Tag Archives: LA Times

ULE can kill any e-firm

Yes, there is an issue, yet is it a real one? The LA Times (at http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-snap-earns-20170810-htmlstory.html) gives us ‘Snap shares plummet after Los Angeles tech company misses expectations‘. Now, there has in my view always been an issue with “frustrated financial analysts and investors by adding new features for advertisers too slowly“. You see, there are two issues right there. In my personal view, I have always sided with the ‘premium‘ edition of pretty much any app when the price is right, to avoid advertisements and I will dump any app the moment that there is a replacement app offering such an option. So with ‘new features for advertisersI will instantly snap to another app at the drop of a hat, any hat. You only need to Google: ‘Snapchat’ to see the impact, anger and frustration the users offer (loudly). So when I see “Snap hasn’t delivered promising results in its first two earnings reports” I am not at all surprised. In my view what was a great idea was suddenly bombastic and radioactive. So when the option “and Snap [at 173 million daily active users] can’t add 8 to 10 million” it is not a surprise, it is not even a mystery. With the response “That is why the shares are down — and they should be!” from Laura Martin, managing director of equity research at Needham & Co, I merely have the thought that this lady does not comprehend user base needs and desires. In this for Snap to offer a +$5 option and not have any kind of pop up, ideas and advertisements, any of them disabled separately would have been a much better option. For the record, the app by Jack Underwood named ‘Today Calender Pro‘ at $5.99 took 8 minutes to contemplate. So as hatred of advertisement goes, I am surprised that the equity research firms are not more up to date as to the needs and desires of the users. In addition, we can argue all kinds of directions, yet when we consider the Wiki statement “the idea was to create a selfie app (application) which allowed users to share images that were explicitly short-lived and self-deleting“, in an age where trust of stored images is at an all-time low, there will be debates and there is more than one user with the thought ‘what if’. In addition, there is the consideration on the need (read: reasoning) to short term viewing and deletion of images to some degree. So as we see Snapchat as a possible opponent to Instagram, where would you put your money? Now that Instagram is linked to Facebook, we need to reconsider where we put our efforts as a user. We might want to go with: ‘there is an app need for everyone‘, yet when the novelty warez off (pun intended), we need to consider the users that go with ‘One size fits all‘, that is where the first issue of Snap now lies, as the people are reconsidering their place in photo sharing. Some people who go with short term deleted options are optionally not part of a social sharing media type. They will also need ‘their’ solution, there is no denying it, but overall that need will diminish faster soon enough. In addition there is the need for the user to be ‘entertained‘, which means other options, more options and diversity. In this Snap might be seen as too much of a niche.

Does that inhibit the drop in value?

Partially yes, but in this the response “surprised that Snap added only 7 million users during the second quarter” is actually a lot less surprising. As we now see places that are setting the stage for increasing ‘engagement’ (at https://thenextweb.com/contributors/2017/08/10/7-tips-increase-engagement-instagram/#.tnw_DmOvDLuY), we see the evolving side of Instagram, whilst Snap strays and is getting left behind. In this, 3 of those engagement ideas are actually right up the alley of Snapchat and as such the evolving need of Snap and their app needs to be reckoned with. In addition, the numbers in the LA Times article shows that there are other situations, in all the loss of expected gains, which is actually not the largest issue, it is the actual loss and that it is off by $76 million which is a much larger issue. So as I personally see it, the need to adhere to ‘new features for advertisers‘ dwarves to the need to ‘switch off advertisement features for users‘ If that opts the setting of $5 for a potential 150 million users getting to a ‘plus’ or ‘pro’ edition would be an awesome alternative, because every day that this is not considered implies that Snap Inc. Is giving the market to whoever is giving the users some Snapchat++ option. The market is there for the person stepping in and as far as the news goes, Snap is doing something, but not stepping in and as such is losing the market and whatever market share they had, in addition, the aggressive growth of Instagram does not help Snap that much either.

There is additional information in the LA Times, when we consider “Of the daily users Snap gained during the April-through-June period, 4 million came from North America, 2 million from Europe and the rest from elsewhere in the world. Snapchat had 148 million users this time last year“, It is when we start looking at Omnicore, is when we get some interesting results (at https://www.omnicoreagency.com/snapchat-statistics/), the two that caught my attention are ‘71% of Snapchat users are under 34 years old‘ and ‘Roughly 70% of Snapchat users are female‘ that is an impressive part, so when you toss away the advertisements, how can you cater to these two groups? The mere fact that you have 100 million users in either part is a lot more interesting; it is the market share worth enabling and growing upon. With ‘More than 25% of UK Smartphone users are on Snapchat, in Norway the number goes up to 50%‘ we see an even more interesting part. A part that could (if investigated properly), could see the need of the reference to the three engagement parts I hinted at earlier. So when you consider the options, is Snap even aware to the better part of their numbers of the needs of their users? That is seen even in more optional ways when you consider two of the fun facts given in this article, which was from January 2017. the first being ‘More than 400 million Snapchat stories are created per day‘ which means that there is a huge following and in equal measure more than one story a day per user is created. The second is ‘It would take you 10 years to view all the photos shared on Snapchat in the last hour‘, so there is a given one sided engagement, the question is can this be evolved to a much stronger engagement number that is two sided or more? The answer to that is basically a lot more appealing that the ‘optional’ requested growth of those 2 million users. It is the answer to making Snap the stellar grower Snap would like it to be. In all this the fact that close to 50% of the users is younger than 35 should be a clear path into engagement and facilitation. It is merely up to Snap to pick up the pieces and see where growth can be found, once they are there the ‘anticipation‘ of these analysts might get crushed in favour of Snap in more ways than one.

So where should Snap begin?

I always go with comprehension, know your user base and see what they need, no matter how that impacts other predictions or needs. If growth is the key need, than adhering to the users is the only way to exceed expectations of whoever seems to be wielding the stick of the analysts’ predictions. As I see it, they need to get there before Instagram and Snapchat++ give light to make Snapchat a mere memory, because there is no coming back from that, no matter how stellar the improvement becomes, for that places the User Level Expectations where it is not desired, with the other application that listened or offered the gimmick of the week.

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, IT, Media, Science

Hospitality starts with hospital

There is no way around it, United Airlines has found a new way to get mentioned on every social media at the same time. The article (at http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/united-airlines-passenger-beaten-flight-chicago-airport-apologise-newunitedairlinesmottos-trump-a7678296.html) gives us a first view on how the people are perceiving United Airlines. The headline ‘United Airlines hasn’t even bothered apologising to the passenger beaten on its flight‘ gives us the goods. The article goes into a few elements, although I am not entirely in agreement with: “this blood-soaked guy who simply wanted to go home and get to work the next day could have been any one of us“, I will at least admit that it is not entirely incorrect.

My issue is not initially with the act as such, it is with the utter stupidity of removing someone who had boarded without a proper reason. Consider that people check into flights, they get their luggage through, get past all the check and end up with a boarding pass. At that precise moment, that seat is taken! So basically up to an hour before the flight, this issue could and should have been clear, and this level of stupidity has consequences. Market watch reported ‘United’s stock falls 1.1%, wipes out $255 million off the airline’s market cap‘, which seems a little much so that one additional staff member could get on that flight. The quote “If you’ve flown anywhere in the last 10 years, you’ve definitely been on an overbooked plane. You might have even been offered a few hundred quid to skip your flight in order to make room for travelling airline staff” gives a fair view of what happens at time. In my case it was a first class passenger who had to get on the flight I was one and we were offered 600 euro’s and a free upgrade to get the next flight. I was not in the market, but someone took this offer. That is the easy option for the airline. In this case there was no option and someone got dragged off. As I would see it, a logistical screw up that gave a market dive of $255 million and that is not all. There is a solid chance that this doctor can sue the airline and the security detail that dragged him off costing the airline several million more. You see this is not a case of wrongful acting by the passenger. The passenger had checked in, went through all the screenings that happen and passed all the requirements. The passenger was given a boarding pass and was allowed to board the plane, it is at this point that the airline is screwed (as I personally see it). At this point it becomes an institutional failure of an airline to properly conduct its business. The excuse of a press conference where we see CEO Oscar Munoz calling the incident a ‘system failure’ and says staff could have solved it with ‘common sense’ is not a clear answer. The additional statement “proper tools, policies, procedures that allow them to use common sense” sounds like a joke to me. Common sense should be on the forefront of all this. The mere logistical part that the boarding procedure was not tattooed on the supervisors’ brainstem is not a medical requirement, but it might have saved them a quarter of a billion write down. I will give him that he took the blame towards himself, but in the end this failure went past the head of the hospitality crew, the pilot and captain of the flight and the security detail. Three levels that did not ask the questions that should have been asked before this disaster took shape. The fact that this was because of a needed seat for a staff member makes the disaster complete and a lot bigger too.

Now, there was also a mention that ‘aviation experts have said the company acted legally‘, is that so? You see, the contract of carriage of United Airlines: “If a flight is oversold, no one may be denied boarding against his/her will until UA or other carrier personnel first ask for volunteers who will give up their reservations willingly in exchange for compensation as determined by UA. If there are not enough volunteers, other Passengers may be denied boarding involuntarily in accordance with UA’s boarding priority“, here is the kicker: ‘may be denied boarding involuntarily‘, this was not the case, the man had already boarded and had boarded validly with a valid boarding pass. This is the part that will get United Airlines in hot water!

The other part that I do not get is the issue for one steward(ess), what was the beef here? There are close to 50 flights a day going from Chicago to St. Louis, so unless it was about a directly connecting flight, or better stated, even then, there would have been logistical solutions available. All this (I admit speculated) seems to reflect the opposite of what Oscar Munoz claims, mainly that the bulk of staff and support groups in Chicago airport were pretty much all devoid of common sense. So, from that point of view, no policy or protocol would have saved United Airlines the disaster it was heading to at full speed.

The part I disagree with in the article is that this is not about a Trump America, this is not about “This sort of stuff is becoming so commonplace that it’s difficult to feign surprise or disgust anymore. It’s become completely entangled in America’s psyche, and no one seems to care“, this was a collective act of utter stupidity, not a common sensing brain cell around to stop this from escalating. I would argue that this is linked to “A profit-driven airline company wanted to make room for employees, and so private security staff were more or less given the green light to beat somebody up to make it happen“, yet in this I am not sure if the second part on the private security side would be correct, yet as they dragged the valid passenger off the plane, questions will need to be asked with their superiors and the clarity of what had transpired will need to be scrutinised, because they too will feel the blows of what happened, I feel certain that the United Airlines legal team will be looking under every pebble to see where the costs, losses and blame could be placed.

The interesting side is that this is not the first time, the same week saw an issue with the president of an investment firm flying back from Hawaii, as well as an issue with two teenage female passengers wearing leggings, yet in that case there are a few issues that give optional valid defence of United Airlines as these were ‘pass travellers‘, where the passengers have to comply with company policy as they are in fact free staff flights.

There is no denying that the United Airlines will suffer a while longer as the social media is pushing and pulling the quotes in all directions to let viral reign continue, which is equally not fair on United Airlines, yet that is the world we live in nowadays. The fact that we now see surging stories of UA overbooked flights, with people getting send-off going all the way back to 2015. Then it was Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Shiller who lost his seat. These stories seem a waste of time and I would agree immediately, yet the effect is that for the next few months, people will initially book with whomever has a flight not named United Airlines, which stops the overbooking danger, yet in equal measure it will drive forecasting down by a fair bit, so this disaster could cost United Airlines a lot more than the quarter of a billion cap loss. How much is not clear and I reckon no speculation will be on the mark, no matter how good you know this industry. Whenever social media goes viral on several paths, all bets are off, United Airlines is experiencing this effect in person.

To finish this off, we also see another side of social media. It is Fox News who reports (at http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2017/04/12/twitter-accused-deleting-tweets-slamming-united-airlines.html) the issue that allegedly, Twitter has been deleting tweets on United. The quote: “One user, @Jay_Beecher, says that a number of his United-related tweets were deleted, including one poking fun at the airline over the now-notorious incident. “Within seconds of tweeting I noticed that my tweet had disappeared,” he told Fox News. “After rewriting the same tweet numerous more times, I began to suspect that Twitter was censoring/automatically deleting any slightly critical tweets which contained an @United tag.”” gives us that at times Twitter seems to be doing whatever seems to please those with a vested interest. This is now also becoming an issue on cases where Twitter did not intervene, giving additional strength that Twitter has certain options, yet refuses to use them. This is not even close to the end for Unites Airlines as we see: “The airline kicked off the #UnitedJourney campaign last week in an attempt to get passengers to share their travel photos. Instead, the hashtag is being used to slam the airline and share memes related to Sunday’s now-notorious incident.

There is currently no end to this viral motion as we still see the News act on events nearly a week old, with the latest news merely three hours ago, as such it seems clear that Mr Munoz has his work cut out for him. The rehashed news regarding “United customer Geoff Fearns, who told Los Angeles Times columnist David Lazarus on Tuesday that United threatened to put him in handcuffs last week if he didn’t surrender his first-class seat to a “higher priority” passenger” gives rise on more issues, the most prominent being the one where United Airlines needs to seriously redefine what a high priority passenger is, especially when such a person makes ‘demands‘ on his last minute booking, whilst seemingly not being able to time manage his travel needs. It is my personal view that any company that facilitates to the arrogant and possibly loud mouthed will see their value decrease in ways that was not even close to the value of the ticket sold. It is a lesson they might learn from, but as this situation is created in America, I highly doubt it.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Media

Omphalos and its syndrome

This syndrome comes from the references of Delphi and the ‘navel of the world’, which is what Delphi was regarded as. Nowadays, we see Omphalos syndrome as the misguided belief that a place of geopolitical power and currency is the most important place in the world.

I believe that to be no longer correct, I believe that it has been ‘converted’ into something slightly more generic. I believe that it should be seen as ‘the misguided believe that its choice of management and achievement of profit are the most important in the world’. Let’s take a look at a few examples.

 

A is for Apple

‘Apple apologises over Error 53 and issues fix for bricked iPhones’ (at http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/feb/19/error-53-apple-issues-fix-bricked-iphones) shows the first example. The entire error53 mess is a direct example. It goes on to the core that we now see “Apple has released a fix for users affected by “Error 53”, a software issue that rendered useless iPhones that had had their home buttons replaced by third parties“, The initial response “At the time Apple said that Error 53 was a security feature to protect customers” reads like a joke. The mere alternative that was open was that any non-Apple certified method meant the wiping of data would have been enough. It took me 5 minutes to come up with that solution. A mere auto wipe of all data. No we have to read quotes like “Apple has apologised for Error 53 and said customers who paid for an out-of-warranty replacement for their phone should contact AppleCare about reimbursement” as well as “Solving Error 53 does not re-enable Touch ID, as a third-party replacement of the home button could potentially allow unauthorised access to a locked phone by modifying the fingerprint sensor“. It would have been the simplest of solutions to go through the re-enabling system again. All these simple solutions, all because apple wanted to enforce the repairs of their phones to what they consider to be THEIR allowed service repair shops. An application of greed, to maximise profits, not the openness of what was once the Apple OS X through a Unix open source system, but the mere stranglehold of a greed driven corporation. It was brought to light by several articles in the Guardian and an initial customer service based solution comes “after widespread publicity and the Californian tech giant being served with a class action lawsuit over in the US and attention from a competition watchdog in Australia“, I wonder how many IOS people will start considering Android now.

 

E is for Eisai

This event is taking us back a fair bit, around 2000 Eisai came with its Alzheimer’s drug Aricept (donepezil). The fact that profits grow by 100% might not be the biggest thing on the planet. Yes when the LA Times (at http://articles.latimes.com/2012/mar/22/health/la-he-aricept-fda-20120323) reported “FDA officials should not have allowed it, the authors said, because the clinical studies Eisai offered in support of its application did not meet standards the agency itself had laid out“, in addition we see “it failed to yield the improvements that the FDA had set as a condition of approval“, in all this a clear investigation did not take place. It is still allowed, mainly because it is FDA approved. We see in other sources the claims like “Further, the higher dose was not superior on either of the pre-specified secondary outcome measures, which, as the FDA medical reviewer pointed out, argues that the cognitive difference was not meaningful“, which we get from the FDA Center for Drug Evauation and Research. Application number 022568: medical review. Aricept 23 mg tablets. (at www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/nda/2010/022568Orig1s000MedR.pdf), when we consider the source http://www.nhs.uk/news/2015/10October/Pages/Cheap-Alzheimers-drug-may-help-keep-people-out-of-care-homes.aspx, where we get the quote “a year’s worth of donepezil costs around £21 a year, compared with a year’s worth of care home costs – estimated to be between £30,732 and £34,424 a year. If the results of the study were replicated at a population level, this could save the NHS a considerable sum of money“.

This is where we see another version of Omphalos syndrome, “the misguided believe that my version of cost cutting is the best in the world“, at this point, we should investigate the players and consider whether a case for criminal endangerment exists. The fact that sources have shown ‘evidence’ as per 2007 gives rise to a failed system, not just the NHS, but the leeway for pharmaceuticals as, from the given reports failed to yield the improvements that the FDA had set as a condition of approval, making the question why on earth was it approved at all and why are certain diseases used for marketing a cash cow, more important why is the NHS not loudly and outspoken dealing with this? Especially as www.NHS.UK is involved in promoting articles in favour of Aricept (donepezil).

 

I is for Insight Enterprises

This is a side that rests with Omphalos, yet in all this it is in equal measure a situation we must accept. Insight Enterprises did nothing wrong, it made a choice, it’s governing body stated ‘this is the best path, this is the golden solution’, we must accept that any governing body, being it corporate or governmental will be ‘smitten’ with Omphalos Syndrome. So as Microsoft changed the partner program in 2014, Insight Enterprises saw the filling of its corporate coffers trickle down to zero. (at http://www.crn.com/news/channel-programs/300079674/insight-enterprises-absorbs-another-hit-after-microsoft-partner-program-changes.htm). We can debate the mess Insight Enterprises received, the near simple answer is that Microsoft had to change programs, any large corporations will do that. Any program they offer and device tends to be ‘fluidic’ over time. Yet when we see the quote “The changes also affected Microsoft’s Licensing Solution Providers, like Tempe, Ariz.-based Insight, which are the only partners Microsoft allows to sell licensing agreements to large corporations“, which is now showing another side. Does this make Microsoft narcissistically selfish or just plain sociopathic? You see all narcissists are selfish, but not all selfish corporations are narcissistically in nature (which is proven as greed we put the greedy in front of a mirrors), yet in all this, is this a sociopathic side in Microsoft? Well, that is a debate for another day as the entire Omphalos topic would soon get too murky.

 

O is for Omphalos

As shown in the last example, we tend to see Omphalos in a bad light. Which is not all correct either. On the other side we can take Bill Gates and his Omphalosian approach to IT. This got us DOS and later Windows. On the far side of the scale of limiting, there is the view of the truly visionary, but that view needs a start. Here the Omphalos syndrome works in another way. As I see it, we can accuse Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Larry Ellison on that list. Yet, we only did that AFTER they became successful, the not so successful are usually never heard of again.

In this world today, the foundation of ‘the most important place in the world’ is less and less applicable, it becomes a world of solutions, an amalgamation of aggregated values (the European Economic Community being a nice example). Yet the foundation of how to go about it was done in a very Omphalosian way. Especially when we consider the past blogs on how only self-proclaimed departures were the option. Which is exactly where Brexit is now. As Brexit gains momentum we see that the Omphalosian solution was the most dangerous here, it took one of the smallest nations (Greece) to push their non-accountability for the entire EEC to be in turmoil, with now a decent chance of collapsing the EEC as well as the Euro as a coin. Even as the United Kingdom is not on the Euro, France is and a Brexit will soon push for an additional Frexit. In that regard, the Financial Times quoted Florian Philippot who stated “the idea of challenging greater EU integration had become “taboo” in Europe. “The more we talk about it, the more people will vote against it,” he said” (at http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/58f9cc98-ce51-11e5-92a1-c5e23ef99c77.html#axzz40fDAW3BL). This is yet another side of Omphalos, actually two sides. The foundation of Omphalos is based on one view, if that view does not evolve or alters as time goes by, that view becomes less and less actual. The view becomes an act of obstruction at best and debilitating at worst.

In the second part, we have forever seen the Omphalos syndrome in its power core on the scope of government (read: Communistic), in that view we forgot that it is corporations with their view on the ‘only’ solution that is now impacting the lives of people in several (read: many) nations. In that same view we see that the old approach to currency is no longer the same. Most values are too dependent on independent views of static organisations and their push for changed industrialisations. How come that the value of a coin is now directly impacted by places like Dow Jones index, Nasdaq, Standards and Poor, the IMF, the ECB and so on? Governments allowed themselves to be directly be valued from what is perceived to be an ‘independent’ side. This is the other part that drives Brexit and other plans to no longer be part of anything. There is a near global consensus that these sources can no longer be trusted. That their view is to some extent ‘Greed Incarnate’.

As I see it, there is no true independence anymore. When we read that Eagle Capital Management Invests $293000 and that J. W. Burns & Company Has $533000 invested in in SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (DIA). When the index itself is invested on, the expectations of improved value must be met, where does that leave us?

 

U is for You!

Even when we see the old and the new versions of the Omphalos syndrome, we need to realise that what once seen as short-sighted and limited is now not so limiting. It remains (as I personally see it) as short-sighted as it ever was (only in the rarest of occasions is it visionary), but now, the impact is no longer limited to one government, now its short-sighted impact is nearly global. It hits parties in many nations and it does not stop there. You see in a governmental approach it is ‘set’ to be what is best for its citizens and in case of the EEC it is what a group of nations see. Now consider the application from corporations that impacts governments on a global scale, offices of standards that impact the dangers to lives on a global scale as it does not enforce its own given values. How can we be aligned to a limiting view that could cost us our lives and our choice of living?

So as you consider ‘the misguided believe that its choice of management and achievement of profit are the most important in the world’ also strongly consider what it will cost you, not now, but down the track.

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, IT, Law, Media, Politics

That joke called the First Amendment

Well, the quick way is to wait on a bridge, but the reality of that approach is likely to be less successful! This all starts with an article in the LA Times today (at http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-james-woods-twitter-lawsuit-20150730-htmlstory.html). The object of trolling is James Wood, the actor. He has had many successes and in most of those moves he plays the badass opponent you don’t want to cross, not even when you have the Rock at your side. I had to take a little look at what I first saw that included him. Raid on Entebbe was the first movie, yet I did not realise it at that moment as it was a ‘Charles Bronson movie’ (the mind of a teenager tends to be super focussed). So James as the Captain with the glasses was not the focus of the viewer (me). I started to watch movies because James Woods was in them around the time ‘Best Seller’ was released. He had already drawn attention through Videodrome, Against all odds and Cat’s Eye. All this matters, because the way we perceive an actor (especially outside of America) is when we watch his work, not the gossip page, not some glossy magazine where dubious statements drenched in non-liability grammar. It is possible that the generation after me will form an opinion of him from his starring role as Hades in Hercules (you get the concept). So did he have issues? I am pretty sure that he has issues, which does not mean he dove into the narcotics, which several actors from the 80’s did. The fact that glossy magazines got away accusing people of murder ‘due to unnamed sources’ adds to the stress here. But what is the case? Actor James Woods filed a $10-million lawsuit this week against an anonymous Twitter user, alleging defamation and invasion of privacy. In my view there are two options, either that person is an American, or not. If not it basically becomes an FBI case (I will get back to this). Leila Knox, an attorney with the San Rafael-based First Amendment Coalition gives us some of the goods. As she states “You have to go straight after the individual”. Which is all fine and good, yet since its official adoption of December 15th 1791, the text: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances“, has become a bit of a joke. There is no doubt in my mind that the originators had the best intentions in mind, yet for no less than 30 years the 1st amendment can be regarded as an international joke. (I will get back to this too). The next part in the article is “The next step is to subpoena the ISP, which must alert the user that he or she is being sued and that there is a request for the user’s identity to be revealed“, not just that, but the ISP can actually start a case of defence for the troll and file for quashing the subpoena. Mark Lemley, director of Stanford Law School gives us in addition the following: ““The hardest part is proving that the statements were made with bad intent” and were not accidental, said Lemley, who spoke in general and not in reference to the Woods case. “It also depends on how careful the poster has been to cover their tracks.”” in this we see the first issue and as to answering this, I will also get back on the two previous points. You see, I am all for ‘freedom of speech’, yet in that light, this freedom also needs to show a form of accountability. When we see that there is a need ‘to cover their tracks’, whilst there is supposedly freedom of speech, you know that something is wrong. So the fact becomes, should the ISP be allowed to act in the way it can? I agree that to some extent it should be protective, but when a person is hiding behind anonymity so that this person can lash out, I have to see the situation that the victim of this lashing has a right to face his/her accuser. Is that not a direct right too? In the second, when we consider the 1st amendment in another way we get the following: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances“, let’s take this one step at a time. ‘Or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press‘ I believe in the spirit of this, but are we not allowed to know the speaker? You see in those days, freedom of speech was done in writing or in words. In words meant that the person did this in view of others. That means that this person was a known person, even if that person was a stranger and was viewed for speaking his/her mind. The aggrieved person could face the speaker and defend the presentation. When in writing it was harder but overall we would know who spoke, because the true speaker would sign their view, if this person did not, than it was either a question the writer would ask people to answer for themselves or it could be rejected all together. The press has become an even more debatable joke. The Daily Mail for example with “source close to the family” (MH370 disaster), this is not the only case, what is also important is that we saw an issue in 2014 the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) decided to investigate a case whilst using only 1 of 83 plaintiffs. These are UK cases, and they are aligned to this issue. You see, when we look at The Atlantic, we see an issue in the article ‘Why Newspapers Often Don’t Call Out Politicians for Lying’, it states that it is a complicated controversy, which on the surface it is not. You see a statement is either true or false. Now, we must allow for a view that is regarded as ‘the eye of the beholder’, which is fair enough. A Republican will see matters differently from a Democrat and if that person explains his/her view that should not matter and the truth is still told. So the issue now becomes is it the truth or is it flaccid? That issue comes to mind when we consider the quote “diminish their perceived objectivity, especially among unsophisticated news consumers“, from there we get ‘there is no truth, there is just a flaccid context because the reader could be regarded as stupid’, that would make you feel loads better wouldn’t it? So we now have a little bit of an issue, in one part the press needs to get a lot more leeway, so that it can bearing a point of view across, which is still informing the public, yet, we cannot allow for the press to continue to the extent it had for too long a time. In all this the 1st amendment is as I regard it a joke in today’s society, yet altering it is equally dangerous, because I believe in an accounted freedom of speech. In that view, the anonymous person is not a person perse, this person is a mere fabrication of nothing. Now, this is a dangerous statement from my side and I realise that. There is a clear need for anonymity, especially as there is a need to truly protect a person from prosecution, but such a person does not go out and states “James Woods is a cocaine addict”, which more than malicious. You see, as we regard a person with issues on alcohol and narcotics, the view of him is altered. In his case it will affect his ability to gain jobs. In a world where he relies on public opinion (even more than a politician), there is the need to make sure that people cannot make claims against others unless they can back this up. As far as I have been able to tell, James Woods has never been in court for any criminal transgression, and he seems to keep a decently healthy lifestyle, the fact that he has been in two relationships with women 40 years younger than him seems to vouch for that part. In all this I still have a partial issue with the quote by Leila Knox. She speaks the truth, but is she correct? The quote “One has the right to go out and speak and not be identified”, is truthful, but was it speaking? Basically James Woods fell under psychic assault, moreover, the assault can be regarded as intentional malicious assault. It is malicious as there is no evidence and no publications that James Woods has been addicted to drugs. the fact that this could be the statement of a person who does not know James Woods, making the claim malicious, an intentional act to do harm, at which point the victim (James Woods) has every right to face his accuser (Abe List), so now we get to the point how to solve this. Now for the case, there is little chance of James Woods to get a decent chance of confronting his attacker. The law seems too flaccid to do anything and in defence of the FBI, if they have to track down every defamation case they will never get to do the things they need to actually get done. You see, I am over some of these trolls, as we see how they just attack for the mere fun of it. Wouldn’t it be great if there was some anonymous hackers group that could give aid to these victims, a group that would retweet the accusation, but now with the added identity and address of that person, would that not be great? An approach that is enlightening and dangerous at the same time, because at times there are people who must be able to rely on anonymity, those people who do not attack, but speak out for their own hardship, they need protection, I do not deny it, making the first amendment a dangerous thing, because the more it protects the oppressors, the less it regards the victims, which was never the intent of the first amendment. So has the first amendment truly become a joke? The fact that people hide behind it whilst the location of the transgressor (read troll) is not a given is one side to this statement, the fact that the press can insinuate with impunity for mere profit is another part. Twitter seems to do whatever it can, to remain the ‘innocent disseminator’. When we look at this we legally get “The defence of innocent dissemination is intended to protect people such as newsagents, booksellers, librarians and internet service providers (ISP) who unwittingly publish defamatory matter without negligence on their part“, which is Australian Law, but the US has something very similar. And in all this, Twitter for the most has left interactions to almost zero, which gives strength to their ‘innocent dissemination’ even though the Troll has been removed, it is relatively easy to create a new profile, so that the troll can strike again. I think that on a case to case basis Twitter needs to re-evaluate its choices. It is not impossible that Twitter becomes another reddit through the bashing by trolls, which means that Twitter people will seek another venue at some point. For now Twitter is highly accepted in the business community. If that changes and trolls take over, the loss of accounts could spell long term hardship for Twitter, taking into account how quickly social media evolves, hanging onto the community as they have, Twitter did a fine choice in remaining the innocent disseminator. Yet the future is slightly altered. I personally believe that losing thousands of accounts due to a few trolls is a bad choice, not intensely protecting them would also send a stronger message to the people at large. So when in the speculated scenario where the people in a street learn that someone’s 15 year old kid has been trolling the hell out of some could be a revelation, especially for the troll. If a troll is nothing more than a cyber-bully, why do we give them protection? Aren’t we supposed to be united against bullies?

Leave a comment

Filed under IT, Law, Media, Politics

Hunting facts

We can go on about Greece (which is again in crises), we can look at video games (like how the QA of Arkham Knight got effed up), but for now all interesting news has been said and there are a few British political events starting, but what some of you all forgot about was FIFA. When I look into the Guardian and seek the sports page (online) I see three times the mention of FIFA, only one has a video regarding the money-laundering inquiry. The interesting part is that the term ‘bribes’ is now replaced with ‘money laundering’. In that view the following document is rather interesting https://www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Fraud_bribery_and_money_laundering_offences_-_Definitive_guideline.pdf.

You see, Money Laundering is a rather harsher part in all this. For that we need to take a look at a few crimes acts, specifically the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (not today though).

And as I go through it with a few giggles, it seems to me that all this is not good for Jack Warner, even though he ‘threatened’ to reveal an ‘avalanche’ of secrets, he could end up looking at his luxurious stay in Hotel Sing Sing for a lot longer, than he would if convicted for bribery, in addition the accusation of him redirecting financial aid for the Haiti victims (from several newspapers) could make matters even worse for him.

This came from the Guardian with the title ‘Jack Warner fears for his life and will reveal ‘avalanche’ of secrets‘, yet so far, no revelations of any kind, or none that ended up in the hands of the press at present. This is the interesting part, if we go by the Jamaica observer who reported only 2 days ago: “but up to Thursday, the Office of the Attorney General had not received any request for Warner to be extradited to the United States, where he is wanted on wire fraud, racketeering and money laundering charges“, is that not peculiar? Technically it is not, extradition, means the start of a trial, and as such, Jack Warner is too visible, there is no place he can run to (as I see it). In addition, setting up a trial of this magnitude will take some time. However, the initial indictment that I published in ‘Condoning corruption!‘, (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/05/29/condoning-corruption/) almost a month ago, should clearly put him at the top, as the star player in all this. In addition there is (at http://www.theguardian.com/football/2015/jun/10/john-oliver-trinidad-television-mock-jack-warner-fifa), where you can see the comedian telling the same things I told , but his comical approach is one that is not to be missed!

So why the long silence?

Well, that is the interesting part. There was no silence, when we look at the Guardian in Trinidad (at http://www.guardian.co.tt/news/2015-06-23/warner-integrity-commission-has-tapes), we see the headline ‘Warner: Integrity Commission has tapes‘, yet, I have at times doubted the duty of many newspapers all over the place, especially when it is owned by a member of the Murdoch family. Still is it not extremely interesting how many large newspapers have not picked up this news? I would think that the news of audio tapes, FIFA members and bribery would be the stuff of legends for papers like the LA Times, the NY Times, or even the Washington Post, yet none of them had picked up the Breaking news, or should it be broken news? The Washington Post did however pick up the response to John Oliver from Jack Warner (at http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/early-lead/wp/2015/06/12/composer-says-jack-warner-stole-his-music-for-video-directed-at-john-oliver/), especially as Jack Warner is also under fire from the composer, whose music he used to drown out his own voice from 1:13 to 2:20. Anyway, his response to the comedian was given on the 12th of June, the Washington Post possible regarded this as light entertainment (with Greg Dombrowski who is at present the only one who is not amused). After that the Washington Post has nothing. So was it breaking or broken news? I do not know. I have not heard the tapes, yet neither had any of the other news outlets as far as I can tell, so if Jack Warner is bringing evidence out, why ignore it? A half-baked news moment on the ‘MH370 suicide mission’ gets picked up with what was called a ‘reliable source’ by those working for the Barclay Brothers, yet no one is touching the Warner Tapes.

I am quite happy to see Jack Warner Fry for all of this, but the man is entitled to a defence, when the press steers clear to this amount, who are they actually listening to? What is the audience not getting informed on and where are the FIFA puppeteers? Let’s not forget that the full report from Michael Garcia is still being kept locked away. The entire FIFA debacle has people running for the hills and there is a decent indication that the press is aiding some of them by not illuminating the issues at play.

Yet, we must also look beyond Jack Warner, which gets us to CONMEBOL. It is forced to pay 10 million out of its own funds. When we look at http://www.espnfc.com/fifa-world-cup/story/2502646/conmebol-facing-cash-flow-crisis-due-to-fifa-bribery-scandal, we get the following facts:

  • Sponsors have been asked to pay Conmebol directly
  • Datisa had only paid Conmebol 35 out of the 80 million, which means it is all short by 4,500,000,000 centavos.

It becomes a little weirder (possibly due to missing facts), when we consider the quote by Bloomberg: “head of international business for Brazil-based sports marketing firm Traffic Group (Jochen Loesch), one of the companies that make up Datisa. Traffic founder Jose Hawilla, 71, pleaded guilty in federal court in Brooklyn to racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy and obstruction of justice. He agreed to forfeit $151 million“, so if he forfeits THAT MUCH, what else did he stuff into ‘a’ matrass? By the way, I had a decent income for a few decades, yet summed up, over my whole working life, pre taxation, I will have made less than 1% of what Hawilla is forfeiting in this event; crime has become THAT rewarding!

Of course, we seem to focus on FIFA alone, yet, when we look at the Boston Globe, we see the indirect fallout, which makes the lashing the FIFA executives a lot more essential. When we read the article ‘FIFA scandal may affect Boston’s 2024 bid‘ (at https://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2015/06/24/fifa-scandal-grows-could-affect-boston-bid/AasXsCJZobZTayvfb06obP/story.html). My issue is not with the article in the Boston Globe, it was with a quote in the Chicago Tribune “Because next Tuesday, if the U.S. Olympic Committee has come to its senses, its board of directors will wisely choose at a regularly scheduled meeting to pull a doomed Boston bid that has been a disaster from the start“. Two parts, one is the question, why it was doomed? That is an actual question, there is no direct answer in my view. The second is that the Olympic committee could, ‘wake up’ is the incorrect term, I do not think that the Olympic Committee is asleep, I mean that they need to refocus their current vision. What could be the problem is the location of the games. You see, no matter how all this goes, the 2024 Olympics will be 2 years AFTER Qatar, actually, due to rescheduling, less than 18 months, which means that there will be all kinds of issues all over Europe (a reeling UEFA after a drenched timeline as part of the 2022 soccer competition will be all over the place is one), the second one is French politics. At this point it is still extremely likely that National Front end up in a new location, when Marine Le Pen moves to 55, Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, Paris, with the French in a massive wave moving towards European segregation, keeping the Olympics on the US side of the Atlantic river might not be the worst idea. Although, if the American administration does not clean up its tax act, it will be bankrupt making the entire exercise slightly exotic to say the least. If there is one essential part we need to consider in all this, then I would state that the Stability of the Olympics need to be assured, apart from that having them in the US after 28 years is not a bad way to go. With all the troubles Europe is still to face, especially with Greece messing up the European economy (the makers of the Olympics of all things), both Paris and Rome could end up in such a bad state that only Hamburg and Budapest remain a realistic location, considering Boston for the games of 2024 is definitely in my books at present.

So how did I get from FIFA to the Olympics?

That we do get from the Boston Globe, where we see “While longtime FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who has said he’ll resign possibly by year’s end, has not yet been indicted, he is said to be a target of the investigation. Blatter also happens to be an IOC member, which comes with the job of heading one of the planet’s biggest sports, such as track and field, swimming, basketball, and skating“, which is generic information. The second quote has the gem: “If Blatter is indicted, he’d obviously have to resign from the IOC. The question is, will the Justice Department stop with soccer or will it broaden its inquiry to other federations where payoffs likely have been made over the years? And since at least 17 present or honorary IOC members are current or former federation heads, will they have a strong incentive not to vote for Boston for the 2024 Summer Games, lest they be taken into custody upon arrival at Logan“, you see, the quote “at least 17 present or honorary IOC members are current or former federation heads” in that same article is linked to all this. Now, there is absolutely ZERO indication that these members have done anything wrong, but a massive amount of them are Europeans and this FIFA spectacle will grow and touch (read: smear) many European nations, at which point the media, will go on a rampage like hungry rats, ripping whatever they can for the prospect of ‘circulation’, getting the 2024 Olympics out of Europe that time around might be something to seriously consider. As viewers watch matches of all Olympic events, whilst games are overshadowed by all kinds of ‘speculative revelations’ by unnamed sources in newspapers, it would be good to have the Olympic games in a time zone several hours away, so that the games can remain centre in all of this. Is that such a stretch? In addition, all those close friends of Sepp Blatter in the IOC would also benefit from a time zone isolation of what will still be reeling at that point in Europe.

So, I will happily oppose Philip Hersh of the Chicago Tribune regarding “a doomed Boston bid that has been a disaster from the start“, I am not convinced, moreover, defaulting the Olympics to Boston could be the best thing. I’ll be fair, Canada might have been better, but they pulled beforehand, which gives us “Toronto’s Economic development Committee voted against bidding for the 2024 games on 20 January, citing a bid would cost the city $50 to 60 million” (Source Wiki), why does a bid cost them that much? I never really looked into that part of Olympic biddings, so the costs in that are equally disturbing, but that is for another day.

Anyway, if Toronto has an issue with 50 million (which is a truckload of cash) having them in the ground of a few billion might not be a good idea. Sydney had its Olympics in 2000, which is way too recent, from that logic I state, let Boston be the default!

Back to FIFA!

We learn today, via SBS (at http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2015/06/25/two-argentines-sought-us-fifa-scandal-put-under-house-arrest), that the extradition proceedings are happening and they seem to be accelerating. With guilty pleas in the bag from other members, the options for Hugo and Mariano Jinkis are dwindling down fast. Federal judge Claudio Bonadio rejected their release saying they presented a flight risk given their personal wealth, adding that until last week they had both been fugitives. Their bail which was set at $1.2 million for the both of them might be regarded as a laughing matter when we consider the 151 million Jose Hawilla forfeited, so how much funds do the Jinkis have? Perhaps an electronic tag is for them a mere inconvenience should they decide to move to a nation that will not extradite to either Argentina or the US; I am just phrasing a question here!

So as we hunt facts regarding the FIFA members involved, how come the news on the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian was not picked up anywhere internationally? That is the issue we started with, a question not answered and unlikely to get answered any day soon. There is one more part to consider, it is a part every FIFA executive fears, because with Football (read soccer) is such disarray from the FIFA point, why are the nations involved not inviting UEFA to ascertain in what depth of trouble their local sport is in? Any political move to ignore this can be countered in this as unofficial knowledge of bribes and corruption went unanswered for over a decade, we only need to look at the work of investigative journalist Andrew Jennings to see that the problem is truly Titanic in size. The added fact that one person walked away with $151 million is proof further still.  It should feel pretty comfortable for Michel Platini to see UEFA in a consideration to clean up Football. In all this, there needs to be transparency and visibility. Although I was never much of a soccer fan, to me it feels important that in all this both members of the IOC and soccer members like Michel Platini, Jean-Pierre Papin, Johan Cruyff, Marco van Basten, Alan Shearer, David Beckham and Jürgen Klinsmann to seriously sit down and see how FIFA can truly be cleaned up. I personally have zero trust in Sepp Blatter doing anything else than cover his hide at present, because when anyone sitting at the helm remaining THIS unaware of bribery and corruption for such a long time is on all fronts the wrong person to sanitise that system. I would like to add that such an investigation should be headed by three members of Royalty. Soccer is such too strong influence in Europe, to be handed to people loving the limelight for personal reasons. In this I would nominate Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, King Willem-Alexander of Orange from The Netherlands and Princess Anne from the United Kingdom. It will requires officials and renowned players with managerial knowledge to take a harsh look at all this, having this headed by three members who have lived a life beyond reproach is equally important.

So in the end, consider that in all this, when we look from a distance, you should be appalled on how an organisation so influential in national events on a global scale is given a level of leeway that even the most powerful organised crime organisation could never ever hope for is just too unsettling. And in all this, it is all preparation, the support acts have not started yet and the main event is some time away. It is time to make a massive change and the sooner such actions begin, the better for all those passionate about sports involved.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Gaming, Law, Media, Politics

To be deserted

I have seen the term more than once. I’ve heard people cry, whinge, rage and other emotional forms as they felt they had been deserted. This is fair enough, we all feel like this at times, sometimes with good reason, sometimes with reasons less so. In this case I am referring to the Guardian article (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/18/islamic-state-video-isis-uk-hostage-propaganda-message-gunpoint). Initially it is about the quote “Well it’s true I am a prisoner. That I cannot deny. But seeing as I’ve been abandoned by my government and my fate now lies in the hands of Islamic State I have nothing to lose. Maybe I will live and maybe I will die, but I want to take this opportunity to convey some facts that you can verify. Facts that if you contemplate might help preserving lives

Let’s not beat around the bush. This man is a journalist, a photo journalist to be more precise. John Cantlie seems to be by all measures a decent man, even courageous. He went into a warzone to get the images the people seem to want to see, perhaps to please his station. It does not matter what label I give here, because it is about HIS reasons, and why HE did this. In the end, he entered a war zone and as such he became a casualty of war, yet this is not the war we used to know and the war we seemed to know. The entire Syrian debacle went from a ‘simple’ civil war and became a mess involving several parties and no clear solution. A mess that has chemical warfare, it included mass bombings on civilians and other elements. The conservative death count stands at 160,000, but I think that this number is off by a decent margin.

Getting back to John Cantlie, where several other questions seem to rise. Why was it ever a good idea to go into Syria? Don’t get me wrong, I admire the brazen way of this, the courage to go into the darkness to capture the unique moment, yet this is a warzone, with Al Qaeda all over the place. The short of it is that we do not and should never deal with terrorists. Yet, let it be clear that I do not speak out against John Cantlie. He drove his passions where it took him and in this case not to a nice place. I also agree with the following quote in the Guardian “When Haines was first shown in an Isis video in September, the Foreign Office urged the media to show restraint, and not to report that two other British citizens – Cantlie and Henning – were also being held ‘because we assess that coverage will increase the threat to their lives‘”, I agree, we should do whatever we can to lower the threat to these people and if there is an option to extract them using Seals or SAS, we definitely should, because the world needs people like John Cantlie who are willing to step into the darkness, whether it is for good or for less good reasons. In the end I believe that people willing to walk into a battle line will always be a greater asset to the world then those hiding behind the memo or the procedural issues.

Syria is a particularly nasty mess, not just because it is in its foundations a civil war. When parties decide to execute priests, a 75 year old Jesuit named Frans van der Lugt, who had been in Syria, giving aid to the sick, the hungry and the mentally ill for decades, a person doesn’t get to become more harmless to extremists then he was. So when we see these executions by Jabhat al-Nusra (AQIS), we wonder how to stop this. I think we are 3 years too late, now we are adding oil to the fire, which could escalate issues even further. You see, I think that America is making a new mistake, but they are not acting wrong! Let me explain! Headlines all over the world, with this one in the LA Times which is crucial ‘House approves Obama’s plan to help Syrian rebels fight Islamic State‘ (at http://www.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-congress-isis-20140918-story.html). It is my personal believe that America should not have done this.

My reasoning is twofold. First of all, there is every chance that Russia will sooner, not later take an opposite stance, which means we get additional escalations, second to all of this, there is a massive issue to what constitutes a ‘Syrian Rebel‘. This mix is no longer just Syrians, it includes Hamas, who might then use these weapons against Israel as well as Syrian rebels who are Al-Qaeda sympathisers, which means that they will end up being armed and pick up weapons for the Islamic state, so we do not have a win-win here either. It is my personal firm believe that these escalations should have been done by the other NATO members, without America and without the Netherlands.

I should explain this reasoning.

  1. America is in a bad state, to get America back as a superpower, it needs to cull internal greed, get its budget right and work off the 18,000 billion debts. Without America, there is no free west and as such everyone loses out.
  2. The Dutch should be left out if possible, not because of any lack; they can rip through steel with their teeth with the best of them, even on a Monday morning. The issue is with the Dutch photographer who was with John Cantlie initially. His name is Jeroen Oerlemans and he was released. The issue is not the Islamic State; the issue is that the foundation of Syria is still the base of a civil war. If we are to have ANY chance of diplomatic talks with Bashar al-Assad, then keeping one player out of this seems essential to me. We could always ask the Swedes or Swiss to intervene in these talks, but the release of the Dutch might have a relaxed stance in those talks.

This is all conjecture from my side, so feel free to completely disagree, yet consider that the only way to deal with ISIS is that at some point, parties will need to deal with Bashar al-Assad in some way and we need to keep any tactical avenue open. This is at the foundations of my thoughts here.

There is another side to all of this. There is another group we seem to forget about. There are a little over 3 million Syrian refugees, they are placed all over Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq, Egypt, Algeria, Sweden, Bahrain, Germany, Libya and a few other nations. During all this time, these places had casualties too and they are not part of the 160,000 casualties, which is why I think the Syrian death toll is a lot higher. In all honesty, did you remember these refugees? I feel 100% certain ISIS has not forgotten them and if they are recruiting there we are in for one hell of a wake-up call soon enough. If there is any strength in number then these new ISIS members will be most likely in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, where they can up the ante of this entire theatre in the most expensive way imaginable, others might not be outspoken ISIS members, yet they are potential lone wolf terrorists. If some arrived in Sweden, France and Germany we already have a potential security problem on our hands.

Consider the following fact (at http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/24/us-libya-usa-security-idUSBREA3N0MW20140424), is Libya just dealing with Libyan extremism, or have some of the Syrian refugees taken up arms with ISIS? Now consider last week’s news ‘Egypt seeks broader alliance with U.S. over Libya‘ (at http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/egypt-seeks-broader-alliance-with-u-s-over-libya-1.2765468), again, is this just about Libya? Egypt has received well over 130,000 Syrian refugees and it is still dealing with the aftermath of the Muslim Brotherhood, who now has additional reasons to go extreme and with ISIS/ISIL willing to step into the limelight it can be safe to say we are not even close to the escalations we face.

Yet, here we see another version of ‘to be deserted‘, The Syrian people genuinely feel this way and some moved to ISIS, because when the Syrian mess started, they were not a factor. We face escalations in Jordan and we are seeing them in Libya and Egypt. The IB Times has additional info on this (at http://www.ibtimes.com/isis-training-egyptian-islamists-attack-security-forces-1680530), if this is truly true, then ISIS would have surrounded Israel to a massive degree, which could spark escalations sooner rather than later. The IB Times offers the following quote “A senior commander of the Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, which has been active in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt since 2011, told Reuters that Islamic State militants have been providing the group instructions and training on how to operate more effectively“. This means that the MFO could be in more direct danger. Less likely South camp, but the North camp near Al-Arish would give an open path to Rafah, which spells all kinds of escalations.

How true is all this?

I cannot tell as a fair deal is speculation based on second hand information, so it should be read with bias, yet if there is any value to it, it spells all kinds of trouble and keeping America out of it until we no longer can, seems essential. It is time for the other players (UK, Australia, Canada, Germany, France and Italy) to take the war to ISIS/ISIL now. Let’s not forget that America could still be a big help in setting up medical theatres for a still escalating Ebola havoc. The economist gives us a good view on the dangers on how it spreads and how America could be a true massive saviour (at http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2014/08/economist-explains-10), not doing so, would the nations of Africa now feel that they were deserted?

In this blog we saw groups, all having reason to feel deserted and some definitely are not, yet some of those who were deserted for too long are now the most likely to switch sides to the dark side of insanity, is ISIS/ISIL anything less than that?

In the end there is one more view I need to offer. It comes from the Epic Times, more specifically the Jerry Doyle Show. I followed him on Facebook as a Babylon 5 fan, and only recently did I get to learn about his radio shows. He makes good points and he has a distinct view. I wonder how a televised debate between him and Bill O’Reilly would go, but this is not about any debate. In this case it is about a view Jerry aired (at http://www.epictimes.com/2014/09/congress-is-more-concerned-with-their-political-skins-than-the-lives-of-our-soldiers/), it was aired yesterday. In the article he states “Senator Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell are on the same page. The Senate is going to pick up the House government funding that authorizes arming the Syrian rebels and then head home for the election”, I think there is more to it than this. It is my personal believe that the agenda of Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell goes beyond that. Consider the other blogs, I have stated in several places how America’s freedom has been wasted away, giving power to large corporations and banks, to do as they will. Instead of acts that lower the actual debt, we have seen again and again how the debt kept on going up, this new ‘war’ and this pushes the American debt clearly over the edge of bankruptcy. My view is not wholly without merit. Consider the source Roll Call (at http://blogs.rollcall.com/218/continuing-resolution-isis-vote-breakdown), it gives a few views that many might not have considered. Is this truly about bi-partisanship, about polarisation or is it orchestration? I leave it to the people to make up their own mind, yet Matt Fullers view when he states “Neither vote was typical. Roughly equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats voted against both proposals. But there were some interesting trends hidden in both votes” make me wonder, was it just about trends?

So if this was about personal political gain, which other people got deserted in this process?

 

1 Comment

Filed under Finance, Media, Military, Politics

Values of insanity

I need to revisit my last article ‘Evolving our lives’, not the article itself, I thought it was a decent article and I stand by what I write. It is the massive absence of visibility that I see in the press that is so overwhelming, that it makes me wonder what on earth is going on.

You see, the fact that someone hacked the phone of Jennifer Lawrence is ‘great’ news. It had several pages of links of all shapes and sizes. I feel for Jennifer, I am happy that she is taking a stand and I hope her lawyer gets to take the hacker and his family to the cleaners for the next 5 generations.

The statement from her attorney Lawrence Shire is quite clear “This is obviously an outrageous violation of our client Kate Upton’s privacy. We intend to pursue anyone disseminating or duplicating these illegally obtained images to the fullest extent possible” (source: Perez Hilton at http://perezhilton.com/cocoperez/2014-09-02-kate-upton-leaked-nude-photos-addresses-statement).

My issue is not with Jenifer, as I stated I do feel for her. It is the LA Times (and many other US newspapers) that I am having an issue with. The LA Times who published only 10 hours ago: “After illegally obtained nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence and other actresses were made public Sunday, the FBI is on the case — and so is Lena Dunham“.

It is interesting that the FBI is all about the famous, yet, as it is portrayed Zoe Quinn, Anita Sarkeesian and a few others, who seem to be the object of extreme hatred and this visibility, remains mostly absent.

Now, I do not agree with some of the views Anita Sarkeesian had, especially in her video ‘Women as Background Decoration (Part 2)’, she is entitled to this view. She does bring in several cases a correct view, but again the fact that the view of the Darkness 2 is pretty much how the comic depiction is was not stated. Also is not stated that the prostitutes in Assassins Creed 2 and Assassins Creed 2 brotherhood were a weapon for Ezio Auditore to kill from hiding and to remain unseen. There is more than just a game here and courtesans were a reality in that era in Italy.

Consider the following historical fact “The Venetian authorities became concerned that it was impossible to distinguish between courtesans and respectable women. Rules drawn up in 1543 determined what the courtesans could wear” and “There was a red light district in Venice but there were also courtesans who were less obvious. They were educated prostitutes who were refined and well dressed and serviced the social elite“. This is how reality was. There is no real defence from me, for the most Anita Sarkeesian gives a truthful view, even though that view is not giving the whole picture. The same she does with watchdogs, where not just women, but also men are the target, yet her reasoning does hold water. In addition, the issues as shown in Far Cry 3 are not unknown (at http://www.economist.com/news/americas/21586575-laws-punish-domestic-violence-are-too-often-honoured-breach-everyday-aggression) the economist and many others show that there is an abundance of violence against women. This does not make it okay, but it is a reality we are all still fighting against. The economist states “it is a slow process“, I personally think is “a much too slow process“. There have been several views by many people that things have to change and I personally believe that Anita Sarkeesian should be allowed to voice these issues in safety and whilst not getting harassed.

My issues only partially against that view is that Bethesda (Fallout, Fallout New Vegas, Oblivion, Skyrim) and Lionhead studios (Fable series) and Electronic Arts (Mass Effect series) offer the option of creating a main female character, that part she left out. In addition, Female Shepard from the Mass Effect series is just as deadly as the male one. Yet, I admit these seem to be exceptions.

As Anita and Zoe are real people, why is their safety not more strongly advocated? Anita Sarkeesian’s dangers made the Washington post, yet it seems that these people (both Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn) seem to have escaped the view of the bulk of all American Newspapers. An Indie game developer stood up for her, his name is Phil Fish. When I looked for more info, I found this description on some Wiki page “Phil Fish (Powerword: Jacques Paul Philippe Poisson) is a shitty video game designer who received immense praise following his creation of a Super Paper Mario rip-off called “Fez”. A filthy hipster, Fish is widely reviled on the internet mostly because he’s a douche and a drama whore. He’s also French Canadian, which goes a long way towards explaining why he’s such a stuck-up narcissistic twat“. The hatred spilt all over several sites is unbelievable, now, perhaps the man has an ego issue, I do not know, because I do not know the man, yet his quote in support for Zoe Quinn drove a level of hatred that is beyond belief.

Let’s get back to the issues involving women.

There is an anti-women group in gaming wave going on that seems to be utterly unparalleled and is far beyond any normal dimensions. I have no idea how repugnant something called ‘the Daily Caller‘ is. Yet consider the issue. A model named Kate Upton, her phone was hacked and we see this “So What Does Rep. Fred Upton Think About Kate Upton’s Hacked Nude Photos?“, which intros as: “Michigan U.S. Congressman Fred Upton is staying personally silent on the weekend hacking and posting of nude pictures belonging to his niece, model and actress Kate Upton“, so the man is her uncle and he is asked to give his view on his naked niece? How sick is this reporter? This was not some photo-shoot in Playboy and Penthouse, no this was the violation of her privacy and many are making ‘light reporting’ of it all. This is a side that Anita Sarkeesian seemed to have missed in her article, it is not just the gaming image but the press is to some extent glorifying this! Is it such a wild assumption that this is bringing a new low level of cyber-paparazzi? I wonder how much money lawyer Lawrence Shire could get and how much publications will bring in revenue on this matter. This is not about objectifying women, this all reads as a chauvinist tactic ‘to keep women in their place‘, which, if true is a crime as heinous as the acts Pol Pot’s killing of well over a million people. Does anyone remember the Killing Fields or did you all forget that massacre?

The victims are given this response “After more than 40 hours of investigation, we have discovered that certain celebrity accounts were compromised by a very targeted attack on user names, passwords and security questions“, so if there is a targeted attack, where did it come from? We get back to the basic need of a secure internet. The system has been built on such levels of ‘convenience’ for speed, that the entire issue of security seems to have been ignored to some degree (a targeted attack that becomes a successful transgression is one that requires investigation). You see, if we accept that any system can be transgressed upon, that it stands to reason that a clear market for the wealthier client is required. Consider the news that the US president was not allowed to have an iPhone and we read “explaining why he is sometimes seen with a bulky super secure Blackberry“, why are the personal assistants of both Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton not looking into that field? Yet, are these not new values of insanity?

Why should any woman need these additional levels of protection from criminals like these? It all goes back to the issue of non-accountability. People can do whatever they like and no one will be there to stop them. If we see the years of publications and the years of recorded issues on Domestic violence, we see an utterly flaccid legal system with too little actual results. The internet is just a new iteration of inaction.

Yes, the FBI is looking into this, yet how long until these women see results? How long until Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian can go home in relative safety for using their right to free speech? How long until the international press will take these issues and goes for real coverage of the issue, and not in some feigned opposition view as we saw in the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/sep/01/how-to-attack-a-woman-who-works-in-video-games) with text like “So, for those out there who have decided to join in and harass a woman developer or critic out of the games business, this is how you do it“.

Did the Guardian print the following in their papers: “If you want to take a good honest look at the breasts of Jennifer Lawrence and perhaps more, this is how you hack the phone“? Oddly, that is not what was printed, so why these two values? Yes, I know that the piece of Zoe Quinn was in sarcasm against the harasser, but I think it missed the point, especially as there is an abundance of non-journalistic sources burning her, whilst only the Guardian gave her any (but debatable) visibility. Is this the realistic view of Anita Sarkeesian view that women are objectified, yet now in a very real way?

Moving forward

I hope that Lawrence Shire might be willing to place a few calls and get a group of real journalists into the plight of both Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn, possible with Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton standing next to them. You see, I think that this is all linked to a much bigger problem, if the threat to both Quinn and Sarkeesian is unreal, then people have a right to know, but if the threat is real then ignoring the threat is no less criminal then what the hackers are trying to publish. All this whilst the media is just printing the names that will improve their circulation, so in their view, the lives of Quinn and Sarkeesian have no value and are ignored.

I will accept that a Hollywood star is news, however, within the last 15 minutes as I was writing this last night speculations regarding Jennifer Lawrence grew by 12 pages, not one fact on either Quinn or Sarkeesian by any reputable source was added. This is not life in the fast lane, this is ‘garbage in the junk lane‘ and too many who should be vocal, remain silent.

The responses

Emma Watson’s response on Twitter is perhaps the clearest “Even worse than seeing women’s privacy violated on social media is reading the accompanying comments that show such a lack of empathy“. Yet, I am personally not certain whether she is correct; when the by-line from the Independent ends with ‘Poor Jay Law!‘ which was read by another woman in a tone of ‘ah well’ we can safely state that the matter is a whole lot worse. The tweet from Ricky Gervais, although badly received is deeper than some realise “Celebrities, make it harder for people to get nude pics of you from your computer by not putting nude pics of yourself on your computer“, which might read as “When you are famous, you have no inherent rights of ANY kind, which means that either you pose naked for the press at large or someone will get those shots for them“.

Which gives us the unjust consideration “Breasts and genitals are coin, coin is essential, you are only temporary!” Whether Ricky Gervais was actively trying to state this, or “The only safe nude of you is no nude of you!” is up to Ricky Gervais, but I hope that my way of stating this all shows that the dangers women at large face (famous and non-famous alike) seems to be escalating. The view that “Domestic or partner violence is a global concern. Worldwide 30% of partnered women will experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime” is not a figment of anyone’s imagination, yet the fact that women overwhelmingly do not report these issues and only a fraction of the reported issues are successfully prosecuted remains a fact. This all links to all the issues we saw earlier.

There is an implied inherent air of ignoring, not prosecuting and persecuting these offences, yet overall these issues are more and more visible. I do personally disagree with my previous statement, yet consider the amount of registered domestic violence occurrences and how many of them were successfully prosecuted? Here I do not blame the police; it seems to me that at times their hands are tied even more than those of the victim. Consider the quote from the less likely reporting instance (the Daily Mail). “Domestic abuse prosecutions more than doubled from 35,000 in 2005 to 74,000 in 2010, and the conviction rate increased from 46 per cent to 72 per cent“, yet as we have seen from several sources like the CPS we see: “Nearly 1 million women experience at least one incident of domestic abuse each year (2009/10 British Crime Survey data: http://rds.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs10/hosb1210.pdf as reported in latest cross-government VAWG strategy http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/crime/call-end-violence-women-girls/vawg-paper?view=Binary)“, so in 2010 we still see that less than 10% makes it to court, for whatever reason, so that 72% is not a victory it is nothing less than a joke on a massive failure in my view.

That what follows!

For some reason the NSA has an abundance of data, yet women remain in fear of life, we see that consultants and federal agents are looking into the mailbox and pictures of Jennifer Lawrence, yet no progress has been made. You see, something does not add up, when you target 101 celebrities, it means that you are trying to invade 101 secured accounts, now, it might be possible to get ‘easy’ access to some of them, but 101 targets gives the FBI a place to hunt, this is another question that boggles me and I do have a postgraduate degree in this area. Yes, I know that there is plenty of technology around, but in all these issues, traffic needs to occur and specific points were accessed. How did Perez Hilton get her pictures so fast? Was his ‘apology’ sincere? Was he used or was he the go between so that the global press knows that they are truly out there and for sale?

I do not have the answers, yet, here we see again a press driven value of insanity and let us be honest, at present there is no end in sight and too many women are currently in the firing line, not a firing line of Misogyny, but one of Inaestimabilis (non-English for worthlessness), which is a much more dangerous notion, because hatred can be fought, yet if a population at large deem a group to be without value, then we as humanity will have truly become a failure.

Should you consider me wrong (which is forever a valid consideration) then answer the following questions for yourself:

  1. In the US the following numbers were published by the Huffington post: “Number of U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan and Iraq: 6,614: Number of women, in the same period, killed as the result of domestic violence in the US: 11,766“, now make a 1% list, so make a list naming 66 dead soldiers and naming 117 women killed through domestic violence. How long did it take to make either list?
  2. The following two facts come from Steve Stewart, Prosecuting Attorney, Clark County, Indiana. Namely “Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44 in the United States, more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined. (“Violence Against Women, A Majority Staff Report,” Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, 102nd Congress, October 1992, p.3.)” and “There are 1,500 shelters for battered women in the United States. There are 3,800 animal shelters. (Schneider, 1990)” Now, these numbers are a little old, but even then a dog was more than twice as likely to receive safety and treatment than an abused woman.

Where to go next? Well, that is as ever a good question and I am honestly not certain. In my view, placing these issues in the light and coverage by all papers it needs to have is an absolute first. I also think that the US Congress needs to think this through to a larger extent, they should consider that as UK and Australian law is a little better in protecting privacy they should consider the consequence of these women, packing up for a large part of the year and move to Sydney Australia (or London). These places have the same exotic shopping places and they are more likely to enjoy privacy away from the US, how would congress react when the Hollywood top feels safer outside the US and ends up spending their millions outside of the US? I wonder if Governor Jerry Brown truly considered the dangers that the lacking and hacking safety of women will bring him (and the state of California).

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Gaming, Law, Media, Politics