Tag Archives: Pla

Same competition with a typo

National Defence Magazine gave out an article a few hours ago where we see that the Middle East is expanding even further, the headline ‘UAE Looking to Expand Defense Industrial Base‘ is merely the introduction to a larger issue, an Emirati official gives that “The United Arab Emirates Ministry of Defence is making a push to beef up the nation’s defense industrial base“, in this Maj. Gen. Abdullah Al Sayyed Al Hashemi hands out a truth, he believes “It is not only important for the UAE, it is important for every single country that has … industry“, it is a truth, an undeniable one, even after we get the holistic fanfare in opposition by nations under the corporatocratic yoke (the EU) and the nations that already have one where they all claim that it is more bad than good, it is more diversifying that unifying, they all lie, plain and simple. A nation is only as good as its ability to have no opposition, or who is able to defend itself. Julius Caesar proved that point a little over two thousand years ago, we still see evidence of that every day when we are not averting our eyes, the State of Israel (with enemies of their state on at least two borders) have also shown that part, more important it showed the world what happens if those in denial get their way. We see evidence in two books that Julius wrote, the first is the conquest of Gaul, the second one was the Civil War, two kinds of wars yet his first rule of warfare applied both times. The Middle East is upgrading and with oil waning as a dependent force, the circle is set to defence, a first handheld against those in denial of what Iran is willing and able to do, even as there are larger tears in the statement “Al Hashemi said during a press conference that investments in defense technologies will help the UAE diversify its economy“, we need to acknowledge that these tears are surviving because of the truth in them, it might partially be seen in “UAE-based company Halcon received a $980 million contract award for a variety of ammunition“, yet we realise that one billion an economy does not make. Yet “As the UAE works to improve its industrial base, it will also need to ensure it sustains its current and future equipment adequately, he said, noting that contracts awarded during the show included a mix of spare parts and sustainment in addition to weapons sales” shows a much larger consultancy and service minded task is ahead of the UAE, it needs to be service minded and there is the facet that will drive home an additional 4-7 billion over the next 5 years alone, with optional entrenchment of various services down the road. The corporatocratic foundation of the EU is in denial, but they will soon see that the EU is about to lost 2-4 billion in revenue to Middle Eastern partners in the near future. I state here the word ‘partners’ as Saudi Arabia has been on a similar track for a few years now and they are both optionally in a stage to be in each other’s fairway soon enough. Even as we see that Saudi Arabia is more about manufacturing, we see the statement that Al Hashemi makes with “We have to keep that availability of services available to be able to maintain the same capability

If National Defence Magazine (at https://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/articles/2019/11/21/uae-looking-to-expand-its-defense-industrial-base) is correct with “The last day of the air show wrapped up with about $4.9 billion worth of contract awards over the course of the week“, we see that the UAE is heading for a lucrative next few years, it might not be enough, but it is a first version out of the oil industry and there is more on consultancy and services soon enough. Here we see the versions that matter; it was given by Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord: “meetings would be held with industrial partners to discuss challenges. Saudi Arabia is focused on jobs and localizing production and manufacturing, she said, whereas the UAE is putting a premium on technology transfers“, yet ‘technology transfer‘ is basically a loaded canon, it should and will include consultancy and services, services on goods and people, making for a much larger stage, in addition, with 5G it is a larger manifest, the larger settings of armed forces and communications whilst 5G is not contemplated in the past seeks a much larger tenure of mobile hardware than we sought possible. People forget that the military have been pushing mobile technologies in the past and this will be pushed more and more. Not mobile industries that we rely on, but military point to point technologies on a 5G speed stream, it is not completely understood, some might run to the Raytheon pages and rely on “Lewis predicted that 5G will be foundational for new military technologies such as “robots, artificial intelligence and a number of advanced sensing devices.” Fast, reliable and strong communications are crucial to executing high-stakes military operations. The Trump Administration recently ordered a national spectrum policy to keep the U.S. in the lead when it comes to advanced wireless communications“, yet larger issues remain with limiting access to mobile technology and point to point systems, which in the case of rural warfare makes all the difference and even as we decide not to talk about it, we see that others (basically not the EU and not the US) are behind, they are lagging in 5G communication to a much larger degree and the UAE has figured out (well it was a known strategy really) that being ahead in services and consultancy solutions in armed response would be the ticket to go, did you really think that armed response is limited to weapons?

Raytheon was on that horse in 2016 when it applied for licensing to test “U.S. defense contractor Raytheon Missile Systems wants a special temporary authorization (STA) from the FCC so that it can test a new broadband technology and see if it meets both the demands of a U.S. Department of Defense customer and the commercial marketplace“, some focussed on the delays and feedback we see “General John Hyten, commander of Air Force Space Command, called the GPS Operational Control System project a “disaster” due to escalating costs and delays. Raytheon told Reuters that it was still fully committed to delivering the modernized GPS ground controls envisioned and required by the Air Force” yet the story behind this (at https://apps.fcc.gov/oetcf/els/reports/STA_Print.cfm?mode=current&application_seq=69216&RequestTimeout=1000) is larger than you think. The size of the article is not what was used, not what is required, it is that their advantage has been smaller than anyone expected, basically there are indications (not evidence) that Huawei surpassed these applications or better stated, Chinese defence has a much better system more advanced out there and it did so no later than Q2 2017 (partial speculation), so not testing, but actively being used and the UAE is seeking a services based organisation allowing for access and servicing such equipment, or at least make a push in that direction. In that part some might recall the article by Liu Zhen, last January (at https://www.scmp.com/news/china/military/article/2184493/why-5g-battleground-us-and-china-also-fight-military-supremacy), there we see (read: read about) Zhou Zhaoxiong, a senior engineer at China Mobile IoT Company giving us “Military equipment embedded with communication devices can also form the internet of things, he added. The communication can take place from device to device, without satellites or early-warning planes, saving those limited resources for other uses and significantly lowering the cost of a military operation, according to a 2017 report in China Defence News, a mouthpiece of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA)” it was not the stage of what was to come, but on what was achieved and it scared the US into all kinds of messes, we do know that communication in any war is essential and it seems that the Chinese have a larger advantage there.

This is the engine that the UAE will be trying to tap into, it is also the one direction that the US is really unwilling to give into, so there will be a much larger battle to come regarding what Americans will allow what others are allowed to do, and that is where they strike out in the Middle East, they are seeing opportunity in a defence setting where they optionally end up have the advantage, the EU cannot compete with the UAE because of their tight links to the US and their corporations and when we see the people that have links to the degree they have with the US, China is seeing a lager advantage to partner up with the UAE and the KSA, that is the larger fight we will see in the foreseeable future, and even as the US is showing a larger fight with Huawei, it is not the real fight and more people are starting to get on board with the larger stage, the US can no longer compete in more than one field and that is what is biting the US to a larger degree.

How does this matter?

Well that is simple, the UAE (and the KSA) have larger military needs towards manufacturing and servicing, as they ally to a larger degree there is a larger need serviced in military needs and that means two things, the escalation in the Middle East (regarding military hardware requirements) can be addressed on a near global base, giving both players a larger handheld on the global scene that is not oil based, beyond that it allows for a larger growth in the near future, with new optional partners over time we see a larger growth in the Middle East soon enough, it might ‘just’ be arms and weapons initially, but there is a larger foot for growth and it will push the Middle East (except Iran of course) to a much larger degree than expected. Yet there is also momentum to be considered, even as both the KSA and the UAE have strong ties to the US markets, there is a rift visible, the US internally created it and if it does not address this there is every indication that it will cost the US a lot more than it bargained for in the near future to come, I will let you consider those details, yet do not take too long, there are at least 4 markets where it applies to and in that regard I will leave you with one hint It was given out yesterday and the list is seen (at http://raytheon.mediaroom.com/2019-11-21-Raytheon-honors-54-suppliers-for-excellent-performance), can you see which two mentions should optionally not be there?

In some ways American ego does not falter in our view, it seems to have short term needs and that is where we see the first failure and that is where they should have though a little further than their noses (but that is merely my interpretation on the situation).

So have a great weekend! The weekend ends in 59 hours (for me at least) #JustSaying

 

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What did I say?

Last night I got a news push from the Washington Post. It took me more than a second to let the news sink in. You see, I have been advocating Common Cyber Sense for a while and apart from the odd General being ignorant beyond belief, I expected for the most that certain players in the SIGINT game would have their ducks in a row. Yet, the opposite seems to be true when we see ‘NSA contractor charged with stealing top secret data‘ (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/government-contractor-arrested-for-stealing-top-secret-data/2016/10/05/99eeb62a-8b19-11e6-875e-2c1bfe943b66_story.html), the evidence becomes blatantly obvious that matters in the SIGINT industry are nowhere near as acceptable as we think they are. The quote “Harold Thomas Martin III, 51, who did technology work for Booz Allen Hamilton, was charged with theft of government property and unauthorized removal and retention of classified materials, authorities said. According to two U.S. officials familiar with the case, he is suspected of “hoarding” classified materials going back as far as a decade in his house and car, and the recent leak of the hacking tools tipped investigators to what he was doing“, so between the lines we read that it took a mistake after a decade for the investigators to find out? No wonder the NSA is now afraid of the PLA Cyber Division!

In this light, not only do I get to tell you ‘I told you so‘, I need to show you a quote from July 1st 2013, where I wrote “So if we consider the digital version, and consider that most intelligence organisations use Security Enhanced Unix servers, then just accessing these documents without others knowing this is pretty much a ‘no no’. EVEN if he had access, there would be a log, and as such there is also a mention if that document was copied in any way. It is not impossible to get a hold of this, but with each document, his chance of getting caught grows quicker and quicker“, so I questioned elements of the Edward Snowden case, because my knowledge of Security Enhanced Unix servers, which is actually an NSA ‘invention’, now it seems to become more and more obvious that the NSA has no flipping clue what is going on their servers. They seem to be unaware of what gets moved and more important, if the NSA has any cloud coverage, there is with this new case enough doubt to voice the concern that the NSA has no quality control on its systems or who gets to see data, and with the involvement of a second Booz Allen Hamilton employee, the issue becomes, have they opened up the NSA systems for their opponents (the PLA Cyber division being the most likely candidate) to currently be in possession of a copy of all their data?

If you think I am exaggerating, then realise that two people syphoned off terabytes of data for the term of a decade, and even after Snowden became visible, Harold Thomas Martin III was able to continue this for an additional 3 years, giving ample worry that the NSA needs to be thoroughly sanitised. More important, the unique position the NSA had should now be considered a clear and present danger to the security of the United States. I think it is sad and not irony that the NSA became its own worst enemy.

This is seen not in just the fact that Harold Thomas Martin III moved top secret data home, whilst he was at work a mere FSB or PLA intern could just jimmy the front door and copy all the USB devices. So basically he was potentially giving away data on Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) systems, which would be nice for the PLA Cyber Unit(s), as they did not have the capacity to create this themselves. So whilst they were accused for allegedly trying to get a hold of data on the laptop of Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez (2008), they possibly laughed as they were just climbing into a window and taking all day to copy all the sweet classified data in the land (presumption, not a given fact). So he in equal measure pissed off the US, India and Russia. What a lovely day that must have been. In that regard, the Affidavit of Special Agent Jeremy Bucalo almost reads like a ‘love story’. With statements like “knowingly converted to his own use, or the use of another, property of the United States valued in excess of $1,000“. Can we all agree that although essential and correct, the affidavit reads like a joke? I mean that with no disrespect to the FBI, or the Special agent. I meant that in regard to the required personal viewed text: “Harold Thomas Martin III, has knowingly and intentionally endangered the safety and security of the United States, by placing top secret information and its multi-billion dollar value in unmonitored locations“, I do feel that there is a truth in the quote “The FBI’s Behavioural Analysis Unit is working on a psychological assessment, officials said. “This definitely is different” from other leak cases, one U.S. official said. “That’s why it’s taking us awhile to figure it out.”“. It is my personal view that I agree with this, I agree because I think I speculatively figured out the puzzle. He was a reservist, Reserve Navy and a Lieutenant at 51. So the Navy might not see him as ‘full’ or ‘equal’, this might have been his way, to read these documents at night, knowing that they will never have this level of clearance for such an amount of Top Secret information. With every additional document he would feel more in par with Naval Captains and Admirals, he would feel above all the others and if there was ever a conversation with people who did know, he had the option to leave the slightest hint that he was on that level, perhaps stating that he was also an NSA contractor. He star would suddenly be high with Commanders and higher. It is a personal speculation into the mind of Harold Thomas Martin III.

When we look at 18 U.S. Code Chapter 115 – TREASON, SEDITION, AND SUBVERSIVE ACTIVITIES. We see at paragraph 2381 “Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States“, now if we see the following elements ‘giving them aid and comfort within the United States‘ and the other elements are clearly stated as ‘or’ a case of treason could be made. In my view a person like that was guilty of treason the moment Top Secret materials were removed or copied from there assigned location and without proper clearance moved to an unsecure location. As an IT person Harold Thomas Martin III should have known better, there is no case of presumption of innocence. The fact that I made a case that he might have a mental issues does not mitigate it in any way, to do this in excess of a decade and even more insidious to do this for years after Edward Snowden got found out is also matter of concern.

The NSA has a sizeable problem, not just because of these two individuals, but because their servers should have has a massive upgrade years ago, in addition, the fact that contractors got away with all this is in equal measure even more insulting to a failing NSA. I can only hope that GCHQ has its ducks properly in a row, because they have had 3 years to overhaul their system (so tempted to put an exclamation mark here). You see, we have all known that for pretty much all of us, our value is now data. No longer people, or technologies, but data and to see 2 cases at the NSA, what was once so secret that even the KGB remained clueless is now, what we should regard as a debatable place. This should really hurt in the hearts of those who have faithfully served its corridors in the past and even today. In addition, the issues raised around 2005 by the CIA and other agencies regarding the reliability of contractors is now a wide open field, because those opposing it and those blocking data integration are proven correctly.

This now gets us to a linked matter. You see, it is not just the fact that the government is trailing in this field, because that has been an eternal issue. The issue is that these systems, due to the likes of Harold Thomas Martin III and Edward Snowden could be in danger of intrusions by organised crime.

For those thinking that I am nuts (on the road to becoming a Mars bar), to them I need to raise the issue of USB security, an issue raised by Wired Magazine in 2014. The fact that the USB is not just used to get data out, if malware was added to the stick, if it was custom enough, many malware systems might not pick up on it and that means that whomever got into the house, they could have added software, so that on the next run to copy a project, the system might have been opened up to other events. There is no way to prove that this happened, yet the fact remains that this is possible and the additional fact that this was happening for over 10 years is equally disturbing, because it means that the NSA monitoring systems are inadequate to spot unauthorised activities. These elements have at present all been proven, so there.

I think it is time for TRUSIX to convene again and consider another path, a path where USB sticks get a very different formatting and that its embedded encryption require the user, the location and the hardware id to be encrypted within the stick, in addition the stocks need to work with a native encryption mode that does not allow off site usage. Perhaps this is already happening, yet it was possible for Judas tainted Highwayman Harold to walk away with the goods, so something is not working at present. I am amazed that a system like that was not in place for the longest of times. I certainly hope that Director Robert Hannigan at GCHQ has been convening with his technology directors. In addition that there are some from Oxford and some from Cambridge, so that their natural aversion to the other, will bring a more competitive product with higher quality, which would serve all of GCHQ. #JustSaying

The one part where this will have an impact is the election, because this has been happening during an entire Democratic administration, so that will look massively sloppy in the eyes of pretty much every one, too bad Benghazi emails were not left that much under the radar, because that could have helped the Clinton election campaign immensely. Still, there are technology and resource issues. The fact that Booz Allen Hamilton gets mentioned again is unfortunate, yet this should only be a partial focus as they have 22,000 employees, so statistically speaking the number of transgressions is in that regard insignificant. What is significant is how these two got vetted and passed all their clearances. In addition to this there is the issue of operation centres. You see, if there has been data breaches, have there been system breaches? The question derives directly from the fact that data was taken off site and there were no flags or alerts for a decade. So at this point the valid question becomes whether NSOC and NTOC have similar flaws, which now places US Homeland Security in speculated direct data dangers. My consideration in this regard came from earlier mentions in this article. If any US opponent has a clue in this regard, what would be the repercussions, in addition, the question (due to my admitted ignorance) would be, did Edward Snowden have any knowledge of Harold Thomas Martin III, if so, was this revealed in any conversation Snowden would have had with a member of the FSB (there is absolutely no doubt that they had a ‘conversation’ with Edward Snowden whilst he was in sunny Moscow. If so, what data dangers is Homeland Security facing? If data was copied, it is not impossible that data was moved. If that has happened, any data event with any specific flag?

Now the next example is purely fictional!

What if conditionally an <!important> (or whatever flag the NSA uses in their data sets) was added or removed? If it was used to give weight to certain data observations, like a cleaning pass, the pass would either be useless, or misdirecting. All possible just because Harold Thomas Martin III had to ‘satisfy’ his ego. This is not whether it happened or not, this is about whether it was possible, which would give added voice to the NSA issues in play and the reliability of data. This is a clear issue when we consider that false journalistic stories give way to doubt anything the journalist has written, any issue with a prosecutor and all those cases need reviewing, so do you think it is any different for IT people who have blatantly disregarded data security issues? This is not some Market Researcher who faked response data, this is collected data which would have been intervened with, endangering the people these systems should protect. As stated, this is speculative, but there is a reality in all this, so the NSA will need to sanitise data and sources from the last 10 years. There is no telling what they will dig up. For me it is interesting to see this regarding Snowden, because I had my issues with him and how he just got data away from there. Now there is a chance that the NSA gets to rename their servers to NSA_Siff_01 to NSA_Siff_nn, wouldn’t that be the rudest wake up call for them? I reckon they forgot the old rules, the one being that technology moves at the speed of your fastest employee + 1 and the human ego remain the most dangerous opponent when it involves security procedures.

 

 

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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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Brilliance or Donkey mode?

The Guardian gives us two stories. One is of course all about the iPhone 7. At https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/sep/07/apple-iphone-no-headphone-jack-second-generation-watch we see the revolution of another iteration by Apple. The interesting side is that the head jack is no more, so no headset plugging into your phone. The quote “one that tech pundits predict could have consumers staying away in droves” is one that I find debatable. You see, the article goes on (via two sides) on how head jacks need to remain. Yet Apple decided on a model that is more waterproof. A statement that I find slightly debatable as there is still a lightning connector and speaker holes. Yet that could be an error on my side. What is striking is the quote “Apple announced another new product on Wednesday – AirPods, a pair of barely-larger-than-earplugs headphones that Schiller said use a new kind of chip to deliver a “magical experience” without the usual hassle of Bluetooth pairing and un-pairing“, which means a new era of listening technology. I will not go deeper into that side, especially as I have no idea on the Airpods, yet one side unmentioned is that these ways of transmitting ‘audio’ means that the battery will see a new level of draining. Whether this is better or worse than the head jack is one I can only speculate on. What is a given is that these moves are usually paired with the gravitas of cajones that tends to change the technological battlefield by a fair bit, so it might not be a donkey idea but a brilliant one. Time will tell which one it is. So far Apple remained quiet on the field of true technical innovation so the bar is open on the gamble, but the fallout could be one worth watching.

The other side gives us the consoles. The lacking brilliance of Sony has been evident for a little while and now that they have released batch 1 of the PlayStation Pro for this November, pre-orders are off the hook. Yet in my view, this is more definitely going to be the Donkey idea for a long time. Apart from the price which is not too bad, the massive issue now is that they are offering 4K gaming. Now apart from it not actually being 4K gaming (for now), those in charge of this were blatantly lacking brainpower when setting together this package. You see 1TB just does not cut it. Consider 4K.com (at http://4k.com/news/unsexy-hard-drive-technology-needs-to-keep-up-with-4k-4872/) gives us “Given that a single minute of full ultra HD 4K video in native resolution takes up a full 2 GB of storage memory, large amounts of drive space become more crucial than ever before“. Now, games and movies are not the same, but consider that cut scenes are still going to be large and the average game has at least 30 minutes of cut scenes. That’s 60GB, which exceeds the Blu-Ray disc, which is not an issue for 4K Blu-ray’s, but how about your storage? What happens when you run out of space? I warned about this with the initial PS4 and 500 GB, so I updated to 2TB immediately. Now, that does not worry me, because I am not the average player, yet let’s not forget that after 10 games, the 500 GB edition had run out of space, what do you think 4K gaming will do with a 1TB drive? To equip that system with anything less than 2TB was sheer stupidity!

Even Microsoft saw that one coming and gave all these new versions a 2TB drive. It is likely that the Scorpion will have more than 2TB, but we will have to see. So not only did Sony drop the ball on hardware, they did it TWICE in a row, the same mistake. It seems that someone there is not thinking things through!

By the way, do not take my word for it, Sony themselves announced the new Blu-ray standard with a 1TB disc in March 2014, so I reckon that they are creating their own slippery slope all by themselves. Microsoft only needs to release the original Mass Effect trilogy on 4K within 6 months of releasing Andromeda and Sony could lose a massive stake in the gaming population. EA has clearly said that this would not happen, yet Microsoft has an option it did not have ever before, it has a title both gaming sides revere and desire. If that becomes a XB1 exclusive, Sony would end up crying a river of losses.

 

Still there is now a given we have not seen until these new systems, Sony botched the ball a second time and this time, the Sony fans might not be as forgiving as before, not only because of the initial PS4 launch fiasco (most day one games were not ready and the big title was delayed by well over 40 weeks). The issues that some faced with HD space, an issue most had not experienced on the PS3 gave more stress than people bargained for and the clarity of drive space is a lot more obvious on the PSPro than it was on the PS4.

So even if we see Sony to be in the ‘not so bright mode’, where should we see Apple? As stated before, I am not certain as there is no way to expect how the people will react to the new requirement of Airpods, the fact that the phone will now be waterproof could be the quality band aid the iPhone fans will accept as a trade-off. However, at $229 they are not the cheapest solution, so that also counts against them. Anyway, with the lightning adapter the old solution remains operational and if that cable is included with the iPhone 7 (yea right!) Phone owners would not have anything to complain about. Time will tell how Apple is seen. I think that they took a bold step in another direction and that might not be a bad thing.

Another part I found debatable was the quote Julie Ask, VP and principal analyst at Forrester Research made. When we see “They’re not trying to win the race to the bottom like [competitors] Samsung or Huawei; they tend to go after the middle-class consumer that can afford the products“, we have to wonder what her data proves. Not unlike the claims she made on Bloomberg, there are a few sides that are actively ignored. For one, Huawei is NOT a bottom competitor (the quote was very peculiarly phrased), Huawei has shown to be an Android top runner and has been giving a stronger bang for the buck than the iPhone has been giving for the longest of time. My issue with Huawei is not the quality of hardware, but the limiting of availability of the higher models is an issue, one that seems to be due through agreements with the telecom companies, which is a big no no in my view. Which now also reflects back to the iPhone, which is now standard have larger sized phones, making Huawei trail. This is what the show from Apple revealed. Now for the fun part, I mentioned on my blog on July 28th 2016 how stupid this move was in the article ‘What we waste away‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2016/07/28/what-we-waste-away/), so less than 8 weeks later I am proven correct in more than one way. So not only is Huawei not offering a decent storage driven system, it is likely to lose a lot of market share as the 32GB Huawei P9 is pretty much the same price as the iPhone 7 128 GB Jet Black. How did Huawei not see this coming? Let’s not forget that (rumour) their CEO would be able to ask PLA Unit 61398 (Chinese Cyber warfare) what Apple was planning to do, nobody in charge there considered calling the honourable Ren Zhengfei informing him on the actions that ‘Imperialistic America’ was planning (read: Apple CEO)?

Brilliance can be found in all levels of technology, yet many of the players here seem to have been asleep these last 8 weeks.

Anybody for pancakes?

 

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