Tag Archives: VISA

Stupid after the fact

We have always heralded stupidity, some in their work sphere, and some in the private sphere. It happens. Yet, when we are lucky we get to see the rarest of events, ‘greedy and stupid’ in one neatly wrapped package. That is the view we need to take when we see the Associated Press give us the events of ‘Carlos Nuzman, president of the Brazilian Olympic committee‘. So as we are treated with “In total, 11 detention warrants were issued for people in both Brazil and France in what police dubbed “Operation Unfair Play.”” we need to wonder how this came about. Now, there is the non-existing reality of ‘honour amongst thieves’, yet when it comes to the corrupt that rule will never exist. Most of these people are merely one skip away from being a target themselves. So when we see that the associated press gives us not a lot to go on (most merely circumstantial facts). The NY Times (at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/08/sports/olympics/whistle-blower-says-he-told-of-rio-olympics-corruption-years-ago.html), has a lot more. With “Mr. Maleson, an outspoken critic of Mr. Nuzman, made accusations about Olympic projects and asked the I.O.C. why it had not prevented Mr. Nuzman, 75, from occupying the dual roles of leader of the Rio 2016 organizing committee and chief of Brazil’s national Olympic committee. “This is a clear conflict of interests, and the I.O.C. should never have allowed this to happen,” Mr. Maleson wrote in a Sept. 6, 2014, email to the I.O.C.’s president, Thomas Bach, and the organization’s judicial body. He contacted the I.O.C. in 2012 to accuse Mr. Nuzman of corruption and election fraud“, here we see systematic failures of organisations that grew beyond their means of comprehension. Consider the time-line. When we consider the Oxford Olympics Study 2016, with: “the outturn cost of the Sydney 2000 Summer Olympics at USD 5 billion in 2015-dollars and cost overrun at 90% in real terms. This includes sports-related costs only, that is, (i) operational costs incurred by the organizing committee for the purpose of staging the Games, e.g., expenditures for technology, transportation, workforce, administration, security, catering, ceremonies, and medical services, and (ii) direct capital costs incurred by the host city and country or private investors to build, e.g., the competition venues, the Olympic village, international broadcast center, and media and press center, which are required to host the Games. Indirect capital costs are not included, such as for road, rail, or airport infrastructure, or for hotel upgrades or other business investment incurred in preparation for the Games but not directly related to staging the Games“, The paper by Bent Flyvbjerg, Allison Stewart and Alexander Budzier (The Oxford Olympics Study 2016) shows levels of failure. The mere realisation of cost overruns that goes into multiple editions of 100% makes it a multi-billion dollar cash cow and there are too many players eager to dip their private (or is that privacy) parts into the golden troth of exploitation. Now, this does not state that Carlos Nuzman is corrupt; it merely gives us the setting. With the NY Times, we see that there is a much larger issue. The fact that there are clear records that there were issues and oppositions, whilst we now see that nothing was done, shows larger levels of failure that seem to be more about not rocking the boat, than to stop hurting the utterly broken image of the Olympics. When we consider the person linked to this, we see that Eric Leme Walther Maleson is the founder and former president of the Brazilian Ice Sports Federation has a long lasting life in sports and winner of three bronze medals in the sport, so we have a winner. This man seems to have been devoted to sports for most of his life. So it is a voice the Olympic committee should not have ignored. You see, the broken image of the Olympics, an image that went from excellence in sports towards the need for big business to promote their products under the guise of media exploitation is utterly void of spirit. Coca Cola, Dow, Intel, Samsung and Visa have changed that landscape. Agreeing to a situation that shows a growing curve of getting it all (namely the infrastructure) in place. You see, the earlier mentioned paper is important, even as we see “cost per athlete has been increasing for both the Summer Games and Winter Games, driven mainly by London 2012 and Sochi 2014. Overall, however, the changes over time are statistically non-significant for both Summer Games“, it is important as we know, or should know that the Olympics are set in three parts: ‘The event, the players and the cost of the location’. If the increase of cost per athlete had been significant, we would have had a less to go on, so with them out of the equation (and take the massive cost for Sochi 2014 away) we now have two elements: ‘The event’, which gives rise to internal corruption of stakeholders and sponsors; with the internal corruption of sponsors not in the mix (at present). We are left with the location and the stakeholders. Now, we all agree that the cost of everything goes up, but consider “15 of 19 Games (79 percent) have cost overruns above 50 percent and 9 of 19 Games (47 percent) have cost overruns above 100 percent“, now we can accept that such events will always come with the cost of business, we need to consider that ‘cost overrun‘ is merely a motto for political downplay of elements in their moment of national pride. I personally see it as an optional place where you can soften opposition with parked billions!

I believe that the paper has cornered certain Olympic elements and it cannot prove it, yet by exposing other parts as non-factorial we now see that the Olympics are a much large mess than the media is making it out to be. Even as we are focused on Carlos Nuzman, we are ignoring the elements that are part of the machine behind it. So when we see USA Today “French and Brazilian authorities said Nuzman brought together businessman Arthur Cesar de Menezes Soares Filho, and Lamine Diack, the former head of track and field’s governing body who at the time was an IOC voting member. Soares Filho’s company, Matlock Capital Group, allegedly paid Diack $2 million into a Caribbean account held by his son, Papa Massata Diack. Authorities said Lamine Diack, an influential African member from Senegal, was instrumental in organizing the African bloc of votes. The widening case implicated four-time Olympic medallist Frank Fredericks. The former sprinter from Namibia has said a near-$300,000 payment he received via Diack’s son on the day Rio won the vote was for legitimate consultancy work. Still, Fredericks lost his place leading an IOC inspection team to visit Paris and Los Angeles” these all seem legitimate elements in all this and it is not part or regarding ‘Frank Fredericks‘, I wonder how and what work he did to get the $300,000. I and many others have never been offered $300K for a consultancy job, so what does ‘legitimate’ entail? The element in this is ‘an IOC inspection team to visit Paris and Los Angeles’, you see, what would they have been privy to and exposed to? The USA today gives us that in the very last line. With “dozens of top politicians implicated in a sweeping judicial corruption investigation in which construction giant Odebrecht illegally paid billions to help win contracts” we are exposed to the cost of doing business. Paying 2 billion to gain 11 billion in contracts is merely good business and the locations still need to be constructed, the untold part in all this. Odebrecht is present in South America, Central America, North America, the Caribbean, Africa, Europe and the Middle East. They have been stepping on large toes and as such certain French players are eager to see it stop. Construction is the largest unmonitored Wild West industry remaining on the planet. Odebrecht with a value now approaching 42 billion is an issue for many players. Even as we are confronted in the US with “Howard Archer, chief economic advisor to the EY ITEM Club, reckoned Friday’s economic data indicated UK GDP growth may likely be limited to just 0.3% for the third quarter, he also acknowledged the disappointment in trade and construction output“, which might not be anything worth mentioning, unless you see it next to Odebrecht and the currently unsubstantiated channels towards a multiple billions (read: expected 2.08 billion) to get 11 billion in extra jobs, now it becomes something the American players (as well as the European ones) are getting huffy and puffy about, because if Odebrecht is getting it, they are not and that is where investigative parties get creative. So when we see “They emerged with suitcases, documents and a computer“, we need to wonder. Was the taken away party actually that stupid, or are we witnessing a new Flim Flam visitation of: watch ‘here’ whilst out of view certain deals are brokered. In all this the sponsors are still part and equally guilty. You see the sponsors let cost overruns of over 100% go and not give proper light to EVERY element in this. Merely that the local political engines were sorting it out for them (and those political players get to live with the consequences), the sponsors merely move on. As I personally see it, these sponsors are supposed to be intelligent, so this is happening with their silent approval, only when they fail to meet the targets that is set towards the costs, only then will we hear them loudly. This is exactly why Qatar 2022 remains in the news, again and again. The media is already kicking up stinks because they aren’t getting anything out of it, they are merely in a place to either accept it or move out. The Daily Mail is giving us more and more allegations and even as some smile because Qatar did not qualify for the world cup 2022, we see “Qatar’s elimination will be enjoyed by its many critics in the West who claim the emirate should never have been given the chance to host the World Cup, pointing to a lack of footballing pedigree as well as corruption and labour abuse claims“, how about these critics in the west shut up as continue to suck the tits of corruption they are currently sucking on? I am more lenient towards Christopher Davidson, who with ““Having never qualified for a World Cup before, I don’t think Qatar should have ever made the claim that it was a genuine footballing nation,” Christopher Davidson, a Middle East expert at Britain’s Durham University, told AFP” we might accept their words, yet when we consider the Jamaica bobsled team, ending up ahead of United States, Russia, Australia and France. Should we take bobsleighing away from the USA or France? We have heard 2 years of utter bullshit of these critics with supposedly showing all air and no evidence? In that same light, should we dissolve the Sunday Times this coming Monday? Remember the claim of “obtained millions of secret documents – emails, letters and bank transfers – which it alleges are proof that the disgraced Qatari football official Mohamed Bin Hammam made payments totalling US$5m (£3m) to football officials in return for their support for the Qatar bid“, so if they do not go public with all the evidence, can we force closure of the Sunday Times? Personally I find the existence of Rupert Murdoch and Martin Ivens offensive. They represent what is wrong with media today, so if they are gone, I will feel happiness. They are going with alleged and proclaimed, whilst the construction levels of corruption are happening at their front door and at that point they remain really really silent. In light of FIFA, we have seen levels of failing where the press was eagerly not rocking any boats at all, merely when big business saw it was losing out, at that point everyone screamed murder and mayhem.

These players have been stupid after the fact for much too long and as such we need to consider whether we need to overhaul the Olympics in ways never conceived before. Perhaps it will downgrade those events for the much larger extent. It will no longer be about drugging, about substance abuse or about the next mobile phone that works better when you drink Coca Cola. It will be about athletes competing for the title of who is actually the best, no sponsors, no advertisements and no billboards.

This is all still ongoing, with Qatar finishing Hamad port, we will see more and more issues rise, but as the stream for completing the WC 2022 event going straight into Qatar, we see that some players will take other venues to see what stink they can kick up. We can see the validity of France trying to aid in resolving the issue. An opportunity Turkey let fly by is now in the hands of Bertrand Besancenot, diplomatic adviser to the government. As France has close ties with Egypt and the UAE while also being a major arms supplier to Qatar and a key ally of Saudi Arabia, we see a player that is eager to find a solution for all as they greatly benefit any solution. If there is one issue, then it is the one that the UAE edition of the National brings us. With “Despite its claims of being ‘under blockade’, Qatar has also expanded shipping routes to India, Oman, Turkey and Pakistan and announced plans to raise its liquefied natural gas (LNG) output by 30 per cent in an effort to weather the boycott“, we see a dangerous turn as there is an actual danger in pushing to raise output towards 30%, as I see it, it requires certain players to circumvent larger safety settings, which could be the start of a very different disaster in Qatar. In addition, who in Al Jazeera will be part of the committee in charge for building and setting up the media centre during WC2022? It could potentially become a new Al Jazeera building merely months after the event and as such, it is an opportunity for Al Jazeera to set the bar for their competitors in the Middle East even higher. There is nothing like raising the output of your own station by 300% to truly get more visibility. In that view, as we will soon hear on how Qatar has optionally additional satellites available for all reporting parties, has anyone considered the impact of government fuelled competition? So when we are stupid behind the fact, were we not looking on what is additionally provided for? So when we are watching Tokyo bring live every match and event in hi-res to our G5 phone free of charge, has anyone considered the fact that we spend an additional $400 to get that phone ahead of schedule? So with 3-5 players getting an additional share of $20 billion for 5G on the initial launch, what is the part we were not looking at? Until the moment is there, we can understand that players like Apple, Google, Huawei and Samsung are quiet as a mouse, but all that ‘bedazzling entertainment‘ represent additional construction billions, additional satellites and longer terms benefits not charged or taxed, all under the guise of: ‘sports’. If it is true that we see the first pilots go live during Pyeongchang, and we will all readily accept that this will be the shining moment of Samsung (the local player there) as it shows what more we can expect from becoming the mobile entrepreneur, what do you think that Tokyo (2020), Qatar (2022), Beijing (2022) and Paris (2024) will bring? These 4 will have a growing infrastructure need which means that construction will grow even further. Four events that can only be done and almost literally set in stone by the strongest and largest players in construction, the instant moment to make several billions merely by being at the right place. That is what others fear Odebrecht could do. Larger players that are at present not ready to the extent that they needed to be for the upcoming considerations. Even as we see the South American headlines regarding Odebrecht, we need to realise that Odebrecht is everywhere. In that, it is: ‘who’s who in Legal’ that brings the ending gem to all this. With “Big-ticket cases involving the likes of Rolls-Royce, Petrobras, Odebrecht and Barclays remain at the forefront of the international corporate crime market, encompassing both corporate and individual defence and therefore keeping a vast number of lawyers across the world exceptionally busy. It is a trend that the majority of lawyers canvassed during our research see no sign of abating, as the fight for transparency and the activities of enforcement agencies intensify” we are shown to the cost of doing business and Odebrecht is not alone and it is not evil, the world changed yet the players on other sides remains stoic and unmoving, now that they are no longer regarded as people who matter, they now shout foul and demand action. So as we see the greedy idiots trying one more tantrum to get the WC away from Qatar, we need to see that the foundation of sports have become rotten and corrupt, the foundations are falling because the structure were never adhering to the reality of doing business. Merely a presentation from an outdated PowerPoint shows that what we saw and what we believe was never a reality. So as the media hides behind claims and allegations stating that the entire system is corrupt and sick, we might argue that the media has labelled themselves as healers seeing what is wrong whilst they are merely the hypochondriacs in this game; seeing and reporting on sickness whilst they have no medical degree or knowledge of the symptoms, or claiming to have the results but are unwilling to make them public. Hiding behind documents that never see the light of day, they proclaim exist, whilst not presenting the evidence, all whilst they herald politicians who in the same air and at that same moment present the acceptance of the ‘invoice of buildings’ that ended up being 100% more expensive as it was for the good of sports. Only after the fact, when the dust settles will some ask questions and do we see that people like Carlos Nuzman, guilty or not being towed away, that whilst questions were asked years before the event. With 5 large events coming up, with close to a trillion at stake, sponsors and stakeholders will not ask questions until targets are not met, or are close to being a risk of not making it. The media will remain on the foreground silent ‘awaiting‘ evidence, merely speculating at times, whilst shouting on behalf of others when those ‘friends’ (read: advertisers) have too much to lose. Greed driven media, this is exactly why people like Rupert Murdoch and Martin Ivens should be discontinued. In the end they are merely in it for the circulation at best and personal greed at worst.

We can all be stupid after the fact, which includes me. Yet when I am I will be in a state of ‘Wow, I so did not see that coming!‘ and I will to improve the way I see things, whilst the others are playing another iteration of ‘the next wave’ to fill their pockets. It sets me apart as I want improvements to a system that could be good and they merely want continuation of their luxurious way of life.

I still believe that certain players will push for the change of Qatar 2022. Yet after that, after it happens, when evidence lacked, we should demand their mandatory retirement from income and public life, and those sponsors should be barred from global sport sponsoring events forever. I wonder how many politicians will turn out to be a mere representation of cowardice at that point in time, trying to find some compromise that their way of life finds acceptable?

 

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Vindication

Today is turning out to be a nice day after all. I have made mention on more than one occasion that I am not an economist, I am an analyst and for some time now, the numbers have not been adding up. Certain action had been taken and they never made sense. The issue I had is that because the press seemed not to dig into this gave a decent amount of persuasion that I might have been wrong, which would have been fair enough, yet I know data, I lived data for decades and the numbers just did not add up.

Yesterday I saw a first glimpse, and today there is now a clear indication that I had been right all along. Goldman Sachs had been a part of a lot more than many can fathom. So whilst Cuppa Joe and the press at large has all been about the ‘naughty’ intelligence branch, they all ignored the trap behind it and let the banks do whatever they damn well liked.

One step back

The first inkling was Goldman Sachs directly in my blog ‘Banks, eunuchs of a new congregation‘ of February 7th 2013, more than 1.5 years ago! In there I gave this quote: “It is almost that there is a voice whispering in the ear of Dutch Finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem. The whispers seem to be about the Bad Bank and the whispers could involve Goldman Sachs” and “This thought was also mentioned by Rolfe Winkler at the New York Daily News. How is it even possible that a company that seems to have been one of the major reasons for the financial meltdown be regarded, or even ALLOWED to make any continued presence?“, this would get followed by my blog ‘The Italian menace?‘ on February 10th, 3 days later. “Berlusconi, who said he won’t seek the executive position but rather prefers to become Finance Minister, has seduced the masses saying he will repeal a property tax imposed by Monti, returning about €4 billion“. These elements are all in league with one massive step. As these members are directly linked to Goldman Sachs. Not just Berlusconi, it is also Mario Monti who has direct links to Goldman Sachs (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/analysis-and-features/what-price-the-new-democracy-goldman-sachs-conquers-europe-6264091.html). The independent article shows even more, steps that I had not looked at (for various reasons). Yet, overall Goldman Sachs has been keeping their fingers in all these pies.

In the near past

As we look at the events in the near past I wrote ‘Two deadly sins‘. It was November 27th 2013. There we see the following quote “After the issues we had seen in the last 3 years, I started to doubt the correctness of the Dow (and I reported on that in past blogs). It goes up and up, but with JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, VISA, American Express putting pressures on those numbers, the three big boys (drugs) could rock the boat in a massive way, which scares Wall Street to no extent. Greed and Treason, it is all connected and it hits us all critically hard sooner rather than later!” I had no idea that I was so much closer to it all then I thought. That part has just been made clear!

Now

The Huffington post (at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/28/elizabeth-warren-new-york-fed_n_5896778.html), has just release this article stating that “Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) are both calling for Congress to investigate the New York Federal Reserve Bank after recently released secret recordings show the central bank allegedly going light on firms it was supposed to regulate“, but there is more, like a bad infomercial from TV we see the added flavours that would silence Dante Alighieri and reduce Niccolo Machiavelli to a mere checkers player when we consider the additional quote “Segarra says that she was fired from her job in 2012 for refusing to overlook Goldman’s lack of a conflict of interest policy and other questionable practices that should have brought tougher regulatory scrutiny“. So, this was NOT just the banks, this seems to imply that the US government themselves have been linked to the massive degrees of freedom that Goldman Sachs has been enjoying. So that leaves us with the thought that the EEC is not enjoying any freedoms at all, it is enjoying the allowance to decide on how much they all are in debt to Goldman Sachs and whatever is behind them. Because, a choice of one is not a choice, it is a directive and now we see the amount of people that have been involved in orchestrating all this.

I wonder if the mentioned 48 hours of taped conversations will ever make it into the daylight, chances are that this will get locked up real fast. As the American people were so smitten with a joke called Snowden, they all got played into the side where the banks were given freedom of movement through all this and the press at large did NOTHING to truly look into the dangers their populations faced, it is the ultimate Machiavellian play.

I particularly liked this quote “In one instance, she said she alerted a colleague that a senior compliance officer at Goldman had said that the bank’s view was that “once clients became wealthy enough, certain consumer laws didn’t apply to them.” Segarra claims that her New York Fed colleagues asked her to ignore the remark and change meeting minutes she had taken, which contained evidence of what the Goldman executive said“, which basically means that the rich do not just get a free play in the game, they remain unaccountable beyond a certain point. Did we who will never be rich sign up for that? I have no issue with people becoming rich, providing it is through non-criminal ways, yet the fact that this also implies non-accountability to the law is an entirely different matter. If you think that this is not an issue, then wonder what a firm like Microsoft is getting away with or Goldman Sachs for that matter. It is easy to remain unaccountable when the lawmakers are in your pockets.

Recently

Now this all links to another party, who only recently got visible thanks to a ‘dubious’ ideologist as he exposed the Swedish left winged system. I am talking about Natixis! Its assets exceeds well over half a trillion dollars, not bad for a French bank! Why are they here? You see, I always saw that there was more to Goldman Sachs, yet as my stories were never explicitly about Goldman Sachs, but about events that involved them, Goldman Sachs was clearly on my radar. Natixis until the Swedish election was not, nor needed it to be. Yet when we look at their Portfolio of Investments – as of December 31, 2013, we see that they are linked to the bulk of large corporations and their financial needs. They also have a nice little chunk of Goldman Sachs. Now we have a race, because together they hold over 1.5 trillion in assets. Are we all awake now?

Two corporations with the power to shift, change and pressure government oversight in America and pretty much the entire European Economic Community, is more than just a nuisance. Remember how Goldman Sachs promised (read threatened) to transfer a substantial part of their European business from London to a Eurozone location – the most obvious contenders being Paris and Frankfurt. It was a statement by Michael Sherwood, co-chief executive of Goldman Sachs International (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/dec/04/goldman-sachs-warns-london-exit-britain-eu), at this point we get to wonder whether it was a business decision, or whether it was a phone call from a person with direct access to the ear of the President of the United States (yes the last part is an assumption on my side, but is it such a wild one?), if any of this is ever confirmed, I reckon that this is the one straw that breaks parliaments back and results in a shift of power to Ukip so fast it will make all the heads in Whitehall spin.

This is just the parts I got a hold on, I feel certain that a REAL investigative journalist (if one still exists) would have been able to find a lot more, yet nothing has made the papers in this regards for close to two years. You should really start to ask the question why!

Because, when we see the press entrap MP’s with fake profiles, whilst ignoring these levels of power, then the press has failed on so many levels it is not even funny anymore.

Tomorrow

Today is the start to plan for the questions that many should be asking government and the press tomorrow, the press because they seem to be asleep at the wheel, asleep that two companies have so much power that they can set the entire political tone. Freedom has never been about this. Freedom lost, because of what I regard to be cowardly (and possibly greed driven) politicians who are enabling a group to be flaccid economists to empower wealth and greed and condemn us to consumer based slavery until our numbers are no longer balanced as profitable.

How can we ever attain a better life, or in regards to the links that I recently discovered any form of a healthy life at all? Will be see vindication, but who in the end gets vindicated is an entirely different discussion.

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The price of a passport!

We all have our moments; we all have that moment when we need to prove that we are the person we are claiming to be. Many of us have been through it more than once. When we turn 18 and we go traveling, when we need to apply for loans, mortgages and other financially linked issues. We must prove that we are who we say we are. It is at that time that we need to have a passport and even though, except for travel over national lines it is not essential, it will always be regarded as the most correct proof of identity.

It is the dream of an identity thief, the dream of a refugee trying to get to any level of a safe life. A passport will have that magical shield value. Whether you live in one of the Commonwealth nations, or in many of the western European nations, we seem to forget just how powerful a passport truly is. Those who got theirs seem to forget the hassle it is to get one for the first time. So when the article (at http://news.sky.com/story/1286601/passport-office-profiting-from-publics-pain) appeared, I was not that surprised, even though the term ‘profiting‘ seemed out of context.

Most passports are valid for 10 years and the freedom of a passport is often beyond most imaginations. At http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_passport#mediaviewer/File:Visa_requirements_for_British_citizens.png we see the freedom a British National has. It allows a person to pretty much go anywhere within the Blue and Green regions at the drop of a hat. We all take this level of freedom for granted at times. The Dutch passport can get you in all these places as well as in a limited way into additional Middle-Eastern places (1 or 2). So when we look at a passport, we often do not realise the power it holds. I myself got confronted with the notion in Crete, when I was having a coffee with a Russian Lady on vacation. She explained the hoops she had to go through to get to Crete. Her passport did not give her the tropical destinations at the drop of a hat and to go shopping in Saks on fifth was a joke she could not seriously entertain ever.

Now let’s take another look at that little trinket! Whether you have a thin one, or one with 12 additional pages, you will set yourself back for a decent amount of coin. You think that it is expensive, taken the time-frame, a passport is less than 8 euro’s a year and it is an essential document in your life. There is of course another side to this. As everyone wants that piece of paper, you want to keep a good check on it, and the application for it is a time consuming process. So much so that those behind it need to make sure that this document keeps its value. It was at this point I started to wonder about a few issues.

The article had a few quotes that give pause for us to think issues through.

The figures showed there were 552,192 applications in January this year compared with 482,356 12 months earlier” is the first quote, “There are still 490,000 applications being dealt with and staff have had to work the equivalent of nearly £1m in overtime in one month” is the second one, “It is baffling why immediate action was not taken to alleviate the impending disaster that has now engulfed HMPO.” is the third one and “The Passport Office is ‘profiting from the public hardship’ by making a surplus of almost £13 on each application, the head of a government watchdog has said” is the fourth one, but the first one to be mentioned. This is all coming from Keith Vaz, Labour MP and funny enough, a person who started life as a Yemeni citizen.

It is nice to see such criticism, but how fair is it? Consider the UK has close to 64 million people. I have no clear number on how many are ACTUAL citizens, but for the fun of it, let us assume 100% (which is ridiculous I know), this means that if all is equally set, the HMPO would need to produce 6.4 million passports a year, which is a little over 533 thousand a month. So how are the numbers as quoted by Keith Vaz MP a surprise to anyone?

I reckon the HMPO should know that these numbers would need to be met to some degree. Here is the kicker! They are not surprised and I feel certain they are trying to deal with it. The problem is that hackers are getting better and that more and more systems are compromised, so before we go into that part, we should recognise that over the last 10 years the work of the HMPO has grown in complexity and they are relying on the part these systems that cannot get compromised by these hackers, mainly the printed documents and original papers (as are likely seen in those massive binders). The Honorable Mr Vaz seems to be ignoring those parts.

As for the 13 pounds, is this even a valid number? If we consider the amount of actions required, checks to be made and then the actual passport to be created, checked and handed to the right individual, a passport is a real deal at twice the price. The fact that 1 million in overtime is quoted; the 13 pounds profit would be non-existent by the time the actual costs are added up. The one part he does have a point the HMPO should have been a lot larger, but getting qualified staff there is not an easy task. Let us not forget that even though extremely important, this job does not have the Jetstar double zero seven appeal that a branch like GCHQ or Special Branch offers. The initial view many might have that this is the dream job for a CPA fantasizing about libraries, which is not the largest target area in any nation, but this work needs to be done!

So as the is dealing with this passport issue, we need to take into account that this problem can only be solved with reliable systems (which is becoming increasingly difficult), millions of people are victims of identity fraud, which makes checking of some details increasingly harder and as paper trails are slowly diminishing, the HMPO will have to add more effort in making sure that the created passport is for the right person and whether the requested person was the actual person. IK know it seems weird, but the moment someone has YOUR passport you will learn the hard way on those consequences.

Now it is time to revisit my remark on Mr Vaz’s original nationality. This was not some cheap shot and even though it is at times fun to have a go at labour even just for the hell of it, I do have respect for Mr Vaz on entering public life and his decision to support the British system. He has my sympathies and respect in that regard. No, it is about what a person from Yemen was able to reach. In that regard Mr Vaz needs to be reminded on where his Yemeni passport got him (at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visa_requirements_for_Yemeni_citizens). As you can see his VISA free options were not that impressive. As a Yemeni citizen, he can see less than 10% of the world his British passport (or EEC equivalent) allows him to see without a VISA. This directly links back to the power a passport (his British one) grants him. So, the UK is dealing with a backlog and this backlog must be dealt with carefully if the HMPO wants to keep the value of the British passport high.

If not, the consequences of devaluation will hit anyone with a British passport, which could impact hundreds of innovators, who now travel the world seeking new ideas.

Still Mr Vaz did make valid points by shedding light on this; the problem is on how to solve it. Theresa May is announcing additional measures (at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/additional-measures-to-meet-high-passport-demand). These measures seem good, but are they? They are an essential patch, but the numbers as they are shown to us, give way to the thought that a better and more permanent solution must be found. As for additional jobs, here is a possible option for matured interns to take a centre seat. I grant that oversight is needed, but the UK is filled with retiree’s and ex-servicemen who are very trustworthy, all just hoping to get a decent job. If initially 100 could be added to get some of the grunt work out of the way, would that not speed things up? So the lowest staff member of the HMPO would now become a small manager, each receiving the files from up to a dozen new interns. Yes, issues will rise, yes some will not be complete, but they now will get a surplus of gathered facts. Instead of going through 1-2, they will go through 11-20 of them. In the beginning, 80% will get send back to the intern, but as the initial week progresses, the processed files will get to 70%-80%, giving the one HMPO officer close to 10 times the processed files. A staggered approach to this will raise the numbers of passports dealt with and the mountain of outstanding passports will soon diminish to some degree.

In many ways, several nations will have to change their way of thinking, in this situation we add to the working pool, we see an outstanding issue resolved to some degree. This is just one solution that would not cost the government millions, which is always a good side.

 

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Golden age of Journalism?

There is a speech on Sky News. In this video, we see John Ryley stating that the Golden Age is now. He talks about the pessimists, but is he correct? Well, in all honesty, he is not wrong. Yet, the dangers are not really shown in his speech. The statement for some journalists that ‘the golden age is now’ is indeed a statement that is laced with truth. As in the past journalists going into the news were hoping and praying for their ‘live’ moment, that golden age is indeed now, they can ALL be live in a matter of seconds. It is the quote he makes in the video (at http://news.sky.com/story/1280339/sky-news-head-golden-era-for-journalism ) it is at 1:43 where he mentions that all news is available on-demand, live all the time is also laced with a danger he does not mention ‘the key to exploiting these multiple opportunities‘ is the quote we see next. Here is the danger we need to understand. Yes, we have more news and as John Ryley states, there is a growing abundance of analytics, facts, snippets and other streamed information being added to our field of vision, yet what about the quality? In the past journalists grew into a job, now we see all graduates rush to get the headlines that get them the job to go forward. In this changing view, levels of quality are no longer pursued (just perused at best).

We have to accept that we do not get the best numbers at times. When something happens, we are often given a few facts linked to the events, yet, when we start adding analytics that are meant to be part of the same news cycle, how reliable are these numbers? I am not talking about business news here. In those cases the journalists have decades of numbers at their back and call. No, I am talking about dumping false data at the mere press of a finger. In that regard, I think Australia outdid itself when a girl in May 2009 gave false testimony on TV and gained the reputation of the ‘Chk Chk Boom’ girl. It is not the most extreme example, but it illustrates the dangers. There is no blame to the journalist, yet the impact was there, even though people laughed it off to some extent. Now consider that what is laughingly regarded by some as journalism. It was the Daily Telegraph quoting “Flight MH370 ‘suicide mission’” on page one, PAGE ONE no less! Now, almost three months later, there is still no sight of the plane and no actual evidence that there was a suicide mission. These two parts give the indication. No matter how much journalists are entering the Golden age of direct media opportunities, the growing need for ethics and quality checks in an age of immediate publication is growing at an almost exponential rate.

This all gets another flavour when we consider certain parts of the Leveson report. “A free press, free of the censorship and restrictions imposed by the powerful, … serves the public interest by its investigative and communicative role. Both roles are necessary.” (at volume,page1:64). Yes, I am all for freedom of the press, but not for freedom of non-accountability. In case of the ‘Chk Chk Boom’ girl, the press was not guilty, they were talking to a ‘witness’ and that got reported, in case of the Daily Mail, serious questions about the journalist could be made (as well as its chief editor). Here we see the danger, we cannot avoid issue one in a time pressed event, yet when the journalist shapes the story, by intentionally adding non verified data, we get issue number two and here we see, what in my mind adds up to intentional inflicted harm (to the family of victims) for the greater ‘need’ of some headline, which then results in tiers of damage control and carefully ‘phrased’ denials. None of those events could or would be regarded as journalism. John Ryley does not dig into that danger (as far as I know).

 

The last danger is the one John Ryley was not going to talk about (assumption on my side) and as I see it, he should not have to. Yet, the dangers that his Golden age of Journalism brings is the added hype of trial by social media. When given form, events will more and more shout out for witch-hunts via social media. This is not started or at times intentionally instigated by the journalists, which must be stated quite clearly, yet the dangers we all face as someone emotionally responds to any news event is always there. Yet the dangers that any news that spreads online will be accompanied by the dangers of social media “hang ’em high judges” should not be underestimated, giving the increased need for quality checks and verification in an age when doing just that out-dates the news instantly. There is no real good solution here and it must be said that a journalist cannot be blamed for any social media prosecution hype, yet, when proven that the news that sparked the witch-hunt was irresponsible, (like the MH370 story by the Daily Telegraph), should the journalist bringing the story be held accountable for the consequences? In that case I say ‘Yes!’. So, even though if we are to believe that journalism is entering a Golden Age, we must also look at the consequences of their acts and hold journalists accountable for some of their actions as such.

A view, I have had for a long time, but was raised by Sir Christopher Meyer on the 19th of February 2009 (long before I started my accountability act crusade).it can be found on the Leveson report (4:1539) “I am afraid that we also require some reassurance about the credentials of those carrying out the inquiry. In addition to the inaccuracies … the report does not appear to have been written by anyone with much understanding of self-regulation or the relationship between the PCC and the law. More fundamentally, we have to ask ourselves whether this enterprise is being undertaken in good faith…” (from pp1-5, Stephen Abell, http://www.levesoninquiry.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Exhibit-SA-T1125.pdf).

I will add one more part to this all. I wrote a blog on March 19th called ‘Any sport implies corruption!‘. Yesterday’s news (at http://news.sky.com/story/1280406/qatar-corruption-claims-coca-cola-concerned), directly links to this. My issue is that the quote “Mr Quincey’s comments are significant because Coca-Cola is one of Fifa’s leading sponsors along with Adidas, Budweiser, Sony and Visa and, as such, a major provider of revenues to the organisation, contributing hundreds of millions of dollars to Fifa’s coffers.” is not entirely complete as I see it. Moreover, there are still serious issues with the claims of corruption to begin with.

The end of that quote “contributing hundreds of millions of dollars to Fifa’s coffers” should in my view be changed into ‘contributing hundreds of millions of dollars to Fifa’s coffers for as long as it favours the business views and other financial obligations these large companies have set in motion.

My reasoning here is that Qatar was selected, and it was not long until the intense heat that the players faced would become a visible issue. The best source of quality information in this case is the Washington Post (at http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/dcunited/fifa-prosecutor-probe-already-had-qatar-evidence/2014/06/11/ffcef57a-f199-11e3-b140-bd7309109588_story.html).

I actually do not know whether the Qatar bribery issues are real. It seems that FIFA prosecutor Michael Garcia is on top of this, yet the Sky News quote ‘Yet this inflamed the situation and led to calls on Tuesday from a succession of European football chiefs for Mr Blatter to step down‘, is adding to the fire and I wonder what actually is in play. We know that the Qatar World cup would, due to a date shift have consequences. This can be best seen in the BBC article (at http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/24401699), The quote “However, that could lead to a potential clash with other big sporting events, notably the Winter Olympics and American football’s Super Bowl, as well as domestic football leagues and the Champions League“, which makes me wonder whether these ‘secret’ documents are about the sport, or about the advertisers. When we consider the list of ‘sponsors’ that Sky News mentioned, namely Coca-Cola, Adidas, Budweiser, Sony and Visa we see a different picture, is it about corruption or about the fear that these big corporations are confronted with up to 40% of diminished advertisement power? I do believe that Qatar will do whatever it can to not overlap the winter Olympics, yet the fact that there will be an overlap with US sports and likely the European soccer season is almost unavoidable. If we are fair then we accept this, especially as this is such a rare event. The rest should be ignored, for the simple reason that this is about the sport, not about the ‘comfort‘ of those sponsors who basically tend to be at EVERY event.

So here we see the direct consequence of what John Ryley calls the golden Age of Journalism. When we look at these headlines “Qatar DID buy the World Cup, email reveals” (The Daily Mail), we have to wonder how much danger people will be placed in when social media turns an irresponsible article into a witch-hunt. If the golden age of Journalism is now, then so is its accountability, which is at the heart of the published Leveson report. Consider the Leveson header ‘The importance of a free press: free communication‘, is that the case here? I wonder how much pressure certain articles are receiving from advertisers/sponsors. The concluded report will give us reason to lash out, so until that happens (in roughly a month) we will have to wait when I write my follow up.

 

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Two deadly sins

This is the second attempt to this story. I was still on the Sony horse when writing the first attempt. Yes, it will hurt us and it will have long standing consequences for many to come, but I realised that it was not really the story (even though the press remaining silent on it is).

Of the seven deadly sins (Gluttony, Greed, Lust, Envy, Wrath, Pride and Sloth) I only truly hate Greed! It is also represented in Dante Alighieri’s 14th-century epic poem ‘the Divine Comedy’, which actually introduces something I would like to call the 8th deadly sin, which is depicted in his 9th level of hell. It is Treason! These two sins are the most debilitating sins to consider. These sins are not against one, or against one’s self. These two sins are acts by one against many and we see the consequences every day. These are not just acts by people against people. They are also seen as acts by governments against people or even against their own nation. We must arms against these two, we must do so fast, because the liberties we lose as we allow this to go on will hurt billions and many care for one thing, they care for number one, they care for themselves!

Do not take the last sentence as an assault, I am not talking about selfishness perse, but we are in a life cycle where we are almost forced to survive. Greed and Treason pushed us there. The Dutch NOS showed us several parts in one newscast. It was the news of the 26th of November 2013. The first piece came from the news on the scale gas winning in the Netherlands. I had written about part of it in July 2013. The blog was called ‘The Setting of strategies‘ where we see that the Dutch are trying to get billions in gas using a technique called ‘fracking’. There were major concerns, but should you watch the issues, you will see that parties involved were trivialising it all to some extent. Now questions are called for a large investigation. The most interesting part is the quote they stated in the news [translated] “the NAM will not drill for any less gas as this is not a mandate handed by the stockholders“. In addition reported e-mails by the Dutch Gas drilling firm (NAM), which from their side, remarks and ‘interpretations’ seem to be taking a negative term. The mail showed that they knew that earthquakes in excess of 3.9 (on the Richter scale) were to be expected. This means that not only is this, the possible start of a class action in damages against the NAM, the NAM could be seen as a major contributor into damaging a unique Dutch landscape. Not just the land, but also the cultural heritage that the Dutch area of Groningen has. Many buildings, most of them predating WW2 are structurally damaged. It is an area that had been culturally unique for over two centuries, even by Dutch standards. Are you fracking kidding me? Stockholders are allowed to ruin the state of Groningen? So the government oversight knew this going back to 2012? So what were these investigations in 2013? Party favours? This is greed gone wild as I see it. The most important part is that the UK and the conservatives are facing similar issues at present. The conservatives are very willing to go this route. It was reported in the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/nov/03/uk-dash-gas). The question becomes whether George Osborne has been properly instructed involving the risks he would place Wales in? If he is briefed by stockholders, the UK should take another look at these proceedings. I understand that heating is hard and very expensive, but can people continue when they are faced with long term, perhaps even unrepairable damage to England itself? Can that be acceptable? I am not a geologist, so there are elements I have no knowledge of, yet it might be realistic that many Walesians did not sign up for Shale Gas experiments when it could cost them both Cardiff and Swansea, both containing the largest population in Wales. Is Britain ready to pay for 350,000 damaged homes? I agree, that is an exaggeration, yet the true damage will not be known for some time. Perhaps there will be ZERO damage. I am fine with that, but the Dutch evidence shows that greed trumped safety and health easily. Can the UK afford such a mistake?

The second link to greed, are the changes that Finance Minister Dijsselbloem is trying to push within the Netherlands. He is aiming for commissions not exceeding 20% of a banker’s income. I think that this is a good idea. I also believe that he is on the right track. Greed is debilitating to say the least. The Dutch Union of Bankers stated that this law is not needed; there are enough rules in place. The interview with Chris Buijink, who is the chairman of that union, is not in agreement. He is mentioning that with specialist jobs, temperate commissions are to be expected. You see! We all agree, so make it no more than 20%, which is temperate enough (in my humble opinion). I, personally think that a group of Dutch banks, after the SNS Reaal and other banking issues, including the RABO LIBOR fixing issue, need to expect much stronger measures. Greed must be stopped!

This is not what he called ‘a black page’ (as Chris Buijink stated), the banking issues from 2008 onwards show that there is a structural issue with the banking industry. The fact that the Yanks are too cowardly to act (see the non-passed tax evasion act and the Dodd-Frank act for my reasoning in this), does not mean we should sit still. That part gains even more weight as we read more and more about the ADDITIONAL issues the RBS is now facing (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/nov/26/mark-carney-rbs-deeply-troubling-serious). So on one side Conservatives are trying to get the economy going and the banks on the other hand… (You get the idea).

There was a video linked to this, which states “Bank of England’s Mark Carney ‘offended’ by Labour MP’s questioning“. Is Mr Carney for real? As Labour MP John Mann asked questions in regards to the ‘distance’ between the governor of the bank and the political wings. I do not fail to see that it is about quick economic restoration, the issue that it is now likely that small business got sold down the drain into non-viability to get this done is indeed an issue for concern. Why is there no stronger oversight on this? I think that it is time for governments to intervene in stronger measures. What they are? Not sure, but it should be somewhere between nationalising a bank and barring the transgressors from the Financial industry for life!

This issue goes on in another direction too. If we accept what was written by the independent (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/press/royal-charter-on-press-regulation-may-be-redundant-says-culture-secretary-maria-miller-8919775.html), we see that in the end the Press might not ever be held accountable for the acts they did. Not only are they advocated in their need for greed (as in circulation and advertisements), we see that they are in a connected center of treason against both their readers and the audience at large, again as I personally see this.

How?

Well that is a fair question. As the big papers have steered clear from the Sony issues as they became visible just over a week ago, they seem to remain extremely taken with their advertisement needs and less with protecting the audience. “£3bn: the total price-tag for Christmas gadgets” is a nice tag to have and even though we see news on Microsoft and Sony all the time, those messages are small and do not hit the bottom dollar. The small technology hit “Cody Wilson created a gun that can be download and built with a 3D printer – is he too dangerous for Britain?” is a small article and iterates something I wrote many months ago. He is now linked to advocating bit-coin, which is another matter. I have not taken a stance on it. I think it promotes white washing and I personally do not think that virtual currency has a foundation, once it goes bust in whatever way it does; these people just lose whatever cash they had in it. I reckon that these ‘victims’ when they come will have no turn back and the first case against any government should be thrown out immediately. The story how Sony (and Microsoft too) will hurt an entire industry and how they are setting up the events that could stop local commerce is completely ignored. How quaint!

I see it as a form of treason, because this is no longer ‘the people have a right to know’, but ‘the people have a right to know when we see fit’. That same application can be made for the banks. If we take the RBS case, then the people involved could be seen as committing treason against their customers. Is that not EXACTLY the issue we saw in the US where we see banks setting up mortgages and then betting on them failing? Why is this not under control?

The Dutch examples are their own version of treason. A company that seems to be betraying the people living there by submitting them to intentional dangers is no small matter. This is not the end by a long shot. Treason can go further, from governments towards allies. I am not talking about Snowden, that loon is a simple traitor for personal gains (in my view). The damage he caused will take a long time to fix. No, I am talking about the TPP, the Trans Pacific Partnership. I mentioned it in previous blogs linked to the Sony/Microsoft issues, but that is small fry. The big price is the pharmaceutical industry. You see, America wants it passed soon, because of the powers this partnership gives. I will not bore you with the patent law details; the issue I see is that America is afraid of India. Apart from being really decent in Cricket (a game America does not comprehend), the Indian industry had made great strides in generic medication. With a population of vastly over 1 billion, they simply had to. The changes are mentioned by IP experts like Michael Geist as Draconian. The Guardian covered part of the TPP (at http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/13/trans-pacific-paternership-intellectual-property), the changes could impact this market into a damaging result which will go into the trillions. My issue is that Australia sides with America. Why?

America had been asleep at the wheel. Instead of opening a market, forcing affordability towards a population, we see segregation for industry against people. How bad is that? Canada kept its consumer driven approach, which is why Americans love Canadian medication. As America does not keep its house in order and they got passed by! Do not take my word regarding these parts; you should however take a look at what Doctors without Borders think. I reckon we can agree that they have always been about healing people. I consider them a noble breed. A group of physicians, who spend a fortune on an education, making less than the personal assistant for a middle manager in a small bank, which is not much to live on! At http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/press/release.cfm?id=7161 they state “Five countries—Canada, Chile, New Zealand, Malaysia, and Singapore—have put forth a counter-proposal that tries to better balance public health needs with the commercial interests of pharmaceutical firms” As an Australian I state that Australia need to take the high-road with Canada and New Zealand, not follow the cesspool America is trying to force down our throats. In the end, I suspect that this is about more than just plain greed.

Consider that the Dow index is based on 30 major companies. Now consider that 10% comes from pharmaceutical giants like Johnson & Johnson, Merck and Pfizer. After the issues we had seen in the last 3 years, I started to doubt the correctness of the Dow (and I reported on that in past blogs). It goes up and up, but with JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, VISA, American Express putting pressures on those numbers, the three big boys (drugs) could rock the boat in a massive way, which scares Wall Street to no extent. India had made great strides in affordable medication; the TPP is now a danger to affordable medication for people on a global scale.

Greed and Treason, it is all connected and it hits us all critically hard sooner rather than later!

 

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The Soccer ball and other sports

This morning, I was woken up with the information in regards to ‘concerns’ in regards to the world championship soccer. I have never been much of a soccer fan, even though I was born in the Netherlands. It was never my cup of cacao.

When I heard of the concerns, I thought that made perfect sense, then my eyes saw the pictures of the stadium. I think they are concepts, not unlike other images that Google showed. No matter which one will be build, these stadiums are amazing pinnacles of design. It left with me that sparkle I had when I saw the first images of the Munich Olympics in 1972. It was overcast by events that will remain a black page on sporting events forever, but the stadiums looked amazing.

So is this about the stadium? Not quite!

As we introduce sports to other parts of the worlds, the sports will take on a new dimension, this is equally the case now that soccer will be hosted by Qatar (in 2022). It brings small changes. I saw the concerns and I do not disagree, yet what are the alternatives? Play a game at dawn and a game at night? Play only late at night?

Are those not alternatives? The nights can be cool in the Middle East, I experienced that first hand for months, so moving the cup date until late autumn, or perhaps early summer/late spring?

These are all options, yet the first thing I heard stated when the winter option was given, was that it could interfere with the FA Cup. (The Dutch are likely to state the KNVB cup). So is all this about the cup itself or the issues surrounding advertisement revenues?

The World cup is only once every 4 years, it’s not like it is a daily exercise. Qatar is also the consequence for growing the sport. They won fair and square and it was voiced (and I do not disagree) that it should be held there. Yes, player safety need to be on the forefront of considerations, which is why moving the event to a non-summer month is a good idea in my mind. If we look at www.weatheonline.co.uk we see that March to May, if the matches are early or late in the day seems to be the best, after that it is likely to be October to December (which might not be ideal for others). The days might be warm in these instances, yet the nights are definitely not warm, so there should be quite the cooling when the sun goes down.

I do find this situation interesting, with 209 FIFA nations, this is the first time that players will be subjected to these tropical conditions. Consider these tropical nations playing under what they would consider Arctic conditions? These players in a rare twist of fate will have the home weather advantage, and if in the end Scotland or Sweden take home the cup? What a party that would be!

In the article I disagree with the quote “His predecessor David Bernstein said in June that any plans to move the World Cup to the winter were ‘fundamentally flawed’.” (At http://news.sky.com/story/1126848/fa-boss-summer-world-cup-in-qatar-impossible)

Flawed by what reasoning? It is a given that his concern was the FA cup, that is fair enough, but this is the FIFA world cup! Yet, in all honesty, I cannot truly oppose his statement as it would disrupt national cups in many European nations, which is a truth. Yet, the idea becomes, why must we tailor to get it all? Should these players be subject to 64 additional games at all cost? Seems to be a little one sided. However, moving it to spring could be an idea too. I reckon that this could work if we take the sport into mind. Many cup officials in several nations are now playing with Excel to see the advertisement and sponsor ‘damage’ that is a direct consequence of these events.

That part seems not to be too ‘illuminated’ at present. Yet when we read the Telegraph (at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/leisure/8552114/McDonalds-joins-Coca-Cola-and-Visa-in-calling-for-Fifa-change.html) we read “McDonald’s joins Coca-Cola and Visa in calling for Fifa change“.

It seems that these three are adamant in maximising their view at every expense (bang for the buck approach), even at the expense of sports. If Jamie Oliver is to be believed, then the hamburgers from McDonald are not for human consumption, so why are they a party to sport advice at all? In the article by David Warner at http://politicalblindspot.com/hamburger-chef-jamie-oliver-proves-mcdonalds-burgers-unfit-for-human-consumption/ the quote is: “After Oliver showed how McDonald’s hamburgers are made, the franchise finally announced that it will change its recipe, and yet there was barely a peep about this in the mainstream, corporate media.” This can be proven with the Google search terms ‘Jamie Oliver on McDonalds‘. There is no guardian or other large newspapers and the one result link from Google mentioning the Telegraph states “Jamie Oliver praises McDonald’s – Telegraph“.

You might wonder how this is all connected. The answer is simple: ADVERTISEMENTS! (aka revenue)

There are issues on several levels and these companies have so much pull that through advertisements they have pull with what is written. Consider the fact that the large players (Guardian, Washington Post, LA Times) are not for, or against, they just don’t seem to appear in the first load of result pages at all (according to the Google search).

The issue I am raising is that this all seems to be no longer about the sport. If it was then those ‘big players’ would accept the elected choice and accept the unfortunate event of one year less advertisement revenue (yeah right!).

The next issue is actually entirely the opposite. I am disgusted on the horror Russians perform on the Russian Gay community. The fact that these people get tortured and murdered and the torturers take pride in publishing pictures of the event is utterly unacceptable. So I understand the fact that people speak out against this level of violence. Especially Stephen Fry made a clear case against the Russian Winter games. If you support this then give support him and follow him on Twitter (@stephenfry). I support him, but I am personally not in favour of banning or stopping the winter games. For me the view is that once we intertwine sports with political causes, no matter how just or correct they are, then the one door of change might close permanently. Yes, what happens in Russia is wrong, but if citizens who are going there as athletes can instil change where politicians fail, is that not a worthy cause? When I grew up I learned pretty much the origin of the Olympics as it was quoted on Wiki “It has been widely written that during the Games, all conflicts among the participating city-states were postponed until the Games were finished. This cessation of hostilities was known as the Olympic peace or truce.” Is that not how wars were resolved? In case we see America getting involved in this, let us not forget, that if one is gay and not living in San Francisco, often their rights are silently forgotten. The guardian had an excellent presentation of that at http://www.theguardian.com/world/interactive/2012/may/08/gay-rights-united-states

They might not show the barbarism that Russia is currently presenting, yet the political lobby has been using gay rights as a racquetball between Democrats and Republicans for decades. I still feel that in the end, sport will be at the centre of unification. If we see and accept (at least I do) that the African American athletes were at the centre of the equalising force between racial differences, then sports could also be the equalising force for sexual differences.

I just hope that it will be sooner rather than later, because persecution has never ever been good for any soul. That applies for both the persecutor and the persecuted.

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