Tag Archives: Toyota

Media in Limelight

That is the setting, is it time to put the media in the limelight? It started yesterday in Al Jazeera which was based on an article that came from the Wall Street Journal. The article (at https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/1/9/iran-likely-smuggling-weapons-to-yemen-confidential-report) gives us ‘Iran ‘likely’ smuggling weapons to Yemen: UN report’I got there over three years ago, with a little later, in December 16th 2019 when I wrote ‘Joke of 2019: United Nations’ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2019/12/16/joke-of-2019-united-nations/), where we see the UN giving us in some delusional Tate of denial “The UN has reportedly so far been unable to confirm Iran was involved in drone and cruise missile attacks on two key Saudi oil facilities in September”, they were that much in denial, one could argue that the UN allowed itself to be steered clear of any evidence involving Iran and the media was happy to oblige. If you search for these elements in Western media you will find very little. The Wall Street Journal who gave us two days ago (at https://www.wsj.com/articles/iran-navy-port-emerges-as-key-to-alleged-weapons-smuggling-to-yemen-u-n-report-says-11641651941) “Thousands of weapons seized by the U.S. along supply routes for Yemen’s Houthis likely originated from Jask in Iran’s southeast, according to a draft report” might be one of the first that takes a larger look at the acts of Iran, well, I have to say that it took them long enough. I have a three year head start on most of them as such I wonder which stakeholder is out in the cold now?

A stage most ignores for the longest time is now a hot potato. So we do hope that General Turki Al-Maliki, serving the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will get the support he has been entitled to for well over two years. And all this is before you realise that Arab News gave us (at https://youtu.be/6Ab-8bIHY90) the setting of what Saudi Arabia was getting done in Yemen. Now, I am willing to be skeptical and not one sided, but the media did not report on any of that did they? It would be fair to see opposition, there always is, yet that part is also missing. We see blunt debatable attacks by tools like Stephanie Kirchgaessner (the Guardian, Washington DC) and a few other tools, but that is the extent, this is one of the larger first articles that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and in particular General Turki Al-Maliki has been rowing upstream for far too long all whilst the media shuts down any reporting on Iranian actions towards and in Yemen, why is that?

If there was opposition, disagreements on matters it would show, it always does, one side reports on knives being delivered, the other party will state that the manufacturers of stone knives are being pushed out of a job. This is life, but the shutdown on news regarding Iranian actions is another matter and the Wall Street Journal (as well as Al Jazeera) seemingly broke rank. And when we see the response in the WSJ “Iran’s mission at the U.N. said Iran doesn’t interfere in the conflict in Yemen, as a matter of policy. “Iran has not sold, exported, or transferred any arms, ammunition, or related equipment to Yemen in contravention of Security Council resolutions,” the Iranian mission said in an emailed statement.” We get the political side of the statement, yet the part where we see “thousands of weapons seized” tell a very different story. So whilst there will be twisting and turning for some time (which always happen) the one side that does not get to be in denial is the media, two sources? The media are all over each other whenever possible and Yemen is no exception. We need to consider the media and the irresponsible acts of keeping news from us. Keeping us in the dark on what Iran is doing, we need to set the limelight on the media and their stage of denial, it is that simple. When they all start doing their job, the job of some become more outspoken and we see a much larger wheel in motion, and perhaps the headline we saw in September 2021 ‘Iran Selling More Oil In 2021 But Middlemen Reap The Profit’, the setting is simple. In what universe does the middlemen reap the profits, close to all the profits? I wonder if the media will grace us with a list of names, yet I doubt that, the stakeholders on a few levels will not allow for that. This is of course personal speculation, yet consider the revenue that oil has and now we see that the alleged Iranian profits go somewhere else? Do you not think we need to know where they go? Do you think that the CIA, FBI (and many others) are not interested where billions in profits sailed to? The media is suddenly not interested?

If Toyota released another ISIS model, the media would be all over the design teams and asking them which of the members had middle eastern relatives. Now they are quiet? I do not think so! I believe that the Wall Street Journal (al Jazeera too) is exposing a little more than they bargained for and the call for exposing and illuminating the media in the limelight is the right call to make. 

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Not the Country

Yes the day is growing dimmer and here I am daydreaming towards June 1st, the first day of winter in Australia. Yes, here we are considering the cold and in that stage the news made me rewatch Terry Gilliam’s masterpiece Brazil. Thank god for Bluray at times. I saw the initial release in the cinema 35 years ago, it was an amazing piece of work and it adds up, it was never judged ‘relevant’ in the US, yet 20 years later it was as a cult movie judged as the 54th greatest British film of all time. In 2017 Time Out magazine saw it ranked as the 24th best British films ever. I always wondered how Robert DeNiro saw his role in this work. Yet let’s get back to the beginning where the bulk (mostly Americans)saw it as a not to be considered as a relevant piece of work and that is where we get to today’s BBC who gives us ‘Microsoft to replace journalists with robots’ , in light there we see “I spend all my time reading about how automation and AI is going to take all our jobs – now it’s taken mine” yet the cornerstone here is that AI actually does not (yet) exist. We (experts too) seem to rely on the setting that AI is the field where “machines mimic cognitive functions that humans associate with the human mind, such as learning and ‘problem solving”, they currently cant, they merely follow a guidance path to make decisions yet new materials are not learned, it is added in scripts and data. New decision data is not added by the computer, it takes human interference, which means that any reference missed will be a larger failing in the AI and this is merely the beginning. The problem here is that the decision makers wont make any as such the AI field will be falling to a much larger degree. 

And now we see that Microsoft is relying on a field that does not really exist. The problem is not the delusion we observe, the problem is that they set a stage of optional scripting and machine learning as the default towards what is AI and AI is actually a lot larger. As such they will miss opportunity after opportunity, optionally we might see that the Toyota Isis, a large seven seater CVT automatic will not be found on Bing as it is terrorist equipment. And that is when we look at it with the funny glasses. The real danger is misalignment of different information, and that is merely a first. McKinsey and Company gave us in 2018 issues like: ‘Economies stand to benefit AI, through increased productivity and innovation’, so whose innovation? Which increased productivity? Is reality part of that situation? McKinsey (and company) seem to paint it as “Even in the near term, productivity growth has been sluggish in developed economies, dropping to an average of 0.5% in 2010-2014 from 2.4% a decade earlier in theUS and major European economies. Much like previous general-purpose technologies, AI has the potential to contribute to productivity growth” How exactly?  We see some conceptual babble, yet the direct impact is not there. Will shoes be sold quicker? Will there be more laptops sold? Not really, the consumers are not there, as such it is a machine that services no one. And since October 2018 there has not been much change. The difference between expected and factual is not a small leap, it is the size of the Grand Canyon. 

The promise of something that represents AI is still years away, but Microsoft is already laying off its journalists. I wonder whether this is about AI or about the setting of what some should not be doing. Just like President Trump who states that the WHO is no longer to be paid for all kinds of reasons, yet might it be possible that the US cannot pay the bill? It is merely $25,000,000,000,000 in debt. And that was before the riots and all these companies folding. Even now that the G7is seen as ‘outdated’ and other invitations are handed out, the stage is not the G7, the stage is that this would be about results and the new invitations will make the meeting, an expensive meeting about meeting and greeting larger economies and ‘their’ face value. So whilst we see the G7, the G8, the G20 and all these meetings, none of them are about stopping the US (and Japanese) debt. In all this, the people in the movie Brazil are getting the better deal here. We are heading to a cliff and there is no coming back from that. The Fiscal cliff that is and as we relabel things and call them other things and waste meeting after meeting on how to call things, things are not getting solved. I wonder if Russia, China and India are in similar stages. In all this there is a much larger game in play. It is a stage where I do not feel like Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce) fighting a machine, I am nothing more than Mr. Archibald Buttle (Brian Miller) getting thrown from system to system on a mere typo, and that was without the AI that some call AI and is not AI, I reckon things will go increasingly worse for some soon enough. In this I wonder if the US will be around to see it happen, the riots are pretty interesting, the fact that the US police officers are holding international journalists at gunpoint is a first indicator that their centre is rather unlikely to hold. If you want to see just how weird the world could become, watch Brazil and see just how amazing this piece of work is, and lets not forget, this movie was made in 1985, 35 years before the insanity truck was driving around.

 

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A linguistic joke

The British Metro came with a hilarious article a mere 12 hours ago. The quote is not enough; it already starts with the title. With: ‘British children aren’t learning foreign languages after the Brexit vote‘ is just too funny. We can clearly state that they were not learning foreign languages before Brexit either. To be more precise, not for decades! And, why should they? Now, let’s be fair, there is a benefit to learning languages. For the Dutch it is essential, because only the Dutch (and perhaps the Flemish) can understand the Dutch. So they (me in my youth) got to learn German, French and English in our first year of secondary school. I dropped French in favour of Physics and continued. In the years that followed I learned a few more languages, and as such I can get by across the planet. It was only in Asia where I learned that English is not a language that was used much, yet until that moment, I had learned that nearly everyone spoke English (except the Americans, they have a weird variation on it). So from that point of view, and when you see “The council claims the lack of language skills is holding back international trade performance by nearly £50 billion each year and worries there could be a gulf once the UK leaves the EU“, I merely reply that I want to see evidence here! I want that the British council to show actual data proving this, because at present, the British council is showing to be a joke. This joke is personified in Schools advisor Vicky Gough who stated “At a time when the UK is preparing to leave the European Union, I think it’s worrying that we’re facing a language deficit“, well Vicky, for your information the Brits have always been language deficit since before World War 1, so we can agree that your logic is faulty at best. This is followed by “And I think without tackling that, we stand to lose out both economically, but also culturally. So I think it’s really important that we have a push for the value of languages“, I will agree that she has a case on the cultural side. There has always been a cultural benefit to knowing languages that much we can all agree on. But in this day and age, should we focus on the local languages (German, French and Spanish), or should we concentrate on the global economic area languages (Hindu, Chinese, Arabic and Japanese)? That is a much harder consideration to make. You see do you cater to your local setting or are you catering to a workforce to become global. This is not an easy question to answer, because the planet is in flux and what is now wisdom might be folly in 5 years, so after 6 years to truly have linguistic skills in some areas; those areas are no longer viable as international players, so how does that pan out? So when we see “A report by the British Council claims Spanish, Mandarin, French, Arabic and German are the top five languages the UK will need post-Brexit“, my view seems to be correct, yet in what setting? The Spanish only speak Spanish (for the most), so why adhere to that side? So why would the UK need German and French? Most of them speak English and hiring a foreign national in your company is likely cheaper and more productive, that is if you have quality business with that nation, if not, why bother? At that point, the article comes with an interesting view “One pupil studying Mandarin at London’s Alexandra Park School said: ‘We can’t just presume that countries are going to learn our language, because if we don’t do the work why should they?’” It is a good point, but those people also realise that Mandarin is one of the most complex languages in the world and if you are not born in that environment you start with a large disadvantage. Now, there are plenty of reasons to study Mandarin and learn the language, but on the premise that it might lead to a job is long term folly, taking the language up when you are to be in China, perhaps even after you arrive makes a lot of sense, perhaps more sense. Now, we can see that the only way to do business in Saudi Arabia is to learn Arabic and plenty of brits trying to make quick bucks are up to the challenge, but that nation has its own set of rules, customs and culture and those all need to be taken in, merely learning the language will not get you there, so in my view, not only is the article to some part a joke, it is merely another jab at giving stress in relation to Brexit. So, until Metro publishes clear evidence from the British council that the UK is missing out on 50 billion, the entire matter is hilarious and folly at best.

And it is merely one of several articles. the Guardian with ‘Britain’s tired old economy isn’t strong enough for Brexit‘, Computer Weekly with ‘We must avoid the Brexit risks to London’s tech community‘, and Clean Technica with ‘Current State Of Brexit Likely To Leave UK Environment Worse Off‘, all fearmongering, and Social Europe is giving the people: ‘Reversing Brexit: Legal Route Via Vienna Convention‘. Social Europe is actually setting the premise to protect bankers and the IMF. I have not seen such levels of what I regard to be deceptive and naive conduct since the British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, who stated on September 30th 1938 that the British people would have “Peace in our Time“. Do you remember what happened after that? In the end, on the Allied side alone, up to 3.7% of a population of 2.3 billion ended up dead, both military and civilian, excluding 7 million Germans and 26 million Russians. I think that fearmongering and the naive approach to all this needs to stop.

It was never said that there was not going to be a hard time, but it seems to me that the financial sector has now become so afraid of losing the ability to fulfil their greed driven needs that they are using every media outlet to spread the fear and see if they can get a recount whilst getting at least 4% into the Bremain group.

In all this, the Guardian article makes a decent point, but does so by keeping certain parts unmentioned. With: “Manufacturers were unable to make things cheaply, reliably or efficiently enough against the headwind of a high-value currency, forcing many to give up. An economy that boasted 20% of its income coming from manufacturing in the 1980s found it was the source of barely 10% at the beginning of this decade” they are telling you the truth, but they do not tell you that opposing this were China, India and Japan, with almost no labour laws, whilst both India and China had no protection for child labour, so these nations made goods with 90% less costs, giving them a large advantage. Even now, in 2000 some sources gave us that there were approximately 11,500,000 children at work between the ages of 10 to 14 in China. This violates article 32 of the Convention of Rights of The Child. So if the Guardian article was being fair, why not mention these parts that clearly impact it all in a negative way?

So as we see the linguistical joke that Metro brought and the additional articles that raises questions as they go overboard not mentioning things, we need to consider why such presentations are not clearly shown by the media. Even the IMF is involved in all this, whilst their prediction have been wrong regarding the UK three times, so should they be given any level of reliability as they try to downgrade the UK, whilst upgrading the other European Nations for 2018? I know that this might be a hard year for the UK, yet as the stimulus train called ‘the Draghi Disaster‘ is running its final stage, the moment that ends, will spell even harsher environments for Europe and particularly France who could see a downturn of their economy for 0.5%-0.75%, this implies that they will barely be above 0% for the three years that follow. In this I might be equally wrong. Even as France24 (at http://www.france24.com/en/20180122-macron-hosts-140-business-leaders-versailles-investment-france-economy), predicts “Economic growth has been forecast to rise to 1.9 percent in 2018 by the central bank”, which is already slightly too positive. Even as it books the Toyota move into the positive, France will soon realise that at this point Toyota is likely to push for additional rebates beyond the 25% corporation tax (as is Microsoft for 4 new data centres), which will closer to the end of this tax year will show up in the news as ‘unfortunate bad news on the economy due to a miscalculation’, it is not the first time and the French are not the first to do this. Yet in that, we can see that the IMF boast is overly positive towards Europe, implying that the view from that point shows the UK economy as stated to be overly negative. I personally see it as another ploy to undermine Brexit that could bite them in much harsher ways down the track, if the media is actually able to show some balls standing up to large corporations.

So even if I see the linguistic joke as a large one, there is no denying that France is clearly opening its doors to certain people and in only that moment there is a sense of truth in the words Vicky Gough, yet what is equally not given is that this is the first time since I started my first job in 1979 that such a view is given by France. With the graying population they are not the only ones doing that and as such the working population will make a drastic change, I cannot predict how it will filter out for France, but at least Emmanuel Macron is making active changes to an ancient unyielding protocol and that might be the best news of all for France, that alone could spell my realistic numbers to be slightly less positive than the actual numbers will turn out to be.

 

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Two sides of fruit

There are always issues when you get to the topic of fruits. One is the question whether it applies to the members of the US congress (the members of the US Senate are usually labelled as nuts). Is it an issue with actual nutritional products or are we talking about the device that Newton used for gravity? Yes, it is the third one as Newton discovered gravity with an apple.

Yet even here we see two sides at present. The first one is seen with ‘iMac Pro: Apple launches powerful new desktop – starting at $4,999‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jun/05/imac-pro-apple-launches-powerful-new-desktop-macbook-starting-at-4999). Here we see the quote “The new iMac Pro starts with an 8-core Intel Xeon processor, but can be configured with an 18-core processor variant, as well as up to 128GB of EEC RAM, 4TB of SSD storage and Radeon Vega discrete graphics cards with up to 16GB of memory“, you see, Apple, like Microsoft, IBM and since resent ASUS have become agents of iterations, true innovation has not been on their shores for too long a time, which is why my new device is for consideration with Huawei and Google alone. Only they have shown the continued race for actual innovation. there is also Samsung, but as I had a legal issue in 1991, I took them from the consideration list, I can hold a grudge like only the Olympian gods can. Still in their defence. the question becomes how can you make a computer truly innovative? It is a question that is not easily answered. there are a few options, yet some of the technology required is still in its infancy here.

In addition, in similar ways, iWork has been unable to grow due to the restrictions (read: limitations) that the suite offers. Instead of trying to persuade the Microsoft Office users (which is not a bad path), iWork has not grown in the directions it could and they are now paying for it through reduced exposure. Still, there remains a valid opposition to my accusation of: ‘have become agents of iterations’. To see this, we cannot just state that there is a new iMac and as such they are merely iterating. There is in addition the issue of hardware versus software. So in my view, a true innovation would have been a Wi-Fi upgrade, not just a faster system, but a system that is keyed to the home and mobile devices. As we are now a little over a year from the first steps of 5G, as we are all more and more connected via different devices, Apple left out in the open a huge sales opportunity by having the options of having devices linked and interlocked. A missed opportunity. You see as bandwidth becomes more and more an issue, as we tend to have a home bandwidth that is 100 times larger, having the option of the auto upgrade manager on your desktop device (iMac). So when you come home, apps and content will be distributed to the devices you want them to placed in. So at home ‘without even thinking’ (sorry Microsoft for using your Windows 95 slogan). the devices will do what needs to be done and you need not mind. You see, as people are trying to push Block chain into every financial corner, those people forgot on how block chains can also be the foundation for users on multiple devices. Now that is not always needed, because we get mail in the cloud, data in the cloud and via the cloud, but that is not for everyone. In addition, people forget about the photo’s they took and they do not always want that in some cloud. There are legions of options here, but at time we want some of this offline. finally, as we do specific tasks (for example on a train), we prefer not to lose too much bandwidth whilst on a train. Tablet and mobile bandwidth can be expensive. In equal size we tend to forget how large some files are and as such we could rush through our bandwidth in no time. This is just one of two options and we have seen very little development in that regard. Apple might want to let others develop it first, but that also leaves them with less when they need to have that additional step forward. It was a mistake Microsoft hid behind for the better part of 2 decades. In that same approach we see how consultancy and project software could benefit a different side in their designs. Now, that is not for Apple to side with, but it could have been an opportunity to grow in new directions. Anyway this is not about starting a fight on 3rd party vs others, this is about iteration vs innovation and Apple has been reluctantly innovative.

This gets us to the other side of it and here I am not siding with Apple, but I am wondering if Apple has been treated correctly. This we see in ‘Apple ‘error 53’ sting operation caught staff misleading customers, court documents allege‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jun/05/apple-error-53-sting-operation-caught-staff-misleading-customers-court-documents-allege). Now first let’s take a look at the error 53 part. The issue is that “‘Error 53’ is a message that occurred after updating to iOS 9.0 on iPhones of people who had had their TouchID fingerprint sensor replaced by a repair shop not licensed by Apple. The phones were rendered useless because the operating system update detected a mismatch between the sensor and the phone, and locked the device, assuming unauthorised access was being attempted.

Now here we see two sides.

In the first side we see “Knives damaged by misuse, improper maintenance, self-repair, or tampering are not covered.“, this is something Buck knives has in play. By the way, this comes with a life time warranty so that remains awesome. In addition, for decades TV warranties were voided if unauthorised repairs were made (or repairs by unqualified repairman). With laptops there was Compaq, who would void any warranty if a non Compaq technician had worked on it. They even created special Compaq screwdrivers to keep a handle on it all. So when we see ‘replaced by a repair shop not licensed by Apple‘, I am not certain if the ACCC has a case, they have not acted against Philips, Sony and a few others for the longest of times.

So when I read: “accuses Apple of wrongly telling customers they were not entitled to free replacements or repair if they had taken their devices to an unauthorised third-party repairer” I remain in doubt whether they have a case.

So when we see “Australian consumer law clearly protects the right of a customer to a replacement or free repair if the product is faulty or of unacceptable quality“, which I agree with, yet the owner did not go to Apple, did they? I have had my own issue with Apple in this regard (different device), yet can we agree that when we read: “It is however important to note that if a non-genuine part is fitted to your Toyota and that part’s failure or the incorrect fitment damages your vehicle, then that damage may not be covered by your Toyota Warranty“, so how can something that applies and is valid for Toyota is not valid for Apple?

I believe that ACCC acted out with another agenda. The need for warranty protection by having repairs done by authorised service people has been in the axial of repairs for decades. In addition, when we look at the facts, why would ANYONE go to a third party for warranty repair? That is just insane. So when we read “wrongly telling customers they were not entitled to free replacements or repair if they had taken their devices to an unauthorised third-party repairer“, I am actually wondering how they could come to the conclusion ‘wrongly‘. You see when we read: “Australian consumer law clearly protects the right of a customer to a replacement or free repair if the product is faulty or of unacceptable quality” we now wonder how true that is. You see, warranty is either valid (Apple fixes it for free), or it is beyond the warranty term and you have to pay for it and then it is no longer done for free, so you might select a third party. Yet if this is not an Apple authorised dealer, don’t you have anyone but yourself to blame?

So this is the other side of the apple, what constitutes voided warranty.

You see, if Apple loses this part, I can start repairing Raytheon’s Griffin systems. You see the upgrade (from C to C-ER) and equipment alignment costs are roughly $15,000 per day (excluding parts), if you do not have the proper Service Level Agreement. I can offer to do it for $5,000 a day. so if my work is shoddy (which they will not know until they fire the device, I can be very innovative towards my income), can they apply for warranty at Raytheon, or have they voided their options? You see I will have a NDA with a ‘this repair has been completed to our highest corporate standards’, so I am in the clear and the way the world goes, with 225 upgrades, I will have a decent Christmas this year. Yet at that point the ACCC will not go after Raytheon, it will go after me (what a whuzzes). So how come that the rights of Raytheon are better than those of Apple?

It seems that people assume so much with their mobile devices nowadays, I need to wonder if people comprehend what they buy and what responsibilities come with it. In this the initial question ‘Why did you not take your device to Apple?‘ is one that is not addressed at present and as such I have little faith that the ACCC has a decent case at present (in the shape we saw presented today).

the second and first part interacts as the upcoming shifts will in equal part see new frontiers in Service Level Agreements, Customer Responsibility and the comprehension of the elements covered in a warranty. Because what is included is likely to shift a fair bit over the next 2 years. In addition, innovation is also a shifting concept. Whilst it was “a new idea, device or method”, we (read: the corporate marketing departments) have often seen it as ‘the application of a solution that allows to meet the new or altered requirement of the customer‘ which we get when we iterate with a more powerful processor, more storage, larger screen. So going from 1080i to 5K screens might be accepted as truly innovative, because that took another level of screen and electronics. Yet at times, the pass through of merely upgraded speeds are also seen as innovation, yet at what level is that? When the device remains merely the same to the largest extent, is that not merely iteration?

So here we see the two sides of the other Apple. What we see, what the maker offers and how we both interpret the presented term of innovation.

 

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How misinformed are the French?

This is what today’s article in Reuters brings to mind. The article (at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-france-election-frexit-idUSKBN1420HF) gives the following information: “But unlike Britain, France has a written constitution, which states that “the Republic is part of the European Union”. So a “Frexit” would require a constitutional change which experts say is difficult, but not impossible“.

You see, we are being bombarded by the media regarding the European Union, yet what about the European Economic Community, which was later renamed into the European Community?

More important, the fact that we see this: “France has a written constitution, which states that ‘the Republic is part of the European Union’“, this might not be in question, yet when a system is intentionally made complicated, is that a valid system? (We see that happening right now in the UK), in addition, when we consider the utter lack of accountability that the EC has shown in the last two years alone, gives rise to the imbalance and the unjust path the EC has been on. There is also the part where we see that Mario Draghi and his ECB are now feeling more and more the loud voices of political opposition. Which is likely the reason why we see (at http://www.europeanceo.com/finance/ecb-opts-for-longer-but-leaner-quantitative-easing/), that the title now reads ‘ECB opts for longer but leaner quantitative easing‘, yet the fact that this might lower the quantitative easing by €20 billion a month, yet the extension until December 2017 now implies that the French and the United Kingdom end up getting a massive part of an additional €830 billion in debt, that is almost a trillion more. Bloomberg had already given its view that the expected results were never met, more important, some critical voices give rise to a failing QE program as the debt increases, yet no economy was actually kick-started, there was a lack of results. By the way, when we add the €700bn of QE reported in April 2016, the debt goes well over the additional trillion, giving multiple headaches to France, the UK and Germany. In addition, it will with certainty drive the Frexit group stronger. Even as we saw in the Reuters article “A poll published by Ifop in July found that 67 percent of French voters who expressed a view would vote to stay in the EU. Only 33 percent were against“, which is the opposite from what was seen in February 2016, we need to realise that the upcoming message that France will inherit their share of a 1.3 trillion Euro additional debt through quantitative easing, that will fuel a possible drive of those 67% Fremainers into the Frexiteers Garrison that Marine Le Pen desires at the drop of a hat (any hat). The fact that a failed plan that keeps on getting prolonged reduces Mario Draghi to a one trick pony, or a one trick Wall Street Mule as some economists rumoured regard him to be after the October 8th IMFC meeting. This might have been in regards to the statement “until the Governing Council sees a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation towards levels below, but close to, 2% over the medium term“. By the way, that paper reads like it requires the United Kingdom not to succeed its exiting path, which might just have been my interpretation of it. In addition, the quote mentioned earlier is also stated in regarding the TLTRO-II actions. So, lets realise that I am no economist, yet in the lighter side of all of it, consider that a bank owes amount x. Now we add the TLTRO-II and suddenly the banks debt becomes x+(x*0.3), so we get a 30% increase in debt, this would be a consideration when it wasn’t part of the quantitative easing already happening. In addition, we get “if a bank sufficiently improves its lending to the real economy, instead of having to pay interest, it can receive interest by ‘paying’ a negative rate. This rate can be as low as the deposit facility rate, currently at -0.4%“, so how much fraud (read: apologies I meant accidentally misreported numbers) will we face now? ‘Lending to the real economy‘ is like finding a virgin with nymphomania and 12 service of years in a brothel (read: Really?). In addition to this, the banks get extra money. So When we go to any bank stating we want to add to the economy, so we all borrow 50 million, because we add to the economy we receive $200K a year. Which we spend on food, bills and other things, so we get money and spend that on a real economy (butcher, baker and pastry maker) whilst getting money for spending it. How weird is that? Of course what they see as ‘real’ economy and my view of that are widely apart I reckon.

Yet in all this, we see another game being played, one that I speculatively ‘accused’ the ECB to play almost a year ago. The fact that they are raising the debt to such an extent that it becomes impossible to leave the EC, the UK is getting dangerously close to that point (France might have surpassed that point already, mainly because their economy has been flat for a lot longer). And in all this we see news cast after newscast on how things are slow, too hard and impossible. This almost makes me wish for the age of Alexander the great, where he dealt with the Gordian knot. In today’s version we are almost at the point where the UK only needs to cut off the heads of Jean-Claude Juncker and Mario Draghi and that problem is solved too. #SubtletyRulezOK

In addition, the document seems to set up hidden traps, traps that if adjusted will hurt many in the long run. The quote “prioritising public investment and reducing the tax burden on labour“, so this is not a reduction on taxation for the workers, it is a reduction on taxation on the cost of labour, meaning that corporation taxation will go down even more, yet the ignored definitions that governments face are the results of those reduced forms of taxation, because that money goes to the boardrooms and if the feelings of reduced enthusiasm for Apple, Google and Amazon were low earlier, wait till you see the feelings in several nations when the American policies are stronger enforced towards the US and where the golden rules for the auditors become that corporate contribution (revenue minus cost) will shift and the money trails push all that contribution towards the US. This is a reality I saw in the late 90’s with American companies. As well as a push that senior positions were to be held (for the majority) by Americans. Now, a company must do what it think it needs to do, yet with lower corporate taxation, unbalanced taxation where the bulk of revenue is not taxed and tax laws are still lacking in efficiency as well as holding corporations accountable for certain tax values, we will see a growing imbalance of cost of living and what I would call the implosion of governing budgets because the money isn’t coming in from several sides as all sides are etched to the needs and desires of corporations. And people are still debating that Brexit is a bad deal and that a one market world is a good thing. Now take the 30 largest corporations add what they paid in taxation and add what their revenues were. After which you go to the tax office and demand a similar deal. How hard will these tax employees laugh in your face?

You still think a one market deal is anything but an engine to enable the non-taxability of global corporations?

It gets to be an even stronger issue when we consider the Guardian article (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/nov/29/new-cars-imported-from-eu-may-cost-10-more-if-uk-leaves-single-market), which is two weeks old. You see, why would we care? Why get a foreign car? In Australia, the makers didn’t like the deal they had, they wanted more and more tax breaks making the car industry pretty much the first one with legalised slave labour. Why would we want to support this? Why would the UK support this? Consider the UK with 68 million people, now if only 50% had a car, than that would still be a massive amount of consumer goods. If the UK stops importing cars, those in charge behind the screens will then suddenly look for a solution whether a car could be made in the UK. They currently have 4 cars made in the UK, but those are high end cars and too expensive for those usually needing one. This is how VW started its empire, in 1932 it started the people’s car project. A car for every person, Volkswagen, which pretty much translates the German brand. The Australians are not in such a good spot in that regard, but it is still a 20 million citizen market, with plenty of 4 wheel needs. Those car exploiters forgot about the consequence when a market on a national level states, we no longer need you. That is why the single market is so important to them (mostly those in the boardrooms). And as Toyota reported a drop of 40% compared to last year, the consequence of nations no longer needing their brand must be a massive nightmare for those getting a bonus based on sales results. In that regard they will feel the pinch and they will feel it a lot harder than ever before. They are however feeling good because ‘Toyota’s earnings performance is improving, mainly because the yen is now weakening‘, which sounds nice on an Abacus, but the massive debt that the Japanese people face ($9 trillion at present), how long until the Japanese stop to consider how much interest that actually is; considering that Japan only has 123 million people. At 0.1% interest, if it even could be that low, implies an interest of 9 billion a year, this sets the interest to $73K per person per year. So how is that going for the Japanese budget, especially when you consider that the average man in the land of the rising sun makes up to $20K a year? So how is that formula working and how much worse is Mario Draghi making it for Europe? You see, it is my personal speculation in this that the US and Japan are pushing parties in equilibrium, when the debts equalise there will be no way back for Europe. Europe will be at the mercy of the incompetence of America and Japan. At that point, as a member of UKIP would state it: ‘I don’t want some bloody yank telling us how to keep our debt, I don’t want any debt‘, but at that point it will be too late and we will be left without options on a global scale. Did any of us sign up for that? In addition, do the French realise that my speculation is not that far off?

This is a path that I have stated before and in earlier blogs I have clearly stated that we are in for a bumpy ride, I actually expect a new crash late 2017, early 2018 at the latest, so when we see that this article by Pension and Investments (at http://www.pionline.com/article/20161213/ONLINE/161219969/natixis-survey-investors-turning-to-active-management-amid-expected-2017-volatility) gives us the title ‘Natixis survey: Investors turning to active management amid expected 2017 volatility‘, by the way, that is a group of people where the lowest income would be close to 30-50 times my income, so these people have serious cash to play with. So the quote “As a result, asset owners plan to reset their portfolios, relying on active management and alternative assets as they seek to manage risk and boost returns” seems a little bit of an issue when we realise that Mario Draghi and his quote “as part of our expanded asset purchase programme (APP)” gives a whole new light in all this. It almost amounts to a speculated shift in ownership of assets, where governments are buying assets via the ECB (intentional or not) and in addition, these portfolios get to reset themselves and get rid of what would soon be new bad debt. Whilst the Guardian reported in November 2015 that the European banks were sitting on €1 trillion of bad debts and the quote “The increase in lending has been accompanied by a very gradual improvement of asset quality, although levels of non-performing exposures in EU banks remain a concern and a potential impediment to lending growth and profitability” now reflects on Mario Draghi as he basically has been adding more than €1 trillion more (making it a total of €2.3 trillion) by the time we get to December 2017. When the upcoming volatility shit hits the fan, all our financial futures will go straight into the sewer.

So, when the French realise that, do you really thing that there will be any non-illegals left in that country considering to remain in the European Community?

More important, when some of these factors start hitting the UK, its population could end up demanding a sledgehammer hard Brexit almost overnight. Yet, again, that is pure speculation from my side. In the meantime, I should apply for a job at Natixis, facilitate for people who will actually end up having some money left from January 2018 onwards. I have to eat too and I would love some French grub, even if I have to Join Legion Etrangere for that part (do not worry readers, I no longer meet their standards).

So as you now wonder how informed the French are, I need to wonder in equal measure if they are the only ones not getting the full picture (read: awareness), the fact the Dutch move out of the EEC is now getting a lot more realistic, even more realistic than I ever thought it would be, gives additional light to the title and topic in this blog. Yet so far there is a decent indication that Frexit will drive the decision of plenty and Frexit will come to a referendum before the Dutch get that chance, meaning that the French vote will clearly influence the Dutch one, yet to what extent cannot be said or stated. In addition, the Rhine and the Rotterdam harbours would not get the economic punch as hard because of German needs, meaning that these ties will remain strong for the need of both, but that is no guarantee that the Dutch will not feel the initial hardship of change, to what extent cannot be stated with any degree of reliability.

 

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Tuesday Evening Quarterback

Well, good afternoon to today’s match, playing on infield, with a home advantage is Australia’s very own Honourable BS, leader of the Labor party. In the outfield is his ego.

Let the game begin! So, when you read the article ‘Labor promises to keep medication cheaper at cost of $3.6bn over 10 years’ (at http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/may/22/election-2016-labor-promises-medication-cheaper-cost-over-10-years), we see an emotionally charged article that is about…. Yes, what is it about?

The by-line reads: “Bill Shorten pledges to axe 2014 budget cut to pharmaceutical benefits scheme, which has been booked as saving $1.3bn but is blocked by the Senate“, so we seem to get all huffy and puffy regarding pharmaceutical schemes and we seem to be all about stopping big Business, but the Senate will not hear about it. Yet, is that actually true?

You see, the quote “Patients will pay less for taxpayer-subsidised medication if federal Labor wins the election, but the move will cost $3.6bn over a decade” gives us some of the goods, it boils down to the next government spending another 3.6 billion. You see the Government is in debt, in debt for almost 750 billion and that move will add to that debt. We got into that debt as Labor decided to all these nice and seemingly mighty things and then left a massive invoice with the liberals. Perhaps we should take a look at the spin doctoring Bill Shorten did in February 2014 (at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-02-10/shorten-says-car-manufacturing-shutdown-was-not-inevitable/5250834). Or consider in equal measure the fact that we see Julia Gillard smiling in a car in the Adelaide plant, whilst the people read on how GM Holden received well over 2 billion in subsidies. The response by GM Holden executive Matt Hobbs is “the subsidies underwrite tens of billions of dollars in local investment“, this sounds interesting as the timeline is off. The Hobbs statement came in April 2013 (at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-04-02/holden-reveals-billions-in-subsidies/4604558), now consider the January 2015 news (at http://www.news.com.au/technology/innovation/motoring/holden-shutdown-general-motors-international-boss-stefan-jacoby-says-australia-is-better-without-car-manufacturing/news-story/af4de2d0090baa6c2a0ce24aa0e28729), 20 months later. So how was 2 billion pushed back into Australia? It gets even worse when we consider Toyota. You see, the Honourable BS is forgetting the timeline. Billions in subsidies under labor and miraculously 3 weeks after the elections the parties pull out. I remember watching Bill Shorten, boasting and stating whilst there was a really silent Kim Carr in the background. If we were to investigate the total amount of subsidies here and how much came back, will that equation be a positive one for the Australian people? Me thinks not!

This now equates to the current game being played. You see, even though the guilt of all issues should be shared (between Liberals and Labor, as both parties were around with them subsidies), the issue is that whilst Labor was in ‘attendance’ of government, they did nothing, absolutely nothing to secure cheaper medication. The first step was to stop the TPP, that paper (a document to some, a farce to others) is giving too much power to pharmaceuticals and is a first stopper for the evolution and continuation of generic medication. That part is not in view. At least that small island South East of here (New Zealand) had several people pushing back asking the hard questions. In that regard team Gillard-Rudd did too little and they did not think beyond their governing time here in parliament. If Bill Shorten really wanted cheaper medication the TPP would not be here and we would be trying to hold serious talks with India and UK to unite in a healthcare solution with the aim to provide for affordable medication.

That has not been the case and Bill Shorten knows this, making the article even more of a farce than it already was. This all aligns when we see the article (at http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/may/19/labor-to-end-freeze-on-medicare-rebates-with-122bn-funding-pledge) and we consider the quote “It is Labor’s biggest announcement of the election so far, and will cost $2.4bn over the next four years, and $12.2bn over the decade“, you see, I am siding with the medical side as much as possible. I believe that doctors, especially junior doctors have a raw deal, but making promises with funds you do not have is why we got into the mess we are in in the first place. It is essential for voters to realise that Labor does not have these funds and when it blows back we will be in even deeper waters. So as we realise that the Shorten-sighted approach to governing is giving away 6 billion (over 10 years) on these two elements alone, the clear dangers are that labor is soon to make the Australian people the bitch of the banks, as they want the interest owed. This is why Labor is too dangerous to be allowed to govern.

You see, when we look at the budgets and balances, Labor has no solution at all, they will blow the total debt, possibly even surpassing a trillion dollars. Now to get back to the other side in all this and that is seen when we look at the Medical Journal of Australia (at https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2015/202/6/costs-australian-taxpayers-pharmaceutical-monopolies-and-proposals-extend-them), an article from 2015. ‘Costs to Australian taxpayers of pharmaceutical monopolies and proposals to extend them in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement‘,

The following summary points matter:

– Intellectual property (IP) protections proposed by the United States for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) have sparked widespread alarm about the potential negative impact on access to affordable medicines.
– Three of the greatest concerns for Australia in the recent draft include provisions that would further entrench secondary patenting and evergreening.
– Pharmaceutical monopoly protections already cost Australian taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars each year (2013).
– Provisions still being considered for the TPPA would further entrench and extend costly monopolies, with serious implications for the budget bottom line and the sustainability of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

So not only were these elements known for some time, previous labor did almost nothing to stop this from becoming a reality (the liberals are in this, as I see it, equally guilty).

So Bill Shorten is even worse than a Monday morning quarterback. After the match is done, after the results are in, he is trying to talk you into a new match, leaving you with more debt and an even smaller piece of life to work with, all whilst being pushed into servitude to those holding the Australian debt markers.

The part that I do not get is that Bill should know better, when we get another politician hiding behind forecasters stating that next year will be better, then those politicians need to be held criminally liable if that upturn does not happen. It is time for politicians to be held accountable to the massive overspending as I see it. I reckon it is the only option left to prevent us to leave the next three generations with debts that we were unable to pay off, especially when they hide behind healthcare claims that were never realistic to begin with.

That’s just my view on the situation!

Before you decide to vote labor, ask your MP how Labor expects to pay for the total of 12 billion in changes over the next 10 years, which makes it 1.2 billion a year. Consider that total taxation collected in 2015 was $445B, you think that this would be enough, but now also consider that the total debt is 168% of the collected taxation, other services will still need to be paid, so if the debt goes down by $20B (which would be an amazing achievement), it will still take a little over 20 years to pay for our debt. Now consider, should labor be squandering this level of tax money, knowing that it will only make our lives harder down the track?

I am merely asking, because in my humble opinion, when a clear answer is not given, when the answer becomes, ‘It is really complex, even for me, but we have a solution ready!‘; at that time, do not walk away from that politician, you should run away! By the way, as a Liberal, running away from the coalition when they cannot answer these questions is equally essential. We need to focus on making Australia great. Also realise that neither side have successfully made any strong improvements regarding taxation loopholes. So, it might be very valid to read that ‘Politicians ‘double-dipping’ on property claims aren’t breaking rules – Cormann‘, yet in that regard, when tax loopholes are not set and at the same time, these politicians are spending money on ‘solutions’ that will not work and in even greater measure will land Australia in deeper debt down the line, those politicians are the ones you need to take distance from and fast, so as I personally see this, Bill Shorten should have known better!

 

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War and Pieces

This world seems to become less and less of a good place. I feel that I could be able to stick my head in the sand were it not from my law assignment, which is making decently progress. I feel that focussing on this as much as I can drains me, but the fact that things are lining up feels like a rush. The feeling that definite defeat is leaving me as the feeling of stalemate and even the tiniest partial feeling of a small victory is just too good a feeling. After this 2 more weeks and a final exam. That feeling is one we do not experience too often. We tend to be slightly ahead of the curve, go with the flow (and the masses) and in some cases be a little ahead of the pack. So in that regard making it from lets academically state ‘a state of depression’ into ‘the sunny feeling of victory’ might be my only reference to what drug users chase. I got there all by myself.

Yet, this is not about me. Not completely. You see, in the back of my mind is something that John Oliver stated regarding Toyota and how it is the car of choice for ISIS. Global Research (at http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-mystery-of-isis-toyota-army-solved/5480921) claims: “So far the UK has sent around £8m of “non-lethal” aid, according to official papers seen by The Independent, comprising five 4×4 vehicles with ballistic protection; 20 sets of body armour; four trucks (three 25 tonne, one 20 tonne); six 4×4 SUVs; five non-armoured pick-ups; one recovery vehicle; four fork-lifts; three advanced “resilience kits” for region hubs, designed to rescue people in emergencies; 130 solar powered batteries; around 400 radios; water purification and rubbish collection kits; laptops; VSATs (small satellite systems for data communications) and printers“, in addition we see “It’s fair to say that whatever pipeline the US State Department and the British government used to supply terrorists in Syria with these trucks was likely used to send additional vehicles before and after these reports were made public“. This is an implied action, not a real action. In this two parts get to me.

  1. Why are the origin of these trucks so hard to find? The sketchiness of the information implies that certain parties have less satellite oversight than they would like to.
  2. If the implications are true, why were these cars not seeded?

In the first there are of course all kinds of issues. SIGINT will never reveal what they actually have and those assigning SIGINT duties will remain silent too, yet in all this another cog is operating. This is seen when we consider the CNN title ‘U.S. Treasury inquires about ISIS use of Toyota vehicles‘, can anyone explain to me how the US treasury got involved in matters regarding a Japanese brand? That the State Department and the alphabet groups are all over it makes perfect sense, the US treasury does not, not even the Secret Service (who is stretched thin these days), would explain that push, because the people involved are unlikely to be on their front page. You see, this gives a clear feeling that someone in the US Treasury got a phone call (or they want to focus away from governmental bankruptcy papers).

Did no one wonder about the starting paragraph: “The U.S. Treasury is seeking information from Toyota about how ISIS has gotten hold of the automaker’s trucks, which have been shown in the terror group’s propaganda videos“? The second paragraph is even more puzzling: “Toyota said it is part of a broader U.S. Treasury inquiry looking more closely at how international supply chains and capital flow into the Middle East“. This means either they followed the money towards the end of the line, which means that there is a direct American link (which is another issue), or someone is demanding answers. John Oliver gave a funny nudge towards GM (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BRTEXomD6s), yet consider the GM earnings release: “Jul 23, 2015 – Net revenue in the second quarter of 2015 was $38.2 billion, compared to $39.6 billion in the second quarter of 2014“, so are we awake now?

In addition the second issue on seeding. Did no one consider seeding those exported cars with passive id chips? Those puppies can be placed nearly everywhere. You see, you can do more than just keep a DVD in the store, you can also tag a part of the car you never see, after which you can keep track of those puppies. It is a low tech level of low jacking. Try to find a one by one inch sticker on a metal frame. Good luck I say!

So as I am winning the war with myself, there is now an implied war being lost by allied forces. We can state that intentionally or not supplying ISIS is not a win. Even if that was not the case, even if the rebels had been provided with equipment, the fact that it goes to ISIS in mint condition is another worry, it implies that rebels have no clue (and no James Dean acting skills either), whilst in addition the lines of the rebels are getting more and more blurry. This now reflects on ‘U.S. Weaponry Is Turning Syria into Proxy War with Russia‘ (at http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/13/world/middleeast/syria-russia-airstrikes.html). The quote “With the enhanced insurgent firepower and with Russia steadily raising the number of airstrikes against the government’s opponents, the Syrian conflict is edging closer to an all-out proxy war between the United States and Russia” is also alarming. Not the US/Russia escalation, but the danger in light of earlier revelations that there is the danger that ISIS gets a hand on some of this stuff and hits Israel. Consider the speculative event that an Iron Dome within the Birya, Safed and Rosh Pina Airport triangle gets hit by a confiscated US TOW? That puppy needs to get within 2.5 miles, but still, if it gets done the moral push, the danger of all-out war and the escalation that ISIS gets to take control Gaza are all options that are not completely impossible, even as the current leadership of Hamas is downplaying ISIS in their region. Hamas has been playing a dangerously stupid game in Gaza and their power is not as good as they claim it to be. The fact that more and more extreme claims are met with lack of determined discipline in their own following gives rise to that claim. In equal measure, there is still a danger that some of the Russian materials will also make it to ISIS hands, which just amplifies the dangers over there. Like Hamas, Hezbollah talks up a storm, yet in all this the ‘thousands’ of missiles they claim to have would have been fired already if they were at least 3% dependable, the Russian hardware could change that. Is it enough? That is hard to say as there are several tiers of data missing. Hezbollah has been playing certain facts closer to the chest, which does not mean that they have what they need, but in all this, several sides have claimed that the Iranian – Hezbollah supply line of missiles is a fact. That part was conveniently kept out of those ‘reliable’ papers for a long time as they commented on a nuclear Iran. It is one side Israel protested against for a very long time. So as an organised war falls to pieces, we see that there is a fractural war going on, each with their own agenda and many pieces having a hatred of Israel. We can consider that part when we look at the quote “the failed $500 million Pentagon program that was cancelled last week after it trained only a handful of fighters. That was unsuccessful largely because few recruits would agree to its goal of fighting only the militant Islamic State and not Mr. Assad“, which was also in the NY Times. The quote should in my mind have ended with “and not Mr. Assad or Israel“, two words that make all the difference. Two words kept out of papers, quotes and off the record, but in the minds and hearts that some of these people who received the training. Many of them with family ties to Hezbollah, even though not directly.

As I see it, we are watching pieces of a kinetic puzzle. They are moving and the watchers that should be watching every piece are lacking resources on both the hardware and software side, which means that events pass by unnoticed, giving the involved parties less warning and more losses, not just now, but down the track too. When this escalates beyond control the providers of current hardware will only have themselves to blame in the end, but as those involved parties will never end up being in the firing line, they might not care. That could start a phase where ‘it was not my responsibility‘ and ‘I did not care‘ end up being one and the same, which could end up being the most dangerous of escalations.

 

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The dangers of freedom

I am all for freedom, I reckon that anyone growing up in Western Europe, USA or the Commonwealth has that same feeling. We love our freedom. There is however a dangerous downside. As I see it, freedom comes with the granted option to become an idiot, a moron or any other type of person that we usually find revolting to some extent. There is another group. There is nothing wrong with hem. They seem to be nice, they seem to be honest, and usually are portrayed as fair and they believe in fair dinkum. This is all good, no negative word on that part, they also exercise their right to free speech and they do just that. They believe in certain change, which is all good, but now these people are pushing us all into a dangerous area, where the consequences could be dire. This is not so good, yet they believe that they are doing the right thing. Some might state that the road to hell is paved on good intention. I think that this is too strong a statement, I believe that those people are getting on a bandwagon that goes into a foul direction, because they do not foresee the dangers that lie ahead. This is the issue!

We see this side in the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/mar/03/australian-republicans-we-can-no-longer-afford-to-wait-for-the-monarchs-passing). The title ‘Australian republicans: we can no longer afford to wait for the monarch’s passing‘ gives a hint of what some might regard as treason, but I am still willing to see it as people, devoted to Australia, but not seeing the dangerous currents of that journey. That excuse is not valid, when we consider the article with Bill Shorten (at http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/jan/25/move-to-a-republic-would-show-australia-is-modern-and-inclusive-bill-shorten-says), ‘Bill Shorten: move to a republic would reflect a modern and inclusive Australia‘. Here we go on dangerous grounds.

You see, the politicians are all about self-preservation! No matter who gets hurt in the process!

My reasoning? I had highlighted them on earlier events, the list is long. One link is found with the ABC (at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-02-10/shorten-says-car-manufacturing-shutdown-was-not-inevitable/5250834), Where Bill Shorten stated: ““All of a sudden, all the car component makers (in Australia) for Holden don’t have enough work,” he said. Mr Shorten says “government subsidies for car makers are essential for keeping manufacturing alive”“. Well, we have seen the use of subsidies, in that same article we see the statement: “”Australia subsidises its car manufacturing in the order of about $17 (per car), whereas the Germans do it at about somewhere between $65 and $90 and the Americans, $250″”, yet, when we see the Australian (at http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/columnists/lies-damn-lies-and-car-subsidy-statistics/story-fnbkvnk7-1226824091831), we get: “Reworking the figures, it turns out that Australia has subsidised the manufacturing of vehicles to an extraordinary extent — $US1885 per vehicle, compared with Sweden ($US297), Germany ($US206) and the US ($US166). In other words, Australia has the highest rate of budgetary assistance of the seven first-world countries listed“. We could argue that this amounts to slave labour, as the subsidies is so large that the factories end up with prepaid labour. How is this not regarded as slave labour? Because people are allowed to go home and the money comes from somewhere else? Why should car be subsidised to SUCH extent? In addition, we get the quote “We now know that Toyota Australia has received nearly $500 million in the past four years. Given that there are some 2500 Toyota employees, this works out at $50,000 a worker a year“, so we have car manufacturing plants which seem to come with prepaid labour. How can a nation survive when these factories bend over backwards to avoid taxation and in addition, they received well over $100 million a year?

The next part comes from the Courier mail (at http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/opinion/opinion-the-nations-budget-is-broken-but-bill-shorten-and-labor-wants-to-stop-us-fixing-it/story-fnihsr9v-1227143768045), “The Budget deficit blew out to an astonishing $48 billion last financial year, largely because the previous Labour governments went on a massive spending binge and left nothing but IOUs in the kitty come the next global financial crisis“, by the way, the Labour party has NEVER given any clear explanation on how that money was spend, on what it was spend, and who signed for it. I reckon that is why the Labor party decided on the three party stooges approach (I wonder who plays Curly), namely Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard, and now Bill Shorten. There was additional bad news, there is NO WAY that the drop in Iron was to be predicted. Neither Labor nor Liberals saw that coming. It cut export with an additional amount surpassing 30 billion, when the coffers are empty, that is not a good thing.

Now we get to the Bill Shorten Republican view. Here we see the following: ““Let us breathe new life into the dream of an Australian head of state,” he said. “114 years ago Australians found the courage and goodwill to transform this continent into a commonwealth. In the 21st century let us live up to their example. Let us declare that our head of state should be one of us.”“, you see, the article reads nicely unrealistic. There are parts that are not mentioned at all. I will get to them soon.

In the same light that Labour overspend us into massive debt, as Labour wrongly ‘illustrated’ the car industry, he also sees his option to get a little ahead as a possible first head of state (odd, do we not have a prime minister?), as he fantasises himself to become. You see, becoming a republic comes with a massive amounts of additional debts we cannot even fathom. As part of this Commonwealth, we are not alone, our army is a joke compared to Russia or China (65000 soldiers do not add up to much against the other large players), even against Indonesia, which might not have state of the art equipment, but they outnumber us 4 to 1, not the best odds to have. Together as one Commonwealth, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, we do wield a massive bat, we are part of a whole. So if China wants to play rough (or Russia for that matter), we have a few big brothers in our corner. Now, we could rely on New Zealand to give aid as soon as needed (they would never back down from helping a neighbour), but as Air Vice-Marshal Gavin Turnbull might confirm, the Sopwith Camel really does not have the range to make it to Australia, meaning we need to rely on our own planes alone.

This is only one element and not the most important one when we need to rely on our freedom. You see, I believe that Labor is squarely in the pocket of the US Democratic Party (the one who nearly bankrupted the US), the US is playing too many dangerous games, enabling big business, not holding big business accountable and overall not having the ability to manage its budget. Labor is on the same footing, and how long until the Labor party dances to the song of the White House, making us lose our choices, our freedoms and our value of fair dinkum. Is that what we desire?

What is so bad on being part of what we used to regard the British Empire? I believe that the core values that this Empire had, which were moved into this Commonwealth of ours is still good, it is still strong and it is every bit as Australian as it is British. When the lower classes here lose it all as business no longer deems these people to be of marketed value, who will they cry for? Labour? No, that lot just gave their rights away. In this the Liberal party is not without faults either, but they are not on the republican horse, giving us heaps more options.

This economy is in a bad state, no one denies that. I myself am hurting as much as many others, but like the harsh methods of Germany in 2009, their Austerity saved them and got them on top, I feel that the same will work here, Labor overspending by spending each annual budget twice is too dangerous for us. This is at the heart of the issue.

It is all directly linked to us remaining part of the Commonwealth, the one part that Labor SHOULD have been doing, they are not (or so it seems)! I voiced more than once that our future is on finding strong interactions with other Commonwealth members and offer what we have in surplus, whilst getting what they have in surplus. With Nurses here looking for jobs and the UK having such a massive shortage, why are we not seeking solutions together? Not just the medical industry, we need to put our commonwealth heads together, solving them together, not playing politics on who looks better in a pissing contest, which leaves us with a smelly floor and no actual solution. In this we should also look at what we could mean to Scotland and vice versa. Scotland will at some point be more independent, would it not be great if our message of fair dinkum and our workforce could help this stability, because a stable and prosperous Scotland helps all members of the Commonwealth, including the UK.

So as the Honourable BS talks about some republic, he should realise that unless the deficits and the bad economy are solved, we have no future ahead, other than one as someone’s vassal, a path we evolved from long ago, so whatever story he spins on how the republic gets a better business profile would soon be dead, as soon as people realise that it only opted for one goal, to give large corporations a place to get by on 1-3% taxation, how would that ever be fair dinkum?

 

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The bad and the worse

I have had several views in many directions, but two issues are rising that require us to take a critical look at us. Some will agree, some will disagree and many will not know where they stand in these two issues. The first is again about labour, both work and politics.

Of course, it does not help when Bill shorten starts to ‘rant’ on the issues that hit many. The first issue is Alcoa. It is an Aluminum smelter. The first quote is “Aluminium manufacturer Alcoa has contradicted federal government claims that the carbon tax led to the decision to shut the company’s Point Henry smelter and two rolling mills in Geelong and western Sydney” (at http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/alcoa-contradicts-joe-hockey-on-reasons-for-smelter-shutdown-20140218-32yir.html)

In addition we see the quote from Bill Shorten where is said “It’s clear that a global oversupply of aluminium, dramatically falling aluminum prices and a high Australian dollar made the continuation of these operations impossible” he said.

Shall we take a small step back to the 12th of February 2013 where we see the following quote (at http://www.businessspectator.com.au/news/2013/2/12/resources-and-energy/alcoa-vic-pass-carbon-tax-liability-federal-govt)

The plan addresses a long-standing issue whereby decades-old agreements between Alcoa and the state government included guarantees of cheap power that left Victoria holding the responsibility for the carbon tax due to an inability to pass on those costs to the aluminum giant.” as well as “Under the deals, the state will pay an increased power price and pass most of that through to Alcoa.

So, taxation is up, power costs are up and prices are down. Mr Shorten needs to take a hard look at his own party and the shortages of his own Labor government where we see that these issues were known for over a year. The fact that Labor decides to park the issue until after the election means he now needs to remain quiet. Yes, it will be an issue, but for him to nag like a little girl is what happens when his predecessors decided to ignore the issue. The liberals warned about the dangers of the carbon tax, the people were hit massively hard by the carbon tax and now hell is to pay and in my view, the Labor party better foot that bill real quick. This is however not the first instance. In Feb 2012 a similar newscast was made by the Australian. The quote “ALCOA says a carbon tax will make life harder for the company as it reviews the future of its Victorian smelter and the jobs of up to 600 workers.” (at http://www.theaustralian.com.au/archive/national-affairs/tony-abbott-seeks-to-blame-threat-to-alcoa-smelter-jobs-on-carbon-tax/story-fn99tjf2-1226265695323), So Labor was aware for almost 2 years in their reign that the Carbon tax would have a definite influence.

The last line of that article by the Business spectator states “If we got all that right, it is no skin off Alcoa’s nose, is it? But it does take a significant burden off the Victorian taxpayer.” Well, see the result! It was apparently more than just skin of the nose of Alcoa and as such it becomes a different kind of burden on the taxpayers.

The final quote from the Business Spectator article was the one the article started with “Aluminium giant Alcoa and the Victorian state government have designed a complicated set of deals intended to place the liability for rising power costs onto the federal government, according to The Australian Financial Review.” So an American Company is deciding that the rising risk of higher power costs should be carried by our government? Alcoa reported (at http://www.alcoa.com/australia/en/news/releases/2014_01_09_4Q_Earnings.asp) on January 2014 the following:

Revenue of $23.0 billion whilst reporting a Net loss of $2.3 billion, or $2.14 per share

Let us not forget that this was a better result than 2012, so Labor KNEW that there were several issues here. When you ‘service’ an American corporation who loses well over 2 billion whilst reporting revenue at 23 billion, there are issues plain and simple. I can agree with some that there claim made by Joe Hockey is not completely accurate (in regards to the carbon tax being the reason), but there is no doubt that at a 2.3 billion dollar loss, the carbon tax might have been the proverbial straw that broke the American Smelter Camel’s back!

We should however not just blame Bill Shorten (even if some feel that this is a more comfortable choice). The Honourable Kim Carr (seen in newscasts bearing a slightly less waxed chin then Bill Shorten) has been in both the foreground and background in more than one occasion. So it is only fair we take his actions in account as well. If we consider my blog article ‘The last Australian car‘ from February 12th we see a few more angles that gives worries to the Labor side of it all, especially in light of the quote “writer Judith Sloan brings a case that Australia has subsidised almost $1900 per vehicle produced.” I mentioned. Is it a good deal when we see these costs and support numbers go out? If we take $2,000 subsidy per car and if we consider that Toyota made 100,000 cars last year, we see the costing of $200 million a year in subsidies, which is a lot more than what the workers would cost every year. So, no matter how good it looks, $200 million is way too large a bill to just handover to a car giant. Is there an alternative? Perhaps the Dutch alternative where VDL Nedcar, who was initially in the news in 2012 with the headline “Mitsubishi Motors to sell NedCar plant for 1 euro to VDL” was the beginning of a new plant, completely refitted for 24 hours a day automated manufacturing. They are now starting to build the new MINI Hatch as per this summer. Is there an opportunity for Australia? Yes!
With an upcoming customer base of 22 million (deserted by Ford, Holden and Toyota), VDL Nedcar might see Australia as the opportunity of a lifetime.

It is however not just the car industry. Sky News is just now showing another iteration of job losses in Victoria (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/19/victoria-promised-federal-funds-as-alcoa-shutdown-adds-to-job-losses), so as Sky News and the Guardian shows us, what I would see as the hollow words of Bill shorten were he states “Spend the money this year, then you can save hundreds of jobs, you can keep excellent world-class naval construction skills in this country.

Yes, Labor is all about SPENDING money! Let us not forget that the treasurer has been presenting the massive bill that Labor left Australia. The National debt went from 58 billion in 2007 to 257 billion in 2013, all under Labor. So perhaps the irritating quote by Labor leader Bill Shorten on “Tony Abbott and photo opportunities” should change. He should ask how his own party had been spending money they never had in the first place. When we see the $200 million in slave labour bonus (oops, I meant subsidy) for Toyota we have to wonder how long until we are all at the mercy of whoever owns these debt markers (most likely the banks). Labor does not get to nag on the cost of living whilst overspending a little over $11,000 per Australian resident. So when we hear another whinge by Bill Shorten on the deficit, consider that his party had been spending it, making it all a lot harder for many Australians in the upcoming time-span 2014-2016.

The issue of the car makers as well as Alcoa were already known issues in the Labor era and shouting now, whilst not securing these markets (which was in all honesty not a realistic option) is just plain wrong.

In addition there is one strong factor, which has been a known weakness was not dealt with in the Labor era either. It is the energy shortage, which is at the heart of several factors (especially Alcoa). If we accept the ABC transcript (at http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2006/s1796094.htm), then it is only fair that we point part of this blame at the Liberals as well. The issue was known since 2006 (even though Labor got to power in 2007). From several texts, I myself come to the conclusion that something had to be started in 2005, which was not done. Labor ignored it for 2 whole terms making the issue just a lot harder and now the Liberals MUST address this issue. If you are wondering how correct or how wrong I am than just take a look at your Australian energy bill. My bills have grown, whilst remaining a stable user, by over 100% in less than 6 years. This makes it a hike of over 16% a year. In addition, the carbon tax really pushed up the prices. Focusing on cheaper energy would have made a real difference for all parties concerned. In addition, this is not a local issue, it is not a national issue, but it is almost a global issue. The same issue can be seen in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom (very clearly), as well as America. So, it is nice to keep making cars and Aluminum, but if it is not financially viable, the tax payer ends up footing the bill no matter which road we take. So, the dollar, our work conditions and other factors will always remain an issue, but if energy prices are not solved, the one part that will drain any options we might have had. Consider the Business Spectator quote “Point Henry alone represents almost 7 per cent of Victoria’s annual electricity consumption“, so one plant needs THAT much? How could this issue have been ignored for almost 3 administrations? I see that there is a manufacturing issue in Australia, but if the energy prices are not dealt with, we will see a national shift from bad to worse.

Perhaps this will be the moment of innovation; perhaps we should focus on other areas. It only takes one innovator to come with that golden idea that brings income (not costs) to our states. I just hope that politicians on both sides of the aisle will listen to that person.

 

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The last Australian car

Australian news has been all over the place. The one thing that is so expected is now on the fritz. Car makers are moving away from Australia. The events have not been out of the air, but what has been a revelation, is the amount of ‘subsidies’ the government had thrown into that direction to begin with. What can we (me, myself and my sources) tell you? First, the four big car makers in Australia were Ford, Holden, Mitsubishi and Toyota.

1. Ford
Last year, Ford announced plans to shut its two Australian plants in October 2016, blaming strong currency as well as high production costs that are hitting the manufacturer. These are all decent reasons, but I personally do not think that this was the whole picture. In addition Ford is cutting 300 jobs this June, which has some worried that Ford will leave before the 2016 announced point of departure.

2. Holden
Holden will be leaving Australia in 2017. Holden’s 2017 exit from its automotive assembly operations in Elizabeth put 13,000 jobs at risk in South Australia. (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/jan/21/holden-exit-2017-sa-needs-330m).

3. Mitsubishi
Mitsubishi shuttered its assembly plant in 2008.

4. Toyota
The world’s largest car maker announced it would stop building cars in Australia by the end of 2017 and would operate in this country only as a sales and distribution company. One additional factor needs to be told, which will have bearing down the road. Namely “Toyota is Australia’s biggest vehicle exporter with around 70,000 of the 100,000-plus cars it builds here being sold in foreign markets” (at http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/latest-news/toyota-to-make-major-announcement/story-fn3dxiwe-1226822810074).

So, by 2017 all carmakers will have bailed out of Australia. Why is this all a big deal?
Many will go directly for the job losses. ABC stated “The Australian Council of Trade Unions has warned the decision could cost as many as 50,000 jobs and wipe $21 billion from the economy as the impact rolls through the associated components sector” (at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-02-10/toyota-to-pull-out-of-australia-sources/5250114).

Is that all the truth? No! Listening to Labour leader Bill shorten is to hear a lot of misinformation and tweaked wordings. Labour had messed up a lot of issues. In my personal view, I personally think that Bill Shorten is not telling the whole truth because his lips are moving! Let’s not forget that the Liberals are not blameless either, the entire situation has covered both sides of the political aisle. Part of the disgrace can be read in the Business insider (at http://www.businessinsider.com.au/australias-car-industry-out-of-gas-after-billions-in-subsidies-that-were-always-going-to-lead-to-a-dead-end-2013-12) the quote “The car industry is estimated to have received a total of $12 billion in direct subsidies and protections over the past 20 years, including $1.8 billion to Holden in the 11 years to 2012.” is at the heart of this. So basically, 4 car makers have enjoyed an annual $600 million in subsidies a year. This is so off the wall it is not even funny! So our taxation goes to an industry who advertises a dozen times a day that they are so great? How can we take either the car industry, or the government in this regard serious? Let us not forget that Labour was part of this all as well. This also links back to the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership). An interesting link we find is a Japanese site that had the following to say (at http://www.jama-english.jp/publications/tpp_pr_mar2013.pdf) “Japan’s auto market is completely open to other countries’ products. No restrictive customs or other regulations apply to imported vehicles.

What about the exported vehicle side of all this? If we see it in that light, we see that the TPP is opening up borders as it should, so, that from now on Japan (Toyota and Mitsubishi) as well as USA (Ford and Holden) have a dire reason to return to their home flock. The TPP is giving options to get these brands all home build. Whatever assurances we see now on support and spare parts will soon be removed too (like in the month as they leave). Yes, there will be a few ‘exclusive’ distributors, but as the TPP comes to full power, the entire online experience will not just hold books, movies and video games. they will likely include car parts soon enough. If you doubt this all (which would be fair), then consider the following article (at http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/columnists/lies-damn-lies-and-car-subsidy-statistics/story-fnbkvnk7-1226824091831#), where writer Judith Sloan brings a case that Australia has subsidised almost $1900 per vehicle produced. If we take that and we add the initial quote I mentioned “Toyota is Australia’s biggest vehicle exporter with around 70,000 of the 100,000-plus cars it builds here being sold in foreign markets” leaves me with the question whether we have been sponsoring that part too.

Is this just the story? No! I think that there is more at play. Even though several sources are not making any mention of it, Ford and General Motors (Holden) are American companies and i think it is not just about removing plants, I personally think that members of the US government have had talks with all the big boys of industry. The American situation cannot continue. If America is to survive (which is slowly becoming less and less likely), they need taxable incomes. To get this done they will have to get the industry back. This will soon become an era of in-sourcing. This is not a new or a novel thought. It had been on the mind of many in 2012 and several articles had been written in 2013 that in-sourcing would grow big in USA. One of the people outspoken in that area had been Charles Fishman. Even though no one took him that seriously, the man appeared to have been right on the money. I personally think that it was the dumb spending sprees by both Japanese and American governments that forced the in-sourcing hand. This is also part of the pressure we saw in December as President Barack Obama spoke out for a quick closure of the TPP (it still think that the pharmaceutical patents are the largest part, but that I will cover at a later date).

Is it all a bad idea? No!

It is for us, but can you blame these two nations for thinking of themselves? It will however be important for us to find another solution. I already mentioned this on December 11th when I wrote about ‘The Holden circus’. If Toyota is leaving Australia too, then my thoughts on this are not just validated to some extent, they become a lot more important to follow up on. A nation of 23 million needs its own car industry. I do believe that it should not be subsidised, the designers just need to become really clever and we the people of Australia will need to support our own industry. If the Japanese and the Americans are all about nationalism (as we have seen on many occasion), then why not the Australians? If Japan and America walk away from a 23 million customer base, why should we keep any level of loyalty towards them?

We must all realise that we need to adjust our focus, we must change our way of working and thinking. We need to walk away from subsidies and sponsoring. We must move to an age where we design in a more clever way, we must bring to market in a brighter way and we must adhere to a different customer collective. The 4 brand approach to 12 models a year is just not sustainable. If these makers claim so, ten let them refund the subsidies!

When the last car is built in Australia, the eager beaver that launches their brand in Australia will start with the audience of a lifetime!

 

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