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United Stupid

Update: This story is two days old. I was unable to post it yesterday, so it reads a little out of time.

We have all been there, we were in a position to state ‘I know something’, and there it was, the person speaking would suddenly get additional attention, because that person ‘was in the know’. This happens ever so often and for the most it tends to be just embarrassing for those exposed. We all tend to react to it differently. Yet what happens when that idiot has a high security clearance and works in the White House? Give me one situation when exposing the options of an allied intelligence operation benefits in any way when you spill the bacon whilst you don’t have actual skin in the game? The question at that point becomes, why was that person so utterly stupid? Whatever British Intelligence had in mind, their options went to zero when some retarded White House official decided to give out the name. There is of course a local upbeat. The US has been trying to bend over backwards to get their fingers on Julian Assange. It is not unlikely that the ‘cooperation’ in that regard could stop. Let’s face it, the US screws over the UK, yet still insists on having a person extradited who on the literal interpretation had not committed a crime. I still don’t like the dude, and what he did was stupid and irresponsible beyond belief, but when we look at the letter of the law, he broke none. So as one stupid act cancels another, the White House basically cut its own fingers. There is of course the outspoken and very publicised former US Navy Admiral Robert Gilbeau, who has been what some call: ‘a naughty boy’, my issue is with the dozen or so pending cases. Yes, the US would not like the visibility of certain construction companies to be out in the open because they are at a critical stage to close certain large deals that would surpass the 2011 bipartisan budget agreement by a lot. Yet here I state that the people have a right to know with what kind of firm they are (or rather would be) getting in bed with (that is apart from the prostitutes they might provide). You see, it is more than merely the overcharging by Glenn Defence Marine Asia. It is also the third parties that they introduce and we are entitled to know, are we not? So as the US is now going all out on what they have, we should ask the right people at GCHQ and DGSE on what they have in certain respect. I see it not as a tit for tat, but as a stern warning to those ‘blabbing’ and releasing photos allegedly from the alleged White House source, that there are consequences to this level of bungling.

You see, as we are now getting drowned on the issues of Salman Abedi, the fence is pretty much gone. Those who had links have either destroyed any evidence that could have been optionally found, burner phones all gone and even as some evidence remains it will be circumstantial at best. The other option is that those linked have faded into the background, not to be found. So as people start reading ‘What we know about him’, the reader better realises is that this is what he wanted people to see (for the most), some limelight seekers will come into the forefront to get their 15 minutes with a nice cash bonus and whilst most people will not care on what is and what is fake, the people who are trying to keep the others safe are now doing it will their hands tied, their options melted away, because someone blabbed. We can also ponder whether this was done so that the people would not look too closely to the US Budget as it was released. In that piece of work, we see that being poor in America will leave them with even less. The military get more and far beyond what the 2011 bipartisan budget agreement allowed for, so there is that to look ‘forward’ to, so whatever deficit reduction was in mind, or on the mindful pretty much goes out the window, in that side, with the ‘benefits for large businesses’, there is every chance that the USA would add 2-3 trillion to the debt within 15 months. Which is now also a driver for Europe as we see Macron and Merkel in ‘renewed’ Europe and Euro efforts (leave that to the president investment banker in the house). So are these elements linked? No, they are not (as far as I can tell)! The issue is on how certain things were released and the fact that it was an ‘unnamed source in the White House’ gives light to other issues, which we see in the guardian (athttps://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/may/23/trump-administration-manchester-bomber-name-leak). The quote: “Perry Cammack, a fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, added: “I don’t think in and of itself this episode will do lasting harm; I sense this was a miscommunication. But the context is that we’re in the midst of a political crisis in Washington of the first order. The institutions are leaking at an unprecedented rate. It feels like things are under stress here.”“. You see, I agree for the most, yet there is one side I do not agree with is ‘things are under stress here‘, I think that the current administration has ‘accepted’ a collection of amateurs to get into the professional mix, which is not some version of ‘miscommunication’, but rather a collection of ‘tools‘ at best and at worst a group of individuals the house or representatives would not consider hiring under the most liberal of conditions.

As I see it there are two dangers. The first is that fictive evidence will come to the surface, carefully inclined voices on what they thought they heard, especially in light of the fact that ISIS claimed the attack, which is a possibility and not a given. It gives them the option to make a cloud of additional claims driving security levels to even higher setting. The second side is that as the actual intelligence gets muddier, the approach to quality intelligence becomes harder and it will be more of a challenge to keep places secure and to get a handle on who is an actual threat, who is the wannabe and who is utterly innocent. This is a complication in any Lone Wolf issue, yet as there is a path of intelligence flow, there is a decent chance on separating the wannabe’s from the innocents. That path becomes less clear, so as the people who need to get this done are focussing on the wrong groups, the actual threats have a less threatened path for a longer time. Just because someone wanted ‘friends in the media’ to know that they were ‘in the know’. It is that utterly United Stupid!

Yet in all this there is a second level of issues. This level would have happened no matter what. It now influences other timings, but it would have happened. We see this in another Guardian article (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/may/23/manchester-attack-police-investigate-katie-hopkins-final-solution-tweet). People like Katie Hopkins, were never imbued with any quality level of intelligence, so when she called for a ‘final solution‘ she got reported to the police. Now, in her favour…. actually, I’ve got nothing, she is that dumb! You see, we can say for certain the the attack on Martin Place (Australia) a few years ago was done by a person with mental health issues. The attack in Paris on the cartoonist was clearly a terrorist. Yet what was Salman Abedi?

The attack should be seen as a terrorist attack, yet does that make this an attack by a terrorist? I am not stating that it is not, but consider, what happens if the attacker has clear mental health issues? It does not make the transgressor innocent, it merely makes it more important to find the people who got him to do this, they are without any doubt terrorists. You see, he was accepted into University, which gives us that the man was intelligent. Yet was he intelligent enough to make a suicide bomb? The Manchester Arena might not have bomb sniffers, but does it have metal detectors? Was there security at the entrance? It does not make the security guilty, it merely gives voice that the making of the bomb and the evasion of detection gives rise to intent. So, what if he did not make the bomb, what if it was handed to him? Again, it does not make Salman Abedi innocent, it merely gives voice that there is a support system in place making these events happen. There is a collection of intelligence, now possibly lost to British Intelligence as someone in the White House allowed this news to get out prematurely, and that makes it a much larger failure than some of the media is making it out to be.

As the information gets more and more blurred, the quality of knowledge diminishes. At present we cannot tell, because not enough is known for now, and later on, the media will obscure the clarity of vision, so that part is still there to deal with. A suicide bomber is not by definition a clear terrorist (although the act is). We know that Al-Qaida and ISIS will use whatever tool they can find and someone that can be easily impressed is a tool. The given fact that he was a University drop out, could be that he was under stress and could not hack it on that level. Such a person, depending on when he dropped out will have PTSD and depression to deal with. If you drop out on something like that, you would be depressed too, we all would. So as that news goes around, it just takes one person even from within the mosque to send the message pointing at him, for a wave of ‘reassurances that the world does not accept you‘ to come his way. Many of us all contributed to that with accepting anti-Muslim waves. Whether intentional or not, that was the outcome. So as the Intelligence Branch will have more issues trying to decipher who got to Salman Abedi, Salman Abedi ended up getting to 22 people and wounding 59 others. A media mess that would have been here no matter what. If there is one upside to it all then that would be “A Sun journalist was allegedly attacked while knocking on doors in Manchester to speak to families of those affected by the bombing“, as we have seen on the useless effect that IPSO has on the decency of the press, it is heart warming to learn that slapping such a person silly might still work. It is not a ‘final solution’ to the intrusive press, but it might be a start for them to stop and ponder their actions, before doing something this thoughtless.

So as the news cycles continue, we see another event happening. We see that there is more sadness as we wave goodbye to the suavest Bond of all. Sir Roger Moore passed away. He was my First Bond (Live and Let Die, 1973). Later I would see him in the Persuaders on a rerun. We would all admire his presence in several other movies too. I watch him as a kid in Ivanhoe, but not when it originally aired. You see, this impacts me a lot more than the events in Manchester. Not because of the severity, but because of the personal connection to the movies and TV series I watched. It will not mean anything to those directly affected by the events in Manchester, they will be in deep grief and so they should. For me there is a second realisation, it is the fact that Roger Moore had given joy to millions on the big screen, yet his visibility in the UK press seems to be a mere drop compared to all the speculations they are giving on Salman Abedi, is that not sad too? I get it, what is news? Yet, as I see certain news ‘unfold’ I remember my day at Dulles Airport 18th July 1999, Fox and others were all about the plane with Kennedy junior that crashed, which would be a sad day for many Americans. My issue is that for two hours in the department lounge I got to see a camera pointed at a sailor on a boat as the reporters were hoping to catch a first glimpse live on TV. I heard rambling and speculations, nothing more. It was like the other news that the world had, was paused. ISIS knows this and pushing this form of media is actually enabling ISIS. Would it not be a lot better to show the world what amazing feats Sir Roger Moore had done? How a collection of novels by Leslie Charteris published between 1928 and 1963 became the inspiration of a TV series done more than once, but largely identified with Sir Roger Moore as Simon Templar. He played James bond for the longest times playing the role many times. That is news that should matter, and to a lot it should matter more than the events at the Manchester Arena, that is unless you know someone there. We all need to realise that it is important to take the wind out of the ISIS sails as much as we can, it will not be possible to get that completely under control, because the events have taken place, but we could try to minimize the events by not being like US network news stations and point the camera at a sailor on the back of a boat, hoping to get the shot the instance it happens. that is equally United Stupid (as I personally see it) and that is seems to be a much larger global problem. For those not directly involved hearing it a little later is not the end of the world and so far all the latest revelations regarding Salman Abedi seems to be based on debatable sources, giving less value to what we read. A small fact that could just be my faulty view on the things that are currently being reported on.

Update: After this was written, there was additional news that the investigating parties were looking into an entire terrorist ‘network’. That news came more than a day after I had finished this.

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Where to focus?

This is an issue on the best of days, we are overwhelmed with information, real news, fake news and of course the Direct marketing waves that hit our internet eyes nearly 24:7. The internet is no longer some child, it is a grown adult and adults tend to lack a certain sense of humour, well the adult eyes of the beholder that is. Yet, what matters to us? When we move beyond the job that feeds you, the partner that … you and the family that gives you (usually) strength. When these things are dealt with, what matters next?

The fearful will look at North Korea, on how they are a threat and when we look at the Washington Post, a very respectable paper we see (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-north-korean-nuclear-threat-is-very-real-time-to-start-treating-it-that-way/2017/05/18/d60cbeec-39a4-11e7-8854-21f359183e8c_story.html) on how the threat is real. Even as we saw two failed launches, and in addition, we have yet to see anything from North Korea to get any missile that far (reaching the US), that an opinion piece states: “Stephen Rademaker, a principal with the Podesta Group, was an assistant secretary of state responsible for arms control and nonproliferation from 2002 to 2006“, so here we see the message, yet the core truth is: “The Podesta Group is a lobbying and public affairs firm based in Washington, D.C.. It was founded in 1988 by brothers John Podesta and Tony Podesta, it can be found at 1001 G Street, NW Suite 1000 W Washington, DC 20001“. Basically it is a marketing firm working a very niche market. Don’t get me wrong. I am not ‘attacking’ them, I would accept a position in such a firm any day of the week. Whether we call them marketeers, government strategy councillors or even diplomatic assistants, they are professionals and I do love working with professionals, especially in an environment I am not fully comprehensive of. You see, when you are out of your waters, most people tend to get to be a little apprehensive. Not me, it invigorates me, whether it is working as a document carrier for Faisal bin Abdullah, or Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, doing work for google (which has been one of the most mentally intoxicating and invigorating environments ever) or merely finding new data solutions, working through data and solving the puzzle I see. So is North Korea a real threat or a perceived one? The safe bet is too see them as a real threat as they have access to Uraninite. You see, the world tends to be a little more complex than that. Having the stuff is not enough, getting the delivery method working correctly is an entirely different matter. It can be by having people from Pyongyang masked as South Koreans attending international universities in science and engineering would be a first, which is not that far a stretch. I literally (by accident) I told this Korean student “Does your family still have that bar in Pyongyang?“, he turned pale and said ‘How did you know that?‘, which was not the response I was going for, but OK, such is life, full of surprises. So as you ponder this, wonder on how China has little or no worry. If North Korea ever actually launches a missile towards America, do you think that the President of the USA would not instantly retaliate (especially the current one), what happens to places like Shenyang (in China), also consider whatever hits the water will make fishing no longer an option for decades, Japan learned that the hard way, so there you have it. In addition, we have seen the North Korea military look at systems like they were magical and those were computers the current European generation laughs at. That can be corroborated by the press as they were on a North Korean press tour a little over a year ago. The ‘minders‘ of those groups had NEVER seen a smart phone. I think that North Korea talks a lot, but for now has no real byte. Now the last part of that the Podesta group is a professional organisation. So was it merely an opinion piece or was the article their business, business they charge for? I will leave you with that thought.

The older American would look at the danger of pensions, which we also see in the Washington Post (athttps://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2017/05/18/trumps-budget-calls-for-hits-on-federal-employee-retirement-programs), the article ‘Trump’s budget calls for hits on federal employee retirement programs‘ describes on how it impacts. The article is a really good read and gives me the feeling that US retirement plans are an awful mess, with the additional danger that they seem to be running dry slightly too soon, which is what you get with a 20 trillion-dollar debt I reckon. The quote “A preliminary budget document released in March called for a domestic discretionary budget decrease of $54 billion, with an equal increase for defense, homeland security and veterans. Nineteen 19 small agencies would be eliminated, along with their workforces“, the additional “Increasing the FERS employee contribution would result in the average federal employee losing nearly $5,000 per year in take home pay, that’s per year after the phase-in is finished, he estimated. “Phasing this outrageous pension cut in over several years does not make it any more palatable. If this change is made, federal employees will no longer have a secure retirement. Period.”” is even more food for thought. The one equaliser in American business has for the longest time been that those people had a secure retirement, when this is off the table the one part of quiet governmental officials was that there was a long term benefit, with that off the table the environment in government positions will change. Now, we might think that this is not a bad thing, but it will result in chaos, and when we have seen and known that the American infrastructure has no real way to deal with chaos in its ranks, we will see different whirly waves of discontent, a few will leave marks on everyone. So when we read “The budget proposal President Trump plans to unveil Tuesday would give to federal employees with one hand, while taking away with five others” is an interesting one and I reckon that when the full paper is released this coming Tuesday, the US national papers will give it high visibility, because the United States federal civil service has a total of around 3 million people, which is 1% of the US population, making it decently important to cater to them. Perhaps those trying to sell the change might have been better off talking to the Podesta group first?

For me, the news was not in a newspaper. It was found in Digital health article. It re-iterated the issue of ‘urgent change‘ I voiced in my blog yesterday. In there I showed the NHS digital part regarding the endgadget quote “NHS digital had notified staff on patches” which would have diminished the Cyber attack gives us two sides. One, would there have been diminished damage, because that would suffice as evidence. Yet in Digital health we see: “a small team of developers is recommending the health service reduce its reliance on Microsoft“, which is overall not a bad idea, yet the NHS is too big to just make a shift in policy like that. I would be in favour of a shift towards something a lot safer like Linux, but that requires expertise. Another option is to rely on an android option where the NHS is all about apps, equally optional, but it will require massive amounts of resources on programmers, testers, upgraders and cyber monitoring. All these options require a drastic shift in IT operations. When we accept that in too many places there is no minding the NHS IT store (by not patching) the dangers will increase. As I quoted: “It is also my personal belief that in many cases the person claiming ‘urgent action is needed’ is also the person who wants the ‘victim’ to jump the shark so that they can coin in as large a way as possible“, which is what we see right here in the article. Now consider the quote: “To demonstrate that there is a licence-free alternative, GP Marcus Baw and technologist Rob Dyke have adapted the open source Linux-based Ubuntu operating system specifically for the NHS. They call it NHSbuntu“. So why not just use the foundation called Ubuntu? I cannot judge the intent (noble or not), but consider that technologist Rob Dyke has to pay for rent and so much, where is his interest? Do not get me wrong, we should not just dismiss any idea that might work, yet will it? You see any IT environment needs oversight and maintenance. The NHS is in no position to make such drastic changes as it is short on basic needs (nurses and doctors), I do agree that the IT needs to be addressed, yet two Labour governments wasted the IT budget of close to 10 years, lets leave it alone until we can actually address solutions. In this, one additional quote from Beta News. they give us “The report reveals that 12.8 percent of non-Microsoft programs were un-patched in the first quarter of this year“. If patching is so important, and it is, why give voice to 12.8% of additional risk? As stated, I am no Microsoft fan, but it does work in the current NHS environment and if we believe NHS Digital and the trusts do actually patch their stuff, the danger would have been a lot lower. As the evidence is at present, this issue would have been addressed by mere policy and replacing those not adhering to it might be the cheapest and best solution. In all this IT News gives us one more part, the fact that Microsoft is actually releasing a patch for operating systems that are no longer supported is also evidence. I do not see it as merely “to protect the company’s customer ecosystem“, which is a decent answer if you believe that. You see they could have merely told the customers to freely upgrade to Windows 10. I believe that, as they state it “to protect users against NSA-derived ransomware“. I believe that someone has evidence on a Microsoft-NSA cooperation in the beginning of the data snooping age and somehow the makers of the Ransomware (less and less likely to be North Korean) got access to the information needed. I reckon that anyone upgrading will be removing the digital evidence on their computers of that event. If you doubt me, consider the quote in that same article “Current versions of WannaCrypt use two exploits leaked by the ShadowBrokers hackers, who gained access to systems at The Equation Group, which is linked to the United States NSA, last year“, if that is true, how did North Korea get this? If they are good enough to be allegedly part of the NSA (source: Kaspersky), how come that the bulk of the cyber intelligence world has no knowledge of North Korea being such a threat against a player like that? It does not matter how it got out. Whether it was a disgruntled ex-employee. Some hacker that got sucked and suckered by a honey trap, there are enough options nowadays. The reality is that somehow the intel got out. It is being addressed and fixed. It does not make the issue go away, it merely tells us that remaining up to date and properly patched was the way to go. Urgently addressing does apply to systems being reasonable up to date, which does mean that there are costs, pushing yourself away from Microsoft (not the worst idea) comes with a cost, one that the NHS cannot afford, no matter how ambitious it seems and they got plenty of that, especially with non working systems. So, lets not make that error twice!

So when you wonder where you need to focus, I am merely suggesting that when your private house is in order, consider playing a video game or watch a nice blu-ray. It seems to me that a balanced life is the most important thing you can arrange for yourself, let the circus play its game and decide not to watch every show they offer, in the end it could just be merely Direct Marketing.

Get what you actually need, not what others state you need!

 

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Screwed either way

Some will remember James Comey, at present former Director of the FBI. In addition, we need to remember on how during the final parts of the election Hillary Clinton came under investigations regarding her handling of certain matters as Secretary of State. In my mind her chances went out the window as she had bungled the Benghazi affair in the most stupid way possible. From my point of view it could have gotten her at least a million extra votes if she had done that thing right. In that Case, the 16 votes for Michigan might have been Democratic, in addition, the 29 votes for Florida and 10 for Wisconsin could have sealed the deal as the differences were really low, no guarantee, but the limping to the finish line as some newspapers reported imply that those three would have been up for grabs at that point. Would it have been enough. Was James Comey the trigger that made it falter? It would be too speculative to say ‘Yes!’

Consider the extremely hostile environment of the US and their need to be ‘by the book’ to do it according to whatever rules they decide. The fact that Hillary Clinton did office work via private email and servers and then suddenly the materials cannot be produced. This means that she gets to do government work off the books, with every possibility to feed her personal needs. I am not saying she did, I am saying she could have done that and there will be no evidence to help prove it. My issue was with the Benghazi situation. Where we see: ‘State Department officials were later criticized for denying requests for additional security at the consulate prior to the attack. In her role as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton subsequently took responsibility for the security lapses‘, which was almost the brunt of it, the fact that certain parties were not upfront about the issue and it took Freedom Of Information Act requests by the Republican National Committee to truly get things going publicly. From CNN and Politico we learn “a lack of cooperation from Obama administration officials and Secretary Clinton for the lack of progress“, certain parties were dragging their heels as the spokesperson had to admit that they were pretty much clueless on the situation, that level of ignorance got an US ambassador killed. It might have blown over, but with the death of an Ambassador it was no longer an option as the world would be watching. This issue, even as Clinton took the blame towards herself, would not clear her. She failed a position of high office and as such giving her an even higher position was a bit of a no-no. Consider that the request for additional security was denied, the next time around it could impact the security of a nation. The entire terrorist push, the billions on security are now the anchor that no party can ignore. Stating that there will be no danger could start the second civil war in the US as the intelligence and security services have been spending billions meant for welfare and education. In this we now see the issue that was brought to light later as “classified information ended up on the laptop of the disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner“, now we get “Mr. Comey had told the Senate Judiciary Committee that during the F.B.I.’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state, officers uncovered evidence that Mrs. Clinton’s aide, Huma Abedin, had “forwarded hundreds and thousands of emails, some of which contain classified information” to Mr. Weiner, her husband“, so an unqualified person forwarded from a private server mails to people who had no business getting the information. This is how nations are put into danger, this is how National Security falters. In this people want to protect the Clintons from being utter dicks in negating the need for security. In addition, the NY Times gives us the quote (at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/09/us/politics/comey-clinton-emails-testimony.html) “Our investigation determined that Ms. Abedin commonly forwarded emails to others who would print documents for her,” Gregory A. Brower, the assistant director in the F.B.I.’s Office of Congressional Affairs, wrote in a letter to the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa“, so not only is she stupid, she is commonly stupid? What other information went innocuously to indirect receivers at for example, Wall Street, or a friend in financial hardship? James Comey did what was requested from him as the news has shown in several times that House republicans requested the probe and now a Republican fires Comey for doing so.

The Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/may/09/james-comey-fbi-fired-donald-trump), gives us: “Clinton partly blamed Comey’s letter in late October notifying Congress that the FBI was studying the emails on the laptop, for costing her the presidential election”, which sounds nice from her side, but when we realise that she allowed in principle for hundreds of classified mails to go unchecked via a third party to another person who should have no access at all. The fact that she is not in prison for gross negligence, or even on charges much worse is for her the smallest blessing in disguise”.

I will admit that there are issues on the Comey side too, yet again, when we realise that this was all in a timed situation during the running of the presidential election, and timed by republicans, there is one part that seems to stand out, as I see it, for the next 8 years, the republicans will not get any assistance that is a letter outside of the official brief request. The republicans have thrown away any options for small favours. Yet perhaps that might be their game, because as more and more people realise the dangers of the Financial Choice Act, it might be that James Comey was too much of an unknown straight shooter according to Wall Street. I wonder what friend of Wall Street will get to be appointed next. You think that my speculation is wrong? Perhaps it is, I just find it a little weird that a person who did his job in weird times, at request of the republicans, gets fired by that same group. Perhaps President Trump is merely throwing a fictive olive branch at the democrats, perhaps and more likely he was being misinformed by someone really liking someone else to be in that place. In my view there are issues on both sides, yet the direct clarity is that there has been a proven case that former Presidential runner Hillary Clinton was stupid in the way she did things and more stupid having an aide that had no office setup to properly print things, as well as knowingly share classified information with third parties. That part only came to light as the 52-year-old congressman decided to do some sexting with a 15 year old. Without that, it might not have come to light. The issue then becomes, who else, who should not be receiving any of it, ended up with classified information, who else came with: ‘shall I print that out for you?’ In this, the one support against the Wall Street Journal would be the quote “His probe of the former Secretary of State’s private email server is looking more like a kid-glove exercise with each new revelation“, which might not be incorrect, yet the election was in full swing, there was an issue that could constitute electoral fraud, which would be a big no-no to a lawyer like James Comey. He was pushed by the republicans in a hard place with no real solution. Yet in all this none of the papers stated at the headline the one part that mattered and remains unstated too often: ‘Hillary Clinton did this to herself!

There is one remaining side which we get from loyal republican Bill O’Reilly. He is illuminating it all without using the speculation I use (I am a blogger after all), we see: “Now, if you are Comey, you are basically taking copies of all your files, because if there is something wrong here – by wrong I mean, if Comey was doing his job, and now is fired because he was doing his job – Comey has got to get that out”, and there is more at https://www.billoreilly.com/b/OReilly-from-his-car-on-the-Firing-of-FBI-Director-James-Comey/662156856740165995.html. The issue is seen not by just me, but by several people, some of them scrutinising the FBI even more than I ever would, they state ‘Comey is fired because he was doing his job’, which is to many of us a real no-no, that whilst the Clinton gang goes on making loads of coin. The injustice is slightly more than I can stomach. So, as such I feel correct in my speculation, this was not about the Clinton mails, this is about making an FBI shake up for what comes next. It is done now because one additional quality win makes Comey almost untouchable and at that point too many people on the hill (that famous one in Washington DC) will ask a few more questions on both sides of the political isle. That is the part they have no worry about when the next one in the hot seat gets given the hot potato no one wants. It is a stretch on my side, I agree to that, yet with the loud noises that the Financial Choice Act is making and with groups and strong people in high places are now asking loudly what is wrong with the Republicans enabling Wall Street to this agree. As we see that consumers will lose more rights to defend themselves in these matters, having an FBI director with a strong moral compass is not something that the White House or the Senate might be comfortable with. I might be wrong here, and I likely am. Yet when you get fired for doing your job, more questions should be asked, especially as it is the position where one person has a goal to keep its citizens safe from several dangers. I hope you got that much at least.

 

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Awaiting the next…

There is not a lot to do today, the French polling booths opened up 28 minutes ago, there is no certainty who will make it to the palace in Paris and I will not speculate at this time. In that regard, the shouting of ‘hacked’ by Emmanuel Macron seems shabby and shallow. In that same light, we see (what I regard to be) the the hilarious idiocy of Jeremy Corbyn with ‘We’ll fund spending by raising tax on £80,000 earners, says Labour’, which is a joke when you consider that it does not even get close to 20% of the spending spree he has in mind. The UK is in a state of hardship for now and that has always been a known fact. It is a hurdle that the right politicians can overcome and Jeremy Corbyn is showing again and again that he is not cut out for that position. The quotes “under the plans, 95% of taxpayers would be guaranteed no increases in their income tax during the next parliament” as well as “those earning above £80,000 should expect to pay more to enable improvements to the health service, education and other public services” show the level of lacking reality. Now, I have nothing against raising taxation just a little in high earner fields, yet that was to offset increasing the 0% tax bar so that those in low incomes would get just a little more. The improvements needed to health care alone will require billions, more than the tax increase allows for, which means that the UK Labour party is deceiving you. Would you vote for someone who actively and openly deceives you? You as UK voters, you should know this by now. In all this, these false promises from Labour UK is merely a clear sign that voting for them is voting for the downfall of the UK. UKIP is equally down, having no constituencies left and the lack of the charisma of Nigel Farage is a problem for them. Paul Nuttall is not getting it done, which is no bad reflection in him. He started as the underdog and with merely a Brexit, it is not enough. Farage was (even though everyone disagrees) a visionary, not the most diplomatically eloquent one, but a visionary none the less. Paul requires more than he has at present, more following, more issues to work with and these two are much harder to come by at present. The Lib Dems are not in a growing side either, but they already had a following and I will admit that Tim Farron did a lot better in this election than I gave him credit for. If he can connect to Theresa May and plead for essential parts of the Lib Dems message to become accepted by the Tories, he will actually have a game to play and if administered better than Nick Clegg did, he will have an advantage, one that surpasses the Labour party at present, which is saying a lot.

In all this, we have weeks to see the press give voice and give a swing to what these politicians are trying to say without sounding like Oliver Twist with ‘Can I have a little more please?

Whatever happens, it will not happen until Tuesday as Monday will all be about France and it will be about the next phase of France. In that regard I do believe that the outcome of the elections is merely a stage towards what will be opened at that time. No matter the win, a European referendum seems to be no longer avoidable. Macron is realising it and Marine Le Pen is merely waiting for Macron to screw up that one mistake is all that will be required.

That is the setting which we will see before the general elections and hen that happens it will impact the political actions in the UK. It all takes a turn when we look at the BBC with their reality Check, those claiming (read: Nick Clegg) that households would be £500 worse off is still not proven to be correct. If anything, they are 0.2% better off, yet there is a little over 6 months to go, so there is room for the end result to shift, yet by June this might be proven to be no longer a reality. It is those bog winded predictions that should be at the core of how we hold politicians accountable and in that regard Nick and Jeremy are not doing too well. Even as they hit out against Nigel Farage when he stated ‘I would much rather’, which is a preference and not a certainty, they themselves are all about ‘is likely to be’ which is actually also a prediction. It is the intonation of ‘it could be worse’ that counts. I have seen too much from certain people showing this path. It is the level of fear mongering for votes that really gets my goat.

Clegg was doing a similar thing less than 24 hours ago on how raising taxation would gain Sheffield £100 million (source: the Express). As I see it “by adding a penny onto every pound of income tax people pay. The tax, the Lib Dems say, would raise £103.7 million for Sheffield each year – £84 million for the NHS and £19.7 million for social care” the quote is merely wishful thinking, by raising taxation by even 1%, the lowest two groups could find themselves in near physical hardship, which now implies that the spike that the increase brings will result in NHS costs more than twice the amount they are gaining. By the way, that one percent addition, implies that Sheffield gets a little too much. When we get the numbers from HM Revenue & Customs, we see that in 2015 South Yorkshire the total taxation was a little over £2 billion, 1% of that is merely £20 million, so where is little Nicky getting the rest from? I am 100% certain that the quality of life in South Yorkshire did not go up by 500% in one year. Yorkshire pudding just does not give that level of taxable revenue. Which implies that Tim Farron has a problem by letting Nick Clegg babble all over the place. Perhaps Clegg was the Obi-Wan Kenobi of Jeremy Corbyn? In all this we see a need for clarity and getting the correct information to the voters, because any Clegg-Corbyn union will ruin the United Kingdom as I personally see it.

So what is next? What are we waiting for?

That is an actual issue, at times we can only wait until the results arrive and the UK will be awaiting what happens next. On this day, this Sunday, the UK will be reacting to what happens on the mainland. Even Greece is getting visibility by proclaiming to be the ally of Macron, so how are they valued at anything? Late last month we see how Greece is one target to make the debtor deal, whilst last week we see that the EU is trimming down the forecast for 2017 from 2.7% to merely 2%, in all this were the numbers adjusted? So after the deal, we get the bad news that the numbers were off by almost 26%, how is anything in Greece valued at all? (source: RTE).

So, those people who were off by well over 25% are all about engaging through the facilitation of a former French investment banker as President of France? In all this the UK will go forward in Brexit, because not doing so will have dire consequences. That risk is now coming from the US a they are trying to get the Financial Choice Act into place. So at the Guardian reported “If you want to buy a house, it will let salespeople push you into high-interest, high-fee loans because it increases their referral fees. On top of that, it makes it easier for realtors and mortgage lenders to sell you into closing services that they actually control – essentially giving themselves a kickback”, is just one of a few issues that give rise to the angers of more than the low income earners to become either a wage slave or homeless. You only need to have been there to know that you will do nearly anything to remain a wage slave. On the 15th of February of this year I wrote (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2017/02/15/pimping-the-united-states/): “If there is an upside, then it will be that the next financial event will have one enormous difference, the moment the US people see that their quality of life returns to a 2009 state, there will be 170-205 million people unanimously agreeing that the President of the United States is to be assassinated, moreover, when that angry mob runs to Washington, the army will not intervene as they will have been hit just as hard as well as their family members. So at that point the Secret Service will need to protect an idiot, whilst they have less than 1% of the ammunition required to stop that angry mob. Good luck to them I say!”, the Financial Choice Act might be the actual point that made my speculation a few months ago an actual reality. At that point we need no longer worry about either the IMF, Mario Draghi or the Euro. I reckon that once one of the players goes a little overboard for mere greed, the people will gut (quite literally) anyone working on Wall Street, at that point the people at the IMF will run for their lives, having no control over what happens next on the global market. Mario Draghi would essentially take the first flight into anonymity and the Euro would take a dive so steep that 10 EC members will take flight to their old currency overnight giving the UK and Sweden a large reason to smile for a few hours (they would still take a hit soon thereafter), pensions in Europe will become a thing of the past. Yes, this is speculation, yet when the financial services making a profit will over $150 billion a year needs more options for profit, I think we can all agree that the dangers of any future lost to the population at large will have dire consequences for anyone facilitating in that endeavour.

The weird part is that Frexit will actually increase the dangers to the Financial Choice Act to become a reality, because that is the way greed tends to go. Those wanting it are already massively rich and they will not care about the 98.4% of the population that they hurt to such an extent. So as we contemplate Brexit, Frexit, Swedone, Withdrawsaw, Czech-out, Donegary and any other fashion word for countries leaving the Euro (oh, I forgot about Beljump and Nexit), the US in their lack of foresight is about to give rise to financial fears to the global market at large. I will dig deeper into the Financial Choice Act in the near future.

 

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Hospitality starts with hospital

There is no way around it, United Airlines has found a new way to get mentioned on every social media at the same time. The article (at http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/united-airlines-passenger-beaten-flight-chicago-airport-apologise-newunitedairlinesmottos-trump-a7678296.html) gives us a first view on how the people are perceiving United Airlines. The headline ‘United Airlines hasn’t even bothered apologising to the passenger beaten on its flight‘ gives us the goods. The article goes into a few elements, although I am not entirely in agreement with: “this blood-soaked guy who simply wanted to go home and get to work the next day could have been any one of us“, I will at least admit that it is not entirely incorrect.

My issue is not initially with the act as such, it is with the utter stupidity of removing someone who had boarded without a proper reason. Consider that people check into flights, they get their luggage through, get past all the check and end up with a boarding pass. At that precise moment, that seat is taken! So basically up to an hour before the flight, this issue could and should have been clear, and this level of stupidity has consequences. Market watch reported ‘United’s stock falls 1.1%, wipes out $255 million off the airline’s market cap‘, which seems a little much so that one additional staff member could get on that flight. The quote “If you’ve flown anywhere in the last 10 years, you’ve definitely been on an overbooked plane. You might have even been offered a few hundred quid to skip your flight in order to make room for travelling airline staff” gives a fair view of what happens at time. In my case it was a first class passenger who had to get on the flight I was one and we were offered 600 euro’s and a free upgrade to get the next flight. I was not in the market, but someone took this offer. That is the easy option for the airline. In this case there was no option and someone got dragged off. As I would see it, a logistical screw up that gave a market dive of $255 million and that is not all. There is a solid chance that this doctor can sue the airline and the security detail that dragged him off costing the airline several million more. You see this is not a case of wrongful acting by the passenger. The passenger had checked in, went through all the screenings that happen and passed all the requirements. The passenger was given a boarding pass and was allowed to board the plane, it is at this point that the airline is screwed (as I personally see it). At this point it becomes an institutional failure of an airline to properly conduct its business. The excuse of a press conference where we see CEO Oscar Munoz calling the incident a ‘system failure’ and says staff could have solved it with ‘common sense’ is not a clear answer. The additional statement “proper tools, policies, procedures that allow them to use common sense” sounds like a joke to me. Common sense should be on the forefront of all this. The mere logistical part that the boarding procedure was not tattooed on the supervisors’ brainstem is not a medical requirement, but it might have saved them a quarter of a billion write down. I will give him that he took the blame towards himself, but in the end this failure went past the head of the hospitality crew, the pilot and captain of the flight and the security detail. Three levels that did not ask the questions that should have been asked before this disaster took shape. The fact that this was because of a needed seat for a staff member makes the disaster complete and a lot bigger too.

Now, there was also a mention that ‘aviation experts have said the company acted legally‘, is that so? You see, the contract of carriage of United Airlines: “If a flight is oversold, no one may be denied boarding against his/her will until UA or other carrier personnel first ask for volunteers who will give up their reservations willingly in exchange for compensation as determined by UA. If there are not enough volunteers, other Passengers may be denied boarding involuntarily in accordance with UA’s boarding priority“, here is the kicker: ‘may be denied boarding involuntarily‘, this was not the case, the man had already boarded and had boarded validly with a valid boarding pass. This is the part that will get United Airlines in hot water!

The other part that I do not get is the issue for one steward(ess), what was the beef here? There are close to 50 flights a day going from Chicago to St. Louis, so unless it was about a directly connecting flight, or better stated, even then, there would have been logistical solutions available. All this (I admit speculated) seems to reflect the opposite of what Oscar Munoz claims, mainly that the bulk of staff and support groups in Chicago airport were pretty much all devoid of common sense. So, from that point of view, no policy or protocol would have saved United Airlines the disaster it was heading to at full speed.

The part I disagree with in the article is that this is not about a Trump America, this is not about “This sort of stuff is becoming so commonplace that it’s difficult to feign surprise or disgust anymore. It’s become completely entangled in America’s psyche, and no one seems to care“, this was a collective act of utter stupidity, not a common sensing brain cell around to stop this from escalating. I would argue that this is linked to “A profit-driven airline company wanted to make room for employees, and so private security staff were more or less given the green light to beat somebody up to make it happen“, yet in this I am not sure if the second part on the private security side would be correct, yet as they dragged the valid passenger off the plane, questions will need to be asked with their superiors and the clarity of what had transpired will need to be scrutinised, because they too will feel the blows of what happened, I feel certain that the United Airlines legal team will be looking under every pebble to see where the costs, losses and blame could be placed.

The interesting side is that this is not the first time, the same week saw an issue with the president of an investment firm flying back from Hawaii, as well as an issue with two teenage female passengers wearing leggings, yet in that case there are a few issues that give optional valid defence of United Airlines as these were ‘pass travellers‘, where the passengers have to comply with company policy as they are in fact free staff flights.

There is no denying that the United Airlines will suffer a while longer as the social media is pushing and pulling the quotes in all directions to let viral reign continue, which is equally not fair on United Airlines, yet that is the world we live in nowadays. The fact that we now see surging stories of UA overbooked flights, with people getting send-off going all the way back to 2015. Then it was Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Shiller who lost his seat. These stories seem a waste of time and I would agree immediately, yet the effect is that for the next few months, people will initially book with whomever has a flight not named United Airlines, which stops the overbooking danger, yet in equal measure it will drive forecasting down by a fair bit, so this disaster could cost United Airlines a lot more than the quarter of a billion cap loss. How much is not clear and I reckon no speculation will be on the mark, no matter how good you know this industry. Whenever social media goes viral on several paths, all bets are off, United Airlines is experiencing this effect in person.

To finish this off, we also see another side of social media. It is Fox News who reports (at http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2017/04/12/twitter-accused-deleting-tweets-slamming-united-airlines.html) the issue that allegedly, Twitter has been deleting tweets on United. The quote: “One user, @Jay_Beecher, says that a number of his United-related tweets were deleted, including one poking fun at the airline over the now-notorious incident. “Within seconds of tweeting I noticed that my tweet had disappeared,” he told Fox News. “After rewriting the same tweet numerous more times, I began to suspect that Twitter was censoring/automatically deleting any slightly critical tweets which contained an @United tag.”” gives us that at times Twitter seems to be doing whatever seems to please those with a vested interest. This is now also becoming an issue on cases where Twitter did not intervene, giving additional strength that Twitter has certain options, yet refuses to use them. This is not even close to the end for Unites Airlines as we see: “The airline kicked off the #UnitedJourney campaign last week in an attempt to get passengers to share their travel photos. Instead, the hashtag is being used to slam the airline and share memes related to Sunday’s now-notorious incident.

There is currently no end to this viral motion as we still see the News act on events nearly a week old, with the latest news merely three hours ago, as such it seems clear that Mr Munoz has his work cut out for him. The rehashed news regarding “United customer Geoff Fearns, who told Los Angeles Times columnist David Lazarus on Tuesday that United threatened to put him in handcuffs last week if he didn’t surrender his first-class seat to a “higher priority” passenger” gives rise on more issues, the most prominent being the one where United Airlines needs to seriously redefine what a high priority passenger is, especially when such a person makes ‘demands‘ on his last minute booking, whilst seemingly not being able to time manage his travel needs. It is my personal view that any company that facilitates to the arrogant and possibly loud mouthed will see their value decrease in ways that was not even close to the value of the ticket sold. It is a lesson they might learn from, but as this situation is created in America, I highly doubt it.

 

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How the Franks make France

It is possibly one of the first times that the entire world is keeping their eyes on France and on its elections. The situation as seen in France has not happened since Charles de Gaulle. France in a state of massive changes, changes that are essential if it wants to have any options of shedding the massive debt it has and restructure the options of owning a stronger economy. The question becomes, who will be the enabler in that regard. The BBC shows us (at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-39038685) how 5 charts will explain the elections. The first shows the growth of Front National, the party of Marine Le Pen. The quote “Opinion polls currently suggest Marine Le Pen would be defeated in the second round by Emmanuel Macron. Without the backing of a traditional political party, the former economy minister, who has never held an elected office, is standing as a centrist candidate” is in the central place here. She might be front runner now, but there is the real issue that Marine Le Pen is seen as too much of an extremist. Even as part of her strength is seen in the second chart where we see how unemployment rates have sky rocketed under President Hollande and that level of dissatisfaction has been an enabling factor for Marine Le Pen. The 4th chart is also a Le Pen indicator. As France has been hit multiple times, the people started to listen to the logic of Marine Le Pen and as such all drove straight towards the far right. That is the way of things. The 5th one is less of a positive influence, but it is an influence none the less. As the amount of asylums are given increase, the rejection of the social path of France will increase and that too works for Marine Le Pen. In all this, the consequence is equally a positive part for Macron. Emmanuel Macron is making strong headway and to many French, the preferred choice. Yet, Emmanuel Macron has never held office, which counts against him, as an economist he does have an edge, but that would only work if his policies had resulted in jobs, which was not the case. The reality, or better stated, the stronger reality is that for those under 25, 1 out of 4 does not have a job and that is where Marine Le Pen is getting a growing traction. No matter how the French here on how important social issues are, the reality of no work translates to hunger and uncertainty. In addition, Hollande has data in play that shows that the high point of his economy was a year ago and decline is already showing, this translates to even more people moving from the left towards the centre and the right side of the isle, all moving towards Macron and Le Pen. With the UK showing a growing economy whilst Brexit is starting is also pushing the people to listen to Marine Le Pen and that is the reality that will continue, yet will it translate to enough votes? There is the uncertainty and I predicted that it was a reality France was facing. A reality I have claimed for over 2 years now and so far I have been proven correct. However, this does not take Emmanuel Macron out of the race. There the reality is that anyone feeling too uncertain regarding the more right wing Marine Le Pen that voter might hesitate and decide on Macron instead, a choice that is logical yet untested and unproven. It is the unproven part that the French also realise, so Marine Le Pen stays in the race. The one factor that matters is Benoit Hamon. Now, he might not be the front runner and he will not amount to serious opposition of large numbers, but the one part that still matters is whether he can get enough votes to make the 50% impossible for Marine Le Pen, that is now the game that plays, the others are not able to do anything serious to that extent. It is now starting to be merely a race between Macron and Le Pen, Hamon would enable the situation that a second round would be essential, which now takes us to May and that opens the field again, in that regard, Marine Le Pen needs to be really clever on how she plays the game. In addition, she needs to be clever on how to oppose or diffuse any situation that the anti Le Pen press is pushing onto her.

The NY Times (at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/07/opinion/france-braces-for-the-now-possible-impossible.html) is now stating ‘France Braces for the Now-Possible Impossible‘, which only shows that they are either two years late to the party, or they just did not care before. Sylvie Kauffmann talks a good article, but she misses when she states “This is a French campaign like no other. All the political patterns established since 1958, when the present Constitution was adopted, have come apart. The National Front has been a fixture of national politics for 40 years, but never before has its presidential candidate been a consistent front-runner. Today, none of Ms. Le Pen’s opponents doubt that she will get to the second round; in fact, they are not even fighting her. They are fighting among themselves to win second place on April 23, to have a chance to beat her in the runoff“, she is not stating anything incorrect or wrong, it is the one additional fact that is important. This is also the first time in modern history that a current president is not seeking re-election, which she does mention on the side. The scandals we saw and the consecutive “François Fillon, a conservative former prime minister who is now the Republican candidate, has stopped campaigning” is another part of the sliding numbers to go in other directions, yet, will they go towards Marine Le Pen. A smaller influence is the Dutch elections. The Farage-Le Pen-Wilders triangle is pretty famous. Yet in all this the US is now an influence, because with every claim that President Trump is making, the people are confronted with a connection to each of these three and a reason why not to make the same mistake the US has made, with ludicrous claim after ludicrous claim, the Republican win is now hurting the right side vote in both France and the Netherlands, but will the shift be enough? Those matters are not known and are even less predictable.

What is at this point a certainty is that in the end Marine Le Pen will be one of two parties that can be voted for, yet there is enough doubt to see that there will be a round in May, the matter will just be how will the people see this than and how far off is that 50%, because if the call is too close to that, the smallest fluctuation could change the game. Now with the 17% of Fillon in the air and the 15% of Hamon under discussion, there is the smallest chance that a slice of that will go towards Marine Le Pen actually that is certain, yet how much will go her way? If the split is even, there is now the largest chance that 23% will divide between Macron and Le Pen, setting Le Pen at 39%. I feel that Hamon will lose, but I very much doubt if he falls below 10% and that would be the best case scenario for Hamon, there is a chance that Hamon will get a few of the Fillon numbers, but I feel certain that he will lose traction within his own ranks. With 1 in 4 people under 25 not having a job, the alleged fake job that he gave his wife is not sitting well with a large part of the voters who were already looking at Le Pen and are now utterly unlikely to select anyone left of centre which works very nicely for Le Pen, but there is still a steady group that has no love for the right, so those votes will go somewhere else, or better stated these people will vote anyone but Le Pen, which could benefit Hamon to the smaller degree and Macron to a larger degree. so as those impacts are seen, there is now a serious chance that Le Pen would grow from 39% to 42%-46% and that is where the issue starts, she is now way too close to 50% and even as it is unlikely that she gets to that point passing 50%, it is not impossible and that is where the game changes by a lot, because if she gets there, she would potentially be in the strongest position to make a lot more radical changes. Like Trump, her examples would drive the Frexit start and that will be the start of the nightmare for both the US and Japan, the Euro collapsing will drive a market fear of unbridled proportions, one that cannot be countered by the players involved, which will have a disastrous effect on the global economy. CNBC has been giving voice to several dangers, which includes rate hikes (which is off the table the moment Frexit starts), Beijing is another factor, but if properly set would actually create stability and less uncertainty. It is the utterly unbelievable part that the Financial Tribune is giving us. They proclaimed that the global economy is expected to grow 3.5% in 2018, which sounds nice, but unrealistic. You see, the changes that are essential to growth are in the wrong corners as I personally see them. If Frexit starts than the contractions in Europe will start an escalating drop, making a global economy growth of 1.5%-2% decently unlikely. Frexit is the first cornerstone, the Brexit escalation that comes, or will drive the change is another part. These two will now push Italy and Germany in very different directions making the Euro no longer a feasible currency, especially as Mario Draghi was kind enough to spend a 13 figure number onto an economy that would not hike or set in motion to the degree that was essential. So as we see the quote “Its forecasts remained broadly unchanged from its November report, however, both the US and the eurozone saw minor downgrades“, we see it without the mention that this happened even as the UK economy went upwards. Market volatility is actually the smallest influence for now, but that will change before the end of the year. So as we see the dangers of a recession slam in either Q2 or Q3, we will see it with the realisation that the forecast given by the Financial tribune was not that realistic, just prophesising on sunny weather with a few small clouds whilst we see storms on Eastern and Southern shores, and there is no way to pierce the fog from the remaining directions, a dark fog that seems unable to have any sunshine. All that and two additional dangers remain unexplored. That is given not in who gets into power, but the danger that no matter who goes into power, the new players will be inexperienced in many ways; that too will stagnate any positive move from the economy. The only bright spot is that in Germany there are differences growing, especially as Alternativ fur Deutschland has started rounds of infighting, the final straw of anti-Europe will not be in any position to move into that direction, the question then becomes what will Italy do? Even as Merkel is facing a much stronger SPD, that election will not come until 4-5 months after France, which means that Frexit, if called for would also impact the German grounds of choice. In addition we see more waves of ‘Grexit’ news on the need for cutting Greece lose. Which is not an option in EEC laws, and I am surprised that the PRESS has not caught on yet (especially as they played that fake card twice already). All these elements are in play and they will together result in a global economic growth of less than 2%, especially if the European economy contracts a little too much and that is decently certain to happen.

A rollercoaster economy that is about to be started by the modern version of the Franks that make up the French population. In this the trend is as I see it no longer about some united fake region, it is about growing nationalism and national pride, because that will also grow an economy. We all forgot about that (me, myself and I included). You see, there might be open borders, there might be free travel, but as we forgot in which place we were we also forgot on what made that place great. The beers of Belgium, the cheeses and wines from France. Some might claim that this is not true, but it is and we lost sight of it. Because we only value that what requires effort, a reality we have always faced, we just forgot about it and the larger companies had a better time by offering us something mediocre and unhealthily cheap, something that fitted too many of us. I personally believe that this is most clearly seen in the gaming industry, which is why I recognised the flaw in myself early on.

The good thing about all this is that as national pride grows in all the nations, we will see a drastic improvement of appeal and quality, I believe that the smaller places will now have the option to grow and that will drive the economies. So as Carrefour and Auchan end up talking to a new group of suppliers, France will witness a shift in economy, not one that maximises the bonus of larger provider of goods, but enables deliveries from smaller players and they do not have the board sizes that some of the current players have, so it actually will end up driving the economy. It sounds crazy and weird, but I believe this path to be the first drive of growth.

That would benefit the economic numbers of France enormously and it will also push other nations into reinvestigating the options for growth. The Financial Times show part of this (at https://www.ft.com/content/6de52a3a-aca4-11e6-9cb3-bb8207902122), yet this growth is mainly due to other factors. John Ellis, retail & consumer partner at PwC, gives us an interesting point here: “Over the next few months, the way in which retailers deal with cost headwinds, particularly the impact of foreign exchange on product prices, will be crucial for consumers’ future spending patterns.

He is correct in that way, however, I also believe that as people will seek more and more local solutions (read: deals) it will actually drive the local economies stronger in an upwards direction, and in that, I am predicting that the same will happen in France. The second part he is not giving us is that the individual currencies will allow national governments to float their currency ever so slightly to avoid massive negative impacts, something that was not an option under the Euro. So another tool will be handed to the French as they restore the imbalance that their economy has faced for well over a decade. I do not believe it will be the measure towards success, it merely avoids the chance of failure, which is also a driving force in any economy.

Now, feel free to completely disagree with me, which will always remain a valid view. Yet when we see the impact of positivity that segregation has and if Marine Le Pen cashes in on this, than we will see a second step in the European economy that will stop the Euro. As we end with that coin, did anyone tally how many European officials are no longer required? How much did they cost? A gravy train that was riding the slopes of Europe at the expense of taxpayers, whilst for the larger extent not having any positive national impact. We are talking of a group that exceeds 32500 people. So how much was that costing on a monthly basis? 751 MEP members were getting a monthly pre-tax salary of €8,484.05. That’s already 6.3 million a month, so how much for the other 31,750 employees? Let’s not forget that this is a monthly expense. So I reckon that the sweet reality is that there will be a positive impact on budgets. Now these costs are not going away immediately, but I think I am making a clear point that national costings will change.

France is about to start a wave of changes, or better stated, there is a real change that massive changes will commence, but in the end, we will have no certainties before the elections are over and until France makes a claim and voices the intent to exit the EEC, there is no certainty that there will be actual change, because the Euro could survive without the UK, but not if the economy contracts, in that case several options will go straight out the window for several European nations, especially those in the EEC. Mario Draghi has made sure of that. You see, when we accept Bloomberg view (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-03-08/draghi-s-caution-on-inflation-signals-ecb-stimulus-stays-for-now), where we see “The rate remains stuck below 1 percent, but what’s worse is that the trend has consistently pointed down in the euro’s 18-year history, suggesting structural weaknesses may be at play” a weakness I mentioned (in a different way) in several earlier blogs, is now getting more and more to the forefront. Bloomberg also gives us “the measure that excludes volatile components such as food and energy” gives us that in a dangerously low setting volatile products will still have an impact. The additional “After policy makers’ preferred gauge of future price developments approached levels of below but close to 2 percent at the end of last year — signalling the ECB’s goal was in sight — it’s now on the wane once more” gives more and more strength to my prediction of economic contractions, which now also gives a view that any prediction of a global economic growth of 3.5% in 2018 is getting less and less realistic. so as we see positive forecasts from several sources, we need to be careful on who we will believe, because like several nations stated in earlier years, the forecast of today will soon be shown to be overly optimistic one quarter later, which is after the ‘predictors’ got some of the players to unwisely spend what they should not have been spending. A game that has been played for too long, it is the national push that gives for change and more important, it gives for a push by people who can be held accountable and can at that point be incarcerated, which tends to make certain forecasters a lot more cautious and it will give us an actual realistic economy to work with. It might not be great and in the beginning it will also not be good, but it will be mending and growing, which is what the people want and need. In that we have to voice with certainty that we do not give a fuck on what large corporations want or desire to get them their bonuses, we have had way too much of that for too long.

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How much for just the planet?

It is the title of a novel and as per today, considering this approach is not that bad an idea. You see, some brain boffin at Google found out that we are all in trouble. The article in Forbes (at https://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrewster/2017/02/24/google-just-discovered-a-massive-web-leak-and-you-might-want-to-change-all-your-passwords), gives now voice to one of the issues I have been trying to raise a few times and some of those so called ‘IT Experts‘ all stated on how this would never be an option. So let’s take you through the motions.

One of the earlier blogs on this was on June 5th 2015, so almost 2 years ago. Here we see: “This is how it begins, this is about certain events that just occurred, but I will specify this momentarily, you see, it goes back to an issue that Sony remembers rather well they got hacked. It was a long and hard task to get into that place Login=BigBossKazuoHirai; Password=WhereDreamsComeTrue; Soon thereafter no more firewall, no more routers, just the bliss of cloud servers and data, so much data! The people behind it were clever, and soon it was gone and the blame fell to the one nation that does not even have the bandwidth to get 10% past anything” (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/06/05/in-reference-to-the-router/), in regard to the fact that this is 2 years old, and several other issues were reported by me last year, the entire issue we see in “not dissimilar to the infamous Heartbleed bug of 2015 (though possibly more severe in terms of the potential for data leakage). It’s similar to Heartbleed in that CloudFlare, which hosts and serves content for a at least 2 million websites, was returning random chunks of memory from vulnerable servers when requests came in“, in addition, when we realise that the quote “Famous Google bug hunter Tavis Ormandy uncovered the issue, describing it in a brief post, noting that he informed CloudFlare of the problem on February 17. In his own proof-of-concept attack he was able to have the server return encryption keys, passwords and even HTTPS requests of other users from major CloudFlare-hosted sites” gives rise to several issues, not just account issues, but the bleeding of data, so how does this impact national security, because in several nations the defence agencies and defence contractors have their goods somewhere on a cloud.

Here we now have a twofold problem, not only do we get this from Forbes and 1-2 other sides, the press at large has steered clear of this. This now gives rise to the corrupt press that we see mentioned by President Trump. We see for example that au.finance.yahoo.com mentions it (why the finance and not the tech section is another cause for concern), yet the fact that the Australian three (Channel 7, 9 and 10) remains silent (according to Google Search) is additional cause for concern.

Yet all is not good on several levels (at http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-39077611), we see “Chief operating officer John Graham-Cumming said it was likely that in the last week, around 120,000 web pages per day may have contained some unencrypted private data, along with other junk text, along the bottom“, now considering that the BBC article got to most of us on February 24th. Forbes gives us another time line. The quote “The greatest period of impact was from February 13 and February 18 with around 1 in every 3,300,000 HTTP requests through CloudFlare potentially resulting in memory leakage (that’s about 0.00003 per cent of requests)“. It admitted that the earliest date memory could have leaked was September 22nd 2016. CloudFlare also said one of its own private keys leaked, one for internal machine-to-machine encryption” implies that the damage could have started as early as September 2016, which gives us a security gap surpassing 5 months. That is a very different kettle of fish that Cloudflare is trying to present to the BBC. I will agree that ‘as early as’ does not imply that it happened this early, but ‘memory leakage’ should never ever happen, so there is a massive issue with the safety and security of hundreds of sites and we are not talking about small places either, we are talking about companies that have values now surpassing some of the Fortune 500. In that case 0.00003 per cent of requests, knowing that this over 100 million requests per day could imply 300 codes and blocks of confidential data per day. And in all that, it only requires one block to be the wanted block out in the open for others to go at the throat of those losing their data. It represents a clear and present danger to data accounts and websites. And even now, the news outlets remain predominantly silent on an issue that is so important on many levels.

So when I see that the Mirror gives us “‘That’s how dictators get started’: Trump slammed for suppressing press freedom as White House bars some media from briefing“, the NY Times gives us “Trump Is Damaging Press Freedom in the U.S. and Abroad“, yet they remain VERY silent when there is a serious technical issue with the safety of websites online. The information is limited to Forbes, the BBC and USA Today, whilst Forbes is not even a newspaper, so where are all the others? It seems to me that after the 2012 Sony PS4 debacle the Newspaper should have learned, but that seems to be a lesson far far away. Whilst one does not imply the other, that the lack of reporting dos not mean that President Trump is not attacking the Freedom of the Press, yet after all the junk that transpired regarding News of the World, when the Guardian and others started to cry regarding Freedom of the Press, the Mail Online was up to no good even before the ink of the verdict had dried. In that atmosphere, the press is claiming foul? They must be out of their minds.

What is now an issue is that the visibility of this danger needs to be spread fast and those working on the possible compromised systems need to make changes and alter the approach to data and fat, before long term damage is handed to competitors. All these issues as people wanted to push the cloud faster and faster, an issue myself and several others warned against. Now we have the scenario that needed to be avoided. Yet, in equal measure we need to realise that actual damage has to the best of our knowledge not been ascertained, there might not be any danger at present, yet the optional fact that this has been going on for 5 months makes that statement of no damage very unlikely.

The question that will be rising more and more is where the press is at and why they kept quiet on something local businesses on an international level had to be warned about, is that not weird? Does that not pose any serious questions on your side?

 

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