Tag Archives: Business Insider

As we know it

The universe has changed, it changed some time ago, yet the powers that be, be it in business, administration (read: government) or retail where all for the most are in denial. They deceive themselves through stories. One uses Tableaux to use the data to present the picture, a picture often based on incomplete or overly weighted data. The next one relies on dashboards like SAP to use spreadsheets to bedazzle the people with slice and dice numbers, looking pretty as a pie chart, yet not giving us the goods, because nowadays, these companies hire people who can sell a story, not drill deep on the results. The story is whatever the paying customer is willing to hear. They are all adopting the political need that has been in play for many years: ‘If the data does not match, change the question‘. That is the first part in a sliding scale of representation, and those representing the stories are running out of options (read: point fingers) to turn to.

The first part is seen in ‘At the time of year when queues usually form for popcorn and the money pours in, box office revenues are plunging. Where are the blockbusters?‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/aug/26/even-superheroes-may-not-save-hollywood-desperate-summer), here we see: “The true scale of the potential problem facing the industry can be seen in the precipitous drop in movie attendance this summer, down 52% year-on-year to 385 million at the time of writing. It is the lowest level of attendance since the summer of 1992“, in addition we get “Hollywood is stuck in a rut and it needs a safety net – superhero flicks fit that bill right now“. Two statements that might be the bill of the story, but in reality, the people are adhering to mismatched data and not properly investigated results as I see it. You see, the data is evident and it is out there, the games industry is taking 100 billion plus a year now and some of the other elements of gaming are taking a slice of that. In addition, providers like Netflix are now in much better control of their audiences that is mainly because they figured out what was wrong in the first place. You see, the gaming part is the first part of the evidence. People are now spending it on something else and they are no longer relying on the box office as Netflix gives then options. the second part is seen in the Business Insider (at http://www.businessinsider.com/us-cities-where-cost-of-living-is-rising-the-fastest-2017-6) where we see that on number 10 (New Orleans) the cost of living went up by 18%, on number one we see Nashville with a cost of living raise of nearly 30%, as we have not seen any actual economy increase from the United States, or better stated, the working people of the United States have seen almost no increase in wages and quality of life, those representing certain numbers decided to just ignore issues and evidence. Now, that top 10 list is a little skewed too, yet when we realise that for 3% of Americans their cost of living went up by 18% or more, how worried do we need to be with certain represented numbers? So consider that Los Angeles was part of that top 10, yet New York is not, there we get ‘Cost of living index in New York is 21.37% higher than in Los Angeles‘, which with close to 9 million is 2% of the US population, so now we see that the hardship and quality of life is hitting 5% of the American population and the numbers do still go up, so when we see “drop in movie attendance this summer” how can anyone be surprised? In addition, we should also realise that this gives rise to the fact that apart from people not going to the cinema, many are now spending it on something else and a $20 spend on 90 minutes is not considered when $55 gets them hours, sometimes hundreds of hours of gameplay. We are all getting more and more weary on the bang for our buck and the cinema can no longer deliver that value. No one denies that movies are just better on the big screen, but for many it is a trip only affordable a few times a year so the people are getting really picky on what they see on the big screen. Richard Cooper gives us part of the news, but also ‘forgets‘ to give the full picture. With “It is mid-budget films and their fans that have tended to suffer“, here he only gives us part of the story. As the Hollywood engine of greed and reselling remains on a steady course, we see the need for maximising results and as such the movie makers are closing the gap between cinema and digital release. Why spend on the cinema whilst within 26 weeks the movie will be out on Blu-ray? Basically it is the same price, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is an excellent example in this case. People are becoming stingy because they have no other options. All the messages of a fake economy and how good it is might look nice on the news, but for the most, people in the US cannot afford any extras. Many in the USA need to work double jobs just to get by. The US census gives us that in 2015 13.5% of Americans were in poverty, I feel certain that this number has gone up in 2017, some sources give us that this has gone up to 14.5%, so one in seven is in poverty. Do you think that these people will be watching movies on the big screen? So the Hollywood moment of desperation is not to be resolved, not until the quality of life and cost of living for Americans is set to a much better status. Those who can might try to leech of the neighbour’s Netflix, those who cannot need to find affordable entertainment, if they get any at all.

In the second we see that this economy is also bolstering a new level of exploitation. Even as we all ignore certain elements, Uber has changed the game, with ‘Inside the gig economy: the ‘vulnerable human underbelly’ of UK’s labour market‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2017/aug/24/inside-gig-economy-vulnerable-human-underbelly-of-uk-labour-market) we see a new level where the people are sold a cheap story (read: Uber story) and as they are hiding behind what people should investigate, we see that desperation is exploited in other levels. It is not merely an American issue; it is becoming a global issue. With “Each passenger’s destination, however, will remain a mystery until they have been collected. And regardless of the considerable costs they might incur to fulfill that journey, the driver will have no say in the fare. Uber both sets the fare, then takes a hefty rate of commission from it“, we are shown that there is a dangerous precedent. As we see online needs explodes as people need cheaper solutions, Uber will weigh in on maximising its profit. As I see it: ‘the drivers having no other options to work to near death for scraps’. With “The driver knows that failure to accept these terms will result in an immediate loss of work: they will be blocked for a set period of time from accessing Uber’s online system that provides work” we see new levels of legalising slave labour. The ‘do it or else‘ approach is now strangling the freedom of people to death. We see evidence of my statements with “The companies themselves tend to talk about the freedom, independence, and flexibility with which self-employment is usually associated. But many of the couriers and drivers we have spoken with over the past year have had an alternative model of self-employment, and with it much financial insecurity, enforced upon them“, and the law is not offering any solution, not in the UK and not in the USA, being an entrepreneur tends to have long lasting benefits at times. They all voluntarily went into the contract and they can all walk away and starve. It is not an option for those with families to support and feed. Part of this crux is seen in “we have noted how companies are able to use the guise of self-employment to dump a whole series of obligations and liabilities onto their workforce, while depriving them of protections enjoyed by the rest of working Britain“, to be the entrepreneur comes with hidden dangers, especially when you work for other entrepreneurs. The age of exploitation is upon us and as we know it, we can no longer afford to go to the cinema, a side Mark Sweney seems to have ignored. Yes, he does give us the Netflix element and there was no way to avoid it. He does go in the wrong direction with “For film fans, theatres still have an allure for the launch of big movies, but in the new world, where all media is competing for eyeballs and time in the “leisure economy”, the Netflix threat is rising“, he is not incorrect, yet he is incomplete. He forgets that Netflix is all many can afford (and a fair amount cannot even afford that). So why go to the cinema for the next sequel? Box Office Mojo gives us part of the goods, in 2017 only 2 movies broke the 1 billion mark, Beauty and the Beast with Emma Watson (I personally do not think she was a beast in that movie) and the Fate of the Furious, which makes sense as Vin Diesel is stark raving nuts on most given days (in the fast and furious series) and who doesn’t enjoy a chase movie whilst we know that the driver is Looney Tunes. A movie with a good grasp on the desired quality of life time! So if we accept that the bulk of the Americans had to choose two movies these would be it. Yet, that number is not correct. You see Vin Diesel is attracting an audience, but 81% is not domestic, in the case of Miss Watson it is a 60% non-domestic audience. If we focus on the American market the Beauty and the beast was best, but only good for half a billion, if we focus on the domestic market, it is merely the Force Awakens that brings the goods for Americans. It makes sense with the following it has, but it is also deeply sad that decent movies are no longer bringing in the bacon. We cannot merely be blaming Netflix on this, we can surmise that the people can no longer afford the large screens in America, it is the most likely scenario, when we consider that only 3 movies got the domestic top 100 of gross revenue in 2017 and 11 in 2016, we cannot disagree with the view we get offered, but in retrospect, there is enough evidence that the US job market was worse last year. So with still 3 upcoming box office smashes, the big screen performance remains down, to what extent is harder to state, because there is enough indications that there is a lack of quality numbers, which makes my predictions not wrong, merely speculations and I accept that, yet the makers of the article and the presenters of the story of ‘Even superheroes may not be able to save Hollywood’s desperate summer‘ know that they were blaming the DC and Marvel Universe for not saving an economy that does not presently exist. The economy only exists on the Dow Jones index and that one is skewed towards the 1% of Americans that can afford a large apartment in New York and other places. What a shame that reality requires the 99% of Americans they give no consideration to. Yet it could be worse and there is every chance of that happening. As we see Mario Draghi and Janet Yellen warn against regulatory cuts, as we see “European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said protectionist policies pose a “serious risk” for growth in the global economy“, we could deduce that Draghi is soon depending on exploitation tactics to grow the economy, not only has his Quantative Easing failed, he will soon depend on legalised slave labour to get the economy the boost no one wants in such a manner. So as Draghi states: “To foster a dynamic global economy we need to resist protectionist urges“, which will not just end the filling of any quality of life if it was up to certain Uber approaches, it is also signaling the end of places like Hollywood, because they only get to exist when people can afford to go to the cinema, an display of ‘ingoranus totalicus‘ shown by these same people as they bolster the story that ignores the needs and plight of those in the lover 60% of the total income bracket in most of the modern western world.

We will see in the next 18 months what remains of the values we considered in the past. Life as we know it will change, that has always been the consideration of an evolving natural life. We merely forgot that those in charge are not in favour of change unless they could directly profit by it. I wonder if the people in Hollywood realise that part of the equation.

 

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Googling sanity

There are several issues in the world. There is a game of Chicken going on between North Korea and America and the bets are off on who will fire first, but the smart money is on North Korea forgetting sanity and firing a missile to some US destination. Qatar is in more difficulty than it is willing to admit to and with the latest news that a large chunk of the traditional money bringers towards Qatar have left the nation or cut its ties with them is a new game changer that will set the path to some resolution, but no one will predict how it will fall. When we consider the news options as Qatar has allowed a Taliban office for hosting peace talks might have been done with the consent (read: approval) of the US, but for some the Taliban is a sore in the eye of existence, of many people. I accept that talks are essential towards any progress, yet in the light of current affairs, was the timing great? I actually do not know and I do not proclaim to know. In all this, whilst there are more issues seen in Europe with contaminated eggs, yet for many it will not sit, hinder of be seen as relevant. No many are looking towards Google. An engineer published some manifesto (read memo) and mayhem & chaos seems to be the tidal waves of a place that was seen as the most internally open as I have ever seen any place could possible see. I have been in some of the buildings and I have marvelled at the food, the workspaces and the openness of it all. I miss it nearly every day. It is the one place that truly tries to foster creativity as I see it. If I had a dorm room there it would be the most desired place of learning on the planet. So, what gives?

For the most I stayed away from the issues, yet with the Washington Post now reporting “last-minute cancellation of its much-anticipated town hall meeting late Thursday because of concerns over employee safety“, it is like watching horror unfold and I hope that the Washington Post is wrong or better stated massively incorrect (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/google-employees-face-fear-uncertainty-in-aftermath-of-divisive-memo/2017/08/11/5edd7a00-7ee1-11e7-83c7-5bd5460f0d7e_story.html), yet this is not some Murdoch publication, the only paper on the planet more reliable than the Post is the Times in the UK. What is interesting to see is how divided the media is. Kate Conger at Gizmodo (at https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2017/08/exclusive-heres-the-full-10-page-anti-diversity-screed-circulating-internally-at-google/) gives the full 10 page memo. Gizmodo makes the reference we all heard. Yet what I found amazing was that the amount of media giving us “The post comes as Google battles a wage discrimination investigation by the US Department of Labour, which has found that Google routinely pays women less than men in comparable roles“, yet I have not seen any clear data proving this, the media gives us the quotes, yet not the evidence from any source. So, in that memo, when I read: “When addressing the gap in representation in the population, we need to look at population level differences in distributions. If we can’t have an honest discussion about this, then we can never truly solve the problem” we need to ask is he wrong? There is even more strength with “Considering that the overwhelming majority of the social sciences, media, and Google lean left, we should critically examine these prejudices“. We might at this point question whether it is up to him to comment, yet in all this, he is asking questions at this point, questions that are valid and questions that matter. The problem might be that the timing was off by a large chunk and was it up to him to make that announcement. Yet in equal measure we need to ask, can we, as individuals hinder the freedom of speech and the freedom of expressions, whilst in opposition, the memo was leaked to the world as a leaked Google memo, which in light of other events gives an unnatural weight to the events and the items discussed. The paper in itself becomes a source of weighted bias, at this very early point with much more to read.

Yet, then we get the brilliant part, which is also a first weakness.

 

Left Biases Right Biases
Compassion for the weak

Disparities are due to injustices

Humans are inherently cooperative

Change is good (unstable)

Open

Idealist

Respect for the strong/authority

Disparities are natural and just

Humans are inherently competitive

Change is dangerous (stable)

Closed

Pragmatic

 

 

There is no denying this, yet the balance of harmony is missing, as I have always seen Google to be and felt Google was is a place of creation, creation can only be optimised through harmony than in some measure we should consider that a union of both the levels of tolerance we offer when we are compassionate and optionally ethical levels as we abide to the authority of the set rules of conduct. We are driven to extremes at times (overly left or right), yet in that path we only inhibit forward momentum, as we embrace a balance, we see the dinghy we are on not tip over drowning the lot of us. I here embrace balance, not compromise! In that compromise might be seen as watering the result of what was to be achieved. When I look at the bias of ‘Humans are inherently competitive‘ (right sided) and ‘Humans are inherently cooperative‘ (left sided), I ask within me is it that simple? I am not debating the right or wrong, yet consider in the path of creation. A person starts something that could be the greatest sight of the next waves of technology. It starts with waves of enthusiasm as the creation comes, yet with the discipline of the tedious tasks, it will never be completed, and the project never becomes a reality. I created in my mind a sequel to Skyrim (called: Restoration) in mere hours. Apart from all connected legal parts, I can never complete, or actually create it, because I cannot code to the levels required. I can code (read: script) complete data manipulations and look into data as only a few on this planet can, I have been around since the early mainframes, So as I could do anything with the data they hold, I do not and never expect to have the skills to create the programs like Palantir Gotham, or Palantir Metropolis that hold the data. I do not believe that there are too many alive with such a container load of skills, hence companies makes teams of people, all having their own part in this, all having the solutions that together can get the project successfully concluded. In this balance is the only way that this works, and if it is valid for the ‘small’ players like Palantir, than it will be exceedingly essential for a behemoth like Google or Apple to keep levels of balance.

My first issue comes with ‘Possible non-bias causes of the gender gap in tech‘. You see when I see “I’m simply stating that the distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership” I personally believe this setting to be wrong and incorrect. I heard a similar part in the legal environment. You see, one source (not the most reliable gave me that in 1970 10% of the first year law students were female. Now, a much better source also gives us “Women also were excluded from membership in the ABA until 1918 (Abel, 1989) and from the prestigious Association of the Bar of the City of New York until 1937 (Epstein, 1993). Consequently, they were kept from the networks through which lawyers gain contacts, referrals, and power“, so I am not trying to hide anything, yet that atmosphere had altered later on, the premise however is important to know. In addition we need to see “Women remained less than 5 percent of the enrolment at ABA-approved law schools until the 1970s (Abel, 1989). Both faculty and men students made the educational environment inhospitable to women“. This comes from ‘Women Entering the Legal Profession‘, you see that premise applies but is incorrect in IT as I see it. In 1979 when I entered the IT field, whenever I mentioned IT, close to 100% of the women (most men too) would response in negativity on IT as a profession, and on the subject video games that % only went up in negativity. You see in 1979-1983 IT was a nerd thing, nearly all women and many man steered clear. Now, I do not mind that they steered clear and it was always great to meet a woman in that field, especially when she had IT capabilities, yet until the early 90’s they were rare. When women became more commonplace in the early 90’s it was usually marketing or IT HR and then there were scores of them being handed the job because at times none of the man there wanted the job. So there was a huge imbalance in the workplace at that time, I did not see a clear levelling of IT knowledge to deeper part the mid 90’s, now this is what I personally witnessed. Yet in all this, the market place has (again as I personally saw it) not seen more decent levels of equilibrium until 10-15 years ago. So as I do not agree with the viewpoint given, I do see and understand that we will see ‘equal representation of women in tech and IT leadership‘ in the next 5 years, moreover, I expect that women in IT leadership will become dominant (read: surpassing the 50% mark) before 2025. The one clearly unacceptable part (without more evidence) is “Neuroticism (higher anxiety, lower stress tolerance).This may contribute to the higher levels of anxiety women report on Googlegeist and to the lower number of women in high stress jobs“, you see for the most, stress is caused in IT as people are confronted and forced to work with less realistic time lines. People who have to work 16 hours a day to get a project completed. Now, if they slacked the first two weeks it is one thing, yet when we see so called projects like a AAA game with the expected ‘annual new game‘ whilst remaining a AAA game, how realistic is that? The fact that the people around the projects can clearly see that it was the pretence of a highly likely neurotic male marketeer and his CEO to start that sliding slope, how will that affect the workplace and the senior managers on the job, whilst their income is partially set to expectations that could not be met under the least humane conditions? How are we to move forward from that?

Now, with the thousands of projects that places like Google runs, there is no way to give judgement on how it is set, but the paper does not give us those goods, so there is an issue on a few levels, not merely with Google, but with the paper. The view of James Damore, the question becomes debatable, yet is it an invalid one? You see, I have another issue, which I will address shortly, yet the paper overall asks questions, it asks good questions, and even if we do not agree with his views to a certain degree, the questions do not become less, or are lessened by the one asking them. We can state that as he is not part of the higher Google hierarchy, he might have been and should have been enabled to ask the questions, but on an internal level. I would go to the extent that someone like Pichai Sundararajan or Larry Page received the confidential memo, and they ended up having a discussion with the writer for the longest part of a day, perhaps even more time. Because it is statistically near impossible that this is the view of merely one person. The nice thing about Google is that it is a technological environment of creation, that means that a lot of minds are in a level of cohesion, Google could not function without any level of cohesion, no matter how diverse they are (read: become).

In this, my larger issue is with ‘The Harm of Google’s biases‘, you see, bias is not a differential of negativity, it is a method of course adjusting, if the harmony is a rational we would have the technological need for logic, which according to Mr Spock on the NCC-1701 USS Enterprise is ‘fascinating and not illogical‘, yet this rational can at that point only be driven by some form of passion, passion for the math, passion for the art or passion for the engineering principles, without that Google Home, the Google Pixel XL, or the Google Tome (UK NHS solution 2018/2019) would never become a reality, they would remain on the planning board, no patents filed, no code written. As it is in nature, so it must be in natural environments, only balance will get us there. So as I see ‘Programs, mentoring, and classes only for people with a certain gender or race‘, I do not oppose the existence, but I wonder why they were created. Consider that A Boston Southie, an African American growing up not having access to internet languages and other options. What is to be gotten from enabling him/her? Consider that as Google has united technology and art in their products, can you even consider what is to be gained if such a program brought even one new age Pauline Hopkins or Waring Cuney to Google? If it is art that started the coming of Apple Inc. finding the person to replace that piece of fruit would be worth funding entire universities for. Yet the realisation is that an exceedingly small part of the population gets to go to University (or College) and art is within a person, these tertiary places might spark art to evolve, but it is less likely to create the power than grow it within that person. His next statement continues this. With ‘A high priority queue and special treatment for “diversity” candidates‘ we forget that these people have missed out on options for the longest time, they are at a disadvantage. Is it special treatment for ‘diversity’ or finding a solution for deaf and blind people to contribute? Even if it is not that black and white, getting the most complete view of all matters is what is at times essentials, so even as it sounds like an issue, putting all the diversity programs on one pyre seems disproportionate in other ways and as it burns we lose insight by the second. The other points require a lot more data than I have and as such I will pass them over, yet the afterword is a given reason to oppose. With “These practices are based on false assumptions generated by our biases and can actually increase race and gender tensions. We’re told by senior leadership that what we’re doing is both the morally and economically correct thing to do, but without evidence this is just veiled left ideology that can irreparably harm Google“. My issue here is that he might ask questions on issues of ‘morally and economically correct‘, yet I still see that as an internal thing and bringing that out into the open was not an issue of ‘freedom of speech‘, it is on certain matters of choice. You see the laundry gets done in the building (for more than one reason) and if there is a moral compass that is broken (if that was the case) than it needs to be addressed within the company, wherever it is, and until he has an economic degree and full knowledge on how billions are directed he started to be the person acting out of his league the moment he wrote those words on Google Docs (assumption of application use).

As I see it, we are not blind and it is up to some to others to see for us, sometimes even better if they are actually blind. So perhaps Google has other programs? If Google is all about showing us what there is to see, is it not equally important to have a group of people that can say ‘We hear something that does not belong‘, because the strobe that blinds us, often enough stops us in equal measure from hearing the issue. That is not some ‘word game’, at times, the corruption (read: actual damaged data) cannot be seen, it can be heard. Ask anyone who has been working in a server room; take a room with 15 racks, 15 servers and each server having 5 drives. Often enough you might not initially see the one that is an issue, but you will more often than not hear it, it will be the one that sounds different.

I have nothing against James Damore, I do not know him. I am not touching on his dismissal that is a Google issue. What I saw was a clever piece of paper and it is a piece of paper that matters, it has valid questions, yet I believe that James got hindered by his own vision, his view towards history, his view towards the scope of what he saw and the scope of what the firm he worked for is in size, scope and ability. Perhaps that is the one bias that works against Google. I loved that I literally has access to pretty much EVERYTHING in Google. It is more that you can comprehend unless you worked there; the amount of access is intoxicating. To see today what the world gets to see next year. At most time in any building hundreds are creating something in a scope where groups interact in technology and art. I have been in 3 buildings and I have seen photos from other places, whilst I am in the dark on how it is in at least 100 buildings. Could James see that scope or comprehend the issues that play? There is no doubt that there are issues at Google, the Post gave us that with “fears expressed by employees for their personal safety. Some of the town hall questions, as well as names of employees who criticized Damore’s memo, had been leaked to conservative websites and commentators, leading to apparent online harassment“, the fact that the media would push internal controversy to that extent is not realistic, so there are pressures, pressures that go way beyond the competition we saw in the Internship between the team and Max Minghella’s character (Graham Hawtrey). I personally wonder that as Google embraced diversity to the extent it did how has Google set the clocks on gaining balance and equilibrium of the mind and spirit? I have no idea and do not pretend to know. You see the games, the flippers, the bars, the exquisite kitchens are driving forces to push people forward, yet the issue of drive requires in equal measure a need for a stability factor, one that is not merely on top of people, but the stabiliser that can be grown within people. You see, in a world of consumer products and technology its importance is way higher than most realise. Consider being an athlete, a gamer, a barrister or a taxi driver. The morning you wake up not being able to stand your track, your console, your writ or your car. We can take a sickie, because we all have those moments, but what happens on day 2? The one elements we forgot about, we lived outside of the scope of balance and we waited for too long to straighten ourselves. That is what we get slugged with and with a driving place like Google or Apple for that matter, this balance is essential to survive the long haul, I wonder if that is what hit James? If so and he still was able to get that memo out after that, than Google might be best of to get him back into the fold, because whoever hires James might be well on the inside track of something else.

 

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The European Axis of Evil

The term got phrased in 2002 by George W. Bush, it was a term to describe governments accused of helping terrorism, digging for weapons of mass destruction and so on. The list had Iran, Iraq and North Korea. Yet now 14 years later, some consider that Iraq is no longer that, the other two remain, or do they? In all this there is a new player, the player is Turkey. It is not because of their affiliation to Iran, although that does not help their case. It is that our good old pressie GW the act of intentional destabilisation. You see terrorism is all about destabilising and Turkey has had its hand in that for the longest of times. A well heard case of last week was the scuffle that the Greek Coast Guard went into last week. At http://greece.greekreporter.com/2017/07/04/turkey-tries-to-exploit-incident-of-greek-coastguard-firing-warning-shots-at-turkish-cargo-ship/ we see ‘Turkey Tries to Exploit Incident of Greek Coastguard Firing Warning Shots at Turkish Cargo Ship‘, with the quote “The Turkish Foreign Ministry condemned Greece for the incident, making reference to “dry cargo” being carried between the Iskenderun port to Izmir port. “We strongly condemn the unmeasured act of Greek authorities in this disgusting incident,” a Turkish foreign ministry statement said“, yet in all this, do you know what is the most surprising part? The part that instead of making a thorough search on this ship showing that there were no drugs and that there was no case (which might have embarrassed the Greek authorities a little), everything became about the shots on a cargo ship and the Turkish fleet sending three ships into the region. So instead of the 1978 ‘Midnight Express‘ where the authorities went overboard on the American smuggling the drugs, they seem to go soft and facilitating on the drug dealers from Turkish descent. Is that corruption or what? As for the part of ‘disgusting incident‘, when we compare the Greek Coast Guard stopping a possible drug smuggler versus the amount of Kurds casually murdered by Turkish troops. I know what gets my vote for ‘disgusting incident‘ and it will not be the Greek Coast Guard.

The second issue is Qatar. Now there are a few unknowns here in the general part of Qatar. I do not claim to know all the inns and outs of the events, yet when one nation pisses off the bulk of the OPEC nations and basically all the neighbours, there is an issue. When Iran suddenly comes to the ‘aid’ of Qatar, we can accept that Qatar is not relying on the best voice to make any claim they might have. For Turkey to walk in brazen (or if that high on testosterone?) to play ‘protector of the underdog‘ they are not aiding, they are destabilizing the situation. As we see on how the papers all claim “President Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday reaffirmed Turkey’s support for Qatar“, I remember the issues in 2002. America had been under attack and they needed their European ‘ally’ to grant them access to an air base. So what happened? Turkey thought it was a good moment to try some blackmail. Like nullifying all debts, large cash incentives and the list went on for a while. That was for me the first clear indication that a nation like Turkey had no business being part of the EU or given any of its privileges. Turkeys only concern is turkey, which is acceptable to some extent. I accept that any nation is in it to make its life and the life of its citizens better. Turkey just did that in a few too unacceptable ways. Basically at that point, Turkey became a facilitator and to the smallest extent a protector of the terrorists that had attacked America.

When we look at the June article in Al Jazeera, we see: “Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and several other countries cut their ties with Doha on Monday, accusing it of supporting armed groups and their regional rival, Iran – charges Qatar says are baseless“. So is this merely about intelligence and evidence? Can 4 nations be so wrong? The issue added to this is that Turkey is less about support for Qatar, as it is to destabilize the situation. In addition, it seems to be less about ties with Qatar as it is about making stronger bonds with Iran. You see Turkey is not stupid, Iran with some of the sanctions lifted could be a haven of consumer exploitation in Iran, a large chunk of cash turkey is always greedy to get their fingers on (and with the state of their currency, who can blame them?), so as we see these iteration play out, we see two events where Turkey is not an example of positivity and merely another piece of evidence that Turkey has become a member of the Axis of Evil. In all this America is also active trying to resolve issues, where only 15 minutes ago, the first draft of meeting points for the meetings that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will be discussing in Kuwait on Monday. Yet in all it is the other part, parts touched on yet not discussed in detail which is the accusation from the Saudi led group on “the continued events seeking to sabotage and undermine the security and stability in the Gulf region“. Another side to this was given by foreignnpolicy.com only mere hours ago. “Regardless of what the United States does, sharply increasing the vitriol towards Iran while at the same time laying siege to fellow GCC member Qatar will likely weaken the Saudi position and what is left of an already compromised Arab political order. Intended to take Iran down a notch, these actions instead will likely strengthen Tehran’s hand“, this is where the destabilising part of Turkey comes more into play. As Turkey commits military support, Iran can void their actions to interfere by merely calling Ankara to do so. It does not merely make Ankara the puppet of Tehran, a game they will be rewarded for later, it allows for any resolution into the entire matter to not become a reality and as such, the evidence on terrorist support by Qatar becomes more believable. In this the second side would be that both Turkey and Iran can give support to Yemen to bolster pressure. In this, my most inhumane statement of all-time! ‘Thank god for Cholera!‘ If Yemen was not hit by cholera the way it is, the pressure on Saudi Arabia would have been a lot higher and as such escalations by the 4 members would have been near impossible to avoid. In this the four would have additional options if a large humanitarian front towards Yemen would open up to give relief to the speculated 275,000 cholera cases in Yemen. The reason is not merely Yemen, the danger of Cholera moving from Yemen into Oman and Saudi Arabia is getting more and more likely, implying that once it gets into Saudi Arabia, the pressure becomes even greater. In all this Turkey is sending tonnes of supportive goods to Yemen, which looks pretty good on the Turkey resume and through that they are only increasing their visibility to both Iran and Qatar. As such, if the Saudi led group would send humanitarian assistance, it could diminish Turkey’s growing footprint and it would be the right thing to do. In all this we now see (yesterday that is) is that ‘Qatar ‘opens its books’ to Germany’s intelligence agency to clear up terrorism claims‘, (at http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/qatar-opens-its-books-germanys-intelligence-agency-clear-terrorism-claims-1629260), we see the part that I was all in favour of close to a week ago. I reckon it takes time to get the ball rolling in Qatar. So how will this unfold? You see, in the end there are two elements. Not just what Qatar has in intelligence, because there will always be an issue between home and foreign intelligence. We should be able to agree that the 4 nations are not doing this for mere fun, so there is a level of intelligence that there has been an issue and Iran is not known to be the nice guy in any of this, strengthening the issue that Saudi Arabia et al have. You see, the following quote “Germany’s foreign minister has said his country’s intelligence agency will audit Qatar to help clear allegations Doha supports terrorism“, “However, they decided to continue with the ongoing embargo, following Qatar’s rejection of a list of demands it was told to meet to end its isolation” as well as “The United Nations undersecretary general, Jeffrey Feltman, met Qatar’s minister of state for foreign affairs, Sultan bin Saad Al Muraikhi, on Thursday. He expressed concern over the continuation of the crisis and stressed the UN support of Kuwait for its mediation efforts to solve the situation, Al Jazeera reported“.

So, why these three?

First

The fact that Qatar might not have put any part of these issues of intelligence to storage (or to whatever intelligence recording process they have, does not mean that it does not exist. We have examples that go back to world war one proving that, yet the most visible one was ‘Das England spiel‘ where dozens of radio operators were arrested the moment they landed, it showed huge flaws in the system and even as the fable of intentional misdirection was given at some point by non-official players, we see that there are needed moments of not committing any intelligence to storage media. The fact that Iran only trusts Iran is partially supportive evidence of that. when data is not available we cannot state whether the issue does or does not exist, we cannot predict the data that is not there, we can only consider other evidence that the lack of data is more likely than not, to be intentional.

Second

In this needed path to find evidence, it does not mean that the opponents stop their actions, until clear evidence is given, the opponents are in denial and even when after all this time the data comes out, any evidence stating that Qatar had not been part of the Iranian actions, does not mean that the evidence is accepted. Merely because someone vouches for another does not mean that the voucher is valid. Tools can be found on any level and the absence of evidence does not make a person guilty of innocent, the application is in the eyes of the beholder and Iran has soured the milk for the longest of time in the region making the option of Qatar making any case of defence harder, not easier.

Third

The fact that Jeffrey Feltman and Sultan bin Saad Al Muraikhi met does not give too much credence on any level. No matter how UN American he seems to be, as President Trump had given ‘support’ to Saudi Arabia gives less value to the existence of Jeffrey Feltman in this particular case. There would have been a better situation if this case was taken over by a non-American. This is not an assault on Jeffrey Feltman himself. It is merely that Americans are now on both sides of the table. This is great when you are an arms dealer, slightly less great when you need trust on any side of the table. The fact that a mere week ago Jeffrey Feltman stated that ‘No report on violation of resolution 2231 by Iran‘, giving on that “the supply, sale or transfer to Iran of nuclear-related items” has been set as fact does not mean that he lied or knowingly misrepresented his office. It merely gives rise that he might not be regarded as a trustworthy source by Saudi intelligence. That is the nature of the game and in this it is a mere consequence.

In addition, German sources give us “So far Turkey has sent more than 100 planeloads of relief and most recently a cargo ship carrying 4,000 tons of food aid. Ordinarily, affluent Qatar relies heavily on Saudi Arabian food exports“, now there is no indication that Turkey is doing anything but that, yet is that a certainty that Saudi and Egyptian intelligence will rely on? I know some of these people, paranoid, the whole lot of them! (It is a job requirement I guess). In this Turkey might be showing their ‘good’ side, yet in effect they are merely a more and more destabilising factor in this mess. It is that very same source that gives us a gem. We get “Galip Dalay, research director at the Al Sharq Forum and associate fellow at the Al Jazeera Center for Studies, a think tank funded by the broadcaster, Turkey has lost the opportunity to claim neutrality and mediate“, which is at the heart of the matter. Turkey has plenty of clever people, some exceedingly so, why would a ‘throne creating opportunity’ be missed like that? The one act that could have propelled Turkey in a positive way was merely cast aside by sending in the troops. In all this the quote “Turkey’s support for Qatar has actually prevented a potential invasion or toppling of the current Qatari administration“, I do not believe this to be the case, or ever was a valid concern. Should any of the 4 invaded Qatar; they would have been painted as the black trump card, the card that holds no value. It would not have mattered that there is ‘Oil in the family’; it would be the dark mark none of the 4 players wanted. This, when weighed gives additional value that Turkey is the new player in the Axis of Evil. I took the long way round to show you as the elements have multiple sides and you need to see more than one angle in this. So as we see that the Cyprus talks have collapsed, the call to suspend the Turkey ascension talks to the European Union are all elements of inaction, destabilising actions and what could be nothing else than stupid actions in uplifting whatever view of Turkey was possible, these elements buy themselves are no reason to see Turkey as the new member of the Axis of Evil, yet together they are a clear pattern in setting a tone of chaos whilst effectively removing the options of clarity to the diplomatic board. There can be no other option in this. It is not merely a one stage view; it is the view of close to half a dozen theatres where Turkey is setting the negative tone.

How wrong am I?

That remains to be seen. I am not proclaiming to have all the wisdom in town (just a lot of it), what is a given is that the board is always larger than one person can behold and the latest acts by Turkey, in light of the trade deal with Indonesia might have been a positive one, were it not that the first path they take is regarding the defence industry and the production of a medium tank named ‘Kaplan’. I am thrilled for President Joko Widodo to get his economy running a little better, yet Germany started their economy in an upwards trajectory by pushing the weapons industry. In this Indonesia merely gets a nice opportunity, in regards of Turkey I am a lot less certain on their motives. In addition, as we see those ties strengthen, there will be additional options for Iran and Russia, not the people I prefer to have as a neighbour, as Indonesia is a mere 400 Km to the north. I have no issue with Indonesia as they offer the greatest Batik’s on the planet. Having Iran and Turkey 400Km to the north was not what I had in mind when I decided to plant a vegetable garden with a view to the North. Yet, that might just be my limited view on life and global events.

The mere question remains, when we consider the political plays turkey could have made, is there an option that Turkey is a mere puppet in a game they don’t really understand? #Justasking

 

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The Repetitive Misrepresentation

This was the first though in my mind, when I was confronted with ‘Leaving EU ‘could cause catastrophic worker shortages’‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/may/27/leaving-eu-could-cause-catastrophic-worker-shortages). As I see it, the first issue I would like to address is ‘Which Think-tank?‘ That issue is seen not just there. We see this overwhelming reports of what I regard to be blatant misrepresentation in many places. I personally just tend to read the Online Guardian first because in many regards they are really good.

My issue is with Social Market Foundation think-tank. You see, how on earth did they get to that number? What constitutes their evidence for the quote “the 1.6 million EU workers in the UK“, perhaps it is the 1.5 million illegal immigrants and out of millions perhaps 100,000 actual issues? You see, we do not get the actual facts, because other data (incorrect data) is thrown in-between. It gets even worse when the Guardian starts quoting Pricewaterhouse Coopers with “According to analysis, by accountancy firm PwC, 950,000 jobs could be lost as a result of leaving the EU“.

It gets even worse when Seema Malhotra stops being quiet. Now, let’s be clear, I have no issue with politicians who talk, even if they are in the opposition. I would just prefer them to be distinct, correct and precise. The quote “Seema Malhotra, the shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, highlighted the 240,000 EU workers in the UK public sector and argued Brexit could be “catastrophic” for the NHS and other public services“, is an issue on many levels, most of them equally disastrous to say the least.

Almost lastly there is Sir Richard Leese, who treats us to: “pulling out of the EU would be a “hammer blow for the public sector” and cause “chronic staff shortages, damaging the services that British people depend on” Really? Which public sectors? Which services?

Now lastly we have Adam Hawkins, director at Adecco. He co-authored the Social Market Foundation report and gives us: “Under a scenario where free movement of labour no longer applies and EU workers were subjected to the same visa requirements that are currently in place for non-EEA workers, 88% of EU workers currently working in the UK would fail to qualify”. To Adam I would prefer to quote: “73.6% Of All Statistics Are Made Up“, which we get from (http://www.businessinsider.com.au/736-of-all-statistics-are-made-up-2010-2), an article by Mark Suster. I personally thought it was only 32.544%, but I know I could have been wrong in this instance. In the article we get “the quote most attributed to the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Benjamin Disraeli, “there are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies and statistics.” The quote is meant to highlight the deceiving but persuasive power of numbers“, which is at the core of the matter, which is of course beside the fact that 10+ years at SPSS showed me a thing or two regarding papers that have been broomed under the closest rug as soon as possible. The quote in the Business Insider gives you “I got the analyst who wrote one of the reports on the phone and asked how he got his projections.  He must have been about 24.  He said, literally, I sh*t you not, “well, my report was due and I didn’t have much time.  My boss told me to look at the growth rate average over the past 3 years an increase it by 2% because mobile penetration is increasing.”  There you go.  As scientific as that“, this was at the core of the issue I had with PwC earlier. The final Gem the Business Insider offered was “They took the data from the analysts.  So did the super bright consultants at McKinsey, Bain and BCG.  We all took that data as the basis for our reports. Then the data got amplified. The bankers and consultants weren’t paid to do too much primary research.  So they took 3 reports, read them, put them into their own spreadsheet, made fancier graphs, had professional PowerPoint departments make killer pages and then at the bottom of the graph they typed, “Research Company Data and Consulting Company Analysis” (fill in brand names) or some derivative. But you couldn’t just publish exactly what Gartner Group had said so these reports ended up slightly amplified in message. Even more so with journalists.  I’m not picking on them.  They were as hoodwinked as everybody was.  They got the data feed either from the research company or from the investment bank“. This all from an article in The Business Insider from February 18th 2010! (Yes, more than 6 years ago).

There we have the initial goods, now we need to take a step back.

You see, in my article ‘Is the truth out there?‘ (At https://lawlordtobe.com/2016/03/21/is-the-truth-out-there/), I respond to the initial CBI report, where I saw a decent amount of gaps. Gaps that require the raw data to confirm or deny. Yet, as we all know, that is a part we do not get access to. Still, there was enough ammunition to counter certain statements, which I did. So when we get the little blue snippet on the left by the Guardian in so called ‘support’ we see that one part is the juicy bone that is a figment of illusionary support, yes it was not a helpful snippet at all.

The next part is the article as a whole by Rowena Mason. As she surfs from emotional statement to emotional statement, we see an article that is pretty much devoid from quality data, as such the quotes become nothing more than hollow phrases, no matter how distinguished the people are (or in this case, the one person Sir Richard Leese is). In this case in view of his deeds he should be offered another view, yet in opposition as a former Math teacher he should know better. His statement might not be wrong (might being the operative word), without clear data and clear supporting evidence the statement is like most hollow. This part intersects with the voiced quote Seema Malhotra made (the one person who was better off remaining silent). So why am I stating this?

Where is my justification?

Let me show that part right now. You see, in her quote she linked 240,000 EU workers and the NHS. A blatant misrepresentation to say the least. When we look back to the article I wrote titled ‘The News shows its limit of English‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/06/22/the-news-shows-its-limit-of-english/), almost a year ago. I looked at a similar statement. In there, based on CLEAR immigration documentation as stated in Appendix I and J (both documents are in my article at the end). Documents on the GOV.UK site. We see that “Pay requirements which the Secretary of State intends to apply to applications for indefinite leave to remain from Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (Sportspersons) migrants made on or after 6 April 2016” has clear parameters and as such, no NHS worker (Nurse or Doctor) would be at risk. We acknowledge that the NHS is more than that and in that case we see that section 245HF of that document shows that the bulk of tier 2 workers are all covered in that case. So we see the intentional creation of chaos, whilst there is none at all. It is of course very possible that the shadow chief secretary to the Treasury might be non-competent, and as such the question becomes whether she should have accepted her present position or would have been better of working in a hair salon (OK, that’s me just being generically mean).

All this feeds back to the article of Rowena. The collection of emotional responses in perhaps ‘feigned support’ of the Bremain team has only shown that the stated support elements are non-issues, or too generic to have any actual value. In addition, as we consider the immigration documentation, especially in light of appendix J, which has over 125 pages of definitions of these jobs, with on page 4 an essential element: “In all cases, the pay must be compliant with National Minimum Wage regulations“, which should not be an element at all. So when we consider the massive list of options and people that have options to get work permits, can we agree that the statement by Adam Hawkins, director at Adecco, with his “88% of EU workers currently working in the UK would fail to qualify” has been blown out of the water with clarity and conviction?

All elements that have been clearly known from before June 2015, all that information easily available. This leaves us with an article that has lost most of its value by trying to appeal to mere emotion and give false paths to the people who are uninformed. Where is the value in that?

I have been in the Brexit field for a long time, my sway to the neutral field was not easy, it was not done by misinformation. It was done by clear information through Mark Carney, governor of the bank of England. I have not landed in the Bremain field however, he did achieve that I am not as convinced of Brexit as I was. The remaining elements are not within the UK, they are with the elements outside of the UK, mainly the irresponsible spending of the other treasurers as well as the action of ECB Chief Mario Draghi, actions that I personally (as a non-economist) regard to be short-sighted. That part is equally important, you see what I consider to be a bad idea might not be a bad idea in the eyes of an established economist. I do not believe that I have all the knowledge, all the values and insights, I always question mine. You should question yours if you will ever make an informed decision regarding Brexit.

This gets us to the last part in all this.

The article that involves Marky Mark of the British coin. The article ‘Mark Carney denies Brexit bias and Goldman Sachs influence in heated exchanges with MPs‘ (at http://www.bmmagazine.co.uk/newswire/mark-carney-denies-brexit-bias-goldman-influence-heated-exchanges-mps/), his response was ‘Wow’ and so is mine. I went over the Lords statement and there was nothing out of place here. I might even commend him on remaining slightly conservative in the risk as he mentioned them. The quote in this article is ““Can I just give you the opportunity to refute any suggestion that Goldman Sachs may have put pressure on you?” Baker asked during the testimony, which lasted more than two hours and was dominated by Brexit“. Here we see Steve Baker, co-chairman of the Conservatives for Britain group. A man with a personal agenda, which is not the most reliable accusing voice in all this. From what I have seen and read over the last year, I have a lot more faith in the information that the Governor of the Bank of England brings us, than the opposing voice of Steve Baker. In this I stand with BT Group Plc Chairman Michael Rake who stated in a Bloomberg article (at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-05-26/-no-doubt-leaving-eu-would-hurt-u-k-economy-bt-chairman-says) “it was “deeply depressing” that a Conservative lawmaker, Steve Baker, asked Bank of England Governor Mark Carney this week in Parliament whether his former employer, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., had put pressure on him to warn of the risks of leaving the EU. “Trying to undermine reputable individuals, reputable institutions, that are simply trying to get the facts about the economy across to the British people in a critical referendum, a critical moment in time, is disappointing””. I personally believe to be worse, in this Steve Baker moved from being a possible political player on the conservative field into a place where he can be ridiculed and soon to be regarded as a mere memory in the political arena. I have opposed the view of Mark Carney more than once, but always as a question, always in regards to choices, never as any indication that the former Governor of the Bank of Canada and the current Governor of the Bank of England was in the pocket of Goldman Sachs. His statement and the cautiousness of the statement in the House of Lords is clear indication that he is not in the Goldman Sachs pocket.

Repetitive misrepresentation by too many players is muddying the water of those trying to make an informed decision and as such the voters are likely to get less and less information over the next three weeks. In this regard the press isn’t helping too much either.

 

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Fuelling a Fire that fools no one

Today we watch again how escalations in the political field are moving in separate directions. It is SBS (at http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2015/11/28/turkeys-erdogan-warns-russia-not-play-fire), that gives us a few items for concern.

  1. At 1:32 we hear that cooperation between Russian and Turkish forces have been suspended. In light that a Russian plane was downed, I kind of think that cooperation was never a big thing here in the first place.
  2. At 1:42 we hear (what I regard to be an outspoken lie) that if the Turkey had known it was a Russian plane, it would have warned it differently.

The title ‘Turkey’s Erdogan warns Russia not to ‘play with fire’’ adds to the entire article. the added quote “Moscow said it would suspend visa-free travel with Turkey” should read like sunshine in Greece, because with all the hardship, whomever from Russia can afford a vacation would usually desire the Mediterranean, which now means that they could end up visiting Greece by the boatload, which would be OK with the Economically stricken Greek population.

All this because some power players did not think things through. Turkey wanted to play games and now they are realising that they woke up an angry bear, all whilst the protection Turkey expects from USA might not come. No one wants to come to the aid of a partner as stupid as Turkey.

No one denies that the Russian flight might have taken it over Turkish soil, yet the response of a transgression of 17 seconds is beyond ridiculous, especially in light of the fact that Turkey or its citizens were not under attack. I will be the first to give way to downing any actual opponent, yet in all this, Turkey was never an objective or target. In all this, the lie (as I see it) shown on French TV gives us another side. As stated in my earlier blog (‘The additional price of War‘, November 25th at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/11/25/the-additional-price-of-war/), where we got the data from the Guardian that the Russian plane had transgressed over Turkish space for 17 seconds. Now understand that it should take a plane in the vicinity 5 seconds to get into position and fire the kill shot, with an additional 2-3 seconds for the missile to hit the plane. This gives the minimum required time of almost 8 seconds. Which means that in 9 seconds, the planes had to be there, information through the chain of command had to be given for the Russian plane to be shot down, which give us only one option, the planes were send out with a definite kill order from the start. This invalidates what I consider to be a massive public lie by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in addition, it also disposes the ‘thread’ that there was any communication between Turkey and Russia, so that red phone was massively useless. Turkey has been a joke for the longest time. They showed that when they expected a 30 billion pay off in 2003, now we see that the times Turkey became active, we can doubt whether this was against Syria or against Kurdistan. Which now take us to the introduction of the debate on the demons of idiocy that we seem to find behind some of the European charters.  The first one was shown a year ago when Greece did not keep any of its promises and weaselled itself away from any agreement. It was only months later, after papers of innuendo and false rattling. I dealt with that part on July 6th 2015 in ‘The mere legality’ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/07/06/the-mere-legality/), basically the lawmakers as stupid as they were seem to forget the cancellation clause, no matter how bad Greece behaved, Danuta Hübner, Chair of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs, European Parliament, with the added paper by Phoebus Athanassiou ‘Withdrawal and expulsion from the EU and EMU‘ gave clear view that a nation cannot get expulsed from the EEC, no matter how bad they behave. Now we see with Turkey in regards to this overreaction that expelling them from NATO seems to be equally impossible. Which makes me question the stupidity of any politician who was connected to the request. How stupid will people get?

You and I cannot answer that question, we can only watch the fallout and see what happens next.

Yet, this is only the beginning. The NY Times (at http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/28/world/europe/russia-turkey-tensions.html), gives us ““I would like to meet Putin face to face in Paris,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech on Friday, referring to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. “I would like to bring the issue to a reasonable point. We are disturbed that the issue has been escalated”“, I am not that surprised, you see, the total lunacy of shooting down a Russian plane whilst Turkey was not under attack, or even under any form of threat made the downing of the Jet an act of utter stupidity. It is not unlikely that President Obama told him that he would be on his own against Russia, so Turkey gets the play the submissive joke it should have been regarded as from day one. It is the final ‘statement’ that makes it all hilarious. He stated: “He warned Russia “not to play with fire” in reacting to the downing of the plane, adding, “We really attach a lot of importance to our relations with Russia, and we don’t want our relations to suffer in any way”“. First of all it was Turkey playing with fire, this close before Thanksgiving, now we see the added part “Turkish prime minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, said that Ankara would “work with Russia and our allies to calm tensions”“, so what tensions are they Mr Davutoglu? Apart from Turkey, NATO members are not in any dangers, as you started hostilities NATO has no need and no interest in getting involved. In the worst case scenario, Turkey will get a different flag, they will just replace the crescent moon and replace it with a hammer and sickle. The one bright spot could be that Constantinople will get its original name again and it will have its original Cathedral once more (a Coptic version I reckon). None of that should read as disastrously bad news.

Turkey2016

Will this become the new flag of Turkey in 2016? That is the question, because no matter how we seem to stand on ego, you don’t just shoot down any plane like that, not in the frame of 17 seconds, not when there is no threat of any kind against that sovereign nation. In addition, there would not be enough time to warn the plane against transgressing on Turkish airspace and then fire on the plane. 17 seconds is not enough time and warning a plane whilst still over Syrian air seems pointless. Yet, like Greece, Turkey might bank on the fact that he can’t get thrown out of NATO, just like Greece could not get thrown out of the EEC. This makes for a much larger issue, because if the smaller players are suddenly resorting to ego based activities whilst they indiscriminately continue to target their own political ‘opponents’ we have to start asking the serious questions no one tends to ask at present.

 

How could this have been allowed in the first place?

That answer is a little too complex to answer, yet I feel certain that part of this is linked to the fact that not governments but large corporations are in growing command of the nations involved does have something to do with this. The entire financial debacle is at the centre of this, as Turkey would never have don that if the US would have been in a much stronger economic position, but it is not and as I see it, which is part of the problem.

In addition there is an article from April 2015 which was in the Business insider. The title ‘Turkey is ‘making NATO very uncomfortable’’ (at http://www.businessinsider.com.au/turkey-is-making-nato-very-uncomfortable-2015-4). the issue here is “Turkey’s push to carve out an independent foreign policy and purchase arms from countries outside of NATO is raising concerns among members of the defensive military alliance, Emre Peker reports for the Wall Street Journal“, so even as there are certain rules to this game, turkey has been ignoring them for well over 7 months, so why should Turkey be regarded as a NATO nation? It’s not like they are connected to the Atlantic Ocean is it? The additional “a military deal with a Chinese company could open NATO’s door to espionage, especially given that the company is on the US proliferation list“, which might not account for much, but China has been regarded as a ready wielder of industrial espionage on many levels and not just by the US, so we have more than one issue with Turkey and as such, the question becomes why allow Turkey in NATO? I wonder if NATO might be better off with Russia and not Turkey in NATO (yes, just allow for the idea for a second, the hidden gem might just pop up). It is not even the worst of the transgressions according more sources than just the Business Insider. There is the sponsoring of Hamas, the support to hunt down Kurds and ignore ISIS altogether. All of these facts bring into question the reasoning of keeping Turkey as a NATO ally. As far as I can tell, should this come to blows, once Turkey loses its EEC and NATO privileges, once it realises that ISIS oil is not reliable and as it realises that other funds mainly came from Moscow, whatever is left will not sustain the Turkish Nation, that part might become food for thought soon enough, even as winter is coming, next summer will show the consequence on irrationally and irresponsibly downing the Russian jet. Consider that the Turkish Deficit is partially contained by tourism, with the 25% of its tourism in danger (Russian tourists) how will Turkey get by in 2016, because that deficit would grow beyond expected percentages. The Russians have always been very nationalistic, which would drive them towards Greek shores with the greatest of ease. So a loss of 3.3 billion is only the beginning. If Russia employs a Turkish border ban and those trucks end up having to go via Iran or Armenia/Azerbaijan, the profit margins will evaporate giving additional blows to the Turkish economy (source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-11-26/turkey-without-russian-tourists-strikes-economy-where-it-s-weak). In addition we see the speculation that Russian suitcase trade (tourism purchases) exceeds 6 billion, which is 0.8% of their current GDP, which will push debts even further. So as we get to 2017, the Turkish economy might not be close to breaking even. All this for mere ego? That remains the question because there was no tactical reason to down the Russian plane, there was no defence reason for downing the plane, in that light only ego seems to remain. In final addition to this, it is of course only the beginning. As Germany and the US removed their patriot systems from the Turkish borders, those Chinese defence systems will become very essential to the defence of Turkey and they are not that cheap. The Chinese HQ-9 (if that is the one they ordered) has a price tag that is around 3.4 billion for Turkey, which is according to the latest gossip 3 billion for the missiles and hardware and roughly 370 million for an English/Turkish translation of the operating manuals. So even in the world of weapons, knowing additional languages pays off nicely.

So how are we fuelling events? That question becomes a lot more pressing when we consider the original ‘The North Atlantic Treaty (1949)‘. Here we see in article 4 “The Parties will consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the Parties is threatened” and article 5 “The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area” (at http://www.nato.int/nato_static/assets/pdf/stock_publications/20120822_nato_treaty_en_light_2009.pdf). Now consider article 5, no armed attack occurred, at no point was Turkey even under attack or under the impression of attack, a 17 second border transgression is not an attack. That remains in the core of this. This means that if Russia retaliates now, Turkey might stand alone, which is not what they hoped for and gives rise to the question “How could Turkey have been this stupid?

That is for you the reader to ponder on, so enjoy your thanksgiving as the Russian are. They are apparently having Turkey, both deep fried and roasted!

 

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Feeding hungry wolves

You might think that this is another attempt to quell the hunger of paparazzi, which is always a dilemma we people face (famous people more often). They want their pound of flesh and they will have it. So when I stumbles upon ‘Greece crisis: Yanis Varoufakis admits ‘contingency plan’ for euro exit‘ this morning, I knew that a roasting would be in order. The article (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jul/27/greece-crisis-yanis-varoufakis-admits-contingency-plan-for-euro-exit). So when I read “The plan was denounced by Greek opposition parties, which in recent weeks have called for Varoufakis to be put on trial for treason” I knew I was onto something, in addition there is “the scheme was “reminiscent of a bad thriller.” The main opposition New Democracy party demanded that the government “come up with convincing answers for the Greek people … so that light can be shed on this dark narrative.”“. Now you know me, I consider Yanis Varoufakis to be a bit of a rock star (not a good one) and he played the limelight wrong, but in this case I am on HIS side.

How stupid can the Greeks get?

It was the job of Yanis Varoufakis to protect the financial future of Greece, because of the mistakes by the Greeks themselves, they are in a boatload of hurt and they will be in that position for three generations, that is, as long as they keep austerity. This is not something that was started by Yanis Varoufakis or Alexis Tsipras for that matter, they mismanaged an inherited bad situation. So in light of those accusing him of treason, I call them ‘the worst bloody idiots in the history of Greece!’ They get to live with that title for both this version of Greece as well as dethroning the idiots of ancient Greece because these people have just truly outdone themselves!

And as for these people who are shouting treason, why do we not hear that in regard of the following names? Yiannos Papantoniou and Nikos Christodoulakis former ministers of Finance as well as Konstantinos Simitis and Kostas Karamanlis both former prime ministers. Did they all conveniently forget that the found mismanaged budgets which they hid from the people of Greece and Goldman Sachs was eager to help them for the money it brought them? Yes, you all forgot about them didn’t you?

Now in addition we need to mention Christoforos Sardelis, former head of Greece’s Public Debt Management Agency, when we learn from the Business Insider “the loan was so confusing that even the Greece government had trouble understanding it and thought it was much cheaper than it actually was” (at http://www.businessinsider.com.au/the-secret-goldman-sachs-greece-deal-thats-described-as-a-very-sexy-story-between-two-sinners-2012-3), so Greece, let’s call it Monkey Mountain for now, gave the keys of what they no longer owned to the ‘Top Banana’ in all this (Christoforos Sardelis), to do something none of them understood, how is that not trialed in a Greek court? So after shaking hands smiles and autographs, Greece was due payment of 600 million euros ($793 million) more than the 2.8 billion euros it borrowed.

That comes down to almost 20%! I’ve had a 50% better rate on my Credit Card!

So, when I see the accusation towards Yanis Varoufakis, which was in my view the wrong man, at least he did what he did for ideological reasons (as far as I can tell), his focus was Greece! I never stated anything to the contrary in any of my articles!

In this path, there are still a few issues that are an issue, yet, let’s not forget that this was a plan conceived in the 11th hour as the dangers were very considerable that Greece could be cast out of the Euro (even though that was technically a legal impossibility). ““We were planning to create, surreptitiously, reserve accounts attached to every tax file number, without telling anyone, just to have this system in a function under wraps,” he says, adding that he had appointed a childhood friend to help him carry out the plan. “We were ready to get the green light from the PM when the banks closed”“, I understand the logic attached to this, but in that way, it also meant that the tax dodgers would have had an escape plan, in addition, the Greek 2047 Swiss Accounts (roughly) could walk away scot free, which is not entirely on the up an up here. Yet in the bulk of it all it was the millions of Greeks Yanis tried to protect (I hope), so explain to my how this was treason? The added fact that we see ‘We were ready to get the green light from the PM’ implies that it was based on government structure, so again, how is this treason?

So when we read the Tweet Yanis gave “So, I was going to ‘hijack’ Greek citizens’ tax numbers? Impressed by my defamers’ imagination”, I would tend to agree, because a step like that is impossible without both the tax system and every bank involved to open the doors to their system. It is not imagination, in my view it is basically a technical impossibility, because that many transfers would light the European financial system up like a Christmas tree, Yanis would literally have no place to run or too, or to hide for that matter.

There is one part I disagree with. The quote “Tsipras’s left-wing Syriza party is not only divided but bears little resemblance to the one he was catapulted into office with in January”. You see, Japan only had itself to blame, Tsipras is partially accountable, yet the debt, the massive result from a decade of mismanaged debt and a mismanaged tax system that spans decades, that part was inherited, they can look at previous national rulers, spokespersons and economic managers for that.

So, let’s remove the title ‘Monkey Mountain’ (now that the Top Banana has gone to sunny, luxurious Italy) and focus on Greece! You see Greece will be in a bad place for a very long time to come, it refuses to go after those who truly pushed Greece into generations of bad times. As the Greek population will have to settle for hunger and poverty, other players like Christoforos Sardelis, who is as far as I can tell at present, living in decent luxury in Italy where he works for Banca IMI, the investment banking unit of Italy’s Intesa Sanpaolo. The Greeks are looking in all the wrong places. Hiding the debt was not done by one person, it took several officials, the swap was really stupid but not illegal (Goldman Sachs does not do illegal things, it is very clever in making other people do stupid things). The issue is not yesterday, it is today and tomorrow. Greece needs to wake up and reform a system that cannot deal with the elements of today’s economy, the fact that Greece needs 86 billion just to make it to 2017 is clear evidence of that, the fact that it takes three generations to get the debt into focus is evidence of that and it will only work if debt relief is granted. Greece is no longer able to survive in the current climate, a fact that has been known for a long time and it had to be acted upon a long time before yesterday, but it was not. In all this the Greeks are now blaming the one person who (even though wrongly) tried to get a better deal for the Greeks, who tried any option to at least try to avoid that retirees would have ended up with 1 drachma to the Euro, because that would have been the result from ejection from the Euro (if the EEC could have pulled that off legally). So yes, I have hammered on Yanis Varoufakis (and Alexis Tsipras) in my previous blogs. In this case, there is an utter failure in my view to see where he acted wrongly.

There is one additional consideration to make. There is every chance that the plan started by Yanis Varoufakis needs to stay on hand, it might need almost immediate evolution and preparation should not seize. You see Greece is and remains the tinderbox for events that have been playing for a lot longer than anyone cares to ‘remember’. We might bash on certain Greeks (names I mentioned here), but Greece was not alone. Italy had done a similar thing. Now as both France and Italy represent 5 trillion in debt and the UK close to 1.8 trillion, the current status is that both France and the UK are still in a place where they could voluntarily leave the Euro. France is the initial ‘problem’ because what has been ignored for 2 years, what I feared would come is now almost a reality. At present Marine Le Pen is sitting on close to 40% of the prospective votes for the 2017 presidency, if she wins the Mayoral election of Calais (which is presently almost a certainty) and if she can achieve any decent improvement for Calais, the reality of her making a landslide victory in 2017 would become a mere matter of fact, in that light in 2017, the Socialist Party of François Hollande will face its biggest defeat in French history, they will be ten times worse off than the UK Labour Party currently is, so good luck with that. This is important, because Marine Le Pen could entice French National pride and walk out of the Euro, which would spark a similar thing in the UK at that point. Now we see the part that impacts Greece, when those two walk, Italy will have no option left the Euro will crumble and this plan, this approach by Yanis Varoufakis, this alternative plan would be the only option left for Greece and they would not have any time to implement it. So as ideas go, his alternative was not the worst for the people of Greece and there is a reasonable chance that when the Euro fails, this plan will safe that lives of millions of Greeks. So whomever shouted ‘treason’ against Yanis Varoufakis better be aware that this person himself could end up being roasted when my predictions come to pass.

The wolves are hungry, they want their pound of flesh and those in the game will sell out anyone that no longer seems to be a player in the international economy game.

I cannot and will not support that view!

 

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When you BS the customer

I have had three issues on that matter, all in one week, so I reckon that I am slightly agitated in regards to projected presenters of misinformation with intent (also known as recruiters). If that was not enough, in the tech sector Verizon added to this with the article in the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/apr/14/mobile-malware-report-verizon-smartphone-adnoyance). The article is interesting for more than one reason, so let’s get to it.

The title is a valid question as it states ‘Is mobile malware a lot of fuss over nothing?’, some will say yes, a lot more will say no. Yet, how much of an issue is mobile malware? That is in the end a valid question. Verizon, a telecom provider goes for the ‘adnoyance’ key. They are depending on people relying on a provider as without it there is no phone, but is malware just the annoyance of advertisement? Many, including me are not convinced.

One source http://securityxploded.com/demystifying-android-malware.php, gave us clear goods. The article is very ‘techie’, but also very clear, showing step by step the issue in play.

At step 8, we get the part where we see what is going on: “The application sends an SMS to the premium number 1066185829 with the text 921X1. In the background, it blocks any incoming delivery report from this number so that the victim does not get any response regarding the SMS that the application sends in the background. Also, the SMS is sent only once and never again so that the victim has no suspicion of what caused the SMS charges to be sent to him“, premium numbers are a lot more expensive, which could be around $0.75 for one SMS. Now many will not care, thinking it happened once. So what is the deal? Well, see what it amounts to when it is done a million times. We all funded one criminal $750,000 for being clever. When we go back to the beginning of the article we get “McAfee’s first quarter threat report [Reference 1] stated that with 6 million unique samples of recorded malware, Q1 2011 was the most active first quarter in malware history“. Now, not all of them were about money, advertisement annoyance is a chunk here, but the casual air of Verizon becomes slightly offensive, or so it should be when we consider that dozens of creative souls are trying to spike their bank account in this way.

Yet, the one-time loss of $0.75 is not really an issue for the consumers at large, but what is?

Now, I get back at the issue I illustrated a long time ago, when we suddenly got those issues with Facebook messenger. Where you were giving it the right to record Audio. Before I continue, I must be fair to Facebook to and add an article here (at http://www.androidcentral.com/facebook-messenger-permissions-not-scary-stories-might-have-you-believe), it goes over many rights and it does try to suss a few issues (in a good way). There were however a few other issues, mainly connected to Facebook messenger draining the battery in massive ways. My issue here is that if it drains the battery, what is it using the energy for? Just to keep the mobile out of a sleep state?

Gizmodo (at http://gizmodo.com/facebooks-messenger-app-logs-way-more-data-than-you-rea-1633441673) gave us this: “Ever since Facebook first started pushing users over to its standalone messaging app (whether they liked it or not), there have been cries of outrage over what’s seemed like an inordinately large amount of required permissions. And while there’s still no indication that Facebook has any sort of bad intent, the company is collecting a startling cache of data, according to security researcher Jonathan Zdziarski“.

In addition we get “In an email, Zdziarski said that Messenger is logging practically everything a user might do within the app, from what and where they tap, to how often a device is held in portrait versus landscape orientation; even time spent in the Messenger app, versus the time it spends running in the background. …”[Facebook is] using some private APIs I didn’t even know were available inside the sandbox to be able to pull out your WiFi SSID (which could be used to snoop on which WiFi networks you’re connected to) and are even tapping the process list for various information on the device,” he wrote in an email.

Now, like Jonathan Zdziarski, I feel compelled to believe that Facebook is not doing anything wrong or illegal, but they are collecting huge amounts of data, by the way, when this is transmitted, will that be taken of your monthly data allowance? Seems to me that Verizon is downplaying the pressure on the monthly data allowance bill.

Now we get back to Brightcloud, who is giving us ‘Android Malware Exposed‘ (at http://www.brightcloud.com/pdf/Android-Malware-Exposed.pdf). The paper has a part on Spyware. On page 12, they state “Other types of threats are those that spy on you or steal your data. There are a number of apps that are the equivalent to commercial keyloggers found on PCs. These apps offer their services to ‘track’ your kids, spouse or employees. These behaviors are easy to incorporate into an app and this begins with the easy task of requesting the necessary permissions. For example, requesting ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION, ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION, and READ_SMS will grant you access to SMS messages and GPS location“. This is the issue. It was not the $0.75, but the massive amounts of data that mobiles are working with nowadays. How long until these malware solutions get access to some of the larger collectors like Facebook? It is not that far a leap of suspicion is it?

In addition on that same page we see: “Threats which have used these spying techniques are NickySpy, Spitmo, GGTracker and GoldenEagle. NickySpy is interesting in that it utilizes the MediaRecorder() class to turn on the microphone and discretely record and save conversations to the SD Card. It is also able to send captured data to a remote server, although this functionality is not hard wired in. Below is a snippet of the function responsible for voice recording“. Now we get to the good part. The malware can be capturing events on audio without your consent and stream it. So, it was not just about the rights, it is about the ability that is unlocked to use. We focus on the big player like Facebook and Google, but we forget that data collecting is on the minds of governments, big corporations as well as organised crime and those into identity theft.

There are millions of examples, and Verizon trivialised it as ‘adnoyance’. The truth (as I see it) is that there is an entire echelon of dangers that people remain (intentional or not) oblivious to. One of the conclusions given in the article is “Trojans will continue to be bundled in repackaged APK’s and disguised as legitimate applications. With 900,000 daily Android activations worldwide, social-engineering tactics will continue to be used to trick users into installing malware“, so that friend you know that gave you the location of that free game, might in the end not be that good a friend. Unknown to him or not, that little freebee could be the start of your data going somewhere else.

Verizon might light of an issue, as it does not harm them, but it harms their customers. Instead of heralding Common Smartphone Sense, by making sure that people only download from reputable sources only (like Google Play Store), we see trivialisation. The added sentence ‘it’s unlikely to be the source of disastrous data breaches such as the Sony hack any time soon‘ adds to the failing of this article.

Malware is an issue, malware will continue to be an issue with added dangers over time and Yes, Android (as an open platform) has a larger issue to deal with. Yet, Common Smartphone Sense could reduce the dangers by 80% which is a huge diminishment of the risk the user has. In addition ‘the company estimates that just 0.03% of mobile devices are infected with “higher grade” malicious code each week’, sounds like a small number, but that implies that it is well over 600.000 phones each week. This makes it a clear issue, not a minute part. In the end, we are at 2,000,000,000 smartphones on the planet, and as that group grows, then so will the desire from some to infect that realm with higher grade malware.

In addition, two days ago, the Business Insider (at http://www.businessinsider.com.au/thousands-of-people-can-do-sony-hack-2015-4) stated ““There are probably a couple thousand, three, four, five-thousand people that could do [the Sony] attack today,” Miller told “60 Minutes.” He went on to explain that the technology used by the perpetrators of the Sony hack isn’t a custom-made program. Instead, Miller says it can be purchased online from Russian hackers for around $US30,000“, so if that is a fact, then how is North Korea still seen as the Cyber Boogieman? This issue is a lot bigger and the Smartphone is just adding to a Cyber world that is lacking security all over the place. Telecom operators will have to change the way they play the game, the moment that they are no longer seen as simple data provider through innocent dissemination. When the telecom companies are held to account, we will see a shift, one that will be a costly one for those who allowed massive amounts of data theft to remain unmonitored.

Verizon should be ashamed of itself!

 

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