Tag Archives: The Independent

Paranoimia Extremis

I have been contemplating this issue for well over two days; I had a little relief when US hospitals united in creating their own pharmacy, but that only slowed matters down. I have been contemplating the open evidence as well as other sources and the setting does not add up. To give you a proper scenario in all this, we need to look at the timeline again. For me it started in March 2018 (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/03/17/something-for-the-silver-screen/), I started the setting with ‘Something for the Silver Screen?

I gave the quote “we see ‘U.S., France and Germany join Britain in saying Russia likely responsible for chemical attack against former spy‘, the mere title. Now, I am not saying that this is not what happened, not even implying that it is some figment. Yet, why would we see ‘U.S., France and Germany join Britain‘? This is a simple murder, perhaps an assassination, or liquidation. Whatever word you use for the event, it does not matter to the person who got iced, he definitely no longer cares. But we, we should care, for us this entire situation matters.” The Washington Post woke us up and in all this, we got confronted with “She posited that either Russia was directly involved or it had lost control of a chemical weapon. Moscow responded to the ultimatum with scorn and sarcasm, ultimately blowing off May’s demands“. From my point of view, Russia had lost control of the weapon and it had done so a lot earlier then March 2018. The overreaction of ‘U.S., France and Germany join Britain‘ in something that had been known to be out in the open was weird to say the least. n that very same article on the 17th of March 2018, I also gave the goods on the OPCW. Who in their own documentation of 27th March 2013 (5 years earlier) gave us: “The name “Novichok” is used in a publication of a former Soviet scientist who reported investigating a new class of nerve agents suitable for use as binary chemical weapons. The SAB states that it has insufficient information to comment on the existence or properties of “Novichoks”“, we should all understand that a lot changes over 5 years, yet the Independent reminded us of a certain given. They gave us “In 1995, a Russian banking magnate called Ivan Kivelidi and his secretary died from organ failure after being poisoned with a military grade toxin found on an office telephone. A closed trial found that his business partner had obtained the substance via intermediaries from an employee of a state chemical research institute known as GosNIIOKhT, which was involved in the development of Novichoks“, so at this point, we have direct information that optionally the Novichok was out in the open, we see that this happened 8 years before the OPCW statement and with the concluding statement “Leonard Rink, told police he had been storing poisons in his garage and selling them to pay off debts“, we see that Leonard Rink (patsy or not) is acceptable evidence that the toxin was out in the open, it got out 13 years ago, so in all this PM Theresa May already had verifiable intelligence, intelligence that was ignored by nearly EVERY intelligence party in this.

In ‘The Red Flags‘ (https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/03/27/the-red-flags/), I bring to light the article from the Guardian. Here we see the intelligent questions. Here we also see Jeremy Corbyn with his one bright moment when we see: “Jeremy Corbyn introduced a sceptical note, questioning whether there was any evidence as to the location of its production“, which fits the doubts that we get when we see “A Russian lawyer, Boris Kuznetsov, told Reuters he was offering to pass to the British authorities a file he said might be relevant to the Salisbury case“, this is the reference to the Leonard Rink case, something that should have been a clear fact much earlier, I already had that information 10 days before this publication. I am not alone here, former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, was equally in doubt, we see that with “advocating scepticism about the UK placing blame on Russia“. I never stated that there is no Russian blame, I am however decently certain that there is no Russian State blame (that part will become evident soon enough). The fact that we now also get: “Murray, in a phone interview, is undeterred, determined to challenge the government line, in spite of having been subjected to a level of abuse on social media he had not experienced before” implies that someone has activated trolls to keep him quiet, that is in my personal opinion a first clear sign of orchestration.

The fact that the attempted (and never successful assassination) of a Russian nobody (not meant as an insult) is weird beyond believe. Whilst the media is now hiding behind ‘may have been‘ and ‘possibly‘, we see an utter lack of any evidence on how it all happened. The fact that a policeman indirectly got infected and sick becomes a new elements in all this. We are all happy that he recovered, but it now gives additional setting on the strength of the poison, what was regarded by insiders as a toxic that is deadlier then VX has so far infected 3 and killed no one. The media steers away form that and goes into their emotional tantrums to gain circulation.

I end that article with the setting of: “The Russian government is not absolved in all this, yet Theresa May did not tell us: ‘we have strong indications that a member or Russian organised crime with links to the Russian governments are behind this. No! She went straight for the Russian government and offered no clear evidence, that whilst the clear evidence could be largely dismissed in most courts with merely the use of the documents of the SAB, the OPCW and the testimony of Vil Mirzayanov“. Using the designer of the toxin is not the worst idea, but when it comes towards ‘beyond all reasonable doubt’ and the lack of evidence, I could have won this case in the Old Bailey against any seasoned QC that the British government can throw against me and as a law student I was NEVER EVER that good, which is saying something.

April 4th day (fool’s day +3)

Here in ‘Evidence by candlelight‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/04/04/evidence-by-candlelight/) we are treated to a few issues. The first is Gary Aitkenhead, even as the Guardian treated us to: ‘Porton Down experts unable to verify precise source of novichok‘, which is fair enough, we are also given “Aitkenhead said the government had reached its conclusion that Russia was responsible for the Salisbury attack by combining the laboratory’s scientific findings with information from other sources”, which is window dressing at the most, but we also get “It’s a military-grade nerve agent, which requires extremely sophisticated methods in order to create – something that’s probably only within the capabilities of a state actor“, which is what I would personally regard as an outright lie. You see, the evidence can be seen as follow:

  1. The Novichok, from earlier sources give clear indication that it had been out for 13 years.
  2. It is a military grade nerve toxin that at that point had killed none!
  3. CLASSIFIED! (Will discuss this next)

The entire setting is getting ridiculous. You see, I am about to give you my speculation, but first some facts. In this I need to take care of the ‘state actor’ part. The fact that KalVista Pharmaceuticals is half way between the two incidents was ignored by pretty much EVERYONE. Why this part matters is that this is one place where the facilities are available where a Novichok could be made (there are several more, including close to a dozen in Europe), it would have to be an inside job, but it is an option. The press never went near that part and in equal measure it sets a different stage, the toxin was not smuggled in, it is getting smuggled out. Where to is impossible to say, but it is a much more likely scenario, placing Russian organised crime in the centre of this now. You see, the fact that the first event was without fatalities, and the second one was not is also important. It might have been the second batch, equal but better refined and stronger.

To support this I need to give you some evidence (of a sort). This is found in the July 5th article called ‘Does it taste like chicken?‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/07/05/does-it-taste-like-chicken/), here we see “GC/MS and LC-MS/MS used for ‘Novichok’ agent detection”, an article from January 2017. Iranian researchers give us “The Iranian researchers synthesised five ‘Novichok’ agents, along with four deuterated analogues. They were all O-alkyl N-[bis(dimethylamino)methylidene]-P-methylphosphonamidate compounds (i.e. molecules with the typical nerve agent phosphorus group coupled to N,N,N’N’-tetramethylguanidine). The O-alkyl group was varied, with the methoxy, ethoxy, isopropoxy, phenoxy, and 2,6-dimethylphenoxy derivatives being prepared. The syntheses were carried out on a micro-scale in order to minimize exposure“, the one part to take away here is ‘carried out on a micro-scale in order to minimize exposure‘, it is actually that toxic and it also gives us an earlier part that 5 agents were created, there is more than one, so that not disclosed part is also an issue not addressed. The fact that pretty much every University library with a chemical department has access to Spectroscopy Now is not important at all, is it? The independent gives us again (2 days ago) the part that was missing here; I forgot where I had the initial part from. It is given with: “Within the environment, these agents react with water to degrade, including moisture in the air, and so in the UK they would have a very limited lifetime. This is presumably why the street in Salisbury was being hosed down as a precaution – it would effectively destroy the agent“, consider the UK, humidity and the second event being more deadly. This was never about the Nina Ricci bottle; this was about the one part that I myself ignored as it was not logical. There was a second batch, a purer batch and it was tried on a person, now people died. The entire setting is one of locality now and at this point we get the setting, it was not smuggled into the UK, it is getting moved out of the UK. This now stinks more and more towards the Russian Mafia, and less of the Russian state but we cannot prove that at present can we?

Two tourists and a bag pack

The final part is seen with the two people CCTV’ed all over the place. The pictures looked wrong, they were out of place and red flags were rising all around me. Looking around in the security business, I have been confronted with quotes like “their lack of covert tradecraft seems kind of bizarre“, “The shitty tradecraft, not just with clothes but by traveling together, and by leaving a noticeable trail“, as well as “Arriving together??? Staying together??? Leaving together?” is a first instance in all this. This is not GRU; it is not even someone likely to ever become GRU. The more evidence we watch, the less it makes sense. Yet if these two were merely members of some goon squad, we see a different setting and one that is more likely. In finality, the Daily Mail brings the best part. They are on a mission and stop in a coin shop to go shopping? The Article (at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6138541/First-chilling-CCTV-two-Russian-novichok-assassins-Salisbury.html) gives us a few more parts. But the big takeaway is not that they were seen. It seems to me that they were set on getting seen everywhere. And when it comes to ‘missions’, you take time to go shopping? Why to look inconspicuous into the camera? That too should be regarded as evidence, but not in the direction that the media and politicians are pushing us.

There is a larger play here and the Media has been part of it, not asking the important questions and merely trivialising what might have been essential. All, whilst a lot of verifiable facts are openly available, beginning with the OPCW document that are, and always have been publicly visible.

Have a great weekend!

 

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The target is killing me

The BBC gave the news 4 hours ago. We are treated to ‘Men planned ‘driverless car’ attack‘ (at https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-south-yorkshire-45409925). In the article we are also given “She said both men supported terrorist organisation, the so-called Islamic State (IS). The two had decided that improvised explosive devices (IEDs) could be made and used in the UK in a way which would spare their own lives but harm others they considered “infidels”, she said.” At this point three red flags went up. Then we see “In November he is said to have shared a propaganda video showing warfare and beheadings “to inspire supporters of IS [and] frighten those who do not support IS”“, which is red flag number 4.

Finally we are treated to “When the pair were arrested in the early hours of 19 December police seized three air rifles, two Samurai swords, a wine bottle of sulphuric acid, homemade fireworks, and “a variety of improvised homemade fuses” at Mr Star’s flat“. These are not Jihadists. They are losers in the first degree and they are playing the decoy in the second degree. When you see ‘My only attempt is to find a way to carry out martyrdom operation with cars without driver, everything is perfect only the programme is left‘ do you not get that?

The problem is not that they were caught; the issue is that they are draining essential resources. You see, from the early view (optionally not the correct one) we see the clash of ‘martyrdom operation‘ against ‘spare their own lives’; you see martyrdom opposes sparing one’s life. It is nice to see that Islamic State people are implied to be this stupid, because that is a war we can easily win, yet the reality is far from this. Some IS people are actually really intelligent and resourceful and lowering our guards will be the one fatal mistake we cannot walk away from. So the makers of ‘were trying to make an explosive device’ whilst the police went home with ‘three air rifles, two Samurai swords, a wine bottle of sulphuric acid, improvised homemade fuses‘, yes those people are indeed all kinds of dangerous, are they not? Even as this case is in the trial stage, we need to realise that the danger is still out there. Those people are not the ones in the dock. Al Bawaba gives us ‘ISIS militants in Afghanistan are still posing a potential threat to carry out attacks in the U.K. and Western Europe as they are in communication with cells there, British government warned Monday‘. That news less than 6 hours old is a more directly drastic given in this. The article gives (to the smallest degree mind you), the indication that British Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson and Andrew Parker, director general of the MI5 are not entirely up to speed on the levels of danger. Now, coming from an outsider that is quite the accusation and it is not meant to be as such. When we see: “intelligence work had thwarted 20 plots in the last four years“, I would sincerely hope that the two earlier mentioned losers are not part of that equation. You see, I look at issues in a different way and something that I was ‘accidentally’ made aware of, merely because I am from that area and I speak the local language, and it gave rise to another thought. The article (at https://www.ad.nl/rotterdam/containers-in-water-door-menselijke-fout~a8e56404/) gives us “Forty sea containers fell from an inland vessel into the water on the Second Maasvlakte. Employees of the Port Authority pushed the containers out of the navigation channel“, let’s be fair here, mistakes will be made at any given day of the week, yet the math does not add up, not even if there is a human entry error. This was not merely one or two containers; it was a bunch of them (40 to be more exact). They were empty and when we see “The seaport police is researching the matter“, I have full faith that this is being done. Yet, will they find something? You see, these were 40 empty containers, what if the weight system had been intentionally ‘offset’ to give an additional 200 Kg to the empty weight of the container and the transgressor had forgotten to properly reset the system after they were done. Take that by 40 and we now get an 8 tonnes error; now we have a setting of a game; now we have the foundation of the problem. You see, I kind of remember (I am pleading the fifth here children) that the transport options for the people engaged in discrete entry and removal operations tended to have really good options if they could only get the goods to the UK and for the most, the police would concentrate on the Belgium and German borders. UK Customs tend not to dig too deep into any container and the weight would have been the trigger in those cases. Now we know that container weight and cargo weight makes for the total weight. We know the trailer weight, we know the cargo weight and the rest is computer calculated in an instant when the truck goes over the scales. So as the offset of 200 Kg was achieved there will be no alert. When you consider that a full 40 ft. container can be anywhere between 18 and 23 tonnes, the mindset will be set on only the ones raising flags and then more often than not only when the provider is an unknown one. So ever since the 90’s there has been a setting of partial containers (a container with 2 or more users), and adding a pallet of flat screen TV’s is an easy thing, and 50 displays per container leave no mark and when packed on a pallet and foiled all around leave no mark at all, an easy 25K, adding a bag of the white stuff (more risky) allows that profit to go to 2.5M, yup that is the easy money and now that we see that Some ISIS and IS supporters are willing to dish out serious cash, we see that an almost empty display with 1Kg of C4 is at present almost as rewarding as the white stuff and cannot be detected in similar ways. Add one container in the entire bunch set to setting off the alarms and not offsetting that container means that the basic defences seemingly work, everyone feels like a champion and 4 containers with C4 got through. That is an actual danger and many of the playing parties are still a bit in the dark whilst too many people focus on Andy Star and Farhad Salah. So whilst these individuals are stating that they supported ‘the so-called Islamic State‘, whilst in fact they are all about singing the song:

I love the limelight
I want to nooky
whilst I’m creaming the ground, oh yea.

Yes it is a whole new day for those wannabe’s; they too could get lucky at some point. Yet the dangers remain and I am slightly more worried that the statistics are changing as we underestimate the actual IS threat because of people like these two.

Oh, and before you think that they had any brain cells, consider the earlier mentioned part with ‘he is said to have shared a propaganda video showing warfare and beheadings “to inspire supporters of IS [and] frighten those who do not support IS”‘, so as they wanted to have that Sci-Fi solution in place, they give visibility to themselves by sharing a video that screams ‘We are here!’, yes like that would be the best course on any given day. The fact that it took up to 5 weeks after the shared video to arrest them is an equal worry on a few levels, but let’s not go there for now, because in equal measure it took weeks to consider that the ‘three air rifles‘ might have been considered Weapons of Optional Destruction, which is a new acronym in all this and intelligence logistics would have been required to validate the WOD acronym is currently assigned to ‘Workout of the Day‘ confusing MI-5 to optionally walk into the wrong Gym during an operation.

Yet the setting is not merely eerie, we see in several ways that this is still going on in a lucrative scale. Even as the Dutch police was able to capture a corrupt harbour worker with 363 Kg of Cocaine, I remain in the setting that he only got caught as Greed became his middle name and at that point, the chance of exposure grows exponentially with every shipment. It is the patient one, the one with a setting of small portions, that is the one who does not get captured and let’s not forget, after the container makes it into the UK, after that, on route the seal can be broken and at that point, finding the culprit becomes the stuff of nightmares (aka not the one you will find). Now we get the good stuff, because if it is not the large option, we see that the additional danger is not the drugs, but the 4 displays having 1Kg of one of the 2 Novichok parts, so 4Kg of processed Novichok, that is the actual danger and even as we are treated now to the news that Charlie Rowley has lost hope and doesn’t have long left to live, we must equally realise that we still do not know the transgressors. I refuse to believe (without any actual proper evidence) that this was the Russian State, not whilst the Russian Mafia is ten times more likely and above them is the true optional culprit Islamic State, or Islamic State sympathisers (funding the facilitators mind you), willing to become the martyr, an ‘actual’ martyr, not one interested in the setting to ‘spare their own lives‘, that is the growing danger and in all this the proper solution is yet to be found. If there is one given at present is that the optional trial runs should have been considered a success from their point of view. The fact that something as fast acting as a Novichok is seemingly still instilling death 2 months later. So even as we have an issue with News.com.au giving us ‘Novichok victim Charlie Rowley ‘close to death’ in the UK‘, as well as ‘This article originally appeared in The Sun and is republished here with permission‘ a mere 5 hours ago (at https://www.news.com.au/world/europe/novichok-victim-charlie-rowley-close-to-death-in-the-uk/news-story/549fb81c17db8ff0400cedf488b33abd), whilst (at https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/novichok-poisoning-salisbury-attack-russia-charlie-rowley-meningitis-loss-eyesight-a8522991.html), we see ‘Novichok poisoning victim Charlie Rowley treated for meningitis and loss of eyesight‘, as well as ‘45-year-old hopes to be discharged ‘in next two or three weeks’‘ one hour ago. So if the media cannot get their fucking act together, how can we ever resolve the dangers to our nation when greed and circulation decides on what is true? In the end it is not whether Al-Qaeda and ISIS are trying to kill us, it is whether the media is enabling to do just that for them is becoming a much more important question. I personally have a lot more faith in the Independent than the other providers, but in all this someone needs to take a serious look at the news released and the factual setting o the stage, because being pointed at the wrong target is just as dangerous as ignoring that the target and method exists.

I will let you decide on where the danger is, but make sure that you choose wisely because in the end you might only get one shot at the factual danger, so make it count.

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She was not ready

As subtlety goes, I am happy to throw it out of the window this morning (a lack of coffee does this to me). You see, when we get the situation that the guy states that it did not matter whether she was ready or not, mainly because it only costs him $50, regardless what comes (or is that who). You might wonder where this is going, this is not going there, we are talking about banking. It does not matter who you screw and how you screw people over, when ‘she’ is not ready (or willing), it potentially constitutes a crime and you can throw ‘potentially’, as I personally see it straight out of the window. So why are we not getting angry? Why are we confronted with ‘TSB plunges to £107.4m loss as bill for IT chaos reaches £176m‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/jul/27/tsb-plunges-to-107m-loss-as-bill-for-it-chaos-reaches-176m). When we see: “bank has resolved only a third of 135,403 complaints“, why is there not a front page leading with the CPS investigating issues at the TSB? When we are confronted with “The payouts that followed a botched IT transfer from its former parent Lloyds to the new owner, Sabadell, a Spanish bank, in April pushed TSB into a first-half loss of £107.4m, compared with a profit of £108.3m in the same period last year“, we see a dangerous setting and there is no investigation? When we see the Financial Times on June 22nd 2018 (at https://www.ft.com/content/32749936-7561-11e8-aa31-31da4279a601), giving us the “customer of Bank of Scotland last month asked to withdraw £5,000 at her local branch in Leven, north of Edinburgh, the cashier thought the amount was unusual and asked her to speak to the branch manager. The pensioner explained that she needed the cash to pay workmen who had asked if she would like some half-price work on her driveway. Spotting a potential scam, the branch manager called the police, invoking a scheme that came into effect last year dubbed the “banking protocol”. Officers responded immediately and arrested six men at the customers’ house“, so in that case we go all out on 6 men, but we now see a setting where ‘135,403 complaints‘ are a potential issue involving many millions, and we are not looking deeper and setting the limelight on a level of negligence close to unique in banking. So what gives?

This does not come lightly, you see, when you take a scalpel to the quote: “The bank admitted that while it’s mobile app, online and telephone banking services are “much improved”, problems remain. The chief executive, Paul Pester, who defied calls to resign over the handling of the meltdown, said: “We’re making progress in resolving the service problems customers experienced following our IT migration and we will continue to work tirelessly until we have put things right.”“, we get the following:

  • The bank admitted that with its mobile app, problems remain.
  • The bank admitted that with its online banking services, problems remain.
  • The bank admitted that with its telephone banking services, problems remain.
  • The chief executive, Paul Pester has been called to resign over the handling of the meltdown.
  • We have been currently unable to resolve the service problems customers experienced.

Reread the previous quote and you can see that it is all there.

This setting does not merely impact some parts of the IT setting; it involves failure on the levels of

  1. Documenting the changes required.
  2. Verifying the document is accurate and confirmed form the UK and Spanish side
  3. Presenting the required steps to the board members letting it be scrutinised
  4. Analysing the migration test run and testing it for the setting of trial version against the live databases
  5. Doing a small segment live run to test for optional missed failures
  6. The QA report on the path to see if any issues were missed.

These are merely 6 steps in the most shallow of tests required to see if the changes would hold, yet in all this, with the setting of ‘135,403 complaints‘, there is a clear indication that more than just a few issues were missed.

It gets to be a larger issue with “Savings balances fell by nearly £1bn, while 26,000 account holders switched to other banks. Breaking down the £176m bill, TSB has so far paid £115.8m in direct customer redress, £30.7m to fix “operating defects” and £29.9m in lost income after it waived fees and charges to customers“, when I am confronted with ‘£30.7m to fix “operating defects”‘, we are confronted with a much larger issue than the 6 points show, It implies that the preparation and QA was close to completely missed. Even as we also see the implied £0.02 from TSB Marketing towards the Guardian, the truth of the presented “TSB said it remains one of the most financially secure banks in the UK and despite the highly publicised problems it had attracted 20,000 new customers“, you see, an actual secure bank does not lose £1,000 million, and neither does it stage the setting where 26,000 account holders do the ‘Nintendo Switch’ towards another bank. In addition, there is no verification for the quality of the implied ‘20,000 new customers‘, yet the loss of optional 26,000 loyal account holders might prove to be a much larger loss down the track. That is not given and the Guardian is not giving us those goods here (because we can accept that this loss is for now unknown).

The setting intensifies with “TSB was heavily criticised for its initially slow response to the crisis but has since hired 1,800 people and redeployed 700 staff internally to help stabilise its services“, so not only are people redeployed, 1,800 staff members need to be trained (I have done that for years, so I can already see the additional dangers not shown yet), there will be a learning curve, in addition the added stresses might make the chance of introducing new flaws and errors larger.

Even as TSB is for all settings decently adapt in shifting blame, with “On 22 April 2018 TSB moved from an IT system rented from Lloyds Banking Group to a new IT system provided by Sabis. As TSB outlined to the Treasury select committee in June, from internal investigations it appears that the design of the platform itself is robust but that the deployment on to the technical infrastructure led to many of the problems. TSB and Sabis therefore shifted the focus of the internal investigation towards the testing regime in Sabis and its providers“, the mere fact that a shift like that requires a shadow run of no less than 1 quarter, even if that means hiring 60 people trailing 6,000-10,000 accounts, that would have revealed a lot of the issues. So the evidence we see with ‘the deployment on to the technical infrastructure led to many of the problems‘, the 6 points mentioned earlier, the test runs and the shadow phase would have shown this. Now we have a, what I would personally regard as a setting of corporate negligence. You see, TSB cannot shift the blame, they are part of this and the proper testing was required on both sides. I would never want a CTO who had not been in the depth of the transfer from beginning to end, and if TSB had no proper CTO, continuing should not have been an option.

It gets even worse, when we see the Independent (at https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/tsb-bank-losses-it-fiasco-cost-paul-pester-a8466856.html), who gives us “some reported being able to see other people’s financial details“, it’s a phishing hackers dream to get that far in any bank, for the bank to directly allow the viewing of this is just beyond normal comprehension. So as even the Independent is slightly soft on Paul Pester, they end with “The chief executive will not receive a £2m bonus he was due to collect for successful completion of the integration between TSB and its parent company Sabadell“, which would have been the straw that breaks the camel’s back. You see, the issue is larger than you think, when you consider the additional flaws that were revealed in publications going all the way back to February 2018. The Business Insider gave us the TSB goods on Crypto currency. So consider the IT failure and the setting of: “We don’t block payments for customers wishing to purchase crypto currencies when they use a TSB credit card or debit card, however we continue to monitor the use of crypto currencies and we will review our position on an ongoing basis“, which would have required additional testing on any system moving for one to the other, so additional tests were either not done, or not properly reported on. Now also consider the IBM report mention from June 2018. Here we see (at http://www.cityam.com/287976/ibm-report-suggests-tsb-testing-not-rigorous-enough-before), when we see: “Consultants from IBM told the embattled bank’s board that it had not seen evidence of the kind of testing it would expect of the risky migration process. The meltdown started on 22 April, when TSB had planned to complete a migration of its systems to a new system, away from a platform run by former owner Lloyds Banking Group“, as well as “IBM has not seen evidence of the application of a rigorous set of go-live criteria to prove production readiness,” according to the report, which was created as an update to the TSB board on 29 April, four days after IBM was hired and almost a week after the first signs of problems at the bank. IBM would expect “world class design rigour, test discipline, comprehensive operational proving” for a task of similar complexity and scale, the report said. However, the bank’s testing before the launch may have not given enough evidence to proceed, the report suggested. Previous examples have taken place over a longer time frame, with multiple trials, and did not attempt to migrate the entire customer base simultaneously“.

Now consider that the IBM report was given on April 29th, yet the making of the report suggests that part of this visibility was there as early as March. When you consider these events, how come that the SFO and the CPS is not all over this? It will not matter whether there is a case in the end, their absence is a setting that shows that there is a much larger issue at the banks and TSB might not be alone, but merely the most visible and stupid player.

So even as the TSB hides behind the spokesperson giving us: “The IBM document contained a preliminary work plan with very early hypotheses based on observations to date, that were produced after only three days of engagement with TSB. The content is therefore now very much out of date, really? My 6-point list took a mere 5 minutes, I am certain that IBM has a lot more than I have, and for the ‘out of date‘ part? 26,000 customers leaving and 135,403 complaints, shows that the issues is a lot larger than a trivialised IBM report.

So when I see: “nor were they a validated view of what went wrong or of the actions that have subsequently been taken. Without this context, this document could be misinterpreted to the detriment of TSB’s customers“, I would like to tell this spokesperson (who seems to not be named anywhere) that ‘actions that have subsequently been taken‘, are actions when it was already too late, they should have been prevented! In addition, with well over one hundred and thirty five thousand complaints, the detriment of TSB customers have been achieved by internal actions alone, the IBM report might merely show how stupid these yet to be presented documented actions have been.

There is one additional part in this, and even as we see it as a sign for some crucifixions on banking levels, yet the given Financial Times in May that gives us ‘TSB turned down help from Lloyds during IT failure‘, with the additional “Lloyds had made an open-ended offer to use its own expertise to help TSB, but TSB declined. TSB has since recruited a team from technology group IBM to help it identify and fix the problems“, we see a path that TSB could validly have taken, yet to not include the one provider with years of experience on the TSB account and system usage seems not too great a decision. In addition, we see this (at https://www.ft.com/content/7159ae84-5798-11e8-b8b2-d6ceb45fa9d0), yet what we equally need to consider is that with “TSB’s new system was unable to cope with the volume of customers when it went live“, we see another failure, something that comes with the preparation before things transfers, the entire data load and bandwidth requirement that the new systems require to have, In my personal view it needs to be the current load +50%, not merely because customers tend to get nervous when ‘a new system‘ comes into play, the fact that there are moments when peaks come play (like Christmas shopping), systems tend to get tested to the max, not in April when no one has anything special in mind. In addition, it seems that TSB is relying again and again on ‘Our teams have continued to work around the clock‘, so how long until those teams get a burnout? The same excuse is reused for months now, so either they have been paying triple rates to staff members, or TSB ends up not even being close to a legal setting where they can walk away from anything. That view is seen in the Guardian the April edition, where we saw “Sabadell was warned in 2015 that its ambitious plan was high risk and that it was likely to cost far more than the £450m Lloyds was contributing to the effort. “It is not overly generous as a budget for that scale of migration,” John Harvie, a director of the global consultancy firm Protiviti, told the Financial Times in July 2015. But the Proteo system was designed in 2000 specifically to handle mergers such as that of TSB into the Spanish group, and Sabadell pressed ahead” that part alone should have been the setting where the board of TSB would have required to be up in arms every step of the way. So who were the board members, and which of them have actual IT, Technology and data quality experience? Is that not the weirdest question to ask when we are confronted with crash issues that should have been clearly identified in the preparation and identification phase of a project like this?

So whilst you are lulled to sleep with: ‘we will continue to work tirelessly until we have put things right‘, continue to think what else a bank could lose, or publicly propagate that impacts your life. In the end, the damage is not over and when we see the imbalance not be resolved, IBM might actually end up advising that for now, the return move towards Lloyd’s will be the only remaining sane act in play. How much more is that going to cost both TSB and Sabadell?

A setting that took a mere 5 minutes to see and I haven’t even had my first cup of coffee yet.

In the end, how ready was the bank? It seems not very ready, not ready at all.

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Chivalry vs Rivalry

The news is still hanging onto several things that are playing. This is not a bad thing; this is the setting as news moves forward and remains news. Even when we consider the events in Saudi Arabia, where we get the Guardian quote: “Saudi Arabia has rushed to boost oil production under pressure from US President Donald Trump – only to discover that global markets might not need it yet, according to some financial experts“, we see that certain players do not tend to use a presidency as a tool, so the quote might be correct, but there is a game in play, played between Donald Trump and Wall Street. So far it works, because everyone thinks he is an idiot, that is the popular story, but I am not convinced. This is direct and it is with purpose, so something else will rear its ugly head soon enough. Yet this is not about that. You see, when it comes down to chivalry versus rivalry, we see that chivalry is dead, it has no place anymore. Even as Saudi Arabia wanted to come to the aid of America, we see the news that “the Saudis are struggling to sell as much extra oil as they’d hoped and are privately fretting that they may have opened the taps too quickly, according to people briefed by Riyadh in the last few days“, it this merely an American ply to keep the reserves maxed so the President can haul away a cheap political victory as heating prices remain low this coming winter?

Even as the Independent offers: “Societe Generale’s Mr Wittner, said: “We have hardly started to see a reduction in flows from Iran. Though there’s a lot of crude coming out from Saudi Arabia now, spare capacity is really going to be the big issue going forward. And spare capacity is getting very tight very quickly.”“, I am not convinced that this is about Iran; this is about keeping prices down over the next 8 months. The flow fall of Iran is merely a nice bonus. Even as we start on oil, we now see that a similar fight is going on in entertainment, the actual issue. In the light of Netflix against the world, we see a few changes that are now more adamant and also impacting us all. The Guardian starts the event with: “Below-par subscriber numbers last week were bad news for a service that must keep growing to survive. How will it respond?“, yet the story is not there. You see, from my point of view, 100 million subscribers is nothing to sneer at and the saturation makes new members a much harder setting, it is by no means the setting for a down draft. Even last week, when I wrote ‘Pushers of media value‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/07/17/pushers-of-media-value/), I was confronted with several responses, that I was crazy, that there was no saturation. Yet now we see in the Guardian: ““Netflix’s big challenge is maintaining growth worldwide while its customer base saturates in core western markets,” says Richard Broughton, analyst at Ampere. “Netflix is having to work ever harder to gain new subscribers.” The low-cost nature of the streaming service – a premium subscription costs £9.99 per month in the UK and $13.99 in the US – means that it needs inexorable growth to pay for its content“, so apparently with ‘while its customer base saturates in core western markets‘ my setting shows to be the correct one. Now that we have that out of the way, and for now I ignore the one market that Netflix ignored in the UK and a few other places, worth close to an additional £15 million a month, we see that Netflix is for now all about the “it costs a lot of money to attract a Hollywood star such as Will Smith to a sci-fi film like Bright – and in recent years it has been raised by about $1bn annually. Netflix is stuck in a costly and precarious cycle“, Netflix has chosen a short term solution that will go nowhere in about 3 years.

It is the setting of the man who makes a deal with the devil, to bring 10 souls a day to stay out of hell, and accepting a 20% annual increase, as a sales director he accepts it, because he knows it can be done, yet souls are not revenue and in 3 years he needs to have accumulated 12,230 souls. After 6 years it is up to 34,200. A setting that started with 10 souls has now been increased to 25 a day, no option to fail. Greed is like that, it has no problems, because in the end the house wins or collapses, until the second happens, all serving the house are in a spiral of servitude with sliding morals. You see, the first 10 years seems fine, but after 10 years the daily soul quota has gone up to 51 a day and after that it gets interesting with decennial party where 319 souls a day will be required. That is the game everyone forgets about, steps absent of long term vision with in the end the executive having to hand over his soul, no matter what. The house of greed always wins!

Netflix is now in that downward spiral, not when it comes to members, but the setting to gain followers, set against the tides of resources, that is the war they cannot win, not until they resist temptation and take it to a very different level. They have the option and the means, but will they be willing to take the plunge?

Rivalry

This is the setting of greed, rivalry is everything, because now that Netflix has shown the value, now that the others are seeing that the setting is not merely revenue, it is massive profit for the one holding the data, that is the setting that we now get with: “Netflix was able to get hold of the rights to TV shows and films on the cheap. Rights owners and future rivals had not identified the global potential of subscription video-on-demand rights, and Netflix prospered. The value of those rights has now spiralled, which has pushed up Netflix’s content budgets and fuelled its drive to produce its own content“, there are solutions and the nice part is that both the UK and Australia have a leg up in all this, they have an advantage if the proper person gets the parties working together, but can they realise the potential that is still out in the open for the next person to grab?

I am certain that the issue is there, but sees it? I am not giving away the plot here, because there are three aces up for grabs, the question is whoever holds the fourth ace is in the running to get the clean sweep. Yet, the second party is Netflix, are they up to the task to get set up for the chop? That is the game, it is not merely winner takes all, failure is at this stage slightly too dangerous. It took me a day to realise the opportunity, because even as an IP master, I had to wonder how far it could be stretched, yet it can in the Commonwealth and as far as I can tell in the US as well, so this gives Netflix the option, however, to get this up and running, they need to truly focus. It cannot be half baked!

The next pitfall

With “Youth-targeted shows such as Stranger Things and Thirteen Reasons Why have been major hits, but Netflix faces some of the same pressures caused by the rapid generational shift in viewing habits“, that is true, but in that same setting, we see that in some cases everything old is new again, so there is space and place to grow and to do that, a first step is needed, but are the shareholders willing to play the longer game, a game that could potentially grow value by 400%? The long game is not something that shareholders are good at. They believe in short term gratification (not just on 42nd street mind you), so the game is optionally out of the hands of the Americans, giving the UK and Australia now a partial advantage over America on the entertainment business and there is plenty of famous entertainers here, beyond the Australian King and Queen (Geoffrey Rush & Cate Blanchett). This gets us to the final part in all this. The quote “Netflix’s long-term strategy is that it has to increase its revenue from subscribers; it needs to move into those content genres to replicate the journey of traditional pay-TV companies,” says Mulligan. “You need a full suite of content if you want to be a real substitute, not just an additive service.”” we see here is a dangerous one. I do not completely agree with Tim Mulligan, analyst at MIDiA Research. You see, he relates Netflix back to TV, yet we all forget that Netflix is not merely new, it is in a position to become more than: ‘the large new kid on the block‘, yet what Tim fails to see is that Netflix is optionally the new cornerstone of entirely different block, Netflix has been setting new grounds, but the inconceivable still exists, Netflix and rivals have the option to become the rulers of Tinsel town II, a setting that scares Hollywood and the large players in cinematography. They know that this is still a reality that they face and it makes every analyst take a 90 degree turn, but the reality is that short sighted on what makes for any Tinsel town is the opportunity that hands Netflix the goods. Whilst the realisation of avoiding ‘value of those rights has now spiralled, which has pushed up Netflix’s content budgets and fuelled its drive to produce its own content‘ is clearly there, the fact that no one sees the options available is equally disturbing, are they not seeing it, or are they too scared and pushing away FROM it, two very different realities. and one is a steal to own if you see beyond the 4 lines that makes the square that some analysts put you in, realising that lines on a map mean nothing to the map itself, only then can you embrace the new course where those talking the leap have an option (if ALL the conditions are right) to become the new rulers of a market no one saw coming in the first place.

That is what separates the visionaries from the second rate followers.

 

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Trusting Anti-trust cases?

Today will be about Jennifer Rankin and her article ‘Google fined £3.8bn by EU over Android antitrust violations’. First off, it is a good article, she did absolutely nothing wrong (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/jul/18/google-faces-record-multibillion-fine-from-eu-over-android). We get the goods (not all mind you) but a clear picture and that is what I like, a clear picture to work with.

Right off the bat we start with “Google has been hit with a landmark €4.34bn (£3.8bn) fine by the European Union over “serious illegal behaviour” to secure the dominance of its search engine on mobile phones“. Interesting setting as there are Android based phones and IOS (Apple brand X phones). The android systems ALL have full access to Google. As for the search engine, there are two elements. The first the engine for searching itself, which is in android, giving us an open source setting and (at https://searchcode.com/), you can take a look yourself, now you will still need the skills to program, but that is a discussion for another day. The second part is to find stuff, which requires the PageRank. Now we have an issue, because (as the Americans say): ‘that shit is patented!‘ plain and simple. Whilst Microsoft and IBM were belittling Google in 1999 (heard it myself in the UK) Google was working and growing in what is now defined as ‘the development of the Android mobile operating system, the Google Chrome web browser, and Chrome OS, a lightweight operating system based on the Chrome browser‘, it took 5 years for them to get serious traction and whilst they grew, the other two were marketing their BS on every level whilst trusting in VP and players who actually did not know any of their shit, people relying on PowerPoint presentations, bullet points and hype expressions. Now we get the first part that matters: “The European commission imposed the record penalty after finding that the US tech firm required smartphone manufacturers to pre-install Google’s search and browser apps on devices using its Android operating system, which is used on 80% of all phones“. This is the first part. You see, there is a merely a partial truth and it is largely incomplete. Any mobile smartphone needs an OS. So we have Apple with IOS, there is or was) Blackberry, Microsoft and Google with Android. The rest was either not willing or eager to play on any serious level. They all had this: ‘it is much better going for larger systems‘. Even the larger players ignored the power of Mobile and Smartphones for too long. That evidence is seen with NBC where we see “In a farewell post on LinkedIn, Microsoft’s former head of Windows, Terry Myerson, explained why Microsoft failed in the smartphone business“, (at https://www.cnbc.com/2018/03/29/why-microsoft-failed-in-phones.html). The quote: “It comes down to two problems: Underestimating Android’s business model, and building on an older technical platform that wasn’t quite ready for the job“. So in two mere dimensions we see the acknowledgment of large corporations set in a place of short sighted expectations whilst using a narrow minded business model. That is apart from the issues that Windows Mobile had, I wanted to add that list of issues, but I calculated that this section would be no less than 6000 words, with the additional issues on Windows 10 mobile adding a serious amount of words to the 6000 words required. Blackberry did not survive the times either. It had a good platform, but ultimately too expensive for most businesses. It is still going on, but not in the same way it was. Blackberry was not flawed, it focused on specific groups and those groups, those who choose Blackberry will love it forever, it merely could not hold up the settings there were, I reckon that the 2008 crash wiped well over 35% of their customer base instantly, a setting that many corporations tend to see as a fatal blow, Blackberry was no exception. So 50% of the ‘larger’ players are already gone, none of it had anything to do with Google, or with the patented parts. So I would love to scrutinise the Danish Margrethe Vestager (without resorting to Denmark and Hamlet). It starts with: “Google has used its Android mobile phone operating system “to cement its dominance as a search engine”, preventing rivals from innovating and competing “and this is illegal under EU antitrust rules”” No! They did not! We see the clear admission from Terry Myerson giving us ‘building on an older technical platform that wasn’t quite ready for the job‘, knowing that already sets one of the two outside of the consideration. I have given the audience evidence again and again on how stupidity rules at Microsoft. The Surface and Xbox platforms are two distinctive places where this is visible. Both have a narrow minded setting, both are short sighted and even the business approach to grow the customer base failed to do its job. Reuters gave us that last year with ‘Microsoft Surface devices fail on reliability: Consumer Reports‘, an overpriced system that cannot even get close to 80% of what Apple could do with its very first iPad in 2011. In addition Reuters gives us: “The non-profit publication surveyed 90,000 tablet and laptop owners and found that an estimated 25 percent of those with Microsoft Surface devices would be presented with “problems by the end of the second year of ownership,” according to a study published on Thursday“, how can any device with a 25% failure issue be in the market in the first place, and it is very connected, as this is the mobile industry, the mobile industry is more than merely a mobile phone, all connected devices that rely on mobile technology (Wi-Fi or cellular) are part of that failure. The Reuters article (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-microsoft-surface-idUSKBN1AQ1EP) we also get “According to the Consumer Reports survey responses, the Microsoft devices were found to freeze, unexpectedly shut down or have issues with their touchscreens, Beilinson said. Altogether, the reliability issues made Microsoft a statistical outlier compared with other brands. Apple Inc. had the most reliable devices, Beilinson said“, so how many corporations should be considered when they are the outlier in a negative way? #JustAsking

It is time to look at article 101 (antitrust) (at https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=CELEX:12008E101&from=EN). Here we see:

  1. The following shall be prohibited as incompatible with the internal market: all agreements between undertakings, decisions by associations of undertakings and concerted practices which may affect trade between Member States and which have as their object or effect the prevention, restriction or distortion of competition within the internal market, and in particular those which:
    (a) directly or indirectly fix purchase or selling prices or any other trading conditions; (not charging for a service is a right anyone has)
    (b) limit or control production, markets, technical development, or investment; (impeding your own technical development, intentional or not is merely your own visionary stupidity)
    (c) share markets or sources of supply;
    (d) apply dissimilar conditions to equivalent transactions with other trading parties, thereby placing them at a competitive disadvantage; (nope, the non-patented part of android is open to anyone)
    (e) make the conclusion of contracts subject to acceptance by the other parties of supplementary obligations which, by their nature or according to commercial usage, have no connection with the subject of such contracts.

The first issue is that the Page rank which is part of this is patented, so there is already a setting of exclusion. The fact that the others are 10 year late to the party is equally evidence that there is a wrongful conviction here. The setting that they are all scared with the coming of 5G, whilst Apple and Google are the ONLY ONES who will be decently ready, both ending up with a massive market share. We see at this point the third failure of Microsoft. You see, it was not merely the two that Terry Myerson stated at CNBC, the ‘Underestimating Android’s business model‘, as well as the ‘an older technical platform that wasn’t ready for the job‘, it is to some extent the ‘25 percent of those with Microsoft Surface devices‘ failing, they are all connected to overlapping user groups making the damage even larger. The Xbox debacle that showed a bullying setting of ‘always online’ as well as storage shortage issues (a killer in the mobile devices), their bullying setting of pushing people online is equally part of the failure. It was the fourth part that truly took Microsoft out of the race. Google (as I personally see it) looked at roughly 1.7 million university students and looked at where the future was pointing. They saw where the future was heading and they build on that long term view. Just look at the Gmail storage, the YouTube facilitation, and to openness of their business suite apps, just a few examples. Over 3 years I have only two parts where I missed Microsoft Office a little, over 3 years that is nothing. That in a setting where Microsoft went into the ‘greed’ setting it becomes a lot more funny, especially when we see students having to get by a few dollars a day, yet Microsoft has a $199 version for these students, yes it will be cloud, secure (so they say) and update cost free, a subscription service. Google merely states $0, on the cloud. You tell me what students want! The issues are linked, because Microsoft had been actively growing the anti-Microsoft feelings for almost a decade. I understand that Microsoft has a business model and ‘free software’ is an issue for them, they have a right to be like hat. Google understood that the poor students who hardly can keep a budget now, are going to be the executives of tomorrow, those people then are executives now and they all embrace Google (well, most of them anyway). There was no force, there was no (how did that Danish lady put it?) ‘Restriction or distortion of competition within the internal market‘, many went to iPhone and IOS and Google is fine with that. No, the issue is that the other players are confronted with the stupidity of the previous post holders and that is an issue now, it links together.

By not realising the future 15 years ago, the present is close to unobtainable for them. I watched how I saw again and again how some of them went by ‘We are now working on the new technology surpassing the others‘ again and again (and not delivering). You merely need to find the history of ‘SPSS Data entry for Windows‘ and realise that this was an excellent way to lose 6000 businesses, and close to 35,000 users (relabeling it ‘form design software’ was never a solution). Microsoft went in that same direction and now they are close to side lined from the next technology by their own stupidity. No resources, no ‘know-how’ and no vision, yet Google is the big bad wolf here!

This is the underlying story that links it all and some companies are merely indicative, but they overall went the same direction. So where we see ‘preventing rivals from innovating and competing‘, I see that this was not the case, they merely went a greed driven path (OK, I admit, I should say ‘revenue driven path’), whilst actual new technology is all about innovation and never about iteration. Microsoft, after IBM the larger player feeling left out has shown us on several fields that innovation is merely marketing, not actively pursuing issues and with a ‘25% failure issue’ setting in the Surface department, I believe that their flaws are clearly shown. It becomes more of a farce when we see “Vestager added: “The vast majority of users simply take what comes with their device and don’t download competing apps.”“, users want what works; we are not interesting in a $199 fee for apps that they we get for free, ask any student. There are apparently 207 million higher education students globally, ask them! In addition, that mere setting where we see the onus of the user, to not look for more is punishing a company because the users are lazy? Since when can we convict Google for not installing in the second degree, because the user was lazy?

In many situations there are no competing apps, not of any quality that is and when you look in the Google play, we see that the users are allowed to set the tone. I will be the first to agree, that there are issues and that there might have been a case to some extent. Microsoft faced that years ago when it was still in the delusional setting that they had the better browser. Now we see a different picture. Now we are faced with IBM that put everything on Watson (not sure if that was a good idea), but it can facilitate to the larger degree in every direction, including the third parties banking on 5G, IBM is eager to oblige. Microsoft has nowhere to go, they burned down their options and as they screwed up again and again, it has nothing left but to sulk like a little child. Just consider the upcoming Microsoft Surface Go, for people with budgets. Now consider the News we are given: “With a starting price of $469, the Apple iPad (with Wi-Fi connectivity only) is the winner on affordability”, “The consumer/education version is priced at $599 and will run Windows 10 Home in S mode – which only allows apps that are available in the Windows store”, all this, for a system not out yet, and the Australian Financial Review (at https://www.afr.com/technology/mobiles-and-tablets/will-the-surface-go-boldly-where-other-tablets-cannot-20180713-h12n71) gives us: “Why has Microsoft just released a tablet at a time when almost everyone is buying smartphones and almost no one is buying tablets? Sales of tablets such as Apple’s iPad have been in steep decline since 2015, a decline that shows no signs of reversing in the next four or five years, analysts say”, so in that setting another optional failure is introduced. That whilst I saw it coming, just as the short sighted failures that are part what now with giggles is called the ‘most powerful console on the market’ (The Xbox One X), that is the company that is connected to all this.

That part can be found in a few places. In this case I give you the New York Post where (at https://nypost.com/2015/04/15/microsoft-the-big-winner-in-google-antitrust-lawsuit/) we see “While Google CEO Larry Page took his lumps with the suit, Microsoft, very quietly, came out the big winner, sources said. “Microsoft complained a lot,” said a source with direct knowledge of the situation. “Microsoft definitely counselled the [EC], suggesting it made sense to send Google a statement of objections so Google would be forced to produce documents” showing its search-result recipe, another source said”, this was a joke 3 years in the making. I hope that I can turn that joke on these losers as they have diminished consumer trust in their narrow minded way (not to mention short sighted ways).

Even when we turn this in another direction through the Register two month ago (at https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/05/21/antitrust_google_us_government/), where we see ‘On 20th anniversary of Microsoft antitrust, US Treasury Sec calls for Google monopoly probe‘, I am not arguing how right or wrong it is. I am merely pointing out that Google went in a direction that was long term, whilst all the others went into the short term path that was demanded from their board of directors, who for the most could not read a spreadsheet properly because the bullet points were missing (their optional opposition to the NRA perhaps?). That was the setting and those with vision are dumbfounded and they got hurt through the inadequacy of stupid people.

So the Danish party was already active then. What is an issue is Jeremy Stoppelman, he had vision with Yelp, even as he did not understand certain markets (miscalculated is a better word), he had faith in his product, which I applaud. it worked for a while, yet I see that bad choices (unfortunate choices is a better setting) impacted it all, so even as Yelp failed to meet expectations, if it survives and gets 5G traction, it will be ahead of others a decent amount, it turned down Google who wanted them when the going was good and he would have had a strong place if he had taken that part, but it was his decision and I applaud him for it. Yelp and Turnstyle Analytics would have an optional strong 5G setting if it had kept international operations and grow the data the way they had, it will not be easy now for them, but I digress. With: “Mnuchin’s comments on Google came after a special 60 Minutes episode that focused in part on the company and its effective search monopoly. That segment was notable for the inclusion of two people: EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager and Yelp founder Jeremy Stoppelman“, yet all parties have their ‘its effective search monopoly‘, what they are not telling us is that they had a vision that everyone would come with a future need and they got Stanford University to create the algorithm that got patented. All the other players remained dumb to the future. And then we get the one gem I expected: “Also, the EU announced it was launching a probe of Google’s Android operating system to see if its agreements with cellular phone makers was hurting rivals. While Microsoft likely does not care much about search preference, “the investigation throws sand in the gears of Google’s innovation,” the former FTC official said“, so there it is ‘agreements with cellular phone makers was hurting rivals‘, phone makers had options, Apple had its own system and there are NO non-Apple IOS phones. Interesting that this does not make that cut is it? An open system was offered and the alternative Microsoft (rejected because it was not up to the job), Blackberry (is only after the collapse that it became an option to others), we see that Google has an open option, yet they are the boogeymen. So we get two elements, a partially failed entrepreneur (only in part) and a limelight seeking politician. The power of the google Appeal is found in a simple statement: “Her staff ran through over a billion Google searches and found that Google was knowingly manipulating its search algorithms to promote its own products and push competitors far down the ranking“, that evidence must be shown in court and get scrutinised! You see, the timeline for a billion searches can only partially be automated and those results can be used by Google as evidence against Margrethe Vestager as well. The evidence of ‘manipulating its search algorithms‘ will be equally a discussion point putting EVERY intern and assistant of Margrethe Vestager in the witness box, no exception. A setting that I personally see as the EC has close to no chance of winning. Even as I saw the algorithm in my University classes for an assignment, I am decently certain that I did not see the whole 100% of all elements of the algorithm, one element out of place and that is as I (again: personally) see it the crushing of the EC case, the appeal will be won by Google.

The fact that Microsoft was part of this in several ways from 2015 onwards and likely before that is more than enough for me to consider the premise that trusting antitrust is not always a good thing. I do agree that antitrust should exist, yet it should be clear that this is not a handle for the narrow minded, the short sighted, the greedy and the stupid to use because they could not get their shit together. They should reread Chapter 11 of their favourite pornographic work, whether that text comes in 50 shades of mixing several combinations of white and black. A colourless equation in a setting where colour was the only part that the global users demanded, listening to them would have been a first requirement. It is the setting, which gets me to the final image.

An interesting to set the stage, because if Microsoft was a marketing firm, they would be reduced to merely being a spammer, look at the first screen of your Xbox One (X optional) for that part, also all the parts people have to go through in Windows 10 (https://www.windowscentral.com/how-remove-advertising-windows-10), so in the end, the advisors have their own games to play (quite literally at some point). The Independent was kind enough to give us this with: “In the meantime, we probably ought to do our bit to help her by making a little more use of Google’s rivals, such as Microsoft’s Bing, which is a perfectly serviceable search engine“, it is seen at (https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/comment/google-eu-fine-margrethe-vestager-android-search-microsoft-bing-silicon-valley-mobile-phones-a8453486.html)

Just ‘Bing’ “UK Law firms”, to get a UK law firm and immediately I see 10 law firms (page top view), 50% Australian ones (3 of those advertised), so if Bing cannot give me what I am looking for, why should I even consider them? With the term “Dutch Lawyers” I get 25% fulfilling the search. I can go on for a while, but I think the case of the doubt regarding ‘a perfectly serviceable search engine’ and the case on how it isn’t one has been made. I did not need to go far. Oh, and if you do have a sense of humour, try “Microsoft guilty” (with brackets), to see Bing give you “We didn’t find any results for “Microsoft guilty””, whilst Chrome giving us an immediate 8 results, with the quotes on these links. So when it comes to censoring (or is that just their flawed algorithm), we can soon see that there is an optional setting where Margrethe Vestager could be seen as a tool for Microsoft (as they might have been ‘searching’ for optional solutions), it might not be a fair setting, yet the entirety of the Antitrust case is seen by me in that way. Microsoft and a few others need time to catch up, being stupid merely gets you at the back of the line (which is where all future opportunities are lost), they need time and they are using the EC to try to catch up. My sense of giggling will be found the moment the appeal is won by Google; we are likely to see a tsunami of ‘carefully phrased denials from European political players trying to avoid the limelight’.

Oh, and whilst we are at it, when we see ‘placing them at a competitive disadvantage‘, that in light of Huawei surpassing Apple (source: the Verge). With: “Huawei has surpassed Apple as the world’s second largest smartphone brand. Sales have overtaken Apple for the first time”, Margrethe Vestager will call it ‘proving her point’, yet the truth is that Huawei went for the affordable option, a side Apple has not considered in decades, whilst in addition, the decline of Samsung and the growth of Huawei reinforces that it was about affordability for the longest of times, those losing market shares are their own worst enemy, because the wrong people are setting the price, I added enough evidence of that for the longest of times. This all in a setting where we see that even as Huawei realises that Europe is the key, the others are isolating themselves even more. Soon enough it will no longer be about Google and Android, it will become on non-American mobile players gaining the upper hand  over all the others, I wonder what anti-trust case will be filed at that point.

#PriceDiscriminationAnyone?

 

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In my house I decide

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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How to design a death trap

The Grenfell inquiry is still going on and the last testimony from Dr Barbara Lane is not just an eye opener, it shows two elemental parts. The first is that the ‘stay put’ scenario could never have worked, the second one is that the cladding itself had the additional issue of getting set against combustible materials. That does not make the person who decided on the cladding innocent, it merely proves that the people behind it all failed in spectacular ways. The first part given is “Styrofoam core panels were installed between the new windows and around kitchen vents; ethylene propylene diene terpolymer was used around the new window frames; and polyurethane expanding foam was used to fill joints in the insulation and in gaps between new windows and walls – all combustible materials. She also found combustible polymeric foam above some windows, even though there was no evidence of it being specified, and polyisocyanurate foam that was not in the design” This states that not only was there more combustible materials, there was additional combustible materials that were not even part of the design. So someone acted, someone approved those additional costs. Then we get the first killer. With “horizontal cavity barriers designed to stop fire spreading through the facade had wrongly been installed vertically. They feature an intumescent strip that is meant to expand and close the gap during a fire, but some of these barriers were installed facing into the existing concrete, rendering them useless. She said some of the required cavity barriers had simply not been installed around windows“, we see not merely a construction error, a direct flaw on parts that would stop fires, or at least largely decrease the speed was done wrong and now we see that the building had ‘vent columns‘ to allow the fire to reach maximum speed. At this point, we have issues with procurement, with the installation and construction inspection. Optionally, the architectural setting was wrong, which gives us a failing on nearly every level from the council to the person telling the man with the drill what to do and where to do it. I think that this is a first for me, to see failing to this degree. The stay put was basically a death sentence in 30 minutes. It is the additional “more than 100 fire doors inside Grenfell did not meet fire regulations” that gives the light that the corridors would have been as deadly as the apartment to stay put in, in close to 30 minutes. She gives a few more points, but at this stage, what she gives out is that the killing blow would have been close to a given when those remained inside beyond the first 15 minutes. The article ends with “The same compartmentalisation strategy was essential for firefighting internally, which relied on a working firefighting lift, protected lobbies, ways of getting water up the buildings, a protected space between the firefighting stair and the flats. All of these failed to one degree or another“, now we see that Grenfell was a death-trap for tenants and firefighters alike, the fact that no firefighter died that day is a small miracle to say the least.

So in all this, when we consider the Telegraph article a day earlier (a clear reason for a second Leveson), we see a different side. The article job is a hatchet job by Hayley Dixon, a person who should not be allowed in journalism (a personal belief on mine due to this one article). So when we get back to the title ‘Grenfell survivors question why it took 15 minutes for firefighters to tackle initial blaze‘, and as Hayley Dixon published this at 21:30 local time the previous day. Was this the result of writers block? Was this a mere emotional writing of 104 words to meet a deadline requirement? If so, how irresponsible is the editor? When we put the Telegraph article next to the Independent, the Guardian and the testimony of Dr Barbara Lane, we are confronted with the emotional push of some kind? You see, the setting we see now, the videos that are online and the pictures clearly show that there was nothing normal about the fire and that Grenfell was a constructed death-trap in the shape of a Roman candle. Additional views (from the Independent) gave us “One survivor reported that building’s dry risers – vertical pipes used by firefighters to distribute water to multiple levels of a building – were not working“, so in all this, how was the Telegraph article not merely a waste of space and existence?

This entire fish gets another flavour when we consider an earlier BBC article (at https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-40330789). In this we see “Four ministers – all from the Department for Communities and Local Government – received letters but did not strengthen the regulations. Ronnie King, a former chief fire officer who sits on the group, says the government has ignored repeated warnings about tower block safety. “We have spent four years saying ‘Listen, we have got the evidence, we’ve provided you with the evidence, there is clear public opinion towards this, you ought to move on this’,” said Mr King.”” we would expect that at least some move would be made and even as the cladding and other issues now showing would not have stopped anything, better regulations might have at least delayed enough for people to reconsider getting out. So who gets to be on the front page? Yes it is Liberal Democrat MP Stephen Williams – who was then a minister in the department – replied: “I have neither seen nor heard anything that would suggest that consideration of these specific potential changes is urgent and I am not willing to disrupt the work of this department by asking that these matters are brought forward“. This can be countered by the BBC (at https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-40422922, where we see “London Fire Brigade warned all 33 councils about the potential risks of external cladding on tower blocks in May this year, the BBC has learned. It followed tests on panels from a high rise that suffered a fire last August. The insulation panels were made up of polystyrene and plywood, and tests concluded they were the likely cause of the fire spreading up the outside“, so there was clear evidence from May 2017 (after his ‘reign’), yet the issues had been clear put forward in 2014 when he was there. He remains in our sights when we realise that this had been going on since 2009, as it was highlighted at the coroner’s inquest into a fire at Lakanal House in Camberwell in 2009, which led to the deaths of six people, including three children. So at that point, the words of Liberal Democrat MP Stephen Williams become a statement of falsehood the moment he spoke them in 2014. When we hear ‘I am not willing to disrupt the work of this department by asking that these matters are brought forward‘, whilst there is a clear coroner’s inquest regarding 6 people, including 3 children, when did ‘disrupt the work of this department‘ become an accepted answer?

I am not sure if we could blame the London Fire Brigade from walking away in the future and let 100% of London burn down, you know, they would not want to ‘disrupt any department‘ by caring, now would they?

The fact is just slightly too dark when we consider that there was ample evidence up to 9 years before the Grenfell blaze. If there is one positive, we might see a change where councils need the office of Dany Cotton, or the office of her previous post where she was the Director of Safety and Assurance at the London Fire Brigade, to sign off on any refurbishment before allowing it to happen. It would optionally stop every council from seeking a ‘short cut’ to adhere to the wishes of rich investors. I am mentioning this, because it will have to be said again and again that the refurbishment and cladding was added “a low-cost way of improving the front of the building – was chosen in part so that the tower would look better when seen from the conservation areas and luxury flats that surround North Kensington, according to planning documents, as well as to insulate it” (source: The Independent). So as luxury flat owners nearby thought Grenfell was too yucky, it ended up being upgraded from apartment building to Roman candle.

I believe that the testimony of Dr Barbara Lane is one of the most damaging to the council, the constructors and decision makers in the refurbishment of Grenfell we have ever seen, the question will turn soon enough into: ‘how many death-traps are there in London?’ It is merely my personal view that there is a level of complacency to set the economic values of London in a way that might be way too dangerous for the people living there. If we see these issues in North Kensington and Chelsea, what would we find if there was an actual serious look at a council like Islington? The fact that Islington is overcrowded, it is growing in the sparkling area for socialites and professionals, so the visibility is high. Even as the London Metropolitan Police is working hard to lower the rising crime number, the impact of a Grenfell like event in Islington will do more than merely burn a building and the people in there. now, let’s also realise that Islington is nowhere near the worst, Also, the high rise situation seems a lot better, yet the overcrowded part seems to give ‘rise’ to other considerations and whilst we all focus on high rises, there are other ways for fires to propagate. Another reason to raise Islington is that so far its housing strategy (2014-2019) looks nice (as all brochures are), we also see that house prices are close to 50% higher than the London average, so the damage is a lot bigger if things do go pear shaped. I also raised it as I know it decently well, yet the brochure on page 29, who gives us all the acts and strategies and legislation gives no voice to the fire dangers. The Housing Act 2004 does give two mentions, ‘Consultation with fire and rescue authorities in certain cases‘ as well as ‘miscellaneous repeals etc. in relation to fire hazards‘, yet there is more. You see even as the brochure might look less sexy by mentioning an issue like: “Depending on the type of property and how it is occupied some or all of the following will apply:

  • the Building Regulations 2010 Part B
  • Housing Health & Safety Rating System
  • The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015
  • The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

The issue we see with Grenfell is the lack of fire prevention focus, the Housing Strategy for Islington 2014-2019 shows that there is a mere reference to the Housing Act 2004, yet housing strategy is a lot larger towards tenancy and Asset management, and in a place as overcrowded as Islington it could become a problem. Now we understand that Grenfell is only a year old, yet there is additional evidence on several levels that this is an issue that had been going on since 2009, so even as we ‘brand’ Liberal Democrat MP Stephen Williams by his extremely poorly chosen words. He is not alone in not having a much larger fire safety focus. The question becomes if the councils were much stronger on fire prevention, would Grenfell have been prevented? My personal believe is that this would be an absolute certain. The failings that Dr Barbara Lane gave testimony on reflects the failing on nearly every level, so as more levels need to mandatory look at certain hazards, issues would have been brought to light (a personal belief), in this London (not just Kensington and Chelsea) have a much larger workload to content with and these changes would require a reflection on a multitude of levels in the coming year. Even as we accept that voices from Islington stated “Fire safety in Islington. We are the landlord/freeholder for over 35,000 households, and we take our responsibility for your safety very seriously“, we accept that this is a response to Grenfell, yet the housing strategy also shown that there was not enough focus in the past. One additional page in that brochure on certain (read: specific) hazards could have given light that the Islington council had that focus, we now merely see (read: expect) that this is not entirely the case.

London and a lot more metropolitan areas like London mind you will have to adjust their current course on actions and considerations when it comes to fire hazard, because we do not want the London population to wake up looking at the speculative sights shown below from a distance.

Rotterdam 1940

 

OR

Hawaii 2012

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