Tag Archives: Europe

Way of the Dodo

Tariffs are nothing new, these things have existed for the longest time. I grew up where that was a given, so in my youth, only the rich bought a Harley, a Chrysler or a Chevy. I still remember walking to the shop in Rotterdam and look at all those awesome vehicles through the windows (I was too young to drive in those days), many grew their passion that way. It seems odd that living next to the country that made Volkswagen and Mercedes, we wanted a Blazer, a Harley or another American car. Nowadays, the petrol guzzlers they used to be wouldn’t make it today in Europe. So when we see: ‘EU tariffs force Harley-Davidson to move some production out of US‘, I merely see a stage setting to the old ways. The Guardian gives us loads of information as the market slides, as the shift of production and the changing of the US stock market. That is the direct visible impact of the Trade wars. Australia had this setting a few years earlier as the car industry packed up and left Australia for more exploitative settings in Asia. In the booming market that is stated to exist, we see ‘Harley: EU tariffs will cost $100m/year in short term‘ (source: the Guardian). this is a war the US president started and he forgot that companies, especially US ones, have one focus, short term ROI and a trade war changes the hats of many corporations overnight. This is seen to some degree as Bloomberg treated us to ‘Bigger Booby Trap for U.S. Economy‘. We get introduced to “Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said on June 20 that officials are beginning to hear that companies are postponing investment and hiring due to uncertainty about what comes next” (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-06-24/trump-s-trade-war-sets-bigger-booby-trap-for-strong-u-s-economy). It is what is sometimes referred to as the corporate mindset, the consideration that tomorrow is not going to be any better for now. In all this the US hides behind “tax cuts power both consumer and company spending. That would be the strongest in almost four years and twice as fast as the first quarter’s annualized advance of 2.2 percent“, yet the US seems to forget that tax cuts also means that infrastructures are falling apart, the US has a debt it cannot seem to pay and the debt keeps on rising. This in a nation where the national debt has surpassed $21 trillion (103% of GDP), whilst in addition the statistics show that the US faces a setting where the debt per taxpayers is $175K opposing a revenue per taxpayer is merely $27K, a $148K per taxpayer shortfall, that is not the moment when tax cuts have any clear momentum, because the moment the infrastructures start failing, at that point their momentum seizes. Even as Nariman Behravesh the IHS Markit’s Macroeconomic Adviser give us “If they keep down this path, all the positive effects of the tax cut will be gone“, it is worse than that. This gives the indirect implication that unemployment rates will go up giving additional ‘attack’ against the US infrastructure. All this seems to become a direct result of the tug of war between tariffs and protectionism. The BBC gives the best light (at https://www.bbc.com/news/world-43512098), when we consider ‘Five reasons why trade wars aren’t easy to win‘. In this we see (not all five added):

  1. Tariffs may not actually boost steel and aluminium jobs much. The question becomes, how much of a boost would be possible, and is this proven or still merely speculation?
  2. Tariffs are likely to raise costs in the US, so the cost of the product will be increased as these CEO’s do not want to take it out of their margins, so it will be bookkept in another place, the consumer has to pay for all these charges in the end.
  3. Tariffs could hurt allies and prompt retaliation, which is already the case and when you consider that the two largest deliverers of steel are Canada and the EU, the move does not make that much sense. So we see a tariff war that will be about exemptions. In that regard, the tariff war is a bust where the companies hit will be facing a rock and a hard stand on tariffs, this is shown by a few clever people to move part of their operation to Europe, and Harley Davidson is merely the first of several to make that move.
  4. China has options, this is the big one. The US blames China for flooding the market with cheap steel and aluminium and has already stepped up protective measures against Chinese steel products. In opposition, US businesses, including those in the car, tech and agriculture industries, are eager to get into the Chinese market, giving leaders there some leverage. So in the end, the tariff war is not strangling US businesses to fan out to the Chinese market, as exemptions are gained here, the tariff war becomes close to pointless and it merely drove down the economy. This last part is not a given and cannot be proven until 2019, which could null and void any chance of President Trump getting a second term, in addition, if this is not going to be a slam dunk win for the Democrats, the Republicans better have a strong case, because 2020 is the one election where the chances for winning by Jeb Bush (Florida) and Ann Coulter (Florida) seems to be a better option than re-electing the current president. Who would have thought that in 2016? It becomes hilarious when you consider that 2020 is the year that Marco Rubio declined to run, only to give the presidency to Ann Coulter. My sense of humour needs to point that out, whether it becomes reality or not.

The previous part is important to consider, not for the matter of who becomes president, but the setting that the economy is in such a state where we all see the proclamation ““Anyone who thinks the economy is being wrecked doesn’t know what they’re talking about,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a June 21 Bloomberg Television interview“. We accept the fact that he states that, yet everyone seems to overlook that the debt also gives an annual interest that is close to $100 per taxpayer, now consider that 80% of the population is in the 15% or 10% bracket. So from their taxation we see a maximum of $755 where 13% goes straight to the paying of the interest, when you are in the higher bracket 3% is lost. So before anything else is done up to 16% is lost and that accounts for 80% of the population, merely because no budgets were properly kept, the US infrastructure lost up to 16% straight from the start, that is the undermining of an infrastructure that also fuels the economy which it can no longer do. You see behind this is the IP, or as the US calls it the IP theft by China. I am uncertain if we can agree. I am not stating that it does not happen, I merely look at the Dutch examples from Buma/Stemra in the 90’s and their numbers were flawed, perhaps even cooked. They never made sense and after that we have seen ‘political weighting‘ of numbers that were debatable from the start.

So when we look back to 2017, we see the NY Times giving us: “Intellectual-property theft covers a wide spectrum: counterfeiting American fashion designs, pirating movies and video games, patent infringement and stealing proprietary technology and software“, yet I have seen these accusations in Europe and the numbers never added up. So when we see: “Central to Chinese cybersecurity law is the “secure and controllable” standard, which, in the name of protecting software and data, forces companies operating in China to disclose critical intellectual property to the government and requires that they store data locally. Even before this Chinese legislation, some three-quarters of Chinese imported software was pirated. Now, despite the law, American companies may be even more vulnerable“. It will happen, yet to what degree does it happen? What evidence is there? Consider the setting when we think of students. Students tend to have one of the harshest budgets to live on. Let’s take 100 students and they all decided to duplicate (read: borrow) the latest album from Taylor Swift ‘Reputation’ (it is easier to imagine it when the victim is a beautiful blonde who only recently stopped being a teenager). Now, basically she lost $2390 in revenue, yet is that true? How many would have actually bought the album? Let’s say 10% of all students are real fans and they would have bought the album (when not confronted with the choice of food versus entertainment), so the actual loss is $239. Now, this is still a loss and she is entitled to take action here. Yet the people making a living in the facilitation industry will demand the loss be set to $2390 that is where the numbers do not add up! There is the setting of eagerness to hear an album versus the need to have the album. We are all driven with the need to hear the album and some will buy it. This opposes several views and whilst the implied copied work allegedly is done so in the hundreds of thousands, the evidence is not there to support it. That is where weighted forecasts are the setting and it is an inaccurate one. So in all this, from the IP point of view, do we have 23,675,129 C# programmers, or merely 24 million people who wanted to take a look at C# only to install it and never use it because they could not figure out what they were looking at?

Now we get to 2018, where we see (at http://money.cnn.com/2018/03/23/technology/china-us-trump-tariffs-ip-theft/index.html) the projected issues with “The United States Trade Representative, which led the seven-month investigation into China’s intellectual property theft and made recommendations to the Trump administration, found that “Chinese theft of American IP currently costs between $225 billion and $600 billion annually“, I wonder what numbers they are set on. Now we can agree that the likelihood of “”China has sought to acquire US technology by any means, licit or illicit,” James Andrew Lewis, senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, wrote in a blog post Thursday” being true in regard to defence projects would be high. Yet in all this, where is the data supporting these views? Without proper data we are faced with US companies setting expected revenue that is many millions too high and that part remains unanswered on many fronts. Now in defence, we get it! That is the game, so as we consider the news last year from breaking defense with the news that: “compassion for the Army, which is trying to standardize its computer systems across more than 400 units in the next 28 months. The objective is a “single software baseline,” where every unit has the same set of information technologies. Such standardization should simplify everything from training, maintenance, operations and future upgrades“, this is fun to read as I had to set up something like that for a company much smaller. There we learned that Dell was kind enough to have within two shipments the same model computer yet both had different patches because one chip had been changed. Now consider that this ‘unsettling dream of standardisation‘ was for a company with hardware usage merely a rough 0.13% of what the US Army has. So, that is something that will bite them soon enough. This doesn’t make the setting smaller, but a lot larger, the wrong patches tend to open up networks for all kinds of flaws not correctly set. So the cyber intrusion setting would be an optional 300% larger, giving a much larger success rate, all people willing to sell data to the Chinese (or the Chinese merely enticing the American people to embrace marketing capitalism for their own gains).

To explain the previous part in its proper light we need to realise. It is not merely about IP theft and rights; it is also about common cyber sense. In both the military and corporate setting there is a need for levels of standardisation, whilst IP that tends to rely on standardisation to be more successful, the IP theft setting is actually opposite to that. The Conversation (at http://theconversation.com/three-reasons-why-pacemakers-are-vulnerable-to-hacking-83362) gives us when they look at the medical dangers. As they give us Power versus security as well as Convenience versus security we see the first dangers. So consider the following. First there is “according to Carnegie Mellon researchers, can increase the energy consumption of some mobile phones by up to 30% because of the loss of proxies“, then we get “Most embedded medical devices don’t currently have the memory, processing power or battery life to support proper cryptographic security, encryption or access control“, giving us that hacking into someone’s pacemaker is actually not as hard as one might think. Now consider that encryption, or a lack thereof can be found on a large variety of IoT devices, and any army has their own devices that need to be more accessible at all times. In the second consideration we get “The prospect of having to keep usernames, passwords and encryption keys handy and safe is contrary to how they plan to use them“, as well as “When your pacemaker fails and the ambulance arrives, however, will you really have the time (or ability) to find the device serial number and authentication details to give to the paramedics“, it is the age old setting of convenience for the safety of all. So as we realise this, how much IP theft was already available before anyone realised its need? It is almost like the gun laws in the US, everyone wants gun laws whilst there are millions available for unmonitored purchasing defeating the purpose altogether. In that same setting we ignore common Cyber Sense too often allowing for IP theft on a much larger scale. The issue is that it does not mean that this is actually happening, or that others have interest to steal that particular IP. So we can optionally agree that the Chinese government that they definitely want all the IP on that front, even as some sources state that there is still a problem. So when we consider to an example, we need to look at that part of the information came from a research report by LtCol B. L. Ream, USAF, which gives us “There are two types of guidance systems available, the AGM-65A/B is optical guided and the AGM-65D model Is Infrared guided“, as well as “Once launched, the missile maintains a lock on to the target and guides autonomously, providing a standoff launch and leave capability. The aircraft can then egress the target area or set up to fire again in a target rich environment“, yet the other undisclosed source gives us that a programming issue on the locking when it is set through a buddy system. The: “data link control of the weapon can be provided from two different sources. Either the launch aircraft can guide the weapon or a buddy aircraft can control the weapon after launch. In either case, data link line of sight must be maintained between the data link aircraft and the weapon. Thus, on a standoff control scenario, the further away from the target the control aircraft is the higher altitude it must maintain. Even though this may not appear to be tactically sound, the standoff range is impressive“, so the undisclosed source that gives that the Data Link has a match issue and there is a chance that the speculated offset of 35 metres is ‘accidently implemented on targeting‘, will there be an issue of IP theft? When materials are openly available on the internet, as I was able to read the report on the Defense Technical Information Center site. When is there a case of IP theft? In this I love the reference that WIPO uses. Here we see: “Copyright protection extends only to expressions, and not to ideas, procedures, methods of operation or mathematical concepts as such“, considering that ballistic software is 90% math (read: the application of mathematical concepts), copyright as an option goes straight out of the window, in addition, the data link adjustment makes it in theory a new product that was not covered in the first place. So standardisation makes it easier to get to the lollies, and by adjusting the wrapper it ends up not being IP theft, as long as no trademarks reside on the wrapper (a ‘it is more alike than not‘ issue in IP law).

And now for the main meal

This is seen in the CNN article I raised earlier. The headline ‘President Donald Trump has slapped tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods, taking aim at China’s theft of US intellectual property‘. It was and has always been about IP protectionism. Business Insider gives us “Two former senior Defence Department officials said Chinese intellectual property theft cost the US as much as $US600 billion a year, calling it possibly the “greatest transfer of wealth in history.”“, the Financial Times (at https://www.ft.com/content/995063be-1e0a-11e8-956a-43db76e69936) gives us: “as Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s foreign minister, suggests: “It is entirely inappropriate to view any trade with Canada as a national security threat to the United States.” Yet once this loophole is used so irresponsibly by the US, of all countries, where might it stop?” The Financial Times takes it a lot further giving raise to the question how did it in the end serve IP? Where we saw more than once the terms ‘as much as $US600 billion a year‘, yet no evidence is presented. There is no setting that ‘Two former senior Defence Department officials‘ can present a list adding the numbers up and with $600 billion in the balance (as opposed to the commercial industry) we see that if proper evidence was presented a better case could have been made. Where we see in opposition to China: a lucrative market in designer knockoff goods in places like Amsterdam and London. London getting its share of 17 million tourists, all happy to get the latest Gucci bag for a special discount price of £19.95 as well as in Amsterdam where the 14 million visitors can get them for a mere €25. So did Gucci report a €812 million in IP theft losses? What about the other brands? I was the proud owner of an Australian Polo for $12, I merely needed a polo shirt (many years ago) as some drunk blonde thought it was perfectly normal to dance in high heels in the middle of the road holding a glass of red wine, so as she jumped to get away from a car (who had an actual reason to be on the road), I ended up with her wine on my shirt. So I got to the first place that sold a polo shirt and got a new one so I would not arrive at a diner red stained before it even began. Did I initiate IP theft? I had no idea what ‘Australian’ was in those days. There is the setting, what we know, what was real damage and how it is presented by those needing inflated IP theft numbers?

It is in this setting that we need to see the stage for reported IP theft. We agree that the smallest fraction is indeed set to the covert acquisition of military IP, yet the bulk (well over 95%) is all about a misrepresenting economy, the brands want their losses to seem as large as possible, the US is setting that stage to prospective economic health, yet that evidence cannot be validated and the tariff war is likely to become a much more detrimental factor in the US economy that is currently presented as a revenue bubble that will impact sooner rather than later. The independent gave us last December (at https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/economy-signs-interest-rates-donald-trump-market-bubble-burst-next-year-a8102356.html) that ‘Five economic signs that can tell us if the bubble will burst next year‘. Here we see “The good news is that the world is at last experiencing a coordinated expansion, with all major regions growing reasonably swiftly“, as well as “the policies that have led to this expansion, especially ultra-easy money conditions, have created a boom in asset prices that at some stage will come to an end“. There are a few views in all direction, yet the one that no one seems to focus on is the quality of life. Earlier this year USA Today reported that “California has the worst quality of life in America“, the sunny state is where people can no longer afford to live to any decent degree. That part is forgotten, the QoL in New York is in 25th position, not a great place to be. The Quality of Life in the US has decreased to the degree where it is the lowest in the developed world. That and the fact that the US is at minus 21 trillion does not help. It is shown in the US Social Progress Index where none of the five largest state economies (California, New York, Illinois, Florida and Texas) are in the top ten states on social progress. This is important and reflects back to the student example I gave earlier. So as these people will all ‘borrow’ the latest Taylor Swift album and none of those will buy it, because they cannot afford to do so. That part becomes even more visible when you consider the Wired setting on pre-owned games in 2016. At some point Microsoft made the terminal choice as given by Wired through “You may remember that Microsoft attempted to do away with “used games” with the launch of the Xbox One. (Yeah, they made some hand-wavy claims of players being able to trade games at “participating retailers,” but the DRM scheme meant you couldn’t borrow, lend, sell them on eBay“, that setting is merely exploding in an economy that is not moving forward. That with 80% of the people on merely a 15% tax bracket or lower and the cost of living there is still going up. Even as Microsoft is pushing to “buy at the Microsoft store“, a digital copy cannot be handed out to friends, so there is little push for that move when you can only afford 4 games a year. However, Microsoft is in equal measure pushing for the Game Pass which balances one for the other. EA is making a similar move and it is actually an intelligent move to make. The few that would buy the latest NHL version no matter what gives is nothing compared to the overwhelming group that will happily buy the previous year version when it is part of a package deal at $40 a year. So I might wield the latest NHL version, at $40 a year getting the previous season of FIFA, NBA and NFL is just smart thinking. Yet these people are equally part of the claimants of IP theft. The question becomes (even as we accept that it will happen), how large is the actual IP theft? So when the US adds a 10% tariff on video games, does that merely make the download 10% more expensive? I do not think that from $40 to $44 for EA games is an increase we lose sleep about, yet the ‘cost’ of downloading remains as well, and in the flawed Microsoft design, how does the tariff apply over time, on DLC and other elements in gaming? All these changes and increases, where the consumer sees no upside, all based on projected and presented numbers without its proper representation and scrutiny.

This is how an economy goes the way of the Dodo, so when you think (source: Sydney Morning Herald) that the start of ‘US plans to curb Chinese tech investments, citing security‘ is a good idea and it is waxed with “the White House would use one of the most significant legal measures available to declare China’s investment in US companies involved in technologies such as new-energy vehicles, robotics and aerospace a threat to economic and national security, according to eight people familiar with the plans“, we need to see in equal setting the fact that 750 million Europeans might find the escalation of events important and threatening enough to take a 180 degree position on tech operators like Huawei when we are treated to “Huawei, China’s biggest maker of handsets and networking equipment, which has been flagged numerous times by US lawmakers as a possible security threat to Americans. Upon the New York Times’ publication of a piece (paywall) highlighting Facebook’s data sharing with Huawei, as well as with three other Chinese companies, the social network told the paper it would wind down (paywall) its partnership with the Shenzhen-based phone brand“. One side tries to stop and filter, whilst the other side turned open the tap and let the room flood. Even now, after a congressional hearing and the Cambridge Analytica events, we see alleged transgressions and the sharing of data on a stage where we see only growth. With “Due to the importance of highlighting the natural and heritage landmarks in the Kingdom, “Huawei Saudi” joined together with Qumra’s community of photographers to organize a workshop around “photography through smartphones” by using the latest “Huawei P20 Pro” phone” and the setting that offers the latest in mobile technology far below the prices that Google, Apple and Samsung have. It does not matter on how the tariff war is to become a disaster, it is the mere realisation that it fails because those implementing changes do not seem to comprehend that the economy consists of well over a billion consumers and they cannot afford the 10% more or the 28% more expensive mobile phone alternatives. In all this the people confronted with the dilemma merely went directly to the consumers, as such Harley Davidson is moving to Europe to circumvent a few barricades, a tariff war that was short sighted to a lot of people more intelligent than me and the country that considers naked short selling to not be illegal seems to be doing just that to its own economy, how is that the setting of morality of capitalism?

We consider the way of the Dodo and realise that in the end it merely tasted like chicken.

#HowSmartWereWe or is that #HowSmartHuawei

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Price of freedom

What is exactly the price of freedom? We hear it all the time. Certain things must be done so that we can remain free. You can hear it in the US, the UK, France, the Netherlands, Australia even in New Zealand it can be heard (not just from the sheep). No, it is that currency, freedom that is the question. You see, what exactly is that price and what does every nation have to pay, so that they can be free. When was the last time you considered that part?

When was the last time you got a clear instruction on how to launch a missile so that it lands EXACTLY in what the Houthi’s call “Two ballistic missiles were fired on Saturday evening from Yemen into Saudi Arabia, allegedly targeting Khamis Mushait, a city in the south-west of the country, the coalition forces announced“, whilst in the Saudi Gazette we see: “the other failed to target any populated areas of the city after landing in a desert area“. Now consider the claims we have seen in the past weeks on how they were targeting specific places in Riyadh, which is several times the distance that we saw approached now and the Houthi’s cannot get that right 50% of the time. So when we see “Missile launched at Saudi capital, Houthis claim responsibility“, what are they actually targeting, are they targeting anything? I believe that there are two kind of teams working in Yemen, an Iranian and a Houthi; the better shots were clearly Iranian and with the quote ““This hostile act carried out by the Iranian Houthi militia proves that the Iranian regime is still providing the terrorist Houthi armed militia with qualitative capabilities…with the main objective of threatening the Saudi Arabian, regional and international security,” Al-Malki stressed in the statement.”, the statement is not wrong, but it is not correct either a I personally see it. I think that the Iranians are actively training Houthi troops, so when we realise that they are intentionally firing into dense populated civilian areas. Why is there not a much stronger response from Europe? It was only yesterday that the independent reported (at https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/iran-nuclear-deal-latest-eu-donald-trump-sanctions-miguel-arias-canete-a8359126.html), that ‘it remains committed to accord despite Trump’s withdrawal‘, so that is the price of freedom, a nuclear deal with a nation committed to act in terrorist ways via puppets. The question becomes, what is this so called freedom worth to you, because when you are called on the accountability of what your politicians are doing, are you ready to pay that bill?

In this regard, the Conversation (at http://theconversation.com/trumps-high-stakes-gamble-on-the-iran-nuclear-deal-could-work-96449), offered an interesting thought. With “Though Israel provided a great deal of proof that Iran had lied about its nuclear program in the past, no evidence was offered that Iran was continuing the past record of deceit. The vast majority of experts agree that there is a greater likelihood of an arms race in the Middle East without the agreement than with it“. The statement is more important than you think. You see in the first we get ‘Iran had lied in the past‘, we also get ‘with a nuclear deal there is a smaller chance of nuclear arms acceleration‘ and ‘there is currently no evidence that Iran is currently acting in falsehood‘. They are important because if they lied then, what is stopping them from lying now? There is evidence of Iran acting in falsehood when we look at Yemen, now we have a ballgame, because any evidence of any level of nuclear advancement is a signal for Saudi Arabia to do the same thing, they clearly stated that. The conversation is in the belief that a nuclear deal is better, yet they call this not on the setting it is in, they are now about: ‘There is a chance the re-imposition of sanctions could work. However, it is a high-risk gamble‘, it is set as ‘a possible defence of withdrawal’, it was not about the withdrawal, it is about the nuclear setting where Iran will do what it pleases as it has done so in the past, allowing Uranium into Iran, whilst all players agree that monitoring precise Uranium numbers is not an actual reality, and with both Saudi Arabia and Israel on the firing line, it is not a high stakes gamble that they are willing to make. And leaving the decision of such a gamble with people who are not on the firing line is folly, because they pretty much have nothing to lose, in the worst case, their ego’s get to take on for the team. Explain to me how that was ever going to be a good idea? It gets even worse when we consider that President Rouhani is only in charge as long as the clergy and military agree on his actions, how exactly is that called being in charge? We get this from the NY Times on May 9th, where we see “Iran’s supreme leader on Wednesday hinted that his country might step up its nuclear program, signalling a possible escalation in an already volatile relationship with Washington after President Trump announced he was pulling the United States out of the 2015 nuclear deal”. So that is an outcome that the clergy decided on (apart from their advanced degrees on nuclear physics)? The stated issue by Ayatollah Khamenei is a dangerous one, in light of other materials, there is an increased issue that this deal was not a good idea from the very start.

I still believe that removing the Iranian navy is a first move, not only does it hurt their morale, it sets the Iranian clergy directly in opposition against the military, merely because the clergy thought their side to be invulnerable, there is nothing as uncommunicating as a clergy that knows that they are a direct target. They become the axial in a blame game, a good place for Iran to be in internally (for us). The biggest Issue I saw was not on some Iranians, merely on that a future president could end up being another Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and as such the escalations begin again, yet now that person has nuclear options not a thought you would ever be willing to give any extreme Iranian president.

The issue is not merely the nuclear deal, it is Europe as a whole. When we see “Miguel Arias Canete, the European commissioner for energy and climate, said the 28-nation bloc, once the biggest importer of Iranian oil, also hoped to boost trade with Tehran“, they are ‘hoping‘ to boost trade. This is merely an economic necessity, the European economy is reported to be good, but now consider, it is 1941 and you are willing to deal with Nazi Germany, just to look economically better. Make sure you see the 1941 reference; this is no reflection on today’s Germany. Boosting trade with Iran comes at a price. Now consider that this has been going on for a year and now Iran states: “I would love to do this another three years, yet my good friend Turkey should be allowed in the EU“, now what will happen? A nation that should by the EU’s own standard never be admitted is now optionally a new EU nation. In that part when we consider the quote: “Mr Salehi said Iran had several options, including resuming its 20 per cent uranium enrichment if the European countries failed to keep the pact alive. He said the EU had only a few weeks to deliver on their promises“, this alone is an issue, because it is feasible that Russia has been delivering the hardware needed to an undisclosed location, now setting a different stage. In all this the EU is so willing to set the price of freedom in the basement, whilst knowingly endangering both Saudi Arabia and Israel.

The nightmare scenario

The nightmare scenario is not that Iran becomes nuclear; no it is the same issue when we look back to the era of Nazi Germany. I still personally believe that the State If Israel got created in an effort to get the blood rage that would have haunted Europe for decades off the streets, that danger was very real in 1945-1948. The Dutch NSB members, the Germans in general, we also get the quote “This was a time of often enthusiastic collaboration with the Third Reich, as French police and paramilitary organisations were among the many who rounded up ‘enemies of the state’ and sent them to Germany for extermination.” (I think that this was merely part of occupied France), or what we get from historian Jan Grabowski “‘Orgy of Murder’: The Poles Who ‘Hunted’ Jews and Turned Them Over to the Nazis“, at this point we have 4 countries where a people in utter rage could have persecuted Europeans for decades, that ugly reality alone and not even considering Belgium, Denmark, Italy and a few other places, on how long restorations would have additionally lasted. I am close to 100% certain that it would still be going on by the time I was born, so that image is part of all this.

The reason is that once this goes wrong, when we are optionally going to be a witness to a lynching unlike we have seen for 350 years. When this goes pear shaped and it is close to a certainty that it will go wrong, those who politicised this to happen, might in person feel what it was to be like Cornelis and Johan de Witt, who both got lynched and mutilated by the angry mob on August 20th 1672. These politicians will hide behind complications and mere uncertainties, but so did those who opposed the house of Orange, it did not end well for them.

When that happens, Europe will fall into anarchy, it will happen not because it is destined to do so, but because too many politicians have been trying to sell a bill of goods and there will be escalating levels of mistrust and anger. In this it will not matter whether Saudi Arabia or Israel will get hit, the hit will be enough to make every European politician a valid target for hunting and lynching. Their entire approach to keep every deal going whilst there is too much overwhelming evidence of the unacceptable acts by both Turkey and Iran will be the fuelling cause for it all.

After that I have no way to make any predictions, some politicians will take a long vacation in a nation without extradition the moment things go massively wrong, or try refugee status in America, but those who do not get out in time, will not have any options, they will, due to their own stupidity get hunted down.

Why?

That question is actually a lot more important than you might think. There has been an interaction of politics and media, that has never been a secret, yet in the past there was a level of balance, now, in the age where it is all about commerce and circulation, we see a different setting, the media at large are for the lack of a better term no more than a concubine, who splits her attention between the advertiser, the shareholder and the stakeholder. None of those three are the reader by the way; they merely get introduced to what we now call ‘stories of eventuality‘, which is different from actual news. Most papers merely use what Reuters offer and work with that foundation in any way that they can. This is not a national issue; it is a global one, so when something is not actually nationally set (apart from big events), we do not get the news we get some paraphrased context. Now consider that we have had that for 3-4 days and suddenly there is a nuclear explosion in Riyadh, Jeddah, Tel Aviv or Eilat. When that happens, do you think that the people will remain calm? No, they will be scared out of their minds and all the pretty stories that the news gave, and all the politicians who hid behind ‘we do not expect this to happen’ or ‘it could be so good for us all if it works out’ will not stop a group of people who will add up to many millions, their fear will catch on and they will hunt down anyone related to the Iran Nuclear deal and the messages that they handed out. Like Johan de Witt, they will be trying to get away, but an enraged crowd of that many people cannot be avoided, the only issue is, can those who signed it see that danger in time?

Is there real danger?

That is the part no one, especially me can predict. There is too much not known and even more at times misrepresented, so it is not likely but that merely is set to the foundation of facts, and we are often not given facts, merely speculations (even I am to some degree speculating), I am trying to stay as real as possible, but in light of what I just gave, based on the founding facts that we all have been able to see around us for a few years now. When the fears of nuclear events become reality, which person will not go into fear driven panic? All that, because the politicians of today are set in a battle arena where it is all about the economy and anything that can contribute to that economy must be embraced no matter how the political setting is. That is the setting and even as there is no real stability in that setting, as we see pressure on more than one currency, we will also see the need for intense economic growth and some will give representation that Turkey give options in this, that is the first moment where failure will translate to pressure, when that happens all bets are off and in light of those sliding values, should Iran (yes, I stated ‘should’) do one stupid move in any nuclear setting we will see a different kind of fallout, we will see the kind where the bulk of 740 million Europeans will all pretty much lose it on the spot, that is the moment where we will see on how ‘speech making’ will be a hangable offense to those people, no courts, no judges, millions of hysterically enraged (enraged through fear) who will seek people to hold accountable (the blame game), that is the wrong day to be a politicians, let me tell you that much.

Now, I do not think the danger is that big, although it is directly linked to the acts of Iran, so it is not zero. The real danger is grown with the moral setting of both Iran and Turkey, the fact that some want to keep the discussion going, whilst it should have been discontinued a long time ago will also count. We are heading into murky shallow waters and the end game cannot be predicted, merely because of the amount of players and they all have their own needs. Yet the one part that I do not fathom is that some are willing to add the ‘price of freedom‘ as a currency to calm both political and economic waters with people who have no regard for either element in that setting, a dangerous precedent I think, but that might merely be me.

 

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That’s entertainment

Today is a weird day, it is globally weird. You see, today billions will focus on who is getting an Academy Award, some are hoping to see the idol of their life, like Chris Hemsworth or Scarlett Johansson. Some hope that Stan Lee will be asked to hand out an Oscar and others (many ladies) are hoping to see the extravagant post fashion styles that the ladies will cloth themselves in. Among them millions of movie fans that get to see if it is the movie that they liked will win the Oscar. Now with Saudi Arabia opening cinemas in Saudi Arabia, will the MBC Group be there this year or will they start broadcasting the event next year? Another optional group of 34 million viewers in a group that currently is set to billions.

So whilst we wonder which one will become the best movie, my vote is on the Shape of Water, yet I believe the statue is likely to go to Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. No matter who will win, we see that in Syria ‘forces loyal to the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, have captured six villages and towns bordering the besieged rebel-held enclave of eastern Ghouta, as hopes that a long-planned humanitarian convoy might enter the area were dashed again‘, so as we learn that the death toll of 103 since Saturday highlighted the paralysis of an international community that had demanded the ceasefire and the delivery of humanitarian aid, we need to realise that the UN and the UNSC has become nothing more than a paper tiger that has the ability to roar towards the media, but without claws and teeth, it can no longer be the legislation that bites, or the shield that scratches. Just like the Wonder Woman 1:1 figurine (at https://www.cbr.com/life-size-wonder-woman-statue/), that is for sale for $1990, pretty, nice, but basically something you can walk around and unless you have real space in your apartment space that remains wasted but for the true Wonder Woman fan. It is a shame that the once mighty organisation has lost its impact on the world, well that is how the 475,000 fatalities in Syria feel about it. Oh, no, they do not. They are dead, they no longer feel anything.

So whilst we look back on the Oscars, wondering who best actor and actress will be, I have to admit that I am clueless. I had not seen Margot Robbie, or Saoirse Ronan, but both Francess McDormand and Meryl Streep did shine in their parts, my money will this time be on the 3 billboards main character, but it is anyone’s guess, I can’t even be sure if the experts in acting can figure out who will win that one. So as we are in that part, we need to realise that Danny Danon is quoted by the Jerusalem Post (at http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/UN-Ambassador-Danny-Danon-decries-UN-inaction-on-Iran-at-AIPAC-544188) to do something about Iran. Now, this is not the first time that Israel has issues with Iran. So when we see “While speaking at the AIPAC Committee Policy Conference in Washington on Sunday, Danon said it was crucial that the international community recognizes the threat Iran poses to regional stability. “It is vital that the UN focus on the real problems of the world, like Iran,” the ambassador said. “We all know just how dangerous this threat is, but the UN is wasting time and energy on votes and reports against Israel.”” we see nothing new, yet in the opposition, we see (at https://www.cnbc.com/2018/03/03/iran-calls-on-us-europe-to-scrap-nuclear-arms-missiles.html), that Iran has a warped sense of needs. With “Iran will not negotiate over its ballistic missiles until the United States and Europe dismantle their nuclear weapons, a top Iranian military official said on Saturday“, so not China, or Russia, or India. Merely that the US and Europe dismantle is. From my point of view, the ‘top Iranian military official‘ was born stupid and the man stopped evolving after birth. Naive and stupid in one efficiently compact package, could we get it any better? So when we see “Iran says its nuclear program is defensive because of its deterrent nature“, should we consider its delivery to Yemen as a defensive posture? And what happens when the Iranians ‘accidently‘ (due to their lack of intelligence) send the wrong missile to Yemen? Will we get to see the UN representative go ‘oops!‘? I am merely asking because of the short-sighted situation here and in all this the stage of the theatres in politics and the theatres of war seem to overlap, none of them worthy of an Oscar in this particular setting, but we thank the nominees for playing their part. So whilst we saw the Paper Tiger called ‘United Nations’ in other settings, we see that the acts by the “UN Human Rights Council’s “blacklist” of Israeli and international companies operating in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights” is setting the premise in a different light. So whilst we see “a US delegation visiting the West Bank had to be rescued by Palestinian Authority policemen on Thursday after being attacked“, we see that Palestine is still demanding to be recognised by the UN, whilst still sending rockets into Israel. Some things will never change I reckon, but it is a sad state of affairs across the decades.

When it comes to the supporting acts in the Oscars, my hopes are for Sam Rockwell and Octavia Spencer, that whilst the others would be equally deserving, especially Richard Jenkins, yet in the end, we can only cast out votes once and that is how I would have voted. In that same light as the United Nations Security Council cast its vote a week ago on a Russian sponsored resolution regarding Yemen, we see that the Toronto Star reported that 55 people dies in the clash in Yemen, so whilst we see (at https://www.defensenews.com/congress/2018/03/01/us-senators-want-vote-to-end-support-for-saudi-arabia-in-yemen-war/), that we see ‘US senators want vote to end support for Saudi Arabia in Yemen war‘, that whilst the rightful ruler asked for the help of Saudi Arabia, in all this, where was America? Oh and where is America in regards to the Syrian war? Perhaps some will remember the attack on 21st of August 2013, so when the UN inspection got there and they confirmed “clear and convincing evidence” of the use of Sarin delivered by surface-to-surface rockets; in addition a 2014 report by the UN Human Rights Council found that “significant quantities of sarin were used in a well-planned indiscriminate attack targeting civilian-inhabited areas, causing mass casualties. The evidence available concerning the nature, quality and quantity of the agents used on 21 August indicated that the perpetrators likely had access to the chemical weapons stockpile of the Syrian military, as well as the expertise and equipment necessary to safely manipulate large amount of chemical agents“. Yet the American satellites were useless, even as they got the IMAX view with stereo sound of the speculated 1600 bodies, who all screamed a horrible death as they died, the American saw nothing, or so they say. Perhaps it is like Turkey and the Armenian genocide. They were just too worried to kick the wrong political pile, or as the NY Times stated it “A bill to that effect nearly passed in the fall of 2007, gaining a majority of co-sponsors and passing a committee vote. But the Bush administration, noting that Turkey is a critical ally — more than 70 per cent of the military air supplies for Iraq go through the Incirlik airbase there — pressed for the bill to be withdrawn, and it was” (at http://www.nytimes.com/ref/timestopics/topics_armeniangenocide.html) and Bush was not alone The Obama administration did the same with “Ben Rhodes and Samantha Power, key foreign policy advisers to Obama, say his administration was too worried about offending Turkey” (at https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/19/armenian-genocide-ben-rhodes-samantha-power-obama-349973), pussies, the whole bloody lot of them on both sides of the isle. So as we get “As a presidential candidate in 2008, Obama promised that he would formally recognize an Armenian genocide as historical fact. But as president, he passed up multiple chances to do so, including in 2015, when Armenians marked the 100th anniversary of the atrocities“, we need to recognise that recognition is no way to commerce and cash is king, especially in a bankrupt America, or so say the rulers from Wall Street. So in light of the inactions, will Hollywood make it up by making ‘Last Men in Aleppo‘ documentary of the year? I cannot tell because I did not see any of the documentaries, I do believe that Inside Job in 2010 was the last documentary I saw and that one actually gives more rise to the rumours that Wall Street is the actual ruler of America. The fact that Kim Kardashian, yes Kim Kardashian of all people who ended up bitch slapping the Wall Street Journal for denying the Armenian genocide must be the highlight for the WSJ to set in stone, sometimes the people you ignore because they are outside of ones scope of entertainment are the ones surprising you beyond belief. So as we are getting close to the start of the Oscars, as we wonder if there is going to be the crossing of dictionaries between Jimmy Kimmel and Matt Damon, we wonder if Jimmy is going to get a few jabs in against Mrs Damon’s favourite Martian.

As we wonder whether the UN has any values left by targeting Israel whilst ignoring Iran, whilst their actions regarding Syria are unanswered and unnoticed by Syria and Russia, we also see the accusations via Haaretz (at https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/allegation-kushner-punished-qatar-resurfaces-in-mueller-probe-1.5869124), that ‘Kushner Punished Qatar for Not Investing in Real-estate Deal Resurfaces in Mueller Probe‘, where we see “Special Counsel Robert Mueller has asked witnesses about Kushner’s attempts to secure financing for his family’s real estate ventures, focusing specifically on his talks with people from Qatar and Turkey, as well as Russia, China and the United Arab Emirates, NBC News said“, so even as it is about Qatar, the smallest part with ‘talks with people from Qatar and Turkey‘, so even here we see actions that involve Turkey somehow. The question becomes what did Turkey get out of it, because going back to 2001, we have seen that Turkey only acts when it (largely) benefits Turkey, a stance that cannot be faulted, but we can wonder if the other side has any business trying to do business with Turkey in the first place. so when we look at the Global Magnitsky Act (at https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/09/13/us-global-magnitsky-act), where we see: “In an important step for global accountability, Congress built on the original Russia-focused Magnitsky law in 2016 and enacted the Global Magnitsky Act, which allows the executive branch to impose visa bans and targeted sanctions on individuals anywhere in the world responsible for committing human rights violations or acts of significant corruption. The act received widespread bipartisan support. Senator Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat, introduced a version of the bill, and five Republican senators and five Democratic senators signed on as co-sponsors. President Barack Obama signed the law on December 23, 2016“, yet as far as I have been able to find, there are no Turkish Parties in any of this, is that not odd. When we see the acts in Syria, or even closer to Turkey, the 6 journalists that have been ‘praised’ with life imprisonment, how humane has Turkey shown itself to be?

Yet in the end, we can see all this as a mere form of entertainment, there are the Oscars, we have the Raspberries where (unsurprisingly) this year the Emoji movie took a near clean sweep of all possible wins, we could get the Golden Bazooka, or the golden Rack (that device that adds 6 inches to your length in 5 minutes), is there any doubt who would win those trophies? I wonder if people would stay at home for that. Eating popcorn, watching the atrocities and voting who was the worst of the worst. It entertainment, that is how our lives are minimised and scrutinised to, because actually improving the overall state of the world might no longer be an option, in that we can see that the financial sector on a global scale removed all available funds for that endeavour.

That’s life, that’s entertainment and it is the way we now choose to live!

Through acts of inaction, shame on us!

 

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SW2, not WW2

Is there a Syrian War 2 brewing? That was the initial thought I had when I got exposed to the ridiculous claims from Turkey this morning. There are two parts. the first comes from the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/19/turkey-warns-assad-not-intervene-kurdish-enclave-afrin), the quote is “Turkey warned the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad that it risked a military confrontation with Ankara if it intervened in an ongoing war in the Kurdish enclave of Afrin, in a further escalation of tensions that hint at the possible widening of an already complex conflict“, now, just to make sure you get this. Turkey invaded Syria for the alleged reason of coming to aid towards Assad, or perhaps merely to ‘fight ISIS‘ in a presentation attempt to silently start the second genocide, the genocide of the Kurdish people. So Turkey goes invades Syria and now states: “Turkey warned the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad that it risked a military confrontation with Ankara if it intervened“, so how is optionally opposing an invader ‘intervening‘?

The second part comes from the BBC (at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-43107013), where we see basically the same with ‘Afrin offensive: Turkey warns Syria against helping Kurds‘. So when we read “Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said Turkey’s operations were going ahead as planned and it would be a “disaster” if Syrian troops were to intervene“, should we deduce that a failed introduction to genocide is a ‘disaster‘?

Even as we see the similarities, we see that the issue is larger than merely a scuffle between the Turks and the Kurds, the way we see the quotes and the way that they are reported give rise to the fact that there are other issues below the waterline. It is not merely semantics, it is the interaction that Turkey has been having with several nations gives that rise and the optional viewing of that should make plenty of people worried at the very least and decently nervous in the nominal setting of international relationships.

The BBC article ends with “President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Russia’s Vladimir Putin that Damascus would face “consequences” if it struck a deal with the Kurds, CNN Turk reported on Monday“. So, Erdogan, President of Turkey, a person with not much diplomatic skills or powers outside of Turkey for that matter, is telling Putin….? Oh, sorry, I nearly lost my breakfast laughing myself into several layers of bellyaches. It is almost as impactful and powerful as me calling Alexander Bortnikov, telling him to give me access to all his data, or he is going to hear ‘stuff he will not like‘ (most likely me calling him a pussy). Yes, people like the President of the Russian Federation, or the director of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (Федеральная служба безопасности Российской Федерации (ФСБ)) getting told by the likes of President Erdogan (or me for that matter) is something they should take extremely serious (sorry, second laughing attack, I will be back shortly). So, after I had my second laughing attack that lasted close to 611 seconds, I got back into my seat and decided to take another gander at a few parts. You see, the nice part of such short sighted actions is that it alienates the players Turkey actually desperately needs. Which in turn is making Iran more and more nervous, which is good news for several countries in the Middle East. The interesting part in all this that he BBC reported “During the course of the Syrian war, pro-government forces have largely avoided direct conflict with the YPG, but they have had sporadic clashes“, which now gives the optional food for thought that Syria might actually set some resources that way with the optional thought that they will not be targeting the YPG, because if we agree that direct conflict was never a real necessity, the Turkish forces changing that by sticking their short stick in a hornets nest, that part would be the greater threat to Syria, which now gets them into hot water is a few places and on several ways. In addition, it will also change the conversation that is going to happen in Kazakhstan in two weeks, giving more questions if there is still going to be a summit in Istanbul on Syria. The changing pressures are by no means a way to get things talked about and smoothed over. Even as Reuters gives us: “The three countries are working together to try to push the troubled Syrian peace process forward“, we need to also consider the mandate that Tehran gave to Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as the outbursts from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is pushing its own agenda whilst at the same time causing chaos towards the plans that Iran seemed to be having in all this, his self-serving hatred of Kurdistan is making the creation of coalitions next to impossible. With the Netherlands adding fuel to the fire of Turkish non-diplomacy, as they have now voted to recognise the Armenian genocide of 1915, pressures are growing there too, at a time when Turkey needed every European nation to be on his side regarding the non-realistic approach to becoming an EU nation, we see that the gap is increasing beyond the chance of that ever becoming a reality. The Turkish parties kicking every hornets nest in the Middle East is not very useful. On the other hand, Turkey could decide after Kicking both the US and Russia, to see if this level of craziness is useful in Beijing, which it is unlikely to be unless they open up all kinds of open trade paths which might actually be a lot less interesting to Turkey, especially at a time when Turkey is trying to get increased Cherry exports to China in time for the next harvest, the need to grow their export which according to some is in excess of 80,000 tons, they are now in a stage where they can no longer afford to get on anyone else’s wrong side, which must be a novel experience for the Turkish Diplomatic Corps.

All this whilst the issues in Greece and Cyprus are at present still unresolved, with the Ekathimerini making a connection between the report published on March 28, 1897 in Empros newspaper where we get: “referred to a foreign diplomat who described Greeks’ behaviour in relation to Turkey as that of a dog that barks, but does not bite. We all know what followed, but we still tend to forget how bad it is in international affairs when you bark, but no one really feels any threat“, and the escalations on gas resources at present, that whilst there is a certain logic to make the statement, especially when we consider Europe, NATO and the UN is seen in relation to: “where tensions broke out between Greece and Turkey, these organizations never really offered anything more than carefully worded statements“, that is the situation when we rely on the paper tiger to get things done. So when we read: “Athens must be very careful in weighing its next moves. It’s a balance of terror. If it shows compliancy, one can’t be certain where the other side will stop“, whilst we all know perfectly well that Ankara will not stop until forcefully halted. As the article ends with the absence of emotion in the Turkish-Greek debates, the issue is that the theatre is getting prepared to get very emotional from more than one side. Turkey almost has no options left after kicking all the wrong shins. In my view, when Syria escalates and escalates in one wrong direction we will get a flood of orchestrated news (whilst journalists have been sentenced to life in prison) and from there onwards it becomes a long winded marketing campaign, because Turkey seems to be realising that the US, the UN and Europe are all about statements and statements alone. Which is a dangerous game as it could press towards a second Syrian war where the Syrian Kurdish area could get annexed into Turkey and its population would optionally somehow mysteriously vanish.

So, how should we see the optional threat of a second Syrian war? that is hard to see, with too many high level meetings, with the latest addition being one with the Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to meet in April in Turkey, there is no telling what it will actually be about. Even as we have seen from enough sources that it will be about Syria, there is in my personal view absolutely no way that it will just be about Syria, especially as the meetings are going to be behind closed doors. That view is made stronger when we consider the news merely a few days ago when Kirill Dmitriev, the chief executive of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), told CNBC “We’re at the breaking point in positive territory of this relationship … We really embarked on an amazing positive journey“, that in light of Iranian issues and the fact that President Putin’s face is on the homepage of the RFID gives enough indication that nothing happens there without the explicit approval from more than one key member of the Kremlin and there lies the complication, The meeting around Syria is set in a stage where all three have separate agenda’s. Turkey has the Kurdistan region, Russia has a truckload of billions it can win with Saudi Arabia and Iran is extremely opposing anything pro-Saudi Arabia, as well as having a few additional issues regarding Yemen, who would really like Russia to become a mediator here, so the Syrian talks will come with close to half a dozen unscheduled stress points. So, when we see these issues in the lights that can be confirmed, will Syria see more or less stability?

Less stability is not a given, but the premise of it happening is actually more realistic than I would have foreseen less than a year ago.

 

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Behind the political screen

We have seen events in the last few years that make me wonder if there is sanity in choice. Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against Catalonia, against their desire to become independent. It might make local sense, yet where is the wisdom? You see, the same was in play for Scotland, and now we are starting to see more ‘fire’ from Lombardy. A lot of these moves do not make sense. We might argue that an independent Scotland makes the most sense, yet in all this the direct issue is that they cannot afford it. If the oil was different, perhaps, yet even then there are larger questions not considered. The first being ‘How will we keep a budget?‘, this is the first issue and it sank any chance for Scotland. Even with the oil sales, they were already well over 10% short and as oil revenue dwindles down, the Scottish options melted like snowflakes in a Pizza oven. So until the Scottish political delegations attracts a larger more settled form of investors and long term players there is no independent Scotland, there never will be one as it currently sits and I agree that this is a sad thing for the Scots. Now as we consider Scotland and consider that both Catalonia and Lombardy will be in a place that is a lot worse than Scotland would be, the question now becomes, who is pushing behind the screen. You see these levels of ‘local pride’ is getting pushed, and it is always pushed by people with a greed driven agenda and that is a much larger problem than anyone is willing to admit to.

You see, as I personally see it, a few players didn’t get their way through Spain and the UK and are now vying for another path that opens up opportunity and credit cards. Yet behind all this, once they have what they got, they move away, out of sight, out of mind and leave where ever they have been a massive financial mess that is suddenly not theirs to solve, which they then ‘sell’ on to other players. And after that, who pays the bills? Will the ECB come with funds? Will they make the nations sign new debt agreements and exchange bills for large corporations? Perhaps we will suddenly see a wave of news with all the great things the EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) can do for all the players involved. It opens up the doors they need and makes the government vassals towards the goals they have in play. One large Europe where no one gets to have a say, except for the large financier and multinational that swim in the pool that supports and supplies their needs. The fear after Brexit is growing almost exponentially within their halls of power. With ‘Since our establishment in 1991 we’ve invested over €115 billion in more than 4,500 projects‘ we all seem to think the best of the EBRD (which might not be wrong), so where do they get their profit from? Because a bank, EVERY BANK, requires return on investment to continue! With “The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is owned by 67 shareholders, 65 countries and two international organisations” that question becomes more and more important. You see, the fact that there are nations providing funds is fine. Yet when we see Canada subscribing with $1 billion a year, are they throwing money out the door, or window for that matter? In addition, what are the Governor and alternate, or more precisely The Hon Bill Morneau and Mr Ian Shugart getting out of this? Now, let me be clear. I am not stating that the EBRD is doing anything wrong, illegal or immoral! I am asking questions on where these independent seeking groups are getting their economic wisdom (or lack thereof from) the fact that these organisations ALL have boards of directors, getting an income I reckon, is food for thought, because all that money is set, stored or reserved to some extent and their local citizens should be allowed to know where that money is going to. In addition, when these groups are being invested in, the fact that they have no real viable plan to be economic independent is also a matter of concern, so whoever is setting up the funds in all this should be placed in the spotlight. The questions I ask regarding the EBRD, should give food for thought. Even as many might not remember 1993, the Independent (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/attali-runs-out-of-credit-the-ebrd-president-was-finally-forced-to-yield-to-calls-for-his-head-1494218.html) gave us: “Jacques Attali, the beleaguered president of the Bank for European Reconstruction and Development, picked up the telephone in his office in Broadgate and rang a number in Sweden. He spoke for several minutes to Anne Wibble, the Swedish finance minister and chairman of the bank’s governors, who was away from her office on Sweden’s summer solstice holiday. By the time he put down the phone, he had resigned from his post.” It sounds so summery and tranquil, yet the story is not so sweet. With “The Financial Times reported that Attali had been reimbursed twice for the same first-class air fare to Tokyo and had collected dollars 30,000 (pounds 20,000) for a speech there, even though bank staff were not supposed to be paid by anyone but the EBRD“, we see merely another section of the gravy train. First class lights, twice in his case apparently, or is that for what we used to call a ‘travel secretary‘? In addition he seemingly gets more for one day than most are hoping to ever get for an entire quarter. As for the ‘not supposed to be paid by anyone but the EBRD‘, how much was he on? As the list goes on with most notably the refurbishment of 55.5 million, I think I have illuminated enough for more questions to be asked. The article has more and more vicious material, so do read it. This now gets us to the three optional nations to be, because they will need funds and loans and other things. So whilst it is not out of the question that they would knock on all those doors, the slam back from the EBRD part is: “The EBRD’s expenditure on itself was twice as much as the bank’s actual lending in 1991 and 1992, its first two years of operation“, so running the gravy train, or is that ‘hiring executive jets‘ to fly back an forth to these three nations to be, will we see more disgraceful spending? Reuters gives us more from last June with ‘Ex-EBRD banker jailed for six years for bribery by UK court‘ (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ebrd-corruption-prison/ex-ebrd-banker-jailed-for-six-years-for-bribery-by-uk-court-idUSKBN19B37Y), with the quote “Andrey Ryjenko, 44, who has joint UK and Russian citizenship, had been found guilty of conspiring to make or accept corrupt payments between July 2008 and November 2009 while he worked at the London-based development bank“, so there are issues and I am decently convinced that in all this Andrey Ryjenko was not the only player, as it went on for well over a year, he was merely the less intelligent one as he was the only one who seemingly got caught. So as we see how Europe is not bursting at the seams for new players to create what we might see as a ‘virtual’ or ‘fictive’ growth of the economic terrain, we will see more economic players, opening new commissions, new ‘opportunities’ whilst in fact, it is merely to set up another part of the gravy train with three new optional stops. This is what is going on behind the political screen and it is happening right in front of our very eyes. So, now as the EIB s loaning Spain 600 million euro for a Basque high speed railway, we need to ask how this will be earning itself back. It might seem nice on the verge of creating jobs for a little while. The idea that something will bring 24 million in revenue a year merely to pay for the interest is just short of insane. It is a 180Km track, so the idea that people would pay 400% to gain 30-45 minutes is close to insane. Having a normal upgraded rail that would be at 30% of the cost giving us a 140-165Km per hour train versus a train that needs to slow down by the time it is a maximum speed is beyond belief (OK, that was a small exaggeration). I get that it might seem really cool for Spain to have their three Basque capitals (Vitoria, Bilbao and San Sebastian) connected, yet the way money is thrown away is just too weird for reality (at http://www.globalconstructionreview.com/news/eu-loans-spain-600m-basque-high-speed-railway/). The 600 million is merely the loan whilst the plan requires at least 400 million more and I feel certain that by 2019 the people get to learn that the calculations were off by no less than 17%. It is the final part that astounded me the most. With “More than 7 million people are expected to use these new high-speed lines in their first year of operation, said the EIB“, Yet when we look at Statista (at https://www.statista.com/statistics/457527/passenger-traffic-in-the-high-speed-train-between-madrid-and-barcelona/) we see that the biggest transport vein (Madrid-Barcelona) was getting between 2.5 million (2010) and 3.4 million (2014), so how that goes up to an astounding 300% for High Speed trains is quite beyond me, because let’s face it, not only is it the size of the place, where we see 3 million for Madrid versus 340,000 for Bilbao, we see Barcelona with 1.6 million versus San Sebastian with 186,000 and there is Vitoria with 244,000. So the population numbers do not add up, the stats compared to other high speed trains do not add up and the required economic importance of the locations do not add up, but someone sold the story that made Spain to be facilitated for a loan that is already surpassing 1.4 billion. That is the game behind the screen and in all this, there are a lot of questions and no one is asking them. The people are merely sitting down, casually seeing train carts full of loans pass by, loans that they in the end have to pay for. And I am willing to bet anyone a nice old beer that the people selling the story that sold got a nice pay check in the end too.

As I personally see it, greed will always be the main player behind nearly every political screen and the three optional nations to be, would potentially get into hot waters on year one of their existence. So how does that solve anything? It is not impossible that these steps are not the beginnings of independent places, it is merely the start of the sovereign right of a financial institution to have the terms of conditions of their needs be made into law by contractual agreement of whatever geographical indicator that they have acquired ownership of through hostile takeovers without an army and no elections required.

And all this comes at a slightly larger price than most would expect (even beyond my descriptions given), as Spain is lowering its forecast, we see the dangers that the deficit will grow way beyond the proportions expected a quarter ago, so that will dampen further positive news. In all this, whilst unemployment is still way over the top, the EU will have a dampened outlook on a few levels, as Spain is now becoming the more outspoken negative element in all this. In this too many players have been looking towards the short term gains that were seemingly in place, yet in the end, so far they still need to prove to be a positive return on investment, something the new High Speed Train is unlikely to ever become. In that setting we see player’s vying for some level of independent growth, whilst they have futuristically been set on a debt level that will merely strangle them. How is that independence or an act to create forward momentum?

We see the elements, yet the media at large steers clear of several parts in all this. At times we hear some overpaid high official in that government state: “It is a really complex matter to address, so we have sought the expertise of the leading members in that field”, we only need to look at ABC (at http://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2017-01-27/milk-company-problems-as-dairy-industry-sours/8184544) to see the events that involve the Tasmanian-based Linear Capital, we see in addition “Queensland coal miner Bill McDonald told the ABC he planned to build a 40,000-strong dairy herd and was on the hunt for 250 million litres of milk to complement his own production”, it is followed by “Within 18 months, the company announced that Mr McDonald had sold all his shares in the company and he instead planned to invest his money back in the coal industry. His departure came after the company announced its $500 million plan to produce and process its own milk had been put on hold”. So as I see it there is a structural failure, because in all this, where are the contracts? Was there any investigation? What were the findings? All this in an established nation like Australia, so when Scotland, Catalonia and Lombardy get their own version of these ‘investors’, how will it end for them? Perhaps a nice high aimed loan from places like the EIB, the EBRD, or perhaps even both? Yet when the plan starts failing and people start jumping the shark, what then? What will the damage be and how is it that these matters are not set in stronger bonds holding these investors long term accountable for the consequences of their actions.

The real question remains if such events could be prevented; you see the issue was partially addressed by me in August 2013, with ‘Political ego and their costs’ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2013/08/16/political-ego-and-their-costs/) we see the issue raised and not before 2015. In 2 articles the first (at http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2015/05/the-fyra-high-speed-train-debacle-cost-the-dutch-state-e11bn/) shows that the Dutch state losses were stated to be just over €10.8bn so far, the NOS stated that week. Also we see stated: “travellers did not get what they were promised, MP Madeleine van Toorenburg, who is heading the inquiry, told a news conference”. In the second article (at http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2015/10/the-fyra-high-speed-train-debacle-what-the-dutch-papers-say/), So when we see ‘a job half-done which has cost every household in the Netherlands €1,500’, as well as ‘The crux of the matter is the un-transparent and unclear relationship between what was a public sector company and the government’, so the people get to read parts that I had already seen coming two years earlier. Of course the largest delay was the commission, and those dragging their heels to make sure that some names were either delayed in mentioning, or merely blocked from being mentioned at all. The Netherlands and Australia have protection from multi billion Euro stupidities, the new regions will not have that benefit and as such someone gets to pay the price. In all this, the less said on the NHS blunders the better, yet it clearly shows that the entire situation cannot be maintained and still some people end up with a large bag of coins, they move on whilst the households get to pay for their overvalued income.

It is a game that I have seen starting, misreported, placed on notice of communication and written off the red ledgers as bad debt for decades, larger more draconian changes are need to hold ‘PowerPoint users’, who in the end quickly move to another challenge with bags of coins, these people need to sign waivers and be held accountable for damages and losses, yet at that point the politicians will back down, their symbiotic connection being vital to their own futures, no matter how massive a project fails.

The fact that this has been going on for too long and still is happening all over Europe is why I fear that in the end nothing gets solved, nothing is clearly improved and every cent of the overinflated budgets is still spend, often with well over 10% spent beyond of what was available. Feel free to consider your losses as you pay for a project that never worked, was never implemented and is sitting on a shelf; you merely have to release your savings, is that not fair?

So welcome to the show of what you cannot see as it happens behind the stage of the politician and it is demanding all the camera time it can get, leaving you in the dark.

 

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Stupid after the fact

We have always heralded stupidity, some in their work sphere, and some in the private sphere. It happens. Yet, when we are lucky we get to see the rarest of events, ‘greedy and stupid’ in one neatly wrapped package. That is the view we need to take when we see the Associated Press give us the events of ‘Carlos Nuzman, president of the Brazilian Olympic committee‘. So as we are treated with “In total, 11 detention warrants were issued for people in both Brazil and France in what police dubbed “Operation Unfair Play.”” we need to wonder how this came about. Now, there is the non-existing reality of ‘honour amongst thieves’, yet when it comes to the corrupt that rule will never exist. Most of these people are merely one skip away from being a target themselves. So when we see that the associated press gives us not a lot to go on (most merely circumstantial facts). The NY Times (at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/08/sports/olympics/whistle-blower-says-he-told-of-rio-olympics-corruption-years-ago.html), has a lot more. With “Mr. Maleson, an outspoken critic of Mr. Nuzman, made accusations about Olympic projects and asked the I.O.C. why it had not prevented Mr. Nuzman, 75, from occupying the dual roles of leader of the Rio 2016 organizing committee and chief of Brazil’s national Olympic committee. “This is a clear conflict of interests, and the I.O.C. should never have allowed this to happen,” Mr. Maleson wrote in a Sept. 6, 2014, email to the I.O.C.’s president, Thomas Bach, and the organization’s judicial body. He contacted the I.O.C. in 2012 to accuse Mr. Nuzman of corruption and election fraud“, here we see systematic failures of organisations that grew beyond their means of comprehension. Consider the time-line. When we consider the Oxford Olympics Study 2016, with: “the outturn cost of the Sydney 2000 Summer Olympics at USD 5 billion in 2015-dollars and cost overrun at 90% in real terms. This includes sports-related costs only, that is, (i) operational costs incurred by the organizing committee for the purpose of staging the Games, e.g., expenditures for technology, transportation, workforce, administration, security, catering, ceremonies, and medical services, and (ii) direct capital costs incurred by the host city and country or private investors to build, e.g., the competition venues, the Olympic village, international broadcast center, and media and press center, which are required to host the Games. Indirect capital costs are not included, such as for road, rail, or airport infrastructure, or for hotel upgrades or other business investment incurred in preparation for the Games but not directly related to staging the Games“, The paper by Bent Flyvbjerg, Allison Stewart and Alexander Budzier (The Oxford Olympics Study 2016) shows levels of failure. The mere realisation of cost overruns that goes into multiple editions of 100% makes it a multi-billion dollar cash cow and there are too many players eager to dip their private (or is that privacy) parts into the golden troth of exploitation. Now, this does not state that Carlos Nuzman is corrupt; it merely gives us the setting. With the NY Times, we see that there is a much larger issue. The fact that there are clear records that there were issues and oppositions, whilst we now see that nothing was done, shows larger levels of failure that seem to be more about not rocking the boat, than to stop hurting the utterly broken image of the Olympics. When we consider the person linked to this, we see that Eric Leme Walther Maleson is the founder and former president of the Brazilian Ice Sports Federation has a long lasting life in sports and winner of three bronze medals in the sport, so we have a winner. This man seems to have been devoted to sports for most of his life. So it is a voice the Olympic committee should not have ignored. You see, the broken image of the Olympics, an image that went from excellence in sports towards the need for big business to promote their products under the guise of media exploitation is utterly void of spirit. Coca Cola, Dow, Intel, Samsung and Visa have changed that landscape. Agreeing to a situation that shows a growing curve of getting it all (namely the infrastructure) in place. You see, the earlier mentioned paper is important, even as we see “cost per athlete has been increasing for both the Summer Games and Winter Games, driven mainly by London 2012 and Sochi 2014. Overall, however, the changes over time are statistically non-significant for both Summer Games“, it is important as we know, or should know that the Olympics are set in three parts: ‘The event, the players and the cost of the location’. If the increase of cost per athlete had been significant, we would have had a less to go on, so with them out of the equation (and take the massive cost for Sochi 2014 away) we now have two elements: ‘The event’, which gives rise to internal corruption of stakeholders and sponsors; with the internal corruption of sponsors not in the mix (at present). We are left with the location and the stakeholders. Now, we all agree that the cost of everything goes up, but consider “15 of 19 Games (79 percent) have cost overruns above 50 percent and 9 of 19 Games (47 percent) have cost overruns above 100 percent“, now we can accept that such events will always come with the cost of business, we need to consider that ‘cost overrun‘ is merely a motto for political downplay of elements in their moment of national pride. I personally see it as an optional place where you can soften opposition with parked billions!

I believe that the paper has cornered certain Olympic elements and it cannot prove it, yet by exposing other parts as non-factorial we now see that the Olympics are a much large mess than the media is making it out to be. Even as we are focused on Carlos Nuzman, we are ignoring the elements that are part of the machine behind it. So when we see USA Today “French and Brazilian authorities said Nuzman brought together businessman Arthur Cesar de Menezes Soares Filho, and Lamine Diack, the former head of track and field’s governing body who at the time was an IOC voting member. Soares Filho’s company, Matlock Capital Group, allegedly paid Diack $2 million into a Caribbean account held by his son, Papa Massata Diack. Authorities said Lamine Diack, an influential African member from Senegal, was instrumental in organizing the African bloc of votes. The widening case implicated four-time Olympic medallist Frank Fredericks. The former sprinter from Namibia has said a near-$300,000 payment he received via Diack’s son on the day Rio won the vote was for legitimate consultancy work. Still, Fredericks lost his place leading an IOC inspection team to visit Paris and Los Angeles” these all seem legitimate elements in all this and it is not part or regarding ‘Frank Fredericks‘, I wonder how and what work he did to get the $300,000. I and many others have never been offered $300K for a consultancy job, so what does ‘legitimate’ entail? The element in this is ‘an IOC inspection team to visit Paris and Los Angeles’, you see, what would they have been privy to and exposed to? The USA today gives us that in the very last line. With “dozens of top politicians implicated in a sweeping judicial corruption investigation in which construction giant Odebrecht illegally paid billions to help win contracts” we are exposed to the cost of doing business. Paying 2 billion to gain 11 billion in contracts is merely good business and the locations still need to be constructed, the untold part in all this. Odebrecht is present in South America, Central America, North America, the Caribbean, Africa, Europe and the Middle East. They have been stepping on large toes and as such certain French players are eager to see it stop. Construction is the largest unmonitored Wild West industry remaining on the planet. Odebrecht with a value now approaching 42 billion is an issue for many players. Even as we are confronted in the US with “Howard Archer, chief economic advisor to the EY ITEM Club, reckoned Friday’s economic data indicated UK GDP growth may likely be limited to just 0.3% for the third quarter, he also acknowledged the disappointment in trade and construction output“, which might not be anything worth mentioning, unless you see it next to Odebrecht and the currently unsubstantiated channels towards a multiple billions (read: expected 2.08 billion) to get 11 billion in extra jobs, now it becomes something the American players (as well as the European ones) are getting huffy and puffy about, because if Odebrecht is getting it, they are not and that is where investigative parties get creative. So when we see “They emerged with suitcases, documents and a computer“, we need to wonder. Was the taken away party actually that stupid, or are we witnessing a new Flim Flam visitation of: watch ‘here’ whilst out of view certain deals are brokered. In all this the sponsors are still part and equally guilty. You see the sponsors let cost overruns of over 100% go and not give proper light to EVERY element in this. Merely that the local political engines were sorting it out for them (and those political players get to live with the consequences), the sponsors merely move on. As I personally see it, these sponsors are supposed to be intelligent, so this is happening with their silent approval, only when they fail to meet the targets that is set towards the costs, only then will we hear them loudly. This is exactly why Qatar 2022 remains in the news, again and again. The media is already kicking up stinks because they aren’t getting anything out of it, they are merely in a place to either accept it or move out. The Daily Mail is giving us more and more allegations and even as some smile because Qatar did not qualify for the world cup 2022, we see “Qatar’s elimination will be enjoyed by its many critics in the West who claim the emirate should never have been given the chance to host the World Cup, pointing to a lack of footballing pedigree as well as corruption and labour abuse claims“, how about these critics in the west shut up as continue to suck the tits of corruption they are currently sucking on? I am more lenient towards Christopher Davidson, who with ““Having never qualified for a World Cup before, I don’t think Qatar should have ever made the claim that it was a genuine footballing nation,” Christopher Davidson, a Middle East expert at Britain’s Durham University, told AFP” we might accept their words, yet when we consider the Jamaica bobsled team, ending up ahead of United States, Russia, Australia and France. Should we take bobsleighing away from the USA or France? We have heard 2 years of utter bullshit of these critics with supposedly showing all air and no evidence? In that same light, should we dissolve the Sunday Times this coming Monday? Remember the claim of “obtained millions of secret documents – emails, letters and bank transfers – which it alleges are proof that the disgraced Qatari football official Mohamed Bin Hammam made payments totalling US$5m (£3m) to football officials in return for their support for the Qatar bid“, so if they do not go public with all the evidence, can we force closure of the Sunday Times? Personally I find the existence of Rupert Murdoch and Martin Ivens offensive. They represent what is wrong with media today, so if they are gone, I will feel happiness. They are going with alleged and proclaimed, whilst the construction levels of corruption are happening at their front door and at that point they remain really really silent. In light of FIFA, we have seen levels of failing where the press was eagerly not rocking any boats at all, merely when big business saw it was losing out, at that point everyone screamed murder and mayhem.

These players have been stupid after the fact for much too long and as such we need to consider whether we need to overhaul the Olympics in ways never conceived before. Perhaps it will downgrade those events for the much larger extent. It will no longer be about drugging, about substance abuse or about the next mobile phone that works better when you drink Coca Cola. It will be about athletes competing for the title of who is actually the best, no sponsors, no advertisements and no billboards.

This is all still ongoing, with Qatar finishing Hamad port, we will see more and more issues rise, but as the stream for completing the WC 2022 event going straight into Qatar, we see that some players will take other venues to see what stink they can kick up. We can see the validity of France trying to aid in resolving the issue. An opportunity Turkey let fly by is now in the hands of Bertrand Besancenot, diplomatic adviser to the government. As France has close ties with Egypt and the UAE while also being a major arms supplier to Qatar and a key ally of Saudi Arabia, we see a player that is eager to find a solution for all as they greatly benefit any solution. If there is one issue, then it is the one that the UAE edition of the National brings us. With “Despite its claims of being ‘under blockade’, Qatar has also expanded shipping routes to India, Oman, Turkey and Pakistan and announced plans to raise its liquefied natural gas (LNG) output by 30 per cent in an effort to weather the boycott“, we see a dangerous turn as there is an actual danger in pushing to raise output towards 30%, as I see it, it requires certain players to circumvent larger safety settings, which could be the start of a very different disaster in Qatar. In addition, who in Al Jazeera will be part of the committee in charge for building and setting up the media centre during WC2022? It could potentially become a new Al Jazeera building merely months after the event and as such, it is an opportunity for Al Jazeera to set the bar for their competitors in the Middle East even higher. There is nothing like raising the output of your own station by 300% to truly get more visibility. In that view, as we will soon hear on how Qatar has optionally additional satellites available for all reporting parties, has anyone considered the impact of government fuelled competition? So when we are stupid behind the fact, were we not looking on what is additionally provided for? So when we are watching Tokyo bring live every match and event in hi-res to our G5 phone free of charge, has anyone considered the fact that we spend an additional $400 to get that phone ahead of schedule? So with 3-5 players getting an additional share of $20 billion for 5G on the initial launch, what is the part we were not looking at? Until the moment is there, we can understand that players like Apple, Google, Huawei and Samsung are quiet as a mouse, but all that ‘bedazzling entertainment‘ represent additional construction billions, additional satellites and longer terms benefits not charged or taxed, all under the guise of: ‘sports’. If it is true that we see the first pilots go live during Pyeongchang, and we will all readily accept that this will be the shining moment of Samsung (the local player there) as it shows what more we can expect from becoming the mobile entrepreneur, what do you think that Tokyo (2020), Qatar (2022), Beijing (2022) and Paris (2024) will bring? These 4 will have a growing infrastructure need which means that construction will grow even further. Four events that can only be done and almost literally set in stone by the strongest and largest players in construction, the instant moment to make several billions merely by being at the right place. That is what others fear Odebrecht could do. Larger players that are at present not ready to the extent that they needed to be for the upcoming considerations. Even as we see the South American headlines regarding Odebrecht, we need to realise that Odebrecht is everywhere. In that, it is: ‘who’s who in Legal’ that brings the ending gem to all this. With “Big-ticket cases involving the likes of Rolls-Royce, Petrobras, Odebrecht and Barclays remain at the forefront of the international corporate crime market, encompassing both corporate and individual defence and therefore keeping a vast number of lawyers across the world exceptionally busy. It is a trend that the majority of lawyers canvassed during our research see no sign of abating, as the fight for transparency and the activities of enforcement agencies intensify” we are shown to the cost of doing business and Odebrecht is not alone and it is not evil, the world changed yet the players on other sides remains stoic and unmoving, now that they are no longer regarded as people who matter, they now shout foul and demand action. So as we see the greedy idiots trying one more tantrum to get the WC away from Qatar, we need to see that the foundation of sports have become rotten and corrupt, the foundations are falling because the structure were never adhering to the reality of doing business. Merely a presentation from an outdated PowerPoint shows that what we saw and what we believe was never a reality. So as the media hides behind claims and allegations stating that the entire system is corrupt and sick, we might argue that the media has labelled themselves as healers seeing what is wrong whilst they are merely the hypochondriacs in this game; seeing and reporting on sickness whilst they have no medical degree or knowledge of the symptoms, or claiming to have the results but are unwilling to make them public. Hiding behind documents that never see the light of day, they proclaim exist, whilst not presenting the evidence, all whilst they herald politicians who in the same air and at that same moment present the acceptance of the ‘invoice of buildings’ that ended up being 100% more expensive as it was for the good of sports. Only after the fact, when the dust settles will some ask questions and do we see that people like Carlos Nuzman, guilty or not being towed away, that whilst questions were asked years before the event. With 5 large events coming up, with close to a trillion at stake, sponsors and stakeholders will not ask questions until targets are not met, or are close to being a risk of not making it. The media will remain on the foreground silent ‘awaiting‘ evidence, merely speculating at times, whilst shouting on behalf of others when those ‘friends’ (read: advertisers) have too much to lose. Greed driven media, this is exactly why people like Rupert Murdoch and Martin Ivens should be discontinued. In the end they are merely in it for the circulation at best and personal greed at worst.

We can all be stupid after the fact, which includes me. Yet when I am I will be in a state of ‘Wow, I so did not see that coming!‘ and I will to improve the way I see things, whilst the others are playing another iteration of ‘the next wave’ to fill their pockets. It sets me apart as I want improvements to a system that could be good and they merely want continuation of their luxurious way of life.

I still believe that certain players will push for the change of Qatar 2022. Yet after that, after it happens, when evidence lacked, we should demand their mandatory retirement from income and public life, and those sponsors should be barred from global sport sponsoring events forever. I wonder how many politicians will turn out to be a mere representation of cowardice at that point in time, trying to find some compromise that their way of life finds acceptable?

 

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Technological delusions

We all have a side we hide, it does not matter how you live and how outspoken you are. It is a truth that we have seen in movies, TV Series and other media. In this I like the outspoken truth of the series House the best: ‘Everybody lies!‘ This is not some extreme form of expressionism; it is the truth in many ways. Whether we are in denial or whether we outspokenly remain silent on the matter, we lie!

Now do not think of this in a too negative a light, marketing is all about lying and they call it specific presentation. Whether this is the launch of the Samsung S8, the upcoming Xbox Scorpio, the iPhone 7, there is misrepresentation which shows itself as non-mentioned facts for now.

Is a known fact, remaining unmentioned a lie?

That is no just at the heart of the matter, it is what makes it worse than it already is. An example is seen in software corporations that state ‘We do not expect any issues with the software upgrade’. Is it a lie? Consider that any change will introduce new unknown factors, so as such, is the person not speaking a party line that is wishful thinking, and as such is it a lie?

You might at this point wonder where this is going, so here we get to “Facebook told advertisers it can identify teens feeling ‘insecure’ and ‘worthless’” (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/may/01/facebook-advertising-data-insecure-teens), when you consider that a person (especially a teen) needs psychological assessment to ascertain whether insecurity comes from mere angst or whether there are underlying issues, we need to become very careful when anyone offers an algorithm to ascertain that. Big data is nowhere near any level of certainty in this matter. You see, with data and especially with big data the decades old expression ‘Garbage in, Garbage out‘ applies and the ability to sift through these mountains of data per person requires a level of scrutiny that software cannot provide and more important, that data becomes useless if there is no ‘beyond the data box view’. This is not some cheap Mark Zuckerberg app called ‘Snog, Marry, Avoid’ which is basically to the better degree harmless entertainment. This is to set a psychological classification on a group of people who tends to be least secure of themselves in their entire lifespan. In all this the quote “Facebook, which has faced severe criticism in the past over research in which it sought to alter the emotions of users, without their consent, provided somewhat contradictory statements in response to the story in the wake of its publication on Sunday” makes it even a worse joke. Consider in addition the dangers that Facebook no opens with “In its original statement to the Australian, Facebook apologized and said it had “opened an investigation to understand the process failure and improve our oversight”“, which is a joke when you consider that the researchers must have had access to data that only the deepest insiders on DBA cloud levels could have had. To get anything that is even close to the minimum level of reliability the researchers did not just have access to the data, they required assistance from the database system engineers to get anything useful out of that collected mountain of data and that is per person. So, basically I cannot get a job because Australia is in a wave of intentional age discrimination and Facebook casually assists in a system that “can monitor posts and photos in real time to determine when young people feel “stressed”, “defeated”, “overwhelmed”, “anxious”, “nervous”, “stupid”, “silly”, “useless” and a “failure”“, which impacts the job market even further, yet requires accurate parsed data going back many months.

Consider the reality here. to get a Facebook account, you need to be over 13, which means that 3 years of a teenager history is not available. In addition, these kids go through puberty between 10-17 (depending on gender and additional factors), so not only do you need the track of a person, you need to know how a person is socially (not socially networked) is connected to peers, parents and siblings. That data is not available. Now consider that interactions and events that are geographically locked are also an influence. I am not talking about an extreme example like the Columbine disaster, the mere effect of a traffic accident that can start more than angst and in that data will always be missing and more dangerously, data can be wrongly categorised which could result in red flags of psychosomatic interactions, that whilst the person was never there. How many pictures are there in your social media account, which were accidentally wrongly tagged? All basic elements that will give a shift in any assessment that will lead the algorithm down the wrong track. So when we read: “a Facebook Australia executive dismissed the report and criticized the reporter who broke the story, saying the article was “written by a journalist who writes inflammatory articles … every Monday”“, we need to ask a few additional questions. The dangers of social media data that I have been warning about for at least 3 years is now showing us additional dangers of software misrepresenting social media data and could have dire imprints on the actions of anyone using social media and the repercussions of their future down the track. The quote “Facebook declined to rule out whether similar research on the emotional vulnerability of teenagers had been conducted for advertises in markets outside of Australia” could imply that the teenagers that are already getting shot at American High Schools and colleges will soon have additional worries as they approach their exams with all levels of angst. So when we consider on how ‘Facebook has detailed information on mood shifts based on “internal Facebook data” that is not available to the public’ the social media users will have to worry on what data they have and more important has Facebook been collecting and matching other outside data sources to get anywhere near the minimum dataset to get even the smallest of insight.

As I stated before: ‘garbage in, garbage out’, in that I can add that in the past some lovely lady asked me on Facebook if I wanted to fuck her. I know she would never offer it to begin with, so the reliable issue was that someone has quickly grabbed her phone and he offered in her place that her vagina was open for #censored activity#. So at that point, how could Facebook see her as stupid or silly, or even worse: a nymphomaniac? The article has more than a few issues, but in that they should be placed at the doors of Facebook, because with the revelation of data abuse we clearly see announced, there is a growing danger with the Facebook classification system, whether actual, factual or psychological.

Sam Levin at the Guardian is asking the right questions, yet I think that this is not going far enough. I think that the events when we include the ’emotional contagion’ issues that happened some time ago. The fact that is ignored that all this was only possible to the slightest degree by seeding the database with data collections and hidden markers that facilitated the creation of mental properties to collect. A data system cannot facilitate for this without adding hundreds of elements that were never visible and I am not merely talking about the date and time of posting. It required levels of geographical location and social background data that is not part of the Facebook social media system. I wonder if the Guardian article will renew the questions on both European and Commonwealth levels as this American company seems to be swimming in a sea that might ignore this, but it can only do that as long as we are unaware. In this I reckon that it becomes imperative that the Australian political engine makes official enquiries with the two top Australian executives, David Fernandez and Andy Sinn. In this we get one additional part that is very much a danger, if we accept the quote: “The presentation, which the Australian has not published, was reportedly written for one of Australia’s top banks and stated that the company has a database of its young users – 1.9 million high schoolers, 1.5 million tertiary students and 3 million young workers“, which now implies that banks are setting a person’s psychological profile into classifications. This is not merely discriminatory, it implies that we could all end up being seen as bankable or not, so in that it goes beyond mere insurances and credit ratings, the dangers of our freedom of speech and expression will now result in a possible credit rating and job eligibility. How is that fair on any 15 to 19 year old person trying to get anywhere in this world?

In final part, it is the excuse by Facebook on making this a mere ‘process failure‘, if there are enough pieces of evidence (and that seems to be the case), it is a complete ‘institutional failure‘ and in that the Guardian/Australian article might just be the beginning of a real ugly side of social media that will hit the mainstream media on a global scale soon enough.

So how vulnerable are you and is exploitation of that side of you acceptable to you?

 

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