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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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As a puppet

Have you been in a place where a person behind the screens is slowly shows his ability to give appeal? He is majestically moving his hands, not seen by anyone, hidden in shadow, yet the audience is delighted, the audience is watching a show of puppets, whether Muppet or Punch and Judy, the kids are in delight, at times, so are the parents. You see, the true master is not just about the posing or the dance of the puppets, as a master his voice give reign to banter, gossip in two layers, one that makes the children laugh and that makes the adults go: ‘Ha!’. The mark of of a savant. Yet, the bulk of them are not savants and in the political field there are at times a few people who are a lot less than savants and the media lets them, because the outrage created is what their circulation depends on. That was my view when I initially saw: ‘Doctors’ leaders accuse ministers of ‘callous disregard’ for the NHS’, a piece of work by the Health policy editor. We see a few things in the article and we all know that the NHS is in serious trouble. The part that stopped me was: “Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrats’ health spokesman, said: “Instead of £350m a week for the NHS, under the Conservatives we’ve seen the health service being gradually run into the ground“, you see, leave it to a LibDem to be clueless on the best of days, but just in case (because I make mistakes too), there was the small decision by me to take a second look, for that just in case moment in my life. You see, I remember that number, for one, I have never had that much money in my wallet, but I remember the amount in different ways. You see, the busses, the mention, when was that exactly a promise? The Brexit team bus (fuelled by UKIP) states: “We send the EU £350 million a week, let’s fund our NHS instead“, it is a valid slogan and it is a wish, in addition, the Nigel Farage interview on some morning TV show gives us “I would much rather give it to the NHS“, that is wishful thinking, it was not a promise or commitment, that came from nearly EVERY anti-Brexiteer. Now, I have slapped Labour UK around on their manifesto. It states: “The people of Britain are rightly proud of the NHS and we will invest £12 billion over the next five years to keep it working for them“, so we get a little over £6 million a day, or slightly more than £200 million a month, so where does this £350 a week ‘pledge’ come from? The independent (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/conservatives-must-make-manifesto-commitment-of-350m-a-week-for-the-nhs-say-doctors-a7739401.html) shows us: “Doctors, academics and public health officials have called on the Conservative Party to include in its general election manifesto a commitment to spend £350m a week on the NHS, in keeping with the notorious posters of the Vote Leave campaign“, which makes me wonder where the actual pledge comes from. So it seems that Dr Chand Nagpaul and Norman Lamb are both missing a few parts here (I am happy to be proven wrong), The conservatives pledge (2015 manifesto) was to increase £8 billion over 5 years, the increase goes nowhere near the 350 million some are muttering and this manifesto was BEFORE Brexit happened, so I am wondering what the article is based upon. If it was written with in mind the presentation of some think-tank, then this approach is a massive failure. So this health foundation think-tank is also moving in other not so clever directions. I could start that I had a solution (which only costed me 135 minutes to figure out and Google could get it from me for £15 million post taxation), yet they aren’t interested in a multi billion-pound revenue solution. And if this article is about spiralling pressures, well, we all agree and if the wasted £11.2 billion pounds on a previous IT project under previous labour, there might have been some space, yet the pressure would always have been there. As I wrote in previous blogs, the first thing that the NHS needs to do is change its mindset. That is an initial need on several levels. The ‘old’ way of doing things is no longer an option and it is weighing down as the cost of infrastructure is just increasing, that initial change is essential to survive. In my view (which might be flawed and incorrect) there seems to be an increasing wave of commissions in play and those groups are not free, there was a paper showing it and the reference is in my previous blog from January 15th 2017, where we see: “Coventry and Warwickshire NHS chiefs fork out £340,000 for advice on how to SAVE money” (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2017/01/15/the-views-we-question/), this time it is not about the money, well perhaps partially. It is about the 7 commissions in Warwickshire. How much to they cost? Now, this is not about their validity to exist, yet it seems to me that these trusts and commission groups might need trimming or reengineering. And that is just Warwickshire. This is what I am implying with the ‘rethinking‘ part. Yet, when, I ask again when did any of these think tanks go there in looking on changing the NHS and the costs they have? I am pretty sure that the media have not seen or reported on that issue for the longest of times. As I read now that they are looking to fill 80,000 positions, whilst I with three Uni degrees can’t get a job because I turned 55 is just obscene in several ways. And the entire ‘government must plug funding gap in healthcare spending between UK and other European countries‘, which is debatable right there as the Netherlands is twice the size of Ross-shire, with 16 million people in there, in addition we see Sweden which is almost twice the size of the UK, with 10 million people and 20% of that in the three largest cities. So here we already see three very different dimension of issues, making the ‘funding gap’ a bit of a question mark, in addition, as the UK is well over minus a trillion, the health care issue will be an issue and remain so unless some players start considering different paths, throwing money at it does not make it go away, you merely move the issue after which you end up having to solve two problems. So how does that solve anything? Well, I believe that we need to get the Universities involved and start brainstorming on how certain problems might be solved. You see, there is nothing like the unbiased view of a politically incorrect student to try and solve a puzzle, especially when political lobbyists are not allowed to ‘forge’ minds to become politically accepted minds. I think that turning the puzzle into a creativity challenge will get us potentially some options people forgot about. I found my solution whilst browsing a historical page on Scotland, of all the technological solutions, I found mine in a history book that predates that device that Graham Alexander Bell invented (read: telephone). How weird was that?

The puppet issue still remains. You see, the quote at the end: “Urgent action is needed, the thinktank says, because 900 people a day are quitting as social care workers, too few new recruits are joining the sector“, is an issue. I am not doubting the number as a total, yet when monthly a industry is drained by 18,000 workers, there are additional problems. When we in addition see a source claiming that NHS digital had notified staff on patches and we see news that Labour now wants to pump £37 bn in the NHS, we have several issues. For one, the unrealistic prompt for money that cannot be found in a realistic way and the fact that Labour gave out a manifesto promising the UK to get them a quarter of a trillion in deeper debt is a worry. The IT story is also linked to all this as it shows that there are additional infrastructure issues. If the endgadget quote is true “It seems this advisory fell on some deaf ears, which explains why only certain NHS Trusts were affected“, it clearly shows that the infrastructure needs an overhaul and there is a strong requirement to take a harsh look on where the money is going. The endgadget quote shows a STRUCTURAL failure of the NHS, and only an idiot will pump £37 billion in something that could be structurally unsound. That part has been ignored by the media on too large a scale. Oh and that is not limited to the UK, there is a European failure here (as well as a few other parts of the British empire, like Australia). So we need to consider that we have to give stronger illumination to the puppeteers, because, who exactly is part of the the Health Foundation think-tank? And as we illuminate the players in such think-tank, as the people have a right to know, we need to stop being puppets. We need to look at actual solutions, that is because I have seen a few ‘think tanks’ and ‘consultancy teams’ mentioned and even as we can agree that ‘£340,000 for advice‘ could be money well spend, it seems that over the last year there have been a few of these events and I am decently certain that these people do not work for free, so how much has been spend? I feel that I am massively underrating and could end up being equally massively underpaid with my £15,000,000 solution that would bring the project completionist a few billion.

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. Yet I agree that the NHS needs acts that lead to solutions, here I differ in labelling the action as an act. The act of instigating change is not done in a few minutes and I do not want it to be wasteful, so people need to have their bullet point list ready (I actually hate those lists). Not a longwinded presentation, or is that ‘long wined and did possibly’? The NHS issue is in too critical a state, pretty much everyone agrees, yet the way how it is addressed and where the highest priority lies is another debate, in my mind (possibly a wrong deduction) is in the first, nurses, in the second infrastructure shifts and three the doctors. The infrastructure is important, not because doctors are not, but because the infrastructure has been showing to be a drain on the funds available. In that part we see that as issues are resolved more and more funds would become for both doctors (and GP’s) and upgrades. It is not that points two and three could not be instigated at the same time, yet in equal measure whatever infrastructure issues is resolved might actually give additional funds for more doctors and GP’s as well. It is merely a thought and there will be enough opposition, or better stated valid opposition to my priority list, it is just finding the path that is best walked. And in this case, I have the feeling that from the very beginning of the failed IT project that the NHS decision makers have been all about talking the walk and not getting any actual walking done, which would be a terminal disaster for any project, no matter how many billions you throw at it. It will merely be wasted coin.

 

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