Tag Archives: VAT

The cost of being in business

Yes, any business has its cost, the price of milk, so that farmers keep their cows; the price of beef, so that the farmer decides to slaughter its cow. We are all in a stage where we need to realise that there is profit, after we had the cost of getting there. For the most farmers know what they are doing, it is their livelihood. Yet, what happens when your livelihood is terrorism? Where is the profit of a suicide bomber when the costs are there but until after it is too late, you cannot tell whether there was a stage to work with?

That is the setting we see when we look at the Washington Post, the article (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/hezbollah-leader-calls-on-saudi-arabia-to-end-war-in-yemen/2018/10/19/18ed9994-d3bd-11e8-a4db-184311d27129_story.html). Here we see ‘Hezbollah leader calls on Saudi Arabia to end war in Yemen‘. A terrorist organisation is involving itself in a war 2,000 kilometres away, oh no! It has been involved for a long time there, doing the bidding of Iran like the good little tool it is. So when I see: “The leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah has called on Saudi Arabia to make a “courageous” decision and end the fighting in Yemen, saying the alleged killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey has tarnished the kingdom’s image to an unprecedented degree” we see another tool trying to play the cards. From my (slightly overreacting) side it is more that Hezbollah had not value ever and the image of Saudi Arabia is not tarnished, after all the intentional misrepresentation by the press, I am willing to go with the fact that the value of a journalists life does not really matter, does it?

Haaretz shows us: ‘Western Intelligence Believes Iran Intensifying Advanced Weapons Shipments to Hezbollah‘ we see no reason to comply, we merely see motivation to keep hunting down the members of Hezbollah who are in the thick of it in Yemen; Hezbollah the eternal nagging baby with a weapon arsenal that the bulk of the press keeps on ignoring. The fact that they are part of the entire Yemen setting, whilst we see both “Iran has reportedly stepped up its shipments of advanced weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon, Fox News reported on Friday, citing American and Western intelligence sources” and “Iran sends Hezbollah GPS for accurate missiles“. There is (merely) one problem here. I am personally certain that Iran was knowingly staging a setting where these missiles can end up in Yemen being fired at Saudi Arabia by the tools that they enable. So their bitching with lines like “the Yemen disagreement has killed over 10,000 people and left Yemen with a non-functional infrastructure“, the fact that Hezbollah is eagerly trying to force an end also gives light to the face that Saudi Arabia is tactically in a much better position than they might have realised. Even as Hezbollah is still focussed on their never ending attempts to end the existence of Israel, the utter silence of western nations and their press is just beyond deafening. Yes, scream and shout for one dead journalist, the setting of tens of thousands dead in Yemen, something that both Iran and Hezbollah facilitated for is kept quiet.

All this, whilst we see (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/eu-asia-leaders-underline-support-for-iran-nuclear-deal/2018/10/19/11e2847a-d39f-11e8-a4db-184311d27129_story.html), the stage of ‘EU, Asia leaders underline support for Iran nuclear deal‘, of course the proxy war that Iran is in with Saudi Arabia is completely ignored. It seems to me that the two standards are just beyond acceptable. Even as we see from several sources that Iran is at the heart of destabilisation, they are still a party to talk to, unlike Saudi Arabia who gets shunned in all this.

How does the double standard go over with you people?

The utter silence in most media on the actions of Hezbollah, the setting of Iran fighting its proxy war via Yemen, which is directly the cause of thousands of deaths, is beyond acceptance. All of that remains in the shadows, but one mere journalist has been the cause of so much visibility that has not been seen for the longest of times. A person that is (because of his writing in the Washington Post) is not without value, yet the stage of “Iran is stepping up its efforts to deliver sophisticated weaponry, including GPS systems meant to turn unguided rockets into high-precision missiles, to Hezbollah in Lebanon“, not merely for the use on Israel, but its shipments to Yemen for the same reason to be fired on Saudi Arabia has received almost zero visibility, one journalist is not as precious as 10,000 children, come to think of it, two journalists is hardly the value of one victim (in most cases) as I personally see it nowadays.

That devaluation is the direct consequence of catering to the need of certain elements instead of catering to the news. that is merely my point of view, yet as seen in many memes all over Facebook and other places, the stage where we see the journalistic value fall in the eyes of most people is there and it is growing.

So not only are we confronted with: “the Lebanese authorities are covering up illicit activities by Iran and Hezbollah“, we are also facing the media who en large are willing to not look at that matter, whilst you mull over those pieces and wonder where the audio recording has gotten to, the one that CNN reported on. I wonder if anyone will look at the stage of Turkey being a cheap tool facilitating for Iran that too is left in the unwritten spaces of journalism at present. So even as the stories are now in another stage. A stage we see with: “Khashoggi killing was ‘grave mistake’, says Saudi Arabia. Saudi minister says individuals exceeded authority and crown prince was not aware“, we are aware that we are not getting the whole story, or we can assume that more happened, but in light of the dozens of unsubstantiated accusations and what I would call intentional BS by the circulation and click driven media, this version seems much more acceptable to most, and even as my view and exposure to Jamal Khashoggi (when he was alive) was limited, I believe that he was a proper journalist with actual value (that in opposition to most people in places like the Daily Mail). That makes his loss a sad state of affairs, something the fore mentioned newspaper will not receive on stating the loss of their co-workers in this day and age. And whilst we are on this subject, who of you have actually read the writings of Jamal Khashoggi when he was alive?

What matter is that the devaluation of journalists by the population has been to the largest degree done by their own actions!

There are additional questions that should be asked in all honesty. Even as we see statements by Saudi Arabia foreign minister Adel Ahmed Al-Jubeir, we need to ask more than the progress that Saudi Arabia is making with Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland. We need to look beyond the statement “This was an operation where individuals ended up exceeding the authorities and responsibilities they had. They made the mistake when they killed Jamal Khashoggi in the consulate and they tried to cover up for it“, apart from the fact that this is a lot more feasible than any BS loaded nonsense that we saw from unnamed Turkish sources, we need to wonder what is the more accurate setting, in this we have seen no real questions regarding Saudi Arabia’s Consul General to Turkey Mohammad al-Otaibi, who left on a commercial flight merely hours before his residence was searched. There is every acceptance that his trip to Saudi Arabia should be the cause of additional questions, yet the media has not really done any of that, have they?

the Evening Standard (at https://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/jamal-khashoggi-case-donald-trump-not-satisfied-with-saudi-account-of-journalists-death-a3967351.html) gave us the quote “Mohammad al-Otaibi fled Turkey after the alleged killing emerged and will face an investigation, according to an official government statement“, yet did he ‘flee’, or was he officially ‘recalled’, the fact that we saw very little on this one part by the media is additional cause for concern on whether the media has any interest in properly covering the events (apart from the few true news dedicated newspapers that is).

Oh, and if you wonder how there is no issue in Yemen, consider the news from Al Arabiya where we see: “2,000 primary and secondary schools were damaged or used by Houthi militias as barracks, and about 67 percent of schools did not pay their staff salaries for almost two years. He pointed out that more than one million children are unable to attend school because of the war staged by the Houthi militias, and that 2 million children do not have access to a formal education system“, in this we are seemingly forgetting that this is not merely the stage, only an hour ago did we see “The deputy minister of education in the coup-government of the Houthi pro-Iranian militias, Dr. Abdullah al-Hamdi, said that he broke with the militias, calling to rise up against these rejected militias from 90% of the Yemeni people who are suffering from hunger, death and poverty due to the militias. Hamdi revealed in a television interview on Sunday that these militias import Iranian ideology and their destructive project to enslave the Yemeni people, exploiting them to terrorize and control the society“. I accept that there is only one source and that is not enough, yet the rest of the media is all about painting Saudi Arabia yellow, and ignoring that Saudi Arabia has been under attack by Iran, via Hezbollah and Houthi forces who are directly responsible for the hardship on well over a million children, is it not interesting how the media ignores that part? That part is optionally in part seen (at https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/houthi-forces-use-attack-drones-armed-with-ballistic-missiles-in-western-yemen/). I used that term as the amount of sources make it questionable, yet the western media is steering clear of this part, so there is no way to tell on how reliable it is, especially in light of their ‘unnamed sources’ usage regarding the audio recording regarding ‘torture’ of a now dead journalist. As we see “Houthi forces use attack drones armed with ballistic missiles in western Yemen“, as well as more than one source was informing us on Hezbollah receiving GPS upgrades for their missiles, we now have a much larger stage and the silence of the media is close to deafening.

So when we contemplate the accuracy of “Houthi forces have begun using armed drones with ballistic missiles recently in a bid to increase their damage on the Gulf-backed troops in Yemen and Saudi Arabia“, as soon as one missile does hit an important target, the entire Yemen issue will evolve in a full scale war and whilst the politicians are all about keeping a dialogue with Iran, whatever puppets they become will hit back at them and it will hit back hard.

We cannot continue this one sided setting, whilst trying to keep a backdoor open to do business with both elements in this proxy war, let’s not forget that once Saudi Arabia decides on acting against their misrepresentations, the cost will be one that we have not bargained for. In the end, what happens when 10% of the oil meant for Europe and the US goes to China? How will winter heating impact, merely because we allow the media to lie to us and to hide behind ‘unnamed sources’? How unfair will we label operational choices, whilst the Leveson inquiry showed just how unethical the media has become?

When business operations could be used to tell people that some actions are no longer tolerated, how hard will you shout because you are not feeling the heat against the winter cold, as you can no longer afford to do so? At that point you will wish that the 0% taxation has been removed from some media outlets, which was not the worst idea to begin with.

We are in a setting where we blindly voice the freedom of the press, whilst ignoring that there needs to be accountability of their publications to some degree. That one-sided lack will matter more and more soon enough and when there is a second Leveson, in spite of “Culture Minister Matt Hancock hails a ‘great day for a free and fair press’” whilst voting the second Leveson inquiry down, when the invoice is due from the unacceptable actions by the media, remember that this will be all on the voters, all those voters now screaming like little bitches on another Brexit referendum as they have been played by the media, at that point, when there is a boiling point I doubt that IPSO is going to be any solace in any of this. The fact that Matt Hancock gives us ‘free and fair press‘, in light of all the missed parts that the media was seemingly happy to overlook should entice howls of deriving laughter for a long time to come.

I personally see all this as a seesaw with ‘the cost of doing business‘ on one side and the ‘cost of being in business‘ on the other side, the partial feeling that I have is that on the seesaw axial is the media trying to stage an up down relationship with both parties to prolong the news, not merely (what they refer to as) ‘reporting one the news’ but setting a stage of circulation and prolongation of emotional entitlements towards the readers, none of that is set to the stage of ‘reporting the news’. We have always accepted that there is a cost of doing business, most of us see it in their own work sphere to some degree, yet to set a stage of offsetting that balance against the cost of being in business is pretty novel in the news, it holds a certain value when you are in an actual business, yet it should not be allowed in the media or reporting, even as we understand that a newspapers is run as a business, it benefited a 0% VAT as to set the stage of lessened operating costs, that advantage should be withdrawn to those who are in that stage of the two settings opposing one another, when that becomes an adamant factor the media should no longer be allowed the 0% VAT, and as they are staging themselves as commercial entities, they will learn the hard way that giving a true representation of the actual facts becomes more and more pressing towards properly informing their audience on what is actually going on, the whole picture, not merely hiding behind an ‘unnamed source’ for a mere 295 words of gossip.

the hundreds of Jamal Khashoggi articles in the last 24 hours alone, whilst we have not seen that many articles, not even a mere 10% of articles reporting on the entire proxy war that Iran is waging against Saudi Arabia that in conjunction with their puppet and tool Hezbollah, or certain Turkish ‘revelations’ that are still at this point unsupported by actual evidence.

When the cost of being in business approaches zero, the level of accountability by those using those methods becomes questionable on several sides. So exactly when were we offered a ‘free and fair press‘ by most media outlets? Is ‘free and fair press‘ not dependent on a complete picture, not a mere cropped version of a partial view of a specific niche view?

To give that a slightly more entertaining view, consider what the Daily Mail and the Guardian would give us in the setting from a full picture that was merely the stage of a simple social media setting. We might giggle at the Austin Powers setting, yet when this is done on all news in a stage where thousands of children are set in a stage of near death (actually many of them are already dead), is it still entertaining at that point?

The Daily Mail might give us:

the Guardian view

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Opposed to Fry

The Guardian placed an interesting piece regarding Stephen Fry. This is a good thing, it is always nice to see the point of view of a truly intelligent person, even if I do not entirely agree. This is what happens in an intelligent world, one gives a good point of view and the second person opposes it, or agrees with it. In a true interactive dialogue, the problems of the world could be solved in such manner, which is why it tends to be really sad when politicians avoid that approach slightly too often. The article (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/may/28/stephen-fry-facebook-and-other-platforms-should-be-classed-as-publishers) gives a few nice gems to start with: “Stephen Fry has called for Facebook and other “aggregating news agencies” to be reclassified as publishers in order to stop fake news and online abuse spreading by making social media subject to the same legal responsibilities as traditional news websites“, this is a good start, but here is also the foundation of my disagreement.

You see ‘Facebook and other “aggregating news agencies”‘ gives us a point, in my view Facebook is not an aggregating news agency. It is a social media outlet and as such, the Guardian, the Daily Mail, Reuters, CNN and a whole host of other providers push their articles to Facebook, often just a small eye catcher with a link to their web page. People can use ‘like‘ and ‘follow‘ and as such the news appears on their time line. This is mere facilitation. Do not get me wrong, Stephen Fry makes good points. In my opposition I would state that it makes more sense to go after the tabloids. Until they clean up their act with the innuendo and their not ‘fake’ but ‘intentional misrepresented‘ news, news that is miscommunicated in such ways to create emotional waves. They need to lose their 0% VAT option, that should be reserved for ACTUAL NEWSPAPERS. You see, these tabloids also use the social media as a projecting outlet. In all this Facebook merely facilitates. The second quote is “Fry accused social media platforms of refusing to “take responsibility for those dangerous, defamatory, inflammatory and fake items whose effects will have legal consequences for traditional printed or broadcast media, but which they can escape”“, I find it a lot harder to disagree with, although, when was the last time tabloids were actually truly fined to a realistic amount, an amount where the fine is set to the revenue of a week of published papers? You see when you have 2 billion users, you will get waves of fake news, or false information. There are no numbers, but consider that with 2 billion users, you are looking at 250 million to 1 billion added events per day, how can this be policed? Now, algorithms to police the use of certain words and that could help to some degree, yet the abusers of the social media system are getting clued in too. So they are getting good at avoiding triggering the software by avoiding words that flags them. In addition, when it is done via fake accounts, how can anything be stopped?

Fry makes a good case, yet I think he is not seeing the scope and amount of data involved. In addition, we see “At the moment, they are evading responsibility for their content as they can claim to be platforms, rather than publishers. Given that they are now a major source of news for 80% of the population, that is clearly an absurd anomaly“, he is completely correct, yet the users of Facebook have the option to not watch it or to not accept it on their timeline. Doesn’t that make it a choice of freedom for the users of Facebook? I have in the past needed to block content from a ‘so called‘ friend, merely because of the amount of BS he was forwarding. It was fixed with a mere click of the button. This is not an opposition towards the point Stephen Fry is making, but an answer on how some people could deal with it. In this equation we have the number of people on Facebook, there is a variable that takes into account the amount of BS we get from tabloids, and you better believe that they are active, via ‘stories’ and via advertisement. The advanced options of granularity that Facebook advertisements offers is the reason why those tabloids want to be there and the tabloid group outside of the UK is massively larger than the disgusting size of the UK tabloids is and they are all offering their links on a global scale.

Can Facebook be held to account? Well, to a certain level they can, you see, the actual propagator of events needs a Facebook account. When information is limited to an audience, the impact is lessened. So as Facebook users can no longer send information to friends of friends, only to friends, we have lost an iteration, this could be the difference between 500 people getting the news (fake or real) or the impact that this news goes to 250,000 people, when the addition is that newsmakers can no longer forward it over timelines, but only to the one subscribed timeline, we will soon see a shift on the wave of messages. In addition, not only is the damage contained (to some degree), but as forwarding any post becomes an instance, there would be a much smaller list to police and the users forwarding the post would no longer be the facilitator, they would become the publisher. Facebook is kinda ‘off the hook’, but the user is not, they could to some degree be held to account for certain actions. It makes the events a lot more manageable. In addition, it could limit impact of events.

So here we see the optional solution to some degree. It must be clear that it is to some extent, because it merely drops the impact, it does not take it away. Stephen follows it all up by also making reference to the British Airways IT fiasco. We now see “Fry cautioned that the world’s reliance on digital systems would also inevitably prompt a cataclysmic cyber-attack and bring on a “digital winter for humankind”“, there is certainly a danger and an issue here. The question becomes which issue is in play? As we see Reuters giving us: ““Many of our IT systems are back up today,” BA Chairman and Chief Executive Alex Cruz said in a video posted on Twitter“, we need to realise that even as Terminal 5 was designed to deal with 35 million passengers, in 2015, the numbers give us ‘Terminal 5 handled 33.1 million passengers on 215,716 flights‘, this gets us the average of 91,000 passengers a day, for 590 flights. So there would be an issue for 3-4 days I reckon. That is just the one day impact. The issue that plays and the caution of Stephen Fry is that as we are unaware of why and how it happened, there is no guarantee that it will not happen again. One of the Guardian articles gives us: “The glitch is believed to have been caused by a power supply issue and there is no evidence of a cyber-attack, the airline said. It has denied a claim by the GMB union that BA’s decision to outsource hundreds of IT jobs to India last year was behind the problems“, which has two parts one is the power supply issue, which is a bit of an issue, the second one is outsourcing. The first one is weird, that is, until we know where that power issue was. If there is a server farm, the server farm would be an issue. At this point, the backup systems should have been working, which should if properly set up be in a secondary location. power issues there too? There are several points where the issue could impact, yet with proper setup and tested solutions, the impact should not have been to the degree it was. That is, unless this was done by the same team who ‘tried’ to give the NHS a new system about 5 years ago, if so then all bets are off. The outsourcing sounds nice when you are a union, but that would merely impact the customer service as I personally see it, so until I see specific evidence of that, I will call it a bogus claim by GMB.

The Stephen Fry issue was neither, he merely stated ‘digital winter for humankind‘, which is an actual danger we are facing more and more. You can judge that for yourself and test it. You merely have to switch off mobile data and Wi-Fi from your mobile for 24 hours. 99.992% will not be able to do that, we are that relying on getting fed digital information. We will offer a host of excuses; like ‘I need to be reachable‘ or ‘people need me non-stop‘. I see it as all bogus mentions of the fact that we are digitally too dependent. If you give these people the additional limitation of ONLY using the e-mail and office programs, the chaos is nearly complete. We are all 100% digitally dependent. That means that any damage to such an infrastructure will bring us distress. We then see “An extinction-level event … will obliterate our title deeds, eliminate our personal records, annul our bank accounts and life savings” which is only part of the quote, but this part has already been arranged for the people of the world, it is called Wall Street (remember 2004 and 2008).

The final part to address is the part we see combined in the article. “Fry also addressed the rise of big data, which has seen private companies competing for and using the personal data of millions for corporate gain, the gig economy of Uber and Deliveroo; the inability of governments worldwide to keep up with technological progress; and live-streaming services like Facebook Live allowing people to broadcast acts of violence and self-harm“, the three elements are:

  1. Rise of big data
  2. Keeping up with technological progress
  3. Live streaming towards violence and self-harm

There is no issue with the rise of big data, well, there is but the people are in denial. They are all about government and the optional alleged abuse of that data, whilst they give the green light to places like Facebook and other instances to do just that, and now they get to sell aggregated data. Yet, when we use a certain data property, where every person is 1, like a social security number or a insurance policy number, when every aggregated fact is founded on a population of 1, how aggregated are you then?

We know that governments are not technologically up to date. You see, the cost to get that done is just too high. In addition, governments and other large non-commercial organisations tend to not push or pursue policies too high, which is why the NHS had its Ransomware issues. We see Labour and socialistic parties on how it all needs to be about people programs, whilst they all know perfectly well that without proper infrastructure there would be nothing left to work with, they just don’t care! They need their image of creating jobs, whilst spending all the cash they have and pushing the government into the deepest debt to keep whatever lame promise they make and the next person gets to deal with the mess they leave behind. The lack of long term foresight is also the Achilles of IT, any IT structure needs a foresight of what is to be done next, by living in a fantasy ‘at the present’ setting, is why some politicians go into denial and in that case IT systems will falter over time and no one is set into the field of ‘let’s get this working properly’, the NHS is the clearest example, but not the only one, or the last one to buckle.

The live stream is the larger issue that has no real solution, that is until the numbers are dealt with. As larger facilitators get a handle of what is pushed online, resources open up to resolve certain issues. There will forever be a risk that certain live streams get through, yet the chances might be limited over time. In that, until the laws change, there remains a problem. Part of it is the law itself. The fact that a rape was streamed live, in it watchers saw Raymond Gates, who was accused in the attack and charged with kidnapping, rape, sexual battery and pandering sexual matter involving a minor. That person ended up with 9 years in jail, whilst he ‘enjoyed’ media limelight attention for many months. Marina Lonina, the person who filmed it all got ‘caught up in the likes’. The New York Times stated: “The defendants each face more than 40 years in prison if convicted“, yet in the end, yet the girl filming it got 9 months, the man doing the act got 9 years (source: CBC). So as we see, it seems that the act of live streaming is rewarded with an optional implied sentence reduction of 39 years and 3 months. So if the governments want to make change, I would suggest that they clean up their justice departments and get some proper convictions in place that will deter such live stream actions. In addition, if Marina Lonina would have been convicted with at least the 8 years in addition, so that she and the actual penetrator served the same amount, there might be a chance that live streaming of self harm will fall. There is no evidence that it will, but you get to solve the matter in small steps. Take away the ‘benefits’ of being merely the camera man or girl, the amount of events might drop too.

So here is my view and opposition of the parts Stephen Fry offered. He made good points and raising awareness of issues is always a good thing, especially if they are made by a person as renowned as Stephen Fry, but in all this dimensionality is still a factor. The response against issues (which I blogged earlier) on ‘tough new laws on extremist and explicit video‘, yet in all this, many transgressors will not get convicted and making it the problem of the facilitator, whilst the governments know that the law falls short is just blatantly stupid on the side of the governments. In the end, these people are not stupid, this track will continue for several years, whilst those politicians with: “the rules are not yet public and now enter what is known as “trialogue” – discussions between negotiators from the EC, the European parliament and the Council of the European Union“, gave rise to my ménage-a-trialogue label as this becomes a new EC gravy train which ends up coasting a boatload in lunches, meetings, hotels and flights whilst not resulting in any actual solution. Do you still think Brexit was a bad idea?

OK, my bad, this was not about Brexit, but the issue of laws and free speech have been on the agenda for the longest of times as ‘Strasbourg on March 24th, judges, journalists, lawyers and activists discussed the challenges facing the protection of free expression in Europe‘, there we saw that Helen Darbishire stressed on that event that “it is necessary that the judiciary in individual countries become more aware of European jurisprudence and standards“. If it is true that many countries are establishing regulations, transparency of public information is still far from being a reality. Yet when we consider that freedom of expression can be positive or negative and any hindrance of it goes via Strasbourg, the limitations faced cannot be pushed onto large corporations that facilitate. As the government leaves the field open to tabloids and even make them VAT exempt in the progress, a facilitator that comes with editors, writers and photographers, how can you push the blame onto a facilitation service that has been largely automated? And the worst of all, the governments pushing to place the blame in the other isle know this very well. As long as the debate goes on, they are ‘working on it‘ making the issue even worse.

So even as I oppose Stephen Fry to some extent, it was good and really interesting to read parts of his view (I was not at the event, so the Guardian might not have given me all he said), and as I read his view, I contemplated the views I had and tested them, that is what the views of an intelligent person does, they allow you to test these views against the views you have, which is awesome any given day of the week.

 

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On the purple side

You readers have seen my views in the past. I have been critical of labour and I have given UKIP a pass in the past regarding Brexit, an ideal I am still in favour of, especially as we now see how quick French election promises were shifted like a stab in the back by the French Investment banker turned president. UKIP does not get a soft deal at present, merely because it had a year to prepare, it has a new ‘leader’, one that has nowhere near the charisma of Nigel Farage and charisma or not, they are vying for the top position and if I can chop Labour to size, UKIP deserves no lesser treatment. So what is up with them?

Page 10 gives us the first part “We will fund our schools, build more houses, and rebuild our depleted armed forces. We will do this without adding a single penny to anyone’s tax bill. Our cost-of-living package will also save households £400 a year“, the mere question ‘how?’ should be evident here. The answer given “reduce foreign aid to 0.2 per cent of Gross National Income, and end our financial contributions to the EU budget“, which cannot be done the first year at least, in addition, whatever the UK loses not having to shift into the EU will go into other places, now I am all in favour of giving a chunk of that to the NHS, but the math feels wrong. The reality is that foreign aid often intersects with creating business opportunity and visibility. In my view to get anywhere near all this it will be a lot more than the 0.2% of that national gross, yet how much would be cut exactly and from where? By hiding (read: presenting it like this) they are actually no better than Labour, they have no real idea how to fund their idea’s. In the end they would cut way too much changing the humane image of the United Kingdom that is nowhere near reality and more than that, the UK would lose their face of strength. You see foreign aid is also showing a face of strength. In light of: ‘We can help, we can do this!’ that is a strong message and that strong message cannot be tempered with in light of Brexit, until proper trade paths are set, and properly set in stone, changing the face of England is a dangerous one. In addition, the pledge of more police in light of Manchester just days ago is equally stupid. There is no indication that it would have stopped the Manchester events and more important, labour left the UK with so much debt that we will be feeling that pain for at least 3-4 more years and there is a reality, there will be initial pain from Brexit. UI have always stated that the UK would grow to strength much faster after that, but it is still an issue that will need to be overcome. In addition, as the VAT is removed from the domestic energy bills, the coffers will remain empty, the deficit will go up because that money would need to come from somewhere else. Where will it come from? Tax increases? Extra levies on environmental reasoning’s?

Then on page 12, UKIP does something really stupid, and believe me that stupid is the word for it. As I personally read it, they set into the light, their own Patrick O’Flynn, UKIP MEP for the Eastern region. When we read “Starbucks recently reported profits of £13.4m on a UK turnover of £380m. Its corporation tax contribution fell to £2.7m, down from £7m the year before. How can a vast business that sells coffee in paper cups all over the country for £2.50 a pop end up paying a corporation tax contribution amounting to much less than one per cent of turnover?” Now, the question is valid, but there is a clear side. Turnover (£380m) and profit set at £13.4m, so corporate tax being £2.7m. So we can speculate that it is 17%, that is not too low, consider that Starbucks has shops all over England and in some of the most expensive places in the UK. They have around 800 stores in the UK alone, meaning that there are UK offices too, including the European HQ. So with shops all over London, what do you think the costs are? Now, there are issues for sure, yet in that light to set Starbucks in the limelight whilst the Apple games of legally allowed bookkeeping is setting a very different picture was just stupid. Macworld gives us that part (athttp://www.macworld.co.uk/news/apple/apple-q2-2017-financial-results-revenue-figures-apple-earnings-report-3581769/), when you make $53 billion per quarter, a lot more should be going to the state, yet this is global not just UK, yet it is interesting to see that Ireland was fighting the EU ruling that Apple had to pay back taxes and the Irish government is fighting that ruling, which is insane on a few levels, so far the Irish state has spend €270,000 in legal fees, to fight the demand the EU has that Ireland is due back taxes from Apple. This links to the UK, because the tax system on corporations is an issue, which UKIP addresses on the same page, yet they are just addressing corporate taxation. It is not the issue that is draining taxability, it is the allowance to shift what is charged in the UK.

Let’s show this in an example. A software firm ships software to the UK. The software is set to £0.01 as it goes to the software office from wherever. The software costs £999 and is sold to companies lets say in a package deal with 30% discount. We now see £999 + training £250 + consultancy £750 totalling £1399, discount was £600. Yet the head office wants the agreed £999 software part (or at least the contribution percentage), so the discount is in the books applied to the other two. £1000 minus £600, so we see a taxable amount of £400, now considering the consultancy and training costs in staff, how much is left to tax? That is a multi billion-pound shift, so talking about cups of coffee is a little bogus in my mind. and all this is perfectly legal, because it was set in a package deal. If you make that option no longer an option then that firm either sells a lot less or pays a lot more in taxation, is that not a much better setting? The business side reads nice and it is a nice set-up, I am not sure if it would work like that, but time constraints sets me in the mindfulness that there are a few question marks, but overall the setting of opposition of the small-mindedness of Labour reads nice. In addition, they actually missed the opportunity to offer incentives for businesses to hire aged workers, when that is made more appealing, there would be a business shift that aids in better moral, implying that there would be more competition within a firm which would drive and work eagerness to some degree, which is merely a speculation on my side. Yet they drop the ball with British jobs for British workers. Yes, it has been their voice to do so and I am not against it, yet the voicing of “we should be offering jobs first to our own unemployed, rather than inviting cheap labour from overseas to do the jobs British people are perfectly able to do“, this brings fear to the British Farmers who at times feel lucky to get anyone to take a job outside of the cities. I took special interest on how UKIP decides to solve the housing issue. We get some facts, but there are two elements that are vital to it all. You see, the claim of “a bold policy to roll out high quality, low cost factory built modular (FBM) homes, affordable on the national average wage of £26,000” reads nice, but lacks any solution that would actually work. You see, I can find that (at http://www.hanse-haus.co.uk/house_overview.html), yet the issue is for the most not the house, it is the land and location. Unless the people in the UK are willing to move out of London by a decent distance, the land will be unaffordable, in addition, whatever is built will only fuel congestion in several ways. So it will be about location, infrastructure and availability of services (gas, light and internet). As these parts are often not too lavish or cheap, getting anything at £250K is a stretch at best, in addition, how would there be a working life when the places affordable are on an unholy distance from any location work could be found at. None of the parties has any realistic solution. The Greater London area is so pumped on price per square inch that finding a liveable solution is almost out of the question. so finding a place for 60,000 is almost the unsung drama of the century at present. Page 17 does have some nice parts, parts that I offered as a solution in the past to other parties. I like the restrictions of housing to be for living only and not for any resale other than back to the Housing Development Corporation (HDC). It is close to the only way to get a lid on speculative profiteering in housing projects. I have seen and felt that impact myself in the past. It would enable first home owners a lot more and might help, yet the reality is that this would be outside the Greater London area, which is not a bad thing as there are plenty of cities that could benefit, yet will it work? what reads nice is not a guarantee to be a solution, so I will keep an open mind. When it comes to the NHS, UKIP makes similar mistakes Labour does by merely throwing money at it. For sure the NHS needs the cash, yet the issues are not addressed. The issue is not just “1,500 doctors leave Britain every year for better pay and more relaxed working conditions in Australia or New Zealand“. Addressing that part is essential in solving some of the issues the NHS has, like Labour, throwing money at it will not really work and besides that, where the money is coming from is equally a question that is an issue, because a coffer that has no £9 billion, has no option to spend it, so where is it coming from, merely pointing at the foreign aid budget will not bring forth the coins, so as UKIP has no real solution at present we need to consider alternatives. One alternative could be that any doctor or nurse working a full year at the NHS would see a 5% lowering of their student debt. Would that not be a solution to consider? It would relieve stress, they would actively work and lower the debt without paying and that improves their quality of life especially their first 5-10 years, in there we would see that the NHS could benefit from those 6-10 year veterans, a group that is dwindling down the fastest as I see it. Their part on national not international health care is pretty insane. It is unworkable as refugees and other cases would fall out of the basket. Telling a refugee that this person is not entitled to health care is just not an option. It vilifies the NHS in untold and unacceptable ways. In addition, such paper requirements would give power to insurance agencies in ways I don’t even want to contemplate. Their entire approach to mental health is pretty much food for the waste basket. As we read “Every year, some 150 million GP consultations and up to forty per cent of A&E attendances are linked to mental health issues and drug or alcohol abuse, yet there are insufficient resources for doctors to refer patients to specialist care“, as I see it, Binge drinking needs to be vilified in an open and massive way. It is costing A&E pretty much an arm and a leg in the most literal of ways. Setting the premise that issues on narcotics and binge drinking is either set to private insurance or not treated at all is pretty much the only way left. As the crackdown on binge drinking has failed again and again other steps will be needed. This part in UKIP caters to votes in very much the wrong way. we can see that the healthcare side needs additional help, yet in equal measure it now needs to address that some should no longer be allowed to call for help. The entire mention of cyber bullying was a waste of space and many know that changes are needed, yet as legislation is falling short on technology issues in several ways, there is no answer, so voicing it in consideration is a loss as such. Overall the UKIP manifesto reads better and more believable than the Labour one by a fair bit, I do not believe that the numbers are realistically, as they are mentioning that cuts are to be reversed, yet in all this, there is no valid way where those required funds are coming from. When we consider that with foreign aid ‘The provisional figure for 2016 is £13.3bn‘, and the Gross National Income was predicted to be around £520B, the UKIP idea is to lose £13 billion and spend it in the UK is an issue. With £500 million, there will be no goodwill created outside of the UK, which now implies that business opportunities will go to players outside the UK, on the basis of what is required, what is desired to be cut and what is to be achieved overall, cutting in the wrong pie comes with dire consequences and the ‘upbeat’ story that UKIP provides the provisional voter will not be one that can be maintained to the slightest degree. In all this they focus on corporate tax, yet the tax overhaul that is needed is not seen or shown to the degree it should be. We might love the read on housing, the reality is that the plan has flaws from the very beginning and the protection of farms and farm labour is thrown out of the window as it will be about British jobs for British workers. The least stated on the NHS part the better. I admit, I liked reading their version the best, but like any novel, whether the novel is in red, yellow or in purple does not matter, the life of the people in the UK is not a novel and the reality is that hard times were bestowed on the people (that is excluding Brexit) and the current population needs to deal and suffer that inheritance. Weirdly enough, for the Tories (my blue team), UKIP offers options that the Tories should consider adapting or doing in unison with UKIP, there would be the benefit that some untrained outspoken members could convert to better outspoken people and as they see the light, not only will the quality of UKIP members go up, there is every chance that a more conservative view will be adapted which is good for all of the UK. I have seen messages and forums where UKIP members are and many of them are decent people, only at times drowned out by the loudest speakers rambling more and more extreme expressions, just to get attention. That is merely my view and I believe that this could be solved. As I noticed and reported on in 2015, it seems that people who were not outspoken Labour or Conservative were either Lib Dem or UKIP. It was almost a given that where one was, the other would not be. That is the situation that the Conservatives do not seem to have focussed on (as I personally see it). By offering a wider scope parts of UKIP and Lib Dems would go Conservative which is good as I see it. As Paul Nuttall made three blunders in the last 30 hours alone, he needs to carefully consider where he is moving to. Blaming Theresa May was utterly stupid (wrong does not begin to describe it), being seen as the anti-EU party is a given, but that focus is now no longer valued or valid perse. The issue has been that the spending spree of Mario Draghi was a clear motivator and now we see that Draghi is relabelling a vestment of finance (read: London), as stated by Reuters as “UK financial market infrastructures (FMIs) would be considered as third-country FMIs rather than EU entities“, that part alone should anger the UK people and its bankers. So as Draghi is now stating that the UK stops being European, and set to third country is not only wrong it is a clear statement on a course of blaming of his own failure down the line, and this is happening whilst many parties outside of the UK are questioning the policies of Mario Draghi more and more. the mere mention by the Dutch on how Draghi produced 2.3 trillion out of thin air gives voice that my fears have been forever correct (at least from the beginning of the second wave), that in light that the first wave never actually brought Europe any solid economic growth. The third blunder we see from Paul Nuttall is him calling politicians too cowardly. He wants to recruits thousands of police and troops, but again, there is no way to pay for that. In light of his statement in light of Manchester, he flaws in equal Titanic levels as (thank god for that), it is not up to politicians, but to the intelligence branch and the police to set the stage and the optional solutions, an option made a lot harder by the US lately, a side he did not really touch on. This is also not the time to ‘pounce’ on radical Islam as the path on how to resolve that is actually something that the professionals who are doing just that, are also considering what the best approach is. That is in part the lesson we are now learning from the Manchester Arena. These professionals know what to do and we should let them do that. The attacks on Theresa May, were folly and there was no clear indication on the threat. The evidence now shown that there is a support system in place for Lone Wolves is a really serious issue and I feel certain that the Metropolitan Police and MI5 will know on how to deal with this. So in all Paul Nuttall should have voiced support, not incriminations of any kind. He basically cut his own fingers whilst there was no need to handle a knife at all, as I see it, it will hurt his numbers!

So on the purple side, I have seen some nice reads, yet the reality is that none of the parties can offer anything positive for the Conservatives, they are all in denial of the utter emptiness of the treasury, which does not help their situation either, at least UKIP has the benefit of not trying to push the UK in deeper debt, something Labour is trying to do, straight off the bat. As I see it, the Conservatives remain the strongest, the interesting side is that both Lib Dems and UKIP have opportunities to work with the Tories if they mend their ways and in addition, if UKIP repairs its ability to speak properly and non-extremely on thoughts that were never required to be extreme.

As they presented a purple Union Jack on their cover, they need to realise that this jack is showing shades of purple, attuning their views better to a wider group of British people, who are all optional voters, they need to realise that they are a new party with a visible lack of experience. In all this, I personally believe that Nigel Farage, if persisted in politics could have made a strong gain, in the last week we saw that Paul Nuttall is not up to the job at present, which, if realised by the voters could turn a stronger shift to both Conservatives, yet especially the Lib Dems, because a lot of UKIP and Labour are too uncomfortable with the conservative view (or the Labour view for that matter) and that is fair enough. I just wonder how Tim Farron will deal with the easy slide towards his party. Oh, and that is discounting one part that a lot of people have not considered, which was the case in the Netherlands. The Greens could actually propel forward a fair bit. That part will be known this soon enough.

 

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Which coin?

This morning I was confronted with my own thoughts of the last few days. I am not stating anything new (at least I hope so). The American issues, the overly visible multi-billion dollar deals and a few other notions. It started earlier this week when I heard that a friend was made redundant. These things happen. It happened to me, it will happen to others too. The issue I had is that for a decent long time we have known that companies for the most are not too bothered with loyalty, for them it is about the bottom dollar, what is interesting is that they tend to DEMAND loyalty to a fault until they cut away the people who loyally served them, in some cases for decades, only to replace them with ignorant junior staff members often costing them less than 50% of whatever they are paying now. This is not new, this had been going on for some time and they do it nice and legal, at times segregating a staff member in a niche position, waiting a year, if that person had been around a long time even two year and then closing down that department, which saves them years of due income in settlements.

Weirdly enough, yesterday’s story about the bankruptcy of America is linked to all that. You see, this entire issue can be reduced to two coins. One coin is the government, on one side we see the view they have of companies and the other side is how companies really are. The second coin is how we see companies and the other side is how companies turn out to be. They are not the same coin, they are an entirely different currency all together!

That is the view the older generation does not seem to comprehend and what the younger generation takes for granted. However, the long term consequence is that companies will end up having the short stick in all this (but about that side more a little later).

Let us take a look at coin number one. The government coin!

Companies, for the most have considered themselves nationalistic, it gives them an identity and also the protection of the government branch should that ever be needed. There is Woolworths, the Australian place to get your Groceries; there is General Motors, an American Company, British Telecom a British company and so on. These are actually the old times, we and with us our governments have had this image. To some extent, an Ambassador still to some degree acts as an intermediary between cooperative businesses to promote trade. So companies get the support of a government enabling them to have easier access to business opportunities. Their importance goes back to the Italian renaissance, more notably when Vittore Carpaccio painted the ‘Legend of Saint Ursula‘ series; they are called Arrival of the Ambassadors, The Departure of the Ambassadors and The Return of the Ambassadors. Ambassadors were the dream of business as they opened doors for trade to commence and increase.

Today this is no longer the case, business has no affiliation to any government when times are good (when times are bad they whine for money and tax breaks), actually they always whine for tax breaks. You see, a company as many can see have only allegiance to their board of directors and the bottom line that they worship in a spread sheet. Today’s corporations are not linked to a nation or a location. Google seems to be the only honest one in that regard. They do not call themselves an American company, but a Global company. Their concept of location is fluid, it shapes to the need of tax relief and where the fastest servers are to acquire the data handed to them by well over a billion people on a daily basis. Yet, this is not about Google! This is about the way business is allowed to be done. In my view it has something to do with spineless politicians (not just in America by the way). As companies were allowed too many degrees of freedom, they opted personal need and gain instead of the greater good. This is not wrong or illegal, yet they use the facilities offered for them with all the freedom, which by the way is as it should be for the most and at the same time these companies syphoned billion through a multitude of tax shelter constructions, all perfectly legal. Did you know that hundreds of millions of people buy their downloads in Ireland?

An option to promote trade has for the better part of almost two decades been used to avoid taxation, not to improve trade and/or long term economic benefits (well they are, but only for the board of directors). The greed economy had been turned against the governments, most not willing to change in fear that they will walk away. This is one of the main reasons why America is basically bankrupt and not just America. Many of the commonwealth nations, amongst them Australia, United Kingdom and Canada who are feeling the effects of people buying online and these governments end up getting $0.00 in any form of taxation whilst the stores are shutting down one by one. HMV and the Virgin Megastores were likely two of the most visible victims of online retail changes, yet the online purchases ended up not having taxation of any kind, which does mean that a nation’s government is losing out.

My initial solution was to make a change that made any online purchase taxable in the land of the buyer, an idea that was never adopted, some thinking they ended up with more perhaps? But all lost out, as the e-Giants remained in tax sheltered nations. Particularly the US and UK missed out on hundreds of millions of tax dollars/pounds.

Tax administrators face greater difficulties in enforcing tax laws and maintaining their community’s legitimate revenue base when dealing with international rather than domestic transactions, particularly when dealing with a jurisdiction that combines tax haven status with bank secrecy. Increasingly, tax haven regimes with bank secrecy laws in place are accessible to almost anyone with a modem and a computer“, which comes from Mr Carmody, Commissioner of Taxation. It was an Australian Taxation Office Media Release on November 11th 1997. So, this issue has been known for over FIFTEEN YEARS! Who else is late to the party? Well, that would be the United States of America, the United Kingdom, as far as I can tell Canada (not confirmed, due to a lack of knowledge of Canadian tax laws), Australia and this prestigious list goes on for a little while longer. Yes, we were getting played in a most auspicious way by whining, crying small minded board of director members on a global scale.

There is one more side to the first coin (source: http://www.internationaltaxreview.com/Article/3252311/VAT-considerations-for-e-commerce.html). The article subtitles drew me in ‘Nehal Radia considers the VAT implications of e-commerce and how taxpayers can take advantage‘. The article has a few good sides and they are worth reading about, but for me it helps illustrate another side, partially the fact that a view given here is not as I see it to be ‘the correct one’, which by the way, thuy were never debating.

Consider your own financial situation, you the reader. If you have a job, it is more than likely that you have not been getting too many job raises since 2012, yet overall, your rent, your food, your electricity and food bills did go up, in some cases by a sizeable amount. Now consider the quote “According to Forrester Research Inc., US e-commerce spending will increase by 13.4 % to US $262 billion this year, with an expected continuation in growth to $370 billion in 2017. In Western Europe, it is estimated that 2013 e-commerce spending will reach €128 billion ($165.5 billion), up by 14.3% from last year and with expectations of €191 billion ($247 billion) by 2017)“. Really? Do YOU have that much more to spend?

I do not think that this is the case at all, yet, I know Forrester and it is likely that these are indeed the numbers (if they did not make a weighting error). What seems to be happening is that e-Commerce is growing stronger and stronger as this group is avoiding VAT payments more and more, which means that shops are getting shut down as e-Commerce is passing onto you part of the VAT savings. Consider that VAT in the Netherlands is 21% and in Sweden 25%, how can a shop compete when these savings are to some extent passed onto the customer by the e-shop, whilst they can avoid VAT and they do not need a location with rent and electricity. Business views have skewed the market and governments are now losing out massively, whilst their own economy is also suffering under unfair competition practices.

If this is the first coin, I would call this currency ‘slow and asleep at the wheel’.

We are the second coin. Our view has for the most been to work hard, to get the job done and to bring home the bacon. It is a simple view, as we aim to be the ‘return on investment’; we create a comfortable pillow where we rest. Not because we are lazy, or because we do not do our part, but because we know that as long as we get it all done, our boss needs us. He had paid us a decent amount and as we are the cause for more income then we cost, we should all be in a great position. Guess what! We were stupid! Today’s management or better stated, whoever makes the coin decision tends not to be stupid, but to some extent short sighted. You see, he can get the same person in India, or that one person just leaving University, to do almost the same at half the price. Whatever ‘loyalty’ you think your boss has had towards you is no longer there, as we are no longer people we are just part of a spread sheet, as we cost more we get replaced to cost less as to not affect THEIR bottom line, which is usually their profit (read commission). There is of course an issue we should not forget, the economy is still bad, and yes, we have to accept that trimming the fat (the most costly employees) will also happen as some companies are drowning. They are now relying on image, without the revenue to support it. Yet, this is not about that side. The coin is on how we perceive on the company and how the company really is does matter, not how they do business. Is that so?

Is their corporate soul not depending on exactly how they do business?

It is hard to stay on this without getting into the debate on how companies sometimes make hard choices to stay afloat. It is more about the changed spirit of the business soul and how they hope that youthful ignorance might get them these 1-2 deals that keep them going. Yet there is a side which we seem to ignore. It is ‘interpretation’ of business.

Consider the Corporate Image Awards 2014 (something that was brought by the Frontier Consulting Group), a company that is actually an Indonesian company. In their ‘Corporate Image Survey Methodology 2014‘ they actually had a nice twist to this story. They stated for their fourth dimension called ‘attractiveness‘ two parameters, one was called ‘Dream workplace company‘ and the second one was labelled ‘Company with high quality employees‘. Here we see the crux. What is a high quality employee? One that looks dynamic (read 22-25), fast (read slim lined) and get the job done, which reads like within six hours and however many hours of unpaid time they need to finish the job before the deadline, or the veteran can actually get it all done in 6 hours. It is ‘the’ unspoken question that is here and is loudly ignored by those not willing to answer honestly and those who are very unwilling to admit the question, is actually a massive issue. ‘What is a high quality employee?’

I am left with two coins and a question. Are we, both the people and the government too slow to change, or are companies driving us to change in too inhumane ways to protect ‘their’ profit? I feel uncertain to answer it, there are unspoken sides that have not been dealt with and there is the need for greed by board members on a global scale which is yet to be properly scaled back, even in these uncertain financial times.

 

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