Tag Archives: Irish times

Media, call it as it is!

I saw the news yesterday and I initially decided to ignore it. It was not really ‘news’ news if you know what I mean. It is sad, it is not a surprise and it was always going to happen. The dice were rolled and the children in Yemen rolled two ones. Some call it snake eyes, but the impact is severe, you automatically lose with that roll and that was the state of things from the very beginning. We start with CNN (at https://edition.cnn.com/2018/11/02/middleeast/yemen-famine-amal-hussain-intl/index.html). We see the direct truth with “The three-year conflict between the US-backed Saudi-led coalition and the Iranian-aligned Houthis has devastated Yemen and reportedly has killed at least 10,000 people“. CNN does not mention that Saudi Arabia got involved when the deposed elected president called for help, no we do not get that. We get “the international furor over the brutal killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul“. We get no information that Iran and Hezbollah have directly intervened in making Humanitarian aid utterly impossible there. One Quote gives us: “Yemen’s information minister called on the Lebanese government to stop Hezbollah supporting Houthi rebels, insisting the group’s activity will prolong Yemen’s war. On Sunday, Moammar Eryani said Hezbollah was providing the Houthis with logistical and military assistance, turning Beirut’s southern suburbs — known collectively as Dahiyah — into a centre for media attacks against the Arab-led coalition“, in this CNN decided not to go there. We also get Yemen’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Marwan Ali Noman giving us: “the Yemeni suffering is caused by the Houthi militias, which are executing the agenda of Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah party in the region. He added that the militias practiced all kinds of murder, torture and forced displacement in all Yemeni cities that they invade“. CNN had no issue using the Khashoggi incident to present an anti-Saudi Arabia view, but fell silent on the actual issues in Yemen, yes: ‘That was CNN!

The New York Times gives us (at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/01/world/middleeast/yemen-starvation-amal-hussain.html), and after that blazingly stages “The devastating war in Yemen has gotten more attention recently as outrage over the killing of a Saudi dissident in Istanbul has turned a spotlight on Saudi actions elsewhere“, yet it merely gives one mention of Iran in: “Saudi officials have defended their actions, citing rockets fired across their border by the Houthis, an armed group professing Zaidi Islam, an offshoot of Shiism, that Saudi Arabia, a Sunni monarchy, views as a proxy for its regional rival, Iran“, and in all this we see ZERO mention of Hezbollah, is that not strange? Neither is the part where the Firing of missiles is a direct result of Hezbollah and Houthi forces firing missiles into Saudi Arabia towards civilian targets. One source giving us that as per yesterday over 200 missiles have been fired into Saudi Arabia. Would you not think that this element is equally important? Let’s be honest it all started with the death of a toddler, but that was not what it was really about for the New York Times, was it? Yet they do give us “THE SAUDI COALITION IS NOT solely to blame for Yemen’s food crisis“, yet goes a little short in pointing on where blame, a much larger blame lies. It lies with Hezbollah, the tool and puppet of Iran provoking Saudi Arabia as much as possible.

The New York Times also gives us: “Tensions reached a climax this summer when the head of the United Nations migration agency was forced to leave Sana after clashing with the Houthi administration. In an interview, the Houthi vice foreign minister, Hussain al-Ezzi, denied reports of corruption, and insisted that tensions with the United Nations had been resolved“, it is a stage where Houthi officials are now enriched. It is a stage where we see that halting towards humanitarian aid and preventing the other 20,000 children from dying too. In this we see one additional quote that is identical in nearly all the newspapers I saw: “In an interview, the Houthi vice foreign minister, Hussain al-Ezzi, denied reports of corruption and insisted that tensions with the United Nations had been resolved“. My question becomes, was it an interview or was it merely a presentation by Hussain al-Ezzi finding a moment to state: ‘I’m not a crook!‘, which he probably learned form an American, namely former president Richard Nixon to be more precise.

The part that most publications are not giving us is that the death toll of children is roughly 130 children per day, in 2017 50,000 children died (Source: Al Jazeera).

The setting is not a nice one, on neither side. The Saudi Coalition includes Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Sudan and Senegal. Al Jazeera also gives us: “Iran has denied arming the Houthi rebels, but the US military said it intercepted arms shipments from Iran to Yemen this March, claiming it was the third time in two months that this had occurred. Iranian officials have also suggested they may send military advisers to support the Houthis“, yet we have seen an utter lack of larger political activities by many nations other than the USA against Iran and Hezbollah, exactly how does that add up?

I particularly liked the quote “Commentators in the Arab Gulf States often claim that Iran now controls four Arab capitals: Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut and Sanaa“. I like it because it is the first part that gives the light of Iran, of what Iran is trying to achieve. The stage is not merely Hezbollah; it is not merely Turkey who has skin in that game too. It is the stage where we see the foundation of what Iran would call a holy war in defence of their sites. We are informed via “For the last six months the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has begun using waters further up the Gulf between Kuwait and Iran as it looks for new ways to beat an embargo on arms shipments to fellow Shi’ites in the Houthi movement, Western and Iranian sources say” and most of the western media is not even trying to look into these parts, it is actively avoiding any coverage on Iran. From that side we do get “The European Union is trying to preserve a version of the nuclear deal, but the recent incidents in Denmark and France have heightened the tensions.” In this it seems that Denmark is the strongest pusher against the Iranian actions, with the aid of France. We are all treated to the arrest event that was about a failed operation to bomb a June rally organised by Paris-based Iranian opposition group the National Council of Resistance of Iran, also known as the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), it is a stage of oppositions are to be killed, no negativity on Iran in Europe. This stage is now labelled by Iran as: “Iranian officials view the claims as designed to derail Europe’s efforts to salvage the JCPOA, particularly the planned European economic package for Iran“, the partial impact for now is that the Nordic parties who were initially extremely in favour of sustaining the JCPOA, are now less likely to fully support it.

What happened to the girl?

Well, the question is who cares? The girl is dead now! A photographer got his Pulitzer price, humanitarian aid in Yemen is a joke and the players behind the screen are all playing their own game. On both the Saudi and Iranian side there has been too little on humanitarian aid and that part must be clearly shown. Even as Saudi Arabia is much more on the defensive side of what they do, the clear staging where the work of Iran and Hezbollah is ignored by the media justifies the current position that Saudi Arabia is taking up. In all this the UN has blood on its hands too, even as it is through inactions. That part we get from the Irish Times (at https://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/middle-east/saudi-arabia-s-war-in-yemen-yields-hunger-and-devastation-1.3681488). They give us: “Only two famines have been officially declared by the United Nations in the past 20 years, in Somalia and South Sudan. An UN-led assessment due in mid-November will determine how close Yemen is to becoming the third“. Yet the Independent and a few other papers gave us almost a year ago: “More than 50,000 children expected to die of starvation and disease by end of year“. So I would think that the threshold for famine had been long passed. Would you not agree?

Save the Children gave us a little more a year ago, they also gave us: “an estimated 400,000 children will need treatment for acute malnutrition this year, the charity said“, at what point did it require an additional fifty weeks to get the label ‘famine’ attached?

Yemen, once the poorest country in the Middle East is about to become an extinct one. It happened as some nations were overactive in that region and the others are guilty through total inaction on almost every level. So even as we might feel for the title ‘Starving girl who became symbol of Yemen crisis dies‘, we should not be allowed to do so, our inactions give us that. And as the news staging goes on with Al Jazeera giving us: ‘US calls for the end to the Saudi-backed war in Yemen‘, we see again that the absence of Iran and Hezbollah in that equation might give the Saudi coalition additional fuel to continue. It might have been different if 100% of all support to Lebanon would have been halted until all Hezbollah troops have left Yemen, but Europe is not willing to go that far, are they? There are plenty of sanctions on Iran and I am not sure what else could be achieved there, yet barring Lebanon from EVERY negotiation table until Hezbollah is no longer in Yemen has not been attempted has it? It would force Iran to either engage of step back. In the second case the Yemen situation would be quickly resolved in the first case we would have a clear theatre of war with Iran, a war we might desperate need. Not for the fun of it, but until the hurt can be brought to Iran, they will continue their proxy war until they get lucky. Statistically speaking that will happen and the consequence of that will be a lot worse and it could have been prevented if the inactive players would have acted when there was a chance to limit the damage, for that it is far too late and the death on one 7 year old girl is merely the start for an optional 300,000 children to die within the next 30 weeks. Now you tell me, when we get to the 1st of June 2019 and you wake up to the statistics that in Yemen 453,261 children will have died at that point from starvation and disease, how happy will you feel? Will you have that Coffee with an Éclair? Will you have the steak or the fish that evening, optionally with grape juice? I cannot blame you for not caring, but I can point you out on the hypocrisy you let happen, the stage you allowed for and the media giving us half a story again and again is equally guilty in all this.

It is not merely an imperfect world. This world is descending from bad to worse at the same speed that is currently killing the children in Yemen. I think that we can soon state that we stopped being humanitarians in 2019, so feel free to box that thought wrap it in shiny paper with a bow and place it under the Christmas tree. Ignore that package and watch another version of a Christmas carol on TV whilst you deceive yourself that you are such a better person than Ebeneezer Scrooge.

Bah! Humbug!

P.S. Yet should you genuinely care (and you could optionally suffer to lose a few coins) then click on the link below and make a donation to Save the Children by pressing the donate button. You might just be the hero of the day and safe a life that way.

 

 

 

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The Taxing Delicious

Taxing delicious is a new sweet tasting Apple, even sweeter than the golden Delicious, and it is to be regarded as healthy for body, mind and government. Yes, in this case it is not a new Irish Cider (which would be a nice idea too), this is about a company getting a bill. You see, the funny part of it was that if there had been no EU, Apple would have been 13 billion wealthier. How doesn’t that beat the odds?

These are some of the thoughts rising within me again as I read ‘Apple tax ruling must be overturned, says US business group‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/sep/16/apple-tax-ruling-must-be-overturned-says-us-business-group).

As I see it, if it is such an issue, why not do an appeal? You see, this entire issue is as convoluted as it is ever likely to get. When I see ‘Ireland Doesn’t Want Apple’s Back Taxes, but the Irish Aren’t So Sure‘ in the New York Times (at http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/12/business/international/ireland-doesnt-want-apples-back-taxes-but-the-irish-arent-so-sure.html), my initial response to Enda Kenny would be “Are you out of your bloody mind?” Now, let’s be partially fair. There is a method to the governments madness, yet even as giving in to big business might seem appealing, but the US is changing its taxation parameters (as well as tax accountability) and after the elections there is no way to tell how the US governments hats will be pointing, so getting what you can now is not the worst idea. In addition, when Apple et al will make the jump away and to other places, they will leave you with buildings that remain empty and will not have been paid off, so you will have a billion in real estate, whilst not having any return on investment, just empty buildings wasting away. That situation is not as unimaginative or as surreal as you might think. The idea that a government is appealing against a tax bill on behalf of a Forbes 500 company is entertaining, upsetting and obscene all at the same time, but that is sometimes how the cookie crumbles.

What is interesting in all this is how the EU courts will act, you see, if they give in now, it should be regarded as the utter uselessness of that court to begin with. It gives weight that not being part of that very expensive club is indeed the way to go, which will now give weight that Brexit was not a bad move and it will in addition fuel Frexit too. All that over a mere 13 billion invoice. Less than 5% of the costs of Greece, which fuelled Brexit to begin with. This is at the heart of the matter of what the Americans just cannot comprehend. They just received the massive blowback on the lesson that you cannot win every fight and that Economic Status Quo is an illusion that will collapse upon those believing in it.

So as we see the idiotic roundtable threaten those European leaders “In an open letter to the leaders of the 28 European Union countries, the Business Roundtable group defended Apple over its tax dispute with the European commission” and “US businesses have warned European leaders they risk a “grievous self-inflicted wound” unless they overturn Brussels’ demand that Apple pay the Irish government €13bn (£11.4bn)“, I just wonder if they even considered the stupidity of their actions. On the other hand, should those leaders cave, how stupid are the European elected officials to begin with? So as we wonder whether Randall L. Stephenson has looked into the long term issues of his act, when we see that these actions drive Frexit and possibly even Italy’s act on a referendum (although the major influences would be Brexit and Frexit), will Randall respond with a ‘this is much more complex and should not have been pushed by our, what we regard to be a righteous act‘, or will we see a spokesperson state ‘Our Chairman is currently unavailable and is taking his personal time teaching the Youth how to do a proper sheepshank‘? I will let you decide, but consider that tax accountability has been an issue for over a decade and now we finally see an actual result against a large corporation we see people backing down? Perhaps they thought it would never get that far? Just like Brexit was never going to be a reality!

Yet the Irish Times did not remain quiet and less than 24 hours ago reported (at http://www.irishtimes.com/business/technology/apple-fined-in-japan-for-under-reporting-earnings-sent-to-ireland-1.2793469), ‘Apple fined in Japan for under-reporting earnings sent to Ireland‘. So when we read “The Tokyo Regional Taxation Bureau determined that the unit, which sends part of its profits earned from fees paid by subscribers in Japan to another Apple unit in Ireland to pay for software licensing, had not been paying a withholding tax on those earnings in Japan, according to broadcaster NHK“, I just wonder who the Tax Auditor was here.

Now I am not out to make Apple the bad guy, even though they screwed me over twice! What is important is that through all the presentations and all the boasting and ego based actions, there are now 4 groups in play all trying to get Brussels to back down on a legal verdict. We need to wait the appeal on this, yet should this remain and if the US makes noise we will have clear evidence that the EU is no longer something with validity, even stronger, these events are clear signals that the TTIP is an even worse idea than initially thought of in opposition. The one sidedness aside, the fact that American business has basically become the corporate ‘bully’, we need to reassess the situation and remain clear on where our priorities are. I personally remain with the belief as I always have that the Commonwealth nations need to stick together. In these times we now see the Democratic Party under leadership of President Obama do the following “The Obama administration on Thursday took action to limit the use of foreign tax credits by American multinational companies to reduce their U.S. tax bills, a move that followed an EU order that Apple pay back taxes to Ireland“, which I think is not a bad idea. You see, Apple et al might claim how they are so investing everywhere, but that is only done (as I personally see it) to avoid paying tax in America. It is one of the massive reasons why America is so deep in debt (apart from their impossibility to manage a budget) and something has to give. If those tax dollars are used to lower that debt then I would state: “Barack, you legend you, well done!“, because an America with low debt (read: no debt), would be again the superpower it once was and currently pretends to be.

In the end, nations that have a minimal debt, these nations get to decide for themselves, not having their actions overruled by financial institutions or Large Corporation, or by Randall L. Stephenson for that matter. Yes, we can see that those moves will have impact all over Europe and not in a nice way, but that is part of the game. You cannot have it both ways that was never a reality to begin with. Now they only need to fix the holes that Mario Draghi has in his hands and we are possibly perhaps on route to get something sorted.

Yet there is one part we need to get back to and that is the verdict. You see, what is in play here is the statement “an agreement allowing Apple to pay a maximum tax rate of just 1%. In 2014, the tech firm paid tax at 0.005%. The usual rate of corporation tax in Ireland is 12.5%“, this implies that Apple didn’t just get preferential treatment, all the other players were discriminated against. When we see the parts we had already known for a long time, the fact that “Ireland’s tax arrangements with Apple between 1991 and 2015 had allowed the US company to attribute sales to a “head office” that only existed on paper and could not have generated such profits“, which was a given and the result we saw on a global scale “Apple avoided tax on almost all the profit generated from its multibillion-euro sales of iPhones and other products across the EU’s single market. It booked the profits in Ireland rather than the country in which the product was sold“, gives way that a single market is perhaps not the best solution for all but one nation and in addition to this we must realise that the solution I mentioned 5 years ago to set the tax laws that taxation should be set into the nation of the buying consumers physical location could have avoided this and many other issues. A simple taxation change that made all the difference, yet it seems that no one in legislation in those nations as well as those political players ever considered changing that simple law that could have made all the difference.

You see, as the Guardian by-line offers, this case could have another escalation soon enough “Charlie Harrington, 53, a paramedic in Cork, expressed frustration that the Irish government penalized small taxpayers but seemed ready to protect Apple“, which is exactly how millions feel in both France and Italy. If this tax case caves and Apple ends up not being due this invoice, the jump to anti-EU sentiments will go up massively and very fast so. At that point President Obama will only have himself to thank for the mess he started to create when he went 180 degrees on the corporate tax issues discussed in the ‘The Hague Summit of 2013’. That was the first step that could have avoided a few things, this case being one of them.

Cause and Effect

The question becomes ‘What will happen now?’ This is something not easily answered. At present Apple has a few other issues knocking at its door and the iPhone 7 is one of them. The population at large is less money blessed, so paying $1295 for a new phone that according to Forbes is “Purchasing the iPhone 7 this morning from my local Apple Store I found a device that is remarkably similar to last year’s iPhone 6S and the iPhone 6 from 2014. The external design cues remain, the chips inside are faster, and iOS 10 is more polished but is fundamentally the same operating system. Nothing ‘feels’ news even though the package is professional and projects a revolution that is hard to find“, this is at the heart of the matter. Trying to create waves by limiting the system, whilst overall the system is still the same is an issue and at nearly $1300 a very expensive one. That whilst Android competitors are coming into the field with comparable devices, including a headphone jack at 50%-60% of the price of the iPhone 7 and the world is starting to consider the non-IOS alternative. What Apple should fear is not just the market they are losing, the dangers that people could, in regard to the tax pressures they have and the pressure that Apple seems to be able to avoid, is one that could make them feel frustrated and vindictive. The idea that a person could think ‘If the need not pay taxation, they do not need my business either is not that far a stretch‘. People are starting to see the ethical imbalance that large corporations have impressed upon nations and in Europe where the quality of life is not that great at present, seeking the much cheaper alternative that Huawei and LG are offering is one worth considering. That could bring considerable consequences for Apple soon enough. Now I am not stating that the iPhone 7 will be a flop, but for Apple in this stage, should they lose even as little as a 2% market share, the consequence for apple will be intense to state the least. In addition, the fact that the iPad has remained a success for so long could equally be the next problem child for Apple. In that regard releasing the iPad Pro was a really good idea, yet the tablet contenders are starting to realise what it takes to be a contender and if that knowledge is applied properly, there too non-IOS devices (read: android) could start to make a killing and as such undermine that market Apple has at present. The origin is not the device makers, but Google. As Google has been pushing ‘the year of mobile’ for two years, the shift of usage is also growing. There is a growing visibility that at times the mobile screen does not cut it and it gives more and more opportunity to both Phablet and Tablet. These are all examples showing quite clearly that there is no status quo to rely on and the temporary nature of devices shows that Apple needs to really push forward in an innovative way, preferably before the makers of tablets realise that an affordable 128 GB version of an Android tablet is every bit as appealing as the iPad Pro, especially when the Android version could be a lot less than the IOS edition. With Android having its own set of quality games, Apple has more to lose than they are willing to admit to and time is slowly running out for their streak of ignorance to continue. However, it is important to note that Apple has been pretty super innovative with the iPad pro, so there is still a gap to overcome for the competitors. In that regard it is equally interesting that the Android device market have ignored that side of the consumer’s need (read: desire). In all this, it was about taxation and not on markets. Yet one is linked to the other, mainly because if there is no market there is in equal measure no taxable revenue, which gets us to the final part. You see, I have written about these issues before in one form or another and now we see that the Wall Street Journal is finally waking up to this (at http://www.wsj.com/articles/lew-is-right-on-eu-tax-grab-but-lacks-credibility-1473962171), when we read “The Obama administration has had 92 months to tackle corporate tax reform. Now that Europe is making a grab for taxes on profits held by U.S. companies overseas, President Obama is ready to use his last few months in office to address tax issues that were ignored or made worse under his watch“, my response is that neither was done, as stated in earlier blogs in April 2016, when I wrote ‘Ignoranus Totalicus‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2016/04/24/ignoranus-totalicus), he refused to act (as voiced by “Senior officials in Washington have made it known“), so the non-actions are now back firing as event are now escalated. Another iteration of status quo.

What now?

This now all related to the issue at hand. IT corporations decided to maximise their profit by a consumer iterative annual approach of products. The IT market in the US nearly collapsed as it allowed for what was once regarded as a Taiwan Clone (a cheap alternative) to a quality A-brand to catch up. This is the problem with iterative thinking, when you are not in a niche market like Northrop Grumman (who at one stage actually there software patches ‘Iteration version’ I believe), you allow the market to catch up with you. ASUS caught up so and soon thereafter surpassed the original market owners. This lesson was not learned and the Telecom market decided that the profit was good in this way. So, please feel free to correct me. What happened to Ericsson and Nokia? Apple came and overwhelmed everyone and instead of truly remaining innovative, they started to largely iterate their device and called it innovation, now that LG, Samsung and Huawei have caught on and pretty much caught up, they are now offering equal, if not better options at lower prices. So how long will it take Apple to learn that status quo is merely an illusion? I reckon will see that revelation close after Christmas, after the annual sales are gone (and they will be improbable but not impossible a bit disappointing this year).

I reckon we will know in about 15-19 weeks!

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The sharks are circling

Today my mind was stopped by a Guardian article of a different kind (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/23/sir-tony-oreilly-irish-billionaire-insolvent). The headline was interesting enough ‘Bank pulls the plug on Irish billionaire who owned Independent‘, but that was not the reason for my interest. To be honest, it was not the fact that some rich ‘boy’ was hitting bottom either. You take any spoiled millionaire brat and the moment he is funding his trust into cocaine, you know he is worse off than whichever other rich person losing it all.

The following quotes are not the interesting part, but they are essential for painting the picture. “O’Reilly went on to a successful business career, rising to be chief executive and chairman of the giant US food group Heinz“, and whoever knows about their Ketchup, knows they have the good stuff! “Lawyers for Allied Irish Banks said on Monday the bank had run out of patience with O’Reilly’s efforts to repay €22m (£17.6m) of loans and a further €23m due from two of his investment companies. The court was told he had further debts of €195m. AIB accused the fallen tycoon of being insolvent and asked the courts to enter a judgment against him which would allow the bank to take control of key O’Reilly assets” gives us little more than the position he has gotten themselves into and “O’Reilly told the bank last month he had sold investments worth more than $150m in the past three years, all of which had gone to repay borrowings. But AIB claimed only a fraction of that sum – $300,000 – went towards repaying its loans. Other creditors, who are owed about €195m, have agreed not to pull the plug to give O’Reilly more time to sell his assets in an orderly way” gives us only a small indication on the matter how things are resolved. The next shows that this is no dumb boy, we know that the Irish can at times be pretty clever, yet the quote “He became chief executive, based in Pittsburgh, in 1979, and 12 years later was the first non-family member to become chairman. O’Reilly helped to transform the firm – its market value rose from $908m (£533m) to $11bn.” implies him to be a genius. When you change a company and up the value by 1100%, you are what some might say, the stuff of legends, which is only confirmed by “When he bought into the Dublin media company, it had a turnover of just €12m but under his ownership it grew into a worldwide company which at one point included the Independent in the UK as well as publications in Australia and South Africa. He stepped down as chief executive of the company on his 73rd birthday

There is a lot more to the Independent News & Media group which runs into the billions and then it suddenly hit me. This was all strangely similar to the movie Meet Joe Black, made over a decade before these events were taking place. Was Anthony Hopkins portraying Sir Anthony Joseph Francis O’Reilly? If so, I would love to hook up with his daughter (Claire Forlani, we men have dreams too after all). His ownership also included Waterford Wedgwood plc; those who care about China porcelain will know it to be one of the most revered brands ever.

So what is this about?

Things do not add up completely as I see them. It is like watching a pattern that does not really exist. Giving into it is merely voicing the conspiracy theorist in us. Take this quote from Wiki (not as an academic value, mind you). “The markets reacted positively to the news, especially to the explicit truce between the O’Reilly and O’Brien shareholder blocs, with Denis O’Brien voicing public support for Gavin O’Reilly as CEO-designate“, the approach before was that he had gone in so deep that his hunger for media truly rivalled that of Rupert Murdoch. A group, having assets in excess of 4.5 billion, whilst having almost 1.5 billion in debts. Some will not see any issue at this point. Consider that the revenue is almost at 1.7 billion and the profits are set at 110 million. So, even though not too bad, it is not a great position. This is what some might say a good time to start selling off the smaller parts. Of course this is still not on the mind of Sir Tony. This is where the Wiki quote becomes interesting. You see, Denis O’Brien seems to be the pushing element and his son is set to get the CEO position. So far there is an awful close resemblance to that movie ‘Meet Joe Black’. From the moment Gavin O’Reilly takes over and he is pushed out due to the pressure of Dennis O’Brien, it is a mere 3 years. By that time Dennis O’Brien holds onto more than twice the amount of shares the O’Reilly’s have.

This is part one. In this time, from my point of view, as the power is still firmly with the newspapers, Dennis O’Brien is already moving into telecom and radio stations. He is now regarded as one of the larger players in the UK. However, this is about Sir Tony O’Reilly.

When we see his assets, I almost see a picture of sliding technologies and Sir Tony did not move with his times. Whether it started with the removal from INM is uncertain. What is clear is that he had grown several businesses into behemoths, which makes the collapse of Waterford Wedgwood plc a mere ripple in a very large pond. The fact that his second wife is even wealthier than him should not matter, but the losses he and his brother in law (brother to his second wife) seem to tally towards half a billion.

Here we now see a certain pattern forming, even though thus far I have not mentioned the elements to that loom. Any person has values, profits, incomes as well as credibility. One element is the pushed change by Dennis O’Brien from the side of Independent News & Media. It goes however a lot further. Consider the situations the banks are in and have been in for at least 5 years. There are literally tens of thousands of people too far in debt with little chance to repay it. Then the information in the Irish Times hit me (at http://www.irishtimes.com/business/sectors/media-and-marketing/sir-anthony-o-reilly-locked-in-debt-negotiations-with-aib-1.1805920), and the one part I had almost ignored in the Guardian became a lot more visible. The bank, which was seen 4 times as ‘AIB’ in the Guardian article, gets a prominent place in the headline. So why is this an issue? Consider the following two quotes from the Irish times “A case has been listed for entry into the Commercial Court on Monday between AIB and Sir Anthony and two of his investment vehicles, Indexia Holdings and Brookside Investments” and “Brookside owns Sir Anthony’s coastal estate in Glandore, Co Cork, while Indexia is his private investment vehicle that holds his near 5 per cent stake in Independent News & Media and his share of the oil explorer Providence Resources“. So, there is no link, or so one would think. It is however weird that even in delayed matter, this is one customer that would repay the debts, so why this push? Is it not weird that forcing the hand of one party who will repay is somewhat strange in this day and age? Then we get this message (at http://www.independent.ie/business/irish/oil-giant-exxon-starts-160m-drilling-project-off-west-coast-29163728.html), which is more than a year old. Was oil found, is there a chance to find oil here? If not, then this is another half a billion bust for Sir Tony, making him pretty much broke. The following was found in the ‘ShelltoSea‘ site (at http://www.shelltosea.com/node/1890), considering that Providence resources (a Sir Tony company) is a partner in this then this quote “The Dunquin North and Dunquin South prospects hold combined recoverable reserves of 8.4 trillion cubic feet of gas and 316 million barrels of condensate, according to an offering document posted on Schlumberger Ltd’s IndigoPool Web site” means that there are vast amounts of money there, which makes the actions of the AIB odd to say the least.

 

Consider the Russian issues that are currently playing, whether they happen or not, will influence the value of the gas that was found. It is still the question whether oil will be found, it was not up to July 2013 as was reported through Reuters, yet the given options mean that there is still a vast amount for Sir Tony to hold on to his 750 acre cottage. It is the final link we get when we read this headline “Taxpayers will not lose money on the bailout of AIB” (at http://www.independent.ie/business/irish/taxpayers-will-not-lose-money-on-the-bailout-of-aib-bank-chief-30367989.html), So it was not about Sir Tony, it was about the other acts by the bank, holding onto the loans for Sir Tony that are now the issue of a possible upcoming forced fire sale. The banks statement “He added that the bank has paid more than €2bn to the State in fees and interest on rescue loans since the crash” give the message we were wondering about. The banks are slowly losing options, the money us due and as such, some visionaries are now under the hammer. Whether the acts of Denis O’Brien are at the centre of what could be seen as the fall of Sir Anthony Joseph Francis O’Reilly remains to be seen. The acts that are clearly within the realm of ‘the cost of doing business‘ are drawn in the sand. It reminds me of the quote Penn Badgley tells Zachary Quinto in the movie Margin call. ‘In the end one man wins, one man loses‘ is harsh and to the point, but as Zachary responds ‘You know that there is more to it than that‘ is equally correct. Two movies both created before the actual events that played out here are giving us the fact that sometimes life is like the movies, even the bad parts.

Sir Tony is a first eye witness to these events. What we at the sidelines see is that the banks are now slowly in a do or die presentation of liquidating what the banks regard as ‘risky investments’. For the most, we should be happy, but can we? The money remains gone and when the fire sale goes through and someone ends up finding any oil at a cost of 0.1 cent on the dollar, how many friends will the Allied Irish Banks end up with then, considering the boat load of scandals they were linked to?

Perhaps the most worrying part for most of us is not that a wealthy man has lost it all, but that banks are now closing ranks. We are so used to seeing the wealthy get away with proverbial murder shows that the banks are at the end of their ropes, which means that the little leeway we ones had is likely gone too. It should also be clear that this shows us all that the economy is nowhere near recovery; it is for the foreseeable future on a very tight arrangement with whomever has any actual wealth left.

A view we have not been introduced to until now.

 

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