Tag Archives: NATO

The Turkey shoot

There are these moments when we hear that term, especially in the US in October & November where the American dream for some is a father and son(s) trip get into the wild and shoot one of them Turkeys. It is nothing most of us are used to, but like the foxhunt, there is tradition. I am in favour of the Turkey hunt, because, for one, there are strict limits which usually tends to be 2-3 at the most. Meaning that in this case, the family has thanksgiving and Christmas covered. You see, in that case I am not against hunting.

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There is a wisdom to only shoot what you eat, which in my case is not an option because cannibalism is a crime under the NSW Crimes Act of 1900. Yet in this case it is not about such a Turkey shoot. Today is about Turkey as a nation. This turkey shoot started a few hours ago when (at http://www.businessinsider.com/40-turkish-nato-soldiers-have-requested-asylum-in-germany-2017-1), we saw the change with ‘40 Turkish NATO soldiers have requested asylum in Germany‘, with the quote “About 40 mostly high-ranking Turkish soldiers who worked at NATO facilities in Germany but were suspended after the failed coup in Turkey in July have requested asylum in Germany“, you see, this is a Turkey shoot of another calibre. One where President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is continuing the strangest of policies. It is hard to draw and make distinction between what happened and what is publicly stating in Turkey that happened. There is too much going back and forth and unless you are there in Turkey, there is little hope of anyone getting straight facts. The Independent gives us “to establish an all-powerful presidency while seemingly Islamising Turkish society to a degree not seen since the fall of the Ottomans“, yet in all this, the stated quote “the sacking of 8,000 police and 30 governors as well as 52 high ranking civil servants. This is in addition to 70 admirals and generals along with 3,000 soldiers and 2,700 members of the judiciary fired“. This is not just an overhaul this looks like a national change one that is not unlike the changes Saddam Hussein started in 1968, yet in this case it is anything but bloodless and like Sadam Hussein, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is also a Sunni Islam, giving us more issues down the line as the ties with Saudi Arabia will strengthen over time. This change will also impact Israel as there is every chance that cultural ties with Israel will dwindle more and more in the same way the cancelled military contracts in 2011 went the way of the Dodo. So as we realise within the quote “This coup may not have been as big as the Government now says it was in order to justify its crack down on all its opponents, but it was still impressively large and was not far from succeeding from seizing power for a few hours on 15 July” that the numbers were not there, yet success was inches away from getting the change made, we can sense the paranoid approach that President Erdogan is setting its mind to. Yet, will he undermine his own presidency? In a country with 79 million people. Its population is only slightly larger, yet land mass wise, it is 350% the size of the UK, giving additional issues over time. Turkey as a secular nation has had a freedom of religion in place, yet when we look at Saudi Arabia, where Muslim law is in place, these elements could fall away from Turkey down the road, which means that two events are likely to start over the next year. The first one will be a shift in investors as they see the investment waters turn muddy and none too friendly. This will in turn escalate a brain drain where the brighter Turkish minds will seek their fortune elsewhere and elsewhere in this case means nearly anywhere but Turkey.

Is this a given?

No, it is not, but overall they are the likely event that will come to places like Istanbul, impeding, if not stopping commerce and the Turkish economy. A massive slowdown will come and the Turkish borders are confronted with more and more radicalisation. On May 1st 2016, in my blog ‘Homerun by UKIP‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2016/05/01/homerun-by-ukip/) I gave a link to heavy.com where ISIS was making an appeal to Turkish sympathisers. Heavy.com is showing more and more extreme video’s where ISIS is giving a message of suicide attacks in Mosul, which is not that far from either Syria or Turkey. Three weeks later a similar video on actions in Sinai. There are indication that this level of radicalisation will deliver different flavours of Muslim faith to Turkey, the question becomes how realistic are these dangers? We can agree that there is a long way from Mosul to Istanbul, yet the people in the Istanbul nightclub who saw the attack on New Year’s Eve will not agree with that assessment. Even as many might agree that ISIS does not have the numbers in Istanbul, the 40 high ranking Turkish NATO soldiers are a first indication that as the top of the Turkish military falls away, there will be an increasing amount of chaos and more important a lack of military based support as the people are either not there, or the higher ranking troops require too much confirmation from too many locations before acting, giving ISIS a tactical advantage, in addition to the ones they already had. So as ISIS is inviting its followers to a Turkey shoot, it will be the bird population that will feel a sense of safety and security as they are not the target at that point. If you think I am trying to make a point, I am! The actions that ISIS is showing where people get casually decapitated by knife or by strapped on bomb, we have to wonder one element. You see, The Observer is showing ‘UK’s £100m weapons deal with Turkey ‘turns blind eye to rights abuse’‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/28/100m-arms-deal-turkey-blind-eye-rights-abuse), what they are not mentioning is the ever increasing danger that business partner and NATO ‘ally’ will request (read: demand) assistance from its partners when it comes under more direct attack by ISIS. At that point what will happen? When NATO allies are thrown into that extreme mix? The French Legion Etrangere, the UK Marines/SAS and Dutch Marines might be trained up and ready for that fight, the rest of the Eurozone military is unlikely to be ready and partially too inexperienced. In addition, if some remember the January 2016 quote “Dutch police have arrested a former soldier suspected of killing Islamic State (Isis) jihadists while fighting alongside Kurdish forces in Syria last year, the prosecutor’s office said” (source: the Guardian). We need to consider how the law is impeding the fight on these Jihadists. We can all agree that the rule of law counts and as such it was legally the correct thing to do. Yet as ISIS becomes more aggressive in its inhumane actions, can we afford to remain this ‘legally minded‘ (read: politically correct in a legal way). I am not stating or inviting lawless acts, yet the law has ignored the fact that terrorists utterly ignore rule of law, in that regard, should they receive any consideration? In the view of some, the rights of non-combatants needs to cease in the eyes of prosecution, which in this view evolves as ‘if you go there to ‘hunt’ terrorists you might not be prosecuted, yet in equal measure you have no national protection to call on when things go south!‘, this is one approach and perhaps not the worst one, because when you consider that the Turkish diaspora in the top 5 nations, namely Germany, France, the Netherlands, the USA and Austria surpasses 4 million, most of them having ties of some sort to Turkey, the dangers of anti-Jihadi Turkey shoots in Turkey is not far-fetched. I am willing to go one step further, the amount of people signing up for that event would easily surpass the people who went to Syria to chip in, meaning that the Intelligence services will have an entirely new dimension of issues with radicalised returning veterans giving Europe at large more issues to deal with, that whilst certain logical systems are still not ready for the last three issues that plagued Europe and this too will drive nationalism and Eurozone rejection on larger scales.

In all this, we need to underline one issue in the entire alleged military plotter. the Quote “The German government has expressed alarm about the crackdown on alleged plotters linked to the coup while Turkey has criticised Berlin for failure to extradite alleged terror suspects“, is more than just a small issue (at https://www.thelocal.de/20170128/turkish-nato-soldiers-seek-asylum-in-germany-report), you see, this isn’t opening or closing doors between Germany and Turkey. It is merely handing opportunity to ISIS who will have options to cash in on the tactical advantages Turkey is handing to them. In that, the arrest of an ‘ISIS judge‘ around January 26th, implies that this judge remained around for 3 weeks after the attack, with possible more recruitment drives completed. The fact that his bum storage mobile was caught as well might assist the ISIS hunters (read: although it will be smelly data), the fact that ISIS has some level of organisation running on the European side of Istanbul should be seen as a worry and the current path President Erdogan is on might not be the best option, as it will very likely give way to more radicalisation, a path that ISIS has been exploiting a little too successful lately.

 

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This last day

This last day should be a day of reflection, a day of consideration. I feel none of these things as I am observing the mistakes that Marine Le Pen is now making. I get why she would get the referendum vamped up and get stronger waves towards Frexit, yet her call to leave NATO makes a lot less sense. For one, NATO still does mean the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, France is part of that North Atlantic, she has a duty of care there (a lot less so for the EC, the EEC or the Euro for that matter). She does make a point when we look at the expansion into Eastern Europe. Let’s face it, when we look into the original line, there was Germany which goes a lot to the south, then basically it is Italy. Getting into Eastern Europe makes a lot less sense. Let’s not forget, the Americans at present no longer have the means to play this game. A fact Lockheed needs to take into consideration, even if the price of the F-35 is given without an engine ($133 million, without engine), making it basically the most expensive paperweight in history. In addition, it came with a truckload of issues in 2014, whilst the 2015 report states “the majority of the fixes and for capability deficiencies being discovered are being deferred to later blocks rather than being resolved“, with new items of concern added. I found the additional quote form the 2015 report “inherent design problems that are only becoming more obvious and difficult to fix” most amusing, so if Marine Le Pen has in mind to not go anywhere near a Lockheed design, that would make sense. Now I do not want to brag, but with all my flying hours in the Microsoft Flight Simulator (2004), I might actually beat that latest flawed Lockheed F-35 with my experience in a Mikoyan MiG-35 (OK, I am bragging a little as I have never flown ANY jet in my life). What is the issue is that the politicians have not kept a good accord on the military abilities of the armed forces, not the people mind you, but the equipment they get stuck with. As such we see a 1.5 trillion dollar project showing more holes than an IKEA Pasta insert (named ‘Stabil’, which is hilarious as it is also means stable in Swedish). A project $160 billion over budget and 7 years behind schedule, and these were the numbers in 2014. A defence project that was too big to kill and that is what the NATO partners have to content with?

So why these topics? The world is changing, it is changing faster than ever before and the minders of the store have been so selfish in regards to their own personal needs (read: visibility of self via ego) and achievements that the duty they had was pushed under the rug. This is how I personally see the F-35 project.

The financial sector in the UK alone these financial boys (girls also) had the bulk of the £44bn in bonuses this year, so did your quality of life increase any (the topic jump will make sense in a few moments)? Now, even as wealth increased, it did not do so to that extent. It is not that fair to just have a go at the financial sector, apart from the fact that they ended up with bonuses of 1900% more than the amount all the others got, so balance is not that much in play. That view is shown stronger as we look at Forbes this week (at http://www.forbes.com/sites/francescoppola/2016/12/28/greece-the-game-is-on-again/#2585dbd946e5), the quotes that matter here are “Euclid Tsakalotos, the normally mild-mannered Finance Minister, accused the IMF writers of “economizing on the truth”. He pointed out that the main reason why so few Greeks pay income taxes is that their incomes have crashed, and that nearly half of Greek pensioners are living below the poverty line” and “The IMF’s case is that pension cost as a proportion of GDP is now unsustainable, and further, that the creditors are not going to agree to debt relief while pension cost remains so high. It is probably right on both counts. But once again, what really matters is the psychological framing“, in that regard I will be on the side of the Greeks, but not on the side of Greece. You see when their previous governments got loans and misrepresented their value, they had zero consideration on what pensions were in regards to the loans that they were getting under false pretense, in that regard, did any of those politicians go to jail? Did they refund 90% of their incomes? I am certain that the answer to both is ‘No!’, in addition those elected officials are sitting pretty and nowhere near the poverty line. Yet in all this the hardship is not over, in addition, the facts (as I personally see them) requires a little more digging, especially when I read “Attica Bank, the country’s fifth-largest lender, was poised to install a new management team he thought was capable of turning round the struggling lender” which were the thoughts of Yannis Stournaras, the governor of the central bank of Greece, which was followed by “While he was in the air, the government in Athens reversed the decision to award the job to Mr Pantalakis. It was his introduction to a web of allegedly related events, ranging from a raid on his wife’s business to an unsuccessful bid for TV rights backed by Attica loans“, this gives the implied issues on Yannis Stournaras, which gives more cause concern when we see “A confidential report on Attica carried out this year by the European Central Bank, the Eurozone’s top bank supervisor, and seen by the Financial Times, cited “severe findings” of poor governance and inadequate controls on lending. With some 70 per cent of its loans rated as non-performing, Mr Stournaras and others believed Attica urgently needed a professional banker at the helm. Government sources denied any intervention in the process to select Attica’s CEO” (at https://www.ft.com/content/aab0aaba-c6db-11e6-8f29-9445cac8966f). The implications are on a few levels especially in the light of ‘government sources denied‘, there is a mess on a few levels and the idea that personal needs were adamant in decisions is not without probable cause. The levels that are in question cannot be set because too much information is missing, but there are issues, make no mistake about that.

These issues connect, not directly but in the view of national voters, governments have made absolute shambles of their nations giving power to those with key wealth management options, in that need those who need to be at the helm are politicised and set to markers that are off the table and outside of the scope of visibility to scrutinise, whilst the presentations are showing markers that do not fit the person best suited for the job, in that Greece is not the only place with such issues. In the UK Mark Carney is facing similar issues, yet in the opposite direction. The best person for the job is the one the elected government seems to have an issue with. The independent (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/bank-of-england-mark-carney-theresa-may-attack-monetary-policy-tory-conference-speech-a7380016.html) gives us “Mr Carney argued that the monetary policy pursued by the Bank in recent years has had a positive impact that is “without parallel”, despite the Prime Minister using her speech to claim it had led to “bad side effects”“, in addition we see “Since quantitative easing was first introduced in the economy in 2009 … there’s been 2.6 million jobs created, GDP is up 16 per cent, per capita income is up 9 per cent and this is following a trauma in the economy“, we might see this as good news, but the good news is in the UK not dripping down to the other people just yet. In addition, the dangers will change if sharp budgets are not maintained. Getting the debt down is an absolute first, it will have additional benefits down the road, yet the initial benefit is that money could go to other destinations than paying for the interest of the debt, the interest of a debt amount that is currently in excess of 1.6 trillion. This was not the first attack, Michael Gove had a go at England’s Marky Mark in October. It is always nice when a person is called arrogant, especially when that person has proven to be amongst the very best in his field on the planet. I myself had had some issues in the past with Mark Carney, yet not against the man, but the economic issues that the UK faced because of actions (read objectives) pushed for by politicians, however his speech in the House of Lords showed him to be the expert he is and he nearly got me away from the Brexit team. Yet Mark Carney himself states it very well when he said: “Politicians have done a very good job of setting up the system. Where it can be difficult, sometimes, is if there are political comments on our policies as opposed to political comments on our objectives“, in this we see the issue that is part of the problem. as the politicians set up the objectives, they are then confronted with the policies from technocrats and those two groups do not see eye to eye, so friction goes back and forth, the Lockheed F-35 lightning is an excellent example here, in addition that part got an extra iteration as the military requirements were added by yet another group (read: the military). In all this the political objective is hampering the essential need against ‘it needs to be done by date X for no more than amount Y‘, which gives us the political joke that the NHS IT project was. A present from the Labour government which boiled down to a £11.2 billion wrapper around an empty box. Two projects set through objectives that ended up being off the wall and the back and forth friction that resulted in something unmanageable and non-functional. I reckon the political side of both events needs a new level of scrutiny, one that we have not considered before. In that regard having people like Mark Carney around is essential for the wheels of a state to remain functional, because if there is one clear thing, it is that America lost that oversight some time ago, before this Democratic Administration, the previous republican one lost sight of the needs and the accountability of the intelligence network and data processing side no later than 2006, we can all agree that the 2007-2012 total budget of $435 billion was money massively spent in all the wrong ways. This was shown in a Foreign office document that was quoted in an article stating “Army officials, though, said Palantir wasn’t up to the job. Now, a 57-page report by the Pentagon’s acquisitions arm basically says the Army was wrong to dismiss the Palantir system. The study instead gives Palantir high marks on most of the Army’s 20 key requirements for the intelligence system, including the ability to analyse large amounts of information, including critical data about terrorist networks and the locations of explosive devices, and synchronize it in a way that helps troops on the ground combat their enemies more effectively“, so there too billions were spent when millions could have sufficed. When the EGO of an individual with the power to decide is on the line, the results could be disastrous. In my personal view, if we accept the wrongful spending of 25 billion, how many extra troops could have been saved by adding fire support groups to those in IRAQ in those years? How many of the 4486 fatalities could have been prevented?

Politicians, advisors and ego are a really dangerous combination in many ways, even as we look at what is coming now, we need to be mindful of the changes that some are pushing for. Even if we are in favour of dropping the EC altogether, pushing NATO boundaries might not be the best solution. France might be privy to one of the better intelligence machines, that machine is also dependent on the intelligence it is fed from allies, an essential element that will fall away when NATO does, Marine Le Pen should be very mindful of that.

Yet this year and more important 2017 will go beyond Frexit. There is still a large debate on the Netherlands making any move away from the European Community, the numbers require people to be realistic on what will happen, yet those numbers are nowhere near the numbers Brexit had, so it is still unlikely that this will happen at present, no matter how certain Frexit will be. Italy might not have any manoeuvring space, it requires a massive infuse of funds, when we see the Reuters quote “An Italian government official told Reuters on Tuesday that €20bn earmarked for the rescue of the Italian banking system should suffice“, we need to wonder in how much trouble Italy is. This question is raised as we see Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena will issue €15 billion of debt next year (source: RTE). So we see another iteration where “The Treasury may have to put up around €6.6 billion to salvage the lender, including €2 billion to compensate around 40,000 retail bond holders“, so, how exactly is it acceptable that people ‘invest’ with a risk, yet when that risk comes calling, they still get compensated? How did any of us ever sign up for that?

Anyone who mentions that it is for the good of all is of their rocker plain and simple. Here too we see connection between France and Italy, mainly that the Natixis Global Asset Management (NGAM) thought it was a good idea to list Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena as a major purchase right next to Ubisoft. I reckon a little less ‘lack of nationalism’ and putting all of that cash in addition to the other amount into Ubisoft might have been a decently better idea. I feel certain that next year when we see the ‘Top Ten Holdings’ in the Natixis report will not make mention of Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, which could just be me though.

So in this last day we see that we have quite the collection of choices to deal with, some good and many bad ones. Yet no matter what is happening, no matter what will fall, there is a decent indication that unless changes are made 2017 will not be a good year. I might be too negative to see some level of collapse in Q2 (no later than Q3) in the next year, yet the proper setting and if the key players are willing to forego ego and focus on cooperation, they would be setting the stage for a lucrative 2018, that is beside the initial technological presentations of the new age of G5. G5 will be the pushing power in IP, especially Trade Marks, yet that path is also loaded with new growth opportunities for IT and developers as they start setting the tone of what 5G could personalise, it will be the first firm push to switch providers to SaaS. That is almost without question, the degree to it happening is very much depending on actual cooperation. In that the Telco providers need to realise as per immediate that thinking SaaS whilst selling Paas and charging IaaS, which sounds nice on bonus day. Yet the boomerang effect is that clients will walk away a lot faster and they will also automatically entice 10 personal connection to not seek the services of the telecom provider being that stupid. Infrastructure as a Service is almost a thing of the past. It seems weird, because there should be space for it, yet in our new outfits we see that infrastructure is a long term commitment and with annual mobile purchase the people have learned to be as flexible as possible, so the limited mobiles that some sell (32Gb instead of 64Gb editions) is why people are realising to walk away from those offering limitations instead of solutions. It is at times harder with Platform as a Service. You see, PaaS might sound nice when we see Apple and SAP connecting, yet the bulk of the revenue will be the smaller fish in the pond, the small players will be 80% of the revenue, one can argue the actual taxable cake of government will be largely depending on those players and for them IaaS is a laughable solution when they are trying to get as much as possible in the first few years and those smaller players want as much flexibility as possible taking to some extent PaaS from the table. SaaS will be solution of choice and those now adhering to that need will fall short in 2018 and they are unlikely to be part of anything in 2019. In that we see the government need of objectives that cater to what the SME’s need. A mere application of supply and requirement. You might think that this is not connected to the previous parts, but it is. When we see the NHS, Banks and government, their needs to address their audience, they need to consider that no matter the infrastructure or platform for communications, they all need to see that their clientele is no longer rigid, no longer bound to certain paths for the simple reason that the infrastructure of places like the NHS can no longer deal with. It is by definition a mobile customer base that needs addressing, this means, or at least implies that the SaaS solutions require a wider setup, other paths of non-repudiation and a very different approach to data, its quality, its controls and the application of the results in any report or estimation towards costings and profit. It is a path of contribution, which is set as revenue minus costing.

For the better part an entirely new path in a setting that has for too long been about a rigid collection of data, which when compared to a setting in a flexible framework no longer holds a candle and will come with the implied death of data quality. in these places there will be a growing need for a data team that has the sole purpose of managing the quality of data, this path is one that IT has never worked on to the degree it had, because in the past systems were set in concrete and after the correct data pass had been made, the data usually would not require ‘resetting’ it in another framework, a change that will be almost evident in the systems we will see start in the next 4 years. There, for some the problem becomes that they have never contemplated the changes, which now also means that once they go into the deep of it all, the time required and the resources required will be a lot more draining than ever before. It is in that path that we see the danger of politicians and technocrats in the required path of objectives and policies. As there is plenty of evidence that so far this track record is not that great, we will see a squandering of funds and a dangerous curve of unprotected data whilst no one will be actually held accountable for the transgressions against those consumers aka victims.

So on this last day there is no way that any solution will be found, just take in the information and next week wonder what on earth is about to hit you, there is some speculation in this, yet I believe that the ‘objective callers’ (read: politicians) will rely on the word ‘glitch’ a lot more than ever before, it might just become the most popular word for 2017.

 

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A New Disney

There was an Italian, who has been famous for over 125 years, he is not the first or the only famous Italian. There was this guy who came up with Pizza, There was this other Italian who thought fast Ford cars were a joke and he created Ferrari, then there was this other Italian, who made tractors, disagreed with the previous Italian and created Lamborghini. It is actually none of those. It is Carlo Lorenzini who was born 190 years ago. You might not know the name, perhaps his alternative name? Carlo Collodi! If you are still in the dark, than remember the story of a wooden boy who wanted to become a real live boy. Steven Spielberg used the notion in AI, but the original remains the best, namely Pinocchio!

Yes, the story of a wooden boy going into the world, yet as a wooden boy he was not alone, there was a little Cricket accompanying him and he would be a lot more important than your average Cricket, Jiminy was his name. Today the story is even more relevant, you see, the name Yemini Cricket might be ringing bells, but the truth of the wooden boy is there. The question becomes, who is the wooden boy?

So when I read ‘US, Britain and UN demand Yemen ceasefire within days‘ (at http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2016/10/16/us-britain-and-un-demand-yemen-ceasefire-within-days),

Yet when I read “The United Nations envoy, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, said: “We are here to call for an immediate cessation of hostilities, which will be declared in the next few hours.” Cheikh Ahmed said he had been in contact with the rebel Huthi militia’s lead negotiator and with Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi’s government“, my recollection does not go towards the classical story, it goes to a reference a little closer to the present (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFZrKOCdHFs), the laughter applies to both the sketch and reality. Aleppo is a great example, how 5 years and 400,000-450,000 fatalities later, no solution is there, but they are still flying to places like Switzerland to talk. I wonder when we add up all the costs, how much did the taxpayer pay for this play?

A number of civilian casualties that have now surpassed the total US Military casualties, of those who died during WW2. Doesn’t that look like a clear message that massive change was required a few years ago? I reckon all the players know that, yet, having long conversations with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, whose only concern is to stall so that the population can be made extinct before the resolution passes, reads a lot more like the Friends edition of Pinocchio, than the original by Carlo Collodi, where we see the conscience that is Jiminy Cricket.

So as we see the beginning of the same slow train in Yemen, I have to wonder if creating a new version of Pinocchio with Yemini Cricket is the way to go. It educates politicians as well as bring some hard needed cash towards Hollywood (or Bollywood).

So why is this different?

To one degree it is not, towards the other degree it is very much so. The problem is that both Syria and Yemen could be on the same page, no degrees of separation. In this case there are two at least. You see, Yemen has limited ties to Russia, making it less complicated, what is the issue is that the Houthi’s are actively shooting missiles at the US Navy complicating matters a lot more. It only takes one direct hit, and Yemen would technically be in a state of war with the US. Now, normally, a bankrupt nation is not that much a bother, but Yemen is not an economic or military superpower, so going against America sounds like a PR approach to get them ‘involved’. What is an issue is that Yemen, the neighbour of Saudi Arabia could get lucky at some point, what happens after the hit will be an issue, because Americans tend to get cranky when you successfully blow up something American. Interesting is that there are now multiple sources claiming that Iran is now moving towards the Red sea. An interesting story as the Red sea is on the other side of the Persian Gulf and Iranian war ships have no actual business there (which could also apply to the Americans). The question becomes how is Saudi placed into all this? Here there are issues too. There is no stating if there is even any link but the changes and the Attention that members of the Saudi government are drawing attention to themselves become a factor (speculation from my side).

One part is from the Australian Financial Review (at http://www.afr.com/news/world/middle-east/saudi-prince-mohammed-bin-salmans-shatters-decades-of-tradition-20161017-gs3yt5), where we see the title ‘Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s shatters decades of tradition‘, is not giving us the ‘goods’. The first quote is “He has slashed the state budget, frozen government contracts and reduced the pay of civil employees, all part of drastic austerity measures as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is buffeted by low oil prices“, which would be quite acceptable in one view, at least it appears that one government in this world is dealing with its budget issues, although not in the most ‘desirable’ way, when a nation is so dependent on oil, there might not be too many options. The second quote is “While vacationing in the south of France, Prince Mohammed spotted a 134-metre yacht. He dispatched an aide to buy the ship, the Serene, then owned by Russian vodka tycoon Yuri Shefler. The deal was done within hours, at a price of approximately €500 million (roughly $720 million today)“, which implies the opposite. The question is not the cut-backs or spending spree, the issue is neither quote, it is the quote I will give now “Many young Saudis admire him as an energetic representative of their generation who has addressed some of the country’s problems with uncommon bluntness. The kingdom’s media have built his image as a hardworking, businesslike leader less concerned than his predecessors with the trappings of royalty” as well as “Others see him as a power-hungry upstart who is risking instability by changing too much, too fast“. So is the prince a go-getter or power-hungry? I cannot tell as this is all based on third degree of information, what matters is how the view and the actions will reflect the counteractions of the US and Iran in regard to Yemen. The moment the conflict results in a direct attack on Saudi grounds, what then? Iranian warships in the Red Sea would only complicate that, making a harsh response from the Saudi Military even more destabilising.

In my view there are two sides within Saudi Arabia, yet how they should be seen is another matter. I do not claim to have a proper view. I have questions. You see Mecca is an Islamic Holy city (the most important one) and it is part of Saudi Arabia, so as Saudi Arabia is the caretaker of this holy site, the involvement if Iran is more than just a small issue. Whatever they decide to escalate could have large repercussions all over the Middle East. The Sovereign State of Saudi Arabia has every right to defend it in every way possible, so Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman is also Minister of Defence and the youngest one in the world, which as a stat sounds nice, yet it also means that in light of other decisions, he is ready to do that what the US has been unable to do, declare war on its enemy by actually acting against them! Not that the US needed to declare war, but in light of Syria, doing anything actively would have been nice, an absence of resolution that His Royal Highness Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud is less likely to show.

What is a problem is the fact that the complications are more and more likely as days go by and that is the one spark that this powder keg does not need. Iran cannot be denied access to international waters, which will not lessen the impact. One of the elements in all this is seen in the second quote regarding the ‘power hungry’ side of it. You see, the AFR article is also mentioning “Mohammed bin Nayef, the interior minister and longtime counter-terrorism czar“, which is now an element in all this. You see, whatever happens next is all surrounding the need for intelligence. So whatever issues there are between His Royal Highness Muhammad bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and His Royal Highness Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud gives wake to the Disney sequel, a tale of two princes. A new approach to the classic Dickens story where the plight of two members of the Royal family of Al Saud are protecting the Sovereign state of Saudi Arabia as well as the safety and security of all Muslims that are in and nearby Mecca. Even as the papers are expecting a ceasefire, the issue is that stalling is equally a tactic here. There is no way of telling why Iran is involving its warships in that region, other than trying to complicate matters and demanding a seat at the table of decision, which would only change the time table in the worst of ways. What the Deutsche Welle did give was the quote “the Saudi-led coalition has blamed an airstrike that killed over 140 people at a funeral ceremony in Yemen on “erroneous information” received from a “party” affiliated with the country’s embattled government“, it matters, because it gives light to the essential issue that the two princes need to rely on quality intelligence, sources that can be scrutinised. And in this matter, mentioning the yacht was to iterate that spending that money on a satellite over the area might not have been the worst personal idea I am having. And let’s face it, any prince that can claim that he has his own satellite wins the discussion with any other prince relying on yacht and status. So many have a yacht, but how many of these rich individuals (very wealthy people in general) would own their own satellite? Especially if it becomes a source of intelligence.

Of course there is a lot more to owning one’s own satellite, but I hope we can all agree that intelligence will be key in whatever escalates over the next week. My issue is that too many players have their own agenda, yet would those agenda’s be truly 100% be focussed on whatever is best for Yemen and/or Saudi Arabia? You see, oil prices are down now, but why and for how long? What happens when prices go through the roof again? What happens then? Suddenly all these political issues are all linked to the price of Oil and the profit it brings?

I do not claim to have these answers, but the fact that too many sources are not asking the questions that require asking is troubling, yet the AFR article gives us a lot more, even more than I bargained for, which is comforting to say the least. What becomes a matter of discussion is the one quote that shows the elements “People who have met Mohammed bin Salman said he insisted that Saudi Arabia must be more assertive in shaping events in the Middle East and confronting Iran’s influence in the region – whether in Yemen, Syria, Iraq or Lebanon“, giving the links that require addressing and the prince is not afraid to do just that, however it take two to dance rings around Iran and taking away its influence in the Middle East. As I see it, Riyadh will have to make changes to some degree. Counter-Intelligence will be key in dealing with Iran and the impression I get when I see a quote like “has deep ties to Washington and the support of many of the older royals” shows the speculative possibility of the older ‘let us see how this plays out‘ against the younger ‘let us get this party started through action‘. It is not about the balance, but about what works best. In that regard both princes might have to make changes a lot faster than they are comfortable with, because if the news is correct, the Iranian ships and submarines will soon be active in the Red Sea, but active to what extent is something that remains speculative, whatever they do, the fact that it includes Iranian submarine presence (as reported but not confirmed), will also raise tensions with Israel.

As I see it, the biggest issue is Iran and what they are trying to get out of it. Putting themselves in the middle of a conflict where they are now trying to imply that it is all about them (especially as they are in the Red Sea), yet is their presence less valid than that of the US? It seems to me that we are creating a new Vietnam, just not with the Russians involved (like Syria). So there are two solutions to consider. One is that the US is replaced by for example the Commonwealth, or France, which takes away the Iranian-US issues. That is, if Saudi Arabia would be willing to consider that move. No matter what, the navy that does that, could find themselves in an armed conflict with Iran, so it better be a competent and modern Navy which leaves not that many options. The Netherlands, the UK, France, South Korea and India. Giving the option to either South Korea or India would benefit, as Iran cannot spin some NATO link story. In addition Iran cannot afford to piss of too many additional nations as either could make short work of the ego of Iran as these navies decide to sink Iranian war vessels like rubber dinghies, because they pushed one button too many.

No matter what happens, Saudi Arabia must do what it can to keep safe and the Yemeni issue is one that tests many sides of those who see and witness it, because there is a dilemma in conscience. A revolution that got out of hand, a set government overthrown with its own agenda. When we see the Houthi’s slogan “God is great, death to the US, death to Israel, curse the Jews, and victory for Islam“, can we really show any kind of support or sympathy?

The most important part to realise is that we need to set aside our version of what is acceptable, we have seen the US and Europe at large impose their version of ‘civility’, whilst bending over, grabbing their ankles and let the financial industry quite literally get away with murder in many ways. We impose rules and expectations, whilst having no clue how to manage a budget or how to stem greed to the point of strangulation. In all this, we have given up the high ground in several fronts, so we are no lecturer with any level of confidence. It is my opinion, that the Middle East can only be decently governed by someone in the Middle East. I personally believe that Saudi Arabia should be at the centre of it, there is no doubt that it would beneficial that a coalition that would include Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, but I am not knowledgeable enough to see whether it is just them, or that other players should be seriously considered. What does matter is that both General Intelligence Directorate (GID, aka Mukhabarat) and Jordanian General Intelligence Directorate would be important in ascertaining Iran’s hostile actions and if need be counter them. From my academic point of view is the challenge that the SIGNT of the three would pose to get one coherent reporting and analytical solution on Iranian intelligence. One that would definitely benefit all three nations. Yet perhaps that will evolve into a third Disney project, which could be the next big thing. It’s all just a thought, but think it over for yourself and ask yourself the question you did not hear voiced, this is important, because this stage could get ugly in a hurry and possibly before Christmas this year.

 

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Viewpoint to a point of view

It all started at 04:00, Google started their announcement of Google Home (which blew me away and that is a rare thing) and Google Pixel, which instantly proved my telecom issues of mobile phones and memory. Shortly after that George Monbiot gave me ‘Lies, fearmongering and fables: that’s our democracy‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/oct/04/democracy-people-power-governments-policy). It is an excellent piece, because it made me ask questions of myself and how I saw things. I have never proclaimed to have all the answers, I give insights and I oppose other views without personally attacking them. You see, many disagreements are not always on the facts, but on the points of view, usually that view is laced in a perceived (non-)factual interpretation of what we observe. So let’s take a look.

You see, when we get to “Democracy for Realists, published earlier this year by the social science professors Christopher Achen and Larry Bartels, argues that the “folk theory of democracy” – the idea that citizens make coherent and intelligible policy decisions, on which governments then act – bears no relationship to how it really works. Or could ever work“, now, we can accept that, or we can consider another option without stating that this view was wrong, because it isn’t.

You see, this is what happens ‘citizens make coherent and intelligible policy decisions‘, which leads to ‘on which governments then act‘, yet the reality is that ‘coherent and intelligible policy decisions‘ tend to be made through the information given to us by the news and by the newspapers, yet too often they do not completely inform, they voice too often the point of view that a government (or benefiting party) wants us to see (or obscure). For example, the previous government of the Netherlands with their approach to ‘managed bad news‘. I wrote about those events in 2013 and 2014. Why what this happening? Well, I was clearly aware of a non-reality of their overly positive news on how commerce would improve, pretty much all the Dutch shared that sentiment and a real revelation would have meant harsh cutbacks, yet that government did not want to do that, so the Dutch were informed of overly positive news, and after the spending date, the NOS started to ‘release’ (read: voice) news regarding setbacks. Not all at once, but step by step by step. So what we perceive to be ‘intelligible’ is nothing more but a reaction to what should be regarded as ‘misinformation’. My defence here was that I foresaw the not so good economy. I (with no economic education) was off by 0.4% (too negative) and the economic experts on high incomes were off by 0.9% (too positive). I’ll let you decide this one!

The next quote is even better “In reality, the research summarised by Achen and Bartels suggests, most people possess almost no useful information about policies and their implications, have little desire to improve their state of knowledge, and have a deep aversion to political disagreement“, now, there is one part that is an absolute given in most occasions ‘most people possess almost no useful information about the implications of policies‘, that is one truth that is undeniable, even the more alert and aware people tend to miss things there, because, unless you are not part of it, you tend not to be fully in the know. It is almost a non-issue, yet the other part of policies is because getting a politician to sit down and explain it all is usually and equally a non-option, the more relevant info the politician has, the less likely it will be to find him available to explain it all. The best example would be the global collection of ministers of defence. Now, I am not talking about the hush hush stuff, because it would be a low and simple blow to get towards the classified stuff. No, I am talking about the large open things. So let’s state a NATO member, its Minister of Defence and Raytheon agreements. Some news now only 14 hours old (at http://www.army-technology.com/news/newsraytheon-to-upgrade-antpy-2-radars-with-gan-technology-5021950), seems to give NATO (initially just the US) with an advantage. So the quote from Dave Gulla who said: “GaN components have significant, proven advantages when compared to the previous generation GaAs technology“. Yet, when we take a look Patent US 6586778 B2, (at https://www.google.ch/patents/US6586778), we see “A gallium nitride layer is pendeoepitaxially grown on weak posts on a substrate that are configured to crack due to a thermal expansion coefficient mismatch between the substrate and the gallium nitride layer on the weak posts. Thus, upon cooling, at least some of the weak posts crack, to thereby relieve stress in the gallium nitride semiconductor layer. Accordingly, low defect density gallium nitride semiconductor layers may be produced. Moreover, the weak posts can allow relatively easy separation of the substrate from the gallium nitride semiconductor layer to provide a freestanding gallium nitride layer“. At this point I would initially state ‘Oops!’, yet that is not the issue, because there is a patent, means that there is a solution. The issue is not the fact that there is a solution, but that the solution is patented, in addition, we see an august article (at https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160801093236.htm), which gives us the summary of “From 2020 the 5G mobile standard is aiming to transmit data rapidly and energy-efficiently. For that purpose researchers are developing new power amplifiers based on the semiconductor gallium nitride“. So now we have an old fashioned horse race, because did that Minister of Defence realise that Raytheon is relying on parts that will drive the costs through 5G needs sky high? So, we are a looking at something that has an optional growth opportunity of close to 50,000% (blatantly extremely speculative by yours truly), so how will that drive the prices? In the UK who will get the sharp component deal, those servicing 68 million mobile users, or that one ministry of Defence? #JustAsking

So here you see information in action. Moreover, from my point of view, it is speculative as well. My speculation is that the Gallium Nitride (GaN) will grow so fast in demand that it will drive up prices fast and near exponentially (and with that the margins they had). Is that speculation so far out of bounds? You only need to remember the 4G rush to know that I am right. And if the patent has any real impact until 2023 as conditional initial end date, then North Carolina State University could end up with both the Angels share and the Devils Cut, which is a nice deal to begin with (for them that is), yet for the rest, it will drive prices up fast and by a large amount. Was this considered and is my view right or wrong?

So this technology war is not over, not by a long shot.

Now this is just one instance, for one nation. And when we ignore classified materials, how many issues play in this alone and where have we not looked? Now, we cannot expect that all issues were dealt with in the initial approach, but when we see that these issues are now undertaken and there is no direct solution, how much higher will the cost be in the end? So, without these facts, would the other NATO members dump the Raytheon upgrade? Is the upgrade mandatory, or even perhaps, my point of view is wrong. The last one is still valid, yet in my defence, what happens when there is suddenly a shortage of something? Show me one instance when the price of the goods were not spiralling upwards. I remember the chip war and the memory bank war. In those days, those critters were on a day price, it was like buying a lobster for Pete’s sake (not the other Pete, because he is a Vegan).

Yet part of my views are seen in “Direct democracy – referendums and citizens’ initiatives – seems to produce even worse results. In the US initiatives are repeatedly used by multimillion-dollar lobby groups to achieve results that state legislatures won’t grant them. They tend to replace taxes with user fees, stymie the redistribution of wealth and degrade public services. Whether representative or direct, democracy comes to be owned by the elites“, Geoff deals with lobby groups, which is what I raised too, yet in my view, I looked at the (miss)-presented side and in the past, just a few days ago, I raised the incapability of tax reforms, all over Europe for that matter. It seems that taxation is a pox on both houses, this whilst both sides know it is essential, yet from 2013 onwards the US has done so much to utterly stop the essential overhaul from happening.

So, I loved the article because it showed for the most my point of view (as I have stated it for many months), from another viewpoint, which is always nice. An article that should wake us up not to the lack of Democracy, but to the realisation how democracy is shaping us all to no longer seek it and spearhead the presented needs straight into the direction that helps big business the most (for now). So did we elect the wrong politicians, or were we only given the media that made us choose the individual currently in charge? Here I now look towards the dozens of morning shows that ‘do’ the news on a local level, but sugar coat a massive part outside of those few minutes on the whole and half hour to push opinions and interpretation of events, ‘guiding’ us towards a choice we could have avoided. As media changed so fast, whilst we did not keep up, we saw our fenced pasture change into a maze of fences and no way to see where the exit is.

This democratic world reminds me of the wisdom seen on a card: “and God promised men that good and obedient wives would be found in all corners of the world…then he made the Earth round…and he laughed and laughed“, which reverberates here too, ‘as democracy reached all corners of the earth’, you get the idea!

 

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Did UKIP get it right?

That is a question that is slowly growing within the minds of Britons and non-Britons alike. Some will be in denial over it all, some will ignore their inner voice and some will ponder it. You see, once the banter and the mudslinging stops and people are sitting down thinking over a year in political waves, we are slowly getting the aftermath news and suddenly things are a lot less gloomy. Bloomberg gives us “There’s dwindling talk of a recession caused by the vote the leave the European Union, and British politicians are wondering if a “hard Brexit” option –rapid withdrawal from Europe without a new trade agreement – might be feasible. The answer is no. Such views rest upon bad economic reasoning and the cost of Brexit remains high, albeit mostly invisible for the time being“, is part of the news. You see, the scaremongers are now out of the view and the negative impacts, the ones we knew about are showing to be less negative than the scaremongers proclaimed. I agree and always did agree that the cost would be high. Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England had stated it, and in addition stated that there were elements that could not be forecasted. Which is also a truth. They are the invisible costs that will come and come again. The issue in my mind has always been, will it in the end be worth it (are the costs not unaffordable high) and I leaned more and more towards the Yes side!

You see, one of the main reasons for leaning towards Brexit was Mario Draghi. The trillion plus stimulus plans he had were too unfounded. Japan and the US are showing that there had been no clear increase whilst we hear opposite claims. The issue is actually brought to light by Bloomberg last week (at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2016-09-08/ecb-s-mario-draghi-downplays-more-stimulus), where we hear at 00:39 that there is an impact on the markets, but no real impact on the economy, which was my issue from the start. Politicians casually mixing both up in their speeches were playing, as I see it a flim-flam artist dictionary game, trying to make us think it is one and the same, yet they all know that it is not. So no real impact yet will over a trillion deeper in debt, only those on the financial markets, only some of them got a big payday out of all of it, the rest just has to assist in paying off the invoice. It is one of the pillars UKIP had!

Now we see even more issues, especially when we see additional issues in City A.M. (at http://www.cityam.com/249335/christine-lagarde-and-mario-draghi-call-politicians-do-more), with the quote “Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank (ECB) said governments and institutions needed to make sure their policies did not leave the poorest members of society behind, and called for structural reforms to help share the spoils of economic growth“, the failure of the European Community laid bare! You see, the people on EEC incomes have been meeting and not getting anywhere for almost 15 years now! The fact that tax laws and Corporate laws required revision even before 2004 as a requirement and after 2004 as a given is shown that none of this has been adequately done. The fact that the US played its cards in the Summit in the Netherlands in 2013, we all knew how that ended, so as we see that some are now crying cockroach, whilst littering food all over the floor only have themselves to thank for this situation. This all reflects back on the initial issue UKIP gave, ‘let’s make Britain about the British’. This is not racism, this is nationalism (read: nationalistic pride). An issue that neither Christine Lagarde nor Mario Draghi could resolve as they have been setting a neutral pose in aid of large corporations for far too long.

The next issue is the economic plan B that is now all over the news. The powerful monetary tool (TLTRO) that at 1:37 comes with the quote “that nobody has really fully understood or analysed“, and that is the plan B they are now grasping for!

TLTRO?

It is not a cereal or breakfast solution. It is a Targeted Long-Term Refinancing Operation. The ECB states “provide financing to credit institutions for periods of up to four years. They offer long-term funding at attractive conditions to banks in order to further ease private sector credit conditions and stimulate bank lending to the real economy“, that sounds nice on paper, but if we know that the impact is not understood, has never been analysed to the effect it is, this all whilst we know that taxation laws are failing and corporate laws are not up to scrap, the ECB quote could be translated to “provide financing to credit institutions for periods of up to four years. They offer a refinanced the current outstanding debts to banks, guaranteeing large bonuses by resetting bad debts and revitalising the conditions of what were supposed to be written off debts, giving a false incentive to a dangerous presented economy at present“, you see, I am almost stating the same whilst the intent completely changes, the markets are now getting a boost via the other side. This is a reality we could face!

You see, the view is given with “All the new operations will have a four-year maturity, with the possibility of repayment after two years” (at https://www.ecb.europa.eu/press/pr/date/2016/html/pr160310_1.en.html), yet like the US, Greece and Japan, it is almost a given (speculation from my side) that these maturities will be paid with new debts. When we see the quote “Counterparties will be able to repay the amounts borrowed under TLTRO II at a quarterly frequency starting two years from the settlement of each operation. Counterparties will not be subject to mandatory early repayments” gives way to the thought that it is entirely possible that when the debts mature, they could be replaced be a new debt. Giving weight to the dangers. The fact that the option ‘not subject to early repayments’ is clearly included gives ample weight to the solution, whilst not preventing additional debts from this rephrased stimulus. In the end, the economy will not prosper, the rise of the debt will. Whilst under the debts the UK already is, these arrangements are as I see it too dangerous, all this as the increase of debts only give rise and power to non-governmental institutions to grow their influence via corporations over nations. One of the better players (Natixis), had this quote “Natixis Asset Management ranks among the leading European asset managers with €328.6 billion in assets under management” (source at present intentionally omitted), with the TLTRO in play, depending on the rules of the game (which were not available to me at present), it is entirely possible that once really in play, banks can indirectly refinance risky debts in additional loans via the applicant and as such get themselves a boost. It could potentially allow Natixis to grow its asset management part up to 20%. The ECB states (at https://www.ecb.europa.eu/mopo/implement/omo/tltro/html/index.en.html) “The TLTROs are targeted operations, as the amount that banks can borrow is linked to their loans to non-financial corporations and households“, so basically companies in hardship can get relief, whilst the banks will still get their cut (aka administration and processing fee). Consider that Wealth Management is many things and Estate planning is one, now consider that Natixis has Credit and counterparty risks amounting in excess to 295 billion euro’s. Now there is a Draghi solution, one that no one seems to have ‘analysed’ that allows for solutions to non-financial corporations. Natixis is that, but their clients are not, and they can apply for the shifted funds, offsetting their loans, paying of the loans towards Natixis, who now have a massive amount of freed up cash that they can now pour into all kinds of solutions and endeavours. So do you still think that my view of 20% is oversimplified? And in 4 years? Well at that point, when things go south, Natixis and parties alike can jump in and possibly help out, ‘but at a price’ (which is fair enough).

This now reflects back to UKIP and Brexit!

The Guardian had an opinion piece (at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/14/ttip-deal-british-sovereignty-cameron-ukip-treaty), that gives us the following, remember this is September 2014! “If you are worried about the power of corporations over our democracy, be very afraid: ISDS in effect grants multinationals the same legal position as a nation-state itself, and allows them to sue sovereign governments in so-called arbitration tribunals on the grounds that their profits are threatened by government policies. Is this scaremongering, as TTIP supporters claim?” So far there have been many voices who seem to be over the moon that the TTIP is now a failure and that the issues within the EU would have been far more reaching that many players were willing to admit to before the signing. Politico.eu reported “U.S. diplomats are sketching out a last-ditch plan to salvage core sections of the EU’s moribund trade deal with Washington“, that with the added “U.S. and Italian officials are now weighing the option of a “Step 1” deal to lock in elements that can be finalized by December, possibly including joint testing regimes and mutually agreed upon standards for cars, pharmaceuticals and medical devices“. It is clear that the US want to lock in Pharmaceuticals and cars, yet how is such a niche nothing more than a path trying to ditch the title ‘total loser government’ regarding the current administration. In addition “The idea has sparked immediate scepticism in the European Commission and in some EU member countries, which argue that any form of a downgraded deal will be very hard to sell politically, particularly after French Trade Minister Matthias Fekl and German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel turned hostile on the negotiations” gives way that BMW, Mercedes, Bayer Pharmaceuticals, Peugeot, Citroen and Sanofi are none too pleased with such a one sided piece of paper. The idea that such set benefits would be allotted at this point gives even more weight to some of the UKIP statements in the past.

If 2 out of the many projection come true, you are not suddenly a better prognosticator, mainly because that title is reserved for the likes of Punxsutawney Phil, Queen Charlotte and Shubenacadie Sam. Let’s face it, it is the title worthy of a groundhog! But some of these steps were clearly seen, because this is where everything was headed, the more forward you look, the easier the prediction could come true is not wrong, but only if you are travelling on a straight road. A road that corporate greed depends on I might say!

In my view, there is not enough to state that UKIP got it right, yet there are also enough facts and questions in play that UKIP did not get it wrong. We might listen those who keep on shouting that Brexit was wrong and see them as the people trying to reinvent the vote, but overall people are starting to realise that the US (read Wall Street) has been trying to give people a bad deal to benefit their own greed. The fact that this is going on at this very minute is equally a worry. This is on both sides of the isle, yet we can understand that Labour needs to clean house and they have decided on the method of accidentally leaking names. How will that solve anything? If Labour was on the ball, than they would steering towards real economic improvements, not bickering minors trying to decide who should be the number two, and soon thereafter remove the number one (read: allegedly attempt to). Actions that are totally counterproductive as the Conservatives are governing until the next general elections. It seems like such a waste of energy to me.

Now we see a new escalation. It seems (at http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/jean-claude-juncker-proposes-new-european-military-hq-worj-towards-eu-army-1581391). So the quote “The president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker has called for a European Union military headquarters to work towards an EU-controlled army. Juncker made the proposals during his State of the Union address to MEPs in Strasbourg on Wednesday (14 September)“, which automatically makes me wonder how this correlates with Nazi Germany as this was how they resolves their bad economic times. It is a harsh history lesson to learn, but in that I am actually less afraid for a ‘new’ Nazi Europe. My issue is that many nations have their Cyber plan not in hand and any actions here give rise to the dangers that this would open up data for the Chinese Cyber groups to learn a lot more than they bargained for. You see, no matter how much denial we see, the facts are simple, Ren Zhengfei is the Huawei CEO and a former officer for the PLA. Now this does not mean that he is now still committed to the PLA, yet Huawei does business with the Chinese government and as such, they have all the specs and as such, they have all the weaknesses  of these devices too, meaning that governments all over Europe are in a possible place of Cyber Scrutiny. This does not mean that I am willing to just blindly accept the NSA report, but ties like that, when you are on these levels talking to the ruling members of Chinese government, you need to be networking on a massive scale and if both the Chinese military and Chinese Intelligence (MSS) gives you the thumbs up, you have been playing the game they want you to play, plain and simple. By the way, this is not a rant, or a side step into the matter, this is a direct factual response. Nigel Farage addressed the EU on an EU Army opposing it on valid points, and he got a few more hands clapping than his opponents are comfortable with. Now this was about opposition of the EU army as a whole, but underneath is the need for any military organisation to be secure and have systems in place, systems that could be compromised. In this Huawei could validly give the same argument that all Cisco Systems are compromised by the CIA and NSA. As we cannot prove either side, or perhaps even both sides, how to proceed? Both sides would be fair enough and it only makes a case strong enough to not proceed with any EU Army, which is no solution to any existing threat, will cost massive amounts of money (and that just the initial infrastructure) and with the current upcoming changes to the EC as a whole. Especially as Marine Le Pen has vowed to hold the French referendum if she is elected, this whilst several European magazines are now stating that France can no longer avoid Frexit (at https://www.letemps.ch/economie/2016/09/12/france-ne-pourra-eviter-frexit), which I stated was a growing realistic danger if Brexit would commence, in addition, Italy is seeding its own departure later this year, but no given certainty exists at present.

All these parts I gave visibility to almost 2 years ago, the press still largely in denial and additional players are now coming out to (as I personally see it) fill their pockets as fast as possible because when this comes to town and the referendums do fall, certain people will have to give account of their actions. The fact will remain that the Credit Card that Mario Draghi used will be spread over several nations, most of them with no option to get into deeper debt. So they have this to look forward to. In Italy there seems to be a plus side, as the larger players are now looking towards the option of as referendum, the act as such seems to be taking the wind out of the sails of Matteo Salvini, head of the far-right Lega Nord, which is regarded as a relief in many European nations. They seem to regard Matteo Salvini the same way that they regard the French Newspaper Minute, too far to the right and not really that readable. I cannot confirm that (as my French does not surpass the ability to read a menu), but I understand the sentiment as there have been Dutch papers on the other side of the political isle receiving similar accusations.

In the end Europe is about to take economic steps with large implications, the fact that they are trying to push it through regardless of whatever consideration it required, which makes me worried on the fact that the impact on the European populations have been ignored for too long. The weird thing is that any action should have been in support of the European population and their needs, giving weight to more than one statement from the side of Nigel Farage.

I would suggest you ponder those facts before blindly moving into the Bremain field in the near future, because there are several issues that no one can answer and they come with obscenely high price tags!

 

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On the day of voting

It is the day of the referendum and as is to be expected, the final views are given towards either Brexit or Bremain. In this we need to look at ‘yesterday’s news’ as given (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jun/22/nato-chief-says-uk-staying-in-the-eu-is-key-to-fighting-terrorism), we see the title ‘Nato chief says UK staying in the EU is key to fighting terrorism‘, to that my initial response is: “Is that so?” It is the quote “What I can do is tell you what matters for Nato, and a strong UK in a strong Europe is good for the UK and it’s good for Nato, because we are faced with unprecedented security challenges, with terrorism, with instability and an unpredictable security environment, and a fragmented Europe will add to instability and unpredictability“, the quote reads nice, but how correct is it? Perhaps correct is not even the right word here, as the quote is a correct one. The issue that Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s secretary general is dancing around is seen in: ‘a strong UK in a strong Europe is good for the UK‘ as well as ‘a fragmented Europe will add to instability and unpredictability‘. You see that is already happening at present. The issue that has been on the table from the beginning is what I personally regard is the unacceptable amount of overspending and feigned credit limits, where the people have quite literally ended up with nothing to show for. In the second, there is the matter of Greece. Mind you, this is not about blaming Greece, this is about the fact that hard decisions should have been made 3 years ago, but Europe, and within that its own NATO were all about the status quo and the internal deception that if you ignore it, it goes away! That has not resolved in any resolution. Mario Draghi has set forth spending well over a trillion with what we can see, nothing to show for, only a weighted regression towards the unstable extreme. That can be shown in equal ease as we see that the trillions in overspending have not resulted in any positive light, only in slowly moving backwards, at the expense of…what exactly?

Well, we can argue that is equally at the expense of a more fragmented and weaker Europe. This is exactly the issue Mark Carney left me (in all honesty less towards Brexit and more towards Bremain), but the question, can we afford these unacceptable levels of spending and force European budgeting? That is something Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England cannot guarantee (which in all fairness he can’t and that does not reflect negatively on him), which is in my view the main reason why Brexit gained the momentum it needed.

The issue ‘add to instability and unpredictability‘ is equally an issue, not because of Brexit, but because of the EU, which in heart is trying to remain a negotiating party, even after we have seen too many examples where this is not leading to anything. As evidence I would like to call towards Turkey. The latest event (at http://www.dw.com/en/turkey-blocks-german-delegation-airbase-trip-over-armenian-genocide-row/a-19349172), where a historic event of 1915 is cause to block a German delegation. The amount of unacceptable acts by Turkey, whilst making all kinds of demands have left more than one party in a state of concern, but the EU wants to be seen as the ‘talking party’, not a decision maker in sight. Even if we ignore this event, the acts that Turkey has shown in regards towards refugee smuggling as well as the downing of the Russian Jet, based on clear evidence that makes the act in light of Islamic State issues utterly unacceptable, but the European Community is not speaking out. At best it is cautiously whispering. How is that contributing to ‘stability and predictability?‘ As I personally see it: it is not and it will not!

So the two elements in this NATO debacle are now already debunked and Bremain would not have made any difference. Now we get to Whopper dealer #2. Here we see France’s president, François Hollande making the statement that has been debunked long ago. The quote “There’s a very serious risk for the United Kingdom not to be able to access the common market and … the European economic area any more“. Do you actually think that ANY, I say again ANY party will be unwilling to commercially deal with the UK? Hah! I say. For example. If France holds true word and stops for example the commerce of French Wine, French Cheese and a few more items. It would lighten up the Cheese markets of the Netherlands and Belgium in addition there would be a massive growth opportunity for German and perhaps even Hungarian wines, whilst France’s commercial position shrinks from 6th to 11th on the world list of exports (based on 2015 estimates and my estimated French drop), falling below Belgium. So how is his statement folly? It is simple: it is a buyers’ market and the UK still wants to buy, providing it can sell too. Making them an interesting partner for all of Western Europe, especially as the UK imports more than it exports. It imported 629 million, whilst only exporting 465 million (source: Trade statistics for international business development), so a very welcome trading partner for every nation willing to strike a deal. Do you think for one moment that France could even chance to lose these levels of business? I personally think that this is not even a scaremongering quote, it is one made in infinite fear of the upcoming Frexit referendum which is a certain when Brexit happens. It is also one that will end the presidency of Francois Hollande, which is pretty much a given at present. Only now do we see more newscasts take the Frexit chance more seriously, almost two years after I predicted the danger and the chance of it. It is true that only Marine Le Penn is voicing this promise, but it is clear that too many French are demanding a French referendum, none of the French parties can avoid a French referendum at present, making the statement Francois Hollande makes even less valuable and more questionable.

The article has a few more ‘gems’ to throw against Bremain, but I think a clear point has been made. Those who are evangelising the EU, have been and remain to be unable and unwilling to address the flaws the EU has. An unaccountable part that refuses to stop wasting resources and funds, only to satisfy the status quo. They had 6 months to make strong changes here and nothing got done, so as it is now in the final hours we see iteration of events and iterations of claims that are being made on both sides of the isle, yet now it is more and more important that the Bremain side shows strength. One side that did that was the EU via Jens Stoltenberg and as I personally see it, it failed miserably!

It would be equally fair to have a go at Brexit now and I am all for fairness. Yet, I am a little biased, so bear with me (pun intended)! We see that David Cameron is having a go at his previous buddy Mickey Gove, or as non-intimi call him: the Right Honourable Michael Gove, Lord Chancellor Secretary of State for Justice (at http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jun/22/cameron-gove-has-lost-it-in-comparing-anti-brexit-economists-to-nazi-experts). Here we see the important quote “We have to be careful about historical comparisons, but Albert Einstein during the 1930s was denounced by the German authorities for being wrong and his theories were denounced and one of the reasons, of course, he was denounced was because he was Jewish,” Gove said. “They got 100 German scientists in the pay of the government to say that he was wrong and Einstein said, ‘Look, if I was wrong, one would have been enough.’”, which is slightly awkward. Not because he is either right or wrong, but because any reference to any Nazi event tends to get emotional backlash. What he is questioning is what I have questioned. The economic ‘experts’ making the wildest claims are partially those same experts that have been wrongly forecasting the economy again and again. A system of overoptimistic forecasting which follows spending (often too high), after which we see cycles of managed bad news. This has been happening all over Europe, which is why there are many trillions of debt. These experts will not be trusted in any way, shape or form as they require the continuation of the EU (if they want to continue their gravy train) and as such, their views would be skewed and weighted.

What is interesting that Europe’s irresponsible overspending does not make it on either table, which remains at the heart of the matter as I see it! I believe it to be a balancing seesaw attempt to keep the US Dollar afloat, because when the Euro goes, the US Dollar will find itself in a reweighted status, one that is unlikely to be anything but disastrous for the US and for those relying on its stability.

To those deciding to vote today. To you I state: ‘Do what you honestly believe is the best for you, your family and England! No matter how you feel at present, find the speech Mark Carney gave to the House of Lords and read that before you vote. It is a true and honest recital, he mentions the risks England faces and those risks are real. The question becomes, are those risks worse than the current irresponsible acts by the massively overspending EU politicians? If the answer to that is Yes, than Bremain is your likely voice, if you feel that it is ‘no’, the fact that the current irresponsible acts by the EU politicians spending too much again and again is indeed the biggest danger, then Brexit becomes your path!

I have no voice in this, I have tried to give you my honest view in this. To show insight whenever and where ever I could. Now it is up to the voters and the results will be seen and felt all over the world from tomorrow onwards.

Mark Carney Testimonial in the House of Lords

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The tactical changes

Only 9 minutes ago, information reached me that takes a different turn to several events. On the 1st of May I wrote about the Homerun UKIP made (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2016/05/01/homerun-by-ukip/). In this I linked a video (containing extremely graphic executions), it was a presentation of sorts, and there were several ‘links’ that implied that ISIS was active in Germany. Now I see the following (at https://www.bellingcat.com/news/mena/2016/05/22/isis-had-a-social-media-campaign-so-we-tracked-them-all-down/), apart from the social media implication there are other implications too. The links to Munster, close to the Netherlands now give another scenario to consider. First of all, this could be a steeplechase, a red herring hunt. When you leave clues this open, with so many options to match images with the local population, the people involved are either massively stupid, or a little too clever. I have learned to always consider my enemies to be superior, so I will not make the mistake to consider them too stupid. There is of course a third side, this could be a hoax by anyone with Arabian language skills, the beginning of a steeple chase, to see if Americans/NATO people will take the bait.

One part that is a given is that in the past open source intelligence have (apart from verification) shown to have effective options. You see Americans (at times not the brightest collection of people) have worked from the ‘Americans only’ recruitment campaign, which makes perfect sense. Yet without local and language skills many details tend to go missing. Even as certain parties adjusted this view, there is a limit that hinders any intelligence investigation at times. In that same light we can see Bellingcat. It can be a great source for investigative journalists, that is, if they can successfully verify the intelligence obtained.

In an equal light, the information that I gave would require scrutiny too. Was German intentional for the locations, or is there another reason (like anti English reasoning). The other part was the language in the video. Their level of German was high, which leads to more questions, but are the questions relevant? That remains the issue.

So as I ponder the issues I saw, I also question the quote “However, these photographs revealed the exact locations of the ISIS supporters in their photographs, in some cases even exposing their home addresses. Numerous Twitter users crowdsourced the geolocation of these photographs throughout the day on Saturday, eventually pinpointing the locations of several photographs shared by ISIS supporters“, what if the trail is false? What if the locations lead to people, not pro ISIS, but the arrest that follow could turn family members more extreme, possibly even into the hands of ISIS?

It is a valid question, but for now, there is no way to see what is what, not on the information I currently have. Even when we see that some of the photographs seem to lead of Hoofddorp, a small town next to Amsterdam international and really close to Amsterdam, with plenty of possible targets. Yet, in equal measure, it could be a foxhunt whilst the fox remained intentionally absent. Without more clear intelligence there is no way for me to tell, but that does not mean that there is no way to find out.

There is one clear danger in all this, this is a move that UKIP can exploit. If ISIS sympathisers are this deep in France and the Netherlands, it will scare too many Brits into the Brexit field, no matter if Brexit is the best solution or not, moving to the Brexit field out of fear will never be the right reason or action for that matter.

 

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