Tag Archives: Texas

Is it really Russia?

The independent was making us aware a mere 11 hours ago that ‘Russia and far right spreading disinformation ahead of EU elections, investigators say‘ (at https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/eu-elections-latest-russia-far-right-interference-fake-news-meddling-a8910311.html), now it might be that Russia is trying to make waves, yet the reality is that politicians and their allegiance to big business are already spreading enough misinformation (read: one sided information) to make the people distrust these politicians. I partially discussed this yesterday in ‘The Mental delay‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2019/05/12/the-mental-delay/). So when I see: “It is to constantly divide, increase distrust and undermine our faith in institutions and democracy itself“, my response would be: “Do not worry, Tony Blair is already achieving that, he does not need the Russians to achieve that goal.” So, when we consider that, what is my angle? It is a fair and important question. The matter involving the Brexit party and Nigel Farage have escalated because of inaction and attempts to sway against a referendum that had already been decided. The Business Insider (at https://www.businessinsider.com.au/remain-wars-britain-anti-brexit-parties-tearing-each-other-apart-change-uk-liberal-democrats-2019-5) is giving us: “the prospects for remaining in the EU appear on the surface to be better than ever before, bickering between the country’s anti-Brexit parties now risks throwing that advantage away“, which is odd as the referendum for Brexit was won, so it seems that the voice of the people is openly ignored, and it angers half the nation, so they are willing to let Nigel Farage sort it out for them. Yet the Business Insider also shows another side. With “Change UK instead decided to go its own way, writing off the Lib Dems as spent force and calling on its members to quit and jump ship to Change UK, with the mission of quickly becoming the premier anti-Brexit party“, we see different groups, all wanting to be the captain, so that they can reap the rewards from large corporations, I’ll admit that the last part is my own speculation. You see big business is never about rewarding the group, merely the one keeping them all in check, that is what big business needs and it makes the Bremainers infighters, all wanting a taste of that sweet pie of victory, as well as a taste of the gravy train, the two elements why most people inside and outside the EU want the EU to stop. It cannot keep proper checks and balances and the less said about that monumental failure currently called the ECB the better.

So is Russia Innocent?

I do not think so (better stated, I do not know), and if we are to believe former FBI analyst Daniel Jones (there is currently no evidence that he is not to be believed) we see the act “Senate investigator whose non-profit group, Advance Democracy, recently flagged a number of suspicious websites and social media accounts to law enforcement authorities” is not to be ignored, yet as I see the group that I would personally label ‘stupid political people‘ are doing a fine job by themselves, there is enough distrust to go around for decades at present. Yet there is another part in this. The quote “It is nearly impossible to quantify the scale and resonance of the misinformation. Researchers say millions of people see the material.” the problem is not that it is merely them; the media itself is the problem. The media who is setting the stage by offering one sided stories whilst the bulk of all the people know that there is another side, they are adding fuel to the fire and that is not recognised in the entire data setup at present. The Yemeni war is the clearest example. The bulk of all papers handing blame to Saudi Arabia, whilst they openly ignored the actions from Iran and Hezbollah attacking Saudi Arabia via Yemen, as well as arming the Houthis in all this. Not once, not twice, but consistently, in addition in several events the actions of Turkey was set aside because it was inconvenient towards Turkish talks, that alone should wake you up regarding the one sided exposure and therefor handing out more distrust. So at present I had to giggle regarding Russian Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev, as he stated roughly two months ago “Suspecting someone of an event that has not yet happened is a bunch of paranoid nonsense“. He is of course correct, but that does not make him innocent does it? A man is innocent of hoping to screw the prima ballerina of the Bolshoi, and walking around with a condom does not make him guilty, neither is his desire to get lucky, but we can call him out on having the condom on him as he enters the restaurant meeting Svetlana Zakharova for dinner, we can call him out through envy (she is truly amazingly gorgeous), we can call him out on desire (making us wrathful on missing out on the opportunity to be him) the list goes on, yet he is right nothing happened at present. In the end the best thing we have after the event might be the evidence of intent, yet intent after the fact towards something that might never be proven in court is still a huge miss.

And when we make the tally, we can to some degree clearly see that the current politicians made us more distrustful than any Russian action at present, and the media aided in this, they all have their own political agenda side, the media has not been neutral for the longest of times.

Then I notice something that does impact. When I see: “Distinguishing Russian interference from clickbait or sincere political outrage is difficult, even for intelligence services“, that is not entirely true. The analysts are (often) looking in the wrong direction. You see, the stage is not the news; it is the line of forwarding. I noticed that over the last three weeks there were ladies wanting to connect to me, and it came with ‘tit shots‘ and ‘prominent ass poses‘, so they were either cheap ladies hoping to strike an hourly bargain, or they were honey traps (they tend to be the second), so there is piece number one (pun intended), the forwarding started from that point forward and more important, the presence of that account is also a data point to consider. The forwarding news has an origin and Facebook has that original post as well as the originator, so there we see two pieces ready for mining. Even as troll farms have a larger set of systems, they still start at a limited amount of routers, an element ignored. There are not too much masking options in mass spreading, even if it changes per message pushed, the list is decently exhaustive and it is the analysing of the hop path that shows the fake router, and as such we see that a path is now optionally established. That did not take long did it? I did my CCNA 8 years ago, yet that point is there. It is how I designed the cloud intrusion stage. It is a Router_n + 1 approach; it is not the originating router, the two routers after those optionally downscale paths towards the point of origin.

You see, even as we are given: “The digital trail often winds up in one of the internet’s anonymised dead ends“, we see no anonymity in the normal spreading of social media or even sharing of posts, the anonymity gives us the initial red flag; the router path can give us a lot more. The simplest of all solutions has been ignored by the lot of them. When I share news (usually because it is funny, or a nice indecent or Monday morning pun (example added). In all this a clear path can be established, so why is all the other not flagged and optionally removed? There is a right of expression from your own account, should hidden shares not all be auto removed? Was that example perhaps a little too simple for them?

We are all so intent on blaming Facebook for being too big, blaming them for not policing what was never supposed to be policed, it is also time to hold a light to those abusing the options available, in all this there is a lack of truly investigating not social media, but the usage of digital media and digital advertising. And that is where the problem starts, the moment that voice goes to town suddenly we see politicians starting to shout on the infringement of the people, the politicians are part of the problem and seeing that is the first step in recognising that the problem is a lot larger. When we start investigating election fraud versus voter fraud, we see a stage where it is not unlikely that the true mountain is not the voter fraud. And that is not all, when is it voter fraud, when is it logistical error and incompetence? You merely have to Google ‘election fraud‘ you will find issues in Texas and South Africa, but what was exactly the case and when was action taken? What actions were taken and was it in time? All that and when we focus on the European election and the ‘instigations’ by the Russians, I wonder how much an impact they are having, or basically the EU elections has bigger problems to sort out and the media is one of those problems to a much larger degree than anyone is willing to admit to.

This is a clear case where the premise of Oliver Hazard Perry, an American naval commander: ‘We have met the enemy and they are ours‘ (1812), which was freely translated into ‘We have met the enemy and they are us‘, as we agree that we tend to be our own worst enemy, did anyone consider that social media could emphasize this no less than tenfold?

So is it really Russia, or do we need to take a look at what we enable ourselves and facilitate for? Acknowledging that we have a social media usage problem will be the first step in scaling the dangers down.

 

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Lollies to the right

 

Yes, today is Friday and as every Catholic is seeking out the best place to find their serving of Friday fish, others seek their food from optionally different vendors. Yet for many Muslims, its Dutch Sweets day, and let’s be honest the Dutch have a great sweets department, from the liquorice (the best in the world), Haagse Hopjes, gingerbread, ginger snaps, chocolate letters, butter cake, Apple Pie and custard pies, the Dutch know how to present some of the very best Vitamin C (Candy) items on the planet. Yet for many today, the menu wants a slice of Geert Wilders. It seems that finally the setting is that Geert Wilders has opted to cancel the Mohammed Cartoon competition. The Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/aug/30/geert-wilders-far-right-dutch-mp-cancels-muhammed-cartoon-competition) is telling us that his response was “To avoid the risk of victims of Islamic violence, I have decided not to let the cartoon contest go ahead“, which is actually a bit weird. You see, he pretty much had to flee Texas, USA in 2015 over a similar event. Did he think that something unacceptable to Muslims in the USA would suddenly be tolerated in the Netherlands whilst hiding behind ‘freedom of expression’? For me it is actually a little sad, as I had a nice setting to take away Dutch business for myself (for mere professional, and greed driven reasons), in addition it inspired me to write a film script for Netflix called ‘How to assassinate a politician‘, aka ‘The Essay‘, and that is off the table now too (or perhaps not).

And in light of what was presented, we are also seeing two settings of falsehood. The first by him with ““It’s not just about me,” Wilders said in the statement. Opponents of the event “see not only me, but the entire Netherlands as a target”“, that is not a truth, it is correct (but for other reasons), it is a non-Truth because Geert Wilders instigated the outrage in a way that he would create the outrage. He got to play the ‘Muslims hate us card’ whilst he is very aware that his actions and his actions alone instigated it. The second player was not lying, but still acted (as far as I can tell) in falsehood. You see, when we see “Rutte added that people in the Netherlands have far-reaching freedom of speech rights and the government did not intend to seek the contest’s cancellation” we see a falsehood and a dangerous setting. Dutch law does not allow for certain settings.

When we look (at https://www.wodc.nl/binaries/ob248-volledige-tekst_tcm28-68659.pdf) at the Dutch Paper ‘Profanity, discriminating expressions because of religion and hate speech‘ we are confronted with the setting of Dutch Criminal Law Article 137. Here we see: “He who publicly, verbally or in writing or image, deliberately exhausts a group of people because of their race, their religion or belief, their heterosexual or homosexual orientation or their physical, psychological or mental disability, is punished with imprisonment of a maximum of one year or a fine of the third category“, it applies, because Islam is outspoken on the fact that there will be no image of the prophet Muhammad, that is one setting that the Dutch Prime minister cannot avoid and in that, the setting we see that not only was the competition planned to be held in the Dutch parliament building, the fact that we are confronted with the quote “Rutte added that people in the Netherlands have far-reaching freedom of speech rights and the government did not intend to seek the contest’s cancellation“, a clear setting where we see more than a mere collision of ‘freedom of speech’ and the law. So even as we see on page 26: “the discrimination provisions of relatively recent make-up, and were only introduced in the Netherlands in 1971“, considering that it was introduced after he was too old to be breastfed by his mommy and long enough to accept that the law was in place long before he got elected into politics, it is from that point of view that we can establish his intent in the act of insulting Islam.

In addition to this, the entire matter was handled incorrectly by Dutch Parliament, even the setting that the cancellation was not sought. There might have been some defence possible if the venue was not in a Dutch Government building, but that was not the case, tying the hands of Dutch politicians through their inactions.

So the predictions that I made 8 days ago in the article ‘Liberalism overboard‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/08/23/liberalism-overboard/) and the fact that we now also see that Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has been requested to cut ties with the Dutch, so in this we are still seeing escalations. In this Dutch Ambassador to Pakistan Ardi Stoios-braken is about to get an interesting anniversary day, as she assumed the office on September 7th last year, in this there is now the smallest chance that she will not even be able to complete the one year milestone. The additional part where we see that Pakistan is importing close to $400 million from the Netherlands each year is optionally be getting hit as well. 54% if that pie is consumer goods and even if overall the amount is not that big a deal, there is still the chance that it will also impact Dutch exports to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Oman, UAE, Indonesia and Qatar, to what extent is impossible to say, but the wound reopened by Pakistan is much larger than most people realise, especially ass the Dutch Prime minister had the option to diffuse the situation in May 2018 and decided not to do that, that in itself is the larger evil to deal with. The other element in all this is Tehreek-e-Labbaik, a hard-line party that is close to one year old. The issue is that they have the options to sit in conversations with the imams, who would be reaching out to the nations mentioned earlier and even more so the nations I did not mention (Jordan, Iran and Yemen for example). In all this the crises is still continuing and anyone thinking that this will blow over, think again. For Pakistan the issue is actually twofold and Al Jazeera gives these two parts with “Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), Pakistan’s newest hard-line religious party, which calls for blasphemers to be put to death and celebrates those who have murdered the alleged perpetrators“, which should be regarded as a risk and danger towards violence. the second part is seen with: “A year ago, this kind of a political rally, in the heart of the political base of Pakistan’s ruling party, would have been unthinkable” this second part gives us not merely that there is a hard-line growth within Pakistan, it also implies and gives consideration that those voices will be listened to in Saudi Arabia and therefor also in Indonesia, which in turn might escalate issues in Egypt as well, although I have zero information that there is an interaction of thoughts between these groups at present, the likelihood of it happening should be set to much higher than not.

All issues that could have been prevented by not allowing such an anti-Islam provocation on Dutch government grounds and the additional timespan that the Dutch government would have had to soothe the emotions of Muslims in all this is now pretty much null and void.

In conclusion, it is the Media that also has a negated responsibility. When I am confronted with ““I have decided to cancel the competition to avoid the risk of making people victims of Islamist violence,” Wilders said in a statement. “I don’t want Muslims to use the cartoon competition as an excuse for Islamist violence.”” (Deutsche Welle), as well as “Wilders said adding that the competition is not to “provoke or insult”” (Straits times) are all settings of falsehood. this is not merely my opinion, the evidence can be seen with “Two men who opened fire Sunday outside of an event in Garland, Texas attended by Geert Wilders, a Dutch lawmaker and outspoken critic of radical Islam, have been killed by police“, which was an event in Garland Texas on May 4th 2015. Geert Wilders at that time responded on Twitter with: “Shots fired at Garland Mohammed cartoon free speech event. I just left the building after speeching. #garlandshooting — Geert Wilders (@geertwilderspvv) May 4, 2015“. So not only was there an event three years ago, there was also every clear indication that it would happen again and with the Dutch Criminal Law in place, as well as the additional Dutch inactions, we can clearly see that there is a larger issue in play and the inactions of its current government must optionally be taken as a setting that is more about anti-Islam than with Freedom of Speech or Freedom of Expression from my point of view, but that last part is my personal take on the issue.

So when we do see escalations, hopefully all non-violent ones. We need to consider on the increasing collisions that we see in Freedom of Speech versus Freedom of Religion. It is my view that we are nearing a critical point where Accountability can no longer be avoided and if we agree that some will act on a freedom, we must also hold these people accountable for these actions (and perhaps they will be perfectly valid ones). I wonder what happens when that happens, if people start to think before they speak, we might see levels of de-escalation or better stated an increasing level of common sense whilst awake, which is never a bad thing.

So have a good Friday and do not forget that Monday morning is (at this very moment) a mere 59 hours away.

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We get it, but we don’t

There are times when we love to see the big boys getting sued, yet this is not that time. When I saw the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jan/03/apple-lawsuit-facetime-car-crash-iphone-patent), I had to wonder whether I had to laugh out loud, or just let my head hang down and shake it slowly. I get it, when a bad thing overcomes you and your family, the one you sue is the one who has the cash to settle or pay largely (read: deep pockets). That part I learned in my first week of Torts, so the fact that a couple goes for Apple makes sense, yet it does not. You see, in this global community there are these pesky things called ‘traffic laws’, so to make a point I decided to take a look at the traffic laws of California and that was a trip so psychedelic, that no amount of mushrooms could ever equal it. It all started with the California Driver Handbook (at https://www.dmv.ca.gov/web/eng_pdf/dl600.pdf).

I was off to a great start, because on page 21 we see ‘distracted driving‘ with “Anything that prevents you from operating your vehicle is a distraction” and it mentions ‘Visual-Eyes off the road‘ and ‘Cognitive-Mind of the road‘, so it seems that there was a good start. Then on page 86 we see the things that you must not do, which states ‘Do not operate a cell-phone without the use of a hands-free device‘ as well as ‘Do not drive a motor vehicle whilst using a wireless Communication device to write, send or read text-based communications‘ as well as ‘do not drive a vehicle equipped with a video monitor, if the monitor is visible to the driver and displays anything other than vehicle information‘. So, I saw the ground pretty much fall away from me whilst I realised that the first mention was ‘Do not smoke at any time when a minor is in the vehicle. You can be fined up to $100‘. Is this for real? Smoking is fined, yet the more hazardous issues are not dealt with? I cried wolf almost too soon. The DMV (at https://www.dmv.com/distracted-driving-penalties) gives us for California: $20, so we now know that we can plan for the accidental execution of ex-wives, people we do not like and people with a price on their head, because California has decided that this act of ‘gross’ negligence carries a fine of $20, or perhaps $40, because it could be proven that both visual and cognitive were transgressed upon. We just need to look really really sad, remorseful and get a great lawyer. If you have any such plans, after the deed is done in for example San Francisco, you should call Chris Dolan of the Dolan Law Firm (at https://dolanlawfirm.com/), they might be able to help you all the way avoiding jail.

So, as some places take distracted driving serious, there is a clear indication that plenty of states do not. This is upsetting in a few ways as the level of distracted driving (video chatting whilst driving) amounts to nothing less than manslaughter. Now the California Penal Code gives us Penal Code 192(a) voluntary manslaughter and Penal Code 192(b), involuntary manslaughter. The second one is set apart as it does not require intent to kill. I thought that we were in the clear with voluntary manslaughter as there is the option of vehicular manslaughter. Although here we see the needed:

A. in an unlawful way (not amounting to a felony), with or without gross negligence;
B. during the commission of a lawful act which might produce death in an unlawful manner, or
C. knowingly causes the accident for financial gain (which is also a violation of California’s automobile insurance fraud laws).

Now part c seems not to be the case. In my fictive example the prosecutor would require proof. Good luck getting that part from my banks in Riyadh! Hah!

Yet part A and part B are still filled at present. The issue is that distracted driving is not said to be a felony or unlawful. In that regard video chat driving is gross negligence through common sense, yet the California driving rules and the DMV do not state it as such (as far as I can tell at present) and as such someone’s 5 year old little daughter ended up with a dead one, for the fine (as currently stated in the DMV penalties list) no larger than the price of merely 4 MacDonald happy meals? How screwed up does that sound? The fact that the DMV could have clearly set in motion the change that caught with more than one element of distracted driver means an automatic suspension of the driver’s license for no less than 5 years as well as setting the bar towards a felony and not keep it at a misdemeanour, an act that would clearly be turning faces real quick. As minors and adults seem to worship their cars and their needs to drive somewhere, setting that change in motion could have resulted in a living child, very likely loads of non-dead individuals because of acts of utter stupidity. The fact that the DMV was very willing to add statistics to the drivers guide shows that this is a massive amount of lives that could be saved.

Let’s face it, in the world of common sense, video chatting whilst driving seems to be one of the more stupid acts to pursue. It is at the end that I disagree with Nora Freeman Engstrom, a Stanford law professor, who states “Apple’s inaction in the face of that knowledge may not trigger liability here. But it may well expose Apple to liability down the road”, in that I disagree as the pressure should have been on the irresponsible driver from the very start and the driving laws should have been adjusted as such for a long time. It is time to set the blame where it should have been, with the driver!

Now, we all understand that the personal injury lawyers tend to have a go at those with the deeper pockets, yet how fair is that? Actually, fairness does not come into question, the law was already clear on distracted driving, it just needs to become a little more clear and let those relying on distracted driving either have a really good insurance, or let them feel the sting of prison when harm comes to victims due to their negligent actions. In that we can agree that texting, video chatting whilst operating a vehicle will always have a negative impact on the lives of people they hit.

The fact that this is not addressed on a national level is equally disturbing. When we see statistics like ‘Every year, about 421,000 people are injured in crashes that have involved a driver who was distracted in some way‘, whilst we see in addition, that ‘64% of all the road accidents in the United States had a cell phone involved‘, so any clear change will have an adverse effect on those two statistics. That seems clear enough a reason to make distracted driving a much harsher transgression with a penalty and fine large enough making it a felony. In that logic, the misconception that people can drive and text or video chat is a mismanaged perception that should be addressed as soon as possible, or better stated, with the statistics shown this should have been addressed years ago. So in that we do get that the parents want to lash out against the guilty parties, yet we don’t get that this is done, making guilty a party that had not implemented a patent, to be more precise a patent that might have gotten itself circumvented as well as the clarity that any usage in combination with driving is already defined as dangerous. The fact that the State of California regards this to be a $20 transgression makes the situation just sad and not really a valid guilt trip for Apple, Google or any other Android mobile smartphone brand.

You see, in itself, the article is not that important. So someone is suing Apple, la di da! Yet behind all the fun, frolic and charade is the hidden issue of responsibility. We seem to avoid responsibility, feign unawareness or advocate stupidity the difference in this case seems to be mere semantics depending on your point of view. There is a decent argument to be made that the law makers have been too lax, yet to what extent? To what extent can any nation continue when common sense is thrown out of the window? It is an equal valid view that not the law, but the person in situations can be the point of decision, yet when we decide to avoid that, we do get to spend life in jail, especially when our own negligence and lack of common sense gets other people killed. There is no ‘I’m sorry‘ and ‘I thought it was OK‘ or ‘It was not illegal‘, I especially like that part. Well, I got my in-laws killed, but it was not illegal, so have a nice day Justice! We can even argue whether killing a person we know is less punishable then killing a stranger, but that is a discussion for another day. What is very much the issue is that Moriah Modisette died because Garrett Wilhelm, of Gainesville thought that he could safely drive a car on the interstate at 65 Mph whilst using FaceTime. Yet, this did not happen in Santa Clara, it happened in Texas on interstate 35W, near mile marker 81. Now we see a change, because Texas has harsher rules, and here we see “Denton bans texting and driving on city streets, but the city ordinance does not include the interstate“, so now we get a new ballgame, even as we see “Manslaughter is a second-degree felony in Texas and carries with it the possibility of up to a $10,000 fine and a prison sentence of at least two years, but no more than 20 years” yet the DMV states that distracted driving applies to Drivers younger than 18, which Garrett Wilhelm was not, so is it mere luck that he is up on a manslaughter charge? How come that death gets a different value, that stupidity is rewarded in some states? The fact that there are rules, regulations and city ordinances all giving a different value to this serious transgression. Now, as an Australian I accept that the US has different values and even though they too work on the premise of Common Law, doing so on a national level is not easy. Yet should this matter not have been dealt with more severe and on a national level? Especially when we see the statistics and a massive gap as to how the transgression and the implied consequence of the transgression holds up?

In case of Garrett Wilhelm, the trial date got set in the end to 26th September 2016, whilst the report of June stated that a request for continuance is to be expected, so over two years later there is still no justice for Moriah Modisette which would drive any parent insane with grief, rage, bitterness and sadness. All these emotions at the same time would be devastating. It still is not fair to have a go at the mobile maker, but that is only my personal view.

Perhaps it is time for someone like Bill O’Reilly to champion another law, just like he did with Jessica’s Law. Perhaps the US needs a Moriah Law, a law that makes the use of any mobile, other than hand free voice calling whilst driving a car a felony and it would be a law that covers all if the US, every state, regardless whether it is in the city or not. They shouldn’t need a law like this, yet the acts of Garrett Wilhelm (who is not the only one mind you) clearly state other whiles.

 

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The cost of free trade

There is a side in me that is a little beyond angry. When I see these politicians whine like little bitches on how good ‘Free Trade‘ is, on how it is so good for all. I wonder if they remember the days when slavery was an actual solution for commerce. How these people look and praise Chiwetel Ejiofor (aka Baron Mordo) for playing a slave in ‘12 years a slave’. When we see “Mexico, Japan, Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore aim to continue with TPP with or without the United States, Mexico’s economy minister, Ildefonso Guajardo, said on Friday” (Source: SBS), we need to wonder on how the TPP is seen as anything but evil, a mere apparatus of convenience for large corporations to keep a stranglehold on those around them and to minimise the number of opportunities for smaller businesses.

The Evidence?

The Economic Policy Institute gives us: “This paper does not include an exhaustive review but cites as an example Capaldo, Izurieta, and Sundaram (2016), who noted that studies claiming that the TPP would have a positive impact on the U.S. and global economy are based on unrealistic assumptions, including no change in the U.S. trade balance with the TPP countries and full employment“, which is only the top of the iceberg. You see, in addition we have “Currency manipulation is the most important cause of the large and growing U.S. goods trade deficit with the group of countries in the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Coupled with the fact that the United States is the largest and most reliable trading partner for many of the TPP countries, this is a recipe for U.S. pain at others’ gain“. This is not the USA, it would also hit Australia in other ways, not the people who secretly arranged all that they get top dollar in a few other ways. Yet, before we move on, let’s take one more part, because that will have connecting issues. The quote “Many members of the proposed TPP, including Malaysia, Singapore, and Japan, are known currency manipulators. Others, namely Vietnam, appear to be following the lead of currency manipulators by, for example, acquiring excess foreign exchange reserves to depress the value of their currency. Currency manipulation explains a substantial share of the large, persistent U.S. trade deficit with the 11 other TPP countries that has not only cost millions of U.S. jobs but also increased income inequality and put downward pressure on American wages“, and although this paper focuses on US consequences, it will in addition have a speculative negative impact on Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

The Dutch Financial Times (at https://fd.nl/economie-politiek/1176922/tpp-opzegging-holt-voorbeeldfunctievs-uit) gives us: “Donald Trump heeft de wereld deze week een belangrijke boodschap gegeven. Door te stellen dat hij de Verenigde Staten op de eerste dag van zijn presidentschap terug zal trekken uit het Pacifische vrijhandelsverdrag TPP, geeft hij het signaal af dat hij de relaties met andere landen puur vanuit de blik van een zakenman zal zien. Hij wil bilateraal met landen gaan onderhandelen ‘over eerlijke handelsafspraken die ertoe leiden dat banen en industrieën terugkeren naar Amerika’. Internationale relaties moeten voordelig zijn; anders hoeft het niet“, which paraphrased gives us: “Donald Trump will be withdrawing from the TPP on day one of his presidency. He will be looking at relationships with other countries from a business point of view, international relations need to be advantageous, or need not be“. Is that a bad thing? You see for exploiters it is, which gives us the Malayan Times (at http://www.themalaymailonline.com/what-you-think/article/tpp-aint-over-till-its-over-firdaos-rosli). Last week they had the headline ‘TPP ain’t over till it’s over‘, the article is a decent legal view of getting the TPP ratified, which only gives additional cause for concern in a few ways, yet that is not the issue for now. The one quote at the end that matters is “The government must proceed with its top-down reforms agenda and these are direly required to make Malaysia great again” This is fair enough on one side, Malayans are there to make Malaysia strong, there is no cause more just, yet in what ways are they doing this?

This is where the other side gets to show us the dangers. You see the headline ‘Malaysia workers speak of their despair: ‘Samsung only knows how to take’‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/nov/21/malaysia-workers-speak-of-their-despair-samsung-only-knows-how-to-take), shows that large corporations are at the heart of the problem. Tax shelters, exploitation and what cannot be seen as anything else than intentional slavery are at the heart of the matter. The Samsung Port Klang factory as mentioned shows how Samsung is growing its business by massively reducing costs whilst maximising customer exploitation at almost the same time.

When we see “In total, Bhandari says he paid £750 to secure his job in Malaysia – more than the average annual salary in his home district” as well as “There are an estimated 2.1 million documented migrant workers like Bhandari in Malaysia, many of them hired through third-party labour supply companies who recruit foreign workers from Nepal, Indonesia, India and Bangladesh to drive Malaysia’s industrial boom“. Implying that Samsung has no HR to speak of, it is arranged through third party affairs that are buttering their bread on both sides of the isle with a labour population in slavery. So when we rethink the Malayan Times with ‘TPP ain’t over till it’s over‘, we get that they (those making the profits) need the TPP, because slaves tend to be free (read: really cheap) and too many people seem to be filling their pockets in a few ways. So when you see “Now he’s in Malaysia, Bhandari’s recruitment debt – and the 60% interest loan he took to pay it – has a stranglehold on the teenager“, you know that this is how slavery is created and how it is maintained. Not through shackles that bind you, but debts that stop you from moving and breathing. I reckon that the old southern ‘solution’ was a lot more humane. At least you knew that there was slavery, now the boat load of governments remain in denial and the large corporations can claim to remain negligently unaware. Which of the two is the larger hypocrite remains to be seen. The fact that Australia signed this, whilst they had to be aware that this was happening to some degree is an issue on many fronts, not just the slavery part, but the fact that the TPP has the largest option of being a negative influence. You see, those who had walked away wanted to do so via the TPP, there is absolutely no guarantee that whilst in the TPP jobs are not lost to areas where labour laws are a lot more flexible.

Consider the quote “Many of the group now want to leave, if only they could. They say their passports were all confiscated on arrival in the country, an illegal but pervasive practice, and they have been told they will have to pay £740 if they want to go – the equivalent of four months’ basic salary“, which translates to a little over 4 weeks of Australian welfare. Which in light of “A Samsung statement said: “As a committed member of the Electronics Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC), we comply fully with the EICC’s Code of Conduct and have found no evidence of violations in the hiring process of migrant workers hired directly by our manufacturing facility in Malaysia. Once there is any complaint, we take swift actions to investigate” as well as “When asked whether Samsung had repaid any worker debts at the factory, one man employed directly by Samsung instead of through a labour supply company says he hasn’t received any compensation. “Samsung doesn’t know how to give,” he says. “It only knows how to take.”” which to some degree shows that not only is Samsung not doing too much about it, it is also intent towards reaping the benefit of these trade deals for as long as they can. More important, even though Samsung is the visible one, the fact that from several sources we see “Malaysia’s trade volume is booming“, implies that there are other brands exploiting this way of cutting costs. So from that part, the evidence that Slave labour is again a ‘valid’ form of cost cutting towards commerce is given.

Should any government object that I reckon it is time that clear labour requirements are added to the TPP, I wonder how many would suddenly oppose such actions, because as I see it it is clear that Japan and USA, the two direct requirements for the TPP would not oppose it, unless Sony decides that their margins would dwindle, but that is just pure speculation from my side.

What to do?

Well, I do not think it is too far-fetched that those linked to these unacceptable labour practices are required to have a specific import license for their good, which is at a price, FTA or not! I wonder what will happen when Samsung gets a 23% surcharge on slave labour goods import. Will that suddenly make them see the light? I do not mind if they decide to make them in Malaysia, but I reckon we all agree that these workers are due decent pay and no slave labour conditions. At that point, when the margins are hit, how good was the TPP and how beneficial were factories in Asia? I do not proclaim to have the answer, I am merely asking the question. When slavery is dealt with, we will suddenly see that there is no benefit in some of these places and that other places like Argentina, Texas, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the UK and Belgium are decent places where goods can be produced whilst the company still has a margin. And perhaps there is no need for a $229 Samsung Microwave when a $129 Sharp version would suffice. So, a $100 more expensive whilst ‘depending’ on slave labour (to at least some degree), seems odd doesn’t it?

Consider: “it promised only £268 a month, including overtime“, whilst “a payslip seen by the Guardian shows Bhandari worked 29 out of 30 days in September, including 65 hours of overtime“, so we get 65 hours a slave every month and an income of £9.20 a day, which amounts to 25% of what you get in Australian Centrelink and the cost of living in Sydney is actually high. So the next time you see those Samsung advertisements, consider that they can afford these billboards thanks to slave labour. Look at your Samsung phone and admire how you got that great deal, if you are lucky only one person literally worked himself/herself to death to make you one. Feel better now?

It is also important to realise that Samsung is not alone here, one firm does not make for “Malaysia’s trade volume is booming“, it takes a lot more than one firm and if only Samsung was involved, those people would apply for every other place on day two of their arrival. This makes the issue a lot larger and this also makes the unbalanced use of what we now laughingly call ‘Free Trade Agreements‘. So when we get another load of Bill Shorten and how the TPP isn’t costing jobs, we see a clear case that the man needed to be tarred, feathered and walked through George Street whilst a person behind him clanks the bell shouting ‘Shame!‘ It might be a little too much Game of Thrones, yet in that place they are only now abolishing slavery on the East side of that place (read: Essos), in addition, Malcom Turnbull is not free of any moral harm either. The fact that the TPP was supposed to implement stronger protections and the fact that Malaysia is still very much on the TPP ball, whilst as the Guardian shows, that what amounts to Slave labour is still going strong to me implies that those involved have either loop holes in place or that there are alternative options for those enjoying the fruits of their exploitation.

You see, the TPP Labour summary gives us: “In addition to commitments by Parties to eliminate forced labor in their own countries, the Labor chapter includes commitments to discourage importation of goods that are produced by forced labor or that contain inputs produced by forced labor, regardless of whether the source country is a TPP country“, this implies that those involved at Samsung have either a Chinese wall in place or a system of deniability. The fact that The Guardian received evidence (payslips) and had testimonials of multiple workers should suffice as evidence.

The fact that Huawei has the option to expose issues with Samsung, whilst not seeming to act, gives also pause for concern. China is not part of the TPP, it is trying to seal its own trade agreement. Even though we have no evidence on how China works in certain matters, the existence of China’s State Owned Enterprise’s (SOE) is another circle of issues and it will be so for both Australia and New Zealand, yet to what extent cannot be stated by me (read: ignorant of such levels of government rules). In that regard Huawei might have an unfair advantage (read: when compared to Samsung) and of course, Huawei could impact the booming Mobile business Australia has (read: Exchange rate of sarcasm towards giggles). As many see that China has been non-enthusiastic when it comes to dealing with corruption, the shown evidence gives us that several other nations aren’t that much better and corporate greed tends to trump government requirements. So there!

No matter how we slice it, the trade agreements only truly benefit large corporations and no one else, which is an issue on a few fronts and in that President Elect Donald Trump might be the clearest American patriot when he states “international relations need to be advantageous, or need not be“, for the simple truth is that for the most and agreement signed that was not advantageous was an agreement best not signed at all.

 

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What the Frack?

I have stated in several occasions that I am at heart a Conservative, I believe in the conservative plan and for the most, the damage Labour has achieved, on a near global base gives me the certainty that I will nearly never see eye to eye with labour. Yet, it is that nearly part that is today the issue. You see, the one part I do agree with is their opposition to Fracking.

I myself grew up in the Netherlands. My grandfather is British and served in WWI , my mother was British, so I am unofficial (for now) British too. I have seen the damage that Fracking has done in the Netherlands. The historic buildings that are now damaged, some beyond repair is just unacceptable. The North of the Netherlands (Groningen) has a unique historical architecture, which is now partially diminished and that is not a good thing. Consider the people who are losing their houses so that a little more gas can be obtained, and the expense that it had to go through to get it. In addition, the Dutch gas company NAM that was the instigator of this approach lost its case last year, which had as a consequence that loss of property value has to be repaired, with over 2000 claims in 2012 alone, the NAM is currently looking at claims totalling into the billions of Euro’s. The good part in this for British Barry Gardiner is that Common Law torts is actually stronger in protecting the home owners’ rights than Dutch law was, so the moment anything goes wrong (it will), the parties that will start fracking will end up paying a lot, possible even a lot more than the value of the gas obtained, so that story could go south fast and a lot faster than any administration would like it to be.

In addition, the UK has one additional issue the Dutch do not have. Fracking in the UK, because of the rocky foundation requires a higher pressure than the Dutch required, giving the UK a slightly larger issue with earthquakes and in addition to that, if the chemicals enter the groundwater in any way (a very likely issue), the damage to people’s health because of water pollution could have the realistic danger to hit water sources that people and farms rely on (being an island surrounded by salt water adds to that danger). That last is not a given, but if it happens, the UK would be in a perilous situation. You see, the Dutch have a collection of waterways and water sources that outdo the UK by a lot, considering they have larger (drink) water provision, with the Dutch at 17% of the size and only 25% of the population, if anything had gone seriously wrong (water wise), the Dutch have alternatives, the same is not clear and should be considered as doubtful for the UK.

In the Netherlands there is an issue, however, we need to clearly look at both sides. The anti-Fracking sites are giving the readers the ‘burning water‘ example, whilst the pro fracking people claimed that this was swamp gas that had found its way into the ground waters. There are issues here, but it was not a given that fracking caused this instance. Still, the county of Groningen has access to 45 billion litres of water, and that is one of the least populated areas of the Netherlands. The Technical University of Delft had this paper that was done for the Drinkwater cooperation in the Netherlands (at http://www.vewin.nl/SiteCollectionDocuments/Dossier_schaliegas/Schaliegas_gevolgen_voor_ons_grondwater.pdf), their site vewin.nl has an English version of the site.

An important conclusion is: “De overkoepelende conclusie van voorliggend rapport is, dat schaliegaswinning in principe veilig zal zijn voor het drinkwater, onder de voorwaarde dat maatregelen worden genomen die de zorgpunten van de sector adequaat wegnemen. Dat vergt in elk geval openheid over de gebruikte chemicaliën en monitoring die start voorafgaand aan het boren en wordt voortgezet tot en met de nazorgperiode (30 jaar na het voorgoed sluiten de putten)“.

The paraphrased translation “The conclusion of this report is that Fracking is in principle not hazardous for drinking water, with the clear condition that safeguards are set in place, with openness of disclosure of all chemicals used and monitoring starting before fracking commences with continued measuring of the chemicals for a period of 30 years after fracking stops“. There is a little paraphrasing here. Yet the foundation that monitoring for 30+ years will have a massive impact on the profitability, with the added situation that the Dutch, due to the soil, required an expected lower pressure. Also, the risk was still there, yet lower due to what I regard of vast water supplies. Elements the UK does not have to the extent the Dutch have, meaning that the risk here will be higher. This is one of the principle reasons I am on the side of Barry Gardiner. The interesting thing is that he is a lot more fearful than the Scottish are, which is also weird because should any water get a case of fracking chemical pollution, one of the main ingredients for making whiskey is gone, ending that market for a very long time. So, buying a 100 cases of Scotch, the day fracking is approved in Scotland, might be a very worthwhile investment indeed.

You see, my aversion to all this is that it requires openly revealing all chemicals used and monitoring. I have never ever seen any profit driven company adhere to these terms. Like the Dutch report shows the Halliburton side of it all and how spiffy their technology is. It is in the end an academic presentation to a set of requirements most large companies will ‘accidently’ ignore and when it goes to court a ‘fine’ will be advocated for that allows them still a degree of profits, whilst the elements in nearly all reports require a level of responsibility and adherence to issues that make profit a near non-issue as there will be no profit. This beckons me to think why any consideration to allow fracking is even considered to begin with. By the way, should any drilling organisation decide to go bankrupt, the aftercare of 30 years would not be possible, meaning that suddenly the government would be required to monitor all this, an expense no one is waiting for.

For the most, there are issues that cannot be guaranteed how deep it will impact the UK, yet the dangers, the risks and the long term consequences, whilst the profit is not even close to a guarantee makes me wonder why the UK Government on both sides of the isle have abstained to unite in banning Fracking on the grounds of risks and uncontrollable costs after the fact. That alone, whilst a trillion in debt should be enough to keep people away from Fracking. Only today, the Dutch NOS now reports that the Dutch NAM is going to appeal last year’s decision regarding the loss of value of houses. A Statement of Appeal, in Dutch named ‘memorie van grieven‘ has been submitted, at 16.5 Kilograms, or in a slightly more metrical definition: 3400 pages. The quote “The Company calls the verdict outdated and vague, saying it creates a huge administrative burden for the NAM“, which I find hilarious. There has been too much damage and clearly proven damage because of fracking, now that the NAM is finding the loss of profit too large, it drowns the court with a document that will take months to read. So as this case will now see another legal iteration that will not start until 2017, the people at NAM will get out fast with as much cash as possible and leave others to clean up the mess (speculation on my side). This is in my view another reason to support the view Barry Gardiner has. If not for the mere logic, then for the common legal sense that any mishap will bring with it.

The last side is the US, when we look at sourcewatch.org, we see the claim that go a lot further. There have been cases where the monitoring labs falsified data and ended up paying $150K fine with 5 years of probation, which was in East Syracuse New York. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has shown and found water safety issues with residential drinking water wells in Texas, West Virginia and Wyoming. Cases of elevated levels of Arsenic and Selenium (not the healthiest in even minute traces), places where there were elevated amounts of Ammonium and Iodide, which would be devastating to environment and wildlife and in Wyoming they found Benzene at 50 times higher than safe levels advice. What was even more upsetting is that a June 2015 report (at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-06-04/u-s-epa-study-finds-only-limited-water-pollution-from-fracking) is reported by the news as ‘EPA Study of Fracking Finds ‘No Widespread, Systemic’ Pollution‘, there is no way to tell who to believe, but the reports stated in the past as well as some of the actions give way to the notion that big business has a hold over the EPA, not the other way around. What is also interesting in the Bloomberg article is ““Now the Obama administration, Congress, and state governments must act on that information to protect our drinking water, and stop perpetuating the oil and gas industry’s myth that fracking is safe,” said Lauren Pagel, Earthwork’s policy director, in an e-mail“, I myself would have gone a step further and make the children of the people behind the EPA report drink the water from these wells and watch how scared those parents would suddenly become. I wonder if we see any proclamations that their children are allergic to water. The crisis in Flint Michigan is another piece of evidence. Important that this is NOT about fracking, but about the mishandling of evidence regarding the quality of water. Water with heavy metals (lead) tends to be really unhealthy and the fact that one member of the EPA was involved only shows that big business finds a way to take the lead, or is that lead to profit.

As I personally see it. Fracking is nothing more than fake money. Some call it printing your own cash, which is one side, but consider that you are printing £100 that note would cost you £30 in paper and £85 in ink? How profitable is printing money then? Especially as the increased price of ink is one that both government ignore and corporations forget to mention. And the image of Balmoral Castle? Well, to cover the losses, that ‘piece de resistance’ could actually got on the market to cover the losses and that is not too far-fetched I reckon. So far there is not one place that can clearly show the benefit without the out of control risks, making this solution a non-option before it even starts.

Fracking? Get the Frack out of here!

 

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What’s the matter?

That is the question I asked myself. Greece is in worsening shape, we see certain news as it happens and I noticed how certain ‘facts’ are now missing in the news articles I have been reading. In other news we have the UK election as it is going towards the final day before the people in the UK will decide on who they trust to give them a better life and now we get news that Isis decided to mess with Texas. So here on the day when the Dutch celebrate that the Germans were defeated and the Netherlands became a free nations once again, we see these issues come to blow more and more.

Miss Representation

Yes, she has image, she is the vision we desire and we all stare at her cleavage, complete with two boobies, one named ‘slush fund milk’, the other one we name ‘the party’s choice’, both giving ‘as implied’ the consumer the honey of equality. Now we get the real deal, if we bring the breast to our mouth, will we taste honey? Or will we perhaps the taste be more of the same, more of what is bland, non-nourishing and will never satisfy.

The first issue is Greece and the representation it is receiving. The first part we see in the article ‘Greece vows to pay debts as it awaits handout from international creditors‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/may/04/eurozone-enjoys-production-boost-but-greece-and-france-dip). In here we see the following quote: “Greece has vowed to honour heavy debt repayments over the coming weeks but says it is counting on international creditors to release billions of euros in rescue funds before the end of the month“. Now, let’s be frank, no lie is told here, but the direct fact is not that payment is due, but that the first payment was due May 1st and is due to the fact that it was a public day, payment was rescheduled to be due May 6th, the first payment of 200 million will be due in 24 hours. So why is that not clearly voiced? Before the end of the month another 760 million will be due, making the total slightly south of 1 billion. The second article ‘Greek debts: what does it owe? When will the money run out?‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/apr/24/greek-debts-what-does-it-owe-when-will-the-money-run-out), states almost the same. Yet this one shows a little more, even more than I bargained for.

You see, there we see May 1st an IMF interest loan payment (now due May 6th) and May 12th we see the part that 760 million is due. The part that was unknown to me is also the part that is not loudly voiced to EEC nations, because this knowledge will influence the voters (as I personally see it). You see, the missing part that is not voiced in many sources is the small fact that two T-bill batches mature, the first one on May 8th and the second one on May 15th, each worth 1.4 billion.

Now we get the part I voiced over and over in the past, that the consequences of bonds are high and the Greek people are about to learn this the hard way. You see, when a T-bill matures, it becomes a nice piece of paper, one that has value. You see, at the beginning, you are offered a paper that offers a percentage, so you buy it for $918.10 and when the bond matures a year later (if you got one for 1 year), you get $1000. A nice 10%. So, before the end of May, Greece will have to make two payments, one for 960 million, and one for 2.8 billion. Greece is out of options, out of money and the quick 5 billion they sold in 2014 to get a quick cash option is now starting to come back. Billions are needed and the Greek treasuries are about to learn that not only could it never afford to play the Syriza game via Alexis Tsipras, the assurances we see in the papers left right and centre is now showing to be hollow and not realistic. Greece is about to seek another deal and one more and then likely some more. Greece is awaiting 7.6 billion in aid, yet where will it go? Before the end of May Greece needs 4.7 billion and in addition before the end of June, Greece needs to come up with an additional 6.8 billion, the 7.6 billion will not even cover the bills. Greece is about to make a call that will hit the financial district and small investors alike, the Greeks are facing a hel we do not wish on anyone and for the most, as I see it, the only people who are allowed any consideration are the wealthy power players that depend on continuation of the status quo. How can this ever go to a better place?

Here you see why I whacked Syriza again and again. The rock star game we saw by Yanis Varoufakis is the killer here. Alexis Tsipras did not act when he should have done this and the non-austerity approach was a non-solution from day one. Why do I feel that I am the only one seeing this, or at least the only one clearly voicing this, because the UK elections, when the voters learn that Greece is about to desire up to 30 billion before the end of the year, so that it can pay the outstanding bills. It is status quo, but in the end, there is the direct risk that almost none of these funds will help, aid or support the Greek people, who I genuinely feel for, does Syriza? My issue still remains what it was from day one, the Greek had the freedom to choose, but I believe that they chose poorly. Now you have no reason to take my word on this, but Antonis Samaras has a degree in economics and an additional MBA from Harvard, which gives him a financial view that I lack, even though my numbers gave a clear view as an analyst regarding the dangers Greece had, I saw this in 2013, it was already clear that the dangerous waters for Greece were icy cold and deadly deep.

My article ‘Are we getting played?‘ from May 18th 2014 shows my view that allowing the Greek bonds back on the market was a really bad idea, now we see that this view was a decent reality. Here we are, looking at a game that is being played with Greece and the Greek people in the middle, austerity is not the great idea, but it is the only solution. It should be clear that there is no short term solution, austerity will remain around for close to two generations, the debt will take no less than 4 generations to become manageable, but only with a restructured Greece, it is not a nice picture to watch, it will be an entirely different Greece, there should be no doubt here.

This now links to the UK and its elections too. You see, the news as is, is that the voters need to realise that it needs to support an EEC nation that will need another 30 billion, with no guarantee that this is the end of that. The economy is in a slump and too many nations are feeling the slowness of the economy that is unlikely to return to the ‘old’ days.

The news is given in the article ‘Ignore the Tories: the figures show the recovery is veering off course‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/may/03/ignore-the-tories-figures-show-recovery-veering-off-course) but in a way that gives me pause. The quote “Economists are divided about the causes of this so-called “productivity puzzle”. It’s unclear whether it’s caused by a lack of investment, poor education and training, or the fact that our labour market is so flexible that it’s cheaper for firms to ramp up output by hiring short-term, low-skilled staff than to buy in new technologies and equipment” is at the heart of all of this. You see, these economists are not just setting a bad example, they seem to leave out several elements, they know to also be at the heart of all of this and the picture that follows is incomplete.

You the reader will know some of the elements, you live these elements and some economists getting the fat checks have not been at the heart of it all. Consider the following, when did you buy anything else than food lately? Anything else than the weekly needs? When did you buy a TV, when did you buy a car or any luxury items that are produced in the UK? The UK is better off than most other European nations, I see where the people in the Netherlands and Belgium have a little cash, but most people are lowering their debt, all over Europe people do the same thing, they are not buying to the extent they were, they replace only the essentials and they buy cheap. This is why Aldi and Lidl are so successful. The evidence is all over the place, yet we see “Confidence is certainly higher than it was five years ago, but aside from notable successes such as the car industry, there is little sign of a radical shift in the shape of the economy. Manufacturing output has been growing, but remains below its pre-crisis peak“, which makes perfect sense. The view of these economists is: “But deficit reduction is not the only purpose of economic policy: they also set themselves the aim of building a more sustainable model for growth. Here too, they have largely failed“, is that so?

You see, to grow an economy, people must buy, they are not buying and they carefully consider each purchase. This is the ignored part, in addition other nations ‘might’ seem to push forward, but consider one final part, when you buy your equine burgers, is that what it states on the packaging? Perhaps you were hoping for cow?

This is at the heart of those making sales in places. Quality is at the heart and the quality of life has been under attack for some time now, an issue many economists ignore too. Should you wonder about that then take a gander towards Texas! The only hilarious part there is that ISIS attacked the one state where the population is better armed then the police, the defence department and the military reserves. How does this reflect on the other elements? Believe it or not but there are real economic consequences to terrorism, especially when it is done on US grounds. As the US economy is already slumping, this could add negatively to it all. Yet it must be stated here the one line that has direct bearing “No evidence Islamic State had actual hand in attack in which two men opened fired outside centre exhibiting Muhammad cartoons“. So, I am not doubting the statement. It is not that far-fetched that those acting out for personal reasons are very willing to get linked to a larger group, for both defence and to propagate their own ego. This all matters, if you do not believe it to be true, you should decide to watch Kung Fu Hustle. A movie well worth watching (it is hilarious). So is it a good idea to relate ISIS to a comedy? Well, when you start acting out in Texas, that call is not the wildest one to make. You see, there is a dark side here. When we consider the words from Tim Clemente, who stated “Former FBI agent Tim Clemente said the gunmen may have plotted the attack without direction from ISIS“, the danger becomes, if that is true, who else has gone the loopy tunes? Is it not weird that a place, dedicated to freedom of speech, is giving a way to the freedom of speech to people who are dedicated to remove freedom of speech? This is not at the heart of it all, what is the heart of the matter is that if this is happening in the United States, is the danger of lone wolf (sympathiser) actions in the United Kingdom so far out of realm of possibilities? Now consider the statement by British Labour “A Labour government will control immigration with fair rules“, now consider that Italy received over 200,000 refugees with no way to get it all processed. How many will arrive into the UK?

Be cautious here, I am NOT stating that these people are terrorists, yet the danger that a terrorist would try to enter Europe this way is not that far a stretch. Statistically speaking, if only 0.1% came in, than we will see that Italy, after that, the EEC and the UK will have to deal with 200 extremists, 200 people inflating actions. Now the truth is that there is no evidence that 0.1% is extremist, but today’s life of dangers and consequence is a numbers game and the numbers are against us all. Even though I could advise Andrew Parke (the man that the people at MI-5 call ‘Big Boss’) on how to clean his ship, I must also add that Andrew is very up to date on how to do that, he does not need me. Yet the political elements ignoring the intelligence issues are all positioned to blow it all on spending’s towards an economy, they ignored the elements that could drive an economy even further down.

Three elements all linked towards a change that impacts the UK economy and the British way of life, yet none of them were linked to the UK on their own. Here is what’s at play! Too many events are too intertwined and too misrepresented to ignore, yet those who trivialise the elements are not the ones paying the bills when their ‘prognoses’ goes pear shaped, it is a game we can no longer afford to be played.

 

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Cancer for everyone?

Something set me off today. It was not Melissa Doyle, she looked lovely as ever. Perhaps it was her casual report on how red meat seemed to be linked to cancer. Actually, it was not her at all. It was another research with data linking red meat to cancer. There were two parts that seemed to be an issue. The first one is “People who eat a lot of these meats” the second one I will get to later.

From this I decided to take a trip into US data. The first place we get is Hereford, Texas, which is the beef capital of the world, or so they say. I am not stating that this is not true and it is true that Texas is one of the 5 states responsible for over 50% of all produced beef from cattle and calves. Yet, my mother was from Buenos Aires and you have not tasted true beef until you have tasted a steak from an Argentinian charcoal grill. I am not leaving the subject here, because we have two places were beef rules supremely.

So how is their health?

Dr Karen Humphries seems to know what she was doing and the approach sounded well enough, so what is the issue? Well, when I take an initial look at the statistics the CDC has for Colorectal (Colon) Cancer (at http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/colorectal/statistics/), the data (as incomplete as it is), shows no spike for these 5 states, because there is a valid thought, that outside the metropolitan area’s the home state might be the cheapest place to get steaks, consider that these places are not in possession of a vegetarian explosion (or is it a population explosion of vegetarians?), the overall spike of cancer, should stand out there (read slightly spike).

So, what is the other option?

Perhaps these people do not eat loads of red meat? Are you kidding me? Have you seen the sizes of steaks in them states, they are huge! I can eat a lot but I need to bring my A-game of hunger to these places to finish my plate. So is Dr Humphries wrong?

No, I do not believe this to be the case. She is by the way not the only one on this meaty horse. A 2008 article form Harvard Medical School (at http://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/updates/Red-meat-and-colon-cancer.shtml) shows a similar conclusion on the data that they have. So why am I questioning this?

I am not questioning these issues perse. Perhaps there is another factor that is not being considered. So am I just on a windmill chase, like a Don Quixote seeking the next windmill? I am not arguing that those who think this are wrong, but consider the next piece of information, which was found at http://authoritynutrition.com/is-red-meat-bad-for-you-or-good/.

The title ‘Is Red Meat Bad For You, or Good? An Objective Look‘ seems appealing enough, however is it therefor true?

They are giving us the following thoughts which some had considered a long time ago. The thought is set in the following quote “However, the meat we eat today is vastly different from the meat our ancestors ate. Back in the day, animals roamed free and ate grass, insects or whatever was natural to them. Picture a wild cow on a field 10.000 years ago, roaming free and chewing on grass and various other edible plants. The meat from this animal is completely different from the meat derived from a cow that was born and raised in a factory, fed grain-based feed, then pumped full of antibiotics and hormones to make it grow faster“.

Here is the question that is raised within me: “Is this research the first evidence of antibiotics and hormones on consumption beef?

That is not really the question people seem to be looking at. So is this a windmill I am chasing, or are we asked to look away? This is not against Dr Karen Humphries, who was investigating the red meat on the people. To be honest, with the amount of red meat offered, I would have loved to have been a volunteer there (I could never refuse a good steak). The information and ‘evidence’ as well as my train of thought took less than 5 minutes to clear, then about 25 minutes to get through the readings and the CDC data tables.  If we look at the Guardian article (at http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2011/jan/24/worldwide-cancer-rates-uk-rate-drops). The issue here is that Cancer is seen in a generic term, which means all kinds of cancer and still Argentina, a massive beef consumer (and yummy it is too) is only on the 46th position, so have I made a case that it is not just about red beef, but are there other elements in play? Which is the second part to all this.

Without more data, the case I am making would only be supposition, yet is this a start? Are there other factors that reduce the dangers in the USA and Argentina? Is there now a valid case against certain hormones and antibiotics? There is no way to tell without a lot more data and more (and better) in depth research. If that is indeed the track we must walk, how should this proceed? You see, in any research there is a goal and a counter goal. You can bet your bottom dollar that pharmaceuticals would not want quick results. If you doubt that, then remember the ‘investigation’ in Syria that we saw in early 2014. The question ‘were chemical weapons used’ (which seemed like a joke) and ‘who did it’ was completely set aside. So here we face a possible approach to it in the way of ‘Could antibiotics be a cause of an increased presence of colon cancer causing bacteria?‘ and ‘Could hormones be a cause of an increased presence of colon cancer causing bacteria?‘ getting the research set up, the data collected and then the actual reporting done might be taking an intense amount of time, but should we therefore not get this done?

I do not pretend to have the answer, yet I do have the questions that were casually not asked in the Channel-7 news. Questions, which are at a first glance seemingly assumed, to some extent by Authority Nutrition, a site that is the child of Kris Gunnars, a medical student. He is also not the man just claiming and assuming issues. His site had an entire tab on evidence, filled with charts that seemed to have been made with proper analytical tools (I did not dig into that data though).

There is another side to all this. Kris voiced it really nice in his article “the meat we eat today is vastly different from the meat our ancestors ate“. We all (including me) seemed to have forgotten about that. As we go forward, what other parts had not been properly looked at? For example, the article ‘History of diethylstilbestrol use in cattle‘ (at https://www.asas.org/docs/publications/raunhist.pdf) gives several answers, but also leaves us with questions. Did anyone look at the evolution of meat as the ‘victim’ (also known as Mr or Mrs soon to be steak) had been treated by these hormones? Let us not forget that this game has been pushed through generation upon generation of hormones. Is the idea so far-fetched that we have changed to context of the BBQ target? Does this amount to poisoning the well? I truly do not know, but it seems that the latest results, in conjunction with the data that Harvard and several other sources have collected, contribute to a new train of thought that we need to take a very serious look at the meat and the cattle as well as their DNA in regards to our beefy food supply. It is the earlier mentioned paper by A. P. Raun and R. L. Preston that leads to two quotes linked to all this. In the beginning “The removal of DES from the market led to the development of a number of other growth stimulation products for cattle” and at the end “If diethylstilbestrol had not been removed, these same resources could have been directed toward the discovery, development, and approval of other technologies for the cattle industry“.

Yet, are we losing sight to the long term effects of these growth stimulants and hormones? If these bowel cancer numbers are linked in any way to these developments, what links are we yet to discover and at what price had beef profit been maximised? The last one is not a blame game moment. At some point hard choices had to be made, consider that Gartners meat in Portland Oregon gets us a Rib Eye for just under $15 (16 oz.), with this the fact that at present beef is at an all-time high according to Reuters (at http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/08/25/usa-agriculture-inflation-idUSL1N0QV0J620140825). What happens when the beef rises above the option to buy as a food source? This is not just the drought or disease which is the latest reasons for the price hike. Consider that 318 million American residents need their dinner, current statistics place the vegetarian population (those who hate plants more than animals) at roughly 10%, which means just over 280 million of meat pieces are needed EVERY DAY! Now, many do not have steak on a daily basis, so the need for beef is not at a deadly level, but…..

What did I just say?

There is the crux, have we been so into the need to get more food that eagerness was too quickly satisfied, but we now see a long term consequence.

LET ME BE CLEAR!

This last part is all conjecture, but is it being looked at? If not, why not? There is a foundation of concern and evidence that the effects of beef on our health seems to have changed, the question becomes how much? Questions I do not have answers to, but I was surprised not to see anyone in the press ask the question and deliver the results, just as is!

That itself is worth a question or two too.

 

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