Tag Archives: Angela Merkel

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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United Stupid

Update: This story is two days old. I was unable to post it yesterday, so it reads a little out of time.

We have all been there, we were in a position to state ‘I know something’, and there it was, the person speaking would suddenly get additional attention, because that person ‘was in the know’. This happens ever so often and for the most it tends to be just embarrassing for those exposed. We all tend to react to it differently. Yet what happens when that idiot has a high security clearance and works in the White House? Give me one situation when exposing the options of an allied intelligence operation benefits in any way when you spill the bacon whilst you don’t have actual skin in the game? The question at that point becomes, why was that person so utterly stupid? Whatever British Intelligence had in mind, their options went to zero when some retarded White House official decided to give out the name. There is of course a local upbeat. The US has been trying to bend over backwards to get their fingers on Julian Assange. It is not unlikely that the ‘cooperation’ in that regard could stop. Let’s face it, the US screws over the UK, yet still insists on having a person extradited who on the literal interpretation had not committed a crime. I still don’t like the dude, and what he did was stupid and irresponsible beyond belief, but when we look at the letter of the law, he broke none. So as one stupid act cancels another, the White House basically cut its own fingers. There is of course the outspoken and very publicised former US Navy Admiral Robert Gilbeau, who has been what some call: ‘a naughty boy’, my issue is with the dozen or so pending cases. Yes, the US would not like the visibility of certain construction companies to be out in the open because they are at a critical stage to close certain large deals that would surpass the 2011 bipartisan budget agreement by a lot. Yet here I state that the people have a right to know with what kind of firm they are (or rather would be) getting in bed with (that is apart from the prostitutes they might provide). You see, it is more than merely the overcharging by Glenn Defence Marine Asia. It is also the third parties that they introduce and we are entitled to know, are we not? So as the US is now going all out on what they have, we should ask the right people at GCHQ and DGSE on what they have in certain respect. I see it not as a tit for tat, but as a stern warning to those ‘blabbing’ and releasing photos allegedly from the alleged White House source, that there are consequences to this level of bungling.

You see, as we are now getting drowned on the issues of Salman Abedi, the fence is pretty much gone. Those who had links have either destroyed any evidence that could have been optionally found, burner phones all gone and even as some evidence remains it will be circumstantial at best. The other option is that those linked have faded into the background, not to be found. So as people start reading ‘What we know about him’, the reader better realises is that this is what he wanted people to see (for the most), some limelight seekers will come into the forefront to get their 15 minutes with a nice cash bonus and whilst most people will not care on what is and what is fake, the people who are trying to keep the others safe are now doing it will their hands tied, their options melted away, because someone blabbed. We can also ponder whether this was done so that the people would not look too closely to the US Budget as it was released. In that piece of work, we see that being poor in America will leave them with even less. The military get more and far beyond what the 2011 bipartisan budget agreement allowed for, so there is that to look ‘forward’ to, so whatever deficit reduction was in mind, or on the mindful pretty much goes out the window, in that side, with the ‘benefits for large businesses’, there is every chance that the USA would add 2-3 trillion to the debt within 15 months. Which is now also a driver for Europe as we see Macron and Merkel in ‘renewed’ Europe and Euro efforts (leave that to the president investment banker in the house). So are these elements linked? No, they are not (as far as I can tell)! The issue is on how certain things were released and the fact that it was an ‘unnamed source in the White House’ gives light to other issues, which we see in the guardian (athttps://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/may/23/trump-administration-manchester-bomber-name-leak). The quote: “Perry Cammack, a fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, added: “I don’t think in and of itself this episode will do lasting harm; I sense this was a miscommunication. But the context is that we’re in the midst of a political crisis in Washington of the first order. The institutions are leaking at an unprecedented rate. It feels like things are under stress here.”“. You see, I agree for the most, yet there is one side I do not agree with is ‘things are under stress here‘, I think that the current administration has ‘accepted’ a collection of amateurs to get into the professional mix, which is not some version of ‘miscommunication’, but rather a collection of ‘tools‘ at best and at worst a group of individuals the house or representatives would not consider hiring under the most liberal of conditions.

As I see it there are two dangers. The first is that fictive evidence will come to the surface, carefully inclined voices on what they thought they heard, especially in light of the fact that ISIS claimed the attack, which is a possibility and not a given. It gives them the option to make a cloud of additional claims driving security levels to even higher setting. The second side is that as the actual intelligence gets muddier, the approach to quality intelligence becomes harder and it will be more of a challenge to keep places secure and to get a handle on who is an actual threat, who is the wannabe and who is utterly innocent. This is a complication in any Lone Wolf issue, yet as there is a path of intelligence flow, there is a decent chance on separating the wannabe’s from the innocents. That path becomes less clear, so as the people who need to get this done are focussing on the wrong groups, the actual threats have a less threatened path for a longer time. Just because someone wanted ‘friends in the media’ to know that they were ‘in the know’. It is that utterly United Stupid!

Yet in all this there is a second level of issues. This level would have happened no matter what. It now influences other timings, but it would have happened. We see this in another Guardian article (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/may/23/manchester-attack-police-investigate-katie-hopkins-final-solution-tweet). People like Katie Hopkins, were never imbued with any quality level of intelligence, so when she called for a ‘final solution‘ she got reported to the police. Now, in her favour…. actually, I’ve got nothing, she is that dumb! You see, we can say for certain the the attack on Martin Place (Australia) a few years ago was done by a person with mental health issues. The attack in Paris on the cartoonist was clearly a terrorist. Yet what was Salman Abedi?

The attack should be seen as a terrorist attack, yet does that make this an attack by a terrorist? I am not stating that it is not, but consider, what happens if the attacker has clear mental health issues? It does not make the transgressor innocent, it merely makes it more important to find the people who got him to do this, they are without any doubt terrorists. You see, he was accepted into University, which gives us that the man was intelligent. Yet was he intelligent enough to make a suicide bomb? The Manchester Arena might not have bomb sniffers, but does it have metal detectors? Was there security at the entrance? It does not make the security guilty, it merely gives voice that the making of the bomb and the evasion of detection gives rise to intent. So, what if he did not make the bomb, what if it was handed to him? Again, it does not make Salman Abedi innocent, it merely gives voice that there is a support system in place making these events happen. There is a collection of intelligence, now possibly lost to British Intelligence as someone in the White House allowed this news to get out prematurely, and that makes it a much larger failure than some of the media is making it out to be.

As the information gets more and more blurred, the quality of knowledge diminishes. At present we cannot tell, because not enough is known for now, and later on, the media will obscure the clarity of vision, so that part is still there to deal with. A suicide bomber is not by definition a clear terrorist (although the act is). We know that Al-Qaida and ISIS will use whatever tool they can find and someone that can be easily impressed is a tool. The given fact that he was a University drop out, could be that he was under stress and could not hack it on that level. Such a person, depending on when he dropped out will have PTSD and depression to deal with. If you drop out on something like that, you would be depressed too, we all would. So as that news goes around, it just takes one person even from within the mosque to send the message pointing at him, for a wave of ‘reassurances that the world does not accept you‘ to come his way. Many of us all contributed to that with accepting anti-Muslim waves. Whether intentional or not, that was the outcome. So as the Intelligence Branch will have more issues trying to decipher who got to Salman Abedi, Salman Abedi ended up getting to 22 people and wounding 59 others. A media mess that would have been here no matter what. If there is one upside to it all then that would be “A Sun journalist was allegedly attacked while knocking on doors in Manchester to speak to families of those affected by the bombing“, as we have seen on the useless effect that IPSO has on the decency of the press, it is heart warming to learn that slapping such a person silly might still work. It is not a ‘final solution’ to the intrusive press, but it might be a start for them to stop and ponder their actions, before doing something this thoughtless.

So as the news cycles continue, we see another event happening. We see that there is more sadness as we wave goodbye to the suavest Bond of all. Sir Roger Moore passed away. He was my First Bond (Live and Let Die, 1973). Later I would see him in the Persuaders on a rerun. We would all admire his presence in several other movies too. I watch him as a kid in Ivanhoe, but not when it originally aired. You see, this impacts me a lot more than the events in Manchester. Not because of the severity, but because of the personal connection to the movies and TV series I watched. It will not mean anything to those directly affected by the events in Manchester, they will be in deep grief and so they should. For me there is a second realisation, it is the fact that Roger Moore had given joy to millions on the big screen, yet his visibility in the UK press seems to be a mere drop compared to all the speculations they are giving on Salman Abedi, is that not sad too? I get it, what is news? Yet, as I see certain news ‘unfold’ I remember my day at Dulles Airport 18th July 1999, Fox and others were all about the plane with Kennedy junior that crashed, which would be a sad day for many Americans. My issue is that for two hours in the department lounge I got to see a camera pointed at a sailor on a boat as the reporters were hoping to catch a first glimpse live on TV. I heard rambling and speculations, nothing more. It was like the other news that the world had, was paused. ISIS knows this and pushing this form of media is actually enabling ISIS. Would it not be a lot better to show the world what amazing feats Sir Roger Moore had done? How a collection of novels by Leslie Charteris published between 1928 and 1963 became the inspiration of a TV series done more than once, but largely identified with Sir Roger Moore as Simon Templar. He played James bond for the longest times playing the role many times. That is news that should matter, and to a lot it should matter more than the events at the Manchester Arena, that is unless you know someone there. We all need to realise that it is important to take the wind out of the ISIS sails as much as we can, it will not be possible to get that completely under control, because the events have taken place, but we could try to minimize the events by not being like US network news stations and point the camera at a sailor on the back of a boat, hoping to get the shot the instance it happens. that is equally United Stupid (as I personally see it) and that is seems to be a much larger global problem. For those not directly involved hearing it a little later is not the end of the world and so far all the latest revelations regarding Salman Abedi seems to be based on debatable sources, giving less value to what we read. A small fact that could just be my faulty view on the things that are currently being reported on.

Update: After this was written, there was additional news that the investigating parties were looking into an entire terrorist ‘network’. That news came more than a day after I had finished this.

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See Other Side

I am just looking at an article of last Saturday, and I have to be fair, I really liked Pamela Duncan and Cath Levett’s article (at https://www.theguardian.com/politics/datablog/2017/may/20/general-election-2017-manifesto-word-count-in-data), now there will be a whole host of issues we could go into, yet the article is a nice read. Weirdly enough it is the part of the Lib Dems that stands out a little in a positive way. You see, in this age, they are the ones having a high usage of the word ‘support’. That does not mean that it is a good way (or a bad way), the fact that neither Labour or Conservatives have that word in their top 5 is an equal issue to make. Labour is all about ensure and we saw how that went over. the idea that they are using ‘ensure’ whilst they are about to push the UK well over a third of a trillion deeper in debt is a massive issue. The Tories are using it down the line as well, so in what way are the words used? You do not have to wonder or think of it too deep. Reading the manifesto is a first and I had loads of issues with the Labour one, the way it was made (secretive) the way they shouted when it leaked and the way they so easily want to make ‘promises’ whilst having no finds to do so. The UK will need at least another decade to get over their previous spending spree and the least said about bungling the NHS IT issues the better. It is interesting that UKIP was taken out of the consideration at all. That is because now in the age of Brexit, their next steps are actually interesting and required knowledge. It is the follow up of the party that advocated Brexit that is an essential. Do not think for one minute that the article does not matter, you see, the Facebook article (at https://www.theguardian.com/news/2017/may/21/revealed-facebook-internal-rulebook-sex-terrorism-violence), shows that in a lot more detail. Facebook is no longer a mere facilitator. With the ‘Revealed: Facebook’s internal rulebook on sex, terrorism and violence‘ article on moderation, we see that there is a shift from moderation to opportunity creation. The quote “Yet these blueprints may also alarm free speech advocates concerned about Facebook’s de facto role as the world’s largest censor. Both sides are likely to demand greater transparency” is in the limelight here. The article gives us generic terms to illustrate, yet in a setting where the secondary lines are all about swaying, how does text and text analytics have any consideration of validity to censor or impede? In this the article skates near it in a sentence of life ending regarding President Trump. The reality is “they are not regarded as credible threats” is the jewel that cannot be ascertained by algorithms, for the mere reason that content is created, it tends to be a shifting wave not set in stone, making algorithms pretty useless. It is also why Google is focussing on AI, as with that, the ability to dimensionally set content becomes a close reality. In this another realisation is coming to light. The article gives us “Some photos of non-sexual physical abuse and bullying of children do not have to be deleted or “actioned” unless there is a sadistic or celebratory element“, consider that this gives the setting that bullying is to be condoned. One source stated: “The statistics on bullying and suicide are alarming: Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, resulting in about 4,400 deaths per year, according to the CDC. For every suicide among young people, there are at least 100 suicide attempts“, whilst Facebook is stating that it is not intervening in bullying. We can argue that there is the freedom of speech, yet the bulk of such bullying is done through fake accounts. Facebook is at present ‘reviewing more than 6.5m reports a week relating to potentially fake accounts – known as FNRP (fake, not real person)‘. That is a potential 350 million accounts a year, that is a little short of 17% of all Facebook accounts. We cannot fault Facebook here completely, as the quote “Facebook cannot keep control of its content,” said one source. “It has grown too big, too quickly.“, the ‘too quick‘ and ‘too big‘ have sunk large corporations before. It is the realisation of content that is at play. Another quote that matters, links to a May 1st article on dangerous content. The quote “the biggest and richest social media companies are shamefully far from taking sufficient action to tackle illegal or dangerous content, to implement proper community standards or to keep their users safe“. Which is pretty much the quote of Yvette Cooper, Labour MP. Yet in all this we ask how? Either the world becomes a censoring police state, or it allows as much freedom of speech and freedom of expression possible. Facebook and Google both have issues in this. By trying to facilitate they set up a situation that those not allowed to speak do so in almost extreme fashion. We know and were ‘sullied’ by political players regarding content. And in this ‘sullied’ is pretty much the way they set it. You see, the quote “Referring to Google’s failure to prevent paid advertising from reputable companies appearing next to YouTube videos posted by extremists“, which seems to be the correct description in a pig’s eye. the statement is true, yet the actual truth is that Google designed a online facilitation of advertisement allowing small businesses to gain proper and granulated visibility of what they offer to the interested audience at less than 10% of what printed media demands. Give me one example where that will not be exploited? And when it comes to explosive situations, lets remember Alfred Nobel who found a way to make working for tunnel diggers relatively safe. It was these crying governments who thought of using dynamite against people during acts of war was a good idea, so please Yvette Cooper, go cry me a river somewhere else, and please feel free to flush yourself like you are a cast member of Trainspotting; please please pretty please. In this Germany is not without fault either. The quote “In Germany, the report points out, the justice ministry has proposed imposing financial penalties of up to €50m on social media companies that are slow to remove illegal content“, Illegal where, and what is ‘slow to remove‘? All pointless statements in a proposition that is laughable. We can all agree that ‘illegal‘ content is to be removed, yet I think the Germans need to consider their high chair when we consider the issues regarding the CDU before Angela Merkel was in charge, the days of Christian Wulff has a few issues whilst he resigned and subsequently got acquitted in 2014. The press and government hid behind ‘since it was not clear who had paid for these holidays‘ should be an issue as there is a debatable consideration that they did not pay for it, you see for the bulk of all of us, when we go on holidays it tends to be a real dip in our daily cost of living. That might not be for everyone, yet when we see clarity of who did pay, there is a lot more going on. The entire Google matter gives rise to political games in favour of printed media who feels massively threatened, whilst Google has NEVER EVER been unclear of how their AdWords system worked and how you could maximise YOUR visibility. So when the part of ‘YOUR visibility‘ is a not so nice organisation, in a system that facilitates for millions, the damage could happen. It is a lot more complex than merely paying for a vacation using your bank card or credit card. Here, we now have content!

In this light, when we consider the elements and we go back to the first article “the parties will “ensure” that in “government” they will “work” to do “new” things that “support” you, the “people”.” it is a clear political message that can fit any of the three parties and that is what the writers set out to do. Yet what are the new things? Where are the funds coming from? How will it better your life? That is where the content is. Labour pushes you in even further debt, the Tories are trying to go one way, whilst you lose as little as possible, and that whilst trying to deal with large issues like the NHS and the debt. The Lib Dems want to be supportive of you as they have lost way too much to actually achieve anything. The manifestos are trying to sway you in the way they can and ways that are allowed. In this social media is the unspoken gun that will spray consequences on the choices of opponents and whilst they would like to guide you towards their base of choice, the censors are seeing a shift in methodology. In all this we see non political parties trying to play a similar game whilst ‘enticing’ you to ‘their’ places of ‘combat’, which in extremist views are actually ‘theatres of war’. In all this we see shifts as governments on a global scale (USA and Indonesia) are now on the verge of having to deal with people who return from Syria in a radicalised state. America in this has even more problems as Syrian and Iranian ties are getting stronger. This implies the dangers for America as this pool of radicalised people is an optional source for VEJA to see what damage they could to to America and more important, whether they could give pressure to Indonesia giving American Allies (read: Australia) more headaches that they are comfortable with at present. So where is that content? You see, as you might have seen in the past and in the media, content is created, it is created by setting a stage and let data be data, making the watcher nervous, or reactive, in social media is an absolute first to create large waves. The problem with censorship is that you create waves, whether you censor or not, by trying to create the waves in your favour you are also fuelling the opposition who could hurt you if intentional censorship is exposed. In this the attempt to ‘save’ the Trans Pacific Partnership is a clear monument of evidence how political players are there to ‘cater’ to big business whilst misrepresenting it as ‘labour rights and environmental protections‘ that whilst too many media outlets have already reported on how consumers will basically lose rights. So as we see that we keep an optional job, whilst having no say on where we spend our money and having no options to the amount we have to pay to get better, can you explain to me how that is a good thing for anyone else than big business? In this we now get back to Google. Yes of course they are in it for the money (to some extent), yet they have shifted the bar of technology 5 times in the last 7 years, whilst Microsoft has merely pushed the same bar forwards three times and making us pay for those new iterations. Does Google have issues? Of course it has, when you push out something as revolutionary as Google AdWords, things will happen and flaws will be found. You show me a windows version that got the bulk of basic parts correct after 29 iterations and you will be on the shortlist for receiving a Nobel price (they gave one to Barack Obama after all).

We all create content and whilst we saw on how the number of words might persuade us on how well any political manifesto was, we know that content was not given, mere curiosity (read: and it is still a nice article to read). We can agree that speech, whether elective or hate based is to address a group that will listen to them. in this there are points of technology (read: facilitation), yet in UK law there is an explicit defence for facilitation, as there is in almost every Common Law nation. In this we can clearly argue that there are issues to solve, nobody denies that, not even the technology firms. Yet do you want to live in a Microsoft world where it is merely iterative result of non fixed software that works, yet has issues and we get to pay for these flaws again or again, or are we willing to see Google solutions evolve where we have been introduced to new options, and amazing new boundaries as we moved from 3G, 4G and now towards 5G, with smartphone issues that Apple could not give in the last 4 versions of their iPhone. I got introduced to more invigorating options in 12 months of Google than I saw Microsoft show us in 15 years and that is whilst the Media remains very uninformative on non-consensual upload of data by Microsoft, that too is content!

In finality, consider the quote “Facebook also told MPs that it is is reviewing how it handles violent videos and other objectionable material after a video of a murder in the United States remained on its service for more than two hours“, whilst we need to consider the 2014 event of ‘Video of ISIS beheading U.S. journalist James Foley‘, the issue the CNN brought forward was: “The question is why taking it down is controversial at all. The answer, I think, shows how important services like Twitter have become, and how this has thrust unexpected responsibilities onto them“, it took years in court to deal with the Christian Wulff case as some would state it in a very unsatisfied way, whilst there is the raising of hell in light of certain videos? We can agree that some should not have gotten through, yet that is when we are in the emotional stage of not realising the size of technology involved. We should like the 2008 Facebook sex tape case conviction towards the poster of the video. Yet the political players know that this is a game that they cannot win, so it is easier to go after Facebook and Google, that whilst they rely on businesses to use these solutions to turn a few pennies, all knowing perfectly well that it is a cloud of facilitation. Is it merely because being linked to a large firm getting kicked is sexier that actually solving issues like age discrimination or giving suspended sentences on intentional fraud. When we are set in such an environment, can we trust anyone? We are all dealing with concepts of ‘facilitation’, ‘censoring’, and ‘technology’, at times on a daily basis. We all need to consider what is on the other side of that piece of paper, because when we consider that on page two of that news is an advertisement mentioning bogus scientific results? How criminal is the paper? and how will you take down printed advertisement? The elements here matter, because it introduces a term that has bearing, one that politicians have used for decades. In this they ‘hide’ behind the term “wilful blindness“, to remain ignorant intentionally of a situation is an issue, an issue that Yvette Cooper has been demonstrating in the response as given by the media. In equal measure can we accuse Microsoft of the same thing? The fact that some bugs that were seen in Office 95 and are still an issue in Office 2007, does that matter? That’s well over 12 years!

We ourselves also create content by not looking at the other side, which during the upcoming election is a bit of an issue, because, as I personally see it, Europe is in a new level of turmoil, one that it has not seen for several decades. It is also a larger issue as most nations have borrowed away the reserves they had. The safety netting is gone, which makes proper and complete information a lot more important than the previous 4 elections.

So lets not forget to see the other side, because when we are told: ‘look here’ the actual action that harms us is over there on the other side, in that it is my personal view, that in that regard all politicians are alike, and not one party has ever been ignorant of using that tactic.

In this business will go vastly beyond politics, because as the 5G waves start hitting us all, it will be about creating content, in this we will all look at the other side of the page and wonder about the validity, not because we want to, but because we have to. We will no longer have a choice in the matter.

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