Sree Iyer: Hello and welcome to PGurus Channel, I am your host Sree Iyer. Today is episode number 34 of News Capsule with Sridhar. SridharJi Namaskar and welcome to PGurus Channel
Sridhar Chityala: Namaskar and very good morning on a very bright sunny morning in Manhattan, but the temperatures can be deceptive notwithstanding the glowing sun.
Sree Iyer: Yes indeed, and Sir, let’s just jump right in, there is a whole bunch of hearing that is happening where the tech executives are being grilled for whether there’s is a content editing platform, no, I should phrase this thing correctly, whether they are a publisher or a Content editor or a platform and they seem to want to define themselves are a platform. I think the senator seems to have a bit of a disagreement with that. Can you just run it down by us? What happened yesterday at the Senate hearing, sir?
Sridhar Chityala: Great. Thank you, sir. The catalyst going for this hearing which was brewing for quite some time is mostly as a result of specific biases, which Republican Senators found out. Obviously, there are biases that the Democratic senators equally found out on the different set of issues. Primarily resulting from the complete suppression of Hunter Biden issue that propped up, the arbitrariness in which Trump’s tweets where cut out, the New York Post which highlighted the Hunter Biden article was blocked. The questions that have propped up, as a result, is what exactly is this role or have they become a real activist in controlling and dissemination of news. So, this was the root of the set of issues. I think it was an exceptionally well-conducted meeting and while Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey had probably a slightly different kind of approaches but they seem to be converging, some of the truth that came out is they seem to collaborate, they use the word when they see some alarms or noise in the networks they tend to collaborate. So, it extents the question who decides, how they collaborate with their noises, some security issues, some right issues that kind of prop up, they begin to kind of coordinate as to how they need to have that 2.58 orchestrate that message. So, that then drove the question to the Senators, what is it that you’re collaborating, how are you then, therefore, kind of coordinating. Naturally, being in hearing you didn’t have a substantial set of answers. They continue to harp on the point that they are a platform and they would be receptive to a broad set of rules on governance as to what they need to do from the news. But, Senator Ted Cruz really kind of went after them and said here’s specific examples of, the way you have exercised your discretion and blocked, for example, New York Post, he cited New Your Post and also cited Hunter Biden case, he also cited Trump’s 35% of stop being blocked. So, for which at least of the New York Post side, Jack Dorsey acknowledged that it was a mistake for them to have done that, to have blocked it, in a haste or without kind of due investigation. So, there was no resolution, but it was frightening to listen the power that the Platforms have in terms of fine lining where their borders end. Also, the fact-checking takes that they score they can use New York Times or they can use Reuters as a method to fact check and basically block the content, this has happened to me personally. I asked a question, what’s the basis? What do you think Reuters is Gospel or why not Wall Street Journal, right? So, to mark this content, this is my country, it is not your content and you have given me the license to use the platform. They immediately kind of you know to get out, the content was published. So there is an element of arbitrariness in their choices and how they make decisions around this. So, there was no resolution but it bought to the port, is what is already in the known fact that there is no delineation and they become so big. I don’t know, what is the exact methodology by which this issue is going to be addressed?
Sree Iyer: So, at least the Foundation for complete removal of section 230 and writing something new that is more germane to what is the prevailing situation is perhaps, being taught through now. Are you hopeful that the 230 will go and a much more robust regulation/mechanism will be put in place before too long?
Sridhar Chityala: Well, I think it is choosing between two extremes right you remove to 230 that means you remove the indemnity against litigation and losses, right? So then what happens, You will see more litigation propping up to the extent the whole thing being, going into a kind of a chaotic mode. So you will often find that rules and governance in the United States have to be self-regulated and self-formed or arbitrated through their clients and customers and so on, rather than government introduced regulatory framework. So, I don’t know, if 230, whether it will throw more deterrents on their part or whether throw more litigation in the process cycling the platform. So, we don’t know but at least 230 to some extent. Even, Clarence Thomas from Supreme Court has said it’s time to revisit 230 because it was done in 1995 or 1996 when just the ISP’s were getting formed and that was done basically to see that the ISP’s are not penalized because they just merely the conduit from which the content is distributed.
Sree Iyer: Yes. Let’s now take a look United States Politics the Presidential Election, a lot of things now starting to happen in various States Pennsylvania had one lawsuit thrown out but, there are several more in Play. Let’s go state by state sir, quickly, you can choose the order of State. I would like to have Georgia last because that has the most significant but I leave it to you as to how you choose. Why don’t you run down a state-by-state situation on what is happening with Vote counts?
Sridhar Chityala: So I think from the states if we take Pennsylvania the specific issue that was thrown out was around, whether the supervisors or the monitors in the Republican Party whether they were denied or whether the distance of oversight was adequate. So, that seems to have been kind of thrown out. Nevada is still moving around in terms of the validation and whether there was a de-duping done, the votes that were mailed were valid or not that issue continues. In Michigan, there seems to be some resolution in terms of verification and audit and acceptance of the results. The two Republican representatives initially said no, two democratic representatives said, yes now, it seems like the four people have now given a consent which is to say Hey, you know, I think this is a fed income stuff that has happened, the due audit that has taken place. So, they seem to be moving some fact that does not mean that the litigation has stopped. They’re still litigation around the software. There’s litigation around the validity of the votes. There are issues around the signatures and all. And then, of course, the invalid votes that continue to be, which will lead to another thing to the event that happened yesterday. And Wisconsin, the recount is under discussion and consideration. In all these cases, there are basically, three issues whether they were enough people, whether they have valid votes, whether there was discrimination in terms of the treatment of the verification of the votes cast etc., As far as Georgia is concerned the one thing that the state has settled down with is Arizona, they seemed to have settled with the results. But whether Republicans will raise because they had some issues again on the movement of people. There’s a big chunk of people who moved from California to Arizona and whether they comply with the rules in terms of the residency, I think that’s something that’s being looked at in Arizona. Now Georgia has a very interesting kind of situation; apparently, they found 2,600 votes on Monday, 2,700 on Tuesday and some more votes missed in the counting over the weekend. The amount in each instance has the net difference totalling more than 1,000 votes which were in favour of President Trump to the extent that the lead has now come down to less than 13,000. So the question that arises is, there were also software glitches which incorrectly put the vote. So it has come to a more fundamental question in Georgia and there are now also investigating whether there was in one of the Democratic counties, why did the pipe burst when they said vote counting would stop. And the vote-counting continued with Democratics present and Republicans going home. So that is being investigated as to what exactly transpired there. So, Georgia, as the recount continues, seem to be addressing these issues and validating each of these issues and recorrecting the vote counts, right?
So while this goes on, Georgia also has another major event, which is the runoff to the two senate seats which is January 2nd and we find that suddenly there is a lot of interest and a lot of people have descended and people from California have expressed their desire to relocate and whether (apparently there’s a lot of input and requests coming) they can come and be part of the voter list to influence. Now, the question, therefore, is obviously people didn’t send alarm bells ringing and said no, it’s not allowed in terms of coming and casting franchises this late into the game to change residency.
There is also this question whether you can cast vote twice from the technical point of view. Though there are no Senate races from California. So Georgia seems to be a hotbed of a number of problems.
Sree Iyer: So what you’re seeing here is the dirtiest, down and dragged through the mud, kind of politics that’s going on right now. Both parties are desperate to win these two seats that up for grabs. But this one is a whole new game where hordes of people from California want to drive across the country and go to Georgia and claim that they are residents of Georgia. How is that even possible sir?
Sridhar Chityala: Well, nothing is impossible if you look at the 2020 elections, right? So every conceivable issue that one can think of has happened. Voter count, invalid postal ballots being accepted. In Nevada, for example, people from outside the state, people from Nevada living outside are being qualified to vote because of its unique Kind of circumstances and army bases and so on. So what you are witnessing for the first time is somebody says you should have been in the state for 60 days, you should have been in the state for 30 days, you should have been in the state and registered for 90 days. The other problem is each of these states has got their own unique nuances, which if it is not appropriately validated in terms of each vote, then it becomes problematic. And this election has become problematic because of the margins in many of these, less than 2-3% not in let’s say California, New York, Florida, not in Texas or in Oklahoma or Mississippi or Nashville any of these places, where we have the typical red states. So where you have these border states you find this issue. So it also remains to know whether they were orchestrated effort to manage elections this way. We don’t know.
I think that led to President Trump yesterday firing fire Christopher Krebs who was his cyber intelligence and security advisor – CISA who had initially indicated even on number third, everything is hunky-dory. There are no issues, there’s no fraud. But then as these issues crop-up whether he received adequate intelligence input from national security or from CISA or whether people took it for granted.
So these are the issues that, as you asked the question, I think raises three things, one is electoral system is outdated in the United States that needs to be fixed, second, it is not stress-tested when the voting pattern swing from one side to another side, number three, when you have this level of volume how do you monitor, manage the counting and certification in the voting centres to finally say it’s done.
Sree Iyer: Sir, let’s take a quick look at the market. Viewers, we have the follow-up program at 9 p.m. EST 11:30 a.m. EST on RCEP, in which are going to discuss some other development that is happening in the Pacific, South Pacific, Japan, Australia region, we will discuss that later. So quickly now, let’s take a look at the figures from Target and the new shift in terms of the focus of many of these companies. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about the numbers than Target is put up, sir?.
Sridhar Chityala: Well, Target is a remarkable kind of a story, consistent with Walmart and their sales are over the roof. The same-store sales went up by 20% in Q3. The online sales went up by 155% relative to last quarter’s 119%. The revenues went up by 9.9%. Earnings per share were through the roof. Net sales were up $22.6billion versus 20, which is roughly around 10%. The gross margin is 30.57% versus 29.32%. It’s like Apple story. Operating profits is 1.93 versus 1.18billion and earnings per share was 2.79 versus 1.6, it’s almost dollar nineteen 50% uptick in sales. Basically what it says is that there is a concentration and people familiar with Brands and people familiar with value seems to be flocking and the retail brands, especially the consumption consumer staple really have shown demonstrated that they can sustain. There was a paper published which we will tweet in PGurus. By Walmart which is to say, the pandemic has changed completely the behavior of online consumption. So, therefore, this whole concept of same-store sales may not be relevant as the online picks off momentum, very similar to the social media platforms and the kind of tech infrastructure.
The next sector that moving towards the concentration risks is retail, right? So who are the big retail today? The big retail today is Amazon, the big retail today is Walmart, the big retail today is Target and the numbers reflect the story and the consumer adoption also reflects the same story.
Sree Iyer: That’s all, for now, viewers and we’ll be back in about 2-1/2 hours to talk in detail about RCEP. Thanks for joining us. Please do not forget to subscribe and donate to PGurus channel. Thanks once again Sridharji, and we’ll talk to you tomorrow, In fact, I will talk to you in about 2-1/2 hours time. Namaskar.
Sridhar Chityala: Namaskar. Thank you.