I merely lost one day once, they have been playing the sleeping game for years and we will get that invoice at the expense of the futures we were not allowed to have, if you wonder how weird that statement is, then take a look at the current retirees, the devaluation they face, the amount they are still about to lose and wonder what you will be left with when you consider that the social jar will be empty long before you retire. The one part we hoped to have at the very least is the one we will never have because governments decided that budgeting was just too hard a task, so they preferred to squander it all away. The gap of those who have and those who have not will become a lot wider over the next 5 years, so those who retire before 2028 will see hardships they never bargained for. So how exactly are you served with addressing “‘too much concentration in hands of the few’ does not help economy“, they aren’t and you weren’t. It is merely the setting for what comes next, because in all this it was never about that. It is the first fear of America that counts. With ‘US ponders how it can stem China’s technology march‘ (at http://www.afr.com/news/world/us-ponders-how-it-can-stem-chinas-technology-march-20180418-h0yyaw), we start seeing that shift, so as we see “The New York Times reported on April 7 that “at the heart” of the trade dispute is a contest over which country plays “a leading role in high-tech industries”. The Wall Street Journal reported on April 12 that the US was preparing rules to block Chinese technology investment in the US, while continuing to negotiate over trade penalties“, we see the shifted theatre of trade war. It will be about the national economic value with the weight of patents smack in the middle. In that regard, the more you depreciate other parts, the more important the value of patents becomes. It is not a simple or easy picture, but we will see loads of econometrics giving their view on all that within the next 2-3 weeks.

Have a great weekend and please do not bother to wake up, it seems that Christine Lagarde didn’t bother waking up for years.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, IT, Law, Media, Politics, Science

The politics of denial

I started this last Friday, so as I started writing this, I got to do the clumsy thing and actually kick out the power cable, losing all I had written. It led to my own denial and anger, and it fittingly fits this. Now, as I revisit the issue I have on one side the pleasure of having ‘new’ data, and the displeasure of going over this, but I will a little later in the article as it actually has bearing on all this.

So these three senators have decided to see if they can break up their entire Saudi Arabian support system, which will work out swimmingly for the UK, but about that later. The three senators Bernie Sanders, Mike Lee, Chris Murphy have started the US on a path, where the setting is that those three have introduced a resolution that will force the chamber to vote for the first time on whether the US should continue to support Saudi Arabia in the war in Yemen, a conflict that has led to the deaths of at least 10,000 civilians. In itself that is not the question, you see this is not whether what they do is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. As we see it in the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/28/yemen-saudi-arabia-war-us-support-senator-push-to-end) we get ““This is about the process,” said an aide to Lee. “What decisions do we make for a country that has been at war constantly for almost 20 years? When do we say that something is worthy of intervening in and when do we make that determination? It’s about the how“, which is fair enough. It is a political decision in all this and we can view it from one side, or from the other side. But there is actually a lot more going on.

Part is seen when we see “Yemen’s conflict began in 2014, when the Houthis, Shia rebels from the country’s north, seized the nation’s capital and ousted the Saudi-backed ruler, Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who lives in exile in Riyadh. In response, a Saudi-led Arab coalition began a bombing campaign in 2015, to restore the exiled government to power”, in all this, we might see these matters as separate, but they are not, they are very connected.

The first part is seen in the NY Times (one of many sources), on April 14th 2011 we see ‘U.S. Groups Helped Nurture Arab Uprisings‘ (at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/15/world/15aid.html), here we see “a small core of American government-financed organizations were promoting democracy in authoritarian Arab states“, as well as “as American officials and others look back at the uprisings of the Arab Spring, they are seeing that the United States’ democracy-building campaigns played a bigger role in fomenting protests than was previously known, with key leaders of the movements having been trained by the Americans in campaigning, organizing through new media tools and monitoring elections” we see that America never learned from its mistakes in Egypt, Iran and other places. Now, I have nothing against democracy, I grew up in that environment and we should all accept that, but is it that clear? These nations had a sovereign right, they decided not to be democracies and as some filled the heads of some people with the ‘golden dream‘, and got trained into the creation of flocks and let them flock to those Arab spring groups the damage ended up getting close to complete. What started in Tunisia in 2010, moved to Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Syria, and Bahrain, where we saw the unsettling of regimes, major uprisings and social violence, riots, civil wars and/or insurgencies. Places like Morocco, Iraq, Algeria, Iranian Khuzestan, Lebanon, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman and Sudan were not impervious either to some extent. So in the age of the fucked up Obama administration we saw the start of more violence and the death of close to a million citizens, yet the Democratic Party goes into denial at that stage, because they were not involved. Now, legally speaking there is absolutely no evidence that this was done with the blessing of the Democratic Party, or parties in the White House in that time. Now, it might exist, but I have not seen it. In addition as the NY Times gives us we see references to “the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute and Freedom House, a non-profit human rights organization based in Washington“, as well as “The National Endowment receives about $100 million annually from Congress. Freedom House also gets the bulk of its money from the American government, mainly from the State Department“. So here we see the crux, these three senators want to set the how and the process, but their own system caused this and now they want it to go away. The US burned them self on Syria by standing at the sideline whilst we see that they caused it indirectly. Now as they numbers in Yemen add up, we see that the US is ready to get into denial fast. The issue is even more ‘hilarious’ when we see in that same NY Times article “Ms. Qadhi, the Yemeni youth activist, attended American training sessions in Yemen. “It helped me very much because I used to think that change only takes place by force and by weapons,” she said. But now, she said, it is clear that results can be achieved with peaceful protests and other nonviolent means“, so how peaceful did things go in Yemen, and how peaceful did those 10,000 citizens die?

I am not implying that Ms. Qadhi was involved in any of that, but for aspiring autocrats the notion of destabilisation breeds opportunity, which is pretty much what we are seeing now; with splintering in Yemen the damage is actually increasing with Iran, Islamic State, Ansar Allah playing their part. As the BBC reported in February 2015 “But as the interim government of President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi stalled in early 2014, Ansar Allah launched an aggressive military campaign in the north, defeating key military units allied to Gen Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar and the Islah political party” so how peaceful should we see this ‘aggressive military campaign‘?

And that is not even the beginning of the issue. The NY Times give us in conclusion “we appreciated the training we received through the NGOs sponsored by the U.S. government, and it did help us in our struggles, we are also aware that the same government also trained the state security investigative service, which was responsible for the harassment and jailing of many of us, said Mr. Fathy, the Egyptian activist“, which now reads that the US government was selling short and betting on both sides of the event, like an arms dealer providing both sides with the latest creation in the effort to end the lives of those on the other side of the equation.

It gets even more disturbing when we see the Telegraph (UK) give us (at https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/wikileaks-files/bahrain-wikileaks-cables/8334643/GUARDING-NDIS-FLANK.html) the part where there is a dis-proportionality in all this making the issue even more toxic and dangerous. That part is seen in “Al-Hamer promises to be a cooperative partner for emboffs and, we judge, will support NDI programming so long as it does not disproportionately benefit Al-Wifaq and other opposition political societies. He is somewhat favourably disposed towards the U.S. — all four of his children study in Boston or Austin, TX — and his wife, Afnan Al-Zayani, is a MEPI grantee. Al-Hamer’s chief focus will remain his job as the King’s media advisor; he will likely leave BIPD strategy and operations to other members of the new board of trustees and to Al-Khayat and his senior staff. Emboffs will engage with Al-Khayat and board members such as Al-Otaibi, and will remain alert for any signs of BIPD or GOB discomfort with NDI in an effort to avoid any repetition of the controversy NDI encountered in 2006“,

Finally the NY Times gave us: “Hosni Mubarak, then Egypt’s president, was “deeply sceptical of the U.S. role in democracy promotion,” said a diplomatic cable from the United States Embassy in Cairo dated Oct. 9, 2007“, which took roughly 3 years, 4 months and two days until that same democracy promotion scheme got rid of him and his presidency on 11th February 2011.

Now we see that the US is adding to its own misery. As it had lost any credibility it has, we see that three senators are setting the stage where the US could lose even more. We see that (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/03/06/the-global-economic-switch/), the issue of Saudi investments are now bubbling to the surface. Not just some need for a desalinisation plant. No this is a setting in excess of 500 billion and as the US government is trying to make a play for some parts of that, we see three senators trying to get on a high moral horse and change the setting of support to Saudi Arabia. So as they hold the high moral horse and stop any actions to take place, how would Saudi Arabia react with their “the half a trillion dollar NEOM“, the massive growth in dependency and requirements for technology will take a nice seat where these actions might result in Saudi Arabia talking to British Telecom and Verizon might end up sitting at the side of the road. What was a near equal race between the two for the graces of 5G opportunity is now a race where Verizon could in theory end dead last. Cory Booker the Democrat senator for New Jersey is just going to love all this or not?

The problem is that this should have been about the morality and not the cash, yet that is what politics in a bankrupt state has been reduced to. Now as we are seeing all that good news in regards to the US economy. Most ignore the other side as “Toys “R” Us may be planning to liquidate its bankrupt U.S. stores, according to a report by Bloomberg News. The retailer, reportedly, has not found a buyer or secured a debt restructuring deal with its lenders” (Source: CBS), in addition the LA Times gives us “The downfall of Toys R Us can be traced back to a $7.5 billion leveraged buyout in 2005, when Bain Capital, KKR & Co. and Vornado Realty Trust loaded the company with debt. For years, the retailer was able to refinance its debt and delay a reckoning. But the emergence of online competitors, such as Amazon.com Inc., weighed on results. The company’s huge interest payments also sucked up resources that could have gone toward technology and improving operations“, the interest payments, the issue that several larger players face, with Google, Amazon, and Microsoft being likely the only exceptions, we still see the growth of debt where these larger players are all fending off the inevitable. Gun maker Remington and guitar company Gibson, two iconic companies, neither made it out and are now in the bankruptcy setting, and they are not alone, so as they vanish thousands of workers will be in the need of finding new jobs and possibly even resettling in another state changing state pressures on the support systems that were in place, because those people made products that needed shipping, they had infrastructures and shops depended on these thousands, they are most likely to move and as that happens more pressure is exerted on others.

Is that all relevant?

Only indirectly! You see it is part of a pattern. The US has pushed the media to be in denial of the debts and the costs of these debts. So when we consider that Intergovernmental holdings stood at $6.3 trillion, giving a combined total gross national debt of $19.8 trillion or about 106% of the previous 12 months of GDP, with 45% that the public has is owned by foreign investors, the largest of which were Japan and China each having a little over a trillion of that debt. So even at 1% the debt is a large issue, even as it slowly decreases, two of the 32 nations should be getting $10 billion each and that is merely the interest and that is if it is only 1%, it is unlikely to be below 4%, so the US has to come up with well over 250 billion and that is beside all the normal expenses they have. It only takes one negative event to push them over the hill and more than one is coming, in addition the US desperately needs part of the economic $500 billion windfall, and that is likely to become the diplomatic debate that the State department will be confronted with. with the debt adding well over $240 billion in the last 11 months the forward momentum is not there at present (it was earlier than that though), we see that the US has issues and dilemma’s to deal with, only one of them is Yemen and several are with Saudi Arabia, a nation they need to be friends with for all the reasons they can muster.

So as we look at Al Jazeera (at https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/03/180310204215697.html) where we see “A military solution to the conflict in Yemen will be a disaster”, said al-Hamdi, a former member of the Yemeni parliament who was ambassador to the Czech Republic from 2009 until 2014“, we might give him the benefit of the doubt, yet is that true? You see “History is repeating itself. There is a history of Saudi intervention in Yemen, from the revolution in 1962 to the 1994 Yemeni civil war,” said al-Hamdi at the event, which was hosted by the Cordoba Foundation and titled Yemen: War, Politics and Human Tragedy event. “Yemen is being destroyed. A nation is dying,” said al-Hamdi“, yet we already know that it was the Yemeni president that was requesting assistance, there was an uprising and that started the current situation.

You see, what we do not see form any source is that when I look into Abdulrahman al-Hamdi, I find very little. I did find “Abu Salim mayor Abdulrahman al-Hamdi told Reuters that the unusually intense fighting that erupted last Thursday was triggered by members of competing armed factions capturing each other“, which is what Reuters gave us in March 2017 (might not be the same person), so the only other articles are from the last hours. Consider an ambassador that fell from all the news channels between his non-working status between 2014 and 2018, almost a death sentence. So is this ‘high morality‘ his way to get back into politics? Back in the news merely because it is convenient for some of the players, that is how I personally see it.

Back to the beginning of me

Now I get to go to the part I mentioned in the beginning. You see there was a small accident on Friday and I lost power and as a result my article was gone, I had not yet saved it. Now, I could have gone back to it all and rewrite it, but after 2,000 words (roughly) I felt a little drained and extremely agitated with myself. Kicking out the power cable is my own stupidity and it was on me and me alone. Perhaps you can relate? Consider that you leave home, you get to the train station and it is there that you recognise that your wallet is still at home. Now, this is not a biggie, we have all had that moment and it is that moment that you realise that you have to do that 15 minute walk twice more just to get back to the start. That is when your nerves hit you and I have resolved it to walk twice that much to the other station because the repetitive feeling falls away and weirdly enough the anger subsides quicker (no idea why though). I know, it is irrational but that is how my brain at works at times and we all have some kind of quirk like that. That quirk is shown in more clarity when we see the impact of the US Arab spring and the subsequent actions of the US. They are now trying to change it all because the death list that the US aided in starting the death counts in Syria, Yemen, and Libya to name three is also opening the wounds towards the Iran and the CIA-backed 1953 coup that ousted democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh. Some are asking if the US will ever learn its lesson in this regard. Others are wondering how deep ‘Christian bitching fish wife fairy-tale mongering‘ goes in regards to the intervening actions in Middle Eastern rule and politics.

The end is nowhere near the end and it reflects also directly towards Syria, as we see “The UN secretary general has described the situation in eastern Ghouta as “hell on earth” and the body’s high commissioner for human rights described the military offensive as a “monstrous annihilation”“, in that it ended exactly as I expected it to play out. so as we see “The report from the UK-based human rights group, which said both Douma and the smaller nearby town of Harasta were surrounded and cut off, was disputed by locals, but such an outcome seems inevitable in any event as the regime presses its advantage, backed by both Syrian and Russian airstrikes“, so as the Syrian situation draws to a close we see that both US administrations have failed the Syrian people and as that population has been culled we see that the docile remaining part will become the sheep that the Syrian president needed them to be. In all this the profile of Russia is now further up and the US diminishes in parts of the Middle East, so alienating Saudi Arabia is likely the worst choice that America could make. Fortunately the UK still has a large opportunity there, but in all, as Saudi Arabia wants more options, the doors will open further for Russia. That was seen last week at CNBC as they gave us: “The agreement between Saudi Arabia and Russia to cut back on oil production has boosted oil prices and is now the foundation for a broader relationship“, even as Saudi Arabia is pushing for less power on oil, they still want the best price possible for what they have, a mere business approach to a commodity. In addition, less than a month ago we saw Bloomberg report that the liquefied natural gas (LNG) options, is  new field for Saudi Arabia to do in conjunction with Russia as we got “Russian gas producer Novatek PJSC and Saudi oil giant Aramco agreed to consider teaming up on Novatek’s Arctic LNG-2 project“, so we see growth on economic options for Russia as America has been closing its own doors, or to some extent, they are getting closed by Bernie Sanders, Mike Lee and Chris Murphy for whatever reasons they had.

It is now becoming a stronger imperative to find a path forward. Not merely in regards to Saudi- Us relationship, the issue of Yemen and Syria will plague us for decades to come, even if it is settled overnight (which is not ever happening), the cleaning tasks as well as finding a longer term solution for Humanitarian solutions can only become successful if the players enable Saudi Arabia to take the lead for ending the Yemeni crises. For Syria it is likely too late, as Russia is completing ‘its’ mission (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/02/24/losing-values-towards-insanity/), where we see in ‘Losing values towards insanity‘ the quote “With these two gentleman owning 50% (actually more than that) into LLC Megaline, with Megaline receiving a large chunk of the capital construction contracts for the Russian military we see that link. When the dust settles, Assad will need to rebuild, and they will be the front player and possibly only consideration on a nation needing to be reconstructed. So now how weird are their actions? Both Yevgeniy Prigozhin and Dmitry Utkin are now perfectly placed to rake in billions and in that regard we get back to the options for the dying in Syria; they don’t get to have any” a mere two weeks ago, now shown to be more accurate than anything else published. The media could have seen this coming with a ruler and an abacus, no high mathematical forecasting required.

So as we see the outrage on Yemen from all those seeking the limelight, I wonder if anyone will ask them the question, what exactly did you do for those Yemeni’s over the last 4 years? The list of activities might not add up to much, that is how I saw Abdulrahman al-Hamdi, because if you seek him on Google for the last year, he shows up once, just once for the Al Jazeera event 6 hours ago, that is also the next issue that both Syria and Yemen face, those who merely talk to get a seat on the table, because soon there will be money available and now they all want a seat at the table, it is the politics of denial, to only get there when the going is good.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Law, Media, Military, Politics

Removing the right of choice

Fox News had an opinion piece 2 days ago that only now met my eyes. Now, for the most, apart from some Guardian opinion pieces, I tend to stay away from them. Yet, this one caught my eye because not only was the situation upsetting. The issue that Americans use their right to free speech to deny others the right to choose (to some degree) is another matter and it became clear that I should give my view in all this.

The title ‘Is the West finally pushing Saudi Arabia to squelch its version of radical Islam?‘ First off, why on earth do we see the need ‘forcefully silence or suppress‘ the choice of Islam? Now, I am merely a Christian in this, but I do not see any reason here. In the second, the setting of ‘radical Islam‘ is equally an issue. What makes it radical? That is not me being clever, it is an actual question. When does any religion become ‘radical’?

Now, I am merely quoting Wiki here (just the easiest part), and important that as a Christian and not armed with a knowledge of Arabic, I might wrongfully quote her, so be aware of that. With: “In the 18th century, a pact between Islamic preacher Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab and a regional emir, Muhammad bin Saud, brought a fiercely puritanical strain of Sunni Islam first to the Najd region and then to the Arabian Peninsula. Referred to by supporters as “Salafism” and by others as “Wahhabism”, this interpretation of Islam became the state religion and interpretation of Islam espoused by Muhammad bin Saud and his successors (the Al Saud family), who eventually created the modern kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932“, you see, my issue, perhaps partially better stated as my grievance with Nina Shea is not that she is a lawyer or a Christian, but that she is both. That one nation that has been hypocrite towards empowering outspoken Christians and Christian puritans at nearly every twist and turn of every American administration since WW1 is now speaking out against another puritan based religion? How screwed up is that?

And the fact that we also see in the Fox News pages that she currently is a leader of a campaign for Christians threatened with genocide by ISIS, is even worse. As American Presidents have refused to name the Armenian Genocide as such because of concerns over alienating Turkey, with former president Barack Obama being the latest weakling in that long line of individuals in denial. And when we get to alienating Turkey? Turkey alienated them self for a long time, going all the way back to 2001 and they only alienated themselves stronger with nearly everyone after that. So genocide is only recognised when it is in the interest of US political policies? How hypocrite is that? So even as this happened less than a year ago, we see: “But although ISIS’ genocidal intent has long been clear, the extent of the group’s atrocities has remained murky. Local authorities and human rights organizations have made some attempts to compile lists of victims. According to those lists, between 2,500 and 5,000 Yazidis had been killed by ISIS while over 6,000 had been kidnapped. But the UN has not yet been able to independently verify these figures” (source: www.foreignaffairs.com), so how should we see these differences?

Personally I have no issue with people and their religion, you see they can be a puritan as they want to be, and until they start pushing that onto us (read: me) they are fine. I have absolutely no regard for any Christian pushing their values onto others, in that I am quite happy to see the separation of state and church to be forever. There is in equal measure another issue, you see, puritan is often seen as ‘against pleasure‘, which is not always the case and that makes that discussion a lot harder, for what sets the definition of Puritan?

So when we see the quote from Nina Shea that gives us: “Now Europe is finding its voice with a new willingness to pressure the Saudi Arabian government to end its spread of extreme Islamic ideology, known in the West as Wahhabism“, so she has set ‘puritan‘ as ‘extreme version of‘. The question is on one side is what constitutes a puritan version as such and even if so, the Vatican forced Christianity into the world, whilst under its flag committed genocide by removing no less that 11 civilisations. The church and greed have gone hand in hand for centuries whilst the nobility, or should that be in modern tongue ‘Big Business’ have not been held accountable since before World War 1. The bible approved of slavery and in Matthew 19:14 and Mark 10:13 stated ‘Let the children come to me‘, Catholic priests saw that as an optional clear signal to fuck every young boy in town (whenever possible). So as the Holy See was considering thousands of priests actively taking the cherry from young boys for over 50 years, how many went to prison? In that light the media is equally to blame, until the movie Spotlight got the limelight in the Academy Awards, millions of Americans remained in denial. Even as the Boston Globe exposed it in 2002, it would take 13 years, until after the movie was released that the larger part of the media changed their tunes, the church still has that much power. So as we oppose one form of puritan religion, we see the outrages acts of our own religions and in that regard I have an issue with certain settings.

In addition we see: “As I told Congress in testimony last July, 16 years after the 9/11 attacks – led and carried out primarily by Saudis” we see yet another issue. In the first, this attack was done by Al-Qaeda, under the leadership of Osama Bin Laden, who was indeed born Saudi, yet he was banished from Saudi Arabia in 1992, 9 years before the event. More important, their family came from the Yememi Kindah, so another ‘faith’ altogether, in that regard, when we consider that Kindites converted to Judaism following the conversion of the Ḥimyarite kings, which happened roughly 1500 years ago, so why is she not blaming Israel in all this? It seems to me that Nina Shea has no religious agenda; she has a political one and is willing to play Saudi Arabia towards her needs. In the part that we accept that Al-Qaeda was made up from Islamic Extremists and Salafists, there is the legitimate question on how many of the members of Al-Qaeda are (still) Saudi, but is that even possible to grasp? There are so many splinter organisations, active all over the Middle East, In Yemen is gets even more of an issue where they are fighting the Houthi’s. The New York Post gave us two weeks ago: “An immigrant from Saudi Arabia suspected of applying to join an al-Qaeda training camp has been arrested on a visa fraud charge in Oklahoma, according to a report. The FBI recently discovered Naif Abdulaziz Alfallaj after his fingerprints matched those taken from a document found in Afghanistan“, it makes matters worse and less clear. It is not a clear picture for those getting all the information, for people like Nina Shea who are willing to ‘filter’ data before their presentation make matters worse, we do not only get a distorted picture, we get more non-truths (at times non-verifiable truths, or speculations) and as such the picture shift a little more. We can argue that to some Saudi citizens desire a life of ‘action’ in perhaps the wrong direction is preferred over whatever they had before. We have all had those moments. I myself have argued within myself to find 1-2 paedophilic priests and hang them in the nearest tree without trial, so should I join some anti-religion and blow up churches? Of course not, that would be just insane, but some might do just that.

So when we consider ‘members of the Ku Klux Klan planted and detonated dynamite at the 16th Street Baptist Church‘ we also need to see that J. Edgar Hoover had secret recordings that proving the involvement of guilty parties (according to some sources), he also ensured that a court could not use them as evidence to prosecute the attackers, making it more difficult to convict. For 14 years after the bombing, none of the men were prosecuted for their crime. The first one to be arrested (and convicted) was Robert Edward Chambliss in 1977. So we, Americans and non-American Christians alike have closets full of skeletons, perhaps when it comes to certain matters we should not be the judging or reforming parties in the matters of other nations.

Now, there are a few sides that do bare consideration.

Even if we agree with: “In 2010, a top U.S. Treasury counterterrorism official warned that without Saudi education reform “we will forever be faced with the challenge of disrupting the next group of terrorist facilitators and supporters.”“, Saudi Arabia is a sovereign state, it has its rights and it has forever been a Muslim state. You see, until the oil prices went down and the profits declined, America remained unwilling to hear any level of criticism on Saudi Arabia, making a lot of the matters in play hypocrite at best.

The next ‘wrongful representation‘ is “The West seems to be finally waking up. The new assertiveness shows official recognition of the link between Islamist ideology and terror, and our governments must keep it up“, you see, I see this as “as the profits are declining and as Saudi Arabia is now set to be a growing force beyond the petrochemical industry” we see issues because the ‘link between Islamist ideology and terror’ has been known for a long time and seen as such. Hamas, Hezbollah are the clearest ones. There is the Muslim Brotherhood, and plenty of others, whilst the PLO was delisted as a terrorist organisation is now again rearing its tail by no longer recognising the state of Israel, so that could escalate again. In addition we see that only the UK saw the Orange Volunteers as a terrorist organisation, I wonder why the US did not see it that way. So whatever makes that list is also very dependent on how they cross the United States of America (speculation on my side), so as the sovereign nation of Saudi Arabia is becoming a growing centre of commerce and an economic power we start seeing more anti-Saudi events. Yet the US will happily sell all the weapons and planes they can for now. Nina also refers to a report that was classified and forced into the open in 2016 regarding the Saudi textbooks (at https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/08/17/international-home/document-state-dept-study-on-saudi-textbooks.html), it is 148 pages, so read it there (the PDF was too large to place here).

My issue in this is not the paper; it is the chance of comprehending it all, it is linked to hundreds of books, to hundreds or issues all linked to the Koran and to the rights that Saudi Arabia has as a sovereign nation. We might not agree and as Christians we might to a certain degree oppose outside of Saudi Arabia, but its sovereign rights are as they wanted it, linked to the Muslim faith. We need to recognise that we are not all alike, that others have their rights and they need not be based on democracy. However we must also recognise that ‘democracy’ in America and largely in Europe is set towards what the rich and powerful want it to be. If you disbelief that then try to change laws in America that makes Wall Street criminally accountable. Good luck getting that done within the next 50 years!

You see, in support of my view, I would like to call attention to page 3, where we see “The national identity of Saudi Arabia is deceptively simple. It is an absolute monarchy“, so what makes a monarchy absolute? The Netherlands is a monarchy, so is Sweden, Norway, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Spain and a few others. So as these are predominantly Christian monarchies, are they not absolute or dangerous? Perhaps they are merely seeing eye-to-eye with the US and not that much of an economic threat? The EU and the ECB simmered down the European nations as threats is another view and it is for people with better economic degrees than mine to make a call on that. Again a speculation from my side, but it seems to me that the US would prefer every nation to be a republic, so that the larger corporations can sweep in and reduce that national population into a spreadsheet and reduce the abilities of those being a hindrance, a non-consumer or a liability.

We can take any view on these matters, but in the end we see a person with a rightful opinion get the centre stage all the way to the US Congress, whilst we consider her quote: “Germany finally pressed Saudi Arabia to close the King Fahd Academy in Bonn in spring 2017, according to a 2016 Deutsche Welle report. It first came under investigation 14 years earlier for alleged ties to al Qaeda“. The question that is here is ‘It first came under investigation 14 years earlier for alleged ties to al Qaeda‘, so was that ever proven? That is the part that Nina Shea does not want you to know; in addition there is the part that was in the Deutsche Welle. ‘Now, the King Fahd Academy is about to close its doors of its own accord‘, which she did not mention. In addition (at http://www.dw.com/en/controversial-saudi-school-in-bonn-to-close/a-19511109), we see the clear mention of ‘Moving beyond oil‘, it seems that Europe and the US stayed very silent whilst the oil profits were flowing their way making a lot Nina states even more hypocrite. So as Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is pushing stronger towards his “Vision 2030“, we see that slowly his reforms are catching hold, there is momentum and there is additional evidence that it is a worry for the United States, particularly the people who were having benefits on the matters before Vision 2030. When we consider the rumour from last month when we were introduced to “The new policy means Apple is administering collection and remittance of tax to authorities at a rate of 20 percent in Armenia and Belarus; 5 percent in Saudi Arabia; 18 percent in Turkey; and 5 percent in United Arab Emirates” we see the clear benefit for Apple to grow in Saudi Arabia, yet in that it could cost the US 20 cents to every dollar pushed to Saudi Arabia and as Apple tends to think in tens of billions, the US is about to lose out of a pretty penny they desperately need. In addition with Amazon and Google gaining tech hubs there, the loss of revenue and data is about to cost the US a lot more and in this greed driven economy that is what has been setting plenty of people over the rails and into the sea of chaos, frustration and outcry. So as Saudi Arabia ends up getting 5 data centres, how many will not be upgraded in the US or Europe in the near future? How much is that going to cost them?

These are all matters linked to the opinion of Nina Shea, because if that was not the case we would not have seen “These events are being driven by Western governments that are now pushing hard for the government of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to pull back from Wahhabist support – a push that appears to be working“, you see, the fact that (some) schools closed on their own accord was not mentioned, neither is any part of Vision 2030 which has been on the front page of the Saudi plans of actions for almost 2 years now and in addition, when we see “For decades European and U.S. leaders bit their tongues while the Saudi governments spent billions of dollars indoctrinating Sunni Muslim communities“, whilst not stating that the oil money flowing into these places was too good to ignore is equally an issue because it shows us to be hypocrite and it shows Saudi Arabia to be business oriented. OK, I will give you that the last part is not entirely correct, but why did Europe and the US bite their tongues? If they were so morally high we would have seen a lot more, an issue that never happened.

So who will Nina Shea blame for that? I reckon we will leave it non-mentioned (for now).

Finally we need to look at her statement “Tiny Belgium, population 11.27 million, has sent more Islamic fighters to Syria per capita than any other European country“, so when we see the Wall Street Journal (at https://www.wsj.com/articles/europe-balks-at-taking-back-isis-fighters-1518557328) where we see the quote “An estimated two to three dozen Belgian foreign fighters are in detention in Syria and Iraq, another Belgian official said“, so as we consider an unrelated statistic like “Hospital medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States. That’s 700 people per day, notes Steve Swensen“, the fact that we see the mention of 36 Belgium fighters in Syria in a pool of 5000, seems to be too irrelevant to use as a focal point in her presentation, whilst in the US 700 people a day die in Hospitals through mere errors. She has the wrong focus as illumination in her presentations. You see, it would not have mattered if she had mentioned the number of Belgium fighters and the total pool of ‘extremists’ but she did not want that, she wanted the hypocrite limelight, so I will happily keep a focus on her and how she tries to misinform the people around her next.

In all this Fox News should get an equal share in the blame by not setting the stage properly. By leaving too much unstated we should consider that the reliability of Fox News and what they present is equally taking a turn downwards.

In the end

In the end this was less about speaking for Saudi Arabia (they can do that themselves perfectly well), then speaking against Nina Shea. I find this a hatched job that should not have been placed on Fox News the way it was. Whatever points she could have made was drowned out by the misrepresentation that I see them to be and in several fields in many ways. This requires me to add her mention of ‘Islamist terror has replaced chocolate as Belgium’s best known export‘, you see the best export the Belgium ever had was beer, the finest in the world. And even as we agree that their chocolates are the best, we need to see that terrorism is not their export, or their best known export. Perhaps their flaw was to have the most cordial of borders in Europe, together with Sweden, yet as Sweden is up in the north and Belgium is caught between the Netherlands, Germany and France, there is no doubt that whatever they get came initially from one of the three other nations and guess what, Nina made no mention of that either. Perhaps because she was in doubt whether it was a good idea to piss the other three nations off? Again, merely speculation from my side, but in the end, we have seen in evidence from reputable sources that the economy has been a central reason in creating extremism, a part that has hit Belgium and several other nations. That too remains unmentioned.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Law, Media, Military, Politics, Science