Tag Archives: President Obama

At these shores

We have been ignorant, we have been in denial, and now we get to pay for it. it comes in a currency that we have not considered ever before. ISIS has arrived at the shores of Australia and we are seeing it just across the waters of the Philippines. The Guardian gives us ‘How and why Islamic State-linked rebels took over part of a Philippine city‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/29/explainer-how-and-why-islamic-state-took-over-part-of-a-philippine-city), there is no reply from me on how right or how wrong, I myself have been ignorant of the dangers in regards to the Philippines and perhaps our ignorance whether it will affect Indonesia in a similar manner. I can sum up the elements, but you are better off to go to the Guardian link I provided and go over the facts there yourself. The article is an excellent source of information, yet there are other elements that require attention. One part is seen in “his year-long presidency characterised by bloodshed, with a “war on drugs” that has left thousands of alleged drug addicts and suspected dealers dead. He has been condemned internationally for supporting vigilantism“, we see ‘condemned‘ whilst those other governments have not ever found any form of solution to settle the war on drugs. We can debate the ‘alleged drug addicts‘ to some degree as there is an alleged elements, yet he decided on a course no government has ever been willing to do, to make dealing and addiction both a crime, one that can be solved through execution. Is there a truth that when someone sees all those dead people taking drugs might be less interesting? We have to consider the issues as the Philippines has had its economic turmoil and bad times does impact anyone’s quality of life and we do know that drugs gives any person an escape from that. In addition, he has according to the Guardian made an appeal to other organisations to take up arms against Maute, it is the mention by Sidney Jones, the Jakarta-based director of the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict that gives us the impeding optional dangers to Indonesia as well. The quote: “In an October report, Jones predicted the current tumult. Facing losses in Syria and Iraq, Isis have increasingly looked to the Philippines to establish a province or “wilayat” in the region, the report said“, the question becomes: ‘Just the Philippines?

I have no direct answer, because both countries have collections of islands where oversight would be hard to say the least. Both places have area and villages in turmoil and in disarray. When we consider “They have been convinced by Isis that the answer to Mindanao’s problems is Islamic law“, yet this is just Maute. Is there any intelligence on how the other groups react to that? There are additional concerns as Maoist-led rebel talks in the Netherlands have halted. The US has blundered here too (my personal view) as US restrictions on arms supply have forced the Philippines to seek these products from China and Russia (Source: Reuters UK). That also gives Russia additional options to offer the Philippines more lucrative commercial solutions on a long term basis. It seems hilarious that it is ISIS that will hunker down with some success on the list of allies that the US has. In all this, it seems that the Maoist-led rebels are getting new options and perhaps an optional Philippine future which is a bit of a new-age surprise in a time when we considered the rise communism and Marxism a thing of the past. The question remains, once the Maute have been dealt with, what happens after that. There is clear movement as the US bungled a few diplomatic steps in light of the ISIS rise in the Philippines. Yet we must understand that the diplomatic picture here is a lot more complex than the Maute incident is currently giving visibility to. The Diplomat (at http://thediplomat.com/2017/05/why-is-the-philippines-turning-away-foreign-aid/) gave us “The Philippines under President Rodrigo Duterte recently rejected a 250 million euro ($280 million) foreign aid package from the European Union (EU) on the grounds that the EU is trying to enforce human rights regulations in exchange for its aid“, which is fair enough from both sides. Yet with ISIS trying to get ground here, why has there not been a stronger response from London/Canberra? With Australia now on the doorstep of ISIS, another solution would have been required. It makes sense that there are questions from both sides, and to give a view to the severity of either side whilst knowing all the elements would just be folly from my side. Yet there is now a start of the acceptance of ISIS by Maute, which changes the game to some effect. For one, US drones are off the table, as are several other options. As long as Maute is one this path, several players could end up with their options not on the table. As some try to impose what they call ‘minimum guidelines‘, we now call a hindrance to deal with ISIS, which means that the war on terror as some tend to call it will be minimised in efficiency.

Yet there is another side that Manilla needs to realise and it is stated by Chithra Purushothaman: “To think that foreign aid from China would be entirely altruistic with no strings attached would not be wise. While human rights regulations might not come attached to Chinese aid, there is the chance of slipping into a debt trap that Manila would find hard to escape.” We should argue in equal matter that Russia would have a similar approach and for them a foothold on the Philippines could be the new nightmare scenario for the US Navy.

So how will this move forward? The open direct and non-compromising statements from President Rodrigo Duterte might sound awesome to some, yet after the Maute incident, the Philippines would need to get back to any sort of business plan, meaning that the need for conceding in some way on pressures from the person who gave them the goods and the money would form a second wave of changes. In which direction could not be stated, but geographically speaking, the Philippines are too interesting a place to just ignore for both Russia and China.

So as we see that ISIS is now an issue on the doorstep of Australia, we need to wonder how Canberra will react to the latest events and if they see it as a threat at all. With a Filipino population in Australia now approaching 200,000, both ASIS and ASIO would have their hands full on getting a hold of data that could enable them to figure out how large the risks would be for Australia. They might have had a good handle on the data in the past, yet the change in the Philippines to opt for vigilantism also includes an additional risk to ID Fraud and officially handed out incorrect passports, which does not help anyone, not even the Manilla government. Now, this last part is speculation from my side, yet when we see the messages as to the promises made by the president, if it is in the interest of President Rodrigo Duterte to hand out new identities to those who came to his ‘aid’, do you think that getting a new passport would be the hardest thing to get? The problem becomes what some extremists would do when they do get that new identity. That is the worry for those not in the Philippines. In the end, as the news is still escalating over the last week. We will not know what will happen next. Even when we realise that the ISIS claim for the suicide bomb in Indonesia is a real issue, the parts that remain an unknown for now is how large ISIS has grown in Jakarta and where they are growing towards. We get “President Joko Widodo said Indonesia needed to accelerate plans to strengthen anti-terrorism laws to prevent new attacks” from Asian Age, yet the reality is that the Indonesian president required more than a mere anti-terrorism law. They need an actual battle plan. If Mauta in Marawi is not actively stopped, ISIS would have a decent free go to anyone in the Sulawesi sea, which also implies that Brunei in play to some degree. We might be fooled by the Speech of President Trump to both Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and other distinguished guests, the ISIS issue is in South-East Asia and there is little evidence that it will let up soon. As President Trump gives a very different message to the Muslim nations (compared to former President Obama), there are indications that his version is more readily accepted. There is more as we see CNN, where we see an attack by Phelim Kline of Human Rights watch, which is her version and I am not stating that it is an incorrect one, yet when we read “Any assertion by any world leader, including US President Donald Trump, that Duterte is doing ‘an unbelievable job’ by cheerleading a murderous campaign that has killed more than 7,000 Filipinos is not only a gross insult to those victims and their family members, but sends a signal to Duterte and his willing executioners that their lawless killing spree can continue with a vengeance without fear of international criticism and repercussions“, I am not stating her version to be incorrect or inaccurate. Yet in this age, when we see that nobody can hold a budget, that services are denied more and more, and the people on a global scale have to accept that drug users are poor people who alas have a habit and they then take away services for thousands of people. The war on drugs has been a humongous failure on a global scale that is the denial of many people and even more politicians. Politicians who hide behind ‘a level of acceptance and tolerance‘, which is their right, yet some people have decided that enough is enough and started another path. The path that these politicians considered to be a non-option is being walked by one nation at present. Their fear is not how far will it go, their actual fear is what happens when it makes an actual difference. It takes one success for adaption to propagate a plan that is not humane.

As CNN makes a quick reference to a photo event (at http://edition.cnn.com/interactive/2017/03/world/city-of-the-dead/), yet here we see part that the CNN people offered as evidence, yet did not talk about loudly in that opposition to the Philippine president: “Methamphetamine, or “shabu” as it’s known locally, is used by 860,000 — 49% — of the country’s 1.8 million drug users, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime“, 2% of the entire Philippine population is addicted to drugs! The CDC sets the Percentage of persons 12 years of age and over with any illicit drug use at 10.2%, which was a 2014 number, but it gives a rather large realisation, the US war on drugs has been lost on pretty much every field, the politicians are in denial because admittance is not just the only issue, the people would demand action and the US government has no options or funds for that. In addition, the stat is not entirely fair as the CDC goes for ‘illicit drug use‘ which is a much larger concept than the use of narcotics. So there is an unbalanced comparison. Yet when a nation has 2% of its population set to addicts, we need to accept that there is a much larger problem, it does not make the actions of President Rodrigo Duterte the right one, but I wonder if this at present is the only one remaining. When we consider the Netherlands with its population and its liberal approach of drugs, the numbers indicate that its narcotics addition is set to a mere 0.5%, I have no idea how reliable it is, yet the numbers come from the Dutch NRC, which is actually one of the much better national newspapers the Dutch have. So there the addiction numbers are a mere 25% of what the Philippines currently faces.

This all has an impact, because that would fuel the extremists agenda’s by a lot, in addition as we see that Islam prohibits all drugs that are not medically prescribed gives the drugs addicts even less options, so there is a growing concern to face.

This does not give acceptance of any party, and it will not give ISIS any additional options, the fact that Maute is ‘connected’ to them should fuel the fear of the other parties that are talking to ISIS at present. This gives light to the direction of President Rodrigo Duterte, we just do not know at present how this will play out. What is a given is that ISIS is stretching to the places a lot closer to home than we considered before, the question for us becomes: What are we willing to do to stop ISIS from actually landing here?

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Law, Military, Politics, Science

Life in USA less healthy now

You might not have thought it, but did you realise that your life, if you are in the USA is as per direct a lot less healthy? Did you know you are now intentionally endangering your health? You did not, then read on and learn how you have thrown your healthy life away. In the LA Times (at http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-broadband-privacy-senate-20170323-story.html), we see ‘Senate votes to kill privacy rules meant to protect people’s sensitive data from their Internet providers‘, you might wonder how this is a danger to your life, but it is, and it will hurt your pocket too no less. The first part is “overturn tough new privacy rules for Internet service providers, employing a rarely used procedure to invalidate restrictions that cable and wireless companies strongly opposed“, now this is not the FBI or the CIA spying on you, this is the option for internet providers to sell your actions and your privacy driven information to whomever wants to buy it.

One quote from Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) was “The FCC privacy rules are just another example of burdensome rules that hurt more than they help”. Now, this is not just something that started now, to his credit, he has ALWAYS been on the commercial bandwagon, some of that goes back years where he questioned the White House on the way the FCC’s set-top box proposal came down and what role the White House had in that, and other, FCC decisions. He is clearly a man of less governmental oversight and that is his right. The issue becomes when TV and internet usage is sold to health care providers and on the consequence of what those people call the ‘weighted classification of couch potato‘, in that with the rise of health care premiums. This actually goes further than merely health care. The fact that app use and geographic data becomes available is equally a concern. There is a secondary situation, Companies can now go via consultancy firms and avoid issues with that pesky Employment discrimination law. You see, “the elimination of artificial, arbitrary, and unnecessary barriers to employment” can now be circumvented. People who are too often on Boston South Side, East LA, or the SF Mission district, the use of Geo data would allow for a percentage analyses of this GeoData, giving some people who had hit on hard times even less able to fight for a decent future. And let me be clear, any ISP denying that will be lying to you. The data will be part of something else, like where were you when a certain app was used, which might seem nice, but if they check all apps than that picture gets to be pretty complete.

The reality goes further than this. Even as you read this, MIT is making great strides (at http://bpp.mit.edu/offline-data-collection/). Yet when you read: “Daily price indices, monthly, and annual inflation rates for Argentina and the US. Monthly data with annual inflation rates for Argentina, Brazil, China, Germany, Japan, South Africa, UK, US, 3 US sectors, and global aggregates (including Eurozone). Daily PPP series for Argentina and Australia. The data were used in the paper titled “The Billion Prices Project: Using Online Data for Measurement and Research” – Journal of Economic Perspectives, 31(1) (Spring 2016)“, a serious question comes to mind. You see, once you have this data, you can go into collaboration phases, after which you could raise minimum prices on hundreds of articles. It might be cents, but that raises your monthly costs in dollars, whilst the maker now gets millions in addition. So, yes everybody loves big data, yet will it love you? You get the impression from “Daily prices for all goods sold by 7 large retailers in Latin America and the US: 2 in Argentina, 1 in Brazil, 1 in Chile, 1 in Colombia, 1 in Venezuela, and 4 in the US. Used in the paper titled “Scraped Data and Sticky Prices”“, you just wonder if it is such a weird concept. Now, from an academic point of view, it is an amazingly interesting project. So was Dynamite, which Alfred Nobel learned the hard way, had a few optional uses which he never considered. Data is in that regard a whole lot more dangerous.

The biggest joke in all this is not President Trump, it is actually the FCC puppet Ajit Pai, who was appointed by President Obama in May 2012, he stated that the rules threatened to confuse consumers as they were different to those imposed on web firms such as Google and Facebook. You see, as I see it Ajit Varadaraj Pai is stupid, but he is not stupid, you hearing me? Let me explain this. When a person looks at an advertisement, or seeks something like ‘Gaming Chairs’ at PC Case Gear. That person looks and decided not to buy, the person is just browsing. Now, as this person looks for other things or browses the internet and visits websites. This person gets to a site that uses advertisement spaces. Now for example, Google AdWords will show things that interest you, or things from places you visited. So, even as this person is just going to any place that has advertisement spaces, Google AdWords would possibly show that person ‘Gaming Chairs’ that PC Case Gear had on sale, and Facebook will do exactly the same. In all this, that persons actions and seeks would have remained private, the advertiser does not have my details. They will get general aggregated data, like the gender and the age of the visitor (age is set in an age range). At no time does the advertiser have my complete details. This is why it actually works, now that the ISP can sell my specific data, the issue changes. My details will now get out to third parties and their lack of any ethics (not that the ISP has any mind you) will now endanger us. Ajit Pai knows all this! And he is very happy to facilitate the need for greed, even if it endangers lives, because at some point in the near future it actually will. The health care data need will take care of that, meaning that when your child could not get healthcare, because his browser data indicated an unhealthy life, when he needs that Bypass and the healthcare provider got a little too needy, just remember the name Ajit Pai for the tombstone of your child. Let me explain this a little more clearly. The NCSL (National Conference of State Legislatures) gives us “Yet for those buying insurance on an exchange or private market plan for 2017, the average increase before subsidies was a shocking 25 percent” When we consider that the annual premium for an average family was up to $18,142 (I know, what a weird number), 25% is $4535.50, That is $378 a month, when was the last time you got a raise that allowed for such payments?, let me be frank, with 3 university degrees, I have NEVER received an annual increase that much, so as such, you lose either your healthcare or you lose your quality of life. What will you choose? So as junior is data mined as a little larger risk, your premium takes a hit and as you had to let go of healthcare, your child dies, with the compliments of Ajit Varadaraj Pai, so please send him a ‘thank you’ note, the FCC can be found in Washington DC.

You think I am exaggerating? This is the path the US was always on, exploitation to the max before the collapse. USA Today gives us “Sears and Kmart might not have enough money to stock their shelves” merely 3 days ago, it can no longer fuel its existence, that whilst its CEO grew his fortune by $1 billion last year alone. Forbes voiced it as: ‘Sears Suffers — Eddie Lampert Wins‘, now this is related, as places like Sears and Kmart will be vying for YOUR details, your browser history and your privacy and once they have your data, they will merge it and sell it via for example an Australian subsidiary to whomever will buy it, China for example. That is how your data will bounce around the planet, decreasing you and the value you have with every transfer deal made.

As I stated often in the past, I love big data, yet I know that there is an increased need for ethics on how it is collected, applied and moulded into a new base of information. The USA has shown that it is not able to keep any level of ethics in play, which sucks for Americans and it in equal measure sucks for anyone considering trusting an American company, that is, until the Europeans and others get on board on cashing in on data for sale. Consider one last thing, now, this is pure speculation and there is no evidence that this would happen, yet what happens when ISIS figures out what the parameters of a desperate person are? What happens when they mine this data to see who to approach for extremist actions? There is no way this could happen, could it?

 

Leave a comment

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

The rights of one person

Where does the rights of a person stand? Where do we draw the line of reason? These two questions came to mind when I saw the partial readable news in The Times with ‘Asbo woman fears eviction for moving bins‘ It could be seen that there is something amiss, but where does the problem lie? You see, when I was looking into Brexit dangers, the quote “A 61-year-old woman who has been warned about antisocial behaviour claims that she is facing eviction after neighbours made 15 complaints about her for “offences” including moving bins and supporting Brexit“, in addition we see:

  • Over the past seven years, Anne Maple has been sent eight antisocial behaviour notices by Lewisham council.
  • Three ordered her to stop interfering with dustbins.
  • She was warned against displaying “inflammatory” notices after putting pro-Brexit and Conservative election posters in her window.

In this my first response would be that Jim Dowd, the MP there wakes up and takes a personal look at this very case. In the first, is there a law against putting a conservative poster in her window? What kind of people are there in Lewisham to take such offense, Labour minded people perhaps? That is off course as long as there is no housing law against it, which would actually be a breach of the freedom of speech! Now, there is no case I can make against the dustbin issue as I have no idea what actually happened and to what degree. Yet the fact that this is about a 61 year old woman, who is actually making these complaints? In addition the fact that more than 3 anti-social notices were given by the council themselves, I think it is time for Jim Dowd to do a little less posturing, especially when sauce bottles are looking very distinctively different! Mr Dowd should actually take the morning to visit Ms Maple and have an actual conversation. That is, unless he is too busy posturing towards his next election. And the threat of eviction because a person was in favour of Brexit? Is that area filled with sore losers perhaps?

It is nice that The Times is stating that there have not been any conviction, yet these acts against Ms Maple could be seen as Psychic Assault. Perhaps the people making the registration, should inform those complaining that in light of the number of instances, that they could face the consequences of Psychic Assault (although the UK doesn’t really have proper protection in place), which is for now a little bit of an issue. Still the situation remains that the Lewisham Council seems to be no more than a convenient portal for harassment. (Read: taking offense to Brexit and Conservative posters pretty much qualifies), in addition, if no offense was given to Labour Posters in windows anywhere in Lewisham, it now becomes a council act of discrimination as I personally see it.

Yet, even as we see this, the Miss Maple case was not the one that this was going to be about, but it is actually closely related to the matter at hand. You see, the papers are full of deportation articles, it is the Barclay brothers spreading fear. Sir David Rowat Barclay and Sir Frederick Hugh Barclay own these papers, so I call them in charge, even as I know that Aidan Barclay is actually managing pretty much anything they have in the UK (several billions worth I might add). You see, Owen Bowcott at the Guardian stated it perfectly when we see “Mass deportations of the estimated 2.9 million EU nationals living in the UK would be impractical and they should not be used as a “bargaining chip” in Brexit negotiations, the government is being warned“, this is where I see this happen. Emotional reports and statements from Bremainers getting desperate that any alternative is null and void. First of all there is the Immigration Rules on Family and Private Life (HC 194), which the Home office has here: (attachment).

When we get to the best interests of the child, we see: “arrangements are in place to ensure immigration decisions are made having regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children who are in the UK“, now when I reflect that in regards to the Guardian article (at https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/dec/28/dutch-woman-with-two-british-children-told-to-leave-uk-after-24-years), where we see “A Dutch woman who has lived in the UK for 24 years, and has two children with her British husband, has been told by the Home Office that she should make arrangements to leave the country after she applied for citizenship after the EU referendum“, yet when we consider the Home office paper, the interest of her children and Section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009, where we see in section 55(6): “children means persons who are under the age of 18;“, both children fall into that category, we can argue that the Home office as presently interpreted failed in that assessment, in addition, that this family for 24 years have paid their taxation, have become a part of British society, it is there that we see the notifications from the Home Office seem to be either a careless failure or an intentional attempt to raise fear. I feel that no other direct impression remains. Even if we accept: “European citizens marrying Britons do not automatically qualify for UK citizenship under current rules“, the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 clearly provides in case of underage children which was applicable from the earliest moment on. We can also raise the issue that the 85-page application form for “permanent residency” will become an issue a few hundred thousand times more, so we can state that there will be a blooming business for immigration agents in the UK soon enough.

In all this the rights of one person are currently in danger because certain elements have been left out of too many media outlets for too long, we have forgotten where the media itself was. The Conversation gives us (at http://theconversation.com/hard-evidence-analysis-shows-extent-of-press-bias-towards-brexit-61106) a much clearer view, where we see the Bremain tainted side in blue and the UKF*ckOff (read: Brexit) in red. The fact that the Times is by far the most balanced one yet remains slightly Bremain is pretty awesome to some extent. In all this we all forget that as the least reputable sources (the Sun, Daily Mail and Daily Express) are more widely read and reaches a much larger audience. My view is not incorrect, yet massively incomplete. You should take a look at the Conversation article by David Deacon, Dominic Wring, Emily Harmer, James Stanyer and John Downey because it is an amazing piece of work, and nearly all of them professors (oh, whoop di do). The end result that we see is “when weightings for circulation are factored in, the fact that the highest circulating newspapers have tended to support Brexit means that the gap between the two positions widens into a substantial difference of 18% pro-Remain and 82% pro-Leave“, which is scary!

My reason for remaining ever so slightly in the Brexit field was not on any of those merits and it is perhaps the one part missing here, mainly because it is perhaps not part of the view these people looked at. My view grew based on the actions of others, the inactions of several others and the denial of even more people. The actions of Mario Draghi gave view that Bremain would be too dangerous. The invoice that he would instill on all would debilitate too many, making all mere slaves with implied false freedom. We all become the cogs of the engines of financial institutions and big business whilst the wealth is removed from the people more and more. Servitude to Wall Street! That would be the result and I never signed up for that and I know most Europeans have never signed up for that. In that regard, it is equally interesting how the spokesperson (Prime Minister Joseph Muscat of Malta) considers that “Britain should be made to answer to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) during the process in order to smooth the path for leaving“, it is my question to what regard. You see, the European Court of Justice has clearly intentionally skated away from the issue of a nation leaving for 2 decades. Mainly because no one believed it could ever happen and it is there where we see that the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has utterly failed! When we see “Any member state may decide to withdraw from the union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements”, checks and balances should have been put in place. Perhaps people remember on how ‘Grexit’ was such a big deal. Perhaps you all remember 2012 when people like Roubini stated that Grexit would be possible in 2013. So when I published the paper I found by Phoebus Athanassiou, stating that expulsion from the EU and the EMU wasn’t even legally possible (published in 2009), how betrayed did you feel? All in the media we were led like sheep, and as I saw it intentionally misinformed by those around us. Is it even a surprise that the UK wanted out? It might have started with Nigel Farage, but the issue has grown so much larger, all because the people in charge needed the gravy train to continue, the continuation of the wealthy demanding their Status Quo to remain to grow their fortunes. It is that foundation that is now very much in play. Even as this is all known, even as we have seen that the European exit must be voluntary, we see the BBC give us in June 2016 (at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36629145), the quote “the risk remains of Brexit precipitating the departure of Greece from the Eurozone and therefore possibly the EU“. At no point do I see the Greeks or the article state clearly that it must be voluntary, no legislation has been put in place ever since this started in 2012. Now we know that laws take a long time to set, but the effort regarding the trimming of the EU tree has been massively absent, why is that?

In all this we see that the rights of one person no longer seems to matter, which is weird because Common Law was clearly set to remain fair in that regard. Even for the most in Europe where civil law was key, the people had a fair amount of rights. Here now we see that the people remain uninformed, the media seems to be unable or unwilling to inform the people where their rights and what their rights are. It is my personal belief that the people are restoring a need for nationalism hoping that local laws will advocate a better level of informing the people, not tailoring to the needs of large global corporations. It sounds weird, yet this is what I believe to be the fear of many. The tax events on large corporations like Apple, Amazon, Google and IBM seem to be catalysts in all this. If you think that I am kidding in this matter, you should see “The discontent with legal tax avoidance, in the UK at least, is clear. A YouGov survey last year found that 59% of people think legally reducing your tax liability is wrong and make no distinction between evasion and avoidance“, which we got from Forbes in August last year (at http://www.forbes.com/sites/jaymcgregor/2016/08/31/apple-falls-victim-to-rapidly-changing-public-mood-around-tax-avoidance), this doesn’t just impact the branding, there are indicators that this also fueled the anger of Brexit voters. In addition, the 180 degree view that President Obama made in The Hague (2012) as he gave a speech on responsibility and then sent senior officials to oppose the tax reformation / tax accountability was no help here. So Brexiteers had a large stack of ammunition that they could hand to the people again and again. Misguiding and misinforming have been instrumental indicators in all this. There are too many sources to name, many are just mongering, yet a large amount came from reputable sources and Forbes has pointed out more than one issue in all this.

As I see it there is an abundance of work to do, some of it should have been addressed a long time ago. Even if I admit that I have not yet filled out my permanent residency papers for the UK, the fact that this is an 85 page booklet is still cause for concern. It is linked to the situation we saw earlier this week regarding the NHS, especially the Coventry ‘issue’. It has become clear that a logistical overhaul is needed in the UK. It is the hardest and most debilitating of overhauls, yet at present it could be seen as the most essential one. Consider the cost for civil servants having to get through 1,000,000 applications, which now implies that 850,000,000 pages get reviewed and decided upon. If a person is really focused and on the ball, that person will make an error once in every 50 pages, this now gives rise to the risk that every submission will have at least one error in its assessment. How efficient is that?

There are steps that can be taken to minimise this, yet it will cost in staff or technology and in both there is still the added flaw that items will be overlooked. That is the mere nature of the beast in all this. The application right of a person will be diminished, not on purpose and not with malice, but the danger is absolute and the scars that soul is left with is pretty much for a long time, perhaps even for life. How is any of it a solution?

In this we can argue that on the middle ground that automated residency is equally not an option, but the middle ground is not trotted on and that is where the solution is to be found, somewhere in the middle, which is turf that the polarised extremists (Brexiteers and Bremainers) are currently not looking, yet neither is the Home Office, or so it seems.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Law, Media, Politics

For those doubting Brexit

There have been a few issues with the EU, some are petty and some only seem petty. You see, many are all in arms and all about the issue on how Canada is a good place, and it really really is. Yet, we have to understand that a trade agreement tends to be an agreement where one is better off than the other. That is a simple fact of life. A trade agreement, when completely balanced equally to all parties is a figment of the imagination of the visionary who wanted it, for the simple reason that it was in their interest. Now, that does not make the person evil or greedy, it is merely the reality of any trade agreement. Yet, when the trade agreement is done in secret, there will be additional issues. This is not such a case, but in the case of CETA (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/oct/24/belgium-eu-ultimatum-canada-trade-deal-ceta-wallonia), there is the image that French speaking Belgium (aka Wallonia) will miss out too much in this EU-Canada deal, so they are all about not letting it happen. The article gives us ‘Paul Magnette, the leader of the Wallonia region, says the deal is bad for Europe’s farmers and gives too much power to global corporate interests‘, which would give ample voice to the justification of Wallonia trying to scuttle this deal. It does not make Canada bad or evil, it only gives voice to the European side that Wallonian farmers lose out, from their point of view too much. This shows partially the justification of Brexit; yet in equal measure it shows how the Bremain group feels scared and scarred as well as their justification that together the UK would be stronger. On one side they have a point, on the other side, we see here that if Wallonia gives in, the EU basically sells their future short and away from them. The quote “One European diplomat said that the reassurances “responded to all of Mr Magnette’s concerns”” implies that Magnette is unreasonable as reassurances were given, yet we have all seen how politicians can roll on their backs when the wind turns, so is he wrong? In this case I very much doubt it, as does politico (at http://www.politico.eu/article/meet-monsieur-paul-magnette-the-man-killing-ceta-deal-trade-agreement/). Here we see two mentions. The first is “Wallonia did its homework” as well as “In particular, he protested that CETA would leave European governments vulnerable to court action from unscrupulous multinational companies“, these are issues raised in both the TTIP and the TPP. In the TPP it was New Zealand that showed backbone, whilst Australia folded like a tissue in front of a hair dryer on high, it was not a pretty picture. We have had several issues with the US in the past, yet not with Canada. It is my personal believe that large corporations are dictating the trade agreement language to governments at large, which is cause for concern in two ways.

In the first it means that the governments are not enough about governing and a little too much regarding the status quo of the Fortune 500 they have connections to and in the second it implies that they overall quality of government legislators is dwindling too much and as such national interests are not being met, which now implies that proper taxation laws are about a decade away and nations at large cannot afford to work that way.

In that light the quote in Politico seems pretty decent: ““This treaty affects the lives of 500 million Europeans and 35 million Canadians for years and years,” Magnette told La Première channel Wednesday. “We can take a few weeks, a few months to analyse the problems and overcome them.”” Is that such a bad idea? The fact that a decision is demanded in less than 12 hours gives additional cause for concern. Why the speed?

Canadian Global Research had this quote “The CETA agreement –presented to public opinion as an innocuous “bilateral” EU-Canada trade deal– constitutes a TTIP in disguise, which would eventually evolve towards the integration of NAFTA and the EU, i.e into what might be described as a giant “North Atlantic Trade and Investment Area”. Those who are involved in the negotiations are fully aware that CETA is a back-door mechanism which would would create the underlying conditions for the formation of a North Atlantic Trading Block, i.e. a US “Imperial Project” controlled by Washington“.

This now implies that this is a new approach to TTIP, a backdoor. The part where we see “US “Imperial Project” controlled by Washington“, gives voice to the part that I have given for close to two years. The United States of America is broke and bankrupt. This is the only path that the US has left to remain in the game for a little while longer, whilst giving 98% of American power to large corporations, which n my humble opinion was never a working or acceptable solution. The fact that pressures are applied to get this done quicker and quicker only gives rise to the fact that this American Democratic administration could end up being the worst in American history and this administration needs a clear ‘win’ to be less regarded as less of a failure. What a legacy President Obama brings, no matter how this goes, it will make progression for the next US administration near impossible, so we can see why the Clinton campaign was against the TTIP to begin with. In addition, the Canadian Tyee (at http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2016/10/22/CETA-Failure-Reflects-Public-Rejection-Trade-Deals/), gives us “Leaving aside the odd reference to how nice Canada is, this is remarkable language that lays bare the obvious frustration and disappointment for the government, which prioritized the CETA agreement above all trade deals“, in that my personal response becomes: ‘drop the option to large corporations to sue governments‘, first they get tax breaks, now they get to sue for missed alleged profits? When did we get ourselves so retarded that this: “Currently, the US Lone Pine energy company is using ISDS provisions in NAFTA to sue the provincial government of Quebec for $250 million because it suspended shale gas mining pending an environmental study in response to community concerns“? How on earth was the mining of Shale Gas ever allowed before clear environmental studies were made?

Environmental regulations are there for a reason. When the environment is damaged, these companies tend to get really far and away when the invoice is due, trying all kinds of loopholes not to be held accountable. The Australian Newspaper The Age gives us “The high cost of ISDS makes the threat of arbitration a potent tool for the tobacco companies“, meaning that in not so wealthy countries, Tobacco, Soda drinks and alcohol companies can hold a nation over a barrel when they can find an option to apply the ISDS. Australia Spend $50 million to defend its plain packaging requirement in cigarettes. A system that allows for Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), where we see the issue of alleged discriminatory practices is too dangerous. In addition, the proven dangers of tobacco, how many people died and were not compensated? How discriminatory is that?

Yet the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade gives us “Is ISDS a threat to Australia’s sovereignty? No. ISDS does not prevent the Government from changing its policies or regulating in the public interest. It does not freeze existing policy settings. It is not enough that an investor does not agree with a new policy or that a policy adversely affects its profits”, yet this is the opposite of what we see when we the Australian case of Philip Morris. The fact that only 5 days ago, News.com.au (at http://www.news.com.au/national/breaking-news/govt-wont-reveal-tobacco-case-costs/news-story/7a81f7003241d0290685b5ce1d83f6db) gives us “Nick Xenophon wants to know what it cost taxpayers to defend the case, but the department insists it needs to be kept secret“, it gives light to the danger that the ISDS poses, it shows that Paul Magnette, the leader of the Wallonia region seems to be a lot more clued in and a lot more on the ball than those trying to get this dangerous trade pact passed and in addition, the fact that court costs are kept secret means that the taxpayer is not getting properly informed. The ISDS is more than just investors feeling safe, it is a secondary tool to get revenue up when the forecast gets downgraded by (amongst others) environmental needs and governmental freedom to set policy, although some deny that this is happening now (like the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade), yet the fact that the cost is kept in secret gives indication that the sum is likely to be running towards the 9 digits, whilst it was about opposition on a health policy. Two cases like this could make most Eastern European EU nations bankrupt overnight, so there is cause for concern and in that Paul Magnette has a clear mindset in requiring more time.

In all this, the one part that is not making sense is that the ISDS could be seen that this is to protect non-visionary investors, investors that aren’t doing their homework, to give an additional option to get their money’s worth. Why on earth are we facilitating for corporate losers? If for example a UK company decides to cut corners and go for places where they learn that they are blocked, why would we give them any allowance for suing the UK government? If this example seems fair fetched, consider Philip Morris Asia Limited (Hong Kong) v. The Commonwealth of Australia. They might have lost, but the costs were really high. And this was whilst plain packaging was already in place. So getting rid of parts, or better the ISDS as a whole, would be a decent idea. Let’s not forget that if these companies were truly wronged, most common law nations have the option of proceeding through Torts.

Giving them additional options seems too far-fetched and in the end only counterproductive. No matter how many tears Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s trade minister brings to the table. In that part I wonder, why she had not considered removing the ISDS. Let’s face it, if investment is too dicey or dodgy, those companies should not go there to begin with, would that not be common sense? So why drive the ISDS? Perhaps I am oversimplifying the problem. I know that the ISDS makes sense, yet the Australian Philip Morris case shows the ISDS parts to be flawed and in light of how American and Chinese companies play the game, it is time to face the harsh reality that facilitation is becoming the lesser healthy alternative. In the end if there is profit, these companies will come.

So in the end, this was not about Brexit, but here we see in clarity, that this one market deal is not as great for the people at large as they think it is. For those only iterating that a one market deal is the only way, consider Wallonia, no matter how you slice it, people will lose out and if the court case is strong enough, you could lose a lot. A side that the Bremainers are not giving a clear view to, which is equally disturbing. There are elements on both sides, yet the disturbing one that Paul Magnette is bringing to light is one that too many have ignored. Brexit might end up giving the UK options and protections, that the EU trade agreements are currently trying to remove from the UK.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Law, Politics

The Mary Poppins of Economy

Yes, today is about Philippe Le Houérou, CEO of the World Bank (as well as Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank). The urban dictionary tells us that the term Mary Poppins means:

  1. A well composed/happy person.
  2. To do something well/flawlessly. From the measuring tape held by Mary Poppins “Practically Perfect in Every Way.”

So if one of them was asked, how did you go on misleading the people on free trade, he could say ‘I Mary Poppins’d it!’, which gets us to the soon to be late President Obama (who as a former President won’t be able to properly time manage his calendar). As we see the quote “the president does not mention Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump by name but makes clear that he disagrees with both candidates’ opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)” (at https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/oct/06/barcack-obama-america-future-economist-essay), I have to wonder if the first African American president wasn’t just a puppet for big business. We will soon see him evicted from his rental place at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20500, United States. Yet the question becomes, what next?

You see, there is a lot wrong at present. The issue is seen in a BBC article (at http://www.bbc.com/news/business-37580844). I have been stating it for a long time. My issue is not that I am correct, my issue in this is: ‘why fess up now?’, is it merely because there is a new administration coming in, or is it the general fear from Wall Street that Brexit is not the negative act for the UK as proven and fear mongering is no longer working and the upcoming issue that Frexit is becoming a general fear and the second exit will be enough to terminally kick over the Euro and the EEC? You see, the admission as seen in “the effects of globalisation on advanced economies is “often uneven” and “may have led to rising wage inequality”. The bank, which provides loans to developing countries, also says that “adjustment costs”, such as helping people who have lost their jobs, have been higher than expected.” It was the end station for too many people and until the grey faction (almost one third of the population) dies, this situation will not improve. On a global scale retirement funds are unlikely to exist by 2032, when it needs to give support to no less than 850 million people, giving a rise to the overall debts by close to a trillion a month. These administrations have been all about short term and now the time is getting close to the factual realisation that retirement funds will not survive the terms they need to. For those outside of Scandinavia not a good thing. Even as we see the great news in several nations, there is a factual mistrust (in me too), that the status is all it is cranked up to be. When we consider that a massive block of these people are retiring between 2025 and 2037, there is very little doubt that at present, the reality will set in no later than 2041, considering that many people will be in their 80’s at that point. The deal breaker will suddenly flare up and a massive wave of bad news will hit on a global scale. That is a speculation from my side!

This all hits back because the World Bank decided to keep people for the longest term into the dark and President Obama gives us “The world is more prosperous than ever before and yet our societies are marked by uncertainty and unease. So we have a choice – retreat into old, closed-off economies or press forward, acknowledging the inequality that can come with globalisation while committing ourselves to making the global economy work better for all people, not just those at the top.”, which just shows us how screwed up his vision is. ‘More prosperous than ever before‘ is like a joke and a bad one. The overall quality of life, after the downgrades from 2009 have never reset correctly. The amount of people who are after 5 years still waiting to see an actual increase in the quality of life is absolutely disgraceful and it goes far beyond American borders.

The two are related, not just the TPP, the TTIP in equal measure shows a level of syndication that we have seen in the pharmaceutical industry (just one of many) is almost unheard of and this is where it reflects on pensions. You see, the next 3 decades is essential for this industry, which gets us to the retirement group. Because without the TPP, or the TTIP, there will be a gap for those people to truly make a killing and that is what they want. The BBC quotes, might be relevant and correct, but they are not exactly accurate. First the quotes: “Hillary Clinton has found herself surrounded by political challengers questioning the benefits of international trade and globalisation. Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s opponent in the race for the Democratic nomination, defined his campaign by arguing that globalisation had hollowed out the US middle class“. You see, these facts are true, but the previous administrations were not about people, they are about the Walton’s and not the TV series from the 70’s. Jim Walton, Alice Walton, S. Robson Walton, Lukas Walton and Christy Walton. They are the people behind Walmart. Their fortune totalling over 122 billion dollar. Individual not as much as Ellison or Gates, but combined making both Gates and Ellison not add up to much and that is quite the achievement. You see, this is the place where people working full time still ended up below the poverty line. So, it wasn’t about the middle class. Walmart required globalisation to get cheap stuff from China (and a few other places), where people were happy to work for $2 a day to please all those Americans. Now, don’t think of me as some Karl Marx type, I believe in Capitalism, yet is also believe in fair play and not giving an inch to the greed driven. If these people are growing their fortune by 1.5 billion a year (each), getting the workers a better deal is not entirely out of bounds. Now, I have no list as to how they made the $1.5B, so there would be a fair debate here, but overall the issue remains, the people lost a lot and were not given any fair dues. Walmart might be one of the most visible ones, it is, by no means the only one.

So, as we were informed by the World Bank, a mere 5 hours ago, yesterday’s title ‘Why is globalisation under attack?‘ (at http://www.bbc.com/news/business-37554634), leaves us with a different taste. You see, the quote “But many people, including politicians, are now voicing their anger as they see jobs being taken by machines, old industries disappearing and waves of migration disturbing the established order“, my initial response would be ‘No Mark, you silly git, we have been voicing this for some time now!‘, you see, you are mixing issues up and not having any idea what painting you are describing. It’s almost like hearing a person state. Did you see that painting with those people with rifles? So until you are realising it is the Night Watch by Rembrandt. People will be wondering what it is about. So let’s cut up the quote by Mark Broad and look at the parts individually.

Jobs being taken by machines‘, has been an issue for the longest time, it was a worry when I was in middle school, and now I am approaching retirement. Some of it is a worry, for the most it is the time shaping global industries.

Old industries disappearing‘, is again mere evolution, old media goes out and Google AdWords comes in. The Age of Mobile is here and has been here rocking the world since 2013.

Waves of migration disturbing the established order‘ is expecting the actual fear he is trying to push. Yet, there are two waves. The economic migration and refugees fleeing for their lives. All are trying to get into Europe and our systems were never designed to administrate the relocation of 13 million refugees and none of that is about globalisation to begin with. In addition, the quote by Donald Trump given “We talk about free trade. It’s not free trade; it’s stupid trade. China dumps everything that they have over here“, which is exactly what his Walton friends wanted to begin with and that too is not the issue. What is the issue is the article that we got the next day. The quote ‘some have lost out from free trade‘ and we can easily replace ‘some‘ with ‘those not on a Fortune 500 list‘ or ‘those who are not big business‘, so when we get back to the parts that President Obama was miss-representing with “a foundation was laid for a better future. He suggests that the US should prepare for negative shocks to the economy before they occur and not have to fight for emergency measures in a time of need” he is obviously showing a lack of humour, because the fact that the TPP and the TTIP is all about big business, also means that the small fish will still go hungry and the rejection of these accords mean that unless the US gets a grip on their budgets, there is every likelihood that the US as a has been will knock on the doors of the new superpowers (China and India) whether they can have a seat at the table, with the not so unlikely chance that these two might prefer Russia over America. It leaves Europe in a stale position with not too many options for now. In the end the Commonwealth could sit at that table, but we need to see massive changes and the World Bank is not the party to be listening to. In this I would be in opposition to ‘C. Herring, George (2008), From Colony to Superpower: U.S. Foreign Relations since 1776‘, which was correct until the final meltdown and in addition the 20 trillion national debt was not taken into consideration either (which makes sense). In addition, we can at present say goodbye to Tony Blair’s statement of the EEC becoming a superpower, mainly because it is as broke as anything else. With Brexit that option diminished and with Frexit on the horizon, the EEC stops being an optional power of any kind. Now that Nicolas Dupont-Aignan is stronger in favour of Frexit and as Frexit is not just the words of Marine Le Pen, we will see that the width of Frexit could be dramatically increasing, moving this from optional to likely. This is a direct consequence of people seeing for over a decade on how globalisation did not bring them anything and France is an evolved nation. So they should have seen massive positive impact, yet the economic news in France has shown nothing on that for the better part of a decade. At present a still shrinking economy without any options to get it kick-started is part of the problem for France, so we see that the Mario Draghi Trillion didn’t help too much for France, so who actually did benefit?

Yet in all this, the other side given by the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/oct/06/imf-and-world-bank-launch-defence-of-open-markets-and-free-trade), where we see the words of Larry Elliott, which I personally find to be out of place. You see, like with BBC Marky Mark, Larry gives us ‘Institutions react to concern that Brexit vote and calls for protectionism in US are part of a backlash against globalisation‘, which is, as I personally see it also a miss Presentation rank, so just like before let’s do some splitting.

  1. Brexit vote is part of a backlash against globalisation’, I oppose this as Brexit grew due to a stream of irresponsible acts by the EEC and those in the UK were tired of paying for that whilst the quality of life was going straight into the basement and for the most, too many UK people are still in that basement wondering what sunlight looks like.
  2. Calls for protectionism in US is part of a backlash against globalisation’, which is about crunching down on IP and forcing paths for too many IP streams (like medication patents) to the brink of additional tome and now that the gig is up, the greying population will get a hold of generic medication. In this too many pharmaceuticals were about the maximised greed and exclusivity and their timespan is now ending. They could lose over 20% of a market worth trillions, and this is not a market that they want to give up. In all this the US debt is also a factor, because whispered ‘promises’ from boards of directors are not going anywhere and the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20500 doesn’t seem to get it, or he does and he is just putting on a show for the next 8 weeks as he is aiming for a 7 figure executive income. In all this, the one solution that should have been instigated (as stated by my 3 years ago) is the one nobody touches from fear that their nice jobs fall away.

The one solution that no one, not even Jim Yong Kim is discussing, is also not illuminated on CNBC, The Guardian, and the BBC or for that matter, the bulk of all media. A proper tax reform 5 years ago could have prevented many issues we see now. It would still be an issue, but the top 1% would have 10% less and the bottom 20% would not be in the poverty they are now in. All because the big fat cats were all about the status quo of the markets, the status quo of their lives and the growth of what they needed to have. When we see some weird level of justification in Obama’s words “That’s why CEOs took home about 20 to 30 times as much as their average worker. The reduction or elimination of this constraining factor is one reason why today’s CEO is now paid over 250 times more“, when the fact clearly shows that within 3 administrations on a CEO level their incomes went up by close to 700%, my initial not so diplomatic response would be ‘You should have done something you dim witted Dumbo!‘, I know that one should not address an American President in that way, but the need for tax reform was blatantly clear in the US in his first year and he did absolutely nothing there. So his continued view of “we need to be even more aggressive in enacting measures to reverse the decades-long rise in inequality. Unions should play a critical role“, where I see the need to state on how he pretty much ignored labour unions (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/labor-union-officials-say-obama-betrayed-them-in-health-care-rollout/2014/01/31/2cda6afc-8789-11e3-833c-33098f9e5267_story.html), so his words of exit could validly be reposted by the unions by them stating ‘Just shut up and go‘. That is one side that the Washington Post was making perfectly clear. Perhaps President Obama would like to recant the words by Taylor and Terry O’Sullivan, president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America with “they were not listening or they simply did not care“, which is quite the issue for Barack Obama, who could at present face the label of becoming ‘the worst president in the history of the United States of America‘, I am not stating this, I am speculating on this, when we see the list of his achievements and the list of actions that are about to get overturned would be instrumental in this. I don’t think that he ever expected this, but on the other hand, this would be good news for the Buchanan family, as James Buchanan would no longer be the worst president (according to the C-Span poll).

All these elements connect as there is too much a view by those who imagine themselves as the holders of ‘wisdom’ that globalisation works, it does, but only for big business, and as long as proper taxation is not done, as long as board members earn incomes 700% above what a CEO used to make, which was already a massive amount, this globalisation will not hold water and nationalisation is the only solution to trim the greed away. In that a company is either not in any nation, or those nations see a chunk of that cash being taxed and spend locally, which actually does give forward momentum to those economies.

So, these Mary Poppins figurines should stop singing “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” when they get their pay check and annual bonus, they should start realising that the reality that brings the new “SuperTaxedAndCalibratedIncomeIsANormNow” might become a top of the pops. In that part as equilibrium resets on a government tax level as well as a living standard, we could see an economy where people have money to spend, they might actually all start the economy together. None of it required the crazy Draghi scheme and debts might actually be gotten under control, because that element too was a consequence of globalisation. Isn’t that interesting to see that no one from the World Bank made mention on any of these elements, which are proven to be factors. So was this a second step against Brexit and perhaps deflating Frexit?

 

I will let you decide, but feel free to read some of the articles I linked and more important, ask yourself the question why certain elements in all this were left out, elements that were part of all this all along.

Have a great Friday!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Law, Media, Politics, Religion

The Syrian Fuck Up

There are a few things playing, for one the Bremain group is trying to push again in some way to scare people and set uncertainty all over the place. To be quite honest, at what point are such people regarded as traitors? I know the term is much to harsh, yet the fact is that the vote has been passed, there is a direction and those people are actively trying to mislead left right and centre, like the roaches of the old ways of profit, profit for the few! How come that side is not placed into the limelight? The second issue is seen in NY and a few other places where bombs are exploding. We can speculate in several ways, but that is not my way and until solid intelligence is seen, only then can we form a view. The most likely being that the US is now seeing the direct consequence from lone wolf attacks. There is no likely answer immediately, it will take time, yet the numbers are on terrorism. Confirmation is outstanding for now, but the most likely scenario. We will see later, no matter what the answer is, for the US their issues have now become a lot more complex. It is my personal view that I still believe that Edward Snowden is to some extent a joke at best and a traitor at worst. By illuminating actual parts of projects like PRISM, the lone wolves are now taking other measures and what might have been prevented will now only be prevented after many casualties, so feel free to send him a card with the text “شكرا لمساعدتك” (source: Google Translate).

Where we are actually going is Syria. You see, there has been an issue for a long time, we can go with the idea that people have been lucky for too long and there is the idea that a truce was never an option in Syria. Yet when we read ‘Syria ceasefire on brink of collapse after raids on Aleppo, Syrian troops’ (at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-19/syria-ceasefire-teeters-after-raids-on-aleppo/7856670). You see, my view comes from the initial issue I had when President Obama claimed ‘No boots on the ground in Syria‘ (at http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2015/10/30/16-times-obama-said-there-would-no-boots-ground-syria/74869884/), shows that this statements goes back as far as ‘meeting with Baltic State leaders, August 30th, 2013‘. Here we see the quote “In no event are we considering any kind of military action that would involve boots on the ground that would involve a long-term campaign. But we are looking at the possibility of a limited, narrow act that would help make sure that not only Syria, but others around the world, understand that the international community cares about maintaining this chemical weapons ban and norm. So again, I repeat, we’re not considering any open-ended commitment. We’re not considering any boots-on-the-ground approach“. You see, my issue is that any air force strike needs quality intelligence. You see, as I personally see it, the Air force is meant to be force in support of the Army! That’s how it is supposed to be! This is not negativity, because the Air force is its own power in the sky, but when it is required to go after ground forces, it needs eyes on the ground, which implies boots on the ground. It is that simple. Of course they can try to rely on the INTEL that they get from third parties, but that tends to lead to wrong tagging, inaccurate intelligence and not to mention the wrong coordinates get to be transmitted. I reckon that this latest issue could be either one of those failures. And when we get to see this “Russia said the situation in Aleppo city was “especially tense” on Sunday, blaming the instability on rebels.” The amount of shelling by rebel groups against positions of the Syrian Government troops and of residential areas is increasing,” Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said“, so what ceasefire? If a ceasefire is one-sided, there is no ceasefire. It seems to me that the issues shown on the news is that there is inaccuracies on all sides, not just the military parts. That can be construed from the quote “Also on Sunday, a senior adviser to President Bashar al-Assad said Damascus believes Saturday’s strike that killed the Syrian soldiers was “intentional”.” None of the facts on the ground show that what happened was a mistake or a coincidence,” Buthaina Shaaban said.” This could be the case on one side, if there was no ceasefire. So what is the case? Al Jazeera gives us ‘Ceasefire terms pose major risks for Syrian rebels‘ (at http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2016/09/ceasefire-terms-pose-major-risks-syrian-rebels-160915092126740.html), there we see the agreement painted as a one-sided solution for the Syrian government. Sharif Nashashibi writes in this article “This is a clear indication that, to him, such ceasefires are stepping stones to achieving that aim, not to a negotiated political solution. Indeed, pro-Assad forces continue to besiege rebel-held areas during the current ceasefire“, so from all this we can speculate that that fingers can be pointed on more than one issue. When we look at the BBC (at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-37398721) we see “The US said its planes had halted the attack in Deir al-Zour when informed of the Syrian presence. A spokesman for the US administration expressed “regret” for the “unintentional loss of life”.“, as I remember it, a meeting at the United Nations Security Council under these conditions tends to be not too boring, so my advice to the Honourable Matthew Rycroft and the Honourable Gerard van Bohemen would be to bring tea and cucumber sandwiches to the next meeting, it should be fun to watch the US and Russian incriminate back and forth!

Now, I am not going to give you the goods on those two, the upcoming cold war will be a fun job soon enough. What is essential is to realise that the Air force could possibly have acted on incorrect, inaccurate or incomplete data soon enough. This is however an issue on more than one level. If you recall the initial chemical attacks, the US was unable to give clear evidence on who did what, meaning that either the satellite lag is too great or lacking too much details. You see, this is not TV, this is not an episode of NCIS where we see that the satellite could be used to watch a topless girl sucking the sunshine. This is real life and even as we know that it can give clear mechanical movements, troop movements, especially in an urban environment like Aleppo could be an issue to some extent, this is corroborated in this event. There will be conspiracy minds giving the notion that the US is trying to win by striking Assad forces ‘accidently’, a scenario that is not impossible, but likely a lot more improbable. Without clear deniability President Obama would not got near this issue now, so close to the election with the possibility of wrecking the election chances of the Democratic Party. In addition, with minus 18 trillion and no exit strategy there, increasing actions and requirements in Syria is one part he cannot afford in any way shape or form. That leads back to the attacks on the US, if there is any possibility that this is indeed a lone wolf wave, the US will have dire need for many more resources soon. No matter how it looks in the news and how it is played. Syria has been an issue for too long and as politicians and ambassadors seem to try and find a solution that will make everyone winners, I have to look back at 1939 when the UK decided that Hitler had to be stopped. It would take 2 years and a large sacrifice of part of the US Navy until the US took that stance openly. The issue is that too many politicians are taking the Charlie Brown approach (Walk softly and carry a Beagle). I think that with so many political fires stating that you are the fireman and you are here to chop away flammable constructs is not the worst position to take. In all this there is a genuine issue of missing trust. The BBC stated “Russia’s defence ministry earlier said that if the US air strikes did turn out to be an error, it would be because of Washington’s refusal to co-ordinate military action with Moscow“, it is not that Russia has any level of record in creating trust. The Ukraine and the Crimea region both have visible scars regarding that issue, there is of course the MH-117 so I reckon that Sergey Shoygu should review his options and find a third solution all parties can work with. The simple truth is that during these election the US side (for now) will be flaccid and useless unless a clear and distinct order is given by the Obama administration. Russia might gain trust all over the field if an actual solution for Syrian battle intelligence is found.

The worst issue in all this is that this is a serious fuck up, because the intelligence as given, is now sitting on the premise of two sides. From the initial part we can go with the two possibly oversimplified sides. US Air force was either unable or unwilling to see the intel. This path is taken because it is a simple truth, when we cut away the sides these two give rise to the actions. If actions were taken whilst unable to see, they would be rash actions, showing that boots on the ground were essential to recon data. If they were unwilling to see the Intel, it becomes a very different discussion, one with large implications on the US military actions. This path is taken to show you that for the most the path was not that complex. The only complexity is the accountability of actions. Sometimes, especially in armed conflict the issue tends to remain simple, or better stated ‘lacking complexity’. So why was it a ‘fuck up’? Again, in my personal view, and standing aside human error, the air force relies on levels of quality intelligence. Whenever we add just one level of impurity, we see that actions become a risk or rash to say the least, the fact that there was no supporting recon team means that someone let US pilots enter a blind stage where identification is hard at best. That is not the fault of the pilot or his commander. In this arena where uniforms are very much alike, telling one party from another becomes nearly impossible. This explains why ‘no boots on the ground’ was close to idiotic from day zero. This would always happen and it is a near miracle that it did not happen more often. One could argue that the entire mission as set out as it was doomed to fail from the very beginning, which now makes us wonder if the current administration wanted a clear victory to begin with. If not, we have ample evidence that this American administrations wasted billions on posturing, which sounds odd too.

In the end, the reality around this will take years to clarify and even then messages, mails and documents will have been ‘accidently’ destroyed or classified for 2 generations at least. In the end, for the most it is easy to agree that the Syrian events were a fuck up, but to what extent and until which person and function (read: who’s desk) is a question not easily (if ever) answered.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Media, Military, Politics

The Taxing Delicious

Taxing delicious is a new sweet tasting Apple, even sweeter than the golden Delicious, and it is to be regarded as healthy for body, mind and government. Yes, in this case it is not a new Irish Cider (which would be a nice idea too), this is about a company getting a bill. You see, the funny part of it was that if there had been no EU, Apple would have been 13 billion wealthier. How doesn’t that beat the odds?

These are some of the thoughts rising within me again as I read ‘Apple tax ruling must be overturned, says US business group‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/sep/16/apple-tax-ruling-must-be-overturned-says-us-business-group).

As I see it, if it is such an issue, why not do an appeal? You see, this entire issue is as convoluted as it is ever likely to get. When I see ‘Ireland Doesn’t Want Apple’s Back Taxes, but the Irish Aren’t So Sure‘ in the New York Times (at http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/12/business/international/ireland-doesnt-want-apples-back-taxes-but-the-irish-arent-so-sure.html), my initial response to Enda Kenny would be “Are you out of your bloody mind?” Now, let’s be partially fair. There is a method to the governments madness, yet even as giving in to big business might seem appealing, but the US is changing its taxation parameters (as well as tax accountability) and after the elections there is no way to tell how the US governments hats will be pointing, so getting what you can now is not the worst idea. In addition, when Apple et al will make the jump away and to other places, they will leave you with buildings that remain empty and will not have been paid off, so you will have a billion in real estate, whilst not having any return on investment, just empty buildings wasting away. That situation is not as unimaginative or as surreal as you might think. The idea that a government is appealing against a tax bill on behalf of a Forbes 500 company is entertaining, upsetting and obscene all at the same time, but that is sometimes how the cookie crumbles.

What is interesting in all this is how the EU courts will act, you see, if they give in now, it should be regarded as the utter uselessness of that court to begin with. It gives weight that not being part of that very expensive club is indeed the way to go, which will now give weight that Brexit was not a bad move and it will in addition fuel Frexit too. All that over a mere 13 billion invoice. Less than 5% of the costs of Greece, which fuelled Brexit to begin with. This is at the heart of the matter of what the Americans just cannot comprehend. They just received the massive blowback on the lesson that you cannot win every fight and that Economic Status Quo is an illusion that will collapse upon those believing in it.

So as we see the idiotic roundtable threaten those European leaders “In an open letter to the leaders of the 28 European Union countries, the Business Roundtable group defended Apple over its tax dispute with the European commission” and “US businesses have warned European leaders they risk a “grievous self-inflicted wound” unless they overturn Brussels’ demand that Apple pay the Irish government €13bn (£11.4bn)“, I just wonder if they even considered the stupidity of their actions. On the other hand, should those leaders cave, how stupid are the European elected officials to begin with? So as we wonder whether Randall L. Stephenson has looked into the long term issues of his act, when we see that these actions drive Frexit and possibly even Italy’s act on a referendum (although the major influences would be Brexit and Frexit), will Randall respond with a ‘this is much more complex and should not have been pushed by our, what we regard to be a righteous act‘, or will we see a spokesperson state ‘Our Chairman is currently unavailable and is taking his personal time teaching the Youth how to do a proper sheepshank‘? I will let you decide, but consider that tax accountability has been an issue for over a decade and now we finally see an actual result against a large corporation we see people backing down? Perhaps they thought it would never get that far? Just like Brexit was never going to be a reality!

Yet the Irish Times did not remain quiet and less than 24 hours ago reported (at http://www.irishtimes.com/business/technology/apple-fined-in-japan-for-under-reporting-earnings-sent-to-ireland-1.2793469), ‘Apple fined in Japan for under-reporting earnings sent to Ireland‘. So when we read “The Tokyo Regional Taxation Bureau determined that the unit, which sends part of its profits earned from fees paid by subscribers in Japan to another Apple unit in Ireland to pay for software licensing, had not been paying a withholding tax on those earnings in Japan, according to broadcaster NHK“, I just wonder who the Tax Auditor was here.

Now I am not out to make Apple the bad guy, even though they screwed me over twice! What is important is that through all the presentations and all the boasting and ego based actions, there are now 4 groups in play all trying to get Brussels to back down on a legal verdict. We need to wait the appeal on this, yet should this remain and if the US makes noise we will have clear evidence that the EU is no longer something with validity, even stronger, these events are clear signals that the TTIP is an even worse idea than initially thought of in opposition. The one sidedness aside, the fact that American business has basically become the corporate ‘bully’, we need to reassess the situation and remain clear on where our priorities are. I personally remain with the belief as I always have that the Commonwealth nations need to stick together. In these times we now see the Democratic Party under leadership of President Obama do the following “The Obama administration on Thursday took action to limit the use of foreign tax credits by American multinational companies to reduce their U.S. tax bills, a move that followed an EU order that Apple pay back taxes to Ireland“, which I think is not a bad idea. You see, Apple et al might claim how they are so investing everywhere, but that is only done (as I personally see it) to avoid paying tax in America. It is one of the massive reasons why America is so deep in debt (apart from their impossibility to manage a budget) and something has to give. If those tax dollars are used to lower that debt then I would state: “Barack, you legend you, well done!“, because an America with low debt (read: no debt), would be again the superpower it once was and currently pretends to be.

In the end, nations that have a minimal debt, these nations get to decide for themselves, not having their actions overruled by financial institutions or Large Corporation, or by Randall L. Stephenson for that matter. Yes, we can see that those moves will have impact all over Europe and not in a nice way, but that is part of the game. You cannot have it both ways that was never a reality to begin with. Now they only need to fix the holes that Mario Draghi has in his hands and we are possibly perhaps on route to get something sorted.

Yet there is one part we need to get back to and that is the verdict. You see, what is in play here is the statement “an agreement allowing Apple to pay a maximum tax rate of just 1%. In 2014, the tech firm paid tax at 0.005%. The usual rate of corporation tax in Ireland is 12.5%“, this implies that Apple didn’t just get preferential treatment, all the other players were discriminated against. When we see the parts we had already known for a long time, the fact that “Ireland’s tax arrangements with Apple between 1991 and 2015 had allowed the US company to attribute sales to a “head office” that only existed on paper and could not have generated such profits“, which was a given and the result we saw on a global scale “Apple avoided tax on almost all the profit generated from its multibillion-euro sales of iPhones and other products across the EU’s single market. It booked the profits in Ireland rather than the country in which the product was sold“, gives way that a single market is perhaps not the best solution for all but one nation and in addition to this we must realise that the solution I mentioned 5 years ago to set the tax laws that taxation should be set into the nation of the buying consumers physical location could have avoided this and many other issues. A simple taxation change that made all the difference, yet it seems that no one in legislation in those nations as well as those political players ever considered changing that simple law that could have made all the difference.

You see, as the Guardian by-line offers, this case could have another escalation soon enough “Charlie Harrington, 53, a paramedic in Cork, expressed frustration that the Irish government penalized small taxpayers but seemed ready to protect Apple“, which is exactly how millions feel in both France and Italy. If this tax case caves and Apple ends up not being due this invoice, the jump to anti-EU sentiments will go up massively and very fast so. At that point President Obama will only have himself to thank for the mess he started to create when he went 180 degrees on the corporate tax issues discussed in the ‘The Hague Summit of 2013’. That was the first step that could have avoided a few things, this case being one of them.

Cause and Effect

The question becomes ‘What will happen now?’ This is something not easily answered. At present Apple has a few other issues knocking at its door and the iPhone 7 is one of them. The population at large is less money blessed, so paying $1295 for a new phone that according to Forbes is “Purchasing the iPhone 7 this morning from my local Apple Store I found a device that is remarkably similar to last year’s iPhone 6S and the iPhone 6 from 2014. The external design cues remain, the chips inside are faster, and iOS 10 is more polished but is fundamentally the same operating system. Nothing ‘feels’ news even though the package is professional and projects a revolution that is hard to find“, this is at the heart of the matter. Trying to create waves by limiting the system, whilst overall the system is still the same is an issue and at nearly $1300 a very expensive one. That whilst Android competitors are coming into the field with comparable devices, including a headphone jack at 50%-60% of the price of the iPhone 7 and the world is starting to consider the non-IOS alternative. What Apple should fear is not just the market they are losing, the dangers that people could, in regard to the tax pressures they have and the pressure that Apple seems to be able to avoid, is one that could make them feel frustrated and vindictive. The idea that a person could think ‘If the need not pay taxation, they do not need my business either is not that far a stretch‘. People are starting to see the ethical imbalance that large corporations have impressed upon nations and in Europe where the quality of life is not that great at present, seeking the much cheaper alternative that Huawei and LG are offering is one worth considering. That could bring considerable consequences for Apple soon enough. Now I am not stating that the iPhone 7 will be a flop, but for Apple in this stage, should they lose even as little as a 2% market share, the consequence for apple will be intense to state the least. In addition, the fact that the iPad has remained a success for so long could equally be the next problem child for Apple. In that regard releasing the iPad Pro was a really good idea, yet the tablet contenders are starting to realise what it takes to be a contender and if that knowledge is applied properly, there too non-IOS devices (read: android) could start to make a killing and as such undermine that market Apple has at present. The origin is not the device makers, but Google. As Google has been pushing ‘the year of mobile’ for two years, the shift of usage is also growing. There is a growing visibility that at times the mobile screen does not cut it and it gives more and more opportunity to both Phablet and Tablet. These are all examples showing quite clearly that there is no status quo to rely on and the temporary nature of devices shows that Apple needs to really push forward in an innovative way, preferably before the makers of tablets realise that an affordable 128 GB version of an Android tablet is every bit as appealing as the iPad Pro, especially when the Android version could be a lot less than the IOS edition. With Android having its own set of quality games, Apple has more to lose than they are willing to admit to and time is slowly running out for their streak of ignorance to continue. However, it is important to note that Apple has been pretty super innovative with the iPad pro, so there is still a gap to overcome for the competitors. In that regard it is equally interesting that the Android device market have ignored that side of the consumer’s need (read: desire). In all this, it was about taxation and not on markets. Yet one is linked to the other, mainly because if there is no market there is in equal measure no taxable revenue, which gets us to the final part. You see, I have written about these issues before in one form or another and now we see that the Wall Street Journal is finally waking up to this (at http://www.wsj.com/articles/lew-is-right-on-eu-tax-grab-but-lacks-credibility-1473962171), when we read “The Obama administration has had 92 months to tackle corporate tax reform. Now that Europe is making a grab for taxes on profits held by U.S. companies overseas, President Obama is ready to use his last few months in office to address tax issues that were ignored or made worse under his watch“, my response is that neither was done, as stated in earlier blogs in April 2016, when I wrote ‘Ignoranus Totalicus‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2016/04/24/ignoranus-totalicus), he refused to act (as voiced by “Senior officials in Washington have made it known“), so the non-actions are now back firing as event are now escalated. Another iteration of status quo.

What now?

This now all related to the issue at hand. IT corporations decided to maximise their profit by a consumer iterative annual approach of products. The IT market in the US nearly collapsed as it allowed for what was once regarded as a Taiwan Clone (a cheap alternative) to a quality A-brand to catch up. This is the problem with iterative thinking, when you are not in a niche market like Northrop Grumman (who at one stage actually there software patches ‘Iteration version’ I believe), you allow the market to catch up with you. ASUS caught up so and soon thereafter surpassed the original market owners. This lesson was not learned and the Telecom market decided that the profit was good in this way. So, please feel free to correct me. What happened to Ericsson and Nokia? Apple came and overwhelmed everyone and instead of truly remaining innovative, they started to largely iterate their device and called it innovation, now that LG, Samsung and Huawei have caught on and pretty much caught up, they are now offering equal, if not better options at lower prices. So how long will it take Apple to learn that status quo is merely an illusion? I reckon will see that revelation close after Christmas, after the annual sales are gone (and they will be improbable but not impossible a bit disappointing this year).

I reckon we will know in about 15-19 weeks!

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, IT, Media, Politics, Science