Tag Archives: China

The hard-line path

Over the last days we have seen an increased voice of extremist call by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran. The question now becomes, how will the internal struggle change the game for Hassan Rouhani, President of Iran. The NY Times gives us (at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/20/world/middleeast/iran-election-hassan-rouhani.html) the issues that play. “He badly needs to demonstrate progress on overhauling the moribund economy”, which is just one of several quotes. Yet the danger is not in the achievements, the issue now is that someone else will get the seat to the presidency in less than 4 years. The optimism could go straight out of the window sooner than we think. The hard-line of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is seen everywhere and even as President Rouhani is on his last term, the ayatollah is not. The news we see now, the beats and shouting of ‘Saudi Arabia’s rulers faced “certain downfall” for aligning themselves with the US‘, as well as ‘Saudi Arabia is a ‘cow being milked’ by US, says Iran’s supreme leader‘ is now getting a louder view and voice, whilst they are positioning Saudi Arabia as the oppressor of Islamic faith, whilst he throws Bahrain and Yemen into the mix. As we see the news, the issue that President Trump remains in opposition of Iran, causes additional worries. Unless the US is willing to go into a direct war with Iran, the only thing their diplomatic corps is achieving is to set the population against the US, in this what was regarded as a moderate, President Rouhani is now on the edge of finding a moderate continuation through a successor, whilst the Ayatollah is finding new ways to instil conservative values, undoing what President Rouhani has achieved. In all this the ‘progressive’ approach of Europe, with their nuclear program for Iran, lifting all sanctions and other ‘path improvements’ are soon to be a new cause for concern. I made that point 2 years ago in my blog when I mentioned the need for caution as the world was still getting past the idea of a post-Ahmadinejad era. I was clear in my warning that no matter how moderate the new president is, the hardliners might get another Ahmadinejad into play, that would change the status by a lot.

In addition, Forbes gave us the following a mere 4 days ago.

  • Sent over 3,000 to the gallows and escalated domestic crackdown,
  • Increased its export of terrorism through Shiite proxies across the Middle East,
  • Boosted the Levant dictator Bashar Assad in his massacring and displacing millions of innocent Syrians,
  • Supported the IRGC in test launching a significant number of ballistic missiles in violation of UN Security Council resolutions and harassing US Navy vessels in international waters,
  • Increasing Tehran’s support for the Afghan Taliban, according to the The Washington Post,
  • Made having dual nationality a threat, as experienced by too many hostages

In addition, we get “For hard-liners and their affiliates — including the office of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the Basij, the judiciary and the Intelligence Ministry — Rouhani is more helpful in achieving their major objectives“, which is given by Dr. Majid Rafizadeh, a leading expert on Iran and US foreign policy and president of the International American Council.

The question becomes, on how Iran sees facilitation and how they consider it is used by Iran in Europe, because the limitations that hindered serious facilitation by Iran in the past are all but gone. The overly optimistic people (called politicians with a personal agenda), have paved a very dangerous path. They will be in denial, yet the parts that are clearly showing is that President Rouhani has been more and more outspoken in certain regards, which as the president of Iran he should be allowed to do, yet it is an extremely outspoken anti-Saudi Arabia view. This is happening whilst the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has now finished a third underground missile production factory. And whilst I note upfront that I have no ballistic experience, which means that I am not an Aussie electrician (jab at: ‘Aussie electrician charged with helping IS develop missile capabilities’), yet what some sources have not mentioned is that the commander Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, is the very same person who boasted rocket aid to Hezbollah as well as the mention that the Iranian missiles can reach Israel. In addition, we have the threat: “Hajizadeh explained that if the Zionist regime attacks Iran, it will be destroyed. He said, “If those people make a move, it will hand us a justification to wipe them off the face of the earth“, this part actually needs additional footnotes. The link is at https://www.juancole.com/2012/07/hajizadeh-if-israel-attacks-iran-it-will-be-destroyed.html, and it is good to read as it addresses a few issues. In all this Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh gives a clear address to a reaction, with the reinforced ‘when Israel attacks’, so the General states to only act in retaliation, he states he would not act in a first strike. I can accept that, although my rusty Arabic is set at 0%, so if the original text was a recipe to make spicy lamb, I would not be able to tell the difference. Yet in all this, the subterfuge will be missed. Even as we accept that the General is a devoted Muslim with a love for his country and a devotion to live to highest standards, how many hard-line Iranians would it take to create the wrong intelligence and the missiles would get fired towards Tel Aviv anyway? Do not even consider that this cannot happen, with a closed system and with Iranians that have the mental drive that Ahmadinejad had, how many would it take to set the system to give the decision makers the wrong intel? America has had its share of miss-presentations. Perhaps some of you remember Colin Powell and his suitcase with evidence of weapons of mass destruction in 2003. How did that go over? The reality is that Iran has an environment where the hardliners get to be in power again and again. Whenever that is not the case, there is enough time to debunk and diminish the work that moderate minded Iranians achieve. As there is a military power core, a religious power core and a political power core, it requires only two hardliners too grab the power via elections. We already know that the Ayatollah is a devout hardliner, which means that they are one step away from another hard-line elected rule. This is the reality that was and Europe has opened up additional paths for that future to return in the future, intentional or not does not matter.

This all matters in a second phase too. Even as we see news by tabloids and not by actual newspapers, the news given is that Jeremy Corbyn, the man who wants to be in charge of Labour UK and is electable, that person attended a ceremony honouring terrorists, the wreath was laid at the grave of one of the PLO terrorists that killed the 11 Israeli Olympic athletes, all killed during the 1972 Olympics at Munich. The fact that it is in several tabloids is why i am mentioning it. The issue in addition is why the actual newspapers have no mention of it. The sun gives us ‘FRIENDS LIKE THESE Jeremy Corbyn called banned terror group Hamas ‘serious and hard-working’ after admitting attending wreath-laying ceremony for Palestinian killer‘, so as I am in some confusion on why anyone wants to be that stupid, the fact that multiple sources are making mention on it, the larger danger becomes on why anyone would allow Jeremy Corbyn to get elected, especially as he gives ‘value‘ to a terrorist organisation, so as we now wonder who is briefing him and who would be this stupid. I am trying to make very sure that I am not facilitating fake news. There is additional evidence as he the Telegraph gives additional links to Channel 4 news (2015 event). Whenever I try to go deeper, they seem to refer to the 2015 event. This now calls to question on how Corbyn got to be in charge of the Labour in the first place. It should make the party feel really happy. The fact that it now reaches the limelight again seems to be political gaming, yet the worry is real, do you want someone in charge who gives voice to a group that is regarded as a terrorist group in several nations. Even as MI5 is looking into the events before the Manchester bombing and what signals are missed, the UK is now contemplating setting the person who put a wreath at the grave of one of the Munich murderers at the helm of Britannia. it is like making Alex DeLarge minister of Justice (Clockwork Orange reference). It seems like really not the best way to go about making Britain stronger. Yet in all this, there is an underlying pressure. You see, these elements unite as there is a push to find a way to make the UK-Iran link a stronger one. As the UK peers urge to make these policies stronger and better, the report gives within the title ‘Time for New Realism‘, in this as additional ties to Palestine are called for, the UK is setting the unique part in distancing itself more from the US in an anti-Trumpism move, yet in addition, it will create a wall between the UK and Israel. The report has loads of wisdoms, and even propagates my own view in different words. As they state: “We have a new and uncertain American policy in the region…We can no longer assume America will set the tone for the West’s relationship with the Middle East“, which was voiced by me differently as I stated in the past: “The United States is no longer a superpower, with the national debt (now at $20 trillion) setting the stage of labelling the United States as a bankrupt nation“. Its inability to set a proper economic stage has left the United States with a lack of options. there is little cause to take notice on what the United States administration shouts as it cannot afford any actions, this is also what North Korea seems to realise as it commences missile test after test, with test missiles entering Japanese territorial waters (Sea of Japan). As Japan urges China to act, which we could consider to be an act by a nation as bankrupt as the United states are, we need to also realise that China is an actual superpower and Japan is not. As Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed actions, we will need to see what actions the Japanese will actually take, the 3rd US nuclear aircraft carrier now entering North Korean waters, we also see that the US is opting for sanctions and diplomatic pressures. We can assume that this is the best way to go about it and the question is for how much longer, the second speculated reason is that the US has no other options available. With the Syrian escalations still in place, getting into any war on multiple fronts is something only Napoleon succeeded in. Oh wait, no he did not, it was the end of Napoleon, having a theatre of war on multiple shores is a really bad idea, so that is also a thought to consider, but that realisation comes with the premise that unless China acts, North Korea can do whatever it wants (for now). So as we see several nations play what we call the hard line, the UK is setting the stage but is wisely playing a cautious game until after the elections, in addition, the UK peers are giving out a report that requires a shift in actions and thinking. We can oppose this, but as this report comes from the 0.1% most intelligent persons of the UK, ignoring that report is a really bad idea (read: utterly stupid path to follow), so as we get to know that report better and better, my initial thought is on how to create a really strong bridge with Israel, because if pro-Palestinian dialogues begin, there will be the need of diplomatic handholding (not in a romantic way). It is not merely because this world is not as small as we sometimes think it is. So as we see that the Brexit path is opening new terrain and in addition new paths to grow economies, we are left with the notion that as some think that the hard-line is the best path, we must realise that it is not the only path and there is much work that could be achieved, it remains a question how far it gets us all, but that is usually the notion of another path, it could open new terrain for all and in addition, there is an upside as the EU is following the US path for however long they can the others can look and evolve new options never before offered. I am still hesitant to consider any connection to Iran, yet the letting that fear stopping me from seeing where that could get us all is equally stupid. the power of fear is for many just too overwhelming. The problem then becomes, especially in light of Manchester, is the move a wise one?

Time will tell! Sometimes it is just that simple!

 

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Where to focus?

This is an issue on the best of days, we are overwhelmed with information, real news, fake news and of course the Direct marketing waves that hit our internet eyes nearly 24:7. The internet is no longer some child, it is a grown adult and adults tend to lack a certain sense of humour, well the adult eyes of the beholder that is. Yet, what matters to us? When we move beyond the job that feeds you, the partner that … you and the family that gives you (usually) strength. When these things are dealt with, what matters next?

The fearful will look at North Korea, on how they are a threat and when we look at the Washington Post, a very respectable paper we see (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-north-korean-nuclear-threat-is-very-real-time-to-start-treating-it-that-way/2017/05/18/d60cbeec-39a4-11e7-8854-21f359183e8c_story.html) on how the threat is real. Even as we saw two failed launches, and in addition, we have yet to see anything from North Korea to get any missile that far (reaching the US), that an opinion piece states: “Stephen Rademaker, a principal with the Podesta Group, was an assistant secretary of state responsible for arms control and nonproliferation from 2002 to 2006“, so here we see the message, yet the core truth is: “The Podesta Group is a lobbying and public affairs firm based in Washington, D.C.. It was founded in 1988 by brothers John Podesta and Tony Podesta, it can be found at 1001 G Street, NW Suite 1000 W Washington, DC 20001“. Basically it is a marketing firm working a very niche market. Don’t get me wrong. I am not ‘attacking’ them, I would accept a position in such a firm any day of the week. Whether we call them marketeers, government strategy councillors or even diplomatic assistants, they are professionals and I do love working with professionals, especially in an environment I am not fully comprehensive of. You see, when you are out of your waters, most people tend to get to be a little apprehensive. Not me, it invigorates me, whether it is working as a document carrier for Faisal bin Abdullah, or Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, doing work for google (which has been one of the most mentally intoxicating and invigorating environments ever) or merely finding new data solutions, working through data and solving the puzzle I see. So is North Korea a real threat or a perceived one? The safe bet is too see them as a real threat as they have access to Uraninite. You see, the world tends to be a little more complex than that. Having the stuff is not enough, getting the delivery method working correctly is an entirely different matter. It can be by having people from Pyongyang masked as South Koreans attending international universities in science and engineering would be a first, which is not that far a stretch. I literally (by accident) I told this Korean student “Does your family still have that bar in Pyongyang?“, he turned pale and said ‘How did you know that?‘, which was not the response I was going for, but OK, such is life, full of surprises. So as you ponder this, wonder on how China has little or no worry. If North Korea ever actually launches a missile towards America, do you think that the President of the USA would not instantly retaliate (especially the current one), what happens to places like Shenyang (in China), also consider whatever hits the water will make fishing no longer an option for decades, Japan learned that the hard way, so there you have it. In addition, we have seen the North Korea military look at systems like they were magical and those were computers the current European generation laughs at. That can be corroborated by the press as they were on a North Korean press tour a little over a year ago. The ‘minders‘ of those groups had NEVER seen a smart phone. I think that North Korea talks a lot, but for now has no real byte. Now the last part of that the Podesta group is a professional organisation. So was it merely an opinion piece or was the article their business, business they charge for? I will leave you with that thought.

The older American would look at the danger of pensions, which we also see in the Washington Post (athttps://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2017/05/18/trumps-budget-calls-for-hits-on-federal-employee-retirement-programs), the article ‘Trump’s budget calls for hits on federal employee retirement programs‘ describes on how it impacts. The article is a really good read and gives me the feeling that US retirement plans are an awful mess, with the additional danger that they seem to be running dry slightly too soon, which is what you get with a 20 trillion-dollar debt I reckon. The quote “A preliminary budget document released in March called for a domestic discretionary budget decrease of $54 billion, with an equal increase for defense, homeland security and veterans. Nineteen 19 small agencies would be eliminated, along with their workforces“, the additional “Increasing the FERS employee contribution would result in the average federal employee losing nearly $5,000 per year in take home pay, that’s per year after the phase-in is finished, he estimated. “Phasing this outrageous pension cut in over several years does not make it any more palatable. If this change is made, federal employees will no longer have a secure retirement. Period.”” is even more food for thought. The one equaliser in American business has for the longest time been that those people had a secure retirement, when this is off the table the one part of quiet governmental officials was that there was a long term benefit, with that off the table the environment in government positions will change. Now, we might think that this is not a bad thing, but it will result in chaos, and when we have seen and known that the American infrastructure has no real way to deal with chaos in its ranks, we will see different whirly waves of discontent, a few will leave marks on everyone. So when we read “The budget proposal President Trump plans to unveil Tuesday would give to federal employees with one hand, while taking away with five others” is an interesting one and I reckon that when the full paper is released this coming Tuesday, the US national papers will give it high visibility, because the United States federal civil service has a total of around 3 million people, which is 1% of the US population, making it decently important to cater to them. Perhaps those trying to sell the change might have been better off talking to the Podesta group first?

For me, the news was not in a newspaper. It was found in Digital health article. It re-iterated the issue of ‘urgent change‘ I voiced in my blog yesterday. In there I showed the NHS digital part regarding the endgadget quote “NHS digital had notified staff on patches” which would have diminished the Cyber attack gives us two sides. One, would there have been diminished damage, because that would suffice as evidence. Yet in Digital health we see: “a small team of developers is recommending the health service reduce its reliance on Microsoft“, which is overall not a bad idea, yet the NHS is too big to just make a shift in policy like that. I would be in favour of a shift towards something a lot safer like Linux, but that requires expertise. Another option is to rely on an android option where the NHS is all about apps, equally optional, but it will require massive amounts of resources on programmers, testers, upgraders and cyber monitoring. All these options require a drastic shift in IT operations. When we accept that in too many places there is no minding the NHS IT store (by not patching) the dangers will increase. As I quoted: “It is also my personal belief that in many cases the person claiming ‘urgent action is needed’ is also the person who wants the ‘victim’ to jump the shark so that they can coin in as large a way as possible“, which is what we see right here in the article. Now consider the quote: “To demonstrate that there is a licence-free alternative, GP Marcus Baw and technologist Rob Dyke have adapted the open source Linux-based Ubuntu operating system specifically for the NHS. They call it NHSbuntu“. So why not just use the foundation called Ubuntu? I cannot judge the intent (noble or not), but consider that technologist Rob Dyke has to pay for rent and so much, where is his interest? Do not get me wrong, we should not just dismiss any idea that might work, yet will it? You see any IT environment needs oversight and maintenance. The NHS is in no position to make such drastic changes as it is short on basic needs (nurses and doctors), I do agree that the IT needs to be addressed, yet two Labour governments wasted the IT budget of close to 10 years, lets leave it alone until we can actually address solutions. In this, one additional quote from Beta News. they give us “The report reveals that 12.8 percent of non-Microsoft programs were un-patched in the first quarter of this year“. If patching is so important, and it is, why give voice to 12.8% of additional risk? As stated, I am no Microsoft fan, but it does work in the current NHS environment and if we believe NHS Digital and the trusts do actually patch their stuff, the danger would have been a lot lower. As the evidence is at present, this issue would have been addressed by mere policy and replacing those not adhering to it might be the cheapest and best solution. In all this IT News gives us one more part, the fact that Microsoft is actually releasing a patch for operating systems that are no longer supported is also evidence. I do not see it as merely “to protect the company’s customer ecosystem“, which is a decent answer if you believe that. You see they could have merely told the customers to freely upgrade to Windows 10. I believe that, as they state it “to protect users against NSA-derived ransomware“. I believe that someone has evidence on a Microsoft-NSA cooperation in the beginning of the data snooping age and somehow the makers of the Ransomware (less and less likely to be North Korean) got access to the information needed. I reckon that anyone upgrading will be removing the digital evidence on their computers of that event. If you doubt me, consider the quote in that same article “Current versions of WannaCrypt use two exploits leaked by the ShadowBrokers hackers, who gained access to systems at The Equation Group, which is linked to the United States NSA, last year“, if that is true, how did North Korea get this? If they are good enough to be allegedly part of the NSA (source: Kaspersky), how come that the bulk of the cyber intelligence world has no knowledge of North Korea being such a threat against a player like that? It does not matter how it got out. Whether it was a disgruntled ex-employee. Some hacker that got sucked and suckered by a honey trap, there are enough options nowadays. The reality is that somehow the intel got out. It is being addressed and fixed. It does not make the issue go away, it merely tells us that remaining up to date and properly patched was the way to go. Urgently addressing does apply to systems being reasonable up to date, which does mean that there are costs, pushing yourself away from Microsoft (not the worst idea) comes with a cost, one that the NHS cannot afford, no matter how ambitious it seems and they got plenty of that, especially with non working systems. So, lets not make that error twice!

So when you wonder where you need to focus, I am merely suggesting that when your private house is in order, consider playing a video game or watch a nice blu-ray. It seems to me that a balanced life is the most important thing you can arrange for yourself, let the circus play its game and decide not to watch every show they offer, in the end it could just be merely Direct Marketing.

Get what you actually need, not what others state you need!

 

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Dangerous levels of extinction

Bloomberg reported Yesterday that Nicola ‘Sturgeon Sticks with Timing for Scottish Independence Referendum‘ (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-04-01/sturgeon-sticks-with-timing-for-scottish-independence-referendum), which is a little odd after the previous one not so long ago. As I stated in earlier blogs, I am not against Scottish independence, I think that at the earliest point, Scotland should seek independence. Yet at this point it is not a good idea. The situation has not changed for Scotland, at present their budget is already 11% short and that is with the inclusion of decreasing oil revenues. This means that within 10 years there will be additional problems for Scotland. And this is only the start of their troubles. You see RTE reported only 12 hours ago ‘Spain would not ‘initially’ block Scotland from joining the EU after Brexit‘, the catchword is ‘initially‘, we see the quote “any part of the United Kingdom that becomes a state and wants to join the EU will have to apply. And follow the steps that are stipulated“, this is the part that matters. Basically until Scotland is truly independent there is every chance that Spain would object, and that is just one of the 27 nations. After that when Scotland is independent, the initiation into the EU would start, which could take up another 5 years, perhaps even more. That is the part Scotland faces, so Scotland is facing the consequence of independence, growing a ‘national‘ debt and after that we see the issue that Scotland would be debt driven and getting into the EU, a triple banking issue (debt, interest and inflation levels), all levels that Scotland would need to overcome.

For example, try googling Scotland and economy and see what you get. What economic achievements did Scotland have gained in the last two years? The Financial Times gives us a part I actually do not agree with (at https://www.ft.com/content/7c6f8ca8-0807-11e7-97d1-5e720a26771b) ‘The economic case for an independent Scotland rests on the EU‘, to that the Scottish response should be: ‘the dog’s bollocks they are!‘ In this Scotland needs to grow an economy, so far, as long as Nicola Sturgeon has been in power, not too much has been gained in that department. I am certain that there are options, I even mentioned one in April 2015, (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/04/05/the-labour-manifesto/) where I write “I am still reasonably certain that Indian generic medication could grow all over Europe if they have a foothold in Scotland, which allows easy access to places all over Europe“, so which Scottish politician had actually made any headway into looking beyond the EU, its ECB with big debt credit cards? Because when the credit card stops, Scotland will be in levels of hardship they have not seen before for the longest of times. At that point, who will the Prime Minister be when that happens and where will that person lay the blame?

In the end that is a Scotland that has no chance to build any future at all. How is that a good idea?

So as we see that Scotland is focusing on the USA with the added quote from Bloomberg “She also noted her political differences with President Donald Trump, who owns golf resorts in Scotland. During the election campaign, the Scottish government stripped Trump of his role as business ambassador for the country“, which sounds nice, but how did she fare with Corporate America? Scotland might be open for business, but where is the interest in Scotland? How about the Far East? How could Scotland become a hub for places like Indonesia, India, Pakistan and China? With Beef as an export, why not benefit by creating a European Halal Trade centre in Scotland? With ferries leading to Norway and a growing Muslim population, there are options, it only requires the right politician to open certain doors. I am not saying this is a solution, I am merely showing that options are there, the right people only need to look into the right direction. Because, as I see it, relying on the USA and ECB grants will not work, not whilst Europe is in the state it currently is. With Italy set to grow no more than 0.9%, its position is weaker than France and its youth unemployment still stands at 38%, implying that Italy’s infrastructure will remain under harsh levels of duress for several more years. The quote “Italy’s chronically low growth, low inflation and gigantic public debt burden (133% of GDP) make a potentially deadly trio” gives us even more to worry about (source: the economist), with the UK having triggered Article 50, France elections still having the consequence of a Frexit signal and Italy under the duress it is in, the European Union will only have Germany to be the large positive impact player on its economy and that one is not faring too well either. So this is the moment Nicola Sturgeon want to enter the EU whilst going independent? It is not just a bad plan, with a non-closing budget she will be drowning Scotland into debt and this debt will grow and grow leaving Scotland with no options for any future at all.

Yet we could go with the definition of Sturgeon that she is honouring. I cannot state whether this is the same for both Prime Ministers and fish, yet the International Union for Conservation of Nature gave us: “According to the IUCN, over 85% of sturgeon species are classified as at ‘risk of extinction’“, which is a large group that Nicola Sturgeon seems to be happy to join, the sad part is that she would like the whole of Scotland to join her in this, which is really not a good idea, or fair on the population of Scotland.

 

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Life in USA less healthy now

You might not have thought it, but did you realise that your life, if you are in the USA is as per direct a lot less healthy? Did you know you are now intentionally endangering your health? You did not, then read on and learn how you have thrown your healthy life away. In the LA Times (at http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-broadband-privacy-senate-20170323-story.html), we see ‘Senate votes to kill privacy rules meant to protect people’s sensitive data from their Internet providers‘, you might wonder how this is a danger to your life, but it is, and it will hurt your pocket too no less. The first part is “overturn tough new privacy rules for Internet service providers, employing a rarely used procedure to invalidate restrictions that cable and wireless companies strongly opposed“, now this is not the FBI or the CIA spying on you, this is the option for internet providers to sell your actions and your privacy driven information to whomever wants to buy it.

One quote from Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) was “The FCC privacy rules are just another example of burdensome rules that hurt more than they help”. Now, this is not just something that started now, to his credit, he has ALWAYS been on the commercial bandwagon, some of that goes back years where he questioned the White House on the way the FCC’s set-top box proposal came down and what role the White House had in that, and other, FCC decisions. He is clearly a man of less governmental oversight and that is his right. The issue becomes when TV and internet usage is sold to health care providers and on the consequence of what those people call the ‘weighted classification of couch potato‘, in that with the rise of health care premiums. This actually goes further than merely health care. The fact that app use and geographic data becomes available is equally a concern. There is a secondary situation, Companies can now go via consultancy firms and avoid issues with that pesky Employment discrimination law. You see, “the elimination of artificial, arbitrary, and unnecessary barriers to employment” can now be circumvented. People who are too often on Boston South Side, East LA, or the SF Mission district, the use of Geo data would allow for a percentage analyses of this GeoData, giving some people who had hit on hard times even less able to fight for a decent future. And let me be clear, any ISP denying that will be lying to you. The data will be part of something else, like where were you when a certain app was used, which might seem nice, but if they check all apps than that picture gets to be pretty complete.

The reality goes further than this. Even as you read this, MIT is making great strides (at http://bpp.mit.edu/offline-data-collection/). Yet when you read: “Daily price indices, monthly, and annual inflation rates for Argentina and the US. Monthly data with annual inflation rates for Argentina, Brazil, China, Germany, Japan, South Africa, UK, US, 3 US sectors, and global aggregates (including Eurozone). Daily PPP series for Argentina and Australia. The data were used in the paper titled “The Billion Prices Project: Using Online Data for Measurement and Research” – Journal of Economic Perspectives, 31(1) (Spring 2016)“, a serious question comes to mind. You see, once you have this data, you can go into collaboration phases, after which you could raise minimum prices on hundreds of articles. It might be cents, but that raises your monthly costs in dollars, whilst the maker now gets millions in addition. So, yes everybody loves big data, yet will it love you? You get the impression from “Daily prices for all goods sold by 7 large retailers in Latin America and the US: 2 in Argentina, 1 in Brazil, 1 in Chile, 1 in Colombia, 1 in Venezuela, and 4 in the US. Used in the paper titled “Scraped Data and Sticky Prices”“, you just wonder if it is such a weird concept. Now, from an academic point of view, it is an amazingly interesting project. So was Dynamite, which Alfred Nobel learned the hard way, had a few optional uses which he never considered. Data is in that regard a whole lot more dangerous.

The biggest joke in all this is not President Trump, it is actually the FCC puppet Ajit Pai, who was appointed by President Obama in May 2012, he stated that the rules threatened to confuse consumers as they were different to those imposed on web firms such as Google and Facebook. You see, as I see it Ajit Varadaraj Pai is stupid, but he is not stupid, you hearing me? Let me explain this. When a person looks at an advertisement, or seeks something like ‘Gaming Chairs’ at PC Case Gear. That person looks and decided not to buy, the person is just browsing. Now, as this person looks for other things or browses the internet and visits websites. This person gets to a site that uses advertisement spaces. Now for example, Google AdWords will show things that interest you, or things from places you visited. So, even as this person is just going to any place that has advertisement spaces, Google AdWords would possibly show that person ‘Gaming Chairs’ that PC Case Gear had on sale, and Facebook will do exactly the same. In all this, that persons actions and seeks would have remained private, the advertiser does not have my details. They will get general aggregated data, like the gender and the age of the visitor (age is set in an age range). At no time does the advertiser have my complete details. This is why it actually works, now that the ISP can sell my specific data, the issue changes. My details will now get out to third parties and their lack of any ethics (not that the ISP has any mind you) will now endanger us. Ajit Pai knows all this! And he is very happy to facilitate the need for greed, even if it endangers lives, because at some point in the near future it actually will. The health care data need will take care of that, meaning that when your child could not get healthcare, because his browser data indicated an unhealthy life, when he needs that Bypass and the healthcare provider got a little too needy, just remember the name Ajit Pai for the tombstone of your child. Let me explain this a little more clearly. The NCSL (National Conference of State Legislatures) gives us “Yet for those buying insurance on an exchange or private market plan for 2017, the average increase before subsidies was a shocking 25 percent” When we consider that the annual premium for an average family was up to $18,142 (I know, what a weird number), 25% is $4535.50, That is $378 a month, when was the last time you got a raise that allowed for such payments?, let me be frank, with 3 university degrees, I have NEVER received an annual increase that much, so as such, you lose either your healthcare or you lose your quality of life. What will you choose? So as junior is data mined as a little larger risk, your premium takes a hit and as you had to let go of healthcare, your child dies, with the compliments of Ajit Varadaraj Pai, so please send him a ‘thank you’ note, the FCC can be found in Washington DC.

You think I am exaggerating? This is the path the US was always on, exploitation to the max before the collapse. USA Today gives us “Sears and Kmart might not have enough money to stock their shelves” merely 3 days ago, it can no longer fuel its existence, that whilst its CEO grew his fortune by $1 billion last year alone. Forbes voiced it as: ‘Sears Suffers — Eddie Lampert Wins‘, now this is related, as places like Sears and Kmart will be vying for YOUR details, your browser history and your privacy and once they have your data, they will merge it and sell it via for example an Australian subsidiary to whomever will buy it, China for example. That is how your data will bounce around the planet, decreasing you and the value you have with every transfer deal made.

As I stated often in the past, I love big data, yet I know that there is an increased need for ethics on how it is collected, applied and moulded into a new base of information. The USA has shown that it is not able to keep any level of ethics in play, which sucks for Americans and it in equal measure sucks for anyone considering trusting an American company, that is, until the Europeans and others get on board on cashing in on data for sale. Consider one last thing, now, this is pure speculation and there is no evidence that this would happen, yet what happens when ISIS figures out what the parameters of a desperate person are? What happens when they mine this data to see who to approach for extremist actions? There is no way this could happen, could it?

 

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Retrenching under false pretence

Today we see (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/mar/01/len-mccluskey-ford-unite-tariff-free-single-market-access-bridgend), how Ford is moving its needs and its projections towards other places. It fill the pattern and projected promise that have been set in motion a few years ago. The US is moving parts back to the US and some parts to Asia. Australia had been feeling this for some time. Ford left Australia in 2016 when in October the last Falcon XR6 came of the belt. Now we see the beginning of their exodus from the UK and in this the title ‘Unite blames Brexit as Ford prepares to cut 1,160 Welsh jobs‘ is as they call it, a total load of bullocks! You see, this is the other side of a one market and tariff free access. You see, as these costs fall away, making these 4 wheeled thingamajigs in America becomes profitable again. Now, let’s be fair, Ford is an American company. For American companies to move back to their home turf makes sense, it could even be seen as patriotic. But in all this, Ford remains a business. So they need profit to soar and that can be done by having their factories in America and Asia. Brexit was never a factor, Australia never had a Brexit.

Is there a chance that Brexit was any factor? I do not believe so, the UK is not yet in a completed Brexit and it would take a few years before all would be complete, so there is no Issue for Ford, in their camp it was already planned, the entire pressure on Brexit is just tactics, because the US is scared of what comes next, so for the US, in light of the upcoming French elections, the anti-Brexit pressures are essential. The game is changing in France. President Francois Hollande is not seeking a second term, according to the BBC the first French president to do this in modern times (at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-39130072), he is that unpopular and as such France is seeing several different issues and power plays in place. With one in four under-25’s is unemployed. So even as all parties agree that massive changes are needed, the Socialist failure gives rise to additional voices moving towards Front National. In all this, we see additional moves. We could even consider that this is a partial discriminatory ruling. The EU claims to be all about the freedom of speech and freedom of opinion, yet they will happily lift parliamentary immunity for the French prosecution to take legal action. We can argue the validity here in two ways. One: Marine Le Pen did break French law. Two: how many other French people have been prosecuted for ‘publishing violent images’? I would really like to see the numbers on that one. So as we will see big data mining on transgressors, I wonder how many have not been investigated, which shows that the EU is very willing to upset the sanctity of a fair election, especially as those deciding on this are likely to lose their jobs when Frexit becomes a reality.

So as we see through the (what I personally regard to be) blatant lies by Ford, or better stated by Len McCluskey, and in this as Ford is not forthcoming they get to be tainted by the very same lie. The quote “UK’s biggest trade union has urged Theresa May to guarantee car makers tariff-free access to the single market“, in this I would state ‘Mr McCluskey, are you usually just facilitating for big business?‘, you see, as I see it, Ford is using Len McCluskey not for the plant, not for the single market access ‘need’. No, they want to sweeten the deal! They need other concessions, like the ones they had in Australia. ABC Australia (at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-12-17/tax-transparency-report/7036708) gave the people a Tax Transparency report. Where: FORD MOTOR COMPANY OF AUSTRALIA LTD, had a Total income ($) of 2,940,670,099 (so basically almost $3 Billion), a Taxable income ($) of a mere 7,057,051. This means that 99.9917% of the income did not need to be taxed. So as we see: Tax payable, Tax payable as percentage of total income, as well as Tax payable as percentage of taxable income. These numbers become zero (that means $0.00 and 0.00%). So is Len McCluskey going to open his eyes? Is he going to realise that he is made the bitch of big business that requires the UK government to give away taxable income in the form of free labour? Perhaps Len McCluskey remembers what slave labour is? All valid questions, more important, if this is the path Ford wants, why not let then fuck off to merry old America? Let’s be fair and honest. America is in dire need of actual jobs and an actual economy. They are bleeding currency value and as such, if American companies decide to retrench in the US to save their home country, than that should be regarded as a noble action. Yet, these companies are run by boards that have one need, dividend and bonuses. Let’s also be honest here, these people don’t make any massive coin, not compared to a few other fortune 500 companies. The top executives, have an income ranging from $5.2M to $17.7M, which in Wall Street terms might be laughingly little, yet the retrenching has the danger of those people losing 28%-42% of what they are getting now. You see, as the US has a collapsing infrastructure, the strain the US is getting by having these manufacturers move back to the US is going to cause a few infrastructural gaskets to blow. It will not happen overnight, but within 24 months they setbacks will hurt Ford, there is no doubt in my mind on that. The level of setback will be anyone’s guess, I do not have any wisdom that could state to any degree of certainty how much the impact is. Yet, when you consider that Ford is working on a 3.9% operating margin (2014 reported numbers) and they walked away from an Australian 99.9917% non-taxation, we should wonder on how they tend to do economically more terrific in the US. It seems to me that the US retrenching has either massive kickbacks, or will come at the consequence of short sightedness and long term hardship. The numbers do not makes sense to walk away from either, but the clarity is that fingering Brexit was not the reason. But then, Ford did not do that, they got

Len McCluskey to do just that. It is the part “McCluskey also demanded that Ford provide “legally binding guarantees” of future production at the plant”. It made me giggle. You see if they had not before, why would they do that now? It seems to me that McCluskey, not unlike Kim Carr in Australia, was either in on part of it for a time, or I need to consider them both to be massively incompetent. A legal binding guarantee after the fact. It is just too hilarious! Of course, when the issue collapses and Ford moves, then we get the real issue, because at that point the blame game starts. In Australia, Kim Carr got to play his game and got the reprieve, so when his labour team got replaced by the Australian Liberal Party (the Aussie Tories), he stood back and got to stand playing with his beard thinking ‘not my problem anymore!‘, yet Len McCluskey does not get to be this lucky, when Ford leaves it will be on his plate and the Unite members will have a massive amount of questions, I wonder how many actual answers Len McCluskey will have.

So all these revelations and facts brought to you because someone decided to blame Brexit and I have actually had enough of those blamers. The fact is that there would always be consequences to Brexit, so when I see another ‘bremainer’ demand a Brexit without consequences, I wonder just how stupid some people tend to get. Another side linked to this is seen in the Independent (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/britain-will-not-contribute-to-eu-budget-if-no-brexit-deal-is-reached-says-lords-report-a7609526.html), here we see ‘Britain will not contribute £50bn to EU budget if no Brexit deal is reached, says Lords report‘, the subtitle is even more descriptive ‘The UK appears to have a strong legal position in respect of the EU budget post-Brexit and this provides important context to the Article 50 negotiations‘. The reason to go here is seen in “According to the Lords, EU budget payments – likely to be a contentious issue throughout the Article 50 negotiating period – would not be enforceable and the UK would be in a “strong” legal position to not pay a penny if talks ended with no deal“, so all the hard play we have seen has been absent of a proper analyses of the articles, something the House of Lords was not about to let go. The quote “Theresa May has warned her European allies that the UK is prepared to crash out of the EU if no reasonable Brexit deal is agreed on. In this case, the Lords add, Britain will not be liable to make any further financial contributions to the budget” also implies that there is a two stream issue within the conservatives. You see, when we see the quote of Theresa May against “David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, said earlier this year that the Government would not rule out making future payments to the EU’s budget in order to secure favourable access to Europe’s markets“. The two streams are ‘let’s be flexible about it all‘ and ‘we have had enough of this‘. The point being that large corporations have been souring the cream pushing European politicians to take emotional stands whilst others are trying to muzzle Mario Draghi and his need to spend a trillion no one has. This now pushes back to the Automotives of the land (including the exiting Ford), I think we need to see that the approach that has been used for too long a time, making some industries holy and non-taxed is not the way to go. Now, there are plenty of people who want certain markets to push forward and to have trade deals in place tends to be a good thing. Yet the part that the media seems to ignore again and again is that these deals benefit large corporations to a massive degree, but others tend to fall between the cracks losing out on all those fringe benefits. It is an injustice that has been seen several times and Brexit would allow for a change that gives a level of fairness to it all (allow does not mean it will happen though). So whilst we can agree that there would possibly be an impact, there are still too many waters stirring, so any level of Brexit blame is very premature. That evidence is given additional support when we consider Reuters news from 2015 (at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-autos-ford-asia-idUSKBN0O625Y20150521), it was already forecasted 2 years ago that “When I take a look at Ford’s growth over the next five to 10 years, we believe roughly 60 percent of the growth will be in the Asia Pacific region,” said Dave Schoch, president of Ford’s Asia Pacific region“, which was the first sign that the Ford plants in Australia were at risk. In equal measure, the slowing economy in China saw Ford sales drop, a similar event has been happening in Europe, where the drop is three times higher and here we get the issue. It had a rise for a while and the European numbers looked really good, that is, until you realise that Russia was the only strong contributor to the Ford sales. Yet the Russian slump has been in play and it is now also hurting Ford, whilst the news of ‘rapid recovery unlikely‘ to be at the head of the forecasting table. So when we see Ford media give us (at https://media.ford.com/content/fordmedia/feu/en/news/2017/01/18/ford_s-european-sales-rise-5–in-2016–strong-ford-transit–rang.pdf), “Ford sales rise 5 percent in 2016 to nearly 1.4 million vehicles in its 20 traditional European markets*“, with the reference to Austria, Belgium, Britain, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Romania, Sweden and Switzerland.

Giving us now the one part that the papers were missing. The fact that the sales are not sliding, but the revenue is set to better profitability, in that the element becomes that the UK is only one of 20 nations for Ford and when we add the Ford Authority quote to it from February 20thIn all, the closures terminated nearly 6,000 jobs, although some number of those were merely shifted to lower-cost countries like Spain and Turkey“, as well as “Ford Europe has continued to pare down its workforce, offering “voluntary separation” packages to some 10,000 employees since early last year to help save an estimated $200 million annually” a valid tactical move by Ford going back to well before 2015. So as we see this facts, the entire Ford issue has been playing for a while and a lot of it has been out in the open. So at this point I would ask Len McCluskey where he got the idea “workers had been “kept in the dark”“. I would like to know what actions he had undertaken since December 2015 when this was already underway, more important, the move in Australia should have really woken him up. Did it do that? Because certain facts, clearly given by several sources, some of them openly Ford themselves. It is there where we now see a reason to doubt the existence of both Kim Carr and Len McCluskey (but that is just my view on the matter). Len had the option of making a clear speech to the workers in wales starting by ‘the party is over, there will be massive changes in the future, but we do not know the exact setting, but the worst case scenario is that the plant will seize to exist‘. Did he make that speech? I reckon not, most people like that tend to avoid bad news, especially when events like Brexit can be blamed and that is exactly what he did in the end.

As a final point I need to refer to the quote “We have had, as I said, dialogue with Ford. We will continue to have a regular dialogue with Ford about the ways in which government can help to make sure that this success continues“, which was exactly was happening in Australia, with the happy ending not becoming a reality. There, certain players decided to blame the newly elected liberal government, whilst we clearly see that there is plenty of evidence that Ford had already decided, and the decision was ‘vacate!’

I wonder what McCluskey does next, perhaps blame the Welsh weather?

 

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Showing your bad hand

There was an article that nagged me, on the surface it felt like a waste of space, one of those….the government did something that does not affect most people. Now that is not an attack on the press, because that is what they do, they report things. Now, there is nothing about this report that is wrong, there is however a clear indication that a few people did not think this through, even more so, the actions give rise to a tactical blunder that should keep the members of the Special Forces Club in Knightsbridge snigger for some time to come. You see, the article called ‘Man charged in NSW town of Young over alleged missile advice to Isis‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/feb/28/man-arrested-nsw-town-young-alleged-missile-advice-isis) is more than just a tactical blunder. Solar technician Haisem Zahab at present in Junee Correctional Centre after being arrested in Young charged with terrorism offences. So how is this person a terrorist (he is in legal definition)? Haisem Zahab, 42 was according to the info on Facebook a Solar technician. When you see the quote “acted with intent to provide Isil with the capability, with the technical capability, and high-tech capability, to detect and develop missiles“, howls of deriving laughter wash over me. I was trained with NATO gear and I reckon I would be a better fit here (even though I know how uselessly limited my knowledge is). Now consider for a moment the next article (at http://www.iran-bn.com/2016/11/29/us-iranian-citizen-convicted-for-trying-to-buy-missiles-for-iran/), which was last year, when an Iran-United States dual citizen named Reza Olangian was trying to acquire these items, not develop them. So instead of someone alerting someone at ASIS to see if a sting can be devised that allowed for Haisem Zahab to start his ‘mission’, ASIS professionals could monitor him and start setting up the operation to drain the IS bank accounts by introducing IS and Haisem Zahab to a technology salesperson with actual blueprints (perhaps ever so slightly altered) and sell this to Islamic State, the quote “the man arrested has sought to advise Isil on how to develop high-tech weapons capability” is still making me snigger, because the credible part is that he was an ‘electrician’. Oh, the tears of laughter are rolling down my cheeks! I am not sure if AFP commissioner, Andrew Colvin got Nick Warner involved, but when you consider the following quotes it might sound serious: “He said the man was allegedly involved in “researching and designing laser warning devices to help warn against incoming guiding munitions used by coalition forces in Syria and Iraq” and helping Isis develop its own long-range guided missile capabilities“, we will need to take it apart into the components.

  1. Laser warning devices to help warn against incoming guiding munition. So how advanced is that? To give you a viewpoint. Israel has the Arrow 2 which took almost 13 years to complete (it had been completed earlier, but the tests were done over a longer period of time). The Arrow 2 is what people call an ABM (Anti-ballistic missile systems), now this was designed by group of around a dozen experts in rocket science, electronics and aerodynamics. It was a multi-billion dollar event. Even if this electrician got to a missile completed to a certain degree, which is actually not that far-fetched, because missiles have become more precise, but like mortars, the foundation goes back a long way and that part is not that complex, yet here a Dragster mechanic will get a lot further than an electrician. Now, to introduce a hidden electronic switch that turns the detector into an attractor is not that large a call, so we give IS 2-3 ‘wins’ and when we see that they implement the detection solution, ASIS throws the switch and the detector will instantly attract missiles, so with one volley their detection system is gone and likely a lot more hardware on the side as well.
  2. as for “helping Isis develop its own long-range guided missile capabilities“, I will now take 5 minutes to roll on the floor, my stomach is giving me waves of cramps from laughter. To help you understand that part, the missile technology is not that hard. You can make a missile in your garage, but consider that HAMAS has been firing (with Iranian help) thousands of actual missiles, which included the FAJR-5, based on the Chinese exported model WS-1 MLRS. A rocket that took close to 13 years to get right and that one has had not one tactical success on Israel, how long do you think it will take to get anything up to scrap? Especially when you consider the Arrow 2 part? It would be a lot easier to develop a high tech mortar. The foundations of the mortar have never changed, to some extent, the 1450 version of the mortar is still the foundation that was used in Vietnam, what changed is that electronics allow mortars to be a lot more accurate and efficient. Now we have computers that help the aim, but it is to some extent still an art to get it right in one shot. To get the missiles correctly aimed takes a lot more and in that regard, the tactical option to have IS waste loads of cash might have been a much better approach, so when I see the photo with Malcolm Turnbull, pictured with AFP commissioners Andrew Colvin and Ian McCartney, I see a mere political quick fix! Now, we need to acknowledge that this is in all legal settings, so in that regard he had been correctly arrested. This we see in the Criminal Code Act 1995, where in 101.2 we see:

101.2 Providing or receiving training connected with terrorist acts
(1) A person commits an offence if:
(a) the person provides or receives training; and
(b) the training is connected with preparation for, the engagement of a person in, or assistance in a terrorist act; and
(c) the person mentioned in paragraph (a) knows of the connection described in paragraph (b).

This gives him a maximum 25 year governmental hotel voucher and as I personally see it, the line between consultant and trainer is thin enough to make it stick.

So we know he is going down, yet the quote “charged with two foreign incursion offences which carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment” is different. You see that gives us “prepare to enter, or for another person to enter, a foreign country with an intention to engage in a hostile activity. Recruit persons to join an organisation engaged in hostile activities, or to serve in or with an armed force in a foreign country“, which should be fun, because the expert knowledge he offered (basically consultancy), here the Mens Rea might be satisfied, but the Actus Rea is not. Missiles are set to not need ‘another person to enter, a foreign country‘, which might happen, but is not a given, so the intent to never enter a foreign country could be achieved by the defence of Haisem Zahab, the ‘with an intention to engage in a hostile activity‘ would be proven, yet the text is ‘for another person to enter, a foreign country with an intention to engage in a hostile activity‘, the moment that the foreign border was not surpassed, the issue becomes vague and a legal victory becomes a little blurred, basically Islamic State is already a transgressor in any nation they are in, but if those governments will not speak out against that, the issue might not legally be won.

So we get a lot of press, all cameras with cowboy stories and in the meantime Director General Nick Warner was denied the option to deal Islamic State a severe body blow. Yup, there will be laughter in Knightsbridge tonight. And should you consider that I am awfully wrong (always a valid consideration to have) than take a look at the case of Omar Succarieh, which was set to 4.5 years, the appeal to get him in there longer is being heard (at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-31/omar-succarieh-sentence-inadequate-court-hears/8227068), with the quote “Justice Philip Morrison said the case appeared to be in the middle range for the offence which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment“, which now gives the option of another change. You see, in the case of Omar Succarieh it was mere funds made available. If any defence of Haisem Zahab comes with words like ‘delusional‘ (an electrician making missile systems), or gets any missile expert from Raytheon or Northrop Grumman to show how complex missile systems actually are, the quote “the research he was alleged to have been doing was “credible”” could be thrown out of the window. By the way, this 18 month investigation, what INTEL did ASIS (if any) supply? I still think this was an option to do something long term against Islamic State.

Now, here we get to the title of today ‘showing your bad hand‘. You see, from where I sit, the entire situation gives rise to another matter. If we see actions as given, we are seeing a setting where political players have to admit that there is no short solution. The papers on a global scale, actual newspapers like the Wall Street Journal, The Australian and others have published papers on this and they gave us this in 2015: “But no strategy intended to defeat Islamism can succeed if Islamism itself and its violent expression in jihadism are not first named, isolated and understood“, which is at present not achieved, so this entire IS, is a long term game and there is no end in sight at present. This is extremely important, because as I personally see it, these little arrests with loads of camera’s will not bring resolution, the ability to set up shop and make IS spend their funds in all the wrong places is the first step to prevent IS to set up a successful long term strategy to develop larger weapon systems. And if you think that it stops here in Young, New South Wales, you would be wrong, because at some point, an Islamic State person will meet with dodgy types in Eastern Europe and broker a deal there. There are too many players willing to not care what happens in the Middle East and there is plenty of Russian goods all over Eastern Europe. This now implies that as some people go shopping elsewhere, and in that place they might not get a basket full of junk, they might actually end up with something useful, an idea we need to actively dread.

Because the bad hand shown and the fact that others will also realise that some players have a bad hand, only opens the doors to some places outside of our sphere of influence. I see this as a tactic badly played, but that might be just me. I will leave it up to you to decide how wrong I am and when you get a moment, ask your electrician how good his missile designs are, it could make for an interesting day and that is always a win for any person.

 

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Alphabet Soup

I have been away for a little while. I delivered my final paper on Friday after a 34 hour stretch, mainly because I have the unequaled ability to doubt my own work any given moment. This is weird, because when it comes to data and data systems, I can see through the fog of implied BS in ways most cannot fathom. In that same way, I am now seeing a weird transition by Microsoft that has the ability to endanger its own customer base, which might be a new low in their list of achievements. After a day of attempted rest whilst I faced 44 degrees (summer in Sydney), the Guardian treats me (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/feb/03/skills-shortage-harming-uks-ability-to-protect-itself-from-cyber-attacks). There is something either incomplete or not matching here. The article by ‘Rajeev Syal and agencies’ is actually quite good, it gives us “the role of the Cabinet Office, which is responsible for coordinating information protection across government, remains unclear“, which is in one way awesome because of the admitted issue, a little less so when you consider that his has been going on for over 6 years. You see, those people still got paid, and the admission of non-clarity for that amount of time should validate a few additional questions to those occupying postal code SW1A 2AS. So, when you are in front of that Downing Street fence, which separates the Prime Minister from the common riff raff, it will be the building on the right! One of the interesting quotes is: “The threat of cybercrime is ever-growing, yet evidence shows Britain ranks below Brazil, South Africa and China in keeping phones and laptops secure. In this context it should concern us all that the government is struggling to ensure its security profession has the skills it needs.

I would add to that is the fact that those nations tend to hold employees accountable for cyber losses, which might not be fair but it is apparently wildly effective. In the cyber industry a decent dose of paranoia tends to keep people cautious and on their toes, which does allow to explain the situation the Commonwealth at large finds itself in, not just the UK. One of the gems in the article was “The report said the Cabinet Office’s ability to make informed decisions about security is “undermined by inconsistent and chaotic processes for recording personal data breaches”“, that is just one factor. The fact that Microsoft has been uploading gigabytes of data (per person) from gaming consoles, without consent and whilst Microsoft is in denial blaming the ISP for this event, the question the press at large has not considered asking Microsoft. Why do you need 6 GB of data from a console playing a single player game? There is no way that this is about ‘enhancing‘ the experience.

newzoo-games-market-segments

This is about collecting data and in addition, there is no divulging on what exactly is being uploaded, the fact that it is done without consent is another matter and there is no record on the system. If one victim had not shown me the $60 additional fee he got for 2 weeks of unknown uploading, I would not have believed it. The fact is that this person had mobile broadband was a kink in the attempt to keep the uploads unnoticed is one that Microsoft had not considered and as such we need to consider that an Xbox User needs to realise he is facing an estimated $1400 a year in additional fees upload fees, how affordable is that console now?

So is this about money, about data or about privacy? The issue is that worldwide 15 million were sold by November 2015, whilst the US has roughly 8.5 million of them. So a sizeable chunk of the 6.5 million outstanding consoles are in the UK and whilst Microsoft is not revealing the sales numbers, likely as the humiliation against the PS4 sales is too great, we also need to wonder in light of the upcoming Scorpio (the Xbox One plus plus) edition, the light of so much uploads without consent is an issue, because in the first the people did not get a choice and the second is that there is no way to tell what was uploaded, how much privacy information. In that light, we need to look at not just what is done, but what actions need to be made against these large corporations and I am willing to bet the house that these ‘inconsistent and chaotic processes for recording personal data breaches‘ involve groups giving protection to Microsoft to some degree creating chaos. In addition, I wonder if GCHQ is aware on what Microsoft is pushing into its Azure cloud via Windows 10, what level of privacy breaches is Microsoft involved in?

That is part of all the issues because there is no issue with skill shortage, especially when cybercrimes cannot be properly monitored as everything is in a cloud environment, a US driven cloud environment I might add. Before those in Whitehall start to snicker on the premise of gaming, perhaps those are reminded that as we see in Newzoo (at https://newzoo.com/insights/articles/global-games-market-reaches-99-6-billion-2016-mobile-generating-37/), the gaming industry is a $100 billion plus field and the UK has shown its teeth in this field for the longest of times.

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Yet the makers are now creating an unfair advantage (and without consent) on mineable data allowing US companies to take the highest road at the least cost. In all this they have the ability of selling spiked lemons, impeding the industry outside of the AAA American companies’ even further. That is all before we see the dangers of cloud intrusions and the damage organised crime can inflict. And any of those people claiming that this cannot happen, I would advise those people to take a look at the Sony track record of getting hacked. There are too many unknowns, but the fact that a lot of this is done without consent is perhaps the most damaging one and so far, it seems that skills shortage in the UK is not even the most debilitating one. When you consider this quote: “The government ignored its own advice by failing to carry out a business case for government security classifications system, which was meant to deliver £110- to £150m-a-year in benefits, MPs said“, a quote that is not in question perse, yet the fact that the games industry surpassed $100 billion, in this the UK could stand to corner up to $30 billion, I am decently certain that ‘£110- to £150m-a-year in benefits‘ won’t be getting close to covering it any day soon.

The losses and the growing loss of industries in several sectors are leaving the UK with a diminishing amount of options in an industry that will the first and almost the only one growing its production, manufacturing and development base. All items that would have the effect of spicing the coffers of her majesties treasury by a fair bit, that is of course not the bottom line, but it is the icing on the cake and those who had to live by ‘let them eat cake‘ have been doing so without any icing for nearly a decade. And that is all before Google has decided on the next step that could bring them an additional 6-13 billion (13 billion would be most advantageous forecasted model), a jump that will affect software and hardware evolutions in a few ways for the next decade as 5G gets a hold of these new devices and opens the field for even more devices and concept solution. A change few had seen coming and less of them thought the change was realistic, some hold that opinion even today, it’s a sad world, I know!

In that atmosphere the Cabinet office and MP’s are deliberating on Cyber needs and skills whilst their train is already 3 stops delayed and they have no idea what is awaiting two stops ahead, meaning they are already one train stop behind and that is just delay through inaction. So as we are looking at the last part given, where we see: “A National Cyber Security Centre spokesman said: “The government has been clear that the newly formed NCSC is the UK’s definitive authority on cyber security. In the four months since becoming operational, the NCSC has transformed how the UK deals with cyber security by offering incident management capabilities, fostering technical innovation to help prevent attacks and providing real-time cyber threat information to 3,000 organisations from over 20 different industries”“, yet in that, where is the turnaround? You see, as we see linked to all this: “New generation of ethical hackers aims to impress recruiters“, we see: “Defence experts have long warned of the growing menace of cyber-crime and now they have good reason to believe the threat is being given priority treatment“, yet we do not see: “Last year’s Cyber Security Challenge was fairly fanciful. It involved a bio-hazard attack and a threat against a minor royal. This year, the challenge is more grounded in reality. The contestants are asked to find evidence of large corporations gaining an increased advantage by uploading personal data without consent for advantageous data mining“, that no less a threat and it seems that government parties on a global scale are actively avoiding this. You see, we agree that organised crime and batches of exploiting hackers must be stopped, yet for the longest time, the party’s involved are ignoring the ‘legal‘ crimes and how it is shifting the balance of cyber power. slowly but certainly towards the 5 big players leaving the field barren for nearly all other innovative corporation hoping to grow into that field and as the field is limited to 5 players we will lose out on actual innovation and we are left with the iterative field we have had for slightly too long. By the way, this goes far beyond games, this field is now intersecting a very different field. Consider the paper ‘Big Data Framework for Analyzing Patents to Support Strategic R&D Planning‘, by Wonchul Seo, Namhyoung Kim and Sungchul Choi. In this paper they set in the abstract “In this paper, we propose a big data framework to process and analyse large-scale patent data. The proposed framework consists of four layers: an aggregator layer, a storage layer, an analysis layer, and an application layer. These layers are designed to collect patent data, store the collected data, analyse the data, and present the results. The primary objectives of the proposed framework are to provide a patent analysis service platform based on big data technologies, and to support strategic R&D planning for organizations“, now consider interfacing that with a database that has the goods on 270 million devices using Windows 10. Does it still sound so strange? The gaming industry might seem juvenile to the people in Whitehall, but even they cannot be stupid enough to ignore a $100 billion plus industry. So as Microsoft is uploading data and no one is asking questions, we have to wonder why the questions are not asked, more important, the fact that ‘without consent‘ is not addressed is even more worrying, especially with the cyber players in town and the fact that anyone actively ignoring a few billion in revenue tends to not have a career after that comes out.

So you tell me, is the water still too murky or are the players murky about the actions taken?

And when we see the marketing responses like ‘to give the players a better gaming experience‘ or ‘uploading is not with us, that responsibility lies with your ISP‘, you better be able to answer the question why the ISP is dumping all that data on the Azure cloud, because ISP’s tend to not do anything they aren’t paid for and they tend to not do anything without consent, as the retaliatory claims and penalties tend to be much too high. So when the alphabet soup gives us Avarice, Build-up & Covetousness. Is the alphabet soup about protecting against cyber-attacks or trying to minimise corporate losses?

They are both victims, but one does not include the other, I’ll leave it up to you to decide who remains a victim in the long run.

 

 

 

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