Tag Archives: Sydney Morning Herald

Oman’s neighbour

You might remember the state of Oman, capital Muscat. There are several reasons to remember Oman, the fact that they got into the news last March with: “The Central Bank of Iran has allowed lenders to issue guarantees for Iranian businesses planning to invest in Oman or those who seek to take out loans from Omani banks” is merely one reason. The fact that they are next to Yemen is the actual reason to mention them. You see, when you look at Amnesty International, you see (at https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2015/09/yemen-the-forgotten-war/) the quote “On 25 March 2015, an international coalition led by Saudi Arabia launched air strikes against the Huthi armed group in Yemen sparking a full-blown armed conflict. Over the following three years, the conflict in Yemen is showing no real signs of abating. Horrific human rights abuses, as well as war crimes, are being committed throughout the country by all parties to the conflict, causing unbearable suffering for civilians” is the issue. Now, let’s be clear, Amnesty International is not lying to you, but the setting that led to it is equally important. The missing part is: “Houthi forces controlling the capital Sana’a and allied with forces loyal to the former president Ali Abdullah Saleh have clashed with forces loyal to the government of Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, based in Aden“, the setting is ‘former president Ali Abdullah Saleh‘ versus ‘deposed president Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi‘, deposed by the Houthi’s who had instigated a Coup d’état. I will admit that it is more complex than that (or better stated there are additional unmentioned facts here), yet the forced deposing of the then president Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi is still an issue; he went for help towards his allies.

That part is an important part that is missing. After that things went from bad to worse with on the frontlines Iran using Hezbollah enabling the deniable launching of missiles on Saudi Arabia, that is a clear setting and this escalation has no sign of letting up or slowing down.

Now we get the setting that Bloomberg is giving us. the setting (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-07-26/yemen-rebels-say-they-attacked-abu-dhabi-airport-with-drones), with the headline ‘Yemen Rebels Say They Attacked Abu Dhabi Airport With Drones‘, the issue is not merely that they have access to drones, the setting of the Iranian missiles and the fact that the Houthi’s are attacking both Saudi Arabia and the UAE (which is denied by the UAE) gives rise to other parts. with the quote “The source confirmed that the drone, Sammad 3, begun its operations by targeting Abu Dhabi International Airport with several raids, in response to the UAE crimes against Yemen” gives rise to the setting that this is no longer merely a Houthi versus the world setting, the entire premise that not only was there a new Drone developed, the Sammad 3 is also actively attacking the UAE, the question becomes is this done via Saudi Arabia, or via Oman, not merely transgressing on their sovereign land, but is it done whilst some in either government was aware? The direct path via Saudi Arabia makes more sense as there is a whole lot of nothing in that region. The second question becomes: why strategically deploy in this way? We might accept that whatever the Yemeni have is nowhere near what the US has, so it will be less than $12M per drone, but how much less is it?

In addition, what is the operational ability of the Sammad 3 (the speculated drone in question)? When you look into the timeline that one announcement comes after the announcement of the Sammad 2, whilst increasing the operational support 10 fold is also suspicious on a few levels. You see, every system increases as becomes better, but 1000% increase is a little much by any standard. Even as we accept that some strategies are better than others, Middle East Eye gives us: “Since the Saudi-led coalition launched its war in Yemen in March 2015, the UAE has been a key player. Yet, while Riyadh’s goal has been to restore President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi to power and crush the Houthi uprising, Abu Dhabi has focused more on the south, training security forces to secure its own geopolitical ambitions“, in this we might question some actions, and they are to some extent, yet the overbearing issue is that there is an Iranian finger in this pie. Only 14 weeks ago we were treated to: “The Yemeni government says that Iran supplied the Houthi rebels with drones used to attack Saudi Arabia. On Wednesday, Riyadh said it shot down two drones in the south of the country and intercepted ballistic missiles launched by the Houthi forces in Yemen. The drones are “made in Iran”, said Yemen’s internationally-recognised government on Saturday. It added that the country’s military did not possess such aircraft and it was “impossible to manufacture them locally””, this not directly contradicts the Bloomberg news by Mohammed Hatem. You cannot erect a drone solution in this short a time span, not even if you had all the Viagra in the world, so the tool erected setting of Iran trying new tools in the political and escalating statement arena regarding ‘drone strikes’ is more than an issue. When we see the news given from Almasirah Media Network with ‘Air Force Unveils New Drone, Sammad 3‘, are they the tool or, was the statement by The National who by their own words are ‘committed to serving the local UAE community‘ misled and they are misleading the UAE community? You see one of the two is true, not both. No matter which path is the real one, it is my personal opinion that none of this existed without Iran, they are in the middle of this and the other media sources are trying to steer clear as some are trying to ‘save’ an illusionary deal with Iran that was never a real prospect to begin with. No matter which one is true, the Yemeni population remains in the middle of it all. there is a second side to this, the events in the red Sea where a tanker was hit is now stopping transfer of oil via the Bab el-Mandeb strait, potentially upping oil prices. It is a clear intentional push for the US to get involved, especially after we were told “A huge tanker with a shipment of oil from Saudi Arabia bound for Egypt was damaged by a missile attack from the northern Bab el-Mandeb strait in the Red Sea. The Houthi rebels in Yemen, armed and financed by Iran, were responsible for the attack. It happened in the wake of the renewed exchange of threats between the United States and Iran, which could also hurt the oil market” (source: Haaretz), in addition we got “Iran’s Quds force chief Qassem Soleimani said on Thursday that the Red Sea was not secure with the presence of American troops in the area”, so there is a much louder setting that Iran is willing to escalate towards direct outspoken war. I reckon that as Europe is becoming meaningless, the direct involvement of Iran will turn defeat to victory. That is not only not given, there is every chance that the UAE and Saudi Arabia will make a united front, in addition, the naval actions could be bad times for Egypt, so there would be additional support for Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The questions will soon become, where does Qatar stand in all this and what are their options. They have their own worries as accusations more and more ridiculous are hitting the media. It seems that the Sydney Morning Herald is becoming the joke of independent journalism, whilst merely parroting that idiot Martin Ivens (as I personally see him in all this) on “In article published by The Sunday Times alleges the Qatar bid team used a PR agency and former CIA operatives to disseminate fake propaganda about its main competitors, the United States and Australia“, whilst the Sunday Times still has not given the people the millions of documents he stated he had with the previous accusations, so we can all optionally agree that Nine Networks is now wearing the pants in the new merger. That matters, because some are not merely tailoring to the needs of places like (censored name of sponsor), they are setting the stage for unsolicited change and through these events they are adding needlessly to pressures in the Middle East.

Pressures that need avoidance because the expression ‘If you have to fight, fight like a cornered cat‘ is a role that Qatar could be pushed into. I actually prefer the Dutch version of that expression which is ‘A cornered cat can move very unpredictable‘, that is more worrying, because the unsubstantiated accusation are an actual issue on a few levels now. so when we see “the alleged smear campaign included paying a professor $US 9,000 to write a damning report on the economic cost of a US World Cup, recruiting journalists and bloggers to promote negative stories in the US, Australian and international media, and organising grassroots protests at rugby matches in Australia“, we demand to see that report, as well as all other evidence; we need to be shown clearly where the lies in that report were as well as the other evidence. Is that not simple? Show us the ACTUAL evidence!

All these settings are important. We can vocally set the stage against Iran (like I am doing with both evidence as well as a comic look at the two images earlier), and I can look at the presented and i am using the published details available to me with all the settings that are open to the audience at large. I never proclaim to have all the wisdom in the world, yet hiding behind ‘unnamed sources’ and ‘unpublished evidence’ like the Sunday Times, whilst I regard them because of that as nothing more than a mere courtesan to sponsors, that is how I see their actions, when the need to investigate FIFA was there, these media buffs were all about the hooker in the bookcase, the entire setting of the media had become questionable. The setting of the Garcia report, whilst the newspapers and media failed to hammer down on Hans-Joachim Eckert, so when we got the ‘refused to publish on various legal grounds‘, who went after Hans-Joachim Eckert? the entire matter also involved the Qatar 2022 cup bids, so as it stands, we need to make sure that places like the Sunday Times and the SMH are now also optionally the spreaders of Fake News, but that is apparently not the case when they have their unnamed sources.

Even as I spoke out in the end against Qatar 2022, it is only because of the stage that Qatar found itself in. It is not up to me who got them there, some was all their own doing, but a larger part was the act of smear campaigns that we see now. Almost four years of smear campaigns. If we are to actually do something about it, then EVERY newspaper is to offer the 350-page report of Michael J. Garcia from September 2014 on their website with a full page 3 summary of the report. That is the first moment that we can start taking journalists serious again (possibly with the Sun as the one exception). It is my view that anyone who was part of misleading regarding Qatar, or in the other direction supporting in falsehood the Qatar bid should be barred for life from every official sport event. It is the only way and that is merely the one side-track that the Yemen situation now calls for. With Iran upping the stakes in Yemen and with alleged drone strikes on UAE and actual attacks on Saudi Arabia, how long until one of them sees a reason to lash out against Qatar? You see, the plot is also thickening when we see the Iran increasing non-oil trade with Oman by 136% in the last quarter alone. That is half a billion in value, now we can agree that every nation has and needs trade, so I would be the last one to state against it, yet there is every indication that Iran is trying to set the mood fir additional change. Some will remember the setting last year when we were offered “Bank Melli Iran and Bank Saderat Iran will resume their operations in the Omani capital Muscat which had halted during the sanctions that cut off Iran from the international financial network“, this is now seen against the news from March when we saw ‘Iran, Oman resolute to grow banking relations’ with the additional quote “Drafting an operational and practical program with opening joint accounts based on the national currencies of Iran and Oman, independent from foreign currencies, should be considered as one of the requirements of developing banking relations“, so what happens, when the setting of the national currencies becomes the foundation of a credit swap where oil is the determined value? It is merely one step away and the US crying for cheap oil is that one element that could make it happen. The US not acting against Oman, whilst knowingly allowing for the swapping of Iranian originated oil based CDO’s is not that far stretched, is it?

Now we have billions in funds, an operational drone team and additional Hezbollah populists trying to set the stage in Yemen. there is support for that view (to the smallest extent), Arab News two weeks ago gave us: “Yemen’s foreign minister has called on Lebanon’s caretaker government to “rein in” Hezbollah and its aggressive tactics in support of the Iranian-backed Houthi militia“, whilst in addition, whilst the National gave us last week: “The UAE Embassy in Beirut has denied claims made by Lebanon’s pro-Hezbollah Al Akhbar newspaper regarding an “Emirates Leaks” report that says Abu Dhabi is applying pressure on Muscat over the Qatar crisis. The embassy has called the leaked diplomatic correspondence from the UAE Embassy in Muscat “false” and said that it was aimed at creating tension with Oman“. We need to realise that the two are unrelated articles are merely that. One has apples, the other pears and the fact that they both represent pieces of fruit is no evidence, changing one of them into oranges does not behold additional truth that should be clear. Yet the stage where Iran decided to increase trade by 136% is a shown fact and Iran has been doing something similar with Turkey which has not given Turkey an additional amount close to $5 billion in the last 6 months alone. Iran is setting a trade stage where in the end, in light of their devaluation and monetary value can soon (or already) only be honoured with oil, how quaint!

It is not merely the plans in place, it is the funding that these projects require, that is where it seems to make sense, but it is not a given that those are the only paths that are being trodden. You see, there is still the Uranium enrichment program that is worked on. With those in the works, we see the need for serious amounts of cash, skills and equipment, all that from a setting where the infrastructure was no longer able to meet the financial needs and the commitment from Iran towards Yemen by the Iranian commander in chief shows that the next step is not that far away, they will need resources and there is now at least a partial setting in place where the facilitation is close to complete. From my point of view, lowering the pressures on Qatar allows Qatar to walk away from Iran as far as possible limiting the options that Iran has, and that is an essential requirement at present.

Even as we see several sources give us lines like: ‘Oman and Kuwait has taken a neutral position in the dispute involving Qatar‘, I am actually less and less convinced that Oman is completely neutral in all this. Is the trade merely growing sympathy in Oman, or is news from places like Sarfayt and Dhalkut changing the sentiment that the people in Oman have? I actually do not know, but something seems to be stirring in Oman, perhaps it is not a pro-Iran feeling, merely a lessened anti-Iran sentiment, they are not the same. What does matter is that all this is escalating giving Iran more options in Yemen, to counter that outside of a full scale event in Yemen is to take away the available fuel that Iran has and I think that removing pressure from Qatar is a first step in all this. Should this be successful, we might see a setting where Oman feels less comfortable having strong ties with Iran, which seems to serve everyone’s purpose (except Iran of course).

 

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The wrong side of news

We all have those moments where we get stopped by news. Not because it was shocking, or because it was some breaking event, we all have those moments. Yet, how often did news stop you because it raised a few too many red flags?

That was the case with me this morning when I saw ‘News Corp wants limits on ABC to prevent ‘advantaged’ competition‘. The article (at https://www.theguardian.com/media/2018/jul/23/news-corp-wants-limits-on-abc-to-prevent-advantaged-competition) might be fair enough. Yet when we get treated to the story that is (at https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/commentisfree/2018/jul/16/news-corps-promotion-of-lauren-southern-is-disturbing), merely a week ago, giving us ‘News Corp Australia’s promotion of Lauren Southern is disturbing‘ with the quote: “Her speaking engagements with rightwing YouTuber Stefan Molyneux will go ahead, as will the top-dollar dinner engagements with those willing to shell out $750. But if the notion that she might be prevented from entering Australia was credible, it’s because Southern has been banned from entering a country before“, what is an issue is that News Corp seems to be about creating visibility, but what part of all this was the news? It might be relevant, it might even fit, but all these resource draining tantrums that we get with “A temporary setback was re-purposed as precious publicity, and News Corp papers continued to unfurl the red carpet ahead of her visit“, seems to indicate that as a ‘commercial provider‘ they seem to be wasting loads of energy and resources. All these events are on their turf, so when I see “Rupert Murdoch’s Australian arm has told a government inquiry the internet has transformed the ABC and SBS into “news publishers” who have the advantage of being taxpayer-funded, while denying commercial competitors revenue” as ABC (and SBS), whilst the question on News Corp, whether it should exist at all is on the mind of many people. It’s like watching a butter salesman stating that a Brioche with margarine just tastes better. I am asking whether the limelight seeking News Corp, by their own actions (against ABC, SBS and Facebook) made their own existence debatable. As that comes into focus and people are more and more shying away from anything News Corp brings, they are now in a silly position. They painted themselves into a corner and now that they are in that corner being immobile for the time being, they are telling all the painters to stop, so that those painters will not get an actual lead on the amount of painting done.

One source gave me a partial interesting view. It is the setting of Sinclair broadcasting next to News Corp. This is seen in the Washington Post, where we get: “The Company is the largest owner of local television stations in the country, with 173 stations in 81 broadcast markets that stretch from coast to coast and just about everywhere in between, at a time when local news outpaces national news outlets both in overall viewership and trust. About 85 percent of Americans trust local news outlets, more than the 77 percent for family or friends, according to the Pew Research Center“. The article (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/style/wp/2018/04/02/get-to-know-sinclair-broadcast-group-the-conservative-local-news-giant-with-a-growing-reach) shows a very different setting. You see, when we see those two, we get the setting: “using local voices and optionally celebrities to push a national and even an international agenda, in this pushing any other media as an enemy creating market penetration that is set on the foundations of a political required brand or view“. When we see that places like the Sinclair Broadcast Group (headquartered in Hunt Valley, MD), we start seeing that there is a larger play, in this light we do not see ABC or SBS in an advantaged playing field, we see two players bringing newsworthy events that oppose the playing field that News Corp relies on. We see a setting of opposition in a place where News Corp can’t stomach any. Now we get a very different light and in all this we need to wonder what the hell anyone is doing allowing and paving the way for News Corp.

In addition we see the Washington Post also give us: “Interest in Sinclair picked up recently after reports exposed a seemingly Trump-friendly script the company ordered its anchors nationwide to read, lambasting “irresponsible, one-sided” and “fake” news stories. The one-minute-long script, which appeared to echo Trump’s efforts to attack the reporting he has disagreed with as “fake news,” brought to the fore long-standing critiques about what many view as the company’s rightward tilt. The fake stories promo, which was first reported by CNN in March, drew wide attention after Deadspin published a video Saturday that layered dozens of the company’s anchors around the country reading the script over one another, creating a visceral portrait of corporate message control“, now we have ourselves a party, because if that is the future of News that News Corp is bringing us, then we are a lot better off keeping ABC and SBS enshrined in the places they are now.

One source gave us regarding a similar setting: “It should feel familiar; our very own News Corp has employed these strategies“, from that point of view we need to become extra careful.

It was the Sydney Moring Herald that gave us (at https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/news-corp-s-war-on-facebook-is-a-decade-in-the-making-20180511-p4zet3.html) the article ‘News Corp’s war on Facebook is a decade in the making‘, yet it is the quote “The company has made it very clear it thinks Facebook and Google should pay publishers “carriage fees” for running their stories. This would be a similar economic construct to the American cable television industry, where distributors such as Comcast and Time Warner Cable pay programming suppliers such as Murdoch’s Fox and Disney to carry their channels” gives a different light. You see, Murdoch took a path (one that he is allowed to. Whenever you share a story (like a link) you get transferred. In this example Google search gave me: ‘Daily Telegraph editorial: It’s time to embrace our freedoms and fight …’, which comes with the quote: “DURING the 1960s and into the 1970s, when waves of post-war Baby Boomers came of age and began to exert their demographic influence”, it might have been an interesting read, yet when we go there, we get pushed to ‘myaccount.news.com.au’, asking to log in, or take a subscription, which is fair enough. But now, all those papers like the Daily Telegraph, the Courier Mail and others are no longer used. People link others to the Sydney Morning Herald, the Guardian, the Independent, and the Financial Times. Social media is about sharing and an interesting article remains interesting when you share it with a like-minded person. So now News Corp is getting less and less traction, as others get the limelight. That is the effect on users trying to keep friends alerted. that is very much also the path and the entire ‘the foundations of a political required brand or view‘ is all about emotion (well mostly), so now as people regard News Corp to be less and less relevant, as people are relying on ‘any other source‘, we see that the long game as spoken about in the SMH, as well as the setting that the Guardian gives us is becoming more and more unacceptable to the people. for a lack of a better view, Murdoch dug his own grave and even as the coffin he has for the plot will be massively comfortable, once we cover it with dirt at roughly 6 feet deep, he starts becoming a ‘forgotten item’ from the era of the Jurassic age where the loud voice carries weight. At 6 feet deep no one can hear you scream (I just had to add some Alien factor).

So as SBS and ABC are all about sharing news, it opposes the agenda and revenue of News Corp, so now they cry like (for a lack of a better term) ‘prissy little bitches’. When we look at the Parliament page (at https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/rp/BudgetReview201617/Publicbroadcasting), we see: “The ABC is to receive revenue of $3.1 billion in base operating funding over the three years to 2018–19“, as well as “Base funding for Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) is also included in the Portfolio Budget Statements. The broadcaster will receive $271.9 million in 2016–17, $269.8 million in 2017–18 and $272.4 million in 2018–19“, when we realise some sources giving us: “The company reported total revenue of US$8.14 billion (AU$10.35 billion) last year“, which seems to be in line of previous reporting, although there is a shift and that hurts News Corp, I think considering the waste of resources when we look at events like Lauren Southern, how much was the entire bill for News Corp?

I am not saying that they should not have done that, but this is about creating emotion, not about reporting news. News Corps creating news (through their promotions) and that makes it another matter entirely. In all this, when I see: “She believes Australia should close its borders and that there “are only two sexes — male and female”“, it is my personal view that there is one poster that does give us the actual goods. So, what do you think? Should we all revert to Aboriginalism? At that point I do wonder who would embrace Pauline Hanson as a sister (but that is merely my evil sense of humour). I would never attack freedom of speech and freedom of expression, she is allowed her views, yet from my point of view, she’s a Canadian, a British Columbian. Her views are extreme right (or is that extremely incorrect), but pushed through the internet, a libertarian with a populist focus. A 23 year old not hit with the ugly stick and those factors make her an internet personality. The issue I also see is that she is seen as a Journalist, yet she never graduated University (University of the Fraser Valley). I am a blogger and I refuse to call myself a Journalist, even as I have a Masters in IP Law as well as two other postgraduate degrees from the University of Technology Sydney, I never graduated in Journalism, so I refuse to call myself a Journalist, even as I have publications going back to 1988 in several magazines, being a reviewer of multimedia products does not make me a journalist, plain and simple.

In this case Lauren Southern matters. You see, when you consider her education, the fact that we see that in March 2017, Lauren Southern left Rebel Media to become an independent journalist (without a degree in journalism I might add), this whilst she still additionally gained access to White House press briefings, so how is that even possible? In addition, News Corp is promoting her events making the entire matter even more debatable. So in that setting, when I see the Guardian giving us: “The publisher of the Australian and Daily Telegraph wants the ABC to be barred from promoting its news stories online using Google ads“, I am of the mind that someone stupid enough to promote a non-Journalist and giving the limelight to “News Corp papers continued to unfurl the red carpet ahead of her visit“, they should realise that there are places where people (and actual Journalists) actually focus on the news, reporting on events not creating hypes through: she chose Luton because it is the home of Tommy Robinson, the currently imprisoned founder of the English Defence League. In May, Robinson was sentenced to 13 months in prison for contempt of court after broadcasting details of a trial from outside Leeds crown court that risked causing it to collapse“.

News Corp is showing to be on the wrong side of the News, their approach on spreading news, I apologise! I meant spreading the subscription page is valid. They are allowed to do that and their tactic that they should be paid by places like Facebook is a fair choice to make, but they forget that actual reliable sources (BBC, the Guardian, SBS, ABC) are allowing such a path (without subscription), and when it comes to results, the people sharing stories want to share the story, not the subscription page. Add the entire Lauren Southern promotion and we don’t get news, we get the acceleration of emotional hype’s and we have had quite enough of that.

The question becomes, will political need buckle to their needs via News Corp, and once that is out and in the open, when we investigate those politicians who allowed for this, will we tolerate answers like ‘It was a complex setting‘ and ‘there appeared to have been a level of miscommunication‘, when those quotes are given, will we be able to demand their eviction from any political seat? I am asking these questions because all those shouting on how our privacy is gone and how we are all monitored whilst the political setting is in a stage where smothering real news is a reality that we are optionally allowing for. In that part we are actively allowing for media outlets to create fake news. When we are not allowed to see the whole story, when we merely see a carefully scripted partial side, are we not in the foundation where we are being fed fake news?

 

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In my house I decide

Do you have that situation where you are and you want a new sofa, so you decide to buy a new sofa? So far, so good. You go to the shop and you buy the sofa you want. Now this is the setting where the flavour changes. So now you are there and you almost have it, yet you need it in Cobalt blue and it has to be 35 cm wider. So you tell the furniture maker that you expect that model to be there as per next week.

This is where we are when we see ‘Trump Pressures Saudi Arabia to Increase Oil Production‘. With the quote “President Trump tweeted on Saturday that he had once again leaned on Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, to increase production by as much as 2 million barrels a day” the NY Times implies at (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/30/us/trump-oil-saudi-arabia.html) that the US is in charge of Saudi productions. So in light of the setting that Bloomberg gives through “President Donald Trump said he persuaded Saudi Arabia to effectively boost oil production to its maximum capacity to cool down prices“. In that directive, I think that we all deserve equality and that fair prices need to be set. So in that setting, it is my view to demand from the president that he call Bill Gates and demand that the pressure on the life of gamers need to be equalised and through that, he must demand that Microsoft on line stores prices should not be more than 20% of the physical copy of a Microsoft product, or a Microsoft Live, or a Microsoft game console product.

You get it Donald? It’s their house, their product, their choice. Your predecessors fucked up ‘your’ house by not properly taking care, now that the consequences are here, you have to pay, that is the deal in real life. 1300 children are killed each year through guns because the previous holders of the oval office refused to take proper care (an ATF reflection).

The people are in a state when we see that California has the 50th lowest quality of life for all states in the US, a consequence of not being able to set the proper stage against exploitation, yet that is not possible as we see through CNN (at https://edition.cnn.com/2018/01/13/opinions/sams-club-walmart-corporate-greed-tasini-opinion/index.html). We merely have to see: “as if by doling out money, Walmart should earn a medal. But, let’s look closely at the reality. If you worked 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year at $11 per hour, with not a shred of time off, you would earn $22,880. The federal poverty rate for a family of four is $24,600 — and the formula for the official poverty rate understates the difficulty of surviving at that income level“, now consider getting by anywhere in California on $22K, that whilst the bills pile up and when we consider the dozens of Sam’s club stores closing in California, the people will need to see where they can ends meet soon thereafter. It means more mileage and that is where cheap oil is essential, without cheap oil the American cogs stop. So as the US has already pissed off the larger player (Iran), it is desperate to get Saudi to give 2 million barrels a day more so that the price can be kept low. Yet, why should they? Were we given fair dealings in the 90’s? When oil makers could make a killing in upsizing price on petrol, were we protected? No, we were not, yet now, all have to give in for the needs of America. So what’s in it for Saudi Arabia, two F-35 squadrons on the house perhaps? So now we get to US News (at https://www.usnews.com/news/business/articles/2018-06-30/trump-claims-saudi-arabia-will-boost-oil-production), where we see: “”During the call, the two leaders stressed the need to make efforts to maintain the stability of oil markets and the growth of the global economy,” the statement said. It added that there also was an understanding that oil-producing countries would need “to compensate for any potential shortage of supplies.” It did not elaborate. In a statement issued Saturday night, the White House did not specify that Saudi Arabia would increase production but that “King Salman affirmed that the Kingdom maintains a two million barrel per day spare capacity, which it will prudently use if and when necessary to ensure market balance and stability, and in coordination with its producer partners, to respond to any eventuality.”“, yet in that how must we see ‘necessary to ensure market balance and stability‘, and in line towards the needs of others? How is that seen? You see the US is not the only place with an issue, even as the signals are clearest in the US, seeing southern Europe in a state where ends can barely be met, the need is actually seen in different ways. That is partially set when we go to Oilprice dot com. There we see Gail Tverberg give us: “Newspapers in the United States seem to emphasize the positive aspects of the drop in prices. I have written Ten Reasons Why High Oil Prices are a Problem. If our only problem was high oil prices, then low oil prices would seem to be a solution. Unfortunately, the problem we are encountering now is extremely low prices. If prices continue at this low level, or go even lower, we are in deep trouble with respect to future oil extraction“. When we look back we see that the oil prices have been above what it is now from 2004 onwards, with a small dip in 2009. So the issue of prices should not have been an issue, because all prices go up, even if the production prices go down (like downloading online games), the full price (sometimes even more is demanded, also when the shoe is on the other foot, does the US have any right to complain? In this Europe is in a similar track. This is clearest seen in the Independent (at https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/uk-petrol-pump-prices-latest-rise-crude-oil-diesel-cost-aa-a8382801.html), where we are treated to: “UK petrol prices near four-year high despite crude oil costs falling. Latest figures from AA show pump prices have not followed the slight decline in crude costs over recent weeks“, in addition we were given “Less than a month ago, the petrol retailers were falling over themselves to warn of pump prices at record levels. Now that the price of oil has fallen away and fuel costs have followed, in true form, they have kept quiet and carried on charging cash-strapped motorists the maximum for their fuel“, that was last month, and now there are indication that such a move might not be far behind in the US and for them the only remaining option is to artificially push prices down.

So who is in charge in the house of Saud? One would assume the King, yet the way the US is presenting the news, he is not and that is a really bad move to make. If there is a chance that barrels get back to $100 each, the setting from California becomes a nightmare, with summer and no air conditioning, the people are faced with air conditioning in their cars, so that they, oh no! They cannot afford the gas, because when a full working week still leaves you $2,000 below the poverty threshold, we will see that life in California will not be one for the better, but one for the lesser. So when we get back to the quality of life with Texas in 46th, Nevada 43rd, Alabama 35th, and Georgia 32nd, those living there and smothering to death because of the fuel prices might consider North Dakota in 1st, just be aware that they also get fuel prices, they get them in winter. Yet the list (at https://www.businessinsider.com.au/us-news-best-states-quality-of-life-ranked-2018-2), in the end, the quality of life i not merely the heating and electricity, the fact that I push it does not make it correct, it is merely a factor in that larger setting of a nation where equilibrium has faltered for too much and the unbalance is not merely there, it is also all over Europe. The entire ‘everyone on the equal size‘ was never going to work, but those worse off were willing to sign on for the EU fairy tale. Now that the dream ended and the owners of resources have a clear option to push forward their own agenda’s, the other players start being cranky because they continued the unrealistic dream.

It does not stop there, in their house (the USA) the issues are now equally exploding as Axios reported that “21,000 companies in the United States have filed for tariff exclusions claiming Trump’s trade war has caused layoffs and makes them at risk of folding completely“, yes that was always a danger and it is now hitting the US full on, so whilst there was the given notice of benefit, the drawback is growing almost exponentially. That whilst CBC (the Canadian edition) reported “On Friday, the federal government unveiled an updated list of U.S. products that are about to be slapped with tariffs while promising to spend up to $2 billion to protect jobs in the steel and aluminium sectors on this side of the border in the wake of a burgeoning trade war with the U.S.“, so not only is the US down $2 billion (and a lot more than that), the inflicted damage of businesses folding (as Axios stated it), is the double whammy of the worst kind on the US economy. So not only are they facing ‘retaliatory’ issues from Mexico, China and Canada. The setting is now that in addition to the backlash on one side, the other side is buckling too. This is given to us by Jeremy Grantham (co-founder and chief investment strategist of Grantham, Mayo, & van Otterloo, a Boston-based asset management firm) gave us “Once you start thinking in certainties, you have real trouble. When the facts move against me, I moved down from 50 per cent probable to 35, which is my official forecast. If we keep on fighting trade wars with Canada and the EU, and so on, it will go to 30, and then eventually 25 and fade away“, so these are merely probabilities of making even or better. So how many will invest their fortune when the chance of merely breaking even is on a half way chance or worse? It seems to me that the option of short selling US commodities never looked better. Don’t take his word for it, I surely wouldn’t do that. What can a 79 year old Brit tell you? The fact that he is on the list of the 50 most influential voices in the market would not count, would it?

We can agree that the house of Trump is in all kinds of settings and dangers, but it is his house (to merely coin a phase). In that same place the house of Saud is the sandbox of King Salman of Saudi Arabia (with oil and all). The mention that: ‘he had once again leaned on Saudi Arabia‘, is not only a wrong setting, it is a disrespectful one and the NY Times should have known better. You see, the NY Times implied a quote, yet the actual quote was: “Just spoke to King Salman of Saudi Arabia and explained to him that, because of the turmoil & disfunction in Iran and Venezuela, I am asking that Saudi Arabia increase oil production, maybe up to 2,000,000 barrels, to make up the difference…Prices to high! He has agreed!“, which is a very different setting. Now, we will never accuse President Trump that he has any correlation to a diplomatic mind, but the given issues ‘turmoil & disfunction in Iran‘ , as well as ‘am asking that Saudi Arabia increase oil production, maybe up to 2,000,000 barrels‘, the message is not the same and there the NY Times failed the readers in a disastrous way.

There we see that a dialogue is optionally created where lowering oil prices might get the US through the next summer and winter. In these two houses (US & Saudi Arabia), we see changes, we see technological progress in Saudi Arabia, yet in the US that is happening less and less because the house of US is as Americans say ‘not a house of us‘, it is the house of Wall Street and we are merely allowed to rent it for now. It is a dangerous setting and the changes that the Tariff war will push, as well as the exploitative nature of corporate America. You merely have to look at the track that it took for minimum wages to go up by $1 an hour and when you consider that the minimum wage was $7.50 in 2007, So when you consider the consumer price index and that it was 209.876 in 2007, and that it is now 261.696 implies a 24% shift, the income gives rise a 46% increase, one would state that this is good. Yet the one does not refer to the other and that is where the people are really hurt by people hiding behind consumer indexes. You see, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measure that examines the weighted average of prices of a basket of consumer goods and services, such as transportation, food and medical care. It is calculated by taking price changes for each item in the predetermined basket of goods and averaging them. And that is where the issues start. Not merely the ‘average’, the fact of where they are offered and where the people are. Transportation has taken a much larger shift as has the price of medication, so the entire setting is out of balance. So when we see: “The cost of living in California is higher than the national average. State of California salaries average $62,964.00, indicating a pay rate that is higher than the U.S. average annual salary by $9,343.00. The consumer price index (CPI) of 270 in California is 10.20% higher than the U.S. city average CPI of 245. The sales tax is 7.25%“, all shifts that line up and now look back at the Wal-Mart person having to get by on $22K. Now, California is the most visible one, but by no feat the only one, or the largest one and similar issues are growing in Europe. That is the shift that matters. We need to make sure our houses are in order and we have rights to decide on how our house is set in order, the ones elected to be in charge decide, not the media or the players setting a stage of profiteering. The gap of rich and poor does not merely exist, the gap between the two is growing faster and faster on a daily basis. Did anyone ever signed up for that?

I have no issuer that the well-educated and the visionaries make more, because that is the game, yet the issues are growing where those who have neither are rigging the game in their favour and against everyone else. The mere indication that governments let them is also a larger issue and even as we see that it is the largest in Wall Street, that same issue is seen all over the world, even in Australia where parliament is all up in arms on issues that are not gifted with any evidence on stopping Huawei, whilst we see a larger push from places like CBRE and the Noble Investment Group on housing that no one seems to be able to afford. The leaflets look to good to be true, but when we see, it is all in Chinese, is that not peculiar in Sydney? Whilst we see in the Sydney Morning Herald (at https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/investors-snap-up-90m-in-city-fringe-offices-20180610-p4zknj.html), ‘Investors snap up $90m in City fringe offices‘ with the quote “Investors have snapped up more than $95 million in sales of city fringe office assets to get a foothold in the booming sector“, with in addition “CBRE and JLL recently co-sold the 7 City View Road property in Pennant Hills, Sydney to EG Funds Management for $32 million. It is leased to the National Broadband Network, which is moving to Dexus Property’s 100 Mount Street when its completed, and Government Property NSW“, that whilst social housing is at an all-time low. Is it not interesting how governments give millions away with a marketing ploy down the road that it feeds the coffers? Yet when you give away 90 million, how much do you snap up? That in contrast from Android Headlines, who gives us: “In a prepared statement, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull asserted the laws passed on Thursday aren’t meant to target any particular country but previously went on record to express concerns about China’s geopolitical ambitions in the region, having previously admitted the new legislation is bound to raise tensions between Canberra and Beijing. Previous reports suggested Australian lawmakers resolved to enact harsher punishments for foreign political interference attempts after the local intelligence community provided them with evidence suggesting China attempted to influence a broad range of its institutions, going to the very top of the administration“. So when we see ‘harsher punishments for foreign political interference‘ did the PM consider that they already opened the door to make housing unaffordable? So when you can no longer afford to live anywhere, does it matter what happens afterwards? It seems to me that the PM is playing a game of the parliamentary calling the landlord dubious, whilst giving a wide open field to those changing the settings towards Australian quality of life. It seems almost childish to look at the Huawei Mobile because it was not made in America.

So when we look at ‘In my house I decide’ was that merely the building, or does that include the commodities and the Feng Shui setting of what brand of mobile is allowed and who delivers the crude that pumps the ovens for the creation of electricity to recharge our mobiles?

How deep did the security services look into the fact of those (read: Chinese investors) who are the upcoming landlords of Sydney

 

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The non-knowing speak loudest

There is an old saying that goes back to the original circus, the days of Sir Alec Guiness, John Le Carre and the circus (MI6). Those who do not know speak and those who do will not. There is however a valid issue with that mindset. When it is merely intelligence and what some regard as spyshit, we tend to not care. It is their world and they tend to live by other rules even as they have the same lack of common cyber sense as some US generals, it is their choice to make. Yet when we see labour people like Michael Danby need to present evidence in regards to “an opposition Labor party MP, called on the Liberal-National coalition to block Huawei and fellow Chinese telecoms company ZTE from supplying equipment for the 5G network. “Both Huawei and ZTE must report to the Communist party cell at the top of their organisations,” he told parliament. “Let me issue a clarion call to this parliament: Australia’s 5G network must not be sold to these telcos.”” I am actually in the mindset that his seat should be put up for auction if he does not disclose a proper setting and give evidence as to the reasoning of all this. It becomes more pressing when we see “Mr Lord, a former rear admiral in the Royal Australian Navy, told Australia’s state broadcaster on Monday that these claims were “wrong”, adding that Huawei was not owned by any committee of government and posed no risk to Australia’s security“. It is not just because Mr Lord is a former rear admiral, more that the average naval midshipman tends to be more reliable than any politician. We get this from the Financial Times (at https://www.ft.com/content/1a2d19ba-67b1-11e8-8cf3-0c230fa67aec). In addition, when we get politicians start the scare tactics of ‘critical infrastructure pose a risk to national security’, there is a clear need for both Duncan Lewis and Paul Symon AO to get hauled in a chair in Canberra and ask them to openly answer the questions regarding any evidence that Huawei is a security threat. To blatantly accept the US on their ‘china fears’ is all well and good for Telstra, yet the setting is not a given and the fact that Telstra is nowhere near the technological levels of Huawei is not something that we blame them from, but they basically lost the 5G war before it started through their own actions and inactions.

Now if there is an actual national security concern, we should be open about that and when that happens, and evidence is presented, at that point we can all relax and state to Huawei that we feel sorry for the inconvenience caused, but such concerns are just too big to ignore. I think we have had quite enough of these presentations that reek of Colin Powell and his silver suitcase with evidence that no one ever saw in 2001. We cannot go in that direction ever again. We will not be the play toy of greedy telecom companies and their internal needs for stupidity and inactions; we can no longer afford such a nepotism environment.

That same issue can be said regarding Nationals MP George Christensen. Apart from him trying to undo a business deal of a 99 year lease, no matter how silly that deal was, Australia cannot be perceived as a nation that cannot be trusted at the business table. My second issue is why a maroon (Queenslander) is involving himself with NT politics. In that regard, why do we not see the responses form Vicki O’Halloran is she has any, is she not the appointed administrator? In this, the game is not over. The Australian Financial Review gives us: “Huawei faces the likelihood that Cabinet’s national security committee will veto it supplying equipment for the 5G network, based on the recommendations of security agencies, over concerns about the potential for cyber espionage at the behest of China’s leaders“. In this the question becomes, is there an actual security concern, or is it that the national concern is the devaluation of Telstra? In additional support we need to see the Sydney Morning Herald two weeks ago when they gave us (at https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/how-a-huawei-5g-ban-is-about-more-than-espionage-20180614-p4zlhf.html): “The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age reported in March that there were serious concerns within the Turnbull government about Huawei’s potential role in 5G – a new wireless standard that could be up to 10 times as powerful as existing mobile services, and used to power internet connections for a range of consumer devices beyond phones“, as well as “the decision will have an impact on Australia’s $40 billion a year telecoms market – potentially hurting Telstra’s rivals“. the first part is something I wrote about for well over a year, the second one is important as we see ‘potentially hurting Telstra’s rivals‘, from my personal point of view it reads like the one lobotomised idiot in telecom country gets to decide through arm-twisting on how we need to remain backwards as they set the standard that they could not deliver for the longest of times (a little sarcasm regarding Telstra’s 2011 3.7G), I wrote about that recently.

ABC gave us yesterday: “it continues to be the target of criticism over its connections to the Chinese Government, including allegations it is involved in state-sponsored espionage“, yet the people have never been shown actual evidence, so where is that at? There might have been doubts to some degree for a while, but the Powell stunt is too clear in our minds and the USA does not have the credibility (or credit rating for that matter) it once had. The fact that the opposing former rear admiral of the Australian navy trumps two half bit politicians seeking the limelight any day of the week and some stay silent, the reason for that is only speculation, but we might not need to seek far and a few words ion Google Search might help find that answer (like ‘Telstra’ and ‘8000’). When we see some giving us: ‘Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX:TLS) is betting it all on 5G‘ and we see the Telstra strategy briefing (at https://www.telstra.com.au/content/dam/tcom/about-us/investors/pdf-e/2018-Strategy-Update.pdf), we see on page 6, Leading with 5G, that would never be an option with Huawei in play as they are ahead by a lot, so the presentation given a week ago, whilst we realise that the presentation was prepared way before that is giving the setting that Huawei is no longer considered to be competition, that is what we now face! What some might call a backward organisation proclaiming to be leading whilst 8000 men will be missing through inaction. That page is even more fun when you consider the quote ‘new technologies like IoT‘, which is funny when you consider that the Internet of Things (IoT) is a system of interrelated computing devices. It is not a technology; it is a network that enables technology. In addition, when you start nit-picking in that 34 page event, we see all the bells and whistles we need to see, yet when you consider consumers and small business (the millions of people that Telstra charges) starts at page 9 and gives us 5 slides. We see ‘cutting edge 5G capability’ (by whose standards?), we see location devices (with the image of a dog), Access to rewards an tickets, a fully-digital relationship with Telstra (an implied no more personal interaction after the sales, merely a chatbot) and value added services, yet the value of a service like customer service and customer care are absent in that part of the equation, so how does this push the people forward, because I doubt that it actually will achieve anything in the long run and one flaw will anger the actual consumers without limits.

You see, personally I believe in the IoT, I believe in 5G, they are tools to enhance experiences and interactions, not make them obsolete and that is what  feel when I saw the Telstra strategy update. These two elements can enhance customer care, customer service and customer support, not replace them with ‘AI’ enhanced chatbots. So the moment we get a 2.0 version of ‘Telstra’s new chatbot, Codi, is making so many mistakes customers are furious’ (at https://www.businessinsider.com.au/telstra-codi-bot-backlash-2018-3), chatbots can be a great asset to get the information and channel the call to the right person, yet that again is merely enhancing and that can work fine. The presentation implies the loss of actual customer values and ignoring their need for interactions. That in an aging population might be the least intelligent stance to make ever.

Yet this does not give way to the issue on Telstra versus Huawei, as the Sydney Morning Herald states “Telstra has refused to exclude Huawei from its 5G tender, but that is seen more as a way of keeping its existing supplier Ericsson on its toes“, as well as “In other words, a ban could be bad news for TPG, Vodafone and Optus. Whether it is necessarily good news for Telstra – which has its own issues at the moment – is less clear“. In finality we get “Intelligence agencies tend to get their way on matters like these“, this beckons the question what are they actually after? The US seems to be in bed with Samsung and their 5G routers, so it makes sense that this will be the path that Telstra walks as well, time will tell how it ends.

So why is this such a big deal?

We are currently in danger of actually falling behind Saudi Arabia, yes, that place in a large sandbox is about to surpass us in 5G and other technologies. They had the audacity to reserve half a trillion dollars toward Vision 2030 and Neom. So when we got “Al-Khobar in the Eastern Province, of Saudi Arabia, has become the first city in the region to benefit from the fifth-generation wireless network or 5G network, according to a press statement issued by the Center of International Communication“, last month. There was not a surprise in my bone. You see, this will drive their Vision 2030 plans even further. So as Saudi Arabia is now the new pond to grow speciality in 5G, app designers can promote, test and deliver on knowledge that will be available whilst Telstra is trying to figure out how to get 5G installed. with “All the necessary national 5G policies and supporting administrative provisions are planned to be in place before the end of 2019, along with the award of initial batches of the spectrum to support the full commercial deployment of 5G technologies“, we see that Saudi Arabia had been taking this serious for a much longer time. This goes a little further when we see ‘the Middle East and Africa 5G Technology market (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Nigeria, and South Africa)‘, so at this point, Saudi Arabia has a head start to not just push Saudi Arabia forward, they have quite literally first dibs on gaining a chunk of the 98 million Egyptians. Not all can afford 5G, we get that, but those who do are confronted with only Saudi Arabia as a Muslim player, you did not actually believe that they would run to Vodafone, did you?

So back to the 5G local ‘market’! For this we need to take a look at the Australian Financial review 2 weeks ago. Here we see (at https://www.afr.com/opinion/columnists/the-technical-reasons-why-huawei-too-great-a-5g-risk-20180614-h11e3o), with the title ‘The technical reasons why Huawei is too great a 5G risk‘, the start is good, this is what we wanted. Yet we are treated to paragraphs of emotion and alleged settings. So when we see: “Huawei presents unique additional risk beyond the “normal” risk of buying complex equipment. China has demonstrated a long-standing intent to conduct cyber-espionage“, so is ‘intent’ shown in evidence? How did the CIA and NSA acquire our data or Cambridge Analytica for that matter? ‘China is thought to be behind data breaches‘ is merely a statement ‘thought‘ is speculation, not evidence. Then we get: “The US Trade Representative’s Section 301 report from March this year details the very close cooperation between the Third Department of China’s People’s Liberation Army (3PLA is a military hacking unit, also known as Unit 61398) and Chinese enterprises“, I have to get back to this. We are treated to ‘At one extreme, Huawei could be asked‘, is a case of fear mongering and not evidence. In addition we get ‘it is certainly a possibility‘ which came after ‘Vulnerabilities may already exist. This may not be the most likely possibility‘ as well as ‘very likely‘ all emotional responses, none of them evidence in any way, so the article with included in the title ‘The technical reasons’, has pretty much zero technology and close to 90% ‘allegedly’, speculations and emotional twists, whilst we cannot deny the optional existence of vulnerabilities, yet these are found regularly in Cisco hardware and Microsoft software, so have those two been banned in Australia?

Now to get back to the Section 301 report (at https://ustr.gov/sites/default/files/Section%20301%20FINAL.PDF). It is 215 pages and I did not read that complete political US marketing behemoth. There is one that actually carries weight. On page 153 we see: “evidence from U.S. law enforcement and private sources indicates that the Chinese government has used cyber intrusions to serve its strategic economic objectives. Documented incidents of China’s cyber intrusions against U.S. commercial entities align closely with China’s industrial policy objectives. As the global economy has increased its dependence on information systems in recent years, cyber theft became one of China’s preferred methods of collecting commercial information because of its logistical advantages and plausible deniability“, which is basically good application of intelligence gathering. Please do not take my word for it, feel free to call the NSA (at +1-301-6886311, all their calls are recorded for training and quality purposes). Oh, and before I forget, the text came with footnote 970, which gave us “A number of public submissions provided to USTR state that the Chinese government has no reason to conduct cyber intrusions or commit cyber theft for commercial purposes, see CHINA GENERAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE [hereinafter “CGCC”], Submission, Section 301 Hearing 16 (Sept. 28, 2017); that the US has not provided evidence of such actions by China, that China is also a target of cyber-attacks, and that the two countries should work together“, there is that to deal with and is that not a rare instance where we are treated to ‘the US has not provided evidence of such actions‘, how many times have we seen claims like that since 2001? Would that number be a 4 or 5 digit number?

The point is not whether it can or could happen, the question becomes did it happen here? let’s not forget that in most settings the section 301 report is about US interests and their technological advancement (which they lost by becoming iteratively stupid). Here we have a different setting. In the setting we face Huawei has a technological advance over all we have in Australia and most of Europe as well. Huawei was one of the first to realise the power of data and 5G and they are close to a market leader, the US is basically relying on Samsung to get them there. BT (British Telecom) is on the ball, but still not on par. They are in bed with Finland “BT has teamed with Nokia to collaborate on the creation of 5G proof of concept trials, the development of emerging technology standards and equipment, and potential 5G use cases“, so this sets the larger players in a field where Nokia and Huawei are now active. The SAMENA Telecom Leaders Summit 2018 and Saudi Telecom Company (STC) announced today that it is working with Nokia to launch a 5G network in 2018 within Saudi Arabia, yet the technology agreements show that it does include Huawei and Cisco, so they aren’t already active, the setting for the initial bumps in the road that Cisco, Nokia and Huawei will surely overcome is knowledge that we will not have in Australia long after someone was able to connect the 5G router to a power point (very presentable, yet the online green light seems to be broken).

So whilst politicians are considering who to be buddies with, Saudi Arabia joins the US and they will be the first 5G providers, which means that the UK and Australia are lagging behind and optionally not for the short term either.

So am I not knowing or am I all knowing? I actually prefer the first, because it is more relaxing; yet the need to speak out loud is becoming increasingly important even if it was only to place the loud mouth limelight seeking politicians like Michael Danby and George Christensen in their slightly too arrogant place. They are of course welcome to present ACTUAL evidence proving me wrong. #WishingForAMiracleHere

 

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Telstra, NATO and the USA

There are three events happening, three events that made the limelight. Only two seem to have a clear connection, yet that is not true, they all link, although not in the way you might think.

Telstra Calling

The Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/jun/20/telstra-to-cut-8000-jobs-in-major-restructure) starts with ‘Telstra to cut 8,000 jobs in major restructure‘. Larger players will restructure in one way or another at some point, and it seems that Telstra is going through the same phase my old company went through 20 years ago. The reason is simple and even as it is not stated as such, it boils down to a simple ‘too many captains on one ship‘. So cut the chaff and go on. It also means that Telstra would be able to hire a much stronger customer service and customer support division. Basically, it can cut the overhead and they can proclaim that they worked on the ‘costing’ side of the corporation. It is one way to think. Yet when we see: “It plans to split its infrastructure assets into a new wholly owned business unit in preparation for a potential demerger, or the entry of a strategic investor, in a post-national broadband network rollout world. The new business unit will be called InfraCo“. That is not a reorganisation that is pushing the bad debts and bad mortgages out of the corporation and let it (optionally) collapse. The congestion of the NBN alone warrants such a move, but in reality, the entire NBN mess was delayed for half a decade, whilst relying on technology from the previous generation. With 5G coming closer and closer Telstra needs to make moves and set new goals, it cannot do that without a much better customer service and a decently sized customer support division, from there on the consultants will be highly needed, so the new hiring spree will come at some stage. The ARNnet quote from last month: “Shares of Australia’s largest telco operator Telstra (ASX:TLS) tumbled to their lowest in nearly seven years on 22 May, after the firm was hit by a second major mobile network service outage in the space of a month“, does not come close to the havoc they face, it is not often where one party pisses off the shareholders, the stakeholders and the advertisers in one go, but Telstra pulled it off!

A mere software fault was blamed. This implies that the testing and Q&A stage has issues too, if there is going to be a Telstra 5G, that is not a message you want to broadcast. The problem is that even as some say that Telstra is beginning to roll out 5G now, we am afraid that those people are about to be less happy soon thereafter. You see, Telstra did this before with 4G, which was basically 3.5G, now we see the Business Insider give us ‘Telstra will roll out 2Gbps speeds across Australian CBDs within months‘, but 2Gbps and 10Gbps are not the same, one is merely 20%, so there! Oh, and in case you forgot the previous part. It was news in 2011 when ABC gave us (at http://www.abc.net.au/technology/articles/2011/09/28/3327530.htm) “It’s worth pointing out that that what Telstra is calling 4G isn’t 4G at all. What Telstra has deployed is 1800MHz LTE or 3GPP LTE that at a specification level should cap out at a download speed of 100Mb/s and upload speed of 50Mbps [ed: and the public wonders why we can’t just call it 4G?]. Telstra’s sensibly not even claiming those figures, but a properly-certified solution that can actually lay claim to a 4G label should be capable of downloads at 1 gigabit per second; that’s the official 4G variant known as LTE-A. Telstra’s equipment should be upgradeable to LTE-A at a later date, but for now what it’s actually selling under a ‘4G’ label is more like 3.7-3.8G. “3.7ish G” doesn’t sound anywhere near as impressive on an advertising billboard, though, so Telstra 4G it is“, which reflects the words of Jeremy Irons in Margin Call when he states: “You can be the best, you can be first or you can cheat“. I personally think that Telstra is basically doing what they did as reported in 2011 and they will market it as ‘5G’, giving premise to two of the elements that Jeremy Irons mentioned.

This now gives a different visibility to the SMH article last week (at https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/how-a-huawei-5g-ban-is-about-more-than-espionage-20180614-p4zlhf.html), where we see “The expected ban of controversial Chinese equipment maker Huawei from 5G mobile networks in Australia on fears of espionage reads like a plot point from a John le Carre novel. But the decision will have an impact on Australia’s $40 billion a year telecoms market – potentially hurting Telstra’s rivals“, as well as “The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age reported in March that there were serious concerns within the Turnbull government about Huawei’s potential role in 5G – a new wireless standard that could be up to 10 times as powerful as existing mobile services, and used to power internet connections for a range of consumer devices beyond phones“, you see I do not read it like that. From my point of view I see “There are fears within the inner circle of Telstra friends that Huawei who is expected to offer actual 5G capability will hurt Telstra as they are not ready to offer anything near those capabilities. The interconnectivity that 5G offers cannot be done in the currently upgradable Telstra setting of a mere 2bps, which is 20% of what is required. Leaving the Telstra customers outside of the full range of options in the IoT in the near future, which will cost them loads of bonus and income opportunities“. This gives two parts, apart from Optus getting a much larger slice of the cake, the setting is not merely that the consumers and 5G oriented business is missing out, private firms can only move forward to the speed that Telstra dictates. So who elected Telstra as techno rulers? As for the entire Huawei being “accused of spying by lawmakers in the US“, is still unfounded as up to now no actual evidence has been provided by anyone, whilst at the same speed only a week ago, the Guardian gave us ‘Apple to close iPhone security gap police use to collect evidence‘, giving a clear notion that in the US, the police and FBI were in a stage where they were “allowed to obtain personal information from locked iPhones without a password, a change that will thwart law enforcement agencies that have been exploiting the vulnerability to collect evidence in criminal investigations“, which basically states that the US were spying on US citizens and people with an iPhone all along (or at least for the longest of times). It is a smudgy setting of the pot calling the kettle a tea muffler.

The fact that we are faced with this and we prefer to be spied on through a phone 50% cheaper is not the worst idea. In the end, data will be collected, it is merely adhering to the US fears that there is a stronger setting that all the collected data is no longer in the US, but in places where the US no longer has access. That seems to be the setting we are confronted with and it has always been the setting of Malcolm Turnbull to cater to the Americans as much as possible, yet in this case, how exactly does Australia profit? I am not talking about the 37 high and mighty Telstra ‘friends’. I am talking about the 24,132,557 other Australians on this Island, what about their needs? If only to allow them than to merely get by on paying bills and buying food.

Short term and short sighted

This gets us to something only thinly related, when we see the US situation in ‘Nato chief warns over future of transatlantic relationship‘. The news (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jun/19/transatlantic-relationship-at-risk-says-nato-chief) has actually two sides, the US side and the side of NATO. NATO is worried on being able to function at all. It is levied up to the forehead in debts and if they come to fruition, and it will they all drown and that requires the 27 block nation to drastically reduce defence spending. It is already trying to tailor a European defence force which is a logistical nightmare 6 ways from Sunday and that is before many realise that the communication standards tend to be a taste of ‘very nationally’ standard and not much beyond that point. In that regard the US was clever with some of their ITT solutions in 1978-1983. Their corn flaky phones (a Kellogg joke) worked quite well and they lasted a decent amount of time. In Europe, most nations were bound to the local provider act and as such there were all kinds of issues and they all had their own little issues. So even as we read: “Since the alliance was created almost 70 years ago, the people of Europe and North America have enjoyed an unprecedented period of peace and prosperity. But, at the political level, the ties which bind us are under strain“, yup that sounds nice, but the alliances are under strain by how Wall Street thinks the funding needs to go and Defence is not their first priority, greed is in charge, plain and simple. Now, to be fair, on the US side, their long term commitment to defence spending has been over the top and the decade following September 11 2001 did not help. The spending went from 10% of GDP up to almost 20% of GDP between 2001 and 2010. It is currently at about 12%, yet this number is dangerous as the economy collapsed in 2008, so it basically went from $60 billion to $150 billion, which hampered the infrastructure to no end. In addition we get the splashing towards intelligence consultants (former employees, who got 350% more when they turned private), so that expenditure became also an issue, after that we see a whole range of data gathering solutions from the verbose (and not too user friendly) MIIDS/IDB.

In CONUS (or as you might understand more clearly the contiguous United 48 States; without Alaska and Hawaii), the US Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) Automated Intelligence Support Activity (FAISA) at Fort Bragg, NC, has access to the MIIDS and IDB by tactical users of the ASAS, and they maintain a complete copy of DIA’s MIIDS and IDB and update file transactions in order to support the tactical user. So there are two systems (actually there are more) and when we realise that the initial ASAS Block I software does not allow for direct access from ASAS to the FAISA System. So, to accomplish file transfer of MIIDS and IDB files, we are introduced to a whole range of resources to get to the data, the unit will need an intermediate host(s) on the LAN that will do the job. In most cases, support personnel will accomplish all the file transfers for the unit requesting that intel. Now consider 27 national defence forces, one European one and none of them has a clue how to get one to the other. I am willing to wager $50 that it will take less than 10 updates for data to mismatch and turn the FAISA system into a FAUDA (Arabic for chaos) storage system, with every update taking more and more time until the update surpasses the operational timeframe. That is ample and to the point as there is a growing concern to have better ties with both Israel and Saudi Arabia, what a lovely nightmare for the NSA as it receives (optionally on a daily basis) 9 updates all containing partially the same data (Army-Navy, Army-Air force, Army-Marines, Navy-Air force, Navy-Marines, Air force-Marines, DIA, DHS and Faisa HQ). Yes, that is one way to keep loads of people employed, the cleaning and vetting of data could require an additional 350 hours a day in people to get the vetting done between updates and packages. In all this we might see how it is about needing each other, yet the clarity for the US is mostly “Of the 29 Nato members, only eight, including the US and the UK, spend more than 2% of their GDP on defence, a threshold that the alliance agreed should be met by all the countries by 2024. Germany spent €37bn (£32.5bn), or 1.2% of GDP, on defence last year“, it amounts to the US dumping billions in an area where 28 members seem to have lost the ability to agree to standards and talk straight to one another (a France vs Germany pun). In all this there is a larger issue, but we will now see that in part three

Sometimes a cigar is an opportunity

you see, some saw the “‘Commie cadet’ who wore Che Guevara T-shirt kicked out of US army” as an issue instead of an opportunity. The article (at https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jun/19/west-point-commie-cadet-us-army-socialist-views-red-flags) gives light to some sides, but not to the option that the US basically threw out of the window. You see the Bill of rights, a mere piece of parchment that got doodled in 1789 offering things like ‘freedom to join a political party‘, as we see the setting at present. The issue as I see it is the overwhelming hatred of Russia that is in play. Instead of sacking the man, the US had an opportunity to use him to see if a dialogue with Cuba could grow into something stronger and better over time. It might work, it might not, but at least there is one person who had the option to be the messenger between Cuba and the US and that went out of the window in a heartbeat. So when we see: “Spenser Rapone said an investigation found he went online to advocate for a socialist revolution and disparage high-ranking officers and US officials. The army said in a statement only that it conducted a full investigation and “appropriate action was taken”“. Was there a full investigation? To set this in a proper light, we need to look at NBC (at https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/sexual-assault-reports-u-s-military-reach-record-high-pentagon-n753566), where we see: “Service members reported 6,172 cases of sexual assault in 2016 compared to 6,082 last year, an annual military report showed. This was a sharp jump from 2012 when 3,604 cases were reported“, we all should realise that the US defence forces have issues, a few a hell of a lot bigger than a person with a Che Guevara T-Shirt. So when we ask for the full investigations reports of 6172 cases, how many have been really investigated, or prosecuted on? NBC reported that “58 percent of victims experienced reprisals or retaliation for reporting sexual assault“, so how exactly were issues resolved?

Here we see the three events come together. There is a flawed mindset at work, it is flawed through what some might call deceptive conduct. We seem to labels and when it backfires we tend to see messages like ‘there were miscommunications hampering the issues at hand‘, standards that cannot be agreed on, or after there was an agreement the individual players decide to upgrade their national documents and hinder progress. How is that ever going to resolve issues? In all this greed and political needs seem to hinder other avenues though players that should not even be allowed to have a choice in the matter. It is the setting where for close to decades the politicians have painted themselves into a corner and are no longer able to function until a complete overhaul is made and that is the problem, a solution like that costs a serious amount of funds, funds that are not available, not in the US and not in Europe. The defence spending that cannot happen, the technology that is not what is specified and marketing will merely label it into something that it is not, because it is easier to sell that way. A failing on more than one level and by the time we are all up to speed, the others (read: Huawei) passed us by because they remained on the ball towards the required goal.

So as we are treated to: “A parliamentary hearing in Sydney got an extra touch of spice yesterday, after the chief executive of NBN Co appeared to finger one group of users supposedly responsible for congestion on NBN’s fixed wireless network: gamers“, whilst the direct setting given is “Online gaming requires hardly any bandwidth ~10+ megabytes per hour. A 720p video file requires ~ 500+ megabytes per hour. One user watching a YouTube video occupies the same bandwidth as ~50 video gamers“, we can argue who is correct, yet we forgot about option 3. As was stated last week we see that the largest two users of online games were Counterstrike (250MB/hour) add Destiny 2 (300 MB/hour), whilst the smallest TV watcher ABC iView used the same as Destiny 2, the rest a multitude of that, with Netflix 4K using up to 1000% of what gamers used (in addition to the fact that there are now well over 7.5 million Netflix users, whilst the usage implies that to be on par, we need 75 million gamers, three times the Australian population). Perhaps it is not the gamers, but a system that was badly designed from the start. Political interference in technology has been a detrimental setting in the US, Europe and Australia as well, the fact that politicians decide on ‘what is safe‘ is a larger issue when you put the issues next to one another. If we openly demand that the US reveal the security danger that Huawei is according to them, will they remain silent and let a ‘prominent friend‘ of Telstra speak?

When we look one tier deeper into NATO, they themselves become the source (at https://www.nato-pa.int/document/2018-defence-innovation-capitalising-natos-science-and-technology-base-draft-report) with: ‘Capitalising on Nato’s Science and Technology Base‘. Here we see on page 5: “In an Alliance of sovereign states, the primary responsibility to maintain a robust defence S&T base and to discover, develop and adopt cutting-edge defence technologies lies with NATO member states themselves. Part of the answer lies in sufficient defence S&T and R&D budgets“. It is the part where we see: ‘adopt cutting-edge defence technologies lies with NATO member states themselves‘ as well as ‘sufficient defence S&T and R&D budgets‘. You introduce me to a person that shows a clear partnership between the needs of Philips (Netherlands) and Siemens (Germany) and I will introduce you to a person who is knowingly miscommunicating the hell out of the issue. You only need to see the 2016 financial assessment: “After divesting most of its former businesses, Philips today has a unique portfolio around healthy lifestyle and hospital solutions. Unlike competitors like GE Healthcare and Siemens Healthineers, the company covers the entire health continuum” and that is merely one field.

Rubber Duck closing in on small Destroyer.

In that consider a military equivalent. The 5th best registered CIWS solution called MK15 Phalanx (US), the 3rd position is for the Dutch Goalkeeper (Thales Netherlands) and the 2nd best CIWS solution comes from the US with the Raytheon SeaRAM. Now we would expect every nationality would have its own solution, yet we see the SeaRAM was only adopted by Germany, why is it not found in the French, Italian, Spanish and Canadian navy? Belgium has the valid excuse that the system is too large for their RIB and Dinghy fleet, but they are alone there. If there is to be true connectivity and shared values, why is this not a much better and better set partnership? Now, I get that the Dutch are a proud of their solution, yet in that entire top list of CIWS systems, a larger group of NATO members have nothing to that degree at all. So is capitalising in the title of the NATO paper actually set to ‘gain advantage from‘, or is it ‘provide (someone) with capital‘? Both are options and the outcome as well as the viability of the situation depending on which path you take. So are the Australians losing advantage from Telstra over Huawei, or are some people gaining huge lifestyle upgrades as Huawei is directed to no longer be an option?

I will let you decide, but the settings are pushing all boundaries and overall the people tend to not benefit, unless you work for the right part of Palantir inc, at which point your income could double between now and 2021.

 

2018 – DEFENCE INNOVATION – ALLESLEV DRAFT REPORT – 078 STC 18 E

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Data illusions

Yesterday was an interesting day for a few reasons; one of the primary reasons was an opinion piece in the Guardian by Jay Watts (@Shrink_at_Large). Like many article I considered to be in opposition, yet when I reread it, this piece has all kinds of hidden gems and I had to ponder a few items for an hour or so. I love that! Any piece, article or opinion that makes me rethink my position is a piece well worth reading. So this piece called ‘Supermarkets spy on them now‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/may/31/benefits-claimants-fear-supermarkets-spy-poor-disabled) has several sides that require us to think and rethink issues. As we see a quote like “some are happy to brush this off as no big deal” we identify with too many parts; to me and to many it is just that, no big deal, but behind the issues are secondary issues that are ignored by the masses (en mass as we might giggle), yet the truth is far from nice.

So what do we see in the first as primary and what is behind it as secondary? In the first we see the premise “if a patient with a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia told you that they were being watched by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), most mental health practitioners would presume this to be a sign of illness. This is not the case today.” It is not whether this is true or not, it is not a case of watching, being a watcher or even watching the watcher. It is what happens behind it all. So, when we recollect that dead dropped donkey called Cambridge Analytics, which was all based on interacting and engaging on fear. Consider what IBM and Google are able to do now through machine learning. This we see in an addition to a book from O’Reilly called ‘The Evolution of Analytics‘ by Patrick Hall, Wen Phan, and Katie Whitson. Here we see the direct impact of programs like SAS (Statistical Analysis System) in the application of machine learning, we see this on page 3 of Machine Learning in the Analytic Landscape (not a page 3 of the Sun by the way). Here we see for the government “Pattern recognition in images and videos enhance security and threat detection while the examination of transactions can spot healthcare fraud“, you might think it is no big deal. Yet you are forgetting that it is more than the so called implied ‘healthcare fraud‘. It is the abused setting of fraud in general and the eagerly awaited setting for ‘miscommunication’ whilst the people en mass are now set in a wrongly categorised world, a world where assumption takes control and scores of people are now pushed into the defence of their actions, an optional change towards ‘guilty until proven innocent’ whilst those making assumptions are clueless on many occasions, now are in an additional setting where they believe that they know exactly what they are doing. We have seen these kinds of bungles that impacted thousands of people in the UK and Australia. It seems that Canada has a better system where every letter with the content: ‘I am sorry to inform you, but it seems that your system made an error‘ tends to overthrow such assumptions (Yay for Canada today). So when we are confronted with: “The level of scrutiny all benefits claimants feel under is so brutal that it is no surprise that supermarket giant Sainsbury’s has a policy to share CCTV “where we are asked to do so by a public or regulatory authority such as the police or the Department for Work and Pensions”“, it is not merely the policy of Sainsbury, it is what places like the Department for Work and Pensions are going to do with machine learning and their version of classifications, whilst the foundation of true fraud is often not clear to them, so you want to set a system without clarity and hope that the machine will constitute learning through machine learning? It can never work, that evidence is seen as the initial classification of any person in a fluidic setting is altering on the best of conditions. Such systems are not able to deal with the chaotic life of any person not in a clear lifestyle cycle and people on pensions (trying to merely get by) as well as those who are physically or mentally unhealthy. These are merely three categories where all kind of cycles of chaos tend to intervene with their daily life. Those are now shown to be optionally targeted with not just a flawed system, but with a system where the transient workforce using those methods are unclear on what needs to be done as the need changes with every political administration. A system under such levels of basic change is too dangerous to get linked to any kind of machine learning. I believe that Jay Watts is not misinforming us; I feel that even the writer here has not yet touched on many unspoken dangers. There is no fault here by the one who gave us the opinion piece, I personally believe that the quote “they become imprisoned in their homes or in a mental state wherein they feel they are constantly being accused of being fraudulent or worthless” is incomplete, yet the setting I refer to is mentioned at the very end. You see, I believe that such systems will push suicide rates to an all-time high. I do not agree with “be too kind a phrase to describe what the Tories have done and are doing to claimants. It is worse than that: it is the post-apocalyptic bleakness of poverty combined with the persecution and terror of constantly feeling watched and accused“. I believe it to be wrong because this is a flaw on both sides of the political aisle. Their state of inaction for decades forced the issue out and as the NHS is out of money and is not getting any money the current administration is trying to find cash in any way that they can, because the coffers are empty, which now gets us to a BBC article from last year.

At http://www.bbc.com/news/election-2017-39980793, we saw “A survey in 2013 by Ipsos Mori suggested people believed that £24 out of every £100 spent on benefits was fraudulently claimed. What do you think – too high, too low?
Want to know the real answer? It is £1.10 for every £100
“. That is the dangerous political setting as we should see it; the assumption and believe that 24% is set to fraud when it is more realistic that 1% might be the actual figure. Let’s not be coy about it, because out of £172.3bn a 1% amount still remains a serious amount of cash, yet when you set it against the percentage of the UK population the amount becomes a mere £25 per person, it merely takes one prescription to get to that amount, one missed on the government side and one wrongly entered on the patients side and we are there. Yet in all that, how many prescriptions did you the reader require in the last year alone? When we get to that nitty gritty level we are confronted with the task where machine learning will not offer anything but additional resources to double check every claimant and offense. Now, we should all agree that machine learning and analyses will help in many ways, yet when it comes to ‘Claimants often feel unable to go out, attempt voluntary work or enjoy time with family for fear this will be used against them‘ we are confronted with a new level of data and when we merely look at the fear of voluntary work or being with family we need to consider what we have become. So in all this we see a rightful investment into a system that in the long run will help automate all kinds of things and help us to see where governments failed their social systems, we see a system that costs hundreds of millions, to look into an optional 1% loss, which at 10% of the losses might make perfect sense. Yet these systems are flawed from the very moment they are implemented because the setting is not rational, not realistic and in the end will bring more costs than any have considered from day one. So in the setting of finding ways to justify a 2015 ‘The Tories’ £12bn of welfare cuts could come back to haunt them‘, will not merely fail, it will add a £1 billion in costs of hardware, software and resources, whilst not getting the £12 billion in workable cutbacks, where exactly was the logic in that?

So when we are looking at the George Orwell edition of edition of ‘Twenty Eighteen‘, we all laugh and think it is no great deal, but the danger is actually two fold. The first I used and taught to students which gets us the loss of choice.

The setting is that a supermarket needs to satisfy the need of the customers and the survey they have they will keep items in a category (lollies for example) that are rated ‘fantastic value for money‘ and ‘great value for money‘, or the top 25th percentile of the products, whatever is the largest. So in the setting with 5,000 responses, the issue was that the 25th percentile now also included ‘decent value for money‘. So we get a setting where an additional 35 articles were kept in stock for the lollies category. This was the setting where I showed the value of what is known as User Missing Values. There were 423 people who had no opinion on lollies, who for whatever reason never bought those articles, This led to removing them from consideration, a choice merely based on actual responses; now the same situation gave us the 4,577 people gave us that the top 25th percentile only had ‘fantastic value for money‘ and ‘great value for money‘ and within that setting 35 articles were removed from that supermarket. Here we see the danger! What about those people who really loved one of those 35 articles, yet were not interviewed? The average supermarket does not have 5,000 visitors, it has depending on the location up to a thousand a day, more important, when we add a few elements and it is no longer about supermarkets, but government institutions and in addition it is not about lollies but Fraud classification? When we are set in a category of ‘Most likely to commit Fraud‘ and ‘Very likely to commit Fraud‘, whilst those people with a job and bankers are not included into the equation? So we get a diminished setting of Fraud from the very beginning.

Hold Stop!

What did I just say? Well, there is method to my madness. Two sources, the first called Slashdot.org (no idea who they were), gave us a reference to a 2009 book called ‘Insidious: How Trusted Employees Steal Millions and Why It’s So Hard for Banks to Stop Them‘ by B. C. Krishna and Shirley Inscoe (ISBN-13: 978-0982527207). Here we see “The financial crisis appears to be exacerbating fraud by bank employees: a new survey found that 72 percent of financial institutions say that in the last 12 months they have experienced a case of data theft by one of their workers“. Now, it is important to realise that I have no idea how reliable these numbers are, yet the book was published, so there will be a political player using this at some stage. This already tumbles to academic reliability of Fraud in general, now for an actual reliable source we see KPMG, who gave us last year “KPMG survey reveals surge in fraud in Australia“, with “For the period April 2016 to September 2016, the total value of frauds rose by 16 percent to a total of $442m, from $381m in the previous six month period” we see number, yet it is based on a survey and how reliable were those giving their view? How much was assumption, unrecognised numbers and based on ‘forecasted increases‘ that were not met? That issue was clearly brought to light by the Sydney Morning Herald in 2011 (at https://www.smh.com.au/technology/piracy-are-we-being-conned-20110322-1c4cs.html), where we see: “the Australian Content Industry Group (ACIG), released new statistics to The Age, which claimed piracy was costing Australian content industries $900 million a year and 8000 jobs“, yet the issue is not merely the numbers given, the larger issue is “the report, which is just 12 pages long, is fundamentally flawed. It takes a model provided by an earlier European piracy study (which itself has been thoroughly debunked) and attempts to shoe-horn in extrapolated Australian figures that are at best highly questionable and at worst just made up“, so the claim “4.7 million Australian internet users engaged in illegal downloading and this was set to increase to 8 million by 2016. By that time, the claimed losses to piracy would jump to $5.2 billion a year and 40,000 jobs” was a joke to say the least. There we see the issue of Fraud in another light, based on a different setting, the same model was used, and that is whilst I am more and more convinced that the European model was likely to be flawed as well (a small reference to the Dutch Buma/Stemra setting of 2007-2010). So not only are the models wrong, the entire exercise gives us something that was never going to be reliable in any way shape or form (personal speculation), so in this we now have the entire Machine learning, the political setting of Fraud as well as the speculated numbers involved, and what is ‘disregarded’ as Fraud. We will end up with a scenario where we get 70% false positives (a pure rough assumption on my side) in a collective where checking those numbers will never be realistic, and the moment the parameters are ‘leaked’ the actual fraudulent people will change their settings making detection of Fraud less and less likely.

How will this fix anything other than the revenue need of those selling machine learning? So when we look back at the chapter of Modern Applications of Machine Learning we see “Deploying machine learning models in real-time opens up opportunities to tackle safety issues, security threats, and financial risk immediately. Making these decisions usually involves embedding trained machine learning models into a streaming engine“, that is actually true, yet when we also consider “review some of the key organizational, data, infrastructure, modelling, and operational and production challenges that organizations must address to successfully incorporate machine learning into their analytic strategy“, the element of data and data quality is overlooked on several levels, making the entire setting, especially in light of the piece by Jay Watts a very dangerous one. So the full title, which is intentionally did not use in the beginning ‘No wonder people on benefits live in fear. Supermarkets spy on them now‘, is set wholly on the known and almost guaranteed premise that data quality and knowing that the players in this field are slightly too happy to generalise and trivialise the issue of data quality. The moment that comes to light and the implementers are held accountable for data quality is when all those now hyping machine learning, will change their tune instantly and give us all kinds of ‘party line‘ issues that they are not responsible for. Issues that I personally expect they did not really highlight when they were all about selling that system.

Until data cleaning and data vetting gets a much higher position in the analyses ladder, we are confronted with aggregated, weighted and ‘expected likelihood‘ generalisations and those who are ‘flagged’ via such systems will live in constant fear that their shallow way of life stops because a too high paid analyst stuffed up a weighting factor, condemning a few thousand people set to be tagged for all kind of reasons, not merely because they could be optionally part of a 1% that the government is trying to clamp down on, or was that 24%? We can believe the BBC, but can we believe their sources?

And if there is even a partial doubt on the BBC data, how unreliable are the aggregated government numbers?

Did I oversimplify the issue a little?

 

 

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Waking up 5 years late

I have had something like this, I swear it’s true. It was after I came back from the Middle East, I was more of a ‘party person’ in those days and I would party all weekend non-stop. It would start on Friday evening and I would get home Sunday afternoon. So one weekend, I had gone through the nightclub, day club, bars and Shoarma pit stops after which I went home. I went to bed and I get woken up by the telephone. It is my boss, asking me whether I would be coming to work that day. I noticed it was 09:30, I had overslept. I apologised and rushed to the office. I told him I was sorry that I had overslept and I did not expect too much nose as it was the first time that I had overslept. So the follow up question became “and where were you yesterday?” My puzzled look from my eyes told him something was wrong. It was Tuesday! I had actually slept from Sunday afternoon until Tuesday morning. It would be the weirdest week in a lifetime. I had lost an entire day and I had no idea how I lost a day. I still think back to that moment every now and then, the sensation of the perception of a week being different, I never got over it, now 31 years ago, and it still gets to me every now and then.

A similar sensation is optionally hitting Christine Lagarde I reckon, although if she is still hitting the party scene, my initial response will be “You go girl!

You see with “Market power wielded by US tech giants concerns IMF chief” (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/apr/19/market-power-wielded-by-us-tech-giants-concerns-imf-chief-christine-lagarde) we see the issues on a very different level. So even as we all accept “Christine Lagarde, has expressed concern about the market power wielded by the US technology giants and called for more competition to protect economies and individuals”, we see not the message, but the exclusion. So as we consider “Pressure has been building in the US for antitrust laws to be used to break up some of the biggest companies, with Google, Facebook and Amazon all targeted by critics“, I see a very different landscape. You see as we see Microsoft, IBM and Apple missing in that group, it is my personal consideration that this is about something else. You see Microsoft, IBM and Apple have one thing in common. They are Patent Powerhouses and no one messes with those. This is about power consolidation and the fact that Christine Lagarde is speaking out in such a way is an absolute hypocrite setting for the IMF to have.

You see, to get that you need to be aware of two elements. The first is the American economy. Now in my personal (highly opposed) vision, the US has been bankrupt; it has been for some time and just like the entire Moody debacle in 2008. People might have seen in in ‘the Big Short‘, a movie that showed part of it and whilst the Guardian reported ““Moody’s failed to adhere to its own credit-rating standards and fell short on its pledge of transparency in the run-up to the ‘great recession’,” principal deputy associate attorney general Bill Baer said in the statement“, it is merely one version of betrayal to the people of the US by giving protection to special people in excess of billions and they merely had to pay a $864m penalty. I am certain that those billionaires have split that penalty amongst them. So, as I stated, the US should be seen as bankrupt. It is not the only part in this. The Sydney Morning Herald (at https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/how-trump-s-hair-raising-level-of-debt-could-bring-us-all-crashing-down-20180420-p4zank.html) gives us “Twin reports by the International Monetary Fund sketch a chain reaction of dangerous consequences for world finance. The policy – if you can call it that – puts the US on an untenable debt trajectory. It smacks of Latin American caudillo populism, a Peronist contagion that threatens to destroy the moral foundations of the Great Republic. The IMF’s Fiscal Monitor estimates that the US budget deficit will spike to 5.3 per cent of GDP this year and 5.9 per cent in 2019. This is happening at a stage of the economic cycle when swelling tax revenues should be reducing net borrowing to zero“. I am actually decently certain that this will happen. Now we need to look back to my earlier statement.

You see, if the US borrowing power is nullified, the US is left without any options, unless (you saw that coming didn’t you). The underwriting power of debt becomes patent power. Patents have been set to IP support. I attended a few of those events (being a Master of Intellectual Property Law) and even as my heart is in Trademarks, I do have a fine appreciation of Patents. In this the econometrics of the world are seeing the national values and the value of any GDP supported by the economic value of patents.

In this, in 2016 we got “Innovation and creative endeavors are indispensable elements that drive economic growth and sustain the competitive edge of the U.S. economy. The last century recorded unprecedented improvements in the health, economic well-being, and overall quality of life for the entire U.S. population. As the world leader in innovation, U.S. companies have relied on intellectual property (IP) as one of the leading tools with which such advances were promoted and realized. Patents, trademarks, and copyrights are the principal means for establishing ownership rights to the creations, inventions, and brands that can be used to generate tangible economic benefits to their owner“, as such the cookie has crumbled into where the value is set (see attached), one of the key findings is “IP-intensive industries continue to be a major, integral and growing part of the U.S. economy“, as such we see the tech giants that I mentioned as missing and not being mentioned by Christine Lagarde. It is merely one setting and there are optionally a lot more, but in light of certain elements I believe that patents are a driving force and those three have a bundle, Apple has so many that it can use those patents too buy several European nations. IBM with their (what I personally believe to be) an overvalued Watson, we have seen the entire mess moving forward, presenting itself and pushing ‘boundaries’ as we are set into a stage of ‘look what’s coming’! It is all about research, MIT and Think 2018. It is almost like Think 2018 is about the point of concept, the moment of awareness and the professional use of AI. In that IBM, in its own blog accidently gave away the goods as I see it with: “As we get closer to Think, we’re looking forward to unveiling more sessions, speakers and demos“, I think they are close, they are getting to certain levels, but they are not there yet. In my personal view they need to keep the momentum going, even if they need to throw in three more high exposed events, free plane tickets and all kinds of swag to flim flam the audience. I think that they are prepping for the events that will not be complete in an alpha stage until 2020. Yet that momentum is growing, and it needs to remain growing. Two quotes give us that essential ‘need’.

  1. The US Army signed a 33-month, $135 million contract with IBM for cloud services including Watson IoT, predictive analytics and AI for better visibility into equipment readiness.
  2. In 2017, IBM inventors received more than 1,900 patents for new cloud technologies to help solve critical business challenges.

The second is the money shot. An early estimate is outside of the realm of most, you see the IP Watchdog gave us: “IBM Inventors received a record 9043 US patents in 2017, patenting in such areas as AI, Cloud, Blockchain, Cybersecurity and Quantum Computing technology“, the low estimate is a value of $11.8 trillion dollars. That is what IBM is sitting on. That is the power of just ONE tech giant, and how come that Christine Lagarde missed out on mentioning IBM? I’ll let you decide, or perhaps it was Larry Elliott from the Guardian who missed out? I doubt it, because Larry Elliott is many things, stupid ain’t one. I might not agree with him, or at times with his point of view, but he is the clever one and his views are valid ones.

So in all this we see that there is a push, but is it the one the IMF is giving or is there another play? The fact that banks have a much larger influence in what happens is not mentioned, yet that is not the play and I accept that, it is not what is at stake. There is a push on many levels and even as we agree that some tech giants have a larger piece of the cake (Facebook, Google and Amazon), a lot could have been prevented by proper corporate taxation, but that gets to most of the EU and the American Donald Duck, or was that Trump are all about not walking that road? The fact that Christine has failed (one amongst many) to introduce proper tax accountability on tech giants is a much larger issue and it is not all on her plate in all honesty, so there are a few issues with all this and the supporting views on all this is not given with “Lagarde expressed concern at the growing threat of a trade war between the US and China, saying that protectionism posed a threat to the upswing in the global economy and to an international system that had served countries well“, it is seen in several fields, one field, was given by The Hill, in an opinion piece. The information is accurate it is merely important to see that it has the views of the writer (just like any blog).

So with “Last December, the United States and 76 other WTO members agreed at the Buenos Aires WTO Ministerial to start exploring WTO negotiations on trade-related aspects of e-commerce. Those WTO members are now beginning their work by identifying the objectives of such an agreement. The U.S. paper is an important contribution because it comprehensively addresses the digital trade barriers faced by many companies“, which now underlines “A recent United States paper submitted to the World Trade Organization (WTO) is a notable step toward establishing rules to remove digital trade barriers. The paper is significant for identifying the objectives of an international agreement on digital trade“. This now directly gives rise to “the American Bar Association Section of Intellectual Property Law also requested that the new NAFTA require increased protections in trade secrets, trademarks, copyrights, and patents“, which we get from ‘Ambassador Lighthizer Urged to Include Intellectual Property Protections in New NAFTA‘ (at https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/ambassador-lighthizer-urged-to-include-52674/) less than 10 hours ago. So when we link that to the quote “The proposals included: that Canada and Mexico establish criminal penalties for trade secrets violations similar to those in the U.S. Economic Espionage Act, an agreement that Mexico eliminate its requirement that trademarks be visible, a prohibition on the lowering of minimum standards of patent protection“. So when we now look back towards the statement of Christine Lagarde and her exclusion of IBM, Microsoft and Apple, how is she not directly being a protectionist of some tech giants?

I think that the IMF is also feeling the waters what happens when the US economy takes a dip, because at the current debt levels that impact is a hell of a lot more intense and the games like Moody’s have been played and cannot be played again. Getting caught on that level means that the US would have to be removed from several world economic executive decisions, not a place anyone in Wall Street is willing to accept, so that that point Pandora’s Box gets opened and no one will be able to close it at that point. So after waking up 5 years late we see that the plays have been again and again about keeping the status quo and as such the digital rights is the one card left to play, which gives the three tech giants an amount of power they have never had before, so as everyone’s favourite slapping donkey (Facebook) is mentioned next to a few others, it is the issue of those not mentioned that will be having the cake and quality venison that we all desire. In this we are in a dangerous place, even more the small developers who come up with the interesting IP’s they envisioned. As their value becomes overstated from day one, they will be pushed to sell their IP way too early, more important, that point comes before their value comes to fruition and as such those tech giants (Apple, IBM, and Microsoft) will get an even more overbearing value. Let’s be clear they are not alone, the larger players like Samsung, Canon, Qualcomm, LG Electronics, Sony and Fujitsu are also on that list. The list of top players has around 300 members, including 6 universities (all American). So that part of the entire economy is massively in American hands and we see no clear second place, not for a long time. Even as the singled out tech giants are on that list, it is the value that they have that sets them a little more apart. Perhaps when you consider having a go at three of them, whilst one is already under heavy emotional scrutiny is perhaps a small price to pay.

How nice for them to wake up, I merely lost one day once, they have been playing the sleeping game for years and we will get that invoice at the expense of the futures we were not allowed to have, if you wonder how weird that statement is, then take a look at the current retirees, the devaluation they face, the amount they are still about to lose and wonder what you will be left with when you consider that the social jar will be empty long before you retire. The one part we hoped to have at the very least is the one we will never have because governments decided that budgeting was just too hard a task, so they preferred to squander it all away. The gap of those who have and those who have not will become a lot wider over the next 5 years, so those who retire before 2028 will see hardships they never bargained for. So how exactly are you served with addressing “‘too much concentration in hands of the few’ does not help economy“, they aren’t and you weren’t. It is merely the setting for what comes next, because in all this it was never about that. It is the first fear of America that counts. With ‘US ponders how it can stem China’s technology march‘ (at http://www.afr.com/news/world/us-ponders-how-it-can-stem-chinas-technology-march-20180418-h0yyaw), we start seeing that shift, so as we see “The New York Times reported on April 7 that “at the heart” of the trade dispute is a contest over which country plays “a leading role in high-tech industries”. The Wall Street Journal reported on April 12 that the US was preparing rules to block Chinese technology investment in the US, while continuing to negotiate over trade penalties“, we see the shifted theatre of trade war. It will be about the national economic value with the weight of patents smack in the middle. In that regard, the more you depreciate other parts, the more important the value of patents becomes. It is not a simple or easy picture, but we will see loads of econometrics giving their view on all that within the next 2-3 weeks.

Have a great weekend and please do not bother to wake up, it seems that Christine Lagarde didn’t bother waking up for years.

 

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