Tag Archives: United States

Is it a rerun?

We have all seen reruns, some are pleasant. There is the rerun of Charmed (three gorgeous women who can put a spell on you), there is the rerun of Gilmore Girls (two generations of flaky women in the best of times), we see another rerun of the X-Files, Star Trek, Gunsmoke, Will & Grace, the list goes on and for the most we do not mind that these series have reruns, some were great, plenty were fun and a few are merely guilty pleasure. Yet how to react when we are confronted with a rerun of the sex acts of Jeffrey Epstein, a rerun with new and different girls now?

ABC is giving a partially different story. They give us: “According to an indictment, Mr Epstein arranged for girls under the age of 18 to perform nude “massages” and other sex acts for him in his New York and Florida homes, and paid some girls to recruit others, from at least 2002 to 2005. Mr Epstein had faced similar charges in 2007, but negotiated a deal to avoid federal prosecution and plead guilty to a single Florida state prostitution charge“, I actually covered this in my article ‘As we judge morality‘ on January 7th 2015 (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/01/07/as-we-judge-morality/), as well as ‘That what is ignored‘ on January 25th 2015 (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/01/25/that-what-is-ignored/), I even added the Palm Beach Police Department Probable Cause Affidavit in PDF form.

Now, we all have rights, and it seems that the rich have more rights, so the idea that (according to SBS News) ‘Jeffrey Epstein applies for house arrest over underage sex trafficking charges‘, an optional rapist and child molester gets to live in a golden cage on a space up to 15000 square feet, living the good life for the crimes that he is accused of is a little too rich for my blood. He might have the best lawyers when we see the quote: “Epstein’s lawyers argued home confinement, along with electronic monitoring, surveillance and a bond secured by a mortgage on his $US77 million ($A110 million) Manhattan mansion would be enough to ensure that he does not flee the country“, yet I do not agree. A man who was until recently labelled a billionaire, so to consider a person with well over 1,200 million not a flight risk when he optionally sacrifices 8.3% of his fortune to avoid 45 years in prison makes him very much a flight risk. I will do you one better, his lawyer, if he flees must spend 10% of that jail time in prison and forfeits his bar admittance when he does flee. How does that sound? Will his lawyer stand by his defence at that point? I actually doubt that. We can argue that it is not fair on the lawyer, but when we hear the lawyer state that he is not a flight risk, is it fair to hold his lawyer to account when he does? Is it really that unfair an expectation to have?

I already had a lot of issues with the 13 months he spend in 2008, even as there was a clear stage of sexual offense against a minor, so the issue is twofold, not only did we clear the Catholic priests, but we are going to clear Wall Street financiers too? How does that go over with you?

Initially I was in a stage where the law could not double dip, the case was closed, yet ABC gives us: “Prosecutors said Mr Epstein paid $US 100,000 in November to a person identified in his 2007 non-prosecution agreement as a possible co-conspirator. They said he paid $US 250,000 in December to another person identified in the agreement as a possible co-conspirator and employee“, it implies (implies not proves) that the case was a lot larger than first seen, so this is a renewed investigation. Even as the ruling of the house arrest is a little over 27 hours away, I believe that there is a lot more coming to the wires. When we revisit the parts I had, now by Global News Canada, we get: “In 2008, Epstein pleaded guilty in Florida to state charges of soliciting a minor for prostitution under an agreement that required him to spend 13 months in jail and register as a sex offender. The agreement has been widely criticized for secretly ending a federal sex abuse investigation involving at least 40 teenage girls at the time that could have landed him behind bars for life“, the issue of 40 girls was unknown, I know that there were several, but not 40, as such if that number is proven we need to investigate the entire court matter, as well as the judge on how this person got only 13 months initially. It is nothing less than a complete travesty of justice. So even as we see that there was an agreement in one state, there are another 51 states that can have a go at him and the state of New York has decided to do just that. This gets us back to the SBS article and then too we can agree that we have to oppose “Epstein would nonetheless agree to be fitted with an electronic ankle bracelet, surrender his passport and de-register his private jet as conditions of his house arrest” a person with that many millions does not need a passport and hand over the keys of his jet, a person like that has loads of options on the side, he remains a flight risk, especially as he used to be so privileges with allotments a thousand times what the average person will ever have, the idea to spend the rest of his life in a room that is 7 feet by 12 feet is enough to forsake well over 75% of his well over 1200 million value, whatever he has left would be enough to have a decent life anywhere on the planet. Yes, this man remains a flight risk. It gets to be even worse that the lack of exposure he had in 2008 is no longer an option now. The people are angry and they will watch the media like a hawk, so the media has everything to lose by leaving this issue alone. Those who go soft will see a much larger impact, and as such they are all out for blood now.

So as the Insider gives us: “The FBI prepared a 53-page indictment against Epstein, but his lawyers instead started plea negotiations with Alexander Acosta, then the US District Attorney for the Southern District of Florida“, we see that his lawyers used whatever they could to stop the FBI indictment, and it goes beyond that. When we consider the Trump links and the fact that the person (Alexander Acosta) who was the US DA of Southern Florida is now United States Secretary of Labor, I wonder if this is all merely a coincidence and an actual prosecution, or whether this is something more. When we consider the quote: “The prosecutors had identified 36 victims of Epstein, most of them having no prior knowledge of the agreement and no opportunity to give input. The deal has been the subject of criticism by the Miami Herald and others“, we see an optional Republican perversion of justice, one so disgusting that we might open the floor to the debate whether a person like Alexander Acosta should be accepted in any public office ever. An optional stage where 36 victims, several regarded then to be minors were just left to their own devices. Can we argue that if any of those victims were the children of Alexander Acosta, would Epstein be walking free after 13 months? That is fair enough a question too, is it not?

And the plot does not stop here, if the reports from Global News Canada are to be believed, we are given the optional fact that Epstein’s New Mexico ranch not named in latest indictment despite older court records alleging abuse at compound. So we see another stage where a place of sexual transgression is not in the cards for prosecution, why is that? I for one do not understand why the FBI was taken out of the equation by Alexander Acosta. We have a clear setting of locations that Epstein owned in three states, making it a clear FBI case, there are alleged transgressions in at least two of them (I use alleged as this is about accepted evidence in court), as such this should have been the top issue for the FBI to a much larger extent. And when we look deeper into the New York Times, we see that they incriminate themselves to a much larger degree. With the quote: ““I’m not a sexual predator, I’m an ‘offender,’ Mr. Epstein told The New York Post in 2011. “It’s the difference between a murderer and a person who steals a bagel.” Ms. Siegal recalled, “He said he’d served his time and assured me that he changed his ways.”” it is if the stage is correctly set. The article refers to Peggy Siegal, an A-lister event organiser, the fact that a person like this is left in the dark on one of her ‘highly regarded guests’ makes for a more concerning stage. If it is true that there is an implied lack of scrutiny and the stage of her events are merely the level of the bank account, we see that there is a chance that she would throw a party and that an unsuspecting guest would be exposed to people like Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, Manuel Noriega, General Sani Abacha, and so on. How good would you feel at a party like that? When we consider this, we see that there has been a much larger cape of protection around Jeffrey Epstein and that should worry us all. We could have argued to some extent that this was a mistake, yet when we see that a certain Secretary of Labor left a large bulk of 36 victims away from consideration, we see a much larger danger, there is no Justice, not when the rich and famous can avoid prosecution to this degree.

I wonder how a person like Peggy Siegal will defend her next A-list event, I wonder how any A-lister feels about mingling with predators, murderers and dictators, do they like their life to be that spicy and non-discriminatory? So in addition, to those who are not considered an A-lister, when a person like Jeffrey Epstein was one: Chadwick Boseman, James McAvoy, Jason Bateman, Cara Delevingne, Zoë Kravitz and Karen Gillan. Just a few names that are at present (as far as I was able to find), not officially set as A-lister. It does not matter whether they want to be one or not, the stage is that they are a dozen times more worthy as social role model than a person like Jeffrey Epstein is and that matters, it changes the view.

Now, I still accept that he is innocent until proven guilty, but he admitted to events in the past and now that we see that the accusations were optionally ten times worse, we see a shift in what we accept and find acceptable. I reckon that the next two weeks will be a lot more pressing for America than they comprehend, after the entire Catholic scandal; people are a lot less accepting of certain acts. The nice part is that the world is full of fathers and mothers, the idea that children, dozens of children might have included one of their children is making them really angry and well over 120 million parents are in the US, so whatever the law does, they better take a long hard look at themselves of whatever deal they make, I feel certain that the parents of America will not see it in that light. It also calls for a larger investigation on what was done in the past and there is a larger stage of the acts of some that might now be seen as totally unacceptable. I also wonder whether the FBI has looked into the 36 victims and whether they have all been interviewed by the FBI on the matter of what was avoided the last time around by a certain District Attorney. When we see politicians claim that these people need to be beyond clean, I wonder how many people have just endangered their own careers by allowing one DA make one person get away with proverbial murder.

Yet in addition to what I wrote earlier, only 5 minutes ago, 7 News Boston gives me ‘Jeffrey Epstein’s New Mexico ranch linked to investigation‘, it also gives us that Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta is stepping down amid the tumult over his handling of the 2008 deal with Epstein. It seems that the proverbial rats are fleeing the ship as fast as they can, it seems a harsh expression, but I always had an issue with the mere 13 months, now we see that a stage like this can impact to a much larger degree and I personally believe that this is a good thing, even as I personally believe that this case was set to such high visibility to impact the Republican party to the largest degree possible, we can all agree that several steps to ‘protect’ Jeffrey Epstein to the degree he was should never have been done, or openly be seen as acceptable. Yet I feel it is only fair to give view to the setting as Acosta gives it (in the New York Post), there we see: “Acosta said that as the US attorney in Florida more than a decade ago, he decided to offer Epstein a sweetheart no-prosecution deal on federal charges because state prosecutors were supposedly ready to let him walk free”, that is an important view too. If he can prove this, than there is a much larger issue, yet we were also given that a lot of the victims were not heard, so there is still that to account for. No matter how we slice this, this event and the event to those involved in all this from 2007 onward is far from over. A case that disgusts the bulk of people and it took 12 years to get it all to the stage it is today at, the law failed to too large a degree as I personally see it.

So this case will linger a lot longer than we initially thought, I can’t wait to see the bail hearing and to hear what the judge decides in this case.

 

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Hezbollah Plus

As we look at the things we think are wrong (like UK housing), the things we know are wrong (Hezbollah in Yemen) and the things we claim are wrong, we are confronted with the things that are not making any headlines in the international news. We see a larger absence of Houthi transgressions and events that do get covering in the Middle East and in some local news procrastinators, but on the larger scale, there is an absence, I would almost as far as going with an orchestrated absence.

From my point of view, I see the ugly head of facilitation rearing the news on several levels. Now, to be fair, there is a larger issue, there is a lot of innuendo and no evidence, yet that did not stop the press pushing non-stop circulation over the innuendo regarding the cadaver of Jamal Khashoggi, did it?

As for Iran getting less and less visibility as it funds Hezbollah, that might be the impact of America attacking Iran at every turn and that would stop the media from paying attention as well, yet there is a larger danger in play and we need to take a minute to realise the danger in play. In my case it is slightly easier as I am fluent in half a dozen languages, so I can compare the different sources in its native shape, and seeing that there is a growing issue and the media remains unaware, whether that is intentional or not cannot be proven.

That image gets a new level, a colourful 3d version when we take a tour via these publications. For this exercise we start at the Jewish News Syndicate (hardly the most unbiased source I grant you), yet when we start here (at https://www.jns.org/the-terror-threat-of-iran-and-hezbollah-in-europe/), we might see “Iran uses a wide network of the IRGC’s: al-Qods Force, the Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) and proxies like Hezbollah. Iran has an organized terrorist network established in Europe and the people who were arrested in connection with the terror plots lived and worked in Germany, Austria, Belgium, France, Norway and Denmark“, in addition we see “Despite the many terrorist attacks carried out by Hezbollah around the world and on European soil, so far most of the European Union countries have not put Hezbollah on its list of terrorist organizations“, these are mere printed facts, they are not that interesting to most media, it does not have the sexy flair of some Kardashian article, but not remaining aware is actually dangerous. You see, that list had two missing elements. The elements are Sweden and the Netherlands. The second one is immensely important as it has several options that lead directly to the UK, and from the Netherlands most of the western European nations are just hours away.

There have been issues in a few ways over time and in Sweden that seems to be limited to the Akalla region (outer suburb of Stockholm) where we see a dangerous mix of refugees and immigrants. This is no longer contained to Akalla, they are now growing in Kista, Sundbyberg and Solna, covering a larger part of Northwest Stockholm, a stage where optional and aspiring Shia extremists can move around reasonably safe and secure and there is every indication that there are numerous Hezbollah sympathisers there too. I remain with the word ‘sympathisers’, as there is no clear evidence that these are either lone wolves or actual active extremists. What is optionally an issue is that Stockholm has an amazing internet infrastructure; the people there tend to have better internet then the people in a Microsoft building. To illustrate that, in 2001, I had a home consumer internet connection in Kista with 100Mb lines, whilst most businesses in Europe could hardly get 10Mb, this gives these people a much larger advantage to spread the digital image of their groups and that is exactly what we have seen in the last 5-10 years. This does not prove that it is happening from Sweden, even as some sources give us: “In fact, not only is Hezbollah already engaged in plots in Europe, it dispatches dual Lebanese-European citizens (from Sweden, France, etc.) to carry them out. And yet, recent actions against Hezbollah by the United States, the Arab League, the Gulf Cooperation Council, and the Organization for the Islamic Conference have not led to increased Hezbollah plots against the countries involved. As for UN peacekeepers, the U.S. State Department has documented at least two instances where Hezbollah has already targeted European peacekeepers in Lebanon. Those lines have been crossed, the question now is what—if anything—will be done about it?” (at https://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/debating-the-hezbollah-problem) we see compelling, yet not completely convincing evidence in play. It gets to be a little more interesting when we slice and dice darkweb data and add the bitcoin events that can be traced (to some degree), there is a larger stage in play, but we are up against a clever opponent (claiming that they are not is exceedingly stupid) and it seems that there is growing support from Germany, especially in conjunction with anti-Semitic events.

It goes further than the information that sources like Matthew Levitt, Fromer-Wexler Fellow and director of the Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence at The Washington Institute. It becomes a really useable filter on events when we dig into the Dutch parts that involve Nasr el Damanhoury. You see, we might all react in outrage and there is plenty of indication, yet there is no evidence, not one part that has valued and valid use. The Dutch Newspaper ‘Algemeen Dagblad’ gave us (at https://www.ad.nl/rotterdam/bewijs-dan-eens-dat-wij-oproepen-tot-de-jihad~ab1cf89d/) gives us: “The Former School bought for €1.7 milllion, was bought on behalf of a German foundation with funds coming from Qatar“. There are all the flags, all the indication, yet not one bit of real intelligence, evidence or reason to act. And in this both the Dutch AIVD and German BND are able, well-educated and driven towards success and so far they have gone tits up in all this (for now). The Dutch situation is even more frustrating as everything points towards a very temperate environment, what some would call an optional tactic that is pure long term, and as such finding evidence of wrongdoing seems to be a foregone conclusion towards failure, of course this also optionally indicates that Nasr el Damanhoury could be completely innocent, at the most, the indication is limited to the fact that he might only be guilty of association with people of interest in all this. Yet the September 2018 event in the Netherlands, where we get “The suspects came from Arnhem, Rotterdam, and villages close to those two cities“, we get an optional link to certain events in the Rotterdam area of ‘Katendrecht’ where there are numerous of refugees and Middle Eastern immigrants, allowing optional or aspiring members of Hezbollah vanish into the background. There are a lot of indications, yet there is no actual or factual evidence to a prosecutable degree. Yet there have been a large amount of indicators that should not be ignored and with ‘Bolstered by Iran, Hezbollah ‘capable of destruction on a whole new scale’‘ (at https://www.france24.com/en/20181219-iran-israel-hezbollah-tunnels-missiles-lebanon-syria-nasrallah) we see: “A key element behind this is the fact that “Hezbollah is now way better equipped, so it has the capabilities to create destruction on a completely different scale from what we saw in 2006,” added Yossi Mekelberg, a Middle East specialist at Chatham House think-tank and Regent’s University London, in an interview with FRANCE 24“, we are merely introduced to the concept of optional danger, which is nowhere near the stage of ‘panic now, we ran out of coffee‘. Yet when we consider “The Lebanese armed group has also played a major role in keeping Tehran’s ally, President Bashar al-Assad, in power over the course of the Syrian conflict, participating in decisive victories over rebel groups, such as the 2013 Al-Qusayr offensive and the two 2016 Aleppo offensives” and we add “this increase in capability has taken place because of Hezbollah’s role in the Syrian conflict, where the Iran-backed group has its largest deployment outside of Lebanon (between 7,000 to 10,000 fighters) and is fighting alongside pro-Assad forces. According to the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Hezbollah has increased its weapons reserves, better trained its members and improved its tactical and operational skills during the conflict” (source: Al Arabiya) we are now left with the state as Syria changes and as such there is an increase pool of Hezbollah members moving towards refugee centres, staying off the grid and preparing for activities in Europe. With the anti-Semitic support they get from Germans (read: Neo Nazi’s) there is an increased pressure on intelligence gathering and data comprehension required to make sense of all the information available. I am not talking about what the media gives us; it is a different stage of darkweb and crypto currency events. Over the last year we have seen “The Cyber-Desk of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) located a website named “isiscoins.com” on which these coins are sold. The site is presented as an official site of the Islamic State’s Ministry of Finance containing the coins minted by the Islamic State, in accordance with the specifications described in the film, “Return of the Gold Dinar”. Sets of seven coins are offered for sale on the site: two gold coins, three silver coins and two copper coins, at a cost of $950 per set, to be paid for using Bitcoin virtual currency“. This is not some sympathiser phase; this is recruiting and amassing funds for something much larger. The setup is set to remain invisible for a much longer time, and the methods of identification are close to useless at present. So when we see: “In summary, sporadic evidence of terrorists’ use of digital currency has been in existence since 2012 and there is no doubt that in recent months this trend has been growing and taking shape and now holds a prominent presence online. From the cases reviewed above, it is clear that the use of virtual currency is prevalent among activists at various levels, including the organization itself (the Islamic State), support groups and propaganda (Haq Web site, Akhbar al-Mulsilimin website, Jahezona group) and individuals (Bahrun Naim and Zoobia Shahnazi)” we cannot hide behind the statement ‘one is not the other‘ and in equal measure we can no longer rely on trivialisation of ‘six of one and half a dozen of the other‘, the truth of the second statement is that we have 12 angry men, deciding to become jury and executioners for whatever their cause is in Europe and that stage is growing not merely towards the UK, they are starting to be active all over Europe, there is enough indication that this is happening, yet finding the evidence who are the real extremists and who are merely advocating for Islam is not an easy task, as the Extremists are becoming more adapt in wearing sheep’s clothing, the task of finding the evidence merely becomes harder and harder.

That part was proven in January 2018 when the ICT (International Institute for Counter-Terrorism) could no longer test the Hezbollah CoinGate link. The result of the tests was that “the link no longer directs to CoinGate. Instead, the link redirects to an internal page on the site that was created on December 7, 2017 and every click on the site provides a different Bitcoin address“, it is speculative, yet there are enough indicators that Russian Organised Crime (or optionally Russian entrepreneurial criminal wannabe’s), as well as German Neo-Nazi’s are getting their 30 coins of silver facilitating for Hezbollah and their presented acts against the State of Israel and Jews wherever possible. I merely think that they are ways to push forward the Hezbollah agenda in every conceivable direction and until we get a better way to track these money trails most progress is hopelessly overestimated. You see, this is not new, this is not starting now. There are Bitcoin receipts going back to August 2016 and it is a clean method to disperse $100 million dollar via Iranian support all over Europe, and there are clear indications that a chunk is going in these directions.

As a final part (a badly translated text) gives us: “The campaign to collect donations in Bitquin: Below the title of the article is written (marked with orange): “Click to contribute to the site In Bitquin – no donation from the Zakat funds “(Akhbar al-Muslimin, November 27, 2017)“, their digital presence is growing, even in the streets and for now there is no clear plan of attack, for the mere reason that there is no visibility on how to attack Hezbollah in Europe. You see, ISIS, IS, Hezbollah and Hamas are all using similar tactics, they are teaching each other capabilities on the Darkweb, that if not for a lot more is what we learn from Canadian Journalist Martin Himmel. He gives us: “if authorities clamp down on Bitcoin, terror groups and criminal gangs move on to other crypto currencies, like Zcash and Monero. “It’s a constant catch up game,”” and the local authorities are unable to catch up, the resources are not there, so as players like Hezbollah are increasing their footprint all over Europe, we see that the danger is not merely that they are active and extreme, they are now outmatching the Europeans in cash and resources to a much larger degree making the dangers in Europe more and more evident. My views are not merely supported by Aisha Ahmad, a scholar from the University of Toronto. With “a strange mix of ideologues and hyper-materialists coming together for mutual interest” we see the reality where those needing cash for whatever they want are facilitating for the needs of these extremists. The Neo Nazi’s might be the clearest example, and they are not the only one, not even close.

So as Europe will at some point this year face at least one event involving Hezbollah Plus, we will see the impact and we will also be confronted with a system that is not ready, not educated and largely unable to counter such events. The technology is not up to speed and the technological knowledge of the opposition to Hezbollah is barely keeping up, not to mention laughingly understaffed.

This is soon no longer the stage of ‘bringing a knife to a gunfight’, it is staging the Neanderthal against a Gatling gun at 400 passes and it is not Hezbollah at that point who is the Neanderthal in all this. The difference is getting towards being that extreme.

So, when was the last time that Extremists had a technological advantage over governments? If there is even one example, how did that end?

 

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The Saint’s parcel

Today it is December 5th, in the Netherlands that means it is St Nicholas day. It is the Dutch version of Santa Claus, but with a difference. The story goes back to the Greek bishop of Myra, what is now known as Turkey (270-340 AD). Saint Nicholas is the patron Saint of children and the day preceding his birthday (6th December) it is the evening of presents and all the kids (until a certain age) will receive a present.

As you might imagine the week before all this, things can get really hectic, especially in the toy stores, on a global scale when we see Thanksgiving, St. Nicholas and Christmas, the numbers given to us by power retail ‘Cyber Monday Breaks Record, Becomes “Biggest Sales Day Ever”‘, these numbers makes sense as moments like Black Friday, Cyber Monday and other deal moments with discount sales is what people look for globally so that they can show their kids that there are happy times, even if it is just for a day or two. Variety gives us (at https://variety.com/2018/gaming/news/nintendo-switch-sales-holiday-sales-figures-1203038569/) even more. With their headline ‘Nintendo Sold $250 Million in Products from Black Friday to Cyber Monday in U.S.‘, they are showing a setting that is awesome.

More important it is their e-commerce sales of games that is partially taking the cake with the statement: “The Nintendo Switch is now the best-selling Nintendo console in U.S. history for that five-day period, surpassing even Wii system sales, the company announced Wednesday.” Even as we see “Nintendo’s overall goal for the financial year of 38 million units sold, though analysts are still predicting it will fall just short, hitting about 35 million“, yet in all that the analysts are eager to avoid the one setting that matters, in under two years the Nintendo Switch is about to equal the lifetime sales of the Xbox One, a number that is very impressive as the Xbox One had 300% of the time frame to get to this point. And overall the entire Microsoft issue is expected to hit a few more bumps in the road. Software was the key in all this and Nintendo does comprehend quality software. The curve is changing for the better for Nintendo as their demo stations are all over game shops like EB Games. Parents can see how amazing it looks and as the kids are having a go at playing kart and playing Mario Odyssey, we see (as I saw) that the parents are getting a smile on their faces. It is a family friendly system, where violence is limited to a paint gun with a colour. And as we see the greats (Diablo 3) added to the Switch, we see an amazing list of games titles we see a system that is more and more overwhelming when it comes to quality gaming. A game setting where quality is not the silly notion of high level graphics, no! Quality gaming is the level of fun you get out of it and Nintendo is turning heads around and for the first time in history Sony is starting to get worried as the setting now is that this year Switch surpassed the Sony PlayStation. Now that does not means that Sony is number two, they have well over 250% in number of consoles in the field, yet the fact that Nintendo is closing the gap slightly and surpassing Microsoft has never been seen before in the age of gaming. I loved my GameCube (I still miss Mario Sunshine even today), I loved the games I had and when I saw that the Wii was backward compatible I did not hesitate, yet the Switch is showing to be up to the challenge of equalling this in quality gaming. In this we see that Nintendo is getting it right and even as I questioned the stupidity of analysts with their ‘predicting it will fall just short‘, I believe that their entire setting is bogus. Nintendo has the goods and is showing it has equaled the challenge gaining on the larger advantage that Sony has and surpassing what was once the great Microsoft console and the most powerful console? It might be, yet when it offers a mere 25% of the family fun, I wonder what some people choose.

Now, we do not state that the Xbox cannot deliver the goods, yet we have always known that Nintendo was a family and younger player system. Now that we can be on the road, play on TV (via dock) and have access to some of the most addictive games (Diablo 3, Mario Kart, Skyrim, Minecraft, Rocket league) and so many more titles we need to wonder what the others did wrong.

Well they didn’t!

They made a choice and they continued on that path, Microsoft thought what it had to compete with Sony and they did not end up doing that, they soured their own milk from the very beginning in policy and hardware, they refused to listen to their gamers and they are still losing traction in the process. Even as some corrections and some really good ideas have been launched (Game Pass), they have too much to catch on. Nintendo remained on the family fun and family friendly path and they merely gained speed, and within a year they pushed for a speed that would surpass Sony annual sales and they seemed to have done it in 2018 (the official numbers are not out yet). However the consoles and the quarter of a billion in online store sales in under a month is now showing to become the monster truck of revenue. So as I personally sneer at “Nintendo stock hit a five year high of $58.45 a share this year, only to shed more than 40 percent of its value this month, with a year-low of $33.90“, I see clear numbers that do not support the actions and recommendations of these analysts. The titles Super Mario Odyssey, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Splatoon 2 represent 40 million copies sold. This implies that every Nintendo Switch has at least one of these games and that is an amazing result. Now set this against a company like Ubisoft (as a mere example) with Assassin’s Creed, 100 million copies over 11 titles on 3+ systems, Far Cry, 25 million copies over 6 titles on 3+ systems and Watch Dogs with 2 titles on 3 systems, 10 million copies sold. These are all decent games and when compared to four titles on one system, we start seeing the first part where the others seem to be getting it wrong. That is the comparison that some analysts do not seem to grasp. In addition, the close to flawless results against other titles on other consoles show and we have not even started with the millions of players playing Pokemon on Nintendo handheld systems.

On the day of Saint Nicholas we look at these kids and we see the overwhelming need and desire for gaming, consoles and handhelds. For the next 4 weeks it will be about that group and I predict that Nintendo will be looking at another half a billion if the previous record is anything to go by. It is likely that Boxing Day sales will add to that revenue surpassing my prediction. Clever grandparents adding an optional $30 gift card for their grand-kids to get several games cheap on boxing day sales, adding even more to the Nintendo profit coffer.

Even Forbes gave me the thumbs up (virtually that is). They had the top purchase mention with Nintendo as one of the titles and the PS4 as the most talked about, no mention on Microsoft. Even as Apple got a few mentions, the words ‘Microsoft’, ‘Surface’ and ‘Xbox’ were absent in that view (at https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbes-finds/2018/11/12/5-best-headphones-under-100/#47cb25aa5239), in addition the aggressive discount that the Nintendo gives with their Switch plus Mario Kart in the Netherlands is seeing its own fair share of mentions. If the feast of Saint Nicholas has one drawback then I would think it is the longer absence of board games. Playing a game like monopoly whilst unwrapping a present whenever one player passes go was heaps fun. There was the tension which name was drawn and as present by present was opened; whilst we played monopoly and had hot chocolate milk (it is cold in the Netherlands in December) was a level of fun I still miss.

Yet, we must not forget the hardship either, and there is a lot of that and a lot more coming; in the last year over 50,000 children died in Yemen from hardship, disease and famine. I expect that in 2019 we will see that the 2018 numbers will surpass the passing of 100,000 children. The children are too young to face what other children have to go through in other places, yet we adults cannot afford to do that. If I had to forego my optional Nintendo Switch for one child in Yemen to have a decent meal, I will end up not playing a Nintendo Switch for some time to come, even as the child still dies and I merely prevented it from dying on an empty stomach, I would do so. Even as the peace talks are being held, I fear for the lack of progress, as this is not in the interest of Iran. It is still progressing on arming Houthi; it is still facilitating via Hezbollah and the children are merely in the way there. From my point of view Europe is enabling it as they want their nuclear accord, an accord that is not likely to be the value of printed paper, the Iranian missile tests can be considered proof in this. In this part Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is actually in a very dangerous place. Even as he is with an ally, as the Saudi Ambassador to the United States, we see that the danger is twofold. As more and more US politicians are seemingly ‘bashing’ Saudi Arabia, yet they seem to ignore the danger that Hezbollah is there, we see the start of imbalance, and as this imbalance continues, so do the events in Yemen killing even more children. The hollow words like ‘Iran has praised Yemeni peace talks scheduled to take place soon‘, they want their version in charge in Yemen, not the elected one and they are willing to let millions of kids die to get that done. So whilst the US gives us “The United States has displayed pieces of what it says were Iranian weapons deployed to militants in Yemen and Afghanistan“, whilst at the same time US politicians are unbalancing their allied commitment to Saudi Arabia, we see that in the end it is a political stalemate with the lives of all the Yemeni children in the balance and there is no reasonable chance that the children there will get a better deal out of it.

So as we see the independent giving us the goods and the stage of truth last week with: ‘US struggles to find footing on Yemen, as Iran increases influence‘, we see (at https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/us-yemen-civil-war-iran-influence-saudi-arabia-bombing-trump-weapons-houthis-rebels-a8661546.html) that the US and mostly its politicians seem to have lost their perception on the larger game. the quote “The US Senate, angered in part by the White House response to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, on Wednesday voted in a surprise move to advance a bill that would cut American participation in the Yemen conflict“, the emotions towards a previously unknown journalist (and ignoring all those imprisoned and dead journalists in Turkey) is setting the stage of enabling the Iran agenda. Vetoed or not, it will up the pressure on Saudi Arabia and in all this, the populist pressure is one that historically has turned anti Saudi more often than not, increasing the larger issues towards Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in other directions as well.

In all this does America even know who their allies and enemies are? The question is more important than you think, as we see on the feast of Saint Nicholas that millions of children in Yemen are abandoned. So what did this have to do with games?

When you watch your child play some Call of Duty game and you realise that it is not Battleground 5, it is not Call of Duty, or Fortnite, but it is the game ‘Holy Defense’, created by Hezbollah to let gamers and players kill ISIS members. When we are treated to: “Hezbollah has developed a 3-D computer game to capture the minds of its youth, while showing them a good time.” When you see your children play this free downloaded game in Europe and America, how much safer was the Nintendo Switch with their family values to begin with?

I agree that this is not a fair remark for Sony and Microsoft and they are not part of this in any way, but when it comes to First Person Shooters, can parents even tell the difference anymore? And when it is getting to close to the factual truth, can they even perceive how many children are getting killed in the process whilst Yemen is facing delay after delay? Should that not be the central issue on the day of the patron saint of children?

 

 

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The truth hurts

Even as the headlines hit us 3 hours ago, like the Herald Sun giving us ‘French remarks on Khashoggi prompt anger‘, we see the outrage from Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and IO wonder if he comprehends how transparent the actions by turkey has been. Even as he gives us “Our intelligence shared information with them on Oct 24, including the voice recordings,” the political card is shown by his own admission. You see Jamal Khashoggi went missing and presumably died on 2 October 2018, so the tapes if they are authentic were created 3 weeks earlier, so that is the first piece of evidence right there. And even as some accept it, until the tapes are properly vetted, I will remain in doubt. The fact that this happened in a nation where well over 200 journalists are in prison for a very long time, in a country that is clearly allied with Iran, a nation in a proxy war with Saudi Arabia, I would be hard pressed to take anything at face value, yet the overall media has kept these two parts on the down low and some did make small mentions of that part, but for the most, the people were kept in the dark.

So when we initially see: “French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian had questioned Erdogan’s weekend remarks that Turkey gave tapes relating to Khashoggi’s killing to the United States, Saudi Arabia, Germany, France and Britain. Le Drian said he was not aware that France had any tapes“, we need to accept that there is more and even as we see that Justin Trudeau has confirmed receiving the tapes, I wonder how much scrutiny the tapes will receive as it took 3 weeks to hand them over. In addition, when you look back at all the media, we see that games were played by both Turkish officials and the media as a whole, I wonder if I get my fingers on the tape, whether we will hear the dismemberment as was claimed last month. There is a whole range of issues with politicised evidence, it loses value overnight as it get to be put under scrutiny and in the end, will we be able to tell whether the person who was recorded to be under duress, was that really Jamal Khashoggi? You might take offense on this, but the reality is that evidence is either real or fake and it is the job in any investigation to discredit fake evidence, to merely accept evidence ‘as is’ is folly. In addition, the media claims will also impact the reliability of the evidence. that is the consequence of the media game when it is all about ‘clicks’ and then there is the circulation, all newspapers want as big a slice of the 56 million newspaper readers and we have seen how certain overpaid editors will go to seem more and more exclusive and scoop like. So as we now get to put the unnamed sources against the tape we will see the impact that it had, and perhaps it will hold up, I do not know, I never heard the tapes.

We also see the repeated claim: “Erdogan says the murder was ordered at the “highest levels” of the Saudi government“, whilst we merely get in confirmation: “Saudi authorities have acknowledged that the killing was premeditated“, the first cannot be proven, and the second does not warrant the first part. Even as we accept the entire setting of premeditation, we still have no idea where Mohammad al-Otaibi is, we have not heard anything from him or anything about his whereabouts and the media is not too eager to look there either, are they?

So when we see: “the kingdom of Saudi Arabia would detain or fire more than 20 people in connection with alleged killing of Jamal Khashoggi, Otaibi was not among them. He has not been heard from for weeks at this present day“, I looked at it, the Washington Post (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/senior-saudi-diplomat-in-istanbul-when-khashoggi-was-killed-drops-out-of-sight/2018/11/12/85f8e406-d7b1-11e8-8384-bcc5492fef49_story.html) is also still looking at it, but the bulk of the newspapers have either written him off, or have no idea how to exploit his situation at present, another political game still played and the Turkish government is silent on that too, merely some version of ‘he did not work out‘. The Washington Post also gives us: “Given his role as the senior diplomat in the consulate, Turkish authorities have been sceptical of the notion that Otaibi was an unwitting bystander to the killing“, I agree with that initial assessment. Even as I have seen government stages where it is easy enough to push through 15 people under the radar (the US does it all the time), the staging can be done in a few ways merely depending on the degrees of freedom that middle management in any policy environment has. You only need to retrace the steps of CIA rogue operative Frank Terpil to know that not only has it happened before, it has happened a few times. People like Lao Ta Saenlee who got almost free reign and intelligence worker happily looked the other way for a price and the irritating sturgeons that were nipping at the heel of Lao Ta Saenlee were removed, so that some people had their success stories. This is not new; it isn’t even original it is merely how some people stay in business by keeping other people in business. In that environment it is easy to push through half a battalion on people and whilst the successes go the other way, no questions are asked, because there is success. The CIA, the NSA, MI6, DGSE, Mossad. they all have their versions and they are all still operating under similar operative states, so I was not surprised on the 15 people and yes, there is a chance that there was orchestration on a higher level, but as Turkey decided to drip feed the media and people on accusations and ‘revelations’ these people got to hide into the Monty Python shrubbery of denial. They were not in ‘this’ shrubbery, they were in ‘another shrubbery’, so the people looked under the ‘S’, whilst they were already under the ‘A’ of accomplished, achieved and away.

The Washington Post also gives us: “Mehdi Eker, a lawmaker and senior member of Erdogan’s party, said the nature of Otaibi’s involvement could be determined if Turkish authorities were allowed to interrogate him as a witness. Eker said he is mystified as to why Otaibi was not among the Saudis arrested or fired over the case“, I agree. Mehdi Eker is as I personally see it correct and the fact that the media ignored it for weeks is still part of the problem. As they are to a larger degree not asking the questions, we are feeling not merely left out, we are left with the feeling that we are intentionally kept in the dark, making us question whatever evidence is shown even more. And it is there at the end of the Washington Post where we get one more gem. It is the quote: “Turkey’s public prosecutor said last week that Khashoggi was strangled almost immediately after entering the consulate on Oct. 2“, if that is true, then exactly who was tortured and dismembered whilst still alive? Perhaps you recall the part that several news outlets gave us on October 17, 18 and 19? The headline: ‘Recordings reveal Khashoggi tortured then dismembered while still alive‘. As we see that we get more and more conflicting parts handled to us, is it even a surprise that the evidence presented is called into doubt as valid evidence? So when French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian gave us: “He has a political game to play in these circumstances” he gave us something that is as close as an absolute truth as truth is likely to get in this case. The evidence is all around us; it is shown in well over two weeks of articles. If only turkey had decided not to play the Iranian game and handed it all over, there would have been no issues and there would have been a total victory from the Turkish side, so at that point, as this never happened, is it not the most direct stage where we do not trust the evidence given to us? We all accept that Jamal Khashoggi is dead and possibly dies on October 2nd, yet so far there is no clear evidence on that either is there?

The fact that people classified as ‘enemy of Iran’ can travel all over Turkey unseen whilst they have the entire embassy wired, does that not contradict one another on a few levels either? It does not mean that it did not happen; he might have been dissolved as one source gave us two weeks ago, yet that also contradicts evidence in a few ways. All these questions and many papers aren’t asking them.

The truth hurts and the plain truth is that this was folly on several levels, first of all the Saudi side where something was allegedly optionally done in-house where the denial factor would have been removed. A stage where a model 24 from 400 metres would have finished a job outside of Saudi premises, the entire paperwork would have implied travels and honeymoon situations giving a non-peaceful opponent of Jamal Khashoggi even more options. Then there was the waiting on the Turkish side, whilst the implied evidence from the Turkish side would have broken the case open instantly, giving Iran what they desperately desired. this all points to the evidence being either tainted, or optionally fabricated, and the Turkish players got the media involved to make it emotionally worse making the evidence even less reliable all at the same time. That is merely the truth of the matter and the truth hurts, it really does in this case.

Oh and the partial denial from France merely indicates that French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian might not have been on the recipient side, the question becomes who exactly were given the tapes for each nation, the fact that we do not see this question in the media, or revelation of those names by Turkey, who seems to focus on who did get it does not help much either.

It is scary as to what governments nowadays stage as competency in ‘execution’ of policy. It is even scarier to see all the elements that the media seems to skate around (almost non stop I might add).

 

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Waking up 5 years late

I have had something like this, I swear it’s true. It was after I came back from the Middle East, I was more of a ‘party person’ in those days and I would party all weekend non-stop. It would start on Friday evening and I would get home Sunday afternoon. So one weekend, I had gone through the nightclub, day club, bars and Shoarma pit stops after which I went home. I went to bed and I get woken up by the telephone. It is my boss, asking me whether I would be coming to work that day. I noticed it was 09:30, I had overslept. I apologised and rushed to the office. I told him I was sorry that I had overslept and I did not expect too much nose as it was the first time that I had overslept. So the follow up question became “and where were you yesterday?” My puzzled look from my eyes told him something was wrong. It was Tuesday! I had actually slept from Sunday afternoon until Tuesday morning. It would be the weirdest week in a lifetime. I had lost an entire day and I had no idea how I lost a day. I still think back to that moment every now and then, the sensation of the perception of a week being different, I never got over it, now 31 years ago, and it still gets to me every now and then.

A similar sensation is optionally hitting Christine Lagarde I reckon, although if she is still hitting the party scene, my initial response will be “You go girl!

You see with “Market power wielded by US tech giants concerns IMF chief” (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/apr/19/market-power-wielded-by-us-tech-giants-concerns-imf-chief-christine-lagarde) we see the issues on a very different level. So even as we all accept “Christine Lagarde, has expressed concern about the market power wielded by the US technology giants and called for more competition to protect economies and individuals”, we see not the message, but the exclusion. So as we consider “Pressure has been building in the US for antitrust laws to be used to break up some of the biggest companies, with Google, Facebook and Amazon all targeted by critics“, I see a very different landscape. You see as we see Microsoft, IBM and Apple missing in that group, it is my personal consideration that this is about something else. You see Microsoft, IBM and Apple have one thing in common. They are Patent Powerhouses and no one messes with those. This is about power consolidation and the fact that Christine Lagarde is speaking out in such a way is an absolute hypocrite setting for the IMF to have.

You see, to get that you need to be aware of two elements. The first is the American economy. Now in my personal (highly opposed) vision, the US has been bankrupt; it has been for some time and just like the entire Moody debacle in 2008. People might have seen in in ‘the Big Short‘, a movie that showed part of it and whilst the Guardian reported ““Moody’s failed to adhere to its own credit-rating standards and fell short on its pledge of transparency in the run-up to the ‘great recession’,” principal deputy associate attorney general Bill Baer said in the statement“, it is merely one version of betrayal to the people of the US by giving protection to special people in excess of billions and they merely had to pay a $864m penalty. I am certain that those billionaires have split that penalty amongst them. So, as I stated, the US should be seen as bankrupt. It is not the only part in this. The Sydney Morning Herald (at https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/how-trump-s-hair-raising-level-of-debt-could-bring-us-all-crashing-down-20180420-p4zank.html) gives us “Twin reports by the International Monetary Fund sketch a chain reaction of dangerous consequences for world finance. The policy – if you can call it that – puts the US on an untenable debt trajectory. It smacks of Latin American caudillo populism, a Peronist contagion that threatens to destroy the moral foundations of the Great Republic. The IMF’s Fiscal Monitor estimates that the US budget deficit will spike to 5.3 per cent of GDP this year and 5.9 per cent in 2019. This is happening at a stage of the economic cycle when swelling tax revenues should be reducing net borrowing to zero“. I am actually decently certain that this will happen. Now we need to look back to my earlier statement.

You see, if the US borrowing power is nullified, the US is left without any options, unless (you saw that coming didn’t you). The underwriting power of debt becomes patent power. Patents have been set to IP support. I attended a few of those events (being a Master of Intellectual Property Law) and even as my heart is in Trademarks, I do have a fine appreciation of Patents. In this the econometrics of the world are seeing the national values and the value of any GDP supported by the economic value of patents.

In this, in 2016 we got “Innovation and creative endeavors are indispensable elements that drive economic growth and sustain the competitive edge of the U.S. economy. The last century recorded unprecedented improvements in the health, economic well-being, and overall quality of life for the entire U.S. population. As the world leader in innovation, U.S. companies have relied on intellectual property (IP) as one of the leading tools with which such advances were promoted and realized. Patents, trademarks, and copyrights are the principal means for establishing ownership rights to the creations, inventions, and brands that can be used to generate tangible economic benefits to their owner“, as such the cookie has crumbled into where the value is set (see attached), one of the key findings is “IP-intensive industries continue to be a major, integral and growing part of the U.S. economy“, as such we see the tech giants that I mentioned as missing and not being mentioned by Christine Lagarde. It is merely one setting and there are optionally a lot more, but in light of certain elements I believe that patents are a driving force and those three have a bundle, Apple has so many that it can use those patents too buy several European nations. IBM with their (what I personally believe to be) an overvalued Watson, we have seen the entire mess moving forward, presenting itself and pushing ‘boundaries’ as we are set into a stage of ‘look what’s coming’! It is all about research, MIT and Think 2018. It is almost like Think 2018 is about the point of concept, the moment of awareness and the professional use of AI. In that IBM, in its own blog accidently gave away the goods as I see it with: “As we get closer to Think, we’re looking forward to unveiling more sessions, speakers and demos“, I think they are close, they are getting to certain levels, but they are not there yet. In my personal view they need to keep the momentum going, even if they need to throw in three more high exposed events, free plane tickets and all kinds of swag to flim flam the audience. I think that they are prepping for the events that will not be complete in an alpha stage until 2020. Yet that momentum is growing, and it needs to remain growing. Two quotes give us that essential ‘need’.

  1. The US Army signed a 33-month, $135 million contract with IBM for cloud services including Watson IoT, predictive analytics and AI for better visibility into equipment readiness.
  2. In 2017, IBM inventors received more than 1,900 patents for new cloud technologies to help solve critical business challenges.

The second is the money shot. An early estimate is outside of the realm of most, you see the IP Watchdog gave us: “IBM Inventors received a record 9043 US patents in 2017, patenting in such areas as AI, Cloud, Blockchain, Cybersecurity and Quantum Computing technology“, the low estimate is a value of $11.8 trillion dollars. That is what IBM is sitting on. That is the power of just ONE tech giant, and how come that Christine Lagarde missed out on mentioning IBM? I’ll let you decide, or perhaps it was Larry Elliott from the Guardian who missed out? I doubt it, because Larry Elliott is many things, stupid ain’t one. I might not agree with him, or at times with his point of view, but he is the clever one and his views are valid ones.

So in all this we see that there is a push, but is it the one the IMF is giving or is there another play? The fact that banks have a much larger influence in what happens is not mentioned, yet that is not the play and I accept that, it is not what is at stake. There is a push on many levels and even as we agree that some tech giants have a larger piece of the cake (Facebook, Google and Amazon), a lot could have been prevented by proper corporate taxation, but that gets to most of the EU and the American Donald Duck, or was that Trump are all about not walking that road? The fact that Christine has failed (one amongst many) to introduce proper tax accountability on tech giants is a much larger issue and it is not all on her plate in all honesty, so there are a few issues with all this and the supporting views on all this is not given with “Lagarde expressed concern at the growing threat of a trade war between the US and China, saying that protectionism posed a threat to the upswing in the global economy and to an international system that had served countries well“, it is seen in several fields, one field, was given by The Hill, in an opinion piece. The information is accurate it is merely important to see that it has the views of the writer (just like any blog).

So with “Last December, the United States and 76 other WTO members agreed at the Buenos Aires WTO Ministerial to start exploring WTO negotiations on trade-related aspects of e-commerce. Those WTO members are now beginning their work by identifying the objectives of such an agreement. The U.S. paper is an important contribution because it comprehensively addresses the digital trade barriers faced by many companies“, which now underlines “A recent United States paper submitted to the World Trade Organization (WTO) is a notable step toward establishing rules to remove digital trade barriers. The paper is significant for identifying the objectives of an international agreement on digital trade“. This now directly gives rise to “the American Bar Association Section of Intellectual Property Law also requested that the new NAFTA require increased protections in trade secrets, trademarks, copyrights, and patents“, which we get from ‘Ambassador Lighthizer Urged to Include Intellectual Property Protections in New NAFTA‘ (at https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/ambassador-lighthizer-urged-to-include-52674/) less than 10 hours ago. So when we link that to the quote “The proposals included: that Canada and Mexico establish criminal penalties for trade secrets violations similar to those in the U.S. Economic Espionage Act, an agreement that Mexico eliminate its requirement that trademarks be visible, a prohibition on the lowering of minimum standards of patent protection“. So when we now look back towards the statement of Christine Lagarde and her exclusion of IBM, Microsoft and Apple, how is she not directly being a protectionist of some tech giants?

I think that the IMF is also feeling the waters what happens when the US economy takes a dip, because at the current debt levels that impact is a hell of a lot more intense and the games like Moody’s have been played and cannot be played again. Getting caught on that level means that the US would have to be removed from several world economic executive decisions, not a place anyone in Wall Street is willing to accept, so that that point Pandora’s Box gets opened and no one will be able to close it at that point. So after waking up 5 years late we see that the plays have been again and again about keeping the status quo and as such the digital rights is the one card left to play, which gives the three tech giants an amount of power they have never had before, so as everyone’s favourite slapping donkey (Facebook) is mentioned next to a few others, it is the issue of those not mentioned that will be having the cake and quality venison that we all desire. In this we are in a dangerous place, even more the small developers who come up with the interesting IP’s they envisioned. As their value becomes overstated from day one, they will be pushed to sell their IP way too early, more important, that point comes before their value comes to fruition and as such those tech giants (Apple, IBM, and Microsoft) will get an even more overbearing value. Let’s be clear they are not alone, the larger players like Samsung, Canon, Qualcomm, LG Electronics, Sony and Fujitsu are also on that list. The list of top players has around 300 members, including 6 universities (all American). So that part of the entire economy is massively in American hands and we see no clear second place, not for a long time. Even as the singled out tech giants are on that list, it is the value that they have that sets them a little more apart. Perhaps when you consider having a go at three of them, whilst one is already under heavy emotional scrutiny is perhaps a small price to pay.

How nice for them to wake up, I merely lost one day once, they have been playing the sleeping game for years and we will get that invoice at the expense of the futures we were not allowed to have, if you wonder how weird that statement is, then take a look at the current retirees, the devaluation they face, the amount they are still about to lose and wonder what you will be left with when you consider that the social jar will be empty long before you retire. The one part we hoped to have at the very least is the one we will never have because governments decided that budgeting was just too hard a task, so they preferred to squander it all away. The gap of those who have and those who have not will become a lot wider over the next 5 years, so those who retire before 2028 will see hardships they never bargained for. So how exactly are you served with addressing “‘too much concentration in hands of the few’ does not help economy“, they aren’t and you weren’t. It is merely the setting for what comes next, because in all this it was never about that. It is the first fear of America that counts. With ‘US ponders how it can stem China’s technology march‘ (at http://www.afr.com/news/world/us-ponders-how-it-can-stem-chinas-technology-march-20180418-h0yyaw), we start seeing that shift, so as we see “The New York Times reported on April 7 that “at the heart” of the trade dispute is a contest over which country plays “a leading role in high-tech industries”. The Wall Street Journal reported on April 12 that the US was preparing rules to block Chinese technology investment in the US, while continuing to negotiate over trade penalties“, we see the shifted theatre of trade war. It will be about the national economic value with the weight of patents smack in the middle. In that regard, the more you depreciate other parts, the more important the value of patents becomes. It is not a simple or easy picture, but we will see loads of econometrics giving their view on all that within the next 2-3 weeks.

Have a great weekend and please do not bother to wake up, it seems that Christine Lagarde didn’t bother waking up for years.

 

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That’s entertainment

Today is a weird day, it is globally weird. You see, today billions will focus on who is getting an Academy Award, some are hoping to see the idol of their life, like Chris Hemsworth or Scarlett Johansson. Some hope that Stan Lee will be asked to hand out an Oscar and others (many ladies) are hoping to see the extravagant post fashion styles that the ladies will cloth themselves in. Among them millions of movie fans that get to see if it is the movie that they liked will win the Oscar. Now with Saudi Arabia opening cinemas in Saudi Arabia, will the MBC Group be there this year or will they start broadcasting the event next year? Another optional group of 34 million viewers in a group that currently is set to billions.

So whilst we wonder which one will become the best movie, my vote is on the Shape of Water, yet I believe the statue is likely to go to Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. No matter who will win, we see that in Syria ‘forces loyal to the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, have captured six villages and towns bordering the besieged rebel-held enclave of eastern Ghouta, as hopes that a long-planned humanitarian convoy might enter the area were dashed again‘, so as we learn that the death toll of 103 since Saturday highlighted the paralysis of an international community that had demanded the ceasefire and the delivery of humanitarian aid, we need to realise that the UN and the UNSC has become nothing more than a paper tiger that has the ability to roar towards the media, but without claws and teeth, it can no longer be the legislation that bites, or the shield that scratches. Just like the Wonder Woman 1:1 figurine (at https://www.cbr.com/life-size-wonder-woman-statue/), that is for sale for $1990, pretty, nice, but basically something you can walk around and unless you have real space in your apartment space that remains wasted but for the true Wonder Woman fan. It is a shame that the once mighty organisation has lost its impact on the world, well that is how the 475,000 fatalities in Syria feel about it. Oh, no, they do not. They are dead, they no longer feel anything.

So whilst we look back on the Oscars, wondering who best actor and actress will be, I have to admit that I am clueless. I had not seen Margot Robbie, or Saoirse Ronan, but both Francess McDormand and Meryl Streep did shine in their parts, my money will this time be on the 3 billboards main character, but it is anyone’s guess, I can’t even be sure if the experts in acting can figure out who will win that one. So as we are in that part, we need to realise that Danny Danon is quoted by the Jerusalem Post (at http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/UN-Ambassador-Danny-Danon-decries-UN-inaction-on-Iran-at-AIPAC-544188) to do something about Iran. Now, this is not the first time that Israel has issues with Iran. So when we see “While speaking at the AIPAC Committee Policy Conference in Washington on Sunday, Danon said it was crucial that the international community recognizes the threat Iran poses to regional stability. “It is vital that the UN focus on the real problems of the world, like Iran,” the ambassador said. “We all know just how dangerous this threat is, but the UN is wasting time and energy on votes and reports against Israel.”” we see nothing new, yet in the opposition, we see (at https://www.cnbc.com/2018/03/03/iran-calls-on-us-europe-to-scrap-nuclear-arms-missiles.html), that Iran has a warped sense of needs. With “Iran will not negotiate over its ballistic missiles until the United States and Europe dismantle their nuclear weapons, a top Iranian military official said on Saturday“, so not China, or Russia, or India. Merely that the US and Europe dismantle is. From my point of view, the ‘top Iranian military official‘ was born stupid and the man stopped evolving after birth. Naive and stupid in one efficiently compact package, could we get it any better? So when we see “Iran says its nuclear program is defensive because of its deterrent nature“, should we consider its delivery to Yemen as a defensive posture? And what happens when the Iranians ‘accidently‘ (due to their lack of intelligence) send the wrong missile to Yemen? Will we get to see the UN representative go ‘oops!‘? I am merely asking because of the short-sighted situation here and in all this the stage of the theatres in politics and the theatres of war seem to overlap, none of them worthy of an Oscar in this particular setting, but we thank the nominees for playing their part. So whilst we saw the Paper Tiger called ‘United Nations’ in other settings, we see that the acts by the “UN Human Rights Council’s “blacklist” of Israeli and international companies operating in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights” is setting the premise in a different light. So whilst we see “a US delegation visiting the West Bank had to be rescued by Palestinian Authority policemen on Thursday after being attacked“, we see that Palestine is still demanding to be recognised by the UN, whilst still sending rockets into Israel. Some things will never change I reckon, but it is a sad state of affairs across the decades.

When it comes to the supporting acts in the Oscars, my hopes are for Sam Rockwell and Octavia Spencer, that whilst the others would be equally deserving, especially Richard Jenkins, yet in the end, we can only cast out votes once and that is how I would have voted. In that same light as the United Nations Security Council cast its vote a week ago on a Russian sponsored resolution regarding Yemen, we see that the Toronto Star reported that 55 people dies in the clash in Yemen, so whilst we see (at https://www.defensenews.com/congress/2018/03/01/us-senators-want-vote-to-end-support-for-saudi-arabia-in-yemen-war/), that we see ‘US senators want vote to end support for Saudi Arabia in Yemen war‘, that whilst the rightful ruler asked for the help of Saudi Arabia, in all this, where was America? Oh and where is America in regards to the Syrian war? Perhaps some will remember the attack on 21st of August 2013, so when the UN inspection got there and they confirmed “clear and convincing evidence” of the use of Sarin delivered by surface-to-surface rockets; in addition a 2014 report by the UN Human Rights Council found that “significant quantities of sarin were used in a well-planned indiscriminate attack targeting civilian-inhabited areas, causing mass casualties. The evidence available concerning the nature, quality and quantity of the agents used on 21 August indicated that the perpetrators likely had access to the chemical weapons stockpile of the Syrian military, as well as the expertise and equipment necessary to safely manipulate large amount of chemical agents“. Yet the American satellites were useless, even as they got the IMAX view with stereo sound of the speculated 1600 bodies, who all screamed a horrible death as they died, the American saw nothing, or so they say. Perhaps it is like Turkey and the Armenian genocide. They were just too worried to kick the wrong political pile, or as the NY Times stated it “A bill to that effect nearly passed in the fall of 2007, gaining a majority of co-sponsors and passing a committee vote. But the Bush administration, noting that Turkey is a critical ally — more than 70 per cent of the military air supplies for Iraq go through the Incirlik airbase there — pressed for the bill to be withdrawn, and it was” (at http://www.nytimes.com/ref/timestopics/topics_armeniangenocide.html) and Bush was not alone The Obama administration did the same with “Ben Rhodes and Samantha Power, key foreign policy advisers to Obama, say his administration was too worried about offending Turkey” (at https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/19/armenian-genocide-ben-rhodes-samantha-power-obama-349973), pussies, the whole bloody lot of them on both sides of the isle. So as we get “As a presidential candidate in 2008, Obama promised that he would formally recognize an Armenian genocide as historical fact. But as president, he passed up multiple chances to do so, including in 2015, when Armenians marked the 100th anniversary of the atrocities“, we need to recognise that recognition is no way to commerce and cash is king, especially in a bankrupt America, or so say the rulers from Wall Street. So in light of the inactions, will Hollywood make it up by making ‘Last Men in Aleppo‘ documentary of the year? I cannot tell because I did not see any of the documentaries, I do believe that Inside Job in 2010 was the last documentary I saw and that one actually gives more rise to the rumours that Wall Street is the actual ruler of America. The fact that Kim Kardashian, yes Kim Kardashian of all people who ended up bitch slapping the Wall Street Journal for denying the Armenian genocide must be the highlight for the WSJ to set in stone, sometimes the people you ignore because they are outside of ones scope of entertainment are the ones surprising you beyond belief. So as we are getting close to the start of the Oscars, as we wonder if there is going to be the crossing of dictionaries between Jimmy Kimmel and Matt Damon, we wonder if Jimmy is going to get a few jabs in against Mrs Damon’s favourite Martian.

As we wonder whether the UN has any values left by targeting Israel whilst ignoring Iran, whilst their actions regarding Syria are unanswered and unnoticed by Syria and Russia, we also see the accusations via Haaretz (at https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/allegation-kushner-punished-qatar-resurfaces-in-mueller-probe-1.5869124), that ‘Kushner Punished Qatar for Not Investing in Real-estate Deal Resurfaces in Mueller Probe‘, where we see “Special Counsel Robert Mueller has asked witnesses about Kushner’s attempts to secure financing for his family’s real estate ventures, focusing specifically on his talks with people from Qatar and Turkey, as well as Russia, China and the United Arab Emirates, NBC News said“, so even as it is about Qatar, the smallest part with ‘talks with people from Qatar and Turkey‘, so even here we see actions that involve Turkey somehow. The question becomes what did Turkey get out of it, because going back to 2001, we have seen that Turkey only acts when it (largely) benefits Turkey, a stance that cannot be faulted, but we can wonder if the other side has any business trying to do business with Turkey in the first place. so when we look at the Global Magnitsky Act (at https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/09/13/us-global-magnitsky-act), where we see: “In an important step for global accountability, Congress built on the original Russia-focused Magnitsky law in 2016 and enacted the Global Magnitsky Act, which allows the executive branch to impose visa bans and targeted sanctions on individuals anywhere in the world responsible for committing human rights violations or acts of significant corruption. The act received widespread bipartisan support. Senator Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat, introduced a version of the bill, and five Republican senators and five Democratic senators signed on as co-sponsors. President Barack Obama signed the law on December 23, 2016“, yet as far as I have been able to find, there are no Turkish Parties in any of this, is that not odd. When we see the acts in Syria, or even closer to Turkey, the 6 journalists that have been ‘praised’ with life imprisonment, how humane has Turkey shown itself to be?

Yet in the end, we can see all this as a mere form of entertainment, there are the Oscars, we have the Raspberries where (unsurprisingly) this year the Emoji movie took a near clean sweep of all possible wins, we could get the Golden Bazooka, or the golden Rack (that device that adds 6 inches to your length in 5 minutes), is there any doubt who would win those trophies? I wonder if people would stay at home for that. Eating popcorn, watching the atrocities and voting who was the worst of the worst. It entertainment, that is how our lives are minimised and scrutinised to, because actually improving the overall state of the world might no longer be an option, in that we can see that the financial sector on a global scale removed all available funds for that endeavour.

That’s life, that’s entertainment and it is the way we now choose to live!

Through acts of inaction, shame on us!

 

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As we know it

The universe has changed, it changed some time ago, yet the powers that be, be it in business, administration (read: government) or retail where all for the most are in denial. They deceive themselves through stories. One uses Tableaux to use the data to present the picture, a picture often based on incomplete or overly weighted data. The next one relies on dashboards like SAP to use spreadsheets to bedazzle the people with slice and dice numbers, looking pretty as a pie chart, yet not giving us the goods, because nowadays, these companies hire people who can sell a story, not drill deep on the results. The story is whatever the paying customer is willing to hear. They are all adopting the political need that has been in play for many years: ‘If the data does not match, change the question‘. That is the first part in a sliding scale of representation, and those representing the stories are running out of options (read: point fingers) to turn to.

The first part is seen in ‘At the time of year when queues usually form for popcorn and the money pours in, box office revenues are plunging. Where are the blockbusters?‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/aug/26/even-superheroes-may-not-save-hollywood-desperate-summer), here we see: “The true scale of the potential problem facing the industry can be seen in the precipitous drop in movie attendance this summer, down 52% year-on-year to 385 million at the time of writing. It is the lowest level of attendance since the summer of 1992“, in addition we get “Hollywood is stuck in a rut and it needs a safety net – superhero flicks fit that bill right now“. Two statements that might be the bill of the story, but in reality, the people are adhering to mismatched data and not properly investigated results as I see it. You see, the data is evident and it is out there, the games industry is taking 100 billion plus a year now and some of the other elements of gaming are taking a slice of that. In addition, providers like Netflix are now in much better control of their audiences that is mainly because they figured out what was wrong in the first place. You see, the gaming part is the first part of the evidence. People are now spending it on something else and they are no longer relying on the box office as Netflix gives then options. the second part is seen in the Business Insider (at http://www.businessinsider.com/us-cities-where-cost-of-living-is-rising-the-fastest-2017-6) where we see that on number 10 (New Orleans) the cost of living went up by 18%, on number one we see Nashville with a cost of living raise of nearly 30%, as we have not seen any actual economy increase from the United States, or better stated, the working people of the United States have seen almost no increase in wages and quality of life, those representing certain numbers decided to just ignore issues and evidence. Now, that top 10 list is a little skewed too, yet when we realise that for 3% of Americans their cost of living went up by 18% or more, how worried do we need to be with certain represented numbers? So consider that Los Angeles was part of that top 10, yet New York is not, there we get ‘Cost of living index in New York is 21.37% higher than in Los Angeles‘, which with close to 9 million is 2% of the US population, so now we see that the hardship and quality of life is hitting 5% of the American population and the numbers do still go up, so when we see “drop in movie attendance this summer” how can anyone be surprised? In addition, we should also realise that this gives rise to the fact that apart from people not going to the cinema, many are now spending it on something else and a $20 spend on 90 minutes is not considered when $55 gets them hours, sometimes hundreds of hours of gameplay. We are all getting more and more weary on the bang for our buck and the cinema can no longer deliver that value. No one denies that movies are just better on the big screen, but for many it is a trip only affordable a few times a year so the people are getting really picky on what they see on the big screen. Richard Cooper gives us part of the news, but also ‘forgets‘ to give the full picture. With “It is mid-budget films and their fans that have tended to suffer“, here he only gives us part of the story. As the Hollywood engine of greed and reselling remains on a steady course, we see the need for maximising results and as such the movie makers are closing the gap between cinema and digital release. Why spend on the cinema whilst within 26 weeks the movie will be out on Blu-ray? Basically it is the same price, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is an excellent example in this case. People are becoming stingy because they have no other options. All the messages of a fake economy and how good it is might look nice on the news, but for the most, people in the US cannot afford any extras. Many in the USA need to work double jobs just to get by. The US census gives us that in 2015 13.5% of Americans were in poverty, I feel certain that this number has gone up in 2017, some sources give us that this has gone up to 14.5%, so one in seven is in poverty. Do you think that these people will be watching movies on the big screen? So the Hollywood moment of desperation is not to be resolved, not until the quality of life and cost of living for Americans is set to a much better status. Those who can might try to leech of the neighbour’s Netflix, those who cannot need to find affordable entertainment, if they get any at all.

In the second we see that this economy is also bolstering a new level of exploitation. Even as we all ignore certain elements, Uber has changed the game, with ‘Inside the gig economy: the ‘vulnerable human underbelly’ of UK’s labour market‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2017/aug/24/inside-gig-economy-vulnerable-human-underbelly-of-uk-labour-market) we see a new level where the people are sold a cheap story (read: Uber story) and as they are hiding behind what people should investigate, we see that desperation is exploited in other levels. It is not merely an American issue; it is becoming a global issue. With “Each passenger’s destination, however, will remain a mystery until they have been collected. And regardless of the considerable costs they might incur to fulfill that journey, the driver will have no say in the fare. Uber both sets the fare, then takes a hefty rate of commission from it“, we are shown that there is a dangerous precedent. As we see online needs explodes as people need cheaper solutions, Uber will weigh in on maximising its profit. As I see it: ‘the drivers having no other options to work to near death for scraps’. With “The driver knows that failure to accept these terms will result in an immediate loss of work: they will be blocked for a set period of time from accessing Uber’s online system that provides work” we see new levels of legalising slave labour. The ‘do it or else‘ approach is now strangling the freedom of people to death. We see evidence of my statements with “The companies themselves tend to talk about the freedom, independence, and flexibility with which self-employment is usually associated. But many of the couriers and drivers we have spoken with over the past year have had an alternative model of self-employment, and with it much financial insecurity, enforced upon them“, and the law is not offering any solution, not in the UK and not in the USA, being an entrepreneur tends to have long lasting benefits at times. They all voluntarily went into the contract and they can all walk away and starve. It is not an option for those with families to support and feed. Part of this crux is seen in “we have noted how companies are able to use the guise of self-employment to dump a whole series of obligations and liabilities onto their workforce, while depriving them of protections enjoyed by the rest of working Britain“, to be the entrepreneur comes with hidden dangers, especially when you work for other entrepreneurs. The age of exploitation is upon us and as we know it, we can no longer afford to go to the cinema, a side Mark Sweney seems to have ignored. Yes, he does give us the Netflix element and there was no way to avoid it. He does go in the wrong direction with “For film fans, theatres still have an allure for the launch of big movies, but in the new world, where all media is competing for eyeballs and time in the “leisure economy”, the Netflix threat is rising“, he is not incorrect, yet he is incomplete. He forgets that Netflix is all many can afford (and a fair amount cannot even afford that). So why go to the cinema for the next sequel? Box Office Mojo gives us part of the goods, in 2017 only 2 movies broke the 1 billion mark, Beauty and the Beast with Emma Watson (I personally do not think she was a beast in that movie) and the Fate of the Furious, which makes sense as Vin Diesel is stark raving nuts on most given days (in the fast and furious series) and who doesn’t enjoy a chase movie whilst we know that the driver is Looney Tunes. A movie with a good grasp on the desired quality of life time! So if we accept that the bulk of the Americans had to choose two movies these would be it. Yet, that number is not correct. You see Vin Diesel is attracting an audience, but 81% is not domestic, in the case of Miss Watson it is a 60% non-domestic audience. If we focus on the American market the Beauty and the beast was best, but only good for half a billion, if we focus on the domestic market, it is merely the Force Awakens that brings the goods for Americans. It makes sense with the following it has, but it is also deeply sad that decent movies are no longer bringing in the bacon. We cannot merely be blaming Netflix on this, we can surmise that the people can no longer afford the large screens in America, it is the most likely scenario, when we consider that only 3 movies got the domestic top 100 of gross revenue in 2017 and 11 in 2016, we cannot disagree with the view we get offered, but in retrospect, there is enough evidence that the US job market was worse last year. So with still 3 upcoming box office smashes, the big screen performance remains down, to what extent is harder to state, because there is enough indications that there is a lack of quality numbers, which makes my predictions not wrong, merely speculations and I accept that, yet the makers of the article and the presenters of the story of ‘Even superheroes may not be able to save Hollywood’s desperate summer‘ know that they were blaming the DC and Marvel Universe for not saving an economy that does not presently exist. The economy only exists on the Dow Jones index and that one is skewed towards the 1% of Americans that can afford a large apartment in New York and other places. What a shame that reality requires the 99% of Americans they give no consideration to. Yet it could be worse and there is every chance of that happening. As we see Mario Draghi and Janet Yellen warn against regulatory cuts, as we see “European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said protectionist policies pose a “serious risk” for growth in the global economy“, we could deduce that Draghi is soon depending on exploitation tactics to grow the economy, not only has his Quantative Easing failed, he will soon depend on legalised slave labour to get the economy the boost no one wants in such a manner. So as Draghi states: “To foster a dynamic global economy we need to resist protectionist urges“, which will not just end the filling of any quality of life if it was up to certain Uber approaches, it is also signaling the end of places like Hollywood, because they only get to exist when people can afford to go to the cinema, an display of ‘ingoranus totalicus‘ shown by these same people as they bolster the story that ignores the needs and plight of those in the lover 60% of the total income bracket in most of the modern western world.

We will see in the next 18 months what remains of the values we considered in the past. Life as we know it will change, that has always been the consideration of an evolving natural life. We merely forgot that those in charge are not in favour of change unless they could directly profit by it. I wonder if the people in Hollywood realise that part of the equation.

 

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