Tag Archives: France

They had been warned

Only hours ago, the NY Times gives us a part that wants to makes me want to go ‘I told you so!‘, but I will not. With ‘The U.N.’s Uncomfortable Truths About Iran‘, Nikki Haley gives us the goods from a report published a week ago (at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/17/opinion/nikki-haley-united-nations-iran.html). The quote: “A panel of experts found that Iran is violating a United Nations weapons embargo — specifically, that missiles fired by Yemen’s Houthi rebels into Saudi Arabia last year were made in Iran“, part of these issues I raised in ‘Disney’s Yemeni Cricket‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/02/04/disneys-yemeni-cricket/) two weeks ago. The part I had not looked at is seen in Nikki’s article. She captures it perfectly in: “The mullahs in Iran don’t want to hear this news, because it proves Iran is violating its international agreement. Die-hard defenders of the Iran nuclear deal don’t want to hear it because it proves, once again, that the Iranian regime can’t be trusted. And some members of the United Nations don’t want to hear it because it is further proof that Iran is defying Security Council resolutions, and the pressure will be on the U.N. to do something about it“. Yet, the UN is not acting, is it? The Guardian on Jan 11th gives rise to the ‘need’ that the US is not tearing up the Iranian nuclear deal. With “the three EU signatories to the deal insisted that Iran was respecting the agreement signed in 2015” they are making a reference to the UK, France and Germany. The fact that we see: “Federica Mogherini, said the deal, denounced by Trump as the worst ever made, had in reality “made the world safer and prevented a potential nuclear arms race in the region”“, which might hold some truth in regards to the fact that it was the worst deal, but that is pretty much it. In addition she gives us “any doubts the EU harboured over Iran’s development of ballistic missiles, or its overall policy of interference across the Middle East, were separate from the nuclear deal – also known as the JCPOA“. Now the part in the Guardian happened a week after the actual attack. I think that the entire event is a sham. I think that the three nations had been clearly briefed on the entire Houthi matter, as well as the fact that the three parts that Nikki Haley gives us is on par, the EU is merely in denial, because after all the wasteful blunders and failures they had signed up for, another failure is a lot more than any of the three could handle. The intelligence services did what they needed to do, but here it is again short-sighted side in all this, whilst they remain nationally protective, for now that is.

So is that true?

Well that is the issue. Apart from e not having the original texts, there are a few issues that Nikki is completely correct in, yet in the end she is not (not completely at least). When we look at United Nations Security Council Resolution 1929, we see “The resolution updates and adds to the list of technical items related to nuclear and missile proliferation that are banned for transfer to and from Iran“, which makes the view of Nikki Haley correct, then there is “Iran is subject to a new regime for inspection of suspicious cargo to detect and stop Iran’s smuggling. States should inspect any vessel on their territory suspected of carrying prohibited cargo, including banned conventional arms or sensitive nuclear or missile items. States are also expected to cooperate in such inspections on the high seas“, so is this enough, can we state that the arming of Houthi’s in Yemen is a ‘smuggling operation’, or ‘a classified shipment’ in support of Houthi’s? You see, the classification is everything in this limelight.

The resolution holds a lot more, yet most of that is directed at shipments to Iran and/or nuclear materials. Yet now we get to United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231, which makes the view of Nikki Haley wrong. Here we see: “Resolution 2231 calls for Iran to refrain from activity related to nuclear-capable missiles (“Iran is called upon not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology“, however, the Deutsche Welle give us: “according to diplomats the language is not legally binding and cannot be enforced with punitive measures“, so basically, Nikki is in spirit very correct, yet in black letter law, there is no clarity and more important, no punitive option. In all this, we see that top EU diplomat, Federica Mogherini was correct.

In the spirit of it all, Iran seems to become a bigger player and a much larger danger to any level of Middle Eastern stability. Nikki ends the article with “Today, armed with this evidence, we have the chance to rein in Iran’s behavior and demand that it live up to its international agreements that discourage conflict. But if action is not taken, then someday soon, when innocent Saudi civilians are killed by Iranian weapons, the chance for peace will be lost.

I am not sure of that, you see, just like Turkey, Iran will do whatever it pleases and the US knows that, as did the three players (UK, France and Germany), who are desperately trying to hold on the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) like it is the golden fleece.

However, only 4 hours ago Reuters treats us to: “Britain, the United States and France want the United Nations Security Council to condemn Iran for failing to stop its ballistic missiles from falling into the hands of Yemen’s Houthi group and commit to take action over the sanctions violations, according to a draft resolution seen by Reuters“, with “The U.N. Security Council has banned the supply of weapons to Houthi leaders and “those acting on their behalf or at their direction.” It can also blacklist individuals and entities for threatening the peace and stability of Yemen or hindering aid access” we see the other part the Nikki mentioned and here she is proven right. Even as Iran claims that it is fabricated, there is enough evidence, that the parts are indeed from Iranian missiles, which invalidates their side in all this. The most striking part is the part that both Nikki Haley and Reuters are giving us and that part seems to be ignored by too many. The mention of: “Some members of the United Nations don’t want to hear it because it is further proof that Iran is defying Security Council resolutions, and the pressure will be on the U.N. to do something about it” is a much larger issue. Is it because they are unwilling to act, or has the coin toppled in the many outstanding issues in play and the UN is now unable to do anything?

That part is more important, because that means that the UN has no longer options to set issues against rogue nations like Iran, it could be a renewed signal for North Korea to do whatever it pleases as well and that could give more worries regarding stability in Far East Asia as well.

The question becomes can the situation be diffused? Should Iran comply and seize all missile shipments, it will change the Houthi field. They will not win (they never could) but a larger consideration to remove Houthi forces and start larger humanitarian aid would become increasingly more realistic. The bad side is that the Houthi’s would go underground so the humanitarian aid groups would have to deal with sabotage and armed strikes on a daily basis if no green zone can be established. That part is also no longer a real issue as we got only a few days ago that civilian life in Aden is safe, stable and calm, with all signs of life returning to normal, almost three years after diplomats and UN staff fled Aden. Saudi Ambassador to Yemen Mohammad Al Jabir also mentioned that recent demands made by a single social strait, which later led to clashes, have been calmed and resolved. We get this from the Asharq Al-Awsat Newspaper (at https://aawsat.com/english/home/article/1170916/saudi-ambassador-yemen-says-arab-coalition-proved-efficiency-resolving-aden), the issue now becomes, will Iran back off, or continue in its actions to remove stability from the Middle East, that alone gives support to Nikki Haley and her view regarding Iran, If she is proving correct and Iran remains on the path they are now, we should consider that soon enough, the JCPOA will not be worth the paper it was printed on, because if Iran can play games to this extent, there will be absolutely no guarantee that Iran will not break word and move on their path to enrich Uranium, I have no doubt in that regard, the issue has been diminished to a mere when they will start, there is no longer an ‘if’ in the matter.

In my view, these matters are only increasing stresses and pressures between Israel and Iran, they were never cordial, but now they are at an all-time high on the volatility aggressive response scale and that is mainly due to the Syrian issues in play. This now gives more and more rise to the dangers of escalations and the moment this happens all bets are off. The Guardian gives us: “Emboldened by a belief that Assad is winning, Iran is turning its eyes, and guns, on Israel – or so Israeli leaders believe. Their “red lines” – forbidding a permanent Iranian military presence in Syria and the transfer of advanced weapons to Hezbollah – are being ignored”, Another source gave us much earlier (November 2016) that “the Chief of Staff of the Iranian armed forces announced to commanders of the Iranian fleet that Iran may establish naval bases in the future far from its shores”, which was Major general Mohammad Bagheri at that point, in that address both Syria and Yemen were raised as options. Now, if this is happens in Syria the IDF would reacts and Iran will plunge the Middle East in another war, if it is in Yemen, there is every indication that this will set off the legitimate Yemeni government as well as Saudi Arabia optionally starting a war with those players, giving again full support to the views Nikki Haley gave earlier, more important, at that point any UN representative avoiding that discussion better give up their seat quick and proper as the fallout of that discussion will impact the confidence levels of the UN on an almost global scale and it again would open the door for North Korea to do whatever it pleases. A scenario that roughly 98.4% of the UN nations who are currently part of the UN will not be too happy about either.

As I personally see it, too many issues have become interconnected, it has become a mess that several nations want to steer clear off, they want to ignore it and/or they remain in denial. It would make for an excellent front page though, when the moment comes and we get to read ‘UN in denial of Iranian actions’, how will you react?

 

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That pathetic sign

The guardian gives us the news with ‘Grieving Florida community pleads for end to gun carnage after mass shooting‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/feb/15/florida-shooting-suspect-charged-questions-nikolas-cruz), actually the news is not new. They have been on top of it since it happened just like any decent news agency would. It was the image this morning, the image of a man holding a sign ‘NRA please stop killing our kids‘ that set me off. A sign so pathetic that I had to speak out! You see, the National Rifle Association does not kill children, people kill children! It is a simple and basic concept. If anything, I would optionally be a member of the NRA if I was in America. You see, I love rifles. The army trained me (and trained me well), I have been a member of the shooters association for a decade and if it had been a possibility, I would have been a hunter too.

Why was I not?

You see, I grew up in the Netherlands. I got some of the highest scores when I was an active shooter and the club I was a member of, were equally driven to excellence. On several events we could have forgone showing up and still end up with the annual cup. Now, I was by no means the best shooter, but our scores put all others merely in the shadow of our scores. We were all finely coached and aware of the fire arms law (which is a lot more constricting than the US, UK or Australian laws will ever be). A rifle is a tool, merely a tool and that is how it is to be used, whether we use a fire arm for target shooting, hunting or other needs, and as for the hunting part. I never really hunted like others; you see the Netherlands is not really a hunting country. It is the size of New Jersey with over 17 million people, so even if I went to the most remote part of the Netherlands and shoot a bullet in a random direction, there is still a chance that I would accidently hit a person. So those who are into hunting will go to France, Sweden or Germany. In this, I myself have a code, if you hunt, only hunt what you will eat! If that is not your goal then you become no more than a basic wannabe killer, and who needs those to be around? So if there would be hunting for me, I would do it in Sweden, because I do love my Bambi burgers, venison is the good life for me! So this is about me, which in light of all this is important.

So back to that pathetic sign!

I understand that parents and direct friends will be angry, they are driven by emotion. I get that, the man with the sign is merely seen by me as a man pointing a finger in the wrong direction, optionally intentionally doing so.

When you see some of the articles, you can see that this is a person with anger issues, with other issues and if he did not have a rifle, he would have acted out with pipe bombs or something similar. The ABC gives us: “Chad Williams, 18, a senior student at the school, said Mr Cruz would set off the fire alarm, day after day, and got expelled in the grade 8. More recently, Mr Williams saw Mr Cruz carrying several publications about guns when they ran into each other at the high school“. My issue here is that I had at times the Guns and Ammo a few times when I was a lot younger, does that make me a danger issue? OK, I don’t remember ever setting of the fire alarm, yet that shows us a person with perhaps some kind of an attention disorder, we can equally opt that he was some kind of pranker with a lack of imagination, or merely a person trying to skip classes regularly. None of this breathes school massacre initiator. So as we see the part from Senator Bill Nelson as briefed by the FBI: “He said the shooter wore a gas mask as he stalked into the school carrying a rifle, ammunition cartridges and smoke grenades, then pulled a fire alarm, prompting students and staff to pour from their classrooms into hallways“, now from the previous part to the part now (that is not being questioned by me), is still a part in the middle and that is the part that counts. Nobody and I state again nobody suddenly starts doing that, something set him off and it was not an in the moment thing. He was prepared, had smoke grenades, additional cartridges, additional ammunition and a gas mask. So he had made preparations, so there are two parts missing, and we can accept that they might be missing for now. So let’s keep on checking the sources.

CNN gives us a little more, especially the part from attorney Jim Lewis. He gives us: “The family took Cruz in last year after his adoptive mother died. Cruz was depressed, Lewis said. The family’s son knew Cruz, so they opened their home, got him into a GED class and helped him get a job at a Dollar Tree“, this is a reference to the family too him in after he lost his adaptive mother died. So he was receiving signals that people around him cared. It also leaves me with additional question on how he got the weapons and where from. It was not merely the depression, we also get: “Cruz had shown him guns, and other students say they worried he was violent“, where were these shown to them? It seems to me that this is a clear red flag, now the kids who it was shown too is not to blame, but that signal should have been passed on to others. The article (at https://edition.cnn.com/2018/02/14/us/nikolas-cruz-florida-shooting-suspect) ends with: ““They care about this kid. They took him into the home,” the attorney said, “but, as the mother told me, if they had any inkling … that this kid was capable of something like this, they never would’ve brought him into their home.”“, a response that makes sense and as we realise that he was not the only kid in that family, there is even more cause for concern, because there are several clear indications that he was hiding it all from everyone, which gives (from my non-medical insights) cause for concern as he seemed to have deeper levels of paranoia.

Insider news (at http://www.thisisinsider.com/florida-shooter-nikolas-cruz-bought-ar-15-legally-2018-2), gives us a little more. When we read “Cruz bought the semi-automatic rifle about a year ago, and law enforcement agents said it was done legally“, yet the timeline is now an issue. The events happened around the time his adoptive mother died, even as we accept that every person is innocent until proven guilty, the data should have raised additional flags, the question is whether the police have these kinds of data or authority to get them. If we accept the red flags as were admitted to be the case earlier. CNN had given us “Cruz had a gun. The family knew that, but they had established rules. He had to keep it in a lockbox in his room. Cruz had the key to the lockbox“, which is fair enough. However, in the beginning it gives: “Before he allegedly committed one of the worst mass shootings in US history at a Parkland, Florida, high school on Wednesday, police officials say Cruz wrote social media posts so threatening he was twice reported to the FBI” the two show the picture, no matter how innocent, the second quote should have had someone look into the data, showing he had a rifle and it was purchased around the time his mother died. This data should have been readily available. The death of his mum as public record, the purchase of the rifle as they should be recorded together with the background check and the red flag could have given the FBI the signal to give that data to local police forces to investigate. It is actually that simple!

The fact that these end up being non actions is for others to look into, yet the one thing that was stupid is to merely blame the NRA. It would be like me slamming a basketball into someone’s face until they die and blaming the NBA for showing games on TV, as I see it pointless, ludicrous and utterly stupid.

Yet we are still left with the notion on the trigger. Even as he (allegedly) went on social media to become a “professional school shooter“, the act of seeking attention in violence and chaos was set off somehow, a rage, mistreated, some suggest jilted love, whilst the last one would make me sad, and some might get angry. I am not sure what set him off, but from that moment there would be the FBI notion that he started his preparations and the outburst in the school might be him seeking attention, the fact that he allowed himself to be captured alive could be indicative of that (but I is no shrink, so I is not knowing for certain).

It is actually Fox News (at http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/02/15/nikolas-cruz-school-shooter-comment-reported-to-fbi-months-ago-vlogger-says.html), that gives us some parts that were reflected in the previous articles, yet they fly with the parts focused on it. The title ‘Nikolas Cruz ‘school shooter’ comment reported to FBI months ago, vlogger says‘, gives weight to the view I had regarding the available data, yet they also give us: “After conducting database reviews, however, the FBI said it could not identify the user who made the comment a part that is new. If that is truly the case than it means that Nikolas Cruz had done above basic things to remain ‘less traceable‘, with “Ben Bennight said he reported a comment made by user Nikolas Cruz that stated “I’m going to be a professional school shooter.”” and the fact that it was on YouTube and given to the FBI, the fact that this profile was made with his actual name does not make it easier, but it gives rise that a few more facts should have been available to the FBI as well as to Google, so there is a system flaw here. So, Bennight, a Mississippi bail bondsman did the right thing, reported it and the FBI was there the next day. In this my question becomes, why give that quote to a bail bondsman? It seems to be a cry for attention, but was it asked or shouted in the right direction?

The Fox News article shows that the FBI reacted and acted as far as they could, the question becomes why parts were missed. I am not claiming it was intentionally so, I am questioning how Nikolas Cruz, who seems to have been seeking attention, was not higher on the list to be found. If I had skip traced the Google account, how far would I have gotten? Was there a Google+ account? What else had he watched; and who else was connected to him? Could the FBI have asked Google the data on what interactions the ‘Nikolas Cruz‘ account could have made? So, when we get to ‘the right to privacy‘, we need to look back at the man holding the ridiculous sign blaming the NRA. He wanted his right to privacy and he got it, along with all the other Americans and that also got 17 people killed. Is it not interesting that this part is not shown anywhere on the media? It seems so much fun to point and blame, to go after the NRA, in this case making a case for ‘white supremacist referencing‘, but there too there was cooperation. Even as I am not approving of white supremacists, as they all tend to be racists in the first degree, yet I want to know more and a local news station gives us more on the Republic of Florida group (at https://www.local10.com/news/parkland-school-shooting/what-is-the-republic-of-florida-militia), they a start with the 10 codes that they need to obey. The part that got to me was seen in the second code. With ‘The group’s site states that members can consider people of other races allies, but they must not “sexually mix with them or pretend that we have no differences.”‘, I see something I had not expected, they seem to not be focussing on hate, but on finding themselves better than others, which is a foundation of white supremacy, but most non-Americans have only seen what some call white-power in league of hatred towards others. It ends with “ROF has members in north and south Florida and “borrows paramilitary concepts from the anti-government extremist militia movement.”“, so there is no interview, no captions or talks to other members. It seems to me that the foundation of the ROF is to grow as a political party. This would require more members, yet their setup is not openly hatred based, so over time we will see the name ROF pop up more often. The article also links to Florida Governor Rick Scott stating that ‘everything is on the table’, you see he cannot alienate the NRA, but something has to happen, and there is too much emotion on it all. In my view he needs to look at the data captures, the data available and the missing data in all this, more important as signs were given that the FBI knew long in advancement, there will be questions on how this was not stopped in time. Even as the Republican is getting ready to go up against Democrat Senator Bill Nelson, we need to be cautious of any politician at this stage, with upcoming midterms we need to be aware that events will be misrepresented to a much larger degree and any issue will be deflected under the guise of ‘miscommunication‘, yet that is just my personal view in all this.

And in all this there is still the given that there was nothing wrong with the people of Florida in all this, the fact that two teachers, Football coach Aaron Feis and Geography teacher Scott Beigel as they decided to act as human shields trying to protect the students. I find that important as there is more and more evidence that the school, the adoptive parents all show a level of care that is more outspoken than we usually see. So in my eyes the people surrounding Nikolas Cruz never failed Nikolas Cruz, Nikolas Cruz failed them all, no matter how his mindset was or how he got there. there is an abundance of shown care that gives voice to the fact that to some extent the system alone is left with a degree of blame, not the NRA, not the ROF, not the school or their teachers, in the end Nikolas Cruz could have been able to prevent it all by telling someone ‘I have a problem!‘, he alone as an ‘adult’ decided not to do that.

 

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A changing language

Europe is in several stages of unease; there is the spending of Mario Draghi, Brexit remains on the mind of many. Yet, the one change that is now more and more in the foreground of many is the problem that Turkey seems to be. There are those set on the stage to end Turkey as a NATO member and subsequent becoming part of the EU, there are things going forward and backward, but the language involved in all this is changing, so are the settings for the meetings yet to come. In all this the latest Turkish act to double down on the Russian S-400 purchases in 2020. There is, as I stated unease and as I see it the entire EU-Turkey mess is now a dance around unclear settings. Yet the settings are founded on what some would call, clear and blatant lies.

So to recap, on March 26th in the Bulgarian port city of Varna with the attendance of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, there will be a summit. The given setting is “to discuss EU-Turkey relations as well as regional and international issues“, this we got from the spokesperson for Donald Franciszek Tusk. The meeting held at the leaders’ level will be hosted as a working dinner, a statement signed by Tusk and Juncker said. Yet soon thereafter it begins. With: “Ankara has been stressing that the EU fails to understand the challenges that the county faces, and calls on all sides to take Turkey’s concerns into consideration, particularly against the PKK and the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), which carried out the failed July 15 coup attempt“, yet how is that true when it has been clear for the longest time “Turkey witnessed the bloodiest coup attempt in its political history on July 15th, 2016, when a section of the Turkish military launched a coordinated operation in several major cities to topple the government and unseat President Recep Tayyip Erdogan“, this is the quote from Aljazeera, but they were not the only one giving this.

The Turkish government blames the failed coup attempt on Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish preacher and businessman who has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999. So as we accept that the Gülen movement is classified as a terrorist organization by Turkey under the assigned names Gülenist Terror Organisation (Fethullahçı Terör Örgütü, FETÖ) or Parallel State Organisation (Paralel Devlet Yapılanması, PDY), we see the link offered, yet another path in this is “MIT officials admitted that they received the very first intelligence report about a possible attack on July 15, only hours before their own headquarters was under heavy artillery fire“, as well as “As of today, more than 100,000 people have been sacked or suspended and 50,000 arrested in an unprecedented crackdown. The government has deemed the crackdown necessary to ‘root out all coup supporters from the state apparatus’“. When we consider those parts, we need to realise that the Millî İstihbarat Teşkilatı (MİT) was completely out of any loop, which makes Turkish Intelligence not just a flawed setting, it would implicate that it has limited counter terrorism options and no resources to speak of (in intelligence terms).

In opposition to this, there would be enough data to offer that it was an internal issue from within the Turkish military and whatever opposes Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Turkey got a fat target painted on them. This fills and completes the view we need to have of Turkey much better. In support of this we need to consider that one exiled cleric could not have orchestrated the military support that would have been required and that was seen in action. The width of the Turkish military acting seems to be that of an internal star chamber than a clerical imprint on the military, the latter would have given more visibility to other ranking officers within the Turkish armed forces. As this becomes more and more visible and accepted, we are treated to the view on the unacceptable acts against the Kurds yet again, which followed the Turkish official view of the coup that they ‘survived’.

So in this light the setting for March will be one that is a puzzle. You see as Turkey keeps on playing this game, their credibility will only go down further. The European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) (at http://www.ecfr.eu/article/essay_eu_turkey_relations_the_beginning_of_the_end_7226) gives us: “Both Turkey and the EU need the continuation of this partnership. It is a matter of definition whether this partnership will be in the form of full membership or in a different form. What is important is not to break the process and not to cause alienation. The need for sustainable EU-Turkey relations obliges both sides to take steps to honour their commitment to integration“, we can accept that, but at this point, is continuation feasible? We see the shifting language that shows that Germany is less and less taken with Turkey, now siding more and more with France on the anti-Turkey alliance. It gets worse for Turkey as we now hear: “A Turkish court on Wednesday denied entry to the German ambassador to Ankara to the hearing of Selahattin Demirtas, the former co-leader of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP)“, which we get from http://www.dw.com/en/turkish-court-denies-german-ambassador-entry-to-kurdish-politicians-trial/a-42579957, even as France is trying to work with Turkey regarding a ‘diplomatic road map‘ on Syria, the sounds of accusation of Turkey violating international law was not far behind it, so there is pressures on nearly every level. Only 12 hours ago, Deutsche Welle gave us “Even NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg wouldn’t hazard a guess ahead of this week’s defense ministers’ meeting. He said Turkey needs to clarify the status of the contract” (at http://www.dw.com/en/turkish-russian-missile-deal-puts-nato-on-edge/a-42572965), as I said earlier, the language is changing. As we see ‘Turkey needs to clarify the status of the contract‘ that it is about cancelling the contract? Yet in that respect, what would Turkey demand in return? How much is that going to cost and where does that invoice end up? You see, when you consider Reuters with ‘U.S. tells NATO allies spending plans still falling short‘ (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-nato/u-s-tells-nato-allies-spending-plans-still-falling-short-idUSKCN1FY013), where we see “Spain has said it will not meet the 2024 target. Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Italy, Portugal, Norway and Denmark are also lagging. Hungary expects to meet the goal only by 2026“, as well as “France will increase its defense spending by more than a third between 2017 and 2025, but Germany, is not expected to reach the 2 percent target by 2024“, this gives us that the three large economic anchors of the European Union cannot get there. It is these elements that make me wonder on the changing language involving Turkey. From a setting that would have given a clear rejection of Turkey becoming an EU member, we see the setting of new talks, new events and more ‘collaboration’ projects. I think that France is already learning the hard way that this path leads to nowhere, but the others need Turkey to be a spender here, and Erdogan is using that tactic to his own advantage, because once they are in, you cannot throw them out anymore (the EU that is), not even willingly as the UK is learning the hard way. Even as we accept that to some extent Turkey helps to reduce an influx of Syrian and other migrants and refugees into the EU bloc, the question is to what extent and for which purpose, because once these refugees make it into Turkey, Turkey is either stuck with them or they must ‘divert’ them to another place.

In this, in an earlier blog I mentioned the Visa Free EU travel for Turkey and that they had not met the demands. So as we see “Last week, Turkey manifested determination to restart a new chapter in its ailing relationship with the European bloc by submitting a paper detailing Turkey’s roadmap for the fulfilment of the remaining seven benchmarks of 72 criteria” we need to get worried on the non-committed acts from the EU on the matter which had not been met. It seems like Brussels is trying to find any way to either delay it all or give Turkey a pass, which would be disastrous for several players. This is seen in several articles, in this case the Irish Times gives us: “Instead of formally ending EU membership talks, Dr Merkel said she would look at imposing “real restrictions on economic contact” including through the European Investment Bank, EU aid, World Bank and by blocking talks on expanding Turkey’s customs union agreement with the EU, a move that could hit billions of euro in potential Turkish exports“, whilst the EU themselves was ‘dismissive of call for end to Turkey accession talks‘, stating that this is for the heads of government, European Commission says, so the EU revels in inaction and restrictions in other ways. This is a dangerous and explosive combination.

So even as one issue was the contention in the counter terrorism benchmark which has been the definition of terrorism in the counter-terrorism law that Turkey was called repeatedly to amend in order to comply with European democratic and judicial standards. Now, according to reports, a legal provision will be added soon to the current anti-terror law stating that “any critical expression that does not exceed the boundaries of journalism does not constitute a crime“, how is that enough? As we see the Kurdish issues as shown earlier as well as a new complete failure by the Millî İstihbarat Teşkilatı (MİT) should leave anyone a clear indication that not only is the counter-terrorism failing, there is an increased worry that Turkey does not really comprehends the term ‘counter-terrorism’, in support of that fact, or evidence to that, you should talk to the journalists Deniz Yücel, Huseyin Akyol, Ragip Duran, Ayse Duzkan, and Huseyin Bektas. Oh no, you can’t they are in jail! Turkey could have had a genuine excuse, but they lost that option when they denied the German ambassador to Turkey access to the court proceedings. That alone should be regarded as evidence to dismiss the ascension of Turkey to the EU.

And whilst the entire language on Turkey seems to be in a fluid state, the Brexit noise goes on, whilst some are relying on fear-mongering with noise like: “You could have a permanent Operation Stack for 20 miles” regarding shipping between the UK and the EU, ‘could‘ being the operative word. So how large was that ‘stack’ in the 70’s and 80’s? In addition we see the Financial Times (at https://www.ft.com/content/0a8799c6-1190-11e8-940e-08320fc2a277) give us: “Brussels is urging EU leaders to consider radical options such as raiding corporate tax receipts and money raised from selling carbon emission permits to fill a €15bn a year budget hole left by Brexit“, in addition it gives us: “the need to find more money for priorities such as border control and joint defence, mean negotiations are likely to be even more poisonous than previous EU tussles over money“, whilst we see “Some member states don’t want to pay more but they want to do more. Other member states want to receive more“, these elements show the desperate state the EU is in now, that whilst Mario Draghi has printed almost 2 trillion Euro in money for ‘Quantative Easing‘. This relates directly to Turkey, because it shows the desperate EU trying to open a many doors as possible, this is how I see the impact of not dismissing Turkey as an EU member at present. So when we see “impose tougher conditions on access to EU funds as a way to force the likes of Poland and Hungary to comply with EU policies on the rule of law and on asylum” as is a given view on the two needing more money, wanting a stronger voice but cannot contribute. Add to that the earlier pressure from the US for NATO member to do more gives a shifted view of the needed activities within the EU, Turkey is seen as the one floating elements that will allow a few players to keep their heads above water, but it is as I personally see it a desperate act from certain short term viewers, that whilst they also know that it will descent EU elements into chaos. As I (again merely a personal view) see it, it would cripple Strasbourg in getting issues resolved and as Turkey fails to comply with humanitarian sides, it could in equal measure become the puppet for Russia for dislodge other item in consideration, an option honoured by perhaps negating some invoices for S-400 systems, spare parts, training and consultancy? It is merely speculative thinking, but would I be wrong? It would work out very well for Turkey, for the other bloc members a lot less so.

A danger that could have been resolved almost 2 years ago, I will let you ponder on the reasons why the EU never negated this danger.

 

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A Turkey problem

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

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

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

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

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

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

Did I oversimplify issues again?

 

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Patsy Ross and the curse of greed

Yes, we can do all kinds of things in Davos, Switzerland. We can enjoy cheese; we can enjoy the white slopes of Davos and not to mention learn about greed in the World Economic Forum. One article to start with Fortune, who gives us ‘Wilbur Ross Tells Davos: U.S. Is Done ‘Being a Patsy’ on Trade‘ (at http://fortune.com/2018/01/24/davos-2018-trump-wilbur-ross-trade-war-tariff/). The article brings up a few things and has a great ending (from a comedy point of view). With: “Ross also issued a warning against misinterpreting the Trump administration’s hardline approach to trade, in what could foretell what Trump himself will communicate to the Davos crowd on Friday. “We don’t intend to abrogate leadership,” Ross said. “Leadership is different from being a sucker and being a patsy.”“, you see if that was actually true than you would have had fairness in mind with the Trans Pacific Partnership. That document is a joke giving all the power to business and leave governments running for the hills as they get sued for diminished profits, in addition the TPP would not have given additional powers to patents leaving the option of generic medication in the basement. That cursed piece of parchment should never have been allowed to be completed to the degree it was, in secret and without proper open consultation. Now, we agree and accept that this was basically before the Trump administration and they rightfully opposed it, yet the dangers that the people of 12 nations are exposed to and exploited by is just too large. Consider the quote “Critics on the left also said the TPP would pave the way for companies to sue governments that change policy on, say, health and education to favour state-provided services“, since when is any corporation allowed to endanger the health of people by suing for damages? How greedy and stupid does a government need to get by endangering their citizens to such a setting? The full text (at https://www.mfat.govt.nz/en/about-us/who-we-are/treaties/trans-pacific-partnership-agreement-tpp/text-of-the-trans-pacific-partnership), also gives other dangers. Part of the deal was that, large pharmaceutical corporations (most of them American) want to extend the life of their patents, arguing that having spent billions to bring their research to fruition they should be entitled to a just reward so they can invest the profits into developing new medicines, the issue is that that timeframe had been given and they merely want to double that profit as much as possible. Yet in light of an aging population the effect is that generic medication becomes a long term inability driving cost up for the retired population by a lot, in some cases well over 100% more. So as we read that “Time Inc. chief content officer Alan Murray, agreed that pacts brokered decades ago “need a facelift,”“, the people are not given a fair shake in all this, it is all about the large corporations, whilst their tax accountability is off the table, making the forum a very imbalanced exercise. So as we saw the Patsy mention of Wilbur Ross, we are treated to no approach to keep the ‘jokers’ of Wall Street in check, there the political wings all fall silent and that is where the kneejerk dangers are. The law has failed the people, the Wall Street gains are beyond normal whilst those getting the cash seem to remains non-taxable, or taxable to merely the smallest possible degree. In this The Financial Times has an additional setting (at https://www.ft.com/content/cb18f700-011b-11e8-9650-9c0ad2d7c5b5). The emphasis on TTIP over TTP, as well as In this we see that he “repeated a willingness to revive negotiations on trade with the European Union“, yet left the United Kingdom unmentioned, which I see is merely a shot across the bow. In this Davos has been making jabs in that direction for 2 days now. In a place where every word and specific mentions are essential, it comes with clear setting on poses, stances and hand gestures, we see the total disregard and consideration regarding Brexit, or Brexit mentions in the same way that toilet paper advertises ‘softness’.

Finally, there is a continuation from yesterday’s blog as we see (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/live/2018/jan/24/davos-2018-merkel-macron-mnuchin-inequality-slavery-wef-day-2-live), the mention “Macron hails French recovery“, which sounds nice, but there is no evidence on that, only overly optimistic views for 2018. So as France still had 9.8% unemployment in July 2017, that against 4.2% in the UK and 3.6% in Germany, France is a long way away from hailing ‘recovery’. In addition, it was the view of Natixis Research that was used by Reuters to give us: “With growing optimism on the health of the Euro zone economy and its equity markets, it’s easy to forget that GDP growth in some countries such as France is somewhat below what one would expect at this stage in the cycle, with forecasts of under 2 percent for 2017 and 2018. According to Natixis’ research, structural unemployment and the rise in numbers of young people with no qualifications are a drag on the Gallic economy and will keep holding it back. “When the structural unemployment rate is as high as in France currently (more than 9%), recruitment difficulties will very prematurely stop growth,” Patrick Artus, who heads research at the French bank“, as such he uses a more academic stance, but our views partially align, France is not out of the woods yet and the Draghi Stimulus will still hit France as well because that money needs to come from somewhere in the end and France stands well over minus 2 trillion Euro. That is the part all the players are ignoring whilst the paths are made for large corporations, whilst the need to dam the flow through proper corporate taxation. None of that is properly in place in Europe (and the UK needs to fix a few things too). And as the people get to hear from Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair on how Brexit is a mistake, the first part of my prediction comes out. I only need to see one of the five as mentioned last week to make a similar remark to make the prediction I made over a week ago come true. Yet in all this there is also a benefit to get soon enough. You see as the US is now hitting others with steep tariff increases, he is directly giving the danger that all the others (probably with the exception of Japan), will hit back by doing the same to video games, when that happens America will get a massive hit to that $130 billion market which is predominantly American, in this the tariffs would equally hit the digital sold titles. In light of the numbers, The US is making a dangerous move that could hit them harder than they bargained for.

The fact that Digital game revenue surpassed $10 billion in December 2017 alone gives rise to the awkwardly bad decision that the US set itself up for. We will see if the last day of Davos gives us a few more pointers on how large corporations will see more opportunities come your way that is if we can believe Breitbart. That is how we got the news from the Washington Post with ‘Breitbart called Davos a collective of ‘leftist elites’ and ‘corporate cronies.’ Then Trump said he was going’, the article is not really giving us anything besides the views that Breitbart has and therefore not really informative, but they seem to touch on the part that I found interesting, is Davos about upbeat presentations, or is it the one informal place where certain power players can align their presentations because there will be large shifts in 2018, France seems to be starting the events that will hit the people in Europe, in this Reuters also reported on Italy’s view with: “Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni sent a message to US President Donald Trump on Wednesday (Jan 24) that leaders can defend their countries’ interests but must respect existing international agreements”, which is a truth, yet as several sides are hitting the European Community, it is a view that raises other questions on current international agreements .

In the end, Fortune dot come gives us two additional parts. The love of blockchain and the need for smart data will be driving elements over the next few years. None of that was a real surprise, but the amount of push towards blockchain was a larger surprise that I thought it would be. Forbes (at https://www.forbes.com/sites/dantedisparte/2018/01/28/one-thing-is-clear-from-davos-blockchain-is-out-of-beta), the power is seen in “While Blockchain and digital assets were widely featured on the main stage at Davos, perhaps the most insightful conversations were taking place in standing room only events hosted by groups like the Global Blockchain Business Council, whose CEO, Jamie Smith, and chairman, Tomicah Tillemann, have emerged as global emissaries helping Blockchain go mainstream. Indeed, Jamie Smith has made it her personal mission to be the explainer-in-chief of this powerful technology so that more of the world can grasp its potential”. I am still not convinced! You see, the Blockchain is clever and it is one that has great potential, yet the push of a solution that is unregulated and in addition to that it is an option for others to skate around the laws, because the use of blockchain will raise legislation to another level. This was partially discussed in the Business Insider on October 20th (at http://www.businessinsider.com/blockchain-cryptocurrency-regulations-us-global-2017-10). With: “Blockchain is the technology of choice for many start-ups. As per research by Outlier Ventures Research Team in May to June of 2016, 200 new start-ups were added in six weeks. Businesses and start-ups popped up around the virtual technology and sprouted with lightning speed. While many countries are supporting the development of the digital currencies, thus encouraging new ways of transacting and new businesses to bud, there are some that have boycotted the new technology, deeming it as an illegal negative disruption that brings financial instability and global economic unrest”. There is no denying the view that Davos is spreading, yet the push (partially implied in the Business Insider) to get Blockchain approved and mainstream by 2025 is a larger issue than some realise. The banking industry that took close to two decades to accept ATM’s to the degree it did in the end is now setting a new digital path in less than 10. That worries me, not because of the digital leap forward, but because of WHY they are doing it and I feel certain that we will see more and more revelations in the next 2 years.

It is my personal feeling that it is a greed driven path and that never spells any good for the people at large around, because they end up paying for it all, one way or another.

 

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A linguistic joke

The British Metro came with a hilarious article a mere 12 hours ago. The quote is not enough; it already starts with the title. With: ‘British children aren’t learning foreign languages after the Brexit vote‘ is just too funny. We can clearly state that they were not learning foreign languages before Brexit either. To be more precise, not for decades! And, why should they? Now, let’s be fair, there is a benefit to learning languages. For the Dutch it is essential, because only the Dutch (and perhaps the Flemish) can understand the Dutch. So they (me in my youth) got to learn German, French and English in our first year of secondary school. I dropped French in favour of Physics and continued. In the years that followed I learned a few more languages, and as such I can get by across the planet. It was only in Asia where I learned that English is not a language that was used much, yet until that moment, I had learned that nearly everyone spoke English (except the Americans, they have a weird variation on it). So from that point of view, and when you see “The council claims the lack of language skills is holding back international trade performance by nearly £50 billion each year and worries there could be a gulf once the UK leaves the EU“, I merely reply that I want to see evidence here! I want that the British council to show actual data proving this, because at present, the British council is showing to be a joke. This joke is personified in Schools advisor Vicky Gough who stated “At a time when the UK is preparing to leave the European Union, I think it’s worrying that we’re facing a language deficit“, well Vicky, for your information the Brits have always been language deficit since before World War 1, so we can agree that your logic is faulty at best. This is followed by “And I think without tackling that, we stand to lose out both economically, but also culturally. So I think it’s really important that we have a push for the value of languages“, I will agree that she has a case on the cultural side. There has always been a cultural benefit to knowing languages that much we can all agree on. But in this day and age, should we focus on the local languages (German, French and Spanish), or should we concentrate on the global economic area languages (Hindu, Chinese, Arabic and Japanese)? That is a much harder consideration to make. You see do you cater to your local setting or are you catering to a workforce to become global. This is not an easy question to answer, because the planet is in flux and what is now wisdom might be folly in 5 years, so after 6 years to truly have linguistic skills in some areas; those areas are no longer viable as international players, so how does that pan out? So when we see “A report by the British Council claims Spanish, Mandarin, French, Arabic and German are the top five languages the UK will need post-Brexit“, my view seems to be correct, yet in what setting? The Spanish only speak Spanish (for the most), so why adhere to that side? So why would the UK need German and French? Most of them speak English and hiring a foreign national in your company is likely cheaper and more productive, that is if you have quality business with that nation, if not, why bother? At that point, the article comes with an interesting view “One pupil studying Mandarin at London’s Alexandra Park School said: ‘We can’t just presume that countries are going to learn our language, because if we don’t do the work why should they?’” It is a good point, but those people also realise that Mandarin is one of the most complex languages in the world and if you are not born in that environment you start with a large disadvantage. Now, there are plenty of reasons to study Mandarin and learn the language, but on the premise that it might lead to a job is long term folly, taking the language up when you are to be in China, perhaps even after you arrive makes a lot of sense, perhaps more sense. Now, we can see that the only way to do business in Saudi Arabia is to learn Arabic and plenty of brits trying to make quick bucks are up to the challenge, but that nation has its own set of rules, customs and culture and those all need to be taken in, merely learning the language will not get you there, so in my view, not only is the article to some part a joke, it is merely another jab at giving stress in relation to Brexit. So, until Metro publishes clear evidence from the British council that the UK is missing out on 50 billion, the entire matter is hilarious and folly at best.

And it is merely one of several articles. the Guardian with ‘Britain’s tired old economy isn’t strong enough for Brexit‘, Computer Weekly with ‘We must avoid the Brexit risks to London’s tech community‘, and Clean Technica with ‘Current State Of Brexit Likely To Leave UK Environment Worse Off‘, all fearmongering, and Social Europe is giving the people: ‘Reversing Brexit: Legal Route Via Vienna Convention‘. Social Europe is actually setting the premise to protect bankers and the IMF. I have not seen such levels of what I regard to be deceptive and naive conduct since the British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, who stated on September 30th 1938 that the British people would have “Peace in our Time“. Do you remember what happened after that? In the end, on the Allied side alone, up to 3.7% of a population of 2.3 billion ended up dead, both military and civilian, excluding 7 million Germans and 26 million Russians. I think that fearmongering and the naive approach to all this needs to stop.

It was never said that there was not going to be a hard time, but it seems to me that the financial sector has now become so afraid of losing the ability to fulfil their greed driven needs that they are using every media outlet to spread the fear and see if they can get a recount whilst getting at least 4% into the Bremain group.

In all this, the Guardian article makes a decent point, but does so by keeping certain parts unmentioned. With: “Manufacturers were unable to make things cheaply, reliably or efficiently enough against the headwind of a high-value currency, forcing many to give up. An economy that boasted 20% of its income coming from manufacturing in the 1980s found it was the source of barely 10% at the beginning of this decade” they are telling you the truth, but they do not tell you that opposing this were China, India and Japan, with almost no labour laws, whilst both India and China had no protection for child labour, so these nations made goods with 90% less costs, giving them a large advantage. Even now, in 2000 some sources gave us that there were approximately 11,500,000 children at work between the ages of 10 to 14 in China. This violates article 32 of the Convention of Rights of The Child. So if the Guardian article was being fair, why not mention these parts that clearly impact it all in a negative way?

So as we see the linguistical joke that Metro brought and the additional articles that raises questions as they go overboard not mentioning things, we need to consider why such presentations are not clearly shown by the media. Even the IMF is involved in all this, whilst their prediction have been wrong regarding the UK three times, so should they be given any level of reliability as they try to downgrade the UK, whilst upgrading the other European Nations for 2018? I know that this might be a hard year for the UK, yet as the stimulus train called ‘the Draghi Disaster‘ is running its final stage, the moment that ends, will spell even harsher environments for Europe and particularly France who could see a downturn of their economy for 0.5%-0.75%, this implies that they will barely be above 0% for the three years that follow. In this I might be equally wrong. Even as France24 (at http://www.france24.com/en/20180122-macron-hosts-140-business-leaders-versailles-investment-france-economy), predicts “Economic growth has been forecast to rise to 1.9 percent in 2018 by the central bank”, which is already slightly too positive. Even as it books the Toyota move into the positive, France will soon realise that at this point Toyota is likely to push for additional rebates beyond the 25% corporation tax (as is Microsoft for 4 new data centres), which will closer to the end of this tax year will show up in the news as ‘unfortunate bad news on the economy due to a miscalculation’, it is not the first time and the French are not the first to do this. Yet in that, we can see that the IMF boast is overly positive towards Europe, implying that the view from that point shows the UK economy as stated to be overly negative. I personally see it as another ploy to undermine Brexit that could bite them in much harsher ways down the track, if the media is actually able to show some balls standing up to large corporations.

So even if I see the linguistic joke as a large one, there is no denying that France is clearly opening its doors to certain people and in only that moment there is a sense of truth in the words Vicky Gough, yet what is equally not given is that this is the first time since I started my first job in 1979 that such a view is given by France. With the graying population they are not the only ones doing that and as such the working population will make a drastic change, I cannot predict how it will filter out for France, but at least Emmanuel Macron is making active changes to an ancient unyielding protocol and that might be the best news of all for France, that alone could spell my realistic numbers to be slightly less positive than the actual numbers will turn out to be.

 

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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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