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That crazy thought

Crazy thoughts, we all have them at times, we all think them, we all wonder the ‘What if’ question whether it is valid or not. So when the news hit, among them the line ‘The $6 trillion wipeout in Asian stocks is getting deeper‘ (source: Sydney Morning Herald). I was not contemplating the quote: “Just like that, the region’s equity benchmark erased weekly gains and is now heading for a sixth slide in seven weeks, only worsening the wipeout that already erased $US4.3 trillion ($5.95 trillion) of market value this year“. So there I was looking at that quote, as well as the quote “One thing that might be worth keeping an eye on is data around China’s consumption — car sales fell for a fifth month and and Ctrip.com International joined the likes of Baidu and Alibaba Group Holding in being unable to avoid the economic slowdown. Also throwing cold water on the recovery is the US dollar, which resumed its appreciation as the Federal Reserve signaled it’s still ready to increase rates in December. The strong greenback has been a key concern for investors in the region, as its weakened local currencies and triggered massive outflows from emerging-market assets“. You see, I believe that none of this matters, the excuses like ‘consumer prices steadied amid sluggish demand‘. I went into the ‘What if this was always meant to happen?‘ mode. It is my personal belief that we have been sitting still whilst analysts have been inflating prognoses of economy, whilst they were all humming; it is a bright and sunny day, whilst it was not. We get excited when USA Today gave us ‘Economy adds robust 250,000 jobs in October in last employment report before election‘ on November 2nd. Yet this is news that was merely overdue and way too late. The world has been at a stand still for the longest of times. Millions of US citizens are still overcoming a decade of hardship, many of them lost the bulk of their retirement funds and it will take half a decade of really good news to turn this around. Too many have felt the pain and it is the same all over Asia. We might see news last month with ‘India adds 7,300 new millionaires’ thinking that hard times are over, yet this merely shows the stage where 7,300 clever Indians are getting other Indians doing their bidding, the millions behind those 7,300 people are not in a much better place, they have not been for the longest of times. Those 7,300 will be the foundation of a dozen or perhaps two dozen billionaire over time, yet like in any pyramid scheme, the profits go upwards, the foundation of that pyramid will not see a dime of that and we forget about that unbalanced setting. So as we are all in a stage of happy happy joy joy, the market is relentless in too much upbeat procrastinated prognoses and the market will seek equilibrium. No matter what excuse we see, what term we give to oil, what term we give to car users. The foundation is that every sold car is linked to a person buying it and from the current stage less than 25,000 were able to afford a new car, because the normal monthly expenses remain the same or go up, they never go down. So when we see ‘car sales fell for a fifth month‘, it makes perfect sense, you can up production all you like, yet when the people cannot afford to buy one, making more really makes no sense. That stage is clearly seen in Asia and Europe, in addition, the people in the US don’t have that much extra to spend, even with the new job, their living expenses had been through the roof for 2-3 years and they build either a buffer or go hungry and become homeless.

It all gets to have a hilarious side when you consider the Wall Street Journal (at https://www.wsj.com/articles/peter-navarro-blasts-china-and-wall-street-globalists-1541787254). We see “President Trump’s senior trade adviser, Peter Navarro, excoriated China and attacked Goldman Sachs and Wall Street as Beijing’s “unpaid foreign agents” who are weakening the U.S. leader before his meeting this month with China’s president“. It seems to me that Peter Navarro does not comprehend Goldman Sachs or Wall Street, so as an Australian I feel it is my duty (my entertaining duty mind you) to explain that part in a plain manner. ‘Mr Navarro, these two players Wall Street and Goldman Sachs do not give a fuck about you or your president, they never did! They only care about their bottom line, the annual growth, the profits they do make and their bonuses. It is that plain, and simple enough the board of directors in these two places care exponentially more about their bonus, nothing else matters!‘ I do hope that Peter Navarro comprehends that part, because it has never been different. The American people were sold down the drain in an instant in 2004 and 2008 and those people will do that again and again. It is not rocket science; it is transparent and extremely predictable. So when I see “As a summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping looms at the Group of 20 meeting in Buenos Aires, the economic council is coordinating what kind of trade deal the U.S. might accept from China. It is focusing on intellectual property, agricultural tariffs, forced technology transfer and requirements that U.S. firms form joint ventures to operate in China“, I see no mystery, I see no questions. It is merely the execution of the operational merit that profit brings to these 20 players that is on the table and the US is weaker than it has been ever before. A lot of the IP is not in American hands, the ones that matter are in the hands of IBM, Google and Intel and the US administrations have been able to piss all three off in more than one way, so good luck there. In addition, if the US exercises some ownership need, we will see both IBM and Google moving their IP all over the place making matters for the US worse.

Oh and this was all before we see the current US president in a stage where we see: “France on Saturday attempted to defuse a row sparked by President Emmanuel Macron’s comments about a European army which angered US President Donald Trump“, we can consider that passing of the few allies left is not really a good thing, is it? Especially in light where Marine Le Pen is currently more popular than Emmanuel Macron is the upcoming EU elections. The advantage is only one percent, yet we also see: “Far-right parties, including those supporting a French exit from the EU, secured a combined 30 percent of support“, that is way more than most EU nations are currently willing to be comfortable with. The fact that President Macron has agreed with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte to a union of En Marche, Dutch Liberals and Democrats is optionally one that could backfire in France to some degree and if Le Pen gets to the 40% mark a stage of Wall Street panic would be the consequence making the markets slip even further getting the overall losses to surpass eight trillion before the year ends. This stage becomes an even larger US nightmare as Matteo Salvini enters the stage, and he is siding largely with Marine Le Pen in all this, most likely purely for his own interests as would be expected in Lego Politics, but the impact is still there. This all impacts to a much larger degree as Italy has stated less than a day ago that they will not adjust the Italian budget which now puts the ECB and the EU in a much darker light, this budget could optionally impact the stage in a few European ways and the other nations will be reminded of the Greek tragedy when it overstated what they did not have, whilst we now see Italy not acknowledging the things they do not have, with a similar impact to several EU nations, the consequences could propel out of control and that too will impact greed driven Wall Street. This means that President Trump is going into a G20 meeting with three sets of balls and chains on their ankles, whilst China gets to point out these six balls and chains and remind him that this is partially all his doing (whether that is true or not).

So in the end, he sits in a meeting with little to use, nothing to go by and all merely because the previous 4 administrations all left control of the wealth reigns with Wall Street themselves, how was that ever going to work?

So that crazy thought is now going into the direction: ‘What if we remove the reigns of wall Street?‘ Would that be the craziest idea? In the end it is not going to happen, yet a first step is not the weirdest idea. It is time to take a very close look at those Wall Street analysts and their exectations, even if they ever correctly solve their rounding problem, the people still end up being confronted with a (what I personally would speculatively call) a 1.13% offset from any norm and that made all the differences for well over 12% of the companies ‘underperforming’ in the eyes of Wall Street. When we consider going back in time to 1874 when French economist Léon Walras decided to give ‘Elements of Pure Economics‘, he failed (as these settings did not exist) to give two elements a much larger consideration. The first is ‘behaviour of supply and demand‘, whilst not realising that governments have a required supply and demand and the corporations have a forecasted supply for the expected demand of an international community, which is weighted and rounded upwards sinking the notion of science towards anticipated presentations. So there we see three sets of numbers, all weighted and only after the fact shown as ‘due to unexpected factors‘ graded downwards after the fact giving us a few headaches all at the same time.

So as we see ‘adjusted’, ‘evolved’ and ‘expert driven’ algorithms towards forecasting the fact that there was something wrong with the formula’s in the first p[lace is not set into the stage of punitive prosecution ever. Meaning that these wipe-outs will happen again and again and the next time it hits a group of people that will revolt violently for being presented the invoice that others should have paid for, a stage that is unseen as many are in denial and often merely wiping the consideration away as non-relevant and unimportant. And the idea is not unique, my thoughts, my very own thoughts were proven correctly in 2013 by former Wall Street analyst Yves Smith in her book ‘ECONned‘ and she is not the only one, yet in the 5 years that followed, after all the evidence shown in several ways, the US Administration decided not to act, decided not to take control of the situation, even largely diffusing the danger was beyond them and now we see the stage where we see ‘weakening the U.S. leader before his meeting this month‘, in my personal view Peter Navarro needs to wake up and smell the coffee. He comes from an environment that did nothing for too long.

How crazy was that thought?

 

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Return towards Tyranny

To be honest, I never expected to be alive when this moment came. I did not fear or dread it, I merely did not expect it. Perhaps I had grown weak; perhaps I like all the others had become complacent. It also reopens an old wound. It was not me that started this; it was actually the work of an associate professor of strategy, economics, ethics, and public policy at Georgetown University (aka Jason Brennan) who gave us the ground works. In his book against Democracy which was published in 2016 we see ‘Should dumb people be allowed to vote?‘ I have always believed that voting was a basic right, yet should it be? And I am not devoid of criticism on self either. When I was young, I voted, yet I voted populist, the need of what some would call ‘my fairway’ and what might be regarded as short sighted.

I had little or no knowledge of the word policy (other than spelling it correctly). I would not comprehend a decent level of policy for another 5 years. I did not comprehend the exploitation of subsidisation and the impact on the quality of life until years after that. So was I in any place to give voice to who should direct a nation in any direction?

Jason introduces some and reminds many of epistocracy. Here we see: Epistocracies retain the same institutions as representative democracies, including imposing liberal constitutional limits on power, bills of rights, checks and balances, elected representatives and judicial review. But while democracies give every citizen an equal right to vote, epistocracies apportion political power, by law, according to knowledge or competence“. If nothing else, it is the showing of the failings through the current American president Donald Trump that is calling for such a change. There are examples in Australia and the UK for similar shifting, yet how to resolve it? There are voices that we have become too dumb for any democracy, yet in this, if we are about checks and balances, there is an upside to all this. In equal measure we will push towards the creation of an accountable press society. Meaning that some of the glossy news innuendo presenters could find themselves barred from ‘journalistic consideration‘ in some future. As dumb is becoming an issue, then too clever needs to be looked at as well. You see, some politicians are merely too clever for their own good and they have not been overly intelligent about it.

Political science site The Cut gives us additional goods via Jesse Singal. We see: “Whatever cutoff point you set for You Must Have This Much Knowledge to Ride the Epistocracy, it would in all likelihood be strikingly easy for rich people to meet that threshold, simply because of how money and privilege and education work, and the vast majority of the people who couldn’t get past the sign would probably be poor — and therefore disproportionately non-white as well” In this Jesse is right and we can partially solve it by having political science in High School, I admit not the greatest place. A place where most are sex, sport, gaming and procrastination driven, oh and there is an abundant need to imagine one of the sports illustrated swimsuit models doing a balancing act with her vagina on your penis (or is that the other way round?) Yes sex sells in so many ways and it gets you past more classes dreaming through the day. So we have a much larger problem than we think, but there is a growing consensus that the current democracy no longer hacks it.

Some might remember Starship Troopers, the movie. There is a quote that comes from Heinlein’s book: “When you vote, you are exercising political authority, you’re using force. And force, my friends, is violence, the supreme authority from which all other authorities are derived!” It is an important realisation that we all have this power and we squander it, at times almost utterly meaninglessly. The same book also gives us a ‘Citizens versus Civilians’ issue. When I was young I was living with the impression that this was merely a resident versus citizen equivalent. You see, the setting is: “Citizenship is a privilege, not a right, the competency tests help weed out the complete idiots and morons. Also, if you have to work for the right to vote, you will be more likely to study the candidates in order to use your vote better. That which is free is valued little, but that which costs much is valued highly“. We seem to have forgotten about the ‘privilege’ part and the current settings all over the world give rise to this shift. When we are seeing the implications here, we see that on one hand it would spell a massive advantage to republican based people, yet the balance here is that intelligence comes creeping in and there goes their advantage. Some even dug into that deeper stating that in the old style stage of militia (the age of the minutemen – 1645) only citizens were allowed military grade weaponry. So we would optionally have two optional advantages here, we get a natural culling of weapons and those who are wielding them and we get a less likely evolution of the populist politician, all advantages. We also accept that there are weaknesses in all this and it would never ever be perfect. Yet if it would be better to what we have now, would it be a solution to consider?

That is the question, is it not?

And when we consider some of the news we have seen in the last two days alone, this question is actually going to the forefront of many minds. Consider the Guardian Quote “Gorman points to 1957, the year the state constitution was amended and Utah became one of the last states to give Native Americans the right to vote. Ever since, he says, white GOP leaders – many of whom trace their ancestry to Mormon settlers who moved into the region in the 1860s, after the Navajo were forcibly removed by the US government – have used a host of tactics to suppress the Navajo vote“, it is not the first one and not the only one. Yet if we transfer this to the Jason Brennan change, would they not be equally disadvantaged? I see that as the Achilles heel in all this, because the idea that those too stupid to vote is not an issue to me, yet to evade those unable to get schooled into the right to vote is equally unacceptable. In the end, the Brennan solution might be the best solution if we can solve a few issues that are unacceptable. The Native American part is one, yet there are others and one example is found in Australia. The Sydney Morning Herald gives a few parts. The one that seems to be an uplifting one is: “Mr Latham announced the move on Alan Jones’ 2GB radio program and said he joined One Nation to “fight for our civilisational values”“, yet the issue is larger. SBS (at https://www.sbs.com.au/news/parliament-warned-against-normalising-white-supremacy) gives us the goods that cannot really be placed in a single quote, even as: ““On the face of those words, without any context, you may think there’s nothing objectionable about that,” he said. “‘it’s OK to be white’ is a slogan used by white supremacists, by neo-Nazis who use it deliberately to make their ideas sound benign and unthreatening… It’s not about the literal form of the words, it’s about the meaning. If we are not careful about calling out the dangerous appeals to racial homogeneity, purity or integrity, then we can end up in a situation where parliament here in Australia can normalise white supremacist slogans.”” does drive the dagger home, we see that there is much more to former Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane. You see the danger of ‘normalise white supremacist slogans‘ is extremely dangerous. It is a fortune cookie philosophy stage where the sentence makes perfect sense, yet the meaning is pushed in another direction whilst not clearly pointing that out. It is actually explained pretty perfect in a TV-Series called West Wing. In the episode ‘Red Mass‘ we see this in action. The quoted scene:

Josh: Here he quotes Robert Frost. “Good fences make good neighbours.” Did he talk about that?
Donna: Yeah.
Josh: What did he say?
Donna: Basically, that if you stay within your personal space, you’ll end up getting along with everyone.
Josh: Is that what Frost meant?
Donna: No, he meant that boundries are what alienate us from each other.
Josh: Why did he say “Good fences make good neighbors?”
Donna: He was being ironic, but I still don’t see…

This is brilliant in so many ways, and it gets to be better when you know the history. You see Robert Lee Frost (1874 – 1963) was an American blessing for America. The stage where a person with two educations and no degrees bring an audience a creation that would stand the test of time, a stage where this man ended up receiving four Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry. So his work matters on several levels. So when we see the original poem Mending Wall which was done in blank verse that remains relevant even today. It involves two rural neighbours who one spring day meet to walk along the wall that separates their properties and repair it where needed.

He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
and eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, “Good fences make good neighbours.”
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
if I could put a notion in his head:
“Why do they make good neighbours? Isn’t it
where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.

You see I identify towards self, in this day and age in another way. I like my fence when I watch a movie or play a game. I want to focus on these two and the small moments I have truly that are me are valuable, I embrace my isolation. It does not matter whether I work in a server room, whether I sit in a chair and dream of the day, all day long. I am with the thoughts I need to be, my creations continue to grow, the puzzle is solved and the interruption stops all that. Yet isolation in totality is a wrong thing, it is harmful to self. If one does not realise that, one harms one’s self more than others. We are all in need of our walls, even more so in this day and age of feigned positivity to the open plan offices that distract like no other. I am from the age of the cubicle and it never bothered me. When I work, I work. When I eat, I eat. It is simplicity yet it is also dangerous, I do admit that and the fortune cookie philosophy brings the dangers to that surface. If you can recognise the danger, the need for interaction becomes clear and important, I never opposed that. Yet too many voices go into one or another extreme and here is where we see the wisdom in Buddhism. Here we see: “maintaining a balance between faith and wisdom, and between effort and concentration. Faith opens the mind to the possibility of things that cannot be immediately experienced or understood. But if faith does not go hand in hand with caution, questioning and even a healthy scepticism, it can be very misleading“, balance is the great equaliser in all this. It has ben or the longest of times and not seeing that is a danger in itself. This now reflects back to epistocracy and democracy. When we optionally realise that they are extremes on the same line, we might see the danger to embrace either extreme. One might state that we need to embrace both and find a balance there. It does not negate all dangers, but it might remove a few and in the age where American votes were purged as they were seen dangerous to the vote for one side or another, we see the need to alter the reality we are in, to give shape to democracy and the need to hold it and the people wielding it accountable to the choices given, the promises not kept and the politicians and the press both to be held liable, even up to the point of criminal conviction. Freedom of the press is only an act of freedom it it also holds it responsible for the freedom that they exercise, in this President Trump has lately been proven more correctly than the responsible press is comfortable with. The bad apples in that basket are ruining it for all the pieces of fruit in that basket, and that was never supposed to happen.

That is seen when Tim Soutphommasane offers the one Kohinoor in the SBS article. A truth that seems to apply to the United States, the united Kingdom, Australia and a few other nations. That wisdom is: “I would even venture that it’s likely that naturalised citizens, those who have to sit a citizenship test, are likely to know a lot more about Australian democracy than those who have citizenship as a birthright.” I would state that it has become sad state of affairs in those nations as we are offered that one truth that shows the utter need of governmental change.

When we reflect that back to the stage of tyranny where the rule is not what we think it is. We still wipe it off the table as: ‘cruel and oppressive government or rule‘, yet hat is not completely true. You see, a more apt version is: ‘A government in which a single ruler has absolute power‘, this is more correct, or perhaps a little more complete. In my view it is the adjusted view: ‘A government in which a single ruler has absolute power, though an absence of checks and balances‘ that brings the stage of completeness. It is the absence of checks and balances in the ECB, the absence of it on Wall Street, as well as with the media and press, they are all elements of a stage that is shifting. Even as the people (mostly in the US) are staging the war against the second amendment as the meaning has changed to the largest degree. We see that the very same is happening to their first amendment. In the text we are informed of: ‘prevents the government from making laws which respect an establishment of religion, prohibit the free exercise of religion, or abridge the freedom of speech, the freedom of the press, the right to peaceably assemble, or the right to petition the government for redress of grievances‘, yet the part of ‘the freedom of the press‘ as they altered the ‘the people have a right to know’ the people have often been misinformed by not being correctly and completely being informed. The media, as the news, which created for the most their own demon ‘fake news’ is now a much larger concern and there are no plans to stem this tide on several levels (especially in the fore mentioned nations) giving us a much larger problem, driving us to a much less tolerant tyranny by our own design.

Until some of these problems are addressed and even redone we all as nations of vote eligible civilians and citizens are now approaching a stage where the idea of an epistocracy replacing democracy is more appealing than ever. We all got there in our own way, via our own path and when that change is completed the media will wish it had done its job more proper. It will cry and rant on the freedom of the press and that they can govern themselves and they will realise that accepting the Leveson charter might have been the easiest solution for them in many ways.

Even as I see the growing tyrannical push, the diversion towards an epistocracy is not the worst part in all this. In one blessing we should see that those in a monarchy will be in a much better place than those in any republic, yet this is not a new track. Consider Plato, who in Republic a work that is almost 2400 years old that discusses the morality of ‘the meaning of justice and whether the just man is happier than the unjust man‘, we assumed the former choice, yet over time both Wall Street and Apple have shown us (in the last 10 years) that the latter is the happier one and the people are catching on and they are all starting to demand change. A 2400 old work might in the end force our hands and whilst nepotism and flaccid politicians paved the way for such a large change, they are not the only cause. The fact that populations as a whole are willing to consider such a change is an actual plus point in all this, merely because such unity had not been seen in my lifetime to this degree and that is also a refreshing yet worrying notion.

Have a great day!

 

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In my house I decide

Do you have that situation where you are and you want a new sofa, so you decide to buy a new sofa? So far, so good. You go to the shop and you buy the sofa you want. Now this is the setting where the flavour changes. So now you are there and you almost have it, yet you need it in Cobalt blue and it has to be 35 cm wider. So you tell the furniture maker that you expect that model to be there as per next week.

This is where we are when we see ‘Trump Pressures Saudi Arabia to Increase Oil Production‘. With the quote “President Trump tweeted on Saturday that he had once again leaned on Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, to increase production by as much as 2 million barrels a day” the NY Times implies at (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/30/us/trump-oil-saudi-arabia.html) that the US is in charge of Saudi productions. So in light of the setting that Bloomberg gives through “President Donald Trump said he persuaded Saudi Arabia to effectively boost oil production to its maximum capacity to cool down prices“. In that directive, I think that we all deserve equality and that fair prices need to be set. So in that setting, it is my view to demand from the president that he call Bill Gates and demand that the pressure on the life of gamers need to be equalised and through that, he must demand that Microsoft on line stores prices should not be more than 20% of the physical copy of a Microsoft product, or a Microsoft Live, or a Microsoft game console product.

You get it Donald? It’s their house, their product, their choice. Your predecessors fucked up ‘your’ house by not properly taking care, now that the consequences are here, you have to pay, that is the deal in real life. 1300 children are killed each year through guns because the previous holders of the oval office refused to take proper care (an ATF reflection).

The people are in a state when we see that California has the 50th lowest quality of life for all states in the US, a consequence of not being able to set the proper stage against exploitation, yet that is not possible as we see through CNN (at https://edition.cnn.com/2018/01/13/opinions/sams-club-walmart-corporate-greed-tasini-opinion/index.html). We merely have to see: “as if by doling out money, Walmart should earn a medal. But, let’s look closely at the reality. If you worked 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year at $11 per hour, with not a shred of time off, you would earn $22,880. The federal poverty rate for a family of four is $24,600 — and the formula for the official poverty rate understates the difficulty of surviving at that income level“, now consider getting by anywhere in California on $22K, that whilst the bills pile up and when we consider the dozens of Sam’s club stores closing in California, the people will need to see where they can ends meet soon thereafter. It means more mileage and that is where cheap oil is essential, without cheap oil the American cogs stop. So as the US has already pissed off the larger player (Iran), it is desperate to get Saudi to give 2 million barrels a day more so that the price can be kept low. Yet, why should they? Were we given fair dealings in the 90’s? When oil makers could make a killing in upsizing price on petrol, were we protected? No, we were not, yet now, all have to give in for the needs of America. So what’s in it for Saudi Arabia, two F-35 squadrons on the house perhaps? So now we get to US News (at https://www.usnews.com/news/business/articles/2018-06-30/trump-claims-saudi-arabia-will-boost-oil-production), where we see: “”During the call, the two leaders stressed the need to make efforts to maintain the stability of oil markets and the growth of the global economy,” the statement said. It added that there also was an understanding that oil-producing countries would need “to compensate for any potential shortage of supplies.” It did not elaborate. In a statement issued Saturday night, the White House did not specify that Saudi Arabia would increase production but that “King Salman affirmed that the Kingdom maintains a two million barrel per day spare capacity, which it will prudently use if and when necessary to ensure market balance and stability, and in coordination with its producer partners, to respond to any eventuality.”“, yet in that how must we see ‘necessary to ensure market balance and stability‘, and in line towards the needs of others? How is that seen? You see the US is not the only place with an issue, even as the signals are clearest in the US, seeing southern Europe in a state where ends can barely be met, the need is actually seen in different ways. That is partially set when we go to Oilprice dot com. There we see Gail Tverberg give us: “Newspapers in the United States seem to emphasize the positive aspects of the drop in prices. I have written Ten Reasons Why High Oil Prices are a Problem. If our only problem was high oil prices, then low oil prices would seem to be a solution. Unfortunately, the problem we are encountering now is extremely low prices. If prices continue at this low level, or go even lower, we are in deep trouble with respect to future oil extraction“. When we look back we see that the oil prices have been above what it is now from 2004 onwards, with a small dip in 2009. So the issue of prices should not have been an issue, because all prices go up, even if the production prices go down (like downloading online games), the full price (sometimes even more is demanded, also when the shoe is on the other foot, does the US have any right to complain? In this Europe is in a similar track. This is clearest seen in the Independent (at https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/uk-petrol-pump-prices-latest-rise-crude-oil-diesel-cost-aa-a8382801.html), where we are treated to: “UK petrol prices near four-year high despite crude oil costs falling. Latest figures from AA show pump prices have not followed the slight decline in crude costs over recent weeks“, in addition we were given “Less than a month ago, the petrol retailers were falling over themselves to warn of pump prices at record levels. Now that the price of oil has fallen away and fuel costs have followed, in true form, they have kept quiet and carried on charging cash-strapped motorists the maximum for their fuel“, that was last month, and now there are indication that such a move might not be far behind in the US and for them the only remaining option is to artificially push prices down.

So who is in charge in the house of Saud? One would assume the King, yet the way the US is presenting the news, he is not and that is a really bad move to make. If there is a chance that barrels get back to $100 each, the setting from California becomes a nightmare, with summer and no air conditioning, the people are faced with air conditioning in their cars, so that they, oh no! They cannot afford the gas, because when a full working week still leaves you $2,000 below the poverty threshold, we will see that life in California will not be one for the better, but one for the lesser. So when we get back to the quality of life with Texas in 46th, Nevada 43rd, Alabama 35th, and Georgia 32nd, those living there and smothering to death because of the fuel prices might consider North Dakota in 1st, just be aware that they also get fuel prices, they get them in winter. Yet the list (at https://www.businessinsider.com.au/us-news-best-states-quality-of-life-ranked-2018-2), in the end, the quality of life i not merely the heating and electricity, the fact that I push it does not make it correct, it is merely a factor in that larger setting of a nation where equilibrium has faltered for too much and the unbalance is not merely there, it is also all over Europe. The entire ‘everyone on the equal size‘ was never going to work, but those worse off were willing to sign on for the EU fairy tale. Now that the dream ended and the owners of resources have a clear option to push forward their own agenda’s, the other players start being cranky because they continued the unrealistic dream.

It does not stop there, in their house (the USA) the issues are now equally exploding as Axios reported that “21,000 companies in the United States have filed for tariff exclusions claiming Trump’s trade war has caused layoffs and makes them at risk of folding completely“, yes that was always a danger and it is now hitting the US full on, so whilst there was the given notice of benefit, the drawback is growing almost exponentially. That whilst CBC (the Canadian edition) reported “On Friday, the federal government unveiled an updated list of U.S. products that are about to be slapped with tariffs while promising to spend up to $2 billion to protect jobs in the steel and aluminium sectors on this side of the border in the wake of a burgeoning trade war with the U.S.“, so not only is the US down $2 billion (and a lot more than that), the inflicted damage of businesses folding (as Axios stated it), is the double whammy of the worst kind on the US economy. So not only are they facing ‘retaliatory’ issues from Mexico, China and Canada. The setting is now that in addition to the backlash on one side, the other side is buckling too. This is given to us by Jeremy Grantham (co-founder and chief investment strategist of Grantham, Mayo, & van Otterloo, a Boston-based asset management firm) gave us “Once you start thinking in certainties, you have real trouble. When the facts move against me, I moved down from 50 per cent probable to 35, which is my official forecast. If we keep on fighting trade wars with Canada and the EU, and so on, it will go to 30, and then eventually 25 and fade away“, so these are merely probabilities of making even or better. So how many will invest their fortune when the chance of merely breaking even is on a half way chance or worse? It seems to me that the option of short selling US commodities never looked better. Don’t take his word for it, I surely wouldn’t do that. What can a 79 year old Brit tell you? The fact that he is on the list of the 50 most influential voices in the market would not count, would it?

We can agree that the house of Trump is in all kinds of settings and dangers, but it is his house (to merely coin a phase). In that same place the house of Saud is the sandbox of King Salman of Saudi Arabia (with oil and all). The mention that: ‘he had once again leaned on Saudi Arabia‘, is not only a wrong setting, it is a disrespectful one and the NY Times should have known better. You see, the NY Times implied a quote, yet the actual quote was: “Just spoke to King Salman of Saudi Arabia and explained to him that, because of the turmoil & disfunction in Iran and Venezuela, I am asking that Saudi Arabia increase oil production, maybe up to 2,000,000 barrels, to make up the difference…Prices to high! He has agreed!“, which is a very different setting. Now, we will never accuse President Trump that he has any correlation to a diplomatic mind, but the given issues ‘turmoil & disfunction in Iran‘ , as well as ‘am asking that Saudi Arabia increase oil production, maybe up to 2,000,000 barrels‘, the message is not the same and there the NY Times failed the readers in a disastrous way.

There we see that a dialogue is optionally created where lowering oil prices might get the US through the next summer and winter. In these two houses (US & Saudi Arabia), we see changes, we see technological progress in Saudi Arabia, yet in the US that is happening less and less because the house of US is as Americans say ‘not a house of us‘, it is the house of Wall Street and we are merely allowed to rent it for now. It is a dangerous setting and the changes that the Tariff war will push, as well as the exploitative nature of corporate America. You merely have to look at the track that it took for minimum wages to go up by $1 an hour and when you consider that the minimum wage was $7.50 in 2007, So when you consider the consumer price index and that it was 209.876 in 2007, and that it is now 261.696 implies a 24% shift, the income gives rise a 46% increase, one would state that this is good. Yet the one does not refer to the other and that is where the people are really hurt by people hiding behind consumer indexes. You see, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measure that examines the weighted average of prices of a basket of consumer goods and services, such as transportation, food and medical care. It is calculated by taking price changes for each item in the predetermined basket of goods and averaging them. And that is where the issues start. Not merely the ‘average’, the fact of where they are offered and where the people are. Transportation has taken a much larger shift as has the price of medication, so the entire setting is out of balance. So when we see: “The cost of living in California is higher than the national average. State of California salaries average $62,964.00, indicating a pay rate that is higher than the U.S. average annual salary by $9,343.00. The consumer price index (CPI) of 270 in California is 10.20% higher than the U.S. city average CPI of 245. The sales tax is 7.25%“, all shifts that line up and now look back at the Wal-Mart person having to get by on $22K. Now, California is the most visible one, but by no feat the only one, or the largest one and similar issues are growing in Europe. That is the shift that matters. We need to make sure our houses are in order and we have rights to decide on how our house is set in order, the ones elected to be in charge decide, not the media or the players setting a stage of profiteering. The gap of rich and poor does not merely exist, the gap between the two is growing faster and faster on a daily basis. Did anyone ever signed up for that?

I have no issuer that the well-educated and the visionaries make more, because that is the game, yet the issues are growing where those who have neither are rigging the game in their favour and against everyone else. The mere indication that governments let them is also a larger issue and even as we see that it is the largest in Wall Street, that same issue is seen all over the world, even in Australia where parliament is all up in arms on issues that are not gifted with any evidence on stopping Huawei, whilst we see a larger push from places like CBRE and the Noble Investment Group on housing that no one seems to be able to afford. The leaflets look to good to be true, but when we see, it is all in Chinese, is that not peculiar in Sydney? Whilst we see in the Sydney Morning Herald (at https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/investors-snap-up-90m-in-city-fringe-offices-20180610-p4zknj.html), ‘Investors snap up $90m in City fringe offices‘ with the quote “Investors have snapped up more than $95 million in sales of city fringe office assets to get a foothold in the booming sector“, with in addition “CBRE and JLL recently co-sold the 7 City View Road property in Pennant Hills, Sydney to EG Funds Management for $32 million. It is leased to the National Broadband Network, which is moving to Dexus Property’s 100 Mount Street when its completed, and Government Property NSW“, that whilst social housing is at an all-time low. Is it not interesting how governments give millions away with a marketing ploy down the road that it feeds the coffers? Yet when you give away 90 million, how much do you snap up? That in contrast from Android Headlines, who gives us: “In a prepared statement, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull asserted the laws passed on Thursday aren’t meant to target any particular country but previously went on record to express concerns about China’s geopolitical ambitions in the region, having previously admitted the new legislation is bound to raise tensions between Canberra and Beijing. Previous reports suggested Australian lawmakers resolved to enact harsher punishments for foreign political interference attempts after the local intelligence community provided them with evidence suggesting China attempted to influence a broad range of its institutions, going to the very top of the administration“. So when we see ‘harsher punishments for foreign political interference‘ did the PM consider that they already opened the door to make housing unaffordable? So when you can no longer afford to live anywhere, does it matter what happens afterwards? It seems to me that the PM is playing a game of the parliamentary calling the landlord dubious, whilst giving a wide open field to those changing the settings towards Australian quality of life. It seems almost childish to look at the Huawei Mobile because it was not made in America.

So when we look at ‘In my house I decide’ was that merely the building, or does that include the commodities and the Feng Shui setting of what brand of mobile is allowed and who delivers the crude that pumps the ovens for the creation of electricity to recharge our mobiles?

How deep did the security services look into the fact of those (read: Chinese investors) who are the upcoming landlords of Sydney

 

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Iranian decisions

At 00:10 Tel Aviv Time, roughly 07:10 here, the time of waiting was over, Iran has fired its missiles on Israel making the outstanding option of an impending war a lot more realistic. In this the Guardian gives us (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/09/iran-fires-20-rockets-syria-golan-heights-israel) “Iranian forces stationed in Syria fired approximately 20 projectiles at Israeli military positions in the Golan Heights just after midnight on Thursday, Israel’s defence forces (IDF) said“, in addition we see “Several but not all rockets were intercepted by Israeli air defences, an IDF spokesman, Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, told reporters“, whatever happens, will happen soon, because if sch a barrage cannot completely be stopped, we can deduce that it will not take long for Iran to take a more targeted notion, yes, my version is speculative, yet the warmongering words from the last weeks gives rise to take it all a lot more serious than it has been taken in the past. So when we see ““The IDF views this Iranian attack very severely,” Conricus said. “This event is not over”“, we better believe that more is to come. There is an additional setting, this attack could only have been done with the approval of President Bashar al-Assad, so he is feeling secure enough with Iran and Russia backing him, so the picture changes on a few fronts, this is no longer merely settling whatever Iran thought it was settling, this could have much larger repercussions. Turkey is already voicing support for Iran and siding with Russia (they are playing their hand cautiously, yet Turkey is all in with their anti-Israel views. It gets to be worse, because as the US pulled out of the nuclear Iran accord, we now see ‘EU rushes to arrange crisis meeting with Iran over nuclear deal‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/09/eu-moves-to-protect-european-firms-from-us-sanctions-on-iran), so even as we know that there are several things wrong, even as Iran meddled in other business and now is responsible for direct missile attacks on Israel, we see that Europe is still trying to make some level of a deal with Iran. It goes even further when we see “Work on the package being coordinated by the European Union is at an early stage, but the EU is being urged to warn the US it will impose countersanctions if the US attempts unjustifiably to cripple EU firms trading with Iran“, yet the foundation is that there has been more and more overwhelming evidence that Iran has not been dealing in good faith. When we consider the earlier settings that I mentioned 3 days ago in ‘Stopping Slumber, Halting Hesitation‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/05/07/stopping-slumber-halting-hesitation/), we can just quickly decide that they were prepping for all this, which would be incorrect, yet the fact that 20 missiles got there so quickly to be fired on the Golan heights also indicates that there was Iranian willingness to go that distance in several political branches and on pretty much all military levels, which is equally unsettling. The issue is that the EU remains a lot quieter when it comes to the involvement of Turkey. It is a personal view of mine, yet I believe that there will be diminished needs soon enough and there is a Turkey EU membership play coming. The beginning of ‘compliance delay messages‘ is merely an indicator, I believe that the fear mongering will get worse and too many parties are playing that game, that whilst the denial of Turkey into the EU should have been clearly made well over a year ago.  So when we are treated to “The European Union is scrambling to arrange a crisis meeting with Iran after Donald Trump pulled out of the nuclear agreement, as the Iranian president Hassan Rouhani said Europe had a “very limited opportunity” to save the deal“, we also need to keep in mind that terms like ‘could’ connected to ‘shut down UK’ on EU laws, this level of fear mongering is just beyond acceptable and we might all be better off in a direct war and whomever survives will suddenly demand near draconian treatment of the media, even as Leveson 2 is (for now) off the rails, the next crises will not go that smooth for whomever is demanding greater accountability of the media. That is not the only part, the entire Turkish economy and the S&P decision to regard Turkey. As it junkified its currency rating from ‘BB/B’ to ‘BB-/B’, we see a larger impact and when we consider that the Turkish lira (TRY) has fallen 7.4% this year and in that setting, including the corporate debt problems that Turkey is facing, the entire blow hard whilst they are not producing any music is more than merely wind in the air, as Turkish economic growth has been fueled by cheap international credit, we still see the need to pay for all that and now as we see (actually it was last month) with “Yildiz Holding—owner of the brands Godiva chocolate and McVitie’s biscuits requires a complete restructure of $6.5bn of its total $8.5bn of debt by the end of this week“, a cookie factory having an eight billion dollar debt? What else is in such disrepair? That shows just how desperate Turkey is at present to get into bed with almost anyone, that is what we are allowing in our midst and there is no level of fear that seems to be reflecting off the sides of EU Brussels and Strasbourg, which is also unsettling, now as they are optional diplomats in a really bad case of reconsideration by merely the EU to get the nuclear deal going, now we see the rise of mentions and soft press tapping on Turkish doors.

That alone should scare us beyond measure!

There is no case against it all and whilst Turkey is at a stage what some call ‘Hostage Diplomacy‘ whilst they are now upgrading their arsenal with the Russian S-400, the game switches and none of this will end up having a happy ending. For now we can leave Russia out of this as its focus is merely the US, or intermittent board hugging to make the US look bad via the EU, yet overall the setting here is not too negative (for now), the issue merely becomes hoe friendly it needs to remain with Iran in the mix, because there is the game on a different level. From my point of view there is a certain level of polarisation, even as Europe should stand next to Israel, it seems intent on standing ‘diplomatically‘ alone so that they need not stand opposing Turkey, that is merely one view, yet in light of its financial hardships and Turkish needs to be seen positive towards becoming an EU nation is not a good combination. So when we see the EU with “As long as Iran continues to implement its nuclear related commitments, as it has been doing so far and has been confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency in 10 consecutive reports, the EU will remain committed to the continued full and effective implementation of the nuclear deal“, which all might be very true, yet Iran has shown different colours in Syria and against Israel, so that stance is not merely wrong it promotes polarisation. On the one hand, the EU is not doing anything wrong from that one treaty point of view, yet in light of what we have seen in Syria, there are a lot more issues in play, not all are on Iran, some are allegedly issues for Iran to answer, but I wish to not use that in the examples, merely because they are allegedly part of anything, meaning they are part of nothing until confirmed and when we consider the utter uselessness on the last chemical attack reports, certain Syrian issues cannot be labelled to anyone but Syria itself. So as things in Syria escalates and as Iran is escalating them, or at least actively part of the escalation, the EU will need to take a stance sooner rather than later, they prefer later, yet when they are forced onto a corner and they select Turkey and Iran over Israel, the game will quickly change and not only is Europe feeling that drain, the impact that will happen in the middle East, is one that Europe will suffer for a much longer time than they bargained for and there is no quick solution for the wrong decision. That will be evident pretty soon at this stage.

So as we see one side evolve, we see in similar news from the Wall Street Journal (at https://www.wsj.com/articles/missiles-fired-at-saudi-arabia-signal-support-for-iran-by-its-proxies-1525886469) the mention “Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen fired a barrage of missiles into Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, an early indication that Iran’s allies in the Middle East are likely to flex their muscles in a show of support for their patron—risking a wider conflict“, I think that these events which were apart by merely a few hours had some levels of coordination. So when we see “Yemeni army forces, supported by allied fighters from Popular Committees, have fired a salvo of domestically-designed and -developed ballistic missiles at “economic targets” in the Saudi capital city of Riyadh in retaliation to the Al Saud’s devastating military aggression against their impoverished country“, we need to keep a clear mind. The missiles are said to be Yemeni (Borkan H-2 missiles), yet the information on the H2 is that it is said to be a short range ballistic missile with normally a range of about 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) or less. Even as we see it is almost capable of making the 1,036 km to Riyadh, the setting that we see with ‘economic targets‘, whilst at the maximum distance, the chance of actually hitting what is aimed for at the maximum range is a lot less likely or possible, not without and ace rocket and ballistic expert at the missile site; the Houthi’s are a little short on both, so we have, in my personal opinion, either Houthi’s that want to hit any part (mainly civilian parts) of Riyadh and they merely claim to be aiming for a bank, or the optional more likely setting is that Iran has been directly involved in training the Houthi’s or firing the missiles themselves. Now, we can opt for option one, yet the training curve would be a little devastating on all minds involved (even if you use targeting computers and software, yet they have had the time to train the Houthi’s for months, so it is possible, yet I personally see it as less likely (again merely speculation from my side), so when we consider that Iran is waging war on two fronts, so far (as far as I can recall) only Napoleon and Adolf Hitler were that stupid and how did it end for them? There is an optional thought that Iran will be hiding behind European coat tails in the end, but that is still speculation without evidence (at present), perhaps that is why Turkey is in a desperate state to become part of the EU?

I am merely asking, because the Iranian decisions we are seeing over the last 24 hours give rise not to the US, but to other players hoping to wage ‘extreme’ solutions to make things go forward for them, whilst the opposing player has no intention of playing nice, the US can’t start another war and Iran might be hoping that the EU is too unwilling to see its economic setting dissolved through armed conflict. It would be a decent tactic to play, but for now it merely remains a setting of speculation. Yet, in all this, there is more than just saber rattling. When we look at Reuters we see “Turkey will continue its trade with Iran as much as possible and will not be answerable to anyone else, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said on Tuesday, as U.S. President Donald Trump said the United States was withdrawing from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal“, so we see Turkey with an utter lack of accepting accountability for the economic paths that they are trying to get on (aka the EU gravy train). How can anyone expect Turkey to have any level of civility in the setting of economic partnerships? Because in the EU setting, we have seen more than one play where such acts would not have been allowed, yet Turkey is setting the pace to do just that. It is an important setting as it gives Iran a green light they should not have had, it is merely the outspoken voice to set the colour of options, and that colour is the one of explosive red. That is shown by others as the setting that is not to be allowed. Even as we understand that there is a setting that Italy, Germany and France do not want these sanctions to happen, we see that their voice gives “Patrick Pouyanné, the chief executive of the French energy firm Total, has already called for the EU to pass a blocking statute“, which makes perfect sense, and it is likely to happen, yet when we see the Turkish response with “Turkey will continue its trade with Iran as much as possible and will not be answerable to anyone else“, it merely shows that they are nowhere near ready to be allowed into the EU as a member state, because when they do something like this after they are admitted, the game changes by a lot and from that moment onward Turkey becomes merely the liability of the EU, not a member of the EU and there is a large distinct difference, even as we see them in the current setting for now, there is absolutely no guarantee that they will not continue on the undermining path that they are on, we have seen too many instances of Turkey acting that way that way in the last few years.

When we return to Iran we seem to be in deep water, not healthy waters by the way, the Riyadh/Golan actions are debatable at the very least and the fact that they are being mixed gives light to the dangers that are upcoming. Can they be avoided is the larger question, I am unsure of an answer, the fact that Yemen and Syria happened at almost the same time is a larger issue to contemplate and I have no factual useful response. Waiting for now is pretty much all we can do. I don’t think that we have to wait for too long as Israel has already announced retaliatory strikes a mere 15 minutes ago (source: Haaretz). So this cookie will not merely escalate, it is certainly the setting where other cookies get crumbled as well, the mere question is: “What are our options as per tomorrow, or the day after?

I do not know, when it comes to Yemen, we all (mainly the EU, NATO and USA) sat on our hands for far too long and they have made it part of the package deal. So the first act (at present) might just depend on how much Saudi Arabia feels threatened.

 

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Waking up 5 years late

I have had something like this, I swear it’s true. It was after I came back from the Middle East, I was more of a ‘party person’ in those days and I would party all weekend non-stop. It would start on Friday evening and I would get home Sunday afternoon. So one weekend, I had gone through the nightclub, day club, bars and Shoarma pit stops after which I went home. I went to bed and I get woken up by the telephone. It is my boss, asking me whether I would be coming to work that day. I noticed it was 09:30, I had overslept. I apologised and rushed to the office. I told him I was sorry that I had overslept and I did not expect too much nose as it was the first time that I had overslept. So the follow up question became “and where were you yesterday?” My puzzled look from my eyes told him something was wrong. It was Tuesday! I had actually slept from Sunday afternoon until Tuesday morning. It would be the weirdest week in a lifetime. I had lost an entire day and I had no idea how I lost a day. I still think back to that moment every now and then, the sensation of the perception of a week being different, I never got over it, now 31 years ago, and it still gets to me every now and then.

A similar sensation is optionally hitting Christine Lagarde I reckon, although if she is still hitting the party scene, my initial response will be “You go girl!

You see with “Market power wielded by US tech giants concerns IMF chief” (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/apr/19/market-power-wielded-by-us-tech-giants-concerns-imf-chief-christine-lagarde) we see the issues on a very different level. So even as we all accept “Christine Lagarde, has expressed concern about the market power wielded by the US technology giants and called for more competition to protect economies and individuals”, we see not the message, but the exclusion. So as we consider “Pressure has been building in the US for antitrust laws to be used to break up some of the biggest companies, with Google, Facebook and Amazon all targeted by critics“, I see a very different landscape. You see as we see Microsoft, IBM and Apple missing in that group, it is my personal consideration that this is about something else. You see Microsoft, IBM and Apple have one thing in common. They are Patent Powerhouses and no one messes with those. This is about power consolidation and the fact that Christine Lagarde is speaking out in such a way is an absolute hypocrite setting for the IMF to have.

You see, to get that you need to be aware of two elements. The first is the American economy. Now in my personal (highly opposed) vision, the US has been bankrupt; it has been for some time and just like the entire Moody debacle in 2008. People might have seen in in ‘the Big Short‘, a movie that showed part of it and whilst the Guardian reported ““Moody’s failed to adhere to its own credit-rating standards and fell short on its pledge of transparency in the run-up to the ‘great recession’,” principal deputy associate attorney general Bill Baer said in the statement“, it is merely one version of betrayal to the people of the US by giving protection to special people in excess of billions and they merely had to pay a $864m penalty. I am certain that those billionaires have split that penalty amongst them. So, as I stated, the US should be seen as bankrupt. It is not the only part in this. The Sydney Morning Herald (at https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/how-trump-s-hair-raising-level-of-debt-could-bring-us-all-crashing-down-20180420-p4zank.html) gives us “Twin reports by the International Monetary Fund sketch a chain reaction of dangerous consequences for world finance. The policy – if you can call it that – puts the US on an untenable debt trajectory. It smacks of Latin American caudillo populism, a Peronist contagion that threatens to destroy the moral foundations of the Great Republic. The IMF’s Fiscal Monitor estimates that the US budget deficit will spike to 5.3 per cent of GDP this year and 5.9 per cent in 2019. This is happening at a stage of the economic cycle when swelling tax revenues should be reducing net borrowing to zero“. I am actually decently certain that this will happen. Now we need to look back to my earlier statement.

You see, if the US borrowing power is nullified, the US is left without any options, unless (you saw that coming didn’t you). The underwriting power of debt becomes patent power. Patents have been set to IP support. I attended a few of those events (being a Master of Intellectual Property Law) and even as my heart is in Trademarks, I do have a fine appreciation of Patents. In this the econometrics of the world are seeing the national values and the value of any GDP supported by the economic value of patents.

In this, in 2016 we got “Innovation and creative endeavors are indispensable elements that drive economic growth and sustain the competitive edge of the U.S. economy. The last century recorded unprecedented improvements in the health, economic well-being, and overall quality of life for the entire U.S. population. As the world leader in innovation, U.S. companies have relied on intellectual property (IP) as one of the leading tools with which such advances were promoted and realized. Patents, trademarks, and copyrights are the principal means for establishing ownership rights to the creations, inventions, and brands that can be used to generate tangible economic benefits to their owner“, as such the cookie has crumbled into where the value is set (see attached), one of the key findings is “IP-intensive industries continue to be a major, integral and growing part of the U.S. economy“, as such we see the tech giants that I mentioned as missing and not being mentioned by Christine Lagarde. It is merely one setting and there are optionally a lot more, but in light of certain elements I believe that patents are a driving force and those three have a bundle, Apple has so many that it can use those patents too buy several European nations. IBM with their (what I personally believe to be) an overvalued Watson, we have seen the entire mess moving forward, presenting itself and pushing ‘boundaries’ as we are set into a stage of ‘look what’s coming’! It is all about research, MIT and Think 2018. It is almost like Think 2018 is about the point of concept, the moment of awareness and the professional use of AI. In that IBM, in its own blog accidently gave away the goods as I see it with: “As we get closer to Think, we’re looking forward to unveiling more sessions, speakers and demos“, I think they are close, they are getting to certain levels, but they are not there yet. In my personal view they need to keep the momentum going, even if they need to throw in three more high exposed events, free plane tickets and all kinds of swag to flim flam the audience. I think that they are prepping for the events that will not be complete in an alpha stage until 2020. Yet that momentum is growing, and it needs to remain growing. Two quotes give us that essential ‘need’.

  1. The US Army signed a 33-month, $135 million contract with IBM for cloud services including Watson IoT, predictive analytics and AI for better visibility into equipment readiness.
  2. In 2017, IBM inventors received more than 1,900 patents for new cloud technologies to help solve critical business challenges.

The second is the money shot. An early estimate is outside of the realm of most, you see the IP Watchdog gave us: “IBM Inventors received a record 9043 US patents in 2017, patenting in such areas as AI, Cloud, Blockchain, Cybersecurity and Quantum Computing technology“, the low estimate is a value of $11.8 trillion dollars. That is what IBM is sitting on. That is the power of just ONE tech giant, and how come that Christine Lagarde missed out on mentioning IBM? I’ll let you decide, or perhaps it was Larry Elliott from the Guardian who missed out? I doubt it, because Larry Elliott is many things, stupid ain’t one. I might not agree with him, or at times with his point of view, but he is the clever one and his views are valid ones.

So in all this we see that there is a push, but is it the one the IMF is giving or is there another play? The fact that banks have a much larger influence in what happens is not mentioned, yet that is not the play and I accept that, it is not what is at stake. There is a push on many levels and even as we agree that some tech giants have a larger piece of the cake (Facebook, Google and Amazon), a lot could have been prevented by proper corporate taxation, but that gets to most of the EU and the American Donald Duck, or was that Trump are all about not walking that road? The fact that Christine has failed (one amongst many) to introduce proper tax accountability on tech giants is a much larger issue and it is not all on her plate in all honesty, so there are a few issues with all this and the supporting views on all this is not given with “Lagarde expressed concern at the growing threat of a trade war between the US and China, saying that protectionism posed a threat to the upswing in the global economy and to an international system that had served countries well“, it is seen in several fields, one field, was given by The Hill, in an opinion piece. The information is accurate it is merely important to see that it has the views of the writer (just like any blog).

So with “Last December, the United States and 76 other WTO members agreed at the Buenos Aires WTO Ministerial to start exploring WTO negotiations on trade-related aspects of e-commerce. Those WTO members are now beginning their work by identifying the objectives of such an agreement. The U.S. paper is an important contribution because it comprehensively addresses the digital trade barriers faced by many companies“, which now underlines “A recent United States paper submitted to the World Trade Organization (WTO) is a notable step toward establishing rules to remove digital trade barriers. The paper is significant for identifying the objectives of an international agreement on digital trade“. This now directly gives rise to “the American Bar Association Section of Intellectual Property Law also requested that the new NAFTA require increased protections in trade secrets, trademarks, copyrights, and patents“, which we get from ‘Ambassador Lighthizer Urged to Include Intellectual Property Protections in New NAFTA‘ (at https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/ambassador-lighthizer-urged-to-include-52674/) less than 10 hours ago. So when we link that to the quote “The proposals included: that Canada and Mexico establish criminal penalties for trade secrets violations similar to those in the U.S. Economic Espionage Act, an agreement that Mexico eliminate its requirement that trademarks be visible, a prohibition on the lowering of minimum standards of patent protection“. So when we now look back towards the statement of Christine Lagarde and her exclusion of IBM, Microsoft and Apple, how is she not directly being a protectionist of some tech giants?

I think that the IMF is also feeling the waters what happens when the US economy takes a dip, because at the current debt levels that impact is a hell of a lot more intense and the games like Moody’s have been played and cannot be played again. Getting caught on that level means that the US would have to be removed from several world economic executive decisions, not a place anyone in Wall Street is willing to accept, so that that point Pandora’s Box gets opened and no one will be able to close it at that point. So after waking up 5 years late we see that the plays have been again and again about keeping the status quo and as such the digital rights is the one card left to play, which gives the three tech giants an amount of power they have never had before, so as everyone’s favourite slapping donkey (Facebook) is mentioned next to a few others, it is the issue of those not mentioned that will be having the cake and quality venison that we all desire. In this we are in a dangerous place, even more the small developers who come up with the interesting IP’s they envisioned. As their value becomes overstated from day one, they will be pushed to sell their IP way too early, more important, that point comes before their value comes to fruition and as such those tech giants (Apple, IBM, and Microsoft) will get an even more overbearing value. Let’s be clear they are not alone, the larger players like Samsung, Canon, Qualcomm, LG Electronics, Sony and Fujitsu are also on that list. The list of top players has around 300 members, including 6 universities (all American). So that part of the entire economy is massively in American hands and we see no clear second place, not for a long time. Even as the singled out tech giants are on that list, it is the value that they have that sets them a little more apart. Perhaps when you consider having a go at three of them, whilst one is already under heavy emotional scrutiny is perhaps a small price to pay.

How nice for them to wake up, I merely lost one day once, they have been playing the sleeping game for years and we will get that invoice at the expense of the futures we were not allowed to have, if you wonder how weird that statement is, then take a look at the current retirees, the devaluation they face, the amount they are still about to lose and wonder what you will be left with when you consider that the social jar will be empty long before you retire. The one part we hoped to have at the very least is the one we will never have because governments decided that budgeting was just too hard a task, so they preferred to squander it all away. The gap of those who have and those who have not will become a lot wider over the next 5 years, so those who retire before 2028 will see hardships they never bargained for. So how exactly are you served with addressing “‘too much concentration in hands of the few’ does not help economy“, they aren’t and you weren’t. It is merely the setting for what comes next, because in all this it was never about that. It is the first fear of America that counts. With ‘US ponders how it can stem China’s technology march‘ (at http://www.afr.com/news/world/us-ponders-how-it-can-stem-chinas-technology-march-20180418-h0yyaw), we start seeing that shift, so as we see “The New York Times reported on April 7 that “at the heart” of the trade dispute is a contest over which country plays “a leading role in high-tech industries”. The Wall Street Journal reported on April 12 that the US was preparing rules to block Chinese technology investment in the US, while continuing to negotiate over trade penalties“, we see the shifted theatre of trade war. It will be about the national economic value with the weight of patents smack in the middle. In that regard, the more you depreciate other parts, the more important the value of patents becomes. It is not a simple or easy picture, but we will see loads of econometrics giving their view on all that within the next 2-3 weeks.

Have a great weekend and please do not bother to wake up, it seems that Christine Lagarde didn’t bother waking up for years.

 

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That one place

There is a place where everyone is the same, where it does not matter what your convictions are, what your gender is or how you swing your love life. That is the one thing I always believed, I remain faithful to the notion that games and gaming is the one place where it does not matter what you are, who you are and how you are, as long as you are fine that is. I grew up with games, I reviewed and tested games for well over a decade and played them for additional decades beyond that. I was already a gamer when the term did not even exist.

I always believed that games had, in those days two distinct powers. One was to entertain the person playing; the other was to lower the threshold of using computers, I ended up being correct on both counts. I started my gaming life in 1982, almost 36 years ago. I started with a Commodore VIC-20, after that a Commodore 64 and after that I was off to the races. So, the VIC-20, CBM-64, Atari 2600, CD-32, Atari ST, Amiga 500, PC, MAC, Nintendo-64, Sega Megadrive, Sega Dreamcast, PlayStation 1, 2, 3, and 4, Xbox, Xbox360 and Xbox One. I had them all and played them all. I saw games evolve from blocks; I played Pong and many arcade games. I always hoped that the women would not keep on considering it ‘an act too nerdy’ and behold, in the beginning of the second millennia I saw more and more women taking up gaming to some extent. I always thought that gaming was a true equaliser and to some extent it became one, so I was a little upset to see ‘eSports analyst receives death threats after thanking men on women’s day‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/mar/09/soembie-soe-gschwind-penski-overwatch-league), there she is on the article smiling and announcing the Blizzard event, looking like an overwatch player. Soe Gschwind-Penski was not the pesky Peski adversarial player that was up against people, she was hosting the event as the excellent eSports commentator she is regarded to be. So, the lady born in the land of Cheese and Chocolate gave the tweet: “It’s #InternationalWomensDay I’d like to give a special shoutout to all the men in our lives who have supported us, gave us a voice when we had none, fought for our cause and treated us the way we all ought to treat each other…like a fellow human being – no race, no gender.” as @Soembie she gave us all a nice tweet, all positive in every direction giving a voice to an international day. So for the utter life of me, I cannot comprehend the fact that people hand out responses that lead to: ““Ive gotten death threats and hundreds of hate messages the past 20 minutes because I thanked men for treating me as their equal, on a day which is all about womens struggle for equality,” Gschwind-Penski posted. “Hate, because I am grateful for the men in our lives who fight alongside us for our rights.”“, from my point of view that could not have been done by anyone who is an actual real gamer. I see it as actions from people pretending to be ‘gamers’; pretending to know anything at all. Like those people claiming that they finished ‘Dead Space in Impossible mode in two hours‘, or something as ridiculous like that. They tend to use cheats and god mode codes or alterations so that they can run through a game not getting hurt by anything, they are not and never will be players. I never had any regard or respect for them. So am I a great gamer? Nope! I am a good gamer and I like to enjoy games, so I will never run through an RPG. What is the purpose of running through Skyrim, or Fallout 4 and missing on the magnificent views the game offers? I even admire the fact that Fallout 4 can be played as a pacifist. I never did that, but the fact that it is there is just awesome, it makes for a gamer to be an actual gamer (cause for a golden Achievement; Hint, hint). I am not one for multiple shooting games. I used to like it, but Unreal Tournament spoiled that for me. All people hopping like kangaroos through the game, it was just too weird for me. Still, there is plenty of awesomeness in going down the throat of Diablo 3 with three other players. A game I loved since the very first Diablo and my team of 7 hardcore mode level 70 characters are decent evidence of that.

So in that setting the entire abuse of Soe Gschwind-Penski makes no sense at all. Even when we see: “The two-year-old OWL did make headlines last month when South Korean teenager Kim Se-yeon signed with the Shanghai Dragons to become the league’s first female player. But high-profile eSports competitions remain a male-dominated space: Gschwind-Penski is the only female member of OWL’s full-time commentary team.

You see, for the most finding female gamers, serious gamers are still a rare thing. So even as there might be a case in regards to the fact that ‘Gschwind-Penski is the only female member of OWL’s full-time commentary team‘, we must equally realise that for the longest time, even today that a high estimate from my speculative view is that the women in gaming are set to a mere 10% at best (I apologise if I am wrong). So we are happy that people like Soe Gschwind-Penski, Aoife Wilson (@AoifeLockhart) from Eurogamer, Stephanie Claire Bendixsen (aka Hex), and Anita Sarkeesian. The list is way too short and we can point fingers at the reasons, but in the end I am not certain if there is an actual real culprit. If there is one than I might blame the makers of these review sites and channels as the culprit for not hiring more women, or is that actually the non-capability of finding more women?

You see, I started gaming in the age when nearly all women remained in enthusiastic denial of games for well over a decade. I know that because in those days woman in gaming was extremely rare. Roberta Williams was one of the very few. Jane Jensen would not appear until a decade later and the writing she did on EcoQuest and Police Quest 3 put her on the map (both excellent games). Yet the last two were two of a very small group of game designers, not game critics or reviewers (or hosts). Yet, I still believe that women are as welcome in the gaming industry and the gaming world as much as anyone else. Anyone who does not agree with that view is of course allowed to disagree, but he is not an actual gamer plain and simple!

You see, it truly does not matter what you are or who you are in gaming. It is merely the setting that you can hold your own in that virtual team, once you do you are in it for life! There are several women that I have met who can hold their own in Mass Effect 3 multiplayer on platinum level. That is all it requires and even as the settings change per game, they are all about being able to hold your own and strengthen the multiplayer (MP) team. So in all this I have absolutely no clue why anyone would give death threats to any female gamer and I feel certain that this was not dome by any real gamer, at best a wannabe, and optionally merely a game hater and we have no real use for each of these two groups.

It is my view that it needs to be dealt with. It is in that regard that I remember an article (and found it) which was from 2014. The Guardian gave us (at https://www.theguardian.com/culture/australia-culture-blog/2014/nov/28/alanah-pearce-tells-on-her-internet-trolls-to-their-mothers) , so when we read the tweet “Sometimes young boys on Facebook send me rape threats, so I’ve started telling their mothers“, most actual gamers would be laughing out loud and when we read the results “more than 11,000 users had retweeted her comment, and more than 20,000 had favourited it, eight hours after Pearce made her original post” game reviewer Alanah Pearce struck gold! Actually, in my view it does not really matter how young or old the person is, when it comes to the threats that Soe Gschwind-Penski was exposed to, it should be standard practise to tell on them to their mommy’s. For them to be exposed as the utter disappointment they show themselves to be to others might not be a bad thing. The wannabe’s will stop pretending to be gamers and hide in a corner, the rest will get a quick moral adjustment they desperately needed.

In my view gaming is for all and everyone. It does not matter what your gender, religion orientation or conviction is. The world of gaming is about the gaming world you enter, whether that is in the depths of a cathedral in Diablo, the house in Overwatch, the landing site on Mass Effect 3, or the power chamber in Unreal Tournament. You only have to hold your own. If you cannot do that, choose a lower level and get there, or get better. It is the one part that every player can do and that is why gaming will remain a world of inclusion, it is the only place where your inclusion only relies on you doing your part which is awesome in nearly everyone’s view. And the nicest part is that if you are not ready today, you can practice, get better and return, gender was never an issue.

Yet, there is still a long way to go, not because of gamers or gender, the fact that the President of the United States is still a few cans short of a six pack and that evidence is shown in light of “Donald Trump will host executives from the video game industry at the White House on Thursday, resurrecting a debate over the link between violent video games and gun-related deaths in the aftermath of the Parkland high school shooting“, so how long until women (and some men) will turn away from Overwatch out of fear for being seen as an aspiring psychopath?

Do you think I am kidding?

The foundation of all this is values and inherent choices. The choice an abuser makes is seen in two settings. Psychology Today gives us the 5 types of abuse:

– Emotional (killing pet, playing mind games)
– Verbal (calling names)
– Technological (GPS system /Face book sabotage)
– Sexual (forcing sex while sleep or based on the bible)
– Physical (killing, punching, choking)

The issue is seen in the first two, emotional, and then verbal after that we get the physical one. Yet in gaming this is all in a virtual setting and the gamer knows this. So they know that the person they fight with is a virtual person, and in games like Half-Life counter-strike we know that the opposing person is a virtual one too. The issue is that every psychopath might be a gamer to some extent, but that person will not be able to tell the virtual world and the real world apart. They merely want to hurt people, to actually abuse them, a gamer never does. It was that same article that gave me something that I did not know. Did you know that an actual abuser ‘Holds very rigid gender roles‘? So basically these threatening people might be actual abusers and reporting them becomes a duty for every gamer, not merely every women threatened. This person, usually a male regards himself as ‘King of the Castle’, it is her duty to cater (and service) him. As I am not like that, I had no idea, but that becomes a worry and Trump is not making it easier. If anything he is currently catering to abusers and psychopaths. This could be a comforting notion if the entire issue was not that worrying, but it actually is.

Then we get the worrying part, worrying because it is a dangerous step. As we see ‘Treatment for this population‘, we get to see “Group Therapy is important because it allows the batterer to be confronted by his peers on his behavior. I’ve facilitated groups with 16 men in the room at times it would become very confrontational but it was important for the men to be held accountable for their behavior by other men and group facilitators so this might translate into “making them a group of inclusion, allow and accept them in our midst and calling them openly out on every transgression they make“. I for one am happy to shun abusers and never letting them in our midst, but I recognise that I would make matters worse, in my defence, I feel more compelled to protect my fellow gamer, whether he is a man or a woman, because quality gamers are rare and I feel that their protection is more important than curing a non-gamer in the gaming world. This is merely my personal view.

In the end I would call to my fellow gamers to call out those who attack gamers like Soe Gschwind-Penski because our population of true gamers is not that large when we compare 2-3 million on a total of 8 billion. I would love for that number to double the next few years, so as we grow we will hopefully see more women join our ranks.

In opposition

There is however a part I need to mention. I never agreed with it, but it is a view we must not ignore. In 2013 (at https://www.newstatesman.com/if-you-love-games-you-are-not-a-gamer), in the New Statesman there was a piece. In its origin the New Statesman is a British political and cultural magazine published in London. Founded as a weekly review of politics and literature on 12 April 1913, so a magazine from before WW1, gave us “The idea of the ‘gaming community’ needs to die“, it is one view. You see, as gamers we segregate ourselves, I am happy to do just that because I am proud to be a gamer, I always have been. One quote applies to the origin of the gamers (in the 80’s). With: “gamers are depicted as the contemporary nerd group, a mildly downtrodden crowd, shunned by the jocks and achievers. Gamers are the losers who spend their days in darkened bedrooms furiously tapping on controllers or keyboards in a solitary pursuit that sits close to masturbation in the mind“, in the old days that was certainly true as the image presented of gamers as others saw them. Yet is that true now? Now the gaming industry is a $100+ billion a year. Now we see that people group and identify with the worlds of Skyrim, post-apocalyptic USA and as other groups are formed around successful games like GTA5, Far Cry, League of Legends and Overwatch that image is not only no longer true, it is in opposition of all those developers called by the need of $$$ (and their developing powers). So when we see “Within the next century ‘gamers’ will be a term that encompasses every gay and transgender person, every girl and woman, every politician in the cabinet, everyone with a title in the House of Lords, every teacher, nurse, banker, social worker, dustman and paedophile“, which is an unsettling truth. It is unsettling because even as we all want our fellow gamers to be merely gamers regardless of gender, we cannot (and perhaps should not) see what they are in real life. So it is not impossible that the serial killer hides in GTA5 multiplayer, killing whatever he/she can until the call for real blood is needed. So my view is in opposition of President Trump, he is stating that every rectangle is a square, whilst I identify that every square is a rectangle, as well as proving him wrong at the same time. It is not the same but there is a foundation and a foundation where a person can hide in anonymity. I belief it is a good thing, but it could be abused by those who have in ‘the core of the matter’ no business being there. In that part the Statesman does not make the case but the call for the cancellation of any community is not overtly evil. It is a non-invalid view, especially when we see “the urge to form groups with like-minded people is a universal one. But when that collective power is turned against those on the margins of the group“, so even as we are gamers, and we unite and think alike, but when that makes us a target, is the call valid to endanger some of us? I believe that when we unite we are more than ready for those attacking us, even if we merely start protecting our fellow gamers by calling the mommy and daddy of their attackers, no matter what age they have.

In the end I hope that people like Soe Gschwind-Penski realise that every real gamer is happy that she is around and that we have no qualms about her presence, even if she, in addition, defeats us in the most humiliating way. It merely ups the ante for us to get better, and that is in the core of multiplayer gaming, a drive to improve, a fellow gamer that makes any of us a better gamer, how great is such a life?

Live it to find out!

 

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Insights or Assumptions?

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

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

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

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

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

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

So were these insights or speculations?

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

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

 

 

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