Tag Archives: Woolworths

Points that are proven

I made several accusations yesterday and today I find a few of them proven. The first part is expected in a setting that is giving us an additional 28,000 cases in 24 hours (globally). I also made statements and denials, and for now I stand by them, Even as we today see that the mortality rate is going up to 4% (it went from 3.4%, 3.6% and 3.8% yesterday).

The map shows the exploding number of cases and it does not explain how two people in Mongolia and Mayotte suddenly got exposed, the track does not make sense. There are questions, and clearly that the medical field people should not get blamed, but the fact is that they do not have answers, which is not their fault.

The governments behind it all are shouting and pointing but they are (as I personally see it) pointing away from the problem. There is a speculation within me and it is not a proven one. Even as the people were infectious BEFORE they got symptoms (which is proven) there is a larger feeling that those who got over the disease are still carriers infecting others (the unproven part), that part alone might explain to some degree the explosion of cases in Italy and a few other places all over the EU.

The stage is a setting that might to some degree (not all of it) explain the explosion of cases in Italy, Spain, Germany, France and the USA. If that part is true then places like Canada, Argentina and Mexico are in for a much harder time then they ever considered. And there is another part in all this. 

As the mortality rate in San Marino (almost 10%) and Belgium (0.8%), the numbers are too far apart. We need to consider that the disease is acting in another way too. The ‘excuse’ of underlying health conditions is too convenient an excuse (personal view on the matter). 

I am not pointing at the cause, I do not know and I want to avoid giving out false information, but any disease is at a stage where it optionally kills a group and the larger the population, the more accurate that number will be. This is not speculation, this has been fact for the longest time, as such we need to look at the Chinese mortality rate, which is 3.98% at present. From that point of view the people in Belgium have a lot of bad news to look forward to, in that same context Italy also has a stage that is at present unvisited. With a 11.19% mortality rate, the numbers seem skewed, even as Italy has less than half the amount of cases that China has, the difference is almost astounding and there is no factual explanation to that. We can think that China was on top of it, but they were not, their reaction was slow (with acceptable cause) and still Italy ends up with twice the amount of mortality cases in percentage, which fuels my underlying thoughts that there is more to the cases than meets the eye, in that setting it does not matter how infectious the 2,941 cases remained, the percentages tell a different story and the people who are fueled by fear will keep on buying and hoarding long term food sources in all other places. In all this the foremost thought will be how over 24 hours 28,000 people got the disease, something is not working and I tried to tell some of the somewhat abusive responders yesterday, in that light it is (to me) apparently clear that there is no containment, not to the degree that there should be. Even as Europe went into lockdown mode, we now see well over 10,000 new cases in 24 hours. We see the news giving us how famous people are in the glare of catching the disease, we see how sources use President Trump as a punching bag, and it goes on, yet there were two information givers that did hand out the news we actually needed. The first is Science Daily (at https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/03/200317150116.htm), they gave us “New research finds that the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is stable for several hours to days in aerosols and on surfaces. Scientists found that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was detectable in aerosols for up to three hours, up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel“, so why is this news from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases not globally released by the media? How many cardboard boxes did you handle, how many stainless steel or plastic on public transport did you touch in the last day as the people around you were coughing and sneezing? Are you still off the mind that this is a standard flu? How many viruses can set themselves in that environment?

It becomes even more apprehendable when we see “The study information was widely shared during the past two weeks after the researchers placed the contents on a preprint server to quickly share their data with colleagues” all whilst the media is to a larger extent not informing you, it makes no sense, on the other hand, every dead person implies a cheaper house and a better paying job for me, so let the media continue (if it kills me I will not worry about the other two elements).

There is also the Washington Post who gives us ‘Coronavirus looks different in kids than in adults‘ (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/03/17/coronavirus-looks-different-kids-than-adults/). As such we see the quote “A paper released this week in the journal Pediatrics, based on 2,143 young people in China, provides the most extensive evidence on the spread of the virus in children, and there is bad news and good news. The study provides confirmation that coronavirus infections are in fact generally less severe in kids, with more than 90 percent having mild to moderate disease or even being asymptomatic. But it contains worrisome information about one subset — infants — and suggests that children may be a critical factor in the disease’s rapid spread.” In this we see the first optional clue on the issue on how the disease has a skewness, even as the kids will recover, they are implied to be a spreader of the disease as well, and I still believe that those cured are still spreaders as well, it does give a much larger rise to the numbers, but not completely, the kids and surfaces as a factor might cover and even overlap the numbers we see, yet the media keeps us little or not informed on the matter (with a small amount of exceptions).

As such we need to consider that bosses are panicking all over the world, as we see that the number of cases will surpass 400,000 cases by the end of this month, some can rejoice on the optionally given fact that 16,000 jobs become optionally vacant all over the world and as the jobs are in tech and high tech, we will see them jump for staff members. I actually got an invite yesterday with “We can discuss which employers are hiring during the Coronavirus outbreak“, there is always a dollar to be made by someone. Is there anyone in denial out there?

In all this the proven points are still outranked by the things we do not know and we cannot blame anyone for that, as the disease is out there, it seems to be largely driven by unknown factors and as each test and trial takes time, we will be in unknown surroundings for some time to come, the only thing we can do is not to give in to our fears, especially as fear drives useless acts. The fact that a supermarket giant like Woolworths (Coles too) gives us “Woolworths will no longer provide refunds for toilet paper, tissues and paper towels if customers simply change their minds” is grounds for a much larger stage and as the people now slowly realise that they set their budget to spend 40% on these items as well as rice and pasta, we will see the need for cookbooks on pasta and rice menus as that self-austerity driven diet gets to be tedious after day 5, some people have close to a month of pasta and rice in the house, so there. 

Even now, we see the reaction regarding ‘outbreak reaches every US state‘, all whilst we are forgetting that the US is one US, the spread through other means is driving it across state borders, in this we also get ‘Australia says measures could last six months‘, yet which measures? All of them, the ones that work, the ones that are based on fear? So whilst Steven Mnuchin decided to speak (7 minutes ago), we see “U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned Republican senators on Tuesday that failure to act on a proposed coronavirus rescue package could lead to U.S. unemployment as high as 20% and lasting economic damage” in this my point of view is ‘Really?‘, non actions will propogate the disease, more deaths, less unemployed and housing prices down, is that a bad thing? It is possible that Steven forgot that there is a difference between unemployed, UN employed and dead. 

I merely wonder, but that is not for me to say, is it?

 

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The cost of doing Business

It is the guardian again, not in anything specific; however generically speaking there is an issue that requires visibility.

Let’s take a look at the following headlines: “Ebola is in America – and within range of Big Pharma“, “How bet365 profits from Chinese punters who risk jail for gambling” and “Brutal competition batters supermarkets the world over“, here is the cost of doing business.

How is it relevant?

That is the first part, this is not about relevance, and also, these issues are not linked (as far as I can tell), but they do have something in common (other than that they were all in the Guardian on October 5th 2014). Let’s take a look at big pharma. The article comes from Julia Kollewe and is a good read, from the article I got the following parts:

Unfortunately, the standard economic model for drug development, in which industry takes all of the risk in R&D and gets a return on investment from successful products, does not work for diseases that primarily impact low-income countries and developing healthcare systems” and “GSK is developing a malaria vaccine that could be ready late next year and is expected to be sold on a not-for-profit basis. Its success rate was only about 30% in infants but better in toddlers, although final clinical results and data on the effect of a booster are still due“, last there is “Turner says two commissions are looking at alternative financial models. One idea is that governments could underpin the economic cost of drug development by committing early to buy the first 2m doses of a new vaccine, for example“. How is any of this ‘just accepted’? Let’s take a look at GlaxoSmithKline. It made 25 billion in 2013 with a net income of well over 5 billion (20% net income is amazingly good). Is that not enough? Is the issue not on how they come up with something, how it becomes a solution and then they make a fortune. So, why must they get ‘a set government incentive’? Why are we allowing for governments to bank on failure? Is their continued existence not based upon proven success? Now let’s take a look at the BBC article from May 10th 2012 (at http://www.bbc.com/news/business-17993945) where we see: “The programme obtained confidential tax agreements detailing plans to move profits off-shore to avoid what was a 28% corporate tax rate at the time. Those involved include pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)“. So, not only are they ‘avoiding’ certain due invoices to the Coffers of Osborne, they want pre-ordered and ordained solutions? An anointed decree of set maximised profits. It reads like these boards of directors have a spine no stronger than a paperback, one that is comprised of balance sheets I might add.

So, as we say goodbye on how big pharma will find new ways to get loads of cash on possible medicinal solutions, we should take a look at number two.

Brutal competition batters supermarkets the world over’, the article states ‘observer writers’ yet gives us no names. When we look at certain parts we see a view that is incomplete, but seemingly not inaccurate “Aldi has made huge gains in market share in Australia, from about 3% in 2005 to 10% this year“, this means that the two running the show (Coles and Woolworths), will get a third to deal with. There is more to the entire situation, as we look at the price of milk in Australia “The battle for the hearts and dollars of Australian consumers has distressed the dairy industry, threatened small shopkeepers and prompted a Senate inquiry“, yet is that it? Consider that the dairy market is suddenly downgraded in revenue in excess of 20%, how can that be fair or even good to the supplier and when that is no longer an option, how will the consumer pay for milk when offers will dwindle to 2 suppliers? Then what will the market do?

Last there is ‘Revealed: how bet365 profits from Chinese punters who risk jail for gambling online’, which is an interesting article by Simon Goodley. It is the subtitle that gets us the first part “Bookmaker ‘rotates website addresses to keep ahead of authorities’, says employee“, which already implies that the cost of doing business and ethics are no longer in synch with one another. Ethicality has become a nuisance, especially when a business is actively ‘keeping ahead of the authorities‘.

Then we read “The gambling group says its legal advice is that it has broken no law by taking bets from the country“, is a local law the only part of legality?

When we consider Part 2 of the Serious Crime Act 2007 (UK), we see at sections 44 through to 46, three inchoate offences of intentionally encouraging or assisting an offence; encouraging or assisting an offence believing it will be committed; and encouraging or assisting offences believing one or more will be committed. Is that not the implied part of the ‘alleged’ crime when we see the term ‘keeping ahead of the authorities’?

When we look at section 48(3) we see that a person can only be found guilty of the offence under section 46 (encouraging or assisting offences believing that one or more will be committed) if the offence or offences that the jury find the defendant believed would be committed are specified in the indictment. Yet, this is not enough, for the most, it is not clear to me whether this applies to crimes outside the UK, however In Part 1 section 4 we see “For the purposes of section 1(1)(a), a person has been involved in serious crime elsewhere than in England and Wales if he;

(a) has committed a serious offence in a country outside England and Wales;
(b) has facilitated the commission by another person of a serious offence in a country outside England and Wales; or
(c) has conducted himself in a way that was likely to facilitate the commission by himself or another person of a serious offence in a country outside England and Wales (whether or not such an offence was committed).”

This seems to give enough to warrant it all (if the Jury would agree on this). So why is there such an abundance of acts and actions?

You see, the three articles are unrelated, but together they show a massive change in morale and ethics, the kind that people tend not to get back from. This might be the UK (to some extent), but it is clear that these events have been a fact in the US and are starting to get a more stringent grip to the acts of people in both Canada and Australia.

Now for the part that is linking these three views together. Let’s be clear, that this is a personal link, and as such it is debatable on many levels and also that is up to you to agree and disagree. I am not here to path the road for you, I merely speak of where the next place is, and how you get there is up to you. The press seems to favour emotion over logic (to a certain degree), you see, logic is all about reasoning and emotion is about (rashly) acting. The press gets more signals from the emotional reader, so as we react to soaps and reality TV, the press is having a field day cashing in on a league of events, all informative (in their viewpoint), yet overall not that result driven. Is it for that reason that we see a growing calendar on ‘human events’?

As we look at the big pharma piece we see a growing lack of ethicality. They state one thing, whilst pressing other avenues. The statement of moving in one direction, yet not willing to go the entire distance is something entirely unacceptable. We see the stories on how it is all so expensive to create a drug, yet the other side is not told, on how the top 20 are making in excess of half a trillion dollars, whilst in addition their net revenue is around 25%, which is one of the strongest profit margins. At this point we need to take a look at the initial premise of ‘pre-ordaining’ 2 million vaccines. How unbalanced is all this and with margins that large, why are they allowed these tax breaks?

The Bet365 issue could be regarded as an act, likely to be recklessly criminal. If there was no crime, these places could live on a static IP and we would not see the phrase ‘keeping ahead of the authorities‘. We have entered a stage of living where morality is not just taking a backseat, it is leaving the room, add to that a rapidly declining system of ethics and we end up with a change into chaos. You would wonder how a government would allow for that. Well, that is where the issue becomes murky. I think that for some time now, we have been living under a false pretence. Not unlike Sweden, where in 1917 the King’s powers were considerably reduced, becoming a figurehead with only limited political authority. A change that was done in that case for the good of the Swedish people, yet in many other nations big business made a similar change, only they did not remove power of those elected, as a long term strategy they placed themselves ABOVE the law. This is shown in several of my blogs and the acts BBC showed involving GlaxoSmithKline is only the smallest of examples. I discussed this in my blog ‘The Sanctimonious pretender‘ on August 30th where I stated: ‘Big firms consider leaving the Netherlands, says KPMG report‘, the quote “Some of the Netherlands’ biggest companies are considering leaving the country because of the worsening climate for entrepreneurs, according to a new report by consultants group KPMG“. Well, this is not about worsening climates, this is because nations with a monarchy require a fair bit of accountability, which is why the Netherlands and the United Kingdom has seen much stronger measures for the protection of the people and less so in favour of Big Business.

It is important that we seek solutions that require accountability for all, not just those who are not too rich. It is a tall order, but it can be done if we work together. We accept that there is a cost of doing business, but the view as agreed upon seems to differ as to what big business accepts as a valid cost and what everyone else thinks is a valid cost.

In a world of rapid degeneration of values like Ethics, Morality and Accountability we need to make sure that we see a stronger focus in these three values, if not, standing up to big business might no longer be an option.

 

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The orchestration has engaged

It is nice when the world falls apart, when you look at the abyss in front of you softly stating: ‘It cannot get any worse!’, then you feel a foot pressing against the lower spine of your back as you lose your balance and fall down. The last thing you hear is ‘Guess again!’

This is how certain news events felt the last few days. I am not referring to the McCain family, who states that the press has not learned anything, post-Leveson. Was anyone surprised?

My issue is with Andy Street at the John Lewis department store (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/oct/03/john-lewis-boss-andy-street-says-france-finished). In light of Tesco, I wonder what drives this person. Yes, we all know that John Lewis is upper class shopping, yet is that reason for whatever you think? Apart from your freedom of speech, which I will not hinder, my question becomes, in light of your remark “He told the gathering of entrepreneurs that the award was “made of plastic and is frankly revolting”“, so not only are you a snob, the element grace is just not within you. Fair enough! Yet, consider that as you got recognised with an award, you should consider the 3 G’s, “Be Gracious, Be grateful, Get off!” (Thanks Paul Hogan for that jewel!)

I am all for freedom of speech, but I am also in favour of accountability. So when I read this: “Street advised his audience: “If you’ve got investments in French businesses, get them out quickly.” The eurozone’s second largest economy is struggling for growth under President François Hollande and the country’s finance minister admitted last month that it will overshoot the EU’s 3% budget deficit target this year. The French economy has been hampered by low growth and poor tax receipts in recent years“, I wonder how often Mr Street got hit with the silly stick in the hours before he spoke these words.

The second issue I see is also from the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/oct/02/warren-buffet-tesco-huge-mistake), this is an entirely different matter. We all make mistakes, so when a billionaire admits to this with the headline ‘Warren Buffett: ‘Tesco was a huge mistake’‘, it is not that big a deal initially, but then I went to think it through. Why is there such a massive overreaction in regards to Tesco? Yes, the profit was overstated; however, Tesco made over ONE BILLION! Can we please wake up now? In a year where most nations are doing worse than zero per cent, in a time when the straps are on so that we recheck every dime we spend. Tesco made over a Billion. Yes, I saw the statements ‘too big to fail‘, but in this instance I do not agree. In the case of the Dutch SNS Reaal, that place LOST a Billion, Tesco MADE a billion, so can we please wake up and not overreact?

So, when the response comes, ‘Well Lawrence, you seem to be overreacting here a little above average’, my response would be ‘darn right!’

You see, the initial events, of Blackrock moving out, whilst this is a drop on a plate, is what I personally see as a form of orchestration, a few big wigs who seem to be hoping on massive write offs for Tesco. There is something so darkly unethical about such actions, that these greed driven profiteers would endanger the incomes of tens of thousands just to get a nice dividend. This is what it looks like, am I right?

That remains to be seen, but overall the fight is not done yet. Tesco is not sitting still and the new Tablet as it launched just now could be another incentive, especially if we consider where Tesco could also be active. If this is the budget option, with Tesco Mobile in the Netherlands, This gem could find many happy homes during the Dutch Sain Nicholas feast (which is on December 5th), in additional to the Christmas celebrations, as many Dutch do both instances. Tesco is not done by a long shot and the activities that we see give me the impression that several actions do not seem to be about ‘cutting losses’, but as stated on many occasions that I am not an economist.

So, when I see this article http://www.independent.ie/business/irish/billionaire-mike-ashley-bets-on-tesco-bounce-back-30616710.html, where Mike Ashley, who owns Newcastle United takes a 43 million pound share believing that Tesco Shares will bounce back, I say “well done Mate!”, two thumbs up for this man. Now, let’s be honest, as this man seems to be a millionaire a thousand times over, 43 million will not seem like a big dent in his wallet, but the fact that this man is willing to enter more cash then I will ever make (even if I grow to the ripe old age of 14645), the entered amount will boggle my mind for some time to come.

This is one of the two parts where disbelieve is still on the front of my mind. Let’s be clear, I get the entire write off, loss of share value, yet the actual occurrence, especially with a billion in profits is too strong to be just a jittery action from the market. The fact that Blackrock moved out to this extent is still an issue. It left me with two options, either they know something Dave Lewis has not been told yet, or they wanted a curve so that they can make a sweet deal down the track. Let’s not forget that the value write off is just on paper, it is like a virtual event. Blackrock did not hand over these billions in gold or actual cash; we are seeing the fallout of virtual value (as I see it). And this all gets me to the final quote, which was also in the Warren Buffet article and had been mentioned in earlier articles. “UK fund manager Neil Woodford – who decided to sell his stake in Tesco in 2012 after its first profit warning – said last week it could be a long time before any of the British supermarkets became good investment prospects again“. Why?

You see, if he sold his shares earlier, fair enough. Yes, we see that Sainsbury is lowering expectations and shares have fallen there too. I think that all supermarkets will have to change their entire approach. We see that places like Aldi and Lidl are growing, especially in Australia where Aldi is now more and more a common sight, yet over here Woolworths and Coles remain. The same applies to England, in the end people need food, so these places will remain locations where food is bought and yes, as Tesco mobile remains competitive, people will come for that options too. All that is a given, so why such a massive overreaction?

This is at the heart of my foundation for suspected orchestration. If you are in the UK, then take a look at the papers and the degree that they are looking at Pricewaterhouse Coopers. They did the auditing for Tesco, so why is not every reporter looking at PwC and seeing what links might be there, which is not an accusation, but consider all the redigesting we see on several papers, they all mention PwC in a casual way, when they have been auditing Tesco for some time. Only the Times (at http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/business/industries/banking/article4214689.ece) had done so, yet the full article is not available to me as I am not a subscriber (one of the reasons why I stick to the Guardian).

There are two more quotes the first is “Shorting Tesco has been a profitable bet” and “Traders gamble on falling share prices by borrowing equities from other investors and selling them in the hope of later buying them back cheaper – known as shorting” The latter quote comes from http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/news/article-2772107/Dont-shred-thing-new-Tesco-chief-warns-staff.html, so it is a way to make money, even though it seems unethical, the act is not, but one could call it questionable. This is the one moment where I need to ask the one question in regards to the given scenario. Let me first add the following quote “Lewis’s ‘no shredding’ order will be seen as a sign that he is determined to get to the bottom of the problem.  It also indicates that the group fears the errors – whether or not deliberate – may extend deep into the company“, as well as “Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Mike Dennis said: ‘A discrepancy of this size suggests this is not just the behaviour of a few individuals, but behaviour instilled by the senior management team“, which is where I was all along. Is this the case and if that part was known to 1-2 insiders, could this be the reason for certain action? What if Blackrock dumped its part to cause a stronger downfall, so that they can buy it again later with a much more interesting profit curve, which makes up for a lot more than the small loss they had, what happens then?

All valid questions, I just wonder if those who have actual answers are willing to give them, because it looks like a slippery slope of massive proportions. As this happens to the one place that feeds a nation, how will the people react should evidence of intentional tampering ever be shown?

Then how angry will the people get?

 

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