Tag Archives: Washington

Pimping the United States

I initially expected the USA to do stupid things, but this has got to be the most stupid of them all. As the talks are now increasing regarding the acts of dismantling the Dodd-Frank Act, we see the greedy banks walking out into the open making claims he will break the moment the ears of the listeners are out of range. Marcus Stanley from the Americans for Financial Reform stated: “We had experience with Wall Street self-regulation prior to the financial crisis, and it did not work out well,” Stanley said. “When you let industry determine its own rules, it’s going to create more risks. The downside of those risks is going to be pushed to taxpayers and working families”, (at https://www.publicintegrity.org/2017/02/01/20645/trump-wall-street-and-banking-caucus-ready-rip-apart-dodd-frank). The problem is that like the journalists in the Leveson trial, these two groups who proclaimed that they could self-regulate, have never been able to do so, greed gets in the way every single time.

If there is an upside, then it will be that the next financial event will have one enormous difference, the moment the US people see that their quality of life returns to a 2009 state, there will be 170-205 million people unanimously agreeing that the President of the United States is to be assassinated, moreover, when that angry mob runs to Washington, the army will not intervene as they will have been hit just as hard as well as their family members. So at that point the Secret Service will need to protect an idiot, whilst they have less than 1% of the ammunition required to stop that angry mob. Good luck to them I say!

qnbIn addition, the bankers who are behind the next collapse will end up being the most wanted man by the American people in history. They will flee to whatever nation they can afford, whilst channeling their wealth to places where the US treasury cannot get at it, so Riyadh might end up being the place of choice for American wealth. American bankers who did not oppose the Travel ban of 7 Muslim nations will be totally dependent on the goodness of another Muslim nation to keep their ill-gotten gains safe, the Irony is just staggering!

But is my prediction over the top? Let’s take a look!

 

 

The financial times (at https://www.ft.com/content/dd4a6698-efe7-11e6-930f-061b01e23655) gives us “Loan growth remains robust,” said Marianne Lake, his counterpart at JPMorgan Chase, while presenting record annual net income of $24.7bn last month. Beyond the headlines, there are signs that certain segments have been squeezed. In products such as credit cards and personal loans, for example, analysts say activity has been damped by fear of censure by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau“, so as certain people see and feel the fear of prosecution through ‘fear of censure by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’ we see that this group of financial people have the inherent need for growth and the need for unadulterated bonuses. I will not be able to tell whether this is due to unreasonable revenue per deadline, or just the need to get to the revenue any way possible, unreasonable or not. That is what happened before and messing with Dodd-Frank makes that danger very realistic. In addition, with the US in 20 trillion debt, the next meltdown cannot be covered by the US and in addition, it is my firm believe that the IMF should not be allowed to intervene or hand any bail outs when this happens.

The second part of that is seen in: “In residential mortgages, too, banks and lobby groups complain about the new requirement to determine that the consumer has a “reasonable ability” to repay the loan, based on credit history, income, obligations, debt-to-income ratio, employment status and other information. That has caused a pile-up of paperwork“, The fact that banks are now ‘bitching‘ regarding ‘paperwork‘ to ‘reasonable assure the ability to repay the loan‘ gives rise to even more questions, especially as the need for these answers are needed on a global scale, the fact that we see complaints that seems to indicate that banks just want to hand out cash without clear setting of accountability. In that same article, when we read the part from Laurie Goodman “warranties they need to make to Fannie Mae, the government-sponsored mortgage buyer, and the high cost of servicing delinquent loans, among other factors. None of that was in Dodd-Frank“, so if that was not in Dodd-Frank, then why is it an issue?

This issue as you might expect it goes far beyond the Financial Times. There we read from Jonathan Westin the quote “Trump rolled out an executive order to cut Dodd-Frank, and to get rid of regulation that would protect against a financial crisis like the last time“, which gives the first clear indicator that I am stating could be the start for the first Presidential man hunt in American history. The fact that we see (at http://nypost.com/2017/02/12/battle-looms-as-trump-regime-looks-to-gut-dodd-frank/) “a 22,000-page document, could see the abolition of the ban on proprietary trading at Wall Street banks and on predatory lending” gives a clear indication that banks like Sleaze, Succumb & Snatch will be able to get back into business using Tele Marketing schemes to get people to sign up, they only have to be willing to grab those customers by the pony. Is that what America will amount to? I think that the world would be better of having Wall Street regulated by Mosseck Fonseca, who were only out to captivate the rich, because in both cases the IRS will lose out and they will lose out by a lot.

As far as I personally see it, there is a danger with some of this. One of them involve proprietary trading. The dangers is that with proprietary trading, desks were often considered internal hedge funds within the bank, performing in isolation away from client-flow traders. Yet, the danger comes when third party ‘assistants‘ runs between other ‘assistants‘. The first article gave us that with “It also would repeal Dodd-Frank’s Volcker Rule, which now prohibits banks with access to the Federal Deposit Insurance Fund from making certain risky investments“, where we see the part where Volcker also wanted to stop banks using privileged access to ‘cheap’ central bank financing offering PhD models to play the markets for personal gain. Now that model could change through the deployment of ‘disrupters‘ and ‘spark plugs‘ who will set their own circles getting people to stem the revolting tide or support waves of exploitation. Rings within rings, a chosen few to be the supporting role of the market players. It will unhinge the markets and the people at present would have no defence being in any market whilst they are around. It is like playing against the bank, who is the active gambler. Smaller players would have no chance at all, a market that would become less and less stable in a time where the US has absolutely no way of stemming the losses when they hit.

So like Adolf Hitler, Trump promised prosperity, but prosperity for whom? More important, at what expense? When the former German ruler did it, those people all got jobs, in the military industry. Trump has decided to open the financial industry sluices, yet that direction tends to only open the bowels for financial people which comprises less than 1% of the population there. In addition those profits do not make it to the US treasury, so what game is President Trump playing?

These changes have no ability to correct the economy and the 20 trillion debt is not taken care of, nor will it as things evolve the way they are now. In all this we face tough times and if the Trump administration succeeds in dropping the Dodd-Frank Act the dangers of the collapse of the Dollar is close to a certainty. The dollar going, just to set the need for greed to a previous stage unacceptable need, which will also topple the Euro to an untold low value. There is no way to stop it unless part of the Republican Party realises that undoing certain levels of protection will leave everyone in a dangerous place. This is not just me, there are several newspapers coming to the same conclusion, they just didn’t add the risk assessment of the assassination of President Trump yet (they’ll do that after the act). In that, is my prediction that off? There is a precedent. You see, the Scotsman in March 2009 reported ‘Abused in the streets, their homes under attack, will Edinburgh’s bankers ever be forgiven?‘, where we see “A group calling itself Bank Bosses Are Criminals claimed responsibility for the attack on Goodwin’s home and in a statement to the Edinburgh Evening News said: “This is just the beginning … We are angry that rich people, like him, are paying themselves a huge amount of money and living in luxury, while ordinary people are made unemployed, destitute and homeless” Scotland has a population of 5.2 million. When things went south, well over 55,000 ended up being homeless. That is over 1% of the Scottish population, there was never no homeless people, but that number went through the roof when the 2008 crash landed on the front doors of nearly every bank. So is my prophecy out of bounds, or does it make sense that the next event in the US, could give rise to millions becoming homeless. Where will at that rage be aimed at? I can tell you that it will be a bad day to be a police officer in the New York financial district at that point, not to mention wherever that Trump tower is at. Look at it from the bright side, with every banker executed a new job openings and new housing becomes available. In the end, the aggregated statistics will balance themselves. That event when it happens will also start the selling off of American infrastructure and State assets. The Russian or Chinese could end up buying these services, just like it was done in Greece. In that case, I’m willing to buy the Pentagon Cray Mainframe for $29.95. I’ll pay $50 if they throw in a functional Bell UH-1Y Venom or a Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey.

The things you can get when a financial system gets pimped, life has its upsides for all except the victims of such rash undertakings!

 

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Perception from the outside

It is hard to write about this. Not because of the topic, but because of the implications that derive from the thoughts I have. You see, I have thus far always had faith in the intelligence branch. When we look beyond the implied Hollywood drama of all matters, the intelligence branch is a dedicated underpaid group trying to keep its nation and its citizens safe. Yet, what lies beneath the veneer when we look deeper into certain matters. Are they for real or are we all played by the press to some extent?

This is at the foundation, as we cannot rely on any first-hand information, especially when the press is part of it, we are left with a question mark. One that might not need answering, but one that should not be ignored, this is at the core of me, for better or worse, I seek answers.

This all started yesterday when I got wind of a Guardian article at the earliest of dawn, as a final paper was due, I just left it to look at later (that later is now). The article is ‘Lee Rigby murder: internet firm could have picked up killer’s message – report‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/nov/25/lee-rigby-murder-internet-firm-could-have-picked-up-killers-message-report-says).

Now, this should be a shock, especially to the family members of Lee Rigby, so why is this even a story? It starts with the first paragraph “Internet companies face intense demands to monitor messages on behalf of the state for signs of terrorist intent after an official report into the death of Fusilier Lee Rigby said one of his killers wrote on a website – later named as Facebook – of his desire to slaughter a soldier, without the security services knowing“, was this written by someone who had a clue? If we consider CNet (at http://www.cnet.com/news/facebook-processes-more-than-500-tb-of-data-daily/), we see that Facebook processes 500 Tb a day, now this is all manner of data, yet consider another indirect connection when we see ‘Tesco director facing questions about lobbying government over dirty chicken report‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/nov/25/-sp-tesco-director-facing-questions-lobbying-government-dirty-chicken-report), the first paragraphs says it all (as far as information goes) “Former FSA chief Tim Smith understood to have warned Department of Health that revealing food poisoning contamination rates could provoke a food scare and damage the industry“, so when we add the text “Tim Smith is understood to have warned the Department of Health in June that FSA proposals for publishing results, which included naming and shaming individual supermarkets, could provoke a food scare and damage the industry“, so when was all this released to the media? how much delay was there? Consider the implication of the statement in there that “it kills around 100 people and makes an estimated 280,000 sick each year“, now we get back to the implied message that might have saved Lee Rigby, if we take that a message in total is no more than 60Kb (it is a lot smaller, but could include graphics), we are looking at 8 billion messages each day (those we make, we forward or share, those we get offered as advertisement). Now, there is more, Facebook has applications with within that application message options. Not one or two, but a few dozen, which means additional messages, like simple online messengers, all that data, now also consider the implied message that the Guardian mentioned. “The report said the authorities were never told that one of the killers, Michael Adebowale, wrote of his murderous intent six months before he and his accomplice, Michael Adebolajo, brutally attacked Rigby in May 2013 in a street near his military barracks and attempted to behead him“, so finding the message, investigating it and acting on it. In well over 2.5 billion optional threats, the National lottery in the UK has better odds of winning a big price in it, so how did all this come about?

Here we get to the issue “The ISC chair, Sir Malcolm Rifkind, accused internet companies of providing a “safe haven” to terrorists but said a despite a string of failings by the security services, which had repeatedly monitored both men before the attack, there was nothing they could have done to prevent the murder of Rigby“, here I start having an issue, particularly with Sir Malcolm. Consider one sincere threat in a place where there are millions of threats, boasts and pranks, all claiming something pretentiously grandiose. It is my believe that Sir Malcolm is all about trying something different and he going about it the wrong way, he is trying to get to Damascus, via Washington and Los Angeles. Not the brightest route to take. Apart from the approach he is implying to take, he is also forgetting about a series of events that he needs to take, which will fail and in the process will enable commercial companies to actually hammer down on consumers in the wrong way. Does Sir Malcolm realise that, or did he intentionally forget about that part?

What did I mean by that? You see, the intelligence branch has access to enhanced statistical algorithms; they match it via other created profiles. Now, normally such a profile is only created when a person has too many flags in his/her name. For example members of an extreme faction, people with links to organised crime and those with additional political agendas. There is a bunch of reasons which will result on the eye of the intelligence community on you. For the most they are checked every now and then and if nothing happens, nothing happens, it is that simple, which an accumulative approach to sifting data tends to be. This is all good and proper; it is a way to protect national interests. For the most they end up verifying that you are not a threat, or not a concern to them, it comes with their territory.

The intelligence branch has resources, they are there, but they are finite. Sir Malcolm seems to be pushing for a change that is extremely dangerous, you see, at some point, Facebook, Google and others will all be shanghaied into becoming ‘volunteers’ in data oversight. They will get all kinds of tax breaks, so there will be interesting benefits for these data farms, but now we get to the real dangers. At one point, they want more and push for a change that will allow these farms access to those advanced algorithms, now we get a new problem, now we see a change where those farms will get to analyse US ALL! they will have the algorithms and the linked data no commercial enterprise should ever be allowed to have, now we will all be set into those who get access (viable as retail commodity) and those who do not matter, we will get marketed into oblivion, but now directly into the realms we use to love, it will be a push to sway us into a direction we never wanted to go, our freedom becomes a point of pressure. Consider, you might love ‘the Office’, once social media digs deep, how much will you enjoy getting 10-20 sales pitches a day on your personal interests? How long until you stop sharing interests?

Now consider the following:

The ISC said in its report: “Whilst we note that progress has started to be made on this issue, with the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014 (Drip) and the appointment of the special envoy on intelligence and law-enforcement data-sharing, the problem is acute. The prime minister, with the National Security Council, should prioritise this issue”.

The part not mentioned or looked at is data retention. I wrote about it on October 2nd 2014 in ‘Advice from the press?‘ there I wrote “I am still convinced that if data retention becomes a larger issue, the intelligence community will be lacking in hardware, knowledge and staff to deal with these massive amounts of data, which leaves us open to other issues, yet this is just my view!“, now we see a push that social media will do more scanning.

The next two paragraphs illustrate certain dangers down the track: “Adebolajo, the more dominant of the two, had featured in five MI5 investigations and Adebowale in two, but none found evidence of an attack. The ISC said MI5 made errors and was plagued by delays, but even if corrected none of this would have helped the security service to spot the level of danger posed by the attackers before they struck“, so how could we have kept Lee Rigby alive? The information to the better extent is stating that this would not have been the case and I am not the only one thinking this.

When we consider “The Guardian understands senior figures in MI6 expressed anger at the criticisms in the report. One source familiar with the committee’s work said: “It is fair to say that the chaps across the river are not happy at all.”“, we see another part. This is not just within the UK, the UK needs to protect itself, especially with the ISIS acceleration we see all over North Africa and in the Middle-East; this all requires a new strategy. Data is at the centre of it, that part is correctly seen by Sir Malcolm Rifkind, chairman of the ISC. Yet, my issue is the view the man seems to have in regards to integrity. Commercial enterprises have no integrity and to a larger extent, neither do internet providers. So we have an upcoming issue. The next part you the reader might observe is the part that was not clearly seen in the article and it has been part of the events that miss one item as we see these discussions.

What time is it?

Yes, the timeline! That is part of all this. No matter how lovely that ‘donut’ looks in London, the people there have been delaying with an increased amount of data. I personally would consider it to be in excess of 30% in growth per year, which means that the data collectors and analytical group grows over 100% in size in a little over 3 years, the accumulated requirement for the UK, and beyond that the Commonwealth requires growth beyond that. In my view, letting places like Facebook crunch that data and giving them access to some of these algorithms is clearly a bad idea. In addition, consider that these firms could harbour ‘sympathisers’ to chaos. Once these algorithms gets into other hands, how long until those supporting ISIS and like-minded extremists will get a handle on lowering their profile even further, making this entire approach pointless?

That danger is twofold, storage, which is the non-essential part. As storage seems to become cheaper and cheaper, that part will be decently manageable overall, the other part is the issue, processing power. We can want for all the processors we can, but the power processors of tomorrow are less and less equipped to deal with such a growing load of data. Now consider that this is just Facebook, how much additional data will we need to see mail providers, twitter, Instagram and loads of other multi Gigabyte collecting options. There is no denying that data needs to be looked at, yet direct data crunching is less and less an option. The question becomes how to tackle it, can or even the question should it be tackled like this at all?

That is the dangerous side, isn’t it? When we are confronted with such an abundance of data, why seek the pressured solution? Let’s not forget that the example taken here, namely Lee Rigby, would not have been saved. So why try to seek a solution in such a pressured environment? Consider the lottery example; if 1,000 out of the 5 billion are death threats, we get a number one in 5 million, now we need to tackle these 1000 messages, which ones are genuine? Consider that some are below the radar, which means that some could be WRONGLY disregarded. Add to that the danger of a prank jest where a group and all THEIR friends send one threat regarding a VIP, politician or regent. It would drown out intelligence resources in mere minutes.

So yes, no one denies that something must be done, yet giving social media these responsibilities is not the best idea, giving them access in some way to other algorithms is less a solution, we are in a shift of dimensions, an interaction of data dimensions and profiling intelligence. Consider the NSA data center in Utah, costing over 5 billion in total, in addition, the cost of electricity, manpower and other costs, taking it to an additional 50 million a year (for just one location). Now consider that this centre will need to grow processing power in excess of 50% within two years, how much additional costs will it require? Add to this the energy needs, well over 60 Megawatts, yet within 2 years, that could be closer to 80 megawatts. That means in excess of 10 wind turbines, just for one location, the equivalent of 15,000 households of energy. I think that certain parties are not thinking in the right location, if we disregard the lack of expertise and an offer (in abundance) of revenue based (read commission seeking) expertise, it seems to me that even though data should never be ignored, certain approaches will require a different hand.

Perhaps it is not a new solution they need, but to reinstate a very old one.

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