Tag Archives: Monopoly

Monopoly

My introduction, like many of my generation came at an early age. I was 8 or 9 when the first setting of law was introduced. It was the game of monopoly. I still have a few versions. I still have the first version (a replica). It was a wooden box with coins, the rest was pretty much the same. The coins were a nice touch. A game has rules and we have to adhere to these rules. It was then that we learned to play by the spirit of the law. The letter of the law was something I learned much later and it was even later when I was introduced to black letter law. My generation went through similar steps, some more, some less, but the generic stage was in play. 

And today I got my introduction to ‘Banned Russian oligarchs exploited UK secrecy loophole’ (at https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-62410715), so the title gives us the first setting, not a loophole but a legally allowed setting, and with that we get to “Ministers have acknowledged concerns that these companies, known as English Limited Partnerships (ELPs), have also been abused by criminals” as well as “In 2016 and 2017, the government introduced measures that forced almost all UK companies to identify their real owners. ELPs were not covered by these new transparency laws” yet no one (including the press) seems to ask why the ELP’s were left uncovered by identity stages? This is not merely a loophole, this is what I would call a backdoor. The UK (optionally government) needed a stage where owners could remain hidden for whatever reason was in play and others have the same rights as anyone else and these others (criminals and tycoons) used the law to avoid detection. And as we get “more than 4,500 of them have been set up” we see the larger station, you see this has been going on since 2017, did you think that whomever requires avoidance of detection will not use them? There is a reason why some accountancy firms charge so much, they know the law, they know all laws and that is in play. And I will go one step further when we see “According to Graham Barrow, an expert in financial crime, they are also “vulnerable to misuse” because of how little information about their activity they are required to make public” that is exactly why the backdoor exists. For some to avoid certain matters. I feel decently certain that they were not meant for criminals, but the law is funny, it will parade on the just and unjust alike. So when we are given “Our data shows the number of new ELPs being set up has gone up by 53% since 2017” I am actually not surprised. The rules of the game are clear and anonymity is coveted by the lawful and unlawful alike and now we have a situation. So whilst the BBC is trying to stage the wow factor with “Just five companies, known as formation agencies, have been responsible for 1,500 ELPs, with hundreds listed at registered addresses including one above a burrito bar in central London” I would like to remind them that MI-5 was build on a sewer. So instead of the burrito bar, they could have stated above a burrito bar in Soho, a different setting, not? And the empty statement “FBI agents investigating the Boston marathon bombing probed an ELP registered at an address currently home to a barber shop in Bristol”, so what was the result? Why was that ELP probed? What was the stage of that barbershop? And in that setting when we see “We have established that among those to take advantage of the secrecy of ELPs are members of President Putin’s inner circle.” So? It is a legally allowed setting, that is what the BBC is trying to make muddy. A legal setting is staged and no one sees anything of the politicians that ‘overlooked’ that part of the stage, why is that? And when we are given “there is no requirement to disclose who was behind Sinara, which was dissolved in 2019” we see no listing of illegal activities, merely “facilitated purchases for the Rotenbergs”, so was anything illegal purchased? We do not get any of that, it is a mere sample of BS journalism that we normally get from a Murdoch publication. And it sounds nice that we get Labour MP Dame Margaret Hodge, who chairs a parliamentary group on tax and corruption making statements regarding ‘scandalous’, but what politicians allowed for that, who raised their voices when the ELP’s were left outside the identity stations? Transparency requires ALL to be revealed, not all minus ONE. But that part of the equation is quickly brushed over by the BBC, why is that? So when we are given “In an emailed update to clients dated 18 May 2017, under the heading “Alternative Solutions”, LAS proposed ELPs as, “a way out and as a substitute for Scottish Partnerships”.” We see a simple setting, a firm updating their clients on what is legally allowed, but that part is not really given, is it. It is a setting of emotions, flaming stages but the people behind the overlook are ignored, left in the dark, why is that? And the one gem in the article is seen with “The government says it does not have any evidence of significant misuse of ELPs. A government spokesperson said: “The UK already has some of the strongest controls in the world to combat money laundering, and it’s vital that we continue to upgrade our governance to crack down on criminals abusing UK corporate entities” it is the stage of ‘significant misuse’, what makes it significant? The fact that the bulk of these ELP’s were created by 5 firms was a much larger station and could have been dealt with years ago, now it becomes a millstone around someones neck there is ‘sudden’ visibility. Yet in the time 2017-2020, who gave light to this? Who acted to stop it? These are questions that I do not see answered, why not?

In this there was a lovely simplicity to monopoly in my youth, perhaps for this day and age it is too simple. Perhaps we need a new version of Hotels, but in Hotels 2 we get to choose options like accountants, corrupt local government and a few other items, or will that make the game a little too realistic for the young? I will let you consider that, I am going back to brooding on new IP towards non repudiation, I reckon that new building in the KSA (the Line) might have need of some IP soon enough. 

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First the weird

Yes, it was something that happened on Wednesday night. It was (apparently) important and it involved Batman. It was a dream, mot likely about IP, but I cannot state whether it is based on the comic books, I do not think it was the Arkham games series. I also do not think it was the movies, but beyond that it is blank, I just cannot remember it and if I do not write it down quickly, it becomes lost. So now I have to wait for the REM stage to kick in again. Beyond all that, there is new IP. A new setting, a digital setting that comes to mind on some of the MB games, in the first it is Hotel and now we have a new stage, Yes, we can ‘just’ copy the board game, but that is such a waste of time, unless it is a mode you can unlock. A board that becomes bigger as more players come to it. The nearly same setting, but now we add a library of hotels. So the original game had the Boomerang, Fujiyama, Royal, Le Grand, Safari, Taj Mahal, Waikiki, and the President. But the fun part is that digitally we can add, we can replace keeping the game new and fresh. So we can get hotels based on famous hotels in Dubai, Las Vegas, New York, Los Angeles, London and so many other places. As we add multiplayer options where the player can select from a pool of online players, friends and game fans, this game could get a lot more attention, and history has shown that there was an interest in this game. I still haven’t given up on the notion of collectible keys (used on the Amazon Luna) to unlock elements in games that other games provide for. And Hotel could be no different. Other games unlock additional hotels and this game could unlock other elements in other games. A stage that pushes novelty and pushes the desire to play, to find and to embrace any game that streaming offers. 

I mentioned the keys before and it could be one of several enhancements that could push the Amazon Luna (beside the 50M extra consoles option). You see, the need for gaming is different on streamers, yes there is a like minded setting with other consoles, but the plus value is not merely some subscription, it is the part where the subscription leads to additional sides, it keeps the gamer invigorated. And in sandbox games there is plenty to see, but in other games after you played it once or twice you think you have seen it all, unless you add to the game, unless the game keeps on developing. There is only so many times the bulk will play Monopoly. Yet if we can localise Monopoly and unlock local editions the interest in such a game evolves from medium term to long term enjoyment. And there several MB games could find themselves in a larger stage. In earlier writings I evolved the game Stratego to a much larger online stage. Yet what happens when we do this to the game Tank Battle? What happens when we evolve the game Clue to a version based on the CCG the X files? All games with multiple options, all games with an evolved nature that offers long term appeal. And as stated on multiple times, some of the original CBM-64 games could get a whole new era of gaming enthusiasts if they put their mind to it. 

All settings that some ignored, some were forgotten and many were overlooked, or perhaps the game designers never considered the early years of gaming. Just like some of us seemingly forgot  about some of the TV shows from the 60’s and 70’s, several of them bubbling with new life if the right director comes along. The acquired IP from the old days could be the cheapest and that offers a whole new stage. Some of the makers are all about looking at the new, but to find. Truly new series with no connections to the past is so utterly rare that it is almost folly to join those crusaders, all chasing windmills. Which is still weird because the fields are covered with fix them uppers and some of them have solid housing frames. 

The fact that some are racing to remaster decent PS4 games for PS5, and they are merely looking behind them, in the rear distance there are true gems waiting to be rediscovered and I hope Amazon does so, Google too, but then they decided not to develop games, so they need to rely on the indie developers and some will be looking towards the CBM-64, Atari ST and Amiga games. As I see some development notes pass by, I can see that they are and they will have decent chances to pick up an interesting amount of coins. 

 

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5 houses in London

Yes, it is a setting we have all wanted in Monopoly, to own the rich side of the game, to feel a winner. I remember in my youthful young driven rat-race age. Running to that side of the game as fast as possible and buy all the real estate in sight. This view altered over time like we all alter the view on how we play the game. Oh, and on the bright side, I just came up with a new game for the Google Stadia, how screwed up is this?  But this is not about a game, this is about reality. Consider the game, consider the locations and consider the impact we face on a daily basis.

In that stage, how about the BBC article ‘Grenfell tragedy: Government is failing to act on inquiry report, says London mayor’ (at https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-60816108) where we are told “The mayor of London says the government has “failed to complete” any of the 12 recommendations directed at them during phase 1 of the Grenfell Tower inquiry.” So here is the question. How much power do the Real estate tycoons have over the British government? 

You think I am kidding, consider monopoly, how much actions would be enabled if the 72 cadavers were on green side of the board and not the brown side of the board? Have you considered that? So when we see “The LFB was criticised in the report for its failure to revoke the “stay put” advice – in which residents were told to remain in their individual homes as the fire raged through the 24-storey tower block.” Is that really true? Consider the movie we saw (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QM4RJE81fh4) how would a revoke ‘stay put’ would have been any solution? And in that movie, do not just watch, listen to the response of ACTUAL fireman. The sequential movie (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSYUp8j8P1Q) from the FIRST FIRE-CAR on the spot. When you see the two movies my feelings become clear. How screwed up was this investigation? The issue of “The LFB was criticised” becomes a joke. How is it possible that THIS government has not acted on at least the first 15 points making them MANDATORY. Do the real estate tycoons have THAT much power in London? We see the media jump on the ‘stay put’ order whilst the big deal is that the ENTIRE building was on fire, these fireman hd never seen anything like that and in my initial article (23rd June 2017) called ‘Under cover questions’ where I show the PDF’s on the goods where we see that the solution was good for cladding up to 30ft. So what gives and when I add “The external cladding material on this building did not prevent the spread of the fire as required by the Building Code of Australia,” said MFB chief officer Peter Rau“ an issue that was shown 3 years prior to Grenfell, how much of a chihuahua is the British government to the London real estate tycoons? We can argue whether the ‘stay put’ order was the right one to use in high rises, but the news is all about how wrong it was instead of how wrong it was to install cladding like the one in Grenfell, but we do not really get to see that, do we? 

So when we see “I am extremely concerned the government has failed to complete a single recommendation from the first phase of the inquiry”, yes for some the 72 cadavers are a mere balancing act, is it not? And in this the statement “the government is failing the Grenfell community” is wrong. The government has already failed them by not implementing any of the recommendations. We see criticism on the LFB, all whilst they were given a stacked deck, stacked towards the tycoons bleeding London dry. When you see and hear London fire people state ‘I have never seen anything like that’ you know things are out of control and the response from people on the first car arriving gives additional fuel to the matter and we get it things can be weird, things can be scary. Yet what do we do when the setting becomes weird and scary for the firefighters? The BBC article should unleash a wave of anger towards an inactive flaccid government, it should unleash a wave of anger towards these tycoons and it would be nice to see a list of these people in EVERY newspaper. The article raises a lot of questions and before the critical people have a go at the firemen, have a go at what I found and what questions I had in 2017, I found plenty on a laptop, so why did this investigations not find any and why were no recommendations acted on?

I leave it to you and if you live in London you might want to hurry before you become on of the cadavers the real estate tycoons do not care about.

 

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Shadows are Us

It is almost 20 years ago that me, myself, I, my playstation and controller took a gander into the world of Tenchu. Even as I now shiver on the graphics that were then amazing, the gameplay is something I missed. This came to light when I got a dose of Aragami 2 on YouTube. Proper sneak games are a rare commodity, and as we look for the next sneaker (Splinter cell, Metal gear solid, etc.) those who love stealth games, we all have a fondness for Tenchu, 

I personally do not think that there is an exception to that rule. And for some reason, even as we all love Thief and its versions, it feels a little more amazing in Japan around the 1600’s. Japan in that era was a fun place (a little superstitious), but fun none the less. So Tenchu was a lovely step into the past. 10 years after that, when Microsoft still knew what it was doing, Tenchu Z was launched and the thump in my heart was as happy as it could be. 

Even as we saw some repetition in the levels, the levels themselves were amazing. And there was the second setting where you wanted to live in the levels you were mastering, the house, the inn, they were all amazing. There were off course issues, there always are for those who do some of the levels again and again, some of the parts that Tenchu 1 offered did not happen in Tenchu Z, yet I was not upset, after 10 years I got to tenchu again. 

So what happened? Why did the PS4 not have its own Tenchu, or whatever it would be called. A Japanese set stealth game, I know there is a sizeable population that wants one. Even if we see an upgraded remastered Tenchu Z, it is a stage that could propel the cloud consoles (Google Stadia, Amazon Luna and whatever Microsoft has) forward and yes, Microsoft does have the advantage, but only if they act, if not it is up for grabs. Microsoft does not have IP on Japan or stealth gaming. I wonder why I had not missed it sooner. Perhaps I had hoped that Ubisoft got its act together. Perhaps I hoped that some would remember the great games. 

Yet if Aragami 2 (due out in September 2021) delivers, we will feel happy and after such a long silence it should optionally receive a large following. Yes, the first Aragami had flaws (a few) but it felt much closer to the original Tenchu than many other stealth games. Styx and Thief are good games, they have their own niche and they are quite good, yet it is not sneaking in 1600 Japan. The era speaks to our imagination, it has pretty much since a man named James Clavell wrote Shogun in 1975. The age of Blackthorn and Toranaga. It spoke to most people and the image continued in gaming. So now, when we see the Sony PS5 and Microsoft alternative, we see a system that can render an entire village, one would hope that Tenchu gets a new lease on life in gaming, optionally in a much larger setting. We learned so much over 20 years that this is all possible and cloud gaming might actually end up with a larger advantage.

Options
Cloud gaming has its own stage and its stage is a lot larger than any game. I staged that play in a previous blog when I coined the return of Murder on the Zinderneuf. The cloud consoles will have an option what I call ‘cross gaming tokens’ Something found in one game can be used in another game, or better stated becomes an unlocked item in another game. Consider that you find a house ceramic in Murder on the Zinderneuf, that could unlock the steampunk version of Monopoly, When you play Tenchu, you can unlock a weapon that is an additional weapon in Clue, and so on. It is a stage never contemplated before , or never acted on, but in cloud gaming it becomes real, as we embrace subscriptions and therefor we need long term gaming. As such long term gaming is found in adding to games, but what makes the addition? By adding games, other games will optionally be enhanced, or even added to, all because you played Murder on the Zinderneuf and you examined the chess set in a room, a new chess set is added to chess. And there is no end to the options you can unlock making a long term connection. Now consider that setting in a game like Tenchu. As the enemy is there, it is also possible that a game like Anno 1600 will unlock more powerful enemies in Tenchu. 

Remember that evil Dutch Merchant? Well, if you played Anno 1600, he will become a VOC representative, complete with two bodyguards yielding a ‘Donderbus’ (the Dutch invention that would later become the shotgun). When the stage is adjusted the game becomes again enticing and rewarding. A simple stage of adjusting, and players like Ubisoft never went there, why is that (equally other players did not go there either). 

So whilst we can argue that we must move forward, we have a ton of options that have not been acted on, as such there are years of exploration in sight and there Cloud gaming has the option to offer more, not merely another version of a game, but a much larger game, if only the developers had that in sight when they thought that one platform is merely a port of another platform. 

In all this we can lie in the shadows awaiting what comes next, or we can adjust the lights and create alternative paths. So whilst we all await a new game, what is wrong with replaying a game we forgot about, only to see that it has been enhanced by other games we have played in the meantime. I believe that there are a lot of developers and they do not realise the impact of long term gaming yet, they seemingly forget that soon we get to a point (in 6 months) when some people will have played the same game for 10 years. There are not many games that are worthy of that but Skyrim pulled it off, so what happens when on 11.11.21 the game offers the players something new in the same game they played? In opposition, what happens when the ‘patch’ will unlock a whalebone dagger in Dishonored 2? These are options that cloud gaming can offer, or perhaps a Skyrim board in Monopoly, an Axe in Clue or a Skyrim style chess set? It is not merely cosmetic, consider that over time you get additional rooms, people and items in Clue. The standard formula you had in your mind will no longer work, it needs adjusting for the different items optionally altered items. The game suddenly becomes more fun to play again. A stage many forgot about but Cloud gaming enables it and suddenly the stealth games all get an upgrade and that is what we like a challenging game that offers more over time. So whilst we see Aragami 2 coming in September, what happens when some of the guards have crossbows? Do not laugh, the Japanese had crossbows as early as 230 AD, they called them Shudo, they also had something not unlike a ballista, but that came 400 years later, still ahead of Europe though. History provides a whole range of options and opportunities. And the coming of Argami 2 made me consider that. I wonder what Google and Amazon are doing. Most likely relying on a deal with Ubisoft, I wonder how that goes over time. 

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Yo clodhopper

Yup that was my finest hour in diplomacy, we’ve all been there. Although I just woke up and I just had a great idea, well, I sort of had the idea before, but it took shape and it is now 03:30, so it must be good. 

You see, I have worked on several parts of the free RPG for Sony (as a response to the act of Bethesda), yet I now have a larger stage for the map, the map is not one map, there will be 5-6 maps, yet with every iteration of the map, the map evolves the map changes the presentation of where you are and what is there, but it does not change what is there. Consider the maps from 14th century and the maps we see now (not Google Maps), there is evolution and I set a stage where we have larger differences. A geologist and an explorer have their own versions of maps, that is how their trade set it up, it is how they evolved their maps, yet in gaming we never did that, so I am making a larger change, and in support of that, I also came up with the option of a new game, or a new game plus, making the game a larger evolution stage. Why?

No one has ever done it before and in that regard the larger stage is set. There will also be a cartography shop, run by no one other then Miss Beth Esda (sorry Christopher, I just had to go there). I will tell you later about New Game Plus, because this one is one that is also new, but the stage is that it still needs a little work. 

So as we barge through the land (clodhopping), and as we look towards the sky on where we have to go, I see options I had never contemplated before. We can push boundaries on what we perceive we know, but what happens when the darkness is actually a void, a place where we merely stop being? So as we step in and out of the void, we set a new registration, one that Skyrim but not to the degree that they could have seen it, and my vibe merely picked up on the missed opportunity. It will be some work to set the stage to a larger frame, and it will take a decent amount of brooding, but I think I have an idea how to proceed on it and I will keep you informed. Still there is more, I wrote about it earlier, and as I considered the ideas I had in a new version of ‘Murder on the Zinderneuf’, I considered a different stage to the game, yes it is based on that game, but so different it is no longer the same game, and as I considered the game Clue, perhaps you have played it, so what happens when the corner rooms no longer have secret doors, but on a higher level they have doors that lead to another part of the Hindenburg? In addition to that, there will be a stealth and a deception element to the game. Linking that game to achievements in another game. If the new ‘Murder on the Zinderneuf’ is an evolution of Clue, we could also have an evolution of Hotels, or Monopoly. If this is a Google Stadia setting, then the people would have access to both games, so what happens that relics found on the Hindenburg will unlock new options in Hotels, and Hotels opens up options in ‘Murder on the Zinderneuf’? The options are all cosmetic, but they are nice options to find. It is not completely new this approach, but it was seldom trodden and as such, I think it is important to set that stage. The gamer loves any game more if we offer something that they never had before and a cloud gaming solution like Google Stadia (or Amazon Luna) will need to reconsider and re-evaluate what they have, what they think they have and what could be made possible. You see cloud gaming can only exist if people have long term commitments to that setting, a new Ubisoft game is not going to do it, Nintendo is figuring it out, as I see it the long term commitment that gamers have with Animal Crossing: New Horizons show me to be correct, and the amount of gamers that are ‘addicted’ to that game doubly so. 

There is even a larger stage to the RPG that I am only now trying to figure out, it is a new setting in conversations and in localisation, and the setting that it has never been done before is making me happy. Consider that Ubisoft lost 15% of its value over a period of 30 months, and I now show that I have the inside track on solutions that they never were able to innovate, I think that I am on the right track, now, that does not mean that I am better than them, I am merely more willing to drive innovation, is that not what gaming was all about in the past? 

Why have we become so driven to ‘highest graphics’ and ‘coolest effects’, look at Nintendo and watch where that happens (it does not) and still they beat the most powerful console in the world (the Microsoft contraption), as such we need to consider what we could be able to achieve, not merely what some marketing type tells us what great is. We can decide for ourselves what great is and it tends to be the game that baffles us (God of War for example) and a long list of baffling games, and in all this where are some of the creator? They are merely pushing out more of the same and they market it as innovative new, but tell me, which franchise has truly delivered innovation in gaming? 

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Innuendo on the aftermath

The BBC is giving us more, and more, and more. Now they give us “The coronavirus crisis might be causing widespread economic upheaval around the world, but the world’s biggest tech firms are thriving.” And why is that? Consider the simple truth, Apple, even though not completely innovative, does give us something lovely. A lot of people got access to their Super early because of the Coronavirus, we do not want to splash and splurge, but when you are in lockdown, you cannot escape yourself, you can stare down the walls, go insane, or do something else. Surf the web using a Apple iPhone, or a Google Pixar, read a book, play a game or watch a DVD that is ordered via Amazon, then there is the surfing and 2 billion visit Facebook, so yes ‘the world’s biggest tech firms are thriving’, shops would not have been a great offer, lockdowns do that, but the people can order things and some get the hardware to do this. When you have one day to live, the option to see in brilliance and astounding quality matters a great deal to that person. And in all this, the digital highway will be travelled a lot more than usual, people working from home, people being denied high resolution Netflix because the internet if congested, but the advertisements go through, and we all see them. Then we get “At a hearing in Washington on Wednesday, lawmakers grilled the companies about whether they were abusing their dominance to quash rivals, noting the sharp contrast between their fortunes and many other firms”, as I personally see it, they aren’t quashing rivals, they are using their expertise to gain faster and more. 

Beyond that there is “Republican congressman Jim Sensenbrenner asked Mark Zuckerberg why Twitter had removed a post by the US president’s son, Donald Trump Jr, discussing the efficacy of the drug hydroxychloroquine. Twitter is not owned by Facebook. “I think what you might be referring to happened on Twitter, so it’s hard for me to speak to that,” said Mr Zuckerberg.””it gives my earlier view on the stupidity of politicians, as Jim Sensenbrenner cannot tell who owns what and addresses the wrong person on the matter, we see the Cowboy show I expected to see, a waste of time, and poor entertainment at that. 

It becomes a larger issues when we see “Democratic congresswoman Pramila Jayapal asked Jeff Bezos for a “yes or no” answer: Did Amazon ever use seller data to make its own business decisions? This was a reference to reports that Amazon has used data gathered from businesses selling products via its site to design and price its own rival first-party goods – something the firm has previously suggested had been limited to a group of rogue employees. Mr Bezos responded that he couldn’t give an answer in such simple terms” That is part of the problem, the lack of knowledge, when we look at “Did Amazon ever use seller data to make its own business decisions?” What exactly is ‘seller data?’, is it a cookie that the users has agreed on, was it sales data from the application that was used, as such, what application data is in play? Was it a customer review? Three questions that rip out the threads of the conversation. As such, as we saw Democratic congresswoman Pramila Jayapal rip Attorney General William Barr to shreds, she should have known better from the start, and we go from cowboy act to dog and pony show. In all this there is also debate on ‘to make its own business decisions’, especially as APN partners have options to make choices and decisions, it was a poorly phrased question and a wrongly lit situation from the get go. And last but not least we see “Republican congressman Matt Gaetz claimed that Google collaborates with Chinese universities that take “millions upon millions of dollars from the Chinese military” and noted that tech investor Peter Thiel had previously accused the company of “treason””, so how stupid is Matt Gaetz and where does he have ANY evidence that Google was taking money from the ‘Chinese military’? It is these levels of stupidity that gets no results, mere innuendo, yet they ALL seems to agree that overhauling Tax laws and competition laws would be a larger need, especially that in light of 5G and optionally 5G plus (a new IP I am working out) the need to both would be essential in keeping the playing field level, but these politicians, but their own account they sealed their own lives. Even as we see: “But Cicilline goes on: “This is the tip of the iceberg. It’s not just about Covid. Facebook gets away with it because there is no competitor. It’s the only game in town.”” I still remember the setting in 1997, I saw so called bullet point executives having no clue on the digital highway, dismissing it of hand as some paths had no business purpose, the setting did not change before 5 years AFTER Facebook was created by people lacking innovative vision and trying to bleed off Facebook settings, and history is about to repeat itself in the 5G environment, the back-fall is that big and US Congress, seemingly ignorant of the digital dimension are making things worse by stopping the only 4 resources in the US who have a chance of c countering what comes next. So well done djotto’s! And it does not end there. Considering the lacking intelligence by these democrats, when the people realise just how far it lacked, we get to see that the upcoming election is not a given, not by a long shot. I keep on wondering what the hearing was about, when will we get to see these documents and so called evidence that they rely on? I wonder how many holes I get to shoot into that part of the equation. I talk about innuendo and here it is, proudly brought to you by the BBC. It was Republican Greg Steube who sets that in motion with the question “Do you believe the Chinese government is stealing technology from US companies?”, mind you that he tried to push for a yes-or-no answer in light of the simplistic minds that these members of Congress have. Yet consider that the most powerful tech bosses and owners of the IP stated “I don’t know of specific cases where we have been stolen from by the government” (Tim Cook), and that is the first part where we see the issue. Then there was “no first-hand knowledge of any information stolen from Google in this regard” (Sundar Pichai), “I haven’t seen that personally but I’ve heard many reports of it” (Jeff Bezos), in this we only have Mark Zuckerberg who gives us “I think it’s well documented that the Chinese government steals technology from US companies”, this issue here is in the first that it was narrow-minded to set a shallow question on a closed answer, all whilst Tim Cook gives us that he does not know the the Chinese government is stealing, but cheap knock off’s, especially when it is promoted by Kylie and Kendall Jenner (at https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-53596192) are getting promoted by people of no mind and a clever approach on what they can get away with, I think they are called criminals. Sundar supports the view, or basically leads in his own fairway that Google was not a victim of that approach. We get Jeff giving us that he has seen many reports, yet I wonder who wrote them, I hope he is not relying on FTI Consulting for more than one reason. Only Marky Mark remains, I cannot fault his view and perhaps he is right, but in light of the Bezos hacking view and the issue on Sony and North Korea, there are too many questions on who does what and so far too many issues have left us with too many questions on how short the comings of come of the US cyber divisions really are, and that is not all. The hand that could be feeding them is the hand they are biting whilst not adjusting for the laws to make a proper job, that is the setting that we are left with in the aftermath and the innuendo around us leaves us with questions on politicians seeking the limelight. And why was Microsoft not there?

It is a weird setting and it will get a lot weirder in 2021. 

 

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The new Monopoly game

Do you remember playing monopoly? Did you ever play it? I grew up loving it. I am not some realtor, some real estate dreamer beyond the dream of having my own place. Most of us are like that. Just the time when I was young and the family played that game, or plying it with a couple of friends. I ended up having several versions, including the replica original with coins, in a wooden box, just a cool thing to have. So when we consider this game, as the prices of the streets were shown in those days; we knew that blue was the highest an always out of our reach. I lived in a green property for some time, so life felt good, yet today, Yellow, Red, Orange, Purple and light blue are no longer in my view of affordability, in the best case, I might be able to get one of the brown coloured properties. This is how the market changed in a mere 22 years. From an optional 80% of the map to a mere 2 out of 16, that is all that was left to me. So when I read ‘Total UK wealth tops £10tn thanks to City and property boom‘ by Larry Elliott (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/aug/08/total-uk-wealth-city-property-homes-inequality-saving), I just had to laugh. I understand that he might be trying to have a sense of humour about it. Yet when we see “A booming City and rising house prices provided a double boost to Britons holding assets in 2016 as they pushed the nation’s wealth through the £10tn mark, according to a new survey“, the question becomes: ‘How much of that is NOT owned by foreign investors?‘ Is that a weird question or what? Even as we see “Since the better off held a greater proportion of these assets, 40% of the gains of rising share and bond prices went to the richest 5% of households“, is ‘households’ correct or should it read clients represented by British law and accountancy firms, representing foreign interests in the UK? With “The £3.9tn increase in the value of residential property and financial assets owned by UK residents represented a 59% rise, whereas prices rose by 39% and gross household income was up 37%“, we see again the ‘UK resident‘ part and when we take a look at the government (at http://www.ukimmigration.com/investor/uk_investor_visa.htm), we see that basically any person investing in any property (as the London bulk is well over £1 million, the threshold for foreign investors is reached), which beckons the call, when we start digging into UK residents versus UK citizens, how will this all end? Lloyds shows even more sense of humour with “Lloyds said its figure excluded non-residential property and assets held by charities and other non-profit institutions“, which clearly includes all the foreign investors and they are always in it for the profit. It is the final part that gives the new consideration “However, a continued low mortgage rate environment, combined with an ongoing shortage of properties for sale, should help continue to support house prices over the coming months“. This now gives the premise, have the current and previous governments been guilty of betraying the British people by setting the stage of ‘ongoing shortage of properties for sale‘, in this we see the historic part that former Prime minister Margaret Thatcher was the last of the prime ministers giving a rising and clear need for social housing. We see this in the 2015 article from the BBC (at http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-14380936) where the amount of social housing went up in the beginning of her ‘reign’ to the highest ever recorded surpassing 150,000 right-to-buy, it took a small dive and in 1987 it got back to around 140,000, after she was succeeded in 1990, social housing took a steep dive to below 50,000 and from there it just went down and down. At the end of the labour reign in 2010 it was at the lowest stage ever, only now is there a small increase visible in that graph. Yet in the BBC article we also see a problem, even as it compares to 1918 where owner occupied is a mere 23%, the 2012-2013 part where 65% is owner occupied is as I call it ‘misrepresented‘ at 65%, because how much of that is empty and what part is foreign invested? You see, plenty of places in London are not offered for rent, but for lease, so who is the owner in that case and where does this fit in that graph? If we add the privately rented, we see that socially rented is a mere 16% (way higher than 1918), yet as we see the Thatcher numbers, who got the people there and how were the people kept out of affordable housing by not making that available. In Australia it might be as bad as the valid people in NSW housing are on the lists for a time in excess of 6 years. So how is that a solution to solving housing issues? And let’s not forget, when the housing is set and forced to become a larger contributor to social (read affordable) housing, what then remains of this ‘£10tn UK wealth‘ housing side? The fact that both sides of the political isle have been in denial and remiss to get any of that solved and Jeremy Corbyn claims to have a solution by pushing the UK in even deeper debt, deeper by the better part of a trillion pounds. So how does that help anyone?

Now, we might accept and understand that life in London is never affordable ever again, yet the political isles must equally accept that this change could constitute an infrastructure collapse. This gets us to some old news. In August 2014 we saw (at https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2014/aug/07/london-gets-24-times-as-much-infrastructure-north-east-england) the mention ‘London gets 24 times as much spent on infrastructure per resident than north-east England‘ which is a nice title, yet the dangers are shown soon thereafter. With “more than half of that total was down to the decommissioning of the Sellafield nuclear plant in Cumbria – necessary, doubtless, but hardly an infrastructure ‘improvement’ as most people would understand it” we see only part of the danger. The quote “New analysis of public infrastructure spending by IPPR North lays bare the gap between how much capital expenditure there is in the capital than the rest of England” shows another part, yet the actual issue is not what is spent, but what is required to get something done. When we paraphrase it into “analysis of public infrastructure spending by IPPR North lays bare the gap between how much is required for the same amount of work in London compared to the rest of England” we see the dangers, when the infrastructure maintenance is 2400% of the rest of the UK, there is a danger, yet is it the correct one? In February this year, we see a partial repetition of the old Guardian article, yet with updated numbers it shows (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/feb/20/more-than-half-uk-investment-in-transport-is-in-london-says-study) that London requires 50% of all the funds. In all this we are not given any reliable numbers, because in all this I do not see the comparison of £ per mile of rail serviced. Consider that London has 20 times the amounts of rail that most places have and he London rail when stretched can get a person from Waterloo station to Glasgow five times over (OK, slight exaggeration). Yet the message should be clear. As the infrastructure has less options with in addition less people being anywhere near it, the city of London is facing all levels of collapse. Another part was shown on July 17th in the Independent. The title ‘More than half a million social homes in England do not meet basic health and safety standards‘ is the first indication that social housing and infrastructure are beyond collapsing. With quotes like ‘almost one in seven of all social homes in England‘ are below standards, we see a dangerous escalation. So in this we see a mention of 224,000 houses where the most dangerous safety hazards (category one) is seen. It includes “exposed wiring, overloaded electricity sockets, dangerous boilers, leaking roofs, vermin infestations or inadequate security“, yes, the right and proper place to get your partner pregnant and start a family, would you not agree?

Even as we now see that the Grenfell disaster is a first step in looking into cladding, they all seem to forget that the cladding was done to appease the houses around Grenfell, in addition, the other failures and dangers are basically the non-cladding issues, so the mess is a lot bigger. when we consider the quote “Local authorities have a legal duty to act if a category one hazard is discovered, but hundreds of thousands are going unreported or ignored” we see a much clearer situation where government and city council members could be held accountable towards the transgression of ‘reckless endangerment‘ of lives, so in all this, what is the CPS doing? Has the Crown Prosecution Services made any start on taking a look at this, because these 244,000 houses would in theory represent 300,000 people working to some degree for the London Infrastructure, being it the underground, busses or other civil offices, if even 10% falls away, what happens then? How much pressure, increased costs and non-functional infrastructure remains for London at that point? It seems that the City of London has no way of dealing with such dangerous terms. As I see it, Lord Mayor Sadiq Khan has his work cut out for him. We should all agree that he did not cause this, but he can equally agree that it is on his plate at present and his success will be weighed against his ability to lower that danger and remove the hazards within his largely leased London city.

So as we look at the wealth boom, how exactly is it benefiting the UK and specifically London? As London becomes less and less affordable, as its ‘status’ as premium investment location continues, we might soon see a London that even the tourists can no longer afford. This is not a danger at present with the dropping pound against the Euro, so London is a great place to visit for Europeans. Yet the reality is that this benefit is merely short term, the dangers as the UK turns its economy around, which they will for certain, gives dangers that the dangers I predict are merely 5 years away. When that happens the tourism part will drop, not by a small part, but by a phenomenal amount (In my speculative view well over 20%), so whoever is investing now needs to get that part back in 4 years, they might be facing deadly competition for the few remaining tourists after that. The Time in 2015 talked about the tourism bubble and set it to greed, I think that it is not merely greed; in all this the infrastructure that is dangerously close to a collapse would be a much larger contributing item in all this. So as we see that the infrastructure is in a dangerous place, we need to wonder how the UK government will be addressing this. It is not like it is not a clearly visible issue. It is merely one of several critical issues that the UK faces. Yet in this, the housing part is also the contributing factor for other sides of infrastructure as well. We saw 3 weeks ago that the NHS has 86,000 posts vacant. Not only can they not be filled, even if there was a person available, the reality is that for nurses life in London has become largely unaffordable, which hits social housing as well as infrastructure, a clear visible item known for the better part of 3 years. As a conservative I would be willing to blame my political party, yet the BBC chart clearly shows that as the conservatives came back into office the social housing curve was moving back up (to the smallest degree). Now, there is part that was done by the previous labour government, but only to an even smaller degree. In this I will end with an article that the Business insider has in 2015, in it we see the minimum income per area, when we take a look is that only the cheapest place was affordable for NHS nurses, 54 miles from the hospital, anything nearer would require double the income they presently have, some places are forever out of their reach. Even whilst I know of some places in Swiss Cottage, Southwark and West Brompton, it is shy of the 86,000 places, it will not even give aid to 1%, or 860 places to live in. So, as some people are shrugging at the £10tn wealth value, or the imaginative issue that the NHS problem will solve itself. We need to realise that a few of these issues were interconnected and have been for many years. In this Labour and Conservatives are both to blame, they achieved nothing in stopping, or decently reducing the danger. So when you look at the Monopoly board consider the 22 places and which of these streets you cannot afford a place to live in. So how was this UK wealth any help in resolving the quality of life for those not in the top 5% wealth part, which amounts 98.85% of the UK population, foreign investors excluded.

Consider that side when the next rent is due, and more important, even as all the papers are shouting about rent drops, in the end, the rental price is merely increasing slower for now. With the rent being on average set to £1,500, the 12 month increase is set between £22 and £35 a month depending on your condition, so when you consider that if these people are lucky, their pay increase ended up being up to £61 a month, we see that the increase only takes care of the rent, it will not hold water to take care of the increased price of groceries or heating, so the outlook for the British tenant will be gloomy this Christmas. And before you start blaming Brexit, it would not have mattered one bit. If anyone tells you different, as I personally see it, they would be lying to you.

The people in Britain are seeing a new Monopoly board. Where you start with £800 and passing start gets you a mere £100, in addition add 15% to every street in the first 5 turns and add another 15% for the rest of the game. The final changes are 40% more due for any station and set utilities to 15 times rolled, regardless if it is one or both owned. Now we get a slightly more realistic version of the game as we live it today, so how far would you get in that version of the game? I might want to add that we would need to add 4 pubs, one for each side and treat them like the stations, yet the amount due is 10 times the rolled dice. It seems that our childhood monopoly is the one we still think we live at times, even as we never had any ambitions to own hotels, we always expected to get one house in one street sometimes in our lives; the reality is that this is no longer an expected reality. The reality is now that whomever owns and keeps a place, leaving that to the children is the only guarantee that they have any future at all in the UK, a reality that was not due to Brexit, but due to a government having other commitments, one that was to spending too much whilst not having any backup in place, it is the reality all in the UK face until well over 2040. I still believe that the conservative path to diminish the debt is the only way out and when we consider the news about the £40 billion divorce bill, that is not too weird, because at present Mario Draghi is spending 150% of that every month and getting out now seems to be a lot safer than being around when that collapses, or is that explodes into the faces of EU citizens? Most disagree with me on that, loads of them with economic degrees and that is fine. As I see it, the people all over are in denial of previous debts made and seem to imply that it is not for them to solve, so at your banks when you borrow £2500 every month to pay for things like rent, do you think that you will not have to pay any of it back? Do you think that financial institutions are that philanthropically minded? So as City AM announced on July 17thEurozone inflation fell in June, the European Commission today confirmed, easing pressure on the European Central Bank (ECB) to start tightening monetary policy at its next announcement on Thursday”, yet a week later we see “Draghi struck a dovish tone at the meeting in Frankfurt, with no firm date given to an announcement on the future of the quantitative easing programme, but investors were not convinced”, which we got on Friday July 21st. So as the spenders are all in denial on several levels, we see that their impact could be a disaster for London when that hits, I have stated in personal belief that getting out of that mess sooner would be essential for the UK. A mere week ago we saw (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-03/big-investors-losing-faith-in-europe-s-ecb-fuelled-junk-rally). Now we see the first mention, not of QE, but the mentioning of ‘ECB-Fuelled Junk Rally’, Bloomberg is now speaking almost the same parts that I have advocated against for many months. With the quote “Deutsche Asset Management has reduced holdings of European junk bonds in its 100 billion euro ($106 billion) multi-asset portfolios and JPMorgan Asset Management says investors should brace for a tough second half. BlackRock Inc. says risks for European credit are tilted to the downside and Nataxis SA recommends dialing back high-yield debt exposure” the large players seem to accept (read: come to the conclusion) the dangers I warned for, for many months, this is a dangers that Brexit should avoid. So, as some players are trying to delay it all, so that the UK gets part of that additional 2 trillion (as I see it).

These matters are connected, you see, when those players try to escape the sewers they will seek other parts that give rise to returns on investment that avoids their downfall, this is where the Monopoly game comes in. Because the reality is that this mentioned UK wealth of £10tn could be the escape hatch they need, yet in that the dangers to the infrastructure would only increase, I might be wrong in that view, yet it is merely my view. So feel free to disagree, providing you do not cry when I am proven correct yet again.

 

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