Tag Archives: US Congress

Pussy in the White House?

Yes, the Washington Post is bringing us another White House, not the one that we see in some Debbie does Dallas version, the original movie, not the Broadway event. Yet in that version Bambi Woods shows to have more balls than the White House officials seem to have nowadays.

So the issue as shown (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-administration-divided-over-how-to-handle-two-isis-militants/2018/02/09/17c2fafe-0dc6-11e8-8890-372e2047c935_story.html) whost the two parts, the first is the one I agree with. That view is: “top counterterrorism adviser, Thomas P. Bossert, favors sending the pair to the military prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba“. The other one is “families of American hostages killed by the group want the men brought to the United States for a criminal trial“, the fact that this view was given any consideration was fair enough. Yet the dangers that wherever the trial will be, will have increasing dangers of Lone Wolf activities as well as the emotional ball that the media will play in every direction they can. It is nice for those families to have their day in court, but it is a view that is in every direction short sighted. Yes, I do feel for these families, yet in the end they will never get any justice, at best they end up having some peace of mind. Yet the price tag of that peace of mind, with the added dangers that they are inviting is just not worth it. The GB (Guantanamo Bay) solution by draining them of all intelligence and in the end when there is nothing more to get, a mere 9mm through the back of the skull is basically the best solution all around. So as we see the quote “The men, who grew up in Britain, had travelled to Syria to fight with the Islamic State and were part of a four-person cell known as the “Beatles” because of their British accents“, giving them a John Lennon end is not entirely out of bounds. So is that to be the fate of El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey? Let’s not forget that they were seen in gruesome videos beheading American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and other hostages. So why should that fate not be theirs? Because we are so much better than they are? You only have to watch the cut throat activities in Wall Street to know that that part is not entirely true!

The Mother of beheaded victim James Foley stated: “I certainly don’t want them to go to Guantanamo or any place like that, because something like that would just bury the truth. I think there needs to be a public, open and fair trial” is fair enough. She has a right to speak and I will not invalidate her view. I would state that the truth was not buried, that decapitation was tweeted and social media channeled as much as those ‘terror Beatles’ could, as for fair trial? When you become a terrorist you throw away your rights, you decided to invalidate the right to life of others beyond any reasonable view, as such, why should they be given any. The only reason why I want them in GB is because they might still have info. Even as we see: “The two men have been undergoing questioning by U.S. officials, including Special Operations forces, for “operational intelligence,” said two national security officials“, there is a chance that they missed something, not intentionally, but because the data files have too many interactions and we want to make sure we know everything we can. If that was inaccurate these Special Forces could draw straws as to who gets to execute them, if they so desire.

I can understand that the UK has a few issues with this and when we see “Any effort to transfer Kotey and Elsheikh to Guantanamo will run into stiff head winds“, we see a view that is not really surprising, yet in opposition we see: “The citizenship status of the men, who both grew up in west London, is unclear. Elsheikh’s family emigrated from Sudan. Kotey has a Ghanaian and Greek Cypriot background“. This is interesting, because if the UK cannot provide actual evidence of their British citizenship, it would indicate that the UK has no opposition to offer. If there is no clarity, it implies that these two were either illegal immigrants who left the country, making it a non-issue for the UK, or they are British citizens removing the uncertainty of a citizenship status. You can’t have it both ways in this case.

I believe that it is Rita Siemion, international legal counsel at Human Rights First who gives the quality opposition that counts. As she gives us: “Sending them to Guantanamo to be prosecuted in the military commission or detained there would be a serious mistake, the federal courts have a proven track record for handling international terrorism prosecutions quickly and effectively, while military commissions are just the opposite” is a valuable view, yet how many of these federal court cases have there been and what has been the time span of those cases? That part is equally important as it puts a large target to any court facilitating to that trial and there had been Lone Wolf activities in the US. In that regard, any wannabe terrorist or upcoming ‘martyr for Allah‘ would want to hit that place for their limelight and the limelight support that their family could get. That risk is actually larger than it was a few years ago and that risk is only going to get larger and not just in the US. Jennifer Daskal, a former senior official in the Justice Department’s national security division gives an additional view that is legally important. With: “Most importantly they are connected to ISIS, as opposed to al-Qaeda, and the Supreme Court has never authorized the detention of ISIS fighters,” she said using an acronym for the Islamic State. “Bringing these men to Guantanamo would put their detention and possible prosecution on shaky legal grounds and set up a good legal basis for them to challenge their detention“. This is an important distinction. Yet I myself and many like me are in opposition with “Why are terrorists given any consideration or rights?” Let’s face it, their victims weren’t given any. Merely watching two beheadings will get you that evidence driven views, so why give them any? Because we are better? Because we believe in the rule of law?

I actually do, but there is a pragmatic difference. You see 99.9999% can fall under the law. This includes any first time offender, any repeat offender and almost every serial killing monster. Yet there is 0.0001% that is so driven to kill everyone, so driven to denounce the rights of others and so determined to blow up whomever they can that pushing them into that same jurisprudence setting whilst we know that dozens upon dozens would knowingly face death whilst the law remains idle is wrong. You see that degrades those victims to human sacrifices for the benefit of that Golden Cow names Jurisprudence and that is just a little too hypocrite for my blood.

The additional fact that the law would require to pass legislation for every splinter group, which we get to consider when we see: “a legal battle could undermine the U.S. government’s overseas military operations if a court rules that the government has no authority to detain ISIS militants under a 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force passed by Congress to be used when going after al-Qaeda and its affiliates” is also scary. It could mean that every extremist Muslim splinter commander would seek another name, getting the limelight as he is given consideration under US Congress, his acknowledgement and as such the US military could face additional complications. All this whilst the defined term ‘Terrorist’ could have settled it all.

In all this revisiting the discussions on Proportionality in targeted killing as discussed in the 2015 publication of ‘Global Alert’, a work by Professor Boaz Ganor might be a better path to take. In that keeping in touch with Professor Ganor might be more important than you think, because if there is a trial in for example New York, the fact that these Lone Wolves might be seeking ‘assistance’ or we see the internet growing call for martyrs is a view he discussed in his 2007 publication ‘Hypermedia Seduction for Terrorist Recruiting‘. Wherever that trial gets to be better prepared for a long hot summer and that hot summer can be viewed in the most negative narration possible.

So even as we understand that the White House is seeking a legally acceptable solution, yet as the events in the Middle East are still heating up, is that a path that they can afford? With ISIS all over the Sinai, Libya, Syria and still being a presence in Iraq, the lack of stability is working for ISIS, not against them. So it is in that setting that we need to contemplate, not merely the values we have, but also the pragmatism of them. You see it is great to have values and to keep them, but at what point in this changing world can we hold on to those values?

It would be great if that was an actual fact, but in this day and age you only need to look at the ever growing problems that the ‘pension crises’ represents, showing that governments at large (on a near global scale) do not have any solution, pushing forward actions on assuring pensions. The US and UK are the more visible ones, but they are not the only ones, not by a long shot. In this day and age where they all misrepresent the collapsing pension systems, at this point do those people want to be the bringers of ‘legally acceptable’ solutions to terrorists?

There is nothing more dangerous than relying on jurisprudential handholding whilst the politicians are largely in denial of the actual problems we face, because they all want to leave it for the next person as it is not an immediate concern. You only need to consider the fact that one firm alone (General Electric) is currently facing a $31 billion deficit, which they are trying to plug using a $6 billion loan. So in this face, whilst the US has currently a deficit of a number exceeding $200 billion, so as we are all so concerned for a decapitating population of 2, we see the White House in a light that it cannot make decisions, hiding behind the law in one side and refusing to enforce or strengthening laws to protect those who have worked a life time to making the US big, so how good is the US economy?

In my view not wasting the courts time on Terrorists and going after these companies who have basically betrayed their employees, who have given their life being faithful employees seems to rate higher on my ladder for a few reasons.

Yet that is merely my likely to be regarded as a ‘short-sighted point of view‘.

 

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As messages pass by

There has been a lot of throwing regarding e-mails in the 11th hour of the campaign. As elections are officially about to start, the need to get them out in favour of the Republican side seems to be clear. Yet, in all this there is an equal worry why the Democrats have let this get so out of hand.

For those who do not keep up to date with the daily need of any Clinton e-mail, let’s mull this over, so that the sequential parts will be a lot easier to understand. For the most, part of the history (at http://www.cnbc.com/2016/10/29/the-history-of-the-clinton-email-controversy.html) will give you part of the goods, but it is still a little short.

You see, this all goes back to 2012, when the Islamic militant group Ansar al-Sharia started a coordinated attack against two US government facilities in Benghazi, Libya. It resulted in the deaths of U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens and U.S. Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith. It was the New York Daily News that reported on State Department officials who were criticized for denying requests for additional security at the consulate prior to the attack. In her role as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton subsequently took responsibility for the security lapses. So, that should have been the end of it, should it not? The basic premise is that mistakes will happen, it is really not great when lives are lost, but it is a danger many foreign dignitaries in conflict places face.

Although, at this point, one valid question becomes debatable: ‘Should any elected official making such a lapse of security be regarded as a possible president of the United States?’

I am merely phrasing the question, it is not an answer pushing you into the direction of the Yes or No answer. What followed was a media rush towards the semantics of ‘Act of Terror‘ versus ‘Act of Terrorism‘. I am calling this an issue of semantics as in the end Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens ended up being equally dead, so in that regard there was no impact. Just as many have seen, but perhaps not realised that syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer claimed that a State Department e-mail, which passed along a report from Embassy Tripoli that Ansar al-Sharia had claimed responsibility for the attack on Facebook and Twitter was evidence that the White House knew of terrorist connections to the attack almost immediately. Charles Krauthammer stated, “This is really a journalistic scandal. I mean, the fact there was not a word about any of this in the New York Times or the Washington Post today.” This comes from the 23rd October 2012. The issue now is that there are layers of issues not dealt with. Consider this part and also consider the Senate Hearing Response by Hillary Clinton “With all due respect, the fact is, we had four dead Americans! Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night and decided they’d go kill some Americans?! What difference, at this point, does it make?!“, which is only part of the response, yet the response in the hours before the attack would have been important, especially as the movie linked to all this ‘Innocence of Muslims‘, a movie by an Egyptian born Coptic Christian, an anti-Islamic movie with the intent to denigrate Islam’s prophet, Muhammad. Was there really no clue that this would have repercussions? In addition, Anti-Islamic content had been added in post-production by dubbing, without the actors’ knowledge (source: Christian Science Monitor). What is interesting is that Sarah Abdurrahman states “If you watch closely, you can see that when the actors are reading parts of the script that do not contain Islam-specific language, the audio from the sound stage is used (the audio that was recorded as the actors were simultaneously being filmed). But anytime the actors are referring to something specific to the religion (the Prophet Muhammed, the Quran, etc.) the audio recorded during filming is replaced with a poorly executed post-production dub. And if you look EVEN closer, you can see that the actors’ mouths are saying something other than what the dub is saying.“, this is important because it clearly implies an attack on religious values, one that the Muslim community values above all others. Now we cannot expect that the internet is policed to a certain extent, yet in light of the trailer, was there really no one who asked ‘could this get out of hand?‘, whilst in the other direction, the fact that the trailer had been online for almost 50 days, were there no danger flags at all? So on a September 11th day, was there no perception at all that there could be a dangerous situation? In addition there was a PDF (at http://permanent.access.gpo.gov/gpo33519/Flashing%20Red-HSGAC%20Special%20Report%20final.pdf), where the Regional Security Officer in Libya compiled a list of 234 security incidents in Libya between June 2011 and July 2012, 50 of which took place in Benghazi.

  1. America and American interests were (regardless of reason) under direct terrorist attack.
  2. The State Department should have increased security on several levels
  3. It gives another view to the Senate hearing in light of certain facts (January 23rd 2013)
  4. The United States Senate Committee On Homeland Security And Governmental Affairs paper from December 2012 shows that additional security would have been essential.

Now, why is this so important during an election? For the most, we could call trivialise all this in regards to ‘administrative failure‘, which will happen, even as we all realise that lives were lost, it gives weight to the response that Hillary Clinton gave. As she stated “It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again” as well as “The Intelligence Community has a process, I understand, going with the other committees to explain how these talking points came out”, which now makes the second one a killer to say the least.

This is now part of the problem!

You see, the email controversy is not just that mails were missing, it became publicly known that Hillary Clinton, as she served as the United States Secretary of State, had used her family’s private email server for official communications, instead of the State Department email accounts maintained on federal servers. So certain triggers could have been missed and an issue of reporting now exists. In addition, the mere notion that thousands of emails that would later be marked classified by the State Department retroactively had been on other servers is also a clear case for response. This now gets us to Bill O’Reilly (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCYma3zZf7U), who now informs us on two sides that matter. At 2:11 we see the ‘accountability of people in power‘, which is an issue at any given day, yet there might be a clear explanation, yet the implied issues as seen gives us that there has been a level of miscommunication going all the way to the Oval Office, which is now a really big issue. In that regard, the Clinton campaign is getting cut all over the place, in addition, at 4:16, there is now the implied issue that FBI director James Comey was either not aware or covered up the private email issues as they were missing from the summation of the case.

Now, after all the grief that FBI director James Comey is now receiving. In addition, Nevada Democrat Senator Harry Reid gives us ‘James Comey may have broken law‘, is that so Harry? The trouble with Harry is that he doesn’t seem to mention on how private email servers and not the State.gov servers were used. Can we all agree that this might be the bigger issue, for more than one reason? The fact that impeachment could be due to all or any crime that abuses office powers, we could surmise that there is an optional case of perjury. If proven, we can avoid the entire election. That is not, as Harry Reid states ‘interference in an election‘, but the investigation of possible criminal acts. On one side, if this goes up after the elections and should Hillary Clinton win, than it is a first in history that both members of a family, both in a position of presidential powers gets impeached for ‘Perjury and obstruction of justice’, which is at his mere age of 76 still an interesting event to personally witness. Harry gets enthusiastic in his speech as given on the Huffington Post. You see he states “letting her GOP opponent get away with breaking the law“, which is interesting as the system does not seem to make a criminal ineligible for running for office. It mentions that you need to be an American and once elected you cannot run a second time for president (re-election does not apply), so a one term president cannot be a president again. When we look at the Constitution, Article 2, we get an interesting side. Section 4 gives us: “The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanours“, this implies that a felon can legally become president of the United States, practically that is a lot less certain.

So here we get the trouble with Harry. You see, until the election it is the premise of conviction, if Hillary Clinton gets prosecuted and convicted regarding the Benghazi mails after a successful election, she would be impeached. It is a possible and practical solution, but it isn’t likely and in addition initially James Comey made a notification of events. In light of the Washington Post (as well as the Guardian) we see “Their decision partly reflected the institutional power of the FBI director, Comey’s personality and the political realities they were facing, according to current and former Justice Officials. In this case, officials said Comey put the department in an untenable position by informing them that he was sending a letter to Congress because he had an obligation to lawmakers or they would feel misled“, is this separation of powers at its finest, or is this a mere loophole? We need to see this in contrast to another quote in the same article. Here we see: “At the July news conference, Comey announced that the FBI had completed its investigation of Clinton’s private email server while she was secretary of state. Comey said he was recommending to the Justice Department that Clinton not be charged, but he added that Clinton and her colleagues had been “extremely careless” in their handling of classified information.”” So it was after July that things escalated. The part that we see ‘when Harry met Hillary’ is that the path that is taken is odd to say the least. The mention by James Comey ‘in an unrelated case‘ as well as the fact that when this all happened Hillary Clinton should have had a cleaning pass on a very high level. That never happened, for the most it is an actual consideration exactly HOW Anthony Weiner got these mails to say the least. Consider that he left congress in June 2011, a little more than two months before it all happened. So how and exactly why was he kept in the loop? If the facts are correct, we are now facing a case where Hillary Clinton mailed classified materials to an outsider. A part that leads to even more questions when we see “FBI director James Comey revealed the existence of the emails, which law-enforcement sources said were linked to Weiner’s estranged wife, top Clinton aide Huma Abedin“, which now gets the Clintons in even more hot water. It came from a private server, it went to the top aide and she was using the laptop of resigned congressman Anthony Weiner, now it seems that the mails were meant for his wife, did she not have her own laptop (at http://www.cnbc.com/2016/10/30/fbi-obtains-warrant-for-newly-discovered-emails-in-clinton-probe–as-reid-accuses-comey-of-hatch-act-violation.html)?

From my view, the fact that classified materials went via unqualified sources to a device owned by a person who’s is no longer in office. It seems that Harry is spinning his way through legal mentions whilst ignoring transgressions of classified communications. So, Harry needs to be careful on whacking the paint brush around. In the end, there is of course a chance that it will influence the election, but we could in equal margins consider that the Clintons, due to careless ignoring mails in the field, the entire mess ended up hurting themselves again.

It is because the clarity of what actually happened is out there is missing, is exactly why this is now coming to blows now. As for the mention of ‘Reid Accuses Comey of Hatch Act Violation‘, we should in equal measure consider that this is not an act where we see ‘political activity’, this is an FBI director who is now looking into possible criminal negligence and the fact that classified materials were on a laptop not owned for the person who the intended mail was, in addition, it belonged to a person no longer in office, so those conditions could well spell more mess as former Hillary Clinton chief of staff Cheryl Mills and another top aide had “some” classified material on laptops they turned over to the bureau in its probe of Clinton’s private server use as secretary of state. Through her own statements, we saw that she was unaware what classified meant, she did not use the proper protocols on sending classified, secret and more than 20 top secret emails. So as we see Senator Harry Reid go all up in arms, we need to consider one additional quote from the Washington Post (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/comey-gives-in-to-shameful-partisanship/2016/10/30/c31c714a-9ed8-11e6-8d63-3e0a660f1f04_story.html). “The evidence suggests that FBI Director James B. Comey is a decent man. The evidence also suggests that he has been intimidated by pressure from Republicans in Congress whose interest is not in justice but in destroying Hillary Clinton“, that seems to be the driving force here. It is my personal belief that this is what happened and this is why the initial mail was so vague. If I resort to calling a spade a spade then I would state: “Yo Harry, we know that you are stupid, but you are not stupid. You know what I am saying?” Instead of lashing out to the Republicans in congress, instead of looking why the massive level of ignorance from a former Secretary of State wasn’t properly cleaned up the moment it was a clear visibility issue, we will get to the direct consequence of dropping the ball on the bottom of the 9th when you are down 4 points and this is the last play. It could cost you the game and that is exactly what could happen at this point. When you trace all this information back you get to the clear understanding that WikiLeaks doesn’t need to find whistle-blowers, with the cyber negligence we see at present, Congress could in theory be supplying WikiLeaks with Top Secret information for decades to come (dramatically over-sized speculation). Perhaps Congress could take a moment to send an unclassified email to Maj Gen William T. Lord (you know the dude in charge of the Air Force Cyber Units) requesting a highly needed presentation on ‘Common Cyber Sense‘, it seems that a sizeable population on Capitol Hill is in dire need of one. #JustSaying

 

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Penis Aqua Rosa Congressista

The Dutch used to have interesting names for classifying people. There was ‘Penis jujubes’ (originally: Droplul), which amounts to Liquorice Penis, which captions the non-Dutch titles dick, asshole and idiot. The other one was ‘Penis Aqua Rosa’ (originally: Lulletje Rozewater), which gets us Rosewater Dick, which is an expression for a man that has no backbone, a man that is weak and submissive. The latter one seems to apply to the US Congress in a few ways.

You see, the  article ‘Drug company boss Martin Shkreli refuses to testify to Congress‘ gives us part of it all (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/feb/04/martin-shkreli-refuses-to-testify-congress-drug-daraprim), an issue that might be seen in the wrong light, if you only go by the one side of the story. You see, this is situation that Congress and their US laws created for themselves. Even if we get the ’emotional’ statement: “One member begged him to examine his conscience“, we all seem to ignore, that this is something Congress achieved all by themselves. You see the quote “Earlier, Shkreli and Turing’s chief commercial officer, Nancy Retzlaff, were criticized for hiking the price of Daraprim despite the fact it is the only government-approved treatment for the rare infection toxoplasmosis, which can be fatal for some Aids and cancer patients and endangers babies in-utero” is at the core of this.

Instead of setting up the law that fairness was at the centre of it all, politicians set the speculation that every pharmaceutical company and their fields would be ‘distributed’, that there was no overlap (for the larger extent), as such pharmaceutical had a clear field for maximised profits. How long did you think it was going to take before someone weaselled themselves into that crowd, with the simple goal of maximising his Return-on-Investment? The United States of America has always been about capitalism and living the dream. Martin Shkreli is doing just that, now we get what some might call ‘sissy noises‘ from the Halls of Congress!

Let’s be Frank (or Punch and Judy; whatever works for you), what Martin Shkreli does is utterly unacceptable, yet, it is Congress that did not legislatively clip the wings of unbridled greed. They sat around as President Bill Clinton called for the end of the Glass–Steagall Legislation. As the majority remained silent additional doors to greed got opened. In all this, the lack of visionaries in Congress, even after 2008 lacked action when it came to protecting the citizens of the United States of America. So when I see the response from a member of congress “member begged him to examine his conscience“, I will kindly tell that congressperson to cry me a river and I’ll do so whilst playing worlds tiniest violin.

Congress is in an emotional state, suddenly crying for those who cannot afford it, yet what clear provisions in legislation has it given to the coffers of the United States? You see when we consider November 23rd (at http://www.forbes.com/sites/antoinegara/2015/11/23/pfizer-and-allergan-merger-ranks-as-biggest-ever-pharmaceutical-deal) and we see “On Monday, Pfizer PFE +0.10% and Allergan unveiled an all-stock merger that will allow the combined company, Pfizer PLC, to move its headquarters to Ireland and focus on corporate cost cuts“, which is set at $160 billion, you better believe that this impacts the taxability of that corporation by a lot. As far as I can tell from the surface, the total of pharmaceutical mergers LAST YEAR ALONE is well over 600 billion, so half a trillion dollars, all now going via Ireland. How much noise is congress making there? Or do these ‘respectful’ members of congress have a few too many friends in ‘those’ circles? Better to loudly focus on the one man out as Pfizer, Allergan and a few others. Can we all agree that the difference of 600 billion, being taxed at 25%, or being taxed at 17% is worth moving house over? You see, I love Sydney, but when someone tells me that moving will get me $48 billion, I will start singing ‘My heart is in Ireland‘ and I will enthusiastically pack my bags. You see, I can always get a second apartment in Buenos Aires and life of my self-made cash cow, getting me $50K a day and still allow me to double my fortune before I retire, making me live of $200K a day until I die. That is the track that Congress left open. This can be seen (at http://www.forbes.com/sites/antoinegara/2015/11/23/pfizer-and-allergan-merger-ranks-as-biggest-ever-pharmaceutical-deal), the quote there “move its headquarters to Ireland and focus on corporate cost cuts“, can be seen as ‘tax cuts’ and now guess what a chunk of those cost cuttings will go? You probably guessed it, the gents (ladies too) of the board of directors of Pfizer.

So, when I state to the person in Congress ‘go cry me a river’, I am being pretty serious. For the mere reason after all those hard words that the media published on how this was going to get stopped, on how some African American in a non-circular room (according to whitehouse.gov) decided to call for ‘Closing Corporate Tax Loopholes’ in July 26th 2014. I am guessing that this was unsuccessful as Pfizer basically walked out with well over half a trillion. The move started in November 2015 and the press has been absent of any failure to stop Pfizer from moving away from the American non-tax havens, towards the shores of paddy’s Irish Whiskey and the real tax havens.

Let’s be clear, that this does not excuse Martin Shkreli from the acts he is doing, or would it stop me from legislatively going after Martin Shkreli if I could. The mere reality is that it will be close to impossible to do because the US Congress had enabled much of what Martin Shkreli did, which is not what they intended to do, yet it is what is the non-emotional result, so in that matter ‘examine his conscience‘ applies to a much larger extent to Congress and its need to clean up the mess that allows corporate American to get around taxation. A mess congress might not be willing to fix for the simple speculation that when not re-elected those members of Congress need to rely on large corporations for their next pay check.

I am not the only one on this horse, as far as I can tell ‘the New Yorker’ and a few others are starting to realise that no matter how objectionable the acts of Martin Shkreli are, there is now a focal point change. This focal point is about how Congress itself is part of the problem, not part of anyone’s solution (at http://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/everyone-hates-martin-shkreli-everyone-is-missing-the-point), how there is an unlabelled coffer with funds to buy items of survival for people who cannot afford it. The New Yorker states it as “mysterious corporate bargaining, and occasional charitable acts“, this includes (as I personally see it) Pfizer and their transplanted plus 600 billion, moving to Ireland.

So even when we consider the acts of Martin Shkreli to be vile and evil, how is the inaction of Congress not worse? How is it that we cannot condone the acts of a failed administration, whilst the acts of a person who was in it for the money from day one to be such a surprise?

A man that graduated from Bernard M. Baruch College of the City University of New York, who became a hedge funds manager, ‘evolved’ as an entrepreneur and who is living the American dream.

How are any of the unfolding elements a surprise to anyone?

 

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CISA and Privacy are not opposites

There is a view that many hold, this view is not educated. A view which was given to us from the moment we spawned as a living person. Some got this knowledge as they went to their church or temple. They were told about good and evil. When we started to go to school we got to learn about order and chaos. This last one matters, you see, the opposite that order and chaos represent has been used in books, in videogames, in TV shows and in movies. In the Avengers movie ‘Age of Ultron’, near the end of the film we hear a quote from Vision, played by Paul Bettany that matters: “Humans are odd. They think order and chaos are somehow opposites“.

You might not realise it but the gem that we have here is in the foundations of many issues that have been plaguing us in several ways. Let’s take a look at this in two parts. The first is a Guardian article (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/01/blackphone-release-data-protection-privacy-surveillance) called ‘Blackphone: privacy-obsessed smartphone aims to broaden its appeal‘. The very first paragraph is a quote that shows issues on more than one side “Privacy company Silent Circle has released a second version of its signature handheld, a smartphone designed to quell the data scraping and web tracking that’s become such an integral part of the digital economy in the last few years (and whose results might well end up with the NSA, if the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act passes)“, now I have no issue with the data scraping part and for the most the term ‘whose results might well end up with the NSA’ is less of an issue, but the overall taste is about privacy, I have no issue with this. The next quote is an interesting one, which will matter soon enough “In the beginning, Janke said, the Blackphone project was just a way for people working for his security firm SOC, since sold, to call home without having their communications intercepted“.

You see, there is no issue with the message shown here, but what is linked to all this is the message that is not shown here. You see, this device should now be regarded as the most excellent tool for hedge funds managers, organised crimes and all other kinds of non-mentioned criminals, who will now get to do with ease and freedom the things they had to steeplechase around the block for. This device will allow financial advisors to take certain steps that they were too scared to do, all out of fear of getting caught. This device will be opening doors.

There is no issue with the approach Janke had, he was submerged (read: drowning) in a world where any slip up could mean the death of him, his comrades and perhaps even his family. So his need for security was a given. There is a need for such a device. I have written about the need for this device as early as 2009, so the fact that someone picks this up is not a surprise, so why are we looking at this?

You see, it is the mention of CISA that is part of all this. CISA or better stated the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act is sponsored by Republican Senator Richard Burr (North-Carolina). Why would anyone oppose ‘the bill makes it easier for companies to share cyber threat information with the government‘? Let’s be clear this is about dealing with Cyber Threats!

So what is a Cyber Threat? A Cyber threat is defined as ‘a malicious attempt to damage or disrupt a computer network or system‘, so we have the fact that this is about malicious attempts! So why would there be an issue? Well, there is because people and as it seems to be especially criminals, terrorists and Organised Crime seem to be allowed a lot more privacy than their victims, so in all this I see little issues pop up all over the place. This sounds all emotional, but what does the official text state? Well, the complete text is at https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/754, so let’s take a look at some parts.

Permits state, tribal, or local agencies to use shared indicators (with the consent of the entity sharing the indicators) to prevent, investigate, or prosecute offenses relating to: (1) an imminent threat of death, serious bodily harm, or serious economic harm, including a terrorist act or a use of a weapon of mass destruction; or (2) crimes involving serious violent felonies, fraud and identity theft, espionage and censorship, or trade secrets“, How can we be opposed to this? Is this not the foundation of growing fair play?

Well, that is partially the question. You see, the issue is in part the language. Consider this paraphrase which remains correct in light of the previous statement: “Permits local agencies to use shared indicators (with the consent of the entity sharing the indicators) to prosecute offenses relating to serious economic harm“. Which is now the floodlight of all this.

Now we get to the second part in all this, which is offenses relating to serious economic harm. Serious economic harm tends to be seen as pure economic loss, but it is not limited to that. For this we can look at the element ‘Loss of production suffered by an enterprise whose electricity supply is interrupted by a contractor excavating a public utility‘, which we see in Spartan Steel & Alloys Ltd v Martin & Co (Contractors) Ltd. In here the legislatively famous Lord Denning raised the issue of ‘Duty to mitigate loss’. Yet today, in the world of data and digital media, how can we measure that element? Let me show this through an exaggerated fictive example.

Microsoft raises the issue that as they required an investigation into acts that are causing serious economic harm to Microsoft. Unique software has been released that directly negatively impacts they trademarked business. The CISA could now be in effect to investigate data and data sources, but who minds that store? Who has that knowledge? Now consider that the person investigated would be Markus Persson, because his program ‘Minecraft’ is now stopping all people who are part of the Microsoft Gaming brand to continue.

So who will make that call? You might think that this is a ludicrous example, but is that so? Microsoft ended up paying more than 2 billion for it, so someone implying ‘Serious Economic Harm’ is not that far-fetched. This now becomes an issue for a timeline. What timeline is in effect here? With an imminent threat of death this is a simple matter, with serious economic harm that matter is far from simple, moreover will the claim be valid? I used the ludicrous Minecraft and Microsoft Games brand. Yet what happens when this is a lot more ‘grey’, what happens when this is Raytheon versus the Belgium based TTN Verhaert? A Technology Transfer Network (TTN) that has innovated the latest classified satellite navigation systems. Is it still a clear call as to what constitutes serious economic harm?

This act opens up a can of intellectual property, the one can everyone wants to swim in and the elected official channels do not even have a fraction of the minimum required insight to make such a call.

Section 9 gives us “Directs the DNI to report to Congress regarding cybersecurity threats, including cyber-attacks, theft, and data breaches. Requires such report to include: (1) an assessment of current U.S. intelligence sharing and cooperation relationships with other countries regarding cybersecurity threats to the U.S. national security interests, economy, and intellectual property; (2) a list of countries and non-state actors that are primary threats; (3) a description of the U.S. government’s response and prevention capabilities; and (4) an assessment of additional technologies that would enhance U.S. capabilities, including private sector technologies that could be rapidly fielded to assist the intelligence community

When we consider both A and B, we should look at ‘U.S. SEC drops Onyx insider trading lawsuit against Dubai men’ (at http://finance.yahoo.com/news/u-sec-drops-onyx-insider-230111643.html) from September 15th. The quote here is “Smith said the Newman decision was ‘helpful,’ but that the SEC ‘never had a tipper’ or evidence that his clients received inside information”, one would think that this is where CISA could now step in. Alas, apart from the side that is implied by the CISA text: ‘assessment of additional technologies that would enhance U.S. capabilities, including private sector technologies that could be rapidly fielded to assist the intelligence community’, which according to Blackphone is not an option, we now see that this opens a door to ‘patsy management’ on how two unsecured parties, could be set-up through the use of Blackphone through encrypted conversations and when the two unsecured parties talk, they could be setting each other up thanks to the other two parties that were using a Blackphone. Blackphone here has no blame whatsoever, they would be offering the one part criminals desperately want, a secured phone. This now sets a dangerous precedence, not a legal one, because Blackphone is behaving itself as it should, the provider of secure communications, it is what people do with it that matters that part cannot be guaranteed by the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act. In addition, S. 754 has one additional flaw. That flaw is seen in the definitions, where we see that the earlier mentioned definition ‘serious economic harm’ is not specified in the definitions at all, so what definition applies?

Beyond that, we see the definition of a cybersecurity threat. In here it is important to take a look at part A and part B.

part a gives us: “IN GENERAL.—Except as provided in subparagraph (B), the term “cybersecurity threat” means an action, not protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, on or through an information system that may result in an unauthorized effort to adversely impact the security, availability, confidentiality, or integrity of an information system or information that is stored on, processed by, or transiting an information system” and part B gives us “EXCLUSION.—The term “cybersecurity threat” does not include any action that solely involves a violation of a consumer term of service or a consumer licensing agreement“, which sounds nice, yet how does it help stem cybersecurity threats?

You see, when you consider the letter send by UCLA to Chairman Dianne Feinstein in June last year, we see: “CISA’s inadequate use limitations risk turning the bill into a backdoor for warrantless use of information the government receives for investigations and prosecutions of crimes unrelated to cybersecurity“, which could be regarded as the biggest failure, but it is not, it is the part we see in “CISA requires that cyber threat indicators shared from the private sector with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) be immediately disseminated to the Department of Defense, which includes the NSA and U.S. Cyber Command. This new flow of private communications information to NSA is deeply troubling given the past year’s revelations of overbroad NSA surveillance“. It is the ‘be immediately disseminated to the Department of Defense’ that comes into play now. When we consider ‘Overbroad Liability Protection‘, which can now hide by giving that function to an intern so that “good faith” reliance remains is a potential risk that could be pushed by big business to hide behind the ‘dope’ who acts in ‘good faith’.

Is that truly the blackness we face? Well, that is hard to say, the fact that this act relies on ambiguity and is lacking certain rules of restraint, or at least certain safeguards so that data cannot leave the intelligence office is reasons enough to have a few more discussions on this topic. What is interesting is that CISA would create a fear, which Black phone addresses, yet in similar method other players will now receive an option allowing them to play large dangerous games whilst not becoming accountable, that new Blackphone could address several issues the shady commercial interest guy is very happy to exploit.

The question becomes, how does any of this make us any safer?

So now we get back to the Age of Ultron line. As we see that crime is becoming an orderly event, the fact that we tend to hide in chaos the issues that should be open for all is part of the dilemma we now face. Again we are confronted with laws that remain inadequate to deal with the issues that needed to be dealt with. CISA takes in my view a chaotic approach to keep a level of order that was delusional from the very start, from missing definitions to application of methodology. It is a cog not linked to any machine, proclaiming soon to be of use to all machines and in the end, as I see it will only hinder progress on many levels, mainly because it tries to circumvent the accountability of some. And this is not just an American issue. In that regard laws and the protection of the victims have been an issue for a longer time. We only need to look to the Tesco grocery store on the corner to comprehend that part of the equation.

 

 

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Pussy versus Tiger

This was my first assessment when I looked at the Guardian regarding the article ‘Barack Obama and David Cameron fail to see eye to eye on surveillance‘. (at http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/jan/16/barack-obama-david-cameron-surveillance-terrorists). As we see America slump more and more into the weak excuse it is on an empty wallet, it must have been quite the surprise for Prime Minister David Cameron, to go to the ‘leader’ of the free world, hoping for a decent lamb chop (which you actually can only get in either Australia or New Zealand) and he ends up having dinner with someone who prefers Purina as a meal.

You see, I am not buying his ‘civil liberty’ approach for one second. In an age where Google is demanding more and more privileges to access your mobile data, where Google search gets transparently pushed into your android phone on top of your functions. In that era HE is proclaiming ‘civil liberties’?

Where we see Facebook where we would have to consent to allow access to our religious beliefs and that of our friends for access to a game. What is this, ‘Gaming for Catholics’? Here we see discord on what is needed to keep the citizens safe?

I particularly like this part “As Cameron warned the internet giants that they must do more to ensure they do not become platforms for terrorist communications, the US president said he welcomed the way in which civil liberties groups hold them to account by tapping them on the shoulder“, tapping on the shoulder? Yes, with Bing, Google, Amazon and Yahoo all in America, he definitely wants the power of collection to be ‘unhindered’ for now. There is of course the thought that President Obama has no control and it is Google and Microsoft telling Congress how it will be for now, which means unmonitored access.

That part is also a requirement to keep the financial sector running uncontrolled until it is too late (a point which might have passed already).

So, is this all rambling? Let us look into the evidence!

The first part comes from the Trans-Atlantic Consumer Dialogue (at http://www.consumersinternational.org/media/1396104/tacd-resolution-on-data-flows-in-the-transatlantic-trade-and-investmemt-partnership.pdf), an organisation not too visible, but it is loaded with high profile participants (at http://tacd.org/about-tacd/whos-who/), the PDF had nothing really new to tell me, but this part is important “The actual extent of these data collection practices, whether they were lawful, or the range of activities involving companies such as Google, Facebook, and Yahoo are still unclear. Until the new US and EU joint group of experts tasked with examining privacy in the light of the National Security Agency’s PRISM Internet data program and related disclosures makes a report to the respective governments and the public, it would be unwise for the negotiators to address data and e-commerce-related trade matters at all. The public on both sides of the Atlantic deserves a full and frank discussion of what actually transpired, and what policies or safeguards should be required as a consequence“. Even though we were confronted with the Snowden fiasco, the massive part that is kept silent is what non governments are collecting, they have been collecting data every second, of every minute of every key press you made these last few years. Data that is valued, without oversight. So ‘yes’, as I see it, the President (or the Democratic Party) is very likely getting told that with oversight, the fat checks will disappear.

This is at the heart of the matter, David Cameron (and several others) needs to keep their civilians safe, whilst as I see it, America is about the bottom dollar at the expense of everyone’s safety. Should you doubt the latter part then consider the next bit “US trade policy requires radical reform, not only to the flawed certification process, but also to the secrecy of trade negotiations in general, the lack of accountability to the public, and Fast Track proposals that insulate trade agreements even from the scrutiny of Congress itself“, which we get from Electronic Frontiers Australia. So, as we see the push for ‘free trade’, how can there be ‘free trade’ without civil liberty? It seems that in the US ‘free trade’ is synonymous with corporate trade, specifically the corporate trade of big business. So as we see that areas are drowning in corporate oversight (by the corporations), we see the term ‘civil liberties’ being cast in a voice to keep big business out of oversight. So, how does your Purina taste today Mr President?

Now the intelligent person will state, what has one thing to do with the other? How did we get from some data discussion to the TPP? This would indeed be a decent question and my answer is that it is all linked. You see, the big data collectors can only continue if it is unhindered by policy. Google’s fortune comes from the data of millions each day. So once the data starts getting holes as the rights of those from the UK, the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany and Australia are set to boundaries, the collected data will show holes, which means the value goes down by a lot. Over 30% of the internet has business, which lands roughly 40% of ALL profits in the hands of US firms. I am precise in my statement here, US Firms! Not US government or the IRS, just US firms who will syphon billions via Ireland and like-minded places where taxability is at 0.1% (or some other ridiculously low number). If this oversight changes, so will the profits dwindle to a much lower percentage, now suddenly it will be a fair game for internet companies on a global scale, which is NOT what the US wants at all.

When we consider “The prime minister adopted a harder stance on the need for big internet companies such as Facebook and Twitter to do more to cooperate with the surveillance of terror suspects“, that fear will hit many and suddenly there are more holes in the collected data, downgrading businesses, the economy and heaven forbid, the DOW Jones Index, hence kitty goes into ‘UCLA’ mode.

But many in Europe are now a lot more awake, the events in Paris did that, when an actual terror attack hits a place like Paris, people suddenly notice and their fear for their safety spring into action, which is counter-productive for these US firms (as the terror attack is not happening in the US), corporate greed takes a front seat on what needs to happen, all under the guise of ‘civil liberty’.

As the president came with “In a sign of the concern in the US at the threat posed by extremists in Europe and in Syria and Iran, the president said disfranchised Muslims were one of the greatest challenges faced by Europe. “It is important for Europe not to respond with a hammer with law enforcement,” Obama said at a press conference with Cameron as he contrasted the way in which US Muslims had integrated and regarded themselves as wholly American“, really? How did Americans react on September 12th 2001? They couldn’t get the DHS started fast enough! In addition, let’s take a look at the Guardian in 2012 (at http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/dec/29/fbi-coordinated-crackdown-occupy), ‘Revealed: how the FBI coordinated the crackdown on Occupy‘. It seems that ‘civil liberties’ are not an issue, when profit (read: banks) are in play. If we accept the quote “The document – reproduced here in an easily searchable format – shows a terrifying network of coordinated DHS, FBI, police, regional fusion center, and private-sector activity so completely merged into one another that the monstrous whole is, in fact, one entity: in some cases, bearing a single name, the Domestic Security Alliance Council. And it reveals this merged entity to have one centrally planned, locally executed mission. The documents, in short, show the cops and DHS working for and with banks to target, arrest, and politically disable peaceful American citizens“, now apart from the Snowden issue, I regard the Guardian to be a good paper, this gives a clear view that ‘civil liberties’ is not an issue in the view of profit and in the view of those depending on thus stated profit.

So here we see the clearer view of Kitty (Oval Office) versus Tiger (10 Downing Street). David Cameron needs to get a handle on the terror fear which goes a lot further then ‘commercial interests’, he needs to actually address and deal with these fears, hence the need for data. In this matter he had to speak to the President, let’s face it, getting GCHQ to download Exabyte’s of data (whilst permission is pending), without a meeting first is just bad form. On the other hand we could ask that data set from North Korea, apparently that is where the top hackers are today (according to US officials).

 

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The Cat and the Bacon

I have written about the economy on several occasions, I always proclaimed that it was pure insight as I saw it and that I do not have a degree in economy, I am an analyst. Yet today these borders of non-knowledge might get stretched a little further than previously shown. Today is all about the Euro!

I personally never believed it to be a good idea. We saw how all these politicians were proclaiming on how ‘good’ it was for the economy. Was it? You see, it might not matter for the bakery on the corner, the grocer next door or the butcher across the street. It matters to the giants of industry and how it benefits there bottom line, the extra coin for the members of the board, not for the people in the stores, that image tended to be a virtual one, it virtually did not matter at all!

I saw how the change of coin, from the Dutch guilder, things suddenly seemed to be 50% cheaper (2 guilders equalled one euro), but the math is easily made there. What those people experienced that buying a chicken on the market was 6 guilders, it became 3 euro’s, but then what? In a little less than 4 years that chicken from the same dealer ended up being 6 Euro’s. An annual 25% hike in prices. The chicken example is a little extreme and many articles did not raise that quickly. Some will mention the issues of milk in the Netherlands, but that is an issue much more complex and the Euro itself is only a small fragment there.

So, could I be wrong?

That is centre in this debate. I could be wrong, but it is very likely that we are all looking into the wrong direction. It would be nice to blame places like Greece, and they are definitely having an effect, yet the issue is not the EEC, it is more and more pointing towards America. You see, we are all in a bad shape, no one is denying that, yet in American, things have not gotten any better for a long time. Let’s face it, some people are now shooting at the police for fun, or for reasons of aggravation and despair. The people in America are suffering in many ways, but the all holier than DOW keeps on rising in addition, their currency is massively on the up, which under the issues showing, seems a little too good to be true, it an assumption, but is it fair and correct?

That remains to be seen, when we look at the Guardian, we see (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jan/08/euro-dollar-1999-levels-deflation-oil), the following: “Recent data for the Eurozone has proved weak, with inflation falling and unemployment rising. Italy remains in recession while France has seen consumer and business confidence wane. Only Spain and Germany among the major economies have appeared to gain in strength, though Berlin has failed to kick-start GDP growth and Spain still suffers from an unemployment rate of 25%“, these are facts, they are not in denial, but where are the results of the UK (which were not great)? You see, these facts are true, but there is more to consider (besides Greece dragging the EU down). What about Sweden and the Netherlands? Not the greatest economies compared to the big 4, but still sizeable ones, we can admit that they are all struggling, yet the fact that we see a ‘propagated’ booming economy in America needs to be addressed too.

Who statistically has a job?

When we consider an article in Forbes last August, where we see “My friend and the waitress are victims of a massive but hidden problem called underemployment. Watching falling unemployment numbers being reported at 6.2%, down from nearly 10% four years earlier, is simply misleading“, attached to a headline ‘Tackling The Real Unemployment Rate: 12.6%‘ (at http://www.forbes.com/sites/louisefron/2014/08/20/tackling-the-real-unemployment-rate-12-6/), we get to see the picture that the people are living, Wall Street is ignoring and  the current administration of the US is misrepresenting. So is the Euro doing this bad, or is it dragged down by a misrepresenting nation carrying a 17 trillion dollar debt? By the way, did we not see something similar with Tesco and a few hundred millions misrepresented? How did THAT turn out?

When we see this quote in Forbes we see the real danger “741,000 discouraged workers – workers not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them – are included within the list of marginally attached people. Another 7.5 million were not considered unemployed because they were employed part-time for economic reasons. Those people are also called involuntary part-time workers – working part-time because their hours were cut back or because they were unable to secure a full-time job“. The danger is twofold, how many of the 741,000 are over 50? It seems that companies, especially those with younger, inexperienced executives are afraid to hire people with skills and know how. In regards to the 7.5 million part time workers, does that include those Wal-Mart people, who need to rely on food stamps and all kinds of other support systems? I am not debating their need, more that the owners each walked away with well over a billion in 2013, whilst its staff was on governmental food stamps. How does that ‘boom’ your economy? It almost reads like ‘gangbang’ for your buck whilst the governmental administration bends over, a lack of fairness on more than one front, one could state!

Booking a balance!

You see, the unbalance goes a lot further, the US as a nation can float its currency, this is not a bad thing, normally every nations does it to some extent, to weather a really bad time, so that business and consumer is not hit with weird spikes, it is an issue that has happened for a long time and it will continue to happen, yet the Euro does not have this privilege, these economies are set to what is done in Bruxelles (Brussels), and as such, it is likely impacted by spikes to some extent. However, as their currency is spiking downwards against the Dollar, which seems to be decently overvalued, we get a new danger that the drag will continue, whilst no one seems to be looking and the bubbled version of the US Dollar. So is my non-economic view correct, right or wrong? Yes, there are three options, because, what is correct may still not be right.

Consider, that the Euro nations are not doing so well, which is true after all, that fact does not make the dollar better does it? It is correct that the dollar looks better because the Yen and the Euro looks less good, but the economy in America is not booming, if it were, we would see a lot more people gainfully employed without the need for government support, you see, here we get to the matter on what is correct and what is right. If the US is having a virtual boom, we are judging the US on merits of misrepresentation, which by the way might not be illegal, but should an economy not be held to its cost as well? The US debt is still increasing; the people (a large amount) are not paid to a level of being self-sufficient. We see an economy that had made the thirteen amendment in 1865, there we see “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction“, in 1867 the US got the Peonage Act of 1867, where Congress abolished “the holding of any person to service or labor under the system known as peonage”, as well as specifically banning “the voluntary or involuntary service or labor of any persons as peons, in liquidation of any debt or obligation, or otherwise”, now this all sounds pretty clear, and having a job is not this, but when a population is forced to work for scraps, whilst still requiring food stamps, it seems that we now have an issue. no one is a slave, but under the conditions where the very rich grow their fortune at well over 30%, whilst those on average grow less than 2%, we should clearly see that the balance of fair play is no longer anywhere in sight. I am not against making profit, it is a capitalistic form that has merit, yet when we see six members of a family, each making a 9 figure number, whilst the 1% of America it employs makes less than the line of poverty, we need to ask serious questions. In addition, as we see a group where they deal in articles that are from questionable sources (at http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/jun/10/supermarket-prawns-thailand-produced-slave-labour), where the quote “A six-month investigation has established that large numbers of men bought and sold like animals and held against their will on fishing boats off Thailand are integral to the production of prawns (commonly called shrimp in the US) sold in leading supermarkets around the world, including the top four global retailers: Walmart, Carrefour, Costco and Tesco“, we are confronted with a governmental issue, where it allows for profit at expense of its own industries in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi. We can acknowledge that the oil spills have been detrimental to the health of the industry, but when the big players get their goods overseas, how can any economy recover, especially as these overseas players (as implied by the Guardian), can rely on profits through slave labour. This goes further than just the shrimps, other food items or clothing. It shows a disconnection from the people, you see economies are more than just behemoths, we could see them as parasitic in nature, which sounds wrong, but is actually very correct. The retailer lives off the people, but can only do so if the people can spent. It is a symbiotic relationship; it requires the host to remain alive. Large businesses have forgotten about that, they focus on where the profit is, not on the required equilibrium, so as places like India grew form a third world market into a super economy.

Cycles of equilibrium

The people outsourcing, seem to forget that its own population is every bit as important, so as that group falter, so will businesses slowly but surely. As we see that cycle progress, is it not strange that the US Economy remains booming? A nation with many people unemployed; even more people in a state of poverty; 15% in poverty, this gets us a little more than one in seven in poverty, meaning that big business is now relying on revenue based on the remaining 5 out of 7. It looks nice in a statistical model, but as the overall quality of life goes down, that group of 5 will dwindle down too, when that happens, the economy will falter in new unprecedented ways, leaving the only option that a few people walk away with all the money they can carry to their own island and the rest is left without anything. This can be read as misrepresentation as well, but is it far-fetched? that part is not a given until we see an actual economy that truly improves, which means that the poverty line descents, people will start having a liveable income, that will give rise to shops needed and more jobs created and all that opts for the US national debt to go down by a lot, something that this administration has not achieved, more important, it might take 2-3 administrations for that debt to be addressed in any way, shape or form, which only fuels the wealth of banks and financial players. If it is addressed too quickly, the poverty line could soar far further then 21%, giving an instant crises in the US that goes beyond the imaginations of many and will be one nightmare Wall street did not foresee to this extent. Yet how would that affect the Euro? Well in two ways, as the US people will become more and more desperate for jobs, suddenly the economy looks even better on our grass, but it is an ‘economy’ for the wealthy living, the rest will see a further drop in living conditions (an assumption on my side)

So as big business ties the cat to the bacon (meaning: opportunity knocks), we must wonder how these elements call for a booming economy as an economy is reliant on people spending money, buying items and none remain to do just that.

You see, there seems to be a fluctuation on what an economy is (seriously!).

The first one we see is: “the state of a country or region in terms of the production and consumption of goods and services and the supply of money“, which is what we all believe it to be, yet the second meaning “careful management of available resources“, which we can take as “offering good value for money” and “a financial saving” last there is “the cheapest class of air or rail travel“. Weird or not, they all apply. I got them straight from the Google dictionary.

Now when we mash them we get: “the National state in terms of the production, the cheapest way possible, whilst advocating good value for money, whilst ensuring the highest efficiency in regards to managing our available resources, whilst optimising consumption of goods and services, ensuring the best supply of money through contribution“. Does that not sound very familiar? You see, it seems like a booming economy, if you are getting the money. The consumer is left with the option, whilst not guaranteeing a pool where such sufficient income can be maintained, almost a death pool of discontinued certainty.

So, how did we move away from the Euro? Well, I actually did not, you see, these elements have been a factor with American companies all over Europe, now consider how much taxation they did not have to make due to tax havens and specific invoicing? You see, a government is depending on its coffers to be filled so that there is a growth and continuation of an economy, whilst these corporations are now stating that this inherent side of the symbiotic relationship was not theirs to care for. Now we see and a loss of balance as well as a first glance on how dislodging an economy can have long lasting effects. As the Euro has less ‘floatation’ options and as some unbalanced it even further, we now see no options on the Euro side, whilst the Dollar has legal options to float its currency, unbalancing the amount further, the upped representation does the rest!

Blame Game

Now, it is important to see that I am NOT blaming the dollar for the Euro, yet it must be said that those behind the Dollar (businesses) have presented themselves overly good, so there is a secondary effect, whilst we see more and more often a changing scale of what is to be reported on. Let us be clear, several EEC nations have done this in the past, but the balance is now changing further and further, giving no one a clear view of what is real, we see presentations that are all a little out of whack, so as Europe starts its plan of credit easing, we will see the numbers jump, yet in what direction cannot be predicted (not by me at least), because, if investors walk away ‘en mass’, no credit easing will do any trick, if you doubt that then look at India, is it not weird that NTT DoCoMo / TaTa, the big winner of 2013/2014 suddenly wanted to dump its one billion share? Is it not strange that in this ‘booming’ economy, all are looking on the inside? Is a booming economy not about growth? So as we ‘see’ a growing economy, is that not (usually) a sign of growth? So why are the mobile providers T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint and Verizon all steering clear of the Indian market that is seemingly up for grabs?

So is the US economy booming, or is it going boom-boom?

 

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Talking the Walk

Yes, today is an interesting day, in a time when we all have a notion of democracy; we must all wonder how much of a democracy is left. You see the freedom of choice and the choice in options means that the freedom given is also an inherent acceptance of accountability? If we make a small sidestep at this point, then I would like to take a step towards the Media Ethics as stated at mediaethicsmagazine.com.

There in the fall of 2008, T.L. Glasser and J.S. Ettema wrote an interesting article called ‘A Philosophy of Accountability for Journalism’, it is a good article to read and well worth reading (at http://www.mediaethicsmagazine.com/index.php/browse-back-issues/135-fall-2008/3639324-a-philosophy-of-accountability-for-journalism).

The initial line, as in any good academic article is right at the beginning, when we read “The problem of ethics in journalism, we want to argue, is not the inability of journalists to know right from wrong but their inability to talk articulately and reflectively about it“. I from the my viewpoint, for the point of view that many has seen as we see the ‘junk’ articles from Murdoch publications hit us is that the point given reads to many of us (roughly 99.32443% of them non-journalists) see the second phrased as “their inability to avoid accountability by speculate on the words of seemingly non-existent sources they will never reveal“.
What we get is gossip, branded as journalism, a speculative piece where no accountability will ever be required. This is for a lot of people at the heart of the need that the Leveson report would address, which is why Journalists in many nations, especially in the UK as a trade that had lost its integrity to many.
This is however not about the article, yet, I am mentioning it as the article is an excellent piece of work and the article actually is to some extent shows the moral compass within all of us. There is however one more quote that I will not go into now, but it has bearing on what comes next “which reminds us that discourse ethics does not involve a marketplace process which aggregates individual interests but a deliberative process which brings into existence common or shared interests“.

This is about today, the first day of a new day of default for Argentina (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/31/argentina-government-defiant-debt-default-axel-kicillof). We seem to have been all about the banks and their evil practices. I know, because I have been one of them. The question becomes, what happens when you accept doing business with a loan shark? I wrote about it in my blog ‘Changing the rules of Democracy‘ on July 27th.

When the IMF wanted to restructure debts in 2003, USA as stated stopped the IMF; I want to know the EXACT reasons why. Perhaps they are valid, perhaps not! I also reflected on the fact that someone went to the Vulture funds and signed a deal. What was that deal exactly and who signed it. You see, Argentina is not blameless here; at some point, there is a knock on the door and at that point, the bailiff will want his coin, which is pretty much what was settled in court.

The Guardian article raises a point through the following quote “Economists at the Washington-based Centre for Economic and Policy Research called on the US Congress to intervene, warning in a letter that Griesa’s decision to uphold the holdout investors claim could cause ‘unnecessary economic damage to the international financial system, as well as to US economic interests’“.

You see, in all fairness, is that acceptable? If a system is brought and evolves devoid of accountability, how can we ever get a better world? I have pressed for accountability on many sides. On the side of Journalism as I embrace the full Leveson report, on the side of the banks as their soulless acts have diminished the value of millions of account holders, yet here in this case, are they not on the morally higher ground? No matter how despicable Vulture funds might be regarded as, these people offered a deal on conditions of risk because no bank wanted them, or in the case of Argentina, as the USA seemingly prevented the IMF offering a deal.
Now, when the deal is due, the client requesting the deal is not willing to make payment. So, as the facts are shown, I have to be (alas) n the side of the vulture fund, who offered the deal. If not, then I myself must abandon the premise of accountability, which is pretty much not an option.
If we accept the implications of communicative rationality in the sphere of moral insight and normative validity as the setting for discourse ethics, then I would like to change it (mold it) into the following statement: “If we accept the implications of agreed contract terms of rationality in the sphere of moral choices and normative acceptance of a loan” then we are getting to the part why I added the Journalism article on accountability for journalism.
This I now link to the quote I mentioned from the Guardian article. This is the cost of doing business! Sometimes you win, sometimes you do not, but to go out in response to change the game, because there is a cost, then we have a new problem. Do not misunderstand me, if there is some kind of a bail-out deal, then that is fine, but it would be understandable if it comes at a cost, more important, it might have been avoided all together if the 2003 IMF deal had gone through, so why was the 2003 deal stopped?

I understand and I do not disagree that the Argentine government is stopping it all and taking the ‘default’ path, yet, that too will come at a cost. Accountability should prevail here too. Is it for the better or for the worst? That is a discussion that is speculated upon, but for now it is one that comes without a clear answer. So, I cannot, without clearly more evidence to agree with cabinet chief minister Jorge Capitanich here. You see, who signed for this all in 2003? It is the inherent consequence of governing. The bill is pushed forward, it is a dangerous game that the US is currently excelling at and so if you wonder on why I care about another deal for 1.5 billion dollars, it is mainly because this paves the way for America when it defaults on their 18,000 billion loans, then what?

When we see people hide behind statements like ‘too big to fail‘, you should also consider the fallout when things go wrong. Consider what once happened to the Dutch SNS bank and is now happening to the Argentinian economy, both impacts were felt in large ways and they are not even anywhere near the scale of the debt the US and Japan have. And as we mentioned Japan, is that not the fear many brokers have? If we see the text from Moody’s (at https://www.moodys.com/research/Moodys-Japanese-RMBS-and-ABS-default-rate-declined-in-April–PR_302652).

Someone or something seems to be pushing Japan along, holding them on the safe side for now. Yet, this economic high-wire act is nowhere near done and it is a long walk to go for now. When we read “For CMBS deals, Moody’s outlook for the next 6-12 months is negative, as it will be difficult to refinance defaulted loans with high loan-to-value ratios“, so as refinance is now getting harder and harder, consider the US bonds. Part of the US debt is also the ‘Interest Expense on the Debt Outstanding’ (at http://www.treasurydirect.gov/govt/reports/ir/ir_expense.htm), this is set for 2014 (up to October) to be almost $355 billion dollars. This is just the interest. At Bloomberg we see “The government will reduce net sales by $250 billion from the $1.2 trillion of bills, notes and bonds issued in fiscal 2012 ended Sept. 30“, this is clearly incomplete, as there is not mention of WHEN these bonds mature, but the overall sell of bonds will hit the US at some point. If we consider the CNS headline “$2,472,542,000,000: Record Taxation Through August; Deficit Still $755B“, so taxes are coming in, they are not enough as the deficit is around 30%, now consider that the due interest is going to be 15%-20% (because two months are currently not known) of all collected taxation. When the bonds are due, how much larger will the debt become?
I have mentioned it many times, but now as we see the reaction of fear as Argentina defaults, we cannot continue without seeing the threat and fear of Japan from defaulting, which will clearly push the US over the edge of that abyss too.

Here is where the issue becomes the dangers we fear. We seem to always mention that those who talk the talk should be walking the walk too. This has not been done by large by many, so now we talk the walk but no one is really accountable, making for a massively dangerous situation. If you even consider thinking that there is no danger here, try calling a Syrian hospital by telephone and ask them how they are doing. It might open your eyes really quick.

If we are to walk the walk then Argentina will default and we have a new situation, yet the unnamed danger is that ‘some’ deal will find its way, which is great for the Argentinian people, yet it also impacts the cost of doing business for all the other players. Have you consider the costs that this will bring everyone else?

 

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