Tag Archives: AFR

A New Disney

There was an Italian, who has been famous for over 125 years, he is not the first or the only famous Italian. There was this guy who came up with Pizza, There was this other Italian who thought fast Ford cars were a joke and he created Ferrari, then there was this other Italian, who made tractors, disagreed with the previous Italian and created Lamborghini. It is actually none of those. It is Carlo Lorenzini who was born 190 years ago. You might not know the name, perhaps his alternative name? Carlo Collodi! If you are still in the dark, than remember the story of a wooden boy who wanted to become a real live boy. Steven Spielberg used the notion in AI, but the original remains the best, namely Pinocchio!

Yes, the story of a wooden boy going into the world, yet as a wooden boy he was not alone, there was a little Cricket accompanying him and he would be a lot more important than your average Cricket, Jiminy was his name. Today the story is even more relevant, you see, the name Yemini Cricket might be ringing bells, but the truth of the wooden boy is there. The question becomes, who is the wooden boy?

So when I read ‘US, Britain and UN demand Yemen ceasefire within days‘ (at http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2016/10/16/us-britain-and-un-demand-yemen-ceasefire-within-days),

Yet when I read “The United Nations envoy, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, said: “We are here to call for an immediate cessation of hostilities, which will be declared in the next few hours.” Cheikh Ahmed said he had been in contact with the rebel Huthi militia’s lead negotiator and with Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi’s government“, my recollection does not go towards the classical story, it goes to a reference a little closer to the present (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFZrKOCdHFs), the laughter applies to both the sketch and reality. Aleppo is a great example, how 5 years and 400,000-450,000 fatalities later, no solution is there, but they are still flying to places like Switzerland to talk. I wonder when we add up all the costs, how much did the taxpayer pay for this play?

A number of civilian casualties that have now surpassed the total US Military casualties, of those who died during WW2. Doesn’t that look like a clear message that massive change was required a few years ago? I reckon all the players know that, yet, having long conversations with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, whose only concern is to stall so that the population can be made extinct before the resolution passes, reads a lot more like the Friends edition of Pinocchio, than the original by Carlo Collodi, where we see the conscience that is Jiminy Cricket.

So as we see the beginning of the same slow train in Yemen, I have to wonder if creating a new version of Pinocchio with Yemini Cricket is the way to go. It educates politicians as well as bring some hard needed cash towards Hollywood (or Bollywood).

So why is this different?

To one degree it is not, towards the other degree it is very much so. The problem is that both Syria and Yemen could be on the same page, no degrees of separation. In this case there are two at least. You see, Yemen has limited ties to Russia, making it less complicated, what is the issue is that the Houthi’s are actively shooting missiles at the US Navy complicating matters a lot more. It only takes one direct hit, and Yemen would technically be in a state of war with the US. Now, normally, a bankrupt nation is not that much a bother, but Yemen is not an economic or military superpower, so going against America sounds like a PR approach to get them ‘involved’. What is an issue is that Yemen, the neighbour of Saudi Arabia could get lucky at some point, what happens after the hit will be an issue, because Americans tend to get cranky when you successfully blow up something American. Interesting is that there are now multiple sources claiming that Iran is now moving towards the Red sea. An interesting story as the Red sea is on the other side of the Persian Gulf and Iranian war ships have no actual business there (which could also apply to the Americans). The question becomes how is Saudi placed into all this? Here there are issues too. There is no stating if there is even any link but the changes and the Attention that members of the Saudi government are drawing attention to themselves become a factor (speculation from my side).

One part is from the Australian Financial Review (at http://www.afr.com/news/world/middle-east/saudi-prince-mohammed-bin-salmans-shatters-decades-of-tradition-20161017-gs3yt5), where we see the title ‘Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s shatters decades of tradition‘, is not giving us the ‘goods’. The first quote is “He has slashed the state budget, frozen government contracts and reduced the pay of civil employees, all part of drastic austerity measures as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is buffeted by low oil prices“, which would be quite acceptable in one view, at least it appears that one government in this world is dealing with its budget issues, although not in the most ‘desirable’ way, when a nation is so dependent on oil, there might not be too many options. The second quote is “While vacationing in the south of France, Prince Mohammed spotted a 134-metre yacht. He dispatched an aide to buy the ship, the Serene, then owned by Russian vodka tycoon Yuri Shefler. The deal was done within hours, at a price of approximately €500 million (roughly $720 million today)“, which implies the opposite. The question is not the cut-backs or spending spree, the issue is neither quote, it is the quote I will give now “Many young Saudis admire him as an energetic representative of their generation who has addressed some of the country’s problems with uncommon bluntness. The kingdom’s media have built his image as a hardworking, businesslike leader less concerned than his predecessors with the trappings of royalty” as well as “Others see him as a power-hungry upstart who is risking instability by changing too much, too fast“. So is the prince a go-getter or power-hungry? I cannot tell as this is all based on third degree of information, what matters is how the view and the actions will reflect the counteractions of the US and Iran in regard to Yemen. The moment the conflict results in a direct attack on Saudi grounds, what then? Iranian warships in the Red Sea would only complicate that, making a harsh response from the Saudi Military even more destabilising.

In my view there are two sides within Saudi Arabia, yet how they should be seen is another matter. I do not claim to have a proper view. I have questions. You see Mecca is an Islamic Holy city (the most important one) and it is part of Saudi Arabia, so as Saudi Arabia is the caretaker of this holy site, the involvement if Iran is more than just a small issue. Whatever they decide to escalate could have large repercussions all over the Middle East. The Sovereign State of Saudi Arabia has every right to defend it in every way possible, so Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman is also Minister of Defence and the youngest one in the world, which as a stat sounds nice, yet it also means that in light of other decisions, he is ready to do that what the US has been unable to do, declare war on its enemy by actually acting against them! Not that the US needed to declare war, but in light of Syria, doing anything actively would have been nice, an absence of resolution that His Royal Highness Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud is less likely to show.

What is a problem is the fact that the complications are more and more likely as days go by and that is the one spark that this powder keg does not need. Iran cannot be denied access to international waters, which will not lessen the impact. One of the elements in all this is seen in the second quote regarding the ‘power hungry’ side of it. You see, the AFR article is also mentioning “Mohammed bin Nayef, the interior minister and longtime counter-terrorism czar“, which is now an element in all this. You see, whatever happens next is all surrounding the need for intelligence. So whatever issues there are between His Royal Highness Muhammad bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and His Royal Highness Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud gives wake to the Disney sequel, a tale of two princes. A new approach to the classic Dickens story where the plight of two members of the Royal family of Al Saud are protecting the Sovereign state of Saudi Arabia as well as the safety and security of all Muslims that are in and nearby Mecca. Even as the papers are expecting a ceasefire, the issue is that stalling is equally a tactic here. There is no way of telling why Iran is involving its warships in that region, other than trying to complicate matters and demanding a seat at the table of decision, which would only change the time table in the worst of ways. What the Deutsche Welle did give was the quote “the Saudi-led coalition has blamed an airstrike that killed over 140 people at a funeral ceremony in Yemen on “erroneous information” received from a “party” affiliated with the country’s embattled government“, it matters, because it gives light to the essential issue that the two princes need to rely on quality intelligence, sources that can be scrutinised. And in this matter, mentioning the yacht was to iterate that spending that money on a satellite over the area might not have been the worst personal idea I am having. And let’s face it, any prince that can claim that he has his own satellite wins the discussion with any other prince relying on yacht and status. So many have a yacht, but how many of these rich individuals (very wealthy people in general) would own their own satellite? Especially if it becomes a source of intelligence.

Of course there is a lot more to owning one’s own satellite, but I hope we can all agree that intelligence will be key in whatever escalates over the next week. My issue is that too many players have their own agenda, yet would those agenda’s be truly 100% be focussed on whatever is best for Yemen and/or Saudi Arabia? You see, oil prices are down now, but why and for how long? What happens when prices go through the roof again? What happens then? Suddenly all these political issues are all linked to the price of Oil and the profit it brings?

I do not claim to have these answers, but the fact that too many sources are not asking the questions that require asking is troubling, yet the AFR article gives us a lot more, even more than I bargained for, which is comforting to say the least. What becomes a matter of discussion is the one quote that shows the elements “People who have met Mohammed bin Salman said he insisted that Saudi Arabia must be more assertive in shaping events in the Middle East and confronting Iran’s influence in the region – whether in Yemen, Syria, Iraq or Lebanon“, giving the links that require addressing and the prince is not afraid to do just that, however it take two to dance rings around Iran and taking away its influence in the Middle East. As I see it, Riyadh will have to make changes to some degree. Counter-Intelligence will be key in dealing with Iran and the impression I get when I see a quote like “has deep ties to Washington and the support of many of the older royals” shows the speculative possibility of the older ‘let us see how this plays out‘ against the younger ‘let us get this party started through action‘. It is not about the balance, but about what works best. In that regard both princes might have to make changes a lot faster than they are comfortable with, because if the news is correct, the Iranian ships and submarines will soon be active in the Red Sea, but active to what extent is something that remains speculative, whatever they do, the fact that it includes Iranian submarine presence (as reported but not confirmed), will also raise tensions with Israel.

As I see it, the biggest issue is Iran and what they are trying to get out of it. Putting themselves in the middle of a conflict where they are now trying to imply that it is all about them (especially as they are in the Red Sea), yet is their presence less valid than that of the US? It seems to me that we are creating a new Vietnam, just not with the Russians involved (like Syria). So there are two solutions to consider. One is that the US is replaced by for example the Commonwealth, or France, which takes away the Iranian-US issues. That is, if Saudi Arabia would be willing to consider that move. No matter what, the navy that does that, could find themselves in an armed conflict with Iran, so it better be a competent and modern Navy which leaves not that many options. The Netherlands, the UK, France, South Korea and India. Giving the option to either South Korea or India would benefit, as Iran cannot spin some NATO link story. In addition Iran cannot afford to piss of too many additional nations as either could make short work of the ego of Iran as these navies decide to sink Iranian war vessels like rubber dinghies, because they pushed one button too many.

No matter what happens, Saudi Arabia must do what it can to keep safe and the Yemeni issue is one that tests many sides of those who see and witness it, because there is a dilemma in conscience. A revolution that got out of hand, a set government overthrown with its own agenda. When we see the Houthi’s slogan “God is great, death to the US, death to Israel, curse the Jews, and victory for Islam“, can we really show any kind of support or sympathy?

The most important part to realise is that we need to set aside our version of what is acceptable, we have seen the US and Europe at large impose their version of ‘civility’, whilst bending over, grabbing their ankles and let the financial industry quite literally get away with murder in many ways. We impose rules and expectations, whilst having no clue how to manage a budget or how to stem greed to the point of strangulation. In all this, we have given up the high ground in several fronts, so we are no lecturer with any level of confidence. It is my opinion, that the Middle East can only be decently governed by someone in the Middle East. I personally believe that Saudi Arabia should be at the centre of it, there is no doubt that it would beneficial that a coalition that would include Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, but I am not knowledgeable enough to see whether it is just them, or that other players should be seriously considered. What does matter is that both General Intelligence Directorate (GID, aka Mukhabarat) and Jordanian General Intelligence Directorate would be important in ascertaining Iran’s hostile actions and if need be counter them. From my academic point of view is the challenge that the SIGNT of the three would pose to get one coherent reporting and analytical solution on Iranian intelligence. One that would definitely benefit all three nations. Yet perhaps that will evolve into a third Disney project, which could be the next big thing. It’s all just a thought, but think it over for yourself and ask yourself the question you did not hear voiced, this is important, because this stage could get ugly in a hurry and possibly before Christmas this year.

 

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A bit in the stream

Something alerted me towards events this morning in LinkedIn of all places. There was a reference towards an article titled ‘New Accenture boss Bob Easton throws down gauntlet to big four on digital’ (at http://www.afr.com/business/accounting/new-accenture-boss-bob-easton-lays-down-gauntlet-to-big-four-on-digital-20160829-gr3huj ).

The initial quote is “The trouble is there is a lot of people running around talking about digital“, which is true. Bob Easton is right that there is a lot of talk about digital. Yet, when we look at the definitions, I wonder how many have a true grasp of digital. Even I myself wonder when the use ‘digital’ is warranted. You see, when it is media, my photography is digital, so is my filming. Advertisement is digital as it goes through AdWords and not trough the newspapers. Here is the issue. When is something digital? Bob Easton states in the article “they are confusing the market by misunderstanding digital strategy and lacking the global capabilities of his firm“, the fact that IBM took a massive hit is not a surprise because they are confused on the best of times. They still present the 14 managers and 2 technicians approach. I cannot speak for either PricewaterhouseCoopers in this instance, or for EY, but my last encounter with Deloitte gave a much better view on them and they seem to know it (to some extent). So where does this leave Accenture?

The term “moving to aggressively compete for work in the consulting, digital and business transformation space” is only a concern if they do not meet customers’ expectations. So where should they be?

So where should you be? You see Dave Aron from Gartner (at that time) gives me: “A digital strategy is a form of strategic management and a business answer or response to a digital question, often best addressed as part of an overall business strategy“, what I liked was “Every business and public sector agency needs both an IT Strategy and a Digital Business Strategy. They must be highly aligned with each other, but they are not the same thing“, which gives part of the goods, yet when we consider his claim “All aspects of the business strategy should be informed by digital considerations“, we tend to get confused here, because different elements have the same word (read: digital), but in that the setting is not the same.

We can see it as advancements in digital technologies such as computers, data, telecommunications and Internet, which is still true, but how to go about it?

A digital media manager looks at how to get the solutions towards their ROI, which in many turns means to get it all electronically solved, whilst keeping costs to a minimum. Here we see the first failing from IBM as they are about revenue and about getting the business onto their solutions. Even in a step by step solution it is about getting one foot into the door and upsell from there. That is not a solution for the client, it is merely a solution for the sales person’s target.

And in some cases there is no digital path, but to a lot of people that does not exist so they will feign a solution. As an example I have my old dentist, he had a card system so perfect that no IT solution could bring the goods. I saw yuppies in all sizes try to sell him a solution between 1983 and 1995, one failure after another. The mere realisation that not all solutions fit and that some solutions will drive down the ROI in unacceptable ways is why several of these players will never succeed. Because what the client truly needs is never addressed. If we take the approach from Macala Wright (at http://mashable.com/2012/09/05/how-to-digital-strategy/#oc3qMBqfF8qC)

We see a decently clear path. I can quote all the steps again, but the article has them down to a nice clean size, so reading it is a recommendation.

I am downgrading it to these four steps for comfort (read: mine).

  1. Identifying the opportunities and challenges in a business where online assets can provide a solution or a difference.
  2. Identifying the unmet needs and goals of the external stakeholders that most closely align with those key business opportunities and challenges, and especially if there are threats there.
  3. Developing a vision around how the online assets will fulfil those business and external stakeholder needs, goals, opportunities, challenges and threats.
  4. Prioritizing a set of online initiatives which can deliver on this vision.

These steps also include the views Cisco had in step 3, yet it is a watered down list. I am emphasising this as the entire ‘going digital’ is larger and more complex than most realise. When I look at what can be done and what can be achieved we need to realise that this all needs the decision makers to be aligned and in that both IT and business needs must be addressed. Most people going digital seem that it is a cheaper solution towards a better ROI. Yes, it is a path towards a better ROI, which will not make it cheaper. It requires serious investments and not tinkering around with half a dozen people working from home, sending in some finished element. Whilst the Australian Financial Review gives us a chart with Revenue versus margin and adds a little hype by adding AirBnB and Uber in the new business models, we see a forgotten element. You see, these new business models come with a little hook, one was highlighted by Bell Partners, where we see “Some critics argue that Uber drivers are not subject to the same premiums for compulsory third-party (CTP) insurance as taxis, as it is harder to identify an Uber car in an accident“. Is that so? So how does this impact the passenger? Until you are in an accident you might not care, but when the hospital bills come and the Uber player does not have the coverage, you will soon learn that hospitals are very expensive.

There is a lot of truth in the article and it is well worth reading, yet the lack of threats discussed is equally unsettling. The fact that Expenses in the digital world are up and very much so with Accenture is an element, and also a threat. You see, we all understand that there are a lot more expenses coming over (nearly all tax deductable), the matter of a shifting ROI remains and until the model is used to fuel growth the benefit will not be easily seen. For this path requires a globalising mindset. If you want to remain the big cheese in Darlinghurst and that is all you want, you need to consider what sides need the digital approach and what you want to grow. This for the mere reason that costs will come in the early days and if you are ready it is not an issue, if not, your ROI went straight into the basement, good luck enjoying that view!

Depending on your market, it will be about your customers and their experience, if that is not upgraded, then why byte into the digital apple? I truly worry about the bit you do not end up with, as you would limit your position and enable your competitor overnight. This is the part that is not addressed in many places, because everyone is in a sales hat thinking bonus and saying, we can get you onto the digital path! You see, the presentation in the AFR, regarding the digital disruption framework is aptly drawn as a spear point and it points towards you! The better the comprehension and implementation, the more it becomes a weapon of offense instead of a solution to suicide. In that regard, towards the offense we see that the spear could be the stepping stone that upgrades the customer experience and as such truly grow your business, which is exactly what it is, but it is not a cheap solution or an overnight solution, it is merely a new solution to grow towards places you never grew before, so you grow the options in getting a grown customer base, which is what many want.

The only question is how correctly the path has been drawn out and here we see the elements that Bob Easton sells on. Accenture seems to know this path through and through. We have seen how IBM scuttled their knowledge and for the most, the other players (read: self-proclaimed players) are not up to scrap, but their level of failure is not clearly shown, Bob Easton points at it, but there is clear doubt if that is a given, especially in the case of Deloitte.

Finally we see the mention of government contracts, which is of course fun to read. Especially as 20 years have shown me that the bulk of government is relatively clueless on any digital path, with Defence on a whole being close to the sole exception.

In all this I find one part slightly debatable, even as the chart makes perfect sense. The quote “Digitising the experience for your customers, digitising your internal operations and the creation of the capabilities to recognise and exploit new business models” is true, yet recognising new business models is always a non-given, because that requires the altered mindset of a board of directors, which tends to focus on the golf game and less on the balls they slice, which gives weight to the debate, not the issue with the model as shown. In that for Taxi’s the model makes perfect sense, because Uber is now forcing a different mindset on the taxi corporations. Yet consider the year before Uber started, how many Taxi companies were actively looking into new business models? That list is hugely close to zero!

I say that competitors and threats, the second more than the first is driving that element, which is why even in the digital move, a SWOT analyses tends to have more decisive impact on the decisions. When we know the elements strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, we can start to look at the options we have, and they do include the two Bob Easton axis scales namely Revenue and Margin. As stated, his view is not incorrect, I personally find it a little incomplete in this instance.

And to finalise this, the problem he states is on many levels, I am not even sure if America is the largest waster of options and resources here, yet when we see politicians go with (read: Donald Trump on CBS today) “you know cyber is becoming so big today. It’s becoming something that a number of years ago, short number of years ago, wasn’t even a word. And now the cyber is so big“, in this case Donald Trump for his elections. The fact that Cyber threats have been on the FBI agenda even before October 6th 1999, stating that the damage from those threats had surpassed 7 billion in Q1 and Q2 of 1999 gives us worry that Cyber and Digital are more than words and those who are aiming to be in a seat of power have not grasped it. The entire educational system is not ready for these changes, which is not their fault. The market that Bob Easton described has grown nearly exponentially and the next generation is not aware of what is what, that whilst the current generation is not up to scrap as to what the definitions are, how they should be seen and how they apply in a real time environment and the people in charge are not getting educated either, most they get is from trade shows dying for you to buy their solution, which is not much of an education and finally the previous generation that is hoping to make it to retirement before they have to learn it all.

That is the issue as it evolves. So we are all bits in the stream, bits of what? I am not sure if anyone can tell at present, but good luck trying to figure out where you are placed and where you stand, because resolving that will place you in a much stronger position than you were in this morning.

 

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Is it all Greek to you?

Greece keeps on tracking the news in several UK papers and newscasts. Greece is big news in a few regards, but I will not go into that too deep. What should be known in this premise is that I still believe that Greece for the larger extent is playing a game, the fact that Greece is playing this game is because (as I agree), the downfall of Greece could topple Italy and France to a serious extent, which will hurt the United Kingdom to more than a minor extent (it would have been massively worse if the UK had the Euro) and it will debunk the premise of a united Europe in several ways.

Now let’s take a look at the news:

BBC (at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-32790726) ‘Greek debt deal within next week, says Varoufakis‘, stated on May 19th, this gives us the oral deadline of no later than May 29th.

I, the Lawlordtobe.com (that’s me) stated on May 6th in the article ‘What’s the matter?‘ “You see, there we see May 1st an IMF interest loan payment (now due May 6th) and May 12th we see the part that 760 million is due. The part that was unknown to me is also the part that is not loudly voiced to EEC nations, because this knowledge will influence the voters (as I personally see it). You see, the missing part that is not voiced in many sources is the small fact that two T-bill batches mature, the first one on May 8th and the second one on May 15th, each worth 1.4 billion“.

Now we know that the May 6th payment was done, but the May 12th payment could NOT be made, for this Greece used its own IMF emergency funds, this means that this is now due 30 days after May 12th. In addition, the amounts due in June is 1.5 billion initially towards the IMF, yet because the May payment was not made, that debt is raised by 50% and Now we see that 2.3 billion will be due before June 30th. In addition 5.2 billion in T-bills will mature, so how is that going to get paid for?

Alas, this is not all, even though payments are not due, the Greek debt ceiling has been raised (again) now giving to total debt ceiling at 80 billion, when we add the outstanding debt, this nation with 11 million people will be down almost half a trillion dollars! Now one fact that many are ignoring, this all amounts to an annual interest that is close to 22.5 billion a year, Greece cannot even raise 5% of that at present!

Let’s get back to the news!

The financial review gave us this news on May 19th (at http://www.afr.com/news/world/greece-wants-europes-bailout-fund-to-pay-maturing-bonds-20150518-gh4ljr), the headline ‘Greece wants Europe’s bailout fund to pay maturing bonds‘ gives you the rising nightmare that I was pushing towards for some time now! The quote “Greece has proposed to its international lenders that Europe’s bailout fund pay back maturing Greek government bonds held by the European Central Bank as a way to overcome a funding crunch, Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said on Monday“. It feels a little like going to that nice place in Amsterdam (with all those red lights), then after you had your fun, you ask the girl if she would be so kind enough to ask Mr.  Eberhard van der Laan to front the bill (the current Mayor of Amsterdam). What do you think is going to happen next? Including May, through to August a total of 11 billion in Bonds will mature. So, how is this a good idea?

Syriza has, since it came to power, only made things worse for Greece. The Greek people might think that they are protected, yet as I see it, the only thing they achieved is to alienate its creditors, leaving them with no alternatives, for now let’s get back to the news!

Less than 20 minutes ago (whilst writing the draft), the Guardian got wind of a possible extension of 4 months (source: Helena Smith, the Guardian), which is likely today’s topic between Angela Merkel and Alexis Tsipras. Which now gives us more worry, because EVERY delay and every inaction from Syriza gives less and less chances for Greece. Yet from Reuters (at http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/05/21/us-eurozone-greece-schaeuble-idUSKBN0O61C220150521), we learn that there is no happy expectations at present. The quote “But Schäuble poured cold water on this idea, saying reports from the international institutions involved in negotiations with Athens suggested talks were progressing ‘very hesitantly’. ‘What I know from discussions with the three institutions does not back up the optimism arising from announcements from Athens,’ Schäuble said in an interview published on Thursday“, whether the latest news is more accurate is harder to see, because the ‘earlier’ news from the BBC amongst others see a game played where Varoufakis and Tsipras are in ‘managing bad news mode’ and overly optimistic, an approach already rejected by more than one participant and as I showed, the amounts due means that my prediction on May 6th (in the article What’s the matter? at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/05/06/whats-the-matter/), where I stated “Why do I feel that I am the only one seeing this, or at least the only one clearly voicing this, because the UK elections, when the voters learn that Greece is about to desire up to 30 billion before the end of the year, so that it can pay the outstanding bills“.

Now we see that Greece is hoping on an 11 billion bonds bailout, a bailout deal of 7.2 billion and an additional bailout is already a certainty, the amount at present is however not stated (possibly unknown to the involved players) and up to August we see the need for 6.7 billion in payments to the ECB. In addition there would be interest payments too. My prediction of the needed 30 billion has been surpassed, yet no one else made clear mention of these required funds, especially the UK papers, as this would have opened the floodgates towards UKIP. How informed was the British voter allowed to be?

Back to the news!

When we consider the extension, we also see first voices. Now let’s take a clear look at what the European public is being offered and the shear insanity of it.

  1. experts are saying after four months of seemingly stalled negotiations the gap-stop solution makes eminent sense – not least because it gives the leftist-led government enough time to either hold a referendum or call fresh elections, polls that the governing Syriza party would almost certainly win hands down”.
    a. How will new elections solve anything?
    b. Is Syriza wins again, then how will progress ever be made?
    c. Setting up an election takes months, which means that in 4 months no achievement will be made, whilst the internal costs of new elections will be added to the debt.
  2. Both scenarios would allow Tsipras to deal with militants in his party and move to the centre stage offering clarity to a political landscape blighted by Syriza’s two seemingly incompatible aims: to ensure Greece stays in the euro zone while at the same time eradicating austerity”.
    a. Is it possible that the militants Syriza were never the problem to begin with?
    b. Staying in the Eurozone and eradicating austerity is as I see it a mathematical (and statistical) impossibility. It is only possible if all debts are forgiven, which should never be an allowed option!
    c. Is it even possible to offer clarity to the current political landscape? The political landscape includes the people behind the banks and the bonds, which makes for very murky waters at best.
  3. “This scenario makes sense because it would provide sufficient time for Greece to hold a referendum or election both of which would ease Syriza’s position,” said Kevin Featherstone, who heads the Hellenic Observatory at the London School of Economics, which basically reiterates the issues in point 1.

I cannot oppose Kevin Fatherstone academically as he is a professor and that title is not given out with boxes of Weetabix, but my logical insight in data opposes his view and a few others on intense levels. I have nothing against Greece and even less against the people of Greece, but why should we not hold politicians both present and past responsible and accountable for their acts? The current financial dilemma Greece faces should call for public scrutiny of what was done, which includes openly naming and shaming those who did this to the Greek people and in that regard, let’s all stop blaming ‘Ze Germans’!

But this view would not be complete without the two theatre plays that are also linked to this.

In one house we see Grexit, a Greek production with Director Tsipras and the supporting soundtrack by Varoufakis. You see, the emotional bytes from a Greek paramedic stating “We don’t have enough money to help people – we don’t have enough ambulances” is less than an appetizer, it is not even close to interesting, the issue is, how will the retired people of Greece buy water and bread? When the cash runs out, when people do not get paid and supermarkets cannot get paid, that will show the nightmare Greece is heading to in a very straight line, one that active non-posturing could have prevented in February 2015, Antonis Samaras was on that path, it was a painful path, no one will deny that, but the alternative we see now is about to get a lot harder and many times less humane! At http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-32332221 we see the bills due, most of it was a known part, now add to that the public sector wages of 2.2 billion. There is only one part that could offend me. The quote “For some economists, potentially the best option would be for Greece to pursue a ‘managed default’” is the one I cannot find peace with, you see, managed default means that it is a staged setting of non-payments. Yet in those situations, the banks, the causers of grief will get paid, the retirees are very likely to end with nothing, or perhaps a mere two drachma on the Euro deal. Now, I could be COMPLETELY wrong here. I do not know how a managed default would pan out, but in my view, the ‘for Greece‘ is not the same as ‘for the Greek people‘, the second one should take precedence no matter what, but that might just be me.

In the other house we see the upcoming production of Brexit, a split Farage/Cameron production in different halls. The production is in turmoil, because duo ‘Fat Cat’ and ‘Bully’ are taking notice of this production and they do not like either play. The newspapers have been mentioning these issues. Latest noise comes from Paul Kahn, the Airbus UK chief “the company would reconsider its position in the country if Britain left the EU“. Why, is my question at that point? These industrial settings were a reality before the Euro and as such, they should remain a reality after Brexit. Several banks (like HSBC) and other firms made similar noise, many of them reliant on people who would lose fortunes when the Euro debts would strangle the nations as the larger players try to remains relatively safe from the Greek collapsing fallout. I question (to some extent) the actual issues that are at play when a Brexit would follow. In my view, the strict regulation of Greece and its debts would have diminished that risk. The fact that the Status Quo game was played so long after it was not feasible is at the heart of all this. A certain group of people now feel that they are in danger as they kept on sucking on ‘the tits of plenty’. These people went for the breasts of milk and honey in perpetuity, whilst ANY mother can tell you that this is not possible, a mother must rest, regain strength and resources. With the minimum of common sense any man can tell that a mother will need these parts too, yet the economy is not a mother, it needs no rest, it needs no nourishment, it will continue ‘ad infinitum’, or does it?

So now we get news that is viewed as bully tactics from industrials and exploiters towards the UK, with the clear message ‘stay in the EEC or else!’ Now we have the issue at play, because Greece is the first of three elements that imply that staying in the EEC is no longer feasible. I personally believe that David Cameron is trying to push the referendum forward, not to get out of the EEC, but to stay in the EEC, because if National Front (France) does get the votes, they will move away on principle and then the British population will follow ‘en mass’! Which will only drive the power of Nigel Farage. This paragraph is again speculation, but I believe it to be the true path we all face.

Now for the final part of the speculation, again, it is like a virtual path in data, to get anything tangible is not an option. I do not move in the circles that these players move, so I have nothing but my instinctual view on data. You see, I mentioned them before. Yet, one piece I did find. It is at http://cib.natixis.com/DocReader/index.aspx?d=6159546E36436C53616F365A3346735064757A5239413D3D. (attached below)

Here we see what I predicted all along. It is nice to see confirmation on such a high level and they foresaw it before I did (but not by much). Their paper is dated 26th May 2014, almost exactly a year ago. The quote that gives it is “It is therefore unlikely that we will see the GUE/NGL group – which brings together leftist tendencies from socialism to radical anti-capitalism – form a block with representatives from the PVV, the UKIP or the National Front. At the right, the ‘soft’ Euro sceptics in the ECR find it difficult to agree with the ‘hard’ in the EFD, as the parties they represent are often opponents on the national political arenas (e.g. Tories vs. UKIP or PdL vs. Lega Nord)“.

This is exactly what almost happened and the danger has not gone away, it is actually increasing. Yet, if the UK referendum falls before the French elections, the chance of separation is much smaller. Which means that with the UK referendum no longer an issue, if National Front does win, Natixis will have time to rescale their assets. That is at the heart of the linked matter. Natixis has well over HALF A TRILLION Euro in assets. One French firm, 15 members of that board (including 4 women) yield a bat that is more formidable then David Cameron can bring to the table and these people stay OUT of the limelight. Headed by François Perol, together with the members Daniel Karyotis, Thierry Cahn, Alain Condaminas, Laurence Debroux, Alain Denizot, Michel Grass, Catherine Halberstadt, Anne Lalou, Bernard Oppetit, Stéphanie Paix, Henri Proglio, Philippe Sueur, Nicolas de Tavernost and Pierre Valentin represent the unspoken brilliance of the assets economy! They achieved without the economic power of the United States, what Alan Greenspan couldn’t achieve with the powers of the US Federal reserve behind him. Consider that in the game of Roulette the bank always wins, in this game the bank lost and Natixis bested both the odds and the bank, they just did not advertise it. Now we see that the worry of Natixis never left and the play is still moving towards what Natixis regards to be a radical anti-capitalistic unity. I for one am not opposed to capitalism, but they too must be held to a level of accountability, an aspect that they denied existence of and as such the situation has escalated to the point where we are at now.

So, if this is all Greek to you, then you are not alone. I am not an economist and I am also in doubt on the correctness of my view, yet my data expertise pushes me to these elements and so far my predictions have panned out correctly. Which means that Greece is at the centre of many events and driving additional other events. Nigel Farage has grown UKIP and as the economy deteriorates that power growth is only getting stronger, but for the next 55 months it is not an issue, the French Milestone of National Front is only 22 months away and that is a worry for Natixis, 22 months is not enough to resettle well over half a trillion euros, especially when none of the moveable markets would remain stable.

So behind Greece and its debt is a tsunami of economic turmoil, the Greek people might not realise that Greece is small compared to some other issues, but those other issues will not allow the Greeks to be the reason for the other domino stones to fall. As I see it Alexis Tsipras was nowhere near ready to play the game he played on the level it needed to be played at!

Is it still all Greek to you?

Natixis_20150522

 

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This is not Sparta!

You might not realise it, but many of us have a Greek side in us. The gamers are all about ‘This is Sparta!’ as they slay their opponents Gerard Butler style (a Scotsman no less) in Diablo 3, more than a few of them would also consider becoming the consort of Lena Headey (Queen Gorgo), a woman who might be twice their age, but still looks better than the average 25 year old photo model. Some with a more academic approach will be confronted with the Socratic Method as they get through another Uni class. Some will love it, some will hate it. It seems there are no people in the middle ground here. Doctors still recite the Hippocratic Oath and we could argue that Prudence which comes from Phronesis, a Greek word, which got introduced by some old Greek with a beard. I remember the speech, this old guy suddenly making a speech, roughly 334BC, I was watching the Panathenaic Games and suddenly he starts deliberating (at himself) in a most bombastic voice. The man starts ‘ranting’ about something called Nicomachean Ethics, nice, but not while ‘I am watching a game!’ Someone told me his name was Aristotle. I reckon the fab never caught on. Let’s face it, public speakers and the virtue of practical thought, it will never catch on, I reckon. Guess what! It has been 2345 years and I was right! Take this Tsipras fellow, as I see it, he continues a long line of public speakers void of practical wisdom.

That we see in ‘Greece financial crisis: EU offers funds in return for urgent reforms‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/mar/20/greece-financial-crisis-eu-offers-funds-in-return-for-urgent-reforms). You see, this Alexis Tsipras has been in office almost 2 months now and as we can read in the article, he has nothing to show for it. He was supposed to show reform, he now has 10 days and the photo as printed shows away hiding his mouth behind his first. Is it agony, frustration, defiance? Is it all just theatre? The BBC with ‘Greece to draft new reform plan within days – EU leaders‘ (at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-31963952), which shows a ‘smiling’ Tsipras with the quote “Greece has agreed to come up with a new reform plan within days to secure the additional bailout funds required to prevent bankruptcy“, read those words carefully. It does not state, ‘will finalise’, or ‘will complete the current draft’, it states ‘to come up with a new reform plan’. So when we see the quote “I think that all the sides confirmed their intention to try to do their best to overcome the difficulties of the Greek economy as soon as possible“, I feel slightly miffed. You see Tsipras is all about the blame game. In one part, he has every right to be so, because the mess was not initially of his making. He did get into the elections as he saw he could ‘play’ the voters and now it is crunch time, he cannot deliver, because whatever defiant act he will attempt will cost the people of Greece dearly. As I see it, he’ll end up doing exactly what Antonis Samaras was doing, I wonder if that constitutes election fraud? Promising something, not doing it and doing what the opposition was doing all along. As I saw it (yes, a personal view), Antonis Samaras was a fine politician trying to decently play a really crappy hand that he got dealt. You see, in this regard, none of them have done anything  about holding to response the previous administrations that tailored the deal, that spend money an entire next generation did not have, not to mention the artful tax dodgers, none of that was as I see it done! I reckon that Tsipras would only have to arrest Kostas Vaxevanis to show that he is no better than any of the other previously elected politicians.

You see my emotion here is because I love Greece (Specifically Crete), I feel pain as I see that it is driven into the ground by elected officials, it is largely done so through inactions, which makes it even worse. It is sloth in its most profound form, not just spiritual and emotional apathy, it is done through additional decisive inaction. A form of treason of the worst kind. Almost like the captain of a ship who now INTENTIONALLY goes towards an iceberg expecting the iceberg to get out of the way. It reminds me of an advertisement where the captain of a cruiser (USS Montana) who decided to play chicken with a lighthouse (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYsdUgEgJrY), yet in this case it is not a person being handed ‘incomplete’ or ‘incorrect’ information. In this case we all know the object in front of the good ship Hellenic Republic and its captain(s) have not taken the measures they should have. This is how the news is reading to me. What should have been done is a list of continuing meetings non-stop with all parties. The Greeks were given a play, theatre of a mediocre level and soon they will not be left with any options. As I personally see it, politics of its very worst kind.

All this now reflects in a bad way, especially if we take the word of the NOS (Dutch News). Here we see “‘De verwachting was dat het goed zou komen’, zegt de Rabobank-econoom. ‘Maar het probleem is dat de Grieken steeds hun beloftes breken. Ze proberen steeds opnieuw over de voorwaarden te onderhandelen’” “‘The expectations were that everything would be fine’ said the Rabobank economist, ‘but the problem is that the Greeks break their promises and then try to renegotiate their deal again and again’{translated}” as well as “We zijn wel gewend van de Europese politiek dat oplossingen pas gevonden worden als we bijna in de afgrond stappen” “We are used that European politics will find a solution as we are about to step into the abyss {translated}”.

This all directly reflects back to the days of the SNS-bank debacle ‘too big to fail‘. It seems that Tsipras is taking the ‘let’s take this over the abyss, so I can blame someone else‘ approach. Not the most subtle path of the blame game, but a blame game tactic none the less. When did we see any serious step to address reform from Greece? It seems to me that the ‘let’s be nice one more time to Greece‘ is counted upon, yet no clear and decisive act from the Greek elected officials is coming. So as the possible mark of bankrupt is looming no more than 2 weeks away, did the Greek population consider that if the government is out of money, how much money is actually available at a bank? When the run on the bank starts, how quickly are those coffers empty and where will the people get cash to pay for the average need like food, water and electricity?

That part seems not addressed in any way!

Actually it is (at http://www.afr.com/news/world/greek-coffers-running-on-empty-bring-accident-threat-closer-20150320-1m3nym), the Australian Financial Review is not the only Financial Review paper, so there will be more, but for the most, we see little about this little part: “While Mr Tsipras isn’t saying what’s left in the bank, he acknowledges Greece is facing ‘liquidity pressure’. The country’s cash shortfall is projected to hit 3.5 billion euros in March“. So even if that part might be ‘virtual’ to some extent, how much money is actually available to banks? That part might be seen when we consider “The Bank of Greece has plugged cash shortfalls by tapping the reserves of other public sector entities, including pension funds, hospitals, and universities“, as well as “The Bank of Greece and the European Central Bank won’t report official cash outflows for January until the end of the month. But sources in the Greek banking sector have told Greek newspapers that as much as 25 billion euros (US $28.4 billion) have left Greek banks since the end of December“, which comes from http://www.cnbc.com/id/102439432. So in two weeks, how will things get paid for?

That is a question Greeks (the population at large) should be asking, because when the money is gone, how will they address the bills with the cash of their savings whilst the banks had pushed them in possible other none profit making endeavours? At least, if things really collapse, we can always opt ‘at least it was due to a radical left vision’, in the past (read 70’s), the radical left visions gave way in Italy to Brigate Rosse and in Germany to the Rote Armee Fraktion. Their economy was never this desperate, so I wonder what the Greeks will come up with, I am however sure that it will be blamed on the Germans (again).

In my view, I wonder, was I correct two years ago? Could an independent Crete have created at least a partial economic growth? Would Crete have been better off in a state of independence? I do not proclaim to have the evidence, but I feel that my feeling back then was spot on. Now the rest of Greece could drag down this island against their will.

It seems very unfair, but then in the politics of Tsipras (and that of politicians at large), fairness never had anything to do with it.

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