Tag Archives: Jeroen Dijsselbloem

As the UK changes

There is no doubt about it, the UK is about to get a drastic change of image. Some of these parts is on them, other parts are set for them by others. We might all debate that it is usually the one or the other is sorely mistaken. It is when the industry and those trying to ‘guard’ their path to become members of ‘the billionaires club’, it is at that point we need to worry on who can influence our paths to a decent life and those who is trying to direct their ‘image’ from behind the screens. It is at that point ‘we the people’ must worry. You might think that me, being an Australian blogger, that I have no skin in the game. That is where you are wrong!

My grandfather was not just British, he served during WW1. In addition, there was a moment where my grandfather excelled, it was not WW1, it was a little later that he became one of the volunteers who acted and helped to unload the boats as there was a dockworker strike. I am not up to date on all the details as he passed away whilst I was still too young to comprehend the concept of ‘strike’. The reason why I remember it was because my grandmother showed me the letter of gratitude which came from King George V (I personally reckon it was done by his staff and he signed it). Still, my grandmother was proud to have the letter. This is not just some memory, the event mattered. Not all things done for King (or Queen) and Country is done in a war. We have points of view, and in the past the people had a strong moral compass. Those who did strike might have had an equally strong moral compass. I do not oppose that or their view. My point of view is different as I am from a much later era. So when we see: ‘Tories attack Labour over inheritance tax and spending plans‘  (at https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/may/03/corbyns-economic-policy-would-cost-voters-45bn-ministers-claim), where the backdrop is Jeremy Corbyn with the bomb stating ‘More debt, higher taxes’, we need to be concerned for our future. It makes me particularly sick that Jeremy Corbyn is making promises that have no bearing on reality. As a conservative, I would love to employ another 10,000 police officers. Actually, I prefer 4,000 Police Constables’s and 6,000 nurses, but that is just me. With over a trillion in debt the UK government cannot afford it and I get that. The previous Labour government has wasted so much money, they should not be allowed to drive the UK deeper in debt by making promises and spending cash that will take an entire generation of workers to settle. 4 years of spending and 25 years of paying it back is not a plan, it is idiocy! In that we need to realise that the game has been over for far too long. The UK needs affordable housing plans, which will also cost heaps, yet this is money they will get back as the economy is starting to employ people again and get the quality of life for all (especially the lower incomes up), in that Jeremy Corbyn has absolutely no clue what to do and it is with that level of cluelessness that he wants to be elected, so he is making empty promises (as I see it) to throw money at any sizeable group for the mere number of votes. A party that cannot even be one party and is infighting nearly non-stop, that is not a party that should be regarded as a valid choice, at that point UKIP will be a much better choice than Labour has been for close to 5 years. I reckon that even if the LibDems could find their groove and direction, they would be a better choice than the Labour party is at present, which is saying a lot.

The UK budget is an issue and those who can count know this, they have known this for 6 years that the party was over. The Commonwealth needs to pull together and find solutions that will bolster each other. In this Australia and Canada are the most likely allies, yet we should not discount New Zealand or India here either.

The second part actually intersects politically with the first. I have a few issues with the article called ‘The six Brexit traps that will defeat Theresa May‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/may/03/the-six-brexit-traps-that-will-defeat-theresa-may), yet there are parts that we need to truly consider in more than one way. The first is shown with ““It’s yours against mine.” That’s how Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany’s finance minister, put it to me during our first encounter in early 2015 – referring to our respective democratic mandates.“, as well as “Brussels became the seat of a bureaucracy administering a heavy industry cartel, vested with unprecedented law-making capacities. Even though the EU has evolved a great deal since, and acquired many of the trappings of a confederacy, it remains in the nature of the beast to treat the will of electorates as a nuisance that must be, somehow, negated“. I have some issue with the second one, but that will be addressed shortly. The fact is that the writer, Greece’s favourite rock star: Yanis Varoufakis (read: former Greek Finance Minister) has been playing a game whilst in office (a politically valid one), yet the consequence is that their play pushed Brexit forth. In addition, we know that there is a long lasting issue in Brussels and the fact that the EU-zone is a mere facilitator for big business is slightly too conspiracy theoretical. Yet the fallout, which I blogged about for a few years pushes that view forward too. I believe that the truth is that the EU opened up a power broker game where large corporations had much more influence than even before. The EU players have to have one front whilst corporate divisions could play both ends of the political field against the middle, with the economic area’s being always too scared of their local needs. And those in charge had (read: have) no real need for Greece, only for the banks that could give them larger than life careers after their political day. This has been a global view and shown to be correct for the longest of times. So when we read: “From my first Eurogroup, its president, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch finance minister, began an intensive campaign to bypass me altogether. He would phone Alexis Tsipras, my prime minister, directly – even visiting him in his hotel room in Brussels. By hinting at a softer stance if Tsipras agreed to spare him from having to deal with me, Dijsselbloem succeeded in weakening my position in the Eurogroup – to the detriment, primarily, of Tsipras“, this read completely correct from my point of view, yet I must also state that as Yanis played his public game (or is that pubic?), as the testosterone was flying off the newspapers, whether under orders of his PM or not (an unknown factor), Yanis played his game too hard and Greece was in no place to play the game that hard, especially as the Greek spending and misrepresenting transgressors never ended up in court and prosecuted, Greece did not have any options to lean on, not morally and not literally. Yet, there is a side that we see has a ring too it, we have seen it over the last two years as the ECB and Mario Draghi have been playing their political game for slightly too long, certain better financial media are now asking questions on Draghi and his non maintainable status, that whilst Draghi has been making additional Brexit threats. All this in the agony of fear because the turmoil in France is intensifying. In sight of the slip of numbers in the pro-Macron group, the financial world is now holding its breath and the next 96 hours will be the killer with adrenaline levels so high that can be cut with a knife. Wall Street will be glued to the election result screens, quite literally praying for a miracle.

Last there is the everlasting issue with the NHS (the one where the UK Labour party wasted 11.2 billion IT funds on). The article ‘Hospital waiting lists ‘will rise above 5 million’ as targets slide‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/may/03/nhs-annual-health-budget-increases-conservatives-ifs), is one that intersects even more. the cost of keeping it correctly alive should be on the minds of anyone voting in the UK. It is the most important long term part in everyone’s life in the UK. The issue is that it might not be immediate and therefor too many people are ignoring it because there has been too many NHS news mentions, but it will define the life of everyone in Britain, as such we need to realise that the hollow promises of Jeremy Corbyn are a direct threat to the existence of the NHS. Many might blame the Tories here, but the reality is that 2 terms of Labour did spend all the money there was and they also did the spending of 3 additional administrations as I see it, which is why they are so dangerous. The quote: “Without further help from the next government after the election, this is what the real impact will be on patients of successive underfunding of the NHS,” said Ian Eardley, vice-president of the Royal College of Surgeons” is not incorrect, yet those in charge of the NHS and those connected to high valued luncheons and board meetings should have taken a much better posture when billions were spent on a system that never worked. There is a consequence to that and as funds and infrastructure both took a dive the future will be grim, not unsolvable but grim none the less. Denis Campbell has written a good piece and should be read, this is not merely about a few quotes, there are serious issues, yet in all this there are parts missing, parts that are connected yet unmentioned. In light of what needs to be a light, the one article will never cover it (not due to the writer). Merely because the issue has become too great. Now, as we see what is in play, we need to revisit the start of this blog. My grandfather did what he thought was essential and right. Ships had to be offloaded, the goods were meant for the people and as such if not unloaded, the people would suffer. In that light the NHS is in a place where it is doing what it can, but the truth is that the NHS must change and adapt. People a lot more clever than me will need to make a reform, reforms that Greece halted and it is dragging them down, the UK will have to change the NHS is drastic ways. When we read that 5 million people are on a waiting list, we have to question the time they remain on that waiting list. The elitist approach that the nursing groups have taken as to whom can become a nurse and which tertiary education is good enough to be a nurse in the UK is one that requires scrutiny. There are too many political games being played and even as they voice ‘quality of staff‘, there has come a point where people are dying because there is no staff. We need to instigate a change that opts for a situation where 100,000 patients can get some level of care as per immediate. The Corbyn solution of throwing money at it will not do. We can argue that in equal measure privatisation is equally a bad idea, because we merely replace ‘level of care standards‘ by ‘level of profit‘ and that will never ever lower cost for the people at large. The parts we tend to ignore is not privatisation, it is interactivity of services that will lower cost, that part needs to be ascertained and not by groups trying to create a new gravy train.

We need actual solutions and it requires a different train of thought, one that needed yesterday. So as the press is facilitating on how Labour will spend more on the NHS and nurses, whilst the publishers of these papers know that there is no way that this can be funded, you need to question on what makes for an actual solution. The only solution (as I personally seen it) is to create a wave of credible positions and train the people in some places on the job. Perhaps these colleges need to accept a new degree where people can be trained on sight step by step, lowering the pressure for those who can do it all by slowly replacing those who can do it too and not just in nursing, because if the waiting list got to the millions, we need to see where surgeons could have an alternative group of people, not unqualified, but those who barely missed the grade. We need to reconfigure the pyramid shaped triangle into a parallelogram, so that some functions that cannot be filled can be done by others. Now, lets all accept that a surgeon is an extreme example, yet can the same be stated for a radiologist? an Anaesthesiologist? or even a surgical assistant? Three functions that might opt for additional people from other branches. Even as we know that they all claim ‘dedicated’ and ‘perfectly schooled’ personnel. It is time that those academic ‘advisors’ from Royal Colleges take a sharp look at wartime conditions and to the parts that some could play in aiding in a solution. Now because there is a strike and the dockworkers are busy standing up for their rights (which is a valid activity), but because in this high pressure world there are ships docked and there is no one left to unload the boats. That is where the NHS is and that is where they need to find a solution. Perhaps this will be found in the military, it is possible that those in the medical services of the Army, Navy or Air force will find that they are doing part time work at an NHS location. In that same stage, so will other defence branches find themselves. Fighting for their country, not in the trenches of the Somme, but in the tranches behind a desk of London Hospital. It might just keep that deficit down from £134.9m (that is this year alone) to something that could actually be managed.

We need another play, and it is perhaps the UK who might remember how they changed Cricket tactics in 1932-1933, so they did not get completely humiliated by Don Bradman. We still need a better solution and the Bodyline tactic was never an acceptable tactic, that whilst the ‘win at all cost‘ is not a decent play, but the NHS is now in a stage where it is ‘survive or die‘ and nobody wants the NHS to die, so in this the NHS and especially the advisory boards will need to look at tactics that will make them really unhappy, but at this stage they have left themselves no other options and the political players can only facilitate unrealistic options that are no options. They will start a path that will change the UK for generations, yet in that let that be in a way that will allow for the existence of some level of National Health Care. In this that they will need to write a new playbook, one that can offer options, not limitations.

 

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Up for grabs

Have you ever considered a deal that is almost too sweet to consider. Have you ever walked straight into a room seeing that one special item thinking that the price is off, too good to be true. Yet, you look again, as inconspicuous as possible and as you do the maths in your head three times over, you start to realise that you are there, others are there but they either missed the deal, or they were looking at something else. That is where I find myself this morning. Not unlike a day in 2001, as I walked into a small obscure bookshop where I noticed the original 7 hardcover books of Tolkien’s the Lord of the rings with his autograph, the price? £39, I felt like a thief when I paid the man, he sold it with a blank expression in his eyes. I walked out shaking like a leaf and I remained in denial for at least two more days. This is how I feel now when I look at Handelsblatt Global (at https://global.handelsblatt.com/finance/goldman-sachs-weighs-deep-london-cuts-amid-brexit-concerns-685516), where I see ‘Goldman Sachs Weighs Deep London Cuts amid Brexit Concerns‘, could they actually be this stupid? Could I get my fingers on Goldman Sachs for almost literally an apple and an egg? That is a Dutch expression for selling or purchasing something for anything massively below expected price. Like buying the Ducati 1299 Panigale for only £99.95. It’s a world gone mad, and in this case Goldman Sachs will end up doing their own devaluation. Consider the facts. They move away from the central Hub London, which has been there for a lot longer than the Euro, they are now moving to Germany where there is a civil law system and the KWG (Kreditwesengesetz) is Iron Law. Whilst at the same time, its two nephews German Solvability Directive (SolvV) and German Mindestanforderungen an das Risikomanagement (MaRisk) can rock the foundations of the Goldman Sachs board in Germany in ways they have never comprehended (or so it seems). That is the move they are ‘advertising’? That article, with a picture of Lloyd Blankfein, the CEO of Goldman Sachs, like he is looking out of a window wondering where the hell his retirement is at. At that same move, we see the quote “Personnel in Goldman’s trading business who develop new products as opposed to advising customers would move to the bank’s headquarters in New York, the sources said“, so those making new products will move away from the area of the people buying it, so they either fly back and forth (impacting contribution) or work remotely alienating their customer base. So is this a serious considered move?

If so, than Goldman Sachs needs to realise fast that once their UK base is deflated to the size they claim, and when the Frexit vote passes, Italy and Germany will not have any options to keep it all afloat. More important, with logistical options diminished and having pissed off France and England, they would have to face conditions to move to France and they end up not getting a foothold into the UK to the degree they once had, because the competitors of Goldman Sachs, like Morgan Stanley would have gobbled up a few of the London links Goldman Sachs lost, in addition, CITIC who took a few body blows will be hungry for whatever Goldman Sachs left in the air as they moved to the mainland, lowering the value of Goldman Sachs overall. In that atmosphere Lloyd Blankfein needs to realise that the move is more than just a bad idea. Perhaps he does know, perhaps this is another shot over the bough to the UK telling them to play nice or else. This from a firm who in a 639-page report was accused of misleading investors and setting out to depress the US mortgage market, ensuring that it would win high stakes bets that the market would fall. That firm is playing footsie and chicken with the UK? Well, that is one that they will not just lose, it will be the act that any person with an apple and egg (preferably boiled hard) could walk into the board of directors offering that as payment for the firm. I wonder who in that board of directors will take the offer first. For the Macquarie group the move would be very nice, that group could grow a lot. They might resort to taking the small fish that Goldman Sachs left alone, but those 800 firms might not have stellar results, but they have remained stable for at least half a decade and even as we agree that stable is not sexy, it does make for a very nice secure foundation to grow on, good luck getting such results from Poland, France or Spain. and as France and Spain are founded on the local markets for language reasoning, the Frexit groups will see Goldman Sachs as a remnant of dire pasts, is that regard there is (a speculation by me) the chance that Goldman Sachs would, through the move facilitate the customers they had to port away as those clients are no longer represented through London, which still has a sizeable value to the clients they had whilst in London.

You might think that this is all untrue and that Goldman Sachs will continue in London in a diminished capacity. Well, consider that one of the largest greed driven entities is downsizing by 50%, do you think that this is merely a corporate downsize? the 50% moving away had its jobs to do, by doing it somewhere else, it is not doing in an additional location, it is doing it in another place, with a different set of admin laws and goals. If you had an accountant, and he is sacking 50% of its staff, do you think you get the same level of service, or is it possible that whomever remains in London needs to look at twice the amount of clients? And if we accept that, how much care will you receive at the same amount of annual contribution? With its posturing Goldman Sachs forgot the cardinal rule, it needs clients and clients in the UK remain, clients remain but their perception on begotten service will diminish and they will seek the firm giving them the service that they expect to receive, the time they expect to receive and GS will be only half its size with other offices in different time zones. So yes, there will be a consequence for Goldman Sachs. The offer that seems too good to be true. So as CITIC, Morgan Stanley start their campaigns, their visibility with advertisement like: ‘the firm that has been in London for the longest of times remains, and we will give the same amount of attention and resources, dedicated to you, your business and what you need‘. That firm could start up softening the Goldman Sachs clients and the moment the announcement of the move comes they just need to invite those clients to a nice breakfast meeting with a deal ready to be considered for signing. You see, the moment the move is announced and the moment Frexit will seriously start, the investors will realise that the UK market was a lot more important and when XNYS:GS hits (-4.62%), I’ll just walk in holding an Apple and an Egg seeing who in the board of directors will take the deal.

As HSBC and UBS are closing ranks with Goldman Sachs, you have to consider that I am wrong!

That is only fair. Let’s face it, I have no economic degree. Yet, when Brexit came, when it became something serious, these people were all ignoring it, they were all claiming that it would never go this far. I was proven correct and now the Financial Gravy Train is changing gears as it’s not as profitable as some expected it to remain, those people are trying to restore their Status Quo and their amount of gravy per pay check. Yet, the unfounded move, the emotional outcry of these people making no less than 50 times the average income, those people are trying to force open a dialogue and a new place of exploitation. The quote: “UBS chairman Axel Weber said that about 1000 of the Swiss bank’s 5,000 employees in London could be affected by Brexit, while HSBC Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver said his bank will relocate staff responsible for generating around a fifth of its UK-based trading revenue to Paris” is actually a lot more funny than even he realised (at http://www.afr.com/business/banking-and-finance/goldman-sachs-hsbc-ubs-all-warn-of-moving-jobs-from-london-on-brexit-20170118-gtu8cj). You see, Frexit is still growing and it is slowly becoming a realistic prospect. So when the Wall Street Journal stated 15 hours ago “A “Frexit” would likely unleash chaos across the currency union and undermine the broader EU in a way Britain’s departure wouldn’t“, we now see that those 20% revenue generating people from UBS will be on the shores of a Civil Law country  whilst the confusion is only increasing. As for the other part of me being correct, we’ll have to make this small sidestep. On May 15th 2013 (yes 3.5 years ago), I forecasted in ‘A noun of non-profit‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2013/05/15/a-noun-of-non-profit) “Consider a large (really large) barge, that barge was kept in place by 4 strong anchors. UK, France, Germany and Italy. Yes, we to do know that most are in shabby state, yet, overall these nations are large, stable and democratic (that matters). They keep the Barge EU afloat in a stable place on the whimsy stormy sea called economy. If the UK walks away, then we have a new situation. None of the other nations have the size and strength of the anchor required and the EU now becomes a less stable place where the barge shifts. This will have consequences, but at present, the actual damage cannot be easily foreseen“, I made the prediction of loss of stability, in addition, a quote not from me “Movements in sovereign spreads affect CDS spreads and bond yields of Italian banks, and are transmitted rapidly to firm lending rates“, this was predicted by Edda Zoli at the IMF. Do some of you remember the issues in Italy on losing the credit rating it had is now a clear marker to consider. Even as the parameters for the Italian downturn are not matching completely the elements in play include the ones I and Zoli stated, meaning that Italy will get a few more negative bumps to deal with (not major ones though).

You still think I am that wrong? I have been involved with data cleaning for decades, I have seen the ‘weighting games‘ some played and now that the party is over, they are running for the high ground, whilst making boasts of clearing away from the market like horse traders. This is all fine, yet the players that are not as big can now shore up their levels of stability growing their overall value by a massive amount, because that is where the UK now is, its economic forecast is growing and the rash statements are doing the opposite as the competitive peers of Goldman Sachs are almost volunteering their free time to help Goldman Sachs pack up and leave the UK so that they can move in on the Goldman Sachs share, because there is no way that Goldman Sachs will not lose a fair chunk of it.

So as Frexit grows (I never expected it to be this strong at present, just a really serious factor), we now see that Marine Le Pen is now leading the polls for the first time after taking advantage of Fillon’s declining popularity among France’s working class voters. I think that this is not the only part, the increased forecast of the UK is doing equal reinforcement of the end of the Euro and perhaps even the end of the European Economic Community. Not because that was the goal, but the fact that all these small nations were too deep in debt and Italy, the third anchor is in massive problems, that large barge cannot remain afloat with only the German anchor in place. My view of 2013 is now showing to be the correct one.

Is it a done deal? No it is not. Someone with actual power in Goldman Sachs could realise that these boast fests are counterproductive and that the boasts only achieved that some doors can no longer be opened by Goldman Sachs. They would have to call, make a proper appointment and they would have to sweeten whatever deal they are hoping for, impacting their dividend in the process. Goldman Sachs played a hand that held a few Trump cards (pun intended) and without those the next few hands will need to be played extra careful and cautious. You see, they lost a little more because those playing now might not have considered 2012 Amsterdam. There we see: “De bank verloor in de nasleep van de crisis veel klanten door negatieve berichtgeving over de rol van Goldman Sachs in de kredietcrisis van 2008. De bank wil deze klanten nu terugwinnen. Het nieuwe kantoor moet vooral de dienstverlening naar klanten toe verbeteren” meaning “translated: The bank lost in the aftermath of the crises many customers through negative messaging on the role of Goldman Sachs in the Credit Crises of 2008. The bank wants to regain these customers. The new office will have to increase the service levels to clients“. This part has two sides, not only regarding clients they will lose in London, in addition, the Dutch clients had a benefit in time zones regarding London, and they will not have that with Germany. So there is more than one fish on the Barbie (read: BBQ) and the impact will be felt and smelled. You see, Amsterdam was never an option for Goldman Sachs, yet as more important reasons GS frowned at the capping of bonuses in 2013 as mentioned by minister Dijsselbloem at that time. Which is rather funny as Germany in this 2017 election year is actually moving in hard on to cap executive pay. This we got from Handelsblatt Global Edition just a week ago, so the move could potentially come with a few nasty sides for those working through the move.

OK, I will admit that Goldman Sachs might not be up for grabs, but it should be clear that if they do move, they will be receiving a few body blows and those come at a price for many at Goldman Sachs. The question however is not, if that is the hard part, the hard part comes when the winner is announced in merely 16 weeks, at that point we will see how realistic Frexit has become. You see, it is not just Marine Le Pen and Front National, Independent Emmanuel Macron, former economy minister will also hold the referendum and together they represent a lot more than a mere majority of the French population, the fact that this reverberates with the populous is an issue for too many as he is not proclaimed left or right, he places himself in the middle making the Fremainers a minority with less and less people in it. Making the move of Goldman Sachs to Germany lacking wisdom as France and the UK will have to unite in whatever trade deals they can have meaning that the UK forecast will grow faster and faster, whilst the French forecast will be less and less dire. The only one who gets to look at that label will be Goldman Sachs.

What a difference a boast makes! Could be a nice future Goldman Sachs slogan, if they survive the ordeal!

 

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How about them budgets?

Today it starts with the Wall Street Journal (at http://www.wsj.com/articles/italy-cuts-growth-forecast-for-2016-and-2017-1475014871), where we just got the news that Italy is downgrading the forecasts, from “1.2% for this year and 1.4% in 2017″ to “0.8% this year and 1% in 2017“, an offset of 0.4%. So, even as we consider how small this is, on a number 2.22 trillion, this still affects 8 billion dollar. Now, I would agree that the numbers are small, but when analysts are talking in millions, getting it wrong by 8000 million, the error is a little larger than should be allowed for. Italy is not the only one in this predicament, and the fact that this prediction is only reported approaching the final quarter of the initial reporting year, should give clear indication that something should have been known at least a quarter ago.

Italy is not the only one, France is reported on by Reuters that the deficit target will not be met. In this case, France has one part in favour of them, with the refugee issues going through their nations, certain places and departments have been unable to meet any budget, which under the unpredictability of that escalation makes perfect sense. We can overanalyse it, but without the proper raw data, it remains a speculation and not a very accurate one.

Germany has an entirely new issue to deal with, it is now dealing with a surplus and a growing one. Another prediction I got right, but not by the amount I thought it would. Germany exceeded expectations by growing the surplus past a quarter of a trillion dollars. So apart from the surveillance investments, Germany can look forward to (as doomsayers would state), to an interestingly larger EU donation voucher (read: invoice), one that is (according to Reuters) about 4.5 billion higher. The funny people did mention that post Brexit this was the consequence and as such, that response is funny, because it is only angering the German population, where a growing group is calling for a German referendum. Now, there is no official one planned, but that might not be for very long at present. With Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) on the rise, which according to Euro news is at an all-time high of 16%, this makes them a contender, with Chancellor Merkel now in a tough spot as the hard work Germany did achieve is now to some extent syphoned to the EU and Brexit will add to their worries. Now that Brexit is not showing to be the financial disaster so many experts claimed it to be, the threshold for leaving the EU is being lowered by a fair bit. AfD party leader, Frauke Petry stated: “And I think this is why many citizens don’t believe in the established parties and politicians anymore, because they simply don’t feel being taken seriously by the politicians firstly, and secondly because they feel basically betrayed by these politicians because they do not tell the truth”, which is an issue that many people have with the ‘status quo approach that those on the gravy train of EU incomes have been voicing‘, adding to the unrest in several nations. The issue now being pushed by France and Germany is an EU army solution, which seems odd in the light of NATO and it is detrimental on national policies all over Europe, giving another iteration of commissions and conceptual time wasting, as well as resources, especially financial ones.

Yet several news cycles are giving the implied worry (a worry from my side) that the Netherlands hasn’t learned its lesson yet and it is now playing a dangerous game. The initial consequences of Brexit are not realised and there are still worries that are undealt with. With a big smile Dutch Finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem stated last week in the national budget day which has forever been the 3rd Tuesday of September that the message is ‘focus on investing in opportunities‘, yet he also admitted that ‘many people have still not benefited from the economic recovery‘. I personally believe that ‘recovery’ is too optimistic. You see, for too long, the EU deficit had been too high, the debt is close to out of control and the Dutch have, due to serious budget restraints gotten the upper hand over the debt to some extent. What is interesting is the way we see it in the NL Times (at http://www.nltimes.nl/2016/09/26/netherlands-0-5-pct-budget-surplus-2nd-quarter-2016/). The quote at the very end “Statistics Netherlands expects that the budget deficit will mount to 1.1 percent this year and 0.7 percent next year“, gives us clearly that there is no budget surplus, the deficit is finally being turned over, meaning that the deficit is still 0.7% in a years’ time. That means that the debts are for now still going up! I am willing to make the hazardous statement “Mark my words, by April 2017 there will be a bad news cycle that the deficit will alas not make it, due to <insert meaningless reason here> and is expected to be 1.6% in 2016, whilst the forecast for 2017 predicts the deficit to decline sharper to 0.9%“. I’ll keep an eye on this, because I want to know how it all goes. One of the reasons here is that whilst certain scaremongers, set to undo Brexit are still playing their games and placing the pawns in the field. The reality is that unless the Netherlands sets out a much stronger partnership with the UK, the UK fishers who saw the benefit of quickly unloading in places like Stellendam and Breskens so that they can do one additional load, that list will drop to zero (the number was never really high). But that is only one part of several issues that we see. The Dutch Harbour of Rotterdam, could also feel the pinch to some degree. The degree cannot be predicted, but it will happen, meaning that the blind billion to expect will lower by an indecent amount of millions. It is important to realise that the impact will not be large, but two or three of these impacts, like containers via Belgium and a few more of these changes and the impact will change the numbers. So the Netherlands is not out of the woods and we see ‘investment’ statements. Not to mention the German need to make a few changes, which means that containers to a larger extent will not go through Rotterdam, but straight to the end location via Hamburg. This is not a given, not a certainty, but a risk! All these issues are not considered and there is still for well over a year a deficit to content with. The NRC (at https://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2016/09/21/kabinet-geef-geen-cadeautjes-maar-investeer-4373438-a1522535) gave us last week “Daarnaast zondigt het kabinet door het totale uitgavenplafond te verhogen met 2,2 miljard euro; de Zalmnorm wordt rücksichtslos terzijde geschoven“, which paraphrased gives us “The sinful deed of this government, through the raising of the maximum budget by 2.2 billion, the budgeting norm is blindly pushed aside“, meaning that as elections come close, the government is trying to give a fake ‘all is well’ view that will be discarded soon thereafter when the numbers show that nothing was achieved and Dutch spending will again go beyond acceptable levels.

In all these factions, the reasoning of Brexit holds firm and this whilst Mario Draghi (at http://www.bbc.com/news/live/uk-politics-parliaments-37473075), starts his political ‘career’ in the trend, of ‘I am looking for a new position, preferably before the reality hits you all‘, by stating “the initial impact of the Brexit vote on the Eurozone has been “contained”“, which is utterly untrue. The impact is not contained, the results are not known because spin doctors are still trying to turn this around via any political means available. In addition “resilience after the vote was thanks in part to “adequate preparation” by both the ECB and the Bank of England“, which we know was not entirely true because someone decided to leak the required need for investigation by the Bank of England in the first place, which meant that the armour of EVERY party went up, so there was a large level of speculated bad news in there, the news clearly showed how disastrous it would be and it failed to happen. In addition, we see “Draghi ‘doesn’t have answer’ on future of Euro clearing in London“, which is interesting when we see “the issue of the UK’s departure from the EU and its implications for the executing – or “clearing” – of euro-denominated transactions in the City of London“. Why would that change? Why would people want to make those changes, because pre of post brexit, there was no impact for the US Dollar, so why is that suddenly an issue? The fact that the ECB took that path and that the result was that it was successfully challenged at the European Court of Justice by the UK government last year, makes me wonder why Neena Gill (Labour MEP for West Midlands) opened her mouth in the first place (regarding THAT questions that is). The fact that Jill Seymour of UKIP got a much larger support in her district gives me the idea that she has other problems to deal with, playing ‘ban-she’ (pun intended) to a question that the UK does not want to raise again for now, whilst staying silent over Draghi’s Trillion Plus Euro stimulus and now the rephrased additional overspending via the what is referred to as the ‘Juncker Expansion wallet’ is one that should have been on her lips. As I see it, she would have been better off staying at home (or in her office) and send someone else to actually grill Mario Draghi. In addition, when French Liberal MEP Sylvie Goulard asked the question, it seems clear to me, that she was setting up the essential discussion to try and move some of the City of London’s expertise towards Paris, which is a proud nationalistic tactic to have and as she is French, I would applaud her attempt with the response: ‘well played milady, but at present not the best idea!‘, as I see it, Neena Gill didn’t have to add to this! The question is not completely unsound, yet the path of Euro based Derivatives is a key market and London does not really want to move it for obvious reasons, yet the size of it has everyone on the edge. The issue has happened before, yet the considered impact will be beyond believe, the stakeholders could lose quick access to Trillions when the clusters get upset and the Euro Clearing moves to Paris (or even Germany). The plain issue is that the shift could very well happen when Frexit is in full gear, what happens after that? Another move? If you want to learn more, look at the Bloomberg interview (at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-09-21/global-banks-said-to-plan-for-loss-of-euro-clearing-after-brexit), which gives a decent picture, even if economy is not your field.

All issues linked to budgets and each of them having a larger impact on the EU as a whole. Now, I understand that Brexit makes France and Germany trying to take the Euro Clearing market, yet, as the growing voice of Frexit bolsters, moving the Euro seems to be a really bad move, even for stakeholders who hope to gain a short term advantage. Even if we see that the Netherlands is a lot less likely to follow this path at present, France is close to doing it and the number of people wanting this in France is still growing. I personally see that budgets have been at the core of this from the very beginning (starting with the Greek one that is),

For Greece this is not a nice time and it will stay as gloom as death for a long time to come. The new austerity measures will cut hard, especially with the retired population of Greece. There is something utterly unacceptable regarding the transfer of the assets, including major organizations such as the country’s power corporation and the water boards of Athens and Thessaloniki. My view goes back to ‘Cooking the books?‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2014/01/22/cooking-the-books/) as well as ‘Feeding hungry wolves‘(at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/07/28/feeding-hungry-wolves/). My issue is that Greece had to be held accountable, but a fire sale leaving Greece with nothing was never an option in my book. Partially, when team Tsipras-Varoufakis won the elections they had an idea and no other path but their pride, this was where they ended. The initial idea to open the bond markets again was even worse. Now we see a Greece that has Greeks, yet is no longer Greece, as I see it, for the first time in history, the bulk of a nation is owned by banks and creditors, a situation that has never happened before to this extent (as far as I can tell), even as there is an option, it will still remain ugly for Greece for a long time. However, if the change would be accepted Greece would have a first step in actually resolving things. Resolving up to a degree, because I do not expect that this can be solved within the next two generations (if that happens, it will be a miracle). In that regard the energy and utilities would remain completely Greek and a first step into an actual future would be made. Yet, this is not about Greece!

The issue seen that debts are mounting up and we get to see these academic speeches on how good it was. For me, I still remember the 2015 article in the economist (at http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2015/03/economist-explains-5), where we saw “some worry that the flood of cash has encouraged reckless financial behaviour and directed a fire hose of money to emerging economies that cannot manage the cash. Others fear that when central banks sell the assets they have accumulated, interest rates will soar, choking off the recovery“, so no matter how you twist it, it is additional debt, the people get to pay in the end, and as the evidence has shown the last 10 years, proper budgeting is not the aim, the ability or the inclination of these EU governments, making the people anxiously running towards the nearest European Exit Compound.

 

 

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The Wrong Question

Another day, another wave of news. To be more precise, more and more ‘news’ regarding the upcoming Brexit event. The vote that will impact Europe, the vote that will drive America nuts with fear and the question that is less and less about actual reasoning, especially as France is now moving towards a referendum too.

You see, the title Cameron says Brexit would be ‘economic self-harm’ might be correct, it might be to the point and it could certainly be a truth in itself. My issue is that my Conservatives are no longer thinking things through. Perhaps there are issues that they cannot address and as such the Brexit wave will grow and grow. You see, the Guardian might be all up and proud with the illusion of informing the public, but in that regard they are falling short.

So the title ‘Today’s briefing: what we learned from Cameron’s TV grilling‘ is equally disturbing, but does it give us actual information that the people in the UK can use to form an opinion which party (Brexit or Bremain) is the right one?

I feel that the answer to that question is ‘No!’, in addition the Scottish equation is pushing the matter even further out of balance. You see, the ‘grilling’ of David Cameron gave us the following quotes: “I think if we’ve learnt anything over the last six years, if you don’t have a strong economy you can’t have the health service that you want, you can’t have the schools that you need, you can’t have the public services you want, and this would be an act of economic self-harm of the United Kingdom doing it to ourselves” and the closing remark that is equally disturbing is “I’ll tell you what it would be like, we would be outside the room. The European Union doesn’t stop existing just because we’ve left.

The latter one is no longer a given. Now that Frexit is gaining traction, Brexit becomes almost a given requirement. I do not think that this is a fair path, but when we see that Brexit is avoided and Frexit becomes a reality, the tables will turn on the UK in the nastiest of ways, as France will drive Italy out of the EU as well. Unless there is a clear call to action for the players in the UK, the start of non-Brexit, could push a Yea-Frexit voice, for the mere reason that France has pushed into a corner and Italy could act after that walking away from it all. If any of these nations Germany, Italy, France or the UK walks away, the remaining three will fall out of synch with the abilities to continue. For the UK Frexit would be a disaster as it would have to arrange special deals regarding the Euro tunnel, whatever gets shipped through there would have a nasty surcharge, in that regard, the UK would have to increase its bonds with the Netherlands a lot more tightly than it currently is to prevent export items to hit top prices plus.

Even if all rules remain open in an EU without France (which would be likely), a Le Pen government in Frexit mode would have large impacts on shipping anywhere via France, that part is almost a given and time is still money too. You see all this link to the Wrong Question, partially we see this when we look at ‘UK should stop ‘sitting back’ in EU, says Jeroen Dijsselbloem‘, you see, Jeroen Dijsselbloem is one party that has been sitting back for too long in a much larger way. The parties might hide behind the TTIP as the reason, but that joke should have been scrapped long ago. Together with the TPP, the US is becoming a business usurper. They might call it ‘legal’, but it is still the US now trying to push what they laughingly regard as ‘rights’ into a framework on unaccountability, beyond what we already regard as acceptable. That is the mere consequence of a former superpower that is as I see it now bankrupt. The Financial Times (at http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/ed4cfe7e-16a4-11e6-b197-a4af20d5575e.html#axzz4AVKPmPMk) goes one step further. They state “TTIP also puts private profit above public interest, penalising polities that change policy preferences to the disadvantage of business. Indemnifying business against political risk through off-the-record investor-state dispute settlement arbitration is especially worrying. Secret negotiations and special court processes — more Guantánamo than Gray’s Inn — invite the expectation of abuse“, which is pretty much what the US has achieved with the Trans Pacific Partnership. A political system that is now all about the exploitation of those they should be protecting, the people, especially the non-wealthy ones in the US!

So here we are not really admiring the words of Jeroen Dijsselbloem, whilst we get the quote “He was speaking on the same day that the head of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, warned that Brexit posed “a downside risk” to the global economy“, the one person who is actually one of the larger problems in the entire Brexit situation. You see, the question that needed to be asked clearly and needed to be addressed is: ‘How can the EU be allowed to continue, whilst the political players are spending the funds of the next three generations that follow us?‘ That is the real question. Trillions are being spend without a clear plan, without clear sense making reason absent from the equation.

That is scaring the people towards Brexit and the two people addressing it are not outspoken on any of it. In here we now introduce the two silent players, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and the Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney. The unresolved issues of massive governmental overspending, is one of the reasons why being part of the EU will no longer matter, would be undesirable and would be a good thing to get rid of.

We can agree that Jeroen Dijsselbloem should get credit for “Dijsselbloem, a fiscal hawk, who has led the Euro group since 2013, sharply criticised the European commission for not championing the EU’s fiscal rules“, yet his office has not been championing changes in taxation law (or not loudly enough). That part is at the heart of it all, because overspending and failing laws of taxation makes the EU a broke and impoverished individual.

You see, part of the stupidity (as I see it) comes from “Juncker, sensitive to elections in Spain later this month and in France next year, has said fiscal rules should not be applied blindly“, yes they should! You see, whomever has lost the ability to properly budget should be removed from the game. This issue with keeping Francois Hollande in ‘his’ presidential seat is part of this mess. He is not hungry for winning, he is happy to just get by and whilst he fills his pockets (in legal ways of course), the French situation will not ever improve, which is why he is truly scare of Marine Le Pen and the rest is scared because Marine is willing to let it all collapse so she can build a real France for the French and that is scaring a lot of people, especially in the large financial sectors that run through Natixis, the IMF and Wall Street, two of them equally scared of what Brexit will bring. Yet in all this, just like with Greece, certain people are all about Status Quo and that has now angered the UK people, they have had enough and with the two British coin Big Wigs that issues are not addressed, giving additional fears to the referendum voters. All being pushed emotionally, whilst rational would have resolved it (unless controlling EU spending is not an option). We know that Mark Carney is an excellent orator, he has the ability to economically talk the crowd into getting 49 runs in one over, smashing the record of Steve Dublin, for a Canadian that would be a massive achievement and Mark better pull this off fast, because the Brexit group is still growing and when they grow a critical mass, there will be no longer an option to convert them to a reasonable solution (whether Brexit or Bremain) that would truly be about the solution that is best for the UK and the British people. That option will go out of the window.

So this is where we find ourselves. We are all staring at the Wrong Question and the actual question cannot be answered and the evidence of hardware is removed from our vision, whilst the presented software can no longer be seen as reliable. You see, the people are seeing more and more how the American agreements called the TTIP and the TPP are about American solutions to not be an acceptable option any longer. This plays out nicely for China and perhaps Russia, but overall the Americans with their arrogance and non-accountability did this to themselves, so how can our lives become acceptable and liveable? That remains an issue, yet for the UK, not to be part of many of these players might not be the special coat they are hoping we would buy.

So here we are looking at the Wrong Question and no decent answer in sight, that is the part not dealt with and it seems that this issue will not be dealt with any day soon. The mere consequence of a lame Duck in Washington and a ‘fearless’ group lacking vision in Europe, united in (again as I Personally see it) personal gain against all odds. This is exactly why UKIP remains in ascendance. The one part that requires regulation isn’t getting any, because unless the EU’s debt grows to the level where Japan and USA are, those two are in a tough spot at the end of the way to dusty death with no alternatives. In all this the final element is seen as Crete rescued hundreds of refugees coming to Greece via Libya only an hour ago. That is the first of several escalations that Europe will have to deal with (at http://www.news.com.au/world/breaking-news/greece-rescues-hundreds-off-crete/news-story/987b32889f6327496a179d4ec95f2aa8), the issue here is not just that these Syrians came from Libya, the question becomes how they got to Libya in the first place. We know that Libya had Syrian refugees as early as 2014, but are those the ones crossing? More important, how can we verify that they were actually Syrians? With Crete entering the high tourist season, will these refugees have an impact on tourism? If so, that would be extremely unfortunate for Crete who is still recovering from years of lessened tourism, not as bad as some other places, but still in a recovering situation, will the almost 30% Dutch downturn turn even worse with the hundreds of refugees arriving on Crete?

There is no way to tell, but these new growing groups of arrivals gives additional ‘worry’ to those in favour of Brexit and their numbers are still growing, the implied pressure that the UK will feel over the next 60 days as people are trying to get into the UK will only grow fears, which drives an implied drive towards Brexit. Here I am cautiously stating ‘implied’, because we have no way of telling how many want to be on route past Greece towards Germany, the Netherlands and the UK. Add to this the fact that the EU remains active in irresponsible spending, debts that the next 4 generations need to work off, and that part is another driving force for Brexit.

There is now too much noise all over the papers, too many facts are intertwined and nobody trusts any of the players involved on either side of the Brexit/Bremain equation. From my side, as stated before Mark Carney did a good job, a really good job to bring clarity to the House of Lords and as such to the British population, it swayed me back to a neutral stance away from a definite Brexit. Now Mark Carney (as well as George Osborne) need to focus on the question too many people are not asking, whilst everyone is staring at the wrong Question. ‘How do we stop the irresponsible spending by Mario Draghi et al?

That part is gaining momentum when we consider the Irish Times (at http://www.irishtimes.com/business/euro-zone-recovery-may-slow-down-says-mario-draghi-1.2670722), the issue ‘Euro zone recovery may slow down, says Mario Draghi‘ comes AFTER he has spent a sizeable slice of the planned 1.74 trillion euros. Now we see how the recovery is slowing down? So when we get the quote “Mr Draghi said his central bank was “willing, able and ready” to act again, should those measures leave inflation short of the target“, the people should worry as Mario Draghi has spent well in excess of the total GDP of most EU nations. This gives the clear danger that the debt will stay in place for another generation. So until someone muzzles that man and crazy glues his EU wallet shut, explain to me how anyone wants to remain in an EU where too many politicians are spending the coins of other people, with no clear repayment in sight? That whilst several larger nations (like France) is growing the national debt in excess of the allowed 3% and no one is getting fined, because no one has any of these levels of cash left.

So as we might remember Shakespeare’s quote, we should consider the newly revised edition: ‘this was the noblest Roman of them all, yet it no longer matters as they have become extinct!

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The money kept rolling in

This is the thought I am having right now, the song from Evita, sung by Antonio ‘the desperado’ Banderas. It is happening now, hidden off the tracks and hidden in a mere 5 words in an article of 869 words. The words ‘the ECB raised the ceiling’ is heart here, just as Greece is about to forfeit, they get 2 billion. The ceiling raised and the rest gets to pay for the unacceptable behaviour of Syriza (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/06/greek-debt-default-avoided-after-200m-payment-to-imf).

So as we see messages on deadlocks, why do we allow for this status quo to go on?

So consider the events for next week where when we consider “The International Monetary Fund confirmed it had received the repayment, allowing the debt-stricken country’s rescue package to remain in place until next week when another €750m is due to the Washington-based organisation“, so 2 billion frees up because a mere 10% of the new added debt ceiling has been received. How is this even conceivable? This does offer the thought that the new debt ceiling will cover the next 750M debt payment too?

Will we see theatrics as they make payment as Greece states how they were able to manage the payment? I wonder how that goes over with voting Britain today as they too will feel the additional payments towards Greece. It might be a mere 200 euro’s for every Greek, but it is not the first payment and this comes whilst Greece still has to mature 2.8 billion in T-bills. Where will that money come from?

An additional quote to consider is “many issues remained unresolved between Greece and its lenders, and agreement at next Monday’s meeting of Eurozone finance ministers was now not possible“, this came from Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem. It is all food for thought, just as you think that people grow brains, we get confronted with Syriza. Is it too offensive to phrase it that way? If you think so, then consider that no clear headway has been made since Alexis Tsipras was elected, they want concessions but are unwilling to make any steps in the ‘right’ direction. In addition, we see the quote “The Greek government had hoped to reach a deal that would have released €7.2bn in vital bailout funds, in exchange for economic reforms“, yet as clearly shown, the Greeks have not made one step into a clear direction of reforms, this all comes to blows soon enough when the money is released and we see additional non-steps of reform and a game of massive delays and referendums. So why are we enabling this game to continue?

There is also the other side of this, there is a disingenuous voice (as I see it) from Jeroen Dijsselbloem who said: “Since the last Euro group quite a bit of progress has been made“. If that is so, then there were true reform reports to feed the hungry Journalists, none of that happened! This all reeks again of a scenario of managed bad news, with a not so unlikely view that Greece will not give in and they still end up with 7.2 billion, another quester of payments until the true bailout of 30 billion will hit the EEC at large, but that will be AFTER the UK elections, the one behemoth in all this that is fed up with non-accountability and the dangers of UKIP is just too frightening to both the EEC and the ECB.

As Greek is now swayed by second World War hero Manolis Glezos, who is very much on the referendum horse, we see the quote “the government being coerced into an agreement that “exceeded the limits” of its own anti-austerity mandate“, which is fair enough, but then you do not get the 7.2 billion in funds and you are not entitled to the 2 billion debt ceiling raise, all elements of concession, whilst Greece is far too willing to let it all collapse.

In all this one view I have is most clear of all, when this collapses, whatever concession made since January 1st will fall to banks, banks alone and their bonus payments and their liquidity. It must not be allowed to charge its customers or any third party for their own failings! Guess what, this will never happen because the political branches need certain fat cats to provide their comfortable after-political life and we all know that bankers at large tend to be sore losers at best.

Now we get to the title, because what you read was a mere introduction.

These are to parts of the song. Even though the song is an implied artistic view, but is that the whole truth of it? It seems that more and more that the Greek officials listened to the song and thought it to be a good idea.

When the money keeps rolling in, you don’t ask how (We know, it was borrowed)
Think of all the people guaranteed a good time now (an imaginary situation as the money is now due)
Eva’s called the hungry to her, open up the doors
Never been a fund like the foundation Eva Peron (here it is Greece and the previous PM’s squandering)

And the money kept rolling out in all directions (when was a clear keeping of books requested)
To the poor, to the weak, to the destitute of all complexions (and made public to the Greek population?)
Now cynics claim a little of the cash has gone astray (which is exactly what was the point)
But that’s not the point my friends (that is the ‘excuse’ Goldman Sachs gave us)
When the money keeps rolling out you don’t keep books (again a Goldman Sachs proverb regarding the accuracy)
You can tell you’ve done well by the happy grateful looks (how happy are the Greeks now?)
Accountants only slow things down, figures get in the way (no, they are the reality of outstanding debt)
Never been a lady loved as much as Eva Peron (in this case Lady Fortuna)

All this now gets me to an old Myth, I forgot the details, but it was about Tyche (me thinks).

Tyche meets a kind beggar and she gives him the option of wealth, offering the beggar as many coins as he can carry, but with one rule, if any coin falls to the ground, all coins will turn to dust. The beggar asks for more and more and more, then Tyche states: ‘Be careful beggar, you are now a wealthy man, consider what you have’. He asks for more and he gets 3 more coins and one falls to the ground, the gold turns to dust and Tyche vanishes. The beggar looks at his empty lap contemplating greed.

This is how I see Greece at present, it wanted more and more, now it can no longer continue, yet in this case it is getting assistance in misrepresentation. That view is supported when we suddenly see a downgrade of economic growth from 2.5% to 0.5% and to keep themselves in the game (the supporters) a forecast for 2016 from 3.6% to 2.9%. I have an issue here as any forecast for Greece over 1% is nothing less than a small miracle. More important, if Greece cannot properly revive its tourism and to be honest, one of its biggest flocks were the Germans, we can safely say that they will not feel to welcome in Greece, so thanks Tsipras for screwing up that part of your economy too. (Was that too direct?)

Here we have the issues, Greece is getting ‘support’ from people who have their OWN agenda’s, none of those are beneficial to Greece and in all this the current ‘rulers’ will not clean up their act or make correct headway. I understand their part (the Greek side), I truly do, but the Greek people would have been served best under Antonis Samaras and with every concession Syriza makes, it shows how the Samaras solution had been the best all along. In addition Germans would have felt reasonably safe to go on vacation there and in addition there would be additional Germans considering a little retirement home. Most of that went out of the window when Syriza jumped on the WW2 horse.

Now time is a dangerous factor, whatever happens today will happen on the down-low, because any ammunition for UKIP will be the stuff of nightmares for both the EEC and the ECB! So we will see less outspoken news on Greece as it will change a hung parliament to an anti-EEC parliament. Which, by the way is still beneficial for the ECB as they can do whatever they like in regards to handing out unaccountable billions when they can use a Labour-Green coalition to waste even more resources, then what?

This is the nightmare I cannot predict, because the next wave will be detrimental to the health of Greece, Italy, the UK and France. This will come to blow next year because the push for National Front will be overwhelming, at this point the UK would have lost its options as parliament would have softly agreed on bills that will hinder the growth of the UK, a dangerous scenario I would never sign up for.

I hope the voting masses of the UK can agree on this dangerous part!

 

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Dante’s Greek tragedy

There are two issues currently in play, one is a local one that gives all kinds of ‘human rights’ vibes and I will get to that in the next instance. This one is all about Greece. There are more than two views. The first view is the one we see in the Guardian. The title “’Talk less and do more’, Greek PM urges finance minister Yanis Varoufakis” (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/08/talk-less-and-do-more-greek-pm-urges-finance-minister-yanis-varoufakis), seems apt, but the Greek PM needs to realise that he wanted a rock star, the visibility, the game. Did he forget that he needs to SHOW results? Guess what, I reckon that he did just that, because after the victory speech, when he needs to get the ball going, the Greek people might start to catch on that the only decent path Alexis Tsipras has is the one that Antonis Samaras had been on in the first place. The second story comes from the BBC called “Greece told to ‘stop wasting time’ over debt deal” (at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-31793145), the two important quotes are “European creditors want to approve a detailed list of reforms before they release any loans to Greece” and “But, so far, Greece has only outlined a broad range of intended changes“.

This links back to the event where a ‘rock star’ is the Greek governments CFO.

The Dutch news (NOS) gives us “Grieken uiterlijk woensdag in gesprek met trojka”, meaning that the Greeks will talk to troika (IMF, EEC and the ECB) within the next 48 hours. Here is as I see it, where the ‘rock star’ will have to ‘earn’ his keep. You see, whatever deal the current government wants to achieve, if they do not make actual commitments, the money ends, Grexit becomes a reality and the Greek way of life will be the first civilisation that became extinct twice. It’s a whole new world!

Still, we must all realise and accept that Grexit is an extreme, one that bankers on a global level are trying to prevent as the consequences for many players will become the realisation that the Dutch SNS bank faced. When the idea ‘too big to fail‘ is replaced with ‘screw that, you’re done!‘ we see another mesh of consequences.

There is another side to all this. If we look at several sources, in this case the quote comes from Al Jazeera we see: “Varoufakis said in an interview to Italy’s Corriere de la Sera newspaper that if the creditors do not eventually approve the reforms, his government could call new elections or a referendum“, which get us to the wasting time part. You see, reforms were ALWAYS at the centre of it all and as such, from the moment they got elected, it was up to Alexis Tsipras and Yanis Varoufakis to lock themselves up in their office and work on actual possible solutions, even though in my mind, that path was (even though too harshly) walked by Antonis Samaras. You see, in all this, the non taxation, the Greeks with Swiss bank accounts and the lowering of revenue as a whole was the issue no one was willing to address at any time. Add to that previous irresponsible players with bond billions leaving repayment to the successors of government had no solution ever. It all viewed like an episode of comedy capers with the people at large taking the word of a junkie stating ‘trust me’, whilst the junk pointed at a highly mobile fence stating ‘he’ll check the numbers next week’ then the masses at large are surprised that the fence moved on, the junkie partied to death and no one is willing to foot the bill. And this seems to be a government based view.

At the heart is the fact that Greece could be seen as stumbling towards her end directly through inaction. Whilst plans could be presented in 48 hours, what happens when that is accepted and 94 days later a referendum rejects those? What then? Are we held to a new version of the Divine Comedy by Dantris Alighierakis in three parts, EEC, ECB and IMF? EEC is the part that could give us:

Greece enters the realm of indecisiveness

  • Here, the economists sigh as well, but not nearly as loudly or painfully as the tax payers
  • Suddenly, Greece sees a fire break up the darkness. The fire is the glow of a luminous castle and Jeroen Dijsselbloem is there.

And Greece enters the circle of Desire

  • She’s Pheme, a Greek girl and, in terms of blood, something like a princess. During her life, she was forced into a loveless political marriage. However, she fell in love with her husband’s younger brother and had an affair with his credit card. When the husband discovered her spending spree, he foreclosed them both, but ignored the unpaid invoices.
  • Greek, stirred to the deepest fibres of its soul stirred to the extreme by their emotion, sleeps it off and ignores it

And Greece enter the circle of Hunger

  • Greece incites political strife between the EEC and IMF. First the EEC will win a battle and drive the IMF out. But then the IMF will return with the help of the ECB and crushes the EEC, eventually driving many of them into destitution and deadly depression. Greece rallies as the other parties ignore reason so that Greece can continue “spending, ignoring and inaction”

I can go on but I might get way to close to replacing comic banter with plagiarism here, the message is clear, as we see the unfolding of another Greek tragedy, the people will be caught in the middle by inactive politicians, as they rely on their comfortable futures from those they need to deal with and a theatre is evolving where those getting the money are playing a game where the Greek people are left out in the cold. I wonder if Dante Alighieri ever envisioned that his epic work could end up being a metaphor for reality, I feel certain he did not.

Yet, as we look at the elements, will a serious deal be struck? Politicians must remain positive, but between the proposed plan and the actual implementation of it, years will pass, which means that money will be released on an academic whim that might not ever have been a reality. So are we watching the news, or are we watching a newscast presenting an episode of the Punch and Judy show?

This is at the heart of the matter. It also strikes on the next article that takes a harsh look on Human rights, refugees and the UN no less. Because we see the glittering neon presentation on how certain nations are ‘inhumane’, but those making the allegations (living on 6 figure incomes and higher) are very aware that the drive that propels forward humanitarian causes is defiled by the bulk of large corporations that have achieved non taxed status, which means that the coffers of governments are no longer able to foot bills. This links to Greece again as certain implied allegations (at http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2015/03/greece-outlines-radical-immigration-reforms-150302083444990.html), now we see the quote “Within Greece, Syriza intends to provide alternatives to detention to tens of thousands of asylum seekers and refugees, such as open shelters, assisted voluntary returns, and integration programmes“, the reality is that there is no viable way to get integration programs started, in addition, the Greek unemployment rate is around 25%, so one in four is without a job, so how do you think an integration program will work? Greece had to act on many levels to their ‘immigration’ process, whilst they all know that these people would go on towards ‘wealthier’ and ‘healthier’ waters, like Italy and Western Europe, see Reuters video (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eC12vbuWKds), so as there is a report of change towards ‘open’ reception places, where do you think these undocumented people will go to after they have been there for a day or two (catching their breath). This part is all innuendo, but that is at the core. We understand that we need facts, but as we see another Reuters article (at http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/10/us-eurozone-greece-varoufakis-idUSKBN0M60MN20150310), where we see the title ‘Varoufakis unsettles Germans with admission Greece won’t repay debts‘ with the quotes ““Clever people in Brussels, in Frankfurt and in Berlin knew back in May 2010 that Greece would never pay back its debts. But they acted as if Greece wasn’t bankrupt, as if it just didn’t have enough liquid funds,” Varoufakis told the documentary”, with the added quote “It was unclear when the program was recorded“. Really? Are you the reader that dim, to believe that little line?

Any digital recording has properties, like ‘date filmed’ and ‘last date edited’ as well as who filmed it and so on. They are known as Meta tags, and now we see a lack of clarity in facts? This article less than 6 hours old is nothing less than an introduction to a dance of letting Greece (partially) off the hook, with the possibility that Jeroen Dijsselbloem end up eating some humble pie in public on failing to resolve the Greek ‘issue’. No one wants to hold Greece to account at present (least of all Greece) and all this is a new iteration for those on high incomes to remain to keep the status quo a little longer. The article was written by Madeline Chambers, most important it was edited by Noah Barkin. I am curious to what EXACTLY was edited, what will become part of a managed bad news cycle this time? I get that Reuters will wait for actual facts, as they are a news agency, so as such, the editing might be extremely valid. What is also a fact is that the truth is that less clever people were also aware that Greece could never pay its debt, but what is not acceptable is that we see a European rock tour by Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis whilst the newly elected government is another one that could end up being the next one in a line of several elected Greek governments that end up never doing anything serious to tackle a failed Greek tax collection system, a failure that has been around for way too long now.

 

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Prosecuting the ministry

It is an interesting day, when you get the message that the courts demand the prosecution of the Ministry of finance. Yes, we could feel that a brand new day in the moments of out entertainment will be revealed. It is only 6 days until the feast of Saint Nicholas in the Netherlands; yet, it is already an issue that state secretary Eric Wiebes and minister of Finance Jeroen Dijsselbloem could be regarded as naughty boys, with all the trimmings of lessened sweets and candy (at http://nos.nl/nieuwsuur/artikel/2006257-gerechtshof-eist-vervolging-ministerie-van-financi-n.html).

So what happened?

Well, it goes back to 2009, a tipper sold to the tax office a list of those who were ‘hiding’ their savings in Luxembourg to avoid the Dutch wealth tax. This is a tax that you pay over wealth that you accumulate, you get to save 21,000 euro, a couple can safe tax free 42,000 euro, so above that, you get to pay taxation. The amount is achieved as follows: The tax office takes a position of assumption, that you make 4% over that wealth (in ways like profit or interest), over that profit, 30% taxation is due, so basically, you end up paying around 1.3% over your taxable wealth. It is the Dutch way of showing that saving your wealth is not a good idea, so people left this money in other places, many in Luxembourg. So at this point, the issue gets a little murky.

You see, those ‘black savers’ (from the Dutch word zwart spaarders) demanded in court that the tax office released the identity of this tweeting canary, so that the reliability could be established. The courts agreed on this, and here we have it. Even though the Ministry of Finance did not appeal the issue, they have thus far remained silence on the identity.

Here is my first issue: Was there tax avoidance or not? Either these people have found to be guilty to have funds across the border, or they are innocent. The identity has little or no bearing here, which only seems to make sense in criminal pleads.

So as the courts again demanded the identity of Mr (or Mrs) blabs-a-lot, we get a new issue. The two civil servants remain silent. They claim to have been given instructions not to talk. Yet, these two civil servants are not beyond the law and as such they have no right to remain silent. So what is at stake?

The only quote we have here is the quote “there are other interests in play and there has been tuning towards the choice of actions on the highest levels”, according to the attorney representing the tax office.

So is this about 1-2 billionaires? Because the penalty of the evaded ‘donation’ could be as high as 300%, which means that it will represent a massive bill. This case is all about the money, but about whose money is this? The tax office, as some might decide to walk away taking all their business outside of the Netherlands?

Whatever we speculate, in the end it will be what will happen to these two civil servants and whomever gave the instructions, reason here is that the influencing of witnesses could be rewarded with 4 years in a less comfortable Dutch hotel (read prison).

Yet this song and dance is also showing another side and perhaps another trial. You see, why was the identity of the informer needed? Truly, does this give value to the statement? Let’s not forget the Dutch government could just seize 100% of those accounts, after which those who decided to ‘black save’ will be left with nothing, which is not fair, but it shows another side, these people chose to place their fortunes out of taxation ways, there will be a consequence to that. In addition, if the informer ends up getting harmed, will the court be liable for endangering lives? Is it so far-fetched that the person not getting away with his/her 12 million euro tax bill, that they might take it a little personal?

That will be a discussion for later, yet consider the action as the news of June 10th 2014 revealed (at http://nos.nl/artikel/659185-7500-zwartspaarders-melden-zich.html), where we see that 7500 people reported themselves with illegal savings outside of the Netherlands (to avoid the 300% penalty fee). It seems that these ‘savers’ had well over 4 billion in foreign savings, which is now getting the tax office another 75,000 euro per person, which is a serious amount of money. Yet that information does not seem to be used, how many names have proven to be correct is also a factor, because, no matter how we feel about the act, those who learn the identity of the person costing them 75,000 euro’s might get hunted down, then what will happen, more important, will those who passed verdict be safe from prosecution themselves at that point?

So is revealing the name of Mr Insider correct? Legally yes, but morally?

Yet, we now get to part two of all this, you see, the hunt for the illegal tax sheltering saver is only the tip of the iceberg. As we see nations and taxation make new options, or even heralding other investors, we see that there is a chance that the people by large will be endangered because of this.

For this, we need to consider what I wrote earlier this week in regards to ‘The reality for poor London’ as it was published on November 24th and how there is now a larger danger to the people in Hackney, due to the changes as brought by Westbrook Partners. There it was a mere 99 apartments; in the Netherlands we now see that Round Hill Capital is purchasing almost 3800 apartments for a mere 365 million euro, which means the dumping of apartments for less than 100,000 euros each. This is not the first time that this happens in the Netherlands, last June well over 1500 apartments were sold for 180 million Euro (at http://nos.nl/artikel/2006203-britse-investeerder-koopt-3786-nederlandse-huurhuizen.html), it seems to me that this shifting of funds all over Europe has a second view. Not only are the people facing dangers down the track, the question is that people have been under pressure for living as the cost of living had become almost unbearable, now we see that well over 5300 apartments are now under the watchful eyes of an investment firm. When we regard Hackney and the upcoming 99 evictions, what dangers will these tenants face when the economy might take the smallest turn for the better?

On one side we see people running their savings out of the Netherlands, on the other side we see more insecurity as investment firms are taking a leap to lower yielding fields, what happens when the apartment field is no longer yielding enough? Who gets to deal with that mess then?

I can decently guarantee you that those enabling the current transfer of ownership will not be available for comment at that point.

 

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