Tag Archives: US

Life in USA less healthy now

You might not have thought it, but did you realise that your life, if you are in the USA is as per direct a lot less healthy? Did you know you are now intentionally endangering your health? You did not, then read on and learn how you have thrown your healthy life away. In the LA Times (at http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-broadband-privacy-senate-20170323-story.html), we see ‘Senate votes to kill privacy rules meant to protect people’s sensitive data from their Internet providers‘, you might wonder how this is a danger to your life, but it is, and it will hurt your pocket too no less. The first part is “overturn tough new privacy rules for Internet service providers, employing a rarely used procedure to invalidate restrictions that cable and wireless companies strongly opposed“, now this is not the FBI or the CIA spying on you, this is the option for internet providers to sell your actions and your privacy driven information to whomever wants to buy it.

One quote from Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) was “The FCC privacy rules are just another example of burdensome rules that hurt more than they help”. Now, this is not just something that started now, to his credit, he has ALWAYS been on the commercial bandwagon, some of that goes back years where he questioned the White House on the way the FCC’s set-top box proposal came down and what role the White House had in that, and other, FCC decisions. He is clearly a man of less governmental oversight and that is his right. The issue becomes when TV and internet usage is sold to health care providers and on the consequence of what those people call the ‘weighted classification of couch potato‘, in that with the rise of health care premiums. This actually goes further than merely health care. The fact that app use and geographic data becomes available is equally a concern. There is a secondary situation, Companies can now go via consultancy firms and avoid issues with that pesky Employment discrimination law. You see, “the elimination of artificial, arbitrary, and unnecessary barriers to employment” can now be circumvented. People who are too often on Boston South Side, East LA, or the SF Mission district, the use of Geo data would allow for a percentage analyses of this GeoData, giving some people who had hit on hard times even less able to fight for a decent future. And let me be clear, any ISP denying that will be lying to you. The data will be part of something else, like where were you when a certain app was used, which might seem nice, but if they check all apps than that picture gets to be pretty complete.

The reality goes further than this. Even as you read this, MIT is making great strides (at http://bpp.mit.edu/offline-data-collection/). Yet when you read: “Daily price indices, monthly, and annual inflation rates for Argentina and the US. Monthly data with annual inflation rates for Argentina, Brazil, China, Germany, Japan, South Africa, UK, US, 3 US sectors, and global aggregates (including Eurozone). Daily PPP series for Argentina and Australia. The data were used in the paper titled “The Billion Prices Project: Using Online Data for Measurement and Research” – Journal of Economic Perspectives, 31(1) (Spring 2016)“, a serious question comes to mind. You see, once you have this data, you can go into collaboration phases, after which you could raise minimum prices on hundreds of articles. It might be cents, but that raises your monthly costs in dollars, whilst the maker now gets millions in addition. So, yes everybody loves big data, yet will it love you? You get the impression from “Daily prices for all goods sold by 7 large retailers in Latin America and the US: 2 in Argentina, 1 in Brazil, 1 in Chile, 1 in Colombia, 1 in Venezuela, and 4 in the US. Used in the paper titled “Scraped Data and Sticky Prices”“, you just wonder if it is such a weird concept. Now, from an academic point of view, it is an amazingly interesting project. So was Dynamite, which Alfred Nobel learned the hard way, had a few optional uses which he never considered. Data is in that regard a whole lot more dangerous.

The biggest joke in all this is not President Trump, it is actually the FCC puppet Ajit Pai, who was appointed by President Obama in May 2012, he stated that the rules threatened to confuse consumers as they were different to those imposed on web firms such as Google and Facebook. You see, as I see it Ajit Varadaraj Pai is stupid, but he is not stupid, you hearing me? Let me explain this. When a person looks at an advertisement, or seeks something like ‘Gaming Chairs’ at PC Case Gear. That person looks and decided not to buy, the person is just browsing. Now, as this person looks for other things or browses the internet and visits websites. This person gets to a site that uses advertisement spaces. Now for example, Google AdWords will show things that interest you, or things from places you visited. So, even as this person is just going to any place that has advertisement spaces, Google AdWords would possibly show that person ‘Gaming Chairs’ that PC Case Gear had on sale, and Facebook will do exactly the same. In all this, that persons actions and seeks would have remained private, the advertiser does not have my details. They will get general aggregated data, like the gender and the age of the visitor (age is set in an age range). At no time does the advertiser have my complete details. This is why it actually works, now that the ISP can sell my specific data, the issue changes. My details will now get out to third parties and their lack of any ethics (not that the ISP has any mind you) will now endanger us. Ajit Pai knows all this! And he is very happy to facilitate the need for greed, even if it endangers lives, because at some point in the near future it actually will. The health care data need will take care of that, meaning that when your child could not get healthcare, because his browser data indicated an unhealthy life, when he needs that Bypass and the healthcare provider got a little too needy, just remember the name Ajit Pai for the tombstone of your child. Let me explain this a little more clearly. The NCSL (National Conference of State Legislatures) gives us “Yet for those buying insurance on an exchange or private market plan for 2017, the average increase before subsidies was a shocking 25 percent” When we consider that the annual premium for an average family was up to $18,142 (I know, what a weird number), 25% is $4535.50, That is $378 a month, when was the last time you got a raise that allowed for such payments?, let me be frank, with 3 university degrees, I have NEVER received an annual increase that much, so as such, you lose either your healthcare or you lose your quality of life. What will you choose? So as junior is data mined as a little larger risk, your premium takes a hit and as you had to let go of healthcare, your child dies, with the compliments of Ajit Varadaraj Pai, so please send him a ‘thank you’ note, the FCC can be found in Washington DC.

You think I am exaggerating? This is the path the US was always on, exploitation to the max before the collapse. USA Today gives us “Sears and Kmart might not have enough money to stock their shelves” merely 3 days ago, it can no longer fuel its existence, that whilst its CEO grew his fortune by $1 billion last year alone. Forbes voiced it as: ‘Sears Suffers — Eddie Lampert Wins‘, now this is related, as places like Sears and Kmart will be vying for YOUR details, your browser history and your privacy and once they have your data, they will merge it and sell it via for example an Australian subsidiary to whomever will buy it, China for example. That is how your data will bounce around the planet, decreasing you and the value you have with every transfer deal made.

As I stated often in the past, I love big data, yet I know that there is an increased need for ethics on how it is collected, applied and moulded into a new base of information. The USA has shown that it is not able to keep any level of ethics in play, which sucks for Americans and it in equal measure sucks for anyone considering trusting an American company, that is, until the Europeans and others get on board on cashing in on data for sale. Consider one last thing, now, this is pure speculation and there is no evidence that this would happen, yet what happens when ISIS figures out what the parameters of a desperate person are? What happens when they mine this data to see who to approach for extremist actions? There is no way this could happen, could it?

 

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Retrenching under false pretence

Today we see (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/mar/01/len-mccluskey-ford-unite-tariff-free-single-market-access-bridgend), how Ford is moving its needs and its projections towards other places. It fill the pattern and projected promise that have been set in motion a few years ago. The US is moving parts back to the US and some parts to Asia. Australia had been feeling this for some time. Ford left Australia in 2016 when in October the last Falcon XR6 came of the belt. Now we see the beginning of their exodus from the UK and in this the title ‘Unite blames Brexit as Ford prepares to cut 1,160 Welsh jobs‘ is as they call it, a total load of bullocks! You see, this is the other side of a one market and tariff free access. You see, as these costs fall away, making these 4 wheeled thingamajigs in America becomes profitable again. Now, let’s be fair, Ford is an American company. For American companies to move back to their home turf makes sense, it could even be seen as patriotic. But in all this, Ford remains a business. So they need profit to soar and that can be done by having their factories in America and Asia. Brexit was never a factor, Australia never had a Brexit.

Is there a chance that Brexit was any factor? I do not believe so, the UK is not yet in a completed Brexit and it would take a few years before all would be complete, so there is no Issue for Ford, in their camp it was already planned, the entire pressure on Brexit is just tactics, because the US is scared of what comes next, so for the US, in light of the upcoming French elections, the anti-Brexit pressures are essential. The game is changing in France. President Francois Hollande is not seeking a second term, according to the BBC the first French president to do this in modern times (at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-39130072), he is that unpopular and as such France is seeing several different issues and power plays in place. With one in four under-25’s is unemployed. So even as all parties agree that massive changes are needed, the Socialist failure gives rise to additional voices moving towards Front National. In all this, we see additional moves. We could even consider that this is a partial discriminatory ruling. The EU claims to be all about the freedom of speech and freedom of opinion, yet they will happily lift parliamentary immunity for the French prosecution to take legal action. We can argue the validity here in two ways. One: Marine Le Pen did break French law. Two: how many other French people have been prosecuted for ‘publishing violent images’? I would really like to see the numbers on that one. So as we will see big data mining on transgressors, I wonder how many have not been investigated, which shows that the EU is very willing to upset the sanctity of a fair election, especially as those deciding on this are likely to lose their jobs when Frexit becomes a reality.

So as we see through the (what I personally regard to be) blatant lies by Ford, or better stated by Len McCluskey, and in this as Ford is not forthcoming they get to be tainted by the very same lie. The quote “UK’s biggest trade union has urged Theresa May to guarantee car makers tariff-free access to the single market“, in this I would state ‘Mr McCluskey, are you usually just facilitating for big business?‘, you see, as I see it, Ford is using Len McCluskey not for the plant, not for the single market access ‘need’. No, they want to sweeten the deal! They need other concessions, like the ones they had in Australia. ABC Australia (at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-12-17/tax-transparency-report/7036708) gave the people a Tax Transparency report. Where: FORD MOTOR COMPANY OF AUSTRALIA LTD, had a Total income ($) of 2,940,670,099 (so basically almost $3 Billion), a Taxable income ($) of a mere 7,057,051. This means that 99.9917% of the income did not need to be taxed. So as we see: Tax payable, Tax payable as percentage of total income, as well as Tax payable as percentage of taxable income. These numbers become zero (that means $0.00 and 0.00%). So is Len McCluskey going to open his eyes? Is he going to realise that he is made the bitch of big business that requires the UK government to give away taxable income in the form of free labour? Perhaps Len McCluskey remembers what slave labour is? All valid questions, more important, if this is the path Ford wants, why not let then fuck off to merry old America? Let’s be fair and honest. America is in dire need of actual jobs and an actual economy. They are bleeding currency value and as such, if American companies decide to retrench in the US to save their home country, than that should be regarded as a noble action. Yet, these companies are run by boards that have one need, dividend and bonuses. Let’s also be honest here, these people don’t make any massive coin, not compared to a few other fortune 500 companies. The top executives, have an income ranging from $5.2M to $17.7M, which in Wall Street terms might be laughingly little, yet the retrenching has the danger of those people losing 28%-42% of what they are getting now. You see, as the US has a collapsing infrastructure, the strain the US is getting by having these manufacturers move back to the US is going to cause a few infrastructural gaskets to blow. It will not happen overnight, but within 24 months they setbacks will hurt Ford, there is no doubt in my mind on that. The level of setback will be anyone’s guess, I do not have any wisdom that could state to any degree of certainty how much the impact is. Yet, when you consider that Ford is working on a 3.9% operating margin (2014 reported numbers) and they walked away from an Australian 99.9917% non-taxation, we should wonder on how they tend to do economically more terrific in the US. It seems to me that the US retrenching has either massive kickbacks, or will come at the consequence of short sightedness and long term hardship. The numbers do not makes sense to walk away from either, but the clarity is that fingering Brexit was not the reason. But then, Ford did not do that, they got

Len McCluskey to do just that. It is the part “McCluskey also demanded that Ford provide “legally binding guarantees” of future production at the plant”. It made me giggle. You see if they had not before, why would they do that now? It seems to me that McCluskey, not unlike Kim Carr in Australia, was either in on part of it for a time, or I need to consider them both to be massively incompetent. A legal binding guarantee after the fact. It is just too hilarious! Of course, when the issue collapses and Ford moves, then we get the real issue, because at that point the blame game starts. In Australia, Kim Carr got to play his game and got the reprieve, so when his labour team got replaced by the Australian Liberal Party (the Aussie Tories), he stood back and got to stand playing with his beard thinking ‘not my problem anymore!‘, yet Len McCluskey does not get to be this lucky, when Ford leaves it will be on his plate and the Unite members will have a massive amount of questions, I wonder how many actual answers Len McCluskey will have.

So all these revelations and facts brought to you because someone decided to blame Brexit and I have actually had enough of those blamers. The fact is that there would always be consequences to Brexit, so when I see another ‘bremainer’ demand a Brexit without consequences, I wonder just how stupid some people tend to get. Another side linked to this is seen in the Independent (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/britain-will-not-contribute-to-eu-budget-if-no-brexit-deal-is-reached-says-lords-report-a7609526.html), here we see ‘Britain will not contribute £50bn to EU budget if no Brexit deal is reached, says Lords report‘, the subtitle is even more descriptive ‘The UK appears to have a strong legal position in respect of the EU budget post-Brexit and this provides important context to the Article 50 negotiations‘. The reason to go here is seen in “According to the Lords, EU budget payments – likely to be a contentious issue throughout the Article 50 negotiating period – would not be enforceable and the UK would be in a “strong” legal position to not pay a penny if talks ended with no deal“, so all the hard play we have seen has been absent of a proper analyses of the articles, something the House of Lords was not about to let go. The quote “Theresa May has warned her European allies that the UK is prepared to crash out of the EU if no reasonable Brexit deal is agreed on. In this case, the Lords add, Britain will not be liable to make any further financial contributions to the budget” also implies that there is a two stream issue within the conservatives. You see, when we see the quote of Theresa May against “David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, said earlier this year that the Government would not rule out making future payments to the EU’s budget in order to secure favourable access to Europe’s markets“. The two streams are ‘let’s be flexible about it all‘ and ‘we have had enough of this‘. The point being that large corporations have been souring the cream pushing European politicians to take emotional stands whilst others are trying to muzzle Mario Draghi and his need to spend a trillion no one has. This now pushes back to the Automotives of the land (including the exiting Ford), I think we need to see that the approach that has been used for too long a time, making some industries holy and non-taxed is not the way to go. Now, there are plenty of people who want certain markets to push forward and to have trade deals in place tends to be a good thing. Yet the part that the media seems to ignore again and again is that these deals benefit large corporations to a massive degree, but others tend to fall between the cracks losing out on all those fringe benefits. It is an injustice that has been seen several times and Brexit would allow for a change that gives a level of fairness to it all (allow does not mean it will happen though). So whilst we can agree that there would possibly be an impact, there are still too many waters stirring, so any level of Brexit blame is very premature. That evidence is given additional support when we consider Reuters news from 2015 (at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-autos-ford-asia-idUSKBN0O625Y20150521), it was already forecasted 2 years ago that “When I take a look at Ford’s growth over the next five to 10 years, we believe roughly 60 percent of the growth will be in the Asia Pacific region,” said Dave Schoch, president of Ford’s Asia Pacific region“, which was the first sign that the Ford plants in Australia were at risk. In equal measure, the slowing economy in China saw Ford sales drop, a similar event has been happening in Europe, where the drop is three times higher and here we get the issue. It had a rise for a while and the European numbers looked really good, that is, until you realise that Russia was the only strong contributor to the Ford sales. Yet the Russian slump has been in play and it is now also hurting Ford, whilst the news of ‘rapid recovery unlikely‘ to be at the head of the forecasting table. So when we see Ford media give us (at https://media.ford.com/content/fordmedia/feu/en/news/2017/01/18/ford_s-european-sales-rise-5–in-2016–strong-ford-transit–rang.pdf), “Ford sales rise 5 percent in 2016 to nearly 1.4 million vehicles in its 20 traditional European markets*“, with the reference to Austria, Belgium, Britain, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Romania, Sweden and Switzerland.

Giving us now the one part that the papers were missing. The fact that the sales are not sliding, but the revenue is set to better profitability, in that the element becomes that the UK is only one of 20 nations for Ford and when we add the Ford Authority quote to it from February 20thIn all, the closures terminated nearly 6,000 jobs, although some number of those were merely shifted to lower-cost countries like Spain and Turkey“, as well as “Ford Europe has continued to pare down its workforce, offering “voluntary separation” packages to some 10,000 employees since early last year to help save an estimated $200 million annually” a valid tactical move by Ford going back to well before 2015. So as we see this facts, the entire Ford issue has been playing for a while and a lot of it has been out in the open. So at this point I would ask Len McCluskey where he got the idea “workers had been “kept in the dark”“. I would like to know what actions he had undertaken since December 2015 when this was already underway, more important, the move in Australia should have really woken him up. Did it do that? Because certain facts, clearly given by several sources, some of them openly Ford themselves. It is there where we now see a reason to doubt the existence of both Kim Carr and Len McCluskey (but that is just my view on the matter). Len had the option of making a clear speech to the workers in wales starting by ‘the party is over, there will be massive changes in the future, but we do not know the exact setting, but the worst case scenario is that the plant will seize to exist‘. Did he make that speech? I reckon not, most people like that tend to avoid bad news, especially when events like Brexit can be blamed and that is exactly what he did in the end.

As a final point I need to refer to the quote “We have had, as I said, dialogue with Ford. We will continue to have a regular dialogue with Ford about the ways in which government can help to make sure that this success continues“, which was exactly was happening in Australia, with the happy ending not becoming a reality. There, certain players decided to blame the newly elected liberal government, whilst we clearly see that there is plenty of evidence that Ford had already decided, and the decision was ‘vacate!’

I wonder what McCluskey does next, perhaps blame the Welsh weather?

 

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Is it a Prise, Prize or Price fight?

This is an interesting time, you see, many will not yet realise it, but we are roughly 19 months away from a game changing moment in our lives. There are groups of people scurrying to get to a virtual starting position, because they have learned the hard way that not setting the stage for the fight means that they will lose out the second time and this time there will be no third round for them. If you are at this point considering that I am kidding or that my statement is over the top, you better reconsider fast, because Orange Poland is now starting to get backers who have serious amounts of cash and last Wednesday, AT&T released ECOMP (their version) in San Francisco. They called it Indigo and it is one of two markers that are now actively in place to set the stage for massive shifts in Big Data. Yes, you are reading this correct!

This is not just a stage of evolution, this is now starting to be a stage of transition. As the people are marketed into a sullied state of dreams, they are tempted to seek what the places bring to them. Places like Tableau relying on AdWords top placement to show how important they are in this industry, with others using the same path on how ‘the magic quadrant of Big Business‘ is the solution, on how we see the ‘Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader‘, but the truth is actually in another direction. Places like AT&T who basically got their asses handed to them as they did not act in the 90’s, they now see that being there ahead of the game is the only move left to them, because AT&T sees that America will not make them great, it will not make them the global player. That is the first shift we see are now witnessing.

In this a very similar view can be found in the movie Assassins Creed. Now, it got written off by a several critics, but the beauty of the product is not in the movie, which is still bringing in a decent amount of profit (millions) for first time producer (and actor) Michael Fassbender. The reason why this movie is so interesting is seen in the revenue. Only 25% came from the US, the rest international. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story does it to some degree where the US and international set is 50/50, the US is no longer the bulk of the income for, a basic issue that now needs addressing, especially by the American players.  That time has gone and these players have caught on that in 22 months the infrastructure is either in place, or they are out of the race. Even as we still see large players (like the Dutch KPN) rely on presentations on how ‘great’ they are. Certain players are realising more that tactics need to change, the presentation is no longer enough, and they need to be ready sooner than ever expected.

This is seen in another way, a way I already saw coming. This time it is the Canberra Times (at http://www.canberratimes.com.au/technology/technology-news/ftc-accuses-vizio-of-spying-on-smart-tv-customers-20170206-gu70p5.html) that gives the goods. We see ‘The US Federal Trade Commission said on Monday that Vizio used 11 million televisions to spy on its customers‘, which reminded me of my blog article ‘The back door‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2016/12/29/the-back-door/), which I wrote on December 29th 2016 with the part “consider the amount of mail you have at present and see what happens when 10 devices are added to your house profile. The refrigerator, your smart TV, your smart recorder, your game console, your laptop/tablet/PC, your 5 smart devices” as well as “A large group of people will get more and more access to your way of life. In addition, there will be an option to influence your way of life, which is a side nobody signed up for“, a stage that is now coming a lot faster than I expected. The Vizio case is only the most visible one now, this whilst more evidence is coming that Microsoft is engaged in similar actions. Is it not interesting that Microsoft is not mentioned? Perhaps that is because they are only doing that outside of the US? What is interesting is that with Vizio, places like Time.com states how to deactivate certain options, there are more and more indicators out there that this is not an option with Windows 10. How many devices use that? The other part we need to know is that the Vizio case started all the way back in 2014. So it took the trade commission well over 2 years to get there, and for how long was data collected? The interesting part is however not there, it is in the quote “manufactured VIZIO smart TVs that capture second-by-second information about video displayed on the smart TV, including video from consumer cable, broadband, set-top box, DVD, over-the-air broadcasts, and streaming devices. In addition, VIZIO facilitated appending specific demographic information to the viewing data, such as sex, age, income, marital status, household size, education level, home ownership, and household value, the agencies allege. VIZIO sold this information to third parties, who used it for various purposes, including targeting advertising to consumers across devices, according to the complaint“. You see, the issue is not seen towards one place, when you consider ‘including video from consumer cable, broadband, set-top box, DVD, over-the-air broadcasts, and streaming devices‘, this implies that Vizio played the field and was also getting the data from Consoles (which hurts Microsoft and Sony) as well as Foxtel (several data paths), so did Vizio get dobbed in? You see, in 2014 this field was in its infancy, now in 2017, whilst data will be the essential centre stage to all matters big data related, now it gets to be a different thing and still the media at large is asking way too few questions on the who, where and for how long. And as our exposure is set to 2014 cases that are only decided now. Even as now suddenly a wave of newscasts is hitting the screens of people on how Microsoft has privacy tools, how Microsoft is trying to quash gag orders. Microsoft is part of all this from the ground up. Whilst within a Chinese wall environment, one side of the wall is boasting that they champion the privacy of others. As we see that there are now Microsoft privacy tools, we see that that part comes with the small quote “coming to future editions of Windows 10“, which is the case because Microsoft and AT&T are very aware that being alive is being in the game and data is the one element that allows them to do it in an affordable way. There is an additional side, which was brought by Forbes. It is just a week old and gives us the consideration we actually need. The part where we get hit with ‘Tempest in a Teapot’, which could just be a storm in a teacup is not that minor an issue. You see Forbes own Thomas Fox-Brewster is setting the stage, but is he doing it intentionally so? consider “Trump’s decision should only affect the privacy of data handled by government agencies, not private companies” as well as “the only way in which the order may affect non-U.S. individuals lies in the manner the Department of Homeland Security handles personal information“, which is actually the part we should not care about. It is the ‘private companies‘ part that is the actual danger. First we need to take a look at the legal part. Now, I can do that, but the experienced people at DLA Piper (at https://www.dlapiper.com/en/us/insights/publications/2016/07/privacy-shield-is-final/) did that and I just hate inventing the wheel twice. Yet in that part the following issue rose, and it did so because it has happened before (and it will happen again). It is seen in this part ‘Secure personal data and ensure the ability to restrict secondary uses‘ and the issue is not because of that part exactly, it is because of the technological side to it. You see the restrictions on data and backup data are not the same, backup data is not seen as data. Forbes actually raised it in 2012 with “First and foremost, IT auditors need to come up to speed on the implications of auditing data that’s beyond the organization’s control and beyond the organization’s home borders. While some auditors are worried, many are more optimistic that these requirements provide business opportunities within the security, compliance and auditing community as organizations move data and long-term storage into the cloud” as well as “When data is moved beyond an organization’s technological and geographic borders, the organization runs the risk of losing control of how that data complies with regulatory compliance. By addressing legal and regulatory challenges up front through technology, an organization can begin architecting an off-premise, cloud-based storage solution that meets the business’s needs as well as keeps regulatory compliance at bay“, yet only now, or better stated only recently do we see a shift that places like SAP are now realising that technicians and consultants have their own agenda’s and an American one does not see things the same way a European technician sees things. Computer Weekly raised it, but they did so with the interesting quote “data analytics technology, will ensure that only technicians in Europe will have access to potentially sensitive data held in its cloud datacentres, if companies demand it“, you see, it’s the ‘if companies demand it‘ part that matters. If provider A has an infrastructure yet it gets its backup serviced by consultancy provider B who uses a different cloud and cloud system, where is the security set when system B is in the USA and system A is in Italy? There we might see the term ‘data safety is not impacted‘, yet it is equally not impacted when Intelligence Agency ‘who gives a damn‘ has mirrored that backup and now has 100% of all data. That is the realistic issue that the Privacy Shield addresses, but does it do that in equal measure for a cloud corporate infrastructure? Is the backup party vetted, or even identified? You see, this is not about paranoia or what people learn about me. This is about large corporations getting an even more unbalanced advantage. That part is not addressed because those supporting large corporation only need to delay things (Vizio 2014 is evidence enough). It is Kevin Werbach from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania who gives the parts I have been referring to. In a podcast on innovation we get “Companies like Uber and Airbnb are built on algorithms. They’re built on software that understands supply and demand and matches people on both sides of the network“, THIS IS IT!

That is why the players need the data and as much as they can. Do you think that people like Mike McNamara (Target Corp) got a massive oversized budget for the fun of it? No, he realised (and successfully sold that to the board of directors), that if he had the data and the systems in place he can take K-Mart and Walmart to town and take chunks of their share, in the next 6 months we are likely to see the first small victories, small in start but it will be a growing wave, have no doubt about that part. These are the advantages that larger corporations have and some are doing it ethically acceptable. Yet in a similar fashion I see that those taking a different path are not questioned or hold to any level of accountability. How is that for screwed up? I have nothing against these places, but in the global setting, Target would gain an advantage against the Dutch C&A if this continues. I believe that to some degree competitiveness is a good thing, but what happens when the tools available are not available to all? What happens when one retailer is ethically kept blind, whilst the outside competitor has a dataset describing the national population in excellent detail? Where is the fairness then?

So are we facing a fight with three players? That is not a given, there are a few elements in motion over the next 18+ months so there will be shifting. Except those who are claiming and considering not participating, they are pretty much out of the game for good. Nokia is now re-joining the mobile fight, trying to bring a competitor to the Pixar XL and the iPhone 7 to the fight (Nokia P1), what was interesting is that they avoided the one ‘mistake’ the Google Pixar has. It will be one way for people to get a cheap solution this year, but will it be enough?

Not enough data to tell and that is where it sets the pace of the continuing fighters, who has the data? Which might be the premise of a joke. Three fighters were getting into the match. One thought it was a prize fight, one thought it was a prise fight and one assumed it was a price fight.

Which player do you think will be the one left standing in the end?

 

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We get it, but we don’t

There are times when we love to see the big boys getting sued, yet this is not that time. When I saw the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jan/03/apple-lawsuit-facetime-car-crash-iphone-patent), I had to wonder whether I had to laugh out loud, or just let my head hang down and shake it slowly. I get it, when a bad thing overcomes you and your family, the one you sue is the one who has the cash to settle or pay largely (read: deep pockets). That part I learned in my first week of Torts, so the fact that a couple goes for Apple makes sense, yet it does not. You see, in this global community there are these pesky things called ‘traffic laws’, so to make a point I decided to take a look at the traffic laws of California and that was a trip so psychedelic, that no amount of mushrooms could ever equal it. It all started with the California Driver Handbook (at https://www.dmv.ca.gov/web/eng_pdf/dl600.pdf).

I was off to a great start, because on page 21 we see ‘distracted driving‘ with “Anything that prevents you from operating your vehicle is a distraction” and it mentions ‘Visual-Eyes off the road‘ and ‘Cognitive-Mind of the road‘, so it seems that there was a good start. Then on page 86 we see the things that you must not do, which states ‘Do not operate a cell-phone without the use of a hands-free device‘ as well as ‘Do not drive a motor vehicle whilst using a wireless Communication device to write, send or read text-based communications‘ as well as ‘do not drive a vehicle equipped with a video monitor, if the monitor is visible to the driver and displays anything other than vehicle information‘. So, I saw the ground pretty much fall away from me whilst I realised that the first mention was ‘Do not smoke at any time when a minor is in the vehicle. You can be fined up to $100‘. Is this for real? Smoking is fined, yet the more hazardous issues are not dealt with? I cried wolf almost too soon. The DMV (at https://www.dmv.com/distracted-driving-penalties) gives us for California: $20, so we now know that we can plan for the accidental execution of ex-wives, people we do not like and people with a price on their head, because California has decided that this act of ‘gross’ negligence carries a fine of $20, or perhaps $40, because it could be proven that both visual and cognitive were transgressed upon. We just need to look really really sad, remorseful and get a great lawyer. If you have any such plans, after the deed is done in for example San Francisco, you should call Chris Dolan of the Dolan Law Firm (at https://dolanlawfirm.com/), they might be able to help you all the way avoiding jail.

So, as some places take distracted driving serious, there is a clear indication that plenty of states do not. This is upsetting in a few ways as the level of distracted driving (video chatting whilst driving) amounts to nothing less than manslaughter. Now the California Penal Code gives us Penal Code 192(a) voluntary manslaughter and Penal Code 192(b), involuntary manslaughter. The second one is set apart as it does not require intent to kill. I thought that we were in the clear with voluntary manslaughter as there is the option of vehicular manslaughter. Although here we see the needed:

A. in an unlawful way (not amounting to a felony), with or without gross negligence;
B. during the commission of a lawful act which might produce death in an unlawful manner, or
C. knowingly causes the accident for financial gain (which is also a violation of California’s automobile insurance fraud laws).

Now part c seems not to be the case. In my fictive example the prosecutor would require proof. Good luck getting that part from my banks in Riyadh! Hah!

Yet part A and part B are still filled at present. The issue is that distracted driving is not said to be a felony or unlawful. In that regard video chat driving is gross negligence through common sense, yet the California driving rules and the DMV do not state it as such (as far as I can tell at present) and as such someone’s 5 year old little daughter ended up with a dead one, for the fine (as currently stated in the DMV penalties list) no larger than the price of merely 4 MacDonald happy meals? How screwed up does that sound? The fact that the DMV could have clearly set in motion the change that caught with more than one element of distracted driver means an automatic suspension of the driver’s license for no less than 5 years as well as setting the bar towards a felony and not keep it at a misdemeanour, an act that would clearly be turning faces real quick. As minors and adults seem to worship their cars and their needs to drive somewhere, setting that change in motion could have resulted in a living child, very likely loads of non-dead individuals because of acts of utter stupidity. The fact that the DMV was very willing to add statistics to the drivers guide shows that this is a massive amount of lives that could be saved.

Let’s face it, in the world of common sense, video chatting whilst driving seems to be one of the more stupid acts to pursue. It is at the end that I disagree with Nora Freeman Engstrom, a Stanford law professor, who states “Apple’s inaction in the face of that knowledge may not trigger liability here. But it may well expose Apple to liability down the road”, in that I disagree as the pressure should have been on the irresponsible driver from the very start and the driving laws should have been adjusted as such for a long time. It is time to set the blame where it should have been, with the driver!

Now, we all understand that the personal injury lawyers tend to have a go at those with the deeper pockets, yet how fair is that? Actually, fairness does not come into question, the law was already clear on distracted driving, it just needs to become a little more clear and let those relying on distracted driving either have a really good insurance, or let them feel the sting of prison when harm comes to victims due to their negligent actions. In that we can agree that texting, video chatting whilst operating a vehicle will always have a negative impact on the lives of people they hit.

The fact that this is not addressed on a national level is equally disturbing. When we see statistics like ‘Every year, about 421,000 people are injured in crashes that have involved a driver who was distracted in some way‘, whilst we see in addition, that ‘64% of all the road accidents in the United States had a cell phone involved‘, so any clear change will have an adverse effect on those two statistics. That seems clear enough a reason to make distracted driving a much harsher transgression with a penalty and fine large enough making it a felony. In that logic, the misconception that people can drive and text or video chat is a mismanaged perception that should be addressed as soon as possible, or better stated, with the statistics shown this should have been addressed years ago. So in that we do get that the parents want to lash out against the guilty parties, yet we don’t get that this is done, making guilty a party that had not implemented a patent, to be more precise a patent that might have gotten itself circumvented as well as the clarity that any usage in combination with driving is already defined as dangerous. The fact that the State of California regards this to be a $20 transgression makes the situation just sad and not really a valid guilt trip for Apple, Google or any other Android mobile smartphone brand.

You see, in itself, the article is not that important. So someone is suing Apple, la di da! Yet behind all the fun, frolic and charade is the hidden issue of responsibility. We seem to avoid responsibility, feign unawareness or advocate stupidity the difference in this case seems to be mere semantics depending on your point of view. There is a decent argument to be made that the law makers have been too lax, yet to what extent? To what extent can any nation continue when common sense is thrown out of the window? It is an equal valid view that not the law, but the person in situations can be the point of decision, yet when we decide to avoid that, we do get to spend life in jail, especially when our own negligence and lack of common sense gets other people killed. There is no ‘I’m sorry‘ and ‘I thought it was OK‘ or ‘It was not illegal‘, I especially like that part. Well, I got my in-laws killed, but it was not illegal, so have a nice day Justice! We can even argue whether killing a person we know is less punishable then killing a stranger, but that is a discussion for another day. What is very much the issue is that Moriah Modisette died because Garrett Wilhelm, of Gainesville thought that he could safely drive a car on the interstate at 65 Mph whilst using FaceTime. Yet, this did not happen in Santa Clara, it happened in Texas on interstate 35W, near mile marker 81. Now we see a change, because Texas has harsher rules, and here we see “Denton bans texting and driving on city streets, but the city ordinance does not include the interstate“, so now we get a new ballgame, even as we see “Manslaughter is a second-degree felony in Texas and carries with it the possibility of up to a $10,000 fine and a prison sentence of at least two years, but no more than 20 years” yet the DMV states that distracted driving applies to Drivers younger than 18, which Garrett Wilhelm was not, so is it mere luck that he is up on a manslaughter charge? How come that death gets a different value, that stupidity is rewarded in some states? The fact that there are rules, regulations and city ordinances all giving a different value to this serious transgression. Now, as an Australian I accept that the US has different values and even though they too work on the premise of Common Law, doing so on a national level is not easy. Yet should this matter not have been dealt with more severe and on a national level? Especially when we see the statistics and a massive gap as to how the transgression and the implied consequence of the transgression holds up?

In case of Garrett Wilhelm, the trial date got set in the end to 26th September 2016, whilst the report of June stated that a request for continuance is to be expected, so over two years later there is still no justice for Moriah Modisette which would drive any parent insane with grief, rage, bitterness and sadness. All these emotions at the same time would be devastating. It still is not fair to have a go at the mobile maker, but that is only my personal view.

Perhaps it is time for someone like Bill O’Reilly to champion another law, just like he did with Jessica’s Law. Perhaps the US needs a Moriah Law, a law that makes the use of any mobile, other than hand free voice calling whilst driving a car a felony and it would be a law that covers all if the US, every state, regardless whether it is in the city or not. They shouldn’t need a law like this, yet the acts of Garrett Wilhelm (who is not the only one mind you) clearly state other whiles.

 

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When everyone is a winner

You have heard of these special schools? The school where everyone wins, no one has a bad grade and everyone is special. Yes, we are talking about the Eurozone, the one school where lessons are not learned, where those who posture (read: all) win a prize, or perhaps they fetch a price. What matters is that this social path does not get us anywhere.

You see, I am not some anti-social person, I understand that we can be compassionate, but I do have a problem when grown men, all making 7 figure incomes are given that level benefit of doubt. Mainly because I could do a better job for half the price. We see the first issue a few days ago when Wolfgang Schäuble makes the statement (source: the Guardian) “Greece must implement economic reforms if it is to keep its place in the Eurozone“, and when we see the degrees that this man has, we might consider that he is not a demented toddler, so when we consider the knowledge that we have obtained over the last year:

1. A nation can only voluntarily leave the Eurozone.
2. Considering the UK and the hassle it is facing just to get past article 50.
3. The fact that Grexit was not a possibility, which drove the UK towards Brexit and France towards Frexit.

Can we sincerely ask the question why this man is opening his mouth posturing some level of adulthood (or adultery for those with a sarcastic look at the EU charter), whilst all know that this is basically an empty statement?

So, if the statement “If Greece wants to stay in the euro, there is no way around it – in fact completely regardless of the debt level”, the entire Brexit could have been avoided when the children of the EEC commission had acted when they should have (read: all the way back in August 2014), so because the denied ‘status quo group‘ who tried to keep the gravy train going we all had enough and most Britons decided that going it alone is just the best solution, now that we see that this same group is realising what they are about to lose, it is only now that we see the first noises to make the hardest decisions, all because they are about to lose trillions. The fact that this comes from Germany is not a surprise and it isn’t linked to the hardship the Deutsche Bank faces. Yet, the people behind Schäuble (Wall Street and the IMF, which is my personal speculation), we now see desperate steering towards alternative solutions hoping to find an option to thwart Brexit and perhaps steer Frexit away from a referendum course. It might work, but we all need to realise that French pride has already been dented, so there is no way to accurately tell how that part will pan out.

We see a diversionary tactic in the quote “With his own popularity plummeting in the face of fury over creditor-mandated cutbacks, the prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, had hoped to wrap up a second review of policy measures in time for Monday’s meeting as part of a broader strategy to secure short-term debt relief and participation of Greek bonds in the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing programme“, yet this is all true. So why do I call it a diversion? You see, the players behind the screens are about to lose thousands of billions (read: trillions), so Greece and their 300 billion really do not add too much on the entirety of the big picture. Even as the US is heralding such huge achievements in unemployment figures, most will not realise that in February, after thanksgiving, after Christmas and after January sales, the shops will downsize by a lot. There is a lot of speculation on Black Sunday and the other shopping spree numbers, but as too many speculations are given here from too many sources, we actually will not know the actual outcome until mid-January and after that any action and all numbers will get quietly hushed to page 23 of newspapers. That is done because the Democrats really do not want anything in that regard to receive too much visibility until January 20th when all eyes will be on the start of the Blame Trump campaign.

What is a given is that the American administration is facing dire moments and their only fortune is that this impacts Wall Street, the IMF and the Rothschild’s, so their all uniting in finding any solution that keeps their Status Quo. They might not be related to the band, but the tour that these players have been preparing for will include hits like ‘Whatever I want‘, ‘Roll over stay down‘ and ‘Rocking for all that I own‘. Now, what is the link between the IMF and the Rothschild banks? Well, it is not what some conspiracy theorists states like: ‘Rothschild Bankers Looting Nations through World Bank/IMF‘ or ‘Hungary Becomes First European Country to Ban Rothschild Banks‘, what is of principle matter is the claim that ‘The International Monetary Fund is an international development banker. It makes loans to governments. It gets its funding from member governments‘. Yet, when you consider the debt these members are in, with the top 5 having a total debt that surpasses 35 trillion, can anyone explain where their money is actually coming from? The short answer is that the funds are fictive and virtual, and basically as I personally see it based on fraudulent economic settings to say the least; which now implies that only the larger (read: largest) players with the Rothschild family at the very top are included as behind the screen underwriters (for a percentage of course, they are not philanthropists), that is the reality of banking and those underwriters want to see their money. So at this point losing 300 billion is nowhere near the issue as losing an amount surpassing 5 trillion. So there is every issue in play and the German Wolfgang Schäuble is doing the ‘kick off’ whilst everyone is slightly less interested in economy and more into the Christmas parties with the office assistant in a horny accommodating outfit that in the mind would include transparent Red Santa lingerie, willing to engage in activities of a ménage-a-troy kind.

Welcome to the holiday season they will think, whilst on the other side the economy is decided for the largest players in a setting of debt by those not elected but enabled. The mere consequence of governments and the corporate contracts. The debt must flow, the debt must grow and the UK moving out of the EEC is the first step into giving the UK its true independence from these financial institutions. That part is now also under attack as the ‘British Balls’ (read: Labour Party Ed Balls, former Economic Secretary to the Treasury) is at the core of that part, as was shown (at https://www.ft.com/content/2616611e-a665-11e6-8b69-02899e8bd9d1), on November 17th in the Financial Times. You see, even as I have had a few disagreements with its Governor (aka Marky Mark of the British bank), the man has steered it correctly in the direction the United Kingdom required it to go. Yet now as this does not pleases the non-governing parties at large, well Balls, let’s make a deal, shall we? If we agree to reign back the independence of the Bank of England, you must agree and sign a decree per immediate that any politician squandering treasury money due to any level of negligence (or incompetence), will have to go to prison for 10 years without the option of parole. Would you sign that Ed? Consider the NHS IT issue of 11.2 billion, how many of your friends will be set to prison? How many negligent programming contracts were signed off on? Are you willing to make that leap, because the only ‘friends’ you end up having are those of the non-UK kind and many of them mere graduates that were on your every word in that Harvard building where you made that speech and a few more in financial institutions who didn’t much care for the independence of the Bank of England. So how about it Eddy, you got the Balls for that one? I would expect some kind of other proclamation soon enough. You see what he wants is not any accountability in a setting where all is squandered away. The British people have had more than its share of that one. So as we read: “The paper comes after vehement attacks on central banks and their policies in the US, UK and Germany; criticism that would have been unthinkable in the 1990s and pre-crisis 2000s, when the fashion for central bank independence was at its peak“, where I would see that the idiotic notion of the Bank of England should be forced to fund infrastructure projects, whilst we know where 11.2 billion didn’t get the job done and there wasn’t enough money to get it sorted due to negligence and what I would regard after 20 years in IT as ‘steps of utter stupidity’, well worth of getting those decision makers in prison for the longest of time (read: while I am aware that the maximum prison term would be 10 years), a term that others would call too light, especially those who are now due to no fault of either party are getting less from the NHS that can no longer meet the high standards it gave for the longest of times.

So when we read in that same paper “Carney says politicians ‘deflect blame’ by attacking central banks’ Rising inequality is driven by more fundamental factors, argues BoE governor“, my response would be: “Right you are Marky Mark!“, although I would speculate that some of these fundamental factors would be the ignorance of the decision makers whilst relying on people trying to get the maximum they can out of the deal offered and the connections relying on them. That would a fundamental first to consider and solve. Which gets me to the point that those politicians will be held accountable for the support to these projects and they need to be dealt with if they fail. So the special prize for these non-kids is the one that every winner wants, 120 months of hotel accommodation in places like Holiday resort Wakefield, or Wandsworth Garden retreat in South West London? Would that perhaps up the game of a few politicians, or will they suddenly decide to be less enabling to those who see the independence of the Bank of England to be more than an eye sore and a factor that stops their maximum profit to continue? I am merely asking, not making a claim of any kind.

The Financial Times article has a few other sides and makes fair statements, even though the initial source is questionable from my point of view. The writer Chris Giles adds at the end “For the Fed, the problem is reversed and while it has in its Financial Stability Oversight Council sufficient political legitimacy for macro prudential policies, the US central bank does not have sufficient tools to do the job and cannot request new tools from the administration, it adds“, you see, the British and US systems might seem the same, but they are not. I would surmise that there is a Federal and State level of these issues that the UK does not have to the extent the US has them. It is not just the differences in approach and connections, I and most of us see the Bank of England as the pulse of the health of the British economy and as such, its independence, especially from a boatload of politicians, is essential to this view. Now, I might certainly be wrong, yet overall, how many would agree that many politicians seem to spend in what they truly believe to be for the best, whilst not having a clue on how proper debt levels need to be and they will happily push that bill to the next cycle, the NHS IT is not the only, but definitely one of the clearest and largest examples of mismanaged spending on several levels, having someone independent in charge of the Bank of England making sure that the tap gets closed before it is too late in this term with a clear look at what comes next and what else is due now. A view many politicians on a global scale are lacking. And as the US system has a much more isolated view regarding the economy enablers, the economy and the US treasury gives another shine on their view and their lacking demand for independence and accountability (again, as I personally see this).

You see, there is a lot more in play, this isn’t just on what is due to Greece, the UK or the Banks wanting there coin. The fact that left and right have to some degree social values and of course, the left tends to have a little more of that. Yet, when we look at ‘Greece under fire over Christmas bonus for low-income pensioners‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/dec/09/greece-under-fire-over-christmas-bonus-for-low-income-pensioners), we need to question certain responses. The quote “A goodwill gesture to ease the plight of those hardest hit in Greece by tax increases and budget cuts has backfired spectacularly on the prime minister, Alexis Tsipras” is one that is of great concern. Consider that this is about retirees that get less than €800, so, when we consider that rent in Greece is €450 or more, with added monthly utilities of no less than €140, this means than they get to live of €310, which is abysmally little. A week of food and clothes and other things at €75 per week is the nightmare scenario for even the best miser in town. Now consider Christmas is around the corner and these Greeks and those getting even less are getting a one-time bonus for Christmas. It is a social smallest act by the Greek government and after the issues that the retirees have gone through clearly the act that should be done as soon as possible. So I would really like to know the names of these ‘International creditors pour scorn on prime minister Alexis Tsipras‘, in addition, I would like to see what their functions were and their incomes from 2004 onwards. You see, I want those people and I want to see if they were in any way enabling the imbalance that Greece developed between 2004 and 2009. Mainly because the Greeks suffering now would really like to get those names and addresses. For those following a little longer, I have had plenty of criticism towards what I used to label ‘rock band Tsipras & Varoufakis’, in addition I have had additional issues with what was done over the time period, yet I had never had issues with any solution that could be found resolving the issue, in addition, when Greek was playing hard to get, I was first in line to throw them out of the EEC and the Euro, yet the power players behind all this, and possibly the people holding onto the debt markers were equally accountable. Yet, I have never had anything negative to state over the Greek people at large (apart from the stupidity of all these strikes), so I would have no issue with Tsipras giving a little release in the one month when that makes perfect sense and likely matters the most. Yet in this social climate, we see in equal measure the debatable view by Labour people wanting central banks to be more dependent on the politicians who cause a lot of these issues to begin with. How freakin’ crazy do you need to get here?

So when we consider that special school where everyone is a winner, can we actually accept or even entertain the thought of hiring someone who is on that school of thought? How much damage must Europe endure before the people at large gets a clue? There is accountability, which I have always supported, yet in equal measure, the strain on the Greek people have been unjust been brought by those who have been facilitators of a system that should never allowed to continue to this degree, meaning that Greece should have been removed from the Euro at least 2 years ago. Doing it now, could only be done if the debt of 300 billion would be forgiven, a step that the players are unwilling to give, yet in the light of all that is passing, they are now considering certain steps, only so that they can hang onto an optional 35 trillion, that is the game in play and now, as they realise that the UK has had enough and that France is on the same side of that seesaw, now those creditors are considering the consequence of pressure so now they will divide the EEC and conquer whatever funds they can, for as much as possible. In that light the one off payment is scorned on, so how inhumane have some players become and should we even consider tailoring to their needs?

The scenario where everyone is a winner is a long time away and it is unlikely that Greece and a few others feel this way any day soon, giving even more caution to the words of a president who is on the way out. And who are Greeks creditors? What is the full list, is it not interesting how the press has the detailed specifics on the knickers (read panties) of a Kardashian and the Greek government creditors list gets trimmed to the aggregated list that serves themselves and no one else. In that I believe that Yanis Varoufakis is only scratching the surface when he states “the UK referendum was a “symptom” of a series of mismanagements from EU leaders“, in that he is right and it seems that now he is less of the rock star he presented himself to be, now we see another Yanis, one that is not just driving the nails on the head, he is quickly realising that certain players are preparing for even more issues to be added to the exit of nations from the EU. Even as some is by part to smear the cogs of Germany’s needs, the quote “To take a trip down the Danube to discuss the formation of a European army – pure irrelevance. There is no evidence unfortunately that the political class on the Continent is capable of even sitting down to address the right questions, let alone, deliver the right answers“, which is at the core of failure of any created European army. The biggest issue is not how it is formed, we will see soon enough that once Frexit is a reality, what would actually be left to actually form any decent European army with? It could be a revolutionary new Disney. As we redesign Snow White and the Seven Dwarves into Germany & the 7 minions who cannot agree on anything, will we now see new polarisation in several ways being added to the list of negative plights? In addition, if Italy remains as the larger player, the mere concept of language will be the hilarity of many. I would be willing to wager that the concept as it is failing will derive laughter from 2400 Route de Pexiora, 11452 Castelnaudary Cedex, so loud that it can be heard in both Berlin and Rome, which should make for an interesting news cycle to say the least.

I have spoken against the ideas of several people mentioned in this article, I thought that they went the wrong way about things and they got bit, which I would call ‘serves them right‘, yet I have never applauded or agreed to the level of pressure the Greek people are currently under, in addition, the German finance ministers views, as I personally see them, are not about Europe and not about what would be best for Europe or the United Kingdom. I believe some are starting cycles of facilitation and enabling that will in the end be really bad for Europe, for the United Kingdom, for France and for Europe as a whole. I will let you contemplate how wrong I could be and if that is not the case why the clear outspoken opposition against these proclaimers aren’t coming from more sides, more people and more media. Is that not weird either?

A game where everyone is a winner only knows losers, a truth that goes back to ancient Greece, they were the founding fathers of the Olympics after all!

 

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The cost of free trade

There is a side in me that is a little beyond angry. When I see these politicians whine like little bitches on how good ‘Free Trade‘ is, on how it is so good for all. I wonder if they remember the days when slavery was an actual solution for commerce. How these people look and praise Chiwetel Ejiofor (aka Baron Mordo) for playing a slave in ‘12 years a slave’. When we see “Mexico, Japan, Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore aim to continue with TPP with or without the United States, Mexico’s economy minister, Ildefonso Guajardo, said on Friday” (Source: SBS), we need to wonder on how the TPP is seen as anything but evil, a mere apparatus of convenience for large corporations to keep a stranglehold on those around them and to minimise the number of opportunities for smaller businesses.

The Evidence?

The Economic Policy Institute gives us: “This paper does not include an exhaustive review but cites as an example Capaldo, Izurieta, and Sundaram (2016), who noted that studies claiming that the TPP would have a positive impact on the U.S. and global economy are based on unrealistic assumptions, including no change in the U.S. trade balance with the TPP countries and full employment“, which is only the top of the iceberg. You see, in addition we have “Currency manipulation is the most important cause of the large and growing U.S. goods trade deficit with the group of countries in the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Coupled with the fact that the United States is the largest and most reliable trading partner for many of the TPP countries, this is a recipe for U.S. pain at others’ gain“. This is not the USA, it would also hit Australia in other ways, not the people who secretly arranged all that they get top dollar in a few other ways. Yet, before we move on, let’s take one more part, because that will have connecting issues. The quote “Many members of the proposed TPP, including Malaysia, Singapore, and Japan, are known currency manipulators. Others, namely Vietnam, appear to be following the lead of currency manipulators by, for example, acquiring excess foreign exchange reserves to depress the value of their currency. Currency manipulation explains a substantial share of the large, persistent U.S. trade deficit with the 11 other TPP countries that has not only cost millions of U.S. jobs but also increased income inequality and put downward pressure on American wages“, and although this paper focuses on US consequences, it will in addition have a speculative negative impact on Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

The Dutch Financial Times (at https://fd.nl/economie-politiek/1176922/tpp-opzegging-holt-voorbeeldfunctievs-uit) gives us: “Donald Trump heeft de wereld deze week een belangrijke boodschap gegeven. Door te stellen dat hij de Verenigde Staten op de eerste dag van zijn presidentschap terug zal trekken uit het Pacifische vrijhandelsverdrag TPP, geeft hij het signaal af dat hij de relaties met andere landen puur vanuit de blik van een zakenman zal zien. Hij wil bilateraal met landen gaan onderhandelen ‘over eerlijke handelsafspraken die ertoe leiden dat banen en industrieën terugkeren naar Amerika’. Internationale relaties moeten voordelig zijn; anders hoeft het niet“, which paraphrased gives us: “Donald Trump will be withdrawing from the TPP on day one of his presidency. He will be looking at relationships with other countries from a business point of view, international relations need to be advantageous, or need not be“. Is that a bad thing? You see for exploiters it is, which gives us the Malayan Times (at http://www.themalaymailonline.com/what-you-think/article/tpp-aint-over-till-its-over-firdaos-rosli). Last week they had the headline ‘TPP ain’t over till it’s over‘, the article is a decent legal view of getting the TPP ratified, which only gives additional cause for concern in a few ways, yet that is not the issue for now. The one quote at the end that matters is “The government must proceed with its top-down reforms agenda and these are direly required to make Malaysia great again” This is fair enough on one side, Malayans are there to make Malaysia strong, there is no cause more just, yet in what ways are they doing this?

This is where the other side gets to show us the dangers. You see the headline ‘Malaysia workers speak of their despair: ‘Samsung only knows how to take’‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/nov/21/malaysia-workers-speak-of-their-despair-samsung-only-knows-how-to-take), shows that large corporations are at the heart of the problem. Tax shelters, exploitation and what cannot be seen as anything else than intentional slavery are at the heart of the matter. The Samsung Port Klang factory as mentioned shows how Samsung is growing its business by massively reducing costs whilst maximising customer exploitation at almost the same time.

When we see “In total, Bhandari says he paid £750 to secure his job in Malaysia – more than the average annual salary in his home district” as well as “There are an estimated 2.1 million documented migrant workers like Bhandari in Malaysia, many of them hired through third-party labour supply companies who recruit foreign workers from Nepal, Indonesia, India and Bangladesh to drive Malaysia’s industrial boom“. Implying that Samsung has no HR to speak of, it is arranged through third party affairs that are buttering their bread on both sides of the isle with a labour population in slavery. So when we rethink the Malayan Times with ‘TPP ain’t over till it’s over‘, we get that they (those making the profits) need the TPP, because slaves tend to be free (read: really cheap) and too many people seem to be filling their pockets in a few ways. So when you see “Now he’s in Malaysia, Bhandari’s recruitment debt – and the 60% interest loan he took to pay it – has a stranglehold on the teenager“, you know that this is how slavery is created and how it is maintained. Not through shackles that bind you, but debts that stop you from moving and breathing. I reckon that the old southern ‘solution’ was a lot more humane. At least you knew that there was slavery, now the boat load of governments remain in denial and the large corporations can claim to remain negligently unaware. Which of the two is the larger hypocrite remains to be seen. The fact that Australia signed this, whilst they had to be aware that this was happening to some degree is an issue on many fronts, not just the slavery part, but the fact that the TPP has the largest option of being a negative influence. You see, those who had walked away wanted to do so via the TPP, there is absolutely no guarantee that whilst in the TPP jobs are not lost to areas where labour laws are a lot more flexible.

Consider the quote “Many of the group now want to leave, if only they could. They say their passports were all confiscated on arrival in the country, an illegal but pervasive practice, and they have been told they will have to pay £740 if they want to go – the equivalent of four months’ basic salary“, which translates to a little over 4 weeks of Australian welfare. Which in light of “A Samsung statement said: “As a committed member of the Electronics Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC), we comply fully with the EICC’s Code of Conduct and have found no evidence of violations in the hiring process of migrant workers hired directly by our manufacturing facility in Malaysia. Once there is any complaint, we take swift actions to investigate” as well as “When asked whether Samsung had repaid any worker debts at the factory, one man employed directly by Samsung instead of through a labour supply company says he hasn’t received any compensation. “Samsung doesn’t know how to give,” he says. “It only knows how to take.”” which to some degree shows that not only is Samsung not doing too much about it, it is also intent towards reaping the benefit of these trade deals for as long as they can. More important, even though Samsung is the visible one, the fact that from several sources we see “Malaysia’s trade volume is booming“, implies that there are other brands exploiting this way of cutting costs. So from that part, the evidence that Slave labour is again a ‘valid’ form of cost cutting towards commerce is given.

Should any government object that I reckon it is time that clear labour requirements are added to the TPP, I wonder how many would suddenly oppose such actions, because as I see it it is clear that Japan and USA, the two direct requirements for the TPP would not oppose it, unless Sony decides that their margins would dwindle, but that is just pure speculation from my side.

What to do?

Well, I do not think it is too far-fetched that those linked to these unacceptable labour practices are required to have a specific import license for their good, which is at a price, FTA or not! I wonder what will happen when Samsung gets a 23% surcharge on slave labour goods import. Will that suddenly make them see the light? I do not mind if they decide to make them in Malaysia, but I reckon we all agree that these workers are due decent pay and no slave labour conditions. At that point, when the margins are hit, how good was the TPP and how beneficial were factories in Asia? I do not proclaim to have the answer, I am merely asking the question. When slavery is dealt with, we will suddenly see that there is no benefit in some of these places and that other places like Argentina, Texas, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the UK and Belgium are decent places where goods can be produced whilst the company still has a margin. And perhaps there is no need for a $229 Samsung Microwave when a $129 Sharp version would suffice. So, a $100 more expensive whilst ‘depending’ on slave labour (to at least some degree), seems odd doesn’t it?

Consider: “it promised only £268 a month, including overtime“, whilst “a payslip seen by the Guardian shows Bhandari worked 29 out of 30 days in September, including 65 hours of overtime“, so we get 65 hours a slave every month and an income of £9.20 a day, which amounts to 25% of what you get in Australian Centrelink and the cost of living in Sydney is actually high. So the next time you see those Samsung advertisements, consider that they can afford these billboards thanks to slave labour. Look at your Samsung phone and admire how you got that great deal, if you are lucky only one person literally worked himself/herself to death to make you one. Feel better now?

It is also important to realise that Samsung is not alone here, one firm does not make for “Malaysia’s trade volume is booming“, it takes a lot more than one firm and if only Samsung was involved, those people would apply for every other place on day two of their arrival. This makes the issue a lot larger and this also makes the unbalanced use of what we now laughingly call ‘Free Trade Agreements‘. So when we get another load of Bill Shorten and how the TPP isn’t costing jobs, we see a clear case that the man needed to be tarred, feathered and walked through George Street whilst a person behind him clanks the bell shouting ‘Shame!‘ It might be a little too much Game of Thrones, yet in that place they are only now abolishing slavery on the East side of that place (read: Essos), in addition, Malcom Turnbull is not free of any moral harm either. The fact that the TPP was supposed to implement stronger protections and the fact that Malaysia is still very much on the TPP ball, whilst as the Guardian shows, that what amounts to Slave labour is still going strong to me implies that those involved have either loop holes in place or that there are alternative options for those enjoying the fruits of their exploitation.

You see, the TPP Labour summary gives us: “In addition to commitments by Parties to eliminate forced labor in their own countries, the Labor chapter includes commitments to discourage importation of goods that are produced by forced labor or that contain inputs produced by forced labor, regardless of whether the source country is a TPP country“, this implies that those involved at Samsung have either a Chinese wall in place or a system of deniability. The fact that The Guardian received evidence (payslips) and had testimonials of multiple workers should suffice as evidence.

The fact that Huawei has the option to expose issues with Samsung, whilst not seeming to act, gives also pause for concern. China is not part of the TPP, it is trying to seal its own trade agreement. Even though we have no evidence on how China works in certain matters, the existence of China’s State Owned Enterprise’s (SOE) is another circle of issues and it will be so for both Australia and New Zealand, yet to what extent cannot be stated by me (read: ignorant of such levels of government rules). In that regard Huawei might have an unfair advantage (read: when compared to Samsung) and of course, Huawei could impact the booming Mobile business Australia has (read: Exchange rate of sarcasm towards giggles). As many see that China has been non-enthusiastic when it comes to dealing with corruption, the shown evidence gives us that several other nations aren’t that much better and corporate greed tends to trump government requirements. So there!

No matter how we slice it, the trade agreements only truly benefit large corporations and no one else, which is an issue on a few fronts and in that President Elect Donald Trump might be the clearest American patriot when he states “international relations need to be advantageous, or need not be“, for the simple truth is that for the most and agreement signed that was not advantageous was an agreement best not signed at all.

 

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Gimme some Sugar

In the week where we saw the disgraceful act by Sam Gyimah, a British Conservative, who made sure that the wrongs against gays in the past remain, he filibustered the meeting, so that the Gay population will be stigmatised a little longer. Hiding behind “We have developed a way to do this without giving any perception that the pardon covers perpetrators of sex with a minor or non-consensual sex“, whilst it has been known quite clearly that there is no pardon for acts that are still criminal. We could ask if he has had non-consensual sex lately, because that might give cause for confusion. As I see it, this seems to be nothing more than the shameful act by a homophobic government representative. Yet that is actually not the worst what is happening. You see, George Osborne has had a few decent ideas and one of them was the Sugar Tax. The information that we get to some extent (at https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/oct/21/soft-drinks-industry-lobbies-government-dilute-scrap-sugar-tax), shows the information that “Research has found that drinking more than two sugary or artificially sweetened soft drinks per day greatly increases the risk of diabetes“, which would be worrying enough for most parents on the best of days. In this age of obesity, something needed to be done and the Sugar Tax would be one way of doing it. Is it the best path?

That is a fair enough question, and it could have been debated if the large corporations had actually done something, but they did not. They were in it to maximise profits. One could argue that the soft drinks companies are the new cigarette companies. The information that we get from all kinds of debatable sources is because the media at large refuses to properly inform the people. It is the old story of what I regard to be ‘whoring for advertisement‘ that is part of all that. The initial news (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/mar/16/george-osbornes-sugar-tax-economic-fears-budget), gave us the goods that when we see the Sugar Tax as “eventful by any standards”, you better realise that there will be plenty of opposition.

But that is not the biggest issue in this. The article that drew my attention gives us the following parts. “Health campaigners in favour of the proposed soft drinks industry levy said they are concerned that neither Theresa May nor Philip Hammond has personally spoken out in support of the tax since coming to office“, the fact that this gets delegated to junior ministers gives rise to the fear that things will get bungled and that implementation will be delayed or just blatantly rejected. This article also has a few issues. One of them is “At a drinks party at the Tory conference sponsored by the industry, a spokesman for the British Soft Drinks Association pleaded with Greg Clark, the business secretary, and MPs on the Conservative Reform Group to drop support for the levy, saying it would harm small businesses and cause job losses at a difficult time for the economy“. The first clear issue is who exactly was this spokesperson?

So, I decided to take another look and my first impression is that this BSDA reads like a joke (I have an evolved sense of humour, often intensely inappropriate). It starts with Health ‘Helping our consumers reduce their calorie and sugar intake‘. It comes with the picture of a woman you want to fuck six ways from Sunday on a daily basis. So we see nameless products with labels like Product Innovation Sugar Reduction and Smaller pack sizes. At this point you wonder what you are in for, in the ‘UK Economy section’ we see how £11 billion was added to the economy. This sounds so nice, but where was it added to the economy? Being THEIR revenue? That is aid to them, but is it truly aid to the UK economy? This site just reeks like corporate marketing in what they call a ‘non-profit coat’ and it is high time some changes are made.

From my point starting by adding to the sugar tax would be a great idea.

You see, the executive council of the British Soft Drinks Association (BSDA) includes Pepsi, Lucozade, Coca Cola, Red Bull, Tropicana and a few others. Many of them not paying heaps of taxation in the UK, Coca Cola avoided £102 million in the UK in 2012 (I have no clear numbers from the years following that) and was mentioned recently as one of the 50 stashing a total of 1.3 trillion off shore. It is time to stop enabling these large corporations, because this is one of the main reasons the NHS can no longer continue the way it did. If there was no large scale tax evasion, the sugar tax would never have come into existence.  In addition, stories on what Diet Coke apparently seems to do to the human body and the relentless support from the media through not illuminating it, because of the advertisement they represent. So for the most, many people, perhaps even better stated most people are unaware of certain cause and effect issues seen due to the usage of what we now laughingly refer to as the ‘diet fuzzy drinks’.

So now we get back to the lady on page one. You see, if the members of the BSDA are not doing their part other than hiding behind statistics, changes will be required. So if we need more physical exercise the BDSA can send their fitness/yoga outfitted lady to my address where I can lose 15,000 calories a day through consensual sex (when doing it 3 times a day that is).

Is this thought too inappropriate?

I think the BSDA is a hatchet job in this age of marketing to serve the interest of large corporations and their needs. Their needs being profit and only profit. The issues of the BSDA is just like the acts of Sam Gyimah. They are legal and part of the political life that needs to be frowned upon. The fact that the BSDA a non-profit organisation is bombarding advertisements with added twitter stories from a ‘Tunbridge Wells newsagent‘ whose business will be ruined by sugar tax. If that is truly so, perhaps they should try to sell newspapers. The fact that their business survives on sugary drinks is a bit of an issue, as they tend to be over 150% more expensive then the nearest supermarket. Just a thought!

These levels of marketing require a lot more scrutiny and no one is stepping to the plate to do so. A harsh reality of big business in charge. Yet, there is more, the BSDA reports on one of their pages “‘We are pleased that the latest NDNS data shows a decline of over 8% in teenagers’ sugar intake from soft drinks between 2012 – 2014“, which is a statement that might be true, but where is the data? The second statement is one I have a definite issue with. The quote “Soft drinks companies have taken significant action to help their consumers reduce their sugar intake since the NDNS data was collected over 2 years ago. Independent analysis confirms that sugar intake from soft drinks has been reduced by over 16% in the last four years“, I believe this to be incorrect. You see Coca Cola is as ‘sweet’ as it ever was, so were most other drinks. So here we see the switch from ‘sugar’ to these ‘diet’ drinks and the dangers there have been avoiding visible presentation and scrutiny from the media at large, because they are nowadays too much about circulation and advertisement. Then the page goes one step further and states “we understand there is more to do and only last year we set ourselves a 20% calorie reduction target by 2020“, now it is suddenly about calories? calories are mostly from sugar, meaning that this is about alternative ‘additives’, they might not show up on the calorie list, but there is enough worry to consider that it will show a long term effect on the human body. No one can know for sure, which is a truth in itself, but the fact that there are long term considerations and the fact that the almighty US FDA is suddenly way too quiet and we see certain aspects, we now also see that the FDA is now no more than a valve of corporate discrimination as to what is considered safe, set by who is bringing it to market. Is that not an interesting development? The fact that we see in this place that “A 2010 Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine review of the literature on artificial sweeteners concludes that, “research studies suggest that artificial sweeteners may contribute to weight gain”” (at https://usrtk.org/sweeteners/diet-soda-fraud/), whilst the media is too quiet is equally disturbing. The fact that the BSDA is all about promoting the biggest ‘dealers’ in sugary substances (with the clear exception of the British Sugar at http://www.britishsugar.co.uk/), seems to be pushed slowly into the background of the issue. The issue was the sugar tax!

So what economy is brought into danger? When we see Coca-Cola Coke 1.75L £1.71 and Any 2 for £2.00 (Source: Tesco), either the margins are astronomical, or Coca Cola is giving away their profits, what do you think is more likely to be the truth? So when we include taxation and Cola becomes 2 for £2.20-£2.40. Considering they are giving the second bottle for only £0.29, are they really in danger? Are any of those soft drink manufacturers in actual danger? No they are not, because in the end, there is a group that will stop getting the second bottle, yet in my pragmatic view, it is more likely that families will now only get this article twice a month instead of weekly. Which would reduce the sugar intake by a massive amount. Also, in light of the BSDA statement that teenagers were reducing intake by 8%, now consider that we see that Coca-Cola Coke 1.75L contains 29.0% sugar. How likely is that the 8% is just a weighted average and that the numbers are not that positive? I am using Coca Cola as an example, yet when we see that regular Pepsi contains 31.0% sugar, it seems clear that I have a case here. Now Pepsi might come with the response that their revenue comes from the Pepsi Max drinks, yet here we see ‘Low Calorie Cola Flavoured Soft Drink with Sweeteners‘ and ‘Contains a Sourced of Phenylalanine‘, with twice the sentence: ‘contains no sugar’. Yet the mention made me search and WebMD has this (at http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/phenylalanine-uses-and-risks). The warning is “Doses higher than 5,000 milligrams a day can cause nerve damage“, which sees like a really dangerous issue (and a massive dose is needed), yet there is no mention at all how much is in Pepsi Max, only that it has 0% sugar (on the website). In addition, the risk mention is “And use caution in taking phenylalanine if you have: High blood pressure, Trouble sleeping, Anxiety or other psychiatric problems, Also, it is unknown whether this supplement is safe in women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

That is a lot of risk groups, knowing that high blood pressure is a risk group here and also considering that “Approximately 16 million people in the UK have high blood pressure” (source: NHS UK) gives us that 24% of the population is a risk factor, so in my view, at that at this Conservative Tea Party (where tea is unlikely to be served), it seems to be sound advice that representing Pepsi, Mr Mark Elwell – PepsiCo International, remains quiet as a mouse. It seems to me that his conscience is better served with the Sugar tax in place, but that is just me speculating.

So here we see that those fueling the NHS customer base, are mostly all about not having to pay any bills in this matter. I think that the people forgot the 2004 movie Super-Size Me. Even as this was mostly about McDonalds, the fact that we are supersizing ourselves with that second bottle at a mere £0.29, we are doing the harm to ourselves. It is more than just taxation by rescuing us from ourselves. The Soft Drinks industry has the ability to throw millions in advertisement on a playful and sporty youth, yet they are not representative of this healthy life style, not to the degree it should be and that is the real danger. The fact that the BSDA spin machine is running at full power and that the image at present is that Prime Minister Theresa May is not taking this as serious as she should (by setting this agenda on the collar of a senior Conservative) is equally disturbing. You see, if the sugar tax is watered down or stricken off, she has absolutely no rights to deny the NHS the funds they need and she will have to order the current Chancellor of the Exchequer, The Right Honourable Philip Hammond to find those needed funds. In my view, good luck to that tall order, because there are almost no margins left to play with, the Sugar Tax was the first real step in creating some level of margins (to the smallest extent).

We have to admit that the BSDA has a right to do the things they are doing, they aren’t breaking any laws, yet the linked issues are there and the press overall for one isn’t doing its job to the extent they should be. When we see the end of the initial Guardian article, we see “The charity Action on Sugar has said the tax will have an impact on intake because people respond to price, but the government has said it wants the cost of the tax to be borne by the industry and not consumers“, there is truth in that and there is misleading parts in that. That is, when we widen the statement ‘the tax to be borne by the industry‘. You see, tax law overhaul is the only way to do this, the sugar tax will have an impact to the margin of profit making the industry increase the prices. That seems just mere logical. However, if we can make people reduce the purchase of these drinks, that too would be a positive effect. Any chance in lowering the intake of sugar and artificial sweeteners would be a massive win for the population of Britain. The fact that the government saw raising prices as a solution for the tobacco industry and not for the soft drinks industry is also worrying. You see, there is a direct health risk, so making these lemonades unaffordable would make sense, the fact that this isn’t treated as the dangers they represent, just like the denial we saw in the 80’s on tobacco is cause for distress and reason for debate. The only interesting ‘coincidence‘ is the quote in the Guardian, which is “The link between sugary drinks and obesity has been well documented with evidence suggesting they account for 29% of 11- to 18-year-olds’ daily sugar intake” and this is exactly the amounts of sugar that Coca Cola has in its bottles. Life is full of little coincidences, isn’t it?

 

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