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A changing language

Europe is in several stages of unease; there is the spending of Mario Draghi, Brexit remains on the mind of many. Yet, the one change that is now more and more in the foreground of many is the problem that Turkey seems to be. There are those set on the stage to end Turkey as a NATO member and subsequent becoming part of the EU, there are things going forward and backward, but the language involved in all this is changing, so are the settings for the meetings yet to come. In all this the latest Turkish act to double down on the Russian S-400 purchases in 2020. There is, as I stated unease and as I see it the entire EU-Turkey mess is now a dance around unclear settings. Yet the settings are founded on what some would call, clear and blatant lies.

So to recap, on March 26th in the Bulgarian port city of Varna with the attendance of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, there will be a summit. The given setting is “to discuss EU-Turkey relations as well as regional and international issues“, this we got from the spokesperson for Donald Franciszek Tusk. The meeting held at the leaders’ level will be hosted as a working dinner, a statement signed by Tusk and Juncker said. Yet soon thereafter it begins. With: “Ankara has been stressing that the EU fails to understand the challenges that the county faces, and calls on all sides to take Turkey’s concerns into consideration, particularly against the PKK and the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), which carried out the failed July 15 coup attempt“, yet how is that true when it has been clear for the longest time “Turkey witnessed the bloodiest coup attempt in its political history on July 15th, 2016, when a section of the Turkish military launched a coordinated operation in several major cities to topple the government and unseat President Recep Tayyip Erdogan“, this is the quote from Aljazeera, but they were not the only one giving this.

The Turkish government blames the failed coup attempt on Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish preacher and businessman who has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999. So as we accept that the Gülen movement is classified as a terrorist organization by Turkey under the assigned names Gülenist Terror Organisation (Fethullahçı Terör Örgütü, FETÖ) or Parallel State Organisation (Paralel Devlet Yapılanması, PDY), we see the link offered, yet another path in this is “MIT officials admitted that they received the very first intelligence report about a possible attack on July 15, only hours before their own headquarters was under heavy artillery fire“, as well as “As of today, more than 100,000 people have been sacked or suspended and 50,000 arrested in an unprecedented crackdown. The government has deemed the crackdown necessary to ‘root out all coup supporters from the state apparatus’“. When we consider those parts, we need to realise that the Millî İstihbarat Teşkilatı (MİT) was completely out of any loop, which makes Turkish Intelligence not just a flawed setting, it would implicate that it has limited counter terrorism options and no resources to speak of (in intelligence terms).

In opposition to this, there would be enough data to offer that it was an internal issue from within the Turkish military and whatever opposes Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Turkey got a fat target painted on them. This fills and completes the view we need to have of Turkey much better. In support of this we need to consider that one exiled cleric could not have orchestrated the military support that would have been required and that was seen in action. The width of the Turkish military acting seems to be that of an internal star chamber than a clerical imprint on the military, the latter would have given more visibility to other ranking officers within the Turkish armed forces. As this becomes more and more visible and accepted, we are treated to the view on the unacceptable acts against the Kurds yet again, which followed the Turkish official view of the coup that they ‘survived’.

So in this light the setting for March will be one that is a puzzle. You see as Turkey keeps on playing this game, their credibility will only go down further. The European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) (at http://www.ecfr.eu/article/essay_eu_turkey_relations_the_beginning_of_the_end_7226) gives us: “Both Turkey and the EU need the continuation of this partnership. It is a matter of definition whether this partnership will be in the form of full membership or in a different form. What is important is not to break the process and not to cause alienation. The need for sustainable EU-Turkey relations obliges both sides to take steps to honour their commitment to integration“, we can accept that, but at this point, is continuation feasible? We see the shifting language that shows that Germany is less and less taken with Turkey, now siding more and more with France on the anti-Turkey alliance. It gets worse for Turkey as we now hear: “A Turkish court on Wednesday denied entry to the German ambassador to Ankara to the hearing of Selahattin Demirtas, the former co-leader of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP)“, which we get from http://www.dw.com/en/turkish-court-denies-german-ambassador-entry-to-kurdish-politicians-trial/a-42579957, even as France is trying to work with Turkey regarding a ‘diplomatic road map‘ on Syria, the sounds of accusation of Turkey violating international law was not far behind it, so there is pressures on nearly every level. Only 12 hours ago, Deutsche Welle gave us “Even NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg wouldn’t hazard a guess ahead of this week’s defense ministers’ meeting. He said Turkey needs to clarify the status of the contract” (at http://www.dw.com/en/turkish-russian-missile-deal-puts-nato-on-edge/a-42572965), as I said earlier, the language is changing. As we see ‘Turkey needs to clarify the status of the contract‘ that it is about cancelling the contract? Yet in that respect, what would Turkey demand in return? How much is that going to cost and where does that invoice end up? You see, when you consider Reuters with ‘U.S. tells NATO allies spending plans still falling short‘ (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-nato/u-s-tells-nato-allies-spending-plans-still-falling-short-idUSKCN1FY013), where we see “Spain has said it will not meet the 2024 target. Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Italy, Portugal, Norway and Denmark are also lagging. Hungary expects to meet the goal only by 2026“, as well as “France will increase its defense spending by more than a third between 2017 and 2025, but Germany, is not expected to reach the 2 percent target by 2024“, this gives us that the three large economic anchors of the European Union cannot get there. It is these elements that make me wonder on the changing language involving Turkey. From a setting that would have given a clear rejection of Turkey becoming an EU member, we see the setting of new talks, new events and more ‘collaboration’ projects. I think that France is already learning the hard way that this path leads to nowhere, but the others need Turkey to be a spender here, and Erdogan is using that tactic to his own advantage, because once they are in, you cannot throw them out anymore (the EU that is), not even willingly as the UK is learning the hard way. Even as we accept that to some extent Turkey helps to reduce an influx of Syrian and other migrants and refugees into the EU bloc, the question is to what extent and for which purpose, because once these refugees make it into Turkey, Turkey is either stuck with them or they must ‘divert’ them to another place.

In this, in an earlier blog I mentioned the Visa Free EU travel for Turkey and that they had not met the demands. So as we see “Last week, Turkey manifested determination to restart a new chapter in its ailing relationship with the European bloc by submitting a paper detailing Turkey’s roadmap for the fulfilment of the remaining seven benchmarks of 72 criteria” we need to get worried on the non-committed acts from the EU on the matter which had not been met. It seems like Brussels is trying to find any way to either delay it all or give Turkey a pass, which would be disastrous for several players. This is seen in several articles, in this case the Irish Times gives us: “Instead of formally ending EU membership talks, Dr Merkel said she would look at imposing “real restrictions on economic contact” including through the European Investment Bank, EU aid, World Bank and by blocking talks on expanding Turkey’s customs union agreement with the EU, a move that could hit billions of euro in potential Turkish exports“, whilst the EU themselves was ‘dismissive of call for end to Turkey accession talks‘, stating that this is for the heads of government, European Commission says, so the EU revels in inaction and restrictions in other ways. This is a dangerous and explosive combination.

So even as one issue was the contention in the counter terrorism benchmark which has been the definition of terrorism in the counter-terrorism law that Turkey was called repeatedly to amend in order to comply with European democratic and judicial standards. Now, according to reports, a legal provision will be added soon to the current anti-terror law stating that “any critical expression that does not exceed the boundaries of journalism does not constitute a crime“, how is that enough? As we see the Kurdish issues as shown earlier as well as a new complete failure by the Millî İstihbarat Teşkilatı (MİT) should leave anyone a clear indication that not only is the counter-terrorism failing, there is an increased worry that Turkey does not really comprehends the term ‘counter-terrorism’, in support of that fact, or evidence to that, you should talk to the journalists Deniz Yücel, Huseyin Akyol, Ragip Duran, Ayse Duzkan, and Huseyin Bektas. Oh no, you can’t they are in jail! Turkey could have had a genuine excuse, but they lost that option when they denied the German ambassador to Turkey access to the court proceedings. That alone should be regarded as evidence to dismiss the ascension of Turkey to the EU.

And whilst the entire language on Turkey seems to be in a fluid state, the Brexit noise goes on, whilst some are relying on fear-mongering with noise like: “You could have a permanent Operation Stack for 20 miles” regarding shipping between the UK and the EU, ‘could‘ being the operative word. So how large was that ‘stack’ in the 70’s and 80’s? In addition we see the Financial Times (at https://www.ft.com/content/0a8799c6-1190-11e8-940e-08320fc2a277) give us: “Brussels is urging EU leaders to consider radical options such as raiding corporate tax receipts and money raised from selling carbon emission permits to fill a €15bn a year budget hole left by Brexit“, in addition it gives us: “the need to find more money for priorities such as border control and joint defence, mean negotiations are likely to be even more poisonous than previous EU tussles over money“, whilst we see “Some member states don’t want to pay more but they want to do more. Other member states want to receive more“, these elements show the desperate state the EU is in now, that whilst Mario Draghi has printed almost 2 trillion Euro in money for ‘Quantative Easing‘. This relates directly to Turkey, because it shows the desperate EU trying to open a many doors as possible, this is how I see the impact of not dismissing Turkey as an EU member at present. So when we see “impose tougher conditions on access to EU funds as a way to force the likes of Poland and Hungary to comply with EU policies on the rule of law and on asylum” as is a given view on the two needing more money, wanting a stronger voice but cannot contribute. Add to that the earlier pressure from the US for NATO member to do more gives a shifted view of the needed activities within the EU, Turkey is seen as the one floating elements that will allow a few players to keep their heads above water, but it is as I personally see it a desperate act from certain short term viewers, that whilst they also know that it will descent EU elements into chaos. As I (again merely a personal view) see it, it would cripple Strasbourg in getting issues resolved and as Turkey fails to comply with humanitarian sides, it could in equal measure become the puppet for Russia for dislodge other item in consideration, an option honoured by perhaps negating some invoices for S-400 systems, spare parts, training and consultancy? It is merely speculative thinking, but would I be wrong? It would work out very well for Turkey, for the other bloc members a lot less so.

A danger that could have been resolved almost 2 years ago, I will let you ponder on the reasons why the EU never negated this danger.

 

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Not the worst idea

An article hit my eyes this morning. First I was furious; this was easy as I had been set up with a lousy morning already. The one where you wake up knowing that bashing a person to death would be met with life in prison and the thought that this would be OK. I was that angry this morning! So, it is a given that you should not read certain news in an emotional state, but then I realised. ‘This might not be the worst idea‘. The article is ‘Marriage equality opponents call for broad right to discriminate‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/oct/21/marriage-equality-opponents-call-for-broad-right-to-discriminate), you see, here we see the shortsighted, optionally two individuals who embrace the life of ‘Homo flaccidicus‘ (aka Homophobes). With “Monica Doumit, responded that the group “believes that no one should be coerced to use their creative talents to endorse a message with which they disagree”” we see opportunity. I will get to that later. And with “For example, we support the right of the many advertising agencies and meeting venues who have denied us service during this campaign to do so.” Monica Doumit opens a can of worms she would have been much better steering clear of. Tiernan Brady is right when he states that the comments showed the ‘No campaign‘ was engaged in was merely “a blatant attempt to unravel existing anti-discrimination laws which serve everyone in Australia well, not just LGBTI people”. Yet, Tiernan my friend, it might not be the worst idea. You see, Monica showed to be not the best intellectual mind and I will now lower my standards to meet hers. You see, these same people will not be forced into a different state, they forgot about their own self-interest in this. It will be their duty to loudly point at adulterers all the time and perhaps even stone them (I am opting for mandatory stoning). When you consider that amongst the penises and vaginas they know at least one out of three is involved with adultery (apparently that is what the statistics claim), so their foundation of friendship will be diminished by 30% at the very least (optionally for footy players this number allegedly goes up to 60%). So not only will they lose business to friends, the people that they are stigmatising will move to other grounds as well. So soon there will be no business left for them. Well, the Muslim community will, according to: “Sahih Bukhari (83:37) – Adultery is one of three justifications for killing a person, according to Muhammad.” be lowering the population soon thereafter as well. So house prices will dwindle down and I would like that too as I can’t afford a house in Sydney at present. So, getting back to the snakes and caves! When chastising the adulterers, as we read: “Mark 10:12 – And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery“, so these people will have to point out even more weaklings (in their mind). With divorce being close to 40%, these ‘discriminating No sayers‘ will soon have no friends, no business and no future. And the nice thing is that if THEY do not do these things we can do it for them and put them out of business that way as well. You see, doesn’t the heavenly father massively frown upon hypocrites?

So what they claim is not the worst idea, because they are forced to adapt to standards that will make themselves pariahs to the open world and there is no turning back from that. Merely because we all hate hypocrites and as we realise that Catholic Priests with young boys are no more than sodomites committing adultery, we could hang them in the trees around St. Mary’s Cathedral. This is the polarised world the No-sayer wants, and as it will largely impact these people, let us try this solution for a while. Their defence is that they are not announcing violence, merely stating their belief. Yet they forget that stigmatising and refusing service out of the allowed path of commerce is basically Psychic Assault, which in my book translates as: assault is assault no matter how you slice it.

So as these outspoken ‘no sayers’ (a path they are allowed to) are moving into the field of the ‘broad exemptions to discrimination law‘, they pretty much dug their own grave. In the mere practicality of these events, yes there are people who are uncomfortable with certain settings and they might voice this. So that couple could move on, especially as there are well over 2200 photographers and dozens good photographers are chomping at the bit to get any job that is out there. You see, the Guardian also gives us: “He said a bill would be guided by three principles: “Firstly, existing discrimination in the Marriage Act should be eliminated; secondly, a strong protection for religious freedom should be provided; and thirdly, we should not reintroduce commercial discrimination in Australia.”“, we can agree that part one is not an issue, it should not affect anyone who is not into the LGBTI field and their happiness should not affect the hetero sexual population in any way. If someone claims that it does, they are more likely to have internal struggles on contemplating what happiness is in the first place. I have always been in favour of religious freedom and as such there should not be an issue for the most either. There will always be groups that are offended by ‘another‘ religion. We merely need to look at Ireland in the 70’s to see that happen and nowadays they are so accommodating to large corporations like Apple that they have seemingly forgotten about the ethical issues between Protestants and Catholics and is seems that this wave is now moving to France and Luxembourg as well. Now we get the final part. With ‘we should not reintroduce commercial discrimination in Australia‘ another can of worms is opened. You see commercial discrimination never ended, it merely got pushed into the corner where the light is low. The evidence is clear in nearly every shop and we see the impact every day, but we ignore the evidence. We the people, we the multicultural sexual community (homo and hetero) are getting great at economic discrimination and as such there remains an issue where, if not set out in the open and force the issue towards people like Monica Doumit this will gradually become a way of life and that is not what we want, moreover, it is one that we need to fight visibly and outspoken, because before we know it, we will have a world where anything not in the mind of a small group becomes the standards and the bulk of us move from being a citizen to be no more than a pariah. This is a real danger and that is why I took my example over the top. By forcing them to the letter of the exercise as they ‘unravel existing anti-discrimination laws‘, by making them act against their own foundation of values, they will soon learn that their view was not merely wrong, it was self-destructive. So as we push for that to happen, if these laws are ever adjusted, we can than also tackle to a larger extent the commercial discrimination that is still in place.

We end up getting two wins in the event, I merely wonder if we can pull it off whilst keeping casualties to a minimum. I am not convinced that the casualty list can be kept to a minimum, yet what would be clear is that the casualties would go far beyond the LGBTI group, which might show the other casualties on how unfair and unacceptable the forced life of an LGBTI person was in the first place.

So as I stated at the beginning, it might not be the worst idea. It merely is one that comes with a higher cost than most trying to instigate it realise.

 

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Strike a match

In Australia, an island with plenty of drought and as we go into the really nice and warm season, a match is not a thing we look fondly off, yet the strike of the match as we see it in France, where it is now uncomfortably cold is another matter. So is it ‘Strike a match!‘, or ‘Match a strike?‘, the strike called on regarding labour reforms could be the one that sets flame to that nation and set flame to whatever growth economy the French think they have. Reuters (at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-france-reform-protests/frances-cgt-calls-another-strike-against-labor-reform-others-refuse-idUSKBN1CE2CH) give us “the more moderate CFDT, now France’s biggest union, and the Force Ouvriere preferring negotiations” these two are starting to figure out that the long protected labour rights in France are to ancient. With a mobile workforce all over Europe, it will soon be about taxable products and services no matter where they are and as such France is pricing itself out of a market of workers, faster and faster. The weird part is that France has so much to offer, so the fact that the economy is barely reaching +2% for the longest time is less puzzling and is more and more about the uncertainty that the labour laws are bringing entrepreneurs. Now, I am all for protecting the workers over greedy corporations, yet the draconian shape that it has in France is stopping new waves from moving towards France. French publication ‘the Local‘ (at https://www.thelocal.fr/20171009/france-how-tuesdays-mass-public-sector-strikes-will-affect-you) is giving us “with particular reference to the pay freeze and rise in social security payments, plus the government’s controversial decision to dock pay for the first day of sick leave (jour de carence) to fight against absenteeism“, this implies that former president Hollande has been asleep at the wheel. The changes imposed are to some extent to top the coffers from taking too much of a hit and with minus 2.6 trillion Euro the French coffers need all the help they can get. In this, many newspapers are all about how the appeal of President Macron is wearing thin, yet the bulk of issues that we see in a few fields are ignored to a larger extent. So, when was the last time that a corporate CEO got time with a national ruler to discuss national taxation? Because that is exactly what Tim Cook CEO of Apple seems to have been doing in France. With one source giving us “So, when Tim Cook meets with French President Macron, the matter of taxes could make for an icy situation between the two men. Macron has said he wants to promote France as a place for tech companies to set up shop, but he has also been critical about the role internet companies, in particular, play in society. Macron has been pretty vocal lately about how France and other E.U. countries should close up the loopholes that Apple and other tech companies have been able to use to move their earnings around to more tax-friendly countries, such as Ireland and Luxembourg“, is it a first indication that the French economy is in a much worse shape than expected? The fact that Tim Cook is visiting Élysée Palace not because President Emmanuel Macron is buying his wife the new iMac Pro (an assumption from my side). I am not thinking the worst of the French president, but the issue is questionable, especially as Apple is about to open a massive site in the Battersea Power Station, so as Apple (as I personally see it) is trying to spend the money twice, once by spending it in London and the second time by getting tax deduction for the amount just spend in London so he can get a second building for free in Paris. We see too many people in charge giving in to large corporations too easy and too often. Mostly merely getting it done for their ego’s whilst they sell short the needy coffers of their own nation. They present it as the cost of doing business. Corporations like Apple can merely offer to go somewhere else and the politicians fold like wet paper backs, no hard backs amongst them. As Apple is now getting the news to invest in several nations, $10B for a plant in Wisconsin, $500M in China and as we now see (at http://appleinsider.com/articles/17/10/10/detente-possible-between-tim-cook-macron-over-apples-future-taxation-in-france-eu) “Macron’s staff report that past tax disputes weren’t discussed in any way, but Cook acknowledged a sea change in how companies should pay taxes specifically where they are earned, and not in one country to cover the entire EU” is just one side, so as we also see “Apple continues to deal with a ruling by the European Commission, which will force a $15 billion payment of back taxes to Ireland —when the Irish government gets the disbursing fund established. Ireland disputes the ruling, and says that Apple has paid all of its required taxes. The European Commission is suing Ireland for the lack of collection, and to force the issue“, an issue that has played for the longest time. And every time when I see that politicians are ‘offended’ by the lack of payments I wonder how they are selling the lack of their treasuries to the Irish people. Ireland must be the richest nation in the world when it regards a non-paid $15B as not an issue. So whilst public services are lowering in Ireland and as we see “Sinn Féin’s Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty said, however, that the government has failed spectacularly with today’s budget and suggested it was a lie to suggest you can cut taxes and solve the problem of the health and housing crises” (at http://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/ireland/donohoe-defends-tax-cuts-despite-growing-pressures-on-public-services-809339.html) whilst there is an apparent issue with Apple’s outstanding $15 billion, we need to wonder on who the politicians are actually working for and who pays their income. Questions the media seems to walk away from. Yet this was not on Ireland, this is about France and the labour issues. It seems that Ireland and France are labour opposites. As Ireland is showing itself to be more flexible than a slinky in a hurricane, France is showing their flexibility to be zero degree Kelvin, which could remain detrimental to the financial growth of France in more than one way.

So as France is now huddled into a posing form of strikes all over the place, we see that emotions run high, so high that the French decided to release teargas, so that the people could cry over the matter. So as we see the news that 450.000 travelers are feeling the consequence of the French not agreeing with the labour overhaul, we need to consider how its impact is on the long term. You see everyone forgot about Marine Le Penn. After she was not elected, all the people thought they had evaded having to bite the bullet, yet in all this; the issue is not what had been surpassed, but what can haunt again. Instead of the media trying to figure out and illuminate what Front National had in store, with actual answers to how the issue could have been solved, the media bombards Macron again and again, the issue is not what happens when Macron fails. The issue is that when the dust settles, there would not be a long election, the labour parties would jump on the Le Penn bandwagon in a heartbeat leaving no options for France at all. The entire ‘Status Quo’ debate could quite literally blow up in their faces and when the next smear campaign starts, the people will in unity ignore the media to the largest degree. So as we see the nonstop battering of the strike and how bad Emmanuel Macron is doing, they are equally ignoring the fact that none of the other politicians have any better a clue or an idea on how to solve certain matters, which means that Front National is currently swimming free setting up whatever they want. Because the people might have shared some enthusiasm with some young sprout now President of France, but that trick only works once. In opposition, I doubt that Marine Le Pen has a clear path on how to fix the economy. The IMF is actually assisting her as we see Bloomberg with ‘Raising Taxes on the Rich Won’t Necessarily Curb Growth, IMF Says’ (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-11/raising-taxes-on-rich-won-t-necessarily-curb-growth-imf-says), yet even as we see “The IMF report comes as governments in advanced economies face a backlash against the effects of globalization and technology. Voters from France to the U.K. have expressed frustration with what they perceive to be the unequal benefits of free trade and open borders”, the bandwagon that the IMF offers is equally a much larger problem. Even when we ignore the actions of Depardieu moving to Russia, the media has bungled the events for the largest degree. You see, as I mentioned before, whilst media is staring at the ‘super wealthy’ and giving rise to emotions of more inequality in an age where the people are pointed in the wrong direction by the media at large. Yet this group is a mere 330,000 souls large last year and less than half a million cannot supply the multiple billions (read: Trillion) that the treasury is already short of and the IMF knows this. This is the UK, in France, where less than 1% pay at the rate of 45%, we see an implied group of a little over half a million making it into that group. The reality that the IMF is selling is not realistic and everyone with spreadsheet skills can see that such a small group cannot address the trillions of debt that France has, so as we see that growth might not seem to e curbed, the issue is that the infrastructures are starting to collapse. In the UK the NHS is pretty much the most obvious example, but in all this France has a few issues of their own and none of it will be resolved until there is a fair setting of corporate taxation for the larger players who leech their zero tax vie Ireland and other options; options that the local shops can never rely on, which growth business inequality even more and a lot faster. Is it not weird that the IMF is in total denial through carefully phrased messages like “When it comes to corporate income taxes, the trend in lowering corporate tax rates is a pervasive trend overall in the last few decades. That is something which is often attributed to tax competition. There is, however, the interesting finding that this reduction in corporate tax rates has not been, in general, matched by a fall in corporate tax revenues”, which in my view means ‘corporate profit can be maximised through lesser taxation and increased production’, which is not for the corporations, but working a person to death whilst there is no quality healthcare is equally detrimental to the health of any nation. So how is that an option?

History has shown that again and again. This we see in the Guardian as it reported “Union leaders said they wanted to show a “profound disagreement” with the president’s plans to overhaul the state sector“, yet where will they go? That is the part the players are all ignoring and in this the media is one of the players. You see, we have seen quotes like “The main reason they voted for him was as a default, as a barrier against the risk of a Marine Le Pen fascist, far-right government“, yet when he does not deliver and as the failings of the left are stacking up. Where do you think the unions will go? They too require being ‘in power’ and they will align with anyone who gives them what they need to stay in power. The media has forgotten about that, or did they? That is the issue because the people at large are not in the know and when the bottle boiled over, they are in the ‘not caring’ team, which allows for a load of misinformation and the official media channels have lost the levels of reliability they need, they lost it the day after the election, especially when the failings started to show. So as the media blunders its way by blasting their current president, they forgot to notice that they have painted themselves in a corner. The question becomes: ‘Can it be fixed?‘ I am not certain, I actually do not know how some of the channels can regain the faith of their readers, that becomes the issue more and more and when that is too late, may Marianne symbol for the French people help them, because the others will not care and that is actually a lot more dangerous than any President Le Pen (should that ever happen).

So as we strike a match under the newspapers misstating our needs and matching the strike workers by educating on the dangers they are setting themselves up to, we might get some actual labour law evolution. President Macron is not wrong in the path he is taking. He is merely ignorant of the French population and their sentiment in certain matters. In that regard he has been a member of the Wall Street population a little too long, and regained his French feeling of solidarity much too short (as I personally see it). So this will not be resolved any day soon I reckon.

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Freedoms removed by Amazon

One of the most outrageous articles of the year hit me this morning, via the Guardian off course! The piece in question is ‘Amazon proposes drones-only airspace to facilitate high-speed delivery’ (at http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/jul/28/amazon-autonomous-drones-only-airspace-package-delivery). In the first, since when does a company decide on traffic rules? Can anyone explain that to me? In the second, since when is a company allowed to set FAA rules (or in general rules of flight regarding safety of airspace)? In the third, how in the name of all blazing hell does a company decides on how amateurs, hobbyists and innovators do their work?

Well, it seems that Amazon has stepped up to the plate to ‘suggest’ a few changes. Let’s face it, Amazon is a place of nothing, a mere grocery store for parchment products. In the UK they paid £11.9 million in taxation and the year before that £4.2 million, so why should we give them even the slightest consideration? The Australian Amazon site is limited to kindle stuff, so they pay even less there. You know, they are big in Luxembourg, so there is every possibility that they can pursue their drone packaging strikes in that country. But to give any consideration outside of Luxembourg and the US is a little too strong, so the quote “Amazon is proposing that a pristine slice of airspace above the world’s cities and suburbs should be set aside for the deployment of high-speed aerial drones capable of flying robotically with virtually no human interference” should not be taken too seriously.

We cannot fault Amazon for having vision, but it comes at a cost. You see “It envisages that within the next 10 years hundreds of thousands of small drones – not all of them Amazon’s or devoted to delivery – will be tearing across the skies every day largely under their own automated control” shows us that there would be a massive drop in the need for delivery people, which is not good for job security. Now, in opposition, these things happen, when people started to correspond through their computers, the people did not think it would grow beyond the realm if Geeks and Nerds, now, the bulk of the population has not touched parchments, quills and ink for a long time. Less postman were needed and on a global scale dogs were in mourning for nearly a decade.

Now we get the part that Amazon thinks is visionary “The company’s aeronautics experts propose that a 200ft slab of air – located between 200ft and 400ft from the ground – should be segregated and reserved for state-of-the-art drones equipped with sophisticated communications and sensing equipment and flying at high speeds of 60 knots or more. A further 100ft of airspace – between 400ft and 500ft – would be declared a no-fly zone to act as a buffer between the drones and current conventional aircraft such as passenger and cargo planes, thus mitigating fears about the impact on manned flight or dangers posed to people on the ground“.

I wonder how these aeronautics experts got their degree, perhaps it was added to the side of the pot of vegemite in an effort to market the product to Americans? Perhaps their degree was the wrapper for Troyer Roll Butter (if you know the product, the joke makes sense, Google it!). You see, the sky is filled with these weird things, that need to be all over the place, they are called helicopters, the police uses them, the press uses them and oh, yes, the emergency rescue services uses them all over the world, also in city areas. So this ideas hold a few operational holes even before it is seriously considered.

There is an additional concern. We do not deny that drones will be the big thing in the next decade, which also means that indie developers and visionaries will emerge, so is the quote “segregated and reserved for state-of-the-art drones equipped with sophisticated communications and sensing equipment” anything else than an attempt to crush market growth and keep it in hand for a few established brands? How will that ever be any good for innovation? Furthermore, the image gives way that hobbyists, rural hobbyists will be pushed from their rural live to little spots, just like the Native American Indians were. In my view, if you want to be top dog, you’ll just have to create a superior product that can anticipate these events. By the way, helicopters come in all these areas, including in the no fly zone, so this idea is saturated with bad insights from even before day zero. Not a good start me thinks!

So in reference to the position papers where the call states “It calls for a “paradigm shift” that will allow hundreds of thousands of small unmanned aircraft to fly under their own technological steam without the current involvement of humans through air traffic control“, that part could only work if there is one player, once there are more, if becomes a technological jungle of miscommunications and lost handshakes due to iterative updates, flaws and glitches. So how about letting drones work above the freeways and major lanes? It would not hinder anyone, hobbyists and innovators continue and unless a helicopter absolutely must land on a highway (likely medical emergency) they can continue without any hiccups.

Wow, I just solved the ‘lack’ of free airspace in 7.2 minutes. How clever am I?

Then we see “Amazon sets out five capabilities that drones must meet if they are to be allowed to fly inside the new 200ft high-speed corridor“. well let’s just agree that this is not up to Amazon to begin with, the fact that they precede this with “to realise that futuristic vision safely“, implying that they are working on a solution only they will offer, laws must abide with… In my view it is not up to them, many nations know that drones will be the new slave labour force (read: unpaid population that will drive others away from a job), which is a little out there (the way I framed it), but the reality is that this market will massively evolve over the next 2 decades and we have to give space to innovators and visionaries, not limit their scope to the need of “sophisticated GPS tracking that allows them to pinpoint their location in real-time and in relation to all other drones around them“, which is basically stating that drones must be a product made by DJI, Raytheon or Northrop Grumman to be allowed in this airspace. Amazon does NOT get to make THAT call!

the additional quotes “Online flight planning that allows them to predict and communicate their flight path” and “Communications equipment that allow them to “talk” and collaborate with other drones in the zone to ensure they avoid each other” give additional notice to forcing us into a one player path. That is not what innovation is about. First the TPP is pushing innovation to the mercy of big business, now Amazon add more limitations here? That is not a playing field that the world signed up for.

So as we see that hobbyists and indie developers (and visionaries) are slowly pushed into reservations like the Native American Indians by the quote “Under Amazon’s proposals, by contrast, hobbyists would only be allowed to fly within the new 200ft-400ft corridor if their vehicles were equipped with the latest hyper-sophisticated gadgetry for autonomous flight. Otherwise, they would have their activities confined to geographically demarcated airfields in relatively unpopulated areas that would be set aside specifically for the purpose” we have to wonder what Amazon has up his sleeve. Because either the US government is so bankrupt that it will agree to anything to not collapse before the results of the next elections, or is Amazon just waving in the air to be noticed?

The quote by Brendan Schulman, drone lawyer and senior executive and DJI gives us additional issues regarding the Amazon statement “by far the greatest use of unmanned aerial vehicles today was by amateurs. That’s currently by far the most common use of the technology, so before you disrupt their experience you want to think carefully about what slice of airspace would really be needed by these new technologies“. I would say ‘Amen!’ to that, because the issue that the article danced around (perhaps intentionally) is that Amazon needs to adhere to established safety protocols, we do not change protocols because of Amazon. I can agree that down the track changes will have to be made, but that time is not now and especially as the paper ignored several basic avionics issues.

Which now gets me to the paper where in a mere flash something stood out to me. Consider the quote “Amazon believes the current model of airspace management will not meet future sUAS demands, particularly highly-automated, low-altitude commercial operations. A paradigm shift in airspace management and operations is necessary to safely accommodate the one-operator-to-many-vehicle model required by large-scale commercial fleets“, in that apart from a massive dose of arrogance, we see “the one-operator-to-many-vehicle model required by large-scale commercial fleets“. So it is already on the premise for big business where one controller manages 100-200 drones. The shift of a workforce that only requires payment in cc’s of fuel.

In my view, the air is for now still empty, it will change, that much is certain, but it will be the people that decide on how far this goes, it is not Amazon to make that move. I am not entirely certain that Amazon should be the lead at all, but that is perhaps a discussion for another day.

What is in the last part an issue is the small part privacy activists were given. They are all up in arms regarding police and spook drones. Which is massively farfetched as these people have already given away their liberty through Facebook and other social means, so these two parties receive via e-mail all you did, including the amounts of times you ogled the ass of the neighbours wife (and teenage daughter). We seem to forget the massive danger that follows, it is not Amazon with its non-human package delivery system. It is the fact that in any innovation, organised crime follows pretty quickly, because they know that it takes the government up to 5 years to catch up, so in the first 5 years they can strike it rich. Drug deliveries, via cheap drones to penthouses. The paying clientele gets balcony to balcony delivery via a $499 drone and there is no link between the parties. Crime is already making a nice killing here, so the proper focus is not here and when it gets to be in the right place it is already too late.

So Amazon should not be setting the pass for removed freedom, it should set pace to create the right atmosphere, an attempt that they failed miserably from my point of view.

My opinion in this matter is strengthened through a previous article regarding Amazon which was published on March 30th (at http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/mar/30/amazon-tests-drones-secret-site-canada-us-faa). The title ‘Amazon tests delivery drones at secret Canada site after US frustration‘ already implies the ludicrous part in all this. A ‘secret Canada site‘. Why? Because a spotter could take a pic? Because of industrial espionage? Actually, that last one is not THAT far-fetched. So let’s leave it for now.

In the article we get two parts that show my view the first is “Into that aerial slice the company plans to pour highly autonomous drones of less than 55lbs, flying through corridors 10 miles or longer at 50mph and carrying payloads of up to 5lbs“, which represents as stated in the article for 86% of all the packages, now that is fair enough, if you want to address 80% of what is done now, yu see a choice that is just common sense. Now part two “The Company wants to offer its customers the ability to have packages dropped on their doorstep by flying robots within 30 minutes of ordering goods online“. Initially that pat makes sense too. Yet combined, we get ordered articles are delivered within a range of 18 miles. Here we account for loss of time for picking up, after which the drone gets 30 minutes, so 18 miles is pretty much the limit, so this is a metropolitan solution, this is less about ‘global change’, but more the need to address the high impact profit places like New York, Vancouver, San Francisco, Honolulu, Seattle, New Orleans, San Jose, Chicago and Los Angeles and a few other congested places. The ‘global’ part was just nice to give it marketing. They need to address congestion and dromes will make sense. Yet the visionary part is that they are trying to address it on a global scale, because if this is accepted, Amazon would be sole player in places like London, Paris, Amsterdam, The Hague, Munich, Berlin, Rome and Sydney for that matter too. That seems to be the reality and it is not a bad idea to have, but in that adjusted view, Amazon does not get to set policy, especially as Europe might develop its own drone solutions. Binding options for developers through ‘sophisticated GPS tracking‘ is what I would call ‘the big No No’.

Brendan Schulman, aka the drone lawyer shows us the merits of my thoughts “Amazon’s Canadian airstrip-in-exile should be a “serious wake-up call to politicians and regulators”. “America has led the world in aviation development,” he said, “but for the first time in history we are at risk of losing out”“.

There is the part, where I made the reference to the TPP. These presentations are all about big business carving their patch making sure no one else can inhabit it. The plane industry is polarised, but drones are another matter, drones can invigorate visionary workers and dreamers, because a drone is not an expensive tool, you can buy them in a game shop and the next kid getting one could be the one who revolutionises that field because he/she thought ‘what if I want to do this, could I alter my app….?’ that is all it takes to create a billion dollar corporation.

The FAA has (according to Amazon) taken much too long to make up its mind, it also stated “it does not believe that drones can be flown safely under their own autonomous control, and is insisting that humans must keep them within eyesight at all times“, which makes it non-profitable for Amazon. For now the FAA is right, but there is no given certainty that this is still a truth in 5 years. The mobile industry, Wi-Fi and sensor market is evolving at an alarming rate, my $699 mobile phone now has the same technological options a $15K digital film camera had 10 years ago, only the lens is the physical difference in quality, so that market will evolve, possibly beyond my comprehension before I die.

I feel certain that the FAA realises this, but they report to others and those people see that drones will be the new orgasmic high for organised crime. Common Law in the US and in the Commonwealth is flawed enough for all players to realise that this opens up massive undeclarable profits for these players. With the one to many option, whatever small chance of successful prosecution of a drug dealer any Districts Attorney had in the past, flies straight out of the window via drone. Here we see how the law has not caught up again.

Should it stop drone development? No! But there are a few sides that need addressing, which cannot be done today, but soon it will be the only blockade remaining. What happens when that day comes?

 

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