Tag Archives: Marine Le Pen

What is right is sometimes wrong

This is a weird day; it is weird for all the reasons that set the stage where things are weird. It is not ground breaking, it is not even great, but it is an essential event. To explain that we need to go back to Dutch history, to be more precise we need to go back to 1994. The politician Hans Janmaat was a member of the CP (Centre Party), it was ultra-right, very nationalistic in nature. He had slogans like “Holland is not a country of immigration” and “full=full“. In the not so great economic settings, which were harsher for many as the Netherlands is not just seemingly short on available space. To give a comparison, The Netherlands is the almost the same size of the US state of Maryland, Yet MD has 6 million people, the Netherlands 17 million, so space is hard to come by, so people started to listen to this person. In UK terms it makes the Netherlands three times the size of Yorkshire, whilst having 350% of its population, so it is decently comparable.

Even as his views were only tame in the first 3 hours, his extremists’ views were soon loud and harsh. So a lot of politicians and media starting to ignore him, which I always thought was a mistake. If you want to take power away, you need to make that person fall on his sword called ego. The media and politicians thought it would go away, which did not happen. What did happen that people were too frustrated with the elected politicians and in the 1994 elections, he ended up with the power of three seats, not one seat, three! He now had (for a short term) power and a vote in all the events, now all parties united against his actions and views, so they had to unite in resources stopping him. In all this Hans Janmaat often used economic arguments in his tirades against immigrants, just like Adolf Hitler did and some usurpers before (and after) him. Yet, the setting was a dangerous one and it was deflated by politicians setting a sphere of ignoring him around him, silencing the issue away and it did go away after a while. Yet did they actually deflate the situation? Now we see a similar setting to some degree with the Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who merely has a more tempered view in all this, yet for the most still very ultra-right oriented, he has not gone away, he is now the political leader of a party that has 20 out of 150 seats in the House of Representatives, 9 out of the 75 Senate seats, 66 of the 570 state provincials and 4 of the 26 European Parliament seats. Remember how this setting started with 3 seats?

In addition, the Professor Emeritus Meindert Fennema gave the argument in 2006 that Hans Janmaat was in the end convicted for making statements that has become common place in 2006, a gap of a mere 12 years. the political climate had changed in the Netherlands, partially due to the assassinations of politician Pim Fortuyn and Dutch film director and producer Theo van Gogh, the 9/11 attacks did not help any either. Geert Wilders followed in his footsteps (to some degree) and is the current leader of the Party for Freedom (Partij voor de Vrijheid – PVV). When we want to expose extremism, even Christian extremism, it can only be done by pointing it out in the media, we acknowledge that there are plenty of people who are sheep. They remain sheep because they merely follow, they cannot tell the difference on quality of who to follow and that is dangerous too. Some presenters (in politics and media) go into academic overdrive to the degree that can put any insomniac asleep roughly 92% faster than a double dose of Restoril (Temazepam). In many cases we need to educate the people, not sound more intelligent then them; this is the setting I have and now we get to the article ‘Sky News removed from Melbourne railway stations after extremist interview‘. The article (at https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/aug/09/sky-news-removed-from-melbourne-railway-stations-after-extremist-interview). Important is that I do not disagree, but at times the right thing is wrong. You see, when we see Jacinta Allan, Victoria’s transport minister give us: “I’ve directed @MetroTrains to remove @skynewsaustralia from all CBD station screens. Hatred and racism have no place on our screens or in our community. #springst“, I think she has a good and valid point. Yet, if we do not educate the people on what is wrong and why it is wrong, such a person can get elected in the end. After that it will be one complete political term of fixing the floor whilst the tap is running and the mess merely gets bigger. So when I see: “The move comes after the network interviewed Cottrell on Sunday night and the broadcaster was accused of “normalising racism and bigotry” by the former Labor MP Craig Emerson“, people will state that it makes sense that we see ‘quit his role at Sky News following the broadcast‘, yet the damage is done. A partial opportunity was grabbed by Laura Jayes when we see: “As if to prove my original character assessment…. Blair Cottrell posts (and later deletes) some weird suggestion about raping me on air. He’s not just a fascist. He’s down right dangerous” and she is not merely correct, she is absolutely right! A person like this is dangerous, the economic climate is here, just like it was in the Netherlands and there is plenty of hardship. People like Cottrell will state things like ‘it could be better, but no one will listen to me‘. Soon he has one person listening, then a second, then 4, eight, 16, 32 and that is merely in the first day, on the second day, the 32 will incite 64 to listen and it goes up quickly after that. If you decide to disagree, please feel free to watch the movie (at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-12-04/billy-bush-says-infamous-access-hollywood-trump-tape-is-real/9224358), where a famous person decided to state ‘You can do anything, grab them by the Pussy‘, for your reference. That person is now addressed as ‘the 45th and current President of the United States‘, so smothering the silence and actual take action to show the danger of such a person is a more essential act then you think.

The same mistake that we saw in the Netherlands and several countries in the past should not happen, the only way to get these people out of the picture is to let them rant live on TV and make sure the people realise how dangerous it is to listen to people like that. So in this Jacinta Allan is wrong and Laura Jayes is right. Only by clearly exposing these people and making sure that such a person is ‘down right dangerous‘, preferably with evidence and stating why this person is dangerous that is how you deflate a situation. Most politicians are more about hearing their own voice and not about removing others by letting them speak and there is to some degree validity in that. Yet, when we see that not invalid view fail again and again, other ways need to be found. You see when you start skimming the news, reading the headlines. we see ‘Sky News sponsor backlash mounts‘, ‘Sky News removed from Melbourne railway stations‘ and ‘Victorian government bans Sky News from train stations‘, now it is all about Sky News and people might ignore the rest. Yet the headlines could have read ‘Blair Cottrell states that woman are happier with rape‘, ‘Extremist views removed from Melbourne stations‘, or ‘Blair Cottrell gets advertisers to drop contracts‘. Now the focus becomes Blair Cottrell and people will want to know why, more important, they will clearly see why Cottrell is ‘downright dangerous‘. With a person like Blair Cottrell it is not about bringing nuance to the screen; it is a tactic that works in his favour, by giving people the blunt direct version many more will shy away, those who optionally still admire him will do so silently, so growth of listeners is no longer a worry either. The sheep mentality also implies that something less acceptable will be pointed out and set into the limelight that people like Cottrell really tend to dislike, especially when they have political aspirations.

You see, there is a second danger and that is the one we do not see, but they are in the US. CNN reported less than 10 hours ago (at https://edition.cnn.com/2018/08/08/politics/donald-trump-primaries/index.html), that it is not merely getting into power that counts, the setting we see with “In the last 14 contested Republican primaries where President Donald Trump has endorsed a candidate, his pick has won — or is leading — all 14 times“. With: “John James in Michigan’s Republican Senate primary, who had been considered an underdog prior to the Trump endorsement, won the right to face Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow“. President Trump was not merely a president; he became a kingmaker 14 times over. So it is no longer merely him we need to worry about, it is that there are now 14 small time Trumps on the rise. So when you think that silencing Blair Cottrell helps, consider what happens when he gets in because he got endorsed by Pauline Hanson, current senator of Queensland and it ended up working because the people did not realise just how dangerous he was?

The US as well as European politics have shown that several times over. It was a miracle that someone pulled current President Emmanuel Macron out of a hat, it was a close call between that option and the alternative that President Marine Le Pen would have offered. Several sources gave rise of the situation with “the strategy of fear mainly reinforces Le Pen’s popularity“, I am against fear mongering and there was almost no option, because everyone considered that it would never happened. Not only did it almost happen, In Italy Matteo Salvini, the initial underdog is now Deputy Prime Minister of Italy. I think it is clear that we need to accept that doing the Ostrich (a head in sand pun) will not cut it. In case you think it is going to sizzle out, consider the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/aug/05/italy-coalition-cracks-five-star-salvini-racism), where we see: “Roberto Fico, M5S MP and president of the chamber of deputies, spoke out against a controversial pact with Libya that sees migrants forcibly returned to war-riven north Africa“, speaking out against a setting where refugees are send back to a war front setting. Salvini just got elected; Italy has 5 more years of this setting. With this I hope we all agree that giving the limelight of danger on just how dangerous Blair Cottrell is, is preferable than him gaining strength and followers in silence, because AFTER an election there is very little we can do for that term, a clear view with five examples where we only see one case with a narrow escape, not a good track record to work with.

I have always believed (and rightfully so) that given the setting where you give a short-sighted person enough rope, they will end up hanging themselves again and again. It is like the overeager DIY person and the ability to paint himself into a corner that tends to be the most satisfying setting of all. In such cases I am more than happy to sponsor the bucket of paint and the brush, seeing a person sit in a corner. On a personal level, if that person ends up being Jason Sudeikis, I will make sure that his wife Olivia Wilde is not in the corner with him, seems like fun challenging her to several games of Splatoon 2 on the Nintendo Switch (one Nintendo Switch each mind you) and after each round both of us shouting out: ‘You OK there Jason?‘ should make an amazing afternoon of gaming, possibly the best one ever!

I have been known to be creatively sneaky under the most diplomatic of settings.

#SplatoonOrangeChampionsRule

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Cheese Pizza with Oregano

I love Pizza, I hardly ever get it, merely because the people here tend to rely on Domino’s and Pizza Hut and neither tends to be a true pizza (as I personally see it). As I walked through Sydney over the last week, it dawned on me just the massive lack of actual decent Pizza places in Sydney. It is almost like they are no longer in a sustainable environment. People got used to the cheap solutions two chains bring and they call it Pizza. All the people in the neighbourhood accepted it as the real deal and now, we forgot what true awesome Pizza is like. Now, I am a little off the wall here. I love my Cheese Pizza, with the 5 cheeses and loads of Oregano on top. So when I think Pizza, I always think of the Bravo Trattoria Pizza’s at Crow’s Nest, they are my favourite! Yet, is it about pizza, or the place, or what Pizza actually is? You see, it does matter when we consider the Financial Review (at https://www.afr.com/personal-finance/italys-debt-barely-sustainable-ubs-chief-economist-20180601-h10uun), we see here what I said weeks ago and last week to some degree. When we see “Italy’s debt-to-GDP ratio of 130 per cent is “borderline sustainable”, the UBS top economist says. There is a level of the primary budget surplus which keeps debt stable, and above which you can begin to pay down your obligations, Kapteyn explains. For Italy this figure is a surplus of 1.3 per cent of GDP, versus the actual surplus of 2 per cent. It’s a skinny buffer of around 0.8 percentage points which at current debt levels “doesn’t inspire confidence”, Kapteyn says“. That is merely the tip of the iceberg. The issue is not that it is Italy, it matters more that it is one of the big four. UK, France, Germany and Italy are the large economic suppliers of a 27 nation bloc where they basically represent well over 50% of the EU economy, the fact that they all are in deep debt does not help and the fact that the UK is getting out, or is that ‘was trying to get out‘? So when we see add the issues of the UK and now we see how the Italian issues are growing and France is not far behind. A 27 nation failure due to the inability to set proper budgets, deal with debt levels and add to that a failed economy jump start that is now close to 3 trillion Euro printed with no real prospects to pay for any of it. That revelation is why Italy seems to be vacating the union. The action by President Sergio Mattarella by rejecting the Eurosceptic finance minister and put in his place Giovanni Tria a pro-EU professor. This is perhaps the first setting where we see that voting is no longer an issue for any government, the holier than thou setting of protecting the Euro and the EU against all odds, whilst those in the EU commissions are massively overpaid is setting the foundation of a dangerous mindset. The issue that the AFR is bringing to light is “markets are not pricing in the risk of an Italian exit, they are repricing the risk of a Italian default“. I always rated the Iexit (aka iLeave) setting very low, the two populist parties in charge was not that realistic in 2016 and when Marine Le Pen was ‘surpassed’ by a former investment funds manager we were all wondering what would come next and I thought it would lower the chances of the populists in Italy. And the news is not getting any better. We see that with “The European economy hit a wall over the final months of last year, with growth dropping from a quarterly growth rate of 0.7 per cent to more like 0.4 per cent. Economists are unclear of the reasons for the slowdown, but broadly believed the European economy would quickly rebound“, the issue I personally see is ‘broadly believed the European economy would quickly rebound‘, not the slowdown. You see there is no evidence that there is an actual quick rebound. There is every chance that there will be a rebound, but it will not be quick. The fact that these so called experts are all thumbs when it comes to their forecasting and with 0.3% unaccounted for, we can see that they are in the dark or playing the bad news cycle. I personally believe it to be the second one. And the Italian issues are increasing. Not merely the debt settings, it is a changed political landscape. Even as Paolo Savona was replaced by Giovanni Tria, there is still “Mr Di Maio will be vice-premier and minister for labour and economic development, including trade policy. Matteo Salvini, head of the League, will also be vice-premier and interior minister in charge of immigration“. This we got from the Financial Times (at https://www.ft.com/content/79cf905c-64a8-11e8-90c2-9563a0613e56). This duo is going to be a lot more important than even I initially thought. They now have a handle on labour economic development and immigration will see larger changes. There is no way to predict whether that is good or bad. If we listen to people like George Soros we are instantly rejecting liberalism, because it is easy to be a liberalist when you are a multi billionaire, yet he had no issues to short sell US$10 billion worth of Pound sterling, earning a billion in the process during the 1992 Black Wednesday UK currency crisis. He did nothing wrong, he played the system when he could and make a billion. Things like that never go away and he must regard the EU zone as a very profitable short sell opportunity, which makes whatever he is trying to do dangerous, so in that light all his settings for “Best for Britain pushes for second referendum on Theresa May’s deal with EU“, a cause he is backing is very dangerous. In this by pushing the UK away from Brexit, the pressure on Italy decreases. The dangers become that irresponsible spending in the big four can go on for several more years and there is no way to control the ECB and their puppet masters. Unelected people deciding on the descent of financial futures in 27 nations that is how I personally see it. You can agree or disagree, yet ask yourself when was the last time that any European got a decent explanation on who of how the 3 trillion euro spend was going to be dealt with? You see over a decade in an economic setting that is close to the late 90’s, whilst keeping strict austerity in play all over Europe. There is quite literally no way that this will happen, because politicians will adjust their policy towards any speculative proclaimer of ‘the European economy would quickly rebound‘ economists, whilst not prosecuting them when they get it wrong (merely because making any claim of expectation is not a crime, is it?). A setting that the people have no chance of winning, hell, they won’t ever be able to break even on this. This shows that Brexit will be a hard, but the better way to go. When billionaires start proclaiming how bad it is and how ‘we all’ can get a better deal that is when you become afraid for your life and that is what is at stake. And we see this in the Australian Financial Review with ““creeping into the market”, Kapteyn says – “a potentially dangerous one”. After the glory days of 2017 in which investors basked in a globally synchronised upswing, markets are now faced with the potential return of the two-speed world economy: the US vs the rest“, so when we get “America’s economy is growing around 3.5 per cent; some independent analysts estimate growth as fast as 4 per cent. Europe is “at best” growing by 2 per cent“, that shows the dangers, because as George Soros is getting the winnings, the other players do not, from my point of view it is a form of leeching, leeching Europe dry for the term of a generation or better. You see again it is a personal view, it is why Best for Britain is getting the support, it is about delaying Brexit at the very least for as long as possible, merely because it stops the game people like George Soros are likely to be playing and when that stops Europe can start bringing things about, hopefully for the better, especially as the ECB will be forced to print money for all kinds of dubious reasons, dubious because kick-starting the economy after you printed 3 trillion to try it twice is just ridiculous, that money has to be paid back at some point and everyone is in denial about the latter part.

Yet this is still about Italy, not the UK. You see, Italians want what is best for Italy and I am fine with that, I believe in a healthy sense of national pride. Yet with “Italy’s debt-to-GDP ratio of 130 per cent is ‘borderline sustainable’” they are facing an ugly truth, Italy needs to face 5-15 years of Austerity, yet with the ECB trying to economically equalise Europe, at the cost of the big four, so it amounts to Italy trying on top of an economy for 60 million Italians, whilst they are weighted with invoices for close to 250 million Europeans who can’t be bothered to get their house in order. it amounts to giving an addicted gambler $500 whilst they are only allowed to use $10 for gambling, you tell me how long it takes for things to go really wrong, and that is pretty much a given on this situation. It was seen in the Netherlands 2012 and 2013, and now we see, when we look at the Dutch government statements with in September 2017 we see “The economy will grow by 3.3% in 2017 and a projected 2.5% in 2018“, we see the EU commission giving the Netherlands a ‘mere’ 3.2% last month for that same timespan. Now the 0.1% is actually pretty good, but it is still dangerous when it is a 0.1% in Italy, the issue is seen when we see that the Netherlands has a 65% debt level against Italy at 130% of GDP, and the Dutch are actually in a much better position, so the 0.1% is no actual pain level. Portugal, Spain, Greece, Belgium and Italy all have debt levels well over 100% of GDP, several other nations are somewhere between 60% and 80% of GDP, whilst France is at 99.8%. It is the debt levels that are excellent for banks and not so good for the people. You see, when the big four are required to pay €254 billion in interest each year and that is just the large 4, how do you think that this gets paid for? A decade of inability to set a proper budget and all this is before we consider the €3,000 billion that the ECB printed for what they call Quantative Easing. That is what Italy needs to get away from and at 135% they have the hardest job of all. So when you see that all that money goes all to the banks, short sold loans that they never had the money for to pay for can you see just how dangerous the George Soros setting is in all this? It all impacts Italy to some degree. These are not merely the facts; there is also presentation, representation and misrepresentation. The issue is in the Australian Review, it is the view of Arend Kapteyn. Yet where is he at when he gives us “We are only now at the beginning to find out how responsible or irresponsible [the new coalition government] are going to be on the fiscal side“, you see, the setting then becomes what is irresponsible? Being not pro Eurozone, being forced to default whilst the alternatives are just too unacceptable for the Italian people? So is he the pro greed setting, or the pro solution setting, because with such debt levels we can almost unanimously accept that these two choices are mutually exclusive. The most interesting political part is that Enzo Moavero Milanesi is now Minister of Foreign Affairs. I would have thought that the populists wanted that part for themselves, the fact that this post is now with an Italian independent is an interesting choice, if the populists can work with this setting and use it to maximise their economy by setting new option and opportunities, Italy gets an optional path where minimised immigration and maximised economy could have a setting where the Italian unemployment rates could fall to a number below 10% over the next 24 months (highly speculative on my side). If they pull that off, the entire euro sceptic setting could grow a lot faster than would have been possible with Paolo Savona in the mix.

No matter how you slice the Pizza, the factual and actual quality Italian dish is under massive amounts of pressure on several sides and any Italian thinking that their life will get better in the short run is just gobbling down a [Unnamed Franchise] Pizza, bland food that look like a UFO and tastes not as great. The fact is that like Germany did earlier this decade, Italy will know 5-10 years of hardship, yet when persevered Italy could have an actual growing economy for a much longer time, something to look forward to (if you are Italian). Can this government pull it off? That is hard to say because it has been shown that the actions of the ECB are close to non-stoppable and that will still impacts the bottom line. It is good for America and George Soros in the short term, yet after that they will not care and Europe will not be going anywhere ever soon. That danger is just ignored all over the place. Just 2 days ago the Financial Times also gave us “There are still two weeks to go before Riga, but naming an end date for QE right now would be like the ECB shooting itself in the Italian boot,” said Carsten Brzeski, economist at ING-DiBa. “The Italian situation has tilted the balance towards the doves [and] clearly calls for the ECB to keep its options open and even to make clear that they will extend QE at least until December” (at https://www.ft.com/content/dd6b5d70-6413-11e8-90c2-9563a0613e56), which is already an extension of well over a year. so when we see “The ECB has pledged to reinvest an average of €15bn a month over the first four months of next year, using the proceeds of government bonds bought under QE that have now matured” in that same article, we need to consider ‘bonds that have now matured‘, so that danger is seen in the Spanish setting where we see from some sources: “Spain will have refinancing requirements that exceed €300 billion per annum before 2022. In 2018, 41.2 billion euro, in 2019, 82.4, in 2020 83.9 and in 2021 58.5 billion euro, with 60.4 billion maturing in 2022“, so this fiscal year Spain will be required to find €41 billion, or increase taxes or cut services, and it will be twice that amount next year around, so how exactly is Spain in a setting to get the economy back whilst the debts are rising beyond normal control? Italy faces “84 billion euro maturities in 2018, 161 billion in 2019, 164 billion in 2020 and 172.5 billion euro in 2021” do the Italian people know that they are in such deep and hot waters? I wonder, and when they get confronted with that part of the bad news cycle, what will the previous and opposition then proclaim? I wonder if we will see true honest coverage on that blame game. I will order a decent Pizza to watch that unfold, because there are merely the two larger players in the EU-debt zone bloc confronted with the hardships that will hit them hard. Pushing these debts forward is just not a workable solution, not when the debt exceeded 130% of GDP, if you doubt my words, just talk to the average Greek in Athens and ask him how his quality of life is nowadays.

So as you wanted that your slice of life included a slice of pizza, consider the 99% in Italy who soon face the reality that they are no longer able to afford that for a long time to come.

 

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It’s a kind of Euro

In Italy things are off the walls, now we see ‘New elections loom in Italy‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/27/italys-pm-designate-giuseppe-conte-fails-to-form-populist-government), where it again is about currency, this time it is Italy that as an issue with ‘country’s Eurozone future‘. In this the escalation is “the shock resignation of the country’s populist prime minister-in waiting, Giuseppe Conte, after Italy’s president refused to accept Conte’s controversial choice for finance minister“, there is a setting that is given, I have written about the folly of the EU, or better stated, the folly it became. I have been in favour of Brexit for a few reasons, yet here, in Italy the setting is not the same. “Sergio Mattarella, the Italian president who was installed by a previous pro-EU government, refused to accept the nomination for finance minister of Paolo Savona, an 81-year-old former industry minister who has called Italy’s entry into the euro a “historic mistake”“, now beside the fact that an 81 year old has no business getting elected into office for a number of reasons, the issue of anti-Euro Paolo Savona have been known for a long time. So as pro-EU Sergio Mattarella decides to refuse anyone who is anti-EU in office, we need to think critical. Is he allowed to do that? There is of course a situation where that could backfire, yet we all need to realise that Sergio Mattarella is an expert on parliamentary procedure, highly educated and highly intelligent with decades of government experience, so if he sets his mind to it, it will not happen. Basically he can delay anti-EU waves for 8 months until after the next presidential elections. If he is not re-elected, the game changes. The EU has 8 months to satisfy the hearts and minds of the Italian people, because at present those options do not look great. The fact that the populist choices are all steering towards non-EU settings is a nightmare for Brussels. They were able to calm the storm in France, but Italy was at the tail end of all the elections, we always knew that, I even pointed it out 2 years ago that this was an option. I did mention that it was an unlikely one; the escalating part is not merely the fact that this populist setting is anti-EU; it is actually much stronger anti Germany, which is a bigger issue. Whether there is an EU or not, the European nations need to find a way to work together. Having the 2 larger players in a group of 4 large players is not really a setting that works for Europe. Even if most people tend to set Italy in a stage of Pizza, Pasta and Piffle, Italy has shown to be a global player and a large one. It has its social issues and the bank and loan debts of Italy don’t help any, but Italy has had its moments throughout the ages and I feel certain that Italy is not done yet, so in that respect finding common ground with Italy is the better play to make.

In all this President Sergio Mattarella is not nearly done, we now know that Carlo Cottarelli is asked to set the stage to become the next Prime Minister for Italy. The Italian elections will not allow for an anti-EU government to proceed to leave the Euro, Sergio’s response was that: “he had rejected the candidate, 81-year-old Eurosceptic economist Paolo Savona, because he had threatened to pull Italy from the single currency “The uncertainty over our position has alarmed investors and savers both in Italy and abroad,” he said, adding: “Membership of the euro is a fundamental choice. If we want to discuss it, then we should do so in a serious fashion.”” (at http://news.trust.org//item/20180527234047-96z65/), so here we all are, the next one that wants to leave the Euro and now there is suddenly an upheaval, just like in France. Here the setting is different, because the Italian President is Pro-EU and he is doing what is legally allowed. We can go in many directions, but this was always going to be an unsettling situation. I knew that for 2 years, although at that stage Italy leaving the EU was really small at that stage. Europe has not been able to prosper its economy, it merely pumped 3 trillion euro into a situation that was never going to work and now that 750 million Europeans realise that they all need to pay 4,000 Euro just to stay where they are right now, that is angering more and more Europeans. the French were warned ahead, yet they decided to have faith in an investment banker above a member of Front Nationale, Italy was not waiting and is now in a stage of something close to civil unrest, which will not help anyone either. Yet the economic setting for Italy could take a much deeper dive and not in a good way. The bigger issue is not just that Carlo Cottarelli is a former International Monetary Fund director. It is that there are more and more issues shown that the dangers are rising, not stabilising or subsiding and that is where someone optionally told President Sergio Mattarella to stop this at all costs. Part of this was seen in April (at https://www.agoravox.fr/actualites/economie/article/a-quand-l-eclatement-de-la-203577). Now the article is in French, so there is that, but it comes down to: “Bridgewater, the largest hedge fund (investment fund – manages $ 160 billion of assets) of the world has put $ 22 billion against the euro area  : the positions down (“sellers”) of the fund prove it bet against many European (Airbus), German (Siemens, Deutsche Bank) French (Total, BNP Paribas) and Italian (Intesa Sanpaolo, Enel and Eni) companies, among others. The company is not known to tackle particular companies, but rather to bet on the health of the economy in general“. So there is a partial setting where the EU is now facing its own version that we saw in the cinema in 2015 with The Big Short. Now after we read the Intro, we need to see the real deal. It is seen with “Since 2011, € 4 billion has been injected into the euro zone (that is to say into commercial banks) by the European Central Bank (ECB), which represents more than a third of the region’s GDP. The majority of this currency is mainly in Germany and Luxembourg, which, you will agree, are not the most difficult of the area. More seriously, much of this liquidity has not financed the real economy through credit to individuals and businesses. Instead, the commercial banks have saved € 2,000bn of this fresh money on their account at the ECB until the end of 2017 (against € 300bn at the beginning of 2011) to “respect their liquidity ratio” (to have enough deposit in liquid currency crisis).As in the United States, quantitative easing allowed the central bank to bail out private banks by buying back their debts. In other words, the debts of the private sector are paid by the taxpayer without any return on investment. At the same time, François Villeroy de Galhau, governor of the Banque de France, called for less regulation and more bank mergers and acquisitions in the EU, using the US banking sector as a model.” Here we see in the article by Géopolitique Profonde that the setting of a dangerous situation is escalating, because we aren’t in it for a mere 4 billion, the Eurozone is in it for €3,000 billion. An amount that surpasses the economic value of several Euro block nations, which is almost impossible to keep with the UK moving away, if Italy does the same thing, the party ends right quick with no options and no way to keep the Euro stable or at its levels, it becomes a currency at a value that is merely half the value of the Yen, wiping out retirement funds, loan balances and credit scores overnight. The final part is seen with “The ECB also warns that the Eurozone risks squarely bursting into the next crisis if it is not strengthened. In other words, Member States have to reform their economies by then, create budget margins and integrate markets and services at the zone level to better absorb potential losses without using taxpayers. A fiscal instrument such as a euro zone budget controlled by a European finance minister, as defended by President Emmanuel Macron, would also help cope with a major economic shock that seems inevitable. Suffice to say that this is problematic given the lack of consensus on the subject and in particular a German reluctance. The European Central Bank has issued the idea late 2017, long planned by serious economists, to abolish the limit of € 100,000 guaranteed in case of rescue operation or bankruptcy bank (Facts & Document No. 443, 15/11 / 17-15 / 12/17 p.8 and 9)” (the original article has a lot more, so please read it!

It now also shows (read: implies) a second part not seen before, with ‘The European Central Bank has issued the idea late 2017, long planned by serious economists, to abolish the limit of € 100,000 guaranteed in case of rescue operation or bankruptcy bank‘, it implies that Emmanuel Macron must have been prepped on a much higher level and he did not merely come at the 11th hour, ‘the idea issued late 2017’ means that it was already in motion for consideration no later than 2016, so when Marine Le Pen was gaining and ended up as a finalist, the ECB must have really panicked, it implies that Emmanuel Macron was a contingency plan in case the entire mess went tits up and it basically did. Now they need to do it again under the eyes of scrutiny from anti-EU groups whilst Italy is in a mess that could double down on the dangers and risks that the EU is facing. That part is also a consideration when we see the quote by Hans-Werner Sinn who is currently the President of the Ifo Institute for Economic Research, gives us “I do not know if the euro will last in the long run, but its operating system is doomed“, yet that must give the EU people in Brussels the strength they need to actually fix their system (no, they won’t). The question becomes how far will the ECB go to keep the Eurozone ‘enabled’ whilst taking away the options from national political parties? that is the question that matters, because that is at play, even as Germany is now opposing reforms, mainly because Germany ended up in a good place after they enforced austerity when it would work and that worked, the Germans have Angela Merkel to thank for that, yet the other nations (like 24 of them), ignored all the signs and decided to listen to economic forecast people pretending to be native American Shamans, telling them that they can make it rain on command, a concept that did not really quite pan out did it? Now the reforms are pushed because there were stupid people ignoring the signs and not acting preventively when they could, now the Eurozone is willing to cater to two dozen demented economists, whilst pissing off the one economy that tighten the belt many years ago to avoid what is happening right now. You see, when the reform goes through Berlin gets confronted with a risk-sharing plan and ends up shouldering the largest proportion of such a machine, that mechanism will avoid the embarrassment of those two dozen Dumbo’s (aka: numnuts, or more academically stated ‘someone who regularly botches a job, event, or situation’), whilst those people are reselling their idea as ‘I have a way where you need not pay any taxes at all‘ to large corporations getting an annual 7 figure income for another 3-7 years. How is that acceptable or fair?

So we are about to see a different Euro, one losing value due to QE, due to Italian unrest and against banks that have pushed their margins in the way US banks have them, meaning that the next 2 years we will most likely see off the wall bonus levels for bankers surpassing those from Wall Street likely for the first time in history, at the end of that rainbow, those having money in Europe might not have that much left. I admit that this is pure speculation from my part, yet when you see the elements and the settings of the banks, how wrong do you think I will be in 2019-2020?

So when we go back to the Guardian article at the beginning and we take a look at two quotes, the first “As the European commission unveiled its economic advice to member states last week, the body’s finance commissioner, Pierre Moscovici, said he was hoping for “cooperation on the basis of dialogue, respect and mutual trust”“. I go with ‘What trust?‘ and in addition with ‘cooperation on the basis of dialogue merely implies that Pierre Moscovici is more likely not to answer question and bullshit his way around the issue‘ and as former French Minister of Economy he could do it, he saw Mark Zuckerberg get through a European meeting never answering any questions and he reckons he is at least as intelligent as Mark Zuckerberg. when we see “Cecilia Malmstöm, said “there are some things there that are worrying” about Italy’s incoming government“, she sees right, the current Italy is actually a lot less Euro minded than the setting was in 2016-2017, so there is a setting of decreased trust that was never properly dealt with, the EU commissions left that untended for too long and now they have an even larger issue to face. So that bright Svenska Flicka is seeing the issues rise on a nearly hourly basis and even as we see the play go nice for now, they will change. I think that in this Matteo Salvini played the game wrong, instead of altering an alternative for Paolo Savona and replace him after Sergio Mattarella is not re-elected, the game could have continued, now they are busting head to head where Matteo is nowhere near as experienced as Sergio is, so that is a fight he is unlikely to win, unless he drops Italy on a stage of civil unrest, which is not a good setting for either player.

We cannot tell what will happen next, but for the near future (June-September), it is unlikely to be a pretty setting, we will need to take another look at the Italian economic setting when the dust settles.

 

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Is it merely timing?

When I looked into some off the Mario Draghi matters two days ago, I made a reference to his little kart, a kart full of tricks or is it a kart of indiscretion? So let’s take a look at the alphabet, the alphabet of ABLV

A is for Actuality

You see, the European Central Bank publishes a list where all the supervised entities are and the list starts with “Cut-off date for significance decisions: 1 January 2018“, so as we are in March (way past January 1st) and that same attached list gives us on the 81st position the ABLV Bank, AS, with the mention of ‘Among the three largest credit institutions in the Member State‘, whilst there is also (non-supervised) the ABLV Bank Luxembourg, S.A. in Luxembourg, yet stated and linked to the ABLV, should we wonder if we are being had? In light of the news two days ago when we were treated to “Draghi did address a question on why ABLV Bank received emergency support from the Latvian central bank before the ECB declared it failing or likely to fail. He said that the Emergency Liquidity Assistance policy – under which national central banks rather than the ECB decide to provide support to troubled lenders – is a “remnant of a past time” and should be reformed” (Source: Australian Financial Review), whilst the bank was being supervised according to the ECB, the fact that they are grasping at the notion that the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing, is that not an indication on how massively useless and overpaid the members of the ECB are? Just so that we are all in clear and that we all understand what is going on, let’s look at ‘supervision’, which the dictionary calls ‘the action of supervising someone or something‘, and with ‘supervising’ we get ‘observe and direct the execution of (a task or activity)‘, it seems to me that the ECB was not doing any observing or directing, so if the ABLV did not inform the supervising entity, I have a hard time to comprehend the Bloomberg article (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-02/latvia-analyzing-rimsevics-s-role-at-ecb-as-he-returns-to-work), where we see: “Latvia is still considering the ramifications of central bank Governor Ilmars Rimsevics’s status as a suspect in a bribery probe, as he returned to work this week and weighs up how to continue his role at the European Central Bank“, in my view, either the ECB knew in advance certain matters, or we have a different puppy in our midst. Now let us be clear, one is a setting of corruption, the other is the ‘receiving of emergency support from the Latvian central bank‘, yet the fact that this all happened during the oversight of the ECB makes it twice the size of the issue. The ABLV went to the Latvian Central Bank (Governor Ilmars Rimsevics) and got emergency funds, yet what was the origin of those funds? So when we see “Both ABLV and Rimsevics deny the accusations in cases that the authorities say aren’t linked“, my response would be ‘Really? So who are exactly those authorities?’ It seems like a simple question but it is one that we will never see an honest answer to I reckon. The links are not clear, but consider the following accusations.

First we have “The U.S. Treasury Department alleges ABLV engaged in institutionalized money laundering and violated sanctions put in place to counter North Korea’s weapons program

Second we get “Rimsevics has denied any wrongdoing, and Latvia’s Defence Ministry said that the allegations were part of a “massive information operation” by an external actor.” I used them in the article (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/03/01/the-failing-mario-draghi-kart/), yet who exactly was the external actor?

It is the second one that is weird, so how did the Defence Ministry get involved in a banking issue? Did it come from the office of Minister Raimonds Bergmanis, it would be an interesting tug of war between him and me, because I have my own centre of gravity and he is a three time Olympic contender in the category of weightlifting. I did not have all the information I needed in that piece, and I was juggling a few issues, so I moved it all along to today.

B is for Bloomberg

Bloomberg ends with “there are no signs other Latvian banks are experiencing outflows after the ECB decided to close ABLV on the grounds that it was failing or likely to fail. What happened to ABLV is a signal to other banks to follow the rules, she said“. Yet is Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola giving us the goods? Why did the Defence Ministry get involved? Was it to emphasize the weapons accusation? Clearly that would have been an issue that resides with Latvian Intelligence. So as Reuters gives us “Ainars Latkovskis, the head of the national parliament’s anti-corruption committee of lawmakers, who also urged Rimsevics to step down” as well as “Latkovskis, who is authorized to listen to reports from the heads of the Latvian intelligence agencies, dismissed hints by some local officials and politicians that a Russian campaign of disinformation might be behind the case“, it seems that the Intelligence official is either trying to stay out of this or we can see this as a sign that the SVR RF (the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation) has been whispering in someone’s ear and the culprits have overplayed their hand. Now no matter what has happened in that tier of the industry, it still gives us that the ABLV made a deal for funds with the Latvian Central Bank and the news as shown by the media is giving us that the ECB was either unaware or was informed after the fact with ‘Good news, we solved the problem‘ and now we see that the banks who are on the oversight list are either not getting supervised or they are ignoring their supervisors, I wonder which scenario is worse for the ECB.

L is for Liable

If you think it does not matter, think again. We pump billions into the UN and it cannot arrange a ceasefire (Syria), we pump billions into the European Union and the ECB is casually unwilling or unable to do their job and those people are fetching a lot of money every year. Two entities who are now proving to be more and more facilitators for the wealthy as well as paper tigers with a fluidic agenda that merely spells ‘compromise to keep the engine going’. So when did wee surrender our tax funds to those ends?

So was this all done through the allowed whisper via Sergey Yevgenyevich Naryshkin? I am merely speculating here, but the parts and numbers currently do not add up. You see, as Reuters gives us “The ECB appears to have been blindsided by the ABLV case, highlighting how thinly it is spread in supervising Europe’s biggest lenders and raising questions about a system of euro zone supervision just three years old“, this is seen (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ecb-russia-vtb/ecb-drops-supervision-of-russias-vtb-arm-in-the-euro-zone-idUSKCN1GE2N8), can we say that it is that simple? It remains pure speculation from my side, yet when we see “The European Central Bank has stopped supervising the Austrian arm of Russian state bank VTB after it slimmed down its European operations, the ECB said on Friday. A spokeswoman for the ECB said VTB’s new set-up in Europe no longer warranted direct supervision, which was now in the hands of Germany’s national regulators, Bafin and the Bundesbank” I wonder if there was anything simple on this. We could argue that Sergey Yevgenyevich Naryshkin did exactly what he was supposed to do, to serve HIS country. Yet the information gives me the feeling that this looks like a line of banks with Latvia between the Latvian ECB and the Russian ‘SVCR RF‘ bank. The two outside parties agree to keep each other afloat by shaking hands and pushing at the same time the ABLV over the edge in a combined effort. What some did in primary school (the old tactics are usually the best).

Still, this is all merely speculation from my side mind you!

V is for Voter

The question that remains is how the US authorities got to that jump and where is the evidence? Apart from the fact that one accused of bribery is allowed back into his office until the dust (read: investigation) settles is also cause for concern. You see, the news (at http://www.mod.gov.lv/Aktualitates/Preses_pazinojumi/2018/02/20-01.aspx) gives a part, but when we consider it and dissect “Latvia’s security-sector personnel have raised the alarm that outside actors could be using these current financial and banking scandals against Riga. The Latvian Ministry of Defence has pointed out that the AP news agency’s reporting on Latvia’s connection to various international financial corruption schemes has been reposted with unusual frequency on numerous websites known for distributing messages supporting Russia. As such, the defence ministry has called this media blitz a possible “hybrid”-style operation within a broader information war against Latvia“, we could agree that part of this is an issue. Yet is the foundation wrong? Is the bribery a fact? If so, why the hell is Ilmars Rimsevics allowed back in his office? If we see statements that there is proof, why not give that out to the open? So who were the outside actors? You see, accusation of bribery requires evidence and it is not out of the blue that Russia would expose bribery so that their operations could profit. That is not merely Russia, American politics and Wall Street have operated on that premise for decades, so it is not altogether weird to see Russia play a similar game, if that was the case. So even if there was an ‘information war against Latvia‘, it was done under the noses of the ECB and Mario Draghi. It was not merely a “remnant of a past time that should be reformed“, it was an option where the ‘the Emergency Liquidity Assistance policy‘ was overlooked by overpaid ECB executives, especially in light of the fact that by their own reports that the ABLV was under supervision.

Bloomberg supports my views (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-02/draghi-confronts-limit-of-his-powers-as-latvian-standoff-endures), where we see ““This reveals the impressive lack of power of the ECB in such circumstances,” said Stanislas Jourdan, the director of Positive Money Europe, an advocacy group calling for more transparency and accountability on economic policy“, which on one side is just as it should be about the sovereignty of a nation, but the fact that the ECB are confronted with their own foot in mouth protocol at the expense of millions, if not billions is a larger worry, because they already pushed a $3 trillion debt on the people of Europe. I also support the view we see at: “Draghi already expressed dissatisfaction to ECB officials in the week after Rimsevics’s detention that enough details from Latvia hadn’t been forthcoming, according to people familiar with the matter, and that may still be the case. Latvian Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola said on Friday that the anti-corruption office is “in the process” of giving the ECB all relevant information“, it is not about the ECB, it is a Latvian situation and in this Mario Draghi gets to do what most EU puppeteers do so well, they can bloody well wait (whilst still getting paid high amounts of money). Yet, in part this is not merely a waiting game, the fact that the voters are taking more notice of this mess is not helping him any, but that is the way life works and it is not always working in your favour. So when the Globe and Mail gives us “Did European Central Bank boss Mario Draghi save Italy or merely set up the world’s third biggest debtor for permanent zombie status? As Italians head to the polls on Sunday, the parties, big and small, are showering voters with promises of goodies galore“, we see the deadlines that the ECB has, it has a few and even as there is unlikely to be a stable Italian government, the fact that they won’t worry the ECB like Frexit Marine Le Pen or Brexit Nigel Farage, so they are not too worried, but the overall financial issues will remain and Latvia is not helping any with the news that they are the cause of at present. In the end, the question should become, how come that a supervised bank was able to do this? Because the answer needs to be coming from the people who are seemingly overpaid for work they basically did not achieve and that is not merely Mario Draghi; that list is a lot larger and in this case it might just exclude the one man at the top.

 

 

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Strike a match

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

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

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

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

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A Greek Fatality

Greece is in a dubious place. On one side it is trying to advertise the appeal to invest in Greece, whilst on the other side it is trying to emphasize that discussions with Turkey and its ascension into the EU must continue. We might go with what we see in the AFP, yet there with “ending Turkey’s accession talks would be a strategic mistake that would maybe benefit only for Erdogan“; Turkey merely ended their own options. The rules were clear, you either adhere to certain standards, or you are not invited. The fact that others must give Turkey the umpteenth chance merely shows how desperate the EU has become. So when we see “Turkey is an important regional power and should remain engaged, added Tsipras, but also called on Turkey to respect international law and stop provocations“, we need to remind Alexis Tsipras that he is in not such a great place, so fathering solutions for optional investments into Greece is a slightly too dangerous a game to play. France is in a similar place. With “French President Emmanuel Macron said Turkey remained a vital partner of the European Union and ties should be maintained even if the country had strayed from the EU path, according to a newspaper interview published on Thursday” we see a President Macron that is becoming merely a facilitator for economic exploitation. Perhaps both need to learn the little lesson that many have voiced. “If You Don’t Stand for Something, You’ll Fall for anything“, it is a shallow and sad inheritance that the EU is leaving behind. A place that was high and mighty in what they call morals, whilst they are all about big business exploitation. The entire Turkey endeavour is partial evidence of that. The ignore through inclusion or else, whilst the current members cannot maintain their budgets, have no control over the expedient spending and the EU in dozens of trillions of debt, add to that an ECB that prints unsupported billions per month and we get a very dangerous situation. Reuters gives us in addition with “France’s Macron, a centrist, was elected in May on a pro-EU platform that included pledges to create a euro zone budget that would be voted through by a euro zone parliament and supervised by a euro zone finance minister” we are merely treated to a fantasy, a fairy tale that will not result in any budget, merely less transparency and more spending. It is also a first step to get the ECB with two years of utter irresponsibility of the hook. With “Stournaras said the euro zone should be strengthened because the ECB cannot be the single institution responsible for ensuring the euro zone’s stability nor can it maintain its ultra-loose monetary policy forever” Reuters is treating us to the first whiffs that the ECB plan has failed. It wants some level of contingency whilst not willing to throw the utterly overpaid ECB members in some prison until their flesh rots and their bones have bleached to something that reminds us of the colour white. It is merely a sham, set to get two more issues on the table. The overspending of Greece on the bond market, which will set the Greeks in another setting, which will bring certain facilitators dozens of millions in some bonus and nothing more than that, no solutions or gain towards any solution at all. This whilst adding Turkey to a field of players that we have been very outspoken against. Unless Turkey adheres to some minimum level of standards, levels that have not been met 16 fold, should be barred from the EU table. A collection of nations trying not to see that the game ended, they lost and they are not willing to face consequences. The good side is that as Brexit continues, every continued achievement within the UK will mean that France and Germany will face levels of what might become civil revolt against the hardships the people there will face and the politicians who placed them there sooner and sooner. You see, there are a growing amount of articles regarding the Germans and their new class of working poor. I think it is a little exaggerated, but the truth is not far from there. The US has a growing group of people working two jobs merely to make ends meet, for the most they are barely above the poverty line. Yes, that is right, two full time jobs merely to stay barely above poverty. The nations that is claiming to be in such good economic growth is handling it’s one percent by making sure that the disabling of the lower 40% is growing at a steady pass. The numbers are not that harsh yet, but for the most, that group has not seen clear quality of life improvements for well over a decade and Germany is slowly going into that very same direction. In Germany the poverty group grew by 0.5% in one year. As the news is hiding behind ‘new tools’ and reports, the Financial Times gives us: “I survive but I cannot live,” says Doris, a 71-year-old retired nurse, in the former German coal mining town of Gelsenkirchen. “I have no money to go to the ballet, or even €10 for the cinema. But what really eats me up is that I can’t afford to give presents to my grandchildren” (at https://www.ft.com/content/db8e0b28-7ec3-11e7-9108-edda0bcbc928), it is more than merely a story, or merely a small anecdote. It is the growing concern of many Germans and the rest of the EU is pushing the events under a large carpet, but under that carpet are more and more issues that are becoming visible. Even as jobless rates are going down, poverty rises. As the EU is not giving rise to the dangers that exploitative models like the ‘Uber show’ (and other players like that), we see a growing trend towards legalised slavery. In this Germany is following the trend of the USA, where the bottom 40% of these ‘earners’ have nothing left, no savings, no assets and no future to speak of. In this, the EU has become the one party to ignore its local members to degrees never seen before. So as we laugh loudly at the non-sincerity of people like Mario Draghi, we need to be aware that extremism towards the right is almost a given in whatever comes forward in the next wave of elections.

It is the gap between rich and poor that is becoming the next danger. You see, it surpassed 20% by a fair bit in Germany and only in France is this difference larger, so as President Macron is not able to turn the tide on all the plans he made, we see that the dangers many tried to prevent with quick BS schemes are now at the turning point of blowing up in the faces of all who played this game. Now, we can agree or disagree whether Marine Le Pen would have been the solution, I personally do not think she could have made any better switch, what is an absolute given is that whatever comes next is not going to be that simple. And as more are screaming some ‘balanced’ none ultra-right change, the very real danger is that these speakers will no longer be heard or regarded as some option. In this the Financial Times will soon show how the poor side of the equation will no longer be contributing to the economy, because of health and mere minimum standards. The Greek fatality will come to show us all what happens when non-equality and non-accountability will destroy entire generations as well as any economic options that might have been, merely because greed and exploitation was given too much leeway. A first step in this was shown last week in Greece with “especially the IMF – to push through liberalization as an ingredient for jump-starting the country“, this however is the danger as we see “A five-point agreement, dating to the summer of 2015, between social partners and employers’ groups is already in place, with the highlight being that the specific law (1264/1982) should be modernized, especially in order to preclude “practices of poor implementation”. Conversely, the agreement does not dispute workers’ right to strike and constitutionally protected union activity“, these poor implementations are optionally the dangers to the fact that workers will lose even more rights than they bargained for. As the ECB is about to ‘attack‘ protectionism, we will see a growing amount of ‘entrepreneurial’ options like Uber, that will leave people with a presentation and no reality in a protected way of life. And I mean a certain minimum level where workers should have some protection from exploitation, which is not about to happen. We might agree that Uber was a nice idea, yet when we see that passengers are not insured, that is merely the tip of the iceberg and I am merely looking at drivers that have the best intentions and merely want to make some cash for their family. They are getting less and less; they have to agree to almost insane conditions. Even as we see and agree that Wired and the BBC are giving us an extreme with “London’s latest cut-price Uber rival is being investigated by TfL“, do you think that this is merely one case and the end of it? So as this Taxify is merely one player, hiding behind “it would “always” have lower fares than Uber“, how long until it becomes a wild west? Even as it is stopped operations in London, it is active in 18 countries. So how are they looked at there? How many are part of the EU and how is this so called one EU in any way ready for Wild West companies to make a quick coin and get out after the damage is done? It is that level of failure that we will see in Germany, France and Italy. So as the large three need to find solutions, the quality of life goes straight into the basement and what is left cannot continue. That was the danger from the beginning and the EU and its political branch as it fails yet again. But nobody cares because Draghi and Yellen will blame protectionism and leave the rest to rot (for lack of a better example) as they enjoy 8 figure incomes. It will not hit them.

We can agree that there will be entrepreneurial events, some will find the golden goose others missed and that is fine, but at present as protectionism is low, as poverty is rising whilst there is a diminishing unemployment group, we need to wonder how the EU has failed its Europeans and whilst it will find a deal to remove mere values towards Turkey and tries to facilitate for more markets we see that there is very little left of this so called Economic European bloc of areas. Brexit came slightly too late but it might still be on time to keep British values up and growing, when that is shown France and Germany will run for the nearest exit. That is not a speculation, it is an absolute given, because soon enough the one percent who has had the media at their back, will not have any backing from a group that needs to stay alive and out of the hands of millions upon millions of angry people, people that will demand local solutions from people who can no longer give those solutions, or even give rise to the existence of those solutions. When that happens, Europe will not be a nice place to be for some time. Should you doubt this (always a valid option) that consider that Italy one of the 4 largest economic nations in the EU now has over 1 in 4 in the South of Italy that is in poverty, nationwide it is at 7.6%, the largest since 2005. So as some are in denial, the numbers do not lie and they are growing at an alarming rate, so even as we see news of a stabilised economy, we see that poverty is basically through the roof. Yet Draghi is not held to any of those standards, he keeps on printing money, 60 billion a month, leaving the poverty groups fending for themselves as they are growing. A clear warning that the Greek situation should have given the EU politicians, they basically all ignored it, because they had a PowerPoint presentation stating that it was not so.

The Greek fatality that is soon on our doorstep will force a new way of thinking. Not merely to the creditors, but to hold those in office accountable and prosecutable. The nice part is that in the largest 4 economic EU nations there would be enough votes to push that change, I wonder how many people will reside in EU politics the moment that shift happens. I wonder how the employment contracts change overnight before the legislative change comes through. The last is speculative from my side, but the evidence we have seen so far supports my worst fears.

Bloomberg partially confirms this. With “Eldorado Gold is the largest foreign investor in Greece and its decision comes as the country, which is working on creating a sustainable path to exit its bailout program, tries to lure foreign investments”, yet with ‘delays in acquiring routine permits’ we see that in the years that Syriza has been in power, the simplest parts of infrastructure arte not in place. We see (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-11/eldorado-s-greek-suspension-threatens-country-s-investment-image) that the government is failing in more than one way. With “I’ve been with Eldorado since February and CEO for five months and I haven’t had any hostility from the government, but just haven’t seen progress on permits”, we need to ask serious questions regarding dropping oversight from Greece, whether the Greeks should be allowed on the bonds market at all. You see, if you allure investment without infrastructure, you have nothing. That is the short and sweet of it all and the players in this debacle are talking a lot and not doing anything. Tsipras did not merely fumbled the ball, he forgot that he is on a playing field, he forgot about the dimensions of this field, he forgot about the referee in this and we now see that he is not aware on the rules of the game to participate. A failing on four fronts in one go, in this they claim to be ready without oversight on creditors? Who are you kidding here?

In this we see even more failings from the ECB and the EU, because in the oversight of the funds given to Greece, we see that there was no proper setting for even the largest investors, giving us the clear path that the EU failed even more because they had to be on par with all this. If not, they have given up their right to existence in all this. They could be regarded as the useless pegs that hold up the virtual tent, a tent that only exists in the minds of the Greek governing party and as such, as the tent is a virtual and exists in only their minds, the pegs would actually be redundant. It sounds harsh, but that is the clear evidence that Bloomberg is giving us. So as we now see ‘Shares in Eldorado have fallen 52 percent in the past year and were trading down 6.5 percent at 09:44 am local time in Toronto’, we can argue that Greece and the Greek government might be regarded as liable for a lot more than they anticipated. As such, what other projects would fail and what will the fallout be from these losses? Jobs, income, visibility as well economic progress, all lost in an instant because the Greeks were not ready to commit. It is a Greek fatality with more casualties than most realise and more will come to the view of others. Even as Reuters gives us that the IMF should commit towards Greece, we now see that such a step is ill advised. Why pour money into anything that will not take the issues serious. Did Greece really think that leaving their largest investor hanging for well over a year would constitute any solution? As such Greece is merely the first, France and Italy have other issues and equal worries, the fact that the EU never clearly looked at certain aspects in Greece gives everyone the worry what else did they not look at, or basically ignore. As such, is Greece merely the first visible fatality? Will we see new references towards Greece? The Greek play could now refer to a version of ‘theatrics‘ as well as a version of ‘doomed economic presentation‘. I will let the English language experts look at that one (just to keep them busy).

 

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To be mindful

We can have a go at President Macron and at this point, it seems more like kicking a man when he is down. His numbers are sliding and as the Guardian reported, they are now at: “Poll shows French president’s ‘dissatisfaction rating’ among voters rising to 57%, up from 43% in July“, labour reforms, housing assistance, it is all giving him a beating. The issue is not what he did wrong; the issue is what mess he inherited. Even as there was a chance that it could have fallen into the lap of Marine Le Pen, the people too scared gave it to Emmanuel Macron. There is clear realisation that France with a €2.1 trillion debt, its population in France would have to accept that hard times would be coming, no matter who had won. Francois Hollande had made THAT much a mess of things. So, France is dealing with a few things, the first is that the interest on the debt is per second more than a monthly income of a person on minimum wage, before taxation. The debt is growing that fast. To counter that labour reforms are essential to grow any level of economy. The UK has figured it out and is working on it, yet President Macron is unable to make any headway. Yet the article is not about that. It is merely the background for another matter that caught my eye. You see, the sad news is that RFI reported 12 hours ago that a French army volunteer took his own life. A young man dedicated to his nation and the security of the French people killed himself in his place of accommodation. This is about Operation Sentinelle!

You see, this event is more important than you might think. I know what he is going through; I get it (in part at least). The importance and the dangers is not because he volunteered, it is because he was not abroad. This is not some placement in West-Africa, Iraq or another Middle East placing. He was in France protecting the French. So this matters and if this is the beginning of a problem, it needs to be dealt with soon and fast. We often forget on the mental strain that any soldier of medical volunteer faces, even if there is merely the threat of danger. So when it is at the home base, it becomes a much larger issue as I see it. I agree with Colonel Brulon, who stated: “It is much too early to say anything about the reasons that led him to this extreme act“, whilst he added that an investigation had been entrusted to the gendarmerie, which is where it partially belongs.

I am stating partially, because the French Defence Health Service (Service de santé des armées) short named as SSA should and would be on top of this. It is important because the SSA findings would be important to other NATO nations. France might have been the most visible nation under attack, but it is not the only one and as such we need to know early on how isolated a case this is. I guess that Colonel Brulon would love to make a statement as soon as possible that it was an isolated case, but he can’t really, well can he? Operation Sentinelle involves 10,000 military troops and 4700 members of the Kepi Bleu (aka police or gendarmes). We know that the stress levels have been high for 2 years, which could explain part of it, yet there is little known of the soldier. Le Parisien gives us ‘a member of the 5th Combat Company of the 1st Regiment of Tirailleurs‘, yet not how long he served and how long he was on operation Sentinelle. We could normally wait for more information, but too many sides of any governmental operation are too often of hiding mental health issues and not deal with the problem face on immediately and that is where the problem lies. Colonel Benoît Brulon might overreact and give a larger side of Operation Sentinelle to the Kepi blanc (aka Légion Étrangère) yet that is equally a flawed plan as the cause of the stress is unknown and exposing the French population to the raw deadly power that is Légion Étrangère is equally not the best idea to go forward on, if only to consider the diplomatic escalated side of the matter. The second side is that there have been so far 6 attacks by French civilians on the deployed soldiers. Sky News gave us earlier this month: “Police have shot and arrested a man after he rammed his BMW into a group of French soldiers in western Paris before speeding off“, which is odd to some degree. My experience of the French people was quite different. Whilst in Orleans, in uniform I was suddenly hugged by two lovely French ladies, an always welcome salute to a summers day whilst admiring Orleans was quite the different experience, so I have seen on how friendly the French can be to their uniformed population, so for people to attack those who are actively protecting them is a bit of a weird situation. Yet, they are for the most either ‘extremist idiots’ or people with mental health issues, and there we get the issue in a little more clarity, we can dismiss the ‘idiot’ category. When a person comes to you with ‘I am here to die for Allah‘, he gets the short end of the stick because they are military units and those are not really there to arrest people, so when we get the quote “Man shot to death after grabbing the weapon of a soldier“, we can easily state that the man only had himself to blame. When it is a mental health case, in the issue of: “An Egyptian national visiting France on a tourist visa has attacked soldiers at the Louvre Museum in Paris with a machete, in what officials are describing as a suspected terror attack“, we have to wonder how sane the Egyptian was in the first place. The issue is now different. Any soldier, French or not has been (or should have been) trained to kill without reservation any enemy that threatens their life, yet when our brain tells us that this is not a real enemy, but a person with a mental health problem, are we still willing to kill just like that? For the most we are not monsters, we do not kill snakes because they are snakes, we optionally kill them because they are an immediate threat to our health and possible our lives. Now we get an entirely new situation, one that the army has never trained their soldiers on (read: never had to train them on), when placed in places of peace under non-wartime conditions dealing with non-combatants, how are they affected? Until directly attacked that person is not a soldier or a terrorist, but a person, that switch comes when the attack happens and the soldier under attack has now got to react as instructed, securing his life and protect the optional victims around him (or her). This is a muddy place where mental health issues could flourish, so the investigation into the soldier’s suicide will be a lot more important and a lot more essential than most people realise. France 24 gives us another side (at http://www.france24.com/en/20170810-operation-sentinelle-france-fight-counter-terrorism-working), with the quote ““It is essentially just posturing that has zero operational impact,” Jean-Charles Brisard of the Center for the Analysis of Terrorism told FRANCE 24. “Sentinelle has never stopped, prevented or hindered any terrorist attack in France since its creation in 2015.”“, yet he does not know that does he? Jean-Charles Brisard is a political player, one with extensive education and one who does know things, but how certain is he? Is a visual deterrent disproven? What evidence is there? It is possible (speculation on my side) that their presence has stopped several attacks, and attacks by mental health cases is all that remains, yet that is from my side and it is equally speculative. The question becomes can France take the chance of a busload of explosives getting parked next to the Louvre or the Notre Dame? Paris has a much too large dependence on tourism and its cultural heritage is packed together like a tin of sardines on a small area. It’s almost like assisting Dolly Parton to fit into a B-cup bra. It looks like a really nice exercise, but it is never going to work. Meaning that in the end, the risk factors will stack against the French military, because the extremists only need to get lucky once.

That is where one factor lies. 10,000 soldiers being aware that it is not that they win, but the fact that one failure could impact lives in France in an incomprehensible way. That is where the hidden stress lies. You see this is not an unknown. When we accept that ‘Setting goals too high – unrealistic goals can lead to stress, or lead to demoralisation‘ is giving us mental health issues. We might need to face that France has indeed been lucky that this is merely the first case and that it happened after 2 years. Again, this is speculative, but there is enough evidence to warrant this train of thought. If such levels of demoralisation leads to people giving up, and knowing that giving up is not an option for soldiers and perhaps even less so for volunteers (due to internal peer pressure), it is my personal believe that Colonel Benoît Brulon could be in much deeper waters than he has currently considered to be. He is facing a larger issue and the SSA would need to step up towards actual treatments and rotation schemes to deal with the growing pressures. Even if this is already happening, this suicide shows that there is a partial failure in place. In addition we have seen that in mental health, especially under the guise of goal setting that ‘excessively focusing on certain types of business goals can lead to competitive or unethical behaviour, or conflict in the workplace‘, so we can accept competitiveness to some degree, but when it comes to soldiers and armed individuals, when we get issues of ‘unethical behaviour, or conflict in the workplace’ we end up with an entirely different can of worms, those who are intelligent enough to see these signs, how will they react, perhaps their brooding and their inner conflict could potentially lead to depression and suicide. Again, this is partially academic speculation, yet there has been enough evidence in the past on several levels in several nations that it is a realistic danger.

This now gets us back to President Macron, not because of his approval ratings, but the issue that he faces (which got him the sliding approval ratings). The two elements that do impact the soldiers is one, to a lesser extent labour reform, because their setting is different, but the rotation approach could be seen as labour reform, and the second is housing assistance. You see, no matter which country you are in, housing tends to be an issue for everyone in the lower incomes and soldiers were never heralded with large pay cheques so that issue would still remain. We have seen how a homely place can help alleviate the pressure and stress. Having soldiers in barracks is one thing, but in such a place privacy becomes rare and the essential need to dissect peer pressure within the military is a much larger factor than most consider. Even as the peers accept such stress levels, we have seen too often that mental health issues are too scary an issue to deal with, people are too scared to deal with things they do not understand and fear that it will happen to them. Soldiers are no different here, so no matter what we can expect to read or be informed on, the focus will move towards the French Defence Health Services sooner rather than later, because it might be one suicide, yet history has shown where on acts, a dozen have at least contemplated the issue, so there is a growing concern, one that the French press seems to ignore for now.

 

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