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Showing posts with label iPhone. Show all posts
Showing posts with label iPhone. Show all posts

Apr 11, 2022

Guest Post: Does Putin Own An iPhone?

April 11, 2022

Today, by his permission, Stars Over Washington is pleased to present a Guest Post authored by Azmmet S. Warich. Included are historical details concerning Ukraine, Crimea, and Russia, plus, the various treaties, accords, and pacts influencing (or not influencing) the region. So in his own words, here's Azmmet to fill us in:

“Hey Siri!”

By Azmmet S. Warich © 2022

“Hey Siri… Does Vladimir Putin own an iPhone?”

I didn’t ask Siri that question, but if I ventured a guess the answer would be “Yes” mostly because those antique beige phones one always sees on Putin’s presidential desk look like dusty old props put there for show. Then again, the chances of anyone wanting to FaceTime with Vlad (other than maybe one particular former US President) are quite low, making said dusty props a reasonable alternative to owning an iPhone.

Another reason Putin might shy away from all things Apple relates to CEO Tim Cook who came out as gay in 2014; a public admission which conflicted directly with Vlad’s 2013 homophobic law against the spread of “gay propaganda” amongst youth resulting in the prompt removal of an iPhone-shaped memorial to Steve Jobs in the Russian city of St. Petersburg. For the record, Steve Jobs was not gay, so removing his memorial did pretty much nothing except delete a piece of public art from view (I wonder where that 6-foot metal iPhone is now and what they put in its place).

There are other three other questions I would like to ask - not Siri mind you but - Apple’s CEO Tim Cook:

1) “Was it illegal for Russia to annex Crimea in 2014?”


2) “Why did Apple (despite presumably knowing the illegality of said annexation per international law) choose to amend their Map and Weather Apps in 2019 to show Crimea as being part of Russia?”

and most importantly,

3) “Will Apple amend their Map and Weather Apps to show ALL of Ukraine as being part of Russia now that it’s been invaded in a fashion similar to Crimea?”

Given that Tim Cook isn’t on my speed dial, I’ll attempt a brief answer to Question #1 which is quite simply “Yes, the annexation of Crimea was illegal AF”. One needn’t be an international attorney, political scientist, or historian to make that determination and as luck has it, I’m none of those things*. What I am, however, is someone who’s keenly interested in trying to reverse engineer Apple’s blatant (not to mention politically and morally incorrect) decision to amend their apps in an effort to appease someone or something in Russia. Given Putin’s open dislike for Tim Cook’s sexual orientation and the collateral damage to the Steve Jobs memorial, it’s unlikely there’s enough bruh love between Apple and Vlad to inspire the app amendments. For now, let’s just say it’s not likely, but not impossible that the App changes were made solely for Putin’s sake.

If I were to speculate on answering Questions #2 and #3, my initial thought goes to money as in - How much annual revenue does Russia represent to Apple? The answer is… very little. Despite the fact that Apple sold 32 million iPhones in Russia last year equaling $2.5 billion dollars (less than 1% of Apple’s global revenue); they are only the third most popular phone in the country at 15% market share far behind Samsung (34%) and Xiaomi (26%). Another possibility is the growing value of Apple Pay as a competitor to Visa and MasterCard in Russia, but there’s no viable way for me to quantify the monetary value it represents to Apple.

Perhaps there are some clues to be found by looking at the recent history between Russia and Ukraine.

The 2014 Russian invasion and subsequent occupation of the Crimean Peninsula of Ukraine’s sovereign territory has been widely condemned by the global community of nations as being a violation of extant international law. Despite Russia’s referendum to validate their illegal annexation of Crimea, the United Nations General Assembly immediately adopted a resolution to affirm the "territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders" and which "underscores that the referendum having no validity, cannot form the basis for any alteration of the status of [Crimea]" and further called upon all member states and international organizations (yes Apple, I’m looking at you) to NOT recognize or even imply the recognition of Russia's annexation.

Well, somebody in Apple’s legal department obviously didn’t get the UN memo on Ukraine because they (international organization if ever there was one) went ahead and recognized Crimea as being Russian territory when they amended their Map and Weather Apps to show it that way. Granted, these changes only appear when one is using an Apple device in Russia, but nevertheless it demonstrates the Kremlin’s sway over at least one American megacorporation. This is a good time to point out that purchasing a cell phone in Russia is verboten unless it comes with pre-installed mandatory government software which is put there ostensibly to help users interface with their devices. You can go ahead and guess what else that mandatory software might be used for. But I’ve digressed…

In addition to violating accepted international law, Russia’s annexation of Crimea breached numerous agreements which it signed over the years safeguarding the territorial integrity of Ukraine including,

The 1975 Helsinki Accords – for those who know the name but don’t recall exactly what it is; the accords were a non-binding agreement between 35 signatory nations to recognize the inviolability of the post-World War II boundaries in Europe and which pledged said nations to mutual respect of human rights, fundamental freedoms and further to cooperate in economic, scientific, humanitarian, and other areas of common interest.

The 1991 Belovezh Accords – also known as the Belavezh Accords, Belovezha Accords, Belavezha Agreement, Belovezhskaya Accord, Belaya Vezha Accord, etc, due to numerous translations and transliterations. So, what exactly did this multi-monikered agreement do and more importantly who agreed to it?

If you were lucky enough to be taking an elementary school geography test before 1991, you’d have identified the U.S.S.R. (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) as a large amorphous blob east of Poland and Finland shaped somewhat like the port wine stain on Mikhail Gorbachev’s forehead (needs substantiation but just go with me on this).

However, what appeared to be a single nation was actually a country composed of numerous smaller republics which were homes to distinct ethnic groups including: Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Lithuania, Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Molodova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Chechnya, Gagauzia, Nagorno-Karabakh, Nakhchivan, Tatarstan and Transnistria. From 1988-91 the U.S.S.R. was in a political and economic SNAFU with Estonia declaring sovereignty in ’88 followed by Lithuania declaring independence in 1990.

Other ethnic republics began to fall like dominoes to the point where the Soviet military brass attempted a failed coup and U.S.S.R. President Gorbachev tendered his resignation in December 1991 at which time he was replaced by Boris Yeltsin who became the first President of the “Russian Federation”. Finally, at long last it was…


As in the Hammer and Sickle communist flag was lowered for the final time and replaced by the tricolor that we all know as Russia’s current day flag. The Belovezh Agreement basically formalized the establishment of the Commonwealth of Independent States which previously collectively comprised the forehead mark. But who signed that agreement? The agreement was signed by President Boris Yeltsin (Russia), President Leonid Kravchuck (Ukraine) and Parliament Chairmen Stanislav Shushkevich (Belarus). In 2013, The Daily Telegraph reported that the original Belovezh Accord document had disappeared which isn’t surprising given the multiple names it was known by. Clerical filing error or nefarious machination? I’m still split 50/50 on that bit.


The 1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances which stated that neither Russia, the United States of America or United Kingdom could use military force or economic coercion against Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan except in “self-defense” or otherwise in accordance with the United Nations charter. The end result of this and other agreements was that Ukraine (which at the time had the world’s third largest stockpile of nuclear weapons – albeit ones with launch codes controlled by Moscow), Belarus and Kazakhstan surrendered all their nukes. Sounds good… so good that another agreement was made…

The 1997 Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership between the Russian Federation and Ukraine. Honestly, I’ll take that treaty at face value and assume it means something like friendly soccer matches and sharing nana baboushka’s famous Sharlotka recipe (it’s a Russian Apple sponge cake for those who don’t know).

Then there came…

The Kharkiv Pact of 2010 which is (or at least was) a Treaty allowing Russia to lease Ukrainian naval facilities on the Black Sea coastline of Crimea beyond 2017 with optional 5-year extensions until 2042 in exchange for reduced cost natural gas from Russia. This treaty, though controversial in Ukraine, was ratified by the Parliaments of both nations but was unilaterally terminated by Russia less than a month after their annexation of Crimea in 2014 which was (as previously noted) illegal AF. I’ll skip delving into the Minsk Protocol of 2014 because Russia failed to honor parts of the agreement and because we’re currently witnessing the endgame of said protocol in the Donbas region and southern Ukraine.

Anyways, with all those previous accords, agreements and treaties (including some I haven’t even sleuthed out yet) it’s useful to know exactly why the Kharkiv Pact was necessary. In 1997, both Russia and Ukraine signed a Partition Treaty which established two independent maritime fleets with a division of armaments and a lease of Ukraine’s naval bases in Sevasatopol on the Black Sea for use by the Russian fleet.

This is an appropriate place to note that the origin of the name “Russia” comes directly from the three parties currently involved in President Putin’s “Special Operation” to “de-nazify Ukraine”, the ancestors of those leaders who signed the Belovezh Accords namely, Russia, Ukraine and Belarus who were known historically as “Kevian Rus”. The etymology of “Rus” hearkens back to an old Norse word meaning “the men who row” (a reference to some badass sword wielding Vikings who paddled down rivers and streams all the way from the Baltic down to the Black Sea) and a later iteration from the Greeks which eventually morphed into “Rossiya” and later “Russkaya Zemlya” which translates roughly to… “the land of those guys who row”; all which goes some infinitesimally small distance to explaining why the current bloodshed and wanton destruction in Ukraine may simply be about Alpha Males, Boats, Water, Weapons and Access to the Black Sea. Unfortunately, this tidbit provides us with absolutely no clue as to why Apple decided to change their apps to show Crimea as being Russian territory.

So, it’s obvious that descendants of the rowers signed and breached many agreements but exactly who or what signed all those agreements, and does it even matter now?

Back in 1975 it was the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) which signed the Helsinki Accord and not the post-glastnost, post-perestroika, post-Pizza Hut nation of Russia which formed upon the dissolution of the USSR in 1991. As such, modern day Russia may not feel an obligation to honor any agreement from their prior Soviet incarnation.

But what about the Geneva Conventions? Doesn’t Russia adhere to the agreement of four treaties and three protocols which they ratified back in 1954? The answer is YES and NO. But mostly NO if one can judge based on daily television coverage of Russian atrocities (basically everything in Article 4 of the Geneva Conventions) currently being committed against the people of Ukraine. It makes me wonder why Russia isn’t adhering to the agreement. As it turns out, back in 2019 President Putin officially revoked Russia’s ratification of the Geneva Convention’s - Protocol I, regarding the formation of international commissions to investigate war crimes against civilians. Basic inference allows us to see Putin’s logic in Russia’s revocation of the ratification of Protocol I – if we don’t recognize it, then it most certainly doesn’t apply to us.

Unfortunately, I have yet to determine the exact rationale behind Apple changing how their Map and Weather Apps function in Russia. What I have determined, however, is that the old map of Russia looks like Gorbachev’s forehead, nana baboushka makes a killer Apple sponge cake, and “Russia” means “the land of those guys who row,” and the longer Vladimir Putin goes on with his unprovoked war on Ukraine, the more he’ll find himself trying to row up a shit creek without a paddle. The one unanswered question then remains, Will Apple change their apps to show ALL of Ukraine as being part of Russia? If it does, we’ll all know because Apple will likely find themselves rowing up a shit creek of their own making but on the plus side of things at least they’ll have some company when they get there.

* mea culpa on any errors and omissions contained in this article. A.S.W.

Select List of References:

(The Guardian) Phones World Leaders Use

(NBC) Steve Jobs Memorial Removed

(BBC) Apple apps show Crimea as part of Russia

(9to5Mac) Apple's Response to app criticism

(Apple Insider) Apple Revenue in Russia

(Statista) Smartphone Market Share in Russia

(Library of Congress) UN Declares Crimea Referendum Invalid

( History of Geneva Convention

(Cornell University) Geneva Conventions and Protocols

(Reuters) Putin revokes Geneva Convention Protocol

(Curious Cuisinere) The history of Russian Apple Cake

(Culture Trip) Why Russia Is Called Russia.

Brief Bio Notes: “Azmmet is a frequent reader of SOW and counts it among his favorite astrology sites. He’s fairly reserved when it comes to his personal life but has vouchsafed that he has a Master’s degree from Stanford University. One thing most people don’t know about him is that he’s a lifelong space enthusiast and since 2004 has met almost every living Apollo Astronaut (including 4 moonwalkers) and even one of the original Mercury 7 (Wally Schirra).”

Thanks so much, Azmmet, it's great to have you here on SO'W! Jude

Dec 26, 2011

'Accelerating Time'--Terence McKenna (audio-video) w 2012's Cap/Aries Vibes

Terence McKenna on 2012 which Begins with Cap/Aries Energies

by Jude Cowell

Here on SO'W, it's been previously noted that years ago Terence McKenna predicted a "transcendent object" that would enthrall and capture our attention in the New Millennium. Perhaps we may agree that SmartPhones, iPads, and other tech gadgets perfectly fulfill McKenna's prophecy especially when you consider how many of us keep our faces stuck to various touch screen displays even while walking around (or driving--now stop that! No one is that much of a multi-tasker so please get wise to your bad self.)

Since Mr. McKenna--author, lecturer, teacher, and researcher into human consciousness including psychedelia--was correct in his futuristic prediction, I'm posting an audio presentation of him speaking that is perhaps an appropriate vehicle to putter us into Year 2012 which begins on Sunday morning January 1, 2012 at 12:00:01 am est with Sun in Capricorn, Moon in Aries.

2012: Burning Faith v Strong Skepticism

Sun Cap/Moon Aries is an Earth-Fire blend, a 'practical visionary' combination of energies that sees its main chance yet keeps its feet on the ground. This combo knows 'when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em' so we'll see if 2012 resembles that remark as the months go by--and of course, we think of presidential candidates who hopefully will know when their race is over and it's time to give up their campaigns.

The intensely willful and ambitious Sun Cap/Moon Aries blend (a hardworking Mars/Saturn-infused concoction) describes a paradoxical mixture: establishment types v rebels determined to rewrite rules and regulations. And of course, Capricorn and Aries square one another so we have conscious (Sun)--unconscious (Moon) blockage conditions indicating a year of enormous adjustments especially by those unwilling to make enough effort or get the training needed to reach their objectives.

Mundane Astrology: Sun (leader/s) v Moon (We The People)

Naturally, movements such as Occupy Wall Street and Move To Amend (Citizens United) spring to mind as examples of Leaders v The People, or, the 1% v 99% debate. Possibly newer movements will form during 2012 as well.

Capricorn contains Saturn's imperative to rule while Aries has the emphatic drive and determination of Mars as sign ruler (and Moon in Aries = I AM the people. Personally, I believe that no law officer should be issued pepper spray to use against peaceful citizens until he has been sprayed full-faced with the chemical weapon himself to see how his lungs and eyesight fare.)

Yes, Sun SQ Moon is a 'chip on shoulder' indicator so stand-offs concerning strikes, protests, unemployment issues, and ego games will continue to be in the news across the land; plus, the fighting attitude remains in Washington with a serious misalignment between desires and what people are willing to do to satisfy them.

And the Sun/Moon square from Capricorn to Aries echoes the current transit of Pluto (Cap) square Uranus (Aries), a frustrating phase in the Uranus/Pluto (revolts, riots, revolutions, explosions, major changes) cycle which began in the mid-1960s @ 17 Virgo, a crisis-critical degree.

Controlling Sun v Angry Moon!

Sun Cap/Moon Aries in particular evokes the image of a steamroller with the mental abilities and skills of a criminal lawyer. 'On to Further Conquests' is the gist of our 2012 Cap/Aries beginnings with its larger-than-life goals. This is a picture of single-mindedness which may easily end up emotionally and spiritually bankrupt (some say US government officials and most of our politicians are already that. Agreed.)

As you might expect, material rewards and business success by the shrewd will be a theme of 2012; brusqueness, insensitivity to others' needs, a restless, constant desire for excitement and challenge, and a tendency to be a sore loser will also mark many of the personalities and events of 2012.

To me it seems that the anger, rage, and discontent held within the Jan 1, 2012 Sun-Moon square are primarily prompted by the ongoing corruption within the ruling Capricorn structures of society because Cap's ruler, Saturn, is never amused by being dissed--disrespected--by incorrect behavior and corruption which leave Saturn's responsibilities unfulfilled and shuns its sense of accountability, two facets of Saturn and its sign Capricorn which cannot be ignored or neglected without a heavy price being attached.

Perhaps the "Images for Integration" of the conscious/unconscious levels with which we begin 2012 may be of interest to you since they involve Politics, Banking, and Bandits:

Sun Cap/Moon Aries: "A Roman city-state is attacked by barbarians but its solid walls keep the marauding bandits at bay...An impetuous entrepreneur persuades a conservative banker to back an ambitious project." (Sun Sign-Moon Sign, Charles & Suzi Harvey.)

Is there a reference to WikiLeaks here? To Anonymous hackers? To waging yet another imperial war in a drive to dominate the entire globe? Hmmm...

Well, let's close with a famous quote full of timely advice from a historical figure who natally shares the Sun Cap/Moon Aries blend:

"Man must cease attributing his problems to his environment, and learn again to exercise his will--his personal responsibility in the realm of faith and morals."

--Albert Schweitzer


For further reading, you may wish to check out America's New Civil War.

Jun 27, 2007

Capricorn Full Moon June 30

Friday's Full Moon 8Cap25 isn't a barrel of monkeys and I wonder if Apple used Astrology to choose the time for their iPhone launch (Electional Astrology.)

If so, it's because anything that you want publicity for should be unveiled a few hours before a Full Moon for maximum exposure. A lot is riding on the new $500--$600 iPhone.

There is a Hard Rectangle configuration involving the Full Moon which may be positive or negative but certainly indicates some adjustments are necessary to whatever occurs under its influence. Perhaps Apple choosing AT&T as the internet provider for the--perhaps many--times when your iPhone isn't in a hot zone may need adjusting as well as other features (there's the tiny little touch-screen keyboard for your phat phingers.)

This Full Moon is out-of-bounds (doing her own thing) which may bring astounding amounts of publicity (Moon...the public) so it'll be interesting to see if the iPhone fulfills its creators' hopes and dreams.

(However, the chart is set for the White House so as not to let Cheney or Bush off the Full-Moon hook. The Sun/Pluto midpoint is conjunct Cheney's n NN 2Lib 55, so we have Sun/Pluto = NN: meeting the powerful; fateful associations; separations; lack of adaptability. Check back in a day or two for some interesing tidbits on Cheney--he's got planetary stuff coming up.)

In Dynamics of Aspect Analysis Bil Tierney gives credit for naming the Hard Rectangle to Charles Jayne, and if you click to enlarge the chart you'll see the pattern highlighted and connecting Sun, Moon, Mercury, Saturn, Neptune, and Venus.

Venus and Neptune are now closely opposing one another (both 21 degrees) which describes a condition of illusion and idealism in relationship (and other Venus-ruled things such as money and values and ladies) and Sun and Moon are in Nodal Degree (fated.)

But there's that pesky Hard Rectangle which involves two sets of oppositions the ends of which are both semi-square (45 degr) and sesqui-square (135 degr) each other.

This pattern suggests that the oppostions are under more pressure to activate reconciliation because of the subtle indirect tensions from the minor aspects.

Harmony and balance will require a great application of will--or more antagonism could be sparked if this pattern is not well-managed. Tensions may give an extra dose of strength and purpose if all goes well.

(Gordon Brown is taking over the Labour Party in the UK under this influence--hope that works out well for the British people.)

The Full Moon's Sabian Symbol: "9Cap" is "An angel carrying a harp"...ATTUNEMENT (sounds like iTunes!)...

pos: a special gift for inspiring others to accomplishment and for realizing the ultimate dreams of self as a consequence;

neg/shadow side: simple fantasy and uncritical self-superiority.

Rx Mercury is conj US natal Jupiter indicating political activities and promotion of ideas so we'll have plenty of that as usual--and a Full Moon brings to light issues from the time of the New Moon (June 15.)

Jupiter has Rx'd back to 11Sag59, the degree of the Pluto/Chiron conjunction of Dec 30, 1999--an oppressive, plutocratic pairing which ushered in the New Millenium, and gave globalism a massive boost.

So Washington barrels along--with monkeys in tow, iPhones at ear, and wiggly red herrings in the media's net meant for our naive consumption. At least it'll be Friday.