Tag Archives: Argentina

One economy crises a day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#HappyWorldAnimalDay

 

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Round two

Yesterday was a day when I thought it was essential to speak out against the language used in the NY Times. It was part of a larger whole that will be shown to all over time (as I am missing three pieces of evidence). Yet the oil issue was in the centre of it all and so it remains. Now, I had done my homework (for the most), yet there was one element I overlooked and it is an important one. Reuters was awake and gave us (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-oil-opec-saudi-trump/can-saudi-arabia-pump-much-more-oil-idUSKBN1JR1HI) the part I forgot about. “the kingdom, OPEC’s biggest member, can barely raise output by 1 million bpd to 11 million bpd and even that would be difficult, according to industry analysts who forecast a further oil price rally due to a lack of new supply“, yes we forgot about the engine that drives it all. It has been increasing production again and again, yet at some point; the system that drives the production of crude reaches its maximum and that is where the teller of barrels is now hitting a little issue. I like (yet optionally disagree) with Gary Ross, head of global oil analytics at S&P Global. With “While Saudi Arabia has the capacity in theory, it takes time and money to bring these barrels online, possibly up to 1 year“, we see a ‘stabilising’ comment, but based on what, knowledge of the parts that are driving the crude oil machine forward? Perhaps that is true, yet if that is the case the one year setting is off. Other elements require adjustment, but the one year (yes he did add ‘up to’) implies that engines and perhaps pipes require adjustment, meaning that the system is set to increase beyond the 100% marker might be more dangerous. Pressure can be a bitching issue and the mere fact that even in suburbia water mains still go out (mine went kablooie yesterday evening) implies that there is a setting where pressures do not align. Now with water it is a nuisance, so my evening of pasta went straight out of the window. With crude oil it is another matter entirely. There the blown gasket can optionally make a mess to the environment and more important, it could optionally force Saudi Arabia to turn the dial down to 60%-80% until that mess is fixed. When that happens they go into a freefall where one plugging evokes another part to burst emotionally, that is where the problem starts and that is an important side in all this.

It is not the only part; CNBC gave us (at https://www.cnbc.com/2018/06/30/oil-deal-may-stir-the-pot-in-the-middle-east-and-test-saudi-capacity.html) a few other parts. Even as we might be able to ignore “Iran and Venezuela are both reeling economically, with Tehran feeling the bite of new sanctions“, especially as Iran has a set clientele. Yet the given part of “President Donald Trump surprised the world on Saturday by announcing a new side agreement with the Saudis to compensate for supply shortages from crisis-hit producers“. I found the setting of ‘compensate for supply shortages from crisis-hit producers‘. It is interesting for two reasons. The first is that the US had no application for Iranian oil in the first place and the second is that Venezuela had all kinds of issues; I personally believe that the low price of oil is reasons for some of it. Yet when we take a step back we get three pieces. The first in 2017 when we saw the Business Insider treat us to “Falling output at refineries means that Venezuela needs to import more gasoline, squeezing the national budget even further. Refineries are currently working at less than 30 percent of average 2016 levels. State-run oil company PDVSA is importing between 100 and 150 thousand barrels per day of gasoline”, so why are the refineries down to 30%? In addition, that is the refinery issue, the setting is not the petrochemical part it is merely the availability of crude oil that was the issue. The second was March 2018 where Reuters gave us “Indian imports of oil from Venezuela have fallen to their lowest levels in over half a decade, shipping and industry data showed, as a severe economic and political crisis hits crude output in the South American OPEC member“, so that is a production need, which beckons why India has decided to import less, are there suddenly 275 million cars less? No there are not, just try to blindly cross Saket Metro Station in New Delhi and you will get hit by two dozen cars within a minute, so that part is not happening. Forbes had its own version of the issue in 2017 and even as it sounds acceptable, I belief that there is a larger issue in play. You see We might look at the Financial Times and see ‘A Venezuelan oil embargo would wipe out Maduro & Co‘, yet the setting is larger than that. Consider Chili, Brazil and Argentine, all needing petrochemical products, the fact that refineries have issues is one thing, the fact that there is a shortage of crude oil and that cannot be met is equally an issue, so why is that?

I have no answers, mere speculations, yet whenever I searched for the Venezuelan reserves and beyond the Argentinian president Mauricio Macri advocating of ‘there would be ‘broad support’ across the region for a full oil embargo‘, I see no evidence of shortage (out in the open). All these actions on Venezuela, forcing them into even more hardship, how has that ever led to anything positive?

Yet the story is the crude, would an arm-twisting scenario to send 30% of the crude oil price into a fund that is only to be used for humanitarian and local support. Would that not work? It seems better than an embargo kicking things over. The additional news that China is importing less from that source is making things worse and no resolution will be coming forward making things better. The other party Iran is a given, yet they still export to a few nations.

Oil price dot come is giving numbers that clearly imply that over a year oil production has fallen by close to 50%, with the implied forecast that the International Energy Agency (IEA) states regarding the Venezuelan oil production which could drop to just 800,000 bpd or even lower next year. it seems that most actions against Venezuela is a little too harsh, now nobody is implying that they are saints, yet we can all agree that they are not Iran. In 2017 it was all about censorship (or anti hatred laws as the Venezuelan government puts it). Yet, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Al Jazeera (at https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2017/04/venezuela-happening-170412114045595.html) gave us a more in depth part. So when I see some of the issues, with items like ‘Health assistance’, ‘Food shortages’ as well as ‘Hyperinflation’, where a deal could be made that 30% of the sale goes into 10% sprockets addressing these three settings, it could be an optional solution to negotiate. It seems to me that an embargo is often the least of all working solutions, even as it enables the US to get basement prices on a million barrels a day, apart from the setting that they have more immediate problems and removing Venezuela form the equation pushes the other pressures more. Even if it means that the Maduro administration would have to swallow its pride, there might be a path to a long term solution that they were part of, at present they have nothing to look forward to but an angry mob of people left with nothing. It should not allow the US to discuss the price of eggs, yet the Maduro government will realise that the price of fish came at a premium and it is not derived from merely sweat and tears.

This setting is important, because when we look back at the Saudi situation with its 10 million barrels a day, when the pressure goes wrong and the US suddenly loses access to two to four million barrels a day. when that happens and that danger is not unrealistic, do you really think that the American economy is ready for a 25% price hike? Do you think that there will be mere frowns? That danger is not merely a speculation. the danger was shown last week when we saw reports on “The shutdown of Syncrude’s oilsands facility last week could lead to a shortage of oil in North America, investment bank Goldman Sachs has warned“, the source was the Huffington Post (at https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2018/06/26/syncrude-outage-oil-shortage-north-america_a_23468490/), in addition we got “Syncrude’s facility has a capacity of 350,000 barrels of oil per day, but it shut down production on Friday after a transformer blew, the Globe and Mail reported. The company says production could be offline for all of July“, so there was the given part I left for last, merely a ‘transformer’ and without Optimus Oil rolling out the juice, no crude for a month. So do you really want to play a game of Russian Turbines with the Saudi oil setting and pushing the need from them to deep into the red zone of engineering safety? With that given, what are the dangers when the push goes south in a very realistic way when the downfall will be 90-150 days? Do you still think that finding some dialogue with Venezuela is not an optional much better solution? I would tell you the story of the silly politician and that person relying one basket for all his eggs (and his demoted belief that they were golden ones), your parents might have told you the story when you were young. So when Goldman Sachs gives us: “shrink stockpiles at the main U.S. storage hub at Cushing, Oklahoma, putting upward pressure on oil prices“, they are telling you no fibs, what they neglect to mention is that the danger is a lot more realistic then most predict and the impact could end up being an increase in price that is not pennies, but several dollars. to emphasize that, you merely need to consider May 2008 when the crude price went to $148 a barrel, twice the price it is now. You still ready to play that game of chicken with oil producing hardware, because in the end you will always lose that game. These devices adhere to the cold calculations of pressures and power and in the end the Wall Street motto of ‘120% of norm is merely our version of a Monday morning wakeup call‘ will backfire to all those who relied on affordable fuel.

 

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Life in USA less healthy now

You might not have thought it, but did you realise that your life, if you are in the USA is as per direct a lot less healthy? Did you know you are now intentionally endangering your health? You did not, then read on and learn how you have thrown your healthy life away. In the LA Times (at http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-broadband-privacy-senate-20170323-story.html), we see ‘Senate votes to kill privacy rules meant to protect people’s sensitive data from their Internet providers‘, you might wonder how this is a danger to your life, but it is, and it will hurt your pocket too no less. The first part is “overturn tough new privacy rules for Internet service providers, employing a rarely used procedure to invalidate restrictions that cable and wireless companies strongly opposed“, now this is not the FBI or the CIA spying on you, this is the option for internet providers to sell your actions and your privacy driven information to whomever wants to buy it.

One quote from Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) was “The FCC privacy rules are just another example of burdensome rules that hurt more than they help”. Now, this is not just something that started now, to his credit, he has ALWAYS been on the commercial bandwagon, some of that goes back years where he questioned the White House on the way the FCC’s set-top box proposal came down and what role the White House had in that, and other, FCC decisions. He is clearly a man of less governmental oversight and that is his right. The issue becomes when TV and internet usage is sold to health care providers and on the consequence of what those people call the ‘weighted classification of couch potato‘, in that with the rise of health care premiums. This actually goes further than merely health care. The fact that app use and geographic data becomes available is equally a concern. There is a secondary situation, Companies can now go via consultancy firms and avoid issues with that pesky Employment discrimination law. You see, “the elimination of artificial, arbitrary, and unnecessary barriers to employment” can now be circumvented. People who are too often on Boston South Side, East LA, or the SF Mission district, the use of Geo data would allow for a percentage analyses of this GeoData, giving some people who had hit on hard times even less able to fight for a decent future. And let me be clear, any ISP denying that will be lying to you. The data will be part of something else, like where were you when a certain app was used, which might seem nice, but if they check all apps than that picture gets to be pretty complete.

The reality goes further than this. Even as you read this, MIT is making great strides (at http://bpp.mit.edu/offline-data-collection/). Yet when you read: “Daily price indices, monthly, and annual inflation rates for Argentina and the US. Monthly data with annual inflation rates for Argentina, Brazil, China, Germany, Japan, South Africa, UK, US, 3 US sectors, and global aggregates (including Eurozone). Daily PPP series for Argentina and Australia. The data were used in the paper titled “The Billion Prices Project: Using Online Data for Measurement and Research” – Journal of Economic Perspectives, 31(1) (Spring 2016)“, a serious question comes to mind. You see, once you have this data, you can go into collaboration phases, after which you could raise minimum prices on hundreds of articles. It might be cents, but that raises your monthly costs in dollars, whilst the maker now gets millions in addition. So, yes everybody loves big data, yet will it love you? You get the impression from “Daily prices for all goods sold by 7 large retailers in Latin America and the US: 2 in Argentina, 1 in Brazil, 1 in Chile, 1 in Colombia, 1 in Venezuela, and 4 in the US. Used in the paper titled “Scraped Data and Sticky Prices”“, you just wonder if it is such a weird concept. Now, from an academic point of view, it is an amazingly interesting project. So was Dynamite, which Alfred Nobel learned the hard way, had a few optional uses which he never considered. Data is in that regard a whole lot more dangerous.

The biggest joke in all this is not President Trump, it is actually the FCC puppet Ajit Pai, who was appointed by President Obama in May 2012, he stated that the rules threatened to confuse consumers as they were different to those imposed on web firms such as Google and Facebook. You see, as I see it Ajit Varadaraj Pai is stupid, but he is not stupid, you hearing me? Let me explain this. When a person looks at an advertisement, or seeks something like ‘Gaming Chairs’ at PC Case Gear. That person looks and decided not to buy, the person is just browsing. Now, as this person looks for other things or browses the internet and visits websites. This person gets to a site that uses advertisement spaces. Now for example, Google AdWords will show things that interest you, or things from places you visited. So, even as this person is just going to any place that has advertisement spaces, Google AdWords would possibly show that person ‘Gaming Chairs’ that PC Case Gear had on sale, and Facebook will do exactly the same. In all this, that persons actions and seeks would have remained private, the advertiser does not have my details. They will get general aggregated data, like the gender and the age of the visitor (age is set in an age range). At no time does the advertiser have my complete details. This is why it actually works, now that the ISP can sell my specific data, the issue changes. My details will now get out to third parties and their lack of any ethics (not that the ISP has any mind you) will now endanger us. Ajit Pai knows all this! And he is very happy to facilitate the need for greed, even if it endangers lives, because at some point in the near future it actually will. The health care data need will take care of that, meaning that when your child could not get healthcare, because his browser data indicated an unhealthy life, when he needs that Bypass and the healthcare provider got a little too needy, just remember the name Ajit Pai for the tombstone of your child. Let me explain this a little more clearly. The NCSL (National Conference of State Legislatures) gives us “Yet for those buying insurance on an exchange or private market plan for 2017, the average increase before subsidies was a shocking 25 percent” When we consider that the annual premium for an average family was up to $18,142 (I know, what a weird number), 25% is $4535.50, That is $378 a month, when was the last time you got a raise that allowed for such payments?, let me be frank, with 3 university degrees, I have NEVER received an annual increase that much, so as such, you lose either your healthcare or you lose your quality of life. What will you choose? So as junior is data mined as a little larger risk, your premium takes a hit and as you had to let go of healthcare, your child dies, with the compliments of Ajit Varadaraj Pai, so please send him a ‘thank you’ note, the FCC can be found in Washington DC.

You think I am exaggerating? This is the path the US was always on, exploitation to the max before the collapse. USA Today gives us “Sears and Kmart might not have enough money to stock their shelves” merely 3 days ago, it can no longer fuel its existence, that whilst its CEO grew his fortune by $1 billion last year alone. Forbes voiced it as: ‘Sears Suffers — Eddie Lampert Wins‘, now this is related, as places like Sears and Kmart will be vying for YOUR details, your browser history and your privacy and once they have your data, they will merge it and sell it via for example an Australian subsidiary to whomever will buy it, China for example. That is how your data will bounce around the planet, decreasing you and the value you have with every transfer deal made.

As I stated often in the past, I love big data, yet I know that there is an increased need for ethics on how it is collected, applied and moulded into a new base of information. The USA has shown that it is not able to keep any level of ethics in play, which sucks for Americans and it in equal measure sucks for anyone considering trusting an American company, that is, until the Europeans and others get on board on cashing in on data for sale. Consider one last thing, now, this is pure speculation and there is no evidence that this would happen, yet what happens when ISIS figures out what the parameters of a desperate person are? What happens when they mine this data to see who to approach for extremist actions? There is no way this could happen, could it?

 

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The cost of free trade

There is a side in me that is a little beyond angry. When I see these politicians whine like little bitches on how good ‘Free Trade‘ is, on how it is so good for all. I wonder if they remember the days when slavery was an actual solution for commerce. How these people look and praise Chiwetel Ejiofor (aka Baron Mordo) for playing a slave in ‘12 years a slave’. When we see “Mexico, Japan, Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore aim to continue with TPP with or without the United States, Mexico’s economy minister, Ildefonso Guajardo, said on Friday” (Source: SBS), we need to wonder on how the TPP is seen as anything but evil, a mere apparatus of convenience for large corporations to keep a stranglehold on those around them and to minimise the number of opportunities for smaller businesses.

The Evidence?

The Economic Policy Institute gives us: “This paper does not include an exhaustive review but cites as an example Capaldo, Izurieta, and Sundaram (2016), who noted that studies claiming that the TPP would have a positive impact on the U.S. and global economy are based on unrealistic assumptions, including no change in the U.S. trade balance with the TPP countries and full employment“, which is only the top of the iceberg. You see, in addition we have “Currency manipulation is the most important cause of the large and growing U.S. goods trade deficit with the group of countries in the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Coupled with the fact that the United States is the largest and most reliable trading partner for many of the TPP countries, this is a recipe for U.S. pain at others’ gain“. This is not the USA, it would also hit Australia in other ways, not the people who secretly arranged all that they get top dollar in a few other ways. Yet, before we move on, let’s take one more part, because that will have connecting issues. The quote “Many members of the proposed TPP, including Malaysia, Singapore, and Japan, are known currency manipulators. Others, namely Vietnam, appear to be following the lead of currency manipulators by, for example, acquiring excess foreign exchange reserves to depress the value of their currency. Currency manipulation explains a substantial share of the large, persistent U.S. trade deficit with the 11 other TPP countries that has not only cost millions of U.S. jobs but also increased income inequality and put downward pressure on American wages“, and although this paper focuses on US consequences, it will in addition have a speculative negative impact on Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

The Dutch Financial Times (at https://fd.nl/economie-politiek/1176922/tpp-opzegging-holt-voorbeeldfunctievs-uit) gives us: “Donald Trump heeft de wereld deze week een belangrijke boodschap gegeven. Door te stellen dat hij de Verenigde Staten op de eerste dag van zijn presidentschap terug zal trekken uit het Pacifische vrijhandelsverdrag TPP, geeft hij het signaal af dat hij de relaties met andere landen puur vanuit de blik van een zakenman zal zien. Hij wil bilateraal met landen gaan onderhandelen ‘over eerlijke handelsafspraken die ertoe leiden dat banen en industrieën terugkeren naar Amerika’. Internationale relaties moeten voordelig zijn; anders hoeft het niet“, which paraphrased gives us: “Donald Trump will be withdrawing from the TPP on day one of his presidency. He will be looking at relationships with other countries from a business point of view, international relations need to be advantageous, or need not be“. Is that a bad thing? You see for exploiters it is, which gives us the Malayan Times (at http://www.themalaymailonline.com/what-you-think/article/tpp-aint-over-till-its-over-firdaos-rosli). Last week they had the headline ‘TPP ain’t over till it’s over‘, the article is a decent legal view of getting the TPP ratified, which only gives additional cause for concern in a few ways, yet that is not the issue for now. The one quote at the end that matters is “The government must proceed with its top-down reforms agenda and these are direly required to make Malaysia great again” This is fair enough on one side, Malayans are there to make Malaysia strong, there is no cause more just, yet in what ways are they doing this?

This is where the other side gets to show us the dangers. You see the headline ‘Malaysia workers speak of their despair: ‘Samsung only knows how to take’‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/nov/21/malaysia-workers-speak-of-their-despair-samsung-only-knows-how-to-take), shows that large corporations are at the heart of the problem. Tax shelters, exploitation and what cannot be seen as anything else than intentional slavery are at the heart of the matter. The Samsung Port Klang factory as mentioned shows how Samsung is growing its business by massively reducing costs whilst maximising customer exploitation at almost the same time.

When we see “In total, Bhandari says he paid £750 to secure his job in Malaysia – more than the average annual salary in his home district” as well as “There are an estimated 2.1 million documented migrant workers like Bhandari in Malaysia, many of them hired through third-party labour supply companies who recruit foreign workers from Nepal, Indonesia, India and Bangladesh to drive Malaysia’s industrial boom“. Implying that Samsung has no HR to speak of, it is arranged through third party affairs that are buttering their bread on both sides of the isle with a labour population in slavery. So when we rethink the Malayan Times with ‘TPP ain’t over till it’s over‘, we get that they (those making the profits) need the TPP, because slaves tend to be free (read: really cheap) and too many people seem to be filling their pockets in a few ways. So when you see “Now he’s in Malaysia, Bhandari’s recruitment debt – and the 60% interest loan he took to pay it – has a stranglehold on the teenager“, you know that this is how slavery is created and how it is maintained. Not through shackles that bind you, but debts that stop you from moving and breathing. I reckon that the old southern ‘solution’ was a lot more humane. At least you knew that there was slavery, now the boat load of governments remain in denial and the large corporations can claim to remain negligently unaware. Which of the two is the larger hypocrite remains to be seen. The fact that Australia signed this, whilst they had to be aware that this was happening to some degree is an issue on many fronts, not just the slavery part, but the fact that the TPP has the largest option of being a negative influence. You see, those who had walked away wanted to do so via the TPP, there is absolutely no guarantee that whilst in the TPP jobs are not lost to areas where labour laws are a lot more flexible.

Consider the quote “Many of the group now want to leave, if only they could. They say their passports were all confiscated on arrival in the country, an illegal but pervasive practice, and they have been told they will have to pay £740 if they want to go – the equivalent of four months’ basic salary“, which translates to a little over 4 weeks of Australian welfare. Which in light of “A Samsung statement said: “As a committed member of the Electronics Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC), we comply fully with the EICC’s Code of Conduct and have found no evidence of violations in the hiring process of migrant workers hired directly by our manufacturing facility in Malaysia. Once there is any complaint, we take swift actions to investigate” as well as “When asked whether Samsung had repaid any worker debts at the factory, one man employed directly by Samsung instead of through a labour supply company says he hasn’t received any compensation. “Samsung doesn’t know how to give,” he says. “It only knows how to take.”” which to some degree shows that not only is Samsung not doing too much about it, it is also intent towards reaping the benefit of these trade deals for as long as they can. More important, even though Samsung is the visible one, the fact that from several sources we see “Malaysia’s trade volume is booming“, implies that there are other brands exploiting this way of cutting costs. So from that part, the evidence that Slave labour is again a ‘valid’ form of cost cutting towards commerce is given.

Should any government object that I reckon it is time that clear labour requirements are added to the TPP, I wonder how many would suddenly oppose such actions, because as I see it it is clear that Japan and USA, the two direct requirements for the TPP would not oppose it, unless Sony decides that their margins would dwindle, but that is just pure speculation from my side.

What to do?

Well, I do not think it is too far-fetched that those linked to these unacceptable labour practices are required to have a specific import license for their good, which is at a price, FTA or not! I wonder what will happen when Samsung gets a 23% surcharge on slave labour goods import. Will that suddenly make them see the light? I do not mind if they decide to make them in Malaysia, but I reckon we all agree that these workers are due decent pay and no slave labour conditions. At that point, when the margins are hit, how good was the TPP and how beneficial were factories in Asia? I do not proclaim to have the answer, I am merely asking the question. When slavery is dealt with, we will suddenly see that there is no benefit in some of these places and that other places like Argentina, Texas, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the UK and Belgium are decent places where goods can be produced whilst the company still has a margin. And perhaps there is no need for a $229 Samsung Microwave when a $129 Sharp version would suffice. So, a $100 more expensive whilst ‘depending’ on slave labour (to at least some degree), seems odd doesn’t it?

Consider: “it promised only £268 a month, including overtime“, whilst “a payslip seen by the Guardian shows Bhandari worked 29 out of 30 days in September, including 65 hours of overtime“, so we get 65 hours a slave every month and an income of £9.20 a day, which amounts to 25% of what you get in Australian Centrelink and the cost of living in Sydney is actually high. So the next time you see those Samsung advertisements, consider that they can afford these billboards thanks to slave labour. Look at your Samsung phone and admire how you got that great deal, if you are lucky only one person literally worked himself/herself to death to make you one. Feel better now?

It is also important to realise that Samsung is not alone here, one firm does not make for “Malaysia’s trade volume is booming“, it takes a lot more than one firm and if only Samsung was involved, those people would apply for every other place on day two of their arrival. This makes the issue a lot larger and this also makes the unbalanced use of what we now laughingly call ‘Free Trade Agreements‘. So when we get another load of Bill Shorten and how the TPP isn’t costing jobs, we see a clear case that the man needed to be tarred, feathered and walked through George Street whilst a person behind him clanks the bell shouting ‘Shame!‘ It might be a little too much Game of Thrones, yet in that place they are only now abolishing slavery on the East side of that place (read: Essos), in addition, Malcom Turnbull is not free of any moral harm either. The fact that the TPP was supposed to implement stronger protections and the fact that Malaysia is still very much on the TPP ball, whilst as the Guardian shows, that what amounts to Slave labour is still going strong to me implies that those involved have either loop holes in place or that there are alternative options for those enjoying the fruits of their exploitation.

You see, the TPP Labour summary gives us: “In addition to commitments by Parties to eliminate forced labor in their own countries, the Labor chapter includes commitments to discourage importation of goods that are produced by forced labor or that contain inputs produced by forced labor, regardless of whether the source country is a TPP country“, this implies that those involved at Samsung have either a Chinese wall in place or a system of deniability. The fact that The Guardian received evidence (payslips) and had testimonials of multiple workers should suffice as evidence.

The fact that Huawei has the option to expose issues with Samsung, whilst not seeming to act, gives also pause for concern. China is not part of the TPP, it is trying to seal its own trade agreement. Even though we have no evidence on how China works in certain matters, the existence of China’s State Owned Enterprise’s (SOE) is another circle of issues and it will be so for both Australia and New Zealand, yet to what extent cannot be stated by me (read: ignorant of such levels of government rules). In that regard Huawei might have an unfair advantage (read: when compared to Samsung) and of course, Huawei could impact the booming Mobile business Australia has (read: Exchange rate of sarcasm towards giggles). As many see that China has been non-enthusiastic when it comes to dealing with corruption, the shown evidence gives us that several other nations aren’t that much better and corporate greed tends to trump government requirements. So there!

No matter how we slice it, the trade agreements only truly benefit large corporations and no one else, which is an issue on a few fronts and in that President Elect Donald Trump might be the clearest American patriot when he states “international relations need to be advantageous, or need not be“, for the simple truth is that for the most and agreement signed that was not advantageous was an agreement best not signed at all.

 

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Chapter 13

I have been aware of the story for almost a day now. To be honest, it took a little while to let things sink in. Also, my approach here is completely different from my other stories. This all is not a clear cut thing and I might be barking up all the wrong trees. The story ‘Argentinian government moves to dissolve domestic intelligence agency‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/27/argentina-government-domestic-intelligence-agency-alberto-nisman) should be a wake-up call to many people. What you are about to read is not based on evidence, evidence that we see as quality facts that can be used to speculate on what actually happened. I am stating that none of the evidence is of any calibre at all, I am however using the events that I am aware of and as such, I see a different escalation, one that could be utterly wrong. I leave it up to the reader, I am just warning the reader at this point, to scrutinise my thoughts, as I do and do not accept the speculation on face value alone.

You see, for the most a population has little to no clue what their levels of protection are, until they are removed. Consider that we in Australia need to remain safe whilst someone decided that Australia will be a lot safer if the ASIO is disbanded. I can tell you now that this would be the worst idea in a long line of really bad ideas. If we go by the oldest book on this (the art of war), then at some point, the reader gets to chapter 13, which is all about espionage.

Today, we have a host of issues with spooks, but the one we ignore is that they are here to prevent issues. Yet now consider that these are used against us. However, be aware that spies can be used in any matter of ways, in addition, these groups do not just represent governments, at times large corporations employ them for similar reasons.

So as we look at the initial text, I will add the conversion to modern and technological approach

From the view of the Art of war, we get the following:

  • We employ the use of spies, of whom there are five classes:
    • Local spies;
    • inward spies;
    • converted spies;
    • doomed spies;
    • Surviving spies.

There is a book; it is called ‘Broker, Trader, Lawyer, Spy: The Secret World of Corporate Espionage’ by Eamon Javers. It is not a bad read, more important, this current world has an evolved use of former intelligence officers (from many countries), some come from the redacted world of cutbacks in the US and some who privatised themselves. They use their spy craft to aid corporations in distinguishing weaker targets, preparing for cases and litigation in several legal areas and to aid in final trading decisions, as well as change the premise of trade agreements (or to destabilise them by interfering with costs and profit margins. For these options, they might choose to employ Local Spies and/or Inward spies.

In modern days, we will actually see the converted spy in several ways, whether this person is an informer through IT, a trader, or merchant. In the household form, see this person as one of your distributors, however, as he is getting his bonus from another source, he will tip the revenue scales in a minor way, you that you almost got the job, but almost getting the job is not the same as getting the job and you lose out on revenue. I can go on and give you examples of the last two types, but you get the picture!

So why is this event an issue at present?

Consider that Argentina, as it is in such a dire situation, that it needs to get its economy in a much better place. Now we look at the first quote “Argentina’s president announced a major shakeup of her country’s intelligence network on Monday in her most combative step yet to address the fallout from the death of prosecutor Alberto Nisman“. This sounds all fair and good, but is dissolving the intelligence agency a step that should be considered? Let’s not forget that Argentina has two enemies, the first one is big business. Big Business will always be an enemy of ANY government that prefers to give a fair deal to the people of its nations; the second is X, which is not the United Kingdom or the Commonwealth. Yes, there has been and there will remain a clear difference of opinion there, but that is a disagreement, not a statement for hostile acts.

When we look at what drove all this (at http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/20/world/americas/alberto-nisman-found-dead-argentina-amia.html), we see the title, which gives us a first clue ‘Puzzling Death of a Prosecutor Grips Argentina‘. “From the moment 10 years ago when he was assigned to investigate the 1994 suicide bombing of a Jewish centre here that left 85 people dead, Mr Nisman, an even-keeled lawyer, became entangled in a labyrinthine plot that he traced to Iran and its militant Lebanese ally, Hezbollah“, in addition we get “explosive accusations that top Argentine officials, including President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, had conspired with Iran to cover up responsibility for the bombing as part of a deal that would supply Iranian oil to Argentina“. You see, Argentina has a few issues all over the place, in addition, there is no denying that the people have never forgotten what happened in 1994, yet, and my deepest apologies to those who had lost loved ones, friends and people they knew, this event is not the highest priority for Argentina in their current dilemma, so why is there suddenly a revelation?

I am not entirely sure that any of these facts are true (pure speculation), when looking at the timeline, the events are off. Is it not convenient that Alberto Nisman ends up dead just after he accuses certain people from a case that is two decades old? Did he actually find evidence? Perhaps something was given, or left for him to find. Consider the implied involvement of Iran and its oil delivery, why would that now get distorted, just when oil is massively on the way down in price. So as we read: “He accused Hezbollah of having carried out the bombing and senior Iranian officials of having planned and financed it“, based on what evidence? This is not a case that has had nonstop attention; it was a specific case, a 20 year old one. How hard would it have been to insert scraps leaving to fictive evidence? In addition, Hezbollah has eagerly taken credit for their actions in the past, so why deny it now? I am not stating that they are innocent, but the fact that Hezbollah has a fading course of visibility, this claim would give them the ‘image’ they wanted to have.

The next part hits back to all the parts mentioned before. The person implied in this, now suddenly disbands one intelligence branch and creates a new one. Is this just a shifting label, or are the people getting replaced. I reckon in Argentine’s current predicament, to remove their intelligence branch for someone else is tactically bad (guess where all these officers would go to) and if it is just a sanitation of bad apples, the branch would not needed to be disband in one instance and created in a reformatted version the next.

All these elements are not adding up. Now, let us be fair, why would it make sense to me? I am not in Argentina, I have no clue what the reasoning is and why certain political steps are taken. So, consider this quote from the guardian “Cristina Fernández de Kirchner said she would support a bill to dissolve the existing structure – which employs more than 2,000 people – and replace it with a new federal intelligence agency“. When we add the following part “It follows a protracted struggle with the intelligence agency that has come to light after the suspicious death of Nisman, which the president blames on rogue spies who are trying to undermine her“, as well as ““We must start to work on a project to reform the Argentine intelligence system, in order to clear up a system that has not served national interests,” Fernández said“, so as we see the known facts, the president, who will be leaving  office after two terms is now, 9 months until elections, shoveling over a massive anthill called the ‘Intelligence branch’? So, as we see the accusation of ‘rogue spies’, instead of cleaning house, they are resetting the entire branch? That does not seem like the best idea. Regardless whether there are rogue elements, it is likely that other connections remain hidden as it all goes into another form, which means that it could easily start again. The question on how Alberto Nisman died is still not settled with clarity, so if it was murder, than shuffling the intelligence branch seems an even less good idea.

I can also state with some certainty that doing all this, whilst Argentina is still in treacherous economic waters, having a reliable intelligence branch is pretty essential. Yet, this gives us the part, is it reliable? Latin American nations have been accused more often implied accused seen as a harsh, possibly corrupt group of power brokers. If that is the case, cleaning the intelligence foundations make a lot more sense than ‘just’ relabeling it. If we accept the last quote “her tussle with the spy agency has so far led to increased surveillance powers for the army“, we must consider more than one path. Was this step deliberate, or was it orchestrated? You would think that both answers are the same, but they are not. In the first case we see the consequence of shifting powers, which grows the military oversight, in the other situation it was always about setting military oversight and this was being orchestrated by reshaping the intelligence branch into a Federal Intelligence Agency. The question then becomes, if this is a step towards the ‘FIA’, why was it done in this way? Consider the espionage part in the beginning. Venezuela is in a very bad state and until the hedge funds issues are completely resolved, having an active intelligence branch at your disposal seems pretty essential as well. Let’s not forget the reference to the book in the beginning, under these conditions, there could be profit for both Uruguay and Paraguay, Chili is also a player in this case. As the intelligence branch falters, it also means that economic and corporate advantages could be gained at the expense of Argentinian margins, that whilst the hedge funds vulture issue remains unresolved. All this leads to the question what has actually been happening, it seems decently clear (in my personal view) that the reference to the Jewish centre was not a cause for accusation, but likely a diversion. So, why were certain allegations made, more important, why is the accused president not receiving a lot more opposition and vocal complaints?

We won’t know what is actually in lay, perhaps for some time, but when this article gets more space, at that point, I will follow up on this story, hopefully all loaded with verified facts.

 

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Cancer for everyone?

Something set me off today. It was not Melissa Doyle, she looked lovely as ever. Perhaps it was her casual report on how red meat seemed to be linked to cancer. Actually, it was not her at all. It was another research with data linking red meat to cancer. There were two parts that seemed to be an issue. The first one is “People who eat a lot of these meats” the second one I will get to later.

From this I decided to take a trip into US data. The first place we get is Hereford, Texas, which is the beef capital of the world, or so they say. I am not stating that this is not true and it is true that Texas is one of the 5 states responsible for over 50% of all produced beef from cattle and calves. Yet, my mother was from Buenos Aires and you have not tasted true beef until you have tasted a steak from an Argentinian charcoal grill. I am not leaving the subject here, because we have two places were beef rules supremely.

So how is their health?

Dr Karen Humphries seems to know what she was doing and the approach sounded well enough, so what is the issue? Well, when I take an initial look at the statistics the CDC has for Colorectal (Colon) Cancer (at http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/colorectal/statistics/), the data (as incomplete as it is), shows no spike for these 5 states, because there is a valid thought, that outside the metropolitan area’s the home state might be the cheapest place to get steaks, consider that these places are not in possession of a vegetarian explosion (or is it a population explosion of vegetarians?), the overall spike of cancer, should stand out there (read slightly spike).

So, what is the other option?

Perhaps these people do not eat loads of red meat? Are you kidding me? Have you seen the sizes of steaks in them states, they are huge! I can eat a lot but I need to bring my A-game of hunger to these places to finish my plate. So is Dr Humphries wrong?

No, I do not believe this to be the case. She is by the way not the only one on this meaty horse. A 2008 article form Harvard Medical School (at http://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/updates/Red-meat-and-colon-cancer.shtml) shows a similar conclusion on the data that they have. So why am I questioning this?

I am not questioning these issues perse. Perhaps there is another factor that is not being considered. So am I just on a windmill chase, like a Don Quixote seeking the next windmill? I am not arguing that those who think this are wrong, but consider the next piece of information, which was found at http://authoritynutrition.com/is-red-meat-bad-for-you-or-good/.

The title ‘Is Red Meat Bad For You, or Good? An Objective Look‘ seems appealing enough, however is it therefor true?

They are giving us the following thoughts which some had considered a long time ago. The thought is set in the following quote “However, the meat we eat today is vastly different from the meat our ancestors ate. Back in the day, animals roamed free and ate grass, insects or whatever was natural to them. Picture a wild cow on a field 10.000 years ago, roaming free and chewing on grass and various other edible plants. The meat from this animal is completely different from the meat derived from a cow that was born and raised in a factory, fed grain-based feed, then pumped full of antibiotics and hormones to make it grow faster“.

Here is the question that is raised within me: “Is this research the first evidence of antibiotics and hormones on consumption beef?

That is not really the question people seem to be looking at. So is this a windmill I am chasing, or are we asked to look away? This is not against Dr Karen Humphries, who was investigating the red meat on the people. To be honest, with the amount of red meat offered, I would have loved to have been a volunteer there (I could never refuse a good steak). The information and ‘evidence’ as well as my train of thought took less than 5 minutes to clear, then about 25 minutes to get through the readings and the CDC data tables.  If we look at the Guardian article (at http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2011/jan/24/worldwide-cancer-rates-uk-rate-drops). The issue here is that Cancer is seen in a generic term, which means all kinds of cancer and still Argentina, a massive beef consumer (and yummy it is too) is only on the 46th position, so have I made a case that it is not just about red beef, but are there other elements in play? Which is the second part to all this.

Without more data, the case I am making would only be supposition, yet is this a start? Are there other factors that reduce the dangers in the USA and Argentina? Is there now a valid case against certain hormones and antibiotics? There is no way to tell without a lot more data and more (and better) in depth research. If that is indeed the track we must walk, how should this proceed? You see, in any research there is a goal and a counter goal. You can bet your bottom dollar that pharmaceuticals would not want quick results. If you doubt that, then remember the ‘investigation’ in Syria that we saw in early 2014. The question ‘were chemical weapons used’ (which seemed like a joke) and ‘who did it’ was completely set aside. So here we face a possible approach to it in the way of ‘Could antibiotics be a cause of an increased presence of colon cancer causing bacteria?‘ and ‘Could hormones be a cause of an increased presence of colon cancer causing bacteria?‘ getting the research set up, the data collected and then the actual reporting done might be taking an intense amount of time, but should we therefore not get this done?

I do not pretend to have the answer, yet I do have the questions that were casually not asked in the Channel-7 news. Questions, which are at a first glance seemingly assumed, to some extent by Authority Nutrition, a site that is the child of Kris Gunnars, a medical student. He is also not the man just claiming and assuming issues. His site had an entire tab on evidence, filled with charts that seemed to have been made with proper analytical tools (I did not dig into that data though).

There is another side to all this. Kris voiced it really nice in his article “the meat we eat today is vastly different from the meat our ancestors ate“. We all (including me) seemed to have forgotten about that. As we go forward, what other parts had not been properly looked at? For example, the article ‘History of diethylstilbestrol use in cattle‘ (at https://www.asas.org/docs/publications/raunhist.pdf) gives several answers, but also leaves us with questions. Did anyone look at the evolution of meat as the ‘victim’ (also known as Mr or Mrs soon to be steak) had been treated by these hormones? Let us not forget that this game has been pushed through generation upon generation of hormones. Is the idea so far-fetched that we have changed to context of the BBQ target? Does this amount to poisoning the well? I truly do not know, but it seems that the latest results, in conjunction with the data that Harvard and several other sources have collected, contribute to a new train of thought that we need to take a very serious look at the meat and the cattle as well as their DNA in regards to our beefy food supply. It is the earlier mentioned paper by A. P. Raun and R. L. Preston that leads to two quotes linked to all this. In the beginning “The removal of DES from the market led to the development of a number of other growth stimulation products for cattle” and at the end “If diethylstilbestrol had not been removed, these same resources could have been directed toward the discovery, development, and approval of other technologies for the cattle industry“.

Yet, are we losing sight to the long term effects of these growth stimulants and hormones? If these bowel cancer numbers are linked in any way to these developments, what links are we yet to discover and at what price had beef profit been maximised? The last one is not a blame game moment. At some point hard choices had to be made, consider that Gartners meat in Portland Oregon gets us a Rib Eye for just under $15 (16 oz.), with this the fact that at present beef is at an all-time high according to Reuters (at http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/08/25/usa-agriculture-inflation-idUSL1N0QV0J620140825). What happens when the beef rises above the option to buy as a food source? This is not just the drought or disease which is the latest reasons for the price hike. Consider that 318 million American residents need their dinner, current statistics place the vegetarian population (those who hate plants more than animals) at roughly 10%, which means just over 280 million of meat pieces are needed EVERY DAY! Now, many do not have steak on a daily basis, so the need for beef is not at a deadly level, but…..

What did I just say?

There is the crux, have we been so into the need to get more food that eagerness was too quickly satisfied, but we now see a long term consequence.

LET ME BE CLEAR!

This last part is all conjecture, but is it being looked at? If not, why not? There is a foundation of concern and evidence that the effects of beef on our health seems to have changed, the question becomes how much? Questions I do not have answers to, but I was surprised not to see anyone in the press ask the question and deliver the results, just as is!

That itself is worth a question or two too.

 

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Talking the Walk

Yes, today is an interesting day, in a time when we all have a notion of democracy; we must all wonder how much of a democracy is left. You see the freedom of choice and the choice in options means that the freedom given is also an inherent acceptance of accountability? If we make a small sidestep at this point, then I would like to take a step towards the Media Ethics as stated at mediaethicsmagazine.com.

There in the fall of 2008, T.L. Glasser and J.S. Ettema wrote an interesting article called ‘A Philosophy of Accountability for Journalism’, it is a good article to read and well worth reading (at http://www.mediaethicsmagazine.com/index.php/browse-back-issues/135-fall-2008/3639324-a-philosophy-of-accountability-for-journalism).

The initial line, as in any good academic article is right at the beginning, when we read “The problem of ethics in journalism, we want to argue, is not the inability of journalists to know right from wrong but their inability to talk articulately and reflectively about it“. I from the my viewpoint, for the point of view that many has seen as we see the ‘junk’ articles from Murdoch publications hit us is that the point given reads to many of us (roughly 99.32443% of them non-journalists) see the second phrased as “their inability to avoid accountability by speculate on the words of seemingly non-existent sources they will never reveal“.
What we get is gossip, branded as journalism, a speculative piece where no accountability will ever be required. This is for a lot of people at the heart of the need that the Leveson report would address, which is why Journalists in many nations, especially in the UK as a trade that had lost its integrity to many.
This is however not about the article, yet, I am mentioning it as the article is an excellent piece of work and the article actually is to some extent shows the moral compass within all of us. There is however one more quote that I will not go into now, but it has bearing on what comes next “which reminds us that discourse ethics does not involve a marketplace process which aggregates individual interests but a deliberative process which brings into existence common or shared interests“.

This is about today, the first day of a new day of default for Argentina (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/31/argentina-government-defiant-debt-default-axel-kicillof). We seem to have been all about the banks and their evil practices. I know, because I have been one of them. The question becomes, what happens when you accept doing business with a loan shark? I wrote about it in my blog ‘Changing the rules of Democracy‘ on July 27th.

When the IMF wanted to restructure debts in 2003, USA as stated stopped the IMF; I want to know the EXACT reasons why. Perhaps they are valid, perhaps not! I also reflected on the fact that someone went to the Vulture funds and signed a deal. What was that deal exactly and who signed it. You see, Argentina is not blameless here; at some point, there is a knock on the door and at that point, the bailiff will want his coin, which is pretty much what was settled in court.

The Guardian article raises a point through the following quote “Economists at the Washington-based Centre for Economic and Policy Research called on the US Congress to intervene, warning in a letter that Griesa’s decision to uphold the holdout investors claim could cause ‘unnecessary economic damage to the international financial system, as well as to US economic interests’“.

You see, in all fairness, is that acceptable? If a system is brought and evolves devoid of accountability, how can we ever get a better world? I have pressed for accountability on many sides. On the side of Journalism as I embrace the full Leveson report, on the side of the banks as their soulless acts have diminished the value of millions of account holders, yet here in this case, are they not on the morally higher ground? No matter how despicable Vulture funds might be regarded as, these people offered a deal on conditions of risk because no bank wanted them, or in the case of Argentina, as the USA seemingly prevented the IMF offering a deal.
Now, when the deal is due, the client requesting the deal is not willing to make payment. So, as the facts are shown, I have to be (alas) n the side of the vulture fund, who offered the deal. If not, then I myself must abandon the premise of accountability, which is pretty much not an option.
If we accept the implications of communicative rationality in the sphere of moral insight and normative validity as the setting for discourse ethics, then I would like to change it (mold it) into the following statement: “If we accept the implications of agreed contract terms of rationality in the sphere of moral choices and normative acceptance of a loan” then we are getting to the part why I added the Journalism article on accountability for journalism.
This I now link to the quote I mentioned from the Guardian article. This is the cost of doing business! Sometimes you win, sometimes you do not, but to go out in response to change the game, because there is a cost, then we have a new problem. Do not misunderstand me, if there is some kind of a bail-out deal, then that is fine, but it would be understandable if it comes at a cost, more important, it might have been avoided all together if the 2003 IMF deal had gone through, so why was the 2003 deal stopped?

I understand and I do not disagree that the Argentine government is stopping it all and taking the ‘default’ path, yet, that too will come at a cost. Accountability should prevail here too. Is it for the better or for the worst? That is a discussion that is speculated upon, but for now it is one that comes without a clear answer. So, I cannot, without clearly more evidence to agree with cabinet chief minister Jorge Capitanich here. You see, who signed for this all in 2003? It is the inherent consequence of governing. The bill is pushed forward, it is a dangerous game that the US is currently excelling at and so if you wonder on why I care about another deal for 1.5 billion dollars, it is mainly because this paves the way for America when it defaults on their 18,000 billion loans, then what?

When we see people hide behind statements like ‘too big to fail‘, you should also consider the fallout when things go wrong. Consider what once happened to the Dutch SNS bank and is now happening to the Argentinian economy, both impacts were felt in large ways and they are not even anywhere near the scale of the debt the US and Japan have. And as we mentioned Japan, is that not the fear many brokers have? If we see the text from Moody’s (at https://www.moodys.com/research/Moodys-Japanese-RMBS-and-ABS-default-rate-declined-in-April–PR_302652).

Someone or something seems to be pushing Japan along, holding them on the safe side for now. Yet, this economic high-wire act is nowhere near done and it is a long walk to go for now. When we read “For CMBS deals, Moody’s outlook for the next 6-12 months is negative, as it will be difficult to refinance defaulted loans with high loan-to-value ratios“, so as refinance is now getting harder and harder, consider the US bonds. Part of the US debt is also the ‘Interest Expense on the Debt Outstanding’ (at http://www.treasurydirect.gov/govt/reports/ir/ir_expense.htm), this is set for 2014 (up to October) to be almost $355 billion dollars. This is just the interest. At Bloomberg we see “The government will reduce net sales by $250 billion from the $1.2 trillion of bills, notes and bonds issued in fiscal 2012 ended Sept. 30“, this is clearly incomplete, as there is not mention of WHEN these bonds mature, but the overall sell of bonds will hit the US at some point. If we consider the CNS headline “$2,472,542,000,000: Record Taxation Through August; Deficit Still $755B“, so taxes are coming in, they are not enough as the deficit is around 30%, now consider that the due interest is going to be 15%-20% (because two months are currently not known) of all collected taxation. When the bonds are due, how much larger will the debt become?
I have mentioned it many times, but now as we see the reaction of fear as Argentina defaults, we cannot continue without seeing the threat and fear of Japan from defaulting, which will clearly push the US over the edge of that abyss too.

Here is where the issue becomes the dangers we fear. We seem to always mention that those who talk the talk should be walking the walk too. This has not been done by large by many, so now we talk the walk but no one is really accountable, making for a massively dangerous situation. If you even consider thinking that there is no danger here, try calling a Syrian hospital by telephone and ask them how they are doing. It might open your eyes really quick.

If we are to walk the walk then Argentina will default and we have a new situation, yet the unnamed danger is that ‘some’ deal will find its way, which is great for the Argentinian people, yet it also impacts the cost of doing business for all the other players. Have you consider the costs that this will bring everyone else?

 

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