Tag Archives: Brexit

Cheese Pizza with Oregano

I love Pizza, I hardly ever get it, merely because the people here tend to rely on Domino’s and Pizza Hut and neither tends to be a true pizza (as I personally see it). As I walked through Sydney over the last week, it dawned on me just the massive lack of actual decent Pizza places in Sydney. It is almost like they are no longer in a sustainable environment. People got used to the cheap solutions two chains bring and they call it Pizza. All the people in the neighbourhood accepted it as the real deal and now, we forgot what true awesome Pizza is like. Now, I am a little off the wall here. I love my Cheese Pizza, with the 5 cheeses and loads of Oregano on top. So when I think Pizza, I always think of the Bravo Trattoria Pizza’s at Crow’s Nest, they are my favourite! Yet, is it about pizza, or the place, or what Pizza actually is? You see, it does matter when we consider the Financial Review (at https://www.afr.com/personal-finance/italys-debt-barely-sustainable-ubs-chief-economist-20180601-h10uun), we see here what I said weeks ago and last week to some degree. When we see “Italy’s debt-to-GDP ratio of 130 per cent is “borderline sustainable”, the UBS top economist says. There is a level of the primary budget surplus which keeps debt stable, and above which you can begin to pay down your obligations, Kapteyn explains. For Italy this figure is a surplus of 1.3 per cent of GDP, versus the actual surplus of 2 per cent. It’s a skinny buffer of around 0.8 percentage points which at current debt levels “doesn’t inspire confidence”, Kapteyn says“. That is merely the tip of the iceberg. The issue is not that it is Italy, it matters more that it is one of the big four. UK, France, Germany and Italy are the large economic suppliers of a 27 nation bloc where they basically represent well over 50% of the EU economy, the fact that they all are in deep debt does not help and the fact that the UK is getting out, or is that ‘was trying to get out‘? So when we see add the issues of the UK and now we see how the Italian issues are growing and France is not far behind. A 27 nation failure due to the inability to set proper budgets, deal with debt levels and add to that a failed economy jump start that is now close to 3 trillion Euro printed with no real prospects to pay for any of it. That revelation is why Italy seems to be vacating the union. The action by President Sergio Mattarella by rejecting the Eurosceptic finance minister and put in his place Giovanni Tria a pro-EU professor. This is perhaps the first setting where we see that voting is no longer an issue for any government, the holier than thou setting of protecting the Euro and the EU against all odds, whilst those in the EU commissions are massively overpaid is setting the foundation of a dangerous mindset. The issue that the AFR is bringing to light is “markets are not pricing in the risk of an Italian exit, they are repricing the risk of a Italian default“. I always rated the Iexit (aka iLeave) setting very low, the two populist parties in charge was not that realistic in 2016 and when Marine Le Pen was ‘surpassed’ by a former investment funds manager we were all wondering what would come next and I thought it would lower the chances of the populists in Italy. And the news is not getting any better. We see that with “The European economy hit a wall over the final months of last year, with growth dropping from a quarterly growth rate of 0.7 per cent to more like 0.4 per cent. Economists are unclear of the reasons for the slowdown, but broadly believed the European economy would quickly rebound“, the issue I personally see is ‘broadly believed the European economy would quickly rebound‘, not the slowdown. You see there is no evidence that there is an actual quick rebound. There is every chance that there will be a rebound, but it will not be quick. The fact that these so called experts are all thumbs when it comes to their forecasting and with 0.3% unaccounted for, we can see that they are in the dark or playing the bad news cycle. I personally believe it to be the second one. And the Italian issues are increasing. Not merely the debt settings, it is a changed political landscape. Even as Paolo Savona was replaced by Giovanni Tria, there is still “Mr Di Maio will be vice-premier and minister for labour and economic development, including trade policy. Matteo Salvini, head of the League, will also be vice-premier and interior minister in charge of immigration“. This we got from the Financial Times (at https://www.ft.com/content/79cf905c-64a8-11e8-90c2-9563a0613e56). This duo is going to be a lot more important than even I initially thought. They now have a handle on labour economic development and immigration will see larger changes. There is no way to predict whether that is good or bad. If we listen to people like George Soros we are instantly rejecting liberalism, because it is easy to be a liberalist when you are a multi billionaire, yet he had no issues to short sell US$10 billion worth of Pound sterling, earning a billion in the process during the 1992 Black Wednesday UK currency crisis. He did nothing wrong, he played the system when he could and make a billion. Things like that never go away and he must regard the EU zone as a very profitable short sell opportunity, which makes whatever he is trying to do dangerous, so in that light all his settings for “Best for Britain pushes for second referendum on Theresa May’s deal with EU“, a cause he is backing is very dangerous. In this by pushing the UK away from Brexit, the pressure on Italy decreases. The dangers become that irresponsible spending in the big four can go on for several more years and there is no way to control the ECB and their puppet masters. Unelected people deciding on the descent of financial futures in 27 nations that is how I personally see it. You can agree or disagree, yet ask yourself when was the last time that any European got a decent explanation on who of how the 3 trillion euro spend was going to be dealt with? You see over a decade in an economic setting that is close to the late 90’s, whilst keeping strict austerity in play all over Europe. There is quite literally no way that this will happen, because politicians will adjust their policy towards any speculative proclaimer of ‘the European economy would quickly rebound‘ economists, whilst not prosecuting them when they get it wrong (merely because making any claim of expectation is not a crime, is it?). A setting that the people have no chance of winning, hell, they won’t ever be able to break even on this. This shows that Brexit will be a hard, but the better way to go. When billionaires start proclaiming how bad it is and how ‘we all’ can get a better deal that is when you become afraid for your life and that is what is at stake. And we see this in the Australian Financial Review with ““creeping into the market”, Kapteyn says – “a potentially dangerous one”. After the glory days of 2017 in which investors basked in a globally synchronised upswing, markets are now faced with the potential return of the two-speed world economy: the US vs the rest“, so when we get “America’s economy is growing around 3.5 per cent; some independent analysts estimate growth as fast as 4 per cent. Europe is “at best” growing by 2 per cent“, that shows the dangers, because as George Soros is getting the winnings, the other players do not, from my point of view it is a form of leeching, leeching Europe dry for the term of a generation or better. You see again it is a personal view, it is why Best for Britain is getting the support, it is about delaying Brexit at the very least for as long as possible, merely because it stops the game people like George Soros are likely to be playing and when that stops Europe can start bringing things about, hopefully for the better, especially as the ECB will be forced to print money for all kinds of dubious reasons, dubious because kick-starting the economy after you printed 3 trillion to try it twice is just ridiculous, that money has to be paid back at some point and everyone is in denial about the latter part.

Yet this is still about Italy, not the UK. You see, Italians want what is best for Italy and I am fine with that, I believe in a healthy sense of national pride. Yet with “Italy’s debt-to-GDP ratio of 130 per cent is ‘borderline sustainable’” they are facing an ugly truth, Italy needs to face 5-15 years of Austerity, yet with the ECB trying to economically equalise Europe, at the cost of the big four, so it amounts to Italy trying on top of an economy for 60 million Italians, whilst they are weighted with invoices for close to 250 million Europeans who can’t be bothered to get their house in order. it amounts to giving an addicted gambler $500 whilst they are only allowed to use $10 for gambling, you tell me how long it takes for things to go really wrong, and that is pretty much a given on this situation. It was seen in the Netherlands 2012 and 2013, and now we see, when we look at the Dutch government statements with in September 2017 we see “The economy will grow by 3.3% in 2017 and a projected 2.5% in 2018“, we see the EU commission giving the Netherlands a ‘mere’ 3.2% last month for that same timespan. Now the 0.1% is actually pretty good, but it is still dangerous when it is a 0.1% in Italy, the issue is seen when we see that the Netherlands has a 65% debt level against Italy at 130% of GDP, and the Dutch are actually in a much better position, so the 0.1% is no actual pain level. Portugal, Spain, Greece, Belgium and Italy all have debt levels well over 100% of GDP, several other nations are somewhere between 60% and 80% of GDP, whilst France is at 99.8%. It is the debt levels that are excellent for banks and not so good for the people. You see, when the big four are required to pay €254 billion in interest each year and that is just the large 4, how do you think that this gets paid for? A decade of inability to set a proper budget and all this is before we consider the €3,000 billion that the ECB printed for what they call Quantative Easing. That is what Italy needs to get away from and at 135% they have the hardest job of all. So when you see that all that money goes all to the banks, short sold loans that they never had the money for to pay for can you see just how dangerous the George Soros setting is in all this? It all impacts Italy to some degree. These are not merely the facts; there is also presentation, representation and misrepresentation. The issue is in the Australian Review, it is the view of Arend Kapteyn. Yet where is he at when he gives us “We are only now at the beginning to find out how responsible or irresponsible [the new coalition government] are going to be on the fiscal side“, you see, the setting then becomes what is irresponsible? Being not pro Eurozone, being forced to default whilst the alternatives are just too unacceptable for the Italian people? So is he the pro greed setting, or the pro solution setting, because with such debt levels we can almost unanimously accept that these two choices are mutually exclusive. The most interesting political part is that Enzo Moavero Milanesi is now Minister of Foreign Affairs. I would have thought that the populists wanted that part for themselves, the fact that this post is now with an Italian independent is an interesting choice, if the populists can work with this setting and use it to maximise their economy by setting new option and opportunities, Italy gets an optional path where minimised immigration and maximised economy could have a setting where the Italian unemployment rates could fall to a number below 10% over the next 24 months (highly speculative on my side). If they pull that off, the entire euro sceptic setting could grow a lot faster than would have been possible with Paolo Savona in the mix.

No matter how you slice the Pizza, the factual and actual quality Italian dish is under massive amounts of pressure on several sides and any Italian thinking that their life will get better in the short run is just gobbling down a [Unnamed Franchise] Pizza, bland food that look like a UFO and tastes not as great. The fact is that like Germany did earlier this decade, Italy will know 5-10 years of hardship, yet when persevered Italy could have an actual growing economy for a much longer time, something to look forward to (if you are Italian). Can this government pull it off? That is hard to say because it has been shown that the actions of the ECB are close to non-stoppable and that will still impacts the bottom line. It is good for America and George Soros in the short term, yet after that they will not care and Europe will not be going anywhere ever soon. That danger is just ignored all over the place. Just 2 days ago the Financial Times also gave us “There are still two weeks to go before Riga, but naming an end date for QE right now would be like the ECB shooting itself in the Italian boot,” said Carsten Brzeski, economist at ING-DiBa. “The Italian situation has tilted the balance towards the doves [and] clearly calls for the ECB to keep its options open and even to make clear that they will extend QE at least until December” (at https://www.ft.com/content/dd6b5d70-6413-11e8-90c2-9563a0613e56), which is already an extension of well over a year. so when we see “The ECB has pledged to reinvest an average of €15bn a month over the first four months of next year, using the proceeds of government bonds bought under QE that have now matured” in that same article, we need to consider ‘bonds that have now matured‘, so that danger is seen in the Spanish setting where we see from some sources: “Spain will have refinancing requirements that exceed €300 billion per annum before 2022. In 2018, 41.2 billion euro, in 2019, 82.4, in 2020 83.9 and in 2021 58.5 billion euro, with 60.4 billion maturing in 2022“, so this fiscal year Spain will be required to find €41 billion, or increase taxes or cut services, and it will be twice that amount next year around, so how exactly is Spain in a setting to get the economy back whilst the debts are rising beyond normal control? Italy faces “84 billion euro maturities in 2018, 161 billion in 2019, 164 billion in 2020 and 172.5 billion euro in 2021” do the Italian people know that they are in such deep and hot waters? I wonder, and when they get confronted with that part of the bad news cycle, what will the previous and opposition then proclaim? I wonder if we will see true honest coverage on that blame game. I will order a decent Pizza to watch that unfold, because there are merely the two larger players in the EU-debt zone bloc confronted with the hardships that will hit them hard. Pushing these debts forward is just not a workable solution, not when the debt exceeded 130% of GDP, if you doubt my words, just talk to the average Greek in Athens and ask him how his quality of life is nowadays.

So as you wanted that your slice of life included a slice of pizza, consider the 99% in Italy who soon face the reality that they are no longer able to afford that for a long time to come.

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Media, Politics

Milestones

We all hope to make certain milestones, some through fantasy, some through luck and some through anticipation. Your first threesome, the moment you joined the mile high club and for governments they have their own achievements, for example when they join the 100% debt club. So when we realise that Japan has well over 200% of GDP in debt, the US has passed the 100% marker and it joins those they looked down on for the longest of times. Italy, Iceland, Granada, Eritrea, Greece, Jamaica and Lebanon, all members of that 100% debt club, so when we see the Arabian Business (at http://www.arabianbusiness.com/politics-economics/395741-100-debt-club-set-to-get-new-member-from-oil-rich-gulf), treat us to the facts that Bahrain will soon join Libya and the Sudan as their debt exceeds their 100% GDP. We see more and more messages at present and even the IMF is setting a different atmosphere. We see part of that in equities.com. There we see “IMF (Page 10): Against a backdrop of mounting vulnerabilities, risky asset valuations appear overstretched, albeit to varying degrees across markets, ranging from global equities and credit markets, including leveraged loans, to rapidly expanding crypto assets.
MY TRANSLATION: In the last two major bubbles, the problems were mostly contained to dot-com stocks and housing. That is 100% not the case now. Almost every single asset on the planet – from stocks to bonds to loans and more – is wildly overpriced. There is zero room for error with prices at such dizzying heights
“. This is merely one setting; the field is expanding on a larger field and in all this, the nations that are passing the debt bar. France is set at 99%, so if they cannot contain the debt growth they will pass it this following financial year, leaving only Germany as one of the four large economies that is in a containable situation and there is where we get a partial ‘I told you so!‘ You see I wrote on part of this 5 years ago. (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2013/05/15/a-noun-of-non-profit/), I made a reference in regards to Brexit, but the setting of it all was a lot larger than merely Brexit. So as you get to contemplate “Consider a large (really large) barge, that barge was kept in place by 4 strong anchors. UK, France, Germany and Italy. Yes, we to do know that most are in shabby state, yet, overall these nations are large, stable and democratic (that matters). They keep the Barge EU afloat in a stable place on the whimsy stormy sea called economy. If the UK walks away, then we have a new situation. None of the other nations have the size and strength of the anchor required and the EU now becomes a less stable place where the barge shifts. This will have consequences, but at present, the actual damage cannot be easily foreseen. Any claim that there is no consequence and they predict no issues, remember this moment! The Barge (as is), will lose stability and the smaller members thinking they are on a big boat are now thrown left to right then left again as the storm rages on. The smaller nations will get damaged and in addition, the weaker ones (Cyprus and Greece) could still collapse, especially if the UK takes a non EU gander“, this was predominantly regarding Brexit. Yet the implications are larger as I stated. The UK is taking on Brexit and now we see that the German anchor it the only anchor giving some stability, the UK is taken away, Italy has lost its footing as it surpassed the 100% debt and now France is pushing that boundary as well. All because it was easier to play the popular fool than taking a hard stance on their debts, France is not alone, Italy and the UK are all there, the smaller ones have no options to give strength to the large 4 and as the UK figured out that going it alone is much better for the economy, we see a dangerous setting.

Even now, when we merely consider Spain in all this (not the smallest economy), we see (at https://www.southeusummit.com/europe/spain/spanish-economy-returns-grade/) that Standard & Poor’s is still playing (what I personally see) as ‘their little game’. Perhaps you remember ‘S&P reaches $1.5 billion deal with U.S., states over crisis-era ratings‘ (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-s-p-settlement-idUSKBN0L71C120150203) the one quote (one of many) needs to be considered “S&P parent McGraw Hill Financial Inc MHFI.N said it will pay $687.5 million to the U.S. Department of Justice, and $687.5 million to 19 states and the District of Columbia, which had filed similar lawsuits over the ratings“. So when I see “S&P notes that Spain’s overall economic and budgetary performance has not been hampered by political tensions in Catalonia, as many had feared. The country’s GDP increased by 3.1% in 2017 and last week the Bank of Spain raised its economic forecast for this year to 2.7%, up from a December forecast of 2.4%“, you see, the numbers are not really in question, yet when we see the image below (source: Trading Economics).

When we realise that none of the EU nations has a grasp on their debts, in addition, the GDP for Spain went down whilst it is still below the numbers of 2016 and before, there is actually no reason to see the credit rating for Spain go up. I am personally speculating that the EU will be so much more hardship when France hits the 100% debt marker. It matters, because this will soon become the academic exercise that the question: ‘What is the difference between cooking the books and creating a false positive wave through inflated credit scores?‘ I actually do not have the answer here, but I guarantee you that the quality of life in Europe is not moving forward any day soon, not until some issues are seriously reconsidered. In addition, the US-China trade war isn’t helping anyone, not even the Europeans so that will also become a factor of debate soon enough. It partially relates to “We have revised upwards our GDP forecasts, with an intense rate of employment creation and an economic model based on the external competitiveness of our companies. With this scenario, we will achieve our objective for 20 million employed people by 2020“, the issue is that it is misrepresentation, you cannot rely on the unemployment figures and then state we will have 20 million employed, because on a population of 46 million, he might be implying that the unemployment numbers will skyrocket from 17.4% in 2017 to 56%, that would be crazy, yet that is what we are told, is it not? The best lies (read: miscommunications) are done through statistics, so that the feather matches the bird one would say. Still, back to my speculation, I believe that Spain is not the only nation in this setting; I think that some numbers in pretty much every EU nation are beefed, weighted and set to make Europe (or basically themselves in the European setting) look much better, so when the UK leaves they will not look as weak and feeble as they have actually become. It is a setting that is way too dangerous. There is no way that Mario Draghi is not part of this, so when we look at the Financial Times of last week we see ‘Mario Draghi acknowledges ‘moderation’ in Eurozone growth‘ (at https://www.ft.com/content/3e20b49e-4939-11e8-8ee8-cae73aab7ccb). So with “Analysts said that Mr Draghi’s guarded language suggested that the ECB may wait until July — a month later than previously expected — to provide the markets with updated “forward guidance” on its plans to phase out the crisis-era stimulus“. I am a little less optimistic in regards to the quotes, and when we see ““Better safe than sorry was the motto of the day,” said Dirk Schumacher, economist at Natixis“. I personally tend to see that as:

Better safe than sorry
It allows for another day without worry
As we pile the worries and woes
To a stack we can blame on crows
Those at the London Tower are best
Because when they leave the EU we can make them the jest
And when our barge is no longer secure
We move to Wall Street where we can endure

You might think that I am merely making light of all this. The issue is that people in Europe seem to ignore that over €2,000,000,000,000 was printed without the validation of treasuries or consent of the people whose funds got devaluated even further. Do you think that printing money has no cost? It is money that the EU never had, so why did you think it came without consequence?

This partially (and I mean partially) is seen in different ways when we look at an article from Reuters merely two weeks earlier (at https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-ecb-policy-draghi/stock-volatility-no-big-factor-for-ecb-so-far-draghi-idUKKBN1HG1VR) ‘Stock volatility no big factor for ECB so far – Draghi‘, now I agree that volatility will come and go, so the ‘so far’ part is perfectly fine. When we see ““While we remain confident that inflation will converge towards our aim over the medium term, there are still uncertainties about the degree of slack in the economy,” Draghi said in the ECB’s annual report“, now I can agree with that. There will always be a certain amount of uncertainty, that is all good, no issues there, but it is set on a certain premise. When we see that Spain (the only visible one) suddenly in opposition of what I see as real has its credit score increased and as such we see the start of an optional bubble, when others do the same we see the forecast on unreal values, so we see the bubble is not set to the reality of the actuality, at that point, when a lot more start realising that some numbers do not make sense, the uncertainty grows and the closer the UK is to leaving the stronger that uncertainty becomes. At that point we see a run and a total collapse, when that happens, when the people realise that pensions before 78 is no longer optional, do you think that the people will remain calm? When they realise the impact of €2 trillion printed cash is impacting the 26 nations, how much value decline will they face? When that happens, how will people react in all this? Now we get to two elements, one is the mention in the Financial Times where we see: “But the weak economic data for the first quarter have triggered increasing speculation that the first interest rate rise will be delayed until later in 2019. A smaller number of analysts are expecting the bank to continue QE into the new year“, the second is that the entire stimulus was to set the economy right, which did not happen, now set that against inflated credit scores, inflated economies and the downturn that follows, that will happen, it can no longer be contained, merely delayed to some extent. When it does hit Europe would not have a penny left to balance against and it will leave the bulk of Europe destitute. There would be no defence against the next downturn and that is when disaster will truly strike. So as the story is pushing towards ‘protectionism’ and ‘patent values’, we should also consider that impact. Now, as a University graduated Master on Intellectual Property rights, I do comprehend some of the issues, yet I am not a patent attorney, so there are parts that I will ignore or not look at. Consider that a national economy is now more and more dependent on the national patents and the represented value that they hold. Now we get European Patents, the Unified Patent Court (UPC) allows for a simpler way to get it all registered and to some extent enforced. So it is a good thing overall, there was never too much fuss about that side, yet the one strong economy (Germany) is now setting the stage to oppose the UPC, we see this (at http://www.ippropatents.com/ippropatentsnews/europenewsarticle.php?article_id=5725), where we also see “Alternative für Deutschland (AFD) has called for the repeal of the convention on a Unified Patent Court (UPC). AFD “rejects the EU patent law reform”, according to the German Bundestag, which announced the motion on 7 March“, I believe that overall the UPC is a good thing, but there will always be small interests that are not perfect, no EU setting is 100% positive, yet overall, to get one filing for all EU nations, in light that even the UK agreed (and ratified) is a good thing. So when we see “It was based on three grounds, mainly how the UPC Agreement violates EU law, the majority requirements of basic law, and does not comply with the rule of law principle related to judicial impartiality. The complaint was scheduled to be heard in 2018 by the second Senate, appearing as the 11th item on its agenda. In Germany’s 2017 federal election, the AFD won 12.6 percent of the vote and received 94 seats, the first time it had won seats in the Bundestag“, there is an academic setting, yet with 12.6 of the council in hands of the AFD, a very Brexiting minded party, or is that Berlout or Deutchleave, we need to realise that the patent issue is a lot more biting in Germany and that cannot be ignored, as they give rise to uncertainties. So when we get back to the uncertainty there, as well as other uncertainties, and whilst we saw Mario Draghi accept that uncertainty results in stagnation, how much more stagnations are required for the next downturn, even a short term one, whilst the economic reserves have been already been drained.

Now we have a much larger setting, the EU was never about everyone agreeing on everything and the economic setting that requires that to happen at present is also making the dangers of waves that sinks the barge called EU. Now, that seems like an exaggeration, but when you realise that the German anchor is the only one giving stability, you can see the dangers the EU faces and more important, the dangers of no reserves and an utter lack to keep proper budgets in place, a setting now in more danger for the reasons that I gave supported by the economic views of many others. I believe some are downplaying the impact, yet when we realise that EVERY European Union government is downplaying the economic impact (as every nation always wants to look as good as possible, which is a PowerPoint setting of the human ago) we get a much more dangerous setting. We accept that the smaller nations have a negligible impact on the whole, but on a ship that can only remain truly stable with four anchors, losing three is a much bigger disaster than anyone realises, and that downplay will hurt all the players that are part of the EU, so when the downturn starts, we will see kneejerk movements from all the nations, all the big players and we can only speculate the fear mongering speculations that the IMF will treat the European audience to. I have no idea what form it will take, but when it happens I will take a deeper look. In a setting where every negative economic milestone could lay waste to whatever reserves its citizens wrongfully thought they had in the first place.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Media, Politics, Science

Chickie Chickie Bang Bang

Jason Burke is bringing the Guardian goods (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/18/arms-race-criminal-gangs-helping-terrorists-get-weapons-report-warns). You see, I am a gun lover. I loved ‘using’ guns since 1978. I love the design; I most definitely admire and love the tradecraft that the maker had which allows a mere metal object to be placed with 9mm precision over a range of 600 meters. The need and the skill for any person to get the bullet placed EXACTLY there where it needs to be, allowing your brain to correct all needed parameters, like for example wind to make sure that you aim for that point that allows the bullet to hit the bulls-eye dead centre. It is almost a fluidic interaction of skill and art, a balance between the machine, the environment and the shooter. Once you realise that part in this, the admiration for the skill that you get to hone, that passion will stay with you, probably for a lifetime. It was never about looking like the main player in Call of Duty, when I started my passion for guns, there was merely the Atari 2600, and there was no shooting game at that point, there was Pong, there was Pac-Man and there were the Space Invaders.

Even in those days, guns were expensive, so I was limited to the gun that the club had and my granny would not tolerate guns in the house and I personally had no issues with that. In addition to not having the dough to own a rifle, I also never had the initial drive to own one, so that was all fine to me, I just wanted to be on the range and shoot (and hit the mark dead centre). Of course I was a little bit blessed; the club had Feinwerkbau rifles as well as a few .22 LR’s, as well as a collection of pistols so we had all the good goods. It would be another two years until I got introduced to the 7.62 FN FAL, the UZI, the 9mm pistol and another two years until my first Remington.

So when I saw ‘Military grade firearms increasingly available to terrorists in Europe – report‘, I was not at all surprised. It is not merely the ““arms race” between criminal groups in Europe risks making it easier for terrorists to obtain high-powered, military grade firearms“, the fact remains that the image shows the Kalashnikov and the mention ‘Part of a haul of £100,000 worth of eastern European guns smuggled into the UK‘, we are missing that even those with a legal permit are willing to get their fingers on a genuine Kalashnikov. They are willing and eager to part with well over £850, making that part an easy £8500, so not only is it about the ‘arms race‘ it is a very lucrative business as well. If the movie ‘Lord of War‘ is true to some extent and the ‘entrepreneurial’ spirit can buy it per kilo, with a discount per container, making the profit even sweeter. The decently low risk and the huge returns are only going to make it worse for the foreseeable future in Europe. The stream of refugees and the Schengen open borders policies allow for transport from ‘who-gives-a-damn‘ somewhere near the Russian border to the shoreline of the Pass de Calais. That alone should be the nightmare of France (Germany has its own HK market). Even as I admit that I would still love to get my fingers on a full stock AK-47 with silencer as well as the Druganov SVD with its optional noise reduction system. We see that this market is for the collectors that have the cash (and the storage) as well as the criminal elements, so there is a larger stream of customers available. This changes the plot by a large amount. Even as one side will never be a threat to human life, it remains a larger issue. I for one would not have them in an unprotected setting, so the fact that someone (read: trigger happy doped up junk) steals it from my house is a larger worry for me than I care for, so I do not have either of them. Weirdly enough, that issue had been on my mind a lot more lately, because every shooter (or at least all I know) always had a reverence for the Remington. The fact that they went belly up means that if I would not be able to get one soon, the era of the Remington passes me by and that makes me sad, as it would any dedicated range shooter.

There is a part of debate with “The survey says long-standing barriers to obtaining firearms have broken down in recent years owing to the emergence of the internet, cross-border smuggling of military-grade assault rifles into the EU, the conversion of large numbers of blank-firing guns and the widespread reactivation of weapons previously rendered unusable to be sold to collectors“, in the first, the internet was never an issue, the darknet is a much larger issue as people can actively seek out what they need, a window shopping experience with almost complete anonymity. Smuggling operations are indeed an issue, but that is what the open border policy brought, if the government officials are in denial, they should never have been elected in the first place, so the entire matter is not new, it has been there since 1985, it was not until the 1998 Russian financial crisis that the Russian situation ‘exploded’ with container loads of Russian goods (read: military hardware) becoming readily available. So in that, this entire situation has been around for almost 2 decades, OK, 15 years is a lot more accurate. So when we see ‘a criminal gang in 2016‘, we seem to forget that these are either new player, or that the authorities remained in denial for well over 5 years. They aren’t but they seem to be. That evidence is also shown by the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/oct/05/steven-greenoe-gun-smuggling-trial). Here even the American entrepreneurs try to participate by getting a few slices of profit cake. So as the clever minded amateur goes with “Steven Greenoe, 37, bought weapons from American gun shops, broke them down to their component parts, and smuggled them into the UK in his luggage, Liverpool crown court heard on Wednesday“, I reckon that he needed to inflate his US Marine pension, it is not valued the way it ever was. You see the lesser amateur gets them ‘attached’ to the inside of the fuel tank of a truck. The Diesel nicely lubes and cleans the weapon whilst the trucker drives his trip and up to 4 AK-47’s giving him an easy £1,000 on the side per trip, a little more if the driver takes a double load of Makarov’s. What a luxury those open borders make, don’t they?

Yet the important part is that there is an issue. It is not merely the terrorists. These people become the go to guys for the Lone Wolves in the UK. With the danger rising of the dealers out for cash and not knowing who their clientele is, making it an almost ironic sense of justice for them to deal to a lone wolf only to come home and learn that the wife and kiddies were gunned down by a crazed extremists who hated all those who did not take him/her seriously, it ended up being all in a day’s work.

The previous part is more important than you think; you see the lone wolf is often in emotional turmoil. Unlike the actual terrorist who has a clear agenda, this person merely needs fame (read: infamy) and recognition, as such, emotion takes over and he/she is most likely to fail, yet not before they kill the innocent bystanders that were never part of any equation. That is what worries the intelligence community the most because there is no defence that would work and that is the ball game at present. You see the article ends with “arms races between criminal groups across the EU“, that is not the scary part. It is for ‘government officials‘ but those criminal elements remain all about exploitation and profit, so in the end they either slaughter each other (not the biggest issue of any week) or keep each other at bay, in most cases the innocent bystanders are less and less likely to get hit, merely because it makes for bad business (remember their profit based mindset). Yet another article partially opposes it with “Converted and reactivated weapons in Europe are seen as having posed an acute problem in recent years. Amedy Coulibaly, who carried out shootings in Paris in January 2015, used two reactivated automatic rifles and six handguns. The firearms had been sold in Slovakia before being reactivated and eventually smuggled into Coulibaly’s hands” which is merely one part in a setting of several. So the weapon smuggle is not merely the one part, you see the ‘reactivated‘ weapons are seemingly a much larger problem in the scheme of things and here we see the larger flaw. There is a legion of articles and papers that talk about reactivated weapons, meaning that the deactivation was improper, incomplete and actually not very inactive. The fact that the NABIS (National Ballistics Intelligence Service) gives us “The process of reactivation in respect of certain types of weapons may not require a sophisticated workshop and can be done with tools available from a DIY store. In one case, for example, reactivation was carried out in the kitchen of a one bedroom sheltered housing bedsit” (see attached) gives additional evidence that the entire ‘deactivation process‘ is as flawed as it is likely ever to get and fixing that one part will make the issue smaller, but will not make it go away. In this we have evidence for almost 7 years and the fact that they European commission is all about reports and as far as I can tell not about actual action makes the EU again merely a gravy train of income opportunity and not a resolving entity of any degree.

So when we have seen the events and the evidence, the article remains true to some point, the factual issue that works to the advantage of the police is that the real terrorist is not screaming its presence and neither is the arms dealer, so they are both in a dark room playing ‘Marco‘  (wait for it)  ‘Polo‘ hoping that the police or the intelligence workers don’t hear either of them, which works out well for the police (for now), the lone wolf is a much harder issue. that person might shout ‘I need a gun‘ and if no flags are raised on that person the police will miss the opportunity, yet the arms dealer will never miss up on a golden opportunity and will go with a go between. So the most likely part is that the wrong person ends up with the gun that is the true danger to every innocent bystander.

The availability remains, yet with open borders the goods can safely travel through Europe, making yet another case that Brexit has the option to solve issues, although in this particular instance it is not really a Brexit matter, yet the borders have been for a much longer time. Yet valid question remains: ‘Should a £12 million smuggle issue stop £200 billion in trade value‘, I think that anyone who states that it is true is absolutely loony tunes. The Brexit issue is a lot larger, and on that entire scale smuggling is almost quite literally the smallest issue of them all.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Media, Military, Politics

Is it merely timing?

When I looked into some off the Mario Draghi matters two days ago, I made a reference to his little kart, a kart full of tricks or is it a kart of indiscretion? So let’s take a look at the alphabet, the alphabet of ABLV

A is for Actuality

You see, the European Central Bank publishes a list where all the supervised entities are and the list starts with “Cut-off date for significance decisions: 1 January 2018“, so as we are in March (way past January 1st) and that same attached list gives us on the 81st position the ABLV Bank, AS, with the mention of ‘Among the three largest credit institutions in the Member State‘, whilst there is also (non-supervised) the ABLV Bank Luxembourg, S.A. in Luxembourg, yet stated and linked to the ABLV, should we wonder if we are being had? In light of the news two days ago when we were treated to “Draghi did address a question on why ABLV Bank received emergency support from the Latvian central bank before the ECB declared it failing or likely to fail. He said that the Emergency Liquidity Assistance policy – under which national central banks rather than the ECB decide to provide support to troubled lenders – is a “remnant of a past time” and should be reformed” (Source: Australian Financial Review), whilst the bank was being supervised according to the ECB, the fact that they are grasping at the notion that the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing, is that not an indication on how massively useless and overpaid the members of the ECB are? Just so that we are all in clear and that we all understand what is going on, let’s look at ‘supervision’, which the dictionary calls ‘the action of supervising someone or something‘, and with ‘supervising’ we get ‘observe and direct the execution of (a task or activity)‘, it seems to me that the ECB was not doing any observing or directing, so if the ABLV did not inform the supervising entity, I have a hard time to comprehend the Bloomberg article (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-02/latvia-analyzing-rimsevics-s-role-at-ecb-as-he-returns-to-work), where we see: “Latvia is still considering the ramifications of central bank Governor Ilmars Rimsevics’s status as a suspect in a bribery probe, as he returned to work this week and weighs up how to continue his role at the European Central Bank“, in my view, either the ECB knew in advance certain matters, or we have a different puppy in our midst. Now let us be clear, one is a setting of corruption, the other is the ‘receiving of emergency support from the Latvian central bank‘, yet the fact that this all happened during the oversight of the ECB makes it twice the size of the issue. The ABLV went to the Latvian Central Bank (Governor Ilmars Rimsevics) and got emergency funds, yet what was the origin of those funds? So when we see “Both ABLV and Rimsevics deny the accusations in cases that the authorities say aren’t linked“, my response would be ‘Really? So who are exactly those authorities?’ It seems like a simple question but it is one that we will never see an honest answer to I reckon. The links are not clear, but consider the following accusations.

First we have “The U.S. Treasury Department alleges ABLV engaged in institutionalized money laundering and violated sanctions put in place to counter North Korea’s weapons program

Second we get “Rimsevics has denied any wrongdoing, and Latvia’s Defence Ministry said that the allegations were part of a “massive information operation” by an external actor.” I used them in the article (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/03/01/the-failing-mario-draghi-kart/), yet who exactly was the external actor?

It is the second one that is weird, so how did the Defence Ministry get involved in a banking issue? Did it come from the office of Minister Raimonds Bergmanis, it would be an interesting tug of war between him and me, because I have my own centre of gravity and he is a three time Olympic contender in the category of weightlifting. I did not have all the information I needed in that piece, and I was juggling a few issues, so I moved it all along to today.

B is for Bloomberg

Bloomberg ends with “there are no signs other Latvian banks are experiencing outflows after the ECB decided to close ABLV on the grounds that it was failing or likely to fail. What happened to ABLV is a signal to other banks to follow the rules, she said“. Yet is Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola giving us the goods? Why did the Defence Ministry get involved? Was it to emphasize the weapons accusation? Clearly that would have been an issue that resides with Latvian Intelligence. So as Reuters gives us “Ainars Latkovskis, the head of the national parliament’s anti-corruption committee of lawmakers, who also urged Rimsevics to step down” as well as “Latkovskis, who is authorized to listen to reports from the heads of the Latvian intelligence agencies, dismissed hints by some local officials and politicians that a Russian campaign of disinformation might be behind the case“, it seems that the Intelligence official is either trying to stay out of this or we can see this as a sign that the SVR RF (the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation) has been whispering in someone’s ear and the culprits have overplayed their hand. Now no matter what has happened in that tier of the industry, it still gives us that the ABLV made a deal for funds with the Latvian Central Bank and the news as shown by the media is giving us that the ECB was either unaware or was informed after the fact with ‘Good news, we solved the problem‘ and now we see that the banks who are on the oversight list are either not getting supervised or they are ignoring their supervisors, I wonder which scenario is worse for the ECB.

L is for Liable

If you think it does not matter, think again. We pump billions into the UN and it cannot arrange a ceasefire (Syria), we pump billions into the European Union and the ECB is casually unwilling or unable to do their job and those people are fetching a lot of money every year. Two entities who are now proving to be more and more facilitators for the wealthy as well as paper tigers with a fluidic agenda that merely spells ‘compromise to keep the engine going’. So when did wee surrender our tax funds to those ends?

So was this all done through the allowed whisper via Sergey Yevgenyevich Naryshkin? I am merely speculating here, but the parts and numbers currently do not add up. You see, as Reuters gives us “The ECB appears to have been blindsided by the ABLV case, highlighting how thinly it is spread in supervising Europe’s biggest lenders and raising questions about a system of euro zone supervision just three years old“, this is seen (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ecb-russia-vtb/ecb-drops-supervision-of-russias-vtb-arm-in-the-euro-zone-idUSKCN1GE2N8), can we say that it is that simple? It remains pure speculation from my side, yet when we see “The European Central Bank has stopped supervising the Austrian arm of Russian state bank VTB after it slimmed down its European operations, the ECB said on Friday. A spokeswoman for the ECB said VTB’s new set-up in Europe no longer warranted direct supervision, which was now in the hands of Germany’s national regulators, Bafin and the Bundesbank” I wonder if there was anything simple on this. We could argue that Sergey Yevgenyevich Naryshkin did exactly what he was supposed to do, to serve HIS country. Yet the information gives me the feeling that this looks like a line of banks with Latvia between the Latvian ECB and the Russian ‘SVCR RF‘ bank. The two outside parties agree to keep each other afloat by shaking hands and pushing at the same time the ABLV over the edge in a combined effort. What some did in primary school (the old tactics are usually the best).

Still, this is all merely speculation from my side mind you!

V is for Voter

The question that remains is how the US authorities got to that jump and where is the evidence? Apart from the fact that one accused of bribery is allowed back into his office until the dust (read: investigation) settles is also cause for concern. You see, the news (at http://www.mod.gov.lv/Aktualitates/Preses_pazinojumi/2018/02/20-01.aspx) gives a part, but when we consider it and dissect “Latvia’s security-sector personnel have raised the alarm that outside actors could be using these current financial and banking scandals against Riga. The Latvian Ministry of Defence has pointed out that the AP news agency’s reporting on Latvia’s connection to various international financial corruption schemes has been reposted with unusual frequency on numerous websites known for distributing messages supporting Russia. As such, the defence ministry has called this media blitz a possible “hybrid”-style operation within a broader information war against Latvia“, we could agree that part of this is an issue. Yet is the foundation wrong? Is the bribery a fact? If so, why the hell is Ilmars Rimsevics allowed back in his office? If we see statements that there is proof, why not give that out to the open? So who were the outside actors? You see, accusation of bribery requires evidence and it is not out of the blue that Russia would expose bribery so that their operations could profit. That is not merely Russia, American politics and Wall Street have operated on that premise for decades, so it is not altogether weird to see Russia play a similar game, if that was the case. So even if there was an ‘information war against Latvia‘, it was done under the noses of the ECB and Mario Draghi. It was not merely a “remnant of a past time that should be reformed“, it was an option where the ‘the Emergency Liquidity Assistance policy‘ was overlooked by overpaid ECB executives, especially in light of the fact that by their own reports that the ABLV was under supervision.

Bloomberg supports my views (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-02/draghi-confronts-limit-of-his-powers-as-latvian-standoff-endures), where we see ““This reveals the impressive lack of power of the ECB in such circumstances,” said Stanislas Jourdan, the director of Positive Money Europe, an advocacy group calling for more transparency and accountability on economic policy“, which on one side is just as it should be about the sovereignty of a nation, but the fact that the ECB are confronted with their own foot in mouth protocol at the expense of millions, if not billions is a larger worry, because they already pushed a $3 trillion debt on the people of Europe. I also support the view we see at: “Draghi already expressed dissatisfaction to ECB officials in the week after Rimsevics’s detention that enough details from Latvia hadn’t been forthcoming, according to people familiar with the matter, and that may still be the case. Latvian Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola said on Friday that the anti-corruption office is “in the process” of giving the ECB all relevant information“, it is not about the ECB, it is a Latvian situation and in this Mario Draghi gets to do what most EU puppeteers do so well, they can bloody well wait (whilst still getting paid high amounts of money). Yet, in part this is not merely a waiting game, the fact that the voters are taking more notice of this mess is not helping him any, but that is the way life works and it is not always working in your favour. So when the Globe and Mail gives us “Did European Central Bank boss Mario Draghi save Italy or merely set up the world’s third biggest debtor for permanent zombie status? As Italians head to the polls on Sunday, the parties, big and small, are showering voters with promises of goodies galore“, we see the deadlines that the ECB has, it has a few and even as there is unlikely to be a stable Italian government, the fact that they won’t worry the ECB like Frexit Marine Le Pen or Brexit Nigel Farage, so they are not too worried, but the overall financial issues will remain and Latvia is not helping any with the news that they are the cause of at present. In the end, the question should become, how come that a supervised bank was able to do this? Because the answer needs to be coming from the people who are seemingly overpaid for work they basically did not achieve and that is not merely Mario Draghi; that list is a lot larger and in this case it might just exclude the one man at the top.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Law, Media, Military, Politics

The failing Mario Draghi Kart

Just yesterday, the Deutsche Welle (at http://www.dw.com/en/eurozone-economy-still-requires-stimulus-ecbs-mario-draghi/a-42751327), gave us that the ‘Eurozone economy still requires stimulus‘, so after these years the stupid and the rich still will not learn and the people are about to pay for it dearly. That is, not the UK, they might have gotten out just in time, if they don’t add delay upon delay. Even as we are sussed to sleep with: “The bank is gradually reducing its bond purchase program but it may continue past September”, the people are sussed to sleep, in a situation, where they sleep on a luxury liner and it is going down. Like having a nice cabin on the Titanic and you decided to sleep in on April 15th and you did. You never woke up, you could if there was oxygen, yet oxygen is 3786 meters away, 3786 meters straight up!

So when we are pointed at the ECB’s asset purchase program, which began three years ago, and which has seen the central bank spend €2.55 trillion ($3.14 trillion) to buy government bonds and other financial assets. The people are not given clarity on where that money went EXACTLY, in other news, that news we got months ago on Mario Draghi being a member of a very exclusive 5 mile high club. So when we got 6 weeks ago: “European Central Bank President Mario Draghi should give up his membership of the opaque Group of 30 consultative body because it risks hurting public confidence in the ECB’s independence, the European Ombudsman said on Wednesday“, how come the near entire bloody media has not followed up on this? After that one day it was silenced, the ECB will not respond, Mario Draghi apparently keeps on getting away with whatever he needs and there are no questions, not even on an international level which is unsettling in so many ways as it leaves us with the indication that the media may be as unreliable as the politicians they are reporting on.

A program that has sunk 3 trillion dollars and everyone is just stating that the economy is great, yet nobody is asking the number one question and that is ‘How will we pay it back?

The theory of printing money

Mario Draghi, president of the ECB has profiled his place and his ‘bank’ as awesome, marketing on a near supreme level, like a politicians stating on how honest he is. Excellent standards, great breeding and stellar academic excellence, and you know that expression about a story being too good to be true?

So they have their ‘Quantative Easing’, they use it to buy government bonds and other financial assets. The purchases have helped keep borrowing costs low, which in turn have boosted spending and investment in the Eurozone economy. But is this true? You see, there are now two levels of problems and dangers. When we consider that the bond is a debt security, under which the issuer owes the holders (so the government that issued the bonds now owes the ECB), a debt and (depending on the terms of the bond) is obliged to pay them interest and to repay the principal at a later date, termed the maturity date.

So over $3 trillion is bought from these governments and those governments are paying the ECB interest until they pay back the amount at the date of maturity (could be up to 30 years). So basically they are pushing massive debts forward, it is almost like the Greek debt mess, but now close to 173 times more intense in regards to the outstanding amount. The current makers in charge get a free pass and leave the mess to the next person whilst they enjoy the millions they earned as well as the multimillions they got by being a member of an exclusive group of 30, as they get the results before any other publication and they get to the cream all without ever running the risks other ‘investors’ face.

So whilst everyone sees the interest only part, we are kept in the dark on the fact that an additional $3 trillion would be outstanding and with the UK out of play, the other nations will get to pay for it all, so when we consider that last week nations like the Netherlands told the EU that they want a freeze on EU contributions, so now we read: “Rutte has said he does not want the Dutch contribution to the EU to increase, despite the European Commission’s call for higher spending on climate change and border controls, and the gap left by Britain after Brexit. Like the Netherlands, Britain is a net payer into the EU’s coffers and will leave a large hole when it pulls out. The Commission wants to fill the gap through a combination of spending cuts and higher contributions, something which the Dutch strongly oppose” (at https://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2018/02/dutch-prime-minister-begins-campaign-to-freeze-eu-contributions/), what no one is looking at, or mentioning is that the outstanding $3 trillion is going to be an additional matter to deal with, even if that is placed in a very separate part of the books. Payment will be due!

So as they give the mention how Brexit will be one reason to increase payment, the absence of the QA plan and outstanding amount remains unmentioned, it is an impact, but that is exactly why the UK got out in the first place. In this the contribution for the Dutch will go up by $4500 per person, so where is that coming from? Now consider that the impact of the matured bonds will be massive for the positive contributing nations, Germany, France, Italy, Sweden, Belgium, Denmark and Austria would end up getting a blow to their budgets unlike any they have had. The question becomes how intense depends on certain elements. So when we consider the bad curve. So, when the bonds bought reduce in value by 30%, the ECB is not hit, it might lose the value, but that means that the government it was bought from ends up with a smaller invoice to pay, and the losses for the investor (the ECB) loses 30% of their investment, now the EU nations as a bloc will have to come up with that money. So depending on where it was invested in, that government get to laugh as the other EU members need to pay for the ‘losses’, which amounts to the positive paying nations. This is one of the foremost reasons why I was all for the UK getting out as soon as possible. So these nations could end up paying an additional $1 trillion divided amongst them. So how was this ever going to be fair? Of course that is if the value of these bonds depreciates, if that does not happen, than there is no additional issue, but the fact that the outstanding amount is still due for payment and in light of the bulk of these EU nations not being able to keep a decent budget and almost no ability to pay such amounts does not help us in any way in raising confidence in regards to the EU moving forward. Greece is to the smallest extent some indication, even as many sources are positive, I have an issue with “The 2017 primary balance target of 1.75 percent of GDP is expected to be reached with a significant margin. For 2018 the primary balance target of 3.5 percent is considered achievable“, so there are two parts. The first is the use of ‘expected to be reached‘, margin or not, these numbers are not yet set in stone, so there could be a bad news cycle. The second part is ‘target of 3.5 percent is considered achievable‘, which means an almost 100% increase towards the positive result, which has never been realistic. Even as the unemployment numbers are down from 27% a few years ago, to 21%, this still implies that one out of 5 is without a job, that means the stresses on the Greek infrastructure remains and it will remain for several years to come. So when it comes to the larger nations, Spain, Italy and France are still a downward drag here in regards to the overall EU and their drag is draining their infrastructure and options towards pushing the EU economically forward, some others like the Netherlands and Sweden are ahead of the curve, but we forget that they are merely 26 million, whilst the three dragging us down represent close to 185 million people, in that regard we forget the weight that the larger nations have. So in that both the UK and Germany are the positive sides, but the UK is leaving and adding Germany only gets that group of 3 at 50% of the ones slowing the EU down, so even as the slowdown is a good thing, it is still a negative result in the end. So it is in that light that there is a growing risk to the entire Quantative Easing plan that Mario Draghi gave the EU and even as they are all on how ‘the economy is so much better‘, I agree that compared to two years ago, the people are more positive and jobs are getting better, yet this has been at the expense of unrealistic levels of spending and there is no given on when that will be resolved, so those people have a $3 trillion bill hanging over their heads.

You see, part of the problems is infrastructure, EU infrastructure mind you. So as the Australian Financial Review (at http://www.afr.com/news/economy/monetary-policy/mario-draghi-keeps-focus-on-monetary-accommodation-20180226-h0wos8) gave us “Draghi did address a question on why ABLV Bank received emergency support from the Latvian central bank before the ECB declared it failing or likely to fail. He said that the Emergency Liquidity Assistance policy – under which national central banks rather than the ECB decide to provide support to troubled lenders – is a “remnant of a past time” and should be reformed

Say What?

So basically a bank got support from its national bank, whilst the ECB had it as ‘likely to fail‘, so is this how Quantative Easing is ‘miss-spent’? It is not completely clear or fair to state it in that way, yet when we see Reuters with “The ECB said at the weekend that privately held ABLV is likely unable to pay its debts or other liabilities as they fall due. “We believe our bank will be able to settle with all of our clients in full,” ABLV, Latvia’s third-biggest bank by assets, said in a statement. “Voluntary liquidation is an important condition for it – the process has to be done as professionally and as transparently as possible, given the history of Latvian insolvency and liquidation processes”“, yet in all that is there any mention whether that included the emergency support funds? The text does not include that part, so that is money down the drain. That whilst it is not the only scandal that Latvia faces. If we consider the Stratfor view (at https://worldview.stratfor.com/article/what-watch-two-banking-scandals-unfold-latvia), we see “On Feb. 17, the Latvian anti-corruption agency detained the head of the country’s central bank, Ilmars Rimsevics, after Grigory Guselnikov, the Anglo-Russian owner of Latvia’s Norvik bank, accused him of taking bribes. Rimsevics has denied any wrongdoing, and Latvia’s Defense Ministry said that the allegations were part of a “massive information operation” by an external actor. Latvian Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola said that the corruption allegations would be investigated“, as well as “a report issued Feb. 13 by the U.S. Treasury Department detailing the results of its investigation that found ABLV had facilitated transactions linked to “large-scale illicit activity connected to Azerbaijan, Russia, and Ukraine” as well as activities circumventing sanctions on North Korea. In the wake of that report, significant assets were withdrawn from ABLV“. Now we can see that for what it is, yet we also get “the ECB’s Single Resolution Board has rebuffed ABLV’s efforts to seek financial assistance, determining that shoring up the bank “was not in the public interest.”“, so in light of the mention by Mario Draghi with ‘under which national central banks rather than the ECB decide to provide support to troubled lenders‘, I see it as instead of money wasted from the left trouser pocket, it came from right cheek pocket. How does that solve anything? The fact that the trousers came from the old tailor, the fact that the damage was not contained and allowed certain parties to take their cash out of Latvia is still cause for concern for those wearing the trousers.

That reflects also when we add the Greek issue that is playing right now with “the resignation on Monday of economy minister Dimitris Papadimitriou and his wife, the alternate labour minister, Rania Antonopoulou. Antonopoulou gave her notice after it was revealed that she had accepted €23,000 in housing benefits at a time of immense hardship for Greeks” (source: the Guardian). The issues playing do not seem like much, but it is like mopping the floor in a room where the water main has burst, it is close to pointless. In all this, especially when we hear Alexis Tsipras come with ‘praising the couple, in a speech late on Tuesday, for the “sensibility” they had exhibited in stepping down‘. To me it reads like ‘I am happy you vacated the premises as the people now know what you did and they are angry, thank you for that!‘ Is there any way that the Greeks are not getting fuming mad on that issue?

That is the part that does matter, because that is linked to whatever bonds were purchased, where they were purchased and how much is in play. We see none of that; merely that the invoice at present is set at 30 billion Euros per month, down from 60 billion per month earlier and 80 billion per month before that. So there is no way to tell how unrealistic my 30% loss is, it could be as low as 1% or as much as 41.3%, there is at present no way to tell. It is a long term gamble instigated by those in power now and left to solve for whoever gets to hold that seat when those spending’s mature and payment is due. Yet the chance of breaking even (best case scenario) is almost statistically impossible and no one has answers how to deal with it the moment it happens.

Can the Draghi failing be proven as a failure?

That remains the main event in all this and the fact is that the proof is nowhere near complete because the transparency in the spending and the path to repayment is missing. The fact that the money is printed and that the payment of the printed money is due at some point is not dealt with, by none of the media. Is it because it is not due now, or are we kept in silence because it stops us from asking questions? Perhaps like the elite group of 30 bankers, only initial questions are allowed and no response will be coming. That are merely factors in all of this and it does NOT sets any premise to the failure or success of the acts by Mario Draghi. Part of it is shown by Bloomberg a mere 15 hours ago, as they gave us: “The rate of price growth slowed to 1.2 percent this month from 1.3 percent, dropping to its weakest since 2016. The core measure was unchanged at 1 percent. The figures follow a series of releases that have checked the economy’s thundering momentum at the start of 2018, which had emboldened policy makers who want a faster unwinding of the central bank’s crisis-era monetary stimulus“, so even as that is not evidence, it seems to me that people are stalling and delaying stopping the QA wave, until the QA wave shows a positive. It is like watching a person throw more and more money in the pokeys until that person breaks even. In gambling terms it is watching a fool bleed dry. Even when we accept that a pokey returns 90% over its lifetime, that means that at the very least there is a loss of 10%, even if that person is getting lucky, the small wins are still used up whilst the player is trying to break even and in the end that money too is gone. That is how we could see the QA program to go and if that is true, a loss of 41.3% might have been optimistic, but it remains speculation. The article (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-02-28/slowing-euro-area-inflation-helps-draghi-push-back-exit-debate) now gives the other parts I mentioned earlier too. With “consumer price growth almost halved in Italy and slowed in Germany” giving the line I had that with unemployment in Germany being an asset, but this slowing and 50% less gives rise to more without a job, or halted in economic growth for Italy, whilst Germany is halting to some degree their forward momentum, which translates in upcoming bad economic news cycles, or better stated less positive ones, so how will that impact the outstanding $3 trillion? The impact is only seen when that amount is due, but the impact will be there and those who pushed it onto us will no longer be around and they end up washing their hands off the dangers and leave us to pay the outstanding invoice, it makes for the most dangerous of market karts.

With ‘Buy now and pay when we make the most profit!‘ is an economic standard that has never been good commerce, or realistic for that matter; but that is exactly what Europeans signed up for, and the people in Europe end up not getting a say in the matter. That is the issue I opposed all that time and that is why I hope that the UK got out in time, because that part will drag the EU economy down to a degree it has not seen before. The only worry is what happens when that issue hits the European tax payers, because it will! No doubt about that!

 

1 Comment

Filed under Finance, Media, Politics

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.

 

1 Comment

Filed under Finance, Law, Media, Military, Politics

A Turkey problem

We’ve all had them around thanksgiving, the turkey was still too deep frozen, the filling was incomplete and the oven was not firing up to the right temperature. In the US these are at times regarded as mum’s worst nightmare. Thanksgiving is a day when mum shines and her dinner is heralded and dreamed of for many nights before and a few nights after as well. No, this is not about the plumage; this is about that nation that is trying to basically piss off anyone they deal with. The first is seen (at http://www.france24.com/en/20180207-turkey-says-it-has-met-eu-criteria-visa-free-travel), where Ibrahim Kalin stated that “that Turkey had submitted all related documents to EU officials ahead of an EU-Turkey summit in March“, a Turkish official gives us: “the country has fulfilled all 72 requirements set by the European Union to secure visa-free travel for Turkish citizens to the 28-nation bloc“, this whilst we know that ‘Turkey had failed to meet the 72 criteria, including amending anti-terror laws‘, we might go so far as that of those criteria the bulk had not been met and with the additional issues now in play, there was never a more prompt moment to deny the visa-free travel options. More important, stating that ascension to the EU would not be possible within the next 50 years would equally not be out of the question. The Turkish approach to ‘securing’ Europe as discussed (at http://theconversation.com/turkey-is-using-syrian-refugees-as-bargaining-chips-as-it-moves-against-the-kurds-90904) is beyond tasteless. As I stated before, the acts by Turkey going back as far as 2002 are shown to be unacceptable. The larger issue is why Europe seems to continue to ‘find’ ways to reopen talks whilst the bulk of 72 requirements have not ever been met, even worse, their actions in Syria, their involvement with Qatar and semi union with Iran makes the matter worse. It makes a case that Turkey is the larger security threat for Europe.

The fact that Turkey is so corrupt that immigrant threats get to walk through Turkey, or via Turkish smugglers makes matters worse. Yet, there is no such mention at this time. Even more unnerving is the fact that there is still a meeting. The Commission confirmed Wednesday that Erdogan will meet in Varna, Bulgaria, on March 26 with Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, European Council President Donald Tusk and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, whose country holds the bloc’s rotating presidency. What takes the cake was the quote Commission spokesman Alexander Winterstein said the talks will focus on “subjects of mutual interest and recent developments in Turkey. That includes obviously the rule of law and fundamental rights“. Knowing that Turkey has only two elements on the brain, I wonder how this can end well. The EU is getting truly desperate. It is still facing Brexit and the news and the bitterness of Europe is showing them to be spiteful in every way. is that not nice to know that some place that ‘pretends to value’ freedoms, will not honour those who are no longer interesting in its membership? As I personally see it, the levels of corruption that flow through the ECB gravy train is making people nervous, because that part is becoming clear that this train has to stop functioning. the Financial Times (at https://www.ft.com/content/ade8e020-0b50-11e8-8eb7-42f857ea9f09) voices it in light of ‘non-compliance’, the quote “The five-page text (UKCompliance), circulated to EU member states by the European Commission and seen by the Financial Times, sets out how the EU plans to make Britain abide by union law until December 2020 while excluding it from decision-making“, does that sound like amicable? As the article states, it basically reduces the UK to a slave state having to enforce laws designed in the foundation of utter stupidity, whilst not getting a say in the matter. So, as that is pushed upon the UK, with the optional worse decision to continue talks with Turkey, The EU is basically setting a warm fire where the UK can decide to go postal, take the cold Brexit and cut all ties. The tidal wave of chaos that Turkey is likely to bring soon thereafter will make UK the best trade solution for Western Europe and Scandinavia. The document also emphasises that London must refrain from any “action or initiative which is likely to be prejudicial to the Union’s interests”, which sounds nice on one side, but the act that judicially for the UK is the national notice that counts, and that is the setting of any judicial setting in its national origin, it is not for the European Union to set that as anti-Union. Even more pronounced that in itself would constitute another reason for Turkey not to be allowed within the European Union as such. Should that be set aside for consideration, it could invalidate the terms for the UK to abide by, which is a small blessing in disguise.

It is the Financial Times, who in light of Brexit shows that Europe is filled with duality. The economic pressures it faces and the facilitation it requires as it has been playing the monopoly money printer at large for all causes worthless and overvalued. This is seen in several ways. In the first the ECB remained quiet on Mario Draghi and the G30 club, the media has silenced any actions since January 17th. In addition, Bloomberg reported “Mario Draghi said the European Central Bank has no choice but to brace for the possibility that the U.K. will exit the European Union without a transitional agreement“, form my point of view, the 5 pages that the Financial Times initially gave us, and that likelihood is only increasing. Perhaps having a few spiteful children on the Brussels side was not the cleverest of options as I personally see it, but then again. It is merely my view that some of these players want to continue their gravy train, a debatable view to say the least. Even as France has been outspoken and opposing any Turkish ascension to the European Union, there has been a silence from several other players. The fact that the Bulgarian meeting is still on for now, that in light of the Turkey violating international Law in Syria is also light for concern. The Jerusalem Post gives us “Speaking on BFM television, Jean-Yves Le Drian also said there were indications Syrian government forces were using toxic gas against civilians although the UN would need to confirm that“, that might be true, but at this point is Turkey also involved in those actions? Because that is the evidence that matters! You see the quote “Le Drian said international law “is being violated by Turkey, by the Damascus regime, by Iran and those who are attacking eastern Ghouta and Idlib”. His remarks amount to France’s toughest line yet on Turkey’s involvement in the Syrian conflict” might hold water, but only if clear evidence is given that Turkey actually broke international law. You see, from one point of view Turkey was not barred, stopped or told to leave by what should still be regarded as the legitimate government of Syria, as such Turkey ends up having an actual defence against the French claim and that could remain to be an issue. The fact that other papers are voicing the identical quotes does not make this issue more so true, the presentation of evidence does.

So even as Ankara is not meeting some thanksgiving any day soon, it basically soured the waters with the US, France, optionally Germany, Saudi Arabia and a few other members of the European Union. And there was I thinking that only Napoleon was stupid enough to wage a war on two fronts, oh no that Adolf dude made the same stupid error. Anyway, as things go we will see more news soon, because the entire march meeting even as the Netherlands has withdrawn its ambassador to Turkey, we see the Dutch former NATO secretary Jaap de Hoop-Scheffer mention that ‘Turkey is too important for the Netherlands and the Netherlands are too important to Turkey‘, the economic fires are pushed to a higher level, there is nothing like a former official to voice the needs that politicians are not able (read: allowed) to make. The ECB and its gravy train must continue. That is the imperative that the 28 bloc nations are trying to rephrase so that certain questions are not asked. I personally believe that it is all in extremely poor taste. In another source (Dutch Newspaper: Trouw) we see the Dutch Lily Sprangers, former director of the Turkey Institute in The Hague state: “Die problemen zijn geen reden om geen betrekkingen te onderhouden” (These problems are no reason not to maintain relationships), sounds nice in theory, yet when the Dutch fascist JanMaat was about to get elected you (read: the politicians at large) did not follow on that idea to improve options, you tried to silence it to death, when he ended with 3 seats you all united to get that undone. It all seems a little two-fold in the light of the events that are happening.

The Dutch have been trying to improve relationships, which remains valid and they are not the only one, but in light of the 72 non-achievements to get some report going so that they could be included in light of the hostilities shown towards Brexit, gives me the shivers. A club of inclusion tends to be the most dangerous kind, because (as I personally see it) it allows for the utter corruption of ideals that should have excluded parties from the very start.

So then the media reports on the March 26th event. Will I still sound wrong to you, or is that and the lack of response by the ECB on the G30 club a clear signal that a lot of things are wrong in Europe and Brexit might have been the one sane move to begin with?

Did I oversimplify issues again?

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Law, Media, Military, Politics