Tag Archives: KSA

Two Issues in play

There is a larger issue in all this, part of it is Wall Street, the gig is up (to some extent) yet no calls are being made to investigate the Analyst game by aspiring new Wall Street kings, and moreover no one is asking questions.

We start with the impact that Apple has had and the Financial Post is giving us (at https://business.financialpost.com/investing/us-stocks-wall-st-pulled-lower-by-apple-trade-worries) “Shares of Apple Inc fell 3.5 per cent after the Wall Street Journal reported the company had cut production orders in recent weeks for all three iPhone models launched in September“, as well as “Other market leaders — including the ‘FANG’ stocks — also fell sharply, underscoring the view that their leadership was on shaky ground. Shares of Facebook were down 5.1 per cent, Amazon.com was down 4.3 per cent, Netflix was down 4.9 per cent and Alphabet (Google) fell 3.4 per cent“. Now, we can go two ways in this, yet I am concentrating on the mere logical view. It is not the part of loss that is concerning me, it is as I said in ‘Annual medical bill $864,685‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/11/17/annual-medical-bill-864685/) “Consider the $2365, whilst their opponent is offering a decently close solution for $1499 (Google) and $1599 (Huawei) all top end phones and the next model is 33% cheaper, in an economy where most people are turning around pennies (just look at Debenhams). It was a really bad market moment; one could argue that Apple believed their marketing whilst it was nowhere near realistic“, when we consider this part, which is the basis application of common sense in a day and age of hardly being able to get by and we see such drops in stock levels, is that because there is underperformance, or a more clear image of overestimation by certain analysts clearing an optional path of short selling? When we consider the definition of short selling as: “The trader sells to open the position and expects to buy it back later at a lower price and will keep the difference as a gain“, is my speculation on a market set to implode that far from the actual truth? Has the entire FAANG group resorted to hiring mentally challenged Business Intelligence enabled accountants, or is someone spiking the Wall Street environment?  Is my thought on this that far out or synch with reality? When we see SBS reporting with ‘Nissan chairman arrested in Japan for financial misconduct‘, and we are given: “Besides being chairman of Nissan, the 64-year-old is also CEO of Renault and leads the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi alliance“, “Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa expressed “despair,” but also suggested that Ghosn had accrued too much power and eluded proper oversight“, as well as “Saikawa gave few details about the nature of the improprieties, including refusing to confirm reports that Ghosn under-reported his income by 5 billion yen, or around $60 million (AUD), over five years from 2011. He said an ongoing investigation limited what details could be shared, and refused to be drawn on whether other people were involved, saying only: “These two gentlemen are the masterminds, that is definite.”“. As we consider the impact of Representative Director Greg Kelly and Carlos Ghosn, we might think that the entire matter is contained, yet is it? The fact that Automotive is a clear element on Wall Street, when we see this and we do not see another part, how wrong have the analysts been getting it? The fact that numbers on Wall Street would not fluctuate to the degree needed as the numbers were spiked by a major players is interesting to consider yesterday’s news (at https://www.zdnet.com/article/nuance-spins-off-automotive-segment-into-new-publicly-traded-company/). You see, just like I found the issue in the Harbour or Rotterdam two decades ago, I looked into another direction. When we consider “Other automotive brands such as Honda, Volkswagen, Ford, Hyundai, Audi, Porsche, Nissan, Kia, Chevrolet, Harley Davidson, Ferrari are ranked by their brand value among the top 100 brands in the world!“, so if we see the SBS part with: “years of financial misconduct including under-reporting of income and inappropriate personal use of company assets“, which looks weird as this is merely an internal part (criminal or not), is there a decent chance that the entire matter is larger and as such, would a provider like Nuance not be hit as they are a component in the Nissan (and Renault, and Mitsubishi)?

In all this, when we consider The actions of one, and the impact on another, yet we see that expectations were ‘firmly’ in the wrong place, at what point will we start asking the damaging questions to analysts who were ‘overly’ positive? So when we see: “Wall Street was looking for earnings of 32 cents a share on revenue of $525 million. Shares of Nuance were down slightly after hours“, were we shown a realistic stage? This gets us to the Sydney Morning Herald, where we see: “Since the FANG outperformance run peaked on August 30, the group has underperformed the S&P 500 by 16.25 per cent. That is their worst underperformance since the first half of 2014 when they underperformed by around 20 per cent“, is it truly an underperformance, or is it set towards unrealistic overestimation and as such, is the foundation of short selling not done on the word of analyts? So in that light, would it not become more and more prudent to ask the analysts certain questions? The fact that certain Nissan events were not on their radar, what else did they not see and as such, would that not have impacted the numbers at Nuance in a similar, yet there unfairly?

What else is there?

Well, that can be seen in one way as these players all need power to be available and energy is becoming an issue in the US. What happens when we put the (big) mouth of Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to the test? As he was ‘kind’ enough to use Bloomberg to state that the current crown prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was “unstable and unreliable”, would it be an idea to ask his royal highness to kindly consider that Oil is a sellers’ market and that it is important to consider the long term future of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as such, it is important to consider the value of oil and I personally believe that it should be raised to $73 per barrel, in light of this cutting oil production by 12% would be essential.

So when Lindsey gets the news that his lack of diplomacy is cutting oil and raising prices, at what point will he ever feel safe again as the American people will react to the mere stage of commerce, it is a sellers’ market plain and simple. It is a sellers’ market because the buyer is always open to get it somewhere else, and in all that there is merely Iran left. How does it all flow now? Let’s not forget that these are not my rules, they are the consequences of Wall Street. At what point will people wake up?

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a monarchy, it is one where the monarch of that nation makes decisions that decide what would be the best track for the people of THEIR nation (which is Saudi Arabia). In a time where the life of a journalist does not matter, Turkey showed that and both the EU and America remained largely quiet, so let’s face it, we do not care about Jamal Khashoggi, yet that person has received more pushed and powered visibility than for example Matteo Messina Denaro (I chose him as I grew up being a huge Diabolik comic fan), so when we see his actions and his absence from the press for the longest time, why would we care about Jamal Khashoggi? Because a knave speaking for Iran direted others to do so? We keep on getting the news, the media, the mention of tapes, yet how clearly has the evidence been investigated? The media stays silent, mostly playing on innuendo as much as possible.

You see, it the Crown Prince succeeds in getting the stage of Neom Started, Saudi Arabia will have started and aspired to something never seen before in the history of this world, all the things that America claimed to have done will be seen active in Saudi Arabia, it is optionally the biggest blow to American ego and optionally their economy too and they are finally scared, like the UK was when the 70’s peace accords had a chance, they pushed Egypt in another direction. Now we see the stage where there is so much anti-Saudi news, that it is sickening to me, especially as the acts of Turkey and Iran are smothered. How much news have you see on the 214 journalist jailed in Turkey? most of them all convicted, the last one a week ago, we were given “A court sentenced Turkish journalist Ali Unal to 19 years in jail on Wednesday on a charge of being a leader in the network accused of carrying out a failed coup in July 2016“, Jamal Khashoggi got 60 million hits in Google Search this morning, it is that far whacked out of balance and the industrial next generation all technological marvel that could be Neom, including the Bridge that links the Sinai (Sharm-El-Sheik) to Saudi Arabia, opening even more options to commerce and growth for Egypt and the Sudan? A mere 2.8 million, a project that is well over $500 billion in investments for technological and financial opportunities; that got less than 3 million hits. I reckon that Saudi Arabia also needs additional PR and digital PR on a much larger scale.

I think that America (as well as the European Union) needs to wake up and smell the coffee and they need to do it fast. As they whinge like little children, they are optionally giving additional fields of economy to India, China and Russia to move into a market where the oil revenues will be pressed for a different directions, so as these people are merely trying to bait infighting within the Saudi Royal family, they should start to realise that one of them wakes up and decides to close the tap by 20% and merely adjust the vision towards 2035, at that point whatever comes next will no longer have any America and even less Wall Street, at what point will the American administration have to forfeit on 21 trillion of debts they can no longer pay? Let’s not forget that the entire FAANG group can vacate and move anywhere globally, at what point will we see the news: ‘NASDAQ shuts down!‘  leaves us with the question: ‘is my speculation so outlandish?’ You see, the needs for the next technology is no longer in America and the difference between global and global minus America is not that big, at that point the politicians of the European Union will fold like little bitches and accept whatever deal will keep them employed and on their gravy train; they are that predictable.

The nice part is that there is every chance that I will be around when that happens, getting to tell the economic and financial editors of all the major newspapers: ‘I told you so!‘ and the blatant attacks, the media toolkit against the current crown prince of Saudi Arabia makes my speculation more and more likely. You see, it was merely a week ago, when CNBC gave us (at https://www.cnbc.com/2018/11/15/trump-duped-saudis-into-tanking-oil-prices-analysts-say.html) ‘Oil analysts say Trump fooled Saudis into tanking crude prices‘, with the quote: “Oil market analysts say it now appears that Trump hoodwinked Saudi Arabia, fooling the U.S. ally into pushing the oil market into oversupply and sparking a roughly 25 percent drop in crude prices. That accomplished Trump’s goal of driving down energy costs for Americans“, it is optionally a decent tactic, but at present it can backfire, the KSA can take a step back and let it all fall to pieces as the Saudi government can survive a few years in the up scaled oil prices, yet the US and European economies will start to collapse as they have no infrastructure left, so when we see Bloomberg giving us ‘The Oil Price Is Now Controlled By Just Three Men‘, whilst we know that America has pissed of the other two to the largest degree; if truly three man control the price, the names are given to us as Presidents Donald Trump, President Vladimir Putin and Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. That whilst America needs to import to survive making them actually pretty weak. So at what point do the people in Wall Street wake up and realise that the oil morning special is served at $91+, whilst there are 3-4 months of extreme cold ahead? At what point will they realise that oil is a sellers’ market, not a buyers one and the oil companies can wait, they can watch it all collapse and pick up cheap labour for a mere apple and an egg (quite literally so).

In the end, America can start making a deal with Iran and Russia for oil, yet at what cost will that come? Which concession will the American people have to agree to? I am pretty sure that this moment will become the nightmare scenario for Israel as well as the others get to cater to Iran, and the oil setting makes that an optional reality; the amount of concessions Turkey will get will give the EU something to cry about to a much larger extent; apart from the nightmare that the Italian budget is becoming at present.

There were a few games on everyone’s desk and at least three of them have been handled so badly that the impact needs to be felt in the US, even if it was for the mere reason to get them to wake up and smell the coffee that they spilled and the cost of living that they helped raise soon enough.

Oh, and when the Italian economy stops stagnating and turns to recession again, the mere impact of a 5% oil price rise would be enough to stop Italian traffic in its track, how much will be possible there when that happens? Consider that Italy has the highest fuel prices costing €1.65 per litre. When that goes up by 10%, how many people would be able to afford a car? More importantly, the Italian economy has misjudged this super high price for taxation, so when that falls away, how much of the Italian infrastructure is also likely to collapse?

It is a mere side thought, because France and Spain will be in similar distress on a few stages there too, not to mention the impact in Greece. It would decimate the Mediterranean economy to a much larger degree, yet Wall Street will trivialise it and when there is no more trivialisation left, who will they blame?

Saudi Arabia, President Trump or themselves?

I will let you figure that part out.

 

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Business will be booming

There are all kinds of settings in the tech industry, some we like and some we like a lot less. It is the most visible in the mobile industry, the clear discriminatory setting there is almost unheard of. No matter what the reason is, a person for the most is iOS (Apple) minded, or they tend to go the way of the Android (Google, Huawei et al). There is for the most no in-between there. The reasons are as wide as the drops of water in a lake on a rainy day and for some these reasons make sense, or they do not. Yet we all tend to have them. I have been and remain an Android follower. I have nothing against apple. The initial setting was done by their marketing departments. Where Apple gave us: ‘You can do all these things and it is a phone too‘ and Android gave us: ‘This phone can do all kinds of things, some you will not have believed was even possible‘. I went the way of Android. You see, they are stating the same thing, yet Android focussed on a phone that can do other things. Apple went towards the things they could do, including being a phone. So from my point of view, I needed a phone, so I went the non-iOS way.

I know that in the end the difference is negligible, but it did matter. So it is a little over three years when I got myself (because it was a bargain) the Huawei P7. The difference from the previous phone (Motorola) was so distinct I became a Huawei fan overnight. Now that it is time to put that phone to bed and switch it off for the last time, I find myself clinging onto the idea that I need a new Huawei. Let me be clear, apart from my distinct non liking Samsung (a past issue I had with them), I do think that the other brands are decent too. Yet, when you have the option for a Google Pixel 2 XL, or a Huawei P20 close to $500 cheaper, what will you choose? Let’s also consider that the difference is almost nil, well it is not nil but the real differences do not stand out too much, not worth $500 as I see it. For me, if I get that phone, it will be a 300% improvement of what I have now and I am not dissatisfied with what I have, it merely has been acting up and after 3 years of working 24:7, that makes perfect sense. The little workhorse has earned its retirement. So when I started to look around, and I took a new look at the P20 and P20 pro, which is a $300 difference, I wondered why I would want the P20 pro for the usage I have. I have been able to do everything I needed with 2 GB RAM, so the 4 GB and  6GB RAM issue is not one I need to worry about. Both come with 128 GB storage, which is 800% more than I have now and even as I ran out of storage merely once, it did not worry me to any degree. The camera options are not the same, yet the PRO has an additional 40 MP camera option, which is slightly over the top need for someone who uses an EOS 1 Camera. The only issue is the battery, it is 3400 mAh versus 4000 mAh and I am not sure that this constitutes the value of $300 difference, not on my budget. More important, the P20 holds its own against the $1500 phones out there and when you consider the fact that it is 30% cheaper, what would you choose? This constitutes a difference that is well over a week’s rent for some people, so there is that to consider as well.

Yet, it is not about that part, it is that Huawei has seen the light of opportunity in both Saudi Arabia and Egypt, so when we see (at https://www.albawaba.com/business/pr/huawei-announces-%E2%80%98vip%E2%80%99-service-p20-pro-saudi-arabia-1135384), the fact that branding is getting momentum in the Middle East with their Huawei Consumer Business Group and their “a ‘VIP’ service for its customers in Saudi Arabia through its authorized service centres for any customer buys Huawei P20 Pro with Huawei KSA warranty”. Some call it marketing, which in all fairness it actually is, yet with 95 million people in Egypt and 33 million in the KSA, the market could be booming for Huawei, even as an Apple store is coming in 2019, the Apple SA store is pointing towards “Apple-designed outlets located within selected Apple resellers and other retail shops. Many are staffed with Apple-trained experts who can help you to find the right solution for you“, which is a perfectly valid and acceptable text. Yet, when you can consider an ‘outlet’ versus “Huawei has announced “Huawei Flex” which is a free drop off service in which customer can drop his device for service in more than 300 locations across kingdom for Huawei device under Saudi Arabia warranty to be send for Huawei Authorized service centre for warranty repair and return“, we see that Huawei is on the ball (I am not saying that Apple is not), but the service minded sales pitch is clearly there and as we see: “Pablo Ning, President of Huawei Consumer Business Group Saudi Arabia said: “The Kingdom is a strategic market for us, and this announcement reflects our commitment to doing business in the region. It is our effort to always cater to the specific needs of the markets we operate in. Recognising the needs of our loyal customers in the Kingdom, we are very pleased to announce these services and we are looking forward to announcing many more unique offers for them in the future”“, we see that even as we realise that too is a marketing setting, it also states that Huawei means business. With a chunk of a 125 million customer base, these two alone could drive sales even further in the Middle Eastern nations; in addition, the Huawei centre is rumoured to be coming to Neom, which could drive the brand even further. Even Forbes was recognising the growth Huawei had in 2017, even though we do take notice of the fact that anti-Chinese sentiments in the US barred the phone from the US markets, we need to realise that the planet is a lot bigger than the 325 million in the US. Also consider the fact that Huawei does a lot more than merely smartphones and the opening of the market that is a third of the US population matters, in addition the 740 million Europeans are now more than ever looking for a good deal. So the group of people who have the cash to go all out and get a phone $500 more expensive is shrinking fast. Yet Huawei is not out of the woods there either. It is up against Samsung and Samsung is doing a good job of gaining ground. In there we see that Apple is losing their footing, losing sales share in the UK, France and Spain. So even as some had growth, iOS was merely growing at 0.1%, against Android 2.8%, that is a massive difference, and Huawei is tinkering very effectively on these two markets. Although, I have to admit (speculatively) that the largest growth was due to the release of the Google Pixel family. Still Huawei remains in the fight of growth and its setting in the Middle East is as assertive as it gets. I reckon that if Pablo Ning pulls it off, he might be looking forward to his new apartment overlooking Chaoyang Park in Beijing. It is that extreme because the market share that Huawei has to grow is pretty astounding. You see, not everyone is looking towards the coolest marketed phone that most cannot normally afford, in the Middle East revenue is often set towards pragmatism and that is a setting that Marketing on a global basis tends to be unfocussed on. It is in this setting that mobile phones will gain traction in sales. So when we consider the progress that Huawei is making towards growth by going via the support and customer care path, or as Pablo Ning phrases it “the needs of our loyal customers in the Kingdom“, we see not some message on selling a phone like ‘iPhone X, Say hello to the future‘ with after that ‘Sales, Apple Authorized Resellers‘ or ‘Sales, Apple Authorized Resellers‘ but with ““Huawei Flex” which is a free drop off service in which customer can drop his device for service in more than 300 locations across kingdom for Huawei device under Saudi Arabia warranty to be send for Huawei Authorized service centre for warranty repair and return“, we see that Huawei means business. It is not about the initial sale, it is putting to bed any worry the consumer has afterwards and the Huawei version sells much stronger than the other messages and that is how commercial traction leaps forward making it market share gain. The lower sales threshold only speeds it up. In that we see that “aiming of strengthening its business base, its operations and customer service in the Kingdom“, is not just vital for growth of Huawei, the commitment of 5G in Saudi Arabia as it is at present, will only fuel the need for the Huawei smartphone (and smart phones in general); with its upcoming Huawei Mate 30 (Q3 2019) Huawei could give a further boost, as those buying today would be ready for a new phone just as the Mate 30 will be released and it will drive it a lot faster if it is both 4G and 5G enabled (which is not officially confirmed), so as Apple and others are looking to open a shop at that point, we will see that if (consider that it is an ‘if) Huawei kept its services and exceeded the expectations of the consumer, they will have a much larger advantage and as such Google might profit with their own Android phones on the coattails of Huawei. This is shown in another way too. Statista (at https://www.statista.com/statistics/271774/share-of-android-platforms-on-mobile-devices-with-android-os/) gives a view that takes some mulling. When we consider the Android market share, we see that the largest part is owned by Marshmallow (v6) and Nougat (v7), so that means that those who update now to Oreo (v8) will be most likely to update the moment 5G is out, those who delay more than 6 months are not likely, or better stated less likely to update more than once, so either they miss out on 5G or are in a much smaller segment (not serious smartphone users). So they use it as a phone and that is it, which is fair enough, because a phone is a phone and for that 5G is not essential. Yet when we consider that this group is almost 37%, there is an option for smartphone sales everywhere to evolve those users towards a more smartphone driven use of apps and data, yet what are these consumers made of? There is no data that I had at my disposal, yet finding out is actually a lot more important here. If we know what the consumer needs, we can see if there is a better solution in new hardware, not merely because of the security risk that older phones hold, the fact that smartphone functionality is optionally missed out on is basically a sales opportunity missed and when it affects an optional 37% slice of smartphones it starts to matter as that involves a serious amount of cash. Now we need to accept that it is not merely the phone, for the larger places like the island of Australia mobile data was until last year pretty expensive, so why upgrade when the data used will monthly kill your budget? to go from 15GB a month for $65 in 2016 to 200Gb for $70 in 2018 is actually a massive leap and not all places have made such changes, so not everyone is on board yet, but with 5G that will change by a lot, not only will they drive down the 4G data prices, but the mobile setting in places like Egypt and Saudi Arabia (outside of Cairo and Riyadh) will drive the need of people much larger. The fact that Egyptian TV outside of the large cities is not fabulous, for these people to suddenly get a clear reception of matches of Al Ahly SC or Zamalek SC could drive sales, so the larger the part of that 37% slice is actually found in the Middle East, the easier the upgrade sales will get; when we consider the joke (that is how I personally see the Vodafone Egypt site), as well as the clarity of http://www.egyptsim.com/, we see that there is still space to improve it all and Huawei is in an interesting place to make that happen. In addition, the Egyptsim site shows a setting that was almost the 2016 setting in Australia, so they are not that far behind, so when we see the evolution where the prices reflect 500% if what they offer now (which is what we can get in places like Australia nowadays), we see a more competitive setting where upgrading any smartphone will become the essential need of anyone wanting to use such amounts of bandwidth. Even a mere 50 GB at €15 could change the game, it will drive app use, phone use and more important, the need for phone upgrades and competitive phones will become more and more desired. This is shown in direct opposition to the anti-Huawei feelings that we see from America (at https://www.politico.eu/article/huawei-china-ghost-in-europe-telecom-machine/), a story from last January. So in all this when we see “The Chinese tech giant is banned from bidding for government contracts in the U.S. over concerns that its telecommunication equipment could be used for spying by Beijing“, that whilst it refers right next to it a story regarding ‘Mark Zuckerberg hearing: As it happened‘, in all this Huawei is a concern? As the US has not even got clear legislation on data and as we see the Facebook events, I can state that some people have their mindset in the wrong place. In addition, if we can believe the Daily Mail who gave us “Google caught using $580 million worth of Australians’ phone data to spy on them by monitoring their movements“, so in that, is Google getting government contracts? And if the second is true, why is there no outcry in that setting? Is it about the company, or where the revenue is going to? It is a multiple facetted setting of greed, technology and whose ego is the largest to present. How does that help the consumer who wants a good affordable phone, if the Google Pixel and Huawei phones offer the same thing, yet Huawei can do it 30% cheaper, why would we want the more expensive one, our privacy? Facebook gave that away and there is no actual act in place to thwart that, in addition, the US senate hearing gave more and more reluctance as we seem to get the impression that these senators do not even comprehend technology in its basic foundation. We merely have to look back at the moment with Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), who asks on: ‘how do you sustain a business model where users don’t pay for your services‘, the answer by Mark Zuckerberg was priceless: ‘Senator, we run ads!“. When we are confronted with such a level of what I regard to be ignorance towards business reality, that is the not party we should rely on when they state to us: “its telecommunication equipment could be used for spying by Beijing“, yet in that foundation, not one piece of evidence has been presented that this is actually the case. The “potential for secret ‘backdoors’” is astounding. Not one piece of evidence, not one setting that gives any level of reliability on ‘potential‘. I wonder how many of these gentlemen have been receiving calls from Cisco, Apple, IBM and other parties on their fear of China getting a slice of American business, or perhaps it is even more simple. With American firms the government of the USA can make tax deals, because the inability of paying invoices can always get bartered on a national level, not international. And there is where Huawei has its opportunity. As it grows its segments in both Europe and the Middle East it can potentially grow the services they offer as the reach of those services and in that light and the next level of growth towards 5G, we see that Huawei has a growing distinction against all competitors. It can offer a new price range, one that consumers have not had for the longest of times and it can place a setting where customer loyalty can grow towards Huawei as it offers something affordable, now when the providers think it is time, but when the consumers need them, which is always a war that works in favour of the consumer. It is a war of settings between optionally, actually, and eventually. The first one offering it has the benefit. Yet is Huawei ready to make that commitment? I do not know, yet should Huawei grace the settings and be announced as a participant of the new high tech city Neom, at that point you can be decently certain that Huawei will become a much larger player in the Middle East and from that, growth in Europe will be a near certainty. Business for Huawei will be booming and it all started by making high end mobiles an affordable item for those not in high paying jobs, or forced to get themselves chained to a two year contract with a telecom provider.

 

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Seeing correctly and that view’s danger

The title makes no sense to some, if you see something correctly, why is there danger? You see at present we have what some call a fluidic situation in regards to Iran, Israel, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. They are all connected and as such, certain parts I stated yesterday have been proven correctly. Now, the longer game cannot be predicted, because when they are moves and countermoves in a setting that changes, we cannot always predict certain moves, they are based on intelligence out there and internal intelligence available. For example, in the gaming industry, we see ‘leaked’ information from both Microsoft and Nintendo, yet is it actually leaked as we see it, or did their marketing/corporate department leak information to get the feelers out, to test the audience, in the month preceding the biggest gaming event of the year in the world, it does matter, there are 200 million gamers up for grab and Microsoft felt directly how negative that can get in 2013; what it feels like to piss all them gamers off; it took 3 years to stop the damage, now consider that this is not a video game, but a political arena where it is about billions, about lives and about setting the world stage, the stakes get to be higher. So as I said “the connection between Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the Iranian military is closer and stronger than either of them ever had for President Rouhani, that is the setting and even as both ‘tolerated’ the elected president, they have been ready to go it alone” (on May 7th in ‘Stopping Slumber, Halting Hesitation‘). Reuters gave less than a day ago (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-nuclear-rouhani/irans-rouhani-seen-as-lame-duck-after-trump-ditches-deal-idUSKBN1IA287), where we see ““Khamenei prefers a weak president. Rouhani will serve his term, but as a lame duck,” the diplomat said“, so not only am I correct, the dangers of a hardliner replacement like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is not just likely, it is now almost a given that whoever comes next is not a puppet, it is a person completely in line with the hard-line position of Ali Khamenei. Now we don’t get to have a ballgame, now we have a hard-line setting that will impact the entire Middle East. Reuters got this from ‘an Iranian diplomat, who declined to be named‘, just like Nintendo and Microsoft, Iran is now testing the waters on who stands where. Iran’s larger issue is not on how it attacks Saudi Arabia, it is on how the others react and at present it seems like there will be forceful defence of Saudi Arabia and Israel, their position and what they feel is justified. The US and Europe are in their corners. That is the issue Iran is dealing with, because there is a clear support against Iran, whilst at the same time we see ‘Putin Is Giving Israel a Free Hand against Iran in Syria. But He May Soon Have to Pick a Side‘ (source: Haaretz), as well as ‘Russia seeks to take mediator role between Israel and Iran‘ (at http://www.arabnews.com/node/1300286/world), this is more important; as we see “Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday that “all issues should be solved through dialogue.”“. There is the crux of the matter where we see that Russia will most certainly not back Iran, but will at times come to their supportive aid (at a price of course), especially when they can have a go at the USA. That last part is speculative from my side, but we have seen enough evidence over the last year to see that be a partial gospel truth, or we could water it down with: ‘it is the crutch of the matter as Israel ends up having Iran by the balls at present

Even as we accept “Russia has become a major player in the Middle East since intervening in the Syrian war on the side of the Damascus regime in September 2015. Analysts also highlight its role as mediator in other conflicts in the area“, as a lot of it is true, depending on the coloured lenses you wear in your glasses, but the foundation has a setting. In this Russian analyst Fyodor Lukyanov is correct. Alexander Krylov, a foreign policy expert at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations gives us “The role of Russia as a mediator is strongly appreciated in the region. This role will be reinforced if the crisis between Israel and Iran worsens,” that too is true, because bluntly stated at present America has no real credibility left outside of the actual support given to Saudi Arabia and Israel. The Middle East is a lot larger than merely Saudi Arabia, even as they are not seen as large players, the still pack a punch and as such the UAE and Qatar will have a voice. The setting at present does not give the UAE a pro Saudi view (speculative) but in equal measure they will not side with Iran as I see it, not on this scale. Even as there is a link between Qatar and Iran, it will not hold, when hostilities grow, Qatar will isolate themselves away from both parties because the largest fear for Qatar is that they become the beachhead for Iran or the entrenchment for Saudi Arabia. When either of the two happens, do you think that after that Doha will look like this?

Just google: ‘Images of Ghouta‘, that is how Doha ends up looking like with a FIFA event merely 3 years away, so that would be instantly cancelled at that point, oh,. FIFA is already on that, not merely because it is Qatar, the anti-Qatar slurs of the media has been long and lasting, a (let’s just be blunt) fucked up situation caused by stupid greedy people who have been taking the longest gravy train ride. When we are all treated to “The British press continues to be hostile towards Qatar because the tournament will be held during winter, to avoid the searing heat in the Gulf“, because they want a 100% exploitative coverage, and Qatar with its weather got in the way of that and large sponsoring corporations like Coca Cola and every other FIFA sponsor now get a 40% reduced bang for their exploitative buck, now they are suddenly willing to go all out, and it links to all this, it matters!

In that setting we are treated to half-truths, especially by the media who willingly looked the other way on all allegations regarding Sepp Blatter, or is that ‘step bladder’ as he was pissing all over everyone for the longest time? When was the last time when you looked at all the work from BBC reporter Andrew Jennings? He was ignored and partially shunned as I see it, and as we saw the escalations regarding all this with “In 2012 the Sunday Times revelations sparked a genuinely independent inquiry by a former US attorney general, Michael Garcia. This report was delivered to Blatter, but he has refused to publish it in full“, the full report was never shown (at that time), merely an example of evidence on how large corporation are in charge and the law is just a nasty side effect that can be ignored when certain people call the shots. So when we see ESPN give us “While the mystery of what details are contained in the full 430-page dossier has been revealed, it does not contain any additional proof of major acts of corruption. However, Garcia said some bidders tested rules of conduct to the limit“, that is ESPN, a sports channel, not the Times, the Guardian or any other newspaper that should have taken it to the front page. The article started with “FIFA released the full contents of the Garcia report that examined alleged corruption in 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding on Tuesday, one day after it was leaked to German newspaper Bild“, so there is clarity, FIFA only released it when they learned someone else had it already. That is the game played by the press who are ALL afraid for another Leveson inquiry for them to be held to account. In this we see people like James Quincey (CEO of Coca Cola) get to tell the media and others what to do, we see that politicians are no longer in charge, they are merely caretakers, janitors of the high and mighty and the press remains around as mere facilitators of the lot. In this there is another matter that I can feel happy about to message towards Martin Ivens, editor of The Sunday Times to get the fuck out of his office and never return to media (period)! 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“. In all this he is allowed one defence, by publishing all the evidence he claimed to have had. But that will not happen will it?

How is this related?

The entire setting of the Middle East is set for our eyes in misrepresentation by newspapers all over the world. They tell the stories that they are told to tell. I call it at times, writing with blinders, like a horse so they do not get scared by all the events around them. it is one thing to not inform us of everything, another to give us a pack of lies, to stack the deck against us and in all this the media is still at it, facilitating for all the Satya Narayana Nadella’s and James Quincey’s in the world, they are not alone and there are a few. In this these two named people are not evil; they are merely representing the best interest of their shareholders, which is their function is it not?

That is what is in play, Qatar will soon be optionally in the thick of it and their only safe move is not to play the game, to isolate them from their opposition (Saudi Arabia) and their non-friend Iran, they basically have no moves available and that is fine, but we need to make sure that the people realise and understand that no matter how they got to a certain stage, they need to remove themselves from the game, no longer be the pawn in this, the Iranian setting has shown to be adversarial and committed to a long term game to become an active enemy, delusional imagining themselves as conqueror of Saudi Arabia and the exterminator of the state of Israel, but not at the same time, that was never going to work, this is why it is my personal view on the matter that Iran resorted to ‘puppets’. Turkey and Hezbollah are the main ones, they were trying to be as thick as thieves with Russia, but they are no fools and they took the middle path at the earliest setting of them getting into warmer waters. Now the other players see certain matters evolve and whilst Mossad was kind enough to give the people something to read about, it was not enough, yet when we aggregate 15 months of news cycles, we see a path that shows a long term commitment of Iran taking a different path, the path I feared when people were trying to get cosy to President Rouhani to alleviate Middle Eastern tensions (in perfectly valid ways), the truth (as I personally see it) was that Iran had no one to replace Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a committed hardliner, a politician that does the bidding of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Major general Mohammad Bagheri. They needed one that accepted both and I expect that one is in the works, but President Rouhani (the lame duck as voiced by one Iranian diplomat) is not that person and the other two are too powerful for President Rouhani, there will be no moderation in Iran. They are set to destroy their opponents no matter what, their one view is the only one that counts and as such, we might prefer to not be part of it at all, especially as non-Muslims, but they have given us no option, none that are diplomatic that is, we have to side with Saudi Arabia in that setting. Qatar is standing in a shallow spot with too many requiring water, and as solutions dry up, there is every option that Saudi diplomats, together with the GIP (Ri’āsat Al-Istikhbārāt Al-‘Āmah) can change that setting. I personally believe that Iran overplayed its hand a little too soon; perhaps they thought that the timing was right? It remains speculative yet the setting is now that the Iranian Qatar links can be (permanently) broken, in addition to all that the setting offers an option to ‘rekindle’ certain connections with the UAE which now puts the entire Yemen/Houthi situation in play where with the removal of Iran things could be resolved and actual humanitarian aid could commence, which would be a relief for millions of people all over the world. In both matters Iran ends up holding the wrong cards and an additional crack in the Iran/Hezbollah veneer could be created, in this setting, no one will care about the survival of the terrorist organisation Hezbollah and their only path is to hide in the deepest hole, hoping that some of them might survive at best.

I am certain that the matters are seen correctly, we are in an almost hostile setting where we limited options by misrepresenting nations and their views for the need of corporate greed (Qatar), we have been facilitating through all kinds of means to get a fictive deal in place, one that is shown more and more to never have been realistic (Iran), we have alienated other nations by demanding that they adjust to our way of thinking (Saudi Arabia) and in all this we went out of our ways to not hold others accountable because of other needs that the EU had for their personal little deals (Turkey), it is in all this that we should be creating a solution path, yet some have limited moves through previous acts and now that there is a time limit in place to prevent serious escalations, we suddenly see that we are in a place where Russia of all players ends up being the best placed for mediation in this, which will of course delay the second cold war for a fair bit, so we have that to look forward to as well.

In all this we see another reflective part towards this situation and the entire unacceptable mess within FIFA. With ‘Swiss prosecutor appeals for cooperation on FIFA case file‘, we see: “Switzerland’s attorney general has a message for his foreign counterparts as his office pores over reams of seized documents and dozens of criminal cases linked to FIFA: “Come to us.” Michael Lauber said Friday the investigations require both quick action and patience, and noted “good developments” like how growing cooperation has led to 45 requests for legal assistance from Switzerland with regard to soccer“, as well as “One of the complexities, Lauber said, is that Swiss law has no clause for cases of private corruption, meaning that his team has to find creative ways of going after suspected wrongdoing at times — as with the disloyal management allegations against Blatter“. This is interesting as most of the media left us in the dark, but moreover, we see that this was given to us on April 20th 2018. The question becomes regarding FIFA, what other options were never looked at or actively engaged in, and if this escalates and explodes, do we have any recourse left?

Are we in a place where corporate corruption in facilitating towards media and big business in all this is tolerated, what is left for us? If the sports can no longer be trusted, can we merely claw back to the old days that there are no licenses and sports can be freely covered by any media, remove all exclusivity whilst banning advertisements on EVERY sport event. So how many heart attacks could I cause in these higher corporate echelons by demanding this move to be made by the UN on a global scale?  #IDoHaveASenseOfHumour

When you see the media outrage on freedom of the press and the right to know, should that not include coverage of events? In that regard, when the media screams at that point, who will they be representing, the shareholders, the stakeholders, the advertisers or those watching the event, the actual audience? Now take that view towards the Middle East and the escalations and limitations we see, and especially the innuendo not backed by facts or evidence. The Middle East situation is indeed more complex, yet in part we made it that way, so when we see Amnesty International (at https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/campaigns/2017/02/free-turkey-media/) with ‘Turkey: Journalism Is Not A Crime‘, and we realise the quote “Since the failed coup attempt in July 2016, academics, journalists and writers who criticise the government risk criminal investigation and prosecution, intimidation, harassment and censorship. Coupled with the closure of at least 180 media outlets by executive decree under the state of emergency, the message – and the resulting effect on press freedom – is clear and disturbing. The severity of the Turkish government’s repression of the media is such that it has been described by some as the “death of journalism”“, so when we see this and also realise that this is not the leading story in EVERY newspaper in the free world, why is that? Now consider last January we got: “Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was in Paris for talks with Macron, part of efforts to improve his government’s strained relationship with Europe. Macron confirmed that Turkey’s wait for EU membership was far from over and suggested a partnership instead in the meantime“, the use of ‘meantime‘, an implied setting of facilitation and the fact that Europe is bending over backwards allowing Turkey to get the sweet spots and not being held accountable for not one, but optionally two genocides (Armenia and Kurds). Can anyone explain where the press is in all this, because it remained ambiguous for the longest of time!

So in the end, how should we see that endangered view, is it merely projection versus perception? I do not belief that this is the case, but that might be merely my view on the matter.

And he game is not over, the issues we will see next week will be impacting on several issues at present and not only for the nations separately, some of the links will be influenced by several events and high end meetings, so next week I might end up looking entirely wrong, as we see some state it in a certain way, like for example: “it was in everyone’s best interest to make certain changes to the agreement as it was currently set”. That is the mere reality of the matter. Yet they will not change the answer, they will end up changing the question so that it matches the answer, which in the end is not the same.

 

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Tubing it along

There is news, news that has been about a few weeks and I have kept an iLook on it. In one part it is as techofreak as it gets, so I should be on board the moment it launches, it is so versatile that it has no other option than to change lives on a global scale, yet there is the issue that it is so new that it is a little scary. That is the reality of all new technology; consider the first 10,000 Facebook accounts, the first 100,000 internet users. It all starts in a small geeky way and this will be no difference. It had more presence in the Saudi Arabia Vision 2030, so that is why I took another look. You see, the entire matter is not merely where it is, but it is how the technology is adapted, that is the first part in all this. To set this in the proper light, we need to take a step back. In the UK they have the HS2. So when we see the BBC (at http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-16473296), we see “The initial plan is for a new railway line between London and the West Midlands carrying 400m-long (1,300ft) trains with as many as 1,100 seats per train. They would operate at speeds of up to 250mph – faster than any current operating speed in Europe – and would run as often as 14 times per hour in each direction“, so when we consider London – Birmingham we see ‘1 h 25 min’, as their fast option at present, which at 117 miles, makes the HS2 a 45 minute saving, so how many billions is that going to cost? Now consider that each one technical glitch will cut the 45 minutes. Now, I am all for progress, now when we go by two numbers we see “a projected cost of £56 billion, up from the initial cost of £32.7 billion in 2010“, we see that 8 years ago, they had it wrong by close to 100%, so we see a waste of £56 billion plain and simple. The UK could fix its schools for that amount of money and overall, there is absolutely no reason to go that distance, it is just too short. Now we get to the next stage of travel.

Welcome to Hyperloop!

Now as we see this in the Saudi Arabian setting it changes, you see when we look (at https://www.tahawultech.com/news/virgin-hyperloop-one-unveils-vision-2030-pod/) we see ‘Traveling from Riyadh to Jeddah would take 76 minutes (currently over 10 hours) utilising the land bridge for both passenger and freight movement, positioning KSA as the gateway to 3 continents‘ as well as ‘Traveling from Riyadh to Abu Dhabi would take 48 minutes (currently over 8.5 hours)‘, so here we see a clear forward momentum. Not merely 45 minutes gain, but gains that take away 90% of the travel time, now we are talking improvements! I never quite understood the HS movement, not in the UK (where there is some benefit) and even less in the Netherlands where the improvements are as shallow as it gets, all this ‘good for the economy‘ whilst I think it greased the careers of certain people, and in the end nothing for the citizens, and the less stated on the Dutch government joke called Fyra at a mere €11 billion loss, it is not a lot if you say the amount fast!

So even as we are burning ourselves all over Europe on high speed trains Hyperloop technology is different, you go by tube (as literally as it gets) and within that tube you have the option to truly accelerate, the nice setting that this will reflect on cargo and passengers alike, so it is also versatile. So when we read “The hyperloop-enabled transportation sector in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will stimulate economic growth and diversification of Saudi industries, according to Virgin Hyperloop One. It will also nurture the manufacturing and innovation sectors, and spur job growth in support of the country’s Vision 2030 plan increasing the GDP 1-2 percent across the Kingdom“, we are not seeing the whole picture. You see it is almost a lot bigger than that. The currently planned £380 billion mega city Neom would be an optional first as well, so Riyadh would be linked to Neom, which now is set to connect Egypt and Jordan, it also opens the doors almost directly to Sharm-El-Sheik as well as the Israeli city of Eilat, all golden opportunities which allows Saudi Arabia to grow the economy in Riyadh on a much larger foundation than ever before. In all this Cargo and passengers are set to near exponential growth, especially in the short term. So we have near direct connections between Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia in the centre of all this. It will not take long for these nations to grow all kinds of alliances and commerce will flourish like nothing we have seen before and Virgin, with its Hyperloop One is in the centre of this growth. Even as Europe is trying to get something similar rolling, we see that France is alas out of cash for such an endeavour (at present) ‘Hyperloop gives cash-strapped French cities hope‘ (at https://www.thenational.ae/business/economy/hyperloop-gives-cash-strapped-french-cities-hope-1.726967), it is a stretch, but it makes a lot of sense for France to get involved in all this, in their setting Hyperloop makes sense, especially regarding cargo (cheese and wine settings anyone). So when I see “TransPod’s technology is based on magnetic propulsion and electrified tracks, moving pods through a vacuum tunnel designed to reduce friction. As with most Hyperloop projects, the bulk of the estimated costs are for deploying infrastructure. Co-founder Sebastien Gendron estimates his company needs €20 million (Dh88.1m) in financing to complete the Limoges project at the current stage, and says he’ll raise half of that from private investors“, in all this, I am surprised that no one there called Ubisoft (more specifically Christian Guillemot, Claude Guillemot, Gérard Guillemot, Michel Guillemot or Yves Guillemot), they have the cash and more important, to be the founders of something this futuristic that will be moving through France with the Ubisoft symbol would be worth its weight of a train in gold I’d imagine.

So back to Saudi Arabia, the one part I do disagree with is ‘in support of the country’s Vision 2030 plan increasing the GDP 1-2 percent across the Kingdom‘, you see, once the line is in place, it will spur the economy in more ways, beyond tourism and beyond cargo, for close to double that prediction. A system that far ahead will also spur infrastructures growth as the rest of the world will be lagging behind, especially where engineering is concerned. They all claim they have ‘the technology‘ yet at present there is a lot more reliability that under these settings it will only be running in the KSA in a more serious setting in the foreseeable future and that is where the advantage grows, in addition, when the travel times are shifted to those degrees, emergency surgeries, medical disasters when Hyperloop technologies transfers and adjusts in more than one perk, we will see both the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centres in Riyadh and Jeddah grow abilities to attain options because they are now less than 2 hours apart. That transfers to all manner of services, when they are no longer separated by time to that degree, it will drive a lot more than the ones we see at present. and let’s not forget, this is merely the first degree of Hyperloop, as the engineers figure out a lot more than is currently possible, the growth will blossom further, and as we see forward momentum on this scale, we understand that there are risks, you when the gain is not 45 minutes, but 90% travel time is reduced the picture shifts a lot further on a larger scale. Even as we were introduced to ‘tube’ transport in Logan’s Run in 1976, we never imagined that it would be an actual solution, not until now do we see that there are places where it is more than a solution, it is the drive to move forward on nearly every field.

So even as I accept that we are not there yet and there are all kinds of issues down the line, movement is now a given, and even a some used the London underground map and added some Hyperloop fun to it, the setting is not that impossible on some part of those tracks. It is a part where all technology can move forward, we merely have to adapt parts of it. Consider that change as new venues of technology open will up, and there is serious cash to be made for all the players in this field, you merely have to find the niche where your solution fits.

That is where Vision 2030 is now becoming a driving force, not merely because there is $500 billion to be found, but because those who do get their working solution in place, for those there is a lot more to be made over time, Saudi Arabia is merely the pilot, it is the global setting where profit becomes a very serious opportunity, it will drive the now nearly born new Nouveau Riche generation to a very new level with amounts the previous generation never ever dreamed of.

When you sit down and consider the map, we do not merely see Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, we see that Saudi Arabia has the opportunity become the axial for those three continents, an option we never would considered as realistic when Vision 2030 launched 10 years ago, now that picture is shifting and with the growing technologies as Saudi Arabia is embracing these new opportunities we see a shifting picture, even as oil might be funding this, the reliance on it is fading a lot faster than we thought possible, not merely through Hyperloop, but through the changes all the technologies enable one another with and that also gives new directions, because it is no longer about volatility  (as Saudi Arabia was accused of by others in a previous blog), it is about stability and the enabled stability that these solutions bring.

For in the end making money will always win over waging war, that has been proven for the longest of times.

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