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Saturday 7 January 2017

The new Corporate slavery - escaping capture

This year will be make or break for many of the global corporates, and a desperate race continues to capture consumers before the chains go on. Here are a few tips to avoid capture:-

Cars -  Personal Car Leasing means increased sales for the manufacturers and is attractive to consumers who get a new car to drive at low cost for the first three years. The size of the 'bubble' payment is large, discouraging consumers from buying their own car and encouraging them to lock into a new three year deal on expiry. If the manufacturers' profits start to drop, they can nudge up monthy costs for new deals. To escape, bite the bullet, save your pennies and buy a 4 year old version of your car from an auction for cash. 

Electricity - The national drive to get everyone onto smart meters - ostensibly to allow energy savings - may allow price discrimination instead. The suggestion slipped out during the annual Autumn power scare that consumers could avoid blackouts in the future by paying a 'premium' electricity price to keep their 'lecky switched on. This suggests that power cuts in future will be controlled remotely via individual consumer meters rather than by pulling a switch at the power station. They will no doubt justify the technology with an excuse about remote consumer disconnection for non-payment being cheaper and kinder. Or to allow them to keep a home with a dialysis machine connected during a general cut. To avoid, resist the fitting of a smart meter at all costs. 

The Cloud -  This one's pretty obvious. Firstly, vast volumes of storage for all your music, films, data, photographs and so on is offered free. This is the consumer capture stage. Once the market has been fully enrolled, the charging can start. It will be crude blackmail - pay or we'll ditch your stuff. To avoid, never keep anything in the cloud. Back up your stuff onto external HDDs.

Amazon / Spotify etc - Similar. You buy videos, music, games etc only these are not loaded on your own computer but on the vendors' servers. Which means they can cut access, or start charging more, at any time. Your stuff is hostage. To avoid, buy real CDs / DVDs or download MP3s to your own devices unlinked to vendor software

Facebook / Twitter etc - These are the most overvalued stocks in the market, true bubbles. The only reason they're holding value and not bursting is the opportunity the companies have to start charging their massive captive consumer base. Facebook's market penetration means it's almost good to go. Initial fees will be modest to maximise retention, with universal payment via mobile phone charges plus the alternatives. To avoid, ditch Facebook. 

Internet of Things - It starts with apps to turn your central heating on from the office or have your fridge place a repeat order with the supermarket and will end with the corporates controlling your thermostat and filling your fridge with their stuff. This one's a no-brainer. The only thing in your house connected to the internet should be your router/modem and the device you use to surf the web and download data.  

The 'bite' has yet to come for most of these - the corporates are still in the phase of rolling out the tech and capturing consumers. However, they are all good to go if they have to. Together with the good points made in the comments to the previous post about robots, the future is arriving by stealth. I'm not a tinfoil hat sort of person, and the foregoing are just the sort of basic, sensible precautions I take myself. Any such additions to the list are welcome. 

Friday 6 January 2017

2020 Migrant wave - and why Europe needs Russia as an ally

As a lengthy (45mts) but comprehensive briefing on the matter, the podcast doc by David Willetts now available from Radio 4, is reasonably good. Using the analogy of a python swallowing a pig, the blurb states 
"a big bulge makes its way slowly down the snake from the head end to the other end. That's a bit like what's happened to the UK demographically. The baby boom generation - which has changed Britain politically, culturally and economically - is now retiring. That means a large bulge of pensioners with big implications for the generations that come behind them. Other advanced economies face a similar challenge and emerging economies - most notably China - will be dealing with an ageing bulge themselves soon. But in Africa, the bulge is at the other end. A very young generation is about to make its way through the snake."
And it's the African bulge that is exercising minds in Europe
The current migration report of an Austrian intelligence service shows why the time for action is scarce: experts warn that 15 million young adults will be without jobs by the year 2020 in Nigeria, the Republic of the Congo, Sudan, Ethiopia and seven other African countries And the masses want to emigrate to Europe.
Whilst the Middle East youth bulge is now passing through and will generally decline by 2020, two exceptions; Iraq and the West Bank and Gaza are both expected to rise to 29% by 2020, when Iran's will have fallen to 22%. Both flash points will continue to push migrants into Europe through Turkey and the Russian federal states. 

Only utter fools believe that the present policy of the world's navies providing a taxi service from points 3 miles off the North African coast to Europe is sustainable. For that's the range of the boats and the fuel now being used by the smugglers; it's cheaper to buy a VHF to make an SOS call just outside the territorial limit than 100 extra litres of diesel. No ship can ignore a distress call, and a nice NATO frigate will come collect you to take you to Italy.

But to contain the migrants in North Africa or the Middle East will need the active co-operation of Russia, both on the ground and at sea and at the UN Security Council. It may involve taking control of sovereign national territory in North Africa to hold (and feed) millions of migrants.

This is Europe's biggest challenge. And we need Russia as an ally to face it.  


Wednesday 4 January 2017

Petulant arrogant hubristic arsehole quits

Ivan Rogers, who after Balliol and the École Normale Supérieure spent pretty much his whole adult life working for government, was predictably seduced by the heady vapours of Brussels. The EU has made normal the elevation of unelected bureaucrats to positions of great power, and in such an atmosphere it was almost inevitable that Rogers, whose petulant, sulky, narcissistic face stares at the nation from today's front pages, would forget that he was just an unelected employee and start to imagine that he was someone important.  

If Rogers had been doing his job he would not have penned the extraordinary 1,400 word apology for his meretricious and dishonourable departure. If Rogers had a true allegiance to his nation and sovereign rather than to the unelected officials of the Commission, he would not have gushed his hubristic nonsense all over the papers. And if Rogers had any real intellectual grasp of the over-riding issues rather than a shallow official's understanding of the minutiae, the problem would not have arisen in the first place. The bloke is quite clearly a shallow, petulant arsehole and we're really much better off without him.

Tuesday 3 January 2017

Banks - More Fake News from the Guardian

The Guardian has started 2017 as it ended 2016 - with Fake News, distortion, omission and misrepresentation. The paper's decline from the 1970s and 80s when it represented fearless journalism to the sad little agitprop rag it has become today is precipitous. Now just a platform for waspish spite and crude post-truth corporatist Federast propaganda, Paul Foot will be spinning in his grave. Still fighting the Brexit battle with Fear and Smear, today's risible guff is a story that banks are preparing to leave Britain

What the paper knows but omits from printing is that:-
  • All banks are tackling how to split their retail from their investment operations by 2019 - a post 2008 crash requirement and nothing to do with Brexit
  • That there is NO risk whatsoever that retail banks will move offshore
  • That banks have a duty to examine options for the future location of investment bank operations - which require separate HR, legal and risk back-office support rather than shared as at present
  • That London will retain global #1 ranking for financial ops, that Frankfurt, currently at #19 in the world ranking, is a dreary little provincial town to which bankers will not move
  • That it is almost inevitable that the options appraisals will demonstrate that London remains the best option for bank investment ops - better staff pool quality, advantageous employment law, preferred law and court structure, best legal pool quality, best transport and time links - but just in case Juncker's bent chums in Lux suddenly offer banks a 5% tax rate, alternatives must be considered
Of course, if the Guardian had printed the truth, there would be no story. So they go with lies, omissions, distortions and misrepresentation of which Goebbels would be proud. Sad, nasty little rag.

Sunday 1 January 2017

That New Years Honours List in full

Her Majesty has been graciously pleased to grant:

Knights Bachelor – Knighthoods
Kevin Darren OUTHOUSE Chair of Fake Charities International. For services to political corruption
John CHUNDER Director of MoD weaponised sea mammals research. For gross expenditure of public money.
Derek Douglas HUNN-FELCHER Campaign Director, the Privilege Trust. For services to the Establishment
Tarquin Henry BUMBRIGHT Treasuer, Chipping Norton Conservative Party. For services to political Anilinction
Peter Arthur GROSSNONSE, Suffragan Bishop of Luton Director, Rough Lads Foundation. For services to Young Men
Dean PFUNDER-PHART Political philanthropist. For Services to Corruption
Henry Morgan EYEPATCH CBI Director, asset stripper and crook. For services to Business
Lobitch Lowery LUDD MP for Much Weeping, former junior undersecretary for Badger Culling. Services to political Anilinction
John FOMITT Director Home Office Immigration. For services to Waste and Incompetence
Stan RUFFDIAMOND Former barber to Mr Cameron. For services to political Hair
Dame Commanders of the British Empire
Sharon SHORTOTTY Former toenail painter to Mrs Cameron. For services to Grooming
Polly WACHTER Former roots-dyer to Mrs Cameron. For services to Grooming
Janet BAG-THROTTLER CBE Former BBC Head of Talent and TV Pop. For services to Grooming
Hillary BHOY Founder, the Naughty Panties Co, political donor. For services to Bad Taste, and services to Corruption
Aisha KHAN Chair, Labour Lawyers for Sharia. For services to Islamism
Professor Myrtle DIESEL Rights campaigner. For services to Hatred.
Commanders of the British Empire
Hugh Calvin BULLIE Head of Fake Research, Department of Coercion. For services to Illiberality
Rupert Charles POINTLESS Head of Treasury Brexit Unit. For services to the European Union
Christopher John MOLL-GOBBLER Director, Unique Tiny Missiles Programme, BAe. For services to National Humiliation