Tag Archives: Trump

Two Issues in play

There is a larger issue in all this, part of it is Wall Street, the gig is up (to some extent) yet no calls are being made to investigate the Analyst game by aspiring new Wall Street kings, and moreover no one is asking questions.

We start with the impact that Apple has had and the Financial Post is giving us (at https://business.financialpost.com/investing/us-stocks-wall-st-pulled-lower-by-apple-trade-worries) “Shares of Apple Inc fell 3.5 per cent after the Wall Street Journal reported the company had cut production orders in recent weeks for all three iPhone models launched in September“, as well as “Other market leaders — including the ‘FANG’ stocks — also fell sharply, underscoring the view that their leadership was on shaky ground. Shares of Facebook were down 5.1 per cent, Amazon.com was down 4.3 per cent, Netflix was down 4.9 per cent and Alphabet (Google) fell 3.4 per cent“. Now, we can go two ways in this, yet I am concentrating on the mere logical view. It is not the part of loss that is concerning me, it is as I said in ‘Annual medical bill $864,685‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/11/17/annual-medical-bill-864685/) “Consider the $2365, whilst their opponent is offering a decently close solution for $1499 (Google) and $1599 (Huawei) all top end phones and the next model is 33% cheaper, in an economy where most people are turning around pennies (just look at Debenhams). It was a really bad market moment; one could argue that Apple believed their marketing whilst it was nowhere near realistic“, when we consider this part, which is the basis application of common sense in a day and age of hardly being able to get by and we see such drops in stock levels, is that because there is underperformance, or a more clear image of overestimation by certain analysts clearing an optional path of short selling? When we consider the definition of short selling as: “The trader sells to open the position and expects to buy it back later at a lower price and will keep the difference as a gain“, is my speculation on a market set to implode that far from the actual truth? Has the entire FAANG group resorted to hiring mentally challenged Business Intelligence enabled accountants, or is someone spiking the Wall Street environment?  Is my thought on this that far out or synch with reality? When we see SBS reporting with ‘Nissan chairman arrested in Japan for financial misconduct‘, and we are given: “Besides being chairman of Nissan, the 64-year-old is also CEO of Renault and leads the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi alliance“, “Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa expressed “despair,” but also suggested that Ghosn had accrued too much power and eluded proper oversight“, as well as “Saikawa gave few details about the nature of the improprieties, including refusing to confirm reports that Ghosn under-reported his income by 5 billion yen, or around $60 million (AUD), over five years from 2011. He said an ongoing investigation limited what details could be shared, and refused to be drawn on whether other people were involved, saying only: “These two gentlemen are the masterminds, that is definite.”“. As we consider the impact of Representative Director Greg Kelly and Carlos Ghosn, we might think that the entire matter is contained, yet is it? The fact that Automotive is a clear element on Wall Street, when we see this and we do not see another part, how wrong have the analysts been getting it? The fact that numbers on Wall Street would not fluctuate to the degree needed as the numbers were spiked by a major players is interesting to consider yesterday’s news (at https://www.zdnet.com/article/nuance-spins-off-automotive-segment-into-new-publicly-traded-company/). You see, just like I found the issue in the Harbour or Rotterdam two decades ago, I looked into another direction. When we consider “Other automotive brands such as Honda, Volkswagen, Ford, Hyundai, Audi, Porsche, Nissan, Kia, Chevrolet, Harley Davidson, Ferrari are ranked by their brand value among the top 100 brands in the world!“, so if we see the SBS part with: “years of financial misconduct including under-reporting of income and inappropriate personal use of company assets“, which looks weird as this is merely an internal part (criminal or not), is there a decent chance that the entire matter is larger and as such, would a provider like Nuance not be hit as they are a component in the Nissan (and Renault, and Mitsubishi)?

In all this, when we consider The actions of one, and the impact on another, yet we see that expectations were ‘firmly’ in the wrong place, at what point will we start asking the damaging questions to analysts who were ‘overly’ positive? So when we see: “Wall Street was looking for earnings of 32 cents a share on revenue of $525 million. Shares of Nuance were down slightly after hours“, were we shown a realistic stage? This gets us to the Sydney Morning Herald, where we see: “Since the FANG outperformance run peaked on August 30, the group has underperformed the S&P 500 by 16.25 per cent. That is their worst underperformance since the first half of 2014 when they underperformed by around 20 per cent“, is it truly an underperformance, or is it set towards unrealistic overestimation and as such, is the foundation of short selling not done on the word of analyts? So in that light, would it not become more and more prudent to ask the analysts certain questions? The fact that certain Nissan events were not on their radar, what else did they not see and as such, would that not have impacted the numbers at Nuance in a similar, yet there unfairly?

What else is there?

Well, that can be seen in one way as these players all need power to be available and energy is becoming an issue in the US. What happens when we put the (big) mouth of Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to the test? As he was ‘kind’ enough to use Bloomberg to state that the current crown prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was “unstable and unreliable”, would it be an idea to ask his royal highness to kindly consider that Oil is a sellers’ market and that it is important to consider the long term future of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as such, it is important to consider the value of oil and I personally believe that it should be raised to $73 per barrel, in light of this cutting oil production by 12% would be essential.

So when Lindsey gets the news that his lack of diplomacy is cutting oil and raising prices, at what point will he ever feel safe again as the American people will react to the mere stage of commerce, it is a sellers’ market plain and simple. It is a sellers’ market because the buyer is always open to get it somewhere else, and in all that there is merely Iran left. How does it all flow now? Let’s not forget that these are not my rules, they are the consequences of Wall Street. At what point will people wake up?

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a monarchy, it is one where the monarch of that nation makes decisions that decide what would be the best track for the people of THEIR nation (which is Saudi Arabia). In a time where the life of a journalist does not matter, Turkey showed that and both the EU and America remained largely quiet, so let’s face it, we do not care about Jamal Khashoggi, yet that person has received more pushed and powered visibility than for example Matteo Messina Denaro (I chose him as I grew up being a huge Diabolik comic fan), so when we see his actions and his absence from the press for the longest time, why would we care about Jamal Khashoggi? Because a knave speaking for Iran direted others to do so? We keep on getting the news, the media, the mention of tapes, yet how clearly has the evidence been investigated? The media stays silent, mostly playing on innuendo as much as possible.

You see, it the Crown Prince succeeds in getting the stage of Neom Started, Saudi Arabia will have started and aspired to something never seen before in the history of this world, all the things that America claimed to have done will be seen active in Saudi Arabia, it is optionally the biggest blow to American ego and optionally their economy too and they are finally scared, like the UK was when the 70’s peace accords had a chance, they pushed Egypt in another direction. Now we see the stage where there is so much anti-Saudi news, that it is sickening to me, especially as the acts of Turkey and Iran are smothered. How much news have you see on the 214 journalist jailed in Turkey? most of them all convicted, the last one a week ago, we were given “A court sentenced Turkish journalist Ali Unal to 19 years in jail on Wednesday on a charge of being a leader in the network accused of carrying out a failed coup in July 2016“, Jamal Khashoggi got 60 million hits in Google Search this morning, it is that far whacked out of balance and the industrial next generation all technological marvel that could be Neom, including the Bridge that links the Sinai (Sharm-El-Sheik) to Saudi Arabia, opening even more options to commerce and growth for Egypt and the Sudan? A mere 2.8 million, a project that is well over $500 billion in investments for technological and financial opportunities; that got less than 3 million hits. I reckon that Saudi Arabia also needs additional PR and digital PR on a much larger scale.

I think that America (as well as the European Union) needs to wake up and smell the coffee and they need to do it fast. As they whinge like little children, they are optionally giving additional fields of economy to India, China and Russia to move into a market where the oil revenues will be pressed for a different directions, so as these people are merely trying to bait infighting within the Saudi Royal family, they should start to realise that one of them wakes up and decides to close the tap by 20% and merely adjust the vision towards 2035, at that point whatever comes next will no longer have any America and even less Wall Street, at what point will the American administration have to forfeit on 21 trillion of debts they can no longer pay? Let’s not forget that the entire FAANG group can vacate and move anywhere globally, at what point will we see the news: ‘NASDAQ shuts down!‘  leaves us with the question: ‘is my speculation so outlandish?’ You see, the needs for the next technology is no longer in America and the difference between global and global minus America is not that big, at that point the politicians of the European Union will fold like little bitches and accept whatever deal will keep them employed and on their gravy train; they are that predictable.

The nice part is that there is every chance that I will be around when that happens, getting to tell the economic and financial editors of all the major newspapers: ‘I told you so!‘ and the blatant attacks, the media toolkit against the current crown prince of Saudi Arabia makes my speculation more and more likely. You see, it was merely a week ago, when CNBC gave us (at https://www.cnbc.com/2018/11/15/trump-duped-saudis-into-tanking-oil-prices-analysts-say.html) ‘Oil analysts say Trump fooled Saudis into tanking crude prices‘, with the quote: “Oil market analysts say it now appears that Trump hoodwinked Saudi Arabia, fooling the U.S. ally into pushing the oil market into oversupply and sparking a roughly 25 percent drop in crude prices. That accomplished Trump’s goal of driving down energy costs for Americans“, it is optionally a decent tactic, but at present it can backfire, the KSA can take a step back and let it all fall to pieces as the Saudi government can survive a few years in the up scaled oil prices, yet the US and European economies will start to collapse as they have no infrastructure left, so when we see Bloomberg giving us ‘The Oil Price Is Now Controlled By Just Three Men‘, whilst we know that America has pissed of the other two to the largest degree; if truly three man control the price, the names are given to us as Presidents Donald Trump, President Vladimir Putin and Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. That whilst America needs to import to survive making them actually pretty weak. So at what point do the people in Wall Street wake up and realise that the oil morning special is served at $91+, whilst there are 3-4 months of extreme cold ahead? At what point will they realise that oil is a sellers’ market, not a buyers one and the oil companies can wait, they can watch it all collapse and pick up cheap labour for a mere apple and an egg (quite literally so).

In the end, America can start making a deal with Iran and Russia for oil, yet at what cost will that come? Which concession will the American people have to agree to? I am pretty sure that this moment will become the nightmare scenario for Israel as well as the others get to cater to Iran, and the oil setting makes that an optional reality; the amount of concessions Turkey will get will give the EU something to cry about to a much larger extent; apart from the nightmare that the Italian budget is becoming at present.

There were a few games on everyone’s desk and at least three of them have been handled so badly that the impact needs to be felt in the US, even if it was for the mere reason to get them to wake up and smell the coffee that they spilled and the cost of living that they helped raise soon enough.

Oh, and when the Italian economy stops stagnating and turns to recession again, the mere impact of a 5% oil price rise would be enough to stop Italian traffic in its track, how much will be possible there when that happens? Consider that Italy has the highest fuel prices costing €1.65 per litre. When that goes up by 10%, how many people would be able to afford a car? More importantly, the Italian economy has misjudged this super high price for taxation, so when that falls away, how much of the Italian infrastructure is also likely to collapse?

It is a mere side thought, because France and Spain will be in similar distress on a few stages there too, not to mention the impact in Greece. It would decimate the Mediterranean economy to a much larger degree, yet Wall Street will trivialise it and when there is no more trivialisation left, who will they blame?

Saudi Arabia, President Trump or themselves?

I will let you figure that part out.

 

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Raging against the media

Last night I lost it, I will be honest, at roughly 02:23 I went slightly berserk. You see, I have had the longest of issues with the media for the longest of times. The media has no interest in you or me, it does not care about the individuals, whenever they say so, and they are lying. You see, the media has shown to care for 4 allegiances

  1. the shareholders
  2. the stakeholders
  3. the advertisers
  4. themselves

In that order of business! I will disregard actual investigative reporters here; they hunt the story, some of them really good. Overall this is about money and journalists are in that regard, merely catering to the economic three and after that person called self. It does not matter whether you are in the US, UK, Australia and to some degree even most European countries. The reverence of journalists is no longer valid for well over 90% of them.

The entire Jamal Khashoggi event escalated. Now, I am not stating that nothing happened; I am not stating that Saudi Arabia in innocent, but their guilt has not been clearly established. All the actions so far seen were aimed at the clear exploitation of the audience to increase circulation and keeping the webpage clicks high. Some (like the BBC for example) are doing their job and asking questions, the right questions. The entire matter is more of an issue as it is a person that matters in this case, if it was a reporter from the Daily Mail, no one would give a fuck (pardon my French), no, it was a reporter (or columnist) for the Washington Post, and actually really good newspaper, and of course the ante goes up by a fair bit.

According to BBC News, the so called recording of his torture (according to Turkish sources) has been requested. We see the quote “Mr Trump said America had already asked Turkey for a recording said to provide strong evidence that Mr Khashoggi was killed inside at the consulate” and that makes perfect sense. So why has it not arrived at the White House? If I can mail a MP3 in 17 seconds, why has it been 17 hours and why have we not heard or seen anything acceptably reliable concerning the evidence?

In my speculative view, the statement of the recording is a fake and the media has been playing with ‘Journalist Jamal Khashoggi ‘butchered while still alive’, horrific audio of his murder allegedly reveals‘ (NZ Herald), as well as ‘Audio Offers Gruesome Details of Jamal Khashoggi Killing, Turkish Official Says‘ (NY Times), the list goes on and on. Now we get that some titles merely seem unacceptable. Yet the misrepresentation through flawed reporting is still on the papers even the New York Times. The Washington Post should get a pass on this as they seemingly lost one of their own.

Why is it an issue?

You see, Saudi Arabia is in a proxy war with Iran and Turkey as a puppet of Iran is getting into the good graces of Iran as much as possible. that part is not shown in ANY of those newspapers. Then we get the kill squad references. references like: “A still from surveillance camera footage shows a man thought to be a member of Mohammed bin Salman’s security detail“, really? Based on what? You see if these reporters had done their job they would have added footage from that person in the details of the crown prince. I have not seen that footage, have you?

Then we get to the Guardian. there we see “Over the past two weeks Turkish officials have leaked increasingly shocking evidence that they say proves that the journalist, who was critical of the Saudi crown prince, was tortured and killed inside the building and his dismembered body driven to the nearby consul general’s house where it was disposed of“, here the Guardian is also in a questionable stage. You see, the link there merely gives us the recording request that no one can produce. In addition, we see ‘Turkish officials have leaked increasingly shocking evidence‘, so exactly what evidence was released? Is that not a valid question?

Now, we can all accept that something happened, that there is a more than likely chance that Jamal Khashoggi is not in a good place, the chance that he is optionally is dead is also not lost on me, and I can accept that, yet the media is pushing it into a frenzy of speculations and allegations with no support, or at least support of the most dubious kind, that whilst the tether between Turkey and Iran remains unlit and no one mentions that Turkey has reasons to be set in a anti-Saudi Arabia stage, we see none of that.

In addition, over all this we have been given “Liam Fox, the UK trade secretary, and the US Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, joined key European partners in pulling out of a major economic forum in Saudi Arabia nicknamed Davos in the desert“, ok that is fair. It is their choice. So exactly what actions were taken against Iran regarding Syria, what actions were taken against Iran regarding Yemen? We were treated to “Iranian and European officials are meeting at the United Nations to try to salvage a nuclear deal that the US pulled out of” less than a month ago, in light of the hundreds of deaths in Yemen, a slaughter that Iran is part of, why are they even talking to Iran?

Yet if Neom is pushed through, if it becomes a reality, the IT infrastructure and interne options could optionally represent between $2-$5 billion a month if the full coverage is obtained after 2030, and a lot more besides that, such values and some people are walking away form that table? It seems hypocrite and it does not make any sense after the willingness shown to make deals with Iran. In addition the notion of walking away from serious cash and walking away from that ‘on principle’ whilst that same principle stops them from properly taxing the FAANG group is just a little too hypocrite to stomach. If I get the option, I would move in in a heartbeat, even mere crumbs from a $2 billion a month pie is still serious cash to many players, and as we are told: “Bruno Le Maire said on French TV channel Public Senat that “I will not go to Riyadh next week” for the conference known as Davos in the desert“. Russia will not have that issue, they will most likely state: “Who the fuck was Jamal Khashoggi anyway, and who do we thank with a bottle of Vodka for ignoring such massive economic opportunities?” There are plenty of players who will think the same. Some will state that it is a good thing to take a distance and set the stage in a less friendly way, yet they never had that consideration after Wall Street made millions of Americans live the life of destitution, did they?

ABC News added flavour to it all with the report: ‘Pompeo listened to an alleged recording of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi: Turkish Source‘, yet the article also gives us: ““The secretary addressed this yesterday. He has not heard a tape,” his spokeswoman Heather Nauert told ABC News in an email. Asked about receiving a transcript of the recording, Nauert told ABC News: “I don’t have anything on that.”“, so is there a recording? Why is no one jumping on that story plane hitting Turkey with that question EVERY HOUR? The story is 24 hours old and inaction on the truth prevails whilst actively pushing the alleged unconfirmed reporting is winning; it is that part of pushing hype towards emotion and not true journalism, keeping the emotions high, instead of properly informing the people. Last night that stage just got to me.

That whilst we understand that governments are walking away from economic events, yet they do not get to cry on the entire Brexit setting either, at that point their useless and fear mongering attempt to fill the bucket with false staging needs to be met with the very same tenacity, but that is not going to happen, is it? Wall Street will not allow for it, will it?

So as the New York Times gives us: “Investors raised concern that if Saudi Arabia were sanctioned, it could restrict oil supply and prompt a rise in energy prices. “As soon as the news came out it increased the selling,” said Robert Pavlik, chief investment strategist at SlateStone Wealth LLC in New York. “Anything that has a semblance of the possibility of trouble, people in this environment see it as a much larger problem than it may really be.”“, the article (at https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2018/10/18/business/18reuters-usa-stocks.html) will get a twist or two before the end of the weekend and when we contemplate the message from Robert Pavlik, chief investment strategist at SlateStone Wealth LLC in New York. The answer is simple, you have the media to thank for that (as I personally see it)!

so when we are in a stage of what happened, I wonder how many of these reporters remember the entire Arizona Republic reporter Don Bolles case and how it all came to an end after 30 years, or did it?

In the end, it is the lack of journalistic integrity that gets to me. It is all about staging the story; it is no longer about reporting the news. There will be the players that do the right thing and the BBC is currently topping that list, but the issue is that this list of better journalistic publications is shrinking and it is not getting better or larger.

One of the players who set me off was TalkRadio (UK), she is not the best soul on this planet (in more ways than one). I think that when Tweeting a bombing pic as satire is just as low as any person can get and I do not fault her for being stupid, but she should not be that blatantly obvious about it, and in her defence that she is a staunch republican, I would say that so am I, yet I try to push for higher values within my own party and other parties. that does not mean that I am absent of humour, mine can be direct and perhaps to some offending at times, but it is never done in malice, Julia Hartley-Brewer tweeted in malice, which is not the same. Perhaps it was not satire, but sarcasm and when it bites back, it will merely be irony.

The example is actually important as we see at times the satirical presentation of events, and making sure that this is filtered out is equally important. In addition there have been places like Today, where we saw former CIA director John Brennan. Here we see direct answers on good questions, yet here we need to see another filtering. Here the filtering is that this is a former operative who was in Saudi Arabia, who knows the country and the people. It is a much better level of reliability and we should not ignore that, in opposition to other reporters who are unlikely to find Saudi Arabia and Riyadh on a blind map. In addition the other reports never added any reliable parts like John Brennan to the equation, merely their anonymous source, one that has more likely than not an anti-Saudi state of mind.

Whatever!

In the end, we need to look into ourselves too, I am doing just that and even as I understand why I was in a rage, I am still looking into the matter how that rage got to me. Just an hour ago, we see the BBC giving us: “The Turkish authorities say they have audio and video evidence of the killing – although these have not been made public. Turkish media with close links to the government have published gruesome details on the alleged audio, saying screams, and the voice of the consul, Mohammed al-Otaibi, could be heard in the recording“, yet the latter part cannot be proven at present, can it? that remains at the heart of the matter and as the BBC adds: “Russian President Vladimir Putin has said it is a pity that Mr Khashoggi has gone missing, but that Russia cannot damage relations with Saudi Arabia without hard facts” we are again confronted with the issue, there are for now no facts, nothing tangible and that is what matters, the additional disregard of the media because they are no longer trustworthy is making matters worse, they are worse as they could have been prevented. For us we are lucky that BBC news is still there to give us the quality goods.

There is one ironical part in all this, the final column by Jamal Khashoggi give us: “it left Saudis “either uninformed or misinformed”“, we are for the most in that very same position, in our case it is not the freedom of the press, it is the overly large freedom that allows the press to play with us for their direct needs and the need of the first three priorities that leaves us either uninformed or misinformed by making us ‘informed’ allegedly and though insinuation, which in the end is still misinformation.

Even now in the last hour, we get: “But a steady stream of unconfirmed leaks from officials to Turkish media have painted a detailed and horrifying picture of Khashoggi’s last minutes, allegedly at the hands of 15 Saudi agents waiting for him when he came to the consulate for paperwork”, all about unconfirmed, yet the setting that Turkey is an Iranian puppet is still kept out of the entire equation, is that not interesting too? How far can we be deceived and when it falls to holding the media accountable in all this, when we force that discussion to the table, how will the media react? How many politicians will suddenly take a step back and forget to voice concerns on properly informing the public?

 

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Way of the Dodo

Tariffs are nothing new, these things have existed for the longest time. I grew up where that was a given, so in my youth, only the rich bought a Harley, a Chrysler or a Chevy. I still remember walking to the shop in Rotterdam and look at all those awesome vehicles through the windows (I was too young to drive in those days), many grew their passion that way. It seems odd that living next to the country that made Volkswagen and Mercedes, we wanted a Blazer, a Harley or another American car. Nowadays, the petrol guzzlers they used to be wouldn’t make it today in Europe. So when we see: ‘EU tariffs force Harley-Davidson to move some production out of US‘, I merely see a stage setting to the old ways. The Guardian gives us loads of information as the market slides, as the shift of production and the changing of the US stock market. That is the direct visible impact of the Trade wars. Australia had this setting a few years earlier as the car industry packed up and left Australia for more exploitative settings in Asia. In the booming market that is stated to exist, we see ‘Harley: EU tariffs will cost $100m/year in short term‘ (source: the Guardian). this is a war the US president started and he forgot that companies, especially US ones, have one focus, short term ROI and a trade war changes the hats of many corporations overnight. This is seen to some degree as Bloomberg treated us to ‘Bigger Booby Trap for U.S. Economy‘. We get introduced to “Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said on June 20 that officials are beginning to hear that companies are postponing investment and hiring due to uncertainty about what comes next” (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-06-24/trump-s-trade-war-sets-bigger-booby-trap-for-strong-u-s-economy). It is what is sometimes referred to as the corporate mindset, the consideration that tomorrow is not going to be any better for now. In all this the US hides behind “tax cuts power both consumer and company spending. That would be the strongest in almost four years and twice as fast as the first quarter’s annualized advance of 2.2 percent“, yet the US seems to forget that tax cuts also means that infrastructures are falling apart, the US has a debt it cannot seem to pay and the debt keeps on rising. This in a nation where the national debt has surpassed $21 trillion (103% of GDP), whilst in addition the statistics show that the US faces a setting where the debt per taxpayers is $175K opposing a revenue per taxpayer is merely $27K, a $148K per taxpayer shortfall, that is not the moment when tax cuts have any clear momentum, because the moment the infrastructures start failing, at that point their momentum seizes. Even as Nariman Behravesh the IHS Markit’s Macroeconomic Adviser give us “If they keep down this path, all the positive effects of the tax cut will be gone“, it is worse than that. This gives the indirect implication that unemployment rates will go up giving additional ‘attack’ against the US infrastructure. All this seems to become a direct result of the tug of war between tariffs and protectionism. The BBC gives the best light (at https://www.bbc.com/news/world-43512098), when we consider ‘Five reasons why trade wars aren’t easy to win‘. In this we see (not all five added):

  1. Tariffs may not actually boost steel and aluminium jobs much. The question becomes, how much of a boost would be possible, and is this proven or still merely speculation?
  2. Tariffs are likely to raise costs in the US, so the cost of the product will be increased as these CEO’s do not want to take it out of their margins, so it will be bookkept in another place, the consumer has to pay for all these charges in the end.
  3. Tariffs could hurt allies and prompt retaliation, which is already the case and when you consider that the two largest deliverers of steel are Canada and the EU, the move does not make that much sense. So we see a tariff war that will be about exemptions. In that regard, the tariff war is a bust where the companies hit will be facing a rock and a hard stand on tariffs, this is shown by a few clever people to move part of their operation to Europe, and Harley Davidson is merely the first of several to make that move.
  4. China has options, this is the big one. The US blames China for flooding the market with cheap steel and aluminium and has already stepped up protective measures against Chinese steel products. In opposition, US businesses, including those in the car, tech and agriculture industries, are eager to get into the Chinese market, giving leaders there some leverage. So in the end, the tariff war is not strangling US businesses to fan out to the Chinese market, as exemptions are gained here, the tariff war becomes close to pointless and it merely drove down the economy. This last part is not a given and cannot be proven until 2019, which could null and void any chance of President Trump getting a second term, in addition, if this is not going to be a slam dunk win for the Democrats, the Republicans better have a strong case, because 2020 is the one election where the chances for winning by Jeb Bush (Florida) and Ann Coulter (Florida) seems to be a better option than re-electing the current president. Who would have thought that in 2016? It becomes hilarious when you consider that 2020 is the year that Marco Rubio declined to run, only to give the presidency to Ann Coulter. My sense of humour needs to point that out, whether it becomes reality or not.

The previous part is important to consider, not for the matter of who becomes president, but the setting that the economy is in such a state where we all see the proclamation ““Anyone who thinks the economy is being wrecked doesn’t know what they’re talking about,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a June 21 Bloomberg Television interview“. We accept the fact that he states that, yet everyone seems to overlook that the debt also gives an annual interest that is close to $100 per taxpayer, now consider that 80% of the population is in the 15% or 10% bracket. So from their taxation we see a maximum of $755 where 13% goes straight to the paying of the interest, when you are in the higher bracket 3% is lost. So before anything else is done up to 16% is lost and that accounts for 80% of the population, merely because no budgets were properly kept, the US infrastructure lost up to 16% straight from the start, that is the undermining of an infrastructure that also fuels the economy which it can no longer do. You see behind this is the IP, or as the US calls it the IP theft by China. I am uncertain if we can agree. I am not stating that it does not happen, I merely look at the Dutch examples from Buma/Stemra in the 90’s and their numbers were flawed, perhaps even cooked. They never made sense and after that we have seen ‘political weighting‘ of numbers that were debatable from the start.

So when we look back to 2017, we see the NY Times giving us: “Intellectual-property theft covers a wide spectrum: counterfeiting American fashion designs, pirating movies and video games, patent infringement and stealing proprietary technology and software“, yet I have seen these accusations in Europe and the numbers never added up. So when we see: “Central to Chinese cybersecurity law is the “secure and controllable” standard, which, in the name of protecting software and data, forces companies operating in China to disclose critical intellectual property to the government and requires that they store data locally. Even before this Chinese legislation, some three-quarters of Chinese imported software was pirated. Now, despite the law, American companies may be even more vulnerable“. It will happen, yet to what degree does it happen? What evidence is there? Consider the setting when we think of students. Students tend to have one of the harshest budgets to live on. Let’s take 100 students and they all decided to duplicate (read: borrow) the latest album from Taylor Swift ‘Reputation’ (it is easier to imagine it when the victim is a beautiful blonde who only recently stopped being a teenager). Now, basically she lost $2390 in revenue, yet is that true? How many would have actually bought the album? Let’s say 10% of all students are real fans and they would have bought the album (when not confronted with the choice of food versus entertainment), so the actual loss is $239. Now, this is still a loss and she is entitled to take action here. Yet the people making a living in the facilitation industry will demand the loss be set to $2390 that is where the numbers do not add up! There is the setting of eagerness to hear an album versus the need to have the album. We are all driven with the need to hear the album and some will buy it. This opposes several views and whilst the implied copied work allegedly is done so in the hundreds of thousands, the evidence is not there to support it. That is where weighted forecasts are the setting and it is an inaccurate one. So in all this, from the IP point of view, do we have 23,675,129 C# programmers, or merely 24 million people who wanted to take a look at C# only to install it and never use it because they could not figure out what they were looking at?

Now we get to 2018, where we see (at http://money.cnn.com/2018/03/23/technology/china-us-trump-tariffs-ip-theft/index.html) the projected issues with “The United States Trade Representative, which led the seven-month investigation into China’s intellectual property theft and made recommendations to the Trump administration, found that “Chinese theft of American IP currently costs between $225 billion and $600 billion annually“, I wonder what numbers they are set on. Now we can agree that the likelihood of “”China has sought to acquire US technology by any means, licit or illicit,” James Andrew Lewis, senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, wrote in a blog post Thursday” being true in regard to defence projects would be high. Yet in all this, where is the data supporting these views? Without proper data we are faced with US companies setting expected revenue that is many millions too high and that part remains unanswered on many fronts. Now in defence, we get it! That is the game, so as we consider the news last year from breaking defense with the news that: “compassion for the Army, which is trying to standardize its computer systems across more than 400 units in the next 28 months. The objective is a “single software baseline,” where every unit has the same set of information technologies. Such standardization should simplify everything from training, maintenance, operations and future upgrades“, this is fun to read as I had to set up something like that for a company much smaller. There we learned that Dell was kind enough to have within two shipments the same model computer yet both had different patches because one chip had been changed. Now consider that this ‘unsettling dream of standardisation‘ was for a company with hardware usage merely a rough 0.13% of what the US Army has. So, that is something that will bite them soon enough. This doesn’t make the setting smaller, but a lot larger, the wrong patches tend to open up networks for all kinds of flaws not correctly set. So the cyber intrusion setting would be an optional 300% larger, giving a much larger success rate, all people willing to sell data to the Chinese (or the Chinese merely enticing the American people to embrace marketing capitalism for their own gains).

To explain the previous part in its proper light we need to realise. It is not merely about IP theft and rights; it is also about common cyber sense. In both the military and corporate setting there is a need for levels of standardisation, whilst IP that tends to rely on standardisation to be more successful, the IP theft setting is actually opposite to that. The Conversation (at http://theconversation.com/three-reasons-why-pacemakers-are-vulnerable-to-hacking-83362) gives us when they look at the medical dangers. As they give us Power versus security as well as Convenience versus security we see the first dangers. So consider the following. First there is “according to Carnegie Mellon researchers, can increase the energy consumption of some mobile phones by up to 30% because of the loss of proxies“, then we get “Most embedded medical devices don’t currently have the memory, processing power or battery life to support proper cryptographic security, encryption or access control“, giving us that hacking into someone’s pacemaker is actually not as hard as one might think. Now consider that encryption, or a lack thereof can be found on a large variety of IoT devices, and any army has their own devices that need to be more accessible at all times. In the second consideration we get “The prospect of having to keep usernames, passwords and encryption keys handy and safe is contrary to how they plan to use them“, as well as “When your pacemaker fails and the ambulance arrives, however, will you really have the time (or ability) to find the device serial number and authentication details to give to the paramedics“, it is the age old setting of convenience for the safety of all. So as we realise this, how much IP theft was already available before anyone realised its need? It is almost like the gun laws in the US, everyone wants gun laws whilst there are millions available for unmonitored purchasing defeating the purpose altogether. In that same setting we ignore common Cyber Sense too often allowing for IP theft on a much larger scale. The issue is that it does not mean that this is actually happening, or that others have interest to steal that particular IP. So we can optionally agree that the Chinese government that they definitely want all the IP on that front, even as some sources state that there is still a problem. So when we consider to an example, we need to look at that part of the information came from a research report by LtCol B. L. Ream, USAF, which gives us “There are two types of guidance systems available, the AGM-65A/B is optical guided and the AGM-65D model Is Infrared guided“, as well as “Once launched, the missile maintains a lock on to the target and guides autonomously, providing a standoff launch and leave capability. The aircraft can then egress the target area or set up to fire again in a target rich environment“, yet the other undisclosed source gives us that a programming issue on the locking when it is set through a buddy system. The: “data link control of the weapon can be provided from two different sources. Either the launch aircraft can guide the weapon or a buddy aircraft can control the weapon after launch. In either case, data link line of sight must be maintained between the data link aircraft and the weapon. Thus, on a standoff control scenario, the further away from the target the control aircraft is the higher altitude it must maintain. Even though this may not appear to be tactically sound, the standoff range is impressive“, so the undisclosed source that gives that the Data Link has a match issue and there is a chance that the speculated offset of 35 metres is ‘accidently implemented on targeting‘, will there be an issue of IP theft? When materials are openly available on the internet, as I was able to read the report on the Defense Technical Information Center site. When is there a case of IP theft? In this I love the reference that WIPO uses. Here we see: “Copyright protection extends only to expressions, and not to ideas, procedures, methods of operation or mathematical concepts as such“, considering that ballistic software is 90% math (read: the application of mathematical concepts), copyright as an option goes straight out of the window, in addition, the data link adjustment makes it in theory a new product that was not covered in the first place. So standardisation makes it easier to get to the lollies, and by adjusting the wrapper it ends up not being IP theft, as long as no trademarks reside on the wrapper (a ‘it is more alike than not‘ issue in IP law).

And now for the main meal

This is seen in the CNN article I raised earlier. The headline ‘President Donald Trump has slapped tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods, taking aim at China’s theft of US intellectual property‘. It was and has always been about IP protectionism. Business Insider gives us “Two former senior Defence Department officials said Chinese intellectual property theft cost the US as much as $US600 billion a year, calling it possibly the “greatest transfer of wealth in history.”“, the Financial Times (at https://www.ft.com/content/995063be-1e0a-11e8-956a-43db76e69936) gives us: “as Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s foreign minister, suggests: “It is entirely inappropriate to view any trade with Canada as a national security threat to the United States.” Yet once this loophole is used so irresponsibly by the US, of all countries, where might it stop?” The Financial Times takes it a lot further giving raise to the question how did it in the end serve IP? Where we saw more than once the terms ‘as much as $US600 billion a year‘, yet no evidence is presented. There is no setting that ‘Two former senior Defence Department officials‘ can present a list adding the numbers up and with $600 billion in the balance (as opposed to the commercial industry) we see that if proper evidence was presented a better case could have been made. Where we see in opposition to China: a lucrative market in designer knockoff goods in places like Amsterdam and London. London getting its share of 17 million tourists, all happy to get the latest Gucci bag for a special discount price of £19.95 as well as in Amsterdam where the 14 million visitors can get them for a mere €25. So did Gucci report a €812 million in IP theft losses? What about the other brands? I was the proud owner of an Australian Polo for $12, I merely needed a polo shirt (many years ago) as some drunk blonde thought it was perfectly normal to dance in high heels in the middle of the road holding a glass of red wine, so as she jumped to get away from a car (who had an actual reason to be on the road), I ended up with her wine on my shirt. So I got to the first place that sold a polo shirt and got a new one so I would not arrive at a diner red stained before it even began. Did I initiate IP theft? I had no idea what ‘Australian’ was in those days. There is the setting, what we know, what was real damage and how it is presented by those needing inflated IP theft numbers?

It is in this setting that we need to see the stage for reported IP theft. We agree that the smallest fraction is indeed set to the covert acquisition of military IP, yet the bulk (well over 95%) is all about a misrepresenting economy, the brands want their losses to seem as large as possible, the US is setting that stage to prospective economic health, yet that evidence cannot be validated and the tariff war is likely to become a much more detrimental factor in the US economy that is currently presented as a revenue bubble that will impact sooner rather than later. The independent gave us last December (at https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/economy-signs-interest-rates-donald-trump-market-bubble-burst-next-year-a8102356.html) that ‘Five economic signs that can tell us if the bubble will burst next year‘. Here we see “The good news is that the world is at last experiencing a coordinated expansion, with all major regions growing reasonably swiftly“, as well as “the policies that have led to this expansion, especially ultra-easy money conditions, have created a boom in asset prices that at some stage will come to an end“. There are a few views in all direction, yet the one that no one seems to focus on is the quality of life. Earlier this year USA Today reported that “California has the worst quality of life in America“, the sunny state is where people can no longer afford to live to any decent degree. That part is forgotten, the QoL in New York is in 25th position, not a great place to be. The Quality of Life in the US has decreased to the degree where it is the lowest in the developed world. That and the fact that the US is at minus 21 trillion does not help. It is shown in the US Social Progress Index where none of the five largest state economies (California, New York, Illinois, Florida and Texas) are in the top ten states on social progress. This is important and reflects back to the student example I gave earlier. So as these people will all ‘borrow’ the latest Taylor Swift album and none of those will buy it, because they cannot afford to do so. That part becomes even more visible when you consider the Wired setting on pre-owned games in 2016. At some point Microsoft made the terminal choice as given by Wired through “You may remember that Microsoft attempted to do away with “used games” with the launch of the Xbox One. (Yeah, they made some hand-wavy claims of players being able to trade games at “participating retailers,” but the DRM scheme meant you couldn’t borrow, lend, sell them on eBay“, that setting is merely exploding in an economy that is not moving forward. That with 80% of the people on merely a 15% tax bracket or lower and the cost of living there is still going up. Even as Microsoft is pushing to “buy at the Microsoft store“, a digital copy cannot be handed out to friends, so there is little push for that move when you can only afford 4 games a year. However, Microsoft is in equal measure pushing for the Game Pass which balances one for the other. EA is making a similar move and it is actually an intelligent move to make. The few that would buy the latest NHL version no matter what gives is nothing compared to the overwhelming group that will happily buy the previous year version when it is part of a package deal at $40 a year. So I might wield the latest NHL version, at $40 a year getting the previous season of FIFA, NBA and NFL is just smart thinking. Yet these people are equally part of the claimants of IP theft. The question becomes (even as we accept that it will happen), how large is the actual IP theft? So when the US adds a 10% tariff on video games, does that merely make the download 10% more expensive? I do not think that from $40 to $44 for EA games is an increase we lose sleep about, yet the ‘cost’ of downloading remains as well, and in the flawed Microsoft design, how does the tariff apply over time, on DLC and other elements in gaming? All these changes and increases, where the consumer sees no upside, all based on projected and presented numbers without its proper representation and scrutiny.

This is how an economy goes the way of the Dodo, so when you think (source: Sydney Morning Herald) that the start of ‘US plans to curb Chinese tech investments, citing security‘ is a good idea and it is waxed with “the White House would use one of the most significant legal measures available to declare China’s investment in US companies involved in technologies such as new-energy vehicles, robotics and aerospace a threat to economic and national security, according to eight people familiar with the plans“, we need to see in equal setting the fact that 750 million Europeans might find the escalation of events important and threatening enough to take a 180 degree position on tech operators like Huawei when we are treated to “Huawei, China’s biggest maker of handsets and networking equipment, which has been flagged numerous times by US lawmakers as a possible security threat to Americans. Upon the New York Times’ publication of a piece (paywall) highlighting Facebook’s data sharing with Huawei, as well as with three other Chinese companies, the social network told the paper it would wind down (paywall) its partnership with the Shenzhen-based phone brand“. One side tries to stop and filter, whilst the other side turned open the tap and let the room flood. Even now, after a congressional hearing and the Cambridge Analytica events, we see alleged transgressions and the sharing of data on a stage where we see only growth. With “Due to the importance of highlighting the natural and heritage landmarks in the Kingdom, “Huawei Saudi” joined together with Qumra’s community of photographers to organize a workshop around “photography through smartphones” by using the latest “Huawei P20 Pro” phone” and the setting that offers the latest in mobile technology far below the prices that Google, Apple and Samsung have. It does not matter on how the tariff war is to become a disaster, it is the mere realisation that it fails because those implementing changes do not seem to comprehend that the economy consists of well over a billion consumers and they cannot afford the 10% more or the 28% more expensive mobile phone alternatives. In all this the people confronted with the dilemma merely went directly to the consumers, as such Harley Davidson is moving to Europe to circumvent a few barricades, a tariff war that was short sighted to a lot of people more intelligent than me and the country that considers naked short selling to not be illegal seems to be doing just that to its own economy, how is that the setting of morality of capitalism?

We consider the way of the Dodo and realise that in the end it merely tasted like chicken.

#HowSmartWereWe or is that #HowSmartHuawei

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How Facebook data flows

This started just 4 hours ago when the Guardian gave us ‘50 million Facebook profiles harvested for Cambridge Analytica in major data breach‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/mar/17/cambridge-analytica-facebook-influence-us-election). Even when we see “Whistleblower describes how firm linked to former Trump adviser Steve Bannon compiled user data to target American voters“, we tend to wonder, because me getting any data from my own account in Facebook is a stretch under the most optimal of conditions. So when we see “how Cambridge Analytica – a company owned by the hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer, and headed at the time by Trump’s key adviser Steve Bannon – used personal information taken without authorisation in early 2014 to build a system that could profile individual US voters, in order to target them with personalised political advertisements“, so in all this I am not saying it is not possible and that it did not happened. The video that the Guardian offered, the interview with the whistle-blower is nice, but it is quite something else. You see, what I got out of that interview is not answers, but questions. So when I heard “grossly unethical experiments” and “you are playing with the psychology of an entire nation in the context of the democratic process“. Here I wonder (for a mere moment) if something wrong was done at all. This is social media; social media is something that has no boundaries and no actual setting of limits.

We tend to set the bar of any social given at whatever level it should be according to us, but in reality, there is no social setting, not until enough people complain. I have seen many apps that are out there that do not only want your name, gender, age and so forth. They also want your religious and other settings and most people are happy to click ‘OK’. So this is something we are walking into and the given stupidity of many Americans means that a free game is something that comes for free and whatever it stated with the ‘allowed access to‘ is pretty much ignored, especially when the people around them state that it is a very cool free game. So when I see “built models to exploit what we knew about them and target their inner demons. That was the basis the entire company was built on.”” we see that Robert Mercer has found a business model that works. The question merely remains on how that data was captured, if it was through ‘cool apps’ there is little that Facebook can do, unless it has exact legislation at their fingers to state that the law was broken. Yet in all this the fact that this happened in 2014 and that the Guardian (and the Observer) had the scoop 4 years later gives rise that the farmed data is not merely still in use, it is actively used for whatever endeavour Robert Mercer has in play to gain maximum profit, because that is what a billionaire does. So when we see “Documents seen by the Observer, and confirmed by a Facebook statement, show that by late 2015 the company had found out that information had been harvested on an unprecedented scale. However, at the time it failed to alert users and took only limited steps to recover and secure the private information of more than 50 million individuals” the outrage should follow, but with ‘it failed to alert users‘ implies that Facebook did not care about the users, but about the business model, as well as ‘took only limited steps to recover and secure the private information‘ gives rise that their data was merely secure enough and no actual loss was found, that is the view we get when a firm where data is their direct market value data and ‘secure the private information of more than 50 million individuals‘ was not done. It is actually that simple, those who claim it not to be are merely hiding in the margins, hoping to strike it rich themselves, because that is what the data of 50 million people offers.

It goes further when we see the NY Times claim. With ‘How Trump Consultants Exploited the Facebook Data of Millions‘ (at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/17/us/politics/cambridge-analytica-trump-campaign.html), we see “During a week of inquiries from The Times, Facebook downplayed the scope of the leak and questioned whether any of the data still remained out of its control. But on Friday, the company posted a statement expressing alarm and promising to take action“, not only does it imply that the data is beyond their control, it gives rise that others have access to it which is more alarming. The Facebook system has failed its members to the extent that their privacy did not exist for close to 4 years. So how much data have you shared in the last 4 years thinking it was only for your friends?

In addition, the claim we see in the NY Times “Alexander Nix, the chief executive of Cambridge Analytica, and other officials had repeatedly denied obtaining or using Facebook data, most recently during a parliamentary hearing last month. But in a statement to The Times, the company acknowledged that it had acquired the data, though it blamed Mr. Kogan for violating Facebook’s rules and said it had deleted the information as soon as it learned of the problem two years ago“, when combined with what the Guardian is giving us is a rise to the setting that both Alexander Nix of Cambridge Analytica and the speakers of Facebook are both incorrect, insincere and without any doubt cause for great concern and so far the Facebook users are in the dark on a near global level.

I can applaud Robert Mercer to some extent, you see with “The conservative donor Robert Mercer invested $15 million in Cambridge Analytica, where his daughter Rebekah is a board member” we see one side, the other side is that all things being equal the return on his investment is close to five-fold, making is a wise investment when the goal is merely $$$$.

In all this we can give the Facebook users the bird, not because we hate them, but for years I have spoken out clearly that these users are all about stating ‘privacy’ no the NSA whilst at the same time sharing indiscriminately on social media like Facebook, whilst not comprehending the system because it was ‘free’. This is the direct consequence and these users will be used again and again because that is what they signed up for. So when Robert Mercer is offered a $25 million deal with an international IT firm like Vintage Alternating Java Academy or Medicinal Office of International Studies, we will see a CEO who will happily oblige, yet have you figured out yet where that data ended up? That is how the game is played, so when they cannot sell the data and the firm gets taken over by a Chinese multinational, do you think that the data stays in that one place? This is what you all signed up for. You might be in denial and you might state that it should not happen, but the law is very easy on what should happen and what is legally possible, the ‘should happen‘ group loses without a moment’s hesitation. The only part that I am not getting is what I would personally describe as ‘the Facebook level of ignorance’. You see, either some players were intentionally extremely stupid, or they were in on it form the beginning. They were in on it as they did not address the flaw they had exposed themselves to and they thought they had stopped the fear for 3 years, but now as we see merely two days ago, over three years after the fact has happened “a Russian-American academic, from Facebook. “We will take whatever steps are required to see that the data in question is deleted once and for all — and take action against all offending parties”“, as well as ““This was a scam — and a fraud,” Paul Grewal, a vice president and deputy general counsel at the social network” they are now realising that they set themselves up for a much larger negative boost. You see, when these 50 million users find out that they have been had, will they remain with Facebook? So what happened when the global wave starts and Facebook optionally loses 10% users, how will they sell that? It was the short-sighted prospect of meeting the sales needs and targets that got them in hot water. That is the foundation of the loss they set themselves up for and in all this, Americans far and wide have given their privacy up for a much larger extent that they realise and this path will take at least a few weeks as Facebook is setting all their guns to downplay any information that the public is exposed to.

So as we are ‘exposed’ to ““Protecting people’s information is at the heart of everything we do,” Mr. Grewal said. “No systems were infiltrated, and no passwords or sensitive pieces of information were stolen or hacked.” Still, he added, “it’s a serious abuse of our rules.”“. So is that true? You see the data shows that he is not truthful, because if that was an actual setting than Facebook would have had their own cloud for analytical solutions that did not require the export of data, but we see that this did not happen. So as we see the altered statement of ‘No systems were infiltrated, and no passwords or sensitive pieces of information were stolen or hacked‘, we could paraphrase this into ‘we voluntarily handed over the data to be used outside of the Facebook system‘. So does this make Robert Mercer the most intelligent entrepreneur, or is he merely the first one who got found out. So when we take a look at the flowchart in the Guardian article we see that Alekandr Kogan is linked to Cambridge University, St Petersburg State University, the Russian Government, as well as Global Science Research (GSR), which he founded, we see the setting that as academics are all about reselling their solutions for maximised economic profit, we see that the link between GSR and SCL Election Ltd (which now links Alexander Nix, we see that the data has likely gone a lot wider than anyone expected and there we have the setting that Facebook and their position of ‘it cannot be used legitimately in the future and must be deleted immediately‘, when data is out there it is NEVER deleted, whomever thinks that this actually happens will be delusional at the very best.

So when we see “That to me was the most astonishing thing. They waited two years and did absolutely nothing to check that the data was deleted. All they asked me to do was tick a box on a form and post it back“, which we get from former employee Christopher Wylie, gives the rise of the delusional settings that are seemingly available at Facebook. This now gets us to the final part “Paul-Olivier Dehaye, a data protection specialist, who spearheaded the investigative efforts into the tech giant, said: “Facebook has denied and denied and denied this. It has misled MPs and congressional investigators and it’s failed in its duties to respect the law“. I personally see this as the fallout to keep the billions of advertisement revenue rolling, because the larger the revenue stake, the less oversight is given to that firm. That is a view we have seen with the larger players for close to a decade. So is anyone actually surprised to see the Facebook data flow far beyond the borders of Facebook?

We as users have merely ourselves to thank for the shortcomings that exposes our privacy all over the world making it non-existent.

 

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A big tree in the desert

It started a little while ago, 4 nations got angry at Qatar, I wrote about it earlier. There were issues on both sides and there were intelligence considerations as well. In this Germany intelligence decided to shed light on the matter by investigating certain sources. A path I reckon that until now has not been too successful. A path that was equally a given not to be too successful, yet what was not expected was the issue shown a few days later when on July 16th The Washington Post (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/uae-hacked-qatari-government-sites-sparking-regional-upheaval-according-to-us-intelligence-officials/2017/07/16/00c46e54-698f-11e7-8eb5-cbccc2e7bfbf_story.html), the issue shown with “The United Arab Emirates orchestrated the hacking of Qatari government news and social media sites in order to post incendiary false quotes attributed to Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani, in late May that sparked the ongoing upheaval between Qatar and its neighbors, according to U.S. intelligence officials“, in addition there is “In a statement released in Washington by its ambassador, Yousef al-Otaiba, the UAE said the Post article was “false.”“, which is to be expected. Finally we get “Qatar has repeatedly charged that its sites were hacked, but it has not released the results of its investigation. Intelligence officials said their working theory since the Qatar hacks has been that Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt or some combination of those countries were involved. It remains unclear whether the others also participated in the plan“, which is an equal truth. In addition, we need to realise that this is not some fake news site, this is the Washington Post, America’s answer to The Times, and its high ethics in journalism have been established for the longest of times, so when we see a mere 2 hours ago (at http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/06/qatar-diplomatic-crisis-latest-updates-170605105550769.html) the update “Foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt say they are ready for dialogue with Qatar if it shows willingness to fight ‘terrorism’” a quote given after we see the headline ‘The latest news after some of the Gulf states and Egypt cut ties with Qatar and imposed a land, sea and air blockade‘, yet in light of the found hack(s), how valid are these blockades? In addition we see in regarding the Hajj pilgrimage that Qatar and Saudi Arabia are in a he said versus he said situation, a side we would not have expected from these two evolved nations. There is a larger drawback in all this, as Turkey is trying to ‘ingratiate’ their own agenda, they are now becoming a stronger middleman for anything Iran has in mind, whilst not being connected to the action and in addition to that, the pressures at present are also enabling abilities in Palestine. There is no clear intelligence that is in the open that should be regarded as reliable, yet the ‘watercooler chats‘ seem to imply that calls between the PSS and Hezbollah wave allegedly been happening with some ‘regularity’ in the last 4 weeks, if that is so, than additional pressures on Israel cannot be far away.

Back to Qatar, the latest news gives that according to Rex Tillerson, the US Secretary of State that Qatar has met with the commitments that they were promising, there is a given that when Saudi Arabia, in conjunction with three allies that are not the smallest, any nation under pressure would be willing to comply with any reasonable demand that does not impede national pride to get in the way. Yet, what has the opposition offered at present? In my view the German promise seems unlikely to result to be any form of a working tactic to get some kind of resolution in play. You see, if there was any actual support being given, it would not be registered. I hope that the Americans learned that part when they found Osama Bin Laden a mere one mile from an elite Pakistani military academy. In my view there is no way that those involved with the security there had no knowledge of EVERY building within two miles of the academy. In that same air, you might think that Qatar is aware of any terrorist involvement, that is not the case, but there is ample proof on a few levels that it is utterly impossible that no one knew. The issue becomes how high does it go?

In that same light we need to look at another source. In this case I am looking at a piece by Sami Moubayed. The title ‘Qatar PR blitz is fooling no one‘ (at http://gulfnews.com/opinion/thinkers/qatar-pr-blitz-is-fooling-no-one-1.2067427) is not the part that matters. We might wonder why he focusses on the amounts like $150,000 a month for ‘research, government relations, and strategic consulting services‘, which might also include ‘communications with members of Congress and Congressional staff, executive branch officials, the media, and other individuals‘, the second cost at $2.5 million for former US Attorney General John Ashcroft who would be auditing Qatari efforts at halting terrorism funding. It is interesting how he is going to achieve that as the scope of monitoring and verification is close to impossible when we consider the rogue spears we have seen in Iran in the past, a mere general was able to give the largest level of materials and support towards the enemies of Israel. In this I saw that over that they missed out on options to increase visibility of close to 75% for a mere $10,000 a month (excluding my commission mind you), in light of the mentioned $138,000 not the greatest expense. Yet the important truth is given soon thereafter in “This is where the problem started and where serious work needs to be done to rebrand the country’s political orientation. No PR firm can do the job — it can be done by one person only, being Shaikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani“, which is only partially true. They still need a facilitator to give a wider voice, or better spoken a channel to transfer the words of Shaikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani to a much wider audience.

Sami is right when he states “Only he has the power to change his country’s image in the eyes of its neighbours“, and in this I am not even mentioning his valid reason of “All Qatar needs to do is walk away from Hamas and Yousuf Al Qaradawi“, which would have been a good idea any day of the week. Qatar has a few more options, options that they did not even realise that they had. There is a case to be made to revamp Al Jazeera TV’s editorial policy. Yet as it is speaking to the hearts and minds of Muslims (to a larger extent), I would not be able to give proper advice in that place, what does matter is that non-Muslims know what Al-Jazeera is, yet in reality those people do not know what EXACTLY Al-Jazeera is and that could be a small task, easier rectified and it starts on their own website. Not the flaccid minute under the heading of ‘about us‘. That current part of 200 words with the ‘Who we are‘ is so minute, so none telling that is overlooked with the mere blink of an eye. The words there “Launched in 1996, Al Jazeera Arabic was the first independent news channel in the Arab world dedicated to providing comprehensive news and live debate“, is laughter incarnate in my personal opinion! I am willing to bet a building on the fact that their 1996 was a challenge worthy of a small novel to say the least, so why not properly introduce Al-Jazeera to Muslims and non-Muslims alike? If Al-Jazeera is truly in 100 countries, the cheapest of solutions (read: SAP Dashboard) could add visibility to what is being offered, the network could grow through offering visibility using a mere BI consultant, which in all likelihood is already walking around in at least one of their 100 offices. In similar visibility they are presently (as their website indicates) not in France or the Netherlands, and perhaps at least in one office in one of the Scandinavian countries with the ability to offer local language support to thousands of Muslims. To the extent that this is PR that is massively cheaper than some PR offices offer and that is something Qatar would have in their own hands, working a social network with localisation. Interesting that that was not mentioned anywhere.

My ideas are directly reflective of the words of Sami Moubayed as he states “Somebody needs to whisper in the ear of the emir — and senior management at Al Jazeera — that they need to do a better job to polish their image; rather than spend millions on agencies in London and Washington, it’s far more urgent — and less costly — to do the job at home“, yet he does it in absence of directness or direct ideas on how to do it. I reckon that is fair enough, the man is a historian; he mostly lives in the past, not in the tomorrow. That is not an accusation; it is merely a factual realisation.

In this, the strongest point he makes is seen with “After a wave of agony swept the Arab World since 2011, this doesn’t sell any longer throughout the region. In fact, it sounds and reads as cheap, cliché, and very outdated“, this is exactly why the entire dashboard is such a step forward, I noticed a few more issues. There would be a fair debate whether this is laziness, or mere editorial policy. A case could be made for either side, yet the issue remains.

As we say goodbye to the Al-Jazeera side, we need to embrace one more part in the article by Sami. When we revisit the title ‘Qatar PR blitz is fooling no one‘, I will argue that there is no fooling going on, the article reads nice, but it is not an ‘or’ situation, Qatar is in a ‘and’ situation, where they need to visit issues on inclusion and finding more options to visit, not choosing from some selection and there is a need to be clever about it because the cost and effect of $150,000 a month needs to be examined as how it was spend and what was gained. The question on rebranding politics is also up for grabs, is it about branding or making sure that the visibility is correctly vetted? These elements are not the same and the cause and effect here is also implicitly seen as we see the reactions from the 4 neighbours currently not happy with Qatar. In this, there is an additional part for me set in the issues from Saudi Arabia. I have not read the original reports (and my knowledge of the Arabian language can be rounded upwards towards 0%), yet the press on a near global scale have never given proper item by item view of all the elements, more important towards the evidence as the other 3 (minus the hacking UAE) have offered them with shown source intelligence. It would be so embarrassing if the other three plaintiffs are all depending on one and the same source (an unknown part and speculative from my side). I believe that open clear communication is a first step to resolve it. the fact that my glasses got initially tainted because Al-Jazeera was kind enough to start that day with voicing anti-Semitism through  broadcasting sermons by the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, that was not a good day for Al-Jazeera in light of the stresses in Doha that day. This is exactly why reforming, or better stated editing the ‘powers to be’ within Al-Jazeera sooner rather than later.

For me, I have always been a fan of oversimplifying any issue, so when I look at the grievances now in play, if there could be talks and the three nations can name one item that would show the good intentions of Qatar, what would it be and could Qatar comply with these three items? You see, it might sound oversimplified, but the reality is that all large achievements start small, one step at a time. In that way, we are not enabling either Iran or Turkey (there are issues with some of their decisions), there is an open view of the matter at hand and there is movement in a stress reducing direction. If those three items would stop the blockades, there would be a first step in resolution and more important, as I personally see it, the risk of escalation, as two nations miscommunicate between two optional dinghies and send missiles in the wrong direction is definitely a good element to prevent. Consider the implications, if we see the choice from King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. Would the biggest issue of his kingdom be with the dissidents or with the Iranian connections?

I believe that certain actions are becoming increasingly important, not merely because of the pressures and stresses, the short term issue is seen as we read “The boycotting countries have previously told the WTO that they would cite national security to justify their actions against Qatar, using a controversial and almost unprecedented exemption allowed under the WTO rules” (at http://www.trtworld.com/mea/qatar-crisis-latest-developments-413572), the problem here is that if this element is accepted, the WTO is not merely a cannel of facilitation, it would leave Qatar with very little to work with, it would in addition leave Turkey with holding the bag as the shops are showing in big signs ‘From Turkey by air – New products‘, if those remain Turkey itself ends up in deep hot waters with all the repercussions that follow. As my Law classes included all matters Wise, Terrible and Obvious, the words as given in Forbes (at https://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2017/03/01/trump-admins-yugely-terrible-trade-idea-to-ignore-wto-rulings-america-doesnt-like/#7edfa5103a9f)

With: “Not obeying WTO rules allows countries to close their markets to your exports, it doesn’t force them to open them up“, that would be a stage with issues on several levels we really don’t want to end up at.

This also gets me to the article for another reason. The March 1st article shows more than you expected. You see with “The Trump administration sent shockwaves through the world of trade yesterday when the Financial Times reported that it was looking for ways to bypass the World Trade Organization, the 22-year-old oversight body that adjudicates trade disputes, and which Trump has called a “disaster.”” we now get a second consideration, is the Trump administration using the Qatar strategy to try to thwart the WTO in another way, trying to take away the equality and fairness that the WTO had in the past to set a different set of rules. Did the White House legal team brief the four non-Qatari minded players to use this to put more pressure on Qatar? It might be a valid tactic, yet the US could have had other reasons for pushing the WTO, the question is whether that is equally in play here, if that is so (speculative from my side) than it is the US that has done more than increase pressures on Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE. It is trying to change the global setting of trade in what I expect to be the most selfish of reasons, under those conditions, we might soon see that being a member of the EU is no longer a benefit, as it would become the anchor holding the other EU nations back in trade, merely for the reason that they cannot simply change trade rules for the EU.

So if Doha means Big Tree, we have to wonder what the board looks like at present, it seems that certain actions have been put into motion to set a season of drought for this big tree. We can argue that they did part of it to themselves, yet when we see that other players have had certain personal needs, who is actually trying to resolve the situation with a total absence of personal selfish needs? As I see it not the PR firms, in equal measure there are certain steps that Al-Jazeera could have put into place months ago, yet that too has not been achieved, so who on the side of Qatar is actually thinking of Qatar? I know it is not Turkey or Iran. I do not know who is, but as we see other sources state that “In a study by David Andrew Weinberg that was published in January by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) titled “Qatar and Terror Finance: Part II: Private Funders of [al-Qaida] in Syria,” he wrote: “Based on these cases, there is no persuasive proof that Qatar has stopped letting certain terror financiers off the hook.”” (source: Jerusalem Post), we see that Qatar needs to start considering what is important to Qatar, because in the end Hamas will not care, they merely continue with their path of hatred against that state of Israel with whatever funds they can lay their fingers on. With all the considerations we would want to give to Qatar, it is the actions of Qatar, shown by too many sources that they themselves are becoming (read: have become) their own worst enemy. The one question that Sami Moubayed leaves us with is any of this done (read: facilitated) with the clear approval of His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar? That is the part that matters the most and that path also shows the path of least resistance in hopefully finding a solution to the matter for all the players involved.

 

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