Tag Archives: Netherlands

The TV as a weapon

There is an old saying and there are alternatives to it. In Australia we say:

Q: Do you know the difference between ABC and Channel 7?
A: ABC shows you how bad things are in the world, Channel 7 shows you how screwed up your TV life is.

In the Netherlands it used to be NOS versus SBS6, and every nation has its own version. So what happens, when we see the millions of smart TV’s and Apple enters the race opposing Netflix? The New Daily gives the quote: “Spielberg who appeared live, touted the revival of his Amazing Stories anthology, while Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, and Steve Carrell then took the stage to discuss another Apple original, The Morning Show” with the added: “a range of new streaming entertainment services, as well as financial products, at a star-studded event Tuesday morning“. the message was apparently clearly brought and when we get to see: “Apple is expected to spend US$2 billion this year on original content to challenge established steaming players Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and the forthcoming Disney+ service“, we need to realise that Apple has an optional goldmine in the making. In addition we see: “Hot on the heels of the Google game streaming service, Stadia, Apple launched Apple Arcade in a bid to grab a slice of the multi-billion dollar gaming market“, which will be fun to watch as Apple has shown a keen interest in negating the need of gamers (which is not all their fault in all honesty), will they figure it out this time? At least with the established Android gaming platform size, Google does have a huge advantage for now. OK, apple does have a gaming community on IOS and I was not short selling that (yes, I was). Yet the overall view I have seen in the past gives a better light of gaming to gamers on the android, than the Apple (a mere personal view on the matter).

So here we are watching two streams being created. First is the Netflix drain by Apple and as soon as they realise that 2 billion is a mere stack of money, to get the TV series that get the people to sign up, even besides Netflix will requires series that surpass The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, The Haunting of Hill House, Bird Box and a few other gems, Netflix has the writers, will Apple have them? We all know that Game of Thrones will enter their final season, so there are plenty of needy watchers to pick up after that conclusion, yet if Apple does not have the IP, they are not going anywhere. Even with the added Spielberg Amazing Stories anthology, which was actually quite decent when it was initially released on VHS, they will still have quite the task at hand. More important, even if they have all the ducks in a row, they will still having to deal with the market shares of Hulu, Stan, Amazon and the forthcoming Disney + service as well (and a few local others). Do they have the IP when that goes online? I can see half a dozen series that could be hits, and I am not the only one. Plenty of dedicated story tellers will have a list. Yet, does the Apple executive (whomever Tim Cook handed this hot potato to), does that person have a clue? The difference between a good presentation and an actual good idea comes with a gap that can fit the Grand Canyon and many Apple executives are a little lost when they face that gap.

It goes further, having a great idea is not enough and most visionaries have that in mind. to see that part we need to reflect on: “Apple, which became the world’s first trillion-dollar company in August last year, had been dropping cryptic hints about the launch event for weeks, sending the internet rumour-mill into overdrive“, yet since then Apple lost well over 20% of its value and the next few ‘slam bam’ misers will dent that even further. The next part is interesting as it impacts gaming and TV.

To get a great product you need at the very least (before marketing gets to have a go):

  1. A script, a story that will compel the reader to go on. Loading it with sex and graphics will only hold a small percentage for some time. A great example of a near perfect script was I Claudius by Robert Graves.
  2. A cast that works well together, each good actors, but together they become ambrosia, wine and nitro-glycerine, all at the same time. Again I Claudius became the golden standard. With Derek Jacobi, George Baker, Siân Phillips, Brian Blessed, James Faulkner, John Hurt, Patrick Steward, Ian Ogilvy, John Castle, and John Rhys-Davies we got something unheard of. They were already good actors, yet together they created greatness, they are now globally celebrities, but in 1976 that was not a given, they were iron rods and the director shaped them into high tempered steel increasing their mark close to tenfold.
  3. The director. Not merely the man implying 3, 2, 1, action! No, he is the person that becomes the visual visionary and Herbert Wise delivered. The evidence is seen in his work. As a director he has 91 marks on his career rod and when we look at it all, it is all decent work, insightful work, yet I Claudius is a 180 cm person walking in Indonesia (where the average height is 152cm), it stood out tall above all others. So, even as we accept that I Claudius could not have been done without the cast, it equally required the right director to make it work.
  4. The Producer (in this case the BBC), who had to put up the dough with a need of blind faith and no idea how much they were going to lose. These four required to be completely in sync and they were as such I Claudius is still seen as the best BBC drama ever produced, even now, 43 years later we see that new TV series merely hope to equal this achievement, thinking that it can be surpassed is mere folly (yet optionally not impossible).

This is the setting that Apple is trying to get into and throwing 2 billion at it thinking that it will be easy by presenting a few famous people is as reliable as getting rich by spending what you have on blow and hookers. It looks pretty, yet it is an absolute non-winner 100% of the time. Finding the right people will be the task for Apple and as they are all competing for the same pig through increasing the value of good scriptwriters, yet they too are starting to look critical at the offers, because they lose value with every failure and often enough, they do not get to blame the director of the production company, they get to be the scapegoat. So they will require their optional bosses to set an income and levels of freedom and commitment to a much higher degree.

As for gaming

Gaming has a similar setting. It will be about getting the gamers on board and that requires a great product, in an age where Apple has been all about marketed iteration, they are vying for innovation? In a market they do not seem to really comprehend? I am slightly puzzled.

There the director is the project director; the cast are the graphic designers and the scripters and coders. The art and stage might have similar issues, but finding these parts to intertwine and interconnect is where good coders are required. Then there is the learning curve of the game. And it gets to be worse fast when it becomes a product relying on micro transactions. Ubisoft, Bethesda too never quite worked it out and the first screw up will diminish the value of the event overnight. Apple will have to steer clear of micro transactions in the first year by a certainty of 100% and in the subsequent 2-3 years for 90%. Can they afford that game? Their essential path will be the RPG games that call the horn of attendance for gamers on a global scale, if not, than this becomes a long term project that will not end up becoming a winner. In that they have additional competition form makers like Nintendo, their Switch is still gaining momentum and the games I have seen lined up for that system shows that Nintendo is taking this momentum extremely serious. I wonder if Apple has thought this through beyond their return on investment expectations from executives who rely in spreadsheets and lack essential data skills other than identifying their ROI and bonus column. Once that goes south Apple will take a few hits in short succession and they will be painful. If it goes wrong (I am not stating or indication that this is the case), they could face the hits where their total value is a mere 50% of what it was on September 16th 2018.

Yes, Apple could rise high with streaming on TV and consoles, but in the end they require the golden eggs to get there and I am not convinced that they have what it takes to get there. For the most it is an art, I have been involved in gaming since 1984 and I still miss elements in all it. It is both science and an art, the moment you separate the two is the moment you lose. That has been an essential given for close to two decades. Ubisoft got it wrong more than once, Bethesda took massive hits with miscalculations and they are dedicated experts in that field, I doubt Apple has seen that shortfall at present.

To illustrate that we need to look at a game called the Division 2, an Ubisoft product. Important fact, it is seen as a really good game, better than the first version and steps forward, at times leaps forward, some reviewers have stated that is sets a new bar of online gaming and that is awesome to learn. Now add the two headlines: ‘Ubisoft Patches Annoying ‘The Division 2’ Skills Bug‘, as well as ‘The Division 2 PC players report a 100% CPU usage issue, Ubisoft is investigating‘, on games this size this will always happen and the fact that it is looked at and fixed this early is really good, so this is not about pulling Division 2 down. This is what happens on games this big depending on online elements, which is besides server down times. A consequence of online gaming and in this Apple is as I expect it not ready to see gaming to the higher levels it needs to see it.

If they see these two elements as a method to use the TV as a weapon, a data weapon for additional wealth, we see a company that is about to get hit really hard. That is in the foundation of it all. I believe that they are making the same mistake that Microsoft made. Microsoft is talking a good talk, yet the people all over the world are seeing the impact, the most powerful console in the world is being surpassed by the weakest of the three. Their setting of always online, their bullying tactics, their essential inability to listen to gamers (or ignoring what they are being told) is what is dragging down Microsoft and Apple will experience that lesson in a very hard way soon enough if they walk that same silly line.

Just like Microsoft, we see a company that more likely than not does not comprehend gamers and will falter because of corporate ROI needs soon enough. They see the two as connected to grow better, but these are two separate entities (TV and Gaming) representing 6 dimensions that can go in any direction, when these executives learn that lesson the hard way and they are looking what to do next, I will offer Tim Cook my last $99 for the company (Apple, a fruit of the loom division).

Could I be massively wrong?

Absolutely, yet the Apple marketing need of the hype and their viral needs seem to be on my side, as the gaming industry as a whole tends to be as gossipy as any old tea lady, so word would have circulated into my inner core of contacts much earlier, as such I think that Apple is not ready, nowhere near ready, personally I do hope to be proven wrong. I would love to see more contenders in the gaming world, more choice, more innovation and better games is the consequence from that war, and I do love playing good games.

I will keep you all posted on what happens next.

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, IT, Media, movies, Science

Electing Stupid People?

It was the first thought that I had when I got confronted with ‘ECB Injects More Stimulus as Draghi Reveals Slashed Forecasts‘, trillion upon trillion added in debt and none of it worked, the Europeans merely added 3 trillion in debt and they have nothing to show for it. The ECB has become a clear and present danger to the quality of life of Europeans. At present every European should consider that they have an added €5,859 of debt that they have to pay, so in a family of 4 that amounts to €23,437 with the optional €156 of interest every month. A setting where we see that close to 53% cannot make that payment, so that is merely the interest with no chance of ever paying the actual debt. A debt that was a bad idea and has been a bad idea for over 4 years and still the ECB does whatever makes themselves and their friends rich. No accountability for their actions, no transparency and no way to undo the damage they push unto others. Still people ask me why I am a Brexit person. The acts of the ECB are a clear indication that the EU has failed its people to the largest extent.

So as Bloomberg gives us “But bank stocks dropped as the new loans will have less favorable terms than the ECB’s previous operation. There may also be concern about the ECB’s gloomy prognosis for the economy and the limited ammunition it has left if things worsen“, I merely see that what I mentioned in my blog for over 2 years is becoming a reality. the article (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-03-07/draghi-slashes-ecb-outlook-as-officials-inject-more-stimulus) also gives us “The ECB is reverting to more monetary support just three months after policy makers decided to end their bond-buying program and hoped to start weaning the euro-area economy off its crisis-era stimulus. The export-dependent European economy buckled under the weight of trade tensions, a slowdown in China and the uncertainties around Brexit.” This is making matters worse. You see the stage of ‘the uncertainties around Brexit‘ is one that the ECB gunned for trying desperately to keep the UK in and the actions of the ECB are pushing the UK away. Yes I agree that matters will become worse, yet only for the short term, the UK will over time rise faster and faster whilst the economies of France and Germany will become more and more stagnant towards facilitating to the other 23 players, as they are merely there to get an unrealistic economy and the loans that go with it. When I speculate, I come to the conclusion that Austria will get an expected debt that equals their GDP of 83% by 2021, Belgium is racing towards 108%, optionally by November 2020, Italy is likely to be at 135% by then, Spain is actually doing well, but it will not continue, if they are really lucky they will remain steady at 97%, France will climb to 99.2% and those nations are adding trillions more debt, because the ECB is not kept in check. that is the Europe that Europe is steering to and no one is asking the serious questions on how retirements will falter before 2028, the cost of living no longer realistic and there is no way to keep any economy in check because tee was never any real stage to keep it in check, with merely the impossibility to cast members out. Greece has a chain around its neck that will soon surpass the current debt level of 179% of GDP. So whilst ABC News over sells it with “Provisional data released Thursday show the economy grew 1.9 percent in 2018, down from a 2.1 percent estimate by the government, but closer to the European Commission forecast of 2 percent“, all whilst Greek Industrial news gives us: ‘Greek Economy Loses Steam in Q4, Recovery on Course‘, which might be really true as summer is coming for Greece so from that we accept that the Greek economy numbers will fluctuate positively. And those travelling to Greece tend to see a Greek alternative location, not an alternative country which is great for Greece but the overall numbers are merely positive, not overly positive. The weather has been part of that. There has been a tendency for people in Europe to select less foreign destinations for their vacations, especially the Netherlands and Belgium. This part is not the most important art, yet it still matters. If one nation is off by 0.1% we see an impact, however it is Germany where the economic slowdown is the most visible, and from the past people in Germany get cautious really fast, the 2013 smash down taught them that the hard way. It would impact Spanish tourism by a fair bit. For France we see a similar impact but less in tourism, for them the game changes in other ways and it impacts the EU as well. French RFI reported that the OECD gave “Italy is likely to go into recession. France comes out well, relatively speaking, with 1.3 percent, exactly half the likely growth rate for the US economy“. I personally have some serious doubts on those numbers. If France ends up with 1.1% they would be lucky, as we already have a debate on 0.2%, nation after nations have ‘recovery’ idea’s and not one is staged in any rock solid situation, it is all fluid and most of them hide behind ‘Brexit uncertainty‘ whilst they are all desperate to see Brexit fail before it becomes a reality, their economies will all take a massive hit, even the UK however, the UK once out will be able to push forward momentum just for the UK not for the dozen members hanging on the coattails of the UK. That was the truth that the ECB and the EU commissions are so desperate to hide. The UK residents get fear mongering story, one after another. How there will be no toilet rolls, how things collapse and how values are soon gone. Yet the direct impact is ignored. Once out the UK can determine for the UK again, not have an usurper player setting policy.

For clarity: a usurper is a person who takes a position of power or importance illegally or by force. It does not seem to apply to the ECB, yet how are they setting policy that is pushing the Europeans into debt by trillions, even after the second stage where it did not impact the economy in a positive way? The moment it was switched off, the EU economy is showing to buckle, so how is such a stimulus ever going to be a solution?

When we see “offering banks cheap loans to try to help revive the economy“, well from my point of view, a plan to revive that has been going on for four years is not a plan to revive, it is a vegetation form of life that is being kept alive artificially, as it would have been dead for some time under any other condition. It is merely facilitating for large invoices on a cadaver that no longer has the ability to self-determine its life. And in this case the ECB is really ready to facilitate large invoices, the question becomes who gets that cash, the people of the EU merely get to pay the bill and there are questions that are not getting answered by anyone, giving us a much larger problem. Are people this stupid allowed to be elected into such powerful positions?

You tell me, because from my point of view it does not make sense, and it never did, not past 2015 anyway. It is one part that is wrong; we see even more when we give regards to the issues shown by the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/mar/07/ecb-to-keep-interest-rates-low-recession-fears-eurozone-banks). With: “The central bank for the 19 euro nations said it would launch a series of targeted, long-term refinancing operations (TLTROs) in September. These are to run until March 2021 to help banks roll over €720bn (£617bn) of ECB loans and to ward off a credit squeeze that could deepen the economic slowdown” we see a situation that could optionally be interpreted as: “we predict that we cannot pay the outstanding loan of €720 billion, so we are creating a new loan to pay the old loan. We will not mention that as our economic position is not as good, so the fact that this will come at a higher interest is something we will have to accept“, a danger I saw coming a mile away well before 2017. Greece was the most visible one, but not the only one, Italy is in a similar position with its 131% of GDP debt and it will go from bad to worse. With a current predicted debt of €2,526,450,000,000 its interest responsibility is beyond horrendous and that too is swept under the carpet. When we see these acts of stupidity and irresponsibility the Europeans do not have a clear prospect, they basically have seemingly no prospect at all. At present every EU nation will denounce my view, yet what will they say in 2024 when I am proven correct? What happens to the people born between 1956 and 1960 when they look at their pensions and see that they really cannot afford being alive having to pay their bills on what is left? What excuses will their governments and the ECB give them when these people get to hear: ‘OOPS!‘ The chaos that comes with it will be one we get to remember for generations. It will be the moment where all over Europe the life of a Ministry of Pensions official will have a speculated shorter lifespan than that of a crack addict overdosing.

It is all merely part of a larger issue, even as Reuters gives us less than 24 hours ago ‘German industrial orders post strongest drop in seven months‘, we forget that this also impacts shipping numbers, the Dutch harbour revenues, in addition the “Contracts for goods ‘Made in Germany’ were down by 2.6 percent on the month, Economy Ministry data showed on Friday, marking their steepest fall since June 2018 and confounding forecasts for a 0.5 percent increase” gives rise to questions. We accept that we cannot predict increases and decreases to some degree, yet the stage of +0.5% against a 2.6% drop is quite another matter. I also had an issue with: “The Federal Statistics Office put the revision down to large orders for December being reported late“. I am not stating that they were misreporting to us, yet the question on the validity and quality of their forecasting pipeline shows to be more than a mere glitch, it shows that elements are either ignored or not properly doused in awareness. I am not sure which of the two is more dangerous, as the faltering positivity could also give rise to an increased risk of negated negativity through managed unawareness. I do not believe that either form exists by itself. I have accused some of orchestrated reporting through delayed bad news. I personally believe that this is a much larger problem in the EU, and it needs to be addressed really soon and to a much larger degree than it ever was. For that we need to make one final jump. It was last year September when Forbes gave us (at https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelfoster/2018/09/29/bernankes-2020-prediction-is-dead-wrong/#3132f00c4df5) “Something strange is happening in the investment-bank and hedge-fund world: a growing sense that the next recession (which, by the way, Wall Street has long been wrongly predicting for years) finally has a due date: 2020“. By itself it is not really an issue in any way shape or form. We have all seen these predictions, all based on actual numbers before. I made a similar prediction before Forbes got there (yay me), yet when we see: “the likelihood of a 2020 recession has risen due to, among other things, a tight labour market and higher borrowing costs“, as well as “former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is getting in on the act, saying a boom “is going to hit the economy in a big way this year and next year. Then in 2020, Wile E. Coyote is going to go off the cliff“, we see a lot of it coming to fruition at present and still the ECB pushes forward? We understand that this should be about actual data and not predictions, yet the numbers have been towards the negative for some time now and pushing for more stimuli whilst there is enough data to see it as folly to become reality is another matter entirely. There is a play handed out to players, whilst whomever owns the bank is seeing exactly which player has which card and the players are kept in the dark that the banks have camera’s looking over the shoulder of every player, which indicates that the banks can decide at any moment to sell short the play made by any player. It is great to be told that you can bluff, whilst the bank gets to see the cards all the players have. So the bank decides to set a stimulus play whilst they know that all players have losing hands, how does that go over with the players in the room?

And we allow these banks to be elected to set the stage as such in the first place?

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Media, Politics

In support of others

Sometimes we have to put our own differences aside and stand with others. There is absolutely no chance that this will not happen to you. At some point, you will go in the ‘damn the torpedo’s’ direction and give support to those who fight the good cause. This is where I found myself when I was confronted with ‘Anti-vaxx ‘mobs’: doctors face harassment campaigns on Facebook‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/feb/27/facebook-anti-vaxx-harassment-campaigns-doctors-fight-back). First of all, there is no way anyone could support trolling, no matter what the cause is, and in the second degree there is the need to stand up for the issue at hand, it is our health and those of our children, it is important to make a stand.

Now we get to a side that is important. I am in favour of vaccination to a degree, I fully support children vaccination. I also support the bill to eliminate personal and philosophical exemptions for childhood vaccinations. I saw it in the Netherlands, the place where for religious reasons vaccinations were rejected, that place is where there was an outbreak of whooping cough, not something you want a child to experience ever. Other places we see the renewed introduction of measles. All issue that could have been prevented. As such I support that side of vaccination. So when we are introduced to the naturopath Elias Kass, his statements at the Senate committee and five days after his brief testimony, he had compiled a photo gallery with hundreds of screenshots of abusive comments, largely through anti-vaxx Facebook pages. It becomes worse, when we see the quote “an online ecosystem rife with anti-vaccine misinformation, thanks in part to Facebook’s recommendation algorithms and targeted advertising” we see how complete the failure of Facebook is at present. We also see the accusation of “partially instigated by Larry Cook and Erin Elizabeth, two anti-vaccine activists who have built large Facebook platforms“, it comes with the added statement “Cook has gained notoriety as a full-time anti-vaxxer who has raised nearly $80,000 on GoFundMe to pay for fear-mongering anti-vaccine Facebook ads which he targets at mothers. His Facebook page, Stop Mandatory Vaccinations (SMV), has about 130,000 followers, while the related closed SMV Facebook group has more than 150,000 members“. A system that sets close to 250,000 guns aimed at a single target and that is an issue that needs to be addressed.

There are two sides to nearly every story, yet the danger of not vaccinating is just too high to contemplate. People are directed through lies and these anti-vaxx people start it with ‘Vaccines are dangerous and unnecessary for vibrant health‘ (at http://www.stopmandatoryvaccination.com/), A small part is seen when we consider a source: “Measles is one of the leading vaccine-preventable disease causes of death. In 1980, 2.6 million people died of it, and in 1990, 545,000 died; by 2014, global vaccination programs had reduced the number of deaths from measles to 73,000“, it is worse when we consider ‘Measles Elimination in the United States‘ (The Journal of Infectious Diseases, Volume 189, Issue Supplement_1, 1 May 2004, Pages S1–S3). Here we see two parts that are a direct setting. In the WW1 era we get “an average of 5300 measles-related deaths during 1912–1916 (26 deaths/ 1000 reported cases)“, 2.6% of the population would dies of the disease and those were the lucky ones. The rest was rewarded with extras, an average of 150,000 patients had respiratory complications and 4000 patients had encephalitis each year. An estimated 48,000 persons with measles being hospitalized every year, and that is merely the US, in Europe that number would be higher. So when the website gives us: ‘Vaccine Free Living: The Unvaccinated Are Not A Problem‘, we see what I consider to be a lie, the non-vaccinated are the problem, plain and simple, as we see the ‘return’ measles, polio and other diseases, the claim that unvaccinated are not the problem is pretty much blown away. In the Netherlands there was a resurgence of polio in the Bible belt area (no vaccinations through religious convictions) and the impact was huge, 71 people ended up with polio, 71 people confronted with the risk of paralyses. And in the end only 10 recovered, two died and the others ended with paralyses, 59 sitting mostly in a chair not able to move, so parents need to consider the real sources and those who are merely claiming to know the truth. I am not telling you to trust or believe me. I am telling you to go to an educated person, your GP, or an actual a medical professional. The fact that in the last outbreak only 14% recovered from the disease, only 14%, the rest ended up in a bad place, we see that vaccination was essential and there are more diseases where this is the case. And that does not exempt the 14% group, they will optionally face complications down the time track.

When we see the numbers and the statistics on the impact of these diseases, the position of Elias Kass makes perfect sense as does the bill to remove philosophical objection. When we consider the associated press last week with: “Of the 63 cases confirmed in Clark County, 55 were not immunized against measles, immunization status couldn’t be verified for six cases, and two cases involved a child who had received only a single dose of the MMR vaccine“, we see a direct danger when we consider the impact as it was, when the measles get a revitalisation through stupidity, we need to take another look at the site, and we need to set the stage where we can hold Larry Cook, Kelly Galagher and Julianna Pearce financially accountable for the inflicted damage they catered for. In this case ‘freedom of speech’ should not apply, not when it endangers the lives of children; that needs to be a first. Larry might be standing there with a big smile, but he is not laughing. Another blog (at https://www.patheos.com/blogs/withoutacrystalball/2019/02/larry-cook-scared-his-financial-misdeeds-will-be-exposed/) gives us a few points. The piece refers to a piece with a journalist who took an investigation on the money trail. The blog gives us: “Cook told the group he knows the article will paint him in a very negative light. His assumption is probably accurate given his shady background of soliciting money from his followers“, whilst his open response (on that page) includes “She made it seem like it is illegal to earn money online in any way, shape or form” here we see the issue, as he is not denying that he was making money, yet is he an educated and graduated medical professional? He is allegedly making money on the backs of gullible people, in addition, it is a path that endangers the lives of children and that is where parents need to wake up and get the right information, from the right people, not some activist, not a blogger (me), but from a trained medical practitioner.

And the blog gives another part. With: “Two weeks ago Cook opened a new GoFundMe campaign titled “Save Vaccine Exemptions in the USA.” He started the campaign due to the growing pressure in Washington to stop personal exemptions for vaccines. Initially, he said the money would help the parents affected in the area, but he decided to change the fundraiser days later to support the ‘nation.’“, the setting of a changed formation of funding gathering is one that is debatable even under the most positive views.

And Facebook is facilitating this dangerous path; indeed, it is possible that Google facilitates this as well as most video’s use YouTube to get as wide an audience as possible.

We have to be in support of others at times, and when the debate on the actions are optionally endangering children, those who supported that path need to be put into the limelight and the world needs to be made aware that their efforts endangered the lives of children, it is the only way to get the truth out. This was never about some finger pointing at pharmaceutical industries, I know, because when I was inoculated (the first post WW2 generation) I saw the impact, I was almost never ever sick, I avoided the diseases that plagued some, but I remained healthy, and in those days pharmaceutical industries did not have political power, not to the degree they have today. Perhaps I was lucky, perhaps not. I only know that the child vaccinations were effective, when we see that the 50’s had 542.000 cases reported, and we now see that this number has been diminished to 0.1%, we see that the vaccination was a success and vaccination was essential to get there. To have a disease that covered 1% of the population and diminish it to 1 per 100,000, we know that vaccination was the only way to get there. The same for polio, where it once ruled the lives of half a million cases to a mere 22 reported cases in 2017, we need to see another side. As the anti-vaxx people are so intent on blaming greed driven pharmaceutical industries (not entirely unwarranted), we see that the inventor of the polio vaccine Jonas Salk did not make a penny out of it, he never patented it and gave the cure away, the act of something that would have made him richer than Bill Gates and Larry Ellison combined, his act instigated the option to truly eradicate a debilitating disease from this world.

And all this comes with a second side as well, can we allow for the freedom of speech to continue when it endangers the lives of children, more important, when a non-medical professional makes claims that pushes mothers to endanger the lives of their children, is it freedom of speech or would it optionally be negligent homicide?

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Law, Media, Politics, Science

The next wave

We have seen the waves; we have seen the mention and the messages. According to President Trump ISIS has been defeated, the easiest counter is: ‘Really? How?‘ In these theatres of war the setting of defeat is not easily established. In my personal view the stage for defeat when they are all dead. ISIS does not adhere to government policy, it does not accept established articles of war and these people go on until they draw breath no more. It gets to be worse than this. According to one (not the most reliable source) we get: ‘ISIS terrorists flee with $200 million in cash‘, the issue is not merely the money; it is what it enabled to be done. We know that the ISIS fighters scrammed like a load of roaches into every direction they could. Now consider that even after 36 years, I could cripple infrastructures in the Netherlands, the UK, Belgium, France, Germany, Denmark and Sweden with less than 10% of these funds, so how much damage could lone wolves do in these nations when that money get cryptoed (a crypto currency tip toe event) and softly spread over these lone wolves? How much damage does Europe have to look forward to? How much funding for attacks on Israel comes next? With optional weapons via Ukraine, explosives via Germany and Sweden, as well as drugs and chemicals? The war with ISIS is far from over, yet now that the US is pulling back, now that gaps are appearing all over the place, how long until that money is spread all over the map inciting attacks in too many places to properly police?

And that is before you realise that most nations are lacking in getting any level of result in fighting these lone wolves. Some are too badly trained and often intentionally to make sure that the intelligence arrogance remains, yet the dozen of operatives that have been working in the dark will be able to strike and with or without that boatload of cash, we need to consider other sources. We start with the Independent who gave us ‘Jim Matthews was prosecuted for fighting with a group backed by the British military‘, a person prosecuted for fighting ISIS in Syria. Now we can argue that what was done had to be done by the law and by the standard of non-combatants acting in a theatre of war (no matter what side they were on), to some degree it makes sense. Yet in that light the quote “Terror “preparation” offences have been used to prosecute foreign fighters as well as terror plotters in the UK” could be considered in another light. Whilst the law focusses on those they recognise and flag as optional targets for prosecution, there are hundreds of people that never made the limelight and as such will go undetected. For this we use the Toronto Sun, where we saw: “When Canadians heard Abu Huzaifa al-Kanadi describe how he killed and executed people on a New York Times podcast, they were outraged. Why was this man from the Toronto area not behind bars?” With the addition “Abu Huzaifa al-Kanadi was already known to police and they hadn’t charged him. Not because he had recanted what he told the Times podcast Caliphate but because like almost all of the other returning ISIS fighters, police were not able to collect the kind of evidence needed to convict in a court of law“, now we know that Canadians are only hard in the ice rink and beyond that socially a little soft, but to see this and consider that under the laws there is a lager mess all over Europe, how much anger is Europe in? These people are not beyond identity fraud and even as the Dutch have their A-game in place, the same cannot be said for scores of places like Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, Romania, Hungary and even Sweden has a few flaws in place. All nations where entry into Europe becomes an open playground, that is the ISIS setting we have to fear, a fear that is not going away and will become more and more real soon enough. Even as we see the mention of the events in France a year ago regarding Redouane Lakdim, I believe that the Independent was right (at https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/isis-europe-terror-attacks-france-shooting-uk-france-terrorist-groups-islamist-danger-a8270941.html) with “the attack in the Carcassonne region by a single gunman, said to be a Moroccan petty criminal from the area, proves very little about the strength of Isis as a continuing threat“, for the most they are right, yet the push to prosecute 800 European ISIS fighters in Europe is a debatable wisdom, the danger that another 100 arrive in Europe unnoticed and they start their ‘consideration’ using $200 million is not without risk, moreover when some of the 800 avoid prosecution, or even are prosecuted to remain under house arrest, or low level security incarceration, only to disappear a few weeks later is a larger risk than most consider. We might think that it is going towards ‘Suicide attack in Afghan capital kills at least 31 people during Persian New Year‘, an event like that in Europe would be very visible, yet that is not the danger that Europe faces. The larger dangers are the explosives that cripple energy in places like Leverkusen, Dusseldorf, Lopik, the Vattenfall energy locations, attacks that cripple European infrastructure for more than a few days. Not the 31 bodies but an infrastructure that impacts quality of life and national economies is the danger the Europeans are not ready for. Their infrastructure is not ready, their manpower is insufficient and ISIS only needs to get it right once, after that any subsequent success will impact Europeans more and more. That was forever the danger Europe faced. Even as I wrote about it on February 17th (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2019/02/17/two-sides-of-currency/) in my article ‘Two sides of currency‘, where I wrote: “there would be a massive security concern in Europe, the fact that we now see ‘the focus has been on trying to raise standards in the swift sharing of information‘ is evidence that the EU has been sitting on their hands for too long a time“, a failure on immigration data, the issue of well over 500,000 refugees and no verifiable data whether they are real refugees or ISIS refugees relocating to better shores. The fat that this failure is there and has been thee for over 6 years is a much larger concern and most nations are too underfunded and too shallow to do something about it, their data systems inferior, their collected data unshared and all of it with a lack of verification. That is what several EU states face and now as we are confronted that 200 million has gone walkabout with ISIS fighter, do you still think that there is little to worry about?

The fact that only last October we were faced with: “Greece is taking urgent action to tackle Islamist extremists who have infiltrated a large refugee camp on Lesbos and are alleged to be coercing migrants into joining Islamic State“, proves me right. The only matter is if one got found out, how many were not? There is actually no way to tell, but any politician claiming that there is no issue is too much of a security hazard to be taken seriously. There are a whole host of reasons on why nothing has happened yet, but the largest danger is not whether they will strike, but will we be able to stop it when they do? The danger of 6 years of inaction on almost every side is also a danger that complacency might have set in long ago, there is however no way too tell if it was already too late, with the dispersal of ISIS a new age starts and it is one where lone wolves optionally get to make a name for themselves causing all kinds of new clusters of self-proclaimed jihadists and we have no way to determine the dangers, yet what is a real danger is 200 million out in the open. The amount of goods and people that it buys, especially in this day and age is a little too much unsettling.

We can only wait and see the impact, for those not in that battle, we can only remain observant and wait when it happens. Europe is a little too large and 800 people can remain unnoticed for too long a time, especially in this day and age.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Law, Media, Military, Politics

Our BBC alarm clock

It is Thursday, I just finished a baguette with salami and I was just going over the news (as one does) and I was hit by something stated in the BBC. I was not sure on how to react, but it made me take another look at certain matters. The event was initially about Saudi Arabia and their need for a nuclear reactor, they want to diversify their energy options. The one nation where sunlight would imply the need for large Elon Musk batteries to light Riyadh at night, whilst they get charged by free sunlight during the day, that one element is seen. Yet, they want a nuclear reactor requiring a huge water source to cool the entire matter. OK, that is their choice, and I am fine with it (no one cares what I agree with, I don’t care myself either). Yet the setting changes when I am confronted with two parts. The article (at https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-47296641) gives a few elements that become debatable in more than one way. So as I am listening to golden oldies like Atom Bomb Baby by The Five Stars (my sense of humour remains in place), as well as Civilization (Bongo Bongo Bongo) by Danny Kaye, songs that matter in this case. The first quote is: “Whistleblowers told the panel it could destabilise the Middle East by boosting nuclear weapons proliferation“, so why whistle blowers? Political impact does not require whistle blowers, there is no guarantee that it would result in destabilisation (it is likely though), and WHY EXACTLY did the BBC ‘hide’ behind the Whistle-blower statement?

The second part in all this is: “Lawmakers have been critical of the plan as it would violate US laws guarding against the transfer of nuclear technology that could be used to support a weapons programme“. So how does that relate to the Iran nuclear accords? America might have left it, but they were in the centre of all this. So, exactly why is there optionally a law against it and seemingly Iran was catered to, to begin with, and is still catered to at present by Europe. At this point everyone needs to sit down and really consider what their political representatives are up to all over the globe, because things are not really adding up at present.

Finally we get: “They also believe giving Saudi Arabia access to nuclear technology would spark a dangerous arms race in the volatile region. But concerns around rival Iran developing nuclear technology are also at play, according to US media“, if that is the case why allow talks with Iran to get it in the first place? And how exactly is ‘according to US media’ a valid response? And exactly who are the players in that US media mess? Does that not worry you?

Then we get the house report, based on whistle-blowers (who exactly?) where we see: “within the US, strong private commercial interests have been pressing aggressively for the transfer of highly sensitive nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia

There is a larger play in this; the issue becomes who exactly are those ‘private commercial interests’? It seems that the media (including the BBC) is all about creating awareness whilst those writers are all about ‘not stepping on any toes’ and in light of the linked term ‘nuclear weapons proliferation‘, yet the BBC does not disappoint. We also get:

The commercial entities mentioned in the report are:

  • IP3 International, a private company led by ex-military officers and security officials that organised a group of US companies to build “dozens of nuclear power plants” in Saudi Arabia
  • ACU Strategic Partners, a nuclear power consultancy led by British-American Alex Copson
  • Colony NorthStar, Mr Barrack’s real estate investment firm
  • Flynn Intel Group, a consultancy and lobby set up by Michael Flynn.

Now we are off to the races! You see, even as IP3 International is visible on their website (at www.ip3international.com) with: ‘A global enterprise to develop sustainable energy and security infrastructure‘, we need to realise that this is a presentation play (everyone is allowed to do that). Sustainable is often used as it more than not can be replaced with renewable energy (which is still not the same), the larger issue is that there is a sizeable debate as it is also an increasing controversy over whether nuclear energy can be considered sustainable energy.

The textbook gives us: “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs“, which is reflected in: Kutscher, C.F.; Milford, J.B.; Kreith, F. (2018). Principles of Sustainable Energy Systems, Third Edition, I believe that IP3 International is revenue driven and one tends to go to the players that can pay their bill, I would see it as an innovative thought to go to Saudi Arabia, if only (according to law) it was not illegal. Yet there is the second stump in all this, you cannot start that conversation with Iran and not optionally refuse to have it with Saudi Arabia. And now the music is still on par with the events in play, because the song at present is ‘Grandma Plays the Numbers’ by Wynonie Harris. It is not a bet and the players are not hedging their bets, the issue becomes Politico (at https://www.politico.eu/article/mohammad-javad-zarif-iran-to-eu-give-us-more-to-preserve-nuclear-deal/), which gives us “On the nuclear deal, from which Trump’s withdrew last year, Zarif said a so-called special purpose vehicle set up by the EU to allow European countries to keep trading with Iran despite U.S. sanctions fell short of what Europeans had promised. In a clear message to European powers, he said domestic support for the deal was fragile — with 51 percent of Iranians in favor, according to an opinion poll“, it is not about the deal, it is to some extent as to where 49% of Iran wants to be as the margin is too close to call an actual win. What is important is where the hardliners stand and what path they want to walk on, it makes all the difference in this.

The other party that draws attention in this is Michael Flynn and his Flynn Intel Group. Even as it is seen as a consultancy group, the issue is optionally seen with “In January 2017, National Security Council staff began to raise concerns that these plans were inappropriate and possibly illegal, and that Flynn had a potentially criminal conflict of interest“, the imperative part is ‘possibly illegal‘, it does not state ‘should be regarded as illegal‘, the difference makes for all the difference here and the fact that this is not clearly stated implies that this is a political push, optionally against Saudi Arabia, and optionally to keep nuclear energy out of the middle east completely. When we realise that the issue changes, it does not merely require Europe to stop any Iran nuclear deal, it gives different levels of rise to the political pressures in play. The fact that we see (source: Ars Technica): “Flynn had decided to adopt IP3’s plan to develop “dozens of nuclear power plants” in Saudi Arabia during the transition while he was still serving as an advisor to IP3. Harvey also said that Barrack would be made a special representative, with credentials equivalent to an ambassador, to guide the plan“, yet the entire matter of ‘there is bi-partisan concern regarding Saudi Arabia’s access to nuclear technology‘, we seem to get a little less informed that this is not about the material itself, it is about upgrading the fuel required to upgrade it to weapons grade, that is the actual turkey in the oven.

And it is at this point that Bing Crosby starts sing Pistol Packin’ Mama. You see, we seem to forget that there are a few ways to upgrade Uranium towards a less acceptable use. It’s like stone washing your jeans (a small reference to alternative ways to upgrade Uranium), when you start looking into the matter, you can find several ways to upgrade the fuel to a boom point. That is where the issue is hiding at and when we go back to the case where people re happy to in like Flynn with Saudi Arabia, we get confronted with a memo that is seemingly linking former NSA Director Keith Alexander, when we look at the sources, there is a lot alleged, implied and not a whole lot valued as evidence (which does not make it true or false). The part that matter is that this is a lot larger and there is not a whole lot of information on the legality of it all (in one way or another).

The mess goes on and even NPR gets involved. We are all treated to: “Let’s take a closer look now at what a transfer of highly sensitive nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia would mean for U.S. national security“, yet how valid is that today? The first nuclear reactor was built in 1942, it is an energy solution that has been in place for almost 77 years. There are now 31 nations that employ nuclear energy, nations that include Armenia, Argentine, Romania, Netherlands, Sweden, Slovakia, the UAE and Switzerland. So how sensitive is that technology? If the technology is up to date (which might be sensitive) does that not also include that the reactors are safer? Should safety not be the largest concern in all this?

Well that is not entirely the story and it is Ars Technical that gives us: ““We remain concerned that the Saudi Government has refused, for many years, to consider any agreement that includes so-called ‘Gold Standard’ requirements against pursuing technologies to enrich uranium and reprocess plutonium-laden spent nuclear fuel,” the senators wrote in their letter to Trump.” that was the part that the BBC did not give us, so even as part of that still needs to be vetted, yet if true, there would be a partial issue, yet in all this we still see that Europe is willing to give it to Iran and as such, should Saudi Arabia not be entitled to that choice too?

When we see the elements in play is it actual about stopping Saudi Arabia getting a nuclear reactor, or is it about stopping a handful of former admirals and generals laying their fingers on $200 billion? In the end whatever happens, the players forget that Russia is eager to serve Saudi Arabia with the 20 nuclear reactors that Saudi Arabia in committed to switch on in under 36 months. It seems to me that the United States or those reporting via the US media are all about removing the US as the larger economic power. That is how I personally would read it, the entire mess has too many angles and too many ‘possibly illegal‘ and ‘concern regarding access to nuclear technology‘, whilst the list of nations with nuclear reactors is already way out of control, and we read this, whilst we know that Russia and China are eager to put their fingers on that much revenue, when you want to buy a car that does at least 250Km, are you going to wait in front of the Ferrari door, or do you accept that Lamborghini and Aston Martin are not second choice cars, they are equally great choices in really fast cars. When we realise that part of the equation, we might consider that the Americans: General (ret.) John M. Keane, U.S. Army, General (ret.) Keith Alexander, U.S. Army, Rear Admiral (ret.) Michael Hewitt, U.S. Navy, Admiral (ret.) Kirkland H. Donald, U.S. Navy, Lieutenant General (ret.) Patrick J. O’Reilly, U.S. Army are not merely Americans, they might be the few true Americans left in that place. We catered to Wall Street for so long, we forget that innovation and had work and proper commercial deals made America great, short selling stock a lot less so, and even as we ‘acknowledge’ that these fine gentleman are still being mentored (or is that insightful advised) by Robert McFarlane, we need to realise that the entire media mess is set in motion for very different reasons. I am not pretending to know the reason, yet those so called whistle-blowers have their own alternative need, I wonder if we ever get the truth on that part of this much larger equation.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Law, Media, Military, Politics, Science

Evolving an infrastructure

The news is all over the place when it comes to Saudi Arabia. Reuters (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-saudi-defense-naval/saudi-arabia-signs-warship-construction-deal-with-frances-naval-group-idUSKCN1Q60B0), with the headline ‘Saudi Arabia signs warship construction deal with France’s Naval Group‘, then there is Arab News giving us (at http://www.arabnews.com/node/1453471/saudi-arabia) ‘Saudi crown prince oversees $20bn of deals with Pakistan‘, all opportunities lost to the US and Europe (well most of Europe). A lot of it is ‘part of its efforts to develop domestic manufacturing capabilities‘, which they have been very clear about for some time now. All options lost. In part to the circus that Turkey had put in place. Some give us: ‘Turkey Has Not Revealed All About Khashoggi Killing: President Erdogan‘, others give us: ‘Khashoggi’s remains may have been burned in well‘, items like ‘not all revealed‘, ‘may have been‘, as well as a few other implied making statements that leave too much doubt on the matter. The fact that Turkey apparently has not revealed all implies orchestration. As the lackey of Iran it makes perfect sense, the fact that the media has been skating around that issue for months now does not. The fact that Turkey is trying to push the US, whilst they should have revealed all the facts and evidence is a much larger issue.

Let’s be clear, I am not stating that Saudi Arabia is innocent (because I cannot tell), I am not stating that nothing happened (something happened that is clear, what exactly happened is another matter), I am merely claiming that there are too many issues in all this from the very beginning. When it comes to the media, we see close to 18 million placements on ‘Kim Kardashian’ and ‘boobs’, we see 889,000 placements on ‘Jamal Khashoggi’ and ‘tapes’, yet how many made a critical analyses on the tapes? We see mention in papers on: “a man alleged to be Maher Mutreb, the suspected coordinator of the mission who worked for some time in the kingdom’s embassy in London, is quoted as replying to the Washington Post columnist“, we see ‘alleged’, so how were the tapes critically analysed? We also see: “The report adds that a later recording captures another “hitman”, Mustafa al-Madani, who was used as a body double to Khashoggi, saying: “It’s really creepy that I am wearing the clothes of someone who was killed minutes ago.”” as we see ‘a later recording’ should that not be one and the same recording? Then there is ‘transcript of a tape recording’, the fact that it is stated to be ‘a recording’ not ‘the recording’ is also mind for analyses and that list goes on.

We see claims by a Kardashian getting numerous cross references, with Khashoggi there is a consistent stream of doubts and debatable issues. As I stated, I am not saying nothing happened, I am merely wondering what actually happened. The fact that Turkey goes crying to USA to put pressure on Saudi Arabia merely gives more and more debate and debatable doubt to the entire setting. We also see the mention at the UN of “The Special Rapporteur travelled to Ankara and Istanbul with British Baroness Helena Kennedy, a forensics expert who sits in the House of Lords, and homicide investigator Paul Johnston“, yet in the BBC we see: “Evidence suggests the murder of Jamal Khashoggi was planned at the highest level, Baroness Helena Kennedy says“, yet here the BBC states ‘evidence suggests’, which is something different from ‘Evidence shows beyond reasonable doubt’ and for the most that should initially suffice if the stakes were not too high for comfort. In the UK the Press Gazette gives us: “After an initial examination of the evidence, Callamard found that Khashoggi was the victim of a “brutal and premeditated killing planned and perpetrated by officials of the state of Saudi Arabia”“, yet when we look on we also get claims on quotes made in 2017. All an emotional package to push us in a certain direction, and whilst we might accept: “Woefully inadequate time and access was granted to Turkish investigators to conduct a professional and effective crime-scene examination and search required by international standards for investigation,” the fact is that the event occurred on Saudi territory and the Turkish government has no jurisdiction there. If there was such a level of evidence with the tapes, they would have been made public, yet we see more and more games played by the Turkish government making the issue debatable again and again. We can argue that if they had gone out and revealed everything, the entire setting would be different. They basically invalidated themselves with all the preposterous claims.

This is when we go by the source I used (at https://pressgazette.co.uk/jamal-khashoggi-un-saudi-investigation/). As stated there are issues, there really are, but the emotional games played using the media takes away a lot of credibility. As we were shown “Germany halted arms exports to Saudi Arabia over what it said was the uncertainty surrounding the murder“, we now see well over $20 billion in deals going to other places. That is the name of the game. The issues are important because the governments being holier than though, yet refusing to hold Turkey to account over well over 200 incarcerated journalists is part of the entire package. It comes across as a mockery when we get treated to Turkish journalist Nazli Ilicak who is now apparently serving life plus 6 years in prison. Now we can agree that one should not be the other and I would agree with this. Yet the fact that there is doubt on many levels and the fact that the media kept on shouting and screaming ‘alleged‘ as well as ‘according to unnamed sources‘ whilst there is all kinds of issues in several directions is also a reason for some to not include certain parties. We can argue the same part in the stage with the USA, when we consider “The US Senate, in a largely symbolic gesture, voted in December to end US military support for the war in Yemen and blame the Saudi crown prince for the murder of Khashoggi“, this whilst we can agree that a partial case can be made for the Yemen conflict, the fact remains that the Houthi forces have been receiving support from both Iran as well as terrorist organisation Hezbollah, making the withdrawal by the US a bit questionable (yet not invalid), as for blaming the Crown Prince whilst there has been no evidence showing his involvement is just slightly too silly. If there was clear evidence beyond all reasonable doubt that would be one part, but that part has not been given, now once in 16 weeks makes the claim silly, France was happy though, so there is that to consider.

There is still space for the Dutch if they reconsider a few places. I am decently certain that Saudi Arabia would love to get their ships upgraded with the Dutch Goalkeeper system which is (for the most) a defensive system. And that is merely the defence part, there is a much larger goal for Saudi Arabia and the Dutch could become contenders is a few ways. And in regards to the stage, is being critical about what is written that bad a position to have? I am not stating avoiding writing anything, merely be clear and produce evidence, if we demand it in some directions, should that same request not be in all directions?

The issues evolve even now. As we were introduced to: “Jubeir said the public prosecutor responsible for the case had sought evidence from Turkey but had received no response” is the reference to Adel al-Jubeir, Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs. The fact that evidence is not shared is also an issue; it could imply that there is no evidence at all making this hot potato no longer a potato, but a disaster in the making. If the evidence was so clear, it would have been in Turkey’s interest to share it with the world and all the media (to some degree), the media will refer to the event as leaking (like they normally do). I wonder when all the facts are clearly published, what would be left?

The fact that News24 also gives us “The CIA has concluded the Saudi operation was likely directed by the powerful crown prince” is now a growing concern. It is not ‘beyond all reasonable doubt‘, it is not ‘on the likelihood of probability‘ it is merely ‘was likely directed‘, implying that evidence is missing on a whole range of issues. So when we see all the unsupported accusations, all the calls for ending cooperation with Saudi Arabia, are we even surprised that Saudi Arabia is spending their cash somewhere else? And when we see the 500 billion and 185 billion go to alternative places, how will that impact economies? To be honest, I would love to get my fingers on the full report of homicide investigator Paul Johnston. It might clear up a whole truckload of issues, and perhaps leave too much reasonable doubt. I honestly do not know, yet I would love to find out.

So when we see that here truly is too much reasonable doubt and when the US hopes to make deals for the good of the economy, we will see what the decisions form Riyadh will be. The fact that 8 hours ago the news as given with ‘Sultan Bin Salman reviews prospects of cooperation with Russian space officials‘ is from my point of view a first message that Saudi Arabia is seeking more interactions on a global scale (read alternative cooperation partners), the fact that it is not going to Europe or the US should be a clear indication that there are troubles brewing under the Saudi sands, and more is coming when we look at the upcoming cutbacks that NASA will be facing.

When we see the amount of evolution that Saudi Arabia is trying to give its own infrastructure should be a massive input towards global economies, but so far the players needing it the most end up with the least, it could of course be a coincidence, but when we realise that it is not, can we actually place any blame, or should we merely blame our own politicians for bluffing whilst holding merely a pair of threes, I will let you decide on that one.

Too many questions and a lack of clear reporting contributed to all this, of that I personally have little to no doubt at all.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Law, Military, Politics

Bread and games

We seem to ignore the past, yet a lot of our lives revolve around the bread and games of the matter at hand. Yesterday, the LA Times (at https://www.latimes.com/entertainment/herocomplex/la-et-hc-star-wars-episode-9-wrap-photo-20190215-story.html) gave us the first image of Star Wars IX, part nine, the final part of the entire saga. Principle filming and photography finished yesterday, the cast is done. They are all in a state of upper excitement, perhaps some anxiety too. JJ Abrams is all over the place (in joy) and why should he not be? A trip that started in 1977 propelling Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford to heights never imagines before, that trip that started so long ago has been completed. For good measure we saw the added Rogue One and Solo added to the fold. And there is much to celebrate, a whole score of actors added the fold down the line and even if some were not immediately recognised in America, it is people like Peter Cushing, who was the Hammer House of Horror prodigal son, as well as one of the Dr Who players who added to the shine of the Star Wars making an epic story truly epic. Now we need to wait until Christmas to see the finalised version on the big screen, dozens of special effects experts will be wielding their mouses and pens to make magic reality and make the impression of special effects fade away and show us something that DARPA might have actually created, we can no longer tell the difference, the effects have been that stunning for a little while now.

Yet it is not just Star Wars, even if that is the most visible one. We are weeks away from Captain Marvel, soon to be followed by the conclusion of infinity wars (Endgame) and that s just for starters. When Jon Favreau started the Jungle Book in 2016, he might not have had a clue on what he started, but he did start something. In that same trend we will see in 2019 Lion King, Dumbo and Aladdin. Disney just woke up from slumber and is watching billions come their way. We should have reservations on Aladdin, not because of Will Smith, merely because of the shoes he has to fill, the role Robin Williams played was more than legendary, they broke the mould when he was done and it is one hell of a shadow to live up to, I do not envy Will Smith for doing so, yet I applaud his approach to the challenge.

The movies of 2019 will be comic book driven, Joker, New Mutants, X-men, Hellboy, they will all make an appearance, as will Frozen 2, It part 2 and many more. Many of us are planning our calendar one film at a time, trying to see as many as we can, this is how many changed the approach to their lives.

Even as some give us: “the Cost of living in Australia is 3.40% higher than in United States“, than we get “Rent in Australia is 10.04% lower than in United States“, which is massively bogus (as I personally see it). I found more than a dozen 160 square meter apartments in inner city places (not in LA, SF or NY mind you) that are close to 50% cheaper than in Sydney or London. And yes, when you add those (as well as Malibu, the Hamptons and a few other places, the rental prices tumble in the other direction), in addition, the rent in Australia merely seemed lower, the numbers are a little to skewed for my liking, the truth is simple. The cost of living is up all over the place, even now, yesterday I noticed that beef was up 10% that is the way the impact goes when food is thoroughly looked at. We might see the price of beer and think that it is not that expensive, but when the price is based on the need to buy 24 instead of a singular bottle, the scale shifts and not for merely one article, too many articles have speculatively been ‘loaded’ that way. It is not merely in Australia, the UK, many places in Europe, they all have an increased cost of living whilst the incomes have been frozen, in some cases for more than two years. When we see a source give us Levis 501 Or Similar at $98,24 (AU) whilst shops at the same time have prices that vary from $119 to $249, you know that there is a selective weighting in place, or merely some aggregated average that included ‘myworstonlineshopdotwhereever‘, one item already changed the cost between 21% and 154% (if we included the most expensive solution). That is where we are at least 21% more out of pocket for one item. There are a lot of prices that are on the mark and some might even have a seasonal nice discount. So when we are confronted in that stage of live, the bread and games we face matter, they matter a great deal. A list that includes a cinema ticket for less than $20, which is often enough wrong by at least $5, so how does your cost of living add up? How do the small items like popcorn and lemonade add to the pressure of your budget?

This month seems to be all about news on how places have a cost of living that is lower than their national average. Initially it sounds great for those living there, until you realise the other news (not really given to the reader) where we see: “Columbia area named 25th most dangerous in America“, yes there is a drawback to everything. So in one of the places where I was looking, I got treated to: 3 crimes in this area. What? Are you flipping kidding me? Three crimes over the last 4 weeks and one was the disturbance involving an unwanted person. How is that for pristine living? It is not actually that rosy for the entire city there were reported 135 thefts, 106 assaults and 138 arrests, which when you consider it includes Fraud, Forgery, threat complaints, and loads of drug incidents (which mostly includes having a joint) we see a place that Sandra Dee would happily call home.

These are all elements that impact out cost of living, the paths we take to get safely from work to home, the places where we buy stuff, where we get medication and groceries. It is all too some degree connected and the bread and games we have to escape it all is very much part of our lives. For a while we had true escapism via Netflix, and even as that part is not as shiny as it was, the financial geeks still see Netflix as the escape mechanism for most of the players. In that we need to recognise that Netflix over the last year has risen 45.63% since February 14, 2018 and is up trending, we need to see that St. Valentine is definitely in play in all this. You might not find live there, but many watchers are losing their hearts on the feeling of momentary bliss. This feeling relates to the big screen as well. As we seek more ways to escape the stagnating lives we lead, we see that the cinema and the home screen are the two reliable paths to follow (apart from gaming that is).

The question is how will this go on? As the movies come, we see consistent continuation, yet there is another problem. You see even as we see that 300,000 jobs were added, the direct impact is not seen, not in the workflow and not in the US reduction of debt. Others have stated this before me, and it is an important part. The workforce in the US is changing, yet I am not convinced that this is limited to the US, it is a global change. We see more and more that there is a high tier and a low tier of workers, yet the middle tier of workers seem to have been gone. The low tier is all there is in many places and that is where the problem resides. The low tier is definitely growing and more jobs, but they are often minimum wage jobs, there is no room for quality of life, merely contending with the cost of living and whilst most parents both work to make ends meet, we see a family break in place and the only glue left are the bread and games. The view that Reuters gives with ‘the economy was running out of workers‘ is not wrong yet it is not accurate either. Most companies are focussing on cheap labour where possible and that part is now running low. I personally believe that this shifting trend will push itself into the commonwealth and Europe as well. The middle group is either reduced to the lower group or merely pushed into retirement (for as long as that exists). I predict that there will be a rude awakening when we see that the low groups have little tax to pay, but the government have been overspending for too long being in the wrongful believe that the middle tier comes back (any day now they think), the moment that they realise that this will not happen, we will see a collective 68 thousand billion dollar debt that has no place to go, because adjustments that had to be made 4 years ago were never made. They had to be made before that but I reckon the point of no return was passed 4 years ago and now we see the essential need for bread and games. The governments do not want to people to wake up and see that there are no options left, the corporations want the bread and games so that people will not realise that they ended up with a really shitty deal in the end and the rest is looking forward to finding any kind of a solution where they end up in the high tier and they are willing to sell their soul to get there, the lower tier is just a road to nowhere and nothing.

This is exactly why politics is shifting in the US, with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her social agenda, we get to see the direct impact of the size of the lower tier, everyone wants her impact and the true stage where people like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez never has a chance in politics is now gone, greed driven America pushed the middle tier, the buffer of reason away, now we see the high tier (a few thousand) versus the low tier of millions and now Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has the platform she needed. So as we see Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez versus Bill Gates who actually made a really good case (not a console case mind you) and his correct vision gets to be blasted away by the millions who have had no quality of life for the longest of times. Now that the middle tier dissipates they have no future to look forward to either and now we see that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has a growing platform. And it is in that light where we see that Dutch Historian Rutger Bregman in Davos (at https://www.news.com.au/finance/money/wealth/dutch-historian-who-called-out-billionaires-at-davos-goes-viral-becomes-social-media-star/news-story/45d75de96d5161ed3bf9205d79a0c063) makes not one but three points. He mentions at 0:53 ‘What must Industry do to prevent a broad social backlash?‘, and now we see happen exactly that, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the upcoming broad social backlash that none of the industrials wanted, and they did this to themselves.

If she comes with Eisenhower methods (read: solutions), she will be the bane of industrials and the darling of the working class for 2 presidential elections and generations to come. The danger of bread and games, when the games become less rewarding and the bread turns stale, people start considering the bad place they were in. That setting was shown and basically proven by the Roman poet Decimus Iunius Iuvenalis well over 1900 years ago. Interesting that the industry forgot their history lessons, it might not lead to profit, but they could have avoided monumental losses, a harsh lesson that they might get to learn in the two years ahead.

Change is valuable; it lets the oppressed be tyrants!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Media, Politics, Science