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Surprise, surprise!

There was an interesting surprise this morning. It was not any newspaper; it was no DVD or Blu-ray. It was a YouTube video (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tu3mP0c51hE), the announcement of the Downton Abbey movie coming in September. Weirdly enough, I had not felt this happy since the initial teaser of Avengers: Endgame, a movie that is now less than $100 million away from breaking the Avatar record. It is weird how a TV series with 6 seasons have had such a profound impact on viewers and I am not the only one who is amazed and happy with the coming of the movie. Hugh Bonneville, who plays the lord (aka Mr Henry Brown in both Paddington adventures), Maggie Smith, Dowager Countess of Grantham (also famous in a very well-known hotel in India), and of course the list is not complete without Jim Carter as the undoubtable Mr. Carson and some might remember him as a Transformer too.

The list is too long to go into detail and it is important to remember that. Even as the record of I, Claudius is not broken. Downton Abbey got closer to breaking that achievement than any other series ever did. When ITV started this, they had no idea how large a behemoth this would become. The foundation was given by Julian Alexander Kitchener-Fellowes, Baron Fellowes of West Stafford. And we all know that as a member of the House of Lords he would be able to spin a fine yard under the most mundane conditions. Yet Downton Abbey is anything but mundane and that is the first requirement into making a legendary piece. I have mentioned it before, I, Claudius had all the elements in place, for the most so does Downton Abbey. The story is excellent, the cast is amazing and many fans feel linked to many of the actors and actresses to a larger degree. The writing got the start, but it was the player that embodies the script and there is not one who gave less than 110% that part clearly shows in the end result. So there will be forum upon forum that will ask and speculate on what they will get. I reckon that a fair amount will go into the speculations of Robert James-Collier (Thomas Barrow) on what he will be like in the movie, antagonistic, devious or a third still to be revealed part, and let’s face it, the man ‘grew up’ on Coronation Street (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNV_Hh5ZWaE if you forgot the tune, which should be unlikely).

There is no way not to get enthusiastic on the series and now we will be getting the movie. I believe it to be an important work as it is truly the first work that would be close to thumping ‘I, Claudius’ of the throne of being the best drama in the history of TV. I personally believe that it did not achieve that, but only by a nose length. Perhaps it is because the Roman era allowed for more murder and intrigue, perhaps it is the view of lavish parties, but for the first time, it is not about the actors, each set of players was pretty much on par with the other set of players, which was an amazing achievement. As for the script, I believe that the quality of drama Robert Graves and Julian Fellowes are on par as well; the element remaining is the director, the visionary in all this. It is impossible to do this, comparing Herbert Wise to Michael Engler, Brian Percival, Catherine Morshead is unfair, it is work separated by decades of vision and technology. The fact that they all try to meet the Herbert Wise standard speaks for Mr Wise as he set the bar half a century ago and the fact that this bar is still there is slightly too amazing for words.

Yet the fact that no one ever stopped getting there speaks for those pursuing excellence in any way possible and that is what Downton Abbey also embodies, a view towards excellence and that too drives us to the movies and the mini silver screen (aka TV). I think that the end of the Victorian age and the age of George V as the UK was led from WW1 towards WW2 is often ignored, but more important than most would think, the sinking of the Titanic in the pilot, the start of WW1 and the impact of the end WW1 and the setting of the veterans as we saw its impact in Downton Abbey is an eye opener, a side that the previous generation onwards ignored is now directly reflected towards us and it impacts us and how we look at this all. A similar impact was seen with The Crown in season one when some saw the episode ‘Act of God‘, I was not born in the UK as such that episode hit me hard, I never expected such a view on chimneys, the smog it created and what kind of a health hazard it actually was in 1952, as such the way we view health hazards and the way politicians neglect it nowadays is a too little astounding.

Downton Abbey had another part shown during the episode where one hospital takes over another one, it is that part where we see the impact to the population in those years, it hits us directly as it is a real setting, not some drama, or better stated drama that doubles as reality just a little too closely. In the end you cannot have anything but the greatest respect on a part of history and how it is portrayed to us, as such the movie, even as it is about a royal visit is likely to have hidden gems that have to be seen to be enjoyed, and that is likely what the makers are hoping for. A TV series that had 11 golden globe nominees and 3 golden globes won, in 2011, Downton Abbey made the Guinness book of world records with the highest ratings for any TV show, the first time a British show got that distinction. A stage that covers 13 years of history, so as the movie is set to 1928; I wonder what we will be treated to. There is no speculation from me, I am slightly scared to be right in this case and I hope that the readers want to see the movie all the way without any spoilers, other than the ones the trailer gives us. I think that this is the biggest part of my appeal to it. On how historic events affect the characters of Downton Abbey, which historic events we will be made aware off. There were the floods of the river Thames, the Oxford English Dictionary first edition was completed, the London and North Eastern Railway’s Flying Scotsman steam-hauled express train begins to run non-stop over the 393 miles (632 km) of the East Coast Main Line from London King’s Cross to Edinburgh (on my birthday no less), the voting age for women is lowered from 30 to 21, Amsterdam hosts the Olympics and the Dangerous Drugs Act 1925 comes into effect. All events of that year and some will be mentioned; optionally we will be introduced to the discussions on it. Downton Abbey will give so many reasons to watch it and as far as I can tell (judging from the TV series) absolutely no reason not to go see it on the large silver screen (aka not the TV).

We still have 15 weeks to go before the movie makes it to the big screen, and as I see it, September 2019 can’t come soon enough.

 

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That’s the way the money flows

The Independent had an interesting article 2 hours ago. The article (at https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/china-drones-spy-us-dhs-security-data-alert-a8922706.html). The title leaves little to the imagination with: ‘Chinese drones may be stealing sensitive information, DHS warns‘, after the Trump google play, after his refusal to submit to subpoena’s, after the anti Huawei activities that so far has never yielded any active evidence (the 8 year old case was settled within months are done with). Now we see: “Chinese-made drones in America may be sending sensitive data to their manufacturers back home where it can be accessed by the government, the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has warned“, which might be a nightmare if it was not so hilarious. You see the next quote: “CNN, which obtained the internal alert, reported that the DHS fears drones will offer Chinese intelligence unfettered access to American data“, it comes across like we have a case where a CNN reporter has been hit by a silly stick and never recovered. Consider the drones we see, there is no space to have a dedicated hack system on board. Yes some can be done with a mobile, and there is plenty of space in that device, now consider the ‘sensitive’ data that needs to be found, the data needs to be connected to (and with all these faulty Cisco routers that is relatively easy at present), then a selection needs to be downloaded and that is merely for one place, one device. All this stops when any person uses common cyber sense. It is the revelation that we see next, that is the one that matters. With: “Though the alert didn’t name specific companies, the vast majority of drones used in the US and Canada are made by the Shenzen based Company, DJI, CNN reported” we see the part that matters. As drone services are up on an almost exponential growth as we see the push that got there. The news from November 2016 gave us: “Domino’s Pizza Enterprises Limited (Domino’s) and drone delivery partner Flirtey delivered the first order, a Peri-Peri Chicken Pizza, and a Chicken and Cranberry Pizza“. Consider the option to avoid traffic in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Seattle, Pittsburgh, all places with massive congestion. Drones are the optionally the newest quick way to deliver food, Amazon needs, Walmart needs, all in growing need due to the events where retailers and shippers combine forces to avoid a few items, and with congestion set to zero, people will flock to that consideration. Now the operational part, it seems that DJI is ahead of the curve, another Chinese company decided to truly innovate and now that the push is there and America is bankrupt (as I personally see it) anything possible to avoid money going to China, America is taking a pot shot at that. So when we are also treated to: “A spokesman for DJI denied that any information was being transmitted to it from its drones, adding that the security of its technology has been independently verified by the US government.” I start wondering if DHS was able to do its job properly. Now let’s be clear, there is no doubt that ANY drone can be used for espionage, especially if it is quiet enough. Yet is that the issue for DJI, or is that an issue with the spy that utilises drone technology? Yet that is actually not the only side, on the other side we see mentioned: “Those concerns apply with equal force to certain Chinese-made (unmanned aircraft systems)-connected devices capable of collecting and transferring potentially revealing data about their operations and the individuals and entities operating them, as China imposes unusually stringent obligations on its citizens to support national intelligence activities,” Now, this part does make sense. It is the same as the Apple Fitbit, that due to its global nature started to hand out the jogging patterns of Special forces in the Middle East, so within 3 days several members of the two dozen operatives had a check on their calorie burning and health, whilst the mapping data showed the world where the CIA black site was (oh apologies, I meant to say a military specialist endeavouring location of an undetermined nature). The question becomes how was the ‘the security of its technology has been independently verified by the US government‘ achieved? Was that verification process competent, or perhaps slightly less so?

I am not stating my verdict in either direction; yet the entire Huawei mess, as well as the DJI setting implies that the growth industries are shunned from America, mainly because it is not an American industry. Yet in all this, the forget that places like the EU and India are large enough to go forward with both players and truly grow further, whilst the downturn and the economic lag that the US is creating will merely grow the loss of momentum and the recession it will fuel in other ways. I would consider that the setback that Google is trying to create will have larger repercussions down the road. As larger Data vendors will now optionally choose the Chinese side, they will grow market share. You see no matter how it is sliced, all this is data based and data can only grow if there is usage. So when people remain with Huawei as their phone keeps on working, we see that there is a larger concern soon enough. At some point people will stop trusting Samsung, Google and Apple phones, which works out nicely for several players (Microsoft actually more than most), what do you think happens when the larger share of 14.7% of a global market changes to player three and not use Google apps to some degree? Google momentum relies on non-stop data and usage, when a third of the 60% that these three cover stops, do you think that this has no impact for Google?

The same applies to drones. You see intelligence makes the drone and as it grows its market share and the collected data of drone usage is set, the innovation of DJI grows faster. It is the difference between generation now and generation 2022, DJI will grow and can grow in several directions, yet the entire the setting of ‘data theft’ we see that there is a lack of ‘what’ data. What data is collected, the flight path? Well, I think we all need to know in 2023 what flight path was taken for the delivery of 342,450 pizza’s delivered per hour, is it not? It is not that Google Map has that data, and within a building in New York, is there truly a clear sign in the drone itself who exactly the merchandise was for, or was that on the box (instead of the drone). Now, there is no denying that some of that data would optionally be accessible to the Chinese government? Yet what data, what level of data? Do you think that they have time for the hundreds of drones and the data whilst they can monitor 20,000 times that data with a spy satellite (and an additional truckload of data that the drone never had in the first place?

It is when I see ‘unfettered access to American data‘ where the questions become pressing. It is like watching Colin Powell coming into a non-disclosed location with his silver briefcase and in the end the lack of WMD’s, are we going in that direction again? when I see ‘unfettered access to American data‘, it is at that moment I see the optional comparison (an extreme lose comparison mind you) with the innocent preachers daughter who did the naughty thing to 30% of the boys coming to Sunday sermon, having attempted things I cannot even rent on adult video. It is the CNN article (at https://edition.cnn.com/2019/05/20/politics/dhs-chinese-drone-warning/index.html) that gives additional rise to concerns. When you see: “Users are warned to “be cautious when purchasing” drones from China, and to take precautionary steps like turning off the device’s internet connection and removing secure digital cards. The alert also warns users to “understand how to properly operate and limit your device’s access to networks” to avoid “theft of information.”” It seems to me that there are dozens of ways to get this data, a drone seems like an expensive long way round-trip to get to that data, whilst more can be accessed in several other ways and it is the speculation through ‘device’s internet connection‘, so when we see one of these devices (at https://www.dji.com/au/phantom-4-pro-v2/info#specs), we are treated to: “The new Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 features an OcuSync HD transmission system, which supports automatic dual-frequency band switching and connects to DJI Goggles wirelessly“, where did the internet come in? Yes there is an app, to get a live view from the drone, so what ‘unfettered access to American data‘ could there be that Google Maps at present does not have in more detail?

It is the next part that is the actual ace. When we see: “DJI, which reported $2.7 billion in revenue in 2017, is best known for its popular Phantom drone. Introduced in 2013, the drone is the top-selling commercial drone on the market“, information the Independent did not give us, that is the actual stage as I personally see it. It was $2.7 billion in 2017, there is no doubt that when drone delivery truly takes off, at that point revenue that sits between $15 and $27 billion is not unrealistic, the dire need to avoid congestion on a global scale will drive it and that is before you realise the non-US benefits in London, Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin, Munich, Madrid, Barcelona, Rome, Athens, Moscow. At that point you will see stronger growth and I haven’t even looked at the opportunities in a place like Mumbai, Tokyo, Delhi, Bangkok, Rio, Buenos Aires and Sydney yet. Everything leaves me with the impression that this is not about security, it is about money. That fact can be proven when you realise that everyone remains silent on the 29 new vulnerabilities that Cisco reported merely a month ago. How many Cisco router stories have come from that non-technologically refined White House, where they are currently optionally limited by “Cisco routers, including ones that can be found in malls, large companies or government institutions, are flawed in a way that allows hackers to steal all of the data flowing through them“, the cybersecurity company Red Baron handed out that issue to the media last week, so who picked up on that danger to ‘unfettered access to American data‘? And when you consider ‘it allows potential malicious actors to bypass the router’s security feature, Trust Anchor. This feature has been standard in Cisco’s routers since 2013‘, when we realise that Cisco is a household name on a global scale (especially when connected to the internet), the entire Cisco matter seems to be at least 15,000 times worse than any DJI drone ever could be, and the fact that DHS remains silent on that gives (again, as I personally see it) is added proof that this is merely about the money and the fact that US companies are losing markets on a global scale.

I could set the stage by singing ‘All ‘Bout the money‘ by Meja and ‘That’s the way the money goes‘ by M, but then, I realise that people would most likely pay me serious money not to sing (my voice is actually that bad).

That’s the way the money flows, specifically at present in a direction that the US is for the foreseeable future most displeased about.

 

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Could I be wrong?

That is a question I always ask myself. You see, I never proclaim to know the facts (unless I was a direct witness). I have tried to use the better journalistic sources as often as possible and whenever I look at issues I try to look into different directions, and from different directions to get the better view. It is not a perfect solution, and I have never claimed that my version is the only option. So as I have written in regards to certain steps in the entire Novichok matter, the pushed actions by Natixis as well as settings into Tesco, The Geert Wilders case, the Yemeni conflict and other matters, I believe that I did a decent job, and one that was a lot better than any of the Rupert Murdoch gossip hounds could have ever hoped for.

So when I am confronted with: ‘Novichok poisonings: what is the GRU and how does it operate?‘, as well as: ‘PM points to Putin as Russian pair accused of Novichok poisonings‘ I wonder what is going on, because certain matters do not make sense.

This is the initial setting we need to contemplate when we look into the entire Novichok case. When I see the mere 4 hours old article with “In a special statement to a packed House of Commons, the prime minister, Theresa May, revealed the two suspects who flew into Britain to murder Sergei and Yulia Skripal in March with the military grade nerve agent were officers in the GRU, Russian military intelligence“, I wonder what drives this train wreck.

Consider that this is true; now consider that in the entire Skripal matter, no evidence was ever revealed on HOW they got infected. Then we get the setting that they SURVIVED that part matters when we consider the part ‘military grade nerve agent‘, all whilst the operation was a failure. Was it intended to fail? Were they ever on any CCTV in the surroundings of the Skripals? Then we get the mention “Photograph issued by the Metropolitan police of the Novichok poisoning suspects Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov“. So tell me, where was this picture taken and WHICH metropolitan police had issues it? And when we get “The GRU is a highly disciplined organisation with a well-established chain of command“, which is true, and no one opposes that, yet they could have been merely there as tourists (if it was actually them), that is wherever that shot was taken. You see, from the facts given, we can in equal measure consider the arrest and extradition of Major-general Charles Stickland for the alleged killing of a US Navy Seal in Djibouti. Let’s face it, when it comes to the training and ability to even wound a US Navy Seal, he might be one of the few persons with the skills to do that. How ridiculous does that sound? Well, in that same light, we need to see a lot more when it comes to the Novichok. I get it! We are not privy to national security investigations, that part is not in doubt. Yet the entire matter, the lack of evidence presented and the Media merely boastful setting the stage of events, whilst evidence is lacking is a much larger issue, it literally serves absolutely no one.

So when we are confronted with ‘The Salisbury attack has all the hallmarks of the audacious actions of Russia’s most secretive intelligence agency‘, my initial personal response towards the writer Shaun Walker would be ‘What a fucking idiot!‘ You see when you look at the two parts ‘all the hallmarks of the audacious actions‘ and ‘most secretive intelligence agency‘, we see hem cancel each other out. Audacious actions is in the light, most secretive is not. Oh, and before I forget, how successful was the operation? They are both still alive and let’s not forget that a 7.62mm bullet from a silenced Tokarev has no risks of biological agents and would NOT have failed. The article gives us historical anecdotes that are useless, especially as the first one was from BEFORE the Spetsnaz GRU was even created.

Then we get to the second part in this. With: “The GRU has been identified as the main culprit in hacking ahead of the 2016 US election. A recent indictment from the team of special investigator Robert Mueller named 12 apparent GRU officers over the alleged hacking and leaking of Democratic Party emails. Like the US operation, the Novichok poisoning fits an apparent pattern of GRU operations: ingenious and audacious, yet uncovered and publicised by the target countries“. Here again we see the issue of evidence. How was the GRU identified? I am not stating that the Russians were not part of it, but between political hacks (or is that hackers), optional Russian Cyber units and the GRU is quite the leap and what evidence has given that part? When we see ‘Robert Mueller named 12 apparent GRU officers‘, how did the identity of the members of ‘Russia’s most secretive intelligence agency’ even make it out to the open? Is that not a weird thing either? In that we get to the final art of the first article, and it is again given with “the Novichok poisoning fits an apparent pattern of GRU operations“, so is the GRU about failures? In that, how does the second attack fit, and there we get the different news articles where the victim is dying in one and to be released in the other (see Yesterday’s blog at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/09/05/the-target-is-killing-me/).

The Article Two fiasco

The second one was from Marc Bennetts in Moscow. This gives us “Vladimir Putin signed a presidential decree making information about freelance agents working for Russia’s foreign intelligence agencies a state secret, two days before Theresa May accused Russian secret service officers of carrying out the Skripal attack in Salisbury“, this gives us merely two elements, it is implied to be connected, yet through what evidence? Basically we see the non-denied truth that ‘information about freelance agents working for Russia’s foreign intelligence agencies a state secret‘. That might be the case and that is fine, but is it related to any of this?

Now we get to the beef of the matter. It is seen with “The Fotanka News Agency appeared to confirm claims by the Metropolitan police that the men had used their Russian passports before. The force said the pair travelled regularly to Europe between September 2016 and March 2018, with trips to Amsterdam, Geneva, Milan and, repeatedly, Paris. Petrov visited London between February 28 and March 5 2017, the news agency said, citing its own unnamed sources“, now add to this “They purchased return tickets from London to Moscow for both Sunday 4 March – the day Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were poisoned in Salisbury“. So these two experts fly into Salisbury with no preparations time, no options to set anything up, infect them with a Novichok and get out (all in 48 hours)? This would essentially need a second team prepping it all (if it were them), this implies a team of at least 5 people in total. I admit that when I see ‘for both Sunday 4 March‘, there is something we need to contemplate, yet from my point of view they could have been used for a mere embassy courier drop, or any dead drop. However using that for the Novichok is ludicrous, so much could go wrong that failure was almost a given. A flight with zero leeway, that is not the acts of a secretive agency that is merely an advertisement of something else, what else? I have no way to know that. Oh, and for all the travels. That might be perfectly valid and true, but do we have any intelligence on where they went (exactly that is), where they stayed and which CCTV’s showed them? London and Amsterdam have a sizable CCTV system, also where did they go in Geneva? When we combine it all, there is a chance that they were optionally state security, no one denies that it is a possibility, yet the other side is that they might be the couriers or the personal assistant of one of these Russian billionaires, and if that is anyone related to organised crime we see my initial setting where I never stated that it was not Russian, merely that it was not Russian state and that does fit the bill. When you want your essential secrets to be transported, will you turn to the Randstad employment agency, or to Russian State Security offering people like that, offering a cushy job with a nice income that guarantees a lovely golden pension parachute, who would ever resist that?

Let’s not forget, we still have no actual evidence that these two (Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov) were GRU. They might be FSB, SVR, or perhaps merely intelligent and optionally well trained Russian citizens, where is the evidence? In finality Marc Bennets adds the anecdote of Dmitry Gudkov, for whatever value that has.

So far all articles that merely set optional allegations lacking evidence, so far when it comes to the Novichok, there has been a lack of evidence and even less cohesive evidence. The small parts that might have been an optional were overturned with the easiest of searches by me; all lacking the proper setting. Now I want to get back to the initial part, because I was not ignoring “assistant commissioner Neil Basu, laid out a compelling trail showing how the suspects travelled from Moscow to London and then on to Salisbury“. You see, when we see compelling as ‘not able to be refuted‘, it does matter, yet why not a mere CCTV pic of the Train platform or Bus platform to Salisbury? That is the part that is so weird, when a picture gives 1000 words and you rely on the one that gives merely 50 words, questions need to be asked and in that part the entire Novichok case (both attacks) is all about questions and no actual answers, mere allegations and accusations. So now we get to the quote “Police produced CCTV footage of the Russian assassination team during their 50-hour visit to Britain, entering at Gatwick airport at 3pm on Friday 2 March, and smuggling in the Novichok“, so where was the Novichok? It is another accusation that is lacking evidence. Apart from the fact that a biological agent got past Gatwick Airport which gives us a whole range of other questions too, but that is for another day.

I will also get us to the setting of the CCTV images. There were a few and I never ignored them. So let’s take a look at the setting (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/sep/05/novichok-poisoning-what-we-know-so-far)

Arrival Friday March 3rd 15:00

There is no mention what was done between arrival and the first image, that part is actually important too. You see, that part might have supported or even denied the defence of mere tourists.

Saturday, March 3rd 16:00 Image one

Sunday March 4th 11:58 Image two, different outfit from image one, different shoes too, different hats. So are these the same people? (I wonder), the walk implies that the legs are slimmer too (what diet is that, please gimme some of that.)

Sunday March 4th 13:05 Image three seems to be the same as image two, yet now one of them has a backpack. Jeans of one of them looks different, could merely be the contrast of the two cameras.

Sunday March 4th 13:08 seems to fit image three, yet from behind, we can agree that it is most likely the people from image three, yet how certain are we that these are indeed the ‘culprits’? You see, from my (optionally wrong) point of view. We might have clothes to travel within 48 hours, yet two coats and two pairs of shoes? Also, in the end the mention of: ‘CCTV footage of the Russian assassination team’? Is there clear evidence that they were an assassination team? Yet the article gives one part that is the heart of it. That was given with: ‘For six months since the incident in Salisbury, the government has faced criticism over the apparent lack of evidence linking the crime to Russia‘, which was my case all along. I would love to get my fingers on that presentation and go over it with a really fine comb. I wonder what else I can find when I get access to all the raw data and raw footage, and let’s remain fair here, if there was a clear case of guilty in that mix, I would be able to find that too.

I am still willing to consider that I have been wrong, but the lack of evidence gives me the edge and some of the evidence seen is a little off, giving me the edge of my conviction even more. Oh, and in all this, the second ‘attack’ is still an issue and the fact that the second attack was a lot more lethal than the first one, in the light of humidity being a factor in making the Novichok less efficient remains a factor too, especially when we consider the time passed and the Charity bin part is just too vague on a few sides, as well as the setting that no one else got caught with any issues, too many parts are off there too (but that could be my lack of knowledge on how the entire charity bin path goes).

If I had to speculate on this, I would give the comparison of a factory making Jigsaw puzzles. Two different puzzles of the same size gives us two different puzzles with the same cut of pieces and someone mixed parts up so that we get a partial part of puzzle one in puzzle two and vice versa, that does not give us two puzzles, but basically 4 puzzles with an incomplete and incorrect view. In data we get the comical setting that: ‘to get any linear correlation, merely plot two observations’, yes it is 100% linear, as well as 100% unreliable mind you. I personally feel that the issues are pushed in one direction not because the evidence is there, but because the presentation was orchestrated, optionally by a third party, so who was this 3rd party?

I never stated that I was not wrong, I could still be wrong, but the evidence looks too tainted to be accepted as such we are all (including me) set on the wrong foot, you merely have to Google ‘Charlie Rowley’ and look for the news in the last week to see that (also mentioned in my blog Yesterday, as in the link given earlier). In the end, we must not forget the official government news (at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/foreign-secretary-statement-on-the-opcw-report-into-amesbury), where we are given “The police continue their investigation into the poisonings in Amesbury and Salisbury and we await their further conclusions”, when we read that on 4 September 2018, whilst we were given “Two Russian nationals named and charged over the novichok poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury have been identified as officers from Russia’s military intelligence, Theresa May has said, saying the attack was clearly authorised by Moscow” the day after in the Guardian. So what evidence was added in those 24 hours?

The issue given in the government statement with: “The recklessness of the Russian state in bringing a nerve agent in to the UK, and total disregard for the safety of the public, is appalling and irresponsible. Our thoughts are with the family of Dawn Sturgess and with Charlie Rowley” is the one in question. You see, no one ever denied the fact that Novichok is of Russian origin, yet there have been several sources in the past that showed that somehow Novichok got to be out in the open and that gives us the part where: ‘The recklessness of the Russian state in bringing a nerve agent in to the UK’ is the debatable part, merely ‘the Russian state’ as the setting whilst there is more than one alternative part in that trajectory. The push of that path is giving so much doubt and so much consideration towards a botched investigation on several levels. Even if we accept the optional two names to be Intelligence officers’ aliases, and if I was the Russian Mafia, I would definitely use names that at the mere sight of them would be intentionally ignored by border officers at Moscow airport. The fact that this path was ignored FROM DAY ONE is just too big an issue, add to that the failures of the events and we get something quite debatable.

I am always happy to be wrong, yet the presentations we have seen so far makes it more likely then not that this is actually not the case in the end.

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Way of the Dodo

Tariffs are nothing new, these things have existed for the longest time. I grew up where that was a given, so in my youth, only the rich bought a Harley, a Chrysler or a Chevy. I still remember walking to the shop in Rotterdam and look at all those awesome vehicles through the windows (I was too young to drive in those days), many grew their passion that way. It seems odd that living next to the country that made Volkswagen and Mercedes, we wanted a Blazer, a Harley or another American car. Nowadays, the petrol guzzlers they used to be wouldn’t make it today in Europe. So when we see: ‘EU tariffs force Harley-Davidson to move some production out of US‘, I merely see a stage setting to the old ways. The Guardian gives us loads of information as the market slides, as the shift of production and the changing of the US stock market. That is the direct visible impact of the Trade wars. Australia had this setting a few years earlier as the car industry packed up and left Australia for more exploitative settings in Asia. In the booming market that is stated to exist, we see ‘Harley: EU tariffs will cost $100m/year in short term‘ (source: the Guardian). this is a war the US president started and he forgot that companies, especially US ones, have one focus, short term ROI and a trade war changes the hats of many corporations overnight. This is seen to some degree as Bloomberg treated us to ‘Bigger Booby Trap for U.S. Economy‘. We get introduced to “Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said on June 20 that officials are beginning to hear that companies are postponing investment and hiring due to uncertainty about what comes next” (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-06-24/trump-s-trade-war-sets-bigger-booby-trap-for-strong-u-s-economy). It is what is sometimes referred to as the corporate mindset, the consideration that tomorrow is not going to be any better for now. In all this the US hides behind “tax cuts power both consumer and company spending. That would be the strongest in almost four years and twice as fast as the first quarter’s annualized advance of 2.2 percent“, yet the US seems to forget that tax cuts also means that infrastructures are falling apart, the US has a debt it cannot seem to pay and the debt keeps on rising. This in a nation where the national debt has surpassed $21 trillion (103% of GDP), whilst in addition the statistics show that the US faces a setting where the debt per taxpayers is $175K opposing a revenue per taxpayer is merely $27K, a $148K per taxpayer shortfall, that is not the moment when tax cuts have any clear momentum, because the moment the infrastructures start failing, at that point their momentum seizes. Even as Nariman Behravesh the IHS Markit’s Macroeconomic Adviser give us “If they keep down this path, all the positive effects of the tax cut will be gone“, it is worse than that. This gives the indirect implication that unemployment rates will go up giving additional ‘attack’ against the US infrastructure. All this seems to become a direct result of the tug of war between tariffs and protectionism. The BBC gives the best light (at https://www.bbc.com/news/world-43512098), when we consider ‘Five reasons why trade wars aren’t easy to win‘. In this we see (not all five added):

  1. Tariffs may not actually boost steel and aluminium jobs much. The question becomes, how much of a boost would be possible, and is this proven or still merely speculation?
  2. Tariffs are likely to raise costs in the US, so the cost of the product will be increased as these CEO’s do not want to take it out of their margins, so it will be bookkept in another place, the consumer has to pay for all these charges in the end.
  3. Tariffs could hurt allies and prompt retaliation, which is already the case and when you consider that the two largest deliverers of steel are Canada and the EU, the move does not make that much sense. So we see a tariff war that will be about exemptions. In that regard, the tariff war is a bust where the companies hit will be facing a rock and a hard stand on tariffs, this is shown by a few clever people to move part of their operation to Europe, and Harley Davidson is merely the first of several to make that move.
  4. China has options, this is the big one. The US blames China for flooding the market with cheap steel and aluminium and has already stepped up protective measures against Chinese steel products. In opposition, US businesses, including those in the car, tech and agriculture industries, are eager to get into the Chinese market, giving leaders there some leverage. So in the end, the tariff war is not strangling US businesses to fan out to the Chinese market, as exemptions are gained here, the tariff war becomes close to pointless and it merely drove down the economy. This last part is not a given and cannot be proven until 2019, which could null and void any chance of President Trump getting a second term, in addition, if this is not going to be a slam dunk win for the Democrats, the Republicans better have a strong case, because 2020 is the one election where the chances for winning by Jeb Bush (Florida) and Ann Coulter (Florida) seems to be a better option than re-electing the current president. Who would have thought that in 2016? It becomes hilarious when you consider that 2020 is the year that Marco Rubio declined to run, only to give the presidency to Ann Coulter. My sense of humour needs to point that out, whether it becomes reality or not.

The previous part is important to consider, not for the matter of who becomes president, but the setting that the economy is in such a state where we all see the proclamation ““Anyone who thinks the economy is being wrecked doesn’t know what they’re talking about,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a June 21 Bloomberg Television interview“. We accept the fact that he states that, yet everyone seems to overlook that the debt also gives an annual interest that is close to $100 per taxpayer, now consider that 80% of the population is in the 15% or 10% bracket. So from their taxation we see a maximum of $755 where 13% goes straight to the paying of the interest, when you are in the higher bracket 3% is lost. So before anything else is done up to 16% is lost and that accounts for 80% of the population, merely because no budgets were properly kept, the US infrastructure lost up to 16% straight from the start, that is the undermining of an infrastructure that also fuels the economy which it can no longer do. You see behind this is the IP, or as the US calls it the IP theft by China. I am uncertain if we can agree. I am not stating that it does not happen, I merely look at the Dutch examples from Buma/Stemra in the 90’s and their numbers were flawed, perhaps even cooked. They never made sense and after that we have seen ‘political weighting‘ of numbers that were debatable from the start.

So when we look back to 2017, we see the NY Times giving us: “Intellectual-property theft covers a wide spectrum: counterfeiting American fashion designs, pirating movies and video games, patent infringement and stealing proprietary technology and software“, yet I have seen these accusations in Europe and the numbers never added up. So when we see: “Central to Chinese cybersecurity law is the “secure and controllable” standard, which, in the name of protecting software and data, forces companies operating in China to disclose critical intellectual property to the government and requires that they store data locally. Even before this Chinese legislation, some three-quarters of Chinese imported software was pirated. Now, despite the law, American companies may be even more vulnerable“. It will happen, yet to what degree does it happen? What evidence is there? Consider the setting when we think of students. Students tend to have one of the harshest budgets to live on. Let’s take 100 students and they all decided to duplicate (read: borrow) the latest album from Taylor Swift ‘Reputation’ (it is easier to imagine it when the victim is a beautiful blonde who only recently stopped being a teenager). Now, basically she lost $2390 in revenue, yet is that true? How many would have actually bought the album? Let’s say 10% of all students are real fans and they would have bought the album (when not confronted with the choice of food versus entertainment), so the actual loss is $239. Now, this is still a loss and she is entitled to take action here. Yet the people making a living in the facilitation industry will demand the loss be set to $2390 that is where the numbers do not add up! There is the setting of eagerness to hear an album versus the need to have the album. We are all driven with the need to hear the album and some will buy it. This opposes several views and whilst the implied copied work allegedly is done so in the hundreds of thousands, the evidence is not there to support it. That is where weighted forecasts are the setting and it is an inaccurate one. So in all this, from the IP point of view, do we have 23,675,129 C# programmers, or merely 24 million people who wanted to take a look at C# only to install it and never use it because they could not figure out what they were looking at?

Now we get to 2018, where we see (at http://money.cnn.com/2018/03/23/technology/china-us-trump-tariffs-ip-theft/index.html) the projected issues with “The United States Trade Representative, which led the seven-month investigation into China’s intellectual property theft and made recommendations to the Trump administration, found that “Chinese theft of American IP currently costs between $225 billion and $600 billion annually“, I wonder what numbers they are set on. Now we can agree that the likelihood of “”China has sought to acquire US technology by any means, licit or illicit,” James Andrew Lewis, senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, wrote in a blog post Thursday” being true in regard to defence projects would be high. Yet in all this, where is the data supporting these views? Without proper data we are faced with US companies setting expected revenue that is many millions too high and that part remains unanswered on many fronts. Now in defence, we get it! That is the game, so as we consider the news last year from breaking defense with the news that: “compassion for the Army, which is trying to standardize its computer systems across more than 400 units in the next 28 months. The objective is a “single software baseline,” where every unit has the same set of information technologies. Such standardization should simplify everything from training, maintenance, operations and future upgrades“, this is fun to read as I had to set up something like that for a company much smaller. There we learned that Dell was kind enough to have within two shipments the same model computer yet both had different patches because one chip had been changed. Now consider that this ‘unsettling dream of standardisation‘ was for a company with hardware usage merely a rough 0.13% of what the US Army has. So, that is something that will bite them soon enough. This doesn’t make the setting smaller, but a lot larger, the wrong patches tend to open up networks for all kinds of flaws not correctly set. So the cyber intrusion setting would be an optional 300% larger, giving a much larger success rate, all people willing to sell data to the Chinese (or the Chinese merely enticing the American people to embrace marketing capitalism for their own gains).

To explain the previous part in its proper light we need to realise. It is not merely about IP theft and rights; it is also about common cyber sense. In both the military and corporate setting there is a need for levels of standardisation, whilst IP that tends to rely on standardisation to be more successful, the IP theft setting is actually opposite to that. The Conversation (at http://theconversation.com/three-reasons-why-pacemakers-are-vulnerable-to-hacking-83362) gives us when they look at the medical dangers. As they give us Power versus security as well as Convenience versus security we see the first dangers. So consider the following. First there is “according to Carnegie Mellon researchers, can increase the energy consumption of some mobile phones by up to 30% because of the loss of proxies“, then we get “Most embedded medical devices don’t currently have the memory, processing power or battery life to support proper cryptographic security, encryption or access control“, giving us that hacking into someone’s pacemaker is actually not as hard as one might think. Now consider that encryption, or a lack thereof can be found on a large variety of IoT devices, and any army has their own devices that need to be more accessible at all times. In the second consideration we get “The prospect of having to keep usernames, passwords and encryption keys handy and safe is contrary to how they plan to use them“, as well as “When your pacemaker fails and the ambulance arrives, however, will you really have the time (or ability) to find the device serial number and authentication details to give to the paramedics“, it is the age old setting of convenience for the safety of all. So as we realise this, how much IP theft was already available before anyone realised its need? It is almost like the gun laws in the US, everyone wants gun laws whilst there are millions available for unmonitored purchasing defeating the purpose altogether. In that same setting we ignore common Cyber Sense too often allowing for IP theft on a much larger scale. The issue is that it does not mean that this is actually happening, or that others have interest to steal that particular IP. So we can optionally agree that the Chinese government that they definitely want all the IP on that front, even as some sources state that there is still a problem. So when we consider to an example, we need to look at that part of the information came from a research report by LtCol B. L. Ream, USAF, which gives us “There are two types of guidance systems available, the AGM-65A/B is optical guided and the AGM-65D model Is Infrared guided“, as well as “Once launched, the missile maintains a lock on to the target and guides autonomously, providing a standoff launch and leave capability. The aircraft can then egress the target area or set up to fire again in a target rich environment“, yet the other undisclosed source gives us that a programming issue on the locking when it is set through a buddy system. The: “data link control of the weapon can be provided from two different sources. Either the launch aircraft can guide the weapon or a buddy aircraft can control the weapon after launch. In either case, data link line of sight must be maintained between the data link aircraft and the weapon. Thus, on a standoff control scenario, the further away from the target the control aircraft is the higher altitude it must maintain. Even though this may not appear to be tactically sound, the standoff range is impressive“, so the undisclosed source that gives that the Data Link has a match issue and there is a chance that the speculated offset of 35 metres is ‘accidently implemented on targeting‘, will there be an issue of IP theft? When materials are openly available on the internet, as I was able to read the report on the Defense Technical Information Center site. When is there a case of IP theft? In this I love the reference that WIPO uses. Here we see: “Copyright protection extends only to expressions, and not to ideas, procedures, methods of operation or mathematical concepts as such“, considering that ballistic software is 90% math (read: the application of mathematical concepts), copyright as an option goes straight out of the window, in addition, the data link adjustment makes it in theory a new product that was not covered in the first place. So standardisation makes it easier to get to the lollies, and by adjusting the wrapper it ends up not being IP theft, as long as no trademarks reside on the wrapper (a ‘it is more alike than not‘ issue in IP law).

And now for the main meal

This is seen in the CNN article I raised earlier. The headline ‘President Donald Trump has slapped tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods, taking aim at China’s theft of US intellectual property‘. It was and has always been about IP protectionism. Business Insider gives us “Two former senior Defence Department officials said Chinese intellectual property theft cost the US as much as $US600 billion a year, calling it possibly the “greatest transfer of wealth in history.”“, the Financial Times (at https://www.ft.com/content/995063be-1e0a-11e8-956a-43db76e69936) gives us: “as Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s foreign minister, suggests: “It is entirely inappropriate to view any trade with Canada as a national security threat to the United States.” Yet once this loophole is used so irresponsibly by the US, of all countries, where might it stop?” The Financial Times takes it a lot further giving raise to the question how did it in the end serve IP? Where we saw more than once the terms ‘as much as $US600 billion a year‘, yet no evidence is presented. There is no setting that ‘Two former senior Defence Department officials‘ can present a list adding the numbers up and with $600 billion in the balance (as opposed to the commercial industry) we see that if proper evidence was presented a better case could have been made. Where we see in opposition to China: a lucrative market in designer knockoff goods in places like Amsterdam and London. London getting its share of 17 million tourists, all happy to get the latest Gucci bag for a special discount price of £19.95 as well as in Amsterdam where the 14 million visitors can get them for a mere €25. So did Gucci report a €812 million in IP theft losses? What about the other brands? I was the proud owner of an Australian Polo for $12, I merely needed a polo shirt (many years ago) as some drunk blonde thought it was perfectly normal to dance in high heels in the middle of the road holding a glass of red wine, so as she jumped to get away from a car (who had an actual reason to be on the road), I ended up with her wine on my shirt. So I got to the first place that sold a polo shirt and got a new one so I would not arrive at a diner red stained before it even began. Did I initiate IP theft? I had no idea what ‘Australian’ was in those days. There is the setting, what we know, what was real damage and how it is presented by those needing inflated IP theft numbers?

It is in this setting that we need to see the stage for reported IP theft. We agree that the smallest fraction is indeed set to the covert acquisition of military IP, yet the bulk (well over 95%) is all about a misrepresenting economy, the brands want their losses to seem as large as possible, the US is setting that stage to prospective economic health, yet that evidence cannot be validated and the tariff war is likely to become a much more detrimental factor in the US economy that is currently presented as a revenue bubble that will impact sooner rather than later. The independent gave us last December (at https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/economy-signs-interest-rates-donald-trump-market-bubble-burst-next-year-a8102356.html) that ‘Five economic signs that can tell us if the bubble will burst next year‘. Here we see “The good news is that the world is at last experiencing a coordinated expansion, with all major regions growing reasonably swiftly“, as well as “the policies that have led to this expansion, especially ultra-easy money conditions, have created a boom in asset prices that at some stage will come to an end“. There are a few views in all direction, yet the one that no one seems to focus on is the quality of life. Earlier this year USA Today reported that “California has the worst quality of life in America“, the sunny state is where people can no longer afford to live to any decent degree. That part is forgotten, the QoL in New York is in 25th position, not a great place to be. The Quality of Life in the US has decreased to the degree where it is the lowest in the developed world. That and the fact that the US is at minus 21 trillion does not help. It is shown in the US Social Progress Index where none of the five largest state economies (California, New York, Illinois, Florida and Texas) are in the top ten states on social progress. This is important and reflects back to the student example I gave earlier. So as these people will all ‘borrow’ the latest Taylor Swift album and none of those will buy it, because they cannot afford to do so. That part becomes even more visible when you consider the Wired setting on pre-owned games in 2016. At some point Microsoft made the terminal choice as given by Wired through “You may remember that Microsoft attempted to do away with “used games” with the launch of the Xbox One. (Yeah, they made some hand-wavy claims of players being able to trade games at “participating retailers,” but the DRM scheme meant you couldn’t borrow, lend, sell them on eBay“, that setting is merely exploding in an economy that is not moving forward. That with 80% of the people on merely a 15% tax bracket or lower and the cost of living there is still going up. Even as Microsoft is pushing to “buy at the Microsoft store“, a digital copy cannot be handed out to friends, so there is little push for that move when you can only afford 4 games a year. However, Microsoft is in equal measure pushing for the Game Pass which balances one for the other. EA is making a similar move and it is actually an intelligent move to make. The few that would buy the latest NHL version no matter what gives is nothing compared to the overwhelming group that will happily buy the previous year version when it is part of a package deal at $40 a year. So I might wield the latest NHL version, at $40 a year getting the previous season of FIFA, NBA and NFL is just smart thinking. Yet these people are equally part of the claimants of IP theft. The question becomes (even as we accept that it will happen), how large is the actual IP theft? So when the US adds a 10% tariff on video games, does that merely make the download 10% more expensive? I do not think that from $40 to $44 for EA games is an increase we lose sleep about, yet the ‘cost’ of downloading remains as well, and in the flawed Microsoft design, how does the tariff apply over time, on DLC and other elements in gaming? All these changes and increases, where the consumer sees no upside, all based on projected and presented numbers without its proper representation and scrutiny.

This is how an economy goes the way of the Dodo, so when you think (source: Sydney Morning Herald) that the start of ‘US plans to curb Chinese tech investments, citing security‘ is a good idea and it is waxed with “the White House would use one of the most significant legal measures available to declare China’s investment in US companies involved in technologies such as new-energy vehicles, robotics and aerospace a threat to economic and national security, according to eight people familiar with the plans“, we need to see in equal setting the fact that 750 million Europeans might find the escalation of events important and threatening enough to take a 180 degree position on tech operators like Huawei when we are treated to “Huawei, China’s biggest maker of handsets and networking equipment, which has been flagged numerous times by US lawmakers as a possible security threat to Americans. Upon the New York Times’ publication of a piece (paywall) highlighting Facebook’s data sharing with Huawei, as well as with three other Chinese companies, the social network told the paper it would wind down (paywall) its partnership with the Shenzhen-based phone brand“. One side tries to stop and filter, whilst the other side turned open the tap and let the room flood. Even now, after a congressional hearing and the Cambridge Analytica events, we see alleged transgressions and the sharing of data on a stage where we see only growth. With “Due to the importance of highlighting the natural and heritage landmarks in the Kingdom, “Huawei Saudi” joined together with Qumra’s community of photographers to organize a workshop around “photography through smartphones” by using the latest “Huawei P20 Pro” phone” and the setting that offers the latest in mobile technology far below the prices that Google, Apple and Samsung have. It does not matter on how the tariff war is to become a disaster, it is the mere realisation that it fails because those implementing changes do not seem to comprehend that the economy consists of well over a billion consumers and they cannot afford the 10% more or the 28% more expensive mobile phone alternatives. In all this the people confronted with the dilemma merely went directly to the consumers, as such Harley Davidson is moving to Europe to circumvent a few barricades, a tariff war that was short sighted to a lot of people more intelligent than me and the country that considers naked short selling to not be illegal seems to be doing just that to its own economy, how is that the setting of morality of capitalism?

We consider the way of the Dodo and realise that in the end it merely tasted like chicken.

#HowSmartWereWe or is that #HowSmartHuawei

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Two streams, one view

As I see the news pass by, events shown on separate media, I notice myself wondering if my life had any meaning at all. I was young and I went to the Middle East in 1982, I would return in 83 and 84 only to learn that there was change. Terrorists like Hezbollah and Hamas were only small and Hamas rose as I would see in 1984, yet I thought that change would be inevitable. I saw Hezbollah as nothing more than pesky small minded terrorists, a tool to be used by Iran and Syria. Yet even as Lebanon was trying to move forward, there were signs in media and some places that the US needed Syria too much, in their case dealing with Saddam Hussein and as such many of us thinking we would fight for peace, we only fought for the borderlines that the US decided needed to be in place. It must have been the late 80’s, I was not longer in the Middle East and not all clued in towards the events of the day there. You see DARPA had not rolled out the internet at that point; ARPANET was not available for the audience at large. So today I see that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Now we see another push against Hezbollah. You see Saudi Arabia has had enough of those terrorists and is pushing back hard, it is also willing to push against Iran. I see two issues. One is that this issue will be bloody and even as we hope for the victory of Saudi Arabia there, there are more than just a few markers showing us that the three largest players (US, Russia and UK) are not completely in agreement whether the Middle East should have one clear dominant party. The issues in Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Libya and Kuwait that have been going on for half a century should show that. If that had not been the case Hezbollah and Hamas would have been little more than an inconvenience and they would have been dealt with a long time ago. So even as I see certain steps being taken I need to wonder if Saudi Arabia is pushing for a resolution, what will the larger picture show as it shifts. As that unfolds where will the US and Russia stand? What actions, or inactions will they use to leave the Status Quo in the middle east in a place called ‘as is’? The evidence for the longest time has shown that they pronounce whatever allies they have, but in the end, they only care for their needs and options. Now, this is not wrong or immoral, it is merely the way any nation plays its game. It is not a new game, it goes back even before Nicola Machiavelli thought it was a god idea to write down certain options for politicians to be.

As per Friday morning, we see: ““Due to the circumstances in the Lebanese Republic, the kingdom asks its citizens who are visiting or residing there to leave immediately,” a Foreign Ministry source quoted by the news agency said, adding that Saudis were advised not to travel to Lebanon from any country“, so even as we can merely speculate on what comes next, the onus is now pushed on Iran and what it is going to do with its terrorist ally Hezbollah. There is one opposing side which was shown by Reuters (at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-security-saudi-insight/deep-in-yemen-war-saudi-fight-against-iran-falters-idUSKBN1D91UR). With: “The dysfunction is a reminder to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that his campaign to counter arch-enemy Iran in the Middle East, including threats against Tehran’s ally Hezbollah, may be hard to implement” we acknowledge that Iran has resources and skills and they are driven, both sides clearly are. In my mind, is the additional theatre (read: change of scenery) a workable factor? It does put larger pressures on Iran to get the logistics and goods underway, which will be their weakness to some extent. It is equally an issue how Russia will react. They might not openly act in this placement, yet the clear support to Hezbollah and as the times of Israel states: “the truth is that since Russia began its open military activities in Syria, Hezbollah fighters are also learning Russian methods of war, becoming familiar with advanced Russian weaponry, coming to understand the latest Russian technologies, and in some cases, actually fighting alongside Russian special forces“, we might comprehend the skills and training of the Spetsnaz Malcheks, or the ‘Войска специального назначения’ as they call themselves. In one part Avi Issacharoff omitted or decided not to implement one view in his story. In the end when the Spads are not holding their hands, Hezbollah remains what they were trained enthusiastic terrorists, they are only an army in the smallest sense of the total concept, this also means that as logistics falters, as support dwindles the armed Saudi forces will be more than a match and should gain the upper hand. Now, this can only play out if there is a stalemate between Russia and USA, because if the USA backs down and Hezbollah gets open on the ground Russian support, it becomes an entirely different slice of cake and all bets are off at that point. Only the Russians could push Hezbollah in way that the Iranians could never do. You see, if Iran enters the theatre the game changes as they become a clear and present danger to the state of Israel, their vocal insinuations made that so, so as Iran is trying to get a foothold whilst Israel has a few ways to counter them, we will see a more underground event of escalations where Iran is unable to counter a war they never have faced. You see their words (Iran that is) might look good on the news and on PowerPoint presentations, yet in the true data parks there is no setting, because in the end, this generation of Iranians have never faced anyone like Israel before and their faith in their own internal governmental presentations will make them even less prepared. So at that point it is merely a scuffle between Hezbollah and Saudi armed forces and in that equation there is no option of even a remote stalemate for Hezbollah. Is that the goal? I believe that Russia saw Hezbollah as a tool for what they needed, the US has always been hostile and Europe requires high earnings, so the ECB is very much not in favour of any outspoken hostilities against anything that can downgrade their earnings, so they are seemingly steering away from these events as much as they can, yet I will admit that is just me speculating on European events in this case. Even as London is more and more outspoken anti-Hezbollah. Amsterdam and Stockholm are not taking that path. In my mind it is the liberal multicultural flag that they embrace, in that atmosphere a group like Hezbollah can easily hide under this ‘veil’ whilst hating multicultural events as much as possible.

This again has speculative sides, but it is based on solid data and events. You might think that it does not matter, but it does. As more and more nations in their liberal mindset hold off on an actual war on terror, being it for economic or philosophical reasons. Not being part of it is equally a problem down the track. So as we move back towards Lebanon and Hezbollah, we need to realise that not only will this become ugly to a larger degree, there is every chance that unless certain actions are taken the issues seen in Aleppo will be seen in Aleppo too, there is just no way to tell to what extent. In this we can look at Survival Analyses (or listen to the song ‘as time goes by’), where the point in time and the prolongation of all this is the setting on just how much Beirut will look like Aleppo in the end, time is the only factor required here and the people in Europe know this. So as we see the news prepare on how there should be talks and there should be armistices, they all better remember that it was their need for status quo that is pushing the consideration for a terrorist organisation.

Who in Europe would have ever thought that support of a terrorist organisation would be the cool thing to do on September 12th 2001? So consider that and now wonder why Europe is, for now, again sitting on their hands or even contemplating siding to the larger extent with Hexbollah? Yet there is also good news because with the actions by JP Morgan to push into large chunks of the Middle East and more notably the push towards the Kingdom Holding Company. You might think it is not related, but it is. It gives the view that JP Morgan is a facilitator for setting maximised profits and these profits are not to go towards France. There has been a thought that the US is not commitment, but as there is profit in war, the clear fallout of any war is opportunity. It seems to me that the US wants to get as much profit out of that as possible, so as the dominoes are pushed into place, we see a situation where the media proclaims JP Morgan to be a mere financial advisor. I believe that to be incorrect. Even as Reuters reported “JPMorgan is in early talks with Saudi Arabian companies about overseas listings“, that might be true, but JP Morgan has been pushing itself and its ‘friends’ into powerful places where lucrative revenues are not set in millions, but in billions. I cannot answer whether Credit Agricole did the right or wrong thing, they are pretty clever all by themselves. I think that the Saudi issues in play now are pushing for polarising fields of options and opportunity on a global scale. In this case my view will be proven over the next 2 years as we follow the money. They question is where the source will be set and who gets to fill their bucket list from that well. when the options are returned in billions there will be plenty of players, although in this instance I believe that the outside opportunities (non-Saudi based companies) are offered to the friends of JP Morgan and them only, which is again a speculation. Whether I am right or wrong will be initially shown in the next 20 weeks.

There are however facts available to see that there is a direction in place. Reuters show on part (at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-jpmorgan-saudi/jpmorgan-sees-more-saudi-firms-looking-at-overseas-listings-after-aramco-idUSKBN1D7107), some might think that “He said listings in New York, London, Hong Kong or Singapore might help increase the liquidity of these companies and make them attractive for international investors, he said” is the part that gives the goods, yet it is the part not seen and more interestingly not implied that gives power to it all. The implied part is seen with “Commenting on the anti-corruption drive, Pinto said: “If it is done in the right way and for the right reasons it is good to do for the future of the kingdom.”” It is however only the first part. The news given with ‘Saudi Arabia detains 201 princes, businessmen in $100 billion corruption probe’ (at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-11-10/saudi-anti-corruption-probe-finds-$100-billion-embezzled/9136608). This was not a sudden part, this had been in play for some time. It was not merely the fact that at present 201 people are now in custody. Even as we see mention of Iran and the Lebanon pressures, we see that there is a larger play. His Royal Highness King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud have been on a path to get the nation reformed and moved away from oil dependency. In this the pool of plenty does not last too long when 100 billion get lost one handshake at a time as more and more people are connected to unlimited resources and wealth. As the press seems to be focussing on the crown prince and the ‘wild ride’ he created, there is a larger issue that is not too much in focus. No matter what the sceptics state, There is a clarity that Saudi Arabia is seriously considering that the age of oil is dwindling, as this happens they need to be able to push into other directions and they do have the wealth to create vested interests in pharmaceuticals, consumer goods, consultancy services and educational advantages. Forbes has had its share of articles on the matter, and whilst some look at ‘Saudi Arabia Looks To The Private Sector To Meet Growing Healthcare Demands’ it seems to me that 5G facilitation has much larger and more profitable sides as other providers are considering what to do, Saudi Arabia has the option to facilitate to the largest 4 cities and exceed in opportunity what Sweden has for its entire nation. When there is such a population (9.5 million) in 4 cities, there is an option to grow and grow fast. Now we know that there is a lively market already, but the idea that other services could be added grows the Saudi options to add markets and manufacturing opportunities through investment. I all this JP Morgan is potentially the spider in the centre of the web, growing in value and wealth from all sides at the same time. There is no way to state why Crédit Agricole walked away from those opportunities, but I feel certain that they did not walk away, the merely moved to a place around the corner. Even as the Financial Times (at https://www.ft.com/content/0e629bab-494c-34d0-8fe0-f71c8b089118) show mixed results, yet I believe that this French bank is moving into different fields, acquiring other banks and setting new goals. I have no way to tell on the why of it but I feel that moving away was only one as the clever people in this bank have agreed on a strategy that allows to grow faster and on larger fields. How?

We will learn this over the next 20 weeks. Yet no matter what is done and how the banks react is not a given, the direct dangers on how things escalate in Lebanon and with Iran seems to be crucial in all of this and I reckon that we will see the shifts quite soon. These shifts will not be through armed conflict, but will rely on the pressures and stresses that exist at present. In this Europe seems to take a ‘diplomatic’ stance (at http://www.ecfr.eu/article/commentary_destabilising_lebanon_will_only_strengthen_hezbollah_7235), yet with “Europeans should veer the other way, taking measures that aim to preserve Lebanon’s stability and governance structures, and to prevent wider conflagration. Iran is clearly a key source of regional instability, and Hezbollah has become increasingly assertive in Lebanon” it seems to advocate a path of inaction, 3 decades of inaction have shown that there is no solution on that path, a stream of casualties, of non-actions and broken promises. Saudi Arabia (and the USA) both had enough, and as Iran seems to be an annoying thorn in the side of Saudi Arabia, they have seemingly decided to take Hezbollah out of the equation. This will be interesting, because the moment Hamas and Iran realise that the gig is finally up, I wonder how must tearful pleads of ‘negotiations’ will be shown on nearly every soft hearted news channel on the planet. Perhaps a recollection of March 2016 is needed. With: “Hamas on Sunday sent a delegation to Egypt in an effort to beseech Egyptian security officials to stop destroying its tunnels out of Gaza. These terror tunnels, employed by the terrorist group for nearly a decade, are used to store weapons, smuggle supplies, and infiltrate enemy territory – Israel – as well as carry out surprise attacks in which people are killed and soldiers abducted.” (source: Breaking Israel News). It reads like “please let us be terrorists a little longer, we need the tunnels to do naughty things”. There is every chance that this falls on deaf ears, because as Israel is optionally no longer pressured in possible two front wars, they can fully focus on Hamas whilst Saudi Arabia will only have to deal with Iran after that. It will truly change the Balance of Power in the Middle East with Saudi Arabia as the only true power in that region, all because to a larger extent, Europe decided to remain in a self-imposed state of inaction. After three decades they still haven’t learned that inaction against terrorists will never ever lead to any solution.

Yes, there are a few elements of speculation from my side, but it is based on gathered facts and it I do not believe it is less likely on the balance of probabilities, it is merely one optional setting in a larger game that has been played for much too long.

 

 

 

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Saturation in Denial

Last week the Guardian published one of the weirder stories. It’s from Lisa O’Carroll and Gwyn Topham with the title ‘Ryanair ‘will have to suspend UK flights’ without early Brexit aviation deal‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/apr/06/ryanair-uk-flights-brexit-deal-wto), why do we care?

The subtitle is a little more interesting, but for very different reasons, so when you see ‘Falling back on WTO rules without a bilateral arrangement would be ‘disastrous’, says airline’s finance chief‘, you need to look beyond the claim given.

Why is this funny?

When you see the quote “Ryanair has warned it will have to halt flights from the UK for “weeks or months” if Theresa May does not seal an early bilateral Brexit deal on international aviation“, we need not worry, we can howl with laughter at the implied push for stress, both Lisa O’Carroll and Gwyn Topham should know better! You see, when you go to www.skyscanner.com.au, and I seek a flight from London to Amsterdam, I get flight offered from $198, for a return. Now, the issue is not the price, the issue is that between the 9th and 10th of April, I get offered 1295 results, stretching 130 pages of flights over a period of 24 hours. Now, we can agree that this does not apply for all locations. For example flights to Munich will only give 934 results and Stockholm gives me 981 options. So basically, there are more options to get from London to either Amsterdam, Munich or Stockholm, than there are trains from London to Birmingham! Now, it is a fair call that this place is filled with Ashton Villa fans, so why would you want to go there, but the direct issue is given. When we see the quote “Ryanair’s UK flights were only 2% of its business, said Sorahan“, so why on earth are we wasting time on a non-issue? Especially when the quote “He said: “We could still operate within that 1960s bilateral agreement” which established mutual flying rights between the Netherlands the UK” is found down the line. It is actually Pieter Elbers, the chief executive of Dutch national carrier KLM, who gives us value with: “It’s a worry. The instability and uncertainty is not good for business. However, it’s premature to go into this will or won’t happen“, which is actually right on course. Any action now is just premature for now and this visibility for Michael O’Leary whilst this is 2% of a saturated business is a bit out of whack on the best of days. A small outdated statistic is: “On a typical July day there are around 30,000 flights across European airspace“, 30,000 flights! Now we can agree that in July plenty of people get on a plane for an annual vacation, yet consider that we are talking about 8-12 million people per day (a wild guess in action). So when we consider Ryanair giving us grief over his 2% fleet, he should perhaps take a gander towards other shores?

This all follows with two more quotes “Brexit has already forced other airlines such as EasyJet into moving aircraft to enable continuity of business” and “Sorahan said Ryanair had planned to grow by about 15% in the UK last year but had instead posted growth of about 6%” The first part gives strength to the statement by KLM executive Pieter Elbers, ‘it’s premature‘ which gives us that some executives like those in EasyJet have a bigger grasp on their continuity of a bonus, than a sound approach towards a saturated market. The second one gives us that Ryanair missed its forecast by nearly 10%, so is this really about some Brexit deal, or is this about an airline that missed its target by 10%, from a 2% group. I am even amazed that this is on the radar of Neil Sorahan. When we consider the Financial Times last year, we see (at https://www.ft.com/content/f337fb7f-b4ba-3ad8-b50b-c698dd7a2adb), where we see “Revenue was €6.54bn, up 16 per cent on the year and only a nudge below analysts’s forecasts of €6.55bn” as well as “Ryanair said it expected net income in the current financial year to increase 13 per cent to between €1.38bn and €1.43bn“, which was off by 50%, so as Brexit was not in the referendum at that point, we get a slightly different view. There is no doubt that there will be a few issues in the post-Brexit era, yet to immediately go into ‘panic mode‘ by halting flights seems like an overreaction, especially as there are 1294 alternatives.

Saturation, when you can no longer absorb or dissolve!

Market saturation is a weird point. I remember meetings in the 90’s where I was part of a group of Americans and they were unable to fathom the term ‘market saturation‘, they regarded it as some fictional state of mind. The question becomes, are the airlines in a state of saturation? Now, consider the question how many of the 30,000 flights are actually an issue, especially with the fact that Ryanair has a mere 2% vested in the UK flights? Now we get that we have to look at it from the other side of the table. 10% of its fleet operates from one of 19 UK airports, so we get that there is a possible issue in the future. Now consider that Ryanair is a commercial operation that requires to have profit, which means it needs to keep its cost as low as possible. Which is a fair goal to have and when you are working a low cost range, you are definitely worried on what Brexit will bring, yet at present, it remains a premature act. Still the underlying score remains a valid one, what does a company do in a saturated market? Well, apparently they whine against journalists. OK, that is not really fair! I admit that, but jumping the shark at this point as politicians are still trying to get their bearings in a place where the facilitation of profit is the major taco to content towards, against whatever natural confrontational issue gets in the way.

That was a mouthful, so let me take a moment to set that in its right perspective. The EEC, EU, or EC; whatever name you want to give that bunny, it seems that the bulk of all European governments are focussed on profit in a place that has a stagnating economy. The problem from my point of view is that profit in a stagnating economy tends to limit those pursuing it to a spreadsheet life merely focussing on next quarter. In this economy the essential need will be to set an agenda towards the next 10 years, not the next quarter. The stock market, the speculators and forecasters state. They are setting the tone for panic modes and sour feelings, even as Ryanair is still moving forward. So, even as Ryanair is trying to get a stronger handle on its ‘Always Getting Better‘ programme, it needs to remain flexible to stay afloat (or flying). In this, they will soon feel a pressure going towards dashboards and short term reporting instead of growing a big data collective where they will enable themselves to get ahead of their main competitors. For that they need visionaries, not reactionists. In that Brexit will fuel the need for reactionists in panic mode, whilst the larger players need to do the exact opposite, take the possible hits they might get and after that move forward stronger, because if Brexit is any indication, the European mainland side will be hitting a recession shelf that is not unlike the 2008 events, but will take longer to overcome. In this several parties have been trying to postpose these events, yet the more postponing we see, the larger the effect will be when it hits and the longer it will last.

Again in this side we will see another emerging wave. The wave of saturation will reflect onto corporations and they will give us new waves of redundancies, where the groups of less significance will collapse opening up options for the flexible larger players, when that happens, those who do not have the data collections in place will lose out on several percentage points of margin in their commercial options. The size and scope cannot be predicted, anyone who claims to do so will not be worthy of your time in this. The fact that these systems have been delayed by a large amount of players will set them back and whilst they start fighting to get ‘something’ in place in the 11th hour does not mean that they remain a player, it merely means that they have invested in a system too late. In this I do believe that if we see a serious approach to their ‘Always Getting Better‘ programme, they could have some benefits, yet that can only be stated with any certainty if we compare what their main competitors offer against what is currently in place. Brexit has nothing to do with that, it is optionally pushing some players to up their game, we must accept that there is a reality that some industries will feel the impact of Brexit, the extent cannot be stated and should not be speculated on, the best solution is to be vigilant and see what improvements can be installed to increase the value of their company and the services that they provide. Big data is only one element and it is not a prophet on a pedestal, it is a tool that allows options if the company has certain levels of flexibility, whether that market is saturated or not, focussing on an event that the people want is not productive.

 

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For Only the Messenger

A few things were showed yesterday from several sources. We can see that there is a new peacock session going on, the parade is in Hangzhou. There the representatives of Wall Street and Dow Jones are making themselves heard regarding the world needs by talking about something else. So, as we see Japan (at http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/sep/04/britain-japanese-brexit-letter-eu) making mention of certain expectations, we wonder who is asking them how their failed objectives by trying Stimulus package after stimulus package whilst not showing any return on that investment. A nation one third of the US having a debt that surpasses 10 trillion dollar. So when I read “a deal that leaves Britain not just in the EU customs union, and single market, but also retains a free flow of workers between the EU and the UK“, it is my personal belief that the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is not working with all thrusters. The idea of self-governing is that the British people decide on a course via their politicians. Not listen to some spokesperson who has (pardon my French) been kissing the arse of the USA (mostly large corporations) for the longest of times. When they were all up in arms about the TPP, see what slice of cake they could get. Now that the TPP is near certainly of the books, Japan has a problem, because these so called Japanese reforms were largely dependent on the TPP opening non-taxable options. Politico stated: “Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be challenged to find some other way to make much-needed economic reforms to stimulate growth if Congress fails to approve the TPP pact and the initiative dies on the vine, a former U.S. trade official said Thursday” (at http://www.politico.com/tipsheets/morning-trade/2016/08/tpp-failure-could-derail-abe-reforms-in-japan-216092), just a week ago, meaning that the G20 is likely to get a side meeting or two between senior US politicians and the Japanese Prime Minister.

So isn’t it interesting how these people are now finally ‘uniting’? The quote “The fear for Downing Street is that other non-EU countries – under internal pressure from their business communities – will now follow the Japanese example and publicly set out the parameters of an acceptable deal from the point of view of their UK-based companies“. This all relates to an equal worry that the UK is seeing within its own borders. It is partially shown in the article ‘Theresa May refuses to commit to Brexit pledges on immigration and NHS’ (at http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/sep/04/theresa-may-refuses-to-guarantee-brexit-pledges-on-immigration-and-nhs) that is apart from the quotes like “Tokyo said Japanese firms could move to other parts of Europe unless many of the current privileges of membership were maintained“, which is a simple indication that Tokyo is licking the heel of Washington DC. I can give that speculation with a certain amount of certainty as they had absolutely no issues pulling out of Australia with Toyota and Mitsubishi. That is after they maximised the troth of subsidies and ate the lot. In my view, Japan does not get to have a word in this. So if they want to leave, let them. Consider that they are willing to gamble on 68 million potential consumers to switch to German brands, not a good move Japan! Yet, this was not the issue initially. You see the quote that Teresa May gives: “the best possible deal for the UK in terms of the relationship that we would have with the EU, following us leaving“, there are unknowns, that has always been the case, yet in light of Japan’s actions, the question becomes, what other actions is lame duck Obama playing with? You see, we are all getting played. part of it is shown in Reuters (at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-eu-finance-idUSKCN10D2OM) the quote “Deepening ties with European companies and “old friends” like the United States and Japan would help Britain preserve its global role in finance after leaving the EU, an industry body said on Wednesday” is only partially a given. You see, the industry bodies do not want their cushy bonuses to fall away. So as they are striking out with the government directly, they are now pushing for the battle stages to be placed with the ‘larger’ economies. The only issue is that Japan has run out of options and the US cannot get the TPP of the ground, meaning that the current lame quack quack is out of options to look good. You see, my reasoning is as follows. When we see the following quotes given to Reuters “they like to do business through London due to the depth of the talent pool and capital markets here“, second quote is “Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Paris and Milan all hope to win a slice of London’s market share in financial services” and third there is “Britain must make more of how much companies across Europe rely on Britain’s financial services and allied professions like accounting and law to do business“, now we get the what we for now will call the Shinzo Abe list. “Maintenance of the access to workers who are nationals of the UK or the EU“, “Maintenance of the freedom of establishment and the provision of financial services, including the “single passport” system” and “the provision of services as well as the free movement of capital, including that between associated companies“. How is this any list that has validity? We are not here to empower Sony, Apple or Microsoft for that matter. You Honourable Shinzo Abe do not get to make the dictation of a list after your companies moved out of Australia because the profit margin was not up to scrap, even after we learned that every Toyota came with a $1800 bonus per car and including those who got shipped to China, so how does the Honourable Shinzo Abe thinks that he is seen anything else then the voice of corporations who have massively been filling their pockets with margins that are too obscene for words. In addition, when we combine the lists we see a play that is all about giving large corporations a free ‘go’, which is how we got into this mess in the first place. The more voices we see on a compromise of the acts without the title makes me wonder who is in charge in the United Kingdom. We know Wall Street controls the USA, but I still believe that the monarchy that is the United Kingdom needs to hold fast and continue on the path that makes them rulers again, not vassals to the corporations.

By the way, when will we ever allow a corporation to dictate what passport comes into play?

So as we (for now) see the Honourable Shinzo Abe as a mere messenger, we have to worry why he took these steps to begin with. This reeks more towards setting the US corporate needs than anything else. Now it could be that even within Japan tough questions would be asked, if political pressures had not been used to get rid of Ichiro Furutachi, Hiroko Kuniya and Shigetada Kishii. Of these I only know Shigetada Kishii to the smallest extent. People in the workplace asking the hard questions, not the useless questions you would get from Lisa Wilkinson (Australia) or Ben Shephard (UK), but the likes of Andrew Jennings (BBC News). So that is a loss!

In all this I see that in more and more nations it is the corporations that decide on news, because those breakfast news shows are all dependant on advertisers, whomever controls them, controls the press to a decent amount. So as we see the messengers on several fronts we see that all of them are now giving way to large corporations and their ‘needs’ whilst the players as a whole are not held accountable for any of this and together they seem to be keeping the non-taxability of corporations a certainty. If you doubt that then wonder why Ireland is now suddenly supporting the appeal from Apple. So not only do they all want a united Europe, but its court rulings are not all that valid. I wonder what will happen if it is ever overthrown. How angry will the people get?

Will the announcer claim protection with the phrase ‘I am only the messenger?‘ Time will tell, but it is clear that Brexit was always going to take a while and for those corporations? They knew the risk was there for well over a year, now they cry wolf? Actually, they are making the Honourable Shinzo Abe cry wolf (which might be worse).

It only shows that they never prepared for this. So why give considerations to people who cannot prepare for these events? Oh and the threat from Japan to take the car makers out of UK? Well, you could do that, but when the Commonwealth population as a whole decide to not to buy a Japanese car, you will make the Korean and Chinese Car industry very happy. Japan? Did the history books not tell me that they became Eastern China in 2018? Perhaps the Yen completely collapsed, as did their economy!

I’ll let you decide on how the industrials are now trying to play the UK!

A friend that threatens our freedom of choice is not a friend. Did they not learn that lesson the hard way on August 6th 1945? I know it’s only been 25,964 days ago, but still!

 

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