Tag Archives: Channel 4

When it becomes pointless

Have you ever considered the actions that you need to take, yet you already know that whatever you do, it is a pointless exercise from the very beginning? The problem is not that there is discrimination, it happens everywhere; the fact that the media is part of it to a much larger degree is becoming an increasing problem.

We merely have to look at Saudi Arabia to see that reality. First of the bat, I do not claim or think that Saudi Arabia is innocent, I cannot claim that they are because there is no evidence making them innocent, yet there is also no evidence of guilt and that is the part that matters. When we look at Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist no one actually cares about and we are given: “The report suggested that Khashoggi first struggled with his killers, after which he “could have been injected with a sedative and then suffocated using a plastic bag.”” we see our larger failing. when UN reports hide behind ‘could have been‘ as well as ‘report suggested‘ we see the failure called Agnes Callamard, the U.N. human rights agency’s special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, places guilt for the murder squarely on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. When we see: “There was “credible evidence,”” Agnes Callamard is a failure, because the condition of murder (as well as manslaughter) fails as the court must acquit a defendant unless the state can prove beyond a reasonable doubt and that was never done there was no evidence and the UN knows this, the media know this, but they decided to ignore, so that they can blame the death of a nobody to a government. The difference between murder and manslaughter is intent, and even if we had some degree of certainty that there was intent, there is still no evidence of any kind, they all know it, they all ignore it.

Now, did I overstep my mark with the ‘nobody’ statement? Optionally! I use that word because for the most (exception of drug dealers, politicians and in many cases journalists) people matter. My issue is that there are real things happening and they need exposure, yet in one month finding 70 million articles on one person is rich, it is too rich and no one seems to notice that and the media will not tell you, so why not exactly?

Then we take another look at the arms deals, it is an important part not merely for the commerce needs, not merely because any sovereign nation has the right to defend itself, the fact that we stop ourselves and alienate optional strong allies through the banter of bullshit by politicians is just too weird. The UK and US are about to walk away from billions in revenue, billions that are legally fine, will give funds to their treasuries and these coffers fund all kinds of things; Yet some people think it is dirty money, as such it should not be touched. I have no qualms about it; I will take over and sell Saudi Arabia $5 billion at the drop of a hat, any hat. They are a sovereign nation and allowed to purchase materials for their military needs.

Yet the media will not report that, will they? They for the most need the people to live under the guise of emotion in this case. Why is that? When we see the Arab News (at https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/06/yemen-escalation-houthis-ramp-attacks-saudi-arabia-190622055136031.html) showing us the missiles that were fired on Saudi Arabia, as well as the fact that we see the UN allegations “In January, the United Nations’ experts concluded in an 85-page report to the Security Council that Tehran was illegally shipping fuel to Yemen to finance their war effort. A year earlier, a UN panel had criticised Iran for violating an arms embargo on Yemen by enabling Houthis obtain Iranian missiles“, and how was this proven? Well the missiles impacted, the images show that these weapons are Iranian in origin. In addition Yemen does not have the technology, the skills or the ability to make the drones or missiles, that constitutes evidence. Even as we cannot prove Hezbollah’s involvement here, Iranian involvement is clear, but the media will not give you that, will they? Why is that?

Now, I am not assigning blame left and right, yet we need to remember that the legitimate government of Yemen called for the help from the Saudi coalition, Saudi Arabia did not invade Yemen, they attacked the rebels who started a Yemeni civil war as per request of the legitimate Yemeni government, also a part the media remains silent on. In war there will always be blame on both sides, yet the entire Yemen issue is fuelled and funded by Ian and gets openly assisted by the terrorist organisation Hezbollah, a fact that many members of the media remain silent on. Now that things are escalating in the Middle East the media gets all touchy feely on how the US-Iran escalation goes, yet they still remain silent on the Iranian acts against Saudi Arabia, so how do you classify the media when it is seemingly actively discriminating others?

Yet in most media we see on how parties are being stated to be responsible for carnage, all that whilst the driving force in all this (Iran) is left out of consideration for the most of it. Why is that?

Even as we are all willing to accept Channel 4 airing an investigative documentary – Britain’s Hidden War – on the British role in the Saudi-led intervention and “the extent to which the war in Yemen is made in Britain“, the overall picture takes to a far too large an extent the involvement and activities by Iran and Hezbollah (Lebanon) out of consideration, we accept the story and the articles, yet the lack of balance as none of the other side gets the limelight is still an issue. It is not an attack on that investigative piece which was all above board, the lack of the other side is still to be noticed. And it does not end there. Even in Lebanon things as escalating. We are getting ‘Hezbollah Armed, Ready to Strike Israel, if Iran-US Tensions Grow‘ is speculative and unproven, yet the premise behind it: “The IDF estimates Hezbollah has hidden well over 100,000 rockets in these towns and villages in southern Lebanon. “All of them comfortably hidden behind Lebanese civilians, inside Lebanon.  All of them aimed at our civilians,” said IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus.” shows the same tactic that they (Hezbollah) employed in Yemen, that part is not out in the open is it? The problem we see in addition is that neither player has the funds of the infrastructure to have that much firepower, so the question becomes more than how is Iran fuelling it all? It becomes how do you get large shipments of weapons to destinations under watchful eyes? That part matters, as it impacts both the Yemeni and Hezbollah side of the matter and the media remains largely silent. Even the intelligence players remain silent on it as they cannot prove any of it, but the strikes on Saudi Arabia are evidence that it is happening and some are too afraid that it will open additional hot zones, an issue no one wants, yet the consideration is not given towards Saudi Arabia, who is under attack and that does not add up to any extent.

There is a large failing and the wider the newspaper net you look at, the more clarity is given on what I regard to be intentional miscommunication. Even as it all escalates towards US Senate blocking arms sales and it becomes vetoed by President Trump, the entire matter constitutes delays and I will optionally step in and sell them the hardware myself, we all need a hobby and my passions are linked to an 80 meter Yacht names Kore that is to be built at the CRN Shipyard at Via Enrico Mattei, Ancona Italy (we all need a passion that is slightly out of our reach).

To keep it, I will need the better part of $2 billion, so I will sell them the Chinese and Russian hardware if need be, it is after all their sovereign right to be armed and to be well defended, and that is besides the IP that is still up for grabs. Yup, they wanted commerce, now they can all have it at a price. If you want to fuel ethical boundaries and hide behind Humanitarian reasoning whilst leaving the Iranian and Hezbollah involvement completely out of the picture, than I can sell weapons and technology to anyone. The issue with discrimination is not merely the only part that it is wrong, it is that it opens up other venues as well, but then the media did not disclose that either.

When it becomes pointless we can decide to ignore it all and just fill our pockets to the largest degree, the media entitled us to do that. In the end there is a much larger failure and I feel that a humorous side is required and I found it in the shape of a new US candidate for the elections next year. I wonder if that is the person we need to rely on to make matters fair, although fair for who remains the open question, I accept that.

 

 

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That did not take long

Wow, it has been a mere 22 hours since my last Blog. In there I wrote: “The additional part where we see that Pakistan is importing close to $400 million from the Netherlands each year is optionally be getting hit as well“, which comes to pass when I see the flames on Twitter between Geert Wilders (https://twitter.com/geertwilderspvv) and the Pakistani Government (https://twitter.com/pid_gov). Even the the Pakistan Defense forum(https://twitter.com/defencedotpk), they immediately went to their copy of ‘Art of War‘ and gave us “Royal Dutch Shell, Phillips, Unilever, ABN AMRO interests in the Muslim World should be nationalised, levy heavy duties on Dutch shipping passing through the Suez, Hormoez shall be closed off for Dutch ships. Their airlines should be barred from using OIC airspace. Watch it melt!“, now a forum is not a government speakeasy, so there is time, but this riled up well over 100,000 Pakistani’s in all walks of life. Yet in here a few cool heads prevailed with: “Doesn’t matter to them, as it will hurt Pakistan itself, thousands will be unemployed, lakhs of people are working directly or indirectly in Unilever Pakistan, not even 0.1%profit generated from Pakistan, of total Unilever profits, even all oic countries ban it, it will hardly damage them“, yes it will hurt Pakistan, yet will it hurt enough? When Pakistani interests are moved from Unilever to European or American alternatives, do you think that the pain is long term? No, that is unlikely to be the case, yet the long term pain to Dutch industrials will be clear when they lost the ability to meet quota’s and to meet the expectations of analysts. That pain will be very visible. So even when we see the response by Geert Wilders with: “Don’t claim victory too soon @pid_gov I am not finished with you yet. I will expose your barbarism in many other ways“, we have to wonder if he is exposing barbarism or instigating discourse through attacks on Islam? That has always been the setting here. Perhaps we need to take another look at the setting, which started as early as 2015. I implied it in my title ‘Lollies to the Right‘ (Yesterday’s blog), in this lollies is an English slang for money. Someone is funding all this. The Cartoon competition shows another side, from the $12,500 in Garland Texas, and the amount (unknown) for the Dutch event. This is not from the pocket of Geert Wilders, someone is funding these fumes hoping that a war will erupt and we need to find out who is behind the screens on the far right, it is more important then you know. It is not merely about the hatred, the setting of economic strike backs was always going to be a clear setting. And I was right all along. We now see in the Daily Pakistan: ‘Dutch govt seeks improved bilateral ties with Pakistan after blasphemous contest saga‘, where we see: “Dutch envoy to Pakistan, Ardi Stoios-Braken announced on Twitter that the Embassy team will work with fresh energy and focus on promoting the bilateral relationship with Pakistan and mutual understanding“, yes I saw that coming a mile away and the question becomes, how much will that cost the Dutch government? By the way, in that same period of contemplating my correctness, I also designed two new (optional) Google devices, so it required close to no brainpower, so I had three other things running in the back of my head. Here too we are fed the lies by Geert Wilders. The lie “to avoid the risk of victims of Islamic violence, I have decided not to let the sacrilegious cartoon contest go ahead“, yet that was not really the case was it. The game was not set on the competition, but on the backdrop and I wonder what happened on May 1st 2018. When we were shown: ‘Far right leaders gathered in the southern French city of Nice‘, we were not in the picture on the rest. There was another player there, ready to use Geert Wilders as the tool he is. This was merely foreplay, binding the hands of certain politicians and setting the stage for others. The Independent gave on that very same day: ““The European Union today has catastrophic consequences for our countries, and yet another Europe is possible, the Union of European Nations,” she told a rally as she met with the leaders. “Europe is a good idea and the European Union is killing it.” The next European Parliament elections are scheduled for the 23 to 26 of May 2019 – after Britain is set to leave the European Union.“, that is the part that matters more, when things go out of balance, other players can come in and have some fun making money fast, that is the one part were the right seems to be blind. With Italy much more firmer in the right, with the AfD (Alternativ fur Deutchland) we see that they are still growing, even more so as Angela Merkel is now in a much lower ratings than ever before, so even as that does not indicate that AfD will push to better staging and more seats, that is not a given. Yet, in this I was proven wrong in my assumptions (based on data) on how Matteo Salvini was not really a risk and he got a much larger slice of Italian politics then we imagined and with Germany we cannot afford that mistake again. In all this it is more and more clear that the UK got out in time (a little too late though), with the European settings we all get to look at, there is a clear path that half of Europe will be in an anti-Muslim stage soon enough and not being part of that war is the only good we can hope for.

Yet the only links that I get back to in the end (thanks to some data that I found in Austria) from sources like the Wiener Zeitung and the Freedom Party of Austria and Heinz-Christian Strache is Steve Bannon of all people. Right on the same day that Cambridge Analytica became a non-entity, we see that Steve Bannon was always part of this, the question becomes: Was that why the data was needed? Was this why there was a nice dinner in Nice? OK, I admit that this is slightly too ‘conspiracy theoretic’, but the elements are there; we forgot that 87 million Facebook users are not merely there to use for the far right, they can also be used against the left and more important, once properly mined and grouped, other elements can also be addressed. We were treated to Channel 4 and their ‘Cambridge Analytica CEO filmed boasting of using entrapment, bribes and honey-traps to influence election‘, but the much larger cake is not merely the elections, it is the fact that creating discourse in Saudi Arabia as it is ready to start a trillion dollar investment setting (well over half for the creation of Neom, city of the future), we see a lot more opportunity for those players. Even in history we saw the UK push Egypt in another direction as it feared the larger hold and more importantly the hold that the UK would lose, we see a variation now by the escalations of Islam and anti-Islam and in all this Geert Wilders is the most visible tool. In this Steve Bannon played the game very well. Even as we saw him being close to Islamophobic in Breitbart and his film script, on which the Washington Post reported with “The script for the film, Destroying the Great Satan, which was never produced, opens with a fantasy scene of the US Capitol adorned with a star-and-crescent flag and broadcasting the Muslim call to prayer, according to a script obtained by the Washington Post. The film imagines a “fundamental clash of civilizations” between the west and “supremacist” Islam“. So, this is clearly not in my imagination and there is heaps of data behind it all, but there is no clear link, all the direct links are hidden. I am not speaking about ‘advertised’ open admiration between the players. No, there is a larger part in this and it is between middle men so there is nothing to prove. That evidence is not out there and it unlikely never ever will be. Steve Bannon is slightly too intelligent for that, because over time it comes knocking at his door, so he got it truly insulated against that, using tools like ‘Wilders’ as he sees fit. Marine Le Pen is in her heart too nationalistic (French) so she is an ally, but just up to a level and the same can be said for Matteo Salvini, all set in a stage of anti-Islam. Now that we see the Dutch impact others will be more cautious. When the Guardian informed us of “Steve Bannon has announced plans to establish a foundation in Europe that he hopes will fuel the spread of right-wing populism” we also got the push from Politico with “his potential European partners are ambivalent, saying they want to keep the controversial American at arm’s length even as they seek to tap his expertise on how to disrupt politics on the Continent“. I do not think it is false, but I do believe that there is orchestrated caution here. Yet as we also see: “Bannon’s connections to Europe’s leading populists, many sound unsure about letting an outsider play a central role in next year’s election, let alone one with his reputation. Some pointed out they are already working on their own pan-European alliances“, as well as “Rivière, his party’s international spokesman, said he has talked to Bannon about how he could “provide us with new ideas or share his experience.” Rivière said The Movement would be “a good non-partisan tool box” to achieve that. Bannon, who formerly ran Breitbart media, helped lead the successful Trump campaign in 2016 and went on to serve in the White House for seven months“. Here we see levels of facilitation and that facilitation will only go as far as Steve Bannon gets an industrial upper hand and it is not clear to me if these political players will be aware. What is very clear is that both Israel and Saudi Arabia need to become a lot more cautious when it comes to America. In the end, the Iranian escalations, the Syrian, Russian and Turkish setting in all this sounds nice and it sounds nice that America is on THEIR side, but only for as long as the economic fallout blows the wind to America, in the end those nations stand alone, in the end, America has a protection barrier called the Atlantic Ocean and they can retreat to ‘home ground’ , that is the play any bankrupt nation makes, lets others do the work for them, they only come when the cream is there to be scooped. When that does not happen, they walk away and we need to find a way to stop anti-Islam movements now, because they endanger the State of Israel in a similar way and even if these far right settings do not care, we should because when escalated it is a mess that no one can visit for at least a generation.

I think (as I stated before) that the seriousness of Saudi Arabia and the push for innovation has scared America and Europe. You see, the last time anyone was this driven we ended up with Google and now they are 4th in size on a global scale, that is until 2023 when they will jump back to number 2. Both IBM and Microsoft have issues and they will polarise clearly in view in 2019, at that point we will see a new shift and Google will bypass them pretty much overnight with all the 5G issues brought to the well willing hands of close to 2 billion people within a year, it is that same fear that made certain governments strike out against Huawei technologies. And that has nothing to do with security issues. When you realise that, we also see why the entire Wilders cartoon issue is a larger one. So, when you consider that the richest companies’ revenue wise in 2017 had Royal Dutch Shell on 7th with 240 billion in revenue. Now consider that the entire Wilders situation is still playing in Pakistan, with escalations still opening up in the UAE, Oman and Saudi Arabia. So when you consider that Shell could get hit and those hits are translated to additional opportunities for Exxon, which country benefits that? In the end Exxon and Shell might up trading revenue places on that same list in 2019.

There are enough markers in all this, but no direct evidence, that is likely to be seen after it is too late. At that point what will Europe do? Wake up, or just let it slide? I will let you decide, just be aware that the impact will be the economy, it usually is the first one to take a body blow in such events.

 

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When the offer is free

Try this for free! This is the commercial teaser we all see when we are offered a dozen of options. There is LinkedIn Premium, Spotify, Salesforce and the list goes on for a very long time. It is a way to get interested in a service or product. I myself tried ‘Today Calendar’ for free, than I upgraded, trials are to some extent a great solution. Try before you buy is a way to get into it. There are games that let you download their Demo, DLC’s that work for a week or two, then you decide, buy or fly!

It is an old marketing option that costs little and bring great reward for those employing the situation. There is however the detail. This we see in the article ‘Why are Amazon Prime customers angry?’ (at http://www.channel4.com/news/amazon-prime-charges-anger-customers-online). Several sources had the story, but Channel 4 read the clearest. The sub-line gives us the goods “Amazon defends a free trial of extra benefits, which ends in an automatic upgrade to paid membership costing £79 a year“. Amazon additionally responded with “Amazon says everyone who signs up to Prime gets an email telling them the duration of the free trial, how to avoid continuing to paid membership and how to cancel membership“. This seems clear enough. So when the guardian gave us ‘Giles Coren declares war on Amazon Prime over free trial‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/money/2015/feb/16/giles-coren-declares-war-amazon-prime-free-trial-subscription), the impression was left with me that someone did not read their e-mail properly, now that person is crying wolf.

There is however another side to this debate. Should silent transfer be allowed, or should there be a mandatory change to an opt-in transfer? So, should the trial be auto cancelled after 30 days and in addition should we see a second confirmation after 30 days that the continuation is no longer free? This option is the one we usually see in software, when a trial is over, we see that the software no longer functions unless you start paying. On the other side we could consider that some consumers are too stupid to be allowed to have a credit card. The man considers himself an adult. He signed up for a trial, if we accept the response from Amazon that confirmation e-mails have been send, with the explanation on how to cancel it, he himself got into this scuffle by ignoring the message. The Guardian also shows another side that people seem to ignore. The two items involved is a tweet by Giles Coren “I mean, @amazon, offer a free trial in 2012, then quietly start charging £79 and never tell me. That’s what sicko porn sites do! I’ve heard“, so he has been charged for membership in 2012, 2013, 2014 and perhaps even 2015 and only now he ‘wakes up’? Now, this can happen, it has happened to many people, including me, yet 79 pounds is not a costs you easily oversee. To some it amounts to the 6 months fee from your internet provider, which should be taken into account. The second piece of information from Amazon is “Customers who sign up to a free trial of Prime receive an email informing them of the duration of the free trial and how to avoid continuing to pay Prime membership. Customers who become full Prime members can cancel their membership at any time and we will refund the full membership if the customer has not made any eligible purchases or used any Prime benefits“, which gives us the second part. So from that it would seem that Giles Coren must have used some of the services and now he is miffed on having paid for it. That conclusion I get from him not getting a refund, which means he had used the Amazon Prime services.

The article is not just an Amazon or an e-Commerce article. It is also an article that shows the unjustified demand of continued free services after the free trial ends. The two sides pulling on this are Amazon as well as pragmatic realism, as one Tweeter replied to Giles with “Shocking indictment of Oxford and private education as former student doesn’t understand the words ‘free trial’“, which pretty much sums up the ignorance people are showing when they accept free trial whilst not looking at the conditions. The one part I will also illuminate is the complaint we saw from a man called Richard Brown: “Regardless of the legality of the transaction and the stance that Amazon will take that it involves selection and a follow up email each year, the structure of this service is clearly designed to benefit from the customer’s lack of attention“. That too can be seen in two ways. I do agree with Richard on that Amazon should send a follow up e-mail on the subscription every year. These places can send you marketing mails until your hard drive has zero space left, but then shows a lack of ‘tenacity’ to inform their ‘customers’ via e-mail on the payment made, which I see should be a mandatory act in the first place (perhaps that happened, but no one mentioned it in any of the articles I saw).

It is the second statement from Richard Brown that bothers me “this service is clearly designed to benefit from the customer’s lack of attention”, not whether that is the case or not, but in regards to the consideration. This reminds me of the initial marketing when we saw the presentation from Microsoft on the launch of Windows 95. The slogan was ‘without even thinking‘, it was brilliant to some extent. Windows 95 was the first step towards people and true intuitive use of computers. Now, many (pretty much most users) are using their devices intuitive, but there is the added part we see that is at the core, marketing is all about getting a foothold, now we see part that implies (emphasize implies), is that consumers are either getting dim (not that unheard an idea), or that we are faced with two new elements, the first is ‘intuitive buying‘ and ‘intuitive marketing‘, the second one is the holy grail of achieving revenue. When used correctly it is seen as ‘Achieving influence without persuasion‘, there is an interesting article (at http://intuitiveconsumer.com/blog/intuitive-marketing-achieving-influence-without-persuasion/ ). It talks about the six mechanisms of influence used by intuitive marketing. They are ‘Trust: Intuitive marketing builds trust and relies on trust‘, ‘Consistency: Intuitive marketing is consistent and therefore communicates reliability‘, ‘Fluency: Intuitive marketing is easy on the mind‘, ‘Emotional reward: At the opposite end of the spectrum from high aspiration is the realm of small emotional rewards‘ and there are the final two ‘Aspiration‘ and ‘Aligned intent‘. As you see (especially after you read the linked article), the Amazon Prime situation seems to address 4 of the 6 elements of intuitive marketing, so when we see the Amazon Prime issue, is there deception? I personally say no! Amazon offered an agreement, one that gives you a cool down period of 30 days. The definition can be seen as “offer, acceptance, and consideration (payment or performance), based on specific terms“, this is what is at the heart of it all. The emotional response of Giles Coren with the reference to ‘that’s what sicko porn sites do!‘ which in my view holds no value, yet ‘the structure of this service is clearly designed to benefit from the customer’s lack of attention‘, the mention by Richard Brown is much better and decently more apt, but is it valid? ‘Lack of attention’ sounds nice for sure, but does that make the consumer less responsible? Especially when Amazon offers, “Customers who become full Prime members can cancel their membership at any time and we will refund the full membership if the customer has not made any eligible purchases or used any Prime benefits“, which is a decent counter offer, which was part of their offer as I see it. So first, the person gets a 30 day cool down and if the person has not used the service at all, they could get a refund. It seems to me that Amazon offers a decent service, so why do these events cause such a strong reaction?

The part I have not touched upon is ‘intuitive buying’. One vendor had this little slogan with their product ‘intuitive buying just like in an internet shop’. Now we get back to the initial Windows 95 slogan, this gives us in the end ‘buying without even thinking’. So we have a complete picture, but what neither article skates on is when will we see the accountability of the consumer. The person who was given a credit card, an adult who was supposed to be of sound state of mind. The person buying, was notified and then did not react. Intuitive buying does not make a person unaccountable, is that what the articles are steering to? No matter how many complaints we see, the clear indication is given that Amazon gave up front and it allows for correction in hindsight.

Hidden under this is the issue, not on the side of Amazon, but on our side, we consumers need to consider the clear truth that nothing is free! Should any internet offer be treated the same way trial software is? That remains valid, but if so, is that because consumers are no longer to be considered ‘adult’ or accountable, or is it because of another path of reasoning?

 

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