Tag Archives: Klaas Knot

The new politics

I still feel shivers lately when people like Jeremy Corbyn refer to the UK as a democracy. We could overly vocal voice that leaving democracy to an anti-Semite is slightly too uncomfortable. To illustrate this I refer to the BBC (at https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-45030552), The quote: “In April 2019, the Sunday Times reported that Labour had received 863 complaints against party members, including councillors. The newspaper claimed leaked e-mails it had seen showed more than half of the cases remained unresolved while there had been no investigation in 28% of them. It said fewer than 30 people had been expelled while members investigated for posting online comments such as “Heil Hitler” and “Jews are the problem” had not been suspended. Labour disputed the reports while Jewish Voice for Labour, a newly constituted group supportive of Mr Corbyn, maintained the number of cases being investigated represented a tiny fraction of Labour’s 500,000 plus membership.” is central here. I would accept ‘the number of cases being investigated represented a tiny fraction of Labour’s 500,000 plus membership‘, yet in political places, this is too much headway and too much festering, as such there is a debilitating level of mistrust when these issues are not investigated, and with almost one third not being investigated, the issue is a rather large one. Then we get to BBC Panorama’s “Mr Corbyn’s communications chief Seumas Milne – had interfered in the process of dealing with anti-Semitism complaints“, which in itself is a clear indication that the stage is much larger than we are led to believe. The BBC In August 2018 gave additional visibility not merely to his links with Terrorism, the quote: “critics have pointed out that a photograph from the event appears to show him standing opposite the graves of Atef Bseiso and Salah Khalaf, two senior PLO officers who were accused of links to the Munich attack and were assassinated“, we now have two options. Either Corbyn was played, or he is too sympathetic towards terrorists, in either case this is not some path to peace as the quote: “he had attended the event in Tunis as part of a wider event about the search for peace” was given. So either he got played (which I would accept to some degree), or he has too strong ties to extreme anti-Israel groups, either way the man should not be allowed in UK politics.

This is not merely about Jeremy Corbyn; this is a much larger setting. The setting is European. You see there is a shift going on and it is a very dangerous one. The UK is and should always be a Monarchy, as a monarchy the UK looks after ALL its citizens, rich, poor, well off and anyone not well off. This is opposing the European model which is overwhelmingly a Corporatocracy, more dangerously, it has in the last three years instilled a much stronger stage of corpocracy and these two are not the same. Let me explain.

A corpocracy is a corporate bureaucracy, characterized by ineffective management (EU Gravy train anyone?)

This is important, because this is a very dangerous stage, it affects democracy and more important deflates the long term chance that any democracy can be effectively applied. This is pushed by three parts; corporations, interest groups and what I call the Jackal gang.

I do not have to explain the corporations. The interest groups is another matter, here in one example we see in the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/04/no-deal-brexit-food-shortages-brc), in the example we get Andrew Opie, the director of food and sustainability of the British Retail Consortium telling us: “Our assessment is based on discussion with our members, who move fresh food every day, and the likely disruption“, as well as “We modelled that with our members who have told us there will be disruption to fresh food“, these statements were casually accepted. Yet WHO checked and critically investigated ‘We modelled that with our members‘, modelling implies algorithms, modelling implies a state of data analytics, dash boarding and optionally clear reports. Who checked those? Andrew Opie? He has one goal, to keep markings for his members as high as possible and Brexit gets in that way. He is not alone; there are dozens if not hundreds who have been playing that game playing the fear monger card again and again in the last three years. How much famine was there in the UK in the 70’s and before? This is not about supply, this is about expedited margins and the media is not telling the people this, they are not investigating this to the degree they should. The people are merely pushed into fear towards remaining in the EU and that gravy train is too expensive for all of us. The EU has well over €3 trillion debt and there is no path that leads to any exit, not for generations and this benefits the banks, it benefits the people on the EU gravy train, it does not benefit small businesses, it does not benefit the people and there is no end in sight. Brexit was the first clear step to make things better for the British people and the people in the commonwealth in the long term, yet the US, corporations and the IMF will not entertain it, they have too much to lose.

And this is not over, it is about to get worse. We see this in the Financial Times (at https://www.ft.com/content/0ff70e24-cef8-11e9-99a4-b5ded7a7fe3f) even as it seemingly starts low key with “Christine Lagarde has called on European governments to co-operate more closely over fiscal policy to stimulate the stuttering Eurozone economy” which changes tune as we get: “aimed at rich economies like Germany and the Netherlands, she said governments who “have the capacity to use the fiscal space available to them” should spend on improving their infrastructure“, she did not mention some balance of infrastructure and reducing debt, no reducing debt is off the table. And as we get: “The central bank could “direct” its corporate asset purchases towards green bonds once the EU and other regulators have agreed on a common framework for green finance“, which is the foundation for another Stimulus, a plan that failed twice is now again being used to create more debt and pushing what seemingly was once a democracy into a corpocratic Corporatocracy, a stage where nations are no longer in charge, corporations are and we see that push more and more, the fact that freedom of choice in the UK is no longer honoured, as well as the fact that freedom of choice is now regarded as a natural disaster is a clear stage on that road.

Voicing it into a stage where it’s called ‘fiscal stimulus‘ creating the regard that the ECB needs to be to be ‘agile’ in facing economic trouble is merely a relabelled stage where Wall Street and its banks are deciding what Europeans and Brits are allowed to do and short sighted politicians are actually handing them the national keys to do just that. In the age of an aging population that is even more dangerous, for the mere reason that the debts cannot continue a stage of retirement, making the validity of aged people almost obsolete. Again this is all in the view of Corporatocracy; for them the bottom line is margins and profits, to get that 100% needs to be an enabler or a consumer, the rest has no value and we are pushing more and more in this direction.

The Washington Post (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/lagarde-defends-european-central-bank-stimulus-at-hearing/2019/09/04/17abb148-cf10-11e9-a620-0a91656d7db6_story.html) gives us part of the Corporatocracy setting.

In the line “uncertainty over tariffs has sideswiped the 19-country Eurozone as businesses delay investments and new orders“, the fact that any delay has that much of an influence on American needy people is almost too unacceptable. This is more than just the ‘turmoil from the U.S.-China trade conflict‘. We can (speculatively) consider the line: “it could disrupt business dealings between the U.K. and the 27 remaining members“, which in light of “Britain is currently scheduled to leave the European Union. If that happens without a divorce agreement to smooth trade” is not about ‘smooth trade’ at all, this is about managed maximised margins, something Wall Street relies on very fucking heavily, so the entire stage where the new ECB ruler is not one of the other banks, but the previous sceptre wielder of the IMF is a much larger issue, it is also a case that the US is a lot more in charge of Europe that we think. Consider the amounts of debts and the fact that no one has that much money. A stage where two banks lend each other on paper $2 trillion, whilst neither has the funds. It is one situation that will lose control more and more and the important questions are not being asked. When we see Francois Villeroy de Galhau (Governor of the Bank of France), Klaas Knot (ECB policy maker) and Madis Muller (ECB policy maker) are a few of a growing group of people opposing stimulus (read: massively sceptical), whilst the one in favour (former IMF) is now President elect of the ECB. The one doesnot imply the other, yet the stage where we see “resumption of bond purchases now would be disproportionate to economic conditions” is merely one option, there might be more, but stimulus is what the US and a corpocratic Corporatocracy requires to keep the margins and the people get to pay that invoice. More importantly the lack of oversight and the lack of transparency gives sway for the ECB bank to do whatever it wants, whenever it thinks it needs to.

In what kind of a democracy did Europeans sign up for that?

Corporatocracy

I mentioned that in an earlier blog, it is a state where corporations decide on matters and that is what we see to the much larger extent at present. It is an age where social securities collapse, housing is close to redundant and the age of age discrimination is at an all-time high. All issues visible to a larger extent. I mentioned a few other parts earlier in this article and that is merely the beginning. I needed to make this mention because it is time to explain another phrase I threw your way.

The Jackal gang

This is a group of facilitators and exploiters. The Jackal gang is pretty much everywhere, the problem is that the intentional ones are not the same as the beneficiary players. Let me explain the difference. There are vultures, which are pure carrion eaters, they devour whatever is no longer living (or too close to death to see the difference), with vultures we see a group of people who drop down on companies pronounced dead, or basically no longer serving and they take the pickings. This is the foundation of Vulture funds as well, Argentina being an excellent example in the past and they are about to become a repetitive example soon again. The 2001 default is one stage where Vulture Funds swept in to get nice pickings. Let’s face it, the Argentinians decided to go this way (no one else was offering). Opposing the Vultures are the Jackals, they are like Vultures carrion eaters, yet there is another side, Jackals also take on the sick and the weakened, in a pack they can take down a larger opponent and because the opponent was not dead the pickings are a lot better. In this example the Gravy Train (a first class experience that is always on the road with all the amenities); the gravy train is a large behemoth, it has all kinds of connections. There are subsidised needs, there are research and grant needs and there are logistical needs as well as operational ones. In this stage we see the beneficiary ones; they are merely offering a service like a hotel, lunch services, dry cleaning and so on. They are merely services that a person needs to rely on, yet in another stage when it is a catering service that is ALWAYS called on, or a mother organisation that gets all the contracts, we see the Jackal group. These people are all linked in one way or another and that is how the Gravy train operates and there are large amounts of money involved. To get you a more apt example, we look at the ECB and its part in the Greek financial tragedy (definitely not written by Sophocles).

Here we need to consider that the Securities Market Programme threatens the ECB’s legitimacy as the potential fiscal role is an inappropriate activity for an independent central bank. Some actions are valid as well as appropriate. when we see “In the event of a wholesale creditor run based solely on self-fulfilling expectations, it is reasonable for a central bank to intervene and act as a lender of last resort to financial institutions that would otherwise be solvent” we see an appropriate act. Yet in case of “The failing of the institution is that it is not credible that it is willing to purchase enough of the debt to contain the run. Unfortunately, the ECB’s insistence on secrecy with respect to the programme is particularly damaging. It is widely believed that the average discount to face value paid for the Greek debt acquired (prior to August at least) was no more than 20%. The national central banks appear to have sought out the lucky counterparties. And, the ECB won’t say who they are or how much they paid” is a stage where there is no transparency, the gains are not disclosed, there is a failing on managing the debt and the matter goes from bad to worse (source: CEPR’s policy portal, Anne Sibert). The issue was also illuminated in ‘Buiter, Willem (2009), “Recapitalising the Banks through Enhanced Credit Support: Quasi-Fiscal Shenanigans in Frankfurt”, Maverecon, Financial Times, 28 June‘.

A matter that should have been dealt with to a much larger degree now as this goes all the way back to 2011, the fact that another stimulus is coming lacking transparency is a huge deal, it implies that trust in the ECB needs to be revoked and written off (read: discarded).

I grant you from the very beginning that the this is a very complex matter (and I am all out of Economic degrees as I never had one), yet I know data and a lot of it is not adding up, questions that should be on the front of everyone’s mind are seemingly not openly asked or the existence of the questions are denied. The entire issue of Brexit as it is playing out is less about democracy and too much about the politics of pleasing large corporations, there are too many questions and quotes are merely copied by the media and not questioned and that is a democratic failing of the largest degree. Jeremy Corbyn with: “Jeremy Corbyn became the first Opposition leader in history to block a general election on Wednesday night” (source: The Telegraph) might be the most visible example, but he is not alone, there are scores of MP’s playing the ‘remain’ card and as I personally see it they should all be investigated. Consider the direct description of treason: ‘the crime of betraying one’s country, especially by attempting to overthrow the government‘, is that definition and that is what we see here. It is the stage we see now and many sources in the media are all about ‘quoting’ and not about investigating, it is the failure that must be fixed. Well, perhaps the option is to award certain politicians with the William Joyce medal. I am offering the thought that Jeremy Corbyn is to be reviewed to see if he should get the first one, who is with me?

The new politics are not about claiming and presenting, but the need to show allegiance and give proper explanation on why exactly things were done. Would that not make political life a lot more transparent? The ECB could learn from that, so two herrings caught with one rod.

 

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Economic management through newscasts

When you think of the title, you might think that there is no real issue. You might think that certain events always take place and that the news covers it. However, when you monitor the news in several nations, you might see a different line of information.

So, let’s go through the motions and reveal that part that several did not consider, perhaps you should reconsider this in all sincerity.

The first red light was lit when I observed the Dutch news at the NOS. The message was innocent enough. The Dutch Bank has a new president. The man Klaas Knot was voiced on Dutch TV stating [translated] “although the numbers are not here yet, my feeling is telling me that we have passed the recession, and we are now at the start of economic recovery“.

In light of several numbers in the past that were in my personal view clear attempts to manage bad news, numbers that were used as proverbial straws to minimise actions are now surpassed that the economy is on recovery. As I stated before, we are more than a year away from that. So, why are people getting this news? The facts and numbers are a month away. Is it perhaps all about the US deficit ceiling? That 17 trillion dollar debt, oh what a feeling!

Klaas Knot is working from the information on growth from foreign nations. As they left the recession, the Dutch should follow. Another factor mentioned is that real estate prices are not falling any further. In that regard I wonder if that would be an actual possibility. If the houses fall any further, it would only mean that people stopped selling until the prices go up again. However, the NOS did report in summary that growth is not directly visible, especially considering that unemployment rates will go up further this year. I reckon that they might not improve until late second quarter 2014. There is also the actual growth to consider. I reckon that the growth in the first year is unlikely to grow beyond 0.5%, which would already be a good achievement.

So why do I without the economic degree oppose the president of the Dutch Bank who is likely to have a few economic degrees?

First of all, I am willing to doubt my view, however, after we have seen the Dutch predicaments as they cannot find the ability to cut 6 billion and as they struggle with minority groups to get anything done at present in that pesky regard of cut-backs. In addition, on July 11th I wrote a blog on the Dutch pension system and how they would cut 3 billion a year (in ‘Boosting Pensions’), that did not pass the Dutch First Room comparable to the House of Lords in the UK). The only question remains whether those 3 billion were part of the 6 billion euro package or not. If not then fine, if yes, then matters blow up in many faces. However, not to go for the worst scenario, the cut backs do mean that at present the purchasing power of Dutch citizens will decline more, so economic growth will remain out of the people’s reach until 2015. That does not mean that Klaas Knot is wrong, I do however belief that this optimism is linked to another event and should be slightly less optimistic.

The odd thing was that Klaas Knot was stating towards NOS news that it was important for political Netherlands to quickly come to an agreement on controlling government finances, also for 2014. That was a weird quote to be placed as a statement and not in answer to a direct question. So was he aiming for the budget agreements, opening the fountain of Dutch pension accounts or both? The latter seem to be in my mind. However, the NOS newsroom phrased that this was about the 6 billion in cut backs. Yet, if this is a play to get things rolling, it is good that it was followed by the statement from the Prime Minister to not get too optimistic. So why were we seeing these two parts?

The second red light did not become visible until the day after. The same day I get the news on a diplomatic escalation in the Netherlands, sky News UK comes with an entirely different matter. Two elements seemed to be in play. The IMF suddenly lifted the economic growth for the UK by 1.4% for 2013 and for 1.9% for 2014. Those are numbers that are beyond remarkable. Sky News showed Olivier Blanchard the Chief economist of the IMF to make this statement. It was interesting that the IMF calls on Christine Lagarde to give the bad news and Olivier gets to give the good news. There was a shimmer of hope for realism as Ed Conway, economic Editor at Sky News was happy to not reject the notion that the IMF have been lousy forecasters in the past to say the least.

In my view these two red lights are all about managing bad news. This is the preamble to the rising risk that if the US debt ceiling is not raised, we would end up receiving a spill of utter recession that will go on for a long spell. ‘Suddenly’ there was good news, a week before the debt ceiling needs to be raided, whilst the US is still in shutdown mode. Let us not forget that Greece, who also suddenly had ‘good’ news last week is still beyond broke, in addition France and Italy are still not in good shape. The biggest issue is that the UK forecast, which was +0.6%, which was a pretty good achievement to +1.4%. That boils down to a miscalculation of almost $18 Billion! That is a massive miscalculation. There is no indication that such errors were made. Consider that the IMF had high criticism towards the tactics by Chancellor George Osborne, UK’s faithful exchequer.

Three sudden good news moments are too much for just some level of chance. This reeks more and more towards managing impending moments of Doom. In that same newscast President Obama kept on chastising the Republicans. Yet, also to my surprise, several players in the media are giving little or no visibility to the republican side of things. The Democrats are so willing to raise debts again and again, yet the overspending as it is could sink us all and no one seems to be reacting to that part.

So is this raising of credit rates just so that a paper loan for the US can be parked on top of the 2 Trillion dollar debt the UK has? That part is speculation on my side, but it is clear that the recession is nowhere near solved until mid-2014 and only after that will we see decent levels of recovery. In that regard I do consider that those who are managing these numbers are playing a very dangerous game, I admit that this last part is my personal view, but I reckon that many in the UK, Netherlands and Greece can clearly see that improvements are pure speculative and there is no evidence that it will actually happen before 2015 (if they are lucky). The Greek situation was partially confirmed that Greece will need another 10-11 billion Euro bailout mid-2014, as reported by Jennifer Rankin (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/sep/13/greek-bailout-back-on-agenda-as-eurozone-finance-ministers-meet-live), so a nation that is in recovery still needs 1000 euro for every Greek?

The reality of this global game will not be known for another week, but in the mindset of a Lemming it is likely that the quality of life we used to know, for now, only remains in the mind of the terminally ill and only if they do not expect to live past June 2014.

I sincerely hope I am wrong in this case, but the numbers are to some extent there, it seems to me that when coming to some conclusions the weighted events are considered. This is not an abnormal thing to do, however when we deal with several outliers in data, the weighted results tend to throw away those numbers and as such the bad news is never a correct, which does the trick for some, but it leaves Joe Public with a nasty long term invoice at the end of the journey.

 

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