Tag Archives: Angela Merkel

One economy crises a day

Yes, it is the Guardian that alerts us to: ‘World economy at risk of another financial crash, says IMF‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/oct/03/world-economy-at-risk-of-another-financial-crash-says-imf). So as we see: “Debt is above 2008 level and failure to reform banking system could trigger crisis“, we think that this is a small issue, but it is not, it is however not the real dangers, merely a larger factor. The quote “With global debt levels well above those at the time of the last crash in 2008, the risk remains that unregulated parts of the financial system could trigger a global panic, the Washington-based lender of last resort said” gets us a little closer to it all, yet it is the phrase ‘Washington-based lender of last resort’ that is a little more at the core of it all. This, or in a roundabout mention towards the US federal reserve is not the only part in this. It is the ECB with its quantative easing setting, now at 3.7 trillion, which in light of the Bloomberg article in 2017 (a year ago now) mentioning ‘Some ECB Members Identify 2.5 Trillion-Euro QE Limit‘ becomes a larger issue. With the US national debt at $21.5 trillion the ECB at an estimated €2.4 trillion bonds as per June ($2.7 trillion), we are going off the deep end soon enough. So as people were all in such a state that I was wrong, it would not happen again and that the economy is great. Consider that I warned about this danger several times between 2016 and the latest in May 2018 with ‘Milestones‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/05/05/milestones/). Yet all the parties are stating that I was wrong, and several hours ago, the Guardian treats us to: “The growth of global banks such as JP Morgan and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China to a scale beyond that seen in 2008, leading to fears that they remain “too big to fail”, also registers on the IMF’s radar“. Yes, ‘too big to fail’, or should that be ‘to big too fail‘?

So when we see Gordon Brown getting quoted with: “former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown said last month that the world economy was “sleepwalking into a future crisis,” and risks were not being tackled now “we are in a leaderless world”“. I found his response slightly moronic as there is no leaderless world, there are merely elected officials who know that they are merely in temp positions and they are paving the way for really nice paid futures. There is a distinct difference there. And in that I am still modestly awaiting my honour degree from the London School of Economics, in a pinch one from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania will do too.

So when we see both “Christine Lagarde was concerned that the total value of global debt, in both the public and private sectors, has rocketed by 60% in the decade since the financial crisis to reach an all-time high of $182tn“, as well as “the build-up made developing world governments and companies more vulnerable to higher US interest rates, which could trigger a flight of funds and destabilise their economies. “This should serve as a wake-up call,” she said“. My response will be: “No Christine, you are wrong! The entire setting of a wake-up call is already 3-4 years too late. You have been unable to nurture the ECB, keep governments awake to get spending under control and the fallout will be huge and the people get to pay for it all“. The one benefit is that too large a population will be going through two depressions wiping out all their savings soon enough and in that there is an actual chance of a new civil war that would spread all over Europe. At that point the life of any politician will be £0.02 at best, once that starts, there will be not merely a Brexit, it will herald the end of the EU and it will impact the US in a most disastrous path, not merely wiping economies out, there will be a lack of trust between the US and the EU that will surpass the distrust levels between the USA and CCCP at the height of the cold war. It will redraw global economic maps to the larger degree. That is also seen in the part when we recollect the June 23rd article called ‘They are still lying to us‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/06/23/they-are-still-lying-to-us/). There we were treated to “Greece is once again becoming a normal country, regaining its political and financial independence“, remember that part? So how normal is that country as we are treated to ‘Greek Bank Stocks Tumble Amid Concerns Over Capital, Bad Loans’ by the Wall Street Journal a mere 8 hours ago? So when we see “Investors appear to have completely lost confidence in Greek banks,” economists at HSBC said in a research note. The four main banks— National Bank of Greece, Alpha Bank, Eurobank Ergasias and Piraeus Bank—recently submitted ambitious plans to rid themselves of more than half of their soured loans by 2021 to the banking-supervision unit of the European Central Bank, several bank officials said. Under the new plans, which the ECB is considering, the banks would commit themselves to reduce their nonperforming loans to 15%-21% of their total loans, compared with today’s levels of 40.7%-54.7%“. the article (at https://www.wsj.com/articles/greek-bank-stocks-tumble-amid-concerns-over-capital-bad-loans-1538584978) gives us a lot more, but it shows that the banks are trying to shed the bad loans in as creative ways as possible and in this the governments are as I personally see it part of the problem, they were never part of any solution and the people will get to pay for it all as they were treated last quarter to: “as elderly Greeks face losing up to €350 ($416) per month when new pension cuts are implemented as of Jan. 1, 2019“, I believe that as the Greek banks collapse to the larger degree, as the Greek banks are shedding over 50% of outstanding loans, their value would also collapse as will their prospects and the loss of confidence will only increase the pressures. All whilst payments will still be due and cannot be met as it is staged to be at present. So there is a chance that Greeks will lose 50% more than they are currently losing at present in the next quarter, so we will see that the Greeks will start the year in utter poverty and the rest of Europe is not far behind. The ECB with its badly conceived QE plan has achieved that, so when the people are given that danger and handed the loss of retirement funds, utter rage will not be far away after that.

It was one of the reasons why I kept close eyes on Salini Impregilo. Even as Europe is going proverbially down the drain Salini Impregilo has been making headway on a global scale, foremost in Saudi Arabia and as their projects are kicking off, the infrastructure needs for Saudi Arabia grow. Their needs for dash boarding, reporting and data analytics will rise over the next two years and will require more and more knowledge and infrastructure with any additional building they are assigned. The entire project of the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) drew it even further to the foreground, merely because the required concrete levels that can be delivered seem to be at 30%-40% of what is required soon enough. It is an opportunity for Saudi Arabia and the UAE, but also optionally for Egypt. All these shortages ignored for now, yet when we see the image from 2012 and what was required then, and we consider that Neom will require close to 15 times that, where will the concrete come from? And it is not merely the availability; it will be about the proper planning of resources. Even as Salini Impregilo is merely a larger player of several projects, they in the end all need their concrete and where will that come from? So at this rate I expect to see the delays making the forefront news from 2020 onwards. Even as some places are increasing as much as they can afford. I expect it to fall short by a larger degree soon enough and when we are introduced to the heart of the matter. Smart cities will need smart infrastructure and the wiring will be well over 20 times what the entire Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet required and that is a lot. the skills, the training to get the amount of people fuelling this is short on every level as I see it, so as Europe collapses with the debt, Saudi Arabia gets the option to buy staff cheaply soon enough. No merely getting the knowledge they need. Yet the brain drain to that extent has never been seen before anywhere in the world and that is where the ECB will suddenly realise that the fuel required to fix any acts of stupidity in the last 10 years will no longer be available and at that point Wall Street will wake up getting to live the perfect nightmare. It is not merely that there will suddenly be a boost of economy because there is no unemployment, getting the people trained up will take decades, stopping economic growth right quick and for much too long.

And as other players open up the doors for a guaranteed decent lifestyle, the setting is changing. We see that in the European Pensions last July, a mere 2 months ago when we were given: “European pension schemes are becoming increasingly attracted to the high returns and diversification benefits offered by frontier markets” This is the setting of: ‘more developed than the least developing countries, but too small to be generally considered an emerging market‘, yet as the high returns are estimated, the risks are also higher and there seems to be the risk ‘risk premiums are more greatly affected by political, economic, and financial factors‘ that is seemingly ignored to a larger extent. We see that part when we consider both “MSCI Frontier Market Index is the most widely used benchmark for equities. However, even this is highly concentrated in certain markets and sectors – financial stocks make up 46 per cent and the top three countries make up 53 per cent“, as well as “Argentina, which makes up around 22 per cent of the index, and Vietnam, 15 per cent“. So, now consider that the very same Christine Lagarde treats us to: “The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has agreed to increase a lending package with Argentina by 7.1 billion US dollars (£5.3 billion), seeking to calm markets over the country’s ability to meet its debt amid growing economic turmoil” a mere week ago. Do you still think that I was kidding or merely trying to kick the dead donkey? I am not stating that this is the fault of Argentina. I am speculating that too many parts of Wall Street are banking on the failure of others and it opposes the setting of returns on those seeking success, in this setting the pensions will lose, optionally they will lose every time without fail and the people are left with an empty bag not worth the price of that empty bag. Do you think that people will sit down and accept that? No, they will be beyond furious and the setting of Johan de Witt and Cornelis de Witt blamed and lynched in The Hague, the rioters were never prosecuted. So, there will be enough motivation on more than one level. It is something for the current European politicians to keep in mind, because this could happen again and the setting that the people face over the next 10 years is a lot worse than the ones that the population faced then. At that point, when this starts, I truly hope that those politicians will have the option of a quick getaway out of Europe, because they will not know safety ever again in that place.

So whilst we see the distancing of politicians on all fields whilst trying to drench themselves in non-accountability, whilst they will try the path of ‘It was a miscommunication and we were given the wrong advice‘, the people will no longer accept that as the evening news. They will want their pound of flesh and a bucket of blood and the regard of the value of politicians at that point will have been degraded to zero, and their ‘post life’ Facebook profile image might optionally look similar to the painting of the brothers De Witt as it was in 1672. You might think that it is mere speculation and it is, yet the trigger is not my speculation, it is the message of economic crises after economic crises as the governments are not acting against the banks and the exploiters that hide behind ‘too big to fail‘. The people all over Europe, if not on a global setting as they are mistreated to overly optimistic futures that cannot be met and have not been met for over a decade, you see, if that was actually true debts would have been receding, would they not? The only ones that did that harshly were the Germans and they are indeed in a much better place. It is the difference between being popular and doing what needs to be done and in that Angela Merkel was not about being popular, yet now those Germans are in a much better place than most other nations. It is something for you to consider as you notice your pension is gone and you want to take it out on someone.

so whilst we consider the final line in the Guardian, which was: “Without a rise in investment economies remain vulnerable to financial stress“, we need to consider that the setting is not merely about ‘investment economies‘, it is about the setting where large corporations come in and use that setting to ‘invest’ whilst draining away the gained momentum, so the economy that once was in that stage has been drained and those momentum profits are relocated to other places where ever those boards of directors are fuelling their personal wealth accounts, leaving those nations in a post investment era that is now merely regarded as a consumer fuelled economy whilst those people never gained the better economic standing to spend the money fuelling it further.

A setting where the equilibrium of economics fails as there was never a state of balance, merely a stage of relocating available wealth and the frontier markets are no help, they are merely an optional stage not unlike the CDO issues of 2008, in my view a way to avoid taxation and move whatever they could to a non-reporting nation. Or as one source stated: “the smarter operators no longer use filthy lucre but instead employ modern financial devices such as Interest Rate Swaps (IRS) and Total Return Swaps (TRS) to evade tax“, a setting where some take a 4% loss to avoid 26% taxation, it still wins them 22% and many had to live of a bonus a lot more shallow then that and from a base amount massively smaller than the one moved away.

One crises a day, I wonder what the bad news we will get treated to next week.

#HappyWorldAnimalDay

 

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Merely a week ago

It has been eight days since ‘A haircut before the guillotine‘, which can be found at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/08/21/a-haircut-before-the-guillotine/. The article dealt like the one ABC gave us all about Greece and I think that it is nice that they finally came to the same conclusions, it only took them a week. Yet, the part that I never looked at (before now) s the part that ABC is giving. It is the setting that Italy is the most likely next country to add the fuel of life after the Euro. When we are treated to: “The warning signs are gathering: Government borrowing stands at 130 per cent of GDP, and bond yields have been rising, a sign of low confidence by financial markets which will make it more difficult for Rome to raise money by selling long-term sovereign debt“, yet unlike Greece and other players, they really do not have that much of faith in that muzzle called the EU and the ECB. The less popular and growing situation is offered with “it is also filled with ministers who are deeply distrustful of European institutions and regularly raise the possibility of pulling Italy out of the EU“, something Greece should have considered. In the setting where the Italians can float their currency during the seasons and get a much better return, lowering debt slightly faster is an option, one that is currently being discussed in Rome. What is also a setting is that Italy now has an example on when things go pear shaped, an advantage that Greece did not have. After that, ABC, of better stated Anne Bagamery gives us “many European analysts draw a straight line from the rise of Euroscepticism and nationalism generally — trends that led directly to Britain’s vote to leave the European Union next year — to the Greek bailout and other, similar rescue plans that followed the 2008 world financial crisis“. That is likely to be true, but the element that she ignores is that Mario Draghi was also a factor. What is more and more seen as a reckless, wrecking action by a second jumpstart to the economy, one that is still failing, but now the European members are well over 2.5 trillion Euro deeper in debt, so how is that playing out?

I am still of the mind that Mario Draghi and his membership into the elite 30 bank clubs enabled them to deals and advantages that are ethically an issue, perhaps even legally so. Yet there is no intervention, no investigation and in the end, the interest on 2.5 trillion dollars will have to go somewhere, does it not?

Then we get two sides, the first one is one I agree with. With: “Ms Merkel, at the time the most powerful head of government on the continent, pushed the notion that forcing the kind of budgetary discipline that had worked in Germany was the best way to bring spendthrift countries into line. A fervent European, Ms Merkel also felt austerity was the best way to preserve both the EU and the euro” we see a harsh reality, but when you look at Germany, their debt is way down (compared to what it was) and as such a few billion euros each year gets to be spend on infrastructure and not on interest payments, so that is a clear sign. In opposition we see: “Pierre Moscovici, the European commissioner for economic affairs, acknowledged in an interview last year with the Italian daily Corriere della Sera that the handling of Greece’s bailout program was “a scandal in terms of democratic processes”“.

That might optionally be the case, but how far was the democratic path used to misrepresent the numbers, cooking the books and fraudulently give rise to economic levels that never existed? How many of those Greek cooks actually were prosecuted and ended in prison? Show me that list please Pierre Moscovici, can you?

Now we get to the BS of the part and it is seen in “Economists have now had plenty of time to evaluate whether the decision to impose austerity measures was the wisest course — and, for the most part, the verdict is negative”. Is that so? You see, I stated that in 2013 and several economists stated that I did not have an economy degree (which is true) and as such, I could never comprehend the ‘complexities’ of such macroeconomics. they optionally had a point, was it not that my version and my calculations using my fingers and an abacus gave a result that was merely a year away from their results and I published mine 5 years ago, so in all that, it seems that these economical ‘experts’ are seemingly more about the preservation of the gravy train that they are on and a lot less on finding the setting of resolution that they were supposed to have and now that Italy is on the iExit path (or was that ILeave?), we see that ‘the verdict is negative‘ part, I reckon merely 5 years late in light of the degrees they have.

Finally we need to stop at the setting we see regarding Portugal. With the quote “Joao Borges de Assuncao, a professor at the Catolica Lisbon School of Business and Economics and a former economic adviser to the Portuguese government, said recently that Portugal’s recovery only really started when it ended austerity measures and invested in job creation to keep growth alive“. I cannot completely agree, even if that was a partial correct setting for Portugal. A setting when we consider that Portugal has a population of 11.2 million, about the size of Sweden, a mere 25% of Spain. In addition, Portugal got lucky with their cork. It supplies 50% of the global needs and that gives them a huge niche market and until China starts growing their cork forests in a serious way, Portugal will have an advantage there. In addition Portugal has a similar advantage with tungsten and lithium, with lithium battery needs at an all-time high, and unlikely to slow down for now, we see that 75% is in South America, meaning that Portugal cannot rely on their amounts, but it still makes for a nice additional sandwich with what they offer. All elements that they have and plenty of other European players do not, so Portugal has a small advantage, which is why I oppose the view of Joao Borges de Assuncao, not because the view is wrong, but in the current available options, with a much smaller population there is a benefit for Portugal and that is why the investments required would have been significantly lower, whilst the ROI would have been much easier to achieve. What works for Portugal is not likely to work in Spain and Italy to the degree it needs to, not whilst the Italian population is 600% of Portugal. The sales amount of Maserati’s and Ducati’s needed to offset that difference is slightly more than realistically possible.

I expected for the longest time that there was a much larger issue within Europe, no matter how ideological the setting was, the setting of a push for big business to get the exploitative advantage over small companies was too visible and now we see those same companies giving the UK such hassle. I wonder when the UK economy picks up and those players are learning that they are missing out on 68 million consumers, I wonder what marketing scheme they will try to get back into favour with those they tried to strongarm initially. We merely have to look at the Galileo satellite navigation system, and the setting that we see now to learn that the easiest option is to merely block the Galileo from accessing that part, which the UK would be allowed to do. When we see the setting of people using their car abroad (UK in EU vs EU in UK) we see that this stage will hurt the EU a lot more, and even as we see the need for a UK satnav system, the UK one will come, 68 million people implies 30 million cars in the very least and plenty of people are relying on the satnav, so the ones who have that in good order will have access to those consumers, in addition, as we might overlook the entire ‘due to be launched in 2020 with civilian and military variants, and requires 24 satellites in orbit to be operational‘, for the UK 2-3 is all that is required, so a national market whilst those satellites would also be able to provide media and other options, will benefit the UK greatly, that whilst most people are ‘kept’ in the dark regarding both “The Galileo system went live in December last year, providing initial services with a weak signal, having taken 17 years at more than triple the original budget“, as well as “The main causes of the malfunctions have been identified and measures have been put in place to reduce the possibility of further malfunctions of the satellites already in space” commission spokeswoman Lucia Caudet said.

ESA found after an investigation that its rubidium clocks had a faulty component that could cause a short circuit, according to European sources”, so even at 300% of the original costs, they still weren’t able to properly test the systems and the faulty components are an excellent piece of evidence. The fact that the EU has the larger setting of budget overrides on several grounds and when we consider the fact that when infrastructures and facilities take well over 300% of initially projected costs, we see a failing on too large a scale and no proper penalty setting is in place and is unlikely to ever get there. The UK has had its massive bungles too, but even in the national setting it would never have been to the degree that we see here. In addition, when we are treated to the setting of a project that some state costed 30 billion, for 30 satellites, the most simple of all calculations (admitting that they might be way off) is telling me that the pricing is incorrect from the very beginning. We can agree to a quote that is up in the air in several sources. When we see “It is estimated that a single satellite launch can range in cost from a low of about $50 million to a high of about $400 million“, I am willing to believe that, yet, when we see the application of 30 satellites, we see the need of a much larger scope of electronics, verification and channels, all this implies that such a setting should require multiple safeguards, and let’s not forget that all this was merely about the launch, so the hundreds of engineers, designers, programmers and testers are also part of those costs, the electronics that were designed, developed and build will take even more resources, so here I am in a setting where the lowest estimate is close to 1.3 billion each, and I am willing to accept that I lack plenty of knowledge, so even as I expected the cost to be closer to 15 billion, the fact that my estimate was 50% higher and still 100% short of the actual costs gives us the setting that the entire Galileo project was wrongly priced, wrongly designed and in the end still flawed.

Galileo satellite navigation system has a few more issues, flaws and weaknesses. That part was shown 12 years ago (at http://news.cornell.edu/stories/2006/07/cornell-sleuths-crack-secret-codes-europes-galileo-satellite) where we are treated to ““We were told that cracking the encryption of creative content, like music or a movie, is illegal, but the encryption used by a navigation signal is fair game,” said Psiaki. The upshot: The Europeans cannot copyright basic data about the physical world, even if the data are coming from a satellite that they built“, so 12 years ago basic ‘protection’ was negated by students, so in the end, this extremely expensive project, just how secure is it, and once we learn that even as it is really really hard to hack it, what happens, when we see the system being readjusted through a hack causing time clock issues? When that happens and inter satellite group messaging is no longer reliable or valid, how long until that system crashes itself from within? It might not seem to be hackable, but the satellites rely on an uplink and a downlink, once the element is there to cause clear miscommunication from the source towards the satellite, forcing a sequence of reboots might be enough to take alignment of these satellites away from one another, and in the end, the mess that this will cost? I wonder just how much the makers did not perceive from a system that had a negated security system for the better part of 12 years. I wonder what happens when they get the option to ask each satellite for a verification protocol from each of the other satellites. Do that for an hour and how many users will be confronted with the setting when they drive home and the SAT navigator tells them: “This location does not exist“.

When we get to that part, I wonder who in the EU will be suddenly on sick leave and cut all ties from a project that has already been projected as more than 300% more expensive. When we dig into that part what else will we find?

That is merely one of many settings that was shown in a whole host of EU applicable operations and in all that Italy has their options too, whether the decide to leave the EU cannot be predicted to any near decency, but in that, when we see that the Italians are equally barred from Galileo, we will see another part where the EU will have to pay back at least two nations for their part, how will that end?

I will let you decide that, just make sure you know how to drive home and do not rely on your satnav to the degree you expected it to be useful, on how far the Italian High Speed rail from Berlin to Palermo is when the ties are announced to be cut, because that too will impact the EU in a much larger part then expected. In that regard, how many people would have ever needed the train to get to Palermo anyway, is that not an interesting question? When we are confronted with “The cost of EU infrastructure development needs in order to match the demand for transport has been estimated at over €1.5 trillion for the period 2010-2030” and we realise that Palermo has 1.2 million people, so it is a sizeable city, but let’s be honest, spending 1.5 trillion to get there, what was Europe thinking?

When we take the accounts and the pulse of such investments, whilst the ROI will never ever be achieved (not even close), how much more wasteful spending is this EU throwing on people and their additional taxation?

Remember, you must repay what they have been spending and they have been spending a lot with the additional costs of all these gravy trains, so how much out of pocket will you and those around you be for the rest of your life?

 

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It’s a kind of Euro

In Italy things are off the walls, now we see ‘New elections loom in Italy‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/27/italys-pm-designate-giuseppe-conte-fails-to-form-populist-government), where it again is about currency, this time it is Italy that as an issue with ‘country’s Eurozone future‘. In this the escalation is “the shock resignation of the country’s populist prime minister-in waiting, Giuseppe Conte, after Italy’s president refused to accept Conte’s controversial choice for finance minister“, there is a setting that is given, I have written about the folly of the EU, or better stated, the folly it became. I have been in favour of Brexit for a few reasons, yet here, in Italy the setting is not the same. “Sergio Mattarella, the Italian president who was installed by a previous pro-EU government, refused to accept the nomination for finance minister of Paolo Savona, an 81-year-old former industry minister who has called Italy’s entry into the euro a “historic mistake”“, now beside the fact that an 81 year old has no business getting elected into office for a number of reasons, the issue of anti-Euro Paolo Savona have been known for a long time. So as pro-EU Sergio Mattarella decides to refuse anyone who is anti-EU in office, we need to think critical. Is he allowed to do that? There is of course a situation where that could backfire, yet we all need to realise that Sergio Mattarella is an expert on parliamentary procedure, highly educated and highly intelligent with decades of government experience, so if he sets his mind to it, it will not happen. Basically he can delay anti-EU waves for 8 months until after the next presidential elections. If he is not re-elected, the game changes. The EU has 8 months to satisfy the hearts and minds of the Italian people, because at present those options do not look great. The fact that the populist choices are all steering towards non-EU settings is a nightmare for Brussels. They were able to calm the storm in France, but Italy was at the tail end of all the elections, we always knew that, I even pointed it out 2 years ago that this was an option. I did mention that it was an unlikely one; the escalating part is not merely the fact that this populist setting is anti-EU; it is actually much stronger anti Germany, which is a bigger issue. Whether there is an EU or not, the European nations need to find a way to work together. Having the 2 larger players in a group of 4 large players is not really a setting that works for Europe. Even if most people tend to set Italy in a stage of Pizza, Pasta and Piffle, Italy has shown to be a global player and a large one. It has its social issues and the bank and loan debts of Italy don’t help any, but Italy has had its moments throughout the ages and I feel certain that Italy is not done yet, so in that respect finding common ground with Italy is the better play to make.

In all this President Sergio Mattarella is not nearly done, we now know that Carlo Cottarelli is asked to set the stage to become the next Prime Minister for Italy. The Italian elections will not allow for an anti-EU government to proceed to leave the Euro, Sergio’s response was that: “he had rejected the candidate, 81-year-old Eurosceptic economist Paolo Savona, because he had threatened to pull Italy from the single currency “The uncertainty over our position has alarmed investors and savers both in Italy and abroad,” he said, adding: “Membership of the euro is a fundamental choice. If we want to discuss it, then we should do so in a serious fashion.”” (at http://news.trust.org//item/20180527234047-96z65/), so here we all are, the next one that wants to leave the Euro and now there is suddenly an upheaval, just like in France. Here the setting is different, because the Italian President is Pro-EU and he is doing what is legally allowed. We can go in many directions, but this was always going to be an unsettling situation. I knew that for 2 years, although at that stage Italy leaving the EU was really small at that stage. Europe has not been able to prosper its economy, it merely pumped 3 trillion euro into a situation that was never going to work and now that 750 million Europeans realise that they all need to pay 4,000 Euro just to stay where they are right now, that is angering more and more Europeans. the French were warned ahead, yet they decided to have faith in an investment banker above a member of Front Nationale, Italy was not waiting and is now in a stage of something close to civil unrest, which will not help anyone either. Yet the economic setting for Italy could take a much deeper dive and not in a good way. The bigger issue is not just that Carlo Cottarelli is a former International Monetary Fund director. It is that there are more and more issues shown that the dangers are rising, not stabilising or subsiding and that is where someone optionally told President Sergio Mattarella to stop this at all costs. Part of this was seen in April (at https://www.agoravox.fr/actualites/economie/article/a-quand-l-eclatement-de-la-203577). Now the article is in French, so there is that, but it comes down to: “Bridgewater, the largest hedge fund (investment fund – manages $ 160 billion of assets) of the world has put $ 22 billion against the euro area  : the positions down (“sellers”) of the fund prove it bet against many European (Airbus), German (Siemens, Deutsche Bank) French (Total, BNP Paribas) and Italian (Intesa Sanpaolo, Enel and Eni) companies, among others. The company is not known to tackle particular companies, but rather to bet on the health of the economy in general“. So there is a partial setting where the EU is now facing its own version that we saw in the cinema in 2015 with The Big Short. Now after we read the Intro, we need to see the real deal. It is seen with “Since 2011, € 4 billion has been injected into the euro zone (that is to say into commercial banks) by the European Central Bank (ECB), which represents more than a third of the region’s GDP. The majority of this currency is mainly in Germany and Luxembourg, which, you will agree, are not the most difficult of the area. More seriously, much of this liquidity has not financed the real economy through credit to individuals and businesses. Instead, the commercial banks have saved € 2,000bn of this fresh money on their account at the ECB until the end of 2017 (against € 300bn at the beginning of 2011) to “respect their liquidity ratio” (to have enough deposit in liquid currency crisis).As in the United States, quantitative easing allowed the central bank to bail out private banks by buying back their debts. In other words, the debts of the private sector are paid by the taxpayer without any return on investment. At the same time, François Villeroy de Galhau, governor of the Banque de France, called for less regulation and more bank mergers and acquisitions in the EU, using the US banking sector as a model.” Here we see in the article by Géopolitique Profonde that the setting of a dangerous situation is escalating, because we aren’t in it for a mere 4 billion, the Eurozone is in it for €3,000 billion. An amount that surpasses the economic value of several Euro block nations, which is almost impossible to keep with the UK moving away, if Italy does the same thing, the party ends right quick with no options and no way to keep the Euro stable or at its levels, it becomes a currency at a value that is merely half the value of the Yen, wiping out retirement funds, loan balances and credit scores overnight. The final part is seen with “The ECB also warns that the Eurozone risks squarely bursting into the next crisis if it is not strengthened. In other words, Member States have to reform their economies by then, create budget margins and integrate markets and services at the zone level to better absorb potential losses without using taxpayers. A fiscal instrument such as a euro zone budget controlled by a European finance minister, as defended by President Emmanuel Macron, would also help cope with a major economic shock that seems inevitable. Suffice to say that this is problematic given the lack of consensus on the subject and in particular a German reluctance. The European Central Bank has issued the idea late 2017, long planned by serious economists, to abolish the limit of € 100,000 guaranteed in case of rescue operation or bankruptcy bank (Facts & Document No. 443, 15/11 / 17-15 / 12/17 p.8 and 9)” (the original article has a lot more, so please read it!

It now also shows (read: implies) a second part not seen before, with ‘The European Central Bank has issued the idea late 2017, long planned by serious economists, to abolish the limit of € 100,000 guaranteed in case of rescue operation or bankruptcy bank‘, it implies that Emmanuel Macron must have been prepped on a much higher level and he did not merely come at the 11th hour, ‘the idea issued late 2017’ means that it was already in motion for consideration no later than 2016, so when Marine Le Pen was gaining and ended up as a finalist, the ECB must have really panicked, it implies that Emmanuel Macron was a contingency plan in case the entire mess went tits up and it basically did. Now they need to do it again under the eyes of scrutiny from anti-EU groups whilst Italy is in a mess that could double down on the dangers and risks that the EU is facing. That part is also a consideration when we see the quote by Hans-Werner Sinn who is currently the President of the Ifo Institute for Economic Research, gives us “I do not know if the euro will last in the long run, but its operating system is doomed“, yet that must give the EU people in Brussels the strength they need to actually fix their system (no, they won’t). The question becomes how far will the ECB go to keep the Eurozone ‘enabled’ whilst taking away the options from national political parties? that is the question that matters, because that is at play, even as Germany is now opposing reforms, mainly because Germany ended up in a good place after they enforced austerity when it would work and that worked, the Germans have Angela Merkel to thank for that, yet the other nations (like 24 of them), ignored all the signs and decided to listen to economic forecast people pretending to be native American Shamans, telling them that they can make it rain on command, a concept that did not really quite pan out did it? Now the reforms are pushed because there were stupid people ignoring the signs and not acting preventively when they could, now the Eurozone is willing to cater to two dozen demented economists, whilst pissing off the one economy that tighten the belt many years ago to avoid what is happening right now. You see, when the reform goes through Berlin gets confronted with a risk-sharing plan and ends up shouldering the largest proportion of such a machine, that mechanism will avoid the embarrassment of those two dozen Dumbo’s (aka: numnuts, or more academically stated ‘someone who regularly botches a job, event, or situation’), whilst those people are reselling their idea as ‘I have a way where you need not pay any taxes at all‘ to large corporations getting an annual 7 figure income for another 3-7 years. How is that acceptable or fair?

So we are about to see a different Euro, one losing value due to QE, due to Italian unrest and against banks that have pushed their margins in the way US banks have them, meaning that the next 2 years we will most likely see off the wall bonus levels for bankers surpassing those from Wall Street likely for the first time in history, at the end of that rainbow, those having money in Europe might not have that much left. I admit that this is pure speculation from my part, yet when you see the elements and the settings of the banks, how wrong do you think I will be in 2019-2020?

So when we go back to the Guardian article at the beginning and we take a look at two quotes, the first “As the European commission unveiled its economic advice to member states last week, the body’s finance commissioner, Pierre Moscovici, said he was hoping for “cooperation on the basis of dialogue, respect and mutual trust”“. I go with ‘What trust?‘ and in addition with ‘cooperation on the basis of dialogue merely implies that Pierre Moscovici is more likely not to answer question and bullshit his way around the issue‘ and as former French Minister of Economy he could do it, he saw Mark Zuckerberg get through a European meeting never answering any questions and he reckons he is at least as intelligent as Mark Zuckerberg. when we see “Cecilia Malmstöm, said “there are some things there that are worrying” about Italy’s incoming government“, she sees right, the current Italy is actually a lot less Euro minded than the setting was in 2016-2017, so there is a setting of decreased trust that was never properly dealt with, the EU commissions left that untended for too long and now they have an even larger issue to face. So that bright Svenska Flicka is seeing the issues rise on a nearly hourly basis and even as we see the play go nice for now, they will change. I think that in this Matteo Salvini played the game wrong, instead of altering an alternative for Paolo Savona and replace him after Sergio Mattarella is not re-elected, the game could have continued, now they are busting head to head where Matteo is nowhere near as experienced as Sergio is, so that is a fight he is unlikely to win, unless he drops Italy on a stage of civil unrest, which is not a good setting for either player.

We cannot tell what will happen next, but for the near future (June-September), it is unlikely to be a pretty setting, we will need to take another look at the Italian economic setting when the dust settles.

 

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Losing values towards insanity

Even as we see more and more anti NRA actions and other actions that are indeed positive geared towards making schools ‘safer’, there are now also people who are trying to cash in quick, school safety is an exploding business and some should be ashamed of that. Yet it is not about that, it is not about the schools. It is about the children. So tell me, how come that these 17 American children, are seen as more important as the 101,500 civilians killed in Syria. The total amount of civilians killed is close to 1/3rd of all casualties. In one week, we see 13 children and 10 women all killed. Not much noise there, is it? So when we see that the UN Security Council failed to agree after a second day of intensive talks on a proposed 30-day ceasefire across Syria to allow for emergency humanitarian deliveries and medical evacuations. How much as a failure should we regard ourselves? How we pat our backs by stopping Hertz discount to NRA members, not the people at the NRA, merely the members of the NRA. The utter ridicule that people are setting themselves up to be for hating people who like guns, for going after targets for the mere pleasure of ones ego, that whilst the UN is failing hundreds of thousands of people. So as we see “The talks at the UN headquarters in New York followed an appeal by French and German leaders to Vladimir Putin, asking for Russia to stop blocking the measure’s passage, pointing to the dire situation of the trapped civilian population in the rebel enclave of eastern Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus” (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/23/macron-merkel-urge-putin-back-ceasefire-syria-eastern-ghouta), the infuriating part is that I gave rise to this on October 17th 2016, so 16 months later after I wrote: “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” (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2016/10/17/a-new-disney/), so here I present the first piece of evidence that the United Nations is no longer a functional apparatus. Because the evidence as given by the UN themselves (at http://www.un.org/en/sections/un-charter/chapter-i/index.html), in its first article stating the purposes of the United Nations. Here we see in the first paragraph: “To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace“, I think that we can state for the record that the United Nations has failed the Syrian people in the most amazing way. that failure and the repeated stalling by one of its members (in both cases Russia) most people seem to merely turn a blind eye, look at the populist activities that will lead nowhere, merely harass and abuse people. Go after 5 million members who never fired their guns in any school or at any child. Think yourself clever and pat yourself on the backs because your non-actions will get another 50 children killed before the end of the month.

So as Al-Jazeera gave us ‘the meeting, however, has already been delayed multiple times as negotiations continue over the wording of the draft resolution‘ , we see that whilst people are trying to be clever about events more people will get killed. So yesterday (according to the AP) “Syrian government warplanes carried out a sixth day of airstrikes Friday in the rebel-held suburbs east of Damascus, killing 32 people, activists said, as the death toll from a week of bombardment soared over 400“, how many will it be today? The fact that according to several sources (Washington Post amongst them) we get: “the situation was complicated further by reports that Russian mercenaries had taken part in the attack and were among the dead“. You see, no one might cry about these mercenaries, but as they are basically not part of any army, they will kill first and consider asking questions later. More important, the mercenary firm Wagner, allegedly owned by Yevgeniy Prigozhin is reaching out in other directions too. He is linked to the Internet Research Agency (IRA) in St. Petersburg. He has been indicted (at https://www.justice.gov/file/1035477/download) for his part towards violating criminal laws with the intent to interfere “with U.S. elections and political processes“, according to the Justice Department. Some state (not too reliable sources) that they are now growing in making botnets, not to spread issues, but to collect data. So, even as he is connected, he is growing data, knowledge and opportunity on almost a daily basis.

How does that connect to Syria?

Apart from the money he makes on the mercenaries and their actions, he is now in a position where he can set the foundation to get access to all the Syrian national data on almost all levels, whilst having a comfortable place to start collecting data on everything on all the nations bordering Syria too. This is not some cake walk or just fun. When we consider the WP on this, we see: “Wagner first gained attention for its operations in 2014 in Ukraine, where mercenaries with the group — mostly military veterans and ultranationalists — were reported to be fighting alongside Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country. The group was believed to have been led by Dmitry Utkin, who until 2013 had served in Russia’s foreign military intelligence agency, the GRU“, do you think that billionaires, especially Russian ones are in it for the ego? No, he wants to grow, grow fast and in every direction. At least two other sources give us “A former lieutenant colonel and brigade commander of the Spetsnaz GRU detachment. The 700th Independent Spetsnaz Detachment of the 2nd Independent Brigade of Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate (Части и подразделения специального назначения (спецназ) Главного управления Генерального штаба Вооружённых сил Российской Федерации). These are not kids playing on the side of the road, these people tend to have very serious plans and when they are not connected to an official army they tend to get selfishly lucrative really fast.

That does matter, because professionals like that are not in it to kill civilians, yet they will kill whatever gets in their way or in the way of them completing their mission, so in this it matters what their mission is in all this.

There is a second part in all this and be aware that this is all pure speculation from my side. When we consider the Washington Post quote “Russian mercenaries had taken part in the attack and were among the dead — making it the deadliest U.S.-Russia clash since the Cold War“, so what if that is exactly what they want? What is a new cold war is their intent? As people are shouting and arranging all kinds of partially useless actions regarding 17 kids, in a nation that is basically beyond bankrupt, how much will it take to flame a new cold war, one where the US and NATO are on the roes due to lack of brainpower and resources. The technical advantage that the US and NATO had during the previous one is no longer there. You might remember stories of Russian men in ridiculous rain coats, having almost no knowledge of electronics. That time has passed and the US no longer has the options it used to have, whilst in addition they tied their own hands in several ways. At this point a cold war could end up being devastating to the west. In addition, when we are treated to both “The USS Michael Monsoor, the second and latest Zumwalt-class stealth destroyer, suffered an equipment failure that prevented the ship from conducting sea trials” as well as “It’s been more than a year since the Navy decided to cancel procurement of an expensive new ammunition for its Zumwalt-class destroyers, but the service is still pondering how to best replace the munition, a Navy official said Wednesday. In 2016, the Navy decided to stop buying the Long Range Land-Attack Projectile, or LRLAP, after discovering that its price had spiked to $800,000 per round. LRLAP was the only ammo developed specifically for the ship’s Advanced Gun System“. So not only are these ships dodgy (for now), they can’t afford the ammunition, it seems to me that (even though we know that the US navy is a lot larger) that we should see the developing issues as a worry. You see this all links back to Syria. Do you think that Russia is going to play ball when there is no need? A paper tiger is only scary for the time you do not know that it is merely a paper one. After that all bets are off and it is entirely possible that this is the gamble that resident Putin is currently making. If proven correct we will see all kinds of developments, not merely in Syria, but the Kurds will get more tank slamming by Turkey and the dangers of Iran v Saudi Arabia would become a likelihood too.

So back to Syria, as the WP gave us on Yevgeniy Prigozhin: ‘He now has a reputation as a man willing to do Russian President Vladimir Putin’s dirty work‘. I think that this is the cost of doing business. I think that there had been a clear plan in place, even as I do not agree with Alexey Khlebnikov, a political risk consultant and a Middle East expert at the Russian International Affairs Council. He calls this a “double-edged sword”. The risk is almost negligible for Russia, even as we see the quote “details have trickled out in embarrassing ways“, getting captured is not an embarrassment it is merely an inconvenience. It seems that Yevgeniy Prigozhin is the creative side, when you take a High value target like Dmitry Utkin you get something else, on his level a person does not get to walk away, there is a tactic in play and whilst we stare at certain parts we all forget that a man like that over 25 years has created its own network of people and skills. It could be that Wagner will grow faster because of opportunities, but in which direction? That is a part we can see when we realise that smiley face Dmitry is also CEO of Concord Management and Consulting. With these two gentleman owning 50% (actually more than that) into LLC Megaline, with Megaline receiving a large chunk of the capital construction contracts for the Russian military we see that link. When the dust settles, Assad will need to rebuild, and they will be the front player and possibly only consideration on a nation needing to be reconstructed. So now how weird are their actions? Both Yevgeniy Prigozhin and Dmitry Utkin are now perfectly placed to rake in billions and in that regard we get back to the options for the dying in Syria; they don’t get to have any. Whilst everyone is settling around clever text on how to word the phrase ‘cease-fire‘ in that timespan Damascus could be adequately be made devoid of life bringing the optional closure of the Syrian war with President Bashar Hafez al-Assad remaining in power. If only the US and NATO had actually acted in 2012, the picture might have been a lot different. Yet for now, up to yesterday 150 children, were killed in Ghouta, yes the loud actions on behalf of 17 school dead children from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland, Florida makes a lot of sense in a global perspective, especially as we see the shouting and actions that are partially senseless and baseless, all emotional outrage whilst none of them are on the failings of the ATF (not due to their own accord) and its legislation.

Just like Federica Mogherini, the EU foreign policy chief as well as the letter Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel sent to Putin on Friday said the continuing attacks on civilian populations represented “clear violations of international humanitarian law”, all actions that look nice when covered by the media, yet in the light of the U.N. Security Council delayed a vote on a resolution demanding a 30-day humanitarian cease-fire across Syria until Saturday in hopes of closing a gap over the timing for a halt to fighting, that whilst we hear that “after six hours of negotiations, Kuwait’s U.N. Ambassador Mansour Al-Otaiba, the current council president, told reporters Friday evening that members ‘are so close’ to agreement, and negotiations are continuing“, so there will be more killing and more bombing and more actions for at least 12 more hours. So how many children will die in the next 12 hours and how ridiculous does the man with the yellow card look with the text “NRA stop killing our kids”, an act they never did, an act they would never approve of or support, are you starting to comprehend the insanity of it all?

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A changing language

Europe is in several stages of unease; there is the spending of Mario Draghi, Brexit remains on the mind of many. Yet, the one change that is now more and more in the foreground of many is the problem that Turkey seems to be. There are those set on the stage to end Turkey as a NATO member and subsequent becoming part of the EU, there are things going forward and backward, but the language involved in all this is changing, so are the settings for the meetings yet to come. In all this the latest Turkish act to double down on the Russian S-400 purchases in 2020. There is, as I stated unease and as I see it the entire EU-Turkey mess is now a dance around unclear settings. Yet the settings are founded on what some would call, clear and blatant lies.

So to recap, on March 26th in the Bulgarian port city of Varna with the attendance of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, there will be a summit. The given setting is “to discuss EU-Turkey relations as well as regional and international issues“, this we got from the spokesperson for Donald Franciszek Tusk. The meeting held at the leaders’ level will be hosted as a working dinner, a statement signed by Tusk and Juncker said. Yet soon thereafter it begins. With: “Ankara has been stressing that the EU fails to understand the challenges that the county faces, and calls on all sides to take Turkey’s concerns into consideration, particularly against the PKK and the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), which carried out the failed July 15 coup attempt“, yet how is that true when it has been clear for the longest time “Turkey witnessed the bloodiest coup attempt in its political history on July 15th, 2016, when a section of the Turkish military launched a coordinated operation in several major cities to topple the government and unseat President Recep Tayyip Erdogan“, this is the quote from Aljazeera, but they were not the only one giving this.

The Turkish government blames the failed coup attempt on Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish preacher and businessman who has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999. So as we accept that the Gülen movement is classified as a terrorist organization by Turkey under the assigned names Gülenist Terror Organisation (Fethullahçı Terör Örgütü, FETÖ) or Parallel State Organisation (Paralel Devlet Yapılanması, PDY), we see the link offered, yet another path in this is “MIT officials admitted that they received the very first intelligence report about a possible attack on July 15, only hours before their own headquarters was under heavy artillery fire“, as well as “As of today, more than 100,000 people have been sacked or suspended and 50,000 arrested in an unprecedented crackdown. The government has deemed the crackdown necessary to ‘root out all coup supporters from the state apparatus’“. When we consider those parts, we need to realise that the Millî İstihbarat Teşkilatı (MİT) was completely out of any loop, which makes Turkish Intelligence not just a flawed setting, it would implicate that it has limited counter terrorism options and no resources to speak of (in intelligence terms).

In opposition to this, there would be enough data to offer that it was an internal issue from within the Turkish military and whatever opposes Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Turkey got a fat target painted on them. This fills and completes the view we need to have of Turkey much better. In support of this we need to consider that one exiled cleric could not have orchestrated the military support that would have been required and that was seen in action. The width of the Turkish military acting seems to be that of an internal star chamber than a clerical imprint on the military, the latter would have given more visibility to other ranking officers within the Turkish armed forces. As this becomes more and more visible and accepted, we are treated to the view on the unacceptable acts against the Kurds yet again, which followed the Turkish official view of the coup that they ‘survived’.

So in this light the setting for March will be one that is a puzzle. You see as Turkey keeps on playing this game, their credibility will only go down further. The European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) (at http://www.ecfr.eu/article/essay_eu_turkey_relations_the_beginning_of_the_end_7226) gives us: “Both Turkey and the EU need the continuation of this partnership. It is a matter of definition whether this partnership will be in the form of full membership or in a different form. What is important is not to break the process and not to cause alienation. The need for sustainable EU-Turkey relations obliges both sides to take steps to honour their commitment to integration“, we can accept that, but at this point, is continuation feasible? We see the shifting language that shows that Germany is less and less taken with Turkey, now siding more and more with France on the anti-Turkey alliance. It gets worse for Turkey as we now hear: “A Turkish court on Wednesday denied entry to the German ambassador to Ankara to the hearing of Selahattin Demirtas, the former co-leader of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP)“, which we get from http://www.dw.com/en/turkish-court-denies-german-ambassador-entry-to-kurdish-politicians-trial/a-42579957, even as France is trying to work with Turkey regarding a ‘diplomatic road map‘ on Syria, the sounds of accusation of Turkey violating international law was not far behind it, so there is pressures on nearly every level. Only 12 hours ago, Deutsche Welle gave us “Even NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg wouldn’t hazard a guess ahead of this week’s defense ministers’ meeting. He said Turkey needs to clarify the status of the contract” (at http://www.dw.com/en/turkish-russian-missile-deal-puts-nato-on-edge/a-42572965), as I said earlier, the language is changing. As we see ‘Turkey needs to clarify the status of the contract‘ that it is about cancelling the contract? Yet in that respect, what would Turkey demand in return? How much is that going to cost and where does that invoice end up? You see, when you consider Reuters with ‘U.S. tells NATO allies spending plans still falling short‘ (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-nato/u-s-tells-nato-allies-spending-plans-still-falling-short-idUSKCN1FY013), where we see “Spain has said it will not meet the 2024 target. Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Italy, Portugal, Norway and Denmark are also lagging. Hungary expects to meet the goal only by 2026“, as well as “France will increase its defense spending by more than a third between 2017 and 2025, but Germany, is not expected to reach the 2 percent target by 2024“, this gives us that the three large economic anchors of the European Union cannot get there. It is these elements that make me wonder on the changing language involving Turkey. From a setting that would have given a clear rejection of Turkey becoming an EU member, we see the setting of new talks, new events and more ‘collaboration’ projects. I think that France is already learning the hard way that this path leads to nowhere, but the others need Turkey to be a spender here, and Erdogan is using that tactic to his own advantage, because once they are in, you cannot throw them out anymore (the EU that is), not even willingly as the UK is learning the hard way. Even as we accept that to some extent Turkey helps to reduce an influx of Syrian and other migrants and refugees into the EU bloc, the question is to what extent and for which purpose, because once these refugees make it into Turkey, Turkey is either stuck with them or they must ‘divert’ them to another place.

In this, in an earlier blog I mentioned the Visa Free EU travel for Turkey and that they had not met the demands. So as we see “Last week, Turkey manifested determination to restart a new chapter in its ailing relationship with the European bloc by submitting a paper detailing Turkey’s roadmap for the fulfilment of the remaining seven benchmarks of 72 criteria” we need to get worried on the non-committed acts from the EU on the matter which had not been met. It seems like Brussels is trying to find any way to either delay it all or give Turkey a pass, which would be disastrous for several players. This is seen in several articles, in this case the Irish Times gives us: “Instead of formally ending EU membership talks, Dr Merkel said she would look at imposing “real restrictions on economic contact” including through the European Investment Bank, EU aid, World Bank and by blocking talks on expanding Turkey’s customs union agreement with the EU, a move that could hit billions of euro in potential Turkish exports“, whilst the EU themselves was ‘dismissive of call for end to Turkey accession talks‘, stating that this is for the heads of government, European Commission says, so the EU revels in inaction and restrictions in other ways. This is a dangerous and explosive combination.

So even as one issue was the contention in the counter terrorism benchmark which has been the definition of terrorism in the counter-terrorism law that Turkey was called repeatedly to amend in order to comply with European democratic and judicial standards. Now, according to reports, a legal provision will be added soon to the current anti-terror law stating that “any critical expression that does not exceed the boundaries of journalism does not constitute a crime“, how is that enough? As we see the Kurdish issues as shown earlier as well as a new complete failure by the Millî İstihbarat Teşkilatı (MİT) should leave anyone a clear indication that not only is the counter-terrorism failing, there is an increased worry that Turkey does not really comprehends the term ‘counter-terrorism’, in support of that fact, or evidence to that, you should talk to the journalists Deniz Yücel, Huseyin Akyol, Ragip Duran, Ayse Duzkan, and Huseyin Bektas. Oh no, you can’t they are in jail! Turkey could have had a genuine excuse, but they lost that option when they denied the German ambassador to Turkey access to the court proceedings. That alone should be regarded as evidence to dismiss the ascension of Turkey to the EU.

And whilst the entire language on Turkey seems to be in a fluid state, the Brexit noise goes on, whilst some are relying on fear-mongering with noise like: “You could have a permanent Operation Stack for 20 miles” regarding shipping between the UK and the EU, ‘could‘ being the operative word. So how large was that ‘stack’ in the 70’s and 80’s? In addition we see the Financial Times (at https://www.ft.com/content/0a8799c6-1190-11e8-940e-08320fc2a277) give us: “Brussels is urging EU leaders to consider radical options such as raiding corporate tax receipts and money raised from selling carbon emission permits to fill a €15bn a year budget hole left by Brexit“, in addition it gives us: “the need to find more money for priorities such as border control and joint defence, mean negotiations are likely to be even more poisonous than previous EU tussles over money“, whilst we see “Some member states don’t want to pay more but they want to do more. Other member states want to receive more“, these elements show the desperate state the EU is in now, that whilst Mario Draghi has printed almost 2 trillion Euro in money for ‘Quantative Easing‘. This relates directly to Turkey, because it shows the desperate EU trying to open a many doors as possible, this is how I see the impact of not dismissing Turkey as an EU member at present. So when we see “impose tougher conditions on access to EU funds as a way to force the likes of Poland and Hungary to comply with EU policies on the rule of law and on asylum” as is a given view on the two needing more money, wanting a stronger voice but cannot contribute. Add to that the earlier pressure from the US for NATO member to do more gives a shifted view of the needed activities within the EU, Turkey is seen as the one floating elements that will allow a few players to keep their heads above water, but it is as I personally see it a desperate act from certain short term viewers, that whilst they also know that it will descent EU elements into chaos. As I (again merely a personal view) see it, it would cripple Strasbourg in getting issues resolved and as Turkey fails to comply with humanitarian sides, it could in equal measure become the puppet for Russia for dislodge other item in consideration, an option honoured by perhaps negating some invoices for S-400 systems, spare parts, training and consultancy? It is merely speculative thinking, but would I be wrong? It would work out very well for Turkey, for the other bloc members a lot less so.

A danger that could have been resolved almost 2 years ago, I will let you ponder on the reasons why the EU never negated this danger.

 

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Insights or Assumptions?

Yesterday’s article in the Washington Post (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/global-opinions/wp/2018/01/22/the-rise-of-saudi-arabias-crown-prince-reveals-a-harsh-truth) is an interesting one. In this article Professor Bernard Haykel gives a view on the issues we are optionally likely to see in Saudi Arabia. I am not sure I can agree. You see, he might be the professor of the ‘Near Eastern Studies and the director of the Institute for Transregional Study of the Contemporary Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia’ at a prestigious place like Princeton, but my pupils tend to shape like question marks when someone’s title requires 13 words to be merely one part. We see in the article “depict him as power-hungry and corrupt, and cite these two impulses for his behavior and policies. When King Salman designated MBS as his heir in June 2017, MBS effectively became the most powerful man in the kingdom. And despite ill-advised purchases (including a yacht and a French chateau, which have cemented the impression of the crown prince’s greed)“, so how does that work? You see Prince Mohammed bin Salman is wealthy, his family is very wealthy, and as such is a yacht a splurge? It would depend on the price. Second there is the mention on a French Chateau. Well, I have taken a look and I fell in love with a house in France too, in Cognac (my favourite drink). The house (at http://www.rightmove.co.uk/overseas-property/property-58209296.html), has 7 bedrooms, is amazing in looks and in a nice village. The amount comes down to a little over a million dollars (money I obviously do not have), but consider that the same amount will only get you a decent 2 bedroom apartment in the outskirts of Sydney, within some suburbs and in the city, those prices will go up from 250%-1500%, depending on how outlandish your view needs to be, in a measly 2-3 bedroom apartment. So how does that make the Crown Prince greedy? Now his choice is a chateau 50 times that price and a family that owns billions can splurge a little. His place is west of Paris. And let’s face it, as some economies are going, having your money in something substantial is not the worst idea. His second splurge, linking him to greed and power hunger is a yacht. So how does that leap rhyme? I have no idea and I find the professors view slightly too speculative. Yet, the man is not done. He then gives us: “MBS is trying to deal with a harsh truth about Saudi Arabia: The kingdom is economically and politically unsustainable, and is headed toward a disaster“. There is a truth in that. As Saudi Arabia is dependent on oil, there will be a lull in their lives, as the need for oil exists, with prices going down, there is no real prospect of fixing it, but wait that is exactly what the crown prince is doing. He is setting forth his 2030 view, a growing move away from oil dependency, which is actually a really good thing to do. It does not make him greedy, merely a visionary that technological evolution is essential to the continuing future of Saudi Arabia. We then get two quotes that matter. The first I already gave light on with “a sclerotic state with limited administrative capacity and an economy that is largely reliant on declining oil revenues“, yet sclerotic? That means “losing the ability to adapt“, which is exactly what the crown prince is trying to achieve, adapt the nation to other options and new ways. The second is a lot harsher, but requires additional focus. With: “a venal elite comprised of thousands of royals and hangers-on who operate with impunity and are a huge drain on the economy. It is saddled with a bloated public sector which employs 70 percent of working Saudis, and its military is incapable of defending the homeland despite billions spent on armaments“, so we can argue on the wisdom of ‘employs 70 percent of working Saudis‘, I am not stating that it is true, but when we see Walmart in the US, who employs 1% of Americans pumping billions of profit into that one Walton family, we should wonder how wrong the Saudi actions are. So we might not see corporate greed like in the US, but is one method better than the other? I am not sure that this is the case. The other part I need to comment on is: “its military is incapable of defending the homeland“, what evidence is there (it is not in the article at all)? Let’s not forget that Iran has been a warmongering nation for DECADES! How many wars did Saudi Arabia get into? There was the Saudi -Yemeni war of 1934, The Gulf War, where Saudi Arabia was a member of the allied forces, the Saudi intervention in Yemen and the current upcoming conflict with Iran. So, regarding the inability to defend the homeland? Is that perhaps merely gesture towards the incoming missiles from Yemen? Well, we can bomb the bejezus out of Yemen, but it would imply thousands of civilian casualties as these people are hiding in the civilian masses. Something they learned from groups like Hamas and Hezbollah I would reckon, but that this is merely an assumption from my side. I found the restraint that Saudi Arabia has shown so far quite refreshing.

I am not stating that Saudi Arabia is holier than thou. Like any nation, it makes mistakes; it has views and a set infrastructure. It is moving at a pace that they want, not the pace Wall Street wants, which is equally refreshing.

The article gives us truths, but from a polarised setting as I see it. Yes, there is acknowledgement on the achievements too, in both the directions of the USA and Russia, and we can agree that just like 86% of all other nations (including the USA) that the economy is a weak point. So how is America dealing with a 20 trillion in debt? From my point of view, the USA has not done anything in that direction for over a decade. Instead of lowering the corporate tax to the degree it did, it could have left it 5% higher and let that part be reserved of paying of the debt and interest, oh right, the 5% will not even take care of the interest at present, so as such the USA is in a much worse place at present, which is not what the article is about, but we should take that into consideration, and the end of the article? With “Ultimately, MBS wants to base his family’s legitimacy on the economic transformation of the country and its prosperity. He is not a political liberal. Rather, he is an authoritarian, and one who sees his consolidation of power as a necessary condition for the changes he wants to make in Saudi Arabia“, is that true? The facts are likely true and when you employ 70% of a nation, economic transformations are the legitimacy of that nation. There is the one side Americans never understood. In the end, Saudi Arabia is a monarchy; their duty is the welfare of that nation. So it does not make him authoritarian (even as he might be seen as much), he is the upcoming new monarch of Saudi Arabia, a simple truth. Within any monarchy there is one voice, the King/Queen of that nation. So it is in theory consolidation of power, in actuality it is a monarch who wants all voices and looks to be towards an area of focus, what that is, the future will tell, but in the end, until the Iran-Saudi Arabia issue is solved, there will be plenty of space for chaos.

In this his path is clear and that is the part the professor did illuminate too. With: “MBS is trying to appeal to young Saudis, who form the majority of the population. His message is one of authoritarian nationalism, mixed with populism that seeks to displace a traditional Islamic hyper-conservatism — which the crown prince believes has choked the country and sapped its people of all dynamism and creativity“, it is his need to create a population that is nationalistic, that sees Saudi Arabia as a place of pride, which is not a bad thing. In a setting where the end of hyper-conservatism, as it can no longer reflect any nation in a global economy, is an essential path. He is merely conservative in not handing out all those large benefits and multi-billion dollar revenue in the hands of opportunists who are eager to take those billions over the border, out of Saudi Arabia at the drop of a hat, any hat. That will drag down the Arabian economy with absolute certainty. A dynamic and creative nation, especially fuelled by youth and enthusiasm could spell several wells of innovation and profit that could benefit Saudi Arabia. I think that the path from hyper-conservatism towards where it needs to be in 2023 is so far well played. He is not there yet, but the path is starting and that is in the end a good thing. The only thing that the US needs to fear now is that the creative and innovation path that Saudi Arabia is on, could spell long term problems for a nation that has been fixated on a iterative technology path where the US is no longer the front runner, they were surpassed by Asia some time ago, the US merely has Apple and Google. Oh no, they do not, because those are proclaimed global corporations. So where does that leave the US?

So as we see Bloomberg (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-22/imf-sees-global-growth-picking-up-as-u-s-tax-cuts-gain-traction) gives us ‘IMF Says Global Growth Picking Up as U.S. Tax Cuts Take Hold‘, which is a number I find overly optimistic, Global growth is set to 3.9%, yet the bad news cycle has not started yet, so I reckon that if the global economy ends at 2.45% it would not be a bad achievement. In that light I find the mention “The IMF also predicted that the tax plan will reduce U.S. growth after 2022, offsetting earlier gains, as some of the individual cuts expire and the U.S. tries to curb its budget deficit“. I believe that the US economy takes a hard hit no later than 2020 and the idea of ‘curb its budget deficit‘ is equally amusing, they have not been able to do that for 15 years and as there is at present every chance that President Trump is a one term president only, the Democrats are now likely to win by large margin and the entire budget curbing would be immediately off the table, because spending is the one thing the democrats have proven to be utter experts in, they merely leave the invoices for others to deal with, which is equally unhealthy for any economy.

And in that article we see exactly the fears that are mounting towards Saudi Arabia too. With “the IMF flagged protectionism, geopolitical tensions and extreme weather as risks to the global economy” we see a new frontal attack starting on protectionism. Mentions like “A reduction of Germany’s surplus would help reduce global imbalances” and it is not one source, hundreds of articles over the last 16 hours alone, all hammering the protectionism word in a bad light. It is now becoming all about trade protectionism, even under the terms of Brexit, we saw on how people were stating that it was a disadvantage, the single market falls away and as such the UK cannot benefit. Now that Brexit is still pushing forward, the IMF is changing their tune and it is now on protectionism and trade protectionism. Another way to state that tariffs and import fees are now a problem, it is the final straw in giving large corporation the push for benefit they need and many are in the States (IBM, Microsoft, 3M and so on), they would benefit and even as I mention Brexit, it also affects Saudi Arabia. As we saw last July: “Being a WTO member, Saudi Arabia is expected to bind its tariffs on over three-fourths of U.S. exports of industrial goods at an average rate of 3.2 percent, while tariffs on over 90 percent of agricultural products will be set at 15 percent or lower“, so the IMF is not merely voicing the fear of the US, it is equally scared that the stimulus backlash is about to his impeding presented global growth, the protectionism and trade protectionism are set to plead for open doors, I wonder if that also means that patent protectionism would have to end. I doubt that because pharmacy is what keeps the US afloat in more than one way, and is not a subject that is allowed to be tinkered in.

So were these insights or speculations?

I believe both the professor and myself were doing both, I admit to that upfront, whilst the professor set it in a text that is acceptable yet should have been raising a few more questions that the Washington Post is bargaining for. We can argue that this is a good thing, but it is my personal belief that even as it was a good and insightful article, in the end all the mention of power hungry and corrupt, in the end he showed no real evidence that this was a move of a power hungry person, especially as the person in question (Prince Mohammed bin Salman) is set to be the future king of Saudi Arabia, the crown prince is at the tip of the pyramid, so he needs not be power hungry. That can only be shown if he starts expansion wars with his neighbours. In addition no evidence is shown of corruption, I do not state that this is not the case, but if you accuse a person of being corrupt it would be nice to add actual evidence of that, which is merely my point of view.

In the end, through insight and speculation, I hope that you got some insights of that and feel free to google ‘IMF protectionism‘ and see how many articles were added in the last week alone. It is clear that Davos is about removing limitations, not actually growing a true economy. Which implies from my point of view is that Davos is about big business and what they need, not what the people desperately require. Consider that when you read about the ‘World Economic Forum Annual Meeting’ and when you see who is present. My mind wonders on how many informal meetings there will be and how Theresa May is likely to get hammered on Brexit issues as Emmanuel Macron, Jean-Claude Juncker, Angela Merkel and perhaps even Donald Trump unite against Brexit. It is an assumption from my side, but at the end of the week, will I be proven wrong?

 

 

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Despite the missing facts


The UK is in all kinds of shambles, some could have been prevented, some remains unclear and some are just due to the whims of media. So when I saw ‘Britain is leaving the EU – just as Europe is on the up‘ I decided to take a look, because it is ‘on the up‘ that is an issue. Former editor of Le Monde (high quality French newspaper) Natalie Nougayrède gives her views (at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/18/brexit-europe-eu-golden-decade-merkel-macron) with illustration and all. Yes, it is the image that shows how far away the UK is. Of course the article starts with Helmut Kohl, there is nothing like the death of a politician to milk the issue as much as you can. Yet it is the quote “Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron are, as Britain prepares to leave, readying their ambitions and vision for the continent“. Is that so? Leave it to a former investment banker to shed his skin like a serpent on the change of any wind. Didn’t he promise certain hard changes? We can tell you now that this is a change he did not keep, which is not that much of a surprise. You see, the people who would not give him the light of day are now talking the talk he comprehends. Credit Agricole Group, BNP Paribas, Society Generale, Natixis. Yes ,as president of France these people will now call on him, woe him and explain on the need of the gravy train. Yes, Emmanuel Macron will definitely show a few more changes before the year is out. It is the next quote that should scare the French and not by a little bit. with “The thinking goes like this: in the next two to three years, as France carries out structural economic reforms to boost its credibility, Germany will step up much-needed European financial solidarity and investment mechanisms, and embrace a new role on foreign policy, security and defence.” With ‘boost its credibility‘ can be pushed in deeper debt. So as France is currently well over 2.2 trillion euro in debt, that debt could be even greater, which is good for the earlier mentioned banks, but for the freedom of the French people it is not that great a move. and why do we see: ‘embrace a new role on security and defence‘? France has a clear need to embrace more security and safety for France and the French, yet the need of adaptation of a new role implies a consolidated European army which is not just counterproductive, it could spell a dangerous waste of trillions of euro’s all over Europe. The biggest issue is however “Europe’s economic situation has improved. Unemployment in the Eurozone is at its lowest since 2009 (but still at 9.5%). Growth has returned. Mario Draghi, the head of the European Central Bank, speaks of “a solid and broad recovery”“, which is an issue on more than one front. First by his own view, Mario Draghi gives us: “inflation in the currency area sank to 1.4 per cent, which is below the bank’s target, although Mr Draghi said “deflation risks have definitely gone away”“, which is part of the story, the Swedish Nyhetsbanken gives us: ““The ECB is essentially in a holding pattern”, said Patrick O’Donnell, a fund manager with Aberdeen Asset Management in London“, which also giving us the goods with: “We expect the European Central Bank to announce in September, when new forecasts will be available, that tapering will begin in January as deflation risks have vanished“. This is all nice, yet it is all linked to Mario Draghi increasing the debt to Europe by 60 billion Euro’s every month, the total should increase the total debt by close to 2 trillion Euro over the two waves of ‘easing’, so when you see ‘economic situation has improved’, the question is for who did the situation improve? The European quality of life is far below what it was in 2008 for roughly 99.999456% of the people of Europe.

Interesting how Natalie Nougayrède skates around that part and with the German-France union. So, should we see this as perhaps a Union of the Somme, or perhaps the Merger of Artois? We can agree that ‘Europe’ would like to continue without the UK and they would want to steer in a direction that gives them the best options. Yet the clarity of denial, that claims are made whilst none of the governments in the EU can keep a decent budget, whilst they are all in deficit and France in truly deep debt. Whilst Greece is still bleeding all over the place, and on top of that Mario Draghi is printing 60,000,000,000 euro’s every month with no value against it. In all this we see more denial of events. So when I see the quote “But in recent discussions with European experts and officials, I heard the following comment: “A golden decade may be dawning for Europe.” A new narrative is in the air“, a golden dawn for whom? The banks, the exploiters? I would like to see the names of those officials and politicians. I am certain that those names will remain absent. It will be from people who are already wealthy beyond normal and this gravy train is fuelling their golden future day after day, whilst the serious reality is that for those retiring in the next 20 years, they will not have anything left, they are more than not in danger of having to work until their dying day.

So as we see the end of the article with “After a decade of crisis, Europe may now be pulling out of it. More British awareness of this might help avert bad choices.“, yes there are plenty aware of what is presented, yet as nobody seems to be able to muzzle Mario Draghi, as he keeps on pushing Europe into deeper debt whilst the offset is not seen in the presentation ‘Europe’s economic situation has improved‘, many people are getting more and more weary of the issue ‘what else are we being kept in the dark about?‘ This is important because the mistrust is actually growing. The media seems to be all about aiding those who advertise, giving rise to more misinformation. Yet the clear article that shows the whole picture is missing. Even here, in my blog the article is incomplete (and I actually admit to that), because the issue has grown beyond the mere image we can see. We can go to the art-house and watch the painting, but the wood behind the painting, what keeps up the image is not shown, so as the painting is geared again and again with more wood, with more nails and with more support, the people do not see that the painting is gaining weight more and more. The cost of that reinforcement is hidden from view whilst the image it supports remains the same, losing value day after day. Whilst a work of art increases in value, the paining is merely the view from our own window, the value resides with the person looking at it. So look out of your window, it does not matter which window, now consider that the actual value of the view lowers by 0.1% every day, how long until you feel that the house you own does not offer the view you paid for? Now consider that your house has a view valued at £0, what will you lose when you try to sell it? In France houses fell in value to 25% according to some. So as your house lost that, it means that you must keep on living there, which is of course not necessarily a bad thing when you have a nice house in Cognac, yet what happens when the place is in need of repairs, with a full mortgage whilst the value decreased 25%. Can you still repair your place? That is the danger we are in as retirement approaches for millions. The part that Natalie Nougayrède ignores as she probably has a really nice place, perhaps more than one. For tens of thousands of French, living in Cognac (16100) is a dream hat will never become a reality. That whilst the debt of France only increases, and that whilst the European non elected players are increasing the total EU debt whilst maximising the national debts of its members. It is only the board members of the banks that have reasons to smile. That is France and the UK is in a place that is not dissimilar. As people in the UK are pushed towards an anger over a building on fire, as they are outraged over what happens in Finsbury Park. You see, this all matters as it is the first true extremist action from a non-Muslim to a Muslim in London. The air is definitely changing, but not for the better and Europe could be a cauldron of extreme violence from several sides. So as we see and revisit “A European Defence fund is now being discussed, notably for joint procurement efforts” as well as “embrace a new role on foreign policy, security and defence” we need to ask, with what money? As I read it, it seems that some politicians are spending certain funds three times over, implying that debt will rise three times faster. Or perhaps it will be taken out of the national defence budgets? That should go over well when the national defence equipment breaks down whilst pushing the funds into some virtual non military defence setting. It should make any nation more secure! (read: sarcasm in action). Oh as for those needed security upgrades like from Palantir and whatever Raytheon IIS seems to be cooking up at present. So where are these billion dollar plus events getting funding from? So we might think that there is an upbeat to Europe, which would be nice, how good is that view when you contemplate the missing elements and those are just the ones I mention. I am not the European gatekeeper, so there are several issues on both sides of the isle I have not even considered myself.

In the end, I feel that the people of Europe will get a very ruse awakening in January 2018 when the total ludicrous spending by Mario Draghi is set in its complete lighting. At that point will you still feel happy? So as you consider that, consider the reason I mentioned Greece earlier. When we read: “ECB needs ‘more clarity’ on debt relief to buy Greek bonds” (source: Reuters). So as the ECB is buying the Greek debt, or perhaps better stated, invest into Greece and its inability to push the economy in a positive forward momentum. Is this a good or a really really bad investment? Don’t get me wrong, I am happy to aid the Greeks to get some relief, but as the Greek government let the culprits of the debt fiasco walk free with their millions, why should non-Greeks pay for that? So when you see “The European Central Bank needs more clarity on what kind of debt relief Greece will get from its international creditors if it is to buy Greek government bonds as part of its monetary stimulus program“. What stimulus? How will the Greek economy get any level of incentive whilst the creditors are still due billions? How misguided is the action (in light of the proclaimed reason)? And of course the IMF will get involved meaning that Wall Street will start giving out ‘advice’ soon thereafter. These steps are just beyond acceptable as the laws of prosecution against the transgressors are stopped and made toothless. So as Europe ‘embraces‘ wave after wave of additional debt, do you still think that the European economy is on the up, or was not listening to the UK a really bad idea? For France it is now too late. As Emmanuel Macron embraces the limelight with Angela Merkel the French will soon see that even as Marine Le Pen was never a given good, at least she was intent of getting France away from the Financial Vultures. Whomever thought that Marine Le Pen was an unacceptable idea, might feel to be on the political moral high ground, yet when their house depletes their value, those persons will not be allowed to complain. They set up the dropped value and accepted the terms of dissolving their value. In this I could have been incorrect only when the ECB did not decide to push quantative easing into play at sixty billion per month. And that is only if clear economic upturn could be proven, yet that too is not the case, it only seems that way when taking the QE out of the balance book. At best the European economy is merely stable at 0%, which means that it is going down by 60 billion a month (plus interest). An element I only mention at the very end because that part is not a clear given and even at 0.1% that requirement grows by 60 million per month, an amount that could have clearly solved a few European issues, and as that also grown by the same amount every month, what other solutions will need to get scrapped?

It is possible that I too missed a few facts, yet did I miss any on the positive side of it all? So at best me missing elements will show the situation to be worse, far worse.

So happy Monday to you and if you feel like hanging yourself, www.cheaprope.co.uk will have what you need, just not want you want.

 

 

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