Tag Archives: Élysée Palace

The aid package

People on a global scale, no matter what religion they preach, they have an inherent need for humanitarian action. It shows that people remain people, they have feelings and emotion. Especially now, in the Muslim month of Ramadan, which according to the Britannica is “a time for Muslims to practice self-restraint, in keeping with ṣawm (Arabic: “to refrain”), one of the pillars of Islam (the five basic tenets of the Muslim religion). Although ṣawm is most commonly understood as the obligation to fast during Ramadan, it is more broadly interpreted as the obligation to refrain between dawn and dusk from food, drink, sexual activity, and all forms of immoral behaviour, including impure or unkind thoughts.” Yet Time.com (as well as other sources give us: “Muslims believe that following these practices during Ramadan will lead to self-purification, self-control and bring them closer to Allah. Many Muslims also attend special prayer services, read verses of the Quran and engage in charity“, these are words I read before in other places. Yet it is here that we see the questions rise. First is Qatar with ‘Qatar to send $480m to help Palestinians in West Bank and Gaza‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/may/07/qatar-send-480m-help-palestinians-west-bank-gaza-israel-ceasefire), this sounds all on the up and up, and I have no reason to give doubt here, and with “Qatar’s foreign ministry said $300m would go towards supporting health and education programmes of the Palestinian Authority, while $180m would go toward urgent humanitarian relief, UN programmes and providing electricity” we see this reinforced. Yet the article also gives us: “Although Qatar does not give money directly to Hamas, its support since 2012, totalling $755m, has been a vital lifeline for the cash-strapped group, relieving it from having to fund civilian and infrastructure projects“, which now brings to bare the issue of other funding as Hamas was able to afford missile barrage after missile barrage. I am not placing blame on Qatar, or other Islamic charities, but I am left with the thought. If you give any junkie money for food, and he then uses his other funds to buy drugs because the junkie knows that he will get the charity for food, are we as a people inflicting harm and additional hardship on the junkie? It makes me reflect on the act through ‘refrain from all forms of immoral behaviour, including impure or unkind thoughts‘. It also gives rise to the BBC article (at https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-48147066) where we see: ‘Taliban rejects calls for Ramadan truce in Afghanistan‘, and as we are given: “President Ashraf Ghani agreed to a truce provided it was not “one-sided”. But the Taliban rejected the call and accused members of being government allies.” does the month of Ramadan allow for this? If not, does that make them bad Muslims? I am not stating it, I am asking this.

Why is this so important?

To comprehend certain parts of Islam we need to dive deeper in what we do not know and even if there is no direct requirement to know what the Taliban does (most of us do not care), the news has been giving us other versions. The Express (at https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1122649/isis-news-latest-terror-france-jihadist-police-elysee-palace) gives us that the French stopped an ISIS attack. With ‘ISIS planned ‘violent’ attack on French palace say police‘ we see “According to AFP, the suspects had several targets, the unnamed source said, but their overall objective was to launch an attack on security forces, namely those “standing guard outside the Elysée Palace”. The men, arrested last Friday on suspicion of acquiring weapons “with a view to committing a terrorist act” are currently in provisional detention and awaiting trial. The would-be terrorists, who had been under police surveillance since early February, were spotted outside the Elysée Palace in central Paris on a reconnaissance mission shortly before their arrest“, whilst the Malayan version of the Daily Express (at http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/news/134811/no-hate-speech-during-ramadan-mosques-told/) gives us ‘No hate speech during Ramadan, mosques told‘, as well as “We will act firmly the actions of labelling a person as deviant and calling others infidels because mosques must be free from political party ideologies. “We must guard our mouths from uttering slander during Ramadan because it can create numerous problems which can break up families,’’ he told a media conference after launching a Let’s Celebrate Ramadan programme in the compound of the Kerian district mosque, here, Saturday.” An American might trivialise it as seeing someone from ISIS as a fake Muslim, I merely wonder on the application to Islam and Muslim faith in this case.

It is also increased pressure on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We read (at http://www.arabnews.com/node/1494481/saudi-arabia) ‘Saudi Civil Defense announces Ramadan security measures‘, these people under the guidance of Brig. Abdullah Al-Qurashi, director of Civil Defence in Makkah are prepared through 38 fixed civil defence centres, supported by 24 seasonal centres, in addition to 27 intervention points and 30 civil defence posts stationed in The Grand Mosque in Makkah to provide aid and assistance to pilgrims. And when you think that this is a lot, consider that the mataf area would accommodate more than 107,000 people per hour, there will be 500,000 headsets for worshippers getting access to 10 languages of the 679 lessons and lectures that are to be delivered during Ramadan. I have seen a few Christian places, I have been to Lourdes, yet I have a problem trying to comprehend the concept of 100,000 people an hour. It amounts to the entire population of Adelaide (Australia), Birmingham (UK), Dallas (US) or Calgary (CA) EVERY day for a month. For the pilgrims this has not gone unnoticed, as there was high praise for the king, government and local authorities from pilgrims from as far away as Indonesia, Pakistan and Sudan, with many thousands of Muslims traveling from across the world to Saudi Arabia to attend prayers at the mosque during Ramadan. Yet a lot of this is merely seen in the Arab News and Gulf News, even as plenty of respectable papers give light to this, we see a movement as the number of respectable papers is winding down, so is the amount of information given to non-Muslims. The Sydney Morning Herald also gives us: “just as Christian holy seasons such as Christmas and Easter have become commercialised, Ramadan is increasingly associated with night-time festivities and binge eating. While, traditionally, the fasting day ends with a feast, in modern times people often attend Ramadan events at hotels and restaurants and, combined with the lower activity of fasting days, can even find themselves gaining weight during the holy month“, which is fair enough and not to be seen in a negative light, I found the images from the Four Seasons hotel lightly overwhelming, almost like a Victorian Christmas diner setup. For me, the entire issue is not an issue, although I see (read: expect additional) danger of not drinking water during the day a health issue (from my non-medical view), the Sydney Morning Herald reinforced that with: “In the Gulf states, a spike in attendances at hospitals has been reported, with problems ranging from dehydration to uncontrolled diabetes, as well as injuries from traffic accidents attributed to drowsiness“.

Errors in thinking

The first thing I accept is that I am looking at Muslim matters with a Christian eye, that is my background and I know that if I wonder about things plenty of others got at that point long before me, it is the educational part that remains lagging for me, I am not a Muslim, yet at the same moment, the image and message from one, whilst we see issues handed to us in opposition. One such view was given to me from Kuwait by Al Waqyan, in a nation that is 99% Muslim. There I was given ‘Kuwaiti journalist criticizes ban on ‘public eating’ during Ramadan‘. Now, from a Christian point I would agree, yet knowing that 99% of that nation is either fasting or trying to fast, would his view not allow for a larger pressure on those fasting? Perhaps the old movie example where a prisoner in the age of the crusades are watching the jailer just outside of reach have a large feast whilst the prisoners are begging for food. Would it not be cruel and unusual punishment to be faced with a large meal when a person should be fasting? I understand that there are conditions when a person cannot fast, yet is it too much to ask for that person to do it in private or not in view of other people?

I found the fact that there is a level of polarisation interesting, not because of what I believe, but the fact that it is in a stage where all the contestants are seemingly Muslim. I would personally be on the side of: “some believe it’s appropriate to apply it in Muslim majority countries“, there are plenty of moments when no one can see anything and having a quick sip of water then would be acceptable. It is perhaps the only part that I see happen, there is absolutely no situation where a person should be able to eat in public view anywhere, not when a person could be at home to have a bite to eat.

The opportunity

This is where we see the opportunity, when we are given ‘Saudi Arabia’s Hajj Ministry launches new interactive portal‘, we see the place that gives us (at present) “The new portal will provide more than 30 services for pilgrims, available in Arabic, English and French, with an average of 55 pages per language. Four more languages will be added in the near future.” Most people, especially 100% of the pilgrims will see this as an excellent idea and it is. What it allows for is a much larger option; it could become a start for non-Muslims to learn more about Islam, to learn more on what is unknown. When we consider that optionally in western languages there are ‘the 679 lessons and lectures‘ that shows the spirit of Islam in the stage where it is all about the season of inner reflection, forgiveness and spiritual renewal. As such the sacred month of Ramadan might open a moment to introduce to those unaware of Islam the resources that allow us to oppose Islamophobia as well as diminish the options that anti Islamist groups like pagida and others are growing all over Western Europe, the US and the Commonwealth nations. I personally believe that education is a first step in diminishing the powers that they have. It does not requires us to become Muslim, it does not require us to agree, but at least we will be properly educated and informed and history has shown that this is a first step in slowing down and stopping the haters, and that is never ever a bad thing. Knowledge can be an exemplary aid package, it is time we all used that option to the fullest.

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Media, Politics, Religion

Strike a match

In Australia, an island with plenty of drought and as we go into the really nice and warm season, a match is not a thing we look fondly off, yet the strike of the match as we see it in France, where it is now uncomfortably cold is another matter. So is it ‘Strike a match!‘, or ‘Match a strike?‘, the strike called on regarding labour reforms could be the one that sets flame to that nation and set flame to whatever growth economy the French think they have. Reuters (at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-france-reform-protests/frances-cgt-calls-another-strike-against-labor-reform-others-refuse-idUSKBN1CE2CH) give us “the more moderate CFDT, now France’s biggest union, and the Force Ouvriere preferring negotiations” these two are starting to figure out that the long protected labour rights in France are to ancient. With a mobile workforce all over Europe, it will soon be about taxable products and services no matter where they are and as such France is pricing itself out of a market of workers, faster and faster. The weird part is that France has so much to offer, so the fact that the economy is barely reaching +2% for the longest time is less puzzling and is more and more about the uncertainty that the labour laws are bringing entrepreneurs. Now, I am all for protecting the workers over greedy corporations, yet the draconian shape that it has in France is stopping new waves from moving towards France. French publication ‘the Local‘ (at https://www.thelocal.fr/20171009/france-how-tuesdays-mass-public-sector-strikes-will-affect-you) is giving us “with particular reference to the pay freeze and rise in social security payments, plus the government’s controversial decision to dock pay for the first day of sick leave (jour de carence) to fight against absenteeism“, this implies that former president Hollande has been asleep at the wheel. The changes imposed are to some extent to top the coffers from taking too much of a hit and with minus 2.6 trillion Euro the French coffers need all the help they can get. In this, many newspapers are all about how the appeal of President Macron is wearing thin, yet the bulk of issues that we see in a few fields are ignored to a larger extent. So, when was the last time that a corporate CEO got time with a national ruler to discuss national taxation? Because that is exactly what Tim Cook CEO of Apple seems to have been doing in France. With one source giving us “So, when Tim Cook meets with French President Macron, the matter of taxes could make for an icy situation between the two men. Macron has said he wants to promote France as a place for tech companies to set up shop, but he has also been critical about the role internet companies, in particular, play in society. Macron has been pretty vocal lately about how France and other E.U. countries should close up the loopholes that Apple and other tech companies have been able to use to move their earnings around to more tax-friendly countries, such as Ireland and Luxembourg“, is it a first indication that the French economy is in a much worse shape than expected? The fact that Tim Cook is visiting Élysée Palace not because President Emmanuel Macron is buying his wife the new iMac Pro (an assumption from my side). I am not thinking the worst of the French president, but the issue is questionable, especially as Apple is about to open a massive site in the Battersea Power Station, so as Apple (as I personally see it) is trying to spend the money twice, once by spending it in London and the second time by getting tax deduction for the amount just spend in London so he can get a second building for free in Paris. We see too many people in charge giving in to large corporations too easy and too often. Mostly merely getting it done for their ego’s whilst they sell short the needy coffers of their own nation. They present it as the cost of doing business. Corporations like Apple can merely offer to go somewhere else and the politicians fold like wet paper backs, no hard backs amongst them. As Apple is now getting the news to invest in several nations, $10B for a plant in Wisconsin, $500M in China and as we now see (at http://appleinsider.com/articles/17/10/10/detente-possible-between-tim-cook-macron-over-apples-future-taxation-in-france-eu) “Macron’s staff report that past tax disputes weren’t discussed in any way, but Cook acknowledged a sea change in how companies should pay taxes specifically where they are earned, and not in one country to cover the entire EU” is just one side, so as we also see “Apple continues to deal with a ruling by the European Commission, which will force a $15 billion payment of back taxes to Ireland —when the Irish government gets the disbursing fund established. Ireland disputes the ruling, and says that Apple has paid all of its required taxes. The European Commission is suing Ireland for the lack of collection, and to force the issue“, an issue that has played for the longest time. And every time when I see that politicians are ‘offended’ by the lack of payments I wonder how they are selling the lack of their treasuries to the Irish people. Ireland must be the richest nation in the world when it regards a non-paid $15B as not an issue. So whilst public services are lowering in Ireland and as we see “Sinn Féin’s Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty said, however, that the government has failed spectacularly with today’s budget and suggested it was a lie to suggest you can cut taxes and solve the problem of the health and housing crises” (at http://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/ireland/donohoe-defends-tax-cuts-despite-growing-pressures-on-public-services-809339.html) whilst there is an apparent issue with Apple’s outstanding $15 billion, we need to wonder on who the politicians are actually working for and who pays their income. Questions the media seems to walk away from. Yet this was not on Ireland, this is about France and the labour issues. It seems that Ireland and France are labour opposites. As Ireland is showing itself to be more flexible than a slinky in a hurricane, France is showing their flexibility to be zero degree Kelvin, which could remain detrimental to the financial growth of France in more than one way.

So as France is now huddled into a posing form of strikes all over the place, we see that emotions run high, so high that the French decided to release teargas, so that the people could cry over the matter. So as we see the news that 450.000 travelers are feeling the consequence of the French not agreeing with the labour overhaul, we need to consider how its impact is on the long term. You see everyone forgot about Marine Le Penn. After she was not elected, all the people thought they had evaded having to bite the bullet, yet in all this; the issue is not what had been surpassed, but what can haunt again. Instead of the media trying to figure out and illuminate what Front National had in store, with actual answers to how the issue could have been solved, the media bombards Macron again and again, the issue is not what happens when Macron fails. The issue is that when the dust settles, there would not be a long election, the labour parties would jump on the Le Penn bandwagon in a heartbeat leaving no options for France at all. The entire ‘Status Quo’ debate could quite literally blow up in their faces and when the next smear campaign starts, the people will in unity ignore the media to the largest degree. So as we see the nonstop battering of the strike and how bad Emmanuel Macron is doing, they are equally ignoring the fact that none of the other politicians have any better a clue or an idea on how to solve certain matters, which means that Front National is currently swimming free setting up whatever they want. Because the people might have shared some enthusiasm with some young sprout now President of France, but that trick only works once. In opposition, I doubt that Marine Le Pen has a clear path on how to fix the economy. The IMF is actually assisting her as we see Bloomberg with ‘Raising Taxes on the Rich Won’t Necessarily Curb Growth, IMF Says’ (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-11/raising-taxes-on-rich-won-t-necessarily-curb-growth-imf-says), yet even as we see “The IMF report comes as governments in advanced economies face a backlash against the effects of globalization and technology. Voters from France to the U.K. have expressed frustration with what they perceive to be the unequal benefits of free trade and open borders”, the bandwagon that the IMF offers is equally a much larger problem. Even when we ignore the actions of Depardieu moving to Russia, the media has bungled the events for the largest degree. You see, as I mentioned before, whilst media is staring at the ‘super wealthy’ and giving rise to emotions of more inequality in an age where the people are pointed in the wrong direction by the media at large. Yet this group is a mere 330,000 souls large last year and less than half a million cannot supply the multiple billions (read: Trillion) that the treasury is already short of and the IMF knows this. This is the UK, in France, where less than 1% pay at the rate of 45%, we see an implied group of a little over half a million making it into that group. The reality that the IMF is selling is not realistic and everyone with spreadsheet skills can see that such a small group cannot address the trillions of debt that France has, so as we see that growth might not seem to e curbed, the issue is that the infrastructures are starting to collapse. In the UK the NHS is pretty much the most obvious example, but in all this France has a few issues of their own and none of it will be resolved until there is a fair setting of corporate taxation for the larger players who leech their zero tax vie Ireland and other options; options that the local shops can never rely on, which growth business inequality even more and a lot faster. Is it not weird that the IMF is in total denial through carefully phrased messages like “When it comes to corporate income taxes, the trend in lowering corporate tax rates is a pervasive trend overall in the last few decades. That is something which is often attributed to tax competition. There is, however, the interesting finding that this reduction in corporate tax rates has not been, in general, matched by a fall in corporate tax revenues”, which in my view means ‘corporate profit can be maximised through lesser taxation and increased production’, which is not for the corporations, but working a person to death whilst there is no quality healthcare is equally detrimental to the health of any nation. So how is that an option?

History has shown that again and again. This we see in the Guardian as it reported “Union leaders said they wanted to show a “profound disagreement” with the president’s plans to overhaul the state sector“, yet where will they go? That is the part the players are all ignoring and in this the media is one of the players. You see, we have seen quotes like “The main reason they voted for him was as a default, as a barrier against the risk of a Marine Le Pen fascist, far-right government“, yet when he does not deliver and as the failings of the left are stacking up. Where do you think the unions will go? They too require being ‘in power’ and they will align with anyone who gives them what they need to stay in power. The media has forgotten about that, or did they? That is the issue because the people at large are not in the know and when the bottle boiled over, they are in the ‘not caring’ team, which allows for a load of misinformation and the official media channels have lost the levels of reliability they need, they lost it the day after the election, especially when the failings started to show. So as the media blunders its way by blasting their current president, they forgot to notice that they have painted themselves in a corner. The question becomes: ‘Can it be fixed?‘ I am not certain, I actually do not know how some of the channels can regain the faith of their readers, that becomes the issue more and more and when that is too late, may Marianne symbol for the French people help them, because the others will not care and that is actually a lot more dangerous than any President Le Pen (should that ever happen).

So as we strike a match under the newspapers misstating our needs and matching the strike workers by educating on the dangers they are setting themselves up to, we might get some actual labour law evolution. President Macron is not wrong in the path he is taking. He is merely ignorant of the French population and their sentiment in certain matters. In that regard he has been a member of the Wall Street population a little too long, and regained his French feeling of solidarity much too short (as I personally see it). So this will not be resolved any day soon I reckon.

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Law, Media, Politics

The finality of French freedom

Even as the world is looking at the Dutch elections, we see initially that the biggest fear in the Netherlands is gone. Geert Wilders is still number 2, yet the VVD (People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy) did not lose as many seats as initially expected. This is good for the current Prime Minister, yet not as good for Geert Wilders as other parties had vowed not to work with him, no matter how many seats they got. Well, the initial numbers are out and now we see that the Netherlands will have some tough times. To get the next Cabinet to work they will need 4 parties, which becomes a small issue. The easiest alliance would be involving the CU (Christian Union), yet any medical ethical issue would cause concern on a few levels (the usual suspects like the pill, abortion, prolife issues). The second option is with the Green Left party (GroenLinks), which is predominantly youth driven, here the VVD will have some issues and there seems to be a level of unwillingness to work together. Now, the first option gives only one seat in majority, the second option gives a little more space to breath, but neither is a great match, both are decent matches. The Dutch labour party has been decimated. It went from 38 seats to 9 seats (Source: Volkskrant). They will need a serious amount of time to lick their wounds. No matter how this all fares. If Geert Wilders can keep his cool, he would keep a few options down the track. Here it is anyone’s guess what will happen next. I predicted that there would be no going around the PVV, yet I was proven wrong. Green Left grew a lot stronger and the VVD kept a few more seats than most predicted, so there is that too. Yet, with this situation, Nexit has basically become a non-issue, it is off the board for the Netherlands, so as that certainty becomes a reality we see that Mario Draghi wasted not even a second to give the French people his demands and ultimatum. In  the Express (at http://www.express.co.uk/finance/city/777170/Euro-irrevocable-ECB-draghi-Le-Pen-Frexit-vote-warning), we see the headline “‘The Euro is IRREVOCABLE’ Euro Bank chief fires warning at Le Pen over Frexit vote promise“, so if we would be a lot less diplomatic than we ought to be, we would state ‘Mr Looney Tunes has decided to be a slamming tactical in his claims‘. The two published facts given are “The ECB chief insisted the Front National leader was not a threat to the euro’s future, which he said was a measure of solidarity among members. His comments come after Ms Le Pen’s promise to call a vote over France’s membership of the monetary union if she wins the election in May“, You see, with smaller members pushing pressure Draghi had no chance at all, now, he has a few more options by trying to persuade the system players with “a measure of solidarity among members“, which I can counter with ‘perhaps spending the trillion you did not have was perhaps not the best idea?’ In that we can agree, we can disagree, but we all know that no matter the direction, it was a pretty dangerous step to take. It is the next two parts that are the cause of issues: “Market worries over the presidential race have increased as polls charted the rising popularity of the right-wing candidate, with France’s borrowing costs jumping, while the euro suffers sell-offs. In an apparent shot at the right-wing candidate, Mr Draghi today dismissed fears of the breakdown of the currency as ‘unrealistic’“.

Is that so? If that actually was the case, he would not have needed to reinforce it, didn’t he?

So the two parts are ‘with France’s borrowing costs jumping, while the euro suffers sell-offs‘ and ‘the breakdown of the currency as “unrealistic”‘, no, it is only unrealistic as only Brexit is coming and until now, we have seen levels of misrepresentation and downright corporate ‘blackmail’ to anyone not singing the false tune Mario Draghi is giving us. Last week there was some economic recovery, but the sharp sell-off that had been visible is still a factor, that whilst the Dutch Nexit was never a true reality, we all knew that. France is another matter, the French has not seen decent economic days, for at least two administrations, which is why France is a big deal, that whilst they represent one of four anchors keeping the Euro in place. With the British anchor removed, the stress on the three is intense, the Euro cannot continue with the remaining two anchors that is the desperate game Draghi is facing now. Weakness and non-decisions from 2012 onwards have caused this mess, and of course he is not done yet. As we see in Reuters, last Monday he stated “If non-high-tech companies adopt more innovative technology, that would provide a boost for European productivity“, speaking as the European Central Bank President last Monday, it that so? With what funds? Innovations requires money, such steps have a cost. To get into deeper debt without the true prospect of revenue and incomes is too dangerous a game to play for too many companies. Many who think in such short-sighted ways will not survive the next fiscal year. In all this, it all hangs on how the elections are going in France. Mario Draghi might be voicing ‘a measure of solidarity among members‘ but the people behind the French member have been in a bad place for too long. In this there is even more pressure growing from Italy. Bloomberg gives us ‘production declines after rising for three straight months‘ as well as ‘Unemployment unexpectedly rose to 11.9% in fourth quarter‘, more important, the production loss is the biggest one in 5 years and pretty much nullifies the last two months of growth. That whilst we see a growth in unemployment. It is in this light that France should consider its options. That is, in equal light should reflect on whom they need to support in an election that will have a massive impact on the course that France will take into the future seas of turmoil. Steering towards the new elected President. What is equally disturbing is that the French political lines are changing, to a much larger degree than ever before, for reasons that are actually slightly unsettling.

The question becomes why?

You see, French Senator Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne is now endorsing Emmanuel Macron, we knew that François Fillon is pretty much on his way out and François Hollande never had a chance; so is this an act to enforce any party that is not Front National? Consider that question, it is now no longer for some to support the net best candidate and the best winner. No, there are now signs that certain power players will unite in backing whomever is most likely to stop Marine Le Pen. Certain plays have become this dangerous, not for what she is, who she is and what she stands for. No, certain members seem to fear and not embrace economic change. The Status Quo is everything. In equal measure, Macron has won the endorsements of those abandoning Benoit Hamon. Some press have even resorted to headlines like: ‘Hamon plans radical departure from EU ‘blabla’, some parties are now extremely worried, especially as the Status Quo groups could lose their Billion Euro gravy train. This is almost a unique situation where we witness the change of approach towards the need of individual economic momentum, which now trumps the electing the need for the good of France (I am not stating or implying which politician represents that).

My evidence?

There are several pieces in the more respectable news carriers. In this case a first is the Financial Times (at https://www.ft.com/content/cbf9a59c-04a1-11e7-aa5b-6bb07f5c8e12), who gives us: “Fifteen years on, however, the anti-far right “republican front” to stop the FN appears to be crumbling“, which is only an indication. The chart that they present in that article gives a very nice indication of the splitting of votes. The strong push from Fillon and Hamon towards Macron is almost unheard of. The abstention group is however still large enough to make an impact, yet the shift from 24.5% to 60.5% is also a little more than amazing. Such landslide victories are so rare, that seeing it twice in a row is no longer a mere coincidence. In this Mario Draghi could actually end up being the contributor to the success of Marine Le Pen. As he proclaims the quotes I used earlier, the large group that currently represents the younger voter that currently seems to be set in Emmanuel Macron camp at present, could realise between now and voting day that the words of Mario Draghi are hollow at best and that his ‘proclamation’ will be replaced hours after the election by apologies and words of hardship whilst claims of better economic times cannot be fortified or made into any level of reality on any way shape or form.

In that light, is it not weird that an investment banker who has never been elected to political office, is at present not a projected frontrunner, is forecasted to carry an optional 60% for round two? That isn’t just unheard of, it is a statistical anomaly and in the political field, such landslide levels are a no-no to say the least, especially twice in a row. Someone is buttering the electoral sandwiches in new unheard ways. Now, France or not, we can agree that extreme vote options like Marine Le Pen tends to sway a decent amount of people to go towards ‘anyone but this one‘, yet the numbers at which this is happening at is just too weird. In this we see that both Bloomberg and Citigroup are playing their own little game, especially as the collapse of the Euro would be devastating to those involved. At https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-03-15/le-pen-win-would-wipe-out-25-from-french-bank-shares-citi-says, we see ‘Le Pen Win Would Wipe Out 25% From French Bank Shares, Citi Says‘, which is really intense and I wonder what evidence they can present, especially after these players got it so massively wrong after the Brexit vote. So the first quote “A victory for Marine Le Pen in France’s presidential elections would cripple the country’s banking stocks, says Citigroup Inc” is one that cannot be countered easily, yet when we see the graphics on that page, we also get: “The analysts predict declines of 30 percent and 34 percent for Credit Agricole SA and Natixis SA, respectively“, there it is, everyone’s favourite French government banker (Natixis) would lose 34% value, which would send anyone reeling, but in this case as the information as I presented them in my blog articles over the last two years, this drop would be impacting long term plans and Natixis does have a decent amount of fingers in all sorts of government pies. And the quote “Even though Le Pen’s policy plans threaten to shake up the country’s banking system, financial institutions including Credit Agricole, Societe Generale and Axa SA have avoided contact with her team“, which is also really weird, would you not try to talk to a candidate and even if they are all in the mindset that her approach is wrong, the veritable truth is actually in a direction on a path that is 180 degrees from shown. A dialogue trying to understand her path and showing the evidence to other directions and perhaps even alternative ways for both to get what they want.

Yet as we have seen, certain players are in the Segregation, Isolation and Assassination mode. Which is me stating that some shady solutions which are usually limited to HVT’s are now optionally tactics in which the larger corporations will engage to keep their status quo, this is nothing new, but it has never been this outspokenly clear before, there is that much at stake for them. Even if it is merely political assassination, Fillon is already crying those words and the setting towards the investment banker Emmanuel Macron is now clearly visible. I reckon that in this regard, the switch by French Senator Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne came slightly too soon, too soon as an increasing amount of voters are now wondering why the change, because such a shift would not have been needed until after the first round. As I personally see it, French Senator Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne used himself to create a momentum towards Emmanuel Macron, an act that will only create more momentum over time. This I see as the second piece of evidence that this time, the elections are about something a little more unsettling. I wonder if the French people see it in the same light.

In the Bloomberg article we see the included wrong vision too. As you see “losing the May 7 runoff against more business-friendly leaders such as Francois Fillon and Emmanuel Macron” gives us the ‘implied‘ fairness of two candidates, yet at present, two days after this, we see that Fillon got gutted, not surviving on his present 19.5% setting (3rd place), he gets to be the chance for Macron to solidify the pole position.

Citi is currently doing to France what several UK players did to anyone supporting Brexit, the question becomes: ‘Will the French voter realise this in time?

More important for Marine Le Pen will be whether this would realign those who are now predicted to go the Macron way. Time will tell and when we start seeing accusations in 2018, 2019 on how big business is influencing French votes, you better realise now that the warning signs have been all over the place and the non-intervention seems to be relying on the press and a select group of financial power players. By the way, it does not stop there, it goes on in several direction. Now, I do not feel inclined to prove them all wrong, it would make this merely a ‘he said-she said’ debate, what you should consider is the final part that Bloomberg gives us, “the analysts predict” is in the middle. You see, predictions require models, they require data and a few more little titbits that make up for the forecasting models. This model has to deal with two elements it cannot correct for as it has never happened before. First is the fact that President Hollande is currently the least favourite French president in modern history, and soon to be the only one term President in French modern history, so one of the data outliers is based on a premise that had never happened before, the second part is the ‘forecast’ that an politician, never elected in public office before becomes the person growing to over 60% in one round, as I see it, another prediction that is not a given. Are you getting the image? Whatever forecast we are introduced to will be a lot less accurate as several elements in play have never seen the light of day ever before. As such, there are serious questions in play on any prediction given in this election, no matter in which direction it goes.

I personally believe that Marine Le Pen is not the given loser (with 60% opposition), there are a few elements in play, but in equal measure I do not believe that Emmanuel Macron will be the given winner to the degree forecasted either. In the end, we will leave it to the French People to decide who will go to the Élysée Palace, not the banks, not the lenders and not any collection of ‘storage and media clowns’. All these proclaimers are for the most, all on the gravy train of globalisation (the Macron side), a term that has been filling the French with disgust for the longest time and the last 10 years have not been kind on any positive feeling of globalisation. Still, in the end the French will need to remain a little pragmatic, which does not mean surrendering to Globalisation, yet in equal measure there is uncertainty on how France will deal with Frexit, unlike the UK, they are directly tied to Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Spain, so there are a few more practical considerations for France. I believe it can be done, but it is up to the French to select the referendum to leave the EEC and the Euro. We can forecast all we like, but if there is one thing the Dutch election have taught us, is that these matters are not black and white and that the outcome is currently getting bounced on the waves of identity and economy, two elements that never worked well together.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Law, Media, Politics

Family of my enemy

There are all these expressions, like for example: ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend‘. In this day and age, in the one place, the one moment when Marine Le Pen has a growing chance of becoming President of France, her father, for whatever reason is now trying to thwart her chances. This is the one clear evidence that ‘Family of my enemy is my friend‘. The quote “threatened his daughter and sent her an ultimatum, to ensure the “unity of her movement and of the national movement“, must make François Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy howl with laughter. Euro Disney could not come up with this plot! In addition, the quote “We must not lose part of our political capital in the hope to conquer others. You have to be yourself”, which reads like: ‘be the ultimate extremist of yourself, as outspoken as possible‘. The reality is that some will listen to the very old man, giving rise to internal opposition towards Front National. I still believe that an actual Brexit will give a massive sway towards Marine Le Pen. There are two factors that will change it. The first one is either Hollande or Sarkozy to get on the Frexit horse, this would be the most powerful deflator for Front National and here is the kicker. If Hollande does this before the Brexit vote they will actually expedite that what neither wants. We have seen in the previous round that they will combine powers just to prevent Marine Le Pen from winning, which could be seen as betraying ones constituency on one side and in my book there is no other side. The entire approach reeks towards the fact that Sarkozy and Hollande will do anything to stay in the Euro and keep Front National out of Élysée Palace. Is that truly representing ones constituency? We can argue for either side. Yet it could all be moot if Mademoiselle’s Le Pen’s daddy goes extreme. Her victory could turn instantly from definite into possibly, maybe. This is not a solution for her side, which the other players definitely love. So the problem for her side is now starting to grow. Her chances are growing fast, but only if she can get a handle on daddy dearest. For her opposition this is great, should their dreams come true, if they escape defeat by Le Pen, the speculation would become whether the gilded tombstone will read ‘Jean-Marie Le Pen, deceased, as is Front National, I killed my own party and we never got to govern because I would not trust my children‘, which could end up becoming a tourist attraction, which is also good for France.

Yet, the issue does not stop in France, recently we have seen issues rise in both the Netherlands and Italy. First the Netherlands. For this I will use the Irish times as a source, so you won’t need to learn the complications of Google Translate. For example ‘schijt lijster’ does not mean ‘shit thrush’, but ‘coward’. So let’s take a look at a decent version of reporting, where (at http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2016/02/geert-wilders-is-a-threat-to-democracy-says-labour-chairman/), we saw earlier this month “Wilders told a gathering of far right parties in Milan 10 days ago: ‘If I am the biggest and the other politicians won’t work with me, then the people will not accept that. Then there will be a revolt. We won’t let that happen“, which is a fair enough statement to make. The statement “Wilders has ‘let the genie out of the bottle’ with his calls for ‘resistance’ to the establishment of refugee centres and warnings that his supporters will ‘revolt’ if the PVV is not part of the next government, Spekman said” is in that context not correct, what Geert Wilders has stated that if he becomes the biggest (which is statistical likelihood at present) the other parties would need to work with him. This is at the core of the Dutch issue. In the past, not entirely unjustified did parties turn their back and all support away from the PVV, which in light of Dutch liberalism, if THEY think it is too extreme, there should be an issue. What becomes partially the issue is “The threats being made against local politicians are an attack on democratic decision-forming, the Labour party chairman said. Wilders, Spekman said, should take back his words. ‘The genie has to be put back in the bottle and Wilders has a role in doing that.’“, this is not correct. You see, for a long time there has been a growing aversion against more refugees. The Netherlands, pretty much the smallest nation in Europe is 7th on the GDP list, largely through transport and processing services. It has a comparable GDP with Turkey but is only 5% in size. It has a population size that is only 3 million less than Romania, yet 16% it’s size. So a population pressure that is 5 times higher. In addition, the local population have for a long time made the argument that the value of houses would decrease when a refugee centre would be added in near proximity. However, that last fact has never been proven with factual data, partially as the Dutch house market has had many fluctuations.

In light given another part is also ignored. When we see “threats being made against local politicians are an attack on democratic decision-forming“, there is a clear side that is ignored. The fact that the population is more and more agitated by these events is also a clear sign that political parties are about international visibility. The voter has been ignored too many times, this is exactly why the PVV had grown too much. Local politicians proclaiming to be international players all in the interest of ‘self’ is why this shift is happening. In addition, to some extent I still believe that a coalition government should be seen as the most corrupt form of democracy (not just a personal view). We see on how politicians will advocate ‘a little water added to the wine‘, this has been happening in the Netherlands since the 80’s, which means the politicians all get what they need, but the population gets a mix, no longer having the ability to differentiate water from wine. What they are left with won’t kill them, but it should be regarded as undrinkable. The people at large have had enough. The fact that the PVV is now regarded in the Netherlands as the largest party is a blemish on the political shield. The true political titans that the Netherlands had like Joop den Uyl, Hans Wiegel, Dries van Agt and Hans van Mierlo. These titans were true politicians, when den Uyl fought van Agt on the political battlefield it was a sight to behold, there was a true fight for their constituents. I believe that this fight is gone, as a majority is no longer an option it became about compromise and from the 90’s onwards there was too much compromise where parties gave in to big business and certain scandals (there will always be scandals in every nation) were almost a cornerstone of political office.

It is not really that much of a wonder that Geert Wilders grew to the extent he has. This now reflects back to France. As France is now making more and more compromises (Team Hollande/Sarkozy), we see a local population that has had enough. A united Europe has brought them too little, or nothing at all. In that regard many European nations are now more and more pushing the ‘nationalism’ button, after too much hardship the people are accepting that story, even though in the back of their mind they know it will not bring any ease to their hardship. After a harsh decade where large corporations gave millions to their top dozen, these people will now try ‘anything else’. It is the ‘else’ part that is bringing the problems known as Brexit and Frexit.

So in countering the statement by the Dutch Chairman of the Labour party, I would state “Mr Spekman, your party lost close to 50% of its power, because of self-serving bias. The pension plan is perhaps the most visible one. A long fight that had no option of getting won. Instead of fighting a useless battle, accepting the reality of a sliding age of retirement and presenting the demand for reinforcements and growth of the total pensions, giving way to a more secure future would have been the real solution. Your party never sold it correctly and did not terms of preparations which would have made all the difference. You lost the faith of your constituents!” which would have been my response to that disaster. In that light people are now listening to someone else, it is not up to me to decide whether he is the wrong person.

In light of that, as he stated in a Dutch Newspaper “Het optreden van Geert Wilders brengt democratie en rechtsstaat in gevaar“, “The acts of Geert pose a threat to democracy and the rule of law“, is that truly the case? If he is a threat to the rule of law, he would be breaking the law and he can be prosecuted, he cannot be a threat to democracy, in that light, you and your posse (your coalition partners) are that threat. The threat is there because the people have been ignored for too long and they (well over 25% have had enough), in that light, how often will a Dutch politician state ‘it is a complex situation‘ to avoid giving a clear answer? How many of the clear answers given turned out to be ‘half-truths’ or ‘incomplete answers’? In that light, who is the threat to democracy? In that light, Mr Spekman should realise (fast) that should the PVV win, he has no option, but to either find a way to work or to create a minority coalition. Should that happen, than perhaps Mr Spekman might want to try to remember what happened on August 20th 1672 and especially WHY it happened.

Even as the mood in France is not that grim, the issues are now quickly evolving. The investigation into the Nicolas Sarkozy 2012 election charges, which according to the French population is not a good thing. According to the poll 77% regard Mr Sarkozy ‘a handicap’ to his party’s ambitions, within his party, it is Alain Juppe who has 55% of the votes within the party (at http://www.connexionfrance.com/france-politics-les-republicains-nicolas-sarkozy-president-francois-hollande-alain-juppe-survey-17738-view-article.html), in that light, as Sarkozy designed a coalition with Francois Hollande, who is dealing with disastrously low ratings. So as the two French parties are in turmoil, there is a clear path for Front National to get national gains beyond the two areas where they had an advantage. An option for Marine Le Pen that is now in danger as her daddy seems to have a failing level of logic and even less faith in his youthful young daughter.

Even in this light, there is still an issue with Greece, as their economy created the dangers of Brexit and Frexit in the first place. However, in this case it is NOT Greece that has the blame here. In this case, the refugee issues that are fuelling election, we see a Greece that is in the middle of a scenario they did NOT create. In that light we need to look at the issue of Austrian short-sightedness. Greece is the first port of call, not by choice, by mere geography. Austria seems to forget that Turkey (stupid is as stupid does) is doing what it can to get the people away from their turf into the next one (Greece). So the quote “Sebastian Kurz says that Greece has “clearly expressed no interest in reducing the (migrant) influx and in contrast wants to continue waving them through” ” is already a first issue, because the refugees DO NOT want to be in Greece, they want the juicy places like Germany and the UK. Which means that they will end up getting through Austria. In my view, how was Sebastian Kurz elected for office as he has such a failing view of geography and logic? Greece should have been the guest of honour at that event!

You see, people (read: refugees) need to be processed, they need to be identified and assessed on optional issues of security. That system would bring jobs and possible economic support to Greece, whilst the EEC gets the data it desperately needs. So as we see (at http://www.ekathimerini.com/206291/article/ekathimerini/news/austria-defends-excluding-greece-from-migrant-conference), so as we look at the quote “the conference is set up in a “regular format” that does not include Athens“, to which I reply: “such a conference requires intelligence and clear thinking, so Minister Kurz, will you therefor be equally absent?

That for the mere reason that the intelligence required would be the data your neighbours desperately needs (which includes Germany and Italy). I wonder if that conference will lead to anything truly productive, or will it just be good food, hookers and a few days away from their offices? I’ll let you readers contemplate that part.

All these events are interconnected, and it is not even the complete story as Italy is missing in all this, but that is for another day.

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Law, Media, Politics

Twenty One Five

It is the end of the year and I will take a break for a week (not a promise at present). You see, we have had a few instances that will affect us all in the next 18 months, so it is also very astute that we take this time to recognise these events.

France

France is still a number one issue for the EEC. This is in several ways, not just because of the attacks, which are taking a toll, but the political landscape is under fire. The fact that the Socialist party denounced their own members, hoping they would add themselves to the part of Sarkozy (at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-35035230) seems to be a major issue that many are ignoring. So, a party will denounce its own members hoping that Front Nationale will not get the area. How is that political? The quote the Independent had: “The investigation is the latest in a series of financial embarrassments for the Le Pens. The Front National is the subject of a criminal investigation over allegations of “fraud and embezzlement” reportedly relating to over-charging its own candidates for election materials in 2012“, now, I cannot state whether this is true or not, but consider that both parties of Hollande and Sarkozy has had a forever oversized budget that goes well over 800% of what FN ever had, when were they properly investigated? Well there was (at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-28103223), it implies that Sarkozy got support for his elections in 2007 from Gadhafi himself. A man (Sarkozy), claiming to be a mere 4 million in value? In France that is not that much, so there is a lot more going on. Francois Hollande claims his net value to be 2 million, in all this, after they have been in power, the funds and the rewards, that is all they have, or is that all they have on paper? A fair question, yet in all this it is Marine Le Pen that is getting hit with the investigative heat, whilst she was never in power and the fear that both Hollande and Sarkozy show gives more and more weight to the frightful question: ‘What if she really has a valid point?’, a question many fear addressing?

So is the Front Nationale nothing more than a storm in a tea cup? That remains to be seen, the economic disaster that France currently is, is nothing to ignore, too many players are making light of a 5.7 trillion dollar debt. A debt that is held outside of that nation, whilst its own economic forecast is not moving forward. France cannot meet a mere 1% in interest at present, 57 billion just to break even, it might seem little but the present parties have been unable to keep a proper budget, which means that none of the debt is reduced, or even maintained, it just grows!

It would be too hypocritical to slap Greece around for this and ignore France (or Italy, or the UK for that matter). Restoration is what FN is fighting for and we all know the current path is NOT working, FN is willing to change that path, and corporations like Natixis have both Sarkozy and Hollande in their pockets.

OK, I will correct that statement! When Natixis calls, no one in the Élysée Palace will not pick up the phone, something that might happen when Marine Le Pen takes office, which is a dreadful thought for Natixis, especially as they need the current game to go on as long as possible. And if you think that Natixis is something small, then think again. It is privately owned and one of the most powerful banks on the planet, a real French player. Fitch rates Natixis at ‘F1’ (at http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSFit94468520151221), it doesn’t get to be any better for those short term loans. Natixis stays away from front pages and it could devour the Bank of Scotland without too much effort, interesting that such a power player in economics is not seen with the political player it wields.

How does this involve Marine Le Pen?

That is the kicker, it does not, more important, there is more and more evidence that she does not want to get comfy with these power players. The moment the French population realises that they were sold down the line and that Marine Le Pen was the one trying to prevent it that is the moment that things in France really turn ugly. There was a reason why Hollande would give up two regions with voters, just like that! The price of what is behind curtain number three is too scary for both him and Sarkozy, a fact not revealed by many people who could have done so.

The second part in all this is Nigel Farage, for if France is going Frexit through Le Pen, Farage remains the pushing ‘champion’ for Brexit. And in all that we must realise that when either Brexit of Frexit hits the front door, a panic will hit Europe in many ways. Now we see ‘Nigel Farage says Ukip’s MP Douglas Carswell ‘can put up or shut up’‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/dec/18/nigel-farage-ukip-douglas-carswell-leadership). I saw this issues rise on May 16th (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/05/16/you-be-kipping/). Then I had the quote “But a senior UKIP source said he had no doubt that a coup was under way, despite O’Flynn’s claims of loyalty. The source also claimed the deputy chairman, Suzanne Evans, as well as the party’s only MP, Douglas Carswell, and much of the UKIP press office in London appeared to be working together to undermine Farage”. You see Carswell was not doing too well as a Conservative, so he turned seats and Farage wanted senior players, he badly needs them, in all that the issue was that Carswell just wants a comfy seat, so when UKIP did not make the growing curve we all expected (they still made massive strides forward) Carswell had to make alterations for his own future. See here the issue, not for the future for his party or his constituents, his own future, which is not the same.

This is where I differ from the Guardian. The Guardian states “The row reignites longstanding tensions between the two men ever since Carswell defected from the Conservatives 18 months ago. However, this is the first time Carswell has called for him to resign outright“, which is actually true, but the pushes I saw 7 months ago have been in play for that same amount of time, gives way to the deliberation regarding the statement whether ‘outright resignation’ is not just a marketing gimmick and undermining is not the same, so why is that subtle difference not outspokenly dealt with in this article?

The part in the article that does play is seen here: “Pressed on whether Carswell would have to leave if he will not curb his criticisms, Farage said: “We cannot have and I don’t think the NEC will allow one individual to give an impression to the country that Ukip is divided when actually it is very united”. The Ukip leader also claimed to have the unanimous support of his party’s national executive, his MEPs and 91.4% of Ukip voters based on a recent opinion poll“, which is at the heart of the matter, the 4 million votes were for Farage and not Carswell. My Conservative side enjoys the infighting as I am not in favour of UKIP winning, but the truth is clear, as the Americans would state: “there is a very Benedictian side to Douglas Carswell that makes me shiver when he enters the room“, I feel that same way, Douglas Carswell is about himself, I do not trust a person like that back into the party, yet he also has the danger of rustling the wrong feathers, because when his play is clearly shown it will unite UKIP even stronger, a side us Conservatives are not that keen on at present, UKIP remains a danger of growing vastly over the next year, they pushed in second place in too many places, unity may give drive to that. In this I believe in the Conservative solution for the UK, it is a painful one, but the debts have been too great to leave them unattended and if Frexit becomes a reality, those pains could kill us economically for long time, reducing debt is the only solution here.

This is where this annual tale of two nations ends. You see both Nigel Farage and Marine Le Pen wants massive change, yet the difference is that Cameron and Osborne accept how things were and they are changing the patterns of where we end up, which is why the issues in the UK are hard and they will not let up any day soon, in France both François Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy will work whatever deal they can get giving in to power places like Natixis, which is good for their long term value, but it will do the people of France little good, because that debt is not a mill stone, it is a gravestone for a nameless person that they carry around their necks. Something France should not accept, France is too proud, my worry is why the French do not see that Sarkozy and Hollande were part of that problem all along. Perhaps they do realise it and they are not just ready to put all their faith in Marine Le Pen, which would be fair enough too.

Twenty One Five was all about economic issues that never got resolved. In all this the US economy remains at a low, revised down again, all that at the end of the year, when Christmas numbers should fuel speculations on how ‘great’ the economy is, we see that predictions are down 0.1%, for a nation that is approaching a debt of 19 trillion, it is not a good thing to look forward to. Some papers iterate on how for 10 years, the US economy grew less than 3%, they all ignore on how spending has not been culled either, is it not weird that as oil prices are so down at this point they are now lifting the export ban on crude oil? So as these panic moves are made, consider that the Dollar is in my opinion set at an inflated point, when that collapses, what happens to the Euro? Because that directly impacts France and its debts and it will hit the UK too. And should you doubt my words in all this (which is always a fair choice) then consider that my doubts on Greece are now finally reflected by the BBC (at http://www.bbc.com/news/business-35122710). As simple math I was able to do two years ago, they are finally catching on. The quote “With the disbursement of one billion euros, the ESM is supporting the Greek government in its reform process” is a massive delusion. The idea is nice, but Greece does not need a reform, it needs to be rewritten nearly 100%, that is not a reform. Their view on reform is like upgrading your Nissan Micra to a Jeep, it is not an upgrade it is a different car all together, that recognition is still far away and with the Greeks protesting on every corner neither solution will become reality any day soon. The one interesting side is that Greece has no shed its part in Turkey’s Finansbank towards Qatar National Bank SAQ, so either that was a loss point, or the banks are wantonly shifting away from Greece altogether. You can read it in more than one way, yet (at http://www.ekathimerini.com/204547/article/ekathimerini/business/qatars-qnb-acquires-national-bank-of-greeces-stake-in-finansbank), we see the quote “planned the sale of its Turkish unit to plug a capital shortfall identified in European Central Bank (ECB) stress tests in October“, this makes perfect sense for Greece to get rid of it and it opens doors for the Qatar National Bank SAQ too. Now consider the last ramification:

If banks are now dealing with stress tests and they are failing, consider how many of them are held by European players and by American players, how many failed the stress tests and how will it impact European Economic Drivers all over 2016?

This is something you should think about!

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Media, Politics