Tag Archives: CBS

The wrong claim to make

I have been taking a much larger interest on the entire Facebook and Cambridge Analytica issue. Not because of what was done, but because of what US politicians are about to try. In that view it seems to me that the media is assisting the US government. Pretty much every media publishes ‘Zuckerberg on Tuesday faced a variety of questions from 44 senators‘, yet not one gives us that list of these 44 senators. Online publication Vox had a list of 103 which was equally useless. So why are the readers not getting properly (read: more completely) informed?

As I have a promise to keep (to myself at least), let’s take a look at the first one who really pissed me off. The person in question is U.S. Representative David McKinley, not even a senator. Yet with the quote “Your platform is still being used to circumvent the law and allow people to buy highly addictive drugs without a prescription. With all due respect, Facebook is actually enabling an illegal activity and in so doing, you are hurting people. You’d agree with that statement?” he opened himself to all kinds of issue. So let us take a look. CNN gives us (at http://money.cnn.com/2018/04/11/technology/mark-zuckerberg-questioned-over-facebook-opioid-sales), with the additional quote “Google agreed to pay $500 million to the Department of Justice for showing prescription drug ads from Canadian online pharmacies to U.S. consumers. It stopped the practice in 2009 once it became aware of an investigation by a U.S. Attorney’s office. But sellers are still finding ways of posting about drug sales on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, which critics have accused of being reactive, largely waiting for activists, or the press, to surface issues and help police their platforms“, so the issue is a lot larger and has been around for a long time. So the US representative is not opening legal avenues attacking the Canadian Online pharmacies, no it is attacking Facebook and Google. The issue here is hypocrite on several levels. You see we see part of that evidence (at http://www.cbc.ca/news/opinion/oxycontin-in-canada-1.4607959), even as the investigation into Purdue Pharma is underway, the issue is a lot larger. We get one part from ‘OxyContin was aggressively marketed as a revolutionary painkiller. But many patients became addicted, leading to a country-wide class action lawsuit against its maker‘, the other part is seen in the NPR event “Doctors In Maine Say Halt In OxyContin Marketing Comes ’20 Years Late’“, so we see the news that is given in February 2018. These facts alone give rise to the geriatric dementia dangers that are possibly within business man David McKinley, a man currently elected as a U.S. Representative. In addition to that part, the fact that the US government failed its citizens is open to discussion in the 2015 release of “the Food and Drug Administration. (FDA) approved, in August 2015, extended-release oxycodone for use by children between 11 and 16 years old with “pain severe enough to require daily, around-the-clock, long-term opioid treatment for which alternative treatment options are inadequate“, so there is a much larger failure in play. The fact that the FDA approves (for specific reasons mind you) the use of OxyContin and the fact that it is FDA approved makes it a much larger issue.

The fact that there is ample evidence that US politicians were sitting on their hands for close to 2 decades gives rise to the thought that U.S. Representative David McKinley should give up his seat in what I personally would see as too old to hold any public office position, perhaps at 71 he no longer sees the need to correctly set the dimension of information of any issue. His attack, the fact that this is a lot more complex, in part because the US government chose to not act for 2 decades is also decent evidence to add in this case. In addition, we see that the reformulation to make it harder to abuse opioids (which is an act that makes perfect sense), gave way to ‘Making opioids harder to abuse led to a spike in heroin overdoses‘ (at https://www.axios.com/opioids-heroin-overdose-deaths-1523481019-63cfb423-e1fc-4925-9a80-3406625389b5.html). Here we see “Adapted from Evans et. al., 2018,  “How the Reformation of OxyContin Ignited the Heroin Epidemic”, The National Bureau of Economic Research; Note: “Opioids” includes all opioid related deaths aside from those that are exclusively attributed to heroin“, so basically the junkies and their facilitators found another way to get high and they died in the process (serves them right). It seems that as I found all this evidence in less than 30 minutes and there is almost 20Mb of unread text for me to go through, shows just how lame (or is that blatantly idiotic) U.S. Representative David McKinley is showing himself to be. There is an accepted issue that in some cases non-US advertisements have no business being shown in the US, yet in that situation, my e-mail wad been flooded with the options for silicone tits, 14 inch sausages, Viagra and Cialis for well over a decade from US sources, so how much ‘policing’ did these US senators opt for from 1996 onwards to ‘protect’ non US citizens from these ‘illegal’ drugs? It seems to me that this is an almost perfect example of ‘sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander‘, yet we can feel decently certain that U.S. Representative David McKinley will not see it that way. In addition to that CNN gives us “More than 63,600 lives were lost to drug overdose in 2016, the most lethal year yet of the drug overdose epidemic, according to a new report from the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most of those deaths involved opioids, a family of painkillers including illicit heroin and fentanyl as well as legally prescribed medications such as oxycodone and hydrocodone. In 2016 alone, 42,249 US drug fatalities — 66% of the total — involved opioids, the report says“, this has been going on for a while; this was not merely some Facebook advertisement issue. The CDC shows data going back to 2000, long before Facebook became the behemoth entity it is now. So whilst everyone is kicking up every stink in the place, the issue remains that the FDA approved Purdue Pharma to start making it, so even as U.S. Representative David McKinley could have been visiting their office in Stamford, Connecticut, USA. It is now shown that kicking it on the soul of Mark Zuckerberg is much more personally rewarding for him. In that his quote “why Facebook hasn’t done more to remove posts from sellers offering illicit opioids“, in equal measure does not show the efforts that the FBI has done to crack down on the sellers either. You see, if he had done that we would have ended up (at https://www.cbsnews.com/news/opioid-fentanyl-darknet-drugs-fbi/), showing just how easy it is to the evidence we see here: “Attorney General Jeff Sessions said darknet vendors are “pouring fuel on the fire of the national drug epidemic” and this year doubled the number of federal agents working on those cases. It’s part of the Trump administration’s tough approach to the drug crisis that has focused on harsh punishments for dealers. Critics say the overall strategy resembles a return to failed drug-war tactics and that the record $4.6 billion included in the spending plan the president signed last month is not nearly enough to establish the kind of treatment system needed to reverse the crisis“, it does not absolve Facebook, but it shows that when you are in a house without a roof, blaming the faucet for all the water is just as stupid as it gets. So with this small article I introduce the honourable U.S. Representative David Bennett McKinley, who should, as I personally see it, be up for replacement at the next election.

And may he be replaced by someone who truly takes a proper look at the dimensionality of events and present them equally correct and fair. So we will leave that consideration up to the people who are part of the West Virginia’s 1st congressional district. I reckon that with a population of 615,991 (2010) there is at least one other person who is up for the job.

Now, let’s take a look at the data of the next elected numbskull, have a great Friday all!

 

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The politics of denial

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is that all relevant?

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

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

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

Back to the beginning of me

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

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

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

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

 

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A leaky Cauldron is a just sif!

Well, as we are moving into the final days of President Obama, we get to see one more rodeo of entertainment, amusement and comedy. You see the headline ‘Barack Obama delivers stinging critique of FBI: ‘We don’t operate on leaks’‘, we can argue that they actually do, or we can howl with laughter, because for the most, the Obama administration created leaks, it did close to nothing to do something about it that would actually work. For one, here is a quote from thinkprogress.org. It is from August 7th 2015: “Congress’s Cybersecurity Plan Has Some Major Flaws“, this is in his second presidency and we see Congress not being even close to resolving essential issues that should have been addressed well before 2008. This level of inaccuracy (read: incompetence) is shown in “Civil liberties groups including the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF), New America, and American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) urged the public to call their senators to persuade them to vote against, what even the Department of Homeland Security has deemed, a flawed bill with more than 20 proposed amendments“. So an issue where the ACLU and the DHS are on the same page, even when taking decent amounts of LSD, the world would still seem more logical, when ACLU and DHS are on the same page, the matter is a lot more critical than some make it out to be.

When we look back to 2013, when Robert Gates, the former Defence Secretary, reveals in his book ““reveals the depth of Mr. Obama’s concerns over leaks of classified information to news outlets, noting that within his first month in office, the new president said he wanted a criminal investigation into disclosures on Iran policy published by The New York Times.”“, we see that President Obama, knows all about leaks, they were at the centre of his core for two terms, so when we see again and again that the ball was dropped, what does that state about the president and his administration that keeps on twisting their ‘cyber’ thumbs?

Yet in all this, it was the Guardian who gave us (at https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/03/fbi-leaks-hillary-clinton-james-comey-donald-trump) an essential issue “Even some congressional Republicans, no friends to Clinton, have expressed discomfort with Comey’s last-minute insertion of the bureau into the election“, apart from what I discussed in my blog ‘As messages pass by‘ two days ago, there is one other part that must be mentioned in all fairness, because this is about the situation, not about anti-Clinton rants. The quotes are “As The Post’s Sari Horwitz reported on Saturday, “a largely conservative investigative corps” in the bureau was “complaining privately that Comey should have tried harder to make a case” against Clinton“, as well as “Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chair of the Oversight Committee, quickly tweeted news of Comey’s letter Friday and stated: “Case reopened.” This is not what Comey said (and technically the Clinton case was never closed). But many in the media bought Chaffetz’s hype, especially in early accounts. That’s what happens when an FBI director hands an explosive but muddled letter to a Republican-led Congress. In fact, Chaffetz had already made clear that if Clinton wins, the GOP’s top priority will be to keep the Clinton investigative machine rolling“, which came from https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/comey-gives-in-to-shameful-partisanship/2016/10/30/c31c714a-9ed8-11e6-8d63-3e0a660f1f04_story.html and this clearly shows two elements. One is that the republicans via Congressman Jason Chaffetz, Republican from Utah pushed. For those who think that this doesn’t matter, consider the following which we get from the FBI Website (at https://www.fbi.gov/about/faqs ). “Who monitors or oversees the FBI? The FBI’s activities are closely and regularly scrutinized by a variety of entities. Congress—through several oversight committees in the Senate and House—reviews the FBI’s budget appropriations, programs, and selected investigations. The results of FBI investigations are often reviewed by the judicial system during court proceedings…“, so when Congress pushes the FBI, it has bearing and impact (although ‘bearing’ would be allegedly). So whilst the media is going all out against Director James B. Comey, can we agree that Congress was pushing and in addition, the fact remains that Hillary Clinton could still up ending to be regarded as criminally negligent.

Now that last accusation needs explaining, and funnily enough, for the most, we all have that evidence. Those who have a job, ask yourself how many bosses allow you to do company business using your private emails? There are plenty of companies that such an action, seen as a transgression that could result in immediate dismissal and that isn’t even high dangerous secretive information. Now consider that as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton submitted over 20 top secret issues via private email, in addition, the emails went to the laptop of a previous employee, basically giving classified information to a non-authorized person. The fact that she ends up not being prosecuted is a little weird to say the least. Yet, I discussed that in an earlier blog, the link remains because the issues are linked.

What is important now is that the media at large had access to more information that I had (or so they think), and they kept you, the reader in the dark. The bias against Donald Trump is THAT intense. Now, personally, I think that Donald Trump is as dangerous as a baboon on XTC, which is an issue as this primate is merely dangerous and lethal in the most docile of times. Its teeth rip through your flesh and bones in one bite. I’ll be honest, Baboons scare me, not because of what they do (they are equipped to protect, not to hunt people), they are highly intelligent, yet when cornered they can be the most dangerous animal you will face in a lifetime. Making my correlation with Donald Trump a lot more accurate than even I bargained for. His latest actions known as ‘Donald Trump’s Impeachment Threat‘ (at http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/04/opinion/donald-trumps-impeachment-threat.html), when we see “they may well seek to impeach Hillary Clinton if she wins, or, short of that, tie her up with endless investigations and other delaying tactics“, the Democratic Party is seeing the result of President Obama’s bad presidency. The result and fallout of Benghazi, the mail issues with the Clintons and a few other matter. As stated, Congress gets to push the FBI and it is a republican congress. There is a little too much realism in the quote “Mrs. Clinton won’t be able to govern, because we won’t let her. So don’t waste your vote on her. Vote for us“, because her promise to do something about the economy will fall flat for at least 2 years. In addition, there are other matters that play, matters that involve the non-committal towards Common Cyber Sense and with the alleged Cyber-attacks from Russia (I am calling them alleged, because no clear evidence is in existence, yet clear reliable speculative data that pushes towards Russian involvement cannot be denied, not even by me), we see that Russia is instigating another cold war, one that America is unlikely to win makes the Democratic position even more weak. Even if we all admit that it is too unlikely for Russia to win this, it will work as an anchor on the US economy, so the next president has that to worry about too.

So as we are confronted with the Cyber issues at hand, in light of the extreme negligence that Hillary Clinton has shown to have, we see certain markers that weigh down on the positivity of her campaign. This might be the first election where the third party had a decent shot of winning, isn’t it a shame that Reverend Jesse Jackson wasn’t running? I reckon that unlike 1984 and 1988, he actually would have had a chance this time around, when we are brooding on which of the two is the lesser of two evils, the third player o gets be an actual contender #ThatsJustMe, wasn’t it funny that he of all people that showed up in Detroit yesterday after which he praised Donald Trump for his commitment of Diversity. Although from the news we have seen, I have to wonder if ‘diversity’ was about the sizes and shapes of breasts. I just had to get that of my chest, #Pardonemoi.

In all this, the media themselves are also a worry as they are pushing the people with outdated information. An example is the Business Insider only 2 hours ago. The article (at http://www.businessinsider.com.au/hillary-clinton-new-emails-found-fbi-2016-11), gives us “The FBI says it found new emails related to Hillary Clinton’s time as secretary of state, CBS News reported on Thursday. It is not known whether the emails are relevant to a case involving Clinton’s private email server, the network said, but the messages do not appear to be duplicates of emails the agency has already reviewed, according to an unnamed US official cited by CBS News“, the article was given the date and identity ‘Bryan Logan Nov 4th, 2016, 11:12 AM‘, yet when we look at the CBS article “In a letter to Congress last Friday, FBI Director James Comey indicated that the agency was taking steps to review newly discovered emails relating to Clinton’s private email server. Those emails came from the laptop of Weiner, a former New York congressman“, which was what I reported on 5 days ago, which came from CNBC on October 29th. So, as the Business Insider is intentionally misinforming the people. So, can we agree that the Media could now be regarded as ‘tempering’ with elections by misinforming the public? Even as we see these events evolve, we need to take heed that Donald Trump is the kind of man that large media corporations do not mind to be indebted to. Because his next crazy idea that pays off, these people will be knocking for exclusives, so when you think that you are getting informed, think again! The article never ‘lies’, it just trivialises older news and gives only part of the complete timestamp on other sides, leaving us with the message that Hillary Clinton has more eventful issues, instead of us getting the correct information that Business Insider is just rehashing old news, to get a few more cycles out of it. How is that not tempering with the view of the voters?

 

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A bit in the stream

Something alerted me towards events this morning in LinkedIn of all places. There was a reference towards an article titled ‘New Accenture boss Bob Easton throws down gauntlet to big four on digital’ (at http://www.afr.com/business/accounting/new-accenture-boss-bob-easton-lays-down-gauntlet-to-big-four-on-digital-20160829-gr3huj ).

The initial quote is “The trouble is there is a lot of people running around talking about digital“, which is true. Bob Easton is right that there is a lot of talk about digital. Yet, when we look at the definitions, I wonder how many have a true grasp of digital. Even I myself wonder when the use ‘digital’ is warranted. You see, when it is media, my photography is digital, so is my filming. Advertisement is digital as it goes through AdWords and not trough the newspapers. Here is the issue. When is something digital? Bob Easton states in the article “they are confusing the market by misunderstanding digital strategy and lacking the global capabilities of his firm“, the fact that IBM took a massive hit is not a surprise because they are confused on the best of times. They still present the 14 managers and 2 technicians approach. I cannot speak for either PricewaterhouseCoopers in this instance, or for EY, but my last encounter with Deloitte gave a much better view on them and they seem to know it (to some extent). So where does this leave Accenture?

The term “moving to aggressively compete for work in the consulting, digital and business transformation space” is only a concern if they do not meet customers’ expectations. So where should they be?

So where should you be? You see Dave Aron from Gartner (at that time) gives me: “A digital strategy is a form of strategic management and a business answer or response to a digital question, often best addressed as part of an overall business strategy“, what I liked was “Every business and public sector agency needs both an IT Strategy and a Digital Business Strategy. They must be highly aligned with each other, but they are not the same thing“, which gives part of the goods, yet when we consider his claim “All aspects of the business strategy should be informed by digital considerations“, we tend to get confused here, because different elements have the same word (read: digital), but in that the setting is not the same.

We can see it as advancements in digital technologies such as computers, data, telecommunications and Internet, which is still true, but how to go about it?

A digital media manager looks at how to get the solutions towards their ROI, which in many turns means to get it all electronically solved, whilst keeping costs to a minimum. Here we see the first failing from IBM as they are about revenue and about getting the business onto their solutions. Even in a step by step solution it is about getting one foot into the door and upsell from there. That is not a solution for the client, it is merely a solution for the sales person’s target.

And in some cases there is no digital path, but to a lot of people that does not exist so they will feign a solution. As an example I have my old dentist, he had a card system so perfect that no IT solution could bring the goods. I saw yuppies in all sizes try to sell him a solution between 1983 and 1995, one failure after another. The mere realisation that not all solutions fit and that some solutions will drive down the ROI in unacceptable ways is why several of these players will never succeed. Because what the client truly needs is never addressed. If we take the approach from Macala Wright (at http://mashable.com/2012/09/05/how-to-digital-strategy/#oc3qMBqfF8qC)

We see a decently clear path. I can quote all the steps again, but the article has them down to a nice clean size, so reading it is a recommendation.

I am downgrading it to these four steps for comfort (read: mine).

  1. Identifying the opportunities and challenges in a business where online assets can provide a solution or a difference.
  2. Identifying the unmet needs and goals of the external stakeholders that most closely align with those key business opportunities and challenges, and especially if there are threats there.
  3. Developing a vision around how the online assets will fulfil those business and external stakeholder needs, goals, opportunities, challenges and threats.
  4. Prioritizing a set of online initiatives which can deliver on this vision.

These steps also include the views Cisco had in step 3, yet it is a watered down list. I am emphasising this as the entire ‘going digital’ is larger and more complex than most realise. When I look at what can be done and what can be achieved we need to realise that this all needs the decision makers to be aligned and in that both IT and business needs must be addressed. Most people going digital seem that it is a cheaper solution towards a better ROI. Yes, it is a path towards a better ROI, which will not make it cheaper. It requires serious investments and not tinkering around with half a dozen people working from home, sending in some finished element. Whilst the Australian Financial Review gives us a chart with Revenue versus margin and adds a little hype by adding AirBnB and Uber in the new business models, we see a forgotten element. You see, these new business models come with a little hook, one was highlighted by Bell Partners, where we see “Some critics argue that Uber drivers are not subject to the same premiums for compulsory third-party (CTP) insurance as taxis, as it is harder to identify an Uber car in an accident“. Is that so? So how does this impact the passenger? Until you are in an accident you might not care, but when the hospital bills come and the Uber player does not have the coverage, you will soon learn that hospitals are very expensive.

There is a lot of truth in the article and it is well worth reading, yet the lack of threats discussed is equally unsettling. The fact that Expenses in the digital world are up and very much so with Accenture is an element, and also a threat. You see, we all understand that there are a lot more expenses coming over (nearly all tax deductable), the matter of a shifting ROI remains and until the model is used to fuel growth the benefit will not be easily seen. For this path requires a globalising mindset. If you want to remain the big cheese in Darlinghurst and that is all you want, you need to consider what sides need the digital approach and what you want to grow. This for the mere reason that costs will come in the early days and if you are ready it is not an issue, if not, your ROI went straight into the basement, good luck enjoying that view!

Depending on your market, it will be about your customers and their experience, if that is not upgraded, then why byte into the digital apple? I truly worry about the bit you do not end up with, as you would limit your position and enable your competitor overnight. This is the part that is not addressed in many places, because everyone is in a sales hat thinking bonus and saying, we can get you onto the digital path! You see, the presentation in the AFR, regarding the digital disruption framework is aptly drawn as a spear point and it points towards you! The better the comprehension and implementation, the more it becomes a weapon of offense instead of a solution to suicide. In that regard, towards the offense we see that the spear could be the stepping stone that upgrades the customer experience and as such truly grow your business, which is exactly what it is, but it is not a cheap solution or an overnight solution, it is merely a new solution to grow towards places you never grew before, so you grow the options in getting a grown customer base, which is what many want.

The only question is how correctly the path has been drawn out and here we see the elements that Bob Easton sells on. Accenture seems to know this path through and through. We have seen how IBM scuttled their knowledge and for the most, the other players (read: self-proclaimed players) are not up to scrap, but their level of failure is not clearly shown, Bob Easton points at it, but there is clear doubt if that is a given, especially in the case of Deloitte.

Finally we see the mention of government contracts, which is of course fun to read. Especially as 20 years have shown me that the bulk of government is relatively clueless on any digital path, with Defence on a whole being close to the sole exception.

In all this I find one part slightly debatable, even as the chart makes perfect sense. The quote “Digitising the experience for your customers, digitising your internal operations and the creation of the capabilities to recognise and exploit new business models” is true, yet recognising new business models is always a non-given, because that requires the altered mindset of a board of directors, which tends to focus on the golf game and less on the balls they slice, which gives weight to the debate, not the issue with the model as shown. In that for Taxi’s the model makes perfect sense, because Uber is now forcing a different mindset on the taxi corporations. Yet consider the year before Uber started, how many Taxi companies were actively looking into new business models? That list is hugely close to zero!

I say that competitors and threats, the second more than the first is driving that element, which is why even in the digital move, a SWOT analyses tends to have more decisive impact on the decisions. When we know the elements strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, we can start to look at the options we have, and they do include the two Bob Easton axis scales namely Revenue and Margin. As stated, his view is not incorrect, I personally find it a little incomplete in this instance.

And to finalise this, the problem he states is on many levels, I am not even sure if America is the largest waster of options and resources here, yet when we see politicians go with (read: Donald Trump on CBS today) “you know cyber is becoming so big today. It’s becoming something that a number of years ago, short number of years ago, wasn’t even a word. And now the cyber is so big“, in this case Donald Trump for his elections. The fact that Cyber threats have been on the FBI agenda even before October 6th 1999, stating that the damage from those threats had surpassed 7 billion in Q1 and Q2 of 1999 gives us worry that Cyber and Digital are more than words and those who are aiming to be in a seat of power have not grasped it. The entire educational system is not ready for these changes, which is not their fault. The market that Bob Easton described has grown nearly exponentially and the next generation is not aware of what is what, that whilst the current generation is not up to scrap as to what the definitions are, how they should be seen and how they apply in a real time environment and the people in charge are not getting educated either, most they get is from trade shows dying for you to buy their solution, which is not much of an education and finally the previous generation that is hoping to make it to retirement before they have to learn it all.

That is the issue as it evolves. So we are all bits in the stream, bits of what? I am not sure if anyone can tell at present, but good luck trying to figure out where you are placed and where you stand, because resolving that will place you in a much stronger position than you were in this morning.

 

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How pointless can a politician be?

That is the first part in the consideration that we see when we see the latest hype for journalists to ignore the reality of the events as they play. This presented reality was given to us today (at http://www.theguardian.com/news/2016/apr/13/mossack-fonseca-raided-offices-investigators-panama), when we consider the article. The title is only part of the deception we are confronted with. ‘Mossack Fonseca raided as investigators meet in Paris to launch tax probe‘, the first level of entertainment. The next is the quote “under the command of prosecutor Javier Caravallo, who specialises in organised crime and money laundering“, really? What education does this man have? The legality of off shore banking has been made so complex that the bulk of the Harvard professors cannot make head or tails of it. So, this Javier Caravallo, a mere prosecutor can figure it out? Who are the journalists kidding here? Mind you, this is not me trying to bring insult to a prosecutor, and I have no knowledge of Javier Caravallo, or have any issues with this man. Yet, if we can agree that Marky Mark of the British Bank (aka Mark Carney), former Governor of the bank of Canada and current Governor of the Bank of England cannot get his head around the off shore cash ‘storage’ issues, can we all agree that Javier Caravallo is out of his depth (and not by a little)?

We then get the quote “The raid comes after the leak of Mossack Fonseca’s huge database provoked international concern about the offshore industry“, which is a truth, yet there are issues, there are massive questions and they need addressing, yet in that similar way the issue is that the US is involved in this as well (personal observation). The fact that Florida is a growing tax haven and that states such as Delaware, Nevada, South Dakota and Wyoming, in particular, are competing with each other to provide foreigners with the secrecy they crave, which is a quote I got from CBS (at http://miami.cbslocal.com/2016/04/06/us-is-emerging-as-a-tax-haven-alongside-switzerland-caymans/), this all is also linked to a Bloomberg article I discussed a few days ago in the article titled ‘Delusional‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2016/04/07/delusional/). It seems that this loud sabre rattling is more about empowering the Rothschild Empire than it is about Mossack Fonseca. The fact that the Guardian remains silent on that part 50 shades of gold, gives me the impression that this is about chastising towards hypocrisy and not about the news at all, this is not even about decent reporting of the news. Which, in my personal mind, gives me the impression that the editorial levels Katharine Viner has gone to regarding certain players is about to hit a new all-time low (but that could just be me).

Yet we are not done here, because this form of comedy is about to get new players. Australian Commissioner Chris Jordan, who in the Guardian article is introduced as a person with a “global mindset for tackling tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance”. That might be true, it might not. For now we cannot tell because there are elements the press is anxiously avoiding, meaning that the politicians could be aiming to do the same thing.

You see, linked to this is an article from July 2013 (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/jul/14/us-tax-avoidance-google-amazon), where we see “senior officials in Washington have made it known they will not stand for rule changes that narrowly target the activities of some of the nation’s fastest growing multinationals“, 2013? Fastest growing multinationals? I personally think that these are senior ‘spokespeople’ that are in the pockets of large corporations, is that such a stretch? Consider the way that the US tax havens have been avoided by the press at large (apart from Bloomberg and a few CBS articles), consider that all these actions against Mossack Fonseca came from criminal activities, whilst so far not one clear piece of evidence is given that laws have been broken. (a 0.2% infringement does not constitute crime), in addition consider that the largest transgressor of financial ‘morality’ flushed 15 trillion (estimated loss from 2008) into the sewers and we learned this week that one of the principle parties in that event got a mere fine of 5 billion (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/apr/11/goldman-sachs-2008-financial-crisis-mortagage-backed-securities), meaning that the 8 year hardship the American people and Europe at large is paid off with a mere one year of bonuses, which is a true source of hilarity, because it truly gives vision, in my personal view that the US Department of Justice is no longer anything else than a joke.

The final quote is the kicker “The deal, however, includes no criminal sanctions or penalties and is likely to stir additional criticism about the Justice Department’s inability to hold bank executives personally responsible for the financial crisis“, I believe it to be even worse. If any fact ever emerges that the US in any form or size was, as speculated by some cyber specialists, to be behind the Panama Caper, than the transgressions that will massively rule in favour of the Rothschild enterprise will leave the mark that the US government could end up being the most corrupt one in the history of this world, how interesting that the press at large is steering clear of that little titbit.

So what kind of comedy are we seeing unfold?

A slapstick? A piece of presentation where bankers throw pies of money at each other, whilst charging the crowd for every pie, the receiver of the pie pays nothing, the taxpayer pays for the event whilst the cash stuck to the suits of bankers who will charge the government for cleaning the cash and cleaning the suits. A free for all where only the banker ended up smiling and the people paid whilst not getting any entertainment value at all (and a cleaning bill added to their tax papers)

A Farce? The improbable situation where we all look to the left where no crime was committed, we get the quote to ponder ‘A wonderful thing about true wealth is that it just destroys any kind of justice or equality‘, which is shown as the ‘criminals’ involved only pay 0.015% of the damages, the rest is paid for by those watching the damage outside the theatre.

A Satire, where we see presenters mock Mossack Fonseca, whilst they all laughingly carry the bags of ‘evidence’ into Rothschild Trust North America LLC and stating after the delivery that the carried laughter was not guilty of being un-American.

Last there is the Parody, which is exactly like the previous event, but it now just claims that the money shelves in Nevada are just so much prettier than the ones in Panama.

We ignore the Revue, as most politicians can’t sing and in addition, we prefer those who can sing not to do so!

So there are the moments of comedy, the question becomes, which version are we attending here? In this we need to look at Chris Jordan. You see, there is an additional part in this, which we see when we contemplate that this will be chaired by Mark Konza who is the head of the international tax department at the Australian tax office. You see, there is another side in all this. The side I mentioned earlier is also the biggest problem. You see, the Americans are being kept out of all this. This is in part of being confronted with a lame duck inhabitant of a not so circular white building. The quote to mind is “It occurred on the eve of a meeting in Paris of senior officials from the world’s tax authorities, who are intent on analysing the documents as part of new global strategy to crack down on offenders“, which sounds nice, but it is just an empty statement. That view can be fortified when you realise that after the President of the United States wasting the time of any officials in the Hague, we get the fact that after those events (as stated in the Guardian), that “opposition from the US forced the watering down of proposals“, which is what will happen again, but now in another way. You see, in the final moment of presidency, that person tends to be useless (not by choice), as the new president is about to be elected and can undo whatever this president leaves behind. Instead of setting the meetings until AFTER the elections, we see Saber rattling and empty actions. America is part of the problem here and until a strong legislation is placed, the only thing that this tax overhaul will do is play into the hands of Rothschild Wealth management.

Is that where we are heading to?

You see, no matter how we feel about it, we are presented a mere play where the bankers behind the screens are laughing out loud, and they aren’t even hiding that sentiment anymore. As trillions go into trusts and shelters we see no improvements, we see no changes. Until several fundamental changes are set into laws, all actions that happen beforehand are merely wastes of time. It only propagates the false image of the politician, the emptiness of sincerity of the bankers and the injustice of governments supporting these actions. That is the issue at hand and the press publications on a near global scale are ignoring this.

When you read the paper tomorrow, wonder where the US is and why the papers and politicians remain silent on all that.

Finally there is one additional point to make. It was initially mentioned by the Independent last Friday (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/panama-papers-banks-must-declare-links-to-mossack-fonseca-by-next-week-a6972971.html) where we see “Banks must declare links to Mossack Fonseca by next week“, is that not interesting? You see they are not the only players. As stated, there is Rothschild Trust North America LLC and one of the larger players namely Natixis Global Asset Management. Are those mentions not equally important? You see, if this becomes a game of discrimination, what laws can be enforced? Common law has been very clear on that over the decades. It is even a bigger issues in France where we see: “Some French politicians have intervened, demanding that the French government permits US citizens in France the right to hold a bank account that is accorded to every other resident in the country. The national ombudsman, the Défenseur des droits, has also been asked to investigate cases of discrimination by French banks” an issue that played one year ago, which makes me wonder what additional infusion Natixis Global Asset Management received over the last year. In all that, will the tax commission be a comedy, or a mere circus with Chris Jordan and Mark Konza as ringmasters, because at this point, the Americans will stay in the shadows as much as possible.

 

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The Toothless tiger

It is roughly 1,544,400 minutes since we saw this message “The newspaper and magazine industry today takes the first steps towards setting up the Independent Press Standards Organisation, the new regulator for the press called for by Lord Justice Leveson” (at http://www.newspapersoc.org.uk/08/jul/13/independent-press-standards-organisation, in July 2013).

So when I saw the words ‘press’, ‘regulator’ and ‘sham’ together in one sentence (at http://www.theguardian.com/media/2014/sep/07/victims-press-regulator-ipso-leveson ) I was not that overly surprised. Let’s not forget that the implied innuendo in regards to the press cleaning up its act was never a reality.

You see, after all that visibility, on March 25th we see the report from the Daily Telegraph with the headline “Flight MHG370 ‘suicide mission’“, was anyone even surprised that the press regards themselves ‘beyond the law’?

Yet, if we are to properly assess the situation, we must therefore also allow matters of defence. So what is the issue that bites us so much? The letters from the 30 victims of press intrusion stated to Sir Alan Moses the following (as stated in the article of the Guardian):

By rejecting the majority of Lord Justice Leveson’s recommendations, the paymasters and controllers of Ipso are rejecting due process

In its current form, Ipso retains no credibility with us or with the wider British public.

It furthermore states: “it was not truly independent, breaches of the industry code of practice would go unreported and unpunished, and there would be no effective and transparent investigation of serious or systematic wrongdoing“.

Now, after what happened in the hacking scandal, I am all for bashing the press, but let us all be honest, if we are to convict a group, let us do it for valid and preferably legal reasons.

About these pictures!

This all links to several issues that I wrote about in the past few days, Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton might be the most famous ones, but they are by no means to most important ones (I feel for these victims, but reality shows us bigger problems). Yes, there is an issue that links to Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian. If we go by the words of Reddit, we should use the quote “The site, which had an online forum named ‘The Fappening’, was one of the main places the hacked nudes were being posted and the website has now banned the page, six days after the photographs of the Hunger Games star first surfaced. It is thought the main reason bosses have finally pulled down the forum is NOT because of the J-Law snaps, but because photographs of Olympian McKayla Maroney which were also posted on the site are believed to show her underage.” which came from the Mirror. These places have been hiding behind the ‘innocent disseminator‘ flag for far too long. Their income is real and based upon bandwidth. If we want change, then perhaps forcing a tax bracket on bandwidth, especially with a bankrupt America, might be a novel way for debtors to get their coin back. Yet this is not about that. The fact that Jennifer Lawrence is now partially safe is only because another victim was a minor when the pictures were taken. This makes for a massively inhumane disaster and one that also affects the press. It is interesting that when we look at the name McKayla Maroney we see two events, both the hacked ‘under-dressed’ images as well as the Gamergate reference to Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian.

Vox Media stood alone

It is Vox (at http://www.vox.com) who seems to be on top of it, so we see one place, which might be regarded as ‘trivial’ by some covers the real issues that many ‘major’ papers have been ignoring all over the US and in places far beyond the US. You can read their words in depth at http://www.vox.com/2014/9/6/6111065/gamergate-explained-everybody-fighting. It is well worth reading; however, there are a few parts I do not agree with. Let’s go over those, for they are all linked.

Here is the first part: “If it was just to bring attention to Quinn’s personal life, that’s, as stated, already happened. And if it was to create better ethical disclosures in online journalism, that’s happening, too. The Escapist is drafting new guidelines, while Kotaku is now forbidding its writers from financially supporting independent designers on Patreon, a popular method for backing independent artists, unless the site’s writers need to donate to Patreon for coverage purposes (since many developers release material first to their Patreon backers). And Vox sister site Polygon requires disclosures of this sort of support“.

I do not agree for the following reasons:

  1. If we look at the press at large, Quinn’s plight is less than a hot drop on a plate. “Jennifer Lawrence”, “Nude” and “shoot” gives us 41 MILLION hits when we use all the keywords. “Zoe Quinn” gives us 70,000 hits with less than a dozen reputable sources (including Vox Media). So, I think we can safely say that visibility is not even close to being a factor there.
  2. Better ethical disclosures in online journalism? Sorry, but are they for real? Most of these writers have never seen a class in ethics, it is also likely that some of them cannot ever write ‘ethics’ correctly. That being said, many of them write for mere passion on games, their transgression of alleged ‘corruption’ usually goes no further then receiving the free game. How corrupt is that? In all this, my issue with Gamespot has almost forever been with the open sponsor Ubi-Soft. They are not hiding it, so that is good, but I seem to colour my faith to any Ubi-soft review. Overall the writers and makers like Carolyn Petit, Jess McDonell, Danny O’Dwyer, Justin Haywald, Chris Watters, Cam Robinson and Kevin VanOrd do an interesting job. Depending on their ‘preference’ of gaming we tend to favour a certain person, whilst not ‘liking’ another one. The sad news that some of these writers are leaving as Gamespot is changing should be sad news to all gamers.

Scoops

This all goes towards “forbidding its writers from financially supporting independent designers on Patreon“, why? Is the likely fact that reviewers would have the inside track on a game and by personally backing a developer they will have a scoop? Is that not what pretty much every newspaper does? If not, how about cancelling ALL advertisements from Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo and Adobe? How long until they are missing out on scoops? I think support should not hidden, but if I was still in the business I would be funding No Man’s Sky or Ultima Forever: Quest for the Avatar (I have been a lifelong Ultima fan), if it gives me a scoop days in advance of others, than so much the better. The question becomes is this truly about implied corruption or about mainstreaming a 100 billion dollar plus business? You see, the gaming groups was for a long time ignored (especially in the time I was involved)

True Scenario: “I went to the ‘Efficiency Beurs’ (a Dutch IT/Technology trade show) in the RAI in Amsterdam in the early 90’s (1991/1994), I forgot the exact time. Anyway, I was already deep into the gaming world and sound would be the next big issue. PS speakers were no good, Adlib was an option, SoundBlaster was the new kid and those with real money (read wealthy parents) there was the Roland card, which costed a fortune. This is the age when the PC was a wild market, CBM-64 and Atari were on a high and the PC was relying on blips and bleeps. So, I walk to the IBM representative and asked him on the new PS/2 PC’s and whether the soundcards in the growing gaming market was a field that IBM was looking at, as well as, whether IBM had considered adding a sound card to the PC-Private projects (which was a tax deductable PC scheme in the Netherlands). I was ‘walked off’ the stand with the response that IBM was for ‘professional’ use only. This same IBM is now advertising ‘Smarter Serious Games’ (at http://www-935.ibm.com/services/us/gbs/gaming/)“.

So, these ‘losers’ (just to coin a phrase), who would not consider this industry for a long time are now trying to leech of a 100 billion dollar industry by ‘Simming’ (Sims joke) it on, so nice of IBM to join the party almost two decades late (they did however join the party decently before 2013). So now we get this escalation on several fields and interestingly enough all at the same time. Several approaches of wild growth is seen, personally I reckon this all truly took off in high gear in September 2013 when one game made one billion in only three days and passed the 2 billion mark this June making a videogame more successful then the most successful Hollywood production in history. Now nearly everyone wants to jump on board and it also seems to allow for a ‘wild growth’ of certain ‘elements’. IBM is not a party to this (they move in different circles), yet, those growing wildly on our shores hoping for their billion are learning hard and fast that gamers can easily spot the quality from the chaff and as such we see escalations. Whether we take Forbes article (at http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2012/03/21/gaming-the-system-how-a-gaming-journalist-lost-his-job-over-a-negative-review/) for granted or not, it seems that the name Sony and the possibility of pulling away advertisements apply in several corners (like the PS4 release and Terms of Service issues). So, to avoid ‘ethical’ issues, it seems to me that newspapers at large just ignored the plight of over 60 million customers and any link to ‘changes to the terms of service’. So how does this all link to ‘corruption’?

That is the part that seems to elude many, it is not ‘just’ about corruption, it is about alleged corruption with the writers (emphasis on alleged), implied corruption with their bosses in what they publish but more importantly what they DO NOT publish. The last part is on streamlining it all. If anything, GTA-V shows us that a billion plus revenue takes more than just a good game, it is about marketing and advertising, which shows now exactly the issue on visibility.

I am not alone with these views; some of them were discussed by Ashton Liu in her blog at http://rpgfanashton.tumblr.com/. She has an interesting view I had not considered. She writers “It has been no secret to the gaming community that many video game news sites have been employing increasingly extremist and reprehensible tactics to gain site hits and forward their ideology“. In that regard she seems on top of it all, I saw the harassment of Quinn and Sarkeesian as idiots who should go the way of the Dodo yesterday, if at all possible. Yet in her view, we are dealing with more than just blatant ‘ranters’, it is entirely possible that there is a corporate push behind it all. If we consider the actions by Sony and the market they need to ‘rule’ is that such a far-fetched statement? If people are willing to sell their souls for a niche market, what is Sony willing to do to remain the number one on the market, especially if you can motivate non-journalists (read non-accountable people) to speak out loudly?

What makes a Journalist?

It is a side, that until the article of Ashton Liu I had ignored. Ashton is like me, an ideologist, we seem to share a passion for RPG games and we are willing to put some time into sending the message of the Role Playing Game, hoping to introduce it to others. Yet, part of the view she offers seems incorrect, is this all about true gaming journalists? Many of them are not journalists at all, they do not have a degree in journalism, so let’s all agree that unless the person has a degree in Journalism that this person is just a games reviewer (I myself am a games reviewer), I have degrees in Law and IT, but not in Journalism, which makes me a non-journalist!

This is where the issues become (slightly) clear. Many are not journalists at all, so journalists are compared to ranters and outspoken ideologists, whilst not getting painted on grounds of evidence, which is almost slander (I said almost). We are all in need of more clarity, clarity I am asking for, whilst trying to remain clear, clarity Ashton is trying to give the readers and there are the additional thousands online, ranting all over the place. So what is a reader to believe?

Corporations

Perhaps that is the part we all forgot about? We seem to ignore the corporate site. Is that the background of those who remained with Gamespot? Is CBS changing the gaming area by starting to cut away the ‘non-professional’ staff? I do not know, I am asking this. I have no issue with any writer at Gamespot (even if they cater to games I never play), their passion has for a long time been without question, yet, if this streamlining requires the presence of education, not just knowledge, then those without Journalistic skills to be ‘relocated’ and not all end up within the CBS structure.

So as Ashton made the statement I disagreed with “These journalists behave terribly and browbeat anyone whose opinions don’t fall lock step with their own“, the question “which are the real journalists” come to mind. This is where we return to Leveson, the issues that IPSO is accused of and how this relates to Journalism.

IPSO is regarded as a toothless tiger (perhaps correctly so), yet as papers are more and more online and as we see more and more ‘contributions’ from critics and reviewers, we will see that their painting of a group ‘as ignored’ as stated by the phone hacking scandal victims, we see a corporate move by many newspapers that employ reviewers and critics who are likely non-members of the official Journalistic core, but in the online mash no one can really tell anymore. This is at the heart of several issues, next to the editors relying on people whose family name tends to be “well-placed sources within”; I wish I had a relative like that.

This all gets me to the only part of the Vox article that I have an issue with. It is not really an issue, it is more a disagreement. They stated “Because what #GamerGate is all about isn’t who is or isn’t a gamer, or what role the press should play. It’s about what games should be and who they should be for. And that’s worth a real discussion, not just a hash tag“. I think that anyone enjoying a game is in the smallest extent a gamer, and as his or her passion grows, so will the Gamer part of that person. I think it is MASSIVELY important the part the press plays and to some extent they need to be judged on what they publish and to some extent even more on what they ignore, not unlikely for favours from the advertisers. You see, what happens when it is no longer them, but also the stakeholders? Consider the stakeholders for projects of Ubi-Soft and Electronic Arts. The moment they start ruffling feathers on ‘their’ dividend and the press ‘obliges’ that is the true moment when we will no longer see whatever ails a gaming community. When it goes through a journalist we do end up with the smallest protection, but ‘small’ beats ‘none’ every time.

It is ‘what games are and who they are for‘ is as I agree an important discussion, yet the implied evidence at present gives little support that that true vision will come from #Gamergate, because anyone willing to develop a game, no matter what gender, what topic and what ethnicity of graphics we are presented with should be a reason for bias and/or discrimination. These are parts #Gamersgate seems to be ignoring.

Streamlining is also all about who owns the IP, that is the one part they all seem to ignore, if the future is about IP (Intellectual Property), then it is the novel idea that has the future of gaming fortune, which is all about streamlining in the eyes of EA, Ubi-soft and Sony (to name a few big companies in this field), you see, who owns the IP will continue and not unlike the flaccid economists of Wall Street, larger companies have been all about continuing a brand and less about the new idea, which makes indie developers the future (consider the massive success of Mojang with Minecraft), that is the streamline part all ignored. This is why I think it is important to protect them! This is seen in the slightly dangerous statement by Vox Media in the article as they state “Some argue that the focus on harassment distracts from the real issue, which is that indie game developers and the online gaming press have gotten too cozy“, is that true, or are the larger players realising that they passed the buck for too long and driving a wedge between the press and the Indie developer is essential to their survival as they try to ‘rekindle’ the press and push indie developers towards the ‘cheap’ deals where they can take over the IP. That part is at large ignored by most. If we look at 2014 we see a massive host of new versions of the same brand, whilst none of the truly new games are coming out in 2014. Splatoon, ignored by many is the new kid and so far it seems that it might largely drive sales for Nintendo. You see these larger houses have forgotten to cater to THEIR audience (not just bring a cool presentation about something not due for 15 months) and as such are under scrutiny facing an endangered future. When we see a headline like this ‘Battlefield 4 – It’s so bad, its actually funny!‘, they know that they are in trouble, no matter how much you pay marketing to focus on the small stuff and micro transactions, which some call ‘Blood Money‘. In my view this is partially the result of letting ‘Excel users’ anywhere near the gaming market and when these investments do not pan out panic will be the natural consequence.

Back to IPSO

Yet, this also reflects on IPSO, because is the story ignored not as irresponsible as calling a tragedy a suicide mission? I wonder if the two elements would have been anywhere near as extreme if IPSO had not been toothless. I cannot state this for America, but I am certain that many gaming issues would have been a lot more visible, which might have reduced the risk and abuse of both Quinn and Sarkeesian. If you do not believe the press to have any influence, then consider the Art ‘expose’ called “Fear Google“, which is exactly the method of News the Sun used to rely on for at least one page (a page 3 joke only the British understand), or as we could call it, how Rupert Murdoch got through his early years. So here we see the beginning of the future, as Jennifer will end up getting shown to the world in states of non-dressing, her stolen pictures are less likely to be stopped as they are not getting sold, even if sold, the chance of enough people getting convicted becomes a serious question.

We can safely say that there is a group of toothless tigers, law partially became toothless as it catered to business enterprise and as we see more and more ‘free’ services we see an abundance of innocent dissemination that no one seems to be able to stop, ‘oh yes’, for some reason many were ‘suddenly’, within hours, able to stop the film where a Journalist ‘suddenly’ lost his head. It seems that ‘sudden’ acts are at times possible, so why this entire system is not better regulated is to be perfectly honest beyond me, but you better realise that someone is making loads of money, not just the hacker (read: thief) that got a hold of the pictures.

 

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No Press, No Facebook!

So, another day in the life of you, the reader, me the blogger and us, the victims of big business in a way that neither of us expected.

Why are we in a stage of No Press? Well, I cannot confirm this for the UK, Canada or Europe at large, yet in Australia it started last year, the second week of November.

Most did not ever bother to look at this, but one I found (at http://www.cinemablend.com/games/PS4-Doesn-t-Block-Used-Games-Game-Rentals-60480.html) wrote the following: “A new last minute reputation management troll-rumor has surfaced online in an attempt to curb Sony’s momentum leading up to their big launch later this week“.

This is a hilarious ‘sucking-up-to-Sony’ response! So what actually happened?

In the two weeks before the launch of the PS4, Sony decided to change the terms of service (at https://www.playstation.com/en-gb/legal/software-usage-terms). I gave the information to Channel 7, Channel 9, Channel 10 and the Sydney Morning Herald.

NONE!
I say again NONE of them did anything about it. There was a flaccid message (to follow shortly).

So what is so important?

Sony wanted to start putting in place several issues to enforce DRM and to end certain practices. As the PS4 had not launched yet, they could not be too vocal about it, which meant that those claiming to be journalists had a duty to look into it, especially as these changes affected well over 80 million consumers globally. So either journalists only care about the boobs of Rihanna and on how people prefer fake boobs (of course, the possible silicone in a chest is always more newsworthy then the silicon chip that holds an economy).

So what is the exact issue?

Two points from the terms of agreement

  1. 3. You must not lease, rent, sublicense, publish, modify, adapt, or translate any portion of the Software.
  2. 1. You must not resell either Disc-based Software or Software Downloads, unless expressly authorised by us and, if the publisher is another company, additionally by the publisher.

I will admit that 6.3 is badly phrased (a big no-no in any term of service agreement), but in this form it specifically targets one area of usage, which where at blockbusters one could rent a game for a week. An interesting try before you buy approach (not debating the validity or invalidity of this).

It is 7.1 that is the big issue, by agreeing to this (if you do not you lose your PSN account and online abilities) you confirm that you will not resell your games or buy second hand games. This was the big killer for Microsoft in the beginning in addition to the fact that this issue hits 80 million consumers. How is this not in EVERY newspaper? Perhaps their bosses where in the act of ‘hustle for advertisement coin’ (whoring seems like such a harsh word here).

When we look at Eurogamer (at http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2013-11-12-sony-reiterates-you-can-sell-and-share-your-ps4-games), we see the following: “Sony Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida added on Twitter: ‘If you are concerned about our new European TOS, we confirm that you are able to sell or share your disc PS4 products, including in EU.’” This is the flaccid response I referred to. If this is the case, then WHY make it part of the terms of agreement? Because Sony lawyers are perhaps cheap? (They really are not!)

We do not doubt the words of the Sony CEO, yet his word can be changed in a simple board meeting, the terms of service is a legally binding document between the consumer and the corporation offering the device and the service. Why am I the one person explaining this ‘oversight’ to the press?

This is a massive issue! The impact on the software industry would be felt in several countries. The fact is that many shops are in business only because they make a few extra dollars of second hand games. If not, new games would have to rise in price. Also, there is, especially in these economic times a large group depending on cheaper game solutions. A pre-owned game, which is at times at least 50% cheaper than the new alternative is one way for some to play a few games. The simple truth is that many cannot afford a $120 game, more often; their parents also are not in possession of such spending sprees, which makes the pre-owned game market an essential part to cater for a sizeable chunk of these consumers.

The second issue is the one that we see evolving now.

I was confronted with this almost two weeks ago, but something about the list of changes seemed so horrifying that I decided not to upgrade. This is still evolving and there are genuine concerns. Yet, what is the actual truth?

If we look at the Bull (at http://thebull.cbslocal.com/2014/08/07/facebook-crosses-the-line-with-new-facebook-messenger-app/) we see the following:

  • Facebook can change or alter your connection to the Internet or cell service without telling you.
  • Facebook can send text messages to your contacts on your behalf.
  • Facebook can record audio, and take pictures and videos, at any time
  • Facebook can read your phone’s call log, including info about incoming and outgoing calls
  • Facebook can read your contact data, including who you call and email and how often
  • Facebook can read personal profile information stored on your device
  • Facebook can get a list of accounts known by the phone, or other apps you use, it can connect all your accounts and Intel together.

It is in part the worry I had when I was looking through the rights I had to agree to when installing the Facebook Messenger app, which I decided against. If I lose my messenger history, so be it!

If we consider the Sydney Morning Herald (at http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/smartphone-apps/facebook-is-forcing-messenger-app-on-users-and-they-arent-happy-about-it-20140729-zycfb.html), we see the following quote “CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed during last week’s earnings call that the company eventually wants to monetise Messenger and the app will eventually ‘overlap’ with payments, though, as TechCrunch notes, he acknowledged the company still has a lot of work to do before users will see payments cropping up in the app“. It is fair enough that people will get to pay at some point. At that point people can return to the old Yahoo Messenger, which has forever been free!

My issue here is that there is a lot more visibility here, yet why this is not the lead with every news channel as this affects BILLIONS of people is also a little beyond me.

There is of course the other side. Is what ‘the Bull’ stated true? I am not stating that they were lying, but the android permissions are at times a little out there. This view is actually reinforced by CNBC (at http://www.cnbc.com/id/101911170).

The confusion seems to have stemmed from Android. “The app when you install it, it explains in a list what it needs permission to do, and this is the list that frightened a lot people initially,’ Simons said. ‘That doesn’t mean it sort of willy nilly goes about contacting friends or recording you as you go about your day using your phone camera,’ he added.

I cannot disagree with this view, yet the truth is that just like with Sony, we agreed on something, we made a binding pact and that what is and that what could be are now intertwined and as such it is not about handholding, it is about clarity! When Big Business forces you the consumer, they will be precise (example: ‘we hereby charge you $11,732.34 to be deposited within the next 10 days‘). Yet when they would like something from you, they hide in ambiguity (example: ‘we can change all your savings into a fortune, deposit all today and the larger returns could be yours quite soon’). So, how large a deposit, how much larger, how soon? These answers would not be forthcoming until AFTER the deposit I reckon.

So where do we stand?

When we consider the issues that have plagued the tech savvy population, like the TPP, Sony, even government spending seems to be missing on the glasses of those ‘considering’ themselves to be Journalists. Another bash of that seems to have missed the larger view in news (at http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2014/08/05/federal-spending-transparency-money-missing/13485581/).

The first quote is “the data that does exist is wildly inaccurate, according to the Government Accountability Office, which looked at 2012 spending data. Only 2% to 7% of spending data on USASpending.gov is ‘fully consistent with agencies records,’ according to the report“, which makes me wonder who is keeping track of the deficit and how much larger could it be?

The second one is “The Department of Health and Human Services failed to report nearly $544 billion, mostly in direct assistance programs like Medicare. The department admitted that it should have reported aggregate numbers of spending on those programs“, which reads like, if we aggregate numbers, you are less likely to find anything and we can hide it under a total header. Failing to report on half a trillion is a big thing, it is well over $1000 for every resident in America.

So, does that mean that the deficit of the US is a lot larger? That would indeed be news as it would put the US in a peculiar financial position, or better a position they no longer hold. I am not stating that I am right or that I am wrong (both are an option). It seems that the papers and newscasts we get bombarded with every day seem to become more and more selective on what they consider important. One article affecting 80 million (the combined population of Australia and the UK) as well as the new issue which hits over a billion people does not seems to be important. The last news of last week is one that does bear scrutiny, yet to get something from USA Today and not the Guardian or any of the Australian news bringers does pose questions.

The Facebook issue will hit us for some time and it might result in something different. The issue linked to this is whether Android has a registration system that bears scrutiny. Android has its own faults (also not too overly reported on by journalists) and just pointing the finger at Facebook is also not entirely the right thing to do.

There is also the difference on what some will do and what some could do. It is the ambiguity that is slowly getting to more and more people.

So what should the journalists be doing and what should Facebook not be doing?

 

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