Tag Archives: Margin Call

Pushers of media value

We all heard of the name ‘pusher’, usually it is seen in the drugs community. People who prey on children and weak students with: ‘try this, makes you feel good‘. Knowing that as their customer base increases, he can continue his lifestyle of booze and bitches, because that is his only priority, to feel good and to live like a rock star at the expense of everyone and anyone else. So when I saw ‘Alarm for Netflix as shares plummet on worse-than-expected subscriber growth‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/media/2018/jul/16/netflix-subscribers-numbers-forecasts-wall-street) and was confronted with both “But it also warned that subscriber growth in the current third quarter would likely be around 5 million, again below analysts’ expectations of 6.3 million“, as well as “spooked investors and suggested the company’s explosive subscriber growth may now be slowing. Netflix shares fell 14% to $346.05 in after-hours trading in New York. For the second quarter, Netflix reported a profit of $384.3m, or 85 cents a share, up from $65.6m, or 15 cents a share, a year earlier“, I wondered what the analyst had to offer that gave rise to the situation.

In a world where we see that the quality of life is down, where we are struggling to merely pay the rent in some places, in that world where we learn that “Netflix has almost reached the 100 million mark for streaming subscribers, thereby more than doubling its subscriber numbers from the start of 2014“, so the numbers are showing us an almost 25% year on year growth, that is pretty amazing in many settings.

In this day and age, getting over 10% growth is pretty well done. We all recognise that 100 million users might not be that much on one side, yet the entire business is set against a facade where there is more to the picture. Still, in this the entire setting a 14% drop seems a little extreme. It is set against what I regard to be the pushers of the world (also known as analysts). I have had issues with these analysts before; they are like the drug pushers of Wall Street. They might not see it in this way, but I do. In this setting when we see “that subscriber growth in the current third quarter would likely be around 5 million, again below analysts’ expectations of 6.3 million“, so explain to me where they got that 6.3 million new subscriber issue? Where is the evidence that expected 15 people from Hoboken New Jersey decided not to become a member? Sickness, getting laid off, hospital cost, daughter getting married, all optional reasons where 15 people decided on not becoming a member, now set that number in EVERY zip code in the United States. We can go on with the thousands of additional cases in the US alone, yet the wisdom of some person telling us that a mathematical model should have produced another 1.3 million uses cannot be vetted is merely the setting of a person giving a speculative result and that speculator is the cause of a 14% drop in value?

Now, we do understand that Netflix has responsibilities and with their expected growth is of course linked to the content they can afford to buy. So when I see “Netflix is expected to invest as much as $12bn on content this year, but could face growing competition in the streaming market. Apple is upping its spending on original content in video, music and publishing to $4.2bn by 2022 from $1bn this year. Amazon is expected to almost double its spending on original content from $4.5bn to $8.3bn“, there are two issues. The first is that if we quadruple the quarter and consider the 1.53 billion in profits (or expected profits) for 2018, how come that this year the acquired spending is $12 billion? We get that content is a long term pay off and all the movies acquired now will fuel the customer base for a long time, yet the fact that the profits merely represent 7.5% of the annual content spend is very unbalanced. It also gives us the additional setting that the 1.3 million additional members would not have made a dent there. The setting is fishy and it does not add up. Now, we can all agree that such services are perhaps a lot more complex, but the value long term is also setting the pace that something does not seem to add up. To see that picture we need to realise that Netflix realised well over $11.5 billion in revenue last year alone, so by giving you this, the $20 billion is not only no longer a stretch, it implies that Netflix still ends with $1.5 billion of pure profits, that is nothing to be sneered at, and in that light the spooking of the shareholders make less and less sense and in this, the entire analyst setting comes to the foreground once more, especially when we also add the one small fact that Netflix has $19 billion in assets. It is even more puzzling when we add the NY Times findings with “The company also saw its net income rise to $130 million, well over last year’s third quarter total of $52 million but short of the $143 million that Wall Street expected“, again the analysts now imploding, or is that setting back the market, whilst the records are still showing enormous growth, we see that dark cloud called Wall Street stating that it should have been better. There is nothing that shows evidence of the numbers that Wall Street holds others accountable to. In a system that is unrealistic, punishing realistic growth is not merely dangerous, it tends to be counterproductive in the end.

An additional part seen in the NY Times is now giving another light. They gave “Netflix already outspends its rivals, including HBO, FX and CBS, while Apple has recently signalled to Hollywood it would spend more than $1 billion on original content“, whilst the Guardian treats us to “Apple is upping its spending on original content in video, music and publishing to $4.2bn by 2022 from $1bn this year. Amazon is expected to almost double its spending on original content from $4.5bn to $8.3bn“, so the other two players are also spending billions in a market that is short of resources creating a bubble and bubbles are never good, so then the question becomes, is Wall Street intentionally creating bubbles to overinflate the mess and then short sell the cycle to make it implode in the future?

The fact that three players will represent close to $4 billion a year, each year is already a signal that the big screen, through internet or big screen itself is still flourishing, as the IP is brought through different ways, the only way will be up. So when we consider Australia who gives us “Netflix Australia starts from $9.99 per month for the entry-level, single-stream standard definition package, all the way up to $17.99 for the deluxe, 4K quality, four-stream package“, we see the simple selling point that a month of maximised streaming is close to a mere cinema ticket. That is the simplest of selling points and when we consider that, when we consider that this is not merely on that level, but that the setting also needs to fit the bandwidth that people sign on for, some will not charge Netflix, some do. That is also an influence. So there is more than one player that impacts the Netflix subscriber, all elements in that equation and some we can predict to some extent, but we remains in a setting where the analysts all claim that predictions were outclassing achievement in a place where growth is pretty sweet, it does not add up and that might just be me.

Yet this is where we get the Washington Post with ‘Netflix’s subscriber growth slows, panicking Wall Street‘, this is where we get to the golden egg, the part that Americans never understood, not in 1994 when some made claims on ‘saturation is a myth’, giving us an example with an elastic band, showing that 20% stretch again and again is possible and not today when we see that especially in Australia where housing prices in the big cities are through the roof, where we see that making a budget work is to cut out all extra excesses. In that setting many people can’t merely afford the $18 a month extra. That is supported with: “Professor Muir said it was important to realise that not all of those who live in poverty were unemployed. “One in three people who are living in poverty actually have wages, so we have challenges not just about how we make sure people have jobs, but we also want people to have stable jobs,” she said“. So we have an Australian setting where 1/3 is in poverty and a chunk of that has an actual income. So at that point, who of those people will have Netflix? Will they be willing to sacrifice two meals just to have Netflix? This is not a setting that is only seen in Australia. In America the UC Davis center for Poverty treats us to the setting of a few important characteristics of the 50% percent of minimum-wage earners with an age that is 25 or higher, 50% has a part time job. They have an average family income of $42,500 per year. At this stage it comes down to 20%-25% that live in poverty, when you consider that in 2016  around 43 million Americans were living in poverty, how much of an influence does that stop others from spending sprees outside of the Christmas season? When you see the hardship of anyone in your street, a person who works, fights and does whatever he can to feed his family, often both working, still not making the bills go away. How long until others start to save for the rainy day? I believe that these people are set to the economy as missing values. They do not matter, but they are still part of the total count. I personally believe that there is intent.

When we look at Wiki for a quick explanation, we get the optional view of an economic bubble with the text: “One possible cause of bubbles is excessive monetary liquidity in the financial system, inducing lax or inappropriate lending standards by the banks, which make markets vulnerable to volatile asset price inflation caused by short-term, leveraged speculation“. Yet what happens when it is not the ‘financial system‘? What happens when a bubble is pushed through analysts on the places like Netflix, creating friction with investors that apparently get spooked when a company still reports an optional 1.5 billion annual profit? So what happens when we see ‘volatile asset price inflation caused by short-term, leveraged speculation‘? Now take the leveraged speculation, asset price inflation (due to Apple and Amazon in the market) and it all suddenly implodes as all the analysts stated that Netflix could have easily gotten a million more subscribers that quarter. I hope that you get the drift now!

I am no Netflix fan (I have nothing against Netflix either). I always preferred to watch the big screen whenever I could afford it. I prefer to buy the season DVD/Blu-ray of a TV series I enjoy, that’s how I roll. Some prefer Netflix and that is fine by me too, whatever loads their canon, I say.

So when we see the Washington Post treating us to “they could validate investors’ fears of a company in slowdown mode for the first time in years. Wall Street has already been watching closely as Disney ramps up its subscription-content efforts and HBO, under incoming owner AT&T, is adopting a new strategy to compete“, we are treated to the setting of Pluto and two other dogs competing for the same bone, it is called market saturation and I have had the impression for the longest of times (around two and a half decades) that Americans either do not comprehend that part of business, or they merely do not care and ignore it. Now, we understand that at such points, the stock value of Netflix slows or even halts, yet to see a 14% drop is equally weird, which leaves me to think that Wall Street and all their analysts are in a bubble creating setting, which I believe has been going on for the longest of times. Do I need to remind you of Moody’s and S&P regarding the 2008 events? In the end they paid a fine, but compared to the damage done, it was miniscule. So when we take a step towards FLETC and the ‘Economic Crimes Investigation and Analysis‘ parts. They seem to be all up in arms for investigators, auditors, analysts and individuals serving as direct law enforcement support personnel who provide a foundation for fraud and financial investigations. Yet, when we look closely, how much effort has been done to investigate the Wall Street Analysts and other analysts who seem to be tweaking the expectations?

So when we look at the FLETC syllabus and see: “Successful completion of the ECIA will enable students to:
(1) identify various investigative techniques that may be used to investigate economic crimes;
(2) identify evidentiary documents that may be used to prove the source and disposition of monies;
(3) demonstrate how computer software may be used to organize, analyze, and present information;
(4) identify various ways that an accounting system may be used to conceal the true nature of fraudulent transactions;
(5) demonstrate how indirect methods may be used to identify illegal income; and
(6) demonstrate how effectively present investigative findings

Yet as I see it, in all this the global analysts who are spiking the expectations are all considered not a factor and have the privilege of remaining outside of the scope of all this. That also gives us that unless a 2008 version disaster happens; they and their overpaid asses quite literally get to walk away.

So how does that make sense in any universe, especially when we see the damage others faced over a decade?

Which gets us to the last quote in the Post with “Hastings did acknowledge the second quarter has historically been rough for Netflix, noting another under performance in 2016. “We never did find the explanation [for that],” he said“. In this we need to ask, was this merely a real under performance, or was it all based on a flawed algorithm, one that all the analysts using them will happily silence away?

A group of people never scrutinised, whilst a company making a clean billion plus a year is axed by 14%. Some will say it is all logical and that my lack of an economic degree makes it all my ignorance issue. Yet the Margin Call quote “2 and 2 no longer makes 4” gives the indication that it was not math and according to the math involved the 14% cut is optionally wrong, yet the reality of bubbles and the intentional creation of them is set on greed and that is the one thing that Wall Street thrives on and I wonder how closely some of its players are actually watched, more importantly, once proven, will the events actually be acted on, or will they merely receive a $401K fine in the mail?

 

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Telstra, NATO and the USA

There are three events happening, three events that made the limelight. Only two seem to have a clear connection, yet that is not true, they all link, although not in the way you might think.

Telstra Calling

The Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/jun/20/telstra-to-cut-8000-jobs-in-major-restructure) starts with ‘Telstra to cut 8,000 jobs in major restructure‘. Larger players will restructure in one way or another at some point, and it seems that Telstra is going through the same phase my old company went through 20 years ago. The reason is simple and even as it is not stated as such, it boils down to a simple ‘too many captains on one ship‘. So cut the chaff and go on. It also means that Telstra would be able to hire a much stronger customer service and customer support division. Basically, it can cut the overhead and they can proclaim that they worked on the ‘costing’ side of the corporation. It is one way to think. Yet when we see: “It plans to split its infrastructure assets into a new wholly owned business unit in preparation for a potential demerger, or the entry of a strategic investor, in a post-national broadband network rollout world. The new business unit will be called InfraCo“. That is not a reorganisation that is pushing the bad debts and bad mortgages out of the corporation and let it (optionally) collapse. The congestion of the NBN alone warrants such a move, but in reality, the entire NBN mess was delayed for half a decade, whilst relying on technology from the previous generation. With 5G coming closer and closer Telstra needs to make moves and set new goals, it cannot do that without a much better customer service and a decently sized customer support division, from there on the consultants will be highly needed, so the new hiring spree will come at some stage. The ARNnet quote from last month: “Shares of Australia’s largest telco operator Telstra (ASX:TLS) tumbled to their lowest in nearly seven years on 22 May, after the firm was hit by a second major mobile network service outage in the space of a month“, does not come close to the havoc they face, it is not often where one party pisses off the shareholders, the stakeholders and the advertisers in one go, but Telstra pulled it off!

A mere software fault was blamed. This implies that the testing and Q&A stage has issues too, if there is going to be a Telstra 5G, that is not a message you want to broadcast. The problem is that even as some say that Telstra is beginning to roll out 5G now, we am afraid that those people are about to be less happy soon thereafter. You see, Telstra did this before with 4G, which was basically 3.5G, now we see the Business Insider give us ‘Telstra will roll out 2Gbps speeds across Australian CBDs within months‘, but 2Gbps and 10Gbps are not the same, one is merely 20%, so there! Oh, and in case you forgot the previous part. It was news in 2011 when ABC gave us (at http://www.abc.net.au/technology/articles/2011/09/28/3327530.htm) “It’s worth pointing out that that what Telstra is calling 4G isn’t 4G at all. What Telstra has deployed is 1800MHz LTE or 3GPP LTE that at a specification level should cap out at a download speed of 100Mb/s and upload speed of 50Mbps [ed: and the public wonders why we can’t just call it 4G?]. Telstra’s sensibly not even claiming those figures, but a properly-certified solution that can actually lay claim to a 4G label should be capable of downloads at 1 gigabit per second; that’s the official 4G variant known as LTE-A. Telstra’s equipment should be upgradeable to LTE-A at a later date, but for now what it’s actually selling under a ‘4G’ label is more like 3.7-3.8G. “3.7ish G” doesn’t sound anywhere near as impressive on an advertising billboard, though, so Telstra 4G it is“, which reflects the words of Jeremy Irons in Margin Call when he states: “You can be the best, you can be first or you can cheat“. I personally think that Telstra is basically doing what they did as reported in 2011 and they will market it as ‘5G’, giving premise to two of the elements that Jeremy Irons mentioned.

This now gives a different visibility to the SMH article last week (at https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/how-a-huawei-5g-ban-is-about-more-than-espionage-20180614-p4zlhf.html), where we see “The expected ban of controversial Chinese equipment maker Huawei from 5G mobile networks in Australia on fears of espionage reads like a plot point from a John le Carre novel. But the decision will have an impact on Australia’s $40 billion a year telecoms market – potentially hurting Telstra’s rivals“, as well as “The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age reported in March that there were serious concerns within the Turnbull government about Huawei’s potential role in 5G – a new wireless standard that could be up to 10 times as powerful as existing mobile services, and used to power internet connections for a range of consumer devices beyond phones“, you see I do not read it like that. From my point of view I see “There are fears within the inner circle of Telstra friends that Huawei who is expected to offer actual 5G capability will hurt Telstra as they are not ready to offer anything near those capabilities. The interconnectivity that 5G offers cannot be done in the currently upgradable Telstra setting of a mere 2bps, which is 20% of what is required. Leaving the Telstra customers outside of the full range of options in the IoT in the near future, which will cost them loads of bonus and income opportunities“. This gives two parts, apart from Optus getting a much larger slice of the cake, the setting is not merely that the consumers and 5G oriented business is missing out, private firms can only move forward to the speed that Telstra dictates. So who elected Telstra as techno rulers? As for the entire Huawei being “accused of spying by lawmakers in the US“, is still unfounded as up to now no actual evidence has been provided by anyone, whilst at the same speed only a week ago, the Guardian gave us ‘Apple to close iPhone security gap police use to collect evidence‘, giving a clear notion that in the US, the police and FBI were in a stage where they were “allowed to obtain personal information from locked iPhones without a password, a change that will thwart law enforcement agencies that have been exploiting the vulnerability to collect evidence in criminal investigations“, which basically states that the US were spying on US citizens and people with an iPhone all along (or at least for the longest of times). It is a smudgy setting of the pot calling the kettle a tea muffler.

The fact that we are faced with this and we prefer to be spied on through a phone 50% cheaper is not the worst idea. In the end, data will be collected, it is merely adhering to the US fears that there is a stronger setting that all the collected data is no longer in the US, but in places where the US no longer has access. That seems to be the setting we are confronted with and it has always been the setting of Malcolm Turnbull to cater to the Americans as much as possible, yet in this case, how exactly does Australia profit? I am not talking about the 37 high and mighty Telstra ‘friends’. I am talking about the 24,132,557 other Australians on this Island, what about their needs? If only to allow them than to merely get by on paying bills and buying food.

Short term and short sighted

This gets us to something only thinly related, when we see the US situation in ‘Nato chief warns over future of transatlantic relationship‘. The news (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jun/19/transatlantic-relationship-at-risk-says-nato-chief) has actually two sides, the US side and the side of NATO. NATO is worried on being able to function at all. It is levied up to the forehead in debts and if they come to fruition, and it will they all drown and that requires the 27 block nation to drastically reduce defence spending. It is already trying to tailor a European defence force which is a logistical nightmare 6 ways from Sunday and that is before many realise that the communication standards tend to be a taste of ‘very nationally’ standard and not much beyond that point. In that regard the US was clever with some of their ITT solutions in 1978-1983. Their corn flaky phones (a Kellogg joke) worked quite well and they lasted a decent amount of time. In Europe, most nations were bound to the local provider act and as such there were all kinds of issues and they all had their own little issues. So even as we read: “Since the alliance was created almost 70 years ago, the people of Europe and North America have enjoyed an unprecedented period of peace and prosperity. But, at the political level, the ties which bind us are under strain“, yup that sounds nice, but the alliances are under strain by how Wall Street thinks the funding needs to go and Defence is not their first priority, greed is in charge, plain and simple. Now, to be fair, on the US side, their long term commitment to defence spending has been over the top and the decade following September 11 2001 did not help. The spending went from 10% of GDP up to almost 20% of GDP between 2001 and 2010. It is currently at about 12%, yet this number is dangerous as the economy collapsed in 2008, so it basically went from $60 billion to $150 billion, which hampered the infrastructure to no end. In addition we get the splashing towards intelligence consultants (former employees, who got 350% more when they turned private), so that expenditure became also an issue, after that we see a whole range of data gathering solutions from the verbose (and not too user friendly) MIIDS/IDB.

In CONUS (or as you might understand more clearly the contiguous United 48 States; without Alaska and Hawaii), the US Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) Automated Intelligence Support Activity (FAISA) at Fort Bragg, NC, has access to the MIIDS and IDB by tactical users of the ASAS, and they maintain a complete copy of DIA’s MIIDS and IDB and update file transactions in order to support the tactical user. So there are two systems (actually there are more) and when we realise that the initial ASAS Block I software does not allow for direct access from ASAS to the FAISA System. So, to accomplish file transfer of MIIDS and IDB files, we are introduced to a whole range of resources to get to the data, the unit will need an intermediate host(s) on the LAN that will do the job. In most cases, support personnel will accomplish all the file transfers for the unit requesting that intel. Now consider 27 national defence forces, one European one and none of them has a clue how to get one to the other. I am willing to wager $50 that it will take less than 10 updates for data to mismatch and turn the FAISA system into a FAUDA (Arabic for chaos) storage system, with every update taking more and more time until the update surpasses the operational timeframe. That is ample and to the point as there is a growing concern to have better ties with both Israel and Saudi Arabia, what a lovely nightmare for the NSA as it receives (optionally on a daily basis) 9 updates all containing partially the same data (Army-Navy, Army-Air force, Army-Marines, Navy-Air force, Navy-Marines, Air force-Marines, DIA, DHS and Faisa HQ). Yes, that is one way to keep loads of people employed, the cleaning and vetting of data could require an additional 350 hours a day in people to get the vetting done between updates and packages. In all this we might see how it is about needing each other, yet the clarity for the US is mostly “Of the 29 Nato members, only eight, including the US and the UK, spend more than 2% of their GDP on defence, a threshold that the alliance agreed should be met by all the countries by 2024. Germany spent €37bn (£32.5bn), or 1.2% of GDP, on defence last year“, it amounts to the US dumping billions in an area where 28 members seem to have lost the ability to agree to standards and talk straight to one another (a France vs Germany pun). In all this there is a larger issue, but we will now see that in part three

Sometimes a cigar is an opportunity

you see, some saw the “‘Commie cadet’ who wore Che Guevara T-shirt kicked out of US army” as an issue instead of an opportunity. The article (at https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jun/19/west-point-commie-cadet-us-army-socialist-views-red-flags) gives light to some sides, but not to the option that the US basically threw out of the window. You see the Bill of rights, a mere piece of parchment that got doodled in 1789 offering things like ‘freedom to join a political party‘, as we see the setting at present. The issue as I see it is the overwhelming hatred of Russia that is in play. Instead of sacking the man, the US had an opportunity to use him to see if a dialogue with Cuba could grow into something stronger and better over time. It might work, it might not, but at least there is one person who had the option to be the messenger between Cuba and the US and that went out of the window in a heartbeat. So when we see: “Spenser Rapone said an investigation found he went online to advocate for a socialist revolution and disparage high-ranking officers and US officials. The army said in a statement only that it conducted a full investigation and “appropriate action was taken”“. Was there a full investigation? To set this in a proper light, we need to look at NBC (at https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/sexual-assault-reports-u-s-military-reach-record-high-pentagon-n753566), where we see: “Service members reported 6,172 cases of sexual assault in 2016 compared to 6,082 last year, an annual military report showed. This was a sharp jump from 2012 when 3,604 cases were reported“, we all should realise that the US defence forces have issues, a few a hell of a lot bigger than a person with a Che Guevara T-Shirt. So when we ask for the full investigations reports of 6172 cases, how many have been really investigated, or prosecuted on? NBC reported that “58 percent of victims experienced reprisals or retaliation for reporting sexual assault“, so how exactly were issues resolved?

Here we see the three events come together. There is a flawed mindset at work, it is flawed through what some might call deceptive conduct. We seem to labels and when it backfires we tend to see messages like ‘there were miscommunications hampering the issues at hand‘, standards that cannot be agreed on, or after there was an agreement the individual players decide to upgrade their national documents and hinder progress. How is that ever going to resolve issues? In all this greed and political needs seem to hinder other avenues though players that should not even be allowed to have a choice in the matter. It is the setting where for close to decades the politicians have painted themselves into a corner and are no longer able to function until a complete overhaul is made and that is the problem, a solution like that costs a serious amount of funds, funds that are not available, not in the US and not in Europe. The defence spending that cannot happen, the technology that is not what is specified and marketing will merely label it into something that it is not, because it is easier to sell that way. A failing on more than one level and by the time we are all up to speed, the others (read: Huawei) passed us by because they remained on the ball towards the required goal.

So as we are treated to: “A parliamentary hearing in Sydney got an extra touch of spice yesterday, after the chief executive of NBN Co appeared to finger one group of users supposedly responsible for congestion on NBN’s fixed wireless network: gamers“, whilst the direct setting given is “Online gaming requires hardly any bandwidth ~10+ megabytes per hour. A 720p video file requires ~ 500+ megabytes per hour. One user watching a YouTube video occupies the same bandwidth as ~50 video gamers“, we can argue who is correct, yet we forgot about option 3. As was stated last week we see that the largest two users of online games were Counterstrike (250MB/hour) add Destiny 2 (300 MB/hour), whilst the smallest TV watcher ABC iView used the same as Destiny 2, the rest a multitude of that, with Netflix 4K using up to 1000% of what gamers used (in addition to the fact that there are now well over 7.5 million Netflix users, whilst the usage implies that to be on par, we need 75 million gamers, three times the Australian population). Perhaps it is not the gamers, but a system that was badly designed from the start. Political interference in technology has been a detrimental setting in the US, Europe and Australia as well, the fact that politicians decide on ‘what is safe‘ is a larger issue when you put the issues next to one another. If we openly demand that the US reveal the security danger that Huawei is according to them, will they remain silent and let a ‘prominent friend‘ of Telstra speak?

When we look one tier deeper into NATO, they themselves become the source (at https://www.nato-pa.int/document/2018-defence-innovation-capitalising-natos-science-and-technology-base-draft-report) with: ‘Capitalising on Nato’s Science and Technology Base‘. Here we see on page 5: “In an Alliance of sovereign states, the primary responsibility to maintain a robust defence S&T base and to discover, develop and adopt cutting-edge defence technologies lies with NATO member states themselves. Part of the answer lies in sufficient defence S&T and R&D budgets“. It is the part where we see: ‘adopt cutting-edge defence technologies lies with NATO member states themselves‘ as well as ‘sufficient defence S&T and R&D budgets‘. You introduce me to a person that shows a clear partnership between the needs of Philips (Netherlands) and Siemens (Germany) and I will introduce you to a person who is knowingly miscommunicating the hell out of the issue. You only need to see the 2016 financial assessment: “After divesting most of its former businesses, Philips today has a unique portfolio around healthy lifestyle and hospital solutions. Unlike competitors like GE Healthcare and Siemens Healthineers, the company covers the entire health continuum” and that is merely one field.

Rubber Duck closing in on small Destroyer.

In that consider a military equivalent. The 5th best registered CIWS solution called MK15 Phalanx (US), the 3rd position is for the Dutch Goalkeeper (Thales Netherlands) and the 2nd best CIWS solution comes from the US with the Raytheon SeaRAM. Now we would expect every nationality would have its own solution, yet we see the SeaRAM was only adopted by Germany, why is it not found in the French, Italian, Spanish and Canadian navy? Belgium has the valid excuse that the system is too large for their RIB and Dinghy fleet, but they are alone there. If there is to be true connectivity and shared values, why is this not a much better and better set partnership? Now, I get that the Dutch are a proud of their solution, yet in that entire top list of CIWS systems, a larger group of NATO members have nothing to that degree at all. So is capitalising in the title of the NATO paper actually set to ‘gain advantage from‘, or is it ‘provide (someone) with capital‘? Both are options and the outcome as well as the viability of the situation depending on which path you take. So are the Australians losing advantage from Telstra over Huawei, or are some people gaining huge lifestyle upgrades as Huawei is directed to no longer be an option?

I will let you decide, but the settings are pushing all boundaries and overall the people tend to not benefit, unless you work for the right part of Palantir inc, at which point your income could double between now and 2021.

 

2018 – DEFENCE INNOVATION – ALLESLEV DRAFT REPORT – 078 STC 18 E

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Last Clooney of the year

My idea of stopping my writing until the new year has truly been bombarded into a sense of that what is not meant to be, so back to the keyboard I go. One reason is the article ‘‘Nobody stood up’: George Clooney attacks media and Hollywood over Sony hack fallout’ (at http://www.theguardian.com/film/2014/dec/19/george-clooney-sony-pictures-hack-the-interview), which I missed until this morning. So has the actor from ER become this outspoken because of his marriage to Human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin? Nah! That would be incorrect, he has been the champion of major causes for a long time, outspoken, thinking through and definitely a clever cookie with a passion for Nespresso!

The article kicks off with a massive strike towards to goal of any opponent “George Clooney has spoken of his frustrations with the press and his Hollywood peers at failing to contain the scandal around The Interview, which Sony has pulled from cinema release as well as home-video formats“. It goes a lot deeper then he spoke it does, perhaps he fathomed the same issues I have had for some time now, some mentioned in my previous blog ‘When movies fall short‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2014/12/15/when-movies-fall-short/), two weeks ago.

I will take it one-step further, several players (not just Sony) have been skating at the edge of competence for some time now, as I see it, they preferred contribution (revenue minus costs) regarding issues of security. It remains debatable whether this was intentional or just plain short-sightedness, that call requires levels of evidence I have no access to.

By the way, Mr. Clooney, you do realise that this topic has the making of an excellent movie, not unlike the largely unnoticed gem ‘Margin Call‘ with Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany and Zachary Quinto.

The one quote I object to (to some extent) is “With just a little bit of work, you could have found out that it wasn’t just probably North Korea; it was North Korea … It’s a serious moment in time that needs to be addressed seriously, as opposed to frivolously”. You see, the inside job is a much more likely part. Yes, perhaps it was North Korea (requiring evidence), yet this would still not be the success they proclaim it to be without the inside information from disgruntled (or greedy) employees. In addition to the faltering security Sony has needed to ‘apologise’ for twice now (the Sony PSN hack of 2011), none of which was correctly covered by the press regarding this instance either. There was the press gap of November 2013, so we have at least two events where the press catered with silence, but at the price (read: reward) of….?

Yet the part: “He joins others who voiced their dismay at Sony’s decision, including Stephen King, Judd Apatow and Aaron Sorkin. Rob Lowe, who has a small role in The Interview, compared Sony to British prime minister Neville Chamberlain and his capitulation to Nazi Germany before the second world war“, is more than just a simple truth, it shows a fear of venue, cater to the profit. Chamberlain was from the old era and he failed to perceive the evil that Adolf Hitler always was. That view was partially shown by Maggie Smith in ‘Tea with Mussolini‘ too, yet the opposite was strongly shown in Remains of the Day, when Christopher Reeve as Jack Lewis states: “You are, all of you, amateurs. And international affairs should never be run by gentlemen amateurs. Do you have any idea of what sort of place the world is becoming all around you? The days when you could just act out of your noble instincts, are over. Europe has become the arena of realpolitik, the politics of reality. If you like: real politics. What you need is not gentlemen politicians, but real ones. You need professionals to run your affairs, or you’re headed for disaster!

This hits the Sony issue straight on the head. Not that the Gigabytes of data are gone, but that they got access to this data at all. IT requires a new level of professionals and innovator, a lesson that is yet to be learned by those having collected Exabyte’s of data. It is a currency that is up for the taking with the current wave of executives that seem to lack comprehension of this currency. Almost like the 75-year-old banker who is introduced to a bitcoin, wondering where the gold equivalent is kept. The new order will be about IP, Data and keeping both safe. So, it is very much like the old Chamberlain and Hitler equation, we can see Chamberlain, but we cannot identify the new Hitler because he/she is a virtual presentation of an identity somewhere else. Likely, a person in multiple locations, a new concept not yet defined in Criminal Law either, so these people will get away with it for some time to come.

Yet the final part also has bearing “Clooney was one of the Hollywood stars embarrassed by emails being leaked as part of the hack. Conversations between him and Sony executives showed his anxiety over the middling reception for his film The Monuments Men, with Clooney writing: “I fear I’ve let you all down. Not my intention. I apologize. I’ve just lost touch … Who knew? Sorry. I won’t do it again.”“, personally he had no reason to be embarrassed, when your boss spills the beans (unable to prevent security), do you blame the man or the system that is this flawed?

Why has it bearing? Simple, he shows to be a man who fights and sometimes fails. He states to do better, just as any real sincere person would be, a real man! By the way, since 2011 Sony still has to show such levels of improvement. A lacking view from the people George Clooney served in a project, so we should not ignore the need to look at those behind the screens and the press should take a real hard look at what they report and on where their sources are, that same press that has not scrutinised its sources for some time. When was the last time we asked the press to vouch for ‘sources told us‘?

Consider the quote “We cannot be told we can’t see something by Kim Jong-un, of all fucking people … we have allowed North Korea to dictate content, and that is just insane“. As I mentioned in the previous blog, with the bulk of the intelligence community keeping their eyes on North Korea, why is there no clear evidence that North Korea did this? Not just the US both United Kingdom and France have access to an impressive digital arsenal, none have revealed any evidence. Consider that the École polytechnique under supervision of French defence is rumoured to be as savvy as GCHQ, can anyone explain how those three cannot see clearly how North Korea did this? So, either, North Korea is innocent and just surfing the waves of visibility, or the quote by George Clooney in the Guardian “the world just changed on your watch, and you weren’t even paying attention” would be incorrect. The quote would be “the world just changed on your watch, and those in charge do not comprehend the change“. In my view of Occam’s razor, the insider part is much more apt, the other option is just way to scary, especially as the IT field is one field where North Korea should be lacking on several fronts.

I will let you decide, have a wonderful New Year’s eve!

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The sharks are circling

Today my mind was stopped by a Guardian article of a different kind (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/23/sir-tony-oreilly-irish-billionaire-insolvent). The headline was interesting enough ‘Bank pulls the plug on Irish billionaire who owned Independent‘, but that was not the reason for my interest. To be honest, it was not the fact that some rich ‘boy’ was hitting bottom either. You take any spoiled millionaire brat and the moment he is funding his trust into cocaine, you know he is worse off than whichever other rich person losing it all.

The following quotes are not the interesting part, but they are essential for painting the picture. “O’Reilly went on to a successful business career, rising to be chief executive and chairman of the giant US food group Heinz“, and whoever knows about their Ketchup, knows they have the good stuff! “Lawyers for Allied Irish Banks said on Monday the bank had run out of patience with O’Reilly’s efforts to repay €22m (£17.6m) of loans and a further €23m due from two of his investment companies. The court was told he had further debts of €195m. AIB accused the fallen tycoon of being insolvent and asked the courts to enter a judgment against him which would allow the bank to take control of key O’Reilly assets” gives us little more than the position he has gotten themselves into and “O’Reilly told the bank last month he had sold investments worth more than $150m in the past three years, all of which had gone to repay borrowings. But AIB claimed only a fraction of that sum – $300,000 – went towards repaying its loans. Other creditors, who are owed about €195m, have agreed not to pull the plug to give O’Reilly more time to sell his assets in an orderly way” gives us only a small indication on the matter how things are resolved. The next shows that this is no dumb boy, we know that the Irish can at times be pretty clever, yet the quote “He became chief executive, based in Pittsburgh, in 1979, and 12 years later was the first non-family member to become chairman. O’Reilly helped to transform the firm – its market value rose from $908m (£533m) to $11bn.” implies him to be a genius. When you change a company and up the value by 1100%, you are what some might say, the stuff of legends, which is only confirmed by “When he bought into the Dublin media company, it had a turnover of just €12m but under his ownership it grew into a worldwide company which at one point included the Independent in the UK as well as publications in Australia and South Africa. He stepped down as chief executive of the company on his 73rd birthday

There is a lot more to the Independent News & Media group which runs into the billions and then it suddenly hit me. This was all strangely similar to the movie Meet Joe Black, made over a decade before these events were taking place. Was Anthony Hopkins portraying Sir Anthony Joseph Francis O’Reilly? If so, I would love to hook up with his daughter (Claire Forlani, we men have dreams too after all). His ownership also included Waterford Wedgwood plc; those who care about China porcelain will know it to be one of the most revered brands ever.

So what is this about?

Things do not add up completely as I see them. It is like watching a pattern that does not really exist. Giving into it is merely voicing the conspiracy theorist in us. Take this quote from Wiki (not as an academic value, mind you). “The markets reacted positively to the news, especially to the explicit truce between the O’Reilly and O’Brien shareholder blocs, with Denis O’Brien voicing public support for Gavin O’Reilly as CEO-designate“, the approach before was that he had gone in so deep that his hunger for media truly rivalled that of Rupert Murdoch. A group, having assets in excess of 4.5 billion, whilst having almost 1.5 billion in debts. Some will not see any issue at this point. Consider that the revenue is almost at 1.7 billion and the profits are set at 110 million. So, even though not too bad, it is not a great position. This is what some might say a good time to start selling off the smaller parts. Of course this is still not on the mind of Sir Tony. This is where the Wiki quote becomes interesting. You see, Denis O’Brien seems to be the pushing element and his son is set to get the CEO position. So far there is an awful close resemblance to that movie ‘Meet Joe Black’. From the moment Gavin O’Reilly takes over and he is pushed out due to the pressure of Dennis O’Brien, it is a mere 3 years. By that time Dennis O’Brien holds onto more than twice the amount of shares the O’Reilly’s have.

This is part one. In this time, from my point of view, as the power is still firmly with the newspapers, Dennis O’Brien is already moving into telecom and radio stations. He is now regarded as one of the larger players in the UK. However, this is about Sir Tony O’Reilly.

When we see his assets, I almost see a picture of sliding technologies and Sir Tony did not move with his times. Whether it started with the removal from INM is uncertain. What is clear is that he had grown several businesses into behemoths, which makes the collapse of Waterford Wedgwood plc a mere ripple in a very large pond. The fact that his second wife is even wealthier than him should not matter, but the losses he and his brother in law (brother to his second wife) seem to tally towards half a billion.

Here we now see a certain pattern forming, even though thus far I have not mentioned the elements to that loom. Any person has values, profits, incomes as well as credibility. One element is the pushed change by Dennis O’Brien from the side of Independent News & Media. It goes however a lot further. Consider the situations the banks are in and have been in for at least 5 years. There are literally tens of thousands of people too far in debt with little chance to repay it. Then the information in the Irish Times hit me (at http://www.irishtimes.com/business/sectors/media-and-marketing/sir-anthony-o-reilly-locked-in-debt-negotiations-with-aib-1.1805920), and the one part I had almost ignored in the Guardian became a lot more visible. The bank, which was seen 4 times as ‘AIB’ in the Guardian article, gets a prominent place in the headline. So why is this an issue? Consider the following two quotes from the Irish times “A case has been listed for entry into the Commercial Court on Monday between AIB and Sir Anthony and two of his investment vehicles, Indexia Holdings and Brookside Investments” and “Brookside owns Sir Anthony’s coastal estate in Glandore, Co Cork, while Indexia is his private investment vehicle that holds his near 5 per cent stake in Independent News & Media and his share of the oil explorer Providence Resources“. So, there is no link, or so one would think. It is however weird that even in delayed matter, this is one customer that would repay the debts, so why this push? Is it not weird that forcing the hand of one party who will repay is somewhat strange in this day and age? Then we get this message (at http://www.independent.ie/business/irish/oil-giant-exxon-starts-160m-drilling-project-off-west-coast-29163728.html), which is more than a year old. Was oil found, is there a chance to find oil here? If not, then this is another half a billion bust for Sir Tony, making him pretty much broke. The following was found in the ‘ShelltoSea‘ site (at http://www.shelltosea.com/node/1890), considering that Providence resources (a Sir Tony company) is a partner in this then this quote “The Dunquin North and Dunquin South prospects hold combined recoverable reserves of 8.4 trillion cubic feet of gas and 316 million barrels of condensate, according to an offering document posted on Schlumberger Ltd’s IndigoPool Web site” means that there are vast amounts of money there, which makes the actions of the AIB odd to say the least.

 

Consider the Russian issues that are currently playing, whether they happen or not, will influence the value of the gas that was found. It is still the question whether oil will be found, it was not up to July 2013 as was reported through Reuters, yet the given options mean that there is still a vast amount for Sir Tony to hold on to his 750 acre cottage. It is the final link we get when we read this headline “Taxpayers will not lose money on the bailout of AIB” (at http://www.independent.ie/business/irish/taxpayers-will-not-lose-money-on-the-bailout-of-aib-bank-chief-30367989.html), So it was not about Sir Tony, it was about the other acts by the bank, holding onto the loans for Sir Tony that are now the issue of a possible upcoming forced fire sale. The banks statement “He added that the bank has paid more than €2bn to the State in fees and interest on rescue loans since the crash” give the message we were wondering about. The banks are slowly losing options, the money us due and as such, some visionaries are now under the hammer. Whether the acts of Denis O’Brien are at the centre of what could be seen as the fall of Sir Anthony Joseph Francis O’Reilly remains to be seen. The acts that are clearly within the realm of ‘the cost of doing business‘ are drawn in the sand. It reminds me of the quote Penn Badgley tells Zachary Quinto in the movie Margin call. ‘In the end one man wins, one man loses‘ is harsh and to the point, but as Zachary responds ‘You know that there is more to it than that‘ is equally correct. Two movies both created before the actual events that played out here are giving us the fact that sometimes life is like the movies, even the bad parts.

Sir Tony is a first eye witness to these events. What we at the sidelines see is that the banks are now slowly in a do or die presentation of liquidating what the banks regard as ‘risky investments’. For the most, we should be happy, but can we? The money remains gone and when the fire sale goes through and someone ends up finding any oil at a cost of 0.1 cent on the dollar, how many friends will the Allied Irish Banks end up with then, considering the boat load of scandals they were linked to?

Perhaps the most worrying part for most of us is not that a wealthy man has lost it all, but that banks are now closing ranks. We are so used to seeing the wealthy get away with proverbial murder shows that the banks are at the end of their ropes, which means that the little leeway we ones had is likely gone too. It should also be clear that this shows us all that the economy is nowhere near recovery; it is for the foreseeable future on a very tight arrangement with whomever has any actual wealth left.

A view we have not been introduced to until now.

 

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About Entertainment

I stumbled upon an article by Gilbert Cruz called “The Lone Ranger Represents Everything That’s Wrong with Hollywood Blockbusters” (at: http://www.vulture.com/2013/07/lone-ranger-is-everything-wrong-with-hollywood.html). It is actually quite a nice read and the conclusions that I personally do not completely agree with are still well supported and seem to make sense.

His ‘unease’ with franchises are well accepted by many including me, as we read and have spoken out against these reiterations often enough. when addressing the origin story problem he states “Give us a story that works and then, if you’re lucky enough to earn a sequel, you can give us flashes of an origin tale down the road, as opposed to weighing down your first movie.” That is one view, yet it is the view of the director that counts. It should be about the vision of the director. Perhaps it is less about the origin story and more about having a visionary director. My view is supported by mentioning the hidden gem ‘Margin Call‘. I think that this is a movie any economic student should watch. It watches like a story, yet there are layers of events that give it all an actual strength. The fact is also about a story portraying the initial stages of the 2008 financial crises are set in a movie.
Can anything be more dull then that? And even though this movie is pretty much all star, it required a visionary director to pull it off. That is how I see the origin story as well, without vision it is a presentation. It does not matter whether we watch a movie containing a Wild Wild West version of Sparrow, or the start of the lone ranger. the same for Thor, Spiderman and so forth, how they ‘became’ is part of the movie, but how to address it?

This dilemma is approached within the slogan of TV channel ‘FX’. “The story is everything!” I think when it comes to TV channels; it is the most brilliant slogan ever. Yes, we remember the special effects, we see the stars we love and idolise, but without the story…. (Imagine the sound of a flop!).

This is also why (for now) I stayed away from the Hobbit. I loved the lord of the rings. I have been a fan of Tolkien since long before I was at the legal drinking age. So seeing the movie was a massive moment in my life for me. Like many fans I did mentally object loudly when the freeing of the shire was missing (as this is the moment the hobbits experience what those around them went through), yet to see the book on the big screen was a moment I loved. To see the Hobbit was indeed something I was looking forward to, yet to see a 320 page book in 3 movies of around 3 hours each is stretching it all a bit thin.

So as most might agree with, is the fact that a good story requires a visionary. Perhaps this is why James Cameron has been so successful? 2 movies bringing in almost 5 billion is just insane! We should not forget that timing is also extremely important. I feel that this is shown when looking at ‘Dances with Wolves’ and ‘a man called horse’, which was a shining moment for Richard Harris. Perhaps the world was not ready for the ‘going native’ view in the 70’s.

The article stamps out a side I actually never gave much notice of. He states “So in order to ensure sequels and appeal to the maximum number of people, it must be rated PG or PG-13. Good luck finding an R-rated summer blockbuster.” He makes a fine point here. I want to see a movie that is good; I am not all in favour of bloody or bloodless movies if they hinder a sense of realism. Although I was never a fan of zombie films, the ‘realistic’ view ‘the Waking dead’ brings, is why I am eye locked to the small screen. So, the ratings requiring certain lack of levels of gore would be counterproductive to me. I do not believe that it is about gore and blood-letting. This is why I enjoyed the movie ‘the A-team’, where with 17,000 bullet you see no one gunned down (keeping in pace with the original TV series), yet the opposite of ‘Act of Valor’ is a gem as it is about the efficiency of making every bullet count (Navy Seals apparently are not about wasting time). So my stance floats a little with the movie I am watching, again, the story makes it happen.

This is why the hammer on ‘The Lone Ranger’ feels a little harsh to me. If it is about entertainment, then the Lone Ranger provides, yet the points the article brings up should not be ignored either. This is a Disney movie and Disney factor is important as that brand has a following with an audience they need to protect. Consider that the (Grand) parents, with younglings on a day out will see the protection that the Disney logo brings and as such a gore driven Zombie film with a Disney logo is unlikely to ever happen.

The final part where I slightly disagree with the views Gilbert Cruz offers, is when he mentions The Phantom and The Shadow. These 90’s movies failed because there was a lack of vision (as I see it). The characters are well established through the radio shows and the comic books. If we consider the slogan of FX and if we consider a slightly more Frank Miller themed view, then consider Howard Chaykin’s ‘The Shadow: Blood & Judgment’. That was more than just a mere piece of comic book. That was graphic art on an entirely different level. As much as Baldwin failed to portray the Shadow, the blame should fall to the lack of vision the director showed (perhaps with a small degree of ‘technology lacking’ options). Consider what Tarsem Singh achieved with ‘Immortal’, now let him have a go at ‘The Shadow: Blood & Judgment’. The result could be a lot more than a cult movie that we will remember for a long time. The result could be a blockbuster R-rated movie. Again, it is about timing and for 2013-2015 the timing seems right to take these old ‘heroes’ off the shelves and give them to visionaries, not to the directors that come from the ‘Hollywood blockbuster template machine’. In that regard we all hope that Luc Besson will achieve to revive the French hero that should be seen as an international landmark. As he is remembered for the Fifth Element, this visionary could make the heroes Valérian and Laureline truly immortal. As franchises go, a trilogy of these two characters could reshape the way people see comic book heroes. The only sad fact is that this movie arrives almost 40 years after I read the comic books. Even now, I still remember the art of Jean-Claude Mézières. What is also intriguing is that the art you see in ‘The City of Shifting Waters’ had a lot of similarities that the TV-Series ‘Revolutions’ showed almost 35 years after the comic book came.

It is also interesting that, considering the success of the lord of the rings and the implied upcoming blockbusters that the Hobbit seems to become, that not a larger net was cast on the type stories that have this epic view. We all remember Flash Gordon. Some trough the view of Ted (a McFarlane sense of humour), some through the exquisite music by Queen, however I still think back to the comics as drawn in the 60’s and 70’s. In that same style there are the stories of the ‘Trigan Empire’. It seems so strange that these successful works of art still have not made it to the big screen.

So I believe that there are plenty of options out there, it just takes faith (and funding) in one visionary to take that step forward.

 

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60% confiscated and counting in Cyprus!

We knew that the played situation of the Cyprus deal seemed to have a few more angles than foreseen. We saw the two-step dance routine by Jeroen Dijsselbloem and Christine Lagarde. We saw the final second meeting and agreements after hours of delay until the negotiations were set with its back against the wall. We saw the hard felt news on those Cypriots. Some of them were defiant; some of them were blaming different parties. The last part is all good and fine. But the news as stated on BBC and other stations now mention that those owning over 100,000 Euro, are likely to lose up to 60%.

A number of enormous strangling events have been placed in effect; ready to make sure that the money does not get out of Cyprus.

So what is wrong with this picture of the bail-out? Part of me does not disagree that a hefty price is to be paid. There is a very good run down to be seen on the BBC site at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-16290598

It gives a short and to the point timeline. So you all should check this out.

You see, the press might not be asleep at the wheel, yet, even after all these high pea-cock statements about the freedom of the press and the need for self-control and no charter and all these other statements of ‘fact’ as to what they should be allowed to do, seem to remain EXTREMELY quiet in regards to the underlying facts of Cyprus at present. We know they ran into trouble when they took massive losses on the Greek government bonds. So, the Cypriot situation had been known about for a long time.

This brings us all to an interesting question. With the Greeks all getting over 150 billion Euros in bail-outs and THEIR bank customers not being cut, how come the Cypriots are getting sliced to this degree? More important, how come these sides of information in regards to press freedom did not make it to the newspapers to the extent it should have been shown?

So, the bailing out bank in Cyprus, if given 2% out of that Greek tragedy could have prevented the need for many savers to be chopped. Let us not forget that the Greek bailout in total has topped 320 BILLION Euro and it is Cyprus who had bought some those Greek bonds (amongst others) that got them into this mess to some extent.

This had nothing to do with Chancellor Merkel or Germany itself (who many seem to blame). This situation seems to show an almost basic lack of arithmetic skills with many parties. How interesting that this did not come up in the Dijsselbloem-Lagarde show of statements and posturing. This is NOT to blame them; I am just asking a few questions.

More important, the fact that this had been going on since 2010, means that either a few people are dropping not one ball, but several left, right and centre. Or the game played is about a whole lot more than just a bail-out. There is the additional issue, which is that bankers are allowed to too much of wielding, weaving and transferring issues that should have been out in the open for others to be judged of before this all was allowed. There is NO way in my mind that this could not have been prevented if proper steps had been taken by several parties. Consider that even in the final days that Cyprus was flaunting options to gas reserves to several parties including the Russians. Could this not have been done sooner? Several businesses in Europe and US could have stepped in in this attempt to raise businesses. If we can believe the voice President Obama about moving forward the US economy, than the fact that they have not been loudly all over this option seems odd, irregular and in my mind definitely questionable. So are these gas reserves for real or was this a quick Cypriot horse to open the IMF bank vaults? (The Trojan horse was already used in Troy).

In the first degree:
The Cyprus government had a first responsibility to take firm control. When the banks are over 85% of your GDP, a government does not get to look out of a window, blow their nose, then state ‘Did we miss something?‘ This level of utter incompetence (for a lack of a better word) is beyond belief. To me this reeks strongly of two partners (politicians and bankers) enabling each other, and then settling others with the bill. The issue for me is that there has been a total lack of transparency. That evidence becomes a lot stronger if we consider that their bad fortune is linked to borrowing to Greece. So when were those government bond deals done, and why were they not dealt with when they were giving hundreds of billions in Euro’s to clean up the Greek issue?

In the second:
All this reads like banks are moving huge chunks of money from place to place (or from loan to loan), with likely 1-2 executives getting a decent (read 7 figure number) commission out of that. Could this thought be true? (I was making a commercial assumption there). So why are these transactions not a lot more open and visible? This question should be taken a lot more seriously when you consider the 2004 and 2008 bank burns. Beyond that we are now likely to see a bail-out strategy between 2010 and 2013 that is more than just flawed. This entire implementation of bad banks will haunt us all down the track.

And should you consider that the money moves are not happening (which might be fair enough), then consider that people do NOT stick their necks out to THAT degree without a decent pay check behind that. These people would have known that there was a decent danger of bankrupting a nation. So whatever the deal was, it would have needed to be mucho sweet for whoever was adding his signature at the bottom.

Now let us look back at those points. The press has been too blatantly absent from all this. Yes, groups like BBC and Guardian have been active, but these are just two of a very small group that is actually digging deep. Most parties seemed to have repeated very little more than the Reuters newsflash, with all these hundreds of investigative journalists that seem to be all over the place does that not seem a little strange? Add to this the famous Cyprus bailout press meeting. How Mr Dijsselbloem was carefully phrasing abstracts like structures and solutions. Yet, until the Guardian asked their question, the ‘solution’ bad-bank seemed to be pussy footed around. Even after that, that phrase was carefully circumvented as much as possible by all parties.

This is why this last blog reads a lot more emotional than the other ones. From my point of view it is a simple approach. We are being managed. The situation is managed to a certain degree, the events are managed to a certain degree and the Cyprus Crises is shown in details, but people tended to focus for the most on the emotional parts. The people, their savings and the daily impact the banks had on their lives. A real proper timeline that gives us an account on how it drove itself over the edge is often sketchy. I find it all too sketchy.

Last is a smaller element which was reported in News.com.au on the evening of March 30th “Lawmaker Mavrides, meanwhile, confirmed that a committee appointed by President Nicos Anastasiades would investigate a list published by Greek media of Cypriot politicians who allegedly had loans forgiven”. This is a smaller part, yet, that means that there is more than just one link where politicians are making personal deals with bankers is not really that far-fetched. We should wait until the facts are investigated and reported, however, that investigation might take a lot longer with all the issues around. It does however give more credence to my earlier statement regarding the interaction between bankers and politicians.

Should you doubt me? That is fair enough!

Consider another avenue. On 30th November 2010 Jullian Assange revealed that the next target of his whistle-blowing website will be a major U.S. bank. The same date a red notice was issued by Interpol. It was around that time that the hunt for Assange intensified by a lot. Perhaps the one bank was just the beginning? If we look back at the issues we know now, then there is a chance that someone made mention of the LIBOR percentage tweaking issue.
If this is what frightens the US, then consider the consequences of a system like LIBOR being manipulated through the total value of trade. If that would have been off by 11.2%. Out of $1000T (UK and US combined) then that difference would be $112T.

I would love to get 1% finder fee of that! It would make me the FIRST Trillionaire in history (not bad for a person only dreaming to be a Law Lord some day).

This is however not about greed (I would be happy to settle on 1% of 1% of that amount), it is about the amounts that are in play here. We knew about the LIBOR percentage manipulation games played and those fines are still being sent out to the involved banks during this year. Yet the total amount does not seem to be under investigation. At least, not by a range of those loud shouting reporters we heard so much about in the last 6 months (who keep on shouting on how unfair Lord Justice Leveson was). When you look at the total value then you will read about statements of complications, non-clarity and other statements that give way to non-revealing reports. Interesting that something THIS important seems to be lacking transparency.

All this connects straight back to the IMF and Eurozone issues in play. For the chosen few it is extremely important that the slow waltz controlled by Mr Dijsselbloem and Mrs. Lagarde continues as is. Because this is NOT about what George Soros says in Inside Job (2010) “We have to dance until the music stops“. This same analogy was used in the movie Margin Call (2011). It is however the issue that in our reality the dance itself is the nightmare that keeps many financial institutions up at night. The moment that proof of large scale manipulations becomes visible (and proven) to the many, that is the moment Wall Street ends, the US goes bankrupt and our way of life stops quite literally. At that point it all stops. Then what?

So why not regulate these banks in tougher Draconian ways? These situations go beyond normal. Well, consider that there is not just the chance to lose a lot; there is the potential for these banks to win big. The problem becomes that the speculating approach banks have taken could be seen as one casino with too many independent well trained quality gamblers. To continue to remain in existence the banking system needs two factors.

First they need the one point advantage like in Blackjack (or the zero in Roulette); the second advantage is that they need more cash. This is the entire danger! The bank is no longer THAT rich and they are up against high stake gamblers who know the game through and through. So now their only playable assets left are the bonds no one wants and what is left of your pensions. So how long do you think you have any money left?

Last thoughts, how come the markets keep on going up? Financial markets are in the dump, Cyprus is in an utter depression, whilst the UK, the Netherlands, France, Spain and Italy remain in a state of recession. All these issues give me a clear impression that we are being managed in more ways than one.

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