Tag Archives: BBC

When the media decides not to tell us

This has been a subject that has been a focal point for me for a while now. The first instance When I got a clear indication was in 2012 when the media on a global scale decided not to inform the people on actions that Sony had taken. The gaming stage for 35 million consumers was changed almost overnight, yet the media trivialised it to the largest degree. It was then that I decided to keep tapping the pulse to see what else was going on.

You will have heard about the issues in Yemen and that the Arabian coalition led by Saudi Arabia is part of this. That you know, but for the longest time, the involvement of Iran and the terrorist organisation Hezbollah was downplayed to a much larger degree, and no one seems to be looking at that part.

In the last 24 hours we were shown to a much larger degree on the dangers that the civil population of Saudi Arabia presently faces (around that airport mind you).

Reuters

Reuters gave us 9 hours ago: ‘Yemen’s Houthis say they attacked Saudi’s Najran airport by drone‘. the article (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-security-saudi-drone/yemens-houthis-say-they-attacked-saudis-najran-airport-by-drone-idUSKCN1ST1HJ) gives us both: “Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement on Thursday launched a drone attack on a Patriot missile battery in the airport of the Saudi city of Najran near the Yemeni border” and “The group claimed responsibility for last week’s armed drone strikes on oil assets in Saudi Arabia and on Sunday said they would attack 300 vital military targets in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen“, so far nothing really new, other than this is the third attack in a week. When we consider “Najran regional airport is used by thousands of civilians daily” we see a stage where another part is now making entry, but about that more shortly.

Al Jazeera

Al Jazeera gives us ‘Yemen’s Houthi rebels attack Saudi’s Najran airport – again‘ (at https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/05/yemen-houthi-rebels-attack-saudi-najran-airport-190523140308211.html), where we are treated to: “The group’s Al Masirah TV reported the drone attack on Thursday came as the Houthis said they would step up their offensive against Saudi targets“, as well as “An explosive-laden drone sent by the terrorist Houthi militia to target Najran airport – which is used by thousands of civilians daily – was intercepted and destroyed by the Saudi air force“. This news is mostly on par, we see the small addition by Colonel Turki al-Maliki that there would be a response but did not elaborate on any details.

I think that we can agree that Reuters and Al Jazeera are regarded as sources of integrity. it is news that so far has always been regarded as trustworthy.

So why is it that this news did not make it to the BBC, yet we were given headlines like ‘PSG boss Al-Khelaifi charged with athletics corruption‘ and ‘Egypt releases students held after exams protests‘. I am not stating that those headlines should not have been there, it is regarded as news, but the attack on civilians by Houthi forces was kept out of the news and that is a little weird, especially as the news on a global level had been slamming Saudi Arabia again and again. The guardian, the New York Times, Washington Post, none of them had it. Yet the Washington Post was eager to report: “In addition to suffering the reputational problems of delivering deadly weapons to governments that clearly misuse them, U.S. defense firms should exercise extreme caution that they are not opening themselves, their officers, and their employees to criminal and civil liability by exporting weapons pursuant to potentially invalid licenses“, it seems interesting that Democrat Robert Menendez was willing to sidestep drone strikes on civil targets at the drop of a hat. In addition, that article (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-may-sidestep-congress-on-saudi-arms-deal-drawing-fresh-warnings-from-republicans-and-democrats/2019/05/23/ca4af24e-7d96-11e9-8ede-f4abf521ef17_story.html) also gives us “anxious to protect their authority to have a say on the executive branch’s ability to export lethal weaponry to foreign actors“, the operative ‘foreign actors‘, instead of ‘foreign government‘, this was written by an intelligent person, I accept that and that this is to set the consumer and voting state is also accepted, yet when a newspaper relies on ‘Democracy dies in darkness‘ and it is only giving you part of the information, is that not an equal attack on democracy? when readers are misinformed by only partially informing them, is that not (in the eyes of some people) the larger crime in all this?

The large papers have almost all omitted that part at the moment, and they are not alone, Deutsche Welle, NOS, Swedish news sources, they are all missing out on the Houthi attack, as well as the fact that in most cases the involvement of Iran remains unmentioned in many of the cases. When sources on TV and online are happy to quote President Trump stating: “I’m an extremely stable genius. OK?” (From my point of view absolutely nothing in that sentence was true), and we are not given the attacks on civilians from one side, we need to take a deeper look at the media and why they are given rights when they do it to march all over democracy.

So when we accept that any democracy gives us: “In a direct democracy, the citizens as a whole form a governing body and vote directly on each issue” and we see that we are not given the actual facts of ‘each issue‘, can we consider to agree that what was once a democracy optionally no longer is one?

The media has been about facilitation towards the big companies for too long, it is time to hold the media owners to account, it is the setting where we see that a democracy has turned into an oligarchy, it is the easiest to achieve in a republic setting, as corporations have a lot more power, in a monarchy that is a lot harder to achieve, but the power players in any Oligarchy achieve that by controlling the media and that is what is seemingly happening on a very large scale. It is time that we shine large lights on that part of the equation before the people to the largest degree no longer have any say in the matter. The EU is the best example (they have no hold or any say on the matters pushed for by the ECB), and it is there that we see the failing of democracy and some players are better out than in.

Even as the ECB is only now (after months of assurances that the Euro was looking up) giving the media “European Central Bank policymakers are concerned that economic growth in the euro zone is even weaker than feared“, as well as the Washington Post that gives us (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/a-3-trillion-bond-beast-runs-the-show-in-europe/2019/05/23/db45efa6-7d35-11e9-b1f3-b233fe5811ef_story.html), when we see the headline that I have spoken about for almost 2 years ‘A $3 Trillion Bond Beast Runs the Show in Europe‘, giving the ECB ruling on EU matters, the EU called a democracy now run by non-elected officials not accountable for their actions, whilst they pushed for that debt. That should be regarded that the EU has moved from so called Democracy into Oligarchy and the media stays silent, they need the ECB to feed them for circulation.

The media decided to sway the story, they decided not to tell us and people wonder why Brexit is the only remaining way out? I as a Brexiteer prefer a stage so that people can be held to account, the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP) can be held to account, and Mario Draghi President of the ECB cannot. The world is in a dangerous stage and the few that have hold on the media stay out of the spotlight for all the reasons that they consider to be right, do you agree?

I certainly don’t, not with this much evidence out in the open.

 

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The Scott Pilgrim of Technology

There is a moment when we have to take account of actions; we have to push into the direct limelight the ACTUAL dangers. I did some of it when the DJI issues hit the news. With ‘That’s the way the money flows‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2019/05/21/thats-the-way-the-money-flows/) we see certain actions, but have you considered the actual dangers?

In this case (for a few reasons I move towards the article in the Verge. Here (at https://www.theverge.com/2019/5/22/18634401/huawei-ban-trump-case-infrastructure-fears-google-microsoft-arm-security) we see what transpired half a day ago. With the ARM announcement people are getting worried. Yet they validly ask: “halting its access to current and future chip designs and coming on the heels of similar breaks from Google and Microsoft. Huawei is in deep, deep trouble, and we still don’t have a clear picture of why“.

Yes that is seemingly an issue, if there actually was an issue, in addition we are given “There’s never been a full accounting of why the US government believes Huawei is such a threat, in large part because of national security interests, which means much of the evidence remains secret” and that is where the issue is, it is hidden. There has not been one respectable cyber engineer giving a clear account of where the actual flaws are.

So when we see: “There was never any hard evidence of backdoors in Huawei’s cell towers — but, as hawks saw it, there didn’t need to be. As a hardware provider, Huawei needs to be able to deploy software the same way Apple deploys iOS updates. But as long as there was a pipeline from Huawei’s China headquarters to cell towers in the US, there would be a strong risk of Chinese surveillance agencies using it to sneak malware into the network“. We can accept that to some degree, yet the actual issue stated with: ‘there would be a strong risk of Chinese surveillance agencies using it to sneak malware into the network‘. If it is about risk then that risk is actually zero, you see Cisco solved that problem for Russian, Chinese and North Korean intelligence months ago. The fact that all over the US and now Europe, we see the dropping of Huawei as a consideration is not merely an act of discrimination, it could also be seen as an act of customer being betrayed by their governments.

What is the evidence?

As some experts give us something like: “The vulnerability could allow an authenticated, local attacker to write a modified firmware image to that component. A successful exploit could either cause the device to become unusable (and require a hardware replacement) or allow tampering with the Secure Boot verification process, according to Cisco’s advisory” and make no mistake, routers from Parks and recreation, to the Pentagon right up to the White House are optionally affected at present, the list (at https://tools.cisco.com/security/center/content/CiscoSecurityAdvisory/cisco-sa-20190513-secureboot#vp) shows a list that is impacting vulnerabilities to MILLIONS of devices and the media remains largely silent on it.

And when we also consider: “Other routing and switching gear patches won’t roll out until July and August, with some products slated for even later fixes, in October and November.” we should all realise that Chinese equipment does not make US hardware vulnerable, Cisco (an American company no less) did it for them. The Washington Post is not really covering it, are they? Perhaps because we see (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/brand-studio/wp/tag/cisco-webex) loads of space reserved for partner content, giving us the credo that I have mentioned a few times before. The media has become a whore (or perhaps better stated a person relying on questionable ethics). They cater to their shareholders, their stake holders and their advertisers; there is the real danger and the real vulnerability.

Keeping the people knowingly in the dark from actual dangerous situations, but that is not really what big business wants is it. The dangers that Huawei grew to twice its size was just too dangerous for those on the Wall Street gravy train, and whilst we see these dangers for almost a month, the value of Cisco goes up? Whilst millions of devices are vulnerable with many of them in that state to deep into November, optionally remaining a danger until well into January 2020, for the simple reason that delays are almost inevitable in these situations?

When we realise that we can Google on reported true and false weaknesses that hit Huawei and Cisco, it is shameful to see the following list:

News source

Huawei ‘danger’ given

Cisco vulnerability mentioned

Sydney Morning Herald

Yay

Nay

the Age

Yay

Nay

the Guardian

Yay

Nay

BBC

Yay

Nay

The Times

Yay

Nay

Australian Financial Review

Yay

Nay

Financial Times

Yay

Nay

Washington Post

Yay

Nay

LA Times

Yay

Nay

NOS (Dutch)

Yay

Nay

Dagens Nyheter (Swedish)

Yay

Nay

 

However, in case of the Sydney Morning Herald we do get to see sponsored content for Cisco and the Washington Post gave the readers Cisco Partner content.

As far as I have been able to tell, none of them gave any light to the vulnerabilities in Cisco Routers and Firewalls. Would you agree that a flaw impacting millions of devices is news? Many of them pulled a similar stunt in 2012 regarding Sony in the month before the release of the PS4. In regards to the list, these are supposed to be the more respectable choices for news; the list of absent news giving sources is a lot larger.

Whilst the IT news magazines gave the broader setting (as well as Cisco on their own site), we see that the media is seemingly playing a game of: ‘Let’s rent a hotel room on an hourly rate‘.

When we see Tara Seals in Threatpost giving us: “A critical vulnerability in Cisco’s software-defined networking (SDN) software could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to connect to a vulnerable data-center switch and take it over, with the privileges of the root user” (at https://threatpost.com/cisco-critical-nexus-9000-flaw/144290/), I suddenly realise that there is an inner demon with a pitchfork stabbing into my brain telling me that I am a pussy, I disagree! So here it is: “A message for the Pentagon IT department; Do you still have the password ‘Cisco123‘ on some of your routers? If so would it not be a great idea to change it before the Chinese Ministry of State Security and the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation (SVR RF) decides to download your servers at their earliest convenience?

I know it is an annoyance, but with Cisco flaws the way they were it is merely a small consideration, and let’s not forget that at this stage no Huawei device was required to acquire the information on your servers. I personally believe that it is time to reward those who do not apply common cyber sense to be rewarded with limelight. I have had to clean up the mess of others for well over a decade and now it is time to give those people the exposure they deserve (my findings regarding Credit Agricole will have to wait for a few more days). When you consider that the flaw also hits the Nexus 9000 Data Centre Switch, a device that is according to their own site ‘Built for scale, industry-leading automation, programmability, and real-time visibility‘, as well as “operate in Cisco NX-OS Software or Cisco ACI modes with ground-breaking Cloud Scale ASIC technology“, and lets be fair, there will always be an issue, a device on such scale cannot be flawless, yet when such a flaw is clearly reported on a level this big and the media merely looks at accusations against Huawei and leaves actual dangers unreported, the integrity of the media has become too large an issue on a global scale.

The issue is twofold for me, the first is that Huawei was never a risk and even as I disagree with the dumb headed approach that the US had, I am very much on the side of Alex Younger (the apparent fearless leader of MI-6), he is merely stating that non-British equipment (in this case Chinese) could be an optional threat in the future. His issue is that this level of infrastructure must be British and he is not wrong, no nation is wrong to have high level infrastructure equipment (whether it is 4G or 5G) in national hands. That is the application of common sense (yet realistically speaking not always pragmatic or achievable). so when he stated last February ‘It’s more complicated than in or out,‘ he is actually spot on, no one denies that. Yet the Americans had their big boots, brainless and started accusations that cannot be proven, that is an issue! For the US it was all about the money and American technology is losing more and more headway, they are literally falling further behind on a daily basis. As I personally see it the direct consequence on iteration versus innovation technology. When the best innovative step is Samsung giving the consumer the ability to share power wireless (which is awesome), even me as an anti-Samsung person will admit that they hit the jackpot with that one. How sad have players like Apple, Microsoft, IBM, INTEL et al really become?

How much of a Scott Pilgrim must we become fighting all the tech companies in the world before we get told the direct truth by the media? How much shaming must we do to make the media make us the number one directive, not the number four option? and as I have been considering more and more to put my IP vision valued at $2 billion public domain and let them fight it out among themselves, basically I am just too tired to engage in another round of bullshit with these so called executives and VP’s who (with the exception of Huawei and Google) do not have a clue on what they are doing in technology in the first place.

The larger problem is not Cisco; it is security and identity management. Most corporations are close to 5 years late into implementing an actual non-repudiation system and that is partially because there is no real good system or good way to ensure non-repudiation, an issue that should have been addressed almost 10 years ago, but never was, I personally tend to blame complacency there. I personally believe that a drive to iteration prevented innovation to get us there, but that is merely my view on the matter and I am perfectly happy to be proven wrong on this specific part.

Dozens of options (I actually had another idea towards a new solution to applied solar technology) all having larger impacts in larger cities and pilot places like Neom City, what does it take for some of these players to wake up and smell the dangers of corporate death through marketing set towards iterative release?

 

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The political winds

It all started nice and slow this morning. I had one task that is due in 4 hours and 34.3 minutes (roughly), so the unnatural act (for me) of sleeping in commenced and it was nice. So there I was morning ritual all shot to smithereens and it was 2 hours until zero hour. My ritual of checking breaking news gives me the BBC and the Saudi Tankers, an interesting part, but the intelligence on the events are missing, even in open source intelligence it is too much on ‘decent confidence’ and ‘statistical probability of certain parties’. One source gives an implied presence of Hezbollah in Shinas (Oman), yet there is zero reliability as well as the fact that any attack would have required different tools as well as location does not add up, as it is at that point that Israel Hayom gives me ‘Saudi Arabia retaliates hours after Houthis attack oil facilities‘, the fact that we see “Houthi rebels in Yemen, who are backed by Saudi Arabia’s arch-rival Iran, claim attack on Saudi oil pipelines“, this is indeed a different status and I will dig into this when i get more data, this event could escalate matters fast. As such the defence needs of Saudi Arabia will explode (pardon the pun) soon enough.

Yet this is about UK politics and the issues will relate soon enough. The Independent (at https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/jeremy-hunt-conservative-party-wall-street-journal-london-a8914171.html) gives us ‘Jeremy Hunt appears to struggle for an answer when asked why people should vote Tory‘, you see as a conservative (yes, I am a Tory) I struggle too. There is no shame in this, we need to walk a tightrope and keeping balance is actually a lot harder than you might imagine. So when we see Jeremy Hunt give us: “Because we are not going to solve this problem by retreating to populist extremes” he has a point, it is clear and he is correct, yet the problem is that we are looking at the wrong extreme. Nigel Farage is not the populist extreme, the European Central Bank is the populist extreme, just not a populist extreme for the people, they are the populist solution for the IMF, Wall Street and American commerce, three that they were never supposed to cater for and the European ignorance is just amazing. Also, the view that the media remains silent on many issues involving the ECB, Mario Draghi and their acts of non-accountability have become too staggering. And as the media is in denial in one side and then bashes Nigel Farage at every opportunity gives additional light to the fact that the media botched plenty of issues.

The people have been misled to a much larger degree and now they are willing to try Farage and the Brexit party, not because they like him, but because they largely mistrust all other parties including my own conservative party. That is the realistic stage, so why vote Tory?

The problem is not easy but the biggest issue is the debt, both sides (mainly the Labor party) have pushed again and again and left the British nation with 2 trillion pounds of debt. Even in the most optimal stage it will take well over a generation, it is passed in two parts. The first is no less than £20 billion in interest payment and an optimal £20-£50 billion in annual debt decline; if this is not done soon it will be too late for everyone. The benefit is that the UK without the Euro can steer shallow and deep waters, all having their own risk (and rewards), all having options, but the drag of the Euro 27 nations and their bad choices as well as the ECB and their unacceptable acts will no longer be part of it. It will be the first clear stage of resolving the issues that politicians are too hard to solve. Still, it will take a generation, perhaps two to resolve it and when there is momentum in the first 5 years that will signal economic improvements as well as economic opportunities.

Immigration

If that was not the case, do you think that the refugees would be racing and running to make it to the UK as fast as they possibly can? No, the people in the lower tier are actually seeing the lack of progress for the people all over Europe, and for now the UK is in a similar stage, but it could improve, the UK is in a stage where it could improve faster and better than anywhere else in Europe. Do you think I would sit on billions of IP if any official in the EU27 could be trusted? The EU27 and America are all in the stage to fill their pockets as much as possible before it is too late, I would rather make all my IP public domain and watch them all fight each other on claims that they were first and not giving actual evidence. That is why Google, Huawei and optional Saudi Arabia are seemingly the few parties worth talking to at present.

Google and Huawei have shown to be pushing innovation, not iteration. In addition, the acts we see in Saudi Arabia on renewal and Neom City are showing a push for larger changes, changes that the US and the European Economic Union is no longer able to make, they are stuck with a mountain of debt making everything a discussion, and no resolutions. The fact that for the most tax laws have NEVER been properly been adjusted so that the large corporations (FAANG group) make proper payment has never been addressed, it is a failing on both sides of the Isle, both Tories and Labour have fault at that. the BBC news in March 2018 gave us ‘Google’s tax bill rises to £50m‘, and we get two parts in addition: “The technology giant’s annual accounts show that the company will pay corporation taxes of £49.3m on UK profits of £202.4m” and “The total value of Google’s sales in the UK is about £5.7bn a year“, now I have nothing against google, as a matter of fact, I love Google (platonically mind you). Yet the numbers do not add up. When we consider that google is making 202 million out of 5,700 million, it amounts to a profit margin of 3.54%, considering that the Google Pixel 3 is well over £700 makes me wonder. Yet let’s not forget that Google is not alone here, Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, SAP, Facebook, Amazon all have profits that go into the billions (well the FAANG group players at least). So the tax image is wrong and the people get to pay for the cost of commerce, not exactly fair, is it?

This is the realisation that has been sweeping through the lower tiers of the population and they have had enough, and I get it. We see all these utter BS approaches on what we can sell to the government of Saudi Arabia and we cannot even sort out proper taxation to big business? Small businesses have been driven out of shops through large corporations working from abroad, the Britons have been dealt a raw deal and it bites, the Tories did way too little to deal with it (opposing the Labour party who did nothing at all when they were in charge). So the people have gotten to the point where they will try anything, especially give Nigel Farage and his Brexit party a chance.

Yes, how would I vote? Well, I am all for Brexit, yet I remain a Conservative. The issue is not Brexit, it will happen (read: it should), the issue will be about what happens after that, it will be a mess for close to two years and issues need to be resolved and it will take time and it will take serious discussions, Nigel Farage has charisma, he has knowledge yet what about his team? The players like David Coburn, Julia Reid, Nathan Gill, or Raymond Finch? I am not sure any of those people can hold proper seats like Home office, Foreign office, Defence, or Treasury. That is the problem the UK faces. Getting a proper government in place, Labor was never trustworthy and even as Tony Blair did a lot of good, he bungled plenty too. In that regard whatever came after Harold Wilson (1976) was pretty bollocks by the view of some (a view I only partially support).

These parts matter, the failings form the past are now part of the current battlefield and the failings are important to consider with a debt of 2 trillion, that is why the Brexit party is likely to be the biggest player, yet I remain a conservative, the mess needs to be cleaned up and whilst labour will indiscriminately spend money that they do not have, the Nigel Farage side lacks the true experience that the people need to clean the overall mess up, Brexit is an essential first, but the Brexit party is in my humble opinion not ready to properly deal with the 20 steps that follow.

Was there not a Saudi side?

Yup and we are getting to that now. You see the economy is only one side. Military hardware is only one part of optional commerce, the national growth of 5G will benefit the UK, yet these parts can also be sold to Saudi Arabia, there is more than Huawei and even as the UK needs to catch up, and catch up fast, the sorted problem is not merely military hardware, that part needs services and whilst the UK can be a push forward there, they are up against American Giants and it is a fight worth fighting. The infrastructure for Neom City and even beyond that all the way to Riyadh represents an initial £350 billion, with more on the horizon. When I set the stage for my £2,000,000,000 IP, one part was that I did look beyond one side and since then found four more avenues where people merely accepted certain solutions and never looked at what else was possible. From Marketing, Awareness creation, communication, applied applications on the setting of streaming (yes, that was a pun and a puzzle all at once). And the biggest parts are not big business, it is a small business approach with global ramifications, and the nice part is that Huawei was nice enough to implement part of it in their 5G prospective and not look further, so happy, happy me (for now that is).

This is not merely one part, all the players (and the FAANG group) all want access to Saudi Arabia, so who do you think they will hand options too? These hypocrites who decided to suddenly revoke export to Saudi Arabia whilst ignoring the activities of Hezbollah and Iran, or those who stood by Saudi Arabia and their right for defence? Let’s not forget that the aid of Saudi Arabia was called on by the legitimate government of Yemen, a part most seem to ignore again and again.

Saudi Arabia is trailing in technology on several ides and they are trying to address this and those who facilitate for the progress of that will find themselves with the sweetest deals. More importantly, the UK will need proper trade partners to a larger degree. The US is all about export and the fact that export needs to exceed import, several nations are in that stage. The list that place true value to import to goods and services is small, so having the proper foreign office in place is going to be essential in the next 5 years, the Brexit party cannot deliver on that and that will make matters much worse down the Brexit trail. The Conservative need is easily shown when you look a few degrees beyond the current point of exposure. It is when you look towards the applied stage of the long game, that is where you see that the bulk of all politicians fall short. They will merely tell you: ‘We will solve it when we get there‘, or ‘We have a plan and we will present it at the proper time‘ and it is way too late to take that approach, it is well over a decade too late for that.

If they cannot clearly show you a plan, they are extremely unlikely to have one, which is not a stage the UK (and many other nations) can survive on at present. As such the political winds are blowing, top some degree those who we are willing to trust lack the power and know-how to make it work long term, most of the others are no longer trusted to the degree that they need to. I remain conservative inclined, yet they too need to realise that not only is the party over, facilitating in that direction is no longer an option, making that heard loud and clear is essential.

 

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The mental delay

There is a mental delay; we all have it, the moment between the realisation that things are wrong and the rest of the media finally willing to confess to the wrongful parts after they had been milked to the maximum. This is where I believe the UK is when I see: ‘Poll surge for Farage sparks panic among Tories and Labour‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/may/11/poll-surge-for-farage-panic-conservatives-and-labour). The situation is given through “Support for the Conservatives at the European elections slumps to 11%, less than a third of what the Brexit party is polling“. From my point of view, it is not really a surprise. The people have had enough of the ECB and their lack of control and accountability. The people in Europe are down 3 trillion euro through ill-conceived plans, it gets to be even worse when we consider the march news from the Financial Times ‘ECB unveils fresh bank stimulus amid rising Eurozone gloom‘, a setting that is not unlike irresponsible children using a credit card for which they do not have to pay the bill, the people have had enough. It is emphasized by other media giving us quotes like “Even if we stipulate that Greece’s government is, in fact, as creditworthy as the U.S. government, why would investors accept a lower yield on the Greek bond? And why are they willing to accept the even lower yields on the bonds of other Eurozone governments?“, as well as “Despite the low Eurozone bond yields, investors may expect eventually to boost their returns by selling the expensive euros and buying cheaper dollars and other currencies. Indeed, there is some basis for such a strategy. As of late April, the consensus among analysts was that the euro will appreciate significantly over the next couple of years, and more modestly thereafter; forward markets (where buyers and sellers settle the price of a future transaction in advance) support this consensus view.” Source: MarketWatch.

My issue is that the writing has been on the wall for a while and whilst we are given “The poll suggests the Brexit party, launched only last month, is now on course for a thumping victory that Farage will, MPs fear, use to back his argument that the UK must leave the EU immediately without a deal“, it was a risk that had been 3 years in the making and now that the time is over, we see panic on a few levels. The need for Status Quo as well as the continued Gravy train is now at a stage that the UK and others have had enough, a stage where the large four are pulling a cart where 20 others have not been doing their bit, not even to the smallest degree. From my personal view, the biggest loser is Tony Blair when we consider: “Writing for the Observer online, the former prime minister Tony Blair says it is vital that Labour supporters go to the polls, even if they choose a party more clearly in favour of Remain than Labour“, in a stage where the ECB does as it pleases, the people have largely lost faith, with the economic anchors Greece and Italy still firmly in place things will not get better, not in a Bremain stage of mind. Even as we accept that things will get worse, there is enough indication that it will be relatively short term, without the anchors, the 15 smallest EU nations will unite against the UK, only to find that the setback will increase, a voice without money is worth the value of the empty wallet at best. The IMF report makes it merely worse, the stage where the three largest EU economies are Germany, France and Italy and their prospects are in the basement for this year, led by Italy with a forecast that is somewhere between 10% and 25 % of last year, and as I took the UK out of this, we will see that as the others slide faster, the UK will suddenly become the place to be, a nation in repair. Then MarketWatch gives us a part that I have been claiming for over 2 years: “Policy makers also underplay the financial risks. They emphasize the decline in government debt ratios and banks’ nonperforming loans from their peaks reached during the euro-area crisis. They fail to note, however, that these vulnerabilities are at present distinctly higher than they were in mid-2007 for virtually all Eurozone countries“, whatever options they thought they had was squandered away by the ECB stimulus plans that did not work twice around and now they are giving us an attempt at option three, with no evidence that the third time has any chance of being a charm.

So when I see “‘northern’ Eurozone governments worry that the ECB may be left holding debt that may never be repaid“, which is nice, but I told that the people close to two years ago. It is nice for others to catch up this late. All this is before we give consideration to ‘Italy budget deficit forecast to smash EU fiscal rules‘ (at https://www.ft.com/content/e3b662d2-70ac-11e9-bf5c-6eeb837566c5) all thanks (in part) to an ECB that cannot restrain itself or its members, the UK is much better out and the sooner they do this, the better it is for all. The problem is not merely the deficit, the economy downturn will hit jobs soon thereafter, so before the end of the year. As such the unemployment rate that was merely a stitch below 11% in February 2019 could hit 14% by October, and with one out of three Italian youths without a job, that situation will worsen. It is already worse than Spain, but it will worsen still, that is merely one of the 4 large economies, whilst the ECB was too worried on the next bonus spreadsheet, we will now end up having spreadsheets where the dominant colour is red, on pretty much every page.

Even as we accept the Financial Times words “The forecasts play down the risks of a no-deal Brexit, saying that it “would dampen economic growth, particularly in the UK but also in the EU27, though to a minor extent”“, the part that I see missing is that the UK economy will recover, the remaining EU27 players a lot less so, which is also why we have seen the fuelled anti-Brexit sentiment all over Europe, not because they lose what they call an ‘economic ally‘, but because their own mess becomes centre stage for everyone to watch soon thereafter.

The other part is that the Northern economies are seemingly slowing down, the Local Sweden gives us: “The Swedish economic boom has reached its peak and the economy is approaching a slowdown, the country’s Fiscal Policy Council wrote in its annual report“, I do not believe that to be correct, you see Ericsson is one of a few having a decent 5G solution, together with Nokia they are the only ones who have a decently advanced 5G solution, they are the only ones who are considered in several nations because those nations are narrow-minded and loudly anti Huawei, so these two profit to a larger degrees. When 3G was starting Nokia broke all records, these two will in similar drive 5G, even if there is a slowdown, it is likely to be a very short one, unless the US stops its Huawei smear policy, these two will propel the Nordic economies to a much larger degree.

So when I see Justine Greening, Sam Gyimah, Alistair Burt, all conservatives, all pushing for a Bremain, a second referendum, or some ill-conceived idea that Brexit needs to be acknowledged, the voters have all realised that it is too late, the EU wanted to keep on playing games and leaving the game at whatever point is to be preferred over more and more unacceptable spending.

Yet the one part that is not pushed for is that the Brexit Party and Ukip are approaching a majority, if they can strike a deal with the greens and the Liberal Democrats (they tend to be great followers), we see a new government with the Labor party and conservatives sitting next to one another in the opposition. A historic first, the entire House of Commons for too long in indecision and the people have had enough, I cannot blame them. So when they want to play the blame game, a lot of politicians merely need to look into a mirror to see the guilty party.

I personally belief that the people are seeing the dangers of non-decisions as well as the added media pressures with non-stop incriminations and a total lack of explanation; It is driving the ‘better out than in‘ mood that seems to be exploding all over the UK. The fact that sources are claiming that Brexit might not happen, or that there is a 20%-30% that it will not happen has the people riled, in the end there was a referendum and the complacent and lazy Bremainers were all in a stage ‘it will never happen’, just like that popular claim ‘too big to fail’, so as that went the wrong way the people have been hit with media after media going wild in allegations and all kinds of managed bad news reports like ‘we could lose everything‘, or ‘you’ll get nationally evicted‘, exponential levels of fear mongering for too long, the people are fed up and the Brexit party is gaining more and more momentum. In France far right Marine Le Pen is again in the lead, the Dutch ‘Forum for Democracy (FvD) party’ is equally pushing forward, is that the Europe that the UK wants to be part of? The extreme right parties are gaining momentum more and more and I personally believe that not having a handle on the ECB was a first step, then we still have Mario Draghi being a member of an elite banking group and the fact that no one was holding him to account is still a factor that the few are disregarding, whilst the 3 trillion of bad conceived spending was never up for debate.

There has been a mental delay with the voters, but the facts are out in the open for too much and the facts are too visible, it has angered the people, so as the news thought it was fun to give the readers the news through “The Hinduja brothers, Gopichand and Srichand, have reclaimed their crown as the UK’s wealthiest people, according to the annual Rich List survey. The Indian-born, London-based industrialists are estimated to be worth £22bn, up £1.35bn on last year’s list“, so yes that was a nice part, as the people cannot pay their bills, have to deal with unaffordable living, someone made an additional £1,335 million pounds extra, all that whilst we get “The list reveals that retailer Sir Philip Green has lost his billionaire status; his fortune is believed to have halved in a year because of a pension black hole in his Arcadia empire. The Sunday Times Rich List has Green’s total wealth free-falling £1.05bn in a year to £950m“, when I lose 50% of my wealth, I go from £1,500 to £750, so where is the ‘half’ and the mere decline of10% illustrating going from £1,05B to £950M? It seems to me that he wealthy people are taxed differently on fortunes having to be halved.

Are you still wondering whilst millions of Britons are in anger and are you wondering why the Brexit party is gaining momentum? Farage has the charisma to exploit the silly news items that are seemingly fun to read for some, but in light of all that has happened, it is infuriating a lot more people in the UK than the media should be happy about. And as we saw Tony Blair, yesterday in his opinion piece ‘Farage cannot be allowed to dictate Britain’s future. He must be thwarted‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/may/11/farage-cannot-be-allowed-to-dictate-britains-future-he-must-be-thwarted) we are given “This is not a vote to choose a prime minister or a government. It is a vote for the Farage Brexit – or against it“. There I respectfully disagree; it has gone way beyond that. It has been about the unacceptable acts of the ECB and the overpaid EU gravy train riders for a much longer time and if Tony Blair had done something about when he was in charge from 1997 to 2007, or perhaps Gordon Brown in the three years that followed, the mess would not be there, in that same light the Conservatives after that did not achieve any significant push to make the ECB come to its senses, and now the people have had enough; they are willing to let Nigel Farage try. Tony should have done a few more things a decade ago and that was never the case. That is why the Brexit party is growing to the degree it is. The lack of kept promises, and the Italian government is merely throwing petrol on that fire, as such the Dutch are finding a person like Thierry Baudet more acceptable than ever before. A status quo play was the worst one to have, but the non-elected officials needed status quo for their wealth and now the gig is up in more than one way.

Tony Blair needs to realise that the Brexit party is not the downfall for either the Labor party or the Conservatives, facilitating to big business was and that is an important elements that none are touching on, the bulk of the politicians are tainted, tainted to the degree that they will stand out in every limelight and their denial in that is just staggering.

The mental delay has passed and now the people are in a phase where they are considering every other solution, except the ones that labour and conservatives offer. It is interesting that no one went on those tracks, the signals and indicators are clearly pushing in that direction.

 

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The pope’s mobile is on the clock

 

Hickory Dickory dock, the pope ran up the clock,

The clock struck one, and hit his bum, Hickory Dickory dock.

An old rhyme slightly adjusted and gives light to a joke that mattered, it is old and it goes like:

Q: Why does the pope kiss the ground when he arrives?
A: You’ve never flown with Alitalia have you?

That is where we are, the clock is counting down; Alitalia is on its last legs and merely has two weeks left. As sources report that EasyJet pulled out of the race and even as Delta is still on board, someone needs to be found for the remaining 40% and that is the hard ball, consider on how much of an issue Alitalia is when people like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates will not take a shine to it, it might be too harsh to call Alitalia a money pit, but that is what is amounts too. The flight market is close to saturated, even as we all needed to fly (quite literally) 20 years ago, the companies started to figure out not to give their profits to the airlines. On a global scale close to 9750 planes were in the air last year at any given time, transporting up to 1.3 million people. The operative part is ‘at any given time‘, so how much travel is required nowadays? In 1998 I was flying close to 21 weeks that year, giving trainings and doing consultancy round the clock, at times living from a suitcase with added support from my laptop giving IT trainings and software training. I circled the planet twice that year, from Amsterdam, New York, Atlanta, Sydney, Singapore, Istanbul, via Munich and back to Amsterdam. I thought it was great and as long as the profits were outshining the costs, my bosses kept on sending me to more locations, it was all fine by me. These days are over, even as we see more and more airports expanding to ‘facilitate’ for more passengers, we see a dangerous curve, Stockholm Arlanda is expanding to facilitate for 40 million visitors a year. The numbers give us that the top 25 carriers facilitated for 13,718,655 passengers and if they are all tourists, that would be fine, yet the business side is not adding up. You see 15 out of the 25 had a decrease the went up to 27.3%, the lowest 10 were below 4.5%, still they were all still decreases and the largest increase came from Riga, Latvia.

Now consider that on the other side, on the airline side, apart from the element where we see that Alitalia had no operating profit between 2009 and 2015 with added low points of well over minus a quarter of a billion, the setup of airlines seems to be too odd.

I do get it, a nations having a national airline is a matter of pride, we get it, but at what cost? The airline has about 100 planes as part of the mainline fleet and the cost of doing business is just too high, there is no decent chance that whomever owns the airline might do so, so that they can say that they own an airline, it seems the weirdest of reasons, but from the financial view that is as much as we are going to get and the bad news is not done at this point.

You see, the work I used to do can be done remotely more and more, when 5G is totally here, we can see the shift where the classes can be given remotely with a phantom screen and with the presentations running in the background, the speed will enable us to give individual service to all the participants in up to three locations at the same time, almost like remotely run classroom software with camera’s in all locations. At that point we will see even less traffic required implying that the business classes on these flights will be close to a thing of the past.

The more immediate and difficult part is that none of this is the fault of Alitalia. Yes, we can look at the scandals and the past sting operations, yet the foundation is not that, it is the need of people to travel. In that light the traveller will be the one using their local airline (like many would), some will select airlines for their service and there we see groups of people seeking flights by Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways and Emirates. So these airlines are also poaching local travellers as they have shown and proven themselves to be a cut above the others. When it comes to business and tourist Italy, we see decline of both and falling harder, yet Italy is still the destination to several countries, namely Germany, France, UK and US as the largest four. These four add up to 23%; the rest is from all over. So, what makes me the specialist? I am not; I am merely using common sense. 100 planes, in an age where their power is tourism and we are going into the summer season, but that setting is a stage that represents merely 18 weeks out of 52, the numbers and the economy do not support the fleet, or so it seems.

when we consider that Rome Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino supported 42,995,119 passengers last year, there is a decent case that I am seeing it wrong, but that is from all airlines, beside Alitalia, we see Air India, Emirates, Turkish Airlines, United, Etihad Airways, Thai Airways, Asiana Airlines, Qatar Airways, Cathay Pacific, Air China, Lufthansa, Ethiopian Airlines, Finnair, British Airways, SWISS, EL AL Israel Airlines, Air France, Saudia, Ukraine International, Jet Airways, Air Canada, Egypt Air, KLM, Kuwait Airways, Brussels Airlines, Aeroflot, Korean Air, China Airlines, Singapore Airlines, China Southern, Iran Air, all flying to Rome, now we see a different picture, even as the airport needs the space and growth, we see no decent numbers on how the Alitalia flights are doing, some sources were giving me ‘No Data‘ and that is fair enough, but it makes a much stronger case that unless there is someone with deep pockets that Alitalia is on its last legs and in its final stage of a mere two week notice until it shuts down. Planes would be auctioned off and the lot to be repackaged for other management styles. And I do believe that the end is not in sight, Alitalia is not the only one in such a sordid state of affairs. I believe that the business case of airlines should have changed a long time ago, and it will get worse soon enough, as the oil price goes up, so do the prices of flights. You see the one element we seem to ignore is not the drop in non-tourist passengers. It is the fact that one barrel of crude oil only facilitates for up to 4 gallons of jet fuel, the turnaround is that high, 42 gallons can only make 4 gallons of jet fuel, after that it boils down to gasoline, diesel and other items, so when the barrel goes up in price, the impact is seen quite fast. Consider that a flight from Rome to New York takes 9 hours and 40 minutes (or 2,088,000 seconds), now consider that a 747 needs 1 gallon a second, so if the oil goes up by $1, the maximum cost of a flight would go up by 2 million times the price increase and we can only get 4 gallons bet crude oil barrel making it an optional increase of $500K per flight (which is not completely true as diesel and gasoline would need to bear part of those costs too, but with only 4 gallons to the barrel, jet fuel would take the hardest hit).

That part counts too and as such tourist numbers would go down to some degree, especially from America. These are all still mere elements in the hardship calculations, but the elements are starting to add up, more optional other choices, more localised incentives and less options for Alitalia, that is the sad reality for Alitalia. As far as I was able to see, the press (the non-Italian press) did not take a look at these elements. Even as the BBC did look at one element “At the time the Irish airline was struggling to contain the fallout from a pilot shortage, which led to the cancellation of flights for about 700,000 passengers“, the abundance of competition, as well as the dangers of fuel changes were not looked at. Yet there are other sources, Bloomberg (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-03-18/easyjet-drops-from-alitalia-bidding-in-setback-to-government) gave us a month ago that Delta is “exploring ways to work with Ferrovie dello Stato and maintain our partnership with Alitalia in the future“, yet I am not convince that they are in it with their heart and soul. Merely a stage where their accountants can optionally see plans for the Alitalia infrastructure and options to give Delta a streamline boost and let Delta grow in other ways accepting Alitalia to some degree for some time, yet how that ‘for some time‘ develops will remain an unknown. Part of it is seen with “Delta would take a 10 percent stake, which would double within four years if certain business goals are met“, yet these business goals are not really heralded by any party. In that regard Lufthansa was open and clear by stating that Alitalia needs to shed 40% of the workforce and that is where the cost of the Delta business goals are likely to be seen as well and that 40% will remain part of the problem. The Italian government would had to euthanise 40% of the workforce in a time when it could not afford to do so and that is the issue to the larger extent. If that knife is thrust hard and deep Alitalia might be around on April 30th, yet at present that is not a given, the pressured parties are not willing to get to that point until the 11th hour and at that point it might just be too late, because in the end the airline is not the only player, the airports will try to make sure that their part of the equation remains safe and there are plenty of airlines offering to ferry people to these locations making the equation unbalanced and unrealistic for the bookkeepers of Alitalia, a sad story for an airline that only recently made it to its 10th year.

 

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The TV as a weapon

There is an old saying and there are alternatives to it. In Australia we say:

Q: Do you know the difference between ABC and Channel 7?
A: ABC shows you how bad things are in the world, Channel 7 shows you how screwed up your TV life is.

In the Netherlands it used to be NOS versus SBS6, and every nation has its own version. So what happens, when we see the millions of smart TV’s and Apple enters the race opposing Netflix? The New Daily gives the quote: “Spielberg who appeared live, touted the revival of his Amazing Stories anthology, while Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, and Steve Carrell then took the stage to discuss another Apple original, The Morning Show” with the added: “a range of new streaming entertainment services, as well as financial products, at a star-studded event Tuesday morning“. the message was apparently clearly brought and when we get to see: “Apple is expected to spend US$2 billion this year on original content to challenge established steaming players Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and the forthcoming Disney+ service“, we need to realise that Apple has an optional goldmine in the making. In addition we see: “Hot on the heels of the Google game streaming service, Stadia, Apple launched Apple Arcade in a bid to grab a slice of the multi-billion dollar gaming market“, which will be fun to watch as Apple has shown a keen interest in negating the need of gamers (which is not all their fault in all honesty), will they figure it out this time? At least with the established Android gaming platform size, Google does have a huge advantage for now. OK, apple does have a gaming community on IOS and I was not short selling that (yes, I was). Yet the overall view I have seen in the past gives a better light of gaming to gamers on the android, than the Apple (a mere personal view on the matter).

So here we are watching two streams being created. First is the Netflix drain by Apple and as soon as they realise that 2 billion is a mere stack of money, to get the TV series that get the people to sign up, even besides Netflix will requires series that surpass The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, The Haunting of Hill House, Bird Box and a few other gems, Netflix has the writers, will Apple have them? We all know that Game of Thrones will enter their final season, so there are plenty of needy watchers to pick up after that conclusion, yet if Apple does not have the IP, they are not going anywhere. Even with the added Spielberg Amazing Stories anthology, which was actually quite decent when it was initially released on VHS, they will still have quite the task at hand. More important, even if they have all the ducks in a row, they will still having to deal with the market shares of Hulu, Stan, Amazon and the forthcoming Disney + service as well (and a few local others). Do they have the IP when that goes online? I can see half a dozen series that could be hits, and I am not the only one. Plenty of dedicated story tellers will have a list. Yet, does the Apple executive (whomever Tim Cook handed this hot potato to), does that person have a clue? The difference between a good presentation and an actual good idea comes with a gap that can fit the Grand Canyon and many Apple executives are a little lost when they face that gap.

It goes further, having a great idea is not enough and most visionaries have that in mind. to see that part we need to reflect on: “Apple, which became the world’s first trillion-dollar company in August last year, had been dropping cryptic hints about the launch event for weeks, sending the internet rumour-mill into overdrive“, yet since then Apple lost well over 20% of its value and the next few ‘slam bam’ misers will dent that even further. The next part is interesting as it impacts gaming and TV.

To get a great product you need at the very least (before marketing gets to have a go):

  1. A script, a story that will compel the reader to go on. Loading it with sex and graphics will only hold a small percentage for some time. A great example of a near perfect script was I Claudius by Robert Graves.
  2. A cast that works well together, each good actors, but together they become ambrosia, wine and nitro-glycerine, all at the same time. Again I Claudius became the golden standard. With Derek Jacobi, George Baker, Siân Phillips, Brian Blessed, James Faulkner, John Hurt, Patrick Steward, Ian Ogilvy, John Castle, and John Rhys-Davies we got something unheard of. They were already good actors, yet together they created greatness, they are now globally celebrities, but in 1976 that was not a given, they were iron rods and the director shaped them into high tempered steel increasing their mark close to tenfold.
  3. The director. Not merely the man implying 3, 2, 1, action! No, he is the person that becomes the visual visionary and Herbert Wise delivered. The evidence is seen in his work. As a director he has 91 marks on his career rod and when we look at it all, it is all decent work, insightful work, yet I Claudius is a 180 cm person walking in Indonesia (where the average height is 152cm), it stood out tall above all others. So, even as we accept that I Claudius could not have been done without the cast, it equally required the right director to make it work.
  4. The Producer (in this case the BBC), who had to put up the dough with a need of blind faith and no idea how much they were going to lose. These four required to be completely in sync and they were as such I Claudius is still seen as the best BBC drama ever produced, even now, 43 years later we see that new TV series merely hope to equal this achievement, thinking that it can be surpassed is mere folly (yet optionally not impossible).

This is the setting that Apple is trying to get into and throwing 2 billion at it thinking that it will be easy by presenting a few famous people is as reliable as getting rich by spending what you have on blow and hookers. It looks pretty, yet it is an absolute non-winner 100% of the time. Finding the right people will be the task for Apple and as they are all competing for the same pig through increasing the value of good scriptwriters, yet they too are starting to look critical at the offers, because they lose value with every failure and often enough, they do not get to blame the director of the production company, they get to be the scapegoat. So they will require their optional bosses to set an income and levels of freedom and commitment to a much higher degree.

As for gaming

Gaming has a similar setting. It will be about getting the gamers on board and that requires a great product, in an age where Apple has been all about marketed iteration, they are vying for innovation? In a market they do not seem to really comprehend? I am slightly puzzled.

There the director is the project director; the cast are the graphic designers and the scripters and coders. The art and stage might have similar issues, but finding these parts to intertwine and interconnect is where good coders are required. Then there is the learning curve of the game. And it gets to be worse fast when it becomes a product relying on micro transactions. Ubisoft, Bethesda too never quite worked it out and the first screw up will diminish the value of the event overnight. Apple will have to steer clear of micro transactions in the first year by a certainty of 100% and in the subsequent 2-3 years for 90%. Can they afford that game? Their essential path will be the RPG games that call the horn of attendance for gamers on a global scale, if not, than this becomes a long term project that will not end up becoming a winner. In that they have additional competition form makers like Nintendo, their Switch is still gaining momentum and the games I have seen lined up for that system shows that Nintendo is taking this momentum extremely serious. I wonder if Apple has thought this through beyond their return on investment expectations from executives who rely in spreadsheets and lack essential data skills other than identifying their ROI and bonus column. Once that goes south Apple will take a few hits in short succession and they will be painful. If it goes wrong (I am not stating or indication that this is the case), they could face the hits where their total value is a mere 50% of what it was on September 16th 2018.

Yes, Apple could rise high with streaming on TV and consoles, but in the end they require the golden eggs to get there and I am not convinced that they have what it takes to get there. For the most it is an art, I have been involved in gaming since 1984 and I still miss elements in all it. It is both science and an art, the moment you separate the two is the moment you lose. That has been an essential given for close to two decades. Ubisoft got it wrong more than once, Bethesda took massive hits with miscalculations and they are dedicated experts in that field, I doubt Apple has seen that shortfall at present.

To illustrate that we need to look at a game called the Division 2, an Ubisoft product. Important fact, it is seen as a really good game, better than the first version and steps forward, at times leaps forward, some reviewers have stated that is sets a new bar of online gaming and that is awesome to learn. Now add the two headlines: ‘Ubisoft Patches Annoying ‘The Division 2’ Skills Bug‘, as well as ‘The Division 2 PC players report a 100% CPU usage issue, Ubisoft is investigating‘, on games this size this will always happen and the fact that it is looked at and fixed this early is really good, so this is not about pulling Division 2 down. This is what happens on games this big depending on online elements, which is besides server down times. A consequence of online gaming and in this Apple is as I expect it not ready to see gaming to the higher levels it needs to see it.

If they see these two elements as a method to use the TV as a weapon, a data weapon for additional wealth, we see a company that is about to get hit really hard. That is in the foundation of it all. I believe that they are making the same mistake that Microsoft made. Microsoft is talking a good talk, yet the people all over the world are seeing the impact, the most powerful console in the world is being surpassed by the weakest of the three. Their setting of always online, their bullying tactics, their essential inability to listen to gamers (or ignoring what they are being told) is what is dragging down Microsoft and Apple will experience that lesson in a very hard way soon enough if they walk that same silly line.

Just like Microsoft, we see a company that more likely than not does not comprehend gamers and will falter because of corporate ROI needs soon enough. They see the two as connected to grow better, but these are two separate entities (TV and Gaming) representing 6 dimensions that can go in any direction, when these executives learn that lesson the hard way and they are looking what to do next, I will offer Tim Cook my last $99 for the company (Apple, a fruit of the loom division).

Could I be massively wrong?

Absolutely, yet the Apple marketing need of the hype and their viral needs seem to be on my side, as the gaming industry as a whole tends to be as gossipy as any old tea lady, so word would have circulated into my inner core of contacts much earlier, as such I think that Apple is not ready, nowhere near ready, personally I do hope to be proven wrong. I would love to see more contenders in the gaming world, more choice, more innovation and better games is the consequence from that war, and I do love playing good games.

I will keep you all posted on what happens next.

 

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Warranty for non-use only

I started my Monday morning with a giggle, and that is always a good way to start the day. The Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/mar/03/pakistan-denies-indian-claims-it-used-us-f-16-jets-to-down-warplane) gives us ‘Pakistan denies Indian claims it used US F-16 jets to down warplane‘, the idea that the Indian government is crying over getting shot down Pakistani air (airspace violation), whilst India has bombing attacks in Pakistani (whether valid or not), does it matter how they got shot down? They merely were not good enough. It goes further, not one media outlet is giving us the goods on WHAT was shot down. Either they do not know, or India is extremely silent on what they lost. For the most I did not care, that is until I saw: “The US has said it is trying to find out whether Pakistan used US-built F-16 jets to down an Indian warplane, potentially in violation of trade agreements, as the standoff between the nuclear-armed Asian neighbours showed signs of easing“, so why buy a plane that you cannot use? I know that it is not that simple, we all get that. Yet when we are also treated to: “It is not clear what exactly these so-called “end-user agreements” restrict Pakistan from doing. “The US government does not comment on or confirm pending investigations of this nature,” the US embassy said.” From my point of view, they should have been aware of that before going into pending investigations. The entire setting of ‘It is not clear what exactly these so-called “end-user agreements” restrict Pakistan from doing‘, should the US embassy not have read those agreements before making any statement around an investigation? The fact that all the media hides behind ‘shot down two Indian jets‘ is equally an issue.

Now as for the entire usage of an F-16, I am surprised that Pakistan would accept such terms. It comes across like ‘warranty valid from purchase at the counter, till the exit door‘. Now, we can agree that Pakistan does not have a great track record on incidents, yet we know that there is an issue in Kashmir and India ‘started’ this by bombing a terrorist camp in Balakot Pakistan. I will not oppose that action, yet the humorous and silly statement by foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale, where he called it a “non-military pre-emptive action”, cannot be taken too seriously either. Let’s face it; the Mirage 2000 is a military vehicle, plain and simple.

Still there is a larger concern; it is the stage of conditional sales of war machines. It is not opposing their sale as it was a choice made. And most devices can be used for offense and defence. So as we set the stage where something can only be used for one purpose, we see a larger issue evolve. When a stage changes, does that invalidate the sale? That is behind it all, if the US had clear indications that their places might be used in defence on another plane, should those war machines be allowed to be sold?

We can accept that the sale is set to a governmental stage that machines are to be used for defensive abilities only, yet in the stage of provocation, when do we accept the usage to be defensive? Which parameter triggers the defence option to be valid, especially in light of disputed terrain?

The Indian Economic Times (at https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/balakot-iaf-strike-involved-over-200-hours-of-planning/articleshow/68172274.cms) gives us: “involved over 200 hours of planning that began following intelligence inputs regarding a second suicide terror strike somewhere in India“. When we accept that fact and the fact that it was aimed at terrorists, as well as an intentional incursion into Pakistan, would all the options not have changed? The stage no matter how valid it is to go after the JeM is set, you see unless anyone can give clear evidence that the JeM is in Pakistan backed by the Pakistani government, India set themselves up by proceeding on an act of war. If the camp would have been in Kashmir that entire issue would have been less complicated. It is not what is likely to be the case, it is what we can prove is the case and that is a bigger issue here and from that point of view the entire escalation as witnessed is a loaded one and my $0.02 here is that the actions of the US embassy are merely complicating matters. Whilst their claim ‘It is not clear what exactly these so-called “end-user agreements” restrict Pakistan from doing‘, is extremely sloppy to say the least. And that is apart from the US Embassy relying on the application of ‘so-called’ and ‘restrictions’; it comes across as a double negative of something not yet looked at. So investigating that before we see the howling cries of ‘US demands to know if Pakistan used F-16 jet to shoot down Indian warplane over Kashmir‘, which is still less interesting than finding out what exactly had been shot down. You see it matters, because the news that a 1983 MiG 21 lost against a Chinese-designed JF-17 fighter jet (or optionally a General Dynamics F16) is not that interesting; they lost a plane that had been taken out of production in 1985, so big deal, perhaps the Indian pilot would have made it back if he had a little more up to date equipment (like the Fulcrum or the Raptor) at that point it becomes massively interesting, especially if it would have been done using a JF-17.

So whilst we can look at it from different angles, the entire ‘end-user agreement‘ angle is just too hilarious. As I state before, we get that there is a clear need for passages like that at times, yet what will the US do after selling the F16? Not sell any more? Let’s not forget that there are a few alternatives that are not sold in America, or by Americans, those players are happy to take up the slack of the US at that point. It would be so much simpler if India had never decided to bomb Pakistani soil, which is the real complication. It might have been essential, we cannot deny that option, but it was tactically flawed in more than one way. Even as we recognise that Pakistan has its own flaws as well (the mention of ‘Pakistan immediately downplayed the airstrikes, saying no infrastructure was hit.‘) is also an issue. So either is intentionally not acting, or it is openly making statements for the JeM, either version is a larger issue for Pakistan.

Even as I might oversimplify the issue, I recognise that the entire matter is loaded on a few fronts, and we get that something had to be done, and something was done. However to set the stage where larger players are all about an ‘end-user agreement‘, all whilst the terms were as stated by themselves unclear and unknown trivialises the matter, and that is one part that should not be allowed for.

The dispute is old, and the BBC (at https://www.bbc.com/news/10537286) gives us: “before India and Pakistan won their independence from Britain in August 1947, Kashmir was hotly contested.” An issue that has been around for 72 years! Is it not time to talk to Kashmir about them becoming self-sufficient? As the BBC article gives us: “Many people in the territory do not want it to be governed by India, preferring instead either independence or union with Pakistan” is independence really that bad an idea? It seems ironic that a nation fighting to become independent from the UK (1947) is all about annexing a region that does not want to be with them.

I think that it is time that after 72 years of disputes and transitional violence from one side to the others, another solution should be found. And with the need to lower pressures, is independence of Kashmir not a valid option to consider?

We see the news in several ways by several players, yet only the BBC gives us what the locals want. They allegedly voiced: ‘independence or union with Pakistan‘, it is time to listen to the local population and educate or truly assist them in creating a long term future, mainly because all the present actions imply that there is no progress and there might never be progress. How debilitating is that for any local population?

 

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