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A changing language

Europe is in several stages of unease; there is the spending of Mario Draghi, Brexit remains on the mind of many. Yet, the one change that is now more and more in the foreground of many is the problem that Turkey seems to be. There are those set on the stage to end Turkey as a NATO member and subsequent becoming part of the EU, there are things going forward and backward, but the language involved in all this is changing, so are the settings for the meetings yet to come. In all this the latest Turkish act to double down on the Russian S-400 purchases in 2020. There is, as I stated unease and as I see it the entire EU-Turkey mess is now a dance around unclear settings. Yet the settings are founded on what some would call, clear and blatant lies.

So to recap, on March 26th in the Bulgarian port city of Varna with the attendance of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, there will be a summit. The given setting is “to discuss EU-Turkey relations as well as regional and international issues“, this we got from the spokesperson for Donald Franciszek Tusk. The meeting held at the leaders’ level will be hosted as a working dinner, a statement signed by Tusk and Juncker said. Yet soon thereafter it begins. With: “Ankara has been stressing that the EU fails to understand the challenges that the county faces, and calls on all sides to take Turkey’s concerns into consideration, particularly against the PKK and the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), which carried out the failed July 15 coup attempt“, yet how is that true when it has been clear for the longest time “Turkey witnessed the bloodiest coup attempt in its political history on July 15th, 2016, when a section of the Turkish military launched a coordinated operation in several major cities to topple the government and unseat President Recep Tayyip Erdogan“, this is the quote from Aljazeera, but they were not the only one giving this.

The Turkish government blames the failed coup attempt on Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish preacher and businessman who has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999. So as we accept that the Gülen movement is classified as a terrorist organization by Turkey under the assigned names Gülenist Terror Organisation (Fethullahçı Terör Örgütü, FETÖ) or Parallel State Organisation (Paralel Devlet Yapılanması, PDY), we see the link offered, yet another path in this is “MIT officials admitted that they received the very first intelligence report about a possible attack on July 15, only hours before their own headquarters was under heavy artillery fire“, as well as “As of today, more than 100,000 people have been sacked or suspended and 50,000 arrested in an unprecedented crackdown. The government has deemed the crackdown necessary to ‘root out all coup supporters from the state apparatus’“. When we consider those parts, we need to realise that the Millî İstihbarat Teşkilatı (MİT) was completely out of any loop, which makes Turkish Intelligence not just a flawed setting, it would implicate that it has limited counter terrorism options and no resources to speak of (in intelligence terms).

In opposition to this, there would be enough data to offer that it was an internal issue from within the Turkish military and whatever opposes Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Turkey got a fat target painted on them. This fills and completes the view we need to have of Turkey much better. In support of this we need to consider that one exiled cleric could not have orchestrated the military support that would have been required and that was seen in action. The width of the Turkish military acting seems to be that of an internal star chamber than a clerical imprint on the military, the latter would have given more visibility to other ranking officers within the Turkish armed forces. As this becomes more and more visible and accepted, we are treated to the view on the unacceptable acts against the Kurds yet again, which followed the Turkish official view of the coup that they ‘survived’.

So in this light the setting for March will be one that is a puzzle. You see as Turkey keeps on playing this game, their credibility will only go down further. The European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) (at http://www.ecfr.eu/article/essay_eu_turkey_relations_the_beginning_of_the_end_7226) gives us: “Both Turkey and the EU need the continuation of this partnership. It is a matter of definition whether this partnership will be in the form of full membership or in a different form. What is important is not to break the process and not to cause alienation. The need for sustainable EU-Turkey relations obliges both sides to take steps to honour their commitment to integration“, we can accept that, but at this point, is continuation feasible? We see the shifting language that shows that Germany is less and less taken with Turkey, now siding more and more with France on the anti-Turkey alliance. It gets worse for Turkey as we now hear: “A Turkish court on Wednesday denied entry to the German ambassador to Ankara to the hearing of Selahattin Demirtas, the former co-leader of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP)“, which we get from http://www.dw.com/en/turkish-court-denies-german-ambassador-entry-to-kurdish-politicians-trial/a-42579957, even as France is trying to work with Turkey regarding a ‘diplomatic road map‘ on Syria, the sounds of accusation of Turkey violating international law was not far behind it, so there is pressures on nearly every level. Only 12 hours ago, Deutsche Welle gave us “Even NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg wouldn’t hazard a guess ahead of this week’s defense ministers’ meeting. He said Turkey needs to clarify the status of the contract” (at http://www.dw.com/en/turkish-russian-missile-deal-puts-nato-on-edge/a-42572965), as I said earlier, the language is changing. As we see ‘Turkey needs to clarify the status of the contract‘ that it is about cancelling the contract? Yet in that respect, what would Turkey demand in return? How much is that going to cost and where does that invoice end up? You see, when you consider Reuters with ‘U.S. tells NATO allies spending plans still falling short‘ (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-nato/u-s-tells-nato-allies-spending-plans-still-falling-short-idUSKCN1FY013), where we see “Spain has said it will not meet the 2024 target. Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Italy, Portugal, Norway and Denmark are also lagging. Hungary expects to meet the goal only by 2026“, as well as “France will increase its defense spending by more than a third between 2017 and 2025, but Germany, is not expected to reach the 2 percent target by 2024“, this gives us that the three large economic anchors of the European Union cannot get there. It is these elements that make me wonder on the changing language involving Turkey. From a setting that would have given a clear rejection of Turkey becoming an EU member, we see the setting of new talks, new events and more ‘collaboration’ projects. I think that France is already learning the hard way that this path leads to nowhere, but the others need Turkey to be a spender here, and Erdogan is using that tactic to his own advantage, because once they are in, you cannot throw them out anymore (the EU that is), not even willingly as the UK is learning the hard way. Even as we accept that to some extent Turkey helps to reduce an influx of Syrian and other migrants and refugees into the EU bloc, the question is to what extent and for which purpose, because once these refugees make it into Turkey, Turkey is either stuck with them or they must ‘divert’ them to another place.

In this, in an earlier blog I mentioned the Visa Free EU travel for Turkey and that they had not met the demands. So as we see “Last week, Turkey manifested determination to restart a new chapter in its ailing relationship with the European bloc by submitting a paper detailing Turkey’s roadmap for the fulfilment of the remaining seven benchmarks of 72 criteria” we need to get worried on the non-committed acts from the EU on the matter which had not been met. It seems like Brussels is trying to find any way to either delay it all or give Turkey a pass, which would be disastrous for several players. This is seen in several articles, in this case the Irish Times gives us: “Instead of formally ending EU membership talks, Dr Merkel said she would look at imposing “real restrictions on economic contact” including through the European Investment Bank, EU aid, World Bank and by blocking talks on expanding Turkey’s customs union agreement with the EU, a move that could hit billions of euro in potential Turkish exports“, whilst the EU themselves was ‘dismissive of call for end to Turkey accession talks‘, stating that this is for the heads of government, European Commission says, so the EU revels in inaction and restrictions in other ways. This is a dangerous and explosive combination.

So even as one issue was the contention in the counter terrorism benchmark which has been the definition of terrorism in the counter-terrorism law that Turkey was called repeatedly to amend in order to comply with European democratic and judicial standards. Now, according to reports, a legal provision will be added soon to the current anti-terror law stating that “any critical expression that does not exceed the boundaries of journalism does not constitute a crime“, how is that enough? As we see the Kurdish issues as shown earlier as well as a new complete failure by the Millî İstihbarat Teşkilatı (MİT) should leave anyone a clear indication that not only is the counter-terrorism failing, there is an increased worry that Turkey does not really comprehends the term ‘counter-terrorism’, in support of that fact, or evidence to that, you should talk to the journalists Deniz Yücel, Huseyin Akyol, Ragip Duran, Ayse Duzkan, and Huseyin Bektas. Oh no, you can’t they are in jail! Turkey could have had a genuine excuse, but they lost that option when they denied the German ambassador to Turkey access to the court proceedings. That alone should be regarded as evidence to dismiss the ascension of Turkey to the EU.

And whilst the entire language on Turkey seems to be in a fluid state, the Brexit noise goes on, whilst some are relying on fear-mongering with noise like: “You could have a permanent Operation Stack for 20 miles” regarding shipping between the UK and the EU, ‘could‘ being the operative word. So how large was that ‘stack’ in the 70’s and 80’s? In addition we see the Financial Times (at https://www.ft.com/content/0a8799c6-1190-11e8-940e-08320fc2a277) give us: “Brussels is urging EU leaders to consider radical options such as raiding corporate tax receipts and money raised from selling carbon emission permits to fill a €15bn a year budget hole left by Brexit“, in addition it gives us: “the need to find more money for priorities such as border control and joint defence, mean negotiations are likely to be even more poisonous than previous EU tussles over money“, whilst we see “Some member states don’t want to pay more but they want to do more. Other member states want to receive more“, these elements show the desperate state the EU is in now, that whilst Mario Draghi has printed almost 2 trillion Euro in money for ‘Quantative Easing‘. This relates directly to Turkey, because it shows the desperate EU trying to open a many doors as possible, this is how I see the impact of not dismissing Turkey as an EU member at present. So when we see “impose tougher conditions on access to EU funds as a way to force the likes of Poland and Hungary to comply with EU policies on the rule of law and on asylum” as is a given view on the two needing more money, wanting a stronger voice but cannot contribute. Add to that the earlier pressure from the US for NATO member to do more gives a shifted view of the needed activities within the EU, Turkey is seen as the one floating elements that will allow a few players to keep their heads above water, but it is as I personally see it a desperate act from certain short term viewers, that whilst they also know that it will descent EU elements into chaos. As I (again merely a personal view) see it, it would cripple Strasbourg in getting issues resolved and as Turkey fails to comply with humanitarian sides, it could in equal measure become the puppet for Russia for dislodge other item in consideration, an option honoured by perhaps negating some invoices for S-400 systems, spare parts, training and consultancy? It is merely speculative thinking, but would I be wrong? It would work out very well for Turkey, for the other bloc members a lot less so.

A danger that could have been resolved almost 2 years ago, I will let you ponder on the reasons why the EU never negated this danger.

 

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A Turkey problem

We’ve all had them around thanksgiving, the turkey was still too deep frozen, the filling was incomplete and the oven was not firing up to the right temperature. In the US these are at times regarded as mum’s worst nightmare. Thanksgiving is a day when mum shines and her dinner is heralded and dreamed of for many nights before and a few nights after as well. No, this is not about the plumage; this is about that nation that is trying to basically piss off anyone they deal with. The first is seen (at http://www.france24.com/en/20180207-turkey-says-it-has-met-eu-criteria-visa-free-travel), where Ibrahim Kalin stated that “that Turkey had submitted all related documents to EU officials ahead of an EU-Turkey summit in March“, a Turkish official gives us: “the country has fulfilled all 72 requirements set by the European Union to secure visa-free travel for Turkish citizens to the 28-nation bloc“, this whilst we know that ‘Turkey had failed to meet the 72 criteria, including amending anti-terror laws‘, we might go so far as that of those criteria the bulk had not been met and with the additional issues now in play, there was never a more prompt moment to deny the visa-free travel options. More important, stating that ascension to the EU would not be possible within the next 50 years would equally not be out of the question. The Turkish approach to ‘securing’ Europe as discussed (at http://theconversation.com/turkey-is-using-syrian-refugees-as-bargaining-chips-as-it-moves-against-the-kurds-90904) is beyond tasteless. As I stated before, the acts by Turkey going back as far as 2002 are shown to be unacceptable. The larger issue is why Europe seems to continue to ‘find’ ways to reopen talks whilst the bulk of 72 requirements have not ever been met, even worse, their actions in Syria, their involvement with Qatar and semi union with Iran makes the matter worse. It makes a case that Turkey is the larger security threat for Europe.

The fact that Turkey is so corrupt that immigrant threats get to walk through Turkey, or via Turkish smugglers makes matters worse. Yet, there is no such mention at this time. Even more unnerving is the fact that there is still a meeting. The Commission confirmed Wednesday that Erdogan will meet in Varna, Bulgaria, on March 26 with Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, European Council President Donald Tusk and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, whose country holds the bloc’s rotating presidency. What takes the cake was the quote Commission spokesman Alexander Winterstein said the talks will focus on “subjects of mutual interest and recent developments in Turkey. That includes obviously the rule of law and fundamental rights“. Knowing that Turkey has only two elements on the brain, I wonder how this can end well. The EU is getting truly desperate. It is still facing Brexit and the news and the bitterness of Europe is showing them to be spiteful in every way. is that not nice to know that some place that ‘pretends to value’ freedoms, will not honour those who are no longer interesting in its membership? As I personally see it, the levels of corruption that flow through the ECB gravy train is making people nervous, because that part is becoming clear that this train has to stop functioning. the Financial Times (at https://www.ft.com/content/ade8e020-0b50-11e8-8eb7-42f857ea9f09) voices it in light of ‘non-compliance’, the quote “The five-page text (UKCompliance), circulated to EU member states by the European Commission and seen by the Financial Times, sets out how the EU plans to make Britain abide by union law until December 2020 while excluding it from decision-making“, does that sound like amicable? As the article states, it basically reduces the UK to a slave state having to enforce laws designed in the foundation of utter stupidity, whilst not getting a say in the matter. So, as that is pushed upon the UK, with the optional worse decision to continue talks with Turkey, The EU is basically setting a warm fire where the UK can decide to go postal, take the cold Brexit and cut all ties. The tidal wave of chaos that Turkey is likely to bring soon thereafter will make UK the best trade solution for Western Europe and Scandinavia. The document also emphasises that London must refrain from any “action or initiative which is likely to be prejudicial to the Union’s interests”, which sounds nice on one side, but the act that judicially for the UK is the national notice that counts, and that is the setting of any judicial setting in its national origin, it is not for the European Union to set that as anti-Union. Even more pronounced that in itself would constitute another reason for Turkey not to be allowed within the European Union as such. Should that be set aside for consideration, it could invalidate the terms for the UK to abide by, which is a small blessing in disguise.

It is the Financial Times, who in light of Brexit shows that Europe is filled with duality. The economic pressures it faces and the facilitation it requires as it has been playing the monopoly money printer at large for all causes worthless and overvalued. This is seen in several ways. In the first the ECB remained quiet on Mario Draghi and the G30 club, the media has silenced any actions since January 17th. In addition, Bloomberg reported “Mario Draghi said the European Central Bank has no choice but to brace for the possibility that the U.K. will exit the European Union without a transitional agreement“, form my point of view, the 5 pages that the Financial Times initially gave us, and that likelihood is only increasing. Perhaps having a few spiteful children on the Brussels side was not the cleverest of options as I personally see it, but then again. It is merely my view that some of these players want to continue their gravy train, a debatable view to say the least. Even as France has been outspoken and opposing any Turkish ascension to the European Union, there has been a silence from several other players. The fact that the Bulgarian meeting is still on for now, that in light of the Turkey violating international Law in Syria is also light for concern. The Jerusalem Post gives us “Speaking on BFM television, Jean-Yves Le Drian also said there were indications Syrian government forces were using toxic gas against civilians although the UN would need to confirm that“, that might be true, but at this point is Turkey also involved in those actions? Because that is the evidence that matters! You see the quote “Le Drian said international law “is being violated by Turkey, by the Damascus regime, by Iran and those who are attacking eastern Ghouta and Idlib”. His remarks amount to France’s toughest line yet on Turkey’s involvement in the Syrian conflict” might hold water, but only if clear evidence is given that Turkey actually broke international law. You see, from one point of view Turkey was not barred, stopped or told to leave by what should still be regarded as the legitimate government of Syria, as such Turkey ends up having an actual defence against the French claim and that could remain to be an issue. The fact that other papers are voicing the identical quotes does not make this issue more so true, the presentation of evidence does.

So even as Ankara is not meeting some thanksgiving any day soon, it basically soured the waters with the US, France, optionally Germany, Saudi Arabia and a few other members of the European Union. And there was I thinking that only Napoleon was stupid enough to wage a war on two fronts, oh no that Adolf dude made the same stupid error. Anyway, as things go we will see more news soon, because the entire march meeting even as the Netherlands has withdrawn its ambassador to Turkey, we see the Dutch former NATO secretary Jaap de Hoop-Scheffer mention that ‘Turkey is too important for the Netherlands and the Netherlands are too important to Turkey‘, the economic fires are pushed to a higher level, there is nothing like a former official to voice the needs that politicians are not able (read: allowed) to make. The ECB and its gravy train must continue. That is the imperative that the 28 bloc nations are trying to rephrase so that certain questions are not asked. I personally believe that it is all in extremely poor taste. In another source (Dutch Newspaper: Trouw) we see the Dutch Lily Sprangers, former director of the Turkey Institute in The Hague state: “Die problemen zijn geen reden om geen betrekkingen te onderhouden” (These problems are no reason not to maintain relationships), sounds nice in theory, yet when the Dutch fascist JanMaat was about to get elected you (read: the politicians at large) did not follow on that idea to improve options, you tried to silence it to death, when he ended with 3 seats you all united to get that undone. It all seems a little two-fold in the light of the events that are happening.

The Dutch have been trying to improve relationships, which remains valid and they are not the only one, but in light of the 72 non-achievements to get some report going so that they could be included in light of the hostilities shown towards Brexit, gives me the shivers. A club of inclusion tends to be the most dangerous kind, because (as I personally see it) it allows for the utter corruption of ideals that should have excluded parties from the very start.

So then the media reports on the March 26th event. Will I still sound wrong to you, or is that and the lack of response by the ECB on the G30 club a clear signal that a lot of things are wrong in Europe and Brexit might have been the one sane move to begin with?

Did I oversimplify issues again?

 

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Insights or Assumptions?

Yesterday’s article in the Washington Post (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/global-opinions/wp/2018/01/22/the-rise-of-saudi-arabias-crown-prince-reveals-a-harsh-truth) is an interesting one. In this article Professor Bernard Haykel gives a view on the issues we are optionally likely to see in Saudi Arabia. I am not sure I can agree. You see, he might be the professor of the ‘Near Eastern Studies and the director of the Institute for Transregional Study of the Contemporary Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia’ at a prestigious place like Princeton, but my pupils tend to shape like question marks when someone’s title requires 13 words to be merely one part. We see in the article “depict him as power-hungry and corrupt, and cite these two impulses for his behavior and policies. When King Salman designated MBS as his heir in June 2017, MBS effectively became the most powerful man in the kingdom. And despite ill-advised purchases (including a yacht and a French chateau, which have cemented the impression of the crown prince’s greed)“, so how does that work? You see Prince Mohammed bin Salman is wealthy, his family is very wealthy, and as such is a yacht a splurge? It would depend on the price. Second there is the mention on a French Chateau. Well, I have taken a look and I fell in love with a house in France too, in Cognac (my favourite drink). The house (at http://www.rightmove.co.uk/overseas-property/property-58209296.html), has 7 bedrooms, is amazing in looks and in a nice village. The amount comes down to a little over a million dollars (money I obviously do not have), but consider that the same amount will only get you a decent 2 bedroom apartment in the outskirts of Sydney, within some suburbs and in the city, those prices will go up from 250%-1500%, depending on how outlandish your view needs to be, in a measly 2-3 bedroom apartment. So how does that make the Crown Prince greedy? Now his choice is a chateau 50 times that price and a family that owns billions can splurge a little. His place is west of Paris. And let’s face it, as some economies are going, having your money in something substantial is not the worst idea. His second splurge, linking him to greed and power hunger is a yacht. So how does that leap rhyme? I have no idea and I find the professors view slightly too speculative. Yet, the man is not done. He then gives us: “MBS is trying to deal with a harsh truth about Saudi Arabia: The kingdom is economically and politically unsustainable, and is headed toward a disaster“. There is a truth in that. As Saudi Arabia is dependent on oil, there will be a lull in their lives, as the need for oil exists, with prices going down, there is no real prospect of fixing it, but wait that is exactly what the crown prince is doing. He is setting forth his 2030 view, a growing move away from oil dependency, which is actually a really good thing to do. It does not make him greedy, merely a visionary that technological evolution is essential to the continuing future of Saudi Arabia. We then get two quotes that matter. The first I already gave light on with “a sclerotic state with limited administrative capacity and an economy that is largely reliant on declining oil revenues“, yet sclerotic? That means “losing the ability to adapt“, which is exactly what the crown prince is trying to achieve, adapt the nation to other options and new ways. The second is a lot harsher, but requires additional focus. With: “a venal elite comprised of thousands of royals and hangers-on who operate with impunity and are a huge drain on the economy. It is saddled with a bloated public sector which employs 70 percent of working Saudis, and its military is incapable of defending the homeland despite billions spent on armaments“, so we can argue on the wisdom of ‘employs 70 percent of working Saudis‘, I am not stating that it is true, but when we see Walmart in the US, who employs 1% of Americans pumping billions of profit into that one Walton family, we should wonder how wrong the Saudi actions are. So we might not see corporate greed like in the US, but is one method better than the other? I am not sure that this is the case. The other part I need to comment on is: “its military is incapable of defending the homeland“, what evidence is there (it is not in the article at all)? Let’s not forget that Iran has been a warmongering nation for DECADES! How many wars did Saudi Arabia get into? There was the Saudi -Yemeni war of 1934, The Gulf War, where Saudi Arabia was a member of the allied forces, the Saudi intervention in Yemen and the current upcoming conflict with Iran. So, regarding the inability to defend the homeland? Is that perhaps merely gesture towards the incoming missiles from Yemen? Well, we can bomb the bejezus out of Yemen, but it would imply thousands of civilian casualties as these people are hiding in the civilian masses. Something they learned from groups like Hamas and Hezbollah I would reckon, but that this is merely an assumption from my side. I found the restraint that Saudi Arabia has shown so far quite refreshing.

I am not stating that Saudi Arabia is holier than thou. Like any nation, it makes mistakes; it has views and a set infrastructure. It is moving at a pace that they want, not the pace Wall Street wants, which is equally refreshing.

The article gives us truths, but from a polarised setting as I see it. Yes, there is acknowledgement on the achievements too, in both the directions of the USA and Russia, and we can agree that just like 86% of all other nations (including the USA) that the economy is a weak point. So how is America dealing with a 20 trillion in debt? From my point of view, the USA has not done anything in that direction for over a decade. Instead of lowering the corporate tax to the degree it did, it could have left it 5% higher and let that part be reserved of paying of the debt and interest, oh right, the 5% will not even take care of the interest at present, so as such the USA is in a much worse place at present, which is not what the article is about, but we should take that into consideration, and the end of the article? With “Ultimately, MBS wants to base his family’s legitimacy on the economic transformation of the country and its prosperity. He is not a political liberal. Rather, he is an authoritarian, and one who sees his consolidation of power as a necessary condition for the changes he wants to make in Saudi Arabia“, is that true? The facts are likely true and when you employ 70% of a nation, economic transformations are the legitimacy of that nation. There is the one side Americans never understood. In the end, Saudi Arabia is a monarchy; their duty is the welfare of that nation. So it does not make him authoritarian (even as he might be seen as much), he is the upcoming new monarch of Saudi Arabia, a simple truth. Within any monarchy there is one voice, the King/Queen of that nation. So it is in theory consolidation of power, in actuality it is a monarch who wants all voices and looks to be towards an area of focus, what that is, the future will tell, but in the end, until the Iran-Saudi Arabia issue is solved, there will be plenty of space for chaos.

In this his path is clear and that is the part the professor did illuminate too. With: “MBS is trying to appeal to young Saudis, who form the majority of the population. His message is one of authoritarian nationalism, mixed with populism that seeks to displace a traditional Islamic hyper-conservatism — which the crown prince believes has choked the country and sapped its people of all dynamism and creativity“, it is his need to create a population that is nationalistic, that sees Saudi Arabia as a place of pride, which is not a bad thing. In a setting where the end of hyper-conservatism, as it can no longer reflect any nation in a global economy, is an essential path. He is merely conservative in not handing out all those large benefits and multi-billion dollar revenue in the hands of opportunists who are eager to take those billions over the border, out of Saudi Arabia at the drop of a hat, any hat. That will drag down the Arabian economy with absolute certainty. A dynamic and creative nation, especially fuelled by youth and enthusiasm could spell several wells of innovation and profit that could benefit Saudi Arabia. I think that the path from hyper-conservatism towards where it needs to be in 2023 is so far well played. He is not there yet, but the path is starting and that is in the end a good thing. The only thing that the US needs to fear now is that the creative and innovation path that Saudi Arabia is on, could spell long term problems for a nation that has been fixated on a iterative technology path where the US is no longer the front runner, they were surpassed by Asia some time ago, the US merely has Apple and Google. Oh no, they do not, because those are proclaimed global corporations. So where does that leave the US?

So as we see Bloomberg (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-22/imf-sees-global-growth-picking-up-as-u-s-tax-cuts-gain-traction) gives us ‘IMF Says Global Growth Picking Up as U.S. Tax Cuts Take Hold‘, which is a number I find overly optimistic, Global growth is set to 3.9%, yet the bad news cycle has not started yet, so I reckon that if the global economy ends at 2.45% it would not be a bad achievement. In that light I find the mention “The IMF also predicted that the tax plan will reduce U.S. growth after 2022, offsetting earlier gains, as some of the individual cuts expire and the U.S. tries to curb its budget deficit“. I believe that the US economy takes a hard hit no later than 2020 and the idea of ‘curb its budget deficit‘ is equally amusing, they have not been able to do that for 15 years and as there is at present every chance that President Trump is a one term president only, the Democrats are now likely to win by large margin and the entire budget curbing would be immediately off the table, because spending is the one thing the democrats have proven to be utter experts in, they merely leave the invoices for others to deal with, which is equally unhealthy for any economy.

And in that article we see exactly the fears that are mounting towards Saudi Arabia too. With “the IMF flagged protectionism, geopolitical tensions and extreme weather as risks to the global economy” we see a new frontal attack starting on protectionism. Mentions like “A reduction of Germany’s surplus would help reduce global imbalances” and it is not one source, hundreds of articles over the last 16 hours alone, all hammering the protectionism word in a bad light. It is now becoming all about trade protectionism, even under the terms of Brexit, we saw on how people were stating that it was a disadvantage, the single market falls away and as such the UK cannot benefit. Now that Brexit is still pushing forward, the IMF is changing their tune and it is now on protectionism and trade protectionism. Another way to state that tariffs and import fees are now a problem, it is the final straw in giving large corporation the push for benefit they need and many are in the States (IBM, Microsoft, 3M and so on), they would benefit and even as I mention Brexit, it also affects Saudi Arabia. As we saw last July: “Being a WTO member, Saudi Arabia is expected to bind its tariffs on over three-fourths of U.S. exports of industrial goods at an average rate of 3.2 percent, while tariffs on over 90 percent of agricultural products will be set at 15 percent or lower“, so the IMF is not merely voicing the fear of the US, it is equally scared that the stimulus backlash is about to his impeding presented global growth, the protectionism and trade protectionism are set to plead for open doors, I wonder if that also means that patent protectionism would have to end. I doubt that because pharmacy is what keeps the US afloat in more than one way, and is not a subject that is allowed to be tinkered in.

So were these insights or speculations?

I believe both the professor and myself were doing both, I admit to that upfront, whilst the professor set it in a text that is acceptable yet should have been raising a few more questions that the Washington Post is bargaining for. We can argue that this is a good thing, but it is my personal belief that even as it was a good and insightful article, in the end all the mention of power hungry and corrupt, in the end he showed no real evidence that this was a move of a power hungry person, especially as the person in question (Prince Mohammed bin Salman) is set to be the future king of Saudi Arabia, the crown prince is at the tip of the pyramid, so he needs not be power hungry. That can only be shown if he starts expansion wars with his neighbours. In addition no evidence is shown of corruption, I do not state that this is not the case, but if you accuse a person of being corrupt it would be nice to add actual evidence of that, which is merely my point of view.

In the end, through insight and speculation, I hope that you got some insights of that and feel free to google ‘IMF protectionism‘ and see how many articles were added in the last week alone. It is clear that Davos is about removing limitations, not actually growing a true economy. Which implies from my point of view is that Davos is about big business and what they need, not what the people desperately require. Consider that when you read about the ‘World Economic Forum Annual Meeting’ and when you see who is present. My mind wonders on how many informal meetings there will be and how Theresa May is likely to get hammered on Brexit issues as Emmanuel Macron, Jean-Claude Juncker, Angela Merkel and perhaps even Donald Trump unite against Brexit. It is an assumption from my side, but at the end of the week, will I be proven wrong?

 

 

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The desperate just won’t stop

We have seen so much about Brexit, it is getting ridiculous. Even the Guardian is giving us loads of fear mongering articles. Now, their partial valid defence is that this is what is being said, so that is fair enough, but have you all considered the sources?

For example ‘No-deal Brexit would cost EU economy £100bn, report claims‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/jan/15/no-deal-brexit-would-cost-eu-economy-100bn-report-claims). Here we see “lack of trade deal would cost UK around £125bn“, so lets take a look at the source ‘Oxford Economics’, from their own claim: “Oxford Economics was founded in 1981 as a commercial venture“, which is fair enough, there is nothing wrong with a commercial venture. Yet now also consider “Our worldwide client base now comprises over 1,500 international organisations, including leading multinational companies and financial institutions“, this is an issue because none of them want Brexit, their need for greed is fuelled best when they have open borders and no tax accountability. In addition, it has been shown that the small businesses would thrive a lot better when the large corporate advantage is taken away and the smaller players are on an equal playing field. Small Business (at http://smallbusiness.co.uk/smes-see-brexit-opportunity-trade-rises-2540071/), gives us “Of the 500 SME owners and senior managers surveyed, two-thirds say they feel confident about doing business overseas (67 per cent). Since the EU referendum, almost half have increased international sales (48 per cent), while 36 per cent expect to start or increase exports in the next twelve months“, now this is merely one source, so this is not gospel, yet the clarity that we have seen is that all large corporations are pushing for Bremain, is because of the singular market, the part where these large corporations have an advantage over all other players.

We see this even today in the Guardian. With “Britain will not be allowed full access to European Union markets, including financial services, unless it pays into the EU budget and accepts all its rules” it is playing a dangerous game. So why exactly should the UK buy into the stupidity of Mario Draghi? The European system that is flawed and discriminatory towards the larger players. In addition there is “Asked whether France would seek to “punish” Britain, by insisting financial services should not be included in a UK-EU trade deal after Brexit, Macron said, “I’m not here to punish or reward”” (at https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/jan/18/macron-rebuffs-city-deal-after-brexit-unless-uk-pays-into-eu-budget). You see, France is on the abyss, so they want any advantage they can get. Yet, in equal measure these nations, not just the UK can no longer allow the utter irresponsibility that the EU has been dealing. Governments did this to themselves. With France at €2.1T, a debt that is 32,360 times its population. Italy at €2.2T, with 37,000 times its population and Germany with €2.0T, with 24,750 times its population. In all this the debts are beyond normal and Europe is not listening. We get excuse after excuse. It is unable to stop corporate greed and we see nations giving larger corporations tax exemption after tax exemption, whilst the population have been and is still living on a lowered quality of life, that whilst the current situation is forcing people to live and work more and more until in their deep 70’s, because retirement before 70 is now no longer a feasible option, the cost of the present quality of life has increased by too much. The UK is not in a better state, but is trying to deal with the mounting debts. You see, the quote “The alternative was a Canada-style trade deal, he said, which could include financial services, but would not include access “on the same level” as existing EU members” is actually true, is was always a reality, but the larger corporations do not want that, they need their mistresses, their wealth and their non-accountability with Brexit that is no longer an option and these people could face serious consequences in the UK, they do not want that, but in equal measure leaving 60 million consumers and leaving those people to the small enterprises is equally dangerous, because the moment the UK shows success, the EU will almost instantly fall apart. When we look at Full Fact (at https://fullfact.org/europe/our-eu-membership-fee-55-million/) we see: “The UK pays more into the EU budget than it gets back. In 2016 the UK government paid £13.1 billion to the EU budget, and EU spending on the UK was forecast to be £4.5 billion. So the UK’s ‘net contribution’ was estimated at about £8.6 billion. Each year the UK gets a discount on its contributions to the EU, the ‘rebate’ worth almost £4 billion last year. Without it the UK would have been liable for £17 billion in contributions“, so there are consequences, yet who EXACTLY would be liable for those contributions? How many corporations are doing business with Europe? How much in taxation was paid? Those clear lists are not coming forward are they?

Then we see: “A membership fee isn’t the same as the economic cost or benefit. Being in the EU costs money but does it also create trade, jobs and investment that are worth more?” Here we see a truth on one side, but who exactly gets the trade benefit? Where are those jobs exactly? And these investments, how do they pan out in wealth and taxation?

So, you see, these so called Financial Services which are they? Hedge funds, Banks, Wealth management, crediting firm and debt collection? So which Financial Services are the ones YOU enjoy? At which point do you think that they should enjoy lessened fees? The NY Times is giving us ‘Britain and France Agree on Deals to Limit Brexit Fallout‘ (at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/18/world/europe/britain-france-brexit-meeting.html), it is one point of view. I see it in a different way. When you consider the quote: “Mrs. May agreed to pay an additional $62 million to help reinforce security around the French port city of Calais, which has been a gathering point for migrants seeking to enter Britain. That money will be spent on fencing, CCTV cameras and infrared detection technology” it is merely to cost of governing and would have been required no matter what. Today’s events on a global scale show that. To set a strong defence is an essential need for both players, even as it is merely shown as a benefit for the UK. The truth is that these people went through France, for the longest of times and they were not seen as a threat, a disaster and are actually a failure for the DGSE and the French intelligence at present. With the need for that data the DGSE can push forward, yet both nations have stretched budgets and France is in a far worse state than the UK is. The Financial Times gave that in 2016 when we saw: “The Cours des Comptes found the likelihood of pegging the deficit at 2.7 per cent of gross domestic product for 2017 was “very uncertain”, pointing at new spending commitments in 2016 and the use of overly optimistic growth figures when planning public finances” (at https://www.ft.com/content/0d83afca-3e3d-11e6-9f2c-36b487ebd80a), the use of overly optimistic growth figures are a global failure and partially the reason why Europe is in such a dismal state. So as we are ‘treated‘ to a presented ‘bettered economy‘ we still see that the people forget that the team of Mario Draghi is printing $60 billion euro’s a month and spending this money. Yes, if I get to do that, my economy would look good too and this has been down with much higher figures for over two years. Now we see (at https://www.reuters.com/article/ecb-banks-ethics/eu-ombudsman-urges-ecbs-draghi-to-leave-g30-club-of-financiers-idUSL8N1PB5FC) that Mario Draghi is being told to “give up his membership of the Group of 30 talking shop of financiers, as it risked hurting public confidence in the ECB’s independence, the European Union’s ombudsman said on Wednesday“. It is not merely the lack of independence, I would like to see a list of the 2 trillion Euro and how many of these 30 got a part benefit in this. This puts the issue of Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England in a dangerous place, because if there is enough evidence and the Governor of the Bank of England did not advice parliament, we get an issue on parliament getting slapped on the European fee’s on Brexit, whilst on the other side 29 bankers directly benefited on the advance knowledge as to where the benefits went to and how optionally up to 39 people directly benefited in growth of wealth here. A European machine where the driver sees what’s coming and had the benefit of diminishing the dangers and damage for him and the 29 people in first class, a dangerous premise to say the least.

And again and again we see how the larger corporations are now desperate to unfold Brexit as much as possible so that their gravy train continues just a few stops more, so until their reign ends. Whatever comes after this is the problem for the next player, they will not care.

So when UKIP stated: ‘let’s spend it on healthcare‘ they were not wrong, the problem is that there are too many powerful players trying to prevent this, because their maximised golden parachute depends on stopping that. So basically, their good intention was folly from the very beginning. Now we see that the bankers were always leading conversations with the one group that was ‘presented’ to be independent.

Now I am taking a step back. I found a paper called ‘SME Performance: The Role of Networking, Innovation Breadth, and Business Model Design‘ which I will try to attach at the end. It gave me a few things, but the paper, which is an amazingly good read, gives us something that I had not initially considered. On page 97 we see some considerations, yet as we realise the descriptive around it “Nine measures were created to test hypotheses: innovation breadth, firm performance (including efficiency and effectiveness), networks, age, size, market concentration and competition. Four of the measures were presented as categorical data in the dataset, and used as such in the regression analyses. These include age (number of years the business have been in operation regardless of 96 changes in ownership), size (number of employees), market share and number of competitors. The other five measures had to be calculated. Figure 4.2 provides an overview of the measurement operationalisation and includes descriptive and frequency statistics“, now consider “Networks 2005 (Nine Variables) (0.738)” with the following setting:

  1. External Accountants (0 = 20.95%; 1 = 41.01%; 2 = 38.05%)b
  2. Financial advisors or banks (0 = 53.03%; 1 = 31.29%; 2 = 15.69%)b
  3. Solicitors (0 = 59.3%; 1 = 28.1%; 2 = 12.59%)a
  4. Business management consultants (0 = 85.95%; 1 = 9.15%; 2 = 4.9%)b
  5. Others in same industry (0 = 53.78%; 1 = 27.44%; 2 = 18.78%)b
  6. Industry Association/Chamber of commerce (0 = 77.64%; 1 = 14.41%; 2 = 7.95%)b
  7. Australian Taxation Office (0 = 64.21%; 1 = 28.1%; 2 = 7.69%)b
  8. Other government organisations (0 = 76.31%; 1 = 17.1%; 2 = 6.58%)b
  9. Other (0 = 98.98%; 1 = 1.02%; 2 = 0%)

Where: 0 = Never, 1 = 1-3 times, 2 = More than 3 times

Now consider that there is a group of 30 bankers go are allegedly getting the heads up of certain changes and directions. So the large corporations are getting an additional boost to maximise their standing whilst those not in the ‘friends group‘ are actually in a disadvantaged position. In Discriminant analyses it is sometimes seen as the Independent variable that via the intervening variable gets us to the dependent variable. So the intervening variable is setting the stage for tolerance towards the dependent variable. In that same light, we can see the group of 30 as the intervening variable, now not as a level of tolerance, but as the intervening factor that takes the cream of the complete load, so as one would expect the financial sector to get milk, where 15% is the milk is cream, the 85% is accepted because it comes with 15% cream, which is the valued profit, or what some would call the ‘easy money’ in all this. Now we see the alleged situation of a group of 30, so consider the European Banking Federation with at the beginning of 2017 with 6,596 bankers. Now consider that the cream is optionally diminished by 30%-60%, so now we see a disjointed amount of cream and decisions are getting made on overly optimistic figures. Is that not an interesting view? So yes, one can argue that any quality debt collector is looking at an optional golden age, where in all decent and ethical levels they would be acting correctly, whilst the people were given a misdirected setting from the beginning. It does not absolve them from responsibility, but as we see on how the people at large were presented the implied 4% growth, whilst certain players knew that it would never go beyond 1.2%, the game looks to have been rigged from the very beginning.

So when we read at Reuters that there are issues of ‘maladministration‘ and a request for ‘stricter rules‘ the fact that this has optionally been going on for 15 years comes a little late, and now we see people complaining on Brexit? Why would anyone want to be in a game that is this rigged? So in this view, the response “An ECB spokesman said the central bank had taken note of the ombudsman’s recommendations and would respond in due course“, is a joke at the smallest setting and a huge betrayal of the European population at the most marginal of settings.

So when we now consider the Finews dot Asia (at https://www.finews.asia/finance/26317-hna-desperate-to-find-cash), we should see ‘HNA: Desperate to Find Cash‘ in a different light. With “HNA Group, the Chinese conglomerate that is also the largest shareholder of Deutsche Bank, is using all its imagination to service the ballooning mountain of debt“, as well as “HNA Group, which has about $100 billion in debt, has been scrambling for months to raise cash to service the burden“, we start to see the dangers that the banks are facing. They have gone past the safe point and in this the people are about to get a really rude awakening. With “as Citigroup, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs either cut business relations or told their bankers not to write new business with the Chinese firm” we see the mention of New Business, but how much is outstanding? And when this collapses and hits Europe and the Deutsche Bank to the degree it could, we now see the truth of what I stated two years ago that the delays of Brexit had taken too long. We are running out of time, we see slowly how my predictions are coming to pass one by one. When the Deutsche bank gets hit with this the impact of Germany will be beyond what they expected and that will directly hit France and Italy, Italy will not recover, France just might, but at great expense. So that large barge I discussed in ‘A noun of non-profit‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2013/05/15/a-noun-of-non-profit/) on the 15th of May 2013, could come to pass less than 5 years later (two years after I expected it though). With “They keep the Barge EU afloat in a stable place on the whimsy stormy sea called economy. If the UK walks away, then we have a new situation. None of the other nations have the size and strength of the anchor required and the EU now becomes a less stable place where the barge shifts” I made a setting that has been proven correctly, yet the sea was kept stable by pouring large amounts of oil on it (the ECB stimulus, which is now about 2.5 trillion Euro). So as time was gained, the situation was never resolved as nations could not get their debt under control. Now we see that the presented situation was never correct because 30 players had access to a shortcut. What a life the Europeans get to live in!

The desperate will never stop, because they have too much to lose, so until the people revolt into an election that takes these greed driven players out of the game, the UK remains a lot better of outside of that single market and they better be fast about it, because as long as they are into that group the UK has a responsibility to pay for the damages that the ECB is pouring onto its population.

So when the voters decide to keep the desperate in business, they better realise that they will have no rights to complain when it collapses, and they only have themselves, not their government to blame when it does.

SME Performance: The Role of Networking, Innovation Breadth, and Business Model Design

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Enabling crime

Thursday saw the light of an unsettling situation, unsettling to some that is. You see the article ‘UK police to lose phone and web data search authorisation powers‘ is very one sided. At https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/nov/30/police-to-lose-phone-and-web-data-search-authorisation-powers we see “Senior police officers are to lose the power to self-authorise access to personal phone and web browsing records” and as it ends with “an attempt to comply with a European court ruling on Britain’s mass surveillance powers“, this merely fuels my setting for Brexit. Yet it is not that simple. As people are shouting, screaming and considering how they are allowed, in rights of, and needing privacy. I stopped caring and worrying. When you consider the following parts:

SS7 hack explained (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/apr/19/ss7-hack-explained-mobile-phone-vulnerability-snooping-texts-calls), in 2016.

Here we see “Hackers can read text messages, listen to phone calls and track mobile phone users’ locations with just the knowledge of their phone number using ‘a vulnerability’ in the worldwide mobile phone network infrastructure“. We hear that something was done. It is given with “Since the exposure of security holes within the SS7 system, certain bodies, including the mobile phone operators’ trade association, the GSMA, have set up a series of services that monitor the networks, looking for intrusions or abuse of the signalling system“. So guess what! It was not or ever solved. It is merely monitored, the moment that this monitoring number is tweaked; organised crime has full access to you. This is only the first piece of evidence that European Laws have been enabling criminals and organised crime.

And with the quote “Reportedly, recent security testing of SS7 by an operator in Luxembourg took Norway’s largest network operator offline for over three hours due to an “unexpected external SS7 event”.” we see clear evidence that the criminals are winning. I wonder if those extremely high paid judges are considering that. Because their claim “mass harvesting of personal communications data could only be considered lawful if accompanied by strong safeguards including judicial or independent authorisation and only with the objective of fighting serious crime including terrorism” has no hold on criminals as they are in it for the money, not terrorism.

So even as the Guardian trivialises the danger in the correct way with “given the billions of mobile phone users across the globe, is small”, yet these criminals are learning and learning really fast. The contact book shows them who is connected to important people (for example @RBS.co.uk or @natixis.fr), that list goes on for a while as the contacts are lining up, the tally shows that the value of that person goes up by a lot. And let’s not forget, this level of data mining can be done with most ordinary computers. So as they are seeking data, downloading dumps for later, 99% gets washed and 1% is kept on the computer. I reckon that 99% gets burned on discs for later use and verification. Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai gave warning in an article on May 4th 2016 (at https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/mg7bd4/how-a-hacker-can-take-over-your-life-by-hijacking-your-phone-number), here we see “In 2014, UK authorities warned that criminals were taking over victim’s cell phone numbers and using them to get into the victim’s bank accounts. Now, a social engineering expert is warning that taking control of someone’s phone number is easier than previously thought, thanks to a code normally made of three letters and six numbers called the Porting Authorisation Code, or PAC“, the consequence is given with “De Vere was simply testing this on numbers he owned, but if he had been a criminal taking over other people’s phone numbers, he could have done real damage. Once in control of the numbers, he said, he could’ve use it to approve bank transactions with SMS notifications, bypass two-factor authentication on online accounts such as Gmail, and do other types of fraud” and that was three years ago. So how many operators have increased their levels of security? When I designed the initial solution towards the UK NHS issues, the largest issue I had was to contemplate a new level of non-repudiation, that person and only that person could have requested the medication for a patient. It is that part that gave me an insight on just how casual the online banking security is and this has seemingly been the case for over three years now.

I do believe that security is on the mind of every bank, yet absolute security is an illusion so they resorted to the bank vault principle. They started to design time based security. When you know that burning a bank vault takes 12 hours, you merely need to walk past it every hour to keep it secure. Even with sensors and other things, bank robberies never stopped, they merely became very rare, or better stated extremely rare being successful. In this online efforts are pushed, yet the same issue stays. Now it can be attempted every Nano second by billions, the banks consider that and see the effort as working because only a few ever get through. Yet the end is not near. As given by CNBC (at https://www.cnbc.com/2017/02/01/consumers-lost-more-than-16b-to-fraud-and-identity-theft-last-year.html). Here we see “15.4 million consumers were victims of identity theft or fraud last year, according to a new report from Javelin Strategy & Research. That’s up 16 percent from 2015“, so even as the bank is not all in this, we see in equal measure “Card-not-present fraud — transactions made online or via phone where the cardholder does not need to present the physical card to complete the purchase — jumped the most, increasing 40 percent compared to 2015“, so this implies that 40% more successful actions. This gives us “In all, thieves stole $16 billion, the report found — nearly $1 billion more than in 2015“. That is just the acts of cyber criminals out for cash. The more organised peers are collecting data for other needs. Inside trading data, options to make large cash drops from intelligence, that is the game that does not bring $16 billion, that is the stuff that brings 1000% more, yes, ten times more than current. The issue of non-repudiation could solve part of that, but the banks suddenly become all about ‘customer care’ and not being a hassle. Because their flood comes from casual use with no extra effort required. Their existence is set on that and ‘non-repudiation’ is a more toxic thought for their KPI’s and bonus needs. Even the trivial: “thanks to fraud protections governing credit and debit cards. The mean cost to the consumer was just $48, down from $56, according to the report“, you see it is not the $48 that matters, it will be the fact that your data is out there that matters, when that is flagged the highly priced job you want will be forever out of your reach, because your data is out there and now we see “We warned the government from the start that the authoritarian surveillance powers in the Investigatory Powers Act were unlawful. It should be a source of deep embarrassment that, less than a year after it passed, ministers have had to launch a public consultation asking for help to make it comply with people’s basic rights.“, from an ideological point of view I would side with Silkie Carlo, Liberty’s senior advocacy officer, yet the other side in me stops this, because if the cyber world is a prison, than you gave the prisoners the keys, you made the prison staff vacate the building and these advocates are stating that they prisoners are still in that prison and the doors are watched. But these prisoners can casually go past every wall, tunnel and high rope out of the building never needing the front door and everyone is now in the dark on what is actually happening in that prison, we did not merely lost oversight, we lost sight and visibility of what is going on and that is also the most dangerous of situations, that is when the people forget that by blocking the government and openly giving this all to criminals they are merely shooting themselves in the foot, demanding that the NHS pay for all the needs, medication and staffing to keep them ‘active’, so as the ‘snooper laws’ are altered, the people are forgetting one part that the article is hiding from them. You see, there is a truth in “Restricting the use of communications data to investigations of serious crime but using an offence carrying a six-month prison sentence rather than the usual three-year threshold so that offences such as stalking and grooming are not excluded“, even as that is true, those facilitating for these criminals because they sold other items like routers and computers, those people are out of the race, they are safe and that changes things because finding those stalkers, paedophiles and groomers just became a lot harder, it will take longer to find them and collect enough evidence to make a case against them. At that point remember that the altered snooping laws just gave those roaches 3 times the span to do damage and do 300% more damage to the number of victims.

Yet that casual usage also comes with other prices. As reported in CNBC we see Paul Stephens, director of policy and advocacy for the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse stating: “Third-party budgeting apps, like Prosper Daily and Mint, also flag unusual spending and suspicious charges. Keep tabs on your credit report for new inquiries or accounts opened in your name, said Stephens. Free sites such as CreditKarma and CreditSesame offer free monitoring, and you can also pull reports from AnnualCreditReport.com. Pay attention to any changes in your credit score, too. “A significant shift in your credit score might be a heads up that there’s something wrong with your credit report,” he said“. So now we have to keep tabs on things we never needed to keep tabs on before, how is that any better? It might not be an issue for 80% of the people, but the 20% that ends up getting hit will be in deeper water, deeper than ever before.

That is a part we do not see and matters will get worse with the upholding of this European ideological agenda bullet point. It was a nice to have in an economy of plenty, but those times are forever over and the rule of land and law seems to be shifting, the question becomes in what direction do you want to see it shift into a direction where every household will be required to have some kind of cyber insurance? How much will that set you back? And when you decide not to take it, what will the cost be when you lose a lot more than the inventory of your house because you were on Barbados or St. John’s? It gets even worse, when one of your litter (I think you call them children) decides to Facebook their friends showing off their new fashion or cool item conquest. What happens when the insurance does not cover the house damage because everyone apparently knew you were out of the country?

That is less and less of a speculation, with “Posting pictures of your holiday on social media could leave you open to being burgled – and have an insurance claim invalidated” is becoming a reality. You see, the insurance companies will phrase it as ‘contents insurance limits the number of consecutive days your home can be unoccupied without invalidating your cover‘, apparently it is already in place in some places. This is an issue that has seen the limelight well over 2 years now, and many also state ‘expect you to take ‘reasonable care’ when it comes to security‘, the ambiguity of that goes beyond close windows and locks, it actually includes you bragging on Instagram that you got lucky and ended up blissfully satisfied 2,000 miles from home.

All these issues are now coming more and more to the surface and you do not get to blame the police for that, you yourself voted to give away the keys and limit the options the police had to stop cyber-crimes. It was all connected, you were merely unwilling to see that floodlight and very soon you will see the impact around you. In a world that is mere and more depending on a credit score, on online savvy actions and on knowing who you divulge information to, you decided to give it all to the criminals out there whilst stopping the police all in the same action. So in all this we watch whilst we blame the police and enable cybercrime with our thumbs as we dabble statements through a non-upgraded smartphone. That too is important, because by the end of this year (more likely Q1 2018) over 15% of the current smartphones in use (android phones) will have a phone that will no longer be patched or updated, meaning that at that point we are all open to new forms of attacks, bigger and to a much larger audience. You can read more about that in Tom’s guide (at https://www.tomsguide.com/us/old-phones-unsafe,news-24846.html). Yet, do not worry, the police will be there.

Oh, they won’t be, you stopped that from happening too. Well, good luck to you!

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Retaining stupidity

This is the very first thought I had when I saw “Artificial intelligence commission needed to predict impact says CBI“. Within half a second my mind went into time travel mode. Back to the late 70’s where all the unions were up in arms on computers. The computers would end labour, all those jobs lost. This is not a new subject as the magazine Elsevier showed un in 2015 with “Angst voor nieuwe technologie is zo oud als de industriële revolutie zelf. Diverse commentatoren refereerden de afgelopen tijd aan de luddieten, genoemd naar een Engelse wever die eind achttiende eeuw machines zou hebben gesaboteerd omdat die banen vernietigden“. “Fear for new technology is as old as the industrial revolution itself. Several commentaries referred to the luddites, named after an English weaver who allegedly sabotaged machines at the end of the 18th century because it destroyed jobs“. There is a partial truth here, you see, it is not about the loss of jobs. It is the mere fact that some of these Business group will soon truly show to be obsolete. In this they rely on a firm whose largest achievement is (as I personally see it) to remain silent on overstated profits whilst not having to go to court, or to jail for that matter (read: PriceWaterhouse Coopers). So by engaging this party they have already lost their case as I personally see it. So when we see “Accountancy firm PwC warned in March that more than 10 million workers may be at risk of being replaced by automation“, with the offset we needed in the past (read: Tesco) the damage might merely be a few hundred people. So I do not deny that some jobs will go, yet like the automation sequence that computers brought from the 80’s onwards. That same industry would give jobs and infrastructure to thousands, livening up an industry we could not consider at that time. The same happened in the 18th century when the looms and weavers grew, the blossoming of a textile industry on a global setting. So when you see “The business lobby group said almost half of firms were planning to devote resources to AI, while one in five had already invested in the technology in the past year“, you are looking at what I would call a flim flam statement. You see, perhaps the more accurate statements might be: “The business lobby group stated that 50% of the firms are moving away from the facilitation that the business groups provides for“, so these firms are pushing in another direction, why give credence to their flawed way of thinking? You see, this is the consequence of the greed driven executives who rely on status quo, they ran out of time and they need extra time to get their upgraded pensions in play. Why should we allow for them to continue at all?

I am willing to give the TUC a small consideration because of their heritage. Yet, when we see in the Financial Times (September 11th) “Frances O’Grady, the general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, said the government was hurtling towards a “kamikaze Brexit” and should keep open the option of remaining in the single market” (at https://www.ft.com/content/c5f7afb8-9641-11e7-b83c-9588e51488a0), yet there is overwhelming presented evidence from all sides both positive and negative mind you that the single market only benefits the large corporations, the small companies are merely disadvantaged by the single market as such we must wonder where the loyalty lies of the TUC, by that notion if the TUC is there for large corporations, or to serve them first, we see another piece of evidence that shows the TUC to be redundant, and as they merely vie for the large corporations as their main priority, the fear of those companies would become the fear of the TUC and as such, they are becoming equally obsolete. The Trades Union Congress (TUC) is a national trade union centre should show clear cause with all the data, not merely the aggregated data results of a data scientist at PwC. So when I see “the CBI is urging Theresa May to launch the commission from early 2018. It said companies and trade unions should be involved and the commission should help to set out ways to increase productivity and economic growth as well looking into the impact of AI.” Who is going to pay for all that? I submit that the Trade Unions pay their own way and ask their members for the needed funds. What are the chances of that? The poisoners part is seen in ‘set out ways to increase productivity and economic growth‘. You see, AI will do that to some extent on several paths, yet it is not up to the government to figure that out or to set debilitating fences there. It is up to the business sector to figure out where that profit is. That is why they are in business! You see, as I see it, the drive to remain in some level of Status Quo was nice until it ended, these companies have driven away the people who wanted to innovate and now they are in start-ups, or in companies that embraced innovation, the older larger players are now without skills to a larger extent, without drive through misdirected use of funds and lacking ambition, so they are going to get hit in all three ways when the driver comes. 5G will be a first and when it does happen AI (it is still years away from being anything truly practical), these two paths will drive new methods of automation and data gathering. But the larger players wanted to milk their 4G base as much as possible, setting up side channels with smaller players like Orange, DODO, TPG, Tesco and giffgaff. Now that they are learning that 5G will be a larger wave then some academics presented (likely at the expense of some placement), now we see the panic wave that follows. Now we see the need for commissions to slow things down so that the milkers can catch up. In my view there are clear reasons that such paths should be allowed to exist.

That is my supported view, it has been supported by other articles and I have written about these events for close to two years now. Now that the party is over, we see players trying to change the game so that they can continue just a little longer. We allowed for these matters in 2004 and 2008, it is time for the governments to give a clear signal that change will come and stopping it should not be allowed, not until they alter the tax laws, the laws on accountability and the powers of prosecution to have a better grasp at these players, a change that must happen before we allow any level of catering to their needs.

By the way, when we consider ‘PwC placed under investigation following BT accountancy scandal‘ (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/pwc-investigation-bt-accountancy-scandal-italian-operations-pricewaterhousecoopers-a7813726.html), as well as the Fortune.com issue (at http://fortune.com/2017/02/28/pricewaterhousecoopers-pwc-scandals-oscars/), where we see the five larger issues at PwC, which includes the previous mentioned Tesco, but now has an added Tyco, Taylor Bean & Whitaker, Bank of Tokyo – Mitsubishi and MF Global. So as I have been on the prosecuting tank, ready to roll it over the board of directors of PwC regarding Tesco, having any faith in whatever they want to report on now, unless it comes with all the data for the public at large to scrutinise, they should not get close to any commission and even less be part of the reporting. Now we can irresponsibly use 5 bad apples to identify someone who ships containers of fruit and that would be a valid response and defence. Yet overall the players asking for the commission seem to have their own needs first in all this. There would have been a consideration if there was any given that Google or the Alphabet group to be part in all this, yet that mention is missing and therefor the setting is void. Now, there are more players in the AI field, but it seems that the Google headway is the strongest, the largest and at present the fastest. And with a sense of humour I will add that you merely have to ‘Bing‘ the search ‘AI Commission‘ to see that Microsoft is in no danger of getting anywhere near an AI this upcoming decade. Perhaps the mention of ‘Australian Securities and Investments Commission – Official Site‘ on position 2 and ‘Fair Work Commission | Australia’s national workplace …‘ in position 5 to realise that their AI could be sunk in 13 keystrokes. The power of assumption will kill anything, including ones sense of humour and that same persons appetite.

Yet is there more?

Yes, there most certainly is. You see with “Investment in technology could help bolster Britain’s sputtering record on labour productivity, which is among the worst in the G7 and is failing to improve in line with expectations since the financial crisis” we see part of the fear being spread. The ‘milkers’ as I prefer to call some of them are realising that having space and capital for growth was essential to remain in the game. Some of the milkers are ending up being too visible and plenty of consumers are moving to a place where they can get a better deal. That was seen in Australia in June as ABC news gave the bad news that Telstra had to shed 1400 jobs. We see all kinds of excuses, yet the reality was that for well over 5 years they were too expensive, not by a margin, but by being up to 300% more expensive than a decent alternative. I have had personal experience whilst in a Telstra Shop because I was not an optional business account he had no time for me. Do you think that a company like that can remain in existence? Over the last 3 years, the shares dropped from $6.61 to $3.52, that is pain that a company feels and they remains ignorant and blind to the consequences. That view is enhanced even further by the statements given in the Sydney Morning Herald. With “Our approach [to 5G] is to get in earlier and try to have it modified so it’s more suitable to Australia when it arrives, rather than us have to try to modify it when it gets here,” Mr Wright told BusinessDay.“, so basically there is every chance that Australian 5G will be undercut by some level of standard that is not as given in the 5G handbook. As I personally see it is Telstra’s approach to setting a standard that is no standard at all. A ‘get in first so that we can tell others what the standard is‘, or better stated, what the standard is that you are not adhering to; 3.5G for your mobile anyone?

This Australian view translates to the UK as well. With “Despite the potential for technology to increase productivity, firms are cautious about investing owing to uncertainty over Brexit. Growth in business investment was flat in the three months to June, the latest official figures show“, so these business types are not willing to invest, they merely want the one market side to go on and in light of the delays needed, they want a commission, so that they can force government investment and delays. So they can get the best out of both worlds. The (as I personally see it) exploitative model is continued in every venue we see come and as I see it, it will be much better for us if those business models and business players go, they should go now before they become the detrimental force on UK industries. 5G will be a new beacon of industry and progress, it will open up additional venues for many telecom players and as such we are all better to get on board now and think of that one idea we had that could work for us all. It equally holds the solutions the NHS desperately needs and the fact that 3 larger players still haven’t seen that light is a larger worry than anything else. It merely shows them to be obsolete, dinosaurs in a modern age. As one person told me, the reason the T-Rex is such an angry creature is because its arms are too short to take a selfie. That does make sense, especially when you consider what some of these players think when they think 5G, they merely look at speed, whilst 5G opens up so much more than merely a quick download of a movie, in all this AI could be breaking the moulds and give us something that even I cannot envision, which is actually a really good thing. You see, the new waves will come from people that are different from me; they are the dreamers like the game designers in the early 80’s. They will show vision and give us something we never considered before. That is true progress and the people who bring us weighted predictions and tell us of fear of 20% of all jobs lost need to do what they were meant to do, die and become extinct just like the dinosaurs before them and soon thereafter I will become extinct too. That is the nature of future evolution. Just like my grandfather who could not comprehend the electronic calculator. I am clever enough to comprehend quantum computing, yet I hope I cannot comprehend what comes after, because if I can remain on board at that point we have all become technologically stagnant and we merely move backwards, that too is a personal view I have.

 

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Egotistic Uselessness

Yup, the news has been out for a little while, apart from North Korean rockets flying over Japan and breaking up in three parts, we have another issue to worry the people in Europe. There are now two additional issues. The first one is shown in the Express (at http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/846776/Brexit-news-latest-EU-Michael-Barnier-UK-security-Brussels-talks-negotiations-Theresa-May), yet there it is hidden as a statement of reference. With “Many Eurosceptic have interpreted the proposals as a call to create an EU Army” we see a reference to “The Eurocrat also backed a proposal from the European Commission to gradually combine EU national defences by 2025“, so the largest expense in most national budgets now comes with an added iteration of logistics on a European level. So, how was that EVER going to be a good idea? Is it another snipe at those following Brexit that their defence would suffer if they jump this shark (or is that these sharks)? The Independent (at http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/brexit-eu-military-planning-its-own-army-a7916371.html) gives us “the European Defence Action Plan has a goal of reversing around a decade of defence spending cuts by EU states“, so the EU is now setting a course to reverse defence spending cuts, and who is going to pay for all that? Where is THAT money coming from? Because I can tell you now that the nations are getting a hefty bill for whatever comes next, whilst we see a large increase in logistical needs, the overall efficiency of these defence ‘needs‘ will not be getting any better, they will get worse. With defence at present, they tend to be free of communication issues for the most. So, in this new setting, watching a conversation between Dutch General Middendorp, French Colonel Alexis de Roffignac and Italian Naval Admiral Valter Girardelli would become interesting to say the least. I could get rich selling popcorn at that event. It is not merely the language (we hope all three are fluent in one language and some of them will hope that the common language is not German). There is an issue with standards and setting of common ground, which has always existed to some degree between army and navy. No, the issue goes beyond soft skills, the diversity of the armed forces has hardware considerations as well, beyond the hardware (or lack thereof) we see that infrastructure is also a page never properly tackled within the armed forces in any one nation, so overhauling that will be costly on several fronts, which does not merely undo the cutbacks, it forces these defence structures to switch the ways the setting were, making the changes even more expensive. This means that we get a fake growth of economy from some providers, whilst removing provisions from exiting providers, skewing economy numbers and national costs even further, which would force nations in deeper debt. It is totally opposite of what nations should be achieving. So as we see the news from the express (at http://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/840804/Brexit-news-ex-Macron-defence-advisor-EU-army-Britain), with the first mention of “‘Now the Brits are gone’ Ex-Macron defence advisor predicts Brexit to pave way for EU ARMY“, which makes Francois Heisbourg nothing short of a raving ‘loon’ in my personal view, the next quote gives us “The EDA, which is a tiny agency headquartered in Brussels, is headed up by EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini and is tasked with fostering military cooperation within the bloc. It has a minuscule budget of just £28 million, which has been frozen at that level as a result of British opposition to any expansion of its operations which could lead to the creation of a euro force“, the sheer idiocy here with ‘minuscule budget‘ is at the core. So how long until (with the removal of the UK) that number would be forced towards £28 billion? The need to rise this a thousand fold, and that is merely the overhaul of European defence logistics and initial alignment of communication hardware, software, encryption and skill sets. Oh and that gives us almost immediately the need for billions more and the alignment and shortage of skills would make these defence players the direct target of cyber criminals from the ‘playful education‘ (read teenagers), the ‘academic probing‘ (read Tech-Uni students) and ‘technological entrepreneurs‘ (read organised crime). The option of keeping data and Intel safe at that point could go straight out of the window. You see, there are a few levels of issues and I reckon the moment this starts happening is about the same time when we can download and admire the new ELF encryption system which is (are rumoured) some kind of block chain encryption method (connected to the new Barracuda submarine). It is a clever way to use SmartTags as the setting for the message; making it pretty much uncrackable as well as almost uninterceptable. Because no matter how you slice it, the present settings on defence communication makes it only interesting to try and hack all of it by some governments with the funds to afford such an approach (Russia, USA, China, UK, France and India), when these European players start uniting their solutions, the entire playground becomes a much more appealing field for a lot more players and this is not about merely the intel, when the interception starts, they would start to get access of third party players and where jobs are awarded. Other players would be aware of the decision of billion dollar jobs almost before the market had a clue and that is where speculators would gain a larger advantage, the sale of that knowledge will be rewarded with high bonuses. It is an entrepreneurial heaven for those with a lower setting to the ethical button.

The weird part is that people like Francois Heisbourg should be aware of that as he is also the chairman of the foundation council of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy. This now implies that he is very aware of the need for stability and security, two elements that would actually diminish to some degree. Keeping that up beyond a certain level would require a lot more than £28 billion. Consider the smaller European players, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Estonia and Latvia. They would be required to adhere to stringent communication rules and equipment, and that is only the communication part. When we go towards supply and the need to adhere to some European standard, the reshuffle becomes truly a nightmare. So as we are ‘lulled to sleep‘ with the fact that I am (according to some sources) overreacting, we will see politicians making new speeches (read: rewriting prognosis of requirement) around 2022-2024, stating that to grow the efficiency of European defence, new changes must be introduced and that is where the list will become a lot larger than I am showing you now. I am merely showing the small places that have had their settled way of dealing with their defence. When the list becomes complete a few players will rake in the billions, billions none of the governments have and none of these governments have certain levels of skills at present. At present they have nothing (read: very little) to fear as they are just a small fish in the data world, when the national defences align they all become a target for data acquisition, far beyond they have ever been before. It will be a game changer on several levels and at present no one has the ability to counter what attacks them. You only need to look at the Sony, who again merely a week ago got hacked again. A company where digital security is their essential bread and butter, we see: “On Sunday evening, hackers claimed to have breached PSN and stolen database information. The group, named “OurMine,” was able to overtake Sony’s official PlayStation-branded Twitter accounts to announce the alleged hack“, so in how much danger will less enabled players be? The entire system of ‘open to a certain degree‘ engineering is the spinal cord of cyber dangers, it becomes a spinal tap of information and there would be a decreasing chance of stopping it, with additional chances of merely endangering its own systems, making the concept of a ‘Spinal Tap Hack‘ a lot more realistic in describing the danger it represents.

There is one upside, when it all collapses, these governments might make a deal with Alphabet to arrange for Google Cyber Security on all European nations (speculative sense of humour in action). So not only could we all have the same security, it might for once, for a short time all remain secure. Did I oversimplify the problem here?

Consider that part. What data has been secure so far and why was it secure?

Now consider what supplies have ever been safe? When we consider that in Portugal merely two months ago we see “Defence officials in Portugal say they are compiling a list of weapons and ammunition stolen from the national armoury in a brazen daytime raid“, so consider that Portugal has its own procedures, which implies to some degree that the perpetrators would have gotten some inside information, now consider that the EU nations will comply with certain procedures. How long until this stops being an isolated case and becomes a little more common place? You see, when we see “Defense Minister Azeredo Lopes described the robbery Wednesday at Tancos Air Base, 100 kilometres (60 miles) north of Lisbon, as a “very professional” job and a “serious” breach of security“, so when we consider the truth of it (and I accept it to be true), what information would these professionals have been given? There needed to have been some leak, because you usually cannot just enter an airbase and go snooping until you get lucky. The issue would escalate when certain security procedures become harder as there will be more compliance to certain standards. Of course there is still security, but as intelligence on certain matters become more ‘readily’ available, security becomes much harder and more essential, so any hole in any ‘fence’ would result in loss of goods. Now, when it is cabbages no one cares too much, yet when it becomes stingers, grenades, ammunition and weapons, will people stay indifferent?

There are the two largest issues and the fact that the ‘blasé‘ response from Francois Heisbourg with ‘Now the Brits are gone‘ is largely beyond short-sighted. A politician with Euro signs instead of pupils is the most dangerous greed driven threat to security that any nation could face. I hope that the EU-army players in this upcoming game wake up before it is too late and too much is spend on something that is as I personally see as largely counterproductive for any nations defence. That is merely my personal view and the current situation makes me regard the European Union as a collective of Egotistic Uselessness.

 

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