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All the ugly people on the Internet

I am not on Instagram, but I looked on it recently and just saw Bill Gates’ official account – ThisisBillGates.  It is amazing, if for example, he has a picture of himself reading with his daughter when she was much younger, the nasty comments that people will make.  Even the “more innocent” nasty comments are along the lines of, “I feel uncomfortable seeing this.”  Other comments include, “Give those vaccines to your kids” or “Disgusting pedogate.”  Other references are made to “Pizzagate” where some right wing conservatives made up a story that Hillary Clinton and a whole lot of other wealthy people were abusing children at a Pizza Restaurant in Washington DC.  One lunatic even turned up there with a gun, determined to rescue the children and apart from all the trouble they create for the wealthy and famous, let’s not forget that the owner of the restaurant is also just a normal small business person like anybody else and whose business and life was terribly damaged simply because of lunatic stories on the Internet.  It does not matter what pictures Bill Gates post, there are people telling him that the devil is waiting for him in hell and all sorts of other things.  It is sad that so many people spend so much of their time, probably because they are uneducated and have not read much, in believing in conspiracies, but on top of that, how nasty a human being do you have to be to spend your spare time posting things like that on people’s accounts?

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 22-Sep-20   |  Permalink   |  21 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Vegan shoes

I am really impressed by the number of companies around the world that are starting to do environmentally friendly things.  A number of companies are making vegan shoes where, for example, the laces will be made from organic cotton, the upper knit of the shoe is made from recycled plastic bottles and the inner soles are made from recycled algae foam and natural cork.  I bought myself a pair of these shoes recently and although they are not my favourite shoes in terms of look, they were completely comfortable to wear and I am happy knowing that my shoes are made out of plastic rubbish taken from the ocean where it was floating around and turned into shoes!

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 15-Sep-20   |  Permalink   |  37 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Google's takeover of Fitbit

The European Union is now investigating Google’s takeover of Fitbit.  They are nervous that Fitbit’s fitness trackers could give Google a “data advantage” in a business which they already dominate, namely online advertising.  Google bought Fitbit for $2.1 billion and now the European Union will weigh on this.  In the US we are seeing closer scrutiny of Facebook, Amazon, Google and Microsoft as to whether or not they are becoming too powerful and are monopolies.  I don’t think we will see much of that, but investors probably will not lose either way, because for example Google had to be split up in different businesses, one being YouTube, another being the automated car, Waymo, and another being the online advertising, you still are not going to lose by having Google shares.

*I am not a registered investment advisor and this does not constitute investment advice.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 08-Sep-20   |  Permalink   |  25 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Changing your address

It amazes me that with computers used to sort a lot of the post that our systems in SA are not more efficient.  For example, in some countries overseas, if you want to change your address for all your post you simply fill in a form on the Internet, pay a fee of less than R20 and all your post will start from the next day being redirected to your new address!    Imagine trying that in South Africa.  It really should be possible and it is definitely something they should think about, but I guess before then, we have to try and reduce how many things get lost or stolen in the mail and focus on the actual delivery of the mail, let alone updating addresses! 

It does show you though as things become more and more advanced and people learn to do a lot more online and via computers, that you can resolve a lot of things a  lot more easily than you might have in the past – for example by writing a letter to every single person that ever wrote to you and giving them your change of address – which is the way we still do things. 

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Wednesday 02-Sep-20   |  Permalink   |  36 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It

On 29 August 1995 I was admitted as an attorney. It was a tremendously proud day for me, marking as it did the end of a long journey which begins with school, went through two degrees at university, the Practical Legal School in Durban where I was the class Chairperson, and then one year of articles at David Levithan.

I was admitted in the Pretoria High Court and the advocate that assisted me with the application, was extremely bright and very influential in my career at that time, John Peter has subsequently become a Senior Counsel and will no doubt, in due course, become a judge.

It is amazing how quickly time flies - I really do not think it has been 25 years although if I went on the basis of stress then it probably felt like 50 years. If I went on the basis of time, I would say it probably feels more like 10 to 15 years. There are so few attorneys that last 25 years in the profession that the Law Society actually gives out certificates to them at the Annual General Meeting. But, since I know the real purpose of those certificates, it is not something I would attend, simply to collect a certificate. The real purpose, and I sat on the Law Society when they came up with the idea, is to get more people in attendance at the AGM and to sit through six or seven hours, to collect a framed “endurance” certificate is just not me. It is about what it means to me, what I have achieved as opposed to time, and not getting any accolades in front of a crowd.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Saturday 29-Aug-20   |  Permalink   |  42 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Apple dominates the market

Apple is very close to becoming the first $2 trillion company by market capitalisation.  It also is now 6,5% of the entire S$P 500, the index of the biggest 500 shares in America.  That is a huge percentage of an index for any one company to have and at its peak, 35 years ago, IBM was 6,4% of the market.  It is amazing if for so many years people knocked Apple shares giving a variety of reasons why they would not rise and they have now gone absolutely crazy.  Later this year of course the new iPhones are going to be released including their first 5G phone.  As somebody who owned and sold Apple (at a good profit) at considerably lower prices than now I cannot help but feel that it is just too high, but it is one of those companies that really absolutely leads and totally dominates in its market.

*I am not a registered financial advisor and I do not give financial advice to people.*

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Monday 24-Aug-20   |  Permalink   |  40 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Covid-19 statistics

It is fascinating to see the various statistics that come out each and every day and of course, a blog is going to be outdated pretty quickly.  We currently have 590,000 cases in SA with a total of 12,000 deaths.     

We need to compare that to other causes of death in SA, including guns and violence and specifically to motor accidents - which result in approximately 14,000 deaths a year.  In America, Covid-19 is already the third leading cause of death for the year, but many people would have thought it would be the leading cause.  Cancer and heart disease still kill more people in America than Covid-19 does even though, at the time of writing this, it had killed 170,000 Americans and infected 5,4 million.

How many people are killed will depend on how soon a vaccine becomes available and by available I mean available to you and me – not just to people in special risk groups, politicians and sports people and celebrities who will all no doubt get it before the rest of us. 

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 18-Aug-20   |  Permalink   |  48 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Keeping Doors 0pen During Covid-19

It has become increasingly obvious over the last few months that one of the most important things, when dealing with Covid-19, is to ensure fresh circulation of air.  The virus floats in the air, and people who work, or congregate in a closed area, such as a nightclub, are the most at risk.  Open air, or creating a flow of air in and out of a building, is obviously the best place to find oneself. 

In that regard, all of my staff are encouraged to keep all of their windows and the doors of the offices open.  It may not seem convenient during the colder months, although truthfully Johannesburg and Pretoria have wonderful weather in the late morning and early afternoon on any given day, but it's the right thing to do.  One can always dress for the weather, and if it means that the offices are colder than normal, but safe, that's clearly the most sensible option.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Wednesday 05-Aug-20   |  Permalink   |  48 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Universal income grant

The government is suggesting a universal basic income grant from October.  It will be R1,270 (if they are targeting South Africa’s poverty line) a month and target about 33 million people.   I actually like the idea of that as an experiment because I think it could get spending going again in the economy.  A lot of countries do it in a different way – largely by printing money and I don’t think many people appreciate just how much money the American government has basically printed and given to all of those who have lost their jobs during this time.  All those who have lost their jobs have been given an extra Covid-19 grant of $600 a week on top of the basic income grant and close to 30 million people have received it.  That is something quite large and a lot of that money is spent back into the economy. 

I am not sure whether that type of thing works on a long-term basis, but this would be a good chance to try it as an experiment and then after a 6 month period reassess it.  The other side though of course is once people benefit from it, they very seldom are prepared to see that it is taken away from them.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 28-Jul-20   |  Permalink   |  45 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Zimbabwean farmers to be paid

It appears that Zimbabwe’s white commercial farmers, who were all thrown off their land years ago, are finally going to actually get some compensation.  The seizure of their land and just handing it out to all sorts of politically connected people, not to mention alleged former freedom fighters, etc, is what really destroyed Zimbabwe’s economy.  Almost 90% of the population does not actually have formal employment, inflation is at 800% and there are shortages of all sorts of basics such as food and petrol.  The deal has not been agreed to yet, but the Zimbabwean government is apparently offering now to pay the farmers $3,5 billion.  Where exactly Zimbabwe is going to obtain that money is another question altogether and for many whose lives have been ruined it is too little too late.  On the other hand, I had a terribly unpleasant experience at the hands, and on the farm, of a white Zimbabwean farmer, so I do certainly hope that he, who probably also had his farm confiscated some time after us stayed there, was not representative of the farming community as a whole.   Ultimately, it is an admission by the Zimbabwean government that confiscating the lands was not a good idea and that also sends the signal to the South African government and South African farmers where this topic is still discussed from time to time.  It certainly did not work out for the Zimbabwean government and then years later for agreeing to pay out the farmers, even if it is not the $10 billion they have claimed, shows you how desperate they must be to bring this dispute to an end. 

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 21-Jul-20   |  Permalink   |  39 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Covid-19 now

As we know, from State President Cyril Ramaphosa’s speech, we now get 12,000 new cases everyday or about 500 new infections every hour.  Covid-19 is really spreading very fast through South Africa and all of those who had theories, some of which sounded great, about not temperatures not allowing Covid-19 to spread or the BCG vaccinations we were all given, have obviously seen those theories shot to pieces.  South Africa is not special in terms of avoiding Covid-19 and all the theories that were circulated have all turned out to be absolute nonsense. 

Part of the problem in South Africa is that a lot of people have been ignoring the social distancing rules and congregating in big groups even when they are collecting food supplies.  People continued to attend funerals and as the State President mentioned some funerals have more than 1,000 people in attendance. As long as this continues and as long as people continue to ignore basics such as washing their hands and wearing masks, the virus will continue to spread.

Sadly South Africa, according to the State President, has a shortage of more than 12,000 health workers, mostly nurses but also doctors and physiotherapists.  Some of them of course have left South Africa to go overseas where they get better opportunities and again, they don’t have to deal with CCMA regulations and some of the nonsense that one has to deal with in South Africa.  At least now there is some sense and instead of going to a higher alert level the President said, “… that taking the step now would not necessarily achieve a significant reduction in the rate of transmission and would come at an extraordinary economic cost, putting more livelihoods at risk and potentially causing long-lasting social harm.”  Is that not exactly what I said when we got the most ridiculous lockdown in the world?  Did it achieve anything?  Less than 1,000 cases became how many cases?  People could not get food and started standing in long lines, close to each other, singing and dancing and spreading the disease further.  We achieved absolutely nothing with that lockdown and it is a good thing that we are not doing things that way, but a curfew is important. 

In particular, people need to understand that the days of going to nightclubs and bars are absolutely over until there is a vaccine and those types of businesses should not and cannot be allowed to reopen.  Should you be able to drink at home – yes, but there is no basis to go and stand together at a bar and meet new people.  Let’s be honest, a lot of the young people we are hearing about catching the disease are not just getting it from breathing too closely to somebody else – they are actually kissing somebody else because it is very hard to lock up young people for a long time, and they do want to get out, meet each other and have a good time and that is precisely what is spreading the disease now so quickly between young people.

On the other hand, it is true that South Africa has a terrible problem with alcohol and that the vast majority of deaths do, as the State President said, happen at night after people have been drinking.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Thursday 16-Jul-20   |  Permalink   |  45 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Pilots getting retrenched

It is amazing that only few years ago we are hearing that the huge shortages that we are about to face with pilots.  Many around the world are retiring and it is expensive to become a pilot, so they were struggling to recruit new young pilots.  Of course, that situation will turn around later, but one of the world’s biggest airlines, and I am not going to talk about all the problems that South African Airways always have, because that is just a never-ending drama, has just notified their pilots that retrenchments are  coming. Delta Airlines have encouraged 7,900 of their older pilots to accept an early retirement package, and then have notified another 2,600 pilots that depending on how many of the 7,900 accept the early retirement package, some of them may need to be laid off.  It is important to understand, in a country like America, when you are laid off there is not really any payment.  They just lay you off and that’s that – there is no system of one month plus one week’s notice per year that you worked, etc – another area where South African businesses struggle to compete on an international basis because of our laws.  Employees might like them, but it keeps a large percentage of the country unemployed and that then has its impact on crime.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 07-Jul-20   |  Permalink   |  46 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It

Johannesburg based attorney specializing in personal injury matters including Road Accident Fund claims and medical negligence matters. My interests include golf, reading and the internet and the way it is constantly developing. I have a passion for life and a desire for less stress!
Have you been injured in a motor accident?
Recent Settlements
Lumbar spine compression fractures R2 500 000.00
Severe hip fracture requiring total hip replacements R3 305 000.00
Head injury with disfiguring facial scaring of a young female R4 000 000.00
Whiplash and compression fracture of the spine R4 000 000.00
Broken Femora R1 914 416.00
Broken Femur and Patella R770 881.15
Loss of Support for two minor children R2 649 968.00
Fracture of the right Humerus, fracture of the pubi rami, abdominal injuries, head injury R4 613 352.95
Fracture of the right femur, Fracture of the right tibia-fibula R1 200 000.00
Broken Jaw, Right Shoulder Injury, Mild head injury R1 100 000.00
Degloving injuries to the hips, legs and ankle R877 773.00
Head injury R 2 734 295.12
Fractured pelvis R1 355 881.53
Damaged tendons in left arm R679 688.03
Fractured left hand R692 164.48
Amputated right lower leg with loss of income R3 921 000.00
Fractured left foot R600 000.00
Head injury and multiple facial fractures R5 000 000.00
Head injury, compound fracture right femur, right tib and fib fracture, and injury to the spleen R4 529 672.06
Head injury, multiple facial fractures, collapsed lung and a fracture to the right frontal bone R2 890 592.77
Loss of support R5 144 000.00


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