Tag Archives: F-35

Weapons on special

If there is one place where the Status Quo would be ensured, it would be the arms industry. It is as polarised as anything and some long term ‘friendships’ go back decades. So when I see that Egypt is making waves towards the SU-35 (instead of the F-35), the first two will arrive shortly, ahead of about 2 dozen planes compromising of $2 billion in revenue. When we add Turkey who already had moved towards the S-400 missile solution, whilst at the same time pushing for the Russian SU-35 as well. So as Russian hardware is moving towards Turkey, Egypt and India, we see a much larger shift in the military hardware department. 

Then there is the UAE where the planes are not merely bought, the UAE is now vying for a building contract, and with that in mind, there is every chance that Saudi Arabia will also get a push into the Rusian hardware environment. Algeria is stated to be on that ship already, yet the issue now is not that the Russian fleet is finding new considerations, it is that as Russia makes headway all over the Middle East, America is taken off the field as consideration, so when people clap themselves on the back on how arms were taken away from middle eastern players, a toxic non option, we see that business partners switch out and US congress might pat themselves on the back on how they prevented weapons to be gained in the middle east, whilst in principle the US was taken out of the Middle Eastern consideration.

In an age where the US cannot afford any opposition as they need to deal with $23 trillion in debt, they merely ended up losing $15 billion in revenue, that has to bite and that is only at this point, if there is a  larger contingency towards alternatives there is every chance that Russian hardware will gain middle eastern footing to a much larger degree. 

When did the world sign up for that?

Well it did when it started to paint the issues through the media ‘UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia unlawful, court of appeal declares’, or perhaps all that Campaign Against Arms Trade ideology in an age where if one does not supply, the other side will, you did think that through, did you?

It was like watching two teachers and two nana’s holding up a sign, making the statement that Saudi Arabia was naughty and we should not deal with them, well do not worry, for every arms dealer in the UK there are close to a dozen not connected to UK revenue. So the term  #StopArmingSaudi was a good way to advertise towards places like Russia that they could get these customers if they were interested, and they were. As I see it, there was a gap of £4.7 billion in hardware needs that Russia could satisfy, as well as any other needs, because when they become the trusted deliverer of hardware they also get all kinds of other deals, deals that the UK needed and the UK dies not get to cry foul at that point, they merely get to point at the CAAT and state “This is what you got us“, and so far so good for Rusia, is it not? 

Even as we see places like Defense News give us ‘Russia’s S-400: An offer US partners should refuse‘, we need to see behind the deals and see the change of weaponry to a much larger degree. so as we are told ‘the Trump administration wisely decided July 17 to remove Turkey from the F-35 fighter program‘, the truth of the matter is that the entire F-35 program was oversold and Russia is countering it all by also offering the SU-35 and in some cases the SU-57 stealth fighter. so whilst some rely on “If Riyadh adds insult to injury and procures the S-400, it could represent a tipping point in the relationship with Washington — especially on Capitol Hill“, the truth is that the Hill as well as a few other players have injured themselves in billions, the oldest issue was always a given, Saudi has no intentions to attack Nato grounds, we knew that and we now have the same situation but without the friendship and without the revenue, it was not that simple, was it?

So whilst the White House notices “the F-35 cannot coexist with a Russian intelligence collection platform that will be used to learn about its advanced capabilities” we see another matter, we see Egypt, Algeria, UAE, India, Saudi Arabia and Turkey all selecting a Russian solution to national defense. that is only 6, there are currently 4 other players all ready to select Russian hardware. All whilst the media gives us ‘The Pentagon is battling the clock to fix serious, unreported F-35 problems‘, ‘Supersonic speeds could cause big problems for the F-35′s stealth coating‘ and those are merely in June, the F-35 has a few additional problems, even as the plane has been on the designer table since 2006 whilst there was a sample flying, it seems that there are setback upon setback and that merely stokes Russian fires. In all this Politico gave it in 2015 “By 2014, the program was “$163 billion over budget [and] seven years behind schedule”“, yet that is something to be proud off. 

It is in this environment that we find weapons on special, well perhaps ‘special’ is the wrong phrase to use, they are up for grass from other delivery agents and payment is often a larger debatable issue, especially if a new hardware solution provider gets to make an entrance into other places, places he was not greeted into but that is another matter, it seems that the Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aircraft Plant will optionally send a Fortnum & Mason Christmas basket to the manager of CAAT, it’s the least that they can do (and I just want to see those CAAT faces when they get one).

 

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NATO @ 70

Yes, there have been a few issues in the last few weeks and if we try to highlight to pieces we would go crazy, mainly because one element truly is less likely to be one. Too many issues cross contaminate and give rise to other elements, as much as we do not like it, so is the issue of NATO. even from the first image we see (Donald Trump and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan get close at the summit in Watford), we get the issue of treason to deal with (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/dec/04/how-does-nato-look-at-the-age-of-70-its-complicated). We seemingly forget that Turkey was the one nation stopping US assistance until all debts were forgiven, you remember those two buildings in New York? They were no longer there and hours later and it started a larger war, but Turkey stated that even as a NATO party it was supposed to be on our side, it merely was on its own side. We then seemingly forget the issues that plagued Turkey, we did not ask for any support on the hundreds of journalists it put in prison, we seemingly forgot to give any level of documentation from  Turkey, and even now, we treat it like it is an ally as it has given a larger concern to Russian hardware. NATO did nothing in light of all this, you see any corporatocracy is about the revenue of the whole and limiting that is a larger concern to those in control in Strasbourg, we could even argue that Turkey played the game brilliantly. Yet the people @ NATO are not given any requirements for evidence and for accountability.

Consider the quote we see: “Nato’s focus continues to spread. The summit is the first time its leaders have considered the rise of China, which has never been a focus for the organisation; they also confirmed that it was time for Nato to have a military presence in space, and they worried about cyberwarfare and Russian disinformation“, the two elements in play are 

  1. Rise of China tech (Huawei in 5G)
  2. Russian data bindings.

The two elements are given in different stages in the statement and off course they are given in a different light, yet the larger given setting has ben visible to a much larger issue. it is about economic advantage and NATO has none to play, merely the use of fear mongering that goes without saying, even as the UK PM adds to the fire with ‘Boris Johnson suggests Huawei role in 5G might harm UK security‘ the truth of the matter is that both the UK and the US still have not shown ANY LEVEL OF EVIDENCE that this is (going to be) the case, they are the tools of a corporatocracy trying to hold onto the next iteration of economy, a place they cannot be because they relied on flaccid technologists to create IP instead of relying on the status quo to continue, both elements fell short and the advantage of the far east came into play. This is the direct result of short sightedness and to be honest, my IP going to Huawei will be just fabulous, it would for me be the difference between a value of $2 billion and optionally $4 billion and I get 35% of either that amount (I’d be happy with either setting). 

In the second the entire consideration of Russian data bindings. As they get to syphon off the entire social media they get an advanced edition of data, the advantage that the US banked on is lost to them, or better stated they are not the only ones with access and for corporatocracy that is a larger failing, data shared is data lost meaning that larger bulks of data will go towards Russian entrepreneurs and they are hungry for a slice of the revenue cake that is in circulation, it is an amalgamation of revenues that are overlapping and larger pieces of it are starting to be lost to places like NATO, making their position smaller and more scrutinised than ever before, that is the consideration that one faces when one is nothing more than a stepping stone for any corporatocracy. It does not end there, because of the fiasco’s that the US introduced to NATO security, the first was the USS Zumwalt class, a ship that had to be almost completely redone AFTER LAUNCH, so far it is a $21.5 Billion fiasco and when we see corporatocracy setting the sun on fiascos this large, it tends to undermine places like NATO to some extent, the second fiasco is that matter is F-22, a raptor that looks awesome but is like a drained cobra, which looks nice, but in the end until it refocusses its poison is merely deadly looking and it was supposed to be deadly. Then there is the flaws that the F-35 has, in the end it all comes down to an exercise in tapping the vein at $2.7 Trillion dollars. No matter who in NATO signed up for all of it, the defense forces have close to a $3 trillion dollar fiasco and there is no substitute. All whilst Russian and Chinese engineering is making headway in several directions.

In all these events we merely see that NATO has lost traction and has lost a futuristic setting of that hat comes, it can no longer predict and whatever it predicts is based on data that all people players now have, it lost whatever advantage it had. 

All whilst those connected to whichever corporatocratic setting of checks and balances are now without any kind of accountability and as such corporations get to fill their pockets on a stage of $3 trillion that has nothing to show for it and we ask why this is not countered? Well actually the gravy trains are making sure that the question is not offered out loud, or at least not at the intensity and volume required. The Hill produced and article a little over a year ago with the headline ‘The long NATO gravy-train may soon be over for Europe’ (at https://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/foreign-policy/412837-the-long-nato-gravy-train-may-soon-be-over-for-europe) yet the current statement as we see NATO @ 70 gives light (read: indication) that this is still very much on the mindset of too many people, as such the gravy train is still gobbling up resources on a global scale. Even as we saw “Both Trump and Obama even accused NATO members of relying far too much on American citizens and free-riding of the U.S. security umbrella” we are left in the dark that the needs of NATO are to a larger extend Raytheon, Northrop Grumman and BAE systems and all three have issues. So whilst we seemingly adhere to “While all 28 NATO members agreed in 2014 to spend at least 2 percent of their GDP on defense, only the U.S., Greece, Estonia, United Kingdom, Latvia, and Poland are meeting the minimum guideline” we all forget that this 2% is more than merely a number, three projects are shown to be huge cash drains whilst not offering the value they supposedly have, so as such there is a larger failing. in addition we need to see the value of whatever GDP Estonia has and seek it next to the Dutch and Belgium, that number is laughingly short and Estonia would optionally have made the numbers if it bought two trucks and replaced part of its military uniforms. That is before we see what the Dutch had created towards its goalkeeper signature weapon for the navy. 

There is a much larger failing going in and NATO @ 70 is not giving us the goods, merely that it is under the mandate of a gravy train whilst reporting to corporations on what is required. Corporations that are not connected to the needs of the people, they are not elected officials and merely giving their needs to elected officials who need long train rides to figure out how to spin what is required, in all this after 70 years whilst we see Recep Tayyip Erdoğan getting close at the summit in Watford to others, yet it all makes perfect sense, and especially whilst Turkey has selected the S-400 defense system. Yet that is definitely one NATO partner we want to keep close (or that is how any corporatocracy will voice it).

Yes, I believe that the value of NATO is gone, not because of what it was supposed to do, but because the people involved created new adversarial players, players that NATO was never ready to face, it was never trained to do so and some of these players are part of the problem, they were never part of the solution.

We were always going to face new adversaries, but we never knew when they would come and for the most we never considered that it was an internal review of whatever drives us that would be our adversary, all driven by greed. 

 

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IP in the balance

This weekend, roughly 25 hours ago, the Washington Post released a story regarding the F-35, now there are a few stories about that crazy bird in circulation, yet this one was particularly fetching. The article (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/11/16/power-struggle-over-f-fighter-jet-comes-head-lawmaker-threatens-hold-up-contract/) called ‘A power struggle over the F-35 fighter jet comes to a head as lawmaker threatens to hold up contract‘ starts with “the complicated IT system supporting the fleet’s maintenance infrastructure still falls far short of expectations” is an eye opener, but it is not the IT systems (no matter how defunct they are) that is the issue, it is the ownership of certain IP systems in the plane, the patents themselves that are now the issue. It is not “some lawmakers criticized the terms of Lockheed’s arrangement with the government, saying overly generous intellectual property agreements threaten to lock Lockheed into a wasteful long-term profit machine with limited accountability” even though it is certainly an issue that is the setting, no it is “Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.) threatened to hold up a multibillion-dollar contract if fundamental questions aren’t resolved” that is the issue, yes having multi billion dollars in sales held up is one part way to go, for some of these buyers with a few billion in their pocket, looking at alternatives will be the coarse course they could be sailing, this gives additional problems for Lockheed Martin and the US government is setting the stage as it has the inner lane in this skating race, the problem for Lockheed Martin is that the opposition they face are Russians (who are coming with the Su-35 and the Su-57), apparently NATO sees the Sukhoi Su-57 as a bit of a felon, so anything can happen. China is coming with the J-31, according to some it is a copy of the F-35 (source: Business Insider) yet it comes without IP and Patent battles, so the copy will be out without a politician stopping production on elemental questions not being answered. In addition, its unit cost is $70 million, whilst the F-35 is between $77 million and $108 million, the cost price of the more expensive version implicitly states ‘including engine‘, so there is that to consider as well.

There is however a more serious note to the F-35 and the Washington Post gets there when we see: “Carolyn Nelson, a Lockheed Martin spokeswoman, said the government is working on a new technical data package that was not a part of the initial F-35 contract, as well as a separate “performance-based” contract for logistics support“, you see the issue we see here is not merely IP and patents, it is the situation where government is yielding the floor to local business. If we accept the mess that the US has made in regards to 5G and Huawei, whilst we accept the words of Alex Younger (MI-6) “Alex is giving us the national need and the premise that another government should not have ownership of infrastructure this important“, something I mentioned in ‘Tic Toc Ruination‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/12/06/tic-toc-ruination/) almost a year ago. That setting is crucial, as such when you have a national product called ‘Defence‘ why on earth would you let that reside with a global player like Lockheed Martin? I get the idea that the avionics are a bit of a call, yet the IT systems are a larger debate, basically America has large needs with Lockheed Martin, so what happens when the well dries when the US debt becomes a noose around the nations neck? Do you think Lockheed Martin is sitting still? I do not expect that Russia or China ever having a piece of Lockheed Martin, but the UAE, Saudi Arabia? If we take premise to the situation ‘the premise that another government should not have ownership of infrastructure this important‘ the point of view I am taking is a lot less theoretical, is it?

And when we consider: “Air Force estimates that most of a given aircraft’s long-term cost actually comes from keeping it flight worthy. Manufacturers are keenly aware of this, with companies such as Boeing launching whole business units focused on maintenance and repair” we should be wondering why the Air force is striking out, not out like in ‘too bad, let’s try again‘ but in the way that the batsman asks ‘where on earth is the playing field‘, I get it, some jobs are too specific, but is that not the Air force focal point? That in light of the procurement: “the Pentagon has been buying jets in greater quantities in order to get the average price down. They recently finalized a $34 billion agreement that defense officials described as “the largest procurement in the Department’s history.” The deal brought the F-35’s price per plane below $80 million ahead of schedule“, so when you consider that buying 2400 planes (at the very least) got the price down, what math was done on fixing and maintaining these birds? 2400 planes imply 100-250 squadrons, it implies no less than 200-500 repair and maintenance teams, it implies that these people need to be schooled and as they come up short, the move of Boeing starts making sense in a real way, so how much additional costs are involved there? Let’s not forget that the US is currently at minus $23,000 billion (-$23 trillion), we might see the victorious ‘Yohza’ on them reducing the price of a bird, but how much debt, interests and cost of maintenance was seemingly overlooked?

In all this, the Government Accountability Office was seemingly not heard clearly enough, we get this when we consider “the program is having trouble keeping the F-35’s mission-capable, an odd problem for a brand new fleet. The overall F-35 fleet was capable of performing all of its tasked missions only about a third of the time” and that is before we consider the maintenance staff, their training and the setting of spending money before the elements are all adjusted for. So as the article ends with ““if we are missing parts and can’t get our jets airborne, our ability to deliver combat effects on this aircraft is significantly diminished,” said Lt. Gen. Eric Fick, the Pentagon’s F-35 program executive“, I merely wonder what other options were overlooked, that’s fair is it not?

You see when we are considering the upgrades and the adjustment to technical flaws in the hardware, the IT systems become a very real part of it all, oh and any person telling you that the IT is OK and there are not issues, will be my reason to introduce you to a liar. For that you merely have to look at DELL and their setting of laptops, I have had two laptops, both delivered on the same day, and both needing separate upgrades before I got them delivered to their respected users, not different systems, no identical systems! So when we see “we are missing parts and can’t get our jets airborne” in light of software glitches, it becomes a very real thing, the F-35 might be the final straw of short sighted management, whilst asking for the moon. Even as in the past operators like Boeing and Saab decided not to play along in light of bias towards the F-35, we see an evolving matter where they will grasp the events that surround the F-35 as a way to show nations that they have what it takes, in addition, there are outstanding offers from France (Dassault Aviation), it was the initial offer to a much larger degree to train technicians in the fields of service, training and operations that might swing previous missed hits, and no matter how we slice it, Lockheed Martin might be looking at the US as a sole customer soon enough, what a change IP and IT systems can make, even in two-seater planes.

I believe that the over grasp in the 2004-2014 era is now coming back to bite the eager who signed certain agreements. In light of the fact that the F-35 fleet is mission capable only 30% of the time should worry Lt. Gen. Eric Fick a little.

And even as the F-35 might be the odd duck out, the words of Loren Thompson stating “The struggle over IP between the government and defense contractors is likely to go on indefinitely. If you own the information, you can largely shape the future of the system” might be valid in the commercial world, but Lockheed Martin is in the defence world, the rules are a little different there, feel free not to believe me, but in light of The Project on Government Oversight (POGO) and their push to “prevent a future situation like the one now facing the F-35 program — and by extension, American service members and taxpayers“, here we see that the letter to congress by POGO executive director Danielle Brian might become a swing and a Jack, so whilst POGO seeks the optional “It would also allow the government to seek alternative suppliers should the original contractor fail to live up to expectations“, we see more than a victory, the entire Huawei issue might push for this solution, which would make several nations queasy on the F-35 solution they heralded.

The F-35 is showing me the one solution that mattered to the wrong people, it was greed overjoyed and that is about to gain the sunlight and limelight others wanted to keep out of consideration.

 

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War and its monger

You might have heard the expression ‘drumroll please’, it is not new and often it is done to emphasize a twist a good thing or something unexpected. This is not the case here, this is the drumroll to emphasize that my ‘I told you so’ and ‘for the love of all bullies’. A stage that is anything but positive. A stage that Iran has pushed again and again and now that the pot is getting to the boiling pot, we see: “Iran is not seeking war, the leader of the country’s elite Revolutionary Guards said Sunday“, to which the proper western response is: ‘In a pigs eye perhaps!‘. In addition we see: “The difference between us and them is that they are afraid of war and don’t have the will for it,” Major General Hossein Salami said, as quoted by local news agency Fars.” Well, that remains to be seen, doesn’t it? There has been overwhelming evidence that Iran directly and indirectly (via Hezbollah) equipped Houthi forces with missiles that were fired into Saudi Arabia; missiles that, according to several experts, could not have been made by known Yemeni manufacturing locations. We have the will for war and ending Iran as a nation is actually what we are hoping for, but as the Iranian forces acted like the Jackal forces that they are as they hid behind the skirts of Hezbollah, that is the impact of a proxy war and we need to consider that we need to stand with Saudi Arabia, and we need to be fast and clear about it.

Turkey

Iran’s largest and perhaps only true ally is Turkey. This is an issue on two fronts. Turkey is messing with EU settings and trying to grease the Gravy train wheels to get a more positive response on their actions (presumed). What is actually more pressing is that Turkey is showing to be the turncoat that they have been for close to 16 years. The evidence for that (apart from the 9/11 blackmail attempt) is that the Deutsche Welle (at https://www.dw.com/en/turkey-to-produce-new-s-500-missile-system-with-russia/a-48792240) is one of several sources confirming ‘Turkey to produce new S-500 missile system with Russia‘, so the recipient of the new F-35, is building Russian missiles? This is (on the side) evidence that the stupid Americans are not about national security and that the entire Google-Huawei issue is only about money and economic fear (aka their Blacklist, my ass).

The fact that the quote merely is seen as: “The move is likely to further strain Turkey’s relations with the United States“, merely strained? If it was an actual issue, the US would have broken off all connection with turkey months ago, this is about a bankrupt nation trying to influence the limits of loss against China and as Turkey and Iran are tightening bonds, these S-500 become a direct threat to the safety and security of Saudi Arabia, implying that it would optionally need to place a huge Patriot missile defence order as soon as possible, it also implies that any act from the Houthi forces means that a powerful military act is required. No matter what the size of Saudi Arabia is, a war on two fronts is not a good thing. Not with the Size of the Saudi forces are at present. So they should try and test the Naval sinking solution I designed whilst having a sandwich some months ago, and sing “لقد رأيت سفينة جميلة تقع في قاع البحر ، وسهند اسمها” (translated: ‘I saw a pretty ship lying at the bottom of the sea, and its name is Sahand‘) when the task is done (preferably whilst the Sahand is sinking). It is time that the bully tactics of Iran meet the resolve of all others to tell them that there is only so much BS that we accept from some of these non-politicians. I intentionally added the word ‘جميلة‘ (pretty) as this is the one word that does not apply to the the USS Zumwalt (fair is fair).

So even as (long term implied) the F-35 equipment is halted form the US for now, the US in in a financial caper where they might not be able to afford not to deliver, whether they get paid is off course another matter, and even if they get paid, it is not a given that the FSB is funding part of that deal, it is just too easy a way to get your fingers on non developed nextgen technology.

Back to the Saudi Arabia – Iran match

Even as we see: “The attack came two days after four vessels, including two Saudi oil tankers, were sabotaged off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. Iran has denied it was behind the attacks which come as Washington and the Islamic republic spar over sanctions and the US military presence in the region, raising concerns about a potential US-Iran conflict“, I remain in doubt. Yes, Iran is the most likely perpetrator, but it is not a given, Iran has played its proxy war with decent competency, as such it is not a given that it is Iran directly, yet I do believe that Iran has its fingers in this indirectly. Hezbollah has had access to the Iranian-made Shahed-129 UAV for almost two years now, as such whether it is Hezbollah, or Houthi trained forces, these two are Iranian driven proxy parties and even if the evidence is found that either of these two were directly involved, the fingers of Iran and most likely the fingers of Major General Hossein Salami, the fact that he is the Aerospace Force of the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution is likely to be written off as a coincidence by a few newspapers.

Our allegiance is essential now, it is essential to step up against Iran. Not only because it is the right thing to do, the fact that this act would scare Turkey into making some very clear life changing choices would be essential, when they learn that Russia is not paying their bills, when they realise that Russian oil is not free, at that point will they need to seek a resolution that will not end them, taking Iran out of the equation is therefore an essential push for all people concerned. So as Al Jazeera (at https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/05/saudi-arabia-seeks-avert-war-ready-respond-force-190519055552084.html) gave us: “Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has dismissed the possibility of war erupting, saying Tehran did not want conflict and no country had the “illusion it can confront Iran”.” He better change the tone he has when the people stand firm with Saudi Arabia on this. We have to agree with Adel al-Jubeir, Saudi state minister of foreign affairs when we see: ““We want peace and stability in the region but we will not sit on our hands in light of the continuing Iranian attack,”al-Jubeir said. “The ball is in Iran’s court and it is up to Iran to determine what its fate will be.”” In light of the actions against Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia has shown restrained, we can argue that there is indeed a case where Saudi Arabia is avoiding war to the largest degree because Iran is no small opponent and it will be capable of launching barrage after barrage at Riyadh, that is why getting the patriots there will be one of the most important actions.

When we look into history we see the same thing happen again, and if we sign up for Saudi Arabia we might have to, because we did not accept the Germans moving into Poland in 1939, we should equally not allow Iran to continue on the path it is currently on. There is also other news, but it is not direct or clear. The news (at https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201905201075144170-yemen-houthi-plan-attack-saudi-targets/) is only two hours old. Even as we see the headline: ‘Yemeni Houthis Plan to Attack Some 300 Targets in Saudi Arabia, UAE – Reports‘, we need to realise that Sputnik News is a Russian government held media outlet. So is this their way to support Iran? Even as we see the origin pointed at the UAE through ‘local media reported on Sunday‘, we need to be cautious on the quality of this news. When we realise the stage of the player (the Houthi forces), they lack the setting of “Yemeni Shia Houthi rebels are going to attack some 300 critical infrastructure facilities in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates“, most of the UAE is out of their reach making part and even as I stated: “One source gives an implied presence of Hezbollah in Shinas (Oman), yet there is zero reliability as well as the fact that any attack would have required different tools as well as location does not add up” (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2019/05/15/the-political-winds/) almost a week ago, I still have not seen anything reliable making that a truth, because that would put the UAE directly in harm’s way. The entire Sputnik News setting can only hold water if Houthi forces get direct access to all the Hezbollah and Iranian resources available, hence the question mark! That is perhaps the only part that gives it optional value intelligence wise and there is not level of confirmation at present. All this relies on what the actual UAE source was and Sputnik News was adamant in not giving that part up, so is the Russian government handing out support against Iran or baiting the Saudi government to act prematurely, neither option sounds good to me, no matter how we slice it, but as we see the ‘news’ I had to include it, if only to emphasize certain governments needing to set the stage and the media is still the best way to do this to us.

The Endgame (not a Marvel movie)

I personally believe that Iran is willing to skate at the edge of war, not actively seeking one. Their goal is to show how impotent (opposing important) US politics and policies have become. It partially had to as the Trump administration is tightening the pressure on Iran. As it is achieving some goals (just ask Huawei and the Chinese government) Iran is openly trying to oppose it through its two puppets Houthi forces and Hezbollah. In this Turkey is still a trump card (pun intended) but as they are becoming the buddy of Moscow, Iran realises that whatever Turkey does will be vetted by Russia for more than one reason, in this we need to see the escalations and I feel certain that Adel al-Jubeir, Saudi state minister of foreign affairs realises this too, but in the end there are a growing amount of nations that are willing to create an alliance with Saudi Arabia, it is sad that the foremost reason will be what they stand to gain through economic options with Saudi Arabia against the ethical need to oppose Iran, but that is a conversation for another day.

 

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This last day

This last day should be a day of reflection, a day of consideration. I feel none of these things as I am observing the mistakes that Marine Le Pen is now making. I get why she would get the referendum vamped up and get stronger waves towards Frexit, yet her call to leave NATO makes a lot less sense. For one, NATO still does mean the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, France is part of that North Atlantic, she has a duty of care there (a lot less so for the EC, the EEC or the Euro for that matter). She does make a point when we look at the expansion into Eastern Europe. Let’s face it, when we look into the original line, there was Germany which goes a lot to the south, then basically it is Italy. Getting into Eastern Europe makes a lot less sense. Let’s not forget, the Americans at present no longer have the means to play this game. A fact Lockheed needs to take into consideration, even if the price of the F-35 is given without an engine ($133 million, without engine), making it basically the most expensive paperweight in history. In addition, it came with a truckload of issues in 2014, whilst the 2015 report states “the majority of the fixes and for capability deficiencies being discovered are being deferred to later blocks rather than being resolved“, with new items of concern added. I found the additional quote form the 2015 report “inherent design problems that are only becoming more obvious and difficult to fix” most amusing, so if Marine Le Pen has in mind to not go anywhere near a Lockheed design, that would make sense. Now I do not want to brag, but with all my flying hours in the Microsoft Flight Simulator (2004), I might actually beat that latest flawed Lockheed F-35 with my experience in a Mikoyan MiG-35 (OK, I am bragging a little as I have never flown ANY jet in my life). What is the issue is that the politicians have not kept a good accord on the military abilities of the armed forces, not the people mind you, but the equipment they get stuck with. As such we see a 1.5 trillion dollar project showing more holes than an IKEA Pasta insert (named ‘Stabil’, which is hilarious as it is also means stable in Swedish). A project $160 billion over budget and 7 years behind schedule, and these were the numbers in 2014. A defence project that was too big to kill and that is what the NATO partners have to content with?

So why these topics? The world is changing, it is changing faster than ever before and the minders of the store have been so selfish in regards to their own personal needs (read: visibility of self via ego) and achievements that the duty they had was pushed under the rug. This is how I personally see the F-35 project.

The financial sector in the UK alone these financial boys (girls also) had the bulk of the £44bn in bonuses this year, so did your quality of life increase any (the topic jump will make sense in a few moments)? Now, even as wealth increased, it did not do so to that extent. It is not that fair to just have a go at the financial sector, apart from the fact that they ended up with bonuses of 1900% more than the amount all the others got, so balance is not that much in play. That view is shown stronger as we look at Forbes this week (at http://www.forbes.com/sites/francescoppola/2016/12/28/greece-the-game-is-on-again/#2585dbd946e5), the quotes that matter here are “Euclid Tsakalotos, the normally mild-mannered Finance Minister, accused the IMF writers of “economizing on the truth”. He pointed out that the main reason why so few Greeks pay income taxes is that their incomes have crashed, and that nearly half of Greek pensioners are living below the poverty line” and “The IMF’s case is that pension cost as a proportion of GDP is now unsustainable, and further, that the creditors are not going to agree to debt relief while pension cost remains so high. It is probably right on both counts. But once again, what really matters is the psychological framing“, in that regard I will be on the side of the Greeks, but not on the side of Greece. You see when their previous governments got loans and misrepresented their value, they had zero consideration on what pensions were in regards to the loans that they were getting under false pretense, in that regard, did any of those politicians go to jail? Did they refund 90% of their incomes? I am certain that the answer to both is ‘No!’, in addition those elected officials are sitting pretty and nowhere near the poverty line. Yet in all this the hardship is not over, in addition, the facts (as I personally see them) requires a little more digging, especially when I read “Attica Bank, the country’s fifth-largest lender, was poised to install a new management team he thought was capable of turning round the struggling lender” which were the thoughts of Yannis Stournaras, the governor of the central bank of Greece, which was followed by “While he was in the air, the government in Athens reversed the decision to award the job to Mr Pantalakis. It was his introduction to a web of allegedly related events, ranging from a raid on his wife’s business to an unsuccessful bid for TV rights backed by Attica loans“, this gives the implied issues on Yannis Stournaras, which gives more cause concern when we see “A confidential report on Attica carried out this year by the European Central Bank, the Eurozone’s top bank supervisor, and seen by the Financial Times, cited “severe findings” of poor governance and inadequate controls on lending. With some 70 per cent of its loans rated as non-performing, Mr Stournaras and others believed Attica urgently needed a professional banker at the helm. Government sources denied any intervention in the process to select Attica’s CEO” (at https://www.ft.com/content/aab0aaba-c6db-11e6-8f29-9445cac8966f). The implications are on a few levels especially in the light of ‘government sources denied‘, there is a mess on a few levels and the idea that personal needs were adamant in decisions is not without probable cause. The levels that are in question cannot be set because too much information is missing, but there are issues, make no mistake about that.

These issues connect, not directly but in the view of national voters, governments have made absolute shambles of their nations giving power to those with key wealth management options, in that need those who need to be at the helm are politicised and set to markers that are off the table and outside of the scope of visibility to scrutinise, whilst the presentations are showing markers that do not fit the person best suited for the job, in that Greece is not the only place with such issues. In the UK Mark Carney is facing similar issues, yet in the opposite direction. The best person for the job is the one the elected government seems to have an issue with. The independent (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/bank-of-england-mark-carney-theresa-may-attack-monetary-policy-tory-conference-speech-a7380016.html) gives us “Mr Carney argued that the monetary policy pursued by the Bank in recent years has had a positive impact that is “without parallel”, despite the Prime Minister using her speech to claim it had led to “bad side effects”“, in addition we see “Since quantitative easing was first introduced in the economy in 2009 … there’s been 2.6 million jobs created, GDP is up 16 per cent, per capita income is up 9 per cent and this is following a trauma in the economy“, we might see this as good news, but the good news is in the UK not dripping down to the other people just yet. In addition, the dangers will change if sharp budgets are not maintained. Getting the debt down is an absolute first, it will have additional benefits down the road, yet the initial benefit is that money could go to other destinations than paying for the interest of the debt, the interest of a debt amount that is currently in excess of 1.6 trillion. This was not the first attack, Michael Gove had a go at England’s Marky Mark in October. It is always nice when a person is called arrogant, especially when that person has proven to be amongst the very best in his field on the planet. I myself had had some issues in the past with Mark Carney, yet not against the man, but the economic issues that the UK faced because of actions (read objectives) pushed for by politicians, however his speech in the House of Lords showed him to be the expert he is and he nearly got me away from the Brexit team. Yet Mark Carney himself states it very well when he said: “Politicians have done a very good job of setting up the system. Where it can be difficult, sometimes, is if there are political comments on our policies as opposed to political comments on our objectives“, in this we see the issue that is part of the problem. as the politicians set up the objectives, they are then confronted with the policies from technocrats and those two groups do not see eye to eye, so friction goes back and forth, the Lockheed F-35 lightning is an excellent example here, in addition that part got an extra iteration as the military requirements were added by yet another group (read: the military). In all this the political objective is hampering the essential need against ‘it needs to be done by date X for no more than amount Y‘, which gives us the political joke that the NHS IT project was. A present from the Labour government which boiled down to a £11.2 billion wrapper around an empty box. Two projects set through objectives that ended up being off the wall and the back and forth friction that resulted in something unmanageable and non-functional. I reckon the political side of both events needs a new level of scrutiny, one that we have not considered before. In that regard having people like Mark Carney around is essential for the wheels of a state to remain functional, because if there is one clear thing, it is that America lost that oversight some time ago, before this Democratic Administration, the previous republican one lost sight of the needs and the accountability of the intelligence network and data processing side no later than 2006, we can all agree that the 2007-2012 total budget of $435 billion was money massively spent in all the wrong ways. This was shown in a Foreign office document that was quoted in an article stating “Army officials, though, said Palantir wasn’t up to the job. Now, a 57-page report by the Pentagon’s acquisitions arm basically says the Army was wrong to dismiss the Palantir system. The study instead gives Palantir high marks on most of the Army’s 20 key requirements for the intelligence system, including the ability to analyse large amounts of information, including critical data about terrorist networks and the locations of explosive devices, and synchronize it in a way that helps troops on the ground combat their enemies more effectively“, so there too billions were spent when millions could have sufficed. When the EGO of an individual with the power to decide is on the line, the results could be disastrous. In my personal view, if we accept the wrongful spending of 25 billion, how many extra troops could have been saved by adding fire support groups to those in IRAQ in those years? How many of the 4486 fatalities could have been prevented?

Politicians, advisors and ego are a really dangerous combination in many ways, even as we look at what is coming now, we need to be mindful of the changes that some are pushing for. Even if we are in favour of dropping the EC altogether, pushing NATO boundaries might not be the best solution. France might be privy to one of the better intelligence machines, that machine is also dependent on the intelligence it is fed from allies, an essential element that will fall away when NATO does, Marine Le Pen should be very mindful of that.

Yet this year and more important 2017 will go beyond Frexit. There is still a large debate on the Netherlands making any move away from the European Community, the numbers require people to be realistic on what will happen, yet those numbers are nowhere near the numbers Brexit had, so it is still unlikely that this will happen at present, no matter how certain Frexit will be. Italy might not have any manoeuvring space, it requires a massive infuse of funds, when we see the Reuters quote “An Italian government official told Reuters on Tuesday that €20bn earmarked for the rescue of the Italian banking system should suffice“, we need to wonder in how much trouble Italy is. This question is raised as we see Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena will issue €15 billion of debt next year (source: RTE). So we see another iteration where “The Treasury may have to put up around €6.6 billion to salvage the lender, including €2 billion to compensate around 40,000 retail bond holders“, so, how exactly is it acceptable that people ‘invest’ with a risk, yet when that risk comes calling, they still get compensated? How did any of us ever sign up for that?

Anyone who mentions that it is for the good of all is of their rocker plain and simple. Here too we see connection between France and Italy, mainly that the Natixis Global Asset Management (NGAM) thought it was a good idea to list Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena as a major purchase right next to Ubisoft. I reckon a little less ‘lack of nationalism’ and putting all of that cash in addition to the other amount into Ubisoft might have been a decently better idea. I feel certain that next year when we see the ‘Top Ten Holdings’ in the Natixis report will not make mention of Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, which could just be me though.

So in this last day we see that we have quite the collection of choices to deal with, some good and many bad ones. Yet no matter what is happening, no matter what will fall, there is a decent indication that unless changes are made 2017 will not be a good year. I might be too negative to see some level of collapse in Q2 (no later than Q3) in the next year, yet the proper setting and if the key players are willing to forego ego and focus on cooperation, they would be setting the stage for a lucrative 2018, that is beside the initial technological presentations of the new age of G5. G5 will be the pushing power in IP, especially Trade Marks, yet that path is also loaded with new growth opportunities for IT and developers as they start setting the tone of what 5G could personalise, it will be the first firm push to switch providers to SaaS. That is almost without question, the degree to it happening is very much depending on actual cooperation. In that the Telco providers need to realise as per immediate that thinking SaaS whilst selling Paas and charging IaaS, which sounds nice on bonus day. Yet the boomerang effect is that clients will walk away a lot faster and they will also automatically entice 10 personal connection to not seek the services of the telecom provider being that stupid. Infrastructure as a Service is almost a thing of the past. It seems weird, because there should be space for it, yet in our new outfits we see that infrastructure is a long term commitment and with annual mobile purchase the people have learned to be as flexible as possible, so the limited mobiles that some sell (32Gb instead of 64Gb editions) is why people are realising to walk away from those offering limitations instead of solutions. It is at times harder with Platform as a Service. You see, PaaS might sound nice when we see Apple and SAP connecting, yet the bulk of the revenue will be the smaller fish in the pond, the small players will be 80% of the revenue, one can argue the actual taxable cake of government will be largely depending on those players and for them IaaS is a laughable solution when they are trying to get as much as possible in the first few years and those smaller players want as much flexibility as possible taking to some extent PaaS from the table. SaaS will be solution of choice and those now adhering to that need will fall short in 2018 and they are unlikely to be part of anything in 2019. In that we see the government need of objectives that cater to what the SME’s need. A mere application of supply and requirement. You might think that this is not connected to the previous parts, but it is. When we see the NHS, Banks and government, their needs to address their audience, they need to consider that no matter the infrastructure or platform for communications, they all need to see that their clientele is no longer rigid, no longer bound to certain paths for the simple reason that the infrastructure of places like the NHS can no longer deal with. It is by definition a mobile customer base that needs addressing, this means, or at least implies that the SaaS solutions require a wider setup, other paths of non-repudiation and a very different approach to data, its quality, its controls and the application of the results in any report or estimation towards costings and profit. It is a path of contribution, which is set as revenue minus costing.

For the better part an entirely new path in a setting that has for too long been about a rigid collection of data, which when compared to a setting in a flexible framework no longer holds a candle and will come with the implied death of data quality. in these places there will be a growing need for a data team that has the sole purpose of managing the quality of data, this path is one that IT has never worked on to the degree it had, because in the past systems were set in concrete and after the correct data pass had been made, the data usually would not require ‘resetting’ it in another framework, a change that will be almost evident in the systems we will see start in the next 4 years. There, for some the problem becomes that they have never contemplated the changes, which now also means that once they go into the deep of it all, the time required and the resources required will be a lot more draining than ever before. It is in that path that we see the danger of politicians and technocrats in the required path of objectives and policies. As there is plenty of evidence that so far this track record is not that great, we will see a squandering of funds and a dangerous curve of unprotected data whilst no one will be actually held accountable for the transgressions against those consumers aka victims.

So on this last day there is no way that any solution will be found, just take in the information and next week wonder what on earth is about to hit you, there is some speculation in this, yet I believe that the ‘objective callers’ (read: politicians) will rely on the word ‘glitch’ a lot more than ever before, it might just become the most popular word for 2017.

 

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The military Pound

We do not need to look far to see that cut backs are more than just the talk of the town. They have been the talk of nations for a long time, and we have seen more than one system discussed when it comes to the need for overspending.

So, when many read about the fact that the military overspend again we might not have looked to be too overly surprised. It is however the proverbial straw that is breaking the camel’s back. This is what was said on Sky News on Feb 28th “Britain’s Ministry of Defence has been slammed after a report showed between 2009 and 2011 it bought STG 1.5 billion ($A2.24 billion) worth of equipment more than it used.

The article was short, to the point and ended with “The ministry is to introduce controls that it hopes will reduce spending on inventory by STG 500 million a year by 2015.

So, the British consumer will be confronted with taxation on overspending by almost 2 billion until that time? How is that fair. This is not the end of it. There is a lot more. This is the clear part where we are confronted with overspendings; however, there are a few more issues at play.

The New York Times published a story in July 2006 named “Pentagon Struggles With Cost Overruns and Delays“. In this example they went over the costs of the F-22a Raptor. It was a track from 1991 until 2010 that showed a massive amount of overspending. The response as stated in the New York Times was “We must transform the way the department works and what it works on, he said. It could be said that it’s a matter of life and death — ultimately, every American’s.

So was that an answer? It seems not. Because that same story repeats itself when we look at headlines involving the F-35. “$24 billion British budget blow-out in black hole F-35 project“.

It seems that the boys in uniform seem oblivious to words like ‘common sense’, ‘budgets’, ‘overspending’ and you know, words of that general direction. Now I am all for a good defence, yet the parties involved seem to be either completely academically ineffective (incompetent seems too hard a word), or those paying are really lacking a certain level of backbone. Especially when budgets are overstretched the way they are. Am I having a go at the Australian and UK admin soldiers? I am not sure. Who made these decisions? Who allowed for these levels of overspending? These are serious questions that need answers and it needs more then investigation, it requires ACTUAL actions being taken. I am not talking about some political inquest wasting even more time and money. No! Defence needs to take a look at their laundry and fix this. It seems clear and shown that this needs fixing on several levels.

In the meantime solutions must be found, especially when it is clear that almost all parties in the commonwealth have to tighten the belt on budgets all over the place. It seems very unfair that even though the military are to most the visible part to defend a nation, the people placing their lives in harm’s way on a daily basis are having their budgets cut severely.

You know, I have a nice idea, right out of the extreme right field. Lockheed Martin donates 1% of paid costs by the DOD to the Metropolitan police as a show of good faith. Not all will be happy with this idea, but several will be less unhappy and the way the costs are cut especially to the police departments. It seems only fair. Who knows, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe might arrive in the office on a Monday morning holding on to a cheque and wearing a large smile (be not afraid if that happens). The same could be done for the RAAF. I reckon Commissioner Scipione might be happy to know that in the end, overspending almost 30% per F-35 unit (an unacceptable amount of overspending per unit) the police force will get a small shiny future. The other option is for the RAF to order 14 less F-35’s and the RAAF orders 2-3 less and these police departments get those funds directly.

There is however a deeper part to those rumours. Is the F-35 too overpriced and are we moving to a previous model (the F-22)? Even though several sources implied certain noises, there is no real knowledge at present (or better stated, known to me) that this is actually happening. It would be interesting as the NY Times reported that the F-22 had its last delivery in 2010. If so, should we pay full price for a model taken out of production? Would you pay sticker price for a 2010 Toyota? This seems more than a little unfair. Not to mention that we seem to reward/ignore a blatant budget overrun for two planes by the same company. A ‘ploy’ they seem to have handled since 1991. That means they did not seem to have cleaned up their act for two decades.

So we have two issues.

1. Commonwealth armies seem to be overspending by a lot and on needless things.
2. Commonwealth armies are confronted and left with much higher bills by their suppliers.

I am not claiming that the military are doing this on an intentional basis to waste money, but it stands to reason that we should ask questions when the size of the British forces is set around 225,000 and there seems to be an annual overdraft of 800 million dollars. The Australian Defence forces are not without fault either. This was mentioned in an article by the SMH, however I personally thought that this article asked more questions on the numbers they reported, then on the actual issue.

There is another side to this, and this was voiced by President Obama on Feb 19th as mentioned in the Guardian. “Obama warns Congress over spending cuts: ‘People will lose their jobs‘”. This is not an unfair statement. Yet the issue that is not mentioned is that overall, the profit margin for those companies is often a lot larger than most commercial companies seem to be left with, and THAT part seems to have never been curbed. That was illustrated in an article in Aviation week by Joe Anselmo on May 18, 2012. There it was quoted that “A Wall Street research firm says defense contractors should be able to maintain their profit margins even as Pentagon spending declines“. That seems to prove the thoughts that others have as well as myself. So, these are not unique thoughts. These are thoughts that have been in play for a long time, so when we are looking at recessions and budget issues, it seems to me that there is at least one player in town who gets to play with a stacked deck.

I hope the message is getting through. There is a massive amount of needless overspending and there currently seems to be no planned solution to properly curb this enthusiastic method of an open wallet policy.

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