Category: Published


And where it all went horribly wrong for those in the sToried corridors of power…

In law, if May can’t pass #QueensSpeech, #Corbyn AUTOMATICALLY becomes PM

Source: In law, if May can’t pass #QueensSpeech, #Corbyn AUTOMATICALLY becomes PM

The answer is blowing in the wind…

Theresa May says sorry to her MPs for the ‘mess’ caused by election campaign and vows to ‘get us out of it’

Mrs May’s deal with the DUP threatens 20 years hard work in Ireland.

Northern Ireland Politicians Say Theresa May’s Dependence On The DUP Could Damage The Peace Process

Nationalist leaders warned that the British government couldn’t be an “honest broker” if the PM was relying on the Democratic Unionists to stay in Downing Street.

Posted on June 9, 2017, at 11:38 p.m. and written by Siobhan Fenton, a

It’s a shambles

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“Submarines in the desert” (as my deepest gratitude to you) … reproduced ~ WITHLOVE ~

Submarine in the desert 1
Foreword

I have been thinking about writing this post for several months now.  But in a world were everything coming from the heart is misconstrued as some form of posturing, I was frankly afraid to do so.  Also, writing that kind of stuff is not what bloggers do, much less so those who try to run a halfway credible blog.  And yet, every time I got a kind email, a letter or even a gift, I felt that I have to write this.  God knows I am opening myself up for even more misrepresentations as usual, but I think it is well worth it.  My spiritual father always used to say “one soul is more precious then the entire universe“.

So I dedicate this post to that one soul.

Introduction

My life has been one of ups and downs.  Early on, after a pretty nasty childhood, it went up, rather rapidly.  Then came the “fall from (pseudo-) grace” and I lost my career.  It is still too early to go into all the details, but let’s just say that I used to be associated with a “three letter outfit” whose existence was not well-known by the general public and which has since been disbanded.  In my field, I got to the proverbial ‘top’ pretty early on, but soon the war in Bosnia began to open my eyes to many things I had never suspected before.  Then I found out about two things which got me blacklisted in my own, putatively democratic, country: I found out that a group of people had uselessly been murdered as a result of the criminal incompetence of their superiors and I found out that one guy had taken a long jail sentence while all this superiors had managed to walk away from a crime they all had committed.  And even though I never went public, or even told my closest friends about it (to protect them), I was blacklisted and prevented from ever working again.

In those dark days my wonderful wife was always trying to tell me that it was not my fault, that I had never done anything wrong, that I was paying the price for being a person of integrity and that I had proven many times over how good I was in my field.  I always used to bitterly reply to her that I was like a “submarine in a desert”: maybe very good at “something somewhere”, but useless in my current environment (I always used to visualize a Akula-class SSN stranded smack in the middle of the Sahara desert – what a sight that would be!  I wish somebody would use a Photoshop-like software to create that pic).  What I have found out since, is that our planet is covered with deserts and that there are many, many submarines in them, all yearning for the vastness of an ocean.

Modest beginnings at first

I came to the USA in 2002 with only one desire: to leave my past on the other side of the ocean and to disappear, to become an anonymous ‘nobody’ who would be left alone.  More than anything else, I needed time to recover, to lick my wounds and to spend time with the only people who had stood by my without every doubting me: my wife and my kids.

The French have a very good saying:”chassez le naturel et il revient au galop” which can roughly be translated as “try to suppress your nature, and it will come back with a vengeance”.  This is what happened to me.  While in 2002 I had promised myself to never analyze anything more complicated that a fiction book, by 2007 I suddenly decided to start a blog.  This blog.  My goal?  Very, very primitive: to write whatever the hell I wanted.  I had spent so many years writing for “big people” who had very narrow limits of what they were willing to read that I decided to indulge in the joy of writing whatever I wanted with no concern or regard for anybody’s opinion.  I had an  itch to scratch I decided to scratch it.

You can still parse the archives of 2007 or 2008 and you will see that I really was making no efforts to reach anybody, make a difference or become popular.  A short and ill-fated contact with Antiwar.com (which ended up in disaster), gave me a few more readers but my readership was still tiny.

My choice of topics did not help.  Years before, I had literally “bumped” into the topic of Hezbollah and, my curiosity picked, I spent a decade studying this movement and its amazing leader.  By 2007 I was an unrepentant Hezbollah-groupie and Nasrallah fanboy and most of the blog dealt with the Middle-East.  The other topic was Russia, simply because this was the country my family came from and which I had professionally analyzed for years.  As for the Ukraine, I don’t think that I ever mentioned it at all.  While I was disgusted with the ignorance and hatefulness of Ukrainian nationalists, I did not care about the Ukraine: “let them soak in their own ‘independent’ and yet pathetic and clearly sinking statelet if they want – I have more inspiring things to look at” was my philosophy at the time.  Sure, I kept an eye on events there, but to me this reminded me of Russia in 1993 – I was disgusted with all the actors and with the entire situation.  Besides, what could happen there which would be worthy of interest?

And sure enough, life proved me wrong (-: again 🙂
Submarine in the desert 3
The big wars of 2013

First, there was Syria and the Russian role in stopping Uncle Sam.  Oh yes, there were the political efforts of the Russian diplomats, and they were ‘bad’ enough.  But less noticed what the fact that Russia sent a hastily assembled but capable naval task force to the Syrian coast.  Not a task force big enough to fight the US Navy, but a task force capable of providing a full view of the skies over and beyond Syria to the Syrian military.  In other words, for the first time the US could not achieve a surprise attack on Syria, not with cruise missiles, not with airpower.  Worse, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah embarked on a covert and overt program of material and technical assistance for Syria which ended up defeating the Wahabi insurgency.  The AngloZionist were absolutely *livid*.  So to teach Putin and those damn Russkies a good lesson, they blew up the Ukraine and, again, Putin did two things they had never expected and which they could never forgive: he did sent forces Crimea but he did not do so in Novorussia: there he helped covertly.  There was no doubt possible: Russia had committed the “Crime of Crimes” of openly defying the will of our planetary overlords.  The Empire’s response was predictable: a full-spectrum ‘war’ on Russia and Putin, albeit not an overtly military one (yet).

For me and my blog, the consequence of this mega-crisis was immediate: the readership literally exploded and, at the suggestion of other (it was not even my idea!), more Saker blogs suddenly began popping up.  From a unknown one man anonymous blog the Saker blog morphed into a global community, and that over less than one year.

[Sidebar: if often fell like a war profiteer.  The worse the situation in the Ukraine, the more readers I get, the calmer, the less.  On a really quiet day I get as little as 20’000 hits, on a really bad day, up to 69’000.  I estimate my more or less regular readership at no more than 30’000]

I am outlining all this to truthfully explain to you that this was never the plan for me.  Not only was this completely unplanned, it even took me by surprise.  In fact, I was so surprised that I could not honestly make sense of it.  Think of it.

Here is a one-man blog, written by some anonymous dude with a silly alias, who repeatedly engages in all sorts of crimethink (like the day when I wrote – to a mainly Arab readership – that I believed that Hamas ought to unconditionally release Gilad Shalit, LOL!) who is neither from the Left, nor from the Right, whose writing is chock full of typos and, frankly, very poorly written sentences and yet this blog suddenly takes off like a rocket.  And you can tell by my writing style that I don’t even take myself too seriously.  But so what in the world has happened here?

Sure, I am a decent analyst, I know Russian and a few other languages, I have studied Russia for all my life and the Middle-East for, well, a little over a decade.  This is not bad, but hardly a reason for such a success.

Then I understood:

It was never about me, but always about you

Along with more daily visitors, I began receiving more and more emails and letters.  And presents.  Often very touching ones.  Just look at the absolutely beautiful drawing of a Saker Falcon I got yesterday (thanks SO MUCH “S.T.”! I will  frame and posted it on my wall)

People who had never met me and who really knew nothing about me were literally pouring kindness over me.  Most emails and letter centered on political issues, but a big minority were expressing much deeper feelings such as gratitude and a desire to morally support.  I was amazed, really.  Then my readers began suggesting that I should place a donation button on the blog.  Many may not believe me here, but that idea had never even crossed my mind.  Eventually, I did (God knows I needed the money) and to my absolute amazement people began donating.  Why?  Why would anybody in our cynical word filled with crooks donate some hard earned and always scarce money to a guy he/she has never met?  Was that just because I was posting materials about Syria or the Ukraine?  Or my oh-so-good analyses?  Hardly.

And then there was also the rage.  Many, many letters were literally oozing with rage.  Rage against the government, its media, the Empire, the lies and the dishonesty.  Rage at having been lied to.  Rage at the humiliation of being treated like a serf or a slave.  Rage at our dysfunctional and self-destructive society.  Before that, I had no idea that so many people were so mad.

The most gut-wrenching letters were often from US servicemen.  They often began with “I consider myself a patriotic American and I love my country which I served for many years in the military but….” and here it inevitably turned into a painful admission that this country was lead by evil crooks, occupied by parasites, owned by a 1% of SOB whom everybody else despises.  And you would simply not believe the kind of stuff these correspondents, including former servicemen, would write about Putin.  It was amazing – I regularly joke that if given a chance to run, Putin might be elected as President of the US of A.

[Sidebar: By the way, I will not post these letters here.  Not even excepts.  First, I want to protect the trust of those who wrote to me.  Second, some of these letters are so amazing and moving that I will inevitably be accused of making them up.  So I will simply forgo presenting any ‘proof’ for my statements.  Believe me or not – makes no difference to me.  And if you don’t – then I guess that yours is not the soul I dedicate this post to anyway]

So there I was trying to figure out – why such an outpouring of kindness for a total stranger (and an anonymous one at that!) and such an outpouring of rage against the society we live in.  And then, I think that I figured it out.
The deserts are filled with submarines (but they are breaking free!)

The Way Out
That’s it.  I had mistakenly believed that I was the only one feeling like a submarine in a desert, but in reality the deserts of our society were filled with people who felt completely alienated.  Several times in the past I posted here the beautiful song by David Rovics “We are everywhere” because with each passing month I began to realize that he was literally right – we are, indeed, everywhere.

What society had done to me – made me completely powerless – it has also done to you.  And just the way it had made me feel like a single lonely nutcase, it made you feel like you were the only one.  I most sincerely believe that the real reason for the success of this blog, its global community, its vibrant discussions and the amazing outpouring of kindness towards me is in the following simple fact: I inadvertently made it possible for many thousands of people to realize they they were not alone, not crazy, not wrong but that quite literally “we are everywhere”!

The second thing that I did, again quite inadvertently, is to empower those who felt powerless to do something, to make a change, to really have an impact.

Our societies are designed to make us feel like prison inmates, serfs or slaves.  We all know that voting is a useless joke, that our rulers don’t give a damn about us, that political dissent is frowned on when it is real, that revolts are crushed in violence, that pluralism is viciously repressed by the prevailing ideology, that our schools brainwash and stupidify our kids and turn them against us, that the home brainwashing appliances like the Idiot-Tube, the radio or the papers are here to do only three things: entertain us, get our money and zombify us.  We know that, but we feel powerless to do anything about it.

By asking for help in my work on the blog and, especially, by allowing for what I call “spontaneous self-organization” (something which I had directly taken from how the Debian community functions) I had given those who shared my goals a readily available means to take action.  And I have to say that the result exceeded my expectations by many order of magnitude (and made me realize that some “amateurs” are at least as good as, or better, then “pros”).  Treat people with respect, give them a chance, and they will do miracles for you!

[Sidebar: if you are interested in how big complex projects can self-organize, please read – online – chapter 2.4 “The Debian Community” pp 46-57 in this book.  Of course, I did not deliberately try to copy the Debian model, but I did apply the “just do it” principle and I let each Saker Blog self-organize in a completely independent manner.  I also see my own role in the Saker community as one of a “benevolent dictator“, another free software phenomenon, though, so far, I have only had to act in this capacity once].

Thanks to my inadvertently stumbling into the fantastic and yet untapped potential of so many good people our community began to grow almost spontaneously (several Saker Blog Team Leaders have also expressed to me the same amazement I was feeling).

Suddenly many “submarines” had found their oceans to show what they were really capable off!

Do you know about the Asch conformity experiment? [If not, take a quick look here before reading on].  Well, I think that my oppositional-defiant personality inadvertently crashed at least part of the gigantic Asch conformity experiment our society has become.  I was calling it as I was seeing it and to hell with the consequences (I had so few readers anyways…).  Then, in 2010 I decided to really give a good kick into the sandcastle of our delusions and posted an article entitled “Why am I not hearing the endless rumble of jaws dropping to the floor?”.  In this post I basically repeated something which anybody could verify and which was undeniable: NIST had, by direct implication, admitted that WTC7 had been brought down by controlled demolition.  Furthermore, and contrary to popular belief, NIST has simply no explanation at all for how the WTC1 and WTC2 had fallen.  And yet, this amazing fact was completely obfuscated by the collective Asch experiment being imposed on us.  But the reality is that the 911 issue is just a tip of an iceberg.  Our entire society is one big, long and neverending Asch experiment and most of us, at least on some level, know about it.  We all feel what the Matrix series calls the feeling like a “splinter in our mind”.

I suppose that for types like myself (disrespectful of social dogmas and norms, oppositional and defiant towards authority, rebellious and aggressive by nature, deeply contrarian on an almost knee-jerk level, libertarian in outlook) the outcome of the tension between what I feel and what I am told to feel results in a long battle against the established order and dominant ideology (no wonder another two of my favorite songs of David Rovics are “Burn it down” and “We will shut them down“).  But once a bad guy like myself decided to yank the splinter out of my mind – others decided to give it a try too and that is how it all began.

My gratitude to you

And here is what I wanted to say through all of the above: I know that I personally do not deserve such kindness and gratitude. In reality, the very fact that you have shown me so much kindness also shows that you are truly the one deserving gratitude and praise.  I am just the very very lucky one – you are the kind and generous one.  And, please believe me, this has nothing to do with me engaging in some kind of false modesty – I truly believe it, this is the conclusion I have come to from your letter and your emails.

In conclusion, I want to share a special song with all those of your who have “poured out their souls to me” (Russian expression).  It is from the Russian bard Vladimir Vyssotskii and it is called “Song of the Earth”:

Here are the lyrics (translated by George Tokarev)

Is the earth, as they say, burnt and dried?
Will a seed, as they say, never sprout?
Has the earth, as they say, really died?
No! It’s taken a lengthy time-out!

Mother Earth will forever give birth,
Its maternity isn’t a fiction!
Don’t believe that they burnt down the earth,
No! It’s blackened from grief and affliction.

Trenches, running like scars back and forth...
Bleeding guts black shell-craters expose...
They are open nerves of the earth,
Which unearthly unhappiness knows.

It will stand wars and grief - any thing!
It’s not crippled, though booted and looted...
Don’t believe that the earth doesn’t sing,
That it’s quieted down, diluted!

No, it’s singing as loud as it can
From a trench, from a wound, from a hole!
Since the earth is the soul of Man,
Boots cannot trample down the soul!

This last sentence, “boot cannot trample down the soul!”, speaks, I believe, not only of physical boots, though these are also meant, but also about psychological, ideological, social boots who, no less than the real thing, try hard to trample down on our souls.

Remember the last sentence of Orwell’s 1984? “He loved Big Brother”.  I always absolutely hated that sentence.  Yes, for the purpose of the book, this was the correct ending being, as it was, a warning.  But I always though “hell, no I will always hate Big Brother”, “boots cannot trample down souls”.

What you all, my friends, have proven to me is that there are many of us who will not love Big Brother and that Big Brother has not trampled down our souls.  20 years ago I used to feel like the most lonely man on the planet.  Now, thanks to you, I feel like we are everywhere and I have friend, free fellow humans, all over the planet.

And for that you have my eternal and most heartfelt gratitude,

The Saker
Submarine in the desert 2
PS: note to the Saker-haters: I am fully aware of how easy it is to distort and “rephrase in other words” what I wrote above, and how many ugly and nasty conclusions you can come up with.  At the very least, you will call me either a hypocrite or delusional.  Fine.  You have shown me over and over again that this is a price to pay for honesty.  I did not try to make this text slander-proof and if you want to use that to trash me further – fine.  I just want you to know that I accept that and that I don’t fear you one bit :-p

December 2015 addendum from the Saker:

I consider that the “Submarine in the desert” text above really says everything relevant about me. I also believe that you can tell a tree by its fruits – so my blog is really what people ought to judge me by. However, since others apparently want to know a little more about my past life, I can add the following:

I was born in Zurich, Switzerland, from a Dutch father and Russian mother. My father left us when I was 5, so my mother and my Russian family raised me and this is why I took my mother’s last name. I lived most of my life in Geneva, Switzerland. In 1984 I did my military service in electronic warfare and I was later transferred to the military intelligence service (UNA) as a language specialist where did some work with the Swiss Air Force. I then traveled to the USA where I got a BA in International Relations from the School of International Service (SIS) at the American University and a MA in Strategic Studies from the Paul H. Nitze School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at the Johns Hopkins University. Upon my return to Switzerland, I worked as a civilian consultant for the Swiss Strategic Intelligence Service (SND) writing strategic analyses, primarily about the Soviet/Russian military.  In the military, I was given the Major-equivalent rank of “Technical Officer”, which is a fancy way of saying that I was an analyst. I also worked as an “enemy operations” (“Red Team” in US parlance) specialist for the operational-level training of the General Staff of Swiss armed forces. I then accepted a position for the UN Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) where I specialized in peacekeeping tactics and operations. This gave me the opportunity to co-author a book on Russian peacekeeping operations with the Major-General I. N. Vorob’ev, of the Russian General Staff Academy. My last work at UNIDIR was about psychological operations and intelligence in peacekeeping which can be downloaded here. At the same time, I also wrote an evaluation of the performance of the Russian military during the first Chechen war for the Journal of Slavic Military Studies which somebody has since uploaded here. The wars in Bosnia and Chechnia really opened my eyes to the real nature of the Empire. Since I thought that I was living in a democracy, I did voice my opinion on these topics and I soon ended up being viewed with suspicion by my former bosses. I quit the UN and took up a position at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) which was probably the worst mistake of my life and which I shall never discuss publicly. By the time I got out of that job, I was basically blacklisted as a “dangerous element” (meaning “disloyal”) by my former bosses (my regular contacts with Russian diplomats and my efforts at providing aid to the Bosnian Serbs probably did not help).  In total disgust, I abandoned my career as a military specialist and re-trained as a software engineer. When 9/11 crashed the IT sector I was unemployed again and I left Switzerland for the USA where I homeschooled our 3 children while doing odd jobs, mostly as a translator (I am fluent in Russian, French, English, Spanish and German) while my wife worked as a veterinarian (now, that our kids have grown up, my wife and I work together). In 2007 I decided to start an anonymous blog, mainly as a psychotherapy for myself, and I called it “Vineyard Saker” – a simple machine-generated anagram of my full name 🙂

Finally, and just for the record, a few points: I never did any intelligence gathering for anybody, though I was approached by the Americans, the Russians and the Swiss do to exactly that, but I turned them all down (just not my cup of tea at all). While my maternal family are all from the Russian nobility, my Dutch DNA is 100% proletarian, and I am quite happy with that mix. To my great regret, I get no help from Russia at all – not money, not information (I would *love* to be a paid “Putin agent” but VVP has not made any offers yet).  All my info is 100% “open source”. My past experience with classified data tells me that it is either highly technical or time-critical but not otherwise better than open source information: 80% of all the good info is out there, in the open, it is just a matter of putting it together correctly. I get a regular trickle of donations from the blog, but nothing major, and only 2 private donors (thanks guys!!) provide most of it anyway. If making money was my big goal, then I assure you that I had plenty of much better opportunities.  My main objective in the immediate future is to (finally) write my thesis for the graduate degree in patristic theology I am working on now, and to set some money aside to visit Russia again (which I have not done since 1996!). Oh, and if you still wonder, no, I am not a Muslim nor am I on any Muslim (or other) payroll.

I am a “proud card carrying member” of the FSFEFF and NRA (yes, I like my freedoms).  Political Compass (https://www.politicalcompass.org/) scores me as a “Left Libertarian”:

The Saker is a Left-Libertarian0Personally, I reject the Left-Right reference system and consider myself an Orthodox “People’s Monarchist” (народный монархист) in the tradition of Lev Tikhomirov, Feodor Dostoevsky, Ivan Solonevich and Ivan Ilyin. Just like the Russian philosopher Berdaev, rather than looking left or right, I rather look *up*!

I also recognize myself in the notion of “Left of labor, Right of values” (Gauche du travail, droite des valeurs) of Alain Soral.  My economics are: laissez-faire capitalism for the family and small business level, socialism for the corporation level and communism for strategic/national level sectors of the economy.

My favorite authors are Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Sergei Lukiianenko.

I play acoustic jazz guitar and my favorite guitarist are Philip CatherineJohn McLaughlinVicente Amigo and Angelo Debarre.  My favorite composers are J.S. Bach, Astor Piazzolla and Roger Waters.

I have over 40 years of freediving experience (which I began long before the Big Blue movie made that lifestyle popular), but now, at 52, I mostly kayak and hike the Florida wilderness.

Now that I wrote all of the above, I still think that it is largely irrelevant.  Judge me not by what I say about myself, but by my blog or, better, my book.  All of the above is true, but these are my *external life circumstances* and they do not say much about who I really *am*.  My writings do.  Study them (if so inclined) and you will know who I am.

The Saker

#Brexit – How does it affect the UK Film Industry ?- Conjecture and Opinions

Well, after reading the article by Stephen Follows copied in its entirety below, I’m certainly not in agreement and have been prompted to provide my own views on this historic and groundbreaking referendum held on 23rd June 2016 in the UK now commonly called the “Brexit” vote.

Britain is well-prepared and will triumph gloriously as the panic subsides. I am most probably going to be critiqued on my statements here and wildly criticised for being contrarian or called worse? Let me start by stating that the film industry generally and globally is going through a dynamic disruptive metamorphosis; changes are inevitable as strong growth in media continues, and as new business relationships are consummated in a rapidly changing economic landscape. The models have changed. Funding productions and distributing content is no longer utilising film funding mechanics that were developed and put in place decades ago, and before the Internet changed everything.

L2L Brexit Opportunity

Countries and their governments throughout the world are adopting film incentives processes building on local strengths as they have researched and found how important attracting filmmaking in their jurisdictions is to other industry sectors within their borders. Film incentives emanated from Hollywood and were initiated by “Runaway Production“. In the late 1990’s Hollywood film industry guilds, backed by US studios and media companies retained a company that produced the Monitor Report to conduct an investigation into phenomenon. The global success of production incentives and the migration of feature film production from the U.S.A. to the world spurred further in-depth research and data collection.

 

The outcome of the Brexit vote in the UK has rippled rapidly through the financial services industry, banks and global markets and will continue for some time yet; all are experiencing very high levels of volatility and this has sent shock waves around the world.

Brexit Pound Drops

Record drops in Pound Sterling currency trading

 

The British Pound has plummeted to record lows with the media networks harping on in sound bites, excited sensationalism about trading drops not seen in 45 years of market analytics et al. Well, what most people seemingly don’t realise or understand about
film industry dynamics is that the film necessarily thrives during times of uncertainty. This can be seen throughout history, across countries and around the world. Do some deep research into what I am writing here and you will likely be surprised to find correlations that support my words! The British film industry has evolved and will continue to capture global market shares in the media industry, and I see this time as stimulating greater growth, as opposed to what the pundits and commentators are bleating along with those who see things differently.

Brexit Britain On Film BFI

Britain On Film Our Lives Our Stories www.bfi.org.uk

Here’s some background worth reciting to put current views in context. “The UK was not a signatory to the Treaty of Rome which created the EEC in 1957. The country subsequently applied to join the organization in 1963 and again in 1967, but both applications were vetoed by the then President of FranceCharles de Gaulle, ostensibly because “a number of aspects of Britain’s economy, from working practices to agriculture had made Britain incompatible with Europe and that Britain harbored a “deep-seated hostility” to any pan-European project. Once de Gaulle had relinquished the French presidency, the UK made a third application for membership, which was successful. On 1 January 1973 the United Kingdom joined the EEC, then often referred to in the UK as the “Common Market”. This was done under the Conservative Prime Minister Edward Heath. The opposition Labour Party, led by Harold Wilson, contested the October 1974 general election with a commitment to renegotiate Britain’s terms of membership of the EEC and then hold a referendum on whether to remain in the EEC on the new terms.”

Brexit British Film Soldiers On - Barry Lyndon 1975 Stanley Kubrick

A scene from “Barry Lyndon” 1975, directed by Stanley Kubrick

Now more than four decades on in 2016 the people of the UK have voted and the majority have chosen to leave the fold.

The EU and EEA (formerly known as EEC) have been weighed, measured and left wanting.

Brexit Wins Overall

British “Brexit” Referendum Final Results

The globalists,  corporate interests, banks and politicians that are are all screaming and moaning at the top of their lungs that the UK has absconded are behaving like chicks hatching out of cracked and spoiled boiled eggs. Many of those who have been gambling on this huge European casino economy are locked into the Euro currency; Britain is not.

In retrospect keeping the British Pound was a very smart move and whilst obviously it will be spinning fast and furiously on the roulette wheel of global currency markets for a while, the wheel will begin to slow and when it settles, the strength and growth prospects inherent in the British economy will begin to shine. Now that the UK has left the table, after having been previously drawn to the allure of bright lights and European delights at a time in British history when things looked a damn sight more appealing across the channel than the dire conditions in England that occurred in the aftermath of World War II.Brexit BFI Facebook on Billy Wilder

Britain was enticed down the old golden gilt garden path and as things became boggy and more recently progressively stagnant a modern economic quagmire of dissent and distrust emerged and flowed in the under currents of populations and opinions. The British people have decided to take their remaining chips, cash in at the borders and leave the building. If you’ve ever been into a casino, you will have noticed that they like to keep the light constant, day and night, to trick people and punters into staying on and gambling for longer; the EU bureaucratic empire operates as aqueously within its vast corridors of power, ever flowing, ever changing and most haven’t even noticed where the leakages are occurring.

Brexit The Movie is a full length British documentary film that provides some very interesting factual details, and well worth watching more than once.

The United Kingdom now stands to benefit immensely.

 

Building on new trends and timing with markets

Evidence suggests that the trends of US and EU companies pursuing strategic partnerships in Asia is increasing in 2016.

Brexit Pole - Interest Rates

Fiscal imbalances and floundering interest rates

Such trends are not exclusive to strategic decisions being made by corporations in the entertainment, media, and Hollywood talent agencies. The British Film Institute research provides great insights into how UK Film industry has been positioning for a more dynamic growth into new markets. A renewed focus on private equity and Family Office funding coupled with recent increased volatility in financial markets has spurred a swathe of mergers and acquisitions activity across the divide between East and West. Britain stands to benefit in this changing dynamic global shift we are in the midst of witnessing.

OTT and Streaming revenues growth accelerators

Activity and accelerated knowledge growth amongst Asian countries in the OTT and Premium OTT services sectors is driving increased competition for market share in four principle market angles:

  • Market enablers: the underlying market conditions for premium OTT offerings (e.g. population, broadband, devices, penetration, payment gateways)
  • OTT building blocks: the assets, capabilities, technologies and services required to develop and launch subscription OTT offerings (e.g. government regulation, censorship, languages, cultural specialties)
  • Consumer demand: awareness, interest, willingness to pay, serviceability to pay, payment options
  • The competitive environment between OTT services, pay-tv offerings (Netflix, iflix, et al)

Britain is poised strategically and the smart money and smart ideas are disruptive. I see Brexit as a smart move, contrary to the inference by general mass media reports that most of the voters were low income classes lacking in understanding. Smart companies are banking on future technologies that will change the way we do business around the world. Furthermore, Britain can now create new relationships more efficiently and operate without needing EU approvals, that are more complex and time consuming to get approved across the channel. Providing scalability as well as flexibility to explore expansion opportunities and build business relationships in ASEAN and India at an exciting time when these Asian regions are experiencing extraordinary changes is an opportunity for the taking.

Brexit BFI Into Film

BFI Into Film education programme

The British Film Industry stands to benefit immensely as it is well supported within the country by the BFI coupled with educational programmes such as Into Film and these can quickly and easily become interesting areas of growth for British film professionals showing their wares to countries with less established film industry mechanisms. Growth in the global media industry is vibrant and expanding. As Asia creates new forums, established British technology and experience in teaching and learning programs can be exported and provide assistance and services for Startups in countries experiencing strong growth. Focusing on new business avenues and matching these efficiently with cost effectively implementation of entertainment and media growth strategies is the key to sustainability; remaining adaptable to future changes is vital for survival.

Innovations and Cultural Specifics

Innovations in technology and rapid growth utilising enterprise software to enhance business efficiency coupled to growing mobile penetration is prevalent across ASEAN.

Brexit Mobile penetration demographics SE Asia

Mobile Communications Demographics in South East Asia

With large populations utilizing high-speed data services and ever-increasing access to mobile communications coupled with the proliferation of marketing and advertising censorship controls are the subject of Governments and populations wishing to monitor and filter content delivered over the Internet.

India’s super angel investors are predominantly focused on the media technology and innovation spaces and are keenly interested in developing strategic partnerships with growth stories that focus on expansion in Asia.

The UK film industry is not only going to benefit from what I see as being relatively short-term weakness in the British Pound currency, Britain will thrive as the English people build upon their long history and experiences of seeking out and discovering new lands, building and expanding. With Brexit Britain has begun a new era of British conquest but not of conquer; this time the prospects are for the country to prosper on new relationships with new partners, rather than empire building as it was during the days of the East India Company “formed to pursue trade with the East Indies but ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and Qing China.” The company rose to account for half of the world’s trade, particularly in basic commodities including cotton, silk, indigo dye, salt, saltpetre, tea and opium. The company also ruled the beginnings of the British Empire in India. This time Britain will be bringing AI, nano-technology and British Startups Technology to the world.

Thank you for taking the time to read my conjecture and opinions here. I look forward with positivism and optimism as the world begins to dance rather than march to a new tune.

This article is created and written by James With, spurred after reading the article by Stephen Follows dated June 26, 2016 copied here below.

***************************************************************

The full article by Stephen Follows is reprinted here for ease and efficiency with respect to views expressed by many film industry heavyweights and further juxtaposition.

How will Brexit affect the UK film industry?

How will Brexit affect the UK film industry?Last Thursday, 52% of the UK population voted for the UK to leave the European Union (EU).  I am going to avoid the political side of this conversation as it’s been covered well elsewhere.  I will also avoid sharing my own opinion on the matter as there are no shortage of people shouting off on one side or another.However, I thought I can add to the conversation by looking at the numbers for how the British and European film industries interact and how Brexit will affect the UK film industry.

How will Brexit affect the UK film industry?

It’s worth noting that a large part of the whole Brexit debate was taken up with discussing unknowns.  Neither side has a magic crystal ball and so it’s impossible to say for certain exactly what will happen in a post-EU UK.  However, some outcomes are almost automatic, in that if the UK stops paying into the EU then it can expect to stop receiving money out of the EU.  So, here is a rundown of the negative effects of Brexit to the UK film industry…

  1. MEDIA logoAn end to MEDIA / Creative Europe funding (certain).  Between 2007-13, the MEDIA scheme provided over €100 million towards various aspects of the UK film industry. The loss of this money is the biggest, clearest effect of Brexit and so I’ve addressed it in the section below.
  2. In the short-term, British / European co-productions will be harder (very likely). Official co-productions allow international film producers to work together to create a film which can gain state protections and tax benefits from multiple countries at the same time. In the immediate future, co-productions between British and European countries will become harder, due to the fall in the value of the Pound and the growing uncertainty.
  3. In the long-term, British / European co-productions may need new legislation (unclear).  Official co-productions are only possible between countries which have signed a treaty defining co-production rules. The UK currently has active treaties with Australia, Canada, China, India, Israel, Jamaica, Morocco, New Zealand, the Occupied Palestinian Territories, South Africa and the EU.  The EU treaty is called the European Convention on Cinematographic Co-Production and was signed in October 1992 in Strasbourg.  This European treaty is not exclusively for just EU members as it refers to its signatories as “member States and the other States Parties to the European Cultural Convention”.  The UK signed the original treaty as a member of the EU so conceivably it would need to sign up again as a “European non-member State”.  Interestingly, the UK already has a separate co-production agreement with France, signed in 1994, so British / French co-productions may not be affected by Brexit in the same way co-productions with other EU member states are.
  4. British content will be much less attractive to European broadcasters (almost certain). Some European countries have quotas on the amount of European content their exhibitors and broadcasters must show.  For example, the majority (i.e. minimum of 51%) of French entertainment broadcast transmission time must be taken up with programs of European origin.  Not only did this increase demand for native UK films and television shows but it also made UK / US co-productions more attractive.  For example, ‘The Night Manager’ was a £30 million co-production between the BBC and AMC, which also qualified as an EU production.  In a post-Brexit world, it is very unlikely that such products will be classed as ‘European’ and will therefore lose a large part of their value to European countries with such quotas.
  5. Increased complexities for international cast and crew (possible but unclear).  One of the features of a unified Europe is the free movement of people, goods and services.  New visa requirements and work permits could affect both British people filming in Europe and European people filming in the UK.  That said, the issue is a little more complicated than just ‘in or out’ of the EU. This passport and border controls are covered not by the EU but instead by the Schengen Agreement, and only 22 of the EU’s 28 member states are currently signed up (also, the UK and Ireland have certain opt-outs),  In addition, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland are members of the Schengen Area but not of the EU.  The basics of the free movement of people and services is also not simply an EU issue, but was instead established in the Treaty of Rome. So it’s not clear what would happen post-Brexit as new agreements will need to be reached in order to keep the free movement protections the film industry has enjoyed until now.
  6. Fewer UK films will be distributed in Europe (certain). EU funding has supported the export of UK film to Europe to a massive degree. In fact, between 2007-13, almost €45 million was spent to bring UK films to European cinema audiences.  Details of which films were supported follow in the next section.
  7. Blue is the warmest colourFewer international films will be distributed in the UK (certain, although the extent is unknown).  Between 2007-13, UK-based businesses received over €20 million in EU funding to support the release of European films in the UK.  In addition, if Brexit continues to cause a weak Pound then it becomes more expensive for UK distributors to acquire new content.  However, this will affect all UK distributors equally, so may only reduce the amount UK distributors can pay upfront (known as the Minumum Guarantee, or MG) rather than prevent distribution entirely.
  8. UK independent cinemas will lose income.  (certain, although the extent is unknown).  56 UK independent cinemas receive funding from the EU as part of the Europa Cinema scheme, which supports cinemas which commit an average of 67% of their programming to European films.  Between 2007-13, this averaged out to over €103,000 per cinema.
  9. The negative effect of uncertainty (very likely). The film industry is highly fickle and responds negatively towards uncertainty.  This is partly due to the large amounts of money at stake and the desire to reduce risks wherever possible.  Right now no-one is sure what effect Brexit will have on the UK film industry, and so it may seem a safer bet to wait this period of change out before investing in UK film productions.
  10. Loss of influence on European rules affecting UK content (certain but effects unknown). By leaving the EU, the UK will forfeit its right to influence EU policy towards film and television content.  This will most acutely be felt in the discussions around the proposed Single Digital Market, which aims to force distributors to treat the EU as one territory, rather than distributing films country-by-country as happens today.

Despite these negative effects, Brexit could be positive for the UK film industry in the following ways…

  1. several-pound-bills-new-british-20-pounds-moneyIt becomes cheaper to shoot in the UK (uncertain).  If the Pound continues to lose value (as it has since the Brexit voted was announced) then the UK becomes ever-cheaper for foreign productions to set up shop in the UK. This will have the biggest effect on Hollywood studios, who spend vast sums of money and whose green-screen epics can be shot almost anywhere in the world.   Between 2006-15, UK / USA studios films spent £7.7 billion in the UK, accounting for 68% of the money spent on UK films.
  2. The UK is free to change its tax rules (certain).  The current Film Tax Relief (FTR) scheme is very generous and offers producers a refund worth around a fifth of the money they spend on UK films in the UK.  As a member of the EU, the UK is bound by rules on State Aid and does not have a free hand to change government incentives and subsidies without EU approval. When the FTR first came in, it gave points for various elements being British, such as the cast, crew, languages used, etc.  However, EU rules have forced the UK to widen the criteria to favour all Europeans equally.  This means that it is now possible to have a film that qualifies as fully “Brtish” with an all-Italian crew, based on a Spanish story, told in German. Leaving the EU will remove these restrictions on UK film tax policy. This freedom will mostly benefit the unseen civil servants who draw up the actual tax laws, but this increased flexibility means that in theory our film incentives can be changed more often and be better tailored to the needs of the UK film industry.
  3. Avoid proposed new European rules on release patterns (certain freedom from a possible event). As discussed above, the Single Digital Market could mean that films need to be released in Europe as one territory all at once.  It’s not certain how the new rules will eventually be written, but if we’re out of the EU then we’re certainly not going to be part of it.  This will still affect British films exported to Europe but not films released in the UK.
  4. The UK can spend that saved money directly on UK film (extremely unclear).  In theory, the UK can use the money saved by not paying into the EU to directly replace the money and support that was lost by the lack of MEDIA funding.  It remains unclear if the government wishes to do this.

How much has the MEDIA budget benefitted the UK film industry?

MEDIA currently provides money to the UK film sector for training, development, co-productions, festivals and theatrical distribution.  Over a seven year period (2007-13), the EU provided over €100,000,000 towards various aspects of UK film industry.  This breaks down as follows…

  • MEDIA - Brexit affect the UK film industry€44,561,008 – Awards to European distributors to release UK films
  • €10,478,771 – Investment in UK TV broadcasting
  • €8,898,821 – Distribution of European films in the UK
  • €7,830,252 – Development – UK Slate funding
  • €6,939,604 – Development – UK Single projects
  • €5,810,965 – UK cinemas part of the Europa network
  • €4,910,314 – UK-based training
  • €2,975,703 – UK VoD platforms
  • €2,775,444 – UK-based film courses and schools
  • €2,013,688 – Development – UK Interactive works
  • €890,530 – Grants to UK sales agents who represent non-UK European films
  • €85,0718 – UK pilot release programs
  • €695,500 – European Day-and-Date pilots
  • €539,766 – i2i Audiovisual (plugging finance gaps in UK / European co-productions)
  • €100,171,084 – Total

As mentioned above, UK films have received a huge amount of EU funding for their releases around Europe.  These include…

  • Kings Speech in FrenchThe Iron Lady – €1,531,922 – 31 European territories
  • Slumdog Millionaire – €1,339,104 – 24 European territories
  • Quartet – €1,339,009 – 23 European territories
  • Looking For Eric – €1,297,031 – 26 European territories
  • Tamara Drewe – €1,239,843 – 22 European territories
  • The King’s Speech – €1,025,717 – 26 European territories
  • The Last Legion – €1,025,551 – 3 European territories
  • The Duchess – €954,012 – 19 European territories
  • Shame – €951,814 – 27 European territories
  • Another Year – €914,330 – 21 European territories
  • I Give It a Year – €892,867 – 29 European territories
  • Streetdance 3D – €891,644 – 17 European territories
  • Salmon Fishing in the Yemen – €882,124 – 27 European territories
  • The Secret of Moonacre – €814,964 – 5 European territories
  • Song for Marion – €787,987 – 15 European territories
  • Happy-Go-Lucky – €750,173 – 24 European territories
  • Hysteria – €748,066 – 25 European territories
  • Fish Tank – €737,813 – 29 European territories
  • Nowhere Boy – €708,871 – 8 European territories
  • The Angels’ Share – €699,286 – 27 European territories
  • A further €25,028,880 awarded to other UK films

Finally, it’s worth mentioning some of the European films that have reached UK cinema audiences in part because of EU funding. These include A Prophet, The Great Beauty, Gomorrah, I Am Love, Persepolis, Love is All You Need, The Class, Amour, Potiche, Waltz with Bashir, Heartbreaker, Of Gods and Men, Blue is the Warmest Colour, Pina, Two Days In Paris, The Counterfeiters, The White Ribbon, Melancholia, Antichrist and Molière.

What is the UK film industry’s opinion on Brexit?

It’s fair to say that the vast majority of people working in the UK film industry are firmly against the UK leaving the EU.  UK arts pressure group the Creative Industries Federation say that 96% of its members supported the Remain campaign and 84% said that EU membership was important to the future of their organisation.   A poll by Media Business Insight found that 66% of people working in the UK film industry felt that Brexit would have a negative impact on the sector.  A further 18.5% were uncertain on the outcome of Brexit, with only 11.5% believing that Brexit would be positive for the UK’s film industry.

So why are so many UK film professionals against Brexit?  This could be for a number of reasons…

  • Political values. The film industry is traditional a fairly liberal-minded industry and the liberal cause is largely pro-EU.
  • Geographical location.  The majority of UK film jobs are located in London and London was a hotbed of anti-Brexit sentiment (60% of London voters opted to Remain).
  • Age. The film industry has much lower age profile than the UK population, and polls have shown how the majority of those under 50 supported Remain while a majority of those over 50 supported Leave.
  • Fear of uncertainty.  The UK film industry is in a period of stable growth, thanks in large part to a stable government approach to film incentives.  Uncertainties in the future could scare off investors and studios from making investments in UK films.
  • The majority of predictable outcomes to the UK film industry are negative.  The list at the top of this article shows how the vast majority of expected Brexit outcomes are negative for UK film.

Here is a summary of press coverage on the issue…

  • Brexit game of ThronesScreen Daily says that the UK film and TV sectors are in “limbo” and that “the two sectors had recently expressed strong sentiment in favour of remaining in the European Union, which is the major trade partner of the UK and which provides millions of pounds in subsidies to the UK market as well as a number of frameworks for coproduction. That structure is now in serious doubt“.
  • Variety collected views from a number of major voices in UK film, summing them up by saying “British voters’ stunning decision to turn their backs on the European Union has left many of the country’s leading TV and film players reeling“.
  • The Guardian summed up the situation by saying that there would be “less cash, fewer movies” and also that “we could witness a 70s-style British film meltdown”.
  • The Hollywood Reporter led with “U.K. Producers Oppose Brexit”, pointing out that “James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli, veteran David Puttnam, Matthew Vaughn, The King’s Speech producer Iain Canning, Slumdog Millionaire’s Christian Colson and Aardman Animations are among those who outlined their reasons for why staying in the EU is the right call for those who want “to support our current, thriving creative industries.”“.
  • Broadcast magazine noted that shares in ITV dropped 19% within a day of the vote being announced, and the Sky share price also fell 8%.  Further drops were felt by eOne and Vivendi.
  • The Verge discussed the possible effect of Brexit on ‘Game of Thrones’, saying “US productions might feel the effect, too. Much of HBO’s Game of Thrones is filmed in Northern Ireland, for instance, partly supported by the European Regional Development Fund. HBO, however, says it doesn’t anticipate any financial impact on GoT, since the network took no money from the ERDF for the last few seasons, according to Entertainment Weekly“.
  • And the Radio Times pointed out one aspect of Brexit too many experts have overlooked by noting “The shock Brexit result will have massive ramifications – not least the fact that we may see less of beautiful French actress Clémence Poésy on TV“.

A number of top UK film voices have shared their views and I could fill an entire article with them.  However, for the sake of brevity, here are five which seem to sum up the mood…

  • Harvey WeisteinHarvey Weinstein said “I’m shocked… These guys who voted, voted out of fear. It’s a huge mistake… It could be very costly in the movie and TV industry in terms of content branding. European branding is very important. It’s a big deal for these young British filmmakers”.
  • Michael Ryan, Chairman of the Independent Film & Television Alliancesaid The decision to exit the European Union is a major blow to the UK film and TV industry. Producing films and television programs is a very expensive and very risky business and certainty about the rules affecting the business is a must. This decision has just blown up our foundation — as of today, we no longer know how our relationships with co-producers, financiers and distributors will work, whether new taxes will be dropped on our activities in the rest of Europe or how production financing is going to be raised without any input from European funding agencies. The UK creative sector has been a strong and vibrant contributor to the economy — this is likely to be devastating for us”.
  • Danny Perkinshead of Studiocanal UK said “Short term it’s bad news for the currency and terrible news for film acquisitions, which are normally done in dollars or euros. UK companies will suffer in the short term“.
  • Rebecca O’Brien of Sixteen Films said “It has blown us out of the water. We are very dependent on our relations with Europe. All of our films for the last 20 or 25 years have been co-productions with Europe. It (Brexit) doesn’t mean they will stop immediately but it means that trade, and access and all those things are much more difficult. It just means we have to re-invent the wheel again“.
  • Jeremy Thomas of the Recorded Picture Company quoted Charles Bukowski by saying that “the problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence“.  Mr Thomas added “For the film industry, it is a disaster“.

So what now?

BrexitSo many of the effects of Brexit are unknown.  Right now, the only thing that has happened is that a non-binding referendum was marginally won by the pro-Brexit movement.  There’s no doubt that the majority of the UK film industry hopes that Brexit doesn’t happen.  Failing that, the film industry is likely to seek the following outcomes from the government…

  • A deal to retain co-production advantages with EU countries.  Most likely this means ensuring that the UK remains signed up to European Convention on Cinematographic Co-Production.
  • An agreement to classify UK content as “European” in relation to production and distribution quotas.  This is a harder task than the co-production deal, although it should be noted that Switzerland has already achieved this for their content.
  • Replacement funding be provided for current MEDIA-funded activities.  A major claim of the Leave campaign was that the UK would save £350 million a week by leaving the EU.  It turns out that once you take into account the UK’s rebate the real saving is far lower, but even taking that into account, the money saved by leaving the EU could be used to replace the funding currently provided by MEDIA.
  • Action to be taken swiftly and confidently.  A protracted and messy exit will create a large amount of uncertainty and stifle investment in UK film.

Epilogue

Sorry if you were expecting to be able to read my final article in my series on film locations today.  I have had a number of people ask me about how Brexit will affect the film industry so I bumped the film locations article to next week.  Stay tuned…

 

Dogs howl in the alley, crazy women scream…” ~ Pete Townsend

Darkness will always be fractured by light… The dawn rooster cocks sideways and crows before sunrise and spews. Have you noticed that parrots come in all shapes and sizes? Similar to lawyers they make excruciating squawking noises often leaving trails of crumby scraps whilst waddling blithely across rusty bars and polished floor boards. Parrots never really seem to care when and where they leave a trial, dropping excrement hither and thither. Guess what else is peculiar and similar between parrots and lawyers? A simple check of the Wikipedia page for “Parrot” gives further insights.

Monty Python's Gumby instep banner http://www.montypython.com

Monty Python’s Gumby instep banner http://www.montypython.com

Quite titillating really, fancy fed, a feigned meek squint and chortling at the thought of it all… conjures images of Monty Python‘s Dead Parrot hanging upside down with London Bridge as a theatrical backdrop… sketchy … the meaning of life… always look on the bright side of life… now there’s a great symbolic reunion highlighting 50 years of creative brilliance.

Parrots, also known as psittacines /ˈsɪtəsnz/ are birds of the roughly 393 species in 92 genera that make up the order Psittaciformes found in most tropical and subtropical regions. The order is subdivided into three superfamilies: the Psittacoidea (“true” parrots), the Cacatuoidea (cockatoos), and the Strigopoidea (New Zealand parrots). Parrots have a generally pantropical distribution with several species inhabiting temperate regions in the Southern Hemisphere, as well. The greatest diversity of parrots is in South America and Australasia.

Mmm… gets one thinking creatively, right? And, there in lies the rub to spontaneously launch into banging out another blog article whilst listening to an old LP recording of Pete Townsend‘s solo album “All the Best Coyboys have Chinese Eyes” on my Technics Direct Drive Automatic Player System rotating at 33 1/3 rpm … there’s a timeless quality inherent in the vinyl… there’s an eternal raw beauty in The Who too … Who Are You?

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Flames impassioned in a moments anger… love conquers… without question … “There have always been times like these. The multi-coloured spheres clash and collide, the triangle expands and explodes: eventually there is nothing.” … times gift of perfect humility.

I am very excited the producers of “All the Tired Horses” aka “Dead Parrots Down Under” have decided to produce a new multi-episode season in the Explore TV series following on from season one produced in 2009. Rumour has it that there’ll be multiple seasons and episodes covering the many trials and tribulations incurred by cast and crews in Australia, India and Thailand and around the world.

Excited chatter in social media circles have variously described this as an “epic battle”, a former marine writes “In the face of adversity, with brick walls put in the way….., through strength, determination and perseverance – truth and justice shone through in the end.”  and another says “James, We are with you on this. You have won already!” Wow, wow, wow! The support from friends, fans and others providing encouragement has been humbling and I get all emotional… it makes me strive to greater perfection in my craft and to create ever lasting films that excite and ignite imaginations, insight intrigue and inform with interest driven by telling content.

ATTH DPDU Press Release 8th January 2016

ATTH “All the Tired Horses” aka DPDU “Dead Parrots Down Under” Press Release 8th January 2016

Somebody saved me … it happened again… I thank you my friend… all I know about staying alive… all I know I’ve been making it! Pete Townsend, you’re a genius and I thank you my friend. I never could queue to collect my lunch while I was pursuing the truth … and as they say the truth will set you free.

Experience is priceless and helping people, advising, and learning more provides me with a burning desire to produce more … I was just 34 years old … I was wondering why everyone I met seemed like they were in a haze… it’s sympathy not tears people need when they’re the front page newsand I know when she thinks of me … recriminations fester… and it’s she who has to beg.

Filming "All the Tired Horses' aka "Dead Parrots Down" Under Behind-the-scenes

Filming “All the Tired Horses’ aka “Dead Parrots Down Under” Gus, a warrior, battle hardened and ready.

Dawn beckons and the lights begin to fade as a new day begins in the City of Angels… I love the smell of toast in the morning… it helps to wash the smell of parrot shit away…

Francis Ford Copolla's "Apocalypse Now" Movie starring Marlon Brando Motion Picture Sound Recording Album cover; a parrot shitting on Marlon's shaved scalp.

Francis Ford Copolla’s “Apocalypse Now” Movie starring Marlon Brando Motion Picture Sound Recording Album cover; a parrot shitting on Marlon’s shaved scalp.

China and India are rapidly evolving and there are big moves afoot in media and entertainment across the divide. Having lived and worked throughout Asia, China and India for most of my life I feel that the winds of change are upon use, usefulness and us, of course … the sails are unfurled and filling smoothly… Ah, a vast frontier of possibilities beckons me hearties!

#ATTH #DPDU A snapshot of script setting and dialogue from "Dead Parrots Down Under" original screenplay by James With

#ATTH #DPDU A snapshot of script setting and dialogue from “Dead Parrots Down Under” original screenplay by James With

Characteristic features of parrots include a strong, curved bill, an upright stance, strong legs, and clawed zygodactyl feet. Many parrots are vividly coloured, and some are multi-coloured. Most parrots exhibit little or no sexual dimorphism. They form the most variably sized bird order in terms of length… but enough about parrots for now…

Bait your hooks, keep the music playing, wait with baited breathe and be prepared for the journey ahead…

I Am What I Am” by Gloria Gaynor
I am what I am
I am my own special creation
So come take a look
Give me the hook or the ovation

It’s my world that I want to have a little pride in
My world and it’s not a place I have to hide in
Life’s not worth a dam
Till you can say, hey world, I am what I am

I am what I am
I don’t want praise, I don’t want pity
I bang my own drum
Some think it’s noise, I think it’s pretty

And so what if I love each feather and each bangle
Why not try to see things from a different angle
Your life is a sham
Till you can shout out loud, I am what I am

I am what I am
And what I am needs no excuses
I deal my own deck
Sometimes the ace, sometimes the deuces

There’s one life and there’s no return and no deposit
One life so it’s time to open up your closet
Life’s not worth a dam
Till you can say, hey world, I am what I am

I am James With … ~ WITH LOVE ~ …
I am James Wearing-Smith V … I am James W. Gunn … I am a man walking this Great Earth and I am making my way in this great world …

James With - Actor, Director, Filmmaker, Producer, Writer IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0999139/

James With – Actor, Director, Filmmaker, Producer, Writer http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0999139/

Blessings and well-wishes,
James With
“Partnering With the World”

 

 

 

Thursday 16th January 2014 – today, whilst working on my current Film Projects I have been compelled to take time out and write my first blog article for 2014 …

Anonymous Motorcycle Driver during "Bangkok Shutdown" march on Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok, Thailand

Anonymous Motorcycle Driver during “Bangkok Shutdown” march on Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok, Thailand

Yuriko Koike, Japan’s former defense minister and national security adviser, was Chairwoman of Japan’s Liberal Democrat Party and currently is a member of the National Diet. In her article titled “Who Lost Thailand?” published on 15th January 2014, Ms. Yuriko Koike writes “Thailand, Southeast Asia’s most developed and sophisticated economy, is teetering on the edge of the political abyss. Yet most of the rest of Asia appears to be averting its eyes from the country’s ongoing and increasingly anarchic unrest. That indifference is not only foolish; it is dangerous. Asia’s democracies now risk confronting the same harsh question that the United States faced when Mao Zedong marched into Beijing, and again when Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini ousted the Shah in Iran. Who, they will have to ask, lost Thailand?”

As a long time expatriate resident of Thailand there are quarter tones joined as chords that resonate in unison, 21st century composers in sympathetic dissonance, emanating from the trading partner-ships whistling through troubled waters in the East China Sea, the stage of Japan’s dispute with China to the smaller vessels hauling materials on a variety of other covert Whistle-blowers and covered junks conducting business, whilst traveling up and down the Mekong River, a vital chord flowing with life, connecting China, Burma (Myanmar), Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam. From the river’s banks life is bottled up and exchanged in merchandise that ripples through many states, the birth places of many indigenous peoples from Qinghai, Tibet, Yunnan, Shan, Luang Namtha, Bokeo, Oudomxay, Luang Phrabang, Sayabouly, Vientiane, Vientiane, Bolikhamsai, Khammouane, Savannakhet, Salavan, Champasak until eventually the remaining silt branches out and spills into various points and exits Vietnam somewhere between the Gulf of Thailand and the South China Sea, where sabre-rattling and posturing continues to spread outwards.

The Mekong Delta (Vietnamese: Đồng bằng Sông Cửu Long or in English often transliterated to mean the “Nine Dragon river delta”) could be accurately described as a rather gradual fertile river delta and unlike Japan it is not close to any submarine abyss. Continuing movement on the subduction zone associated with the Japan Trench is one of the main causes of tsunamis and earthquakes in northern Japan, including the megathrust Tōhoku earthquake and resulting tsunami that occurred on 11 March 2011.

People marching during "Bangkok Shutdown" on Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok, Thailand

Despite the “Bangkok Shutdown” the Chao Phraya River continues to flow smoothly through Bangkok, known fondly as the “City of Angels” of the Far East and as with all rivers on the planet it too eventually meets a large body of water to empty into… and waterways are the veins of sustenance for life in all forms, and often are diverted, reformed, dammed and flooded, by natural forces as well as by human beings … as the seasons ebb and flow, the climate changes and prevailing winds of change wreak havok on agriculture and commercial business interests alike, there remains a natural inclination for things to remain in balance.

Perhaps, in a wider context the expressed perspective from Ms. Yuriko Koike shows how much Western ideologies have influenced and shaped the Japanese economy and the Japanese people’s opinion since the United States of America decidedly dropped Nuclear weapons of mass destruction on Hiroshima and Nagasaki back in August 1945? On August 15, six days after the bombing of Nagasaki, and seven days after the Soviet Union’s declaration of war, Japan announced its surrender to the Allies, signing the Instrument of Surrender on 2nd September 1945, commonly acknowledged as officially ending World War II. The bombings’ role in Japan’s surrender and their ethical justification are still debated.

People marching during "Bangkok Shutdown" on Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok, Thailand

Thailand: “Occupy Bangkok” Begins – Published 13th January 2014 is a very interesting and well-balanced account of what’s happened over the last decade to bring about the current protests in Bangkok Thailand being staged against the present Government that was elected by a majority vote supported by a well-financed regime leader living in exile that has used “Thaksinomics” as a political tool to amass a personal fortune; Taksin Shinawatra is himself supported by very strong wealthy global banking powers that want a larger share of the Kingdom’s valuables as well as those of other neighboring countries that have developed more slowly but are also are full of natural resources and deeply fertile environmental jewelry.

In the most recent general election Thailand‘s people voted to put Thaksin Shinawatra‘s sister Yingluck Shinawatra, a member of the Pheu Thai Party, and the 28th and current Prime Minister of Thailand following the 2011 general election into lead a new Government of Thailand. Yingluck is Thailand’s first female Prime Minister and at 45 is the youngest Prime Minister of Thailand in over 60 years.  A Statement delivered by Yingluck Shinawatra, H.E. the Prime Minister of Thailand on the dissolution of the House of Representatives was delivered on 9 December 2013. Many people in Thailand are now protesting against the regime’s manipulation of the country’s legislatures, its infiltration of Government structures and large corporations who have benefited from Thaksinomics.

There is an expressed feeling that the pillars of Government have been abused to such a degree that it has become unacceptable and unconscionable to remain in the shadows. The links in the Thailand: “Occupy Bangkok” Begins – Published 13th January 2014 article also lead to other interesting articles too.

Then on the same day my attention is directed to another article, written by William Pesek, a columnist writing for Bloomberg based in Tokyo, Japan. And this makes me ask the rhetorical question, which more aptly put is an observation: Who Won Japan?

Bloomberg should be ashamed to publish such an article. William Pesek’s views are way too polarized and filled with silly ignorant inaccurate general “sound bite” statements and phrases, such as are contained in “The choice is between Egypt and South Korea. It’s time for Thailand’s 67 million people to decide whether they want to live in a constant state of chaos and socioeconomic stasis (like Egypt), or to move up the economic ladder, Korea-style. The only way democracy works is if a critical mass of the people trust it. In Thailand’s case, that means building credible and independent institutions that provide checks and balances for elected officials. Only strong judiciaries, anti-corruption arms and networks of government watchdog agencies can ensure accountability.” … This, simply put is trashy journalism at its worst and Bloomberg should be careful to call it a “Bloomberg View”.

Bangkok Needs More Bread, Fewer Circuses” By William Pesek
January 15, 2014 11:26 AM EST – Uploaded by UUID:7953017 at 1/15/2014 11:23 AM

William Pesek is based in Tokyo and writes on economics, markets and politics throughout the AsiaPacific region. His journalism awards include the 2010 Society of American Business Editors and Writers prize for commentary.

Since joining Bloomberg in 2000, Pesek’s columns have appeared in the International Herald Tribune, the Sydney Morning Herald, the New York Post, the Straits Times, the Japan Times and many other publications around the world. Pesek began his journalism career writing for the American Banker and Bond Buyer newspapers. He also worked for Dow Jones Newswires, where he wrote the daily credit markets column for The Wall Street Journal. Pesek earned a bachelor’s degree in business journalism from Bernard M. Baruch College-City University of New York.
Reference: http://www.bloomberg.com/view/bios/william-pesek/

The future for the peoples living in Thailand, the Governance of Thailand, it’s prosperity and the prosperity of Thailand’s South-East Asian neighbors is all at stake and will be affected by how things are perceived and the reaction of people not only in Thailand but also throughout the world. Why? Because, trading, imports and exports, for Thailand and ASEAN is contingent upon keeping the rivers flowing, water being proportioned in a balanced and respectable way for life to be sustainable and peaceful.

We pray for a process that will be as painless and as death-free as possible … we are living in interesting times… and we have a ways to travel yet… floods, droughts, come rain and shine, survival is a matter of adapting to change.

Thank you for taking the time to read my article, and here’s wishing you a safe, healthy and successful 2014 as we approach the Chinese Year of the Horse.

Blessings,
James With

PS After writing this article, the following articles were brought to my attention:

By Lewis M. SimonsCan Thailand Avoid Another Coup?“published 16th January 2014 formerly as “Thailand’s Grave Future”

By Credible Reform, Not Shutdown, Needed to End Thailand’s Political Standoff” – 15th January 2014

By @charliecamp6ellThe Nightmare Gets Worse For Embattled Thai PM Yingluck” – 17th January 2014

By Veera Prateepchaikul, Former Editor, Bangkok Post – Opinion “Corruption Award Goes to Rice Scheme”  – 17th January 2014
© Post Publishing PCL. All rights reserved. View Bangkok Post policies at http://goo.gl/9HgTd and http://goo.gl/ou6Ip.

By Voranai Vanijaka in Bangkok Post – Opinion Commentary “With all sides wrong, There can be no right” – 19 January 2014
© Post Publishing PCL. All rights reserved. View Bangkok Post policies at http://goo.gl/9HgTd and http://goo.gl/ou6Ip.

By Thin Lei Win Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation “Shutdown Protests in Bangkok ratchets up risk of violence and coup, ICG warns” on Tuesday, 14 Jan 2014 07:00 AM & “The din of misogyny at Bangkok protests” on Friday, 17 Jan 2014 10:29 AM

Reuters Reporting by Pracha Hariraksapitak; Writing by Alan Raybould “Thai government imposes state of emergency in Bangkok” on Tuesday January 21, 2014 4:47pm IST

By Marc Saxer in Social Europe JournalHow Thailand’s Middle Class Rage Threatens Democracy” on Thursday, 23 January 2014

By William Pesek on Bloomberg Opinion “Thailand Is Only the Tip of Asia’s Iceberg” on Friday, January 24, 2014 5:00 AM GMT+0700

By Pradit Ruangdit in Bangkok Post “Suthep: PDRC is ‘’pro-democracy’’ movement” on Friday, 24 January 2014 at 23.25
© Post Publishing PCL. All rights reserved. View Bangkok Post policies at http://goo.gl/9HgTd and http://goo.gl/ou6Ip.

By The Sunday Nation Newspaper “Suthep will be arrested soon, should surrender to avoid violence: Chalerm” and “Advance voting to go ahead” on Sunday, 26 January 2014 at 01:00

By Suttinee Yuvejwattana and Anuchit Nguyen in Bloomberg News “Yingluck Rejects Proposal to Delay Feb. 2 Thailand Election” on Tuesday, 28th January 2014 7:03 PM GMT+0700 To contact the reporters on this story: Suttinee Yuvejwattana in Bangkok at suttinee1@bloomberg.net; Anuchit Nguyen in Bangkok at anguyen@bloomberg.net

By David EimerThai red shirts leader says ‘It’s time to get rid of the elite’” on 30 January 2014 at 10:42AM GMT and previously “Anti-government protests escalate in Thailand amid calls for a ‘people’s revolution’” on 26 November 2013 at 12:04PM GMT and “I can back down no further, says Thai PM Yingluck Shinawatra” on 10th December 2014 at 9:45PM GMT and  “Thai Prime Minister considers delaying election as anti-government protesters blockade Bangkok” on 13 January 2014 at 12:19PM GMT and “Thai anti-government protesters threaten to kidnap PM” on 14 January 2014 at 3:21PM GMT and

AYI JIHU FEARCHASER® JOINS THE FIGHT AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKING AS NEW SISHA GLOBAL AMBASSADOR.

March 26, 2013
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Chinese Star Ayi Jihu announced as SISHA Ambassador

Chinese Star Ayi Jihu announced as SISHA Ambassador

Fresh on the heels of the pre-release of her latest single It’s Magic (due out April 1st 2013) which is all about love. Ayi Jihu seems to be putting her money where her Fear Chasing mouth is as she is announced as an Ambassador for Anti Human Trafficking and Exploitation Organization SISHA

Seasoned Ayi watchers will not be surprised to hear Ayi is representing another Charitable organization but even they will recognize that Ayi Jihu representing SISHA is a little bit more. SISHA is a very hard hitting and proactive organization at the Sharp end of Human trafficking and Exploitation in Asia. This is not a ‘Walk in the park’ or an easy assignment. This is real FearChaser® stuff.
SISHA raids & rescues

Steve Morrish CEO and Founder of SISHA Said. “We are so excited to welcome Ayi Jihu as our new SISHA Ambassador. Working with Ayi, who is incredibly talented and tapped into Asian audiences, is a great honor. Using the artists and collaborating with artists who are passionate about stopping human trafficking in Asia is key in the fight to end modern-day slavery and other types of exploitation.”

Fighting against exploitation

Ayi Jihu who is already a Woman of Action Ambassador representing A celebration of Women foundation inc, as Well as an Ambassador for Federal Association for the Advancement of Visible Minorities (FAAVM) and a Partnership for Peace (AP4P) is up for the Challenge and told us: “This is something I really want to get my teeth into. I have been talking to Steve Morrish and his team for some time about this, but did not want to get involved until I felt I could really make a difference. SISHA get their hands dirty and deal with some of the most tragic stories and situations everyday. I want to help. I am passionate about SISHA and what they do. I will do my best to shine a light on SISHA and what it does and help raise funds if I can.”
AYI JIHU SISHA AMBASSADOR

Chinese Star Ayi Jihu new SISHA Ambassador

If Anyone can do it Ayi Can; Ayi Jihu has a knack of turning heads and we are sure she will do the same for SISHA. We wish her the best of luck.

To find out more about SISHA and what they do visit their official website http://www.SISHA.org

To read the latest posts and updates on James With please go to “James With”

TRI-US Universal Logo

TRI-US ENTERTAINMENT - "Going beyond the frontier of time"

Our Earth in the Universe… is in a state of evolving flux… and now more than ever we are being shaken and rattled … but will we human beings really take the present signs and utilize them to full potential?

H.G. Wells has some wonderful quotes, and as I begin this new article, I think of him and quote some beauties…

“Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.” and “Civilization is a race between disaster and education.”

“It is possible to believe that all the past is but the beginning of a beginning, and that all that is and has been is but the twilight of the dawn. It is possible to believe that all the human mind has ever accomplished is but the dream before the awakening.”

“No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water.”
— H.G. Wells (The War of the Worlds)

Nowadays, we have better instruments and more powerful cameras able to capture activities going vast distances away… such as the a 1,400 megapixel digital camera used by the Pan-STARRS Team at the University of Hawaii that recently discovered a New Comet that may Be Visible From Earth in 2013. While there is no danger of collision with Earth, preliminary calculations of the comet’s orbit show that this may be its first and final trip through the solar system. “It may be coming around the sun for the first and only time, only to be ejected from the solar system, never to return,” says Richard Wainscoat, co-discoverer of the comet and an astronomer at the University of Hawaii. “Since we don’t have a lot of data on it, we really don’t know the orbit well enough right now, and it will take up to two months of observations to find out.” he goes on to say. Astronomers believe the new comet, named C/2011 L4 may be a runaway from the Oort cloud, a reservoir of billions of hibernating comets that orbits about 100,000 times farther than the distance between Earth and the sun.

Our Cosmic Neighborhood As the article mentions, “from our small world we have gazed upon the cosmic ocean for thousands of years. Ancient astronomers observed points of light that appeared to move among the stars. They called these objects “planets,” meaning wanderers, and named them after Roman deities—Jupiter, king of the gods; Mars, the god of war; Mercury, messenger of the gods; Venus, the goddes of love and beauty, and Saturn, father of Jupiter and god of agriculture. The stargazers also observed comets with sparkling tails, and meteors or shooting stars apparently falling from the sky.

Since the invention of the telescope, three more planets have been discovered in our solar system: Uranus (1781), Neptune (1846), and, now downgraded to a dwarf planet, Pluto (1930). In addition, there are thousands of small bodies such as asteroids and comets. Most of the asteroids orbit in a region between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, while the home of comets lies far beyond the orbit of Pluto, in the Oort Cloud.”

A wonderful array of picture can be found at a PPhoto Gallery: Solar System and Space Pictures This Week: Lunar Eclipse, Sun Spurts, and More.

If you’re reading the signs, newly discovered comets such as C/2011 L4, Nibiru (Planet X) and other movements affecting our weather and our Earth’s magnetic field, all combined certainly lead us to the conclusion that we are in for some very interesting times…

But despite all this, as long as we acknowledge and take heed of the signs, control of our destiny through our ability to focus energy on the positives will ensure humanity maintains a balance with our universal truths…

AYI JIHU is showing her great diversity and The Big Stage is another fantastic leap of faith, of sharing, of caring about the future and helping to discover and build new talent.

With FEAR CHASER, a new multi-media mega project in development, we are seeing the birth a new star paradigm.

The FEAR CHASER CHRONICLES is essentially a Global Multimedia concept with its grounding in Music. Fear Chaser Chronicles is also the title of Ayi Jihu’s new album and all the songs in this album will relate to how fear permeates our lives.

Fear Chaser is more than just a story or album; It’s a strong movement for social and political change and will explore the world we live in and throw up some serious questions about human nature and the planet. The Big Stage emulates this desire in searching for the talent of the future.

Fear Chaser does not duck or shy away from strong issues such as Racism, Terrorism, violence abuse and social issues. It explores musically, and through its story all of these issues. Fear Chaser seeks to elevate and educate people through telling the truth about how we as humans are destroying and abusing our planet through fear, greed and ignorance, and simultaneously blends a coming of age story. This is a story that tells the coming of age of Ayi Jihu and China.

By fusing together several Genres: Film, Cartoons, gaming, Animation, Photography and Music into a seamless whole, Fear Chaser delivers a story in unique modern ways and reaches a multi-demographical audience everywhere.

The Fear Chaser album and the videos from it will act as the soundtrack for the Fear Chaser Chronicles Movie, online game, cartoon, animation and TV show, being produced by SHLEPP ENTERTAINMENT in association with TRI-US ENTERTAINMENT.

Each song on the Chronicles album reveal a part of the story and each video shows us a snapshot into each episode, carefully woven to complete the whole matrix of the Fear Chaser Chronicles.

Merchandising and marketing is part of this multi-platform base from day one with the album and singles being attached to a comic book and DVD. The DVD not only includes the videos and song, but also the “making of” and special behind the scenes exclusive footage from Ayi Jihu and others taking part in Fear Chaser.

Fear Chaser and The Big Stage are being marketed through mobile devices, and the web as well as TV, cinemas, books and live tourism and events.

Stay tuned for more on this great creative undertaking…

Fantastic to see this “Fear Chaser” doing so much good for humanity!

Blessings,
James With

Ayi Jihu announces huge global talent TV show - The Big Stage Chinese Crossover Star Ayi Jihu has finally announced what she has been working on for the last few months. An International TV Talent Competition Called 'The Big Stage' that is set to turn the world of TV talent shows on its head. We spoke to Ayi Jihu over the phone and asked her about 'The Big Stage'. Apparently Ayi Jihu will be Co -hosting the show with American TV Star Wayne Brady. Her role however in this unique new TV show does not end ther … Read More

via Star News Ayi Jihu

TRI-US ENTERTAINMENT

The Extinction Protocol: 2012 and beyond

Having been focused on developing a number of my film projects, and neglecting updating this blog, I would like to draw your attention to a couple of blogs that have captured my attention and more to the point kept me coming back for more…

The publishers have been doing a great job of posting interesting, thought provoking commentary on global events… The Extinction Protocol: 2012 and beyond features selected articles, insights and perspectives on our existence in the face of weather phenomena that is described as irregular and unusal.

The Santos Republic

The Voice of the 21 Century Generation

Another very active and prominent blog site published by the renowned, outspoken and highly knowledgeable, Dr. M. J. Santos publishes daily news at “The Santos Republic” … Staying informed in this ever dynamic and changing world is more crucial than ever… in fact, your LIFE REALLY DEPENDS ON YOUR WILLINGNESS TO ADAPT & LEARN in the face of evolutionary change!

As and when time permits I will bring you more of my views and interests… but for the moment, film making is taking a front position…

Blessings,

James With - Son of a Gunn
James With, Son of a Gunn