Tag Archives: the Guardian

Age of darkness coming

An interesting article came to light today. Actually, it might not be that interesting. It is merely the consequence of a series of bad decisions by several people. The interesting part is that it was not a local thing. This is possibly one of the few times where several decisions on a global scale escalated one another into the move away from what at times now is laughingly referred to as ‘journalism’. The Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/apr/15/journalism-faces-a-crisis-worldwide-we-might-be-entering-a-new-dark-age) gives us “Australia’s two largest legacy media organisations recently announced big cuts to their journalistic staff“, up to 120 editorial positions are being wiped from the list of employment options. Apparently there was also the mention “Both announcements were accompanied by corporate spin voicing a continuing commitment to quality journalism. Nobody in the know believes it“. It is followed by the mention that this is partly thanks to Donald Trump. The truth is nowhere near Trump, the entire Trump bashing is merely putting in the spotlight what had been known for some time. There is however a side that is very much true and it is escalating into a movement that will change even further over the next 20 months. The quote “technology has torn apart the two businesses – advertising and news – that used to be bound together by the physical artefact of the newspaper. Once, those who wanted to find a house, a job or a car had to buy a newspaper to read the classifieds. Now, it is cheaper and more efficient to advertise and search online“, it will change even further and the bulk of the audience is not up to speed yet, but within a year they will be.

For me the messed up situation was visible for a long time. No matter what excuse the people of News give, whatever Fairfax claims, it does not matter. Consider the following: ‘Will you pay $2.4 for filtered news?‘ This question is a lot harder than you realise, because the definition of ‘filter’ is not a given, but it is at the heart of the matter. Let’s take a few parts to give you a little perspective.

2010, 2011, we are given all kinds of news regarding Grexit, a weird dirty dance where some players are ‘threatening’ to expel Greece from the Euro. We see the news for weeks, yet no one seems to know what they are doing and the papers are absent in mentioning a legal work that was published in December 2009 by Phoebus Athanassiou that basically inform us that expulsion is not an option, you can only voluntarily leave the EEC and the Euro. The paper (at https://lawlordtobe.files.wordpress.com/2015/07/ecblwp10.pdf) is a paper that comes from the European Central Bank, so why were the newspapers in the dark? Why were the readers not properly informed on this? All the value of a newspaper thrown into the circular filing system, value lost forever.

2011 Operation Weeting. This would be the beginning of a decline that escalated on a global scale. Most people took notice to some degree regarding the News of the World, the phone hacking scandal and the celebrities involved, yet when the world learned of the hacked phones of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, relatives of deceased British soldiers and victims of the 7 July 2005 London bombings the world did not react in kindness, those involved had crossed a line that a very large group found too unacceptable. Many went from ‘Ah well, celebrities!‘ towards ‘WTF!‘ and ‘Could this happen here?‘ two very different trains of thought, the Leveson inquiry that followed was followed by many and a lot of them not in the UK, when the conclusions were revealed we saw a group of editors shouting murder, fascism and on how the freedom of the press was in danger whilst none of them showed any level of accountability, this was one of the clearest coffin nails. There is more and part is not their fault. In this the politicians also have a blame in the matter. As the actual press (the Guardian, the Times, the Independent) were trying to continue to be the responsible ones (to the larger degree), they were placed next to tabloids, magazines proclaiming to be newspapers whilst limiting themselves to ‘Kardashian puts ample bust on display’ (Daily Mail). A lot could have been prevented by making these tabloids VAT (read GST) enabled. Giving the tabloids no longer a 0% VAT options would have levelled the bar a little (read: truly, just a little) against the actual newspapers in the UK. It could have spurred a larger European change. It would not have ended better for the newspapers, yet some of them would have had more time to change their product and business approach.

2012 Sony, this is the one that really got me mad. Two weeks before the PS4 was launched, Sony pulled a fast one. I discussed this (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2014/08/12/no-press-no-facebook/), in my article ‘No Press, No Facebook!‘, in this case the Guardian was pretty much the only newspaper that gave it any decent attention. A change that would affect 30 million gamers and the news remained absent. So where is the value of my newspaper now? It was “7.1. You must not resell either Disc-based Software or Software Downloads, unless expressly authorised by us and, if the publisher is another company, additionally by the publisher“, it was followed by a weak statement by a board member of Sony, but the papers and other media were quick to ignore it and none had the critical statement: ‘A terms of service is a legal document, a statement by a board member of Sony can be countermanded with a mere memo‘, the press remained absent! It all sizzled down the track as the TPP never came into effect, but the damage was done and now it was damage that hits the press as well as they were too busy with circulation numbers and facilitating to your advertisers, because Sony PS4 advertisement money is what all newspapers desperately needed, so compromising 30 million gamers (that’s Europe, with 5 million in the UK) was likely not a big deal to them.

These are a few of a growing list of issues where the newspapers are in a bad place, but to some extent they got themselves there. Margaret Simons gives us “Today, just about anyone with an internet connection and a social media account has the capacity to publish news and views to the world. This is new in human history” near the end. She is correct here, but she also forgets to mention that reach and quality is still and issue. I have, with my blog, a mere reach of 5-6 thousand readers, which is next to nothing. I believe that I offer a quality view, but that is in the eyes of the beholder. However, I am only a blogger. When she mentions ‘the capacity to publish news‘ is not entirely correct. Some are falling in front of the news because of location, yet these people are for the most not journalists and that is the kicker. Pieces that are truly journalistic remains pieces of value, the people are just having too many question marks. In addition, the people have lost a massive amount of quality of life, and the price of a newspaper subscription whilst news online tends to be free and the cost of living is going up is also a factor we cannot deny. Yet in equal measure I have worked in firms where they all had 2-5 newspapers on a daily base, most (read: nearly all of them) have stopped doing that, cutting costs did that to some degree.

So as we see the announced age of darkness coming into the newspaper business, we cannot fault their hardship, even though they themselves are partially to blame, yet in equal measure, it seems to me that quality journalism is becoming a nuisance in several European nations. They can hide some of the bad news in sponsored morning shows, there they can spin to some degree, but in a newspaper, and it is all about the relevant information, a side too many players are currently too uncomfortable with. Its fair enough that some journalists are trying to get around that part, but as too much actual news is given to us freely at a moment’s notice, many agree that there is too much speculation in some news, like ‘North Korea may be capable of firing a missile loaded with sarin nerve gas toward Japan‘ (source: CBC), yet in equal measure the newspapers have not been the utterly reliable source of news either and on both sides of the publications, there seems to be a growing issue with ethics to consider and that is even before we add tabloids like Daily Mail, Mail Online, and whatever Murdoch gets to publish. The newspapers became a multidimensional mess. I personally think it is because they waited too long to embrace the online community and that is before the new changes hits them over the next two years. By proclaiming themselves as non-accountable and considering themselves as too important, they marketed themselves straight into the insolvency mode. Yet, that is merely my view on all this.

 

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Prospecting black gold

There has been news all over the world, some news is good, some less so and at times we cannot see whether news is good, bad or irrelevant. To see the dangers, or perhaps the opportunity of what is what we need to look back to 2014, and start that issue with a quote from the Marvel Movie: Age of Ultron. The quote originally from Tony Stark was: “As I always say, keep your friends rich, and your enemies rich, and then find out which is which“, it is a reference to the arms industry and the benefit of mutual escalation. Keep this in mind when you consider the article in the Independent (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/royal-mail-float-scandal-how-hedge-funds-cleaned-up-9303674.html), the title gives us the immediate threat with ‘Royal Mail float scandal: how hedge funds cleaned up‘, and “Speculators were allowed to buy £150m of shares despite Vince Cable’s pledge to favour long-term investors“, I omitted the claim that it was all due to the postman. That person usually rings twice, especially when Jessica Lange is around. Yet the heart of the matter, like in the movie, is not in the ‘boner’ or the ‘bonee’, it is the aftermath that matters. You see, the gem is seen in the local prosecutor and his ploy to get to the truth by going after one side, yet it is Cora’s Lawyer Katz who stops the evidence to get to the prosecutor, which nullifies whatever was attempted. So consider the part we see in the Independent: “around 20 per cent of the shares it had allocated to 16 preferred investors had gone to hedge funds and other short-term investors. This would equate to around £150m of Royal Mail shares – 13 per cent of the entire stock sold by the Government. The companies bought in at the float price of 330p a share. The shares shot up within seconds of trading, eventually peaking within weeks at more than 600p, allowing the hedge funds to bank vast profits at the taxpayers’ expense“, now consider also that this is a reflection of ‘£150m of Royal Mail shares‘. A system that has issues and allows for ‘deal sweeteners‘, now when you see this, and knowing that the bulk of hedge funds managers seem to get away with murder, consider the arrival of Aramco, better stated, the Financial Times headline ‘The $2tn Saudi Aramco question‘, which is now squarely an issue of titanic proportions (intentional pun towards the sinking dinghy). First things first, you see, this is not a fuel vendor like Shell, or a social media company like Facebook, this is the Privatised Saudi oil company that is larger than the sum of Shell, Facebook, Apple and Google. It is a 2 trillion dollar company, now consider the danger of the floating dangers of something like that, hedge funds managers can clean up and those who do will be set for a decadent life, for the rest of their lives. The dangers of something this big is pretty astounding and the fact that it could happen is not that small. You see, the dangers increases as we consider certain facts. NASDAQ gives us: “OPEC agreed in November last year to curb its output by about 1.2 million barrels per day between January and June“, that is because the stocks are a little higher than expected. This happens, oil will always fluctuate, now consider in the US alone there are 32 oil fired power plants. Production is down (for now) and the moment the first heatwave gets to the US, we see a massive spike in power requirements and 32 of those power makers require fossil fuel. In this I am only mentioning the USA, there has been power issues on a global scale, which is always going to be the case, but one of the largest providers towards the demand is going public and that is what speculators really like, because if the supply & demand need is not properly managed, we see an increase option towards fluctuation. Those speculators only need to get lucky once and the mess would be unrepairable.

The Financial Times gives us some of the goods with: “Privatising Aramco is the first step in rebalancing the economy. By disentangling the company, which accounts for more than two-thirds of government revenues, from the state, Prince Mohammed hopes to make Riyadh less oil-reliant, while providing capital for investment in new industries, ranging from technology, where it is pumping $45bn into the SoftBank Vision Fund, to mining. The privatisation of its national champion is crucial to this process” (at https://www.ft.com/content/7ed59bee-163b-11e7-b0c1-37e417ee6c76), but the heart is seen in: “That is even without looking at the question of how much oil actually lies beneath the desert kingdom’s sands“, when we consider that the oil gains in the North sea is slowing down and this is a signal seen in several places, the fact that at some point (in past, present or future) that something similar will happen to the Aramco goods is a certain fact, it is the when that cannot be anticipated. In addition, going public means that you need to be commercial, when it is government no one really cares, but in the public sector the trend must forever be upwards, so when will we see a similar float in Aramco when the numbers are not as great? It has been an utter certainty that nearly all companies go through, some did it calculated knowing they would kill the numbers within a quarter, some hoping they would kill the numbers and some did it whilst they were desperate for a miracle. Yet floating they went. How much of a $2 trillion dollar company in stock value will tumble when that happens?

And these are the circumstances where the acts were valid and not criminal at all (see UK Mail), I am not making any Tesco assumptions here, because the damage in that case will be devastating to the London Stock Exchange. One firm representing close to 70% of its entire market, there would be no London Stock Exchange after such a disaster. Bloomberg gives us the second tier of risks and dangers with ‘Saudi Aramco Cuts Oil Pricing for Europe Where Russia Dominates‘ (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-04-05/saudi-aramco-lowers-some-crude-pricing-for-asia-raises-for-u-s), a market that Russia already dominates. What would happen if let’s say 3 days after going public, Russia decides to slash their prices for a short time? How would the market react? Not just to Aramco having to follow, but the forecasted annual numbers then take a dive, at who’s expense? Consider that the European market is ‘ruled’ by Russia and Norway, together they make up for 50% of that market and the Saudi part is smaller than Norway and 80% of that 50% market is just Russia. So they can influence the market a fair bit. You see, Bloomberg gives us “There is a risk price wars may resume in Europe, raising the possibility the output cut agreement won’t be extended to the second half of this year“, meaning that in the second half Russia could flood the markets and the streets with black gold. That impact would be felt all over the stock market. There is one part that I am uncertain on. You see, it reads like a small and insignificant part. The quote: “Aramco will tweak the benchmark it uses in the region to make it easier for crude buyers to hedge their purchases” seems small, but consider that hedging is done by a few hundred buyers for up to 25,000 barrels. It seems like nothing, but with 179 buyers it is almost a week worth of crude oil, now the ‘stock is full‘ issue becomes a larger one, because this is a level of fluctuation on stock levels that would impact on the stock prices, the mere stock is full a few weeks ago had a $3 impact (or 4.6%), that becomes a little more than insignificant. Now, I could be wrong here as I am not in the oil, yet you see that this is a concern when it impacts a $2T invested interest by more than just hedge funds managers.

The last part comes from the Guardian. In Jan 2016 they stated “Saudi Aramco is likely to be worth well over $1tn (£685bn)“, this is important as we do not see 1.2 or 1.5 trillion, so this given number implies that in a year Saudi Aramco grow by more than 40%, the exact number cannot be determined. Other media stated that Aramco had grown to 2 trillion last year, but none have given enough evidence to state which number is the reliable one. That too impacts this new market, especially the initial dangers of floating a stock. Yesterday (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/apr/05/theresa-may-lse-saudi-aramco-uk-london-stock-exchange-oil) we see: ‘May and LSE chief woo Saudi ministers for $2tn Aramco listing‘, here we see: “Xavier Rolet, has launched a charm offensive in Riyadh to woo Saudi ministers with the prospect of London hosting the upcoming flotation of Saudi state oil company Aramco, which is likely to be the largest of all time“, the word ‘flotation‘ is given and the danger is now out and about, in clear view of all. So as the UK government is trying to appease Khalid Al-Falih, energy minister of Saudi Arabia (and CEO of Aramco), as well as Yasir al-Rumayyan, the director of the Saudi public investment fund – a sovereign wealth fund, I have to wonder where the Rothschild’s are, because there is no way in heaven or hell that the Rothschild family would be absent of a 5% of a $2T company option and not be a player in something with the ROI of billions, especially after the losses they had with Kurdistan and Africa. They have skin in the game now, and they need a victory in this field, their ego demands it from themselves!

In all this the final part given in the Guardian must not be overlooked, because the quote “Downing Street announced on Monday it had drawn up plans with Riyadh to boost support for Saudi’s much-vaunted Vision 2030 strategic plan for diversifying the Saudi economy to decrease its over-reliance on oil, spearheaded by the deputy crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, who met May on Tuesday“, as this now offers the level of revenue to fund the ability to become the largest 5G player in the middle east, with options to diversify into Europe, the far East and America. It is perhaps the first time in history that a public company would shoot to a top position in mobile communication, ready to set the market and their values in a few ways on a global scale. For the simple reason that moving into technology and not go for the new tech that will determine the fate of the large mobile and telecom players between 2019 and 2027 seems extremely short-sighted.

 

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The spotlight on ‘exploiters’

The Mobile World Congress finished on March 2nd. These places are always a little weird. It is often about concepts and about desires, but for the most we see some new stuff and some that was released in the last few months. It is loaded with exhibitors, the list is 72 pages, so you better believe that there is close to no way to see it all. If you are in apps, smart cards, tags or smartphones, you are either there or you do not count. Now, that is not really a true given, if you are really small, or truly enormous you might want to give it a pass. Apple can because they have nothing to add (at present), but at that point they give ground to Google (Google Pixel) and Huawei (Mate9). It is a choice and as being in the place is plenty super expensive, so whatever you bring, better be an important game changer, because the large players can drown you out.

So as the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/mar/11/is-5g-the-future-robots-delivering-pizza-house-viewing-vr) gave us ‘Robots delivering pizza and house viewing by VR: is 5G really the future?‘ last Saturday, the question became, what is this really about?

However, 5G, which is set to be rolled out in the UK next decade, also has its critics. They argue consumers don’t need the superfast speeds the upgrade from current 4G technology promises, and many in the industry believe that logistical issues mean that 5G may not be properly rolled out in the UK for decades“, this is an interesting statement, because I heard a similar thing when 3G was to be replaced by 4G. Some claimed it was not needed, mainly those having the 3G equipment and not the funds to go to 4G. So I saw this as a repetition of that. An opinion piece in the Computer World 2 years ago gave us ‘Tony Milbourn, vice president of strategy at u-blox‘ who questioned it, as did the Cambridge Wireless Network. We can question party one (as well as party two), yet we must admit that Cambridge Wireless is at least a techno savvy industry group. So dismissing them out of hand is not the wisest of choices.

To me, the 5G jump is essential. It is not just about speed. I see that 5G can be the cornerstone to fix some of the NHS UK issues. From there it can be an optional solution to a host of International Health Systems. 5G brings a lot more than just speed, it brings optional innovations that some are unwilling to consider (Larry Page can buy the solution for 15 million pounds up front price is post taxation).

As many sources in short minded ways hide behind “When the 5G wireless standard hits the mainstream, our home internet speeds have the potential to be so fast that we’ll be downloading 4K movies, games, software, and any other large form of content at a fraction of the time we’re used to“, the truth goes a hell of a lot further. 5G can be the cornerstone of non-repudiation, which has been a mobile flaw for the longest of times. In addition, the new connecting devices can change in many ways facilitate interlocked solutions as well as managing a host of non-considered options for systems already rolled out.

In addition, 5G could initially allow for a much better solution towards scaling the performance of short TCP connections on multicore systems. Which will also evolve the smartphone in several new directions. In addition, the Tablet would grow into a new level interactive system, I reckon that Google would need to evolve Android into something like Cyborg, which basically is Android plus, the plus is for the libraries and functionality that would slow down the average phone by way too much, but under 5G, the upgraded system would allow for authentication and new ways of privacy driven encryption that 4G cannot allow for, mainly because it is just too impractical.

The Guardian article also correctly identifies: “The mass connectivity it allows will also help expand the so-called internet of things (IoT), in which everyday appliances and devices wirelessly connect to the internet and each other. “IoT technology is being used in everything from smart homes to wearables,” says Ofcom. “5G should help the evolution of IoT“, which clearly shows that those against ‘advancing’ are either not in this field, or merely unaware of what they are missing (that is some of the critics, not all of them). The one prediction I do not completely agree with is “Analysts Gartner estimate that by 2020 there will be 20 billion IoT-connected devices“, if the 5G preparation goes correctly, there are opportunities to get that to 25 million devices easily, I reckon that 30 million is possible, but only if all elements work favourably to all and that is just not entirely realistic. The next part is one of caution, because blindly going for something is just not cricket. “The report by Lord Adonis, who heads the National Infrastructure Commission, found that the UK’s 4G network ranked only 54th in terms of coverage, behind countries such as Albania, Panama and Peru“, now we can argue that two of the places are merely two villages, a cafe and a cemetery is not entirely accurate. Yet, the idea comes across. Panama has over 50% of its population in the capital, so that is not a fair comparison, yet there are plenty of players (read: Scandinavian nations), who are doing plenty better, we know that it is a small population 3 times the size of panama, but stretched over a massive amount of miles, so things are not entirely great for the UK. Improvements are essential and perhaps considering 5G as the main drive to get to a much higher coverage rating might not be the worst idea.

In light of some responses we also need to look at “Professor William Webb, an academic and former Ofcom director, has been outspoken in warning that 5G could be a case of the “emperor and his supposed new clothes”. Webb is not convinced that the industry obsession with faster speeds is matched by consumer demand“. In this that the professor might talk a decent pitch, but the issue as stated before is not just about speed. 5G will allow for avenues that are currently under 4G not practical, which is partially about speed, but also partially about the options to connectivity currently not possible. Yet in the next part we see the exploitation part “mobile operators may be in danger of investing billions in 5G networks that they may struggle to recoup their costs from. Telecoms companies forked out £2.3bn in Ofcom’s auction of 4G spectrum just a few years ago in 2013“. So as we see the £2.3bn auction, we see that Orange (at https://www.orange.com/en/Press-Room/press-releases-2017/press-releases-2016/2015-full-year-results) gives us “Restated EBITDA was 12.426 billion euros in 2015, ahead of the 2015 target“, so basically in one year they got 12 billion Euros (approx. £10.778 billion in 2015). So I reckon that the 2.3 billion on all players was not that much of an issue to begin with and this is just ONE player and not even the biggest one, so as such (even as we understand that there are always more cost), Professor William Webb should reconsider his position before we put a massive spreadsheet showing just how much the mobile providers are driving you for. You will not be happy or impressed to realise what better a deal you could have gotten whilst they would still end up with a massive profit.

Now there is a lot more going on and this path will not be a smooth sailing one, yet when we realise that 5G will offer support and solutions in directions that some seem to be craving, the news (at https://www.digitalhealth.net/2017/03/nhs-england-working-with-us-internet-giants-to-promote-digital-tools/), give us more shallow parts. It seems that everyone wants to drive some digital solution, that is tool based and has heavy dangers when it comes to cyber security. That was clearly shown by the Financial Times on February 3rd (at https://www.ft.com/content/b9abf11e-e945-11e6-967b-c88452263daf). So as there is too much fidgeting and some giving in to these criminals instead of hunting them down and injecting their children with Ebola (just to give clear indication that health care data is essential and should not be messed with, EVER). The fact is shown that cybercrimes is still too open a field, with many criminals not ending up getting prosecuted and/or incarcerated gives view to the essential need to change thinking and not like a collection of Emu’s run to what seems to be the next (easy) solution in postponing the essential changes the NHS and healthcare in general needs. The Financial Times has actually one additional gem. The quote “According to data from Intel Security, ransomware is growing at an alarming rate across all industries: total ransomware incidents grew by 128 per cent in the 12 months to September 2016“, gives a much needed light on the dangers that “NHS England is working with Google and Bing to increase the visibility of NHS content online and the forthcoming NHS app store” is bringing the people and the next release of ransomware. There is currently too much dangers and the 5G gives a first optional approach to non-repudiation as well as the option to block several similar dangers to health care data. I feel rather confident that Juliet Bauer, director of digital experience at NHS England could end up having to send out all kinds of statements on unauthorised accessed data. I hope to be wrong, yet the statements in the Financial Times, gives us that Jason Allaway, vice-president of UK & Ireland from cyber security firm RES. In that light, Juliet Bauer has every reason to become massively cautious. Any MP that is pushing for some Mobile app solution could find themselves into the limelight explaining how they could have pushed for such a change endangering the lives of many. It could also immediately spark a by election replacing that person pushing for cyber changes whilst the NHS and many health care trusts and providers are nowhere near ready at present. To give but the shortest of lists, you need to consider Healthcare.GOV, Pathology servers (blood tests), Radiological Patient data and images, Ultrasounds imaging systems, Magnetic resonance imaging data, images and reports and the list goes on (each category with a long list of providers). In all this there is still the GP, the specialist and the NHS staff to consider, so in the end, the digital paths some are taking are limited, inferior and no release of pressures to the NHS, so where is the benefit? I went over all that before I made certain designs. There needs to be a massive shift and the first time around the politicians had this utterly disgustingly dangerous idea that it was a great idea to put it in one place. I reckon that there is enough data to not ever consider that. The solution is on the other side of the spectrum, yet there needs to be a shift on the other side of the players too. There needs to be Common Cyber Sense and there needs to be accountability which non repudiation is a first step in, because there will be no more, my ‘device’ was on the fritz. Now there will be a clear digital path, which in health care is essential before considering the digital path in the more serious sides of healthcare.

 

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Retrenching under false pretence

Today we see (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/mar/01/len-mccluskey-ford-unite-tariff-free-single-market-access-bridgend), how Ford is moving its needs and its projections towards other places. It fill the pattern and projected promise that have been set in motion a few years ago. The US is moving parts back to the US and some parts to Asia. Australia had been feeling this for some time. Ford left Australia in 2016 when in October the last Falcon XR6 came of the belt. Now we see the beginning of their exodus from the UK and in this the title ‘Unite blames Brexit as Ford prepares to cut 1,160 Welsh jobs‘ is as they call it, a total load of bullocks! You see, this is the other side of a one market and tariff free access. You see, as these costs fall away, making these 4 wheeled thingamajigs in America becomes profitable again. Now, let’s be fair, Ford is an American company. For American companies to move back to their home turf makes sense, it could even be seen as patriotic. But in all this, Ford remains a business. So they need profit to soar and that can be done by having their factories in America and Asia. Brexit was never a factor, Australia never had a Brexit.

Is there a chance that Brexit was any factor? I do not believe so, the UK is not yet in a completed Brexit and it would take a few years before all would be complete, so there is no Issue for Ford, in their camp it was already planned, the entire pressure on Brexit is just tactics, because the US is scared of what comes next, so for the US, in light of the upcoming French elections, the anti-Brexit pressures are essential. The game is changing in France. President Francois Hollande is not seeking a second term, according to the BBC the first French president to do this in modern times (at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-39130072), he is that unpopular and as such France is seeing several different issues and power plays in place. With one in four under-25’s is unemployed. So even as all parties agree that massive changes are needed, the Socialist failure gives rise to additional voices moving towards Front National. In all this, we see additional moves. We could even consider that this is a partial discriminatory ruling. The EU claims to be all about the freedom of speech and freedom of opinion, yet they will happily lift parliamentary immunity for the French prosecution to take legal action. We can argue the validity here in two ways. One: Marine Le Pen did break French law. Two: how many other French people have been prosecuted for ‘publishing violent images’? I would really like to see the numbers on that one. So as we will see big data mining on transgressors, I wonder how many have not been investigated, which shows that the EU is very willing to upset the sanctity of a fair election, especially as those deciding on this are likely to lose their jobs when Frexit becomes a reality.

So as we see through the (what I personally regard to be) blatant lies by Ford, or better stated by Len McCluskey, and in this as Ford is not forthcoming they get to be tainted by the very same lie. The quote “UK’s biggest trade union has urged Theresa May to guarantee car makers tariff-free access to the single market“, in this I would state ‘Mr McCluskey, are you usually just facilitating for big business?‘, you see, as I see it, Ford is using Len McCluskey not for the plant, not for the single market access ‘need’. No, they want to sweeten the deal! They need other concessions, like the ones they had in Australia. ABC Australia (at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-12-17/tax-transparency-report/7036708) gave the people a Tax Transparency report. Where: FORD MOTOR COMPANY OF AUSTRALIA LTD, had a Total income ($) of 2,940,670,099 (so basically almost $3 Billion), a Taxable income ($) of a mere 7,057,051. This means that 99.9917% of the income did not need to be taxed. So as we see: Tax payable, Tax payable as percentage of total income, as well as Tax payable as percentage of taxable income. These numbers become zero (that means $0.00 and 0.00%). So is Len McCluskey going to open his eyes? Is he going to realise that he is made the bitch of big business that requires the UK government to give away taxable income in the form of free labour? Perhaps Len McCluskey remembers what slave labour is? All valid questions, more important, if this is the path Ford wants, why not let then fuck off to merry old America? Let’s be fair and honest. America is in dire need of actual jobs and an actual economy. They are bleeding currency value and as such, if American companies decide to retrench in the US to save their home country, than that should be regarded as a noble action. Yet, these companies are run by boards that have one need, dividend and bonuses. Let’s also be honest here, these people don’t make any massive coin, not compared to a few other fortune 500 companies. The top executives, have an income ranging from $5.2M to $17.7M, which in Wall Street terms might be laughingly little, yet the retrenching has the danger of those people losing 28%-42% of what they are getting now. You see, as the US has a collapsing infrastructure, the strain the US is getting by having these manufacturers move back to the US is going to cause a few infrastructural gaskets to blow. It will not happen overnight, but within 24 months they setbacks will hurt Ford, there is no doubt in my mind on that. The level of setback will be anyone’s guess, I do not have any wisdom that could state to any degree of certainty how much the impact is. Yet, when you consider that Ford is working on a 3.9% operating margin (2014 reported numbers) and they walked away from an Australian 99.9917% non-taxation, we should wonder on how they tend to do economically more terrific in the US. It seems to me that the US retrenching has either massive kickbacks, or will come at the consequence of short sightedness and long term hardship. The numbers do not makes sense to walk away from either, but the clarity is that fingering Brexit was not the reason. But then, Ford did not do that, they got

Len McCluskey to do just that. It is the part “McCluskey also demanded that Ford provide “legally binding guarantees” of future production at the plant”. It made me giggle. You see if they had not before, why would they do that now? It seems to me that McCluskey, not unlike Kim Carr in Australia, was either in on part of it for a time, or I need to consider them both to be massively incompetent. A legal binding guarantee after the fact. It is just too hilarious! Of course, when the issue collapses and Ford moves, then we get the real issue, because at that point the blame game starts. In Australia, Kim Carr got to play his game and got the reprieve, so when his labour team got replaced by the Australian Liberal Party (the Aussie Tories), he stood back and got to stand playing with his beard thinking ‘not my problem anymore!‘, yet Len McCluskey does not get to be this lucky, when Ford leaves it will be on his plate and the Unite members will have a massive amount of questions, I wonder how many actual answers Len McCluskey will have.

So all these revelations and facts brought to you because someone decided to blame Brexit and I have actually had enough of those blamers. The fact is that there would always be consequences to Brexit, so when I see another ‘bremainer’ demand a Brexit without consequences, I wonder just how stupid some people tend to get. Another side linked to this is seen in the Independent (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/britain-will-not-contribute-to-eu-budget-if-no-brexit-deal-is-reached-says-lords-report-a7609526.html), here we see ‘Britain will not contribute £50bn to EU budget if no Brexit deal is reached, says Lords report‘, the subtitle is even more descriptive ‘The UK appears to have a strong legal position in respect of the EU budget post-Brexit and this provides important context to the Article 50 negotiations‘. The reason to go here is seen in “According to the Lords, EU budget payments – likely to be a contentious issue throughout the Article 50 negotiating period – would not be enforceable and the UK would be in a “strong” legal position to not pay a penny if talks ended with no deal“, so all the hard play we have seen has been absent of a proper analyses of the articles, something the House of Lords was not about to let go. The quote “Theresa May has warned her European allies that the UK is prepared to crash out of the EU if no reasonable Brexit deal is agreed on. In this case, the Lords add, Britain will not be liable to make any further financial contributions to the budget” also implies that there is a two stream issue within the conservatives. You see, when we see the quote of Theresa May against “David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, said earlier this year that the Government would not rule out making future payments to the EU’s budget in order to secure favourable access to Europe’s markets“. The two streams are ‘let’s be flexible about it all‘ and ‘we have had enough of this‘. The point being that large corporations have been souring the cream pushing European politicians to take emotional stands whilst others are trying to muzzle Mario Draghi and his need to spend a trillion no one has. This now pushes back to the Automotives of the land (including the exiting Ford), I think we need to see that the approach that has been used for too long a time, making some industries holy and non-taxed is not the way to go. Now, there are plenty of people who want certain markets to push forward and to have trade deals in place tends to be a good thing. Yet the part that the media seems to ignore again and again is that these deals benefit large corporations to a massive degree, but others tend to fall between the cracks losing out on all those fringe benefits. It is an injustice that has been seen several times and Brexit would allow for a change that gives a level of fairness to it all (allow does not mean it will happen though). So whilst we can agree that there would possibly be an impact, there are still too many waters stirring, so any level of Brexit blame is very premature. That evidence is given additional support when we consider Reuters news from 2015 (at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-autos-ford-asia-idUSKBN0O625Y20150521), it was already forecasted 2 years ago that “When I take a look at Ford’s growth over the next five to 10 years, we believe roughly 60 percent of the growth will be in the Asia Pacific region,” said Dave Schoch, president of Ford’s Asia Pacific region“, which was the first sign that the Ford plants in Australia were at risk. In equal measure, the slowing economy in China saw Ford sales drop, a similar event has been happening in Europe, where the drop is three times higher and here we get the issue. It had a rise for a while and the European numbers looked really good, that is, until you realise that Russia was the only strong contributor to the Ford sales. Yet the Russian slump has been in play and it is now also hurting Ford, whilst the news of ‘rapid recovery unlikely‘ to be at the head of the forecasting table. So when we see Ford media give us (at https://media.ford.com/content/fordmedia/feu/en/news/2017/01/18/ford_s-european-sales-rise-5–in-2016–strong-ford-transit–rang.pdf), “Ford sales rise 5 percent in 2016 to nearly 1.4 million vehicles in its 20 traditional European markets*“, with the reference to Austria, Belgium, Britain, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Romania, Sweden and Switzerland.

Giving us now the one part that the papers were missing. The fact that the sales are not sliding, but the revenue is set to better profitability, in that the element becomes that the UK is only one of 20 nations for Ford and when we add the Ford Authority quote to it from February 20thIn all, the closures terminated nearly 6,000 jobs, although some number of those were merely shifted to lower-cost countries like Spain and Turkey“, as well as “Ford Europe has continued to pare down its workforce, offering “voluntary separation” packages to some 10,000 employees since early last year to help save an estimated $200 million annually” a valid tactical move by Ford going back to well before 2015. So as we see this facts, the entire Ford issue has been playing for a while and a lot of it has been out in the open. So at this point I would ask Len McCluskey where he got the idea “workers had been “kept in the dark”“. I would like to know what actions he had undertaken since December 2015 when this was already underway, more important, the move in Australia should have really woken him up. Did it do that? Because certain facts, clearly given by several sources, some of them openly Ford themselves. It is there where we now see a reason to doubt the existence of both Kim Carr and Len McCluskey (but that is just my view on the matter). Len had the option of making a clear speech to the workers in wales starting by ‘the party is over, there will be massive changes in the future, but we do not know the exact setting, but the worst case scenario is that the plant will seize to exist‘. Did he make that speech? I reckon not, most people like that tend to avoid bad news, especially when events like Brexit can be blamed and that is exactly what he did in the end.

As a final point I need to refer to the quote “We have had, as I said, dialogue with Ford. We will continue to have a regular dialogue with Ford about the ways in which government can help to make sure that this success continues“, which was exactly was happening in Australia, with the happy ending not becoming a reality. There, certain players decided to blame the newly elected liberal government, whilst we clearly see that there is plenty of evidence that Ford had already decided, and the decision was ‘vacate!’

I wonder what McCluskey does next, perhaps blame the Welsh weather?

 

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When a Newspaper gets it wrong

We’ve all had these moments. We have a preference in things we do, I look at the Guardian in the morning, and at times I check out the tabloids (front pages and in one case page 3 as well). Yet I keep the Guardian as my main source to work with. So I was slightly miffed when I spotted ‘EU fears influx of ‘British champagne’ once Brexit ends food naming rules‘, which is utter baloney (read: bullshit)! The United Kingdom is still bound in laws, in this case it means that Trade Marks are still protected and ‘British champagne’ is not ever going to be an option and any Trade Marks office in the UK initially passing such a request might get itself invited to a mandatory meeting with the Professional Standards Board. I now feel that at this point, that my concern becomes that the writer Daniel Boffey has no clue! So (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/feb/15/eu-fears-influx-of-british-champagne-once-brexit-ends-food-naming-rules) we see “The European Union is concerned that British companies could violate protections given to the names of thousands of European products – such as Parma ham and Champagne“, these two examples Parma Ham as well a Champagne has been clearly settled, so that will not ever be allowed. This is something that can be set in stone as the United Kingdom joined WIPO in 1970. The UK uses Trade Marks Act 1994, where we see this part. The Trade Marks Act discusses in section 3 reasons that are an ‘Absolute grounds for refusal of registration‘, with in section 3(1)(c) we see: “Trade Marks which consist exclusively of signs or indications which may serve, in trade, to designate the kind, quality, quantity, intended purpose, value, geographical origin, the time of production of goods or of rendering of services, or other characteristics of goods or services“, as Parma (Ham) and Champagne are regarded as ‘geographical origin’ the examples are faulty. So what is Daniel Boffey? An editor who did not prepare his work? Or is he another anti Brexit fear mongerer with a need to rile the people for his own personal needs? I actually do not know, but it is clear that (as I personally see it), that Daniel did not talk to any Trade Marks Attorneys. Even a quick call to Intellectual Property Office (at https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/intellectual-property-office), or just look at the website and lodge a question would have answered the part that is (again as I personal see it) a blight on the good frame of the Guardian. The articles linked to his name ‘Brexit transitional deal will lock UK into EU court, says Verhofstadt‘, ‘Northern Ireland peace at risk because of Brexit, says Bertie Ahern‘, as well as ‘Britons living in the EU face Brexit backlash, leaked paper warns‘ gives indication that he is very much against the Brexit. Now, I have no problem with those against Brexit, because that was a valid choice of the minority. In addition, they are not swayed yet and they might never be swayed, yet the issue I see here as an Attorney is that the UK has clearly accepted IP laws and leaving the EU will not change the accords that the UK agreed to as a signatory of WIPO. So when I see “The question of what will happen to EU GIs after the withdrawal of the UK is a difficult one” I get the clear indication that the Guardian editor is in cahoots with the European parliament’s agriculture committee on spreading misinformation. In addition, I think he is actually making a case for Brexit, as it now shows that those people in the European parliament’s agriculture committee might be regarded as overpaid incompetent individuals that should be fired immediately, because there is a clear IP setting in place and as such, just by reading the Trade Marks Act 1994, Contacting the UK Intellectual Property Office, or contacting WIPO, this mere fact could have been cleared up in 15 minutes. An alternative is the WTO (at https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/trips_e/gi_background_e.htm), which shows these issues clearly resolved as well. The WTO also gives us “The United Kingdom has been a WTO member since 1 January 1995 and a member of GATT since 1 January 1948. It is a member State of the European Union (more info). All EU member States are WTO members, as is the EU (until 30 November 2009 known officially in the WTO as the European Communities for legal reasons) in its own right”.

It seems to me that the EU gravy train on knowing as little as possible so that many meetings in 5 star locations could be held, which sounds like a massive waste of funds. Finding these facts took almost 10 minutes, so why are these EU members posturing on ignorance?

So the quote “If no arrangements to another effect are made, the protection afforded by the above-mentioned legislation would normally cease to apply in the UK, which means that over a thousand European registered names could be exposed to violation in this neighbouring country” is in equal measure a load of bollocks (for those unaware of the terms, they are the two elements positioned between the legs of a man), and if you are at this point still getting a blank, feel free to call Jim Davidson (the famous UK comedian) and ask him about a historical law enforcement agent (somewhere between 1068 until 1568), the name of that person was Big Dick Dangling, Sheriff of Nottingham Forest.

So there is a clarity that this is a non-issue, as the Trade Marks Act 1994 would remain in force after the UK becomes the Brexiteer, so as such I think that Katharine Viner (editor in Chief) needs to urgently call her Brussels office, especially as the non-issue is painted in such an obscure way that hiding behind “A document from the European parliament’s agriculture committee, which is advising the chamber’s leaders on the Brexit negotiations” is just too unacceptable, no matter how true that is, especially as the editor is now playing political suicide as he is stating “The document drawn up by MEPs warns: “In the hypothesis where the UK, as a third country, would enter into a new relationship with the EU27 based on a free trade agreement it would be important therefore to include a mutual recognition of GIs in such an agreement on the model.”“, which is  as I see it the hidden message. The ‘would enter into a new relationship with the EU27 based on a free trade agreement‘ is not for him to state, quote or comment on, especially as the bare minimum of the article is grossly misrepresented. Actually he could have quoted it, but I personally believe he fell short by a lot on elements like diligence in this article. In pursuit of the previous statement, we see the quote “The MEPs suggest the UK will need to maintain EU standards during any transitional period before a free trade agreement can be struck“, in that, can we get in writing that this includes equestrian beef burgers from Romania? There is light in the end of the tunnel as we see “the MEPs appear to take solace in the suggestion that the British government will be unable to take advantage of third countries seeking other options” with the supported follow up quote “One may wonder, in particular, whether the UK will have the sheer capacity to handle so many urgent trade negotiations in parallel with a national administration which has lost the experience and knowhow of such negotiations since the mid-1970s“, which sounds funny and in in fact hilarious, because in the first, the UK has been involved with trade negotiations on a global scale and in the end, it is the 27 nations that will be chomping at the bit to get a deal for their deliveries towards 68 million consumers. And if anyone thinks that 23 of these nations (who are smaller than the UK) will walk away from a customer base that represented 12% of the entire EU than those claiming that can apply for the function of Mad Hatter!

And as for the Chlorinated Chicken, that issue has been going on since 2014, which does not mean that the deal is null and void, or that it is not an issue, but at present, especially when we see the application of the word ‘if‘ we know that this is currently not the case and there is no clear indication that this will change, as such it remains a non-issue, because whatever the UK imports, if the EU does not allow for it, it stays within the UK, making it a non-issue for the export and the EU will not be affected as it has these limits in place. And in that regard, did these same MEP’s stop the issue of equestrian burgers yet?

Listen, there will be issues in the Brexit time, some will be complex and will require time to solve, anyone stating that this is not the case is lying to you, but to see articles that are a travesty of common sense, a case that could have been verified by any Guardian intern in Brussels with a few calls begs to consider what Daniel Boffey is doing. From my point of view he is not reporting, he is merely what some call a Reuters copy and paste user, which makes him very overpaid and replacing him with previous suggested intern might not be the worst thing to do.

The Guardian is not alone here, the amount of timewasting we see from the mirror, the Daily mail and the Daily online is far worse, but those places are not to be regarded as newspapers, so there is a difference. We see issues in the Independent as well, but one of a different kind. There Ben Chapman (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/brexit-britain-must-be-made-worse-off-after-leaving-eu-says-austrian-chancellor-christian-kern-a7578206.html) writes on the Austrian Chancellor and his views. The subtitle gives an interesting and non-invalid view ‘A member of a club must have better conditions than somebody who isn’t a member of this club‘, which is actually a decent way to put it. Yet, what the chancellor is not stating is that this club has failed. Some of its members has not been able to keep up and in response to failed economic numbers the club decided to pump in cash, two rotations of well over a trillion each and the club members need to pay up, even as all members know that it was not a solution. This is regarded as irresponsible acting and this so called club has failed its members by not setting a proper charter for misbehaving members (Greece) as well as a failed system regarding the acts of its executive members (Mario Draghi). Part of that we saw in last weeks The Week (at http://theweek.com/articles/679060/european-central-bank-about-something-stupid), as we read “when it kicked off a quantitative easing (QE) program worth $60 billion a month. In plain English, that means the ECB started creating a bunch of euros out of thin air and using them to buy up various financial assets. In March 2016, it kicked things up a notch, to $80 billion in purchases a month“, which was one of the issues I had. In addition, how anyone can see ‘creating a bunch of euros out of thin air‘ and ‘buy up various financial assets‘ seems so odd as it is not money that is supported by any gold reserve or at lease set against something of value. This doesn’t just read like a Parker Brothers monopoly heist, basically Draghi is buying stuff that is then paid for and is given to? To whom exactly? It almost reads like a derivative nightmare, Mr Blotto buys a lemon and goes bust. He sells this lemon to Draghi for the initial value and he walks away smiling again, whilst Draghi is buying lemons in stacks of 80 billion a month. So who owns the lemon? And where is that 80 billion coming from? Some people forget that if we add (for example) 2 trillion to our 10 trillion, the value of our 10 trillion would now be 10/12 trillion, implying our value decreased by 17% (because against the pound and the dollar it did), but now we get the small complication, Sweden is still using the SEK, the UK has the Pound, so there is an impact there too. That is the part the Draghi elites (financial captain and his minions) seem to ignore. There is an impact on our values, and that decrease is actually increasing faster and faster, especially as there is no improvement in sight.

In this we saw the growth and the actual move towards Brexit, yet at present as the smaller nations are realising (Austria) that they are merely less than 2% of that group and the impact of the exiting nations is seen, Austria is now facing a very mental breakdown. Because it sees the dangers it faces. Austria has a 67% services industry and whilst that is not great, it is not the worst either. The changes that they are now facing might negatively impact their economic value, in addition, the speech the chancellor gave was nice on a European value, the fact that the top 6 of its main export partners does not include the UK, and neither does the top 5 import list, so his club speech sounds nice but is now laced with the emotion of ‘I am taking whatever the UK loses whenever possible‘ gives rise to his reasoning of the club mentality, in addition European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker gives us “Do the Hungarians and the Poles want exactly the same thing as the Germans and the French? I have serious doubts“, which is fair enough, yet at the same time we see “and the endgame is that there is no united European front“, which is a realisation that is long overdue, that was a given for the longest of time and the economic posts have been somewhat clear on that. That part is also clear in France where Emmanuel Macron has joined Marine Le Pen by adding the Eurozone membership on the agenda. Which now means that out of the three most likely to win the French election, only François Fillon seems to voice a continuation of France within the Eurozone. As such there is no guarantee that the Eurozone loses France, but only if François Fillon beats both Macron and Le Pen, a feat that is not impossible, but for now decently unlikely. That will be known on 23rd April 2017, when the 1st round of the 2017 French presidential election will be held. Perhaps it would be nice that Daniel Boffey realises that the French will not walk away with a French version of the West Country Farmhouse Cheddar and in equal measure Champagne will still be French, also after both have left the Eurozone, it will not be possible for Either to claim ownership of the Trade Mark ‘Edam Cheese’ as it is a Dutch Trade Mark.

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Creating a dangerous joke

There is a lot going on. At first I wanted to take you into the world of fake news, it is a problem and it is a global one, but the elements in play, so many of them will confuse the hell out of anyone. It is not a simple story, it is an issue that will take many pages and there are plenty of people that cannot be bothered to read that much, I most certainly get that.

So why three issues?

They are only casually linked, but the events as they are taking places all at the same time makes me wonder if, and to what extent they will intersect.

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The first one is regarding everyone’s favourite ‘democracy’, North Korea! They decided to fire a missile for 500 Km to make a show of force. So millions were spend to make a show of strength that their missile will make it for 4% of the journey. This whilst we need to realise that the bulk of the 44,000 that became homeless in the floods 5 months ago are still for the most homeless. This event is making South Korea very nervous as the missile can reach them, the USA will make a show out of it all, even as there is no evidence that the missile could ever successfully make the other 96% and hit something substantial after that. As stated, there is no evidence, that in light of the military command setting the pass with Dell desktop computers that most gamers would not even touch in sheer desperation just so that they could play a game.

 

 

 

The second issue is another part all together. There has been a flaming row between Piers Morgan and JK Rowling. In this, I need to try and get through to people who seem to have a massive hatred for the Trump presidency. The video (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MrbXk5xOOM) gives us part of that. We usually do not get the full story as more than one media outlet, or opponent does not like him to complete his train of thought. He makes a few points that need to be considered. It goes far beyond mere freedom of speech, I will never be against it, yet in all this the papers need to be accountable for what they do. The situation is similar that the UK has with Brexit. So when we see the Rowling v Morgan event (at http://honey.nine.com.au/2017/02/13/07/54/jk-rowling-piers-morgan-twitter-spat), which has been going on for a few days now. The nine event shows a short part where Piers gets splattered as he was not allowed to finish his words. The quote “President Trump’s travel ban because the British TV presenter won’t call it a Muslim ban. Trump has tried to stop citizens of seven predominately Muslim countries, including Iran and Syria, from entering the US“, which is what he actually said. The part where Piers is correct is that his assessment is correct. You see the 7 nations are: Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Libya, Sudan and Somalia. Some of the Muslim nations that are not on the list and not banned are: Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, Muslim nations are not on that list. In addition, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Nigeria, United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Egypt. Yes, it is correct that the 7 nations are predominantly Muslim, yet until that list at least doubles, it is not a Muslim ban.

adolf-hitler-world-tour-t-shirt-web
It was ‘nice’ and original that Jim Jefferies reflected on how Adolf Hitler grew into his role whilst singing a lullaby to 6 million Jews, but the reality is not the same here. So in a comedian like atmosphere he can tell Piers to Eff You Kay off, but he is deceiving you. In that regard the quote from JK Rowling ““Yes”, she tweeted.” Watching Piers Morgan being told to f–k off on live TV is *exactly* as satisfying as I’d always imagined“, might be valid from a celebrity like her as she has seen the darker less acceptable side of journo’s on a global level, but in all , the facts were not correctly given. And the press seems to be heralding to a larger extent, for too long to give the microphone to any person willing to loudly speak out against the current US president. This situation is more important than you think, you see, President Trump is doing almost exactly what he promised to do, yet if we consider that 100% of his voters are 50% of the nation, is he doing the right thing for America? It is a serious question and the answer is less easy to give, because the losing side is trying to create flame after flame via emotional broadcasts. The left has grown its media domain to such an extent that part of the US is unlikely to ever get the full facts. The Piers Morgan video gives us that. They give the realm where we hear on how CNN is implied to have some sort of buddy system with the previous administration. That is actually more alarming than you might think, because in such a setting, have we heard any reliable news from CNN over the last 3 years? Did you consider that part of the equation?

erdoganmemeTurkey is the last part in this equation. As we see thousands of people getting fired, arrested and prosecuted in what most call a massive aversion of the course of justice, we see that the list has grown. The BBC recapped the last 7 months as an event “following the failed coup attempt, nearly 100,000 civil servants have been removed from their posts. That includes teachers, police officers, soldiers, academics and lawyers“, where it should be clear that several of these groups would not be caught alive talking to one another, we must wonder how this shift, how this automation towards a totalitarian political shift is not the disastrous move that Germany found itself in on 30th January 1933. With the death of Paul von Hindenburg on 2nd August 1934, the shift of Adolf’s rise to power was complete. In this the danger we see Turkey in due to the acts of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan are a lot higher than we get from President Trump, more important, as we see a massive political ‘Erdogan’ shift, what does that spell for the rest of Turkey? Will we become witness to the rise of a dictatorship, not unlike the one from Saddam Hussein? The changes he started in the 70’s, which led to the executions (read: purges), which would kill well over 250,000 Iraqis? More important, how will Europe interact at that point, or would Europe even allow itself to any interaction with Turkey?

 

These three are interacting because the Turkish population all over Europe will react to what happens in Turkey, more important, as Turkey becomes more ‘driven’ and President Erdogan finds the European doors close on him, we will get a new intelligence issue. As the Millî İstihbarat Teşkilatı (MİT) will be given the similar tasks, but now if finds itself more and more collecting international security intelligence, which changes the game as the allegiance with the USA will shift. The one with the FSB does not change that much as the FSB never really shares intelligence unless they know there are two other sources able to offer the information. As the open EU borders shut down to their original state, we will suddenly see that those outside of certain discussions will now become absent of being informed. It is the natural consequence of ending an open border environment. So as we see the Cold War escalate, there is at least the smallest chance that they will try to leave the hints of gullibility with the MİT. There is no evidence, but the Russian Intelligence side of things (before they started to call themselves FSB) has plenty of examples and lets not forget that they are still sore regarding a certain fighter plane that was shot down for transgressing Turkish borders for no more than 14 seconds.

This now gets another turn of complications as the two parts that we see escalating in the Washington Post with “White House national security adviser Michael Flynn is under increasing political pressure and risks losing the confidence of some colleagues following reports that he misled senior administration officials about his discussion of sanctions with a Russian envoy shortly before President Trump took office“, as well as “Former acting attorney general Sally Q. Yates warned the White House that national security adviser General Michael Flynn may be vulnerable to Russian blackmail, the Washington Post reported on Monday“, so as we ponder this, just a mere 1800 seconds ago we get “Flynn has acknowledged he might have discussed sanctions with the Russians but could not remember with 100 percent certainty, which officials said had upset Pence, who felt he had been misled“. ‘Is this the geriatric division of the Intelligence community?‘ I might drop a nickel every now and then, but I am not the national security adviser and neither is I having to be a General! Two very visible places where an event where things like ‘sanctions‘ and ‘could not remember with 100 percent certainty‘ what factors were having an impact on the sanctions. That part should have been clearly documented as filed so that the alphabet group knows what’s coming (those in charge that is). You see, as we all face the news of escalations (especially Turkey and Russia), the Russian issues with America (and vice versa) implies that we are on the forefront of an optional new cold war.

This is not just me, several sources are raising the threat of the new cold war (or Cyber cold war) as some call it. In this we will face several fronts, because there is currently an issue with the top positions and I feel that I can claim with a decent certainty that Breitbart News will be massively out of its depth when it misplaces, misrepresents or misquotes any element in such an affair. In addition, the General Flynn issue gives rise to the issue that this optional war is one that America will not be ‘in like Flynn‘, which gives away some of its lack of preparedness at that point.

So as North Korea might soon be making a few more boasts whilst we get incriminations addressed towards America and South Korea by China, we will see more speeches, considerations and not so carefully worded denials. In the end, we are skating towards a diminishing field of options. Well, actually, the question becomes what will happen, as we now see the resignation letter of the National Security Advisor (which might have been the only move left), the USA is now forced to get another person confirmed for the role. In a time when getting proper advice is pretty stellar important, selecting the right advisor would have been pretty important. All this in the first 100 days is not the best way for the new president to make any headway. Attached to this is the press, who have been on a massive Trump bash. The left who has been enjoying a lefty point of politics and getting enabled at every corner is now facing a vindictive administration, which is counterproductive on both sides, because any escalation down the Cold War front means that proper informing the people on what is actually happening is going to be much more important. In that regard, perhaps it is starting to be more and more important to label the tabloids with a brand that it is not truly presenting the news, I would prefer that they also lose the 0% VAT option, the idea that intentional misinforming the people comes with a tax break! Does that not bother you?

You see, these elements as stated are linked, not directly on the events, but how we react to them, this can have an increasing negative consequence, especially as we use social media to gain favour and laughs. Yet the other side tends to be less recipient. Some will take the moral offended side of the matter. So as we heard Jim Jefferies Hitler reference, some reacted, some did not and most reactions were against Piers Morgan. Now, I am no fan of him. I think that he plays a dangerous game, trying to side with the emotional side of people, as do Journo’s like Lisa Wilkinson, yet in some lights she tends to be a lot more level headed here. In contrast, when we see the Morgan quote: “To all the ignorant, bigoted transgender community members continuing to abuse me re @janetmock – I’m bored of you now, go away. Thanks.

Piers need to equally realise that if he does not consider thinking things through before making his case knowing very well that there will be open outrage, he needs to realise sooner rather than later that he is not part of any solution, he remains part of the problem.

This story will get a sequel as certain events are currently still evolving.

 

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Healthy or Smart?

Earlier (16.4 hours ago roughly) I talked about the NHS, more important about an article in the Guardian about the NHS. An article that I considered to be a sales pitch, and not a very good one. Today I am taking a look at the ‘Smarter Health: boosting analytical capacity at NHS‘ pdf. First we need to take a look at the players, you see when we read a story we need to know what the story is about, the first step here is to take a look at who is telling us the story, because that matters, especially in the world we see today. The front page gives us the people involved:

Beth Simone Noveck – a Professor at NYU, director and co-founder.
Stefaan Verhulst – Chief Research and Development Officer of the Governance Laboratory at New York University.
Andrew Young – Associate Director of Research at The GovLab, and in addition, he is NOT the Managing Director of APY Consulting Ltd, who has the same name, but looks a few decades older.
Maria Hermosilla and Anirudh Dinesh are also directly linked to Govlab and it is Juliet McMurren who is a bit of a mystery. Perhaps she is merely a minion in that digital publishing machine, but her name pops up in a few papers, but only at the introduction, perhaps she is the one putting the reports together.

You see, if the story is everything, we need to see the storytellers in their environment, because they are setting the stage on how we should see the information given to us. This is given to us from the very beginning as the headline in the executive summary tells us: “It would be impractical and prohibitively expensive to fulfill all of NHS’s analytical needs through more hiring“, which is exactly what I raised yesterday, in addition, I did mention that part as well, just the pathway that follows is not the pathway I trust. I believe that some skills should be managed inside the NHS. I do not trust the outsider telling me how it is, especially after consultants walked off with a large slice of £11.2 billion whilst the NHS has nothing to show for it. In addition, having outsiders access to NHS data is even scarier to me than losing those billions. You see, once the data is out there, the people whose data is out there get to be the victims of dangers they never signed up for. As I see it, once copied the NHS becomes useless to them and whomever walks away with that ends up diminishing the value of the NHS and those people even more. That is in my view a big no-no! (I am not accusing Govlab of having done anything immoral or questionable), I am merely raising the issue.

I notice that part of the paper is what we read yesterday in the Guardian. It makes it easier for me as I had already crossed off several issues on my list and I stand by these elements. Yet, the report is not all bad, it is illustrative in parts, but also suggestive and that lack of clarity is never part of a good paper.  The reader tends to go from assumptions and that goes to either too positive or too negative, there is never ever a balanced in-between there.

When they give us: “The NHS should also create a variety of online knowledge networks of those inside and outside of NHS, especially in UK universities, who possess the skills and willingness to help the NHS with their data analytical questions. For example, last week the Rockefeller Foundation launched the Zilient platform to connect resilience practitioners, and the GovLab and Justice Management Institute launched DataJustice. Both are designed to connect networks of professionals for mutual learning“, which could be novel, were it not that I actually gave a similar (less eloquent) idea on June 29th 2014 in my article ‘What’s in a health system?‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2014/06/29/whats-in-a-health-system/), where I state: “What if we take the next generation in solutions and take away 30% of that workload? When people ask which company will do this, the answer should be ‘None!’. The UK is filled with universities, some of them regarded as the most prestigious and brightest on the planet. Consider that most IT people, might claim experience, yet their drama skills are the only ones that improved for the most, is it not up to the Universities, those who are introduced to the newest ideas, design a solution that would make the work of the doctors and nurses at the NHS better, slightly more efficient and a truckload of less hassle! Is that such a tall order? We will get to the solutions if we are willing to navigate other options. We have seen that the current path is not a success; new methods might not be a failure. It is a road that politicians should be willing to go, if only to make sure that a possible solution was not overlooked“, I admit, not as eloquent, but pretty much the same story and it came whilst the NHS was 2.5 years further away from the ‘Abyss of non-existence’ it finds itself in front of at present.

So let’s take a look at the recommendations, and the first one gives us: “The NHS should build a Project Marketplace like the environmental protection agency’s one EPA Skills Marketplace and help supply find the demand“, so how do these outside talents not cost the NHS? Even as it hides behind ‘help with specific assignments, the skills marketplace helps to match talent to those opportunities to use it‘, you see, the more specific a need is, the more expensive such an expertise tends to get. The more generic and shallow, the less need for such a marketplace, more important, as a little more is asked on what needs to be done, the costs of these people will rise substantially and it tends to rise fast.

The second recommendation gives us “The NHS should construct an NHS Data Lab modelled on the Ministry of Justice Data Lab to make better use of sensitive administrative data“, which also sounds nice, but data labs cost, there is hardware, there is software and hiding it all in some cloud with questionable security will not be a solution, in addition, IT gets stretched even further and there is a difference between ‘better use of sensitive administrative data‘ and ‘safe and responsible use of sensitive administrative data‘, they are not the same, not by a long shot. In addition, I already made that point effective enough in the previous blog. The third one counts “The NHS should build an employee expert network like health and human services’ HHS Profiles and help the demand find the supply across the NHS“, which is what I partially raised when I opted for ‘low level‘ people in my previous blog. Yet this issue is correctly raised and if recommendation is started on yesterday by the NHS HR, than that would be an excellent idea as well. Adding a training path where some can learn skills like Q-Software, data cleaning skills and data capture skills, that might not be the worst idea either as it allows for an IT growth path. There are plenty of NHS volunteers, who are now retired, but still desire to be engaged, not everyone is doing that holding a set of people skills, some are happy to do other tasks. In addition there is the Employer-supported volunteering path, where Market Research and Data employees could spend a few hours a week working on the NHS systems, helping and teaching to create dashboards. In that HQIP Director Dr Danny Keenan might hold his hand up as high as possible to get started on the communication issues he currently states to have. Recommendations 4, 5 and 6 are basically skill finders in another dimension, so having that crossed off with HR to set a proper visibility path should solve all these issues. Option 7 gets us “bring in more talent from outside, including from the private sector“, which is a cost and not a small one either, that is depending on the needs there are. Recommendation 8 is the one that stopped me. You see ‘Open Data Learning Hub‘ I almost like I mentioned earlier, but here we see ‘data scientists to grow its data science community‘ with the added quote “Each toolkit includes the original data and step-by-step instructions for using the data to conduct sample analyses, create visualisations from the data and connect interested data scientists“, which makes me wonder, have they considered that the cost here will increase dramatically fast? In addition, how many data scientists are there now? If there are a few, why a training growth path was not initialised a few weeks after the first data scientist was hired. Because from some of the required trivial reports, those people are really expensive to use for making the ‘basic’ reports. Now, there is a part that I am not aware of, but recommendation 8 is leaving me with questions. If there are proper data scientists, why was growth not acted on long ago, if there are no Data scientists, that open learning hub will attract experts stating that ‘it is a complex issue‘ on too many projects, making this a marketing jump to hiring people, which is not the path we want to go through. Recommendation is just dangerous. As I stated, I have no faith in certain groups and ‘exchange data to help solve public problems. These collaborations focus both on sharing data but also on sharing talent‘, yet when certain ‘assisting‘ experts in the insurance world have been accessing the data sets, once they have the aggregated data they need, they will fall from vision like snowflakes in a summer sunshine, this recommendation is one that should be rejected as soon as the rejecter has read the words. It reads like Recommendation 10 is a potpourri of some of the previous recommendations, yet again we see “a “conversational” infrastructure to a secure physical infrastructure for managing data to tap the best know-how outside NHS on an ongoing basis“, which is pretty much an introduction towards hiring external consultants, which was a bad idea from the very beginning. The entire papers is followed by a score of issues, some I blew away in the previous blog article, some are there to (as I personally see it) illustrate fortune cookie wisdom, which is always debatable and will always be used out of context. An examples is: ‘We are achieving 1% of the potential to improve people’s lives‘. When we see ‘Healthcare data in England is collected, published and used by a variety of institutions, each of which has its own cadre of statisticians, analysts, and economists‘, there is the implied part, but the actual scope who is collecting what and who is collecting it for private organisations and insurances is equally left out there. As we see the groups we also see quotes like “Among its staff are approximately 150 people who hold the title of analyst for NHS England, including those in an operational research and evaluation unit created in 2014. NHS England publishes indicators on performance and satisfaction data about patient experience, bed availability, and wait times, and administers friends and family satisfaction testing“, yet when we see the group ‘Clinical Commissioning Groups‘, we get to see “We know there is lots of information on quality out there but don’t know if all NHS staff, such as clinicians, commissioners and service managers, are equipped to access and analyse it for both operational and improvement purposes, nor do we know if it meets people’s requirements, says one of NHS England’s clinical leads“, which beckons the question, did this clinical lead not know who to ask, what to ask and when to expect an answer? This reads like a ‘let’s set the premise of ignorance‘, whilst the systems in place would (read: should) have been there to inform the participants. This is not a paper on informing, this reads like a paper on creating doubt, preferably a paper pushing towards the recommendations regarding hiring and sharing, which is I admit is a speculation form my side. Yet it is strengthened when we read the premise with NHS Digital, where the language is phrased as “NHS Digital has a statutory monopoly over the collection of certain kinds of data, and over 300 professionals work on the collection and analysis” as well as “Of this group, approximately 250 are classified as analysts, whose work is focused on this routine and statutorily-mandated data collection and the publication of statistical reports“, whilst we get the implied accusation of “NHS Digital has not made much use of predictive modelling to evaluate innovations, conduct experiments or design new models of clinical care“. It seems that at New York University, the weight of a loss of £11.2 billion has no weight at all. That from a nation that has accumulated a debt of $20 trillion, should they be regarded as the experts? So when we read “no mandate—to translate that into policy recommendations nor to do research, according to Dr John Varlow, Director of Information Analysis at NHS Digital. In total, the organisation has 2000 professional staff, most of whom focus on information technology and the maintenance of NHS websites“, I need to wonder if that was the full part of the contribution of Dr John Varlow. Especially when we consider the work that maintenance of NHS websites requires. How many pages, what hardware infrastructure, more important, what other tasks are part of their workflow. An issue (as I personally see it) intentionally set outside of proper dimensionality. So when we consider the ‘produces over 250 annual official publications on topics from GP earnings to drug use among school children. These reports are accompanied by data in formatted Excel spreadsheets and machine-readable comma separated variable (csv) text files. Anonymised population-level data is available both on the NHS Digital website and on data.gov.uk‘. The reader should realise that this adds up to a little over 20 reports a month, that needs exporting, cleaning (personal data markers) set into final data forms and uploaded to the proper places. It should come down to one person does this full time, but the reality is that 1-2 other employees need to check this, to make sure identity sensitive data is not there.  In addition we need to consider ‘NHS Digital publishes over a thousand indicators‘, which we can accept as a given, but based on whose recommendations? When is the policy to publish set through political means and requirements?

This gets me to the subtitle ‘The current emphasis on performance analytics needs to expand to predictive analytics, simulation and modelling‘, on what premise and whose budget? Whenever we see a statistician running around with a massive erection shouting  ‘predictive analytics‘ and ‘modelling‘ it is usually because the linked implication that this additional work usually comes with a not to modest pay rise. When ‘simulation‘ is thrown into the mix, it tends to link to either resource needs, budgeting or failure analyses, which now implies that hiring becomes almost essential as these people were either hired from the start, or the skill set was not deemed essential, so raising it here raises a lot more than the reader will fathom. So when the writers decide to add Tim Kelsey on page 37, they should have considered the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/17/cameron-adviser-leaves-controversial-nhs-data-scheme-private-sector), where we see: “Kelsey was appointed to the Cabinet Office in 2012 as the UK’s first transparency and open data director. However a few months later he joined the NHS, where he was the driving force behind care.data. The programme was supposed to be in place in 8,000 GP practices by 2014 but has been beset by controversies since its launch last year. It was finally put on hold after a series of blunders exposed serious problems relating to the confidentiality of patient information“, there we got the issues that the Guardian headlined with ‘NHS patient data to be made available for sale to drug and insurance firms‘ and ‘Privacy experts warn there will be no way for public to work out who has their medical records or how they are using it‘, which is actually an issue I raised more than once. So is Professor Noveck soliciting for data? Because there have been more than one marker in that paper to see as a consequence and the US in general is still massively horny for the UK NHS data sets. The report goes on for a total of 82 pages. In total it is actually a good sales pitch, but with my utterly paranoid mindset of once that data is no longer just with the NHS, the people relying on it will prefer to be dead than have to live through the aggravation that insurance companies will push them through. The page 78 mention of “the NHS could use this Brain Trust to expand its expertise outside its institutional borders. A pilot deployment would make it possible to determine empirically whether technology can bring expertise in from the outside efficiently” continues that path, because Brain Trust and expertise requires data access to set into a result. In addition ‘pilot deployment would make it possible to determine‘ tends to come with data attached, or accessible. I am not convinced that juice will be worth the squeeze and until the ghosts of data loss are set to rest (which is unlikely to ever happen), the entire sales pitch, no matter how good cloaked in 78 pages is one that the NHS needs to walk away from really fast. The PDF is at http://www.thegovlab.org/static/files/publications/nhs-health.pdf, so I will let you all decide how paranoid I am. The fact that the NHS did this with NYU and no critical report from, for example the University of Cambridge or the University of Westminster is actually an issue that a few others should make (just two of a collection of worthy investigative parties).

So is this ‘Smarter Health’ report healthy or smart? At present I fear it is neither!

 

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