Tag Archives: Tsipras

As the UK changes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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How about them budgets?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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Wackadoo for a game

The E3 is done, the 2015 San Diego Comic Con is on and I am missing out on all of it this year. Whether it is addiction, compulsion or enslavement. It might be the last one, yet my feelings for Elite: Dangerous are no less than the same feeling I had when I had when the original  on the Commodore 64 was released in 1985. There was one shop who had it on the first day, which meant a 4 hour train ride, two hours there, and two hours nail biting trip back. Yes, it was one hell of a day, but the result was exceeding expectations, the game would be my number one game to play for a very very long time, all because a friend showed it to me on his BBC Micro B one year earlier (1984).

Enslavement is what I have in common with Greece on several levels. Like Greece, I did this to myself, whether my DNA made me desire this videogame more than sex or whether it is just the animation of pretty pictures that move because of my interaction does not matter, it was all me! Now it is so simple to blame David Braben (like calling him ‘Jerry’), but it is me, only me and I very much realize that.

It seems that the press and many others (like Greek Politicians) cannot see that. So I feel miffed when I see ‘The euro ‘family’ has shown it is capable of real cruelty‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jul/13/euro-family-angela-merkel-greek-bailout) by Suzanne Moore. In January 30th 2013, I wrote ‘Time for another collapse‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2013/01/30/time-for-another-collapse/). In there I stated “Greece is fighting just about everything from no longer payable debts and unemployment figures to phantoms of their past“, in February 2013 in ‘The Italian menace?‘ I wrote “Politicians are also to blame. For that I would like to mention papers like “Investing in Greece: an Olympic opportunity”. It came from Costas Bakouris in 2001. The thoughts were all fair enough. However, how much came to happen? How much money did come in?” This list goes on and on, I reported on it well over two years ago, no one truly dug into these matters and everyone seems to live by the credo: ‘if Goldman Sachs can hide it and the press does not report on it, it does not exist‘.

Now, the Greek people will get a harsh dose of the consequences of not holding its politicians to account.

Than 22nd January 2014 ‘Cooking the Books?‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2014/01/22/cooking-the-books/), where the quote by Business Week “Europe’s having a bond rally and the PIGS are playing host. Portugal, Ireland, Spain—and even Greece, where Europe’s debt crisis began—are heading back to the bond markets and enjoying their lowest borrowing costs in years, as investors appear reassured that the region’s sickest economies are on the mend” is centre in all this, the part ‘investors appear reassured that the region’s sickest economies are on the mend‘ is the delusion to outrank all other delusions. In all this there is a link of power players promoting one another through unnamed sources. Greece should have known better! And in all this, as I stated before, these power players will sell Greece down the river in a heartbeat, because the fallout of Italy and France would be massively worse (10 times worse). All what we see now is the direct consequence of inaction, inaction for 3 Greek administrations and especially these last 6 months when the Greeks gave faith to what I regard to be a rock star (Varoufakis) and a paper tiger (Tsipras), all this, a mere consequence of inaction.

Was all this inevitable? Yes, personally I believe so, even though I believe that Antonis Samaras was on the right path, yet overall, that path was just prolonging a bad situation that had no long term future path.

In all this the Press is equally to blame, in conjunction with economic forecasters, power players and political whatever you want to call them. They were all about demonising ‘austerity’, it was all about how bad austerity is. The plain, bland and bitter truth is that austerity is nothing more than keeping a proper budget, yet several of the previous parties are ALL ABOUT SPENDING! Which is delusional! Just like I cannot speed up the release of Elite: Dangerous or No Man’s Sky, they cannot write away debts, there will be a consequence.

So when I read “Alexis Tsipras has fought tooth and nail for something resembling the debt restructuring that even the International Monetary Fund acknowledges is needed. The incompetence of a succession of Greek governments and tax evasion within Greece is not in doubt. But the creditors of the euro family knew this as they upped their loans, and must now delude themselves that everything they have done has been for the best” which is nicely written Miss Moore, but the following parts remain an issue “something resembling the debt restructuring” is not even close to a reality unless you keep your spending in order, which has not been done for decades.

It is her last paragraph that bothers me the most “The euro family has been exposed as a loan sharking conglomerate that cares nothing for democracy. This family is abusive. This “bailout”, which will be sold as being a cruel-to-be-kind deal is nothing of the sort. It is simply being cruel to be cruel“, in all this governments are to blame, in all this the press took a back seat to ignore what needed to be done, keep a proper budget, in all this close to ALL EEC nations failed. You see debt, even governmental one needs to be paid back, that part has been ignored for too long. The EEC now has an accumulated debt that is closing in on the size of the US debt. It almost looks like a plan by the banks in global charge to equalise all debts making them in charge of everything. Is that such a large leap? You see the debt only seems to go down in Malta, Czech Republic and Belgium. Belgium is essential because its debt is already too large, but at least they are making a positive change, only them and no one seems bothered about this. As per today they are all bothered with the upcoming consequences, now as Greece has seemingly pulled the bunny out of the hat, we will see changes of another nature, because Marine Le Pen will not let the momentum she can gain from this unanswered issue and as France is down 2.6 trillion, she will now emphasize on the benefit of moving away from the EEC, which heralds future for France, the French product and the all-round future of France. Is she right? I cannot tell as there are a few too many unknown factors here, but beyond Suzanne Moore there is more to see.

For that we need to look at gung-ho go-getter Helena Smith of the Guardian, who writes “It will take years – decades perhaps – for Greeks to get over this crisis. Catastrophe may have been averted, but it comes at the expense of conscious national failure: an overriding recognition that the state formed after the fall of military rule provided 40 years of peace and stability, but has ended in extraordinary ignominy. The promise of unending progress did not occur. Of all the truths that Greeks must now confront, that will be the hardest“, personally she writes well, but the truth is (as I see it), that the Greek issue will take generations, likely 3 of them to get it all under true control, in all this the deadly issue was not changing when it was possible. A hard-line change in 2005 would have made all the difference, now we get the added pain of a decade of spills whilst the economy is down further and more people are unemployed, all factors changing the game.

Helena writes “In return for a third bailout – this time staggered over three years and amounting to €53bn – Greeks essentially have been told to walk through the valley of the shadow of death. And that is the good scenario. The alternative – Grexit – would have bypassed purgatory but taken crisis train passengers straight to hell“, even that is not completely on par. Yes Helena is correct, but what she (validly) abstains from, is the part that is depicted by ‘the valley of the shadow of death‘ is a road of reformation of administrative law, criminal law, taxation law and taxation regulation. In addition there will be pension reformation and consumer taxation. If any of these matters are not initially resolved in 18 months, with this I mean proper reformation design from day 1 (tomorrow), not a collection of empty meetings with governmental paid lunches and dinners.

It will take long working weeks (50 hours plus) to make this happen in 18 months and that draft will be decent enough to truly change the tides. If any of these changes are not done by then (so even if they get all but one done), than the Greeks will only have hell to look forward to, the Purgatory station will not be an option at that point. Changes that if Syriza had seriously started talking and started on changing them, the last week would never have happened. In all this there is one other advice the Greeks need to take home, no matter how proud they are, their survival will now depend on changing their family structure.

Let me explain, as time is now too short for those who have an option, the Greeks have one option left to survive (if at all). Consider a family with grandparents, parents and children. We call them iteration 1, 2 and 3. They need to sit down and see where the lowest debt is. If at all possible, make to all debts the minimum payments then, take every coin they have left and place that on the lowest debt. Do not hide behind pride and time and just pay them all. Get rid of them one by one as fast as possible. Banks will all state that this will not work, but they need these people all enslaved. Create safety by removing the first debt, then the second and so on. As the debts fall away, so does the interest, Greeks need to make momentum and the banks are ALL about longevity. They will twist, spin and make all kinds of brazen projections, but Greece will be in a bad place well beyond 2020. So the Greek people, if possible need to move away from all debt, after that, whomever has shed the debt, they can move forward, they can acquire and grow.

In all this, it will be another Greece, one that has a retirement system which can no longer work in the previous path, there will be a Consumer tax setting that will up the cost of living and the health care system in Greece will remain a matter of nightmares, possible it can only be accessed through the purgatory station the Greeks hopefully avoided, but in all this, taxation laws will have to change at first light, it will also mean that the very wealthy Greeks will move to another place, not unlike Gerard Depardieu. There is no telling where they will end if they want to avoid taxation of that what they avoided for so long and it is equally wrong to speculate how much taxation is due, I lack the pure data on that. What is cause to all is the dire need for the Greeks (and many EEC politicians) to stop spending money they did not have and money they were unlikely to receive. all this is centre to the fall of Greece and it is not over yet because even though Greece when over the edge, France and Italy are right there with Greece (which is why they were so opposed to Grexit) and with these two we face a 5 trillion Euro tumble, 10 times the debt of Greece.

So are we wackadoo for a video game, are we going wackadoo for the game of economics or are we just wackadoo for a totalitarian enabling of banks through debt?

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The mere legality

Now that the Greeks have voted to bankrupt themselves (blaming everyone else in the process), it is duly time to take another look at the part I touched on in my article ‘Dress rehearsal (part 1)’ on July 1st 2015 (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/07/01/dress-rehearsal-part-1/). There the issue that came from Danuta Hübner, Chair of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs, European Parliament, with the attachment I added in the paper by Phoebus Athanassiou ‘Withdrawal and expulsion from the EU and EMU

Danuta Hübner mentions Art. 50 of the Lisbon Treaty as well as Art. 140 Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). So, this is something we need to look at, because Greece has decided not to be responsible and before the papers and TV drown us in emotional issues, whilst keeping quiet that the debt of other European nations might go up and not by a small amount.

So, yes, basically article 50 is about ‘withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements‘, which does not mean the others can throw Greece out.

So far, that part seems almost impossible, as Tsipras keeps on claiming wanting to remain in the Eurozone, the image given is that he would stay in because article 50 is all about voluntarily removing one’s self from the Euro. Article 7(1) gives us “On a reasoned proposal by one third of the Member States, by the European Parliament or by the European Commission, the Council, acting by a majority of four fifths of its members after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament, may determine that there is a clear risk of a serious breach by a Member State of the values referred to in Article 2“, which leads to Article 7(3) “Where a determination under paragraph 2 has been made, the Council, acting by a qualified majority, may decide to suspend certain of the rights deriving from the application of the Treaties to the Member State in question, including the voting rights of the representative of the government of that Member State in the Council

In short, Article 7 is about reprimanding, even if all rights are suspended. That does not mean that they exit, which gives us two parts, the fact that France can walk away from the Euro to protect itself, yet Greece cannot get removed, which is not a given yet, there is a lot more to sift through. Article 2 is all about values, respect from Human rights and the rights of minorities, which does not have bearing on this precise case. The PDF that brought this to light, which by the way (due to an error on my side) is from Phoebus Athanassiou, my apologies for the earlier mistake in my previous blog!

The idea that the treaties should explicitly provide for a possibility of expulsion was discussed in the 2001-2003 Intergovernmental Conference responsible for drafting the ill-fated Constitutional Treaty, but was abandoned“, so not only were politicians the start of the mess, yet NO ONE had the bright idea to consider that one player might not be an adult giving them all permanent headaches is beyond hilarious, the fact that this legal bright mind (trained in the UK) is also a former Lawyer connected to Athens Law Firm of Tsibanoulis & Partners, and a former consultant for Government of the Republic of Cyprus just adds to the humour. His paper from 2009 and now we are all about to learn how we wasted millions on representations from the ECB whilst they were unable (as it seems) to properly protect the members. In all this both Yanis Varoufakis and Alexis Tsipras must be howling with laughter as we learn that most papers had not even clearly investigated the marketing term Grexit, so even as Brexit and Frexit might become reality in voluntary secession, Grexit will not happen against the will of Greece, as the facts presently are given, but let’s take a look at the steps that come next, because the PDF I added on July 1st is truly a treasure trove (Phoebus Athanassiou seems to be hindered by extreme levels of brilliance).

There is however another consideration, if we look at Article 2, where we see “The Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities“, the question becomes, as Greece decided to ignore equality and rule of law, are they in violation of Article 2?

Consider, that the creditors are a factual minority (one set on wealth and power of decision), the Greek government took out loans, they signed of these loans, as they are not complying with the execution of the agreed terms, are they not breaking the law? In addition, Article 3(2) gives us “The Union shall offer its citizens an area of freedom, security and justice without internal frontiers, in which the free movement of persons is ensured in conjunction with appropriate measures with respect to external border controls, asylum, immigration and the prevention and combating of crime

It is the part ‘prevention and combating of crime‘, so as we see that for decades Greece did not ‘uphold’ (read reform) taxation laws or properly prosecute tax evaders (one fined Bobolas ‘proper’ combatting tax evasion does not make), can we state that Greece is in violation in accepting the articles of the Union, as such, what could be made then?

I will be the first to admit that this is a mighty fine line, but in this game, could such a fine line be enough?

Article 3(3) is about several things, including cohesion, Economic, social and territorial. When we consider the economic part we get the thought that economic and social cohesion is an expression of solidarity between the Member States and regions of the European Union. This means balanced and sustainable development, reducing structural disparities between regions and countries and promoting equal opportunities for all individuals. The fact that Greece (one of many) has not been able to (or intentionally unwilling) to keep a proper budget, we get an unbalanced and unsustainable development, whilst these people (the previous administrations) have not been properly investigated or even prosecuted, which gives us possible transgressions of Articles 2, Article 3(2) and Article 3(3). So is expulsion still not an option in that hindsight?

So as we see that the makers of the articles painted themselves in a corner by only focussing on growth and ignoring accountability, we see that Greece either got really well informed, or just had the right page open on the right day, no matter what, the EEC is inheriting a mess it did not properly defend itself against, so even though the path was reached in another way, as we see this explode, it seems very conceivable that the fallout from this event will have a large impact on the chances of Brexit and Frexit as they will be voluntary. So even as the UN was bright enough to include their Article 6, where the member can send home in a not so nice way for ‘persistently infringing the principles of the Charter‘, it becomes clear that the overpaid makers of Treaty of Lisbon were a lot less clued in at this point (or so it seems).

As I see it, Dr Phoebus Athanassiou, Senior Legal Counsel with the DGLS of the European Central Bank (ECB) had nailed the issue fair and square in 2009, I am just appalled that journalists and politicians have either ignored the options, or intentionally misinformed the people, whilst the European member politicians had their ‘closed door‘ meeting.

As I stated on July 1st: “Consider the next news “Here’s Bloomberg on Schaeuble’s comments: German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told lawmakers in Berlin that Greece would stay in the euro for the time being if Greek voters reject austerity in a referendum scheduled this week, according to three people present. Schaeuble also said the European Central Bank would do what’s needed to protect the euro if Greeks voted against the bailout terms in the July 5 referendum, according to the people, all of whom participated in the closed-door meeting on Tuesday“, is that why it was closed door? The fact that expulsion is pretty much impossible?

So as we now see “Angela Merkel, is to head to Paris on Monday for urgent talks with French president François Hollande over how to avert a growing Eurozone debt crisis” (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/05/germany-greek-referendum-anger-solidarity), which signals two things, the first is that Germany is not considering steps that will accelerate many things, pat of it will make Greece the pariah it should not have made itself, you see, the BBC and the Guardian are all about ‘negotiations’ and the, as we might regard it hollow statement from EU Parliamentarian Martin Schulz “he hopes that meaningful proposals from the Greek government will arrive in the coming hours because “if not, we are entering a very difficult and even dramatic time.”“, is that so? Because Greece can only leave the Euro voluntarily as we see it at present. Another voice, which is the Economic editor Robert Preston gives us even more to worry about. “The Bank of Greece could make unsecured loans to Greek banks without the ECB’s permission“, which could blow the Euro straight into the basement value, as well as “Or it can explicitly create a new currency, a new drachma, which it could then use to provide vital finance to Greek banks and the Greek economy“, which might be more likely, but does Greece have to go either way? Consider that the lacking law makers forgot to properly defend itself, now take into account that when Tsipras will let it all fall and food and medication are no longer an option, we get back to Article 2 of the Lisbon Treaty with “The Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities“, which means that the other EEC nations would have to foot the bill and come to the aid of Greece to deliver food and medication. All this because previous Greek elected officials refused to adhere to Article 3(2) regarding ‘prevention and combating of crime‘ (tax crime to be exact), as well as the economic cohesion thing, but the last one is one that pretty much NONE of the EEC members adhered too, so calling Greece on that seems slightly hypocritical from my side.

So as the creditors might resort to “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche” (let them eat cake), we see a dangerous escalation. I wonder how both Nigel Farage and Marine Le Pen will respond in the coming days. There is no doubt in my mind that this will impact Brexit and Grexit, especially as it will be voluntarily.

No matter how this plays, we already seeing images on how Greek retirees are getting hit all over the place. So as we see Tsipras playing ‘paper tiger’ stating “the vote showed that “democracy won’t be blackmailed””, my less ‘diplomatic’ quote would be: “No, you blistering idiot, you sitting on your hands and not seriously reforming taxation and prosecution laws is part of the direct reason of the mess we now see!” This is why we will now see articles like http://www.thenational.ae/world/europe/crying-greek-pensioner-the-story-behind-the-heartbreaking-photo, ‘Crying Greek pensioner’. Here we now see quotes like “I see my fellow citizens begging for a few cents to buy bread. I see more and more suicides. I am a sensitive person. I cannot stand to see my country in this situation.” And this is not even close to the tip of iceberg.

The next few days will be interesting to say the least.



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It is today!

We can boast, we can make all kinds of slogans. Like ‘Do you feel lucky, punk?’, ‘The writing’s on the Wall!’ or ‘If at first you do fail, whinge, whinge again!’

We can make all these boasts and claims when it comes to Greece, but there is symmetry in mine: ‘It is today!’

You see, in my previous blogs involving Greece, too many to just mention them all here, but Google ‘Lawlordtobe Greece’ and you’ll get a nice list! I stated clearly that Tsipras was out of his league. You cannot play the high stakes he did and not given in on several fields. Banks will not allow that, they were dealing with what they thought was an adult population (previous Greek governments) and ended up at the table with a petulant child (this Greek government). How did you think it would go over?

By the way, Greece lost a lot more than they bargained for, as the interest bill kept on going, as the bills were still due. Syriza and their approach of inaction has cost the Greek people already 11 billion in interest, an ongoing cost that would not be set still, so the 7.2 billion in bailout does not even cover the interest bill, let alone the additional costs that have matured. Tsipras and his gang played a game of solitaire, taking a day for every move, a game with 8 visible elements. Cost to the taxpayer 61.1 million Euro’s a day. Not to mention the flight and hotel and food and drinking costs. Just the interest alone, 61,111,111.11 a day!

Today Tsipras will realise what I have been telling all along. Certain players will not budge, he should have realised that when President Obama spoke on the need for actions and he was not kidding. Do I need to remind People on the IMF loan that did not go through for Argentina in 2001? It was said that the US was the strongest voice that stopped IMF bailing out Argentina and they were left with Vulture funds, which was 13 years ago, that issue is still playing today. So when President Obama gave his speech last week, the only option Alexis Tsipras had was to take the first flight back and seriously discuss actual options. He decided not to do that.

Now the IMF has walked away from the table. Like the SNS bank, Greece believed that they were ‘too big to fail’, which did not work for SNS and it will not work for Greece. We need to realise that Greece only represents 2% of the European Economy and the repercussions at present of default will be massive in Europe, because even though the results have been heavily downplayed, the impact of Greece will be felt, there is no doubt about that. Syriza did this to Greece, not the Germans and no one else, it is a Greek act of whatever they think it is.

So as the Guardian is not printing a picture of Tsipras laughing, or Tsipras pointing at his watch, this is Tsipras contemplating in deep worry, because the final bell is ringing and he is out of time. Perhaps he finally realises this, perhaps he is thinking of one more act before the Greek flag is lowered forever. Whatever he does, he better think of the people that elected him, because they are about to lose out on a lot more than even they bargained for.

So what can Greece do?

My first voice would be to re-elect New Democracy, because Syriza did not seem to have a clue what they were doing. Now that the US has had enough, they will have even less time and less options. In my view Greece needs to become a professional entity and needs to call in the professionals. It is my view that any act needs to show that ACTUAL work is being done. It will appease the creditors, the rating firms and the IMF, all in one deal. In my view (especially as they have many fences to mend), Greece should call on PricewaterhouseCoopers. Not just for advisory, but also for implementation, consultancy, education and taxation. In the view of all who matter and the view of many more, the statement from Greece that they can fix it, no longer holds value. In this way, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) gets to redeem themselves for an issue involving a grocery store or two and Greece gets a sweet deal on actually resolving issues. Greece can no longer continue in this way and that needs to be documented. Not for the world to know, because to some extent it is nobodies business, but to seriously call in the commercial auditing cavalry and sit down and actually do something about it is essential. The additional benefit is that if Greece would ever need to repackage anything, having PwC in your corner with all the data and evidence will go a long way, a degree of freedom Greece lost some time ago.

The second party in all this would be Natixis. Any actual movement from debt, any resetting of outstanding loans needs a group of people that has the ear of those who matter. Natixis is one of the ONLY non-US firms that has the ear of every G-20 nation, has strong ties with European governments and has access to possible financial solutions that Greece did not consider. If pensions are to be saved they need to look at those making actual money, Natixis is such a player. It is not the worst idea to rescale a government to be commercially viable, Greece now has to make the step no government has ever considered before. You see, in 300: Rise of an Empire we see an interesting quote in the beginning of the movie “All glory die, thousands died by the hundreds of them all for the idea. The Greeks free. An experiment called democracy of Athens. I wonder this idea is worth all the sacrifice

You might wonder why I grasp back on a movie quote, but consider “Aristotle argues that all forms of government have their problems, including, but not limited to democracy“, we all live in a democracy, an idea that came from Greece, would it be so far-fetched that it is Greece who takes an entirely different step, one that could propel them forwards? So many governments, all these nations that are set in methods by their own internal ‘experts’ (none of them able to hold a budget I might add), you see, the best experts are never in government, so why not call on the actual experts who might give view on solving this matter.

Greece might end up being the first to take such drastic steps, but it is 99% certain that this solution will take hold at some point and more governments will need to consider this point in the future and make that act, many of them will have economies substantially larger than Greece, even when we consider Greece when it was at the height of their economy.

We are all pushed into new directions, perhaps the road least travelled, will show the solution never pondered and a resolution is undertaken that changes everything.

This is just me having an idea!


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S&M or S&H?

That is the question that should be on the minds of people everywhere! You see Self-interest and Misinformation is every bit a tool of application in the Sade-Masochistic approach that politicians use, or if we use names it would be the dialogue between Alexis Tsipras and Jean-Claude Juncker where Tsipras voices: “You wash my back, I wash yours real hard!” So as we see in the Guardian the call for ‘Sanity and Humanity‘ we must ask the clear ‘why?’ part. You see, we are now getting ‘misinformed’ by laureates and by people in the industry of high economics. They most likely want their cushy job to continue. If Greece falters that is no longer an option, because the repercussions go a lot further than Greece, even the US is now getting involved because the fallout from Greece leaving is a lot more than the people are told.

First Premise: If my thoughts were wrong, then why not let Greece out of the Euro, let it float its Drachma and slowly get back on the horse? Because virtual or not, the fallout of half a trillion whilst Italy and France are so deep in debt is a massive problem!

The names calling for this are: Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz, star French economist Thomas Piketty, former Italian PM Massimo D’Alema, and America’s Jamie Galbraith. The list has more names, but you’ll have to get to the Financial Times for that.

You see, the premise of Humanity is nice (and I am all for Humanity), but when the person involved REFUSES to take decent steps towards the solution, the sanity part is to just cut them lose, but as I stated in my first premise, that is not an option, the negative consequences are scaring too many ‘profiteers’ as I see them!

The first untruth by these writers (bleeding hearts seem to be the most apt title). We see the quote: “Six months on, we are dismayed that austerity is undermining Syriza’s key reforms, on which EU leaders should surely have been collaborating with the Greek government: most notably to overcome tax evasion and corruption“. I would call this a lie of the first order! Why am I calling it that loud?

The Greek government has done close to nothing to overcome tax evasion and corruption! Which politicians from former administrations have been arrested and are investigated for squandering government funds? We saw one case of tax evasion for 1.2 million, which is 0.000028436% of the debt, it does not even cover the smallest part of the interest bill.

The next statement is: “Austerity drastically reduces revenue from tax reform, and restricts the space for change to make public administration accountable and socially efficient” the second expression of laughter! Greece has next to nothing in revenue from taxation, let alone revenue from tax reforms, in addition public administration is not holding anyone accountable, the Greek public administration is a joke no one wants to touch (let alone the Greeks), so the claim made here is nothing more than an empty sentence.

Now we get to an interesting part: “It is wrong to ask Greece to commit itself to an old programme that has demonstrably failed, been rejected by Greek voters, and which large numbers of economists (including ourselves) believe was misguided from the start“. Well, if it was misguided, then the ‘friends’ you have in Goldman Sachs and other financial pool party’s should not have borrowed them the money to begin with! There is no doubt that Syriza has a bad deal, but they wanted the bad deal! They wanted to govern at the expense of everything and everyone! New Democracy under Antonis Samaras was actually trying to sort things out. In addition, the Greek voters do not get to reject this. They voted the people in that spend the money with zero foresight or consideration of the consequences, the Greek people now get to pay for it all. You see, someone spend over 400 billion, it went somewhere. That part is due and the loans made afterwards to get things ‘rolling’ was never realistic, but the top economists were all eager to get the kickbacks that they refer to as consultancy and commission! When a bank allows for events THIS STUPID to get out of proportions, in the end, I do not deny that Tsipras and Varoufakis are playing a clever game. They are willing to let the ‘other’ players collapse. It is a ‘pay our debt or else’ approach. It is not acceptable! And I reckon it should not be tolerated on this level.

What would be acceptable, if the entire debt is paid for by banks, monitored by oversight commissions to ensure that the people (their consumers) never get any additional charges! That banks would need to come up with the money from their own profits and dividends. That I would find acceptable, but guess what? The ‘friends’ of those who signed this letter will not accept that and they will reject that in a heartbeat, so here we see Joseph Stiglitz, Thomas Piketty, et al all writing about humanity, when it should be about accountability!

Now we get the half-truth in all this “Clearly a revised, longer-term agreement with the creditor institutions is necessary: otherwise default is inevitable, imposing great risks on the economies of Europe and the world, and even for the European project that the Eurozone was supposed to strengthen“, is that so?

My second premise: Yes there will be risks, but the one I see is a more total collapse when the debt is shouldered by those already in too deep. That part is not mentioned and moreover that risk has been trivialised by several players all over the Eurozone field, including by the top of the IMF and a few top players in the US too.

And I reckon that the quote “Syriza is the only hope for legitimacy in Greece” can be discarded out of hand, they actually escalated it all, in all this, as I see it, New Democracy was the true hope for Greece.

Now we get a quote that is truly a worry “Consider, on the other hand, a rapid move to a positive programme for recovery in Greece (and in the EU as a whole), using the massive financial strength of the Eurozone to promote investment, rescuing young Europeans from mass unemployment with measures that would increase employment today and growth in the future“.

My third premise: First of all, this is not the first time that approach is used, Adolf Hitler used it in 1935; how did THAT turn out? Now, let’s not go all Nazi on this and consider the issues in Spain, Italy and France? Do you have solutions for them too? How would you like to voice this in reality? That is the problem, you see, jobs come from places that have income, that have product and that is selling, that allows for hiring and paying staff! This is the entire issue, there are no jobs, because people are not buying, because after the cost of living there is not enough money to spend.

It is not a math issue that requires a Nobel price, a mere abacus, or just common sense, paper and pen could have worked that out! In addition, the prediction I made in my article ‘An Olympic steeplechase‘ on May 26th 2015 (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/05/26/an-olympic-steeplechase/), two days later Deutche Welle publishes this “‘We’ve been receiving reports of a decline in bookings, especially from Germany’, says the tourism manager to DW“. I saw the writing on THAT wall! In addition there is “Andreadis quotes the latest statistics from the German Society for Consumer Research (GfK): Bookings in Germany have declined by 2 percent based on annual figures“, two percent does not seem that much, but in an economy where the Greek GDP is making another step towards 0 and lower, 2% is a lot. The issues with refugees isn’t helping Greece either. The British media reported that Kos, a Greek tourist attractor has become a ‘disgusting hellhole’, which would push tourism down further. Influx from both Russia and Scandinavia is down too, but at present unknown by exactly how much. It basically means that tourism will not bring the bacon to the outstanding invoices for Greece, apart from collecting the taxation on it all that is.

The final misrepresentation is “Like the Marshall plan, let it be one of hope not despair“, it is a misrepresentation, because the Marshall plan did the right thing, whilst the people did their part, the governments were in better control, within the Euro at present not one government has been holding pace with the expenditure and keeping a proper budget, which gets trivialised by those administering it and the extra spending is overstretched again and again.

My fourth premise: So this is not about Mr Marshall and his amazing achievement, this is about the Greek government actually doing something. Pushing the invoice out 30 days is not a solution. In addition to that, nearly every person and toddler can see that the 7 billion that is supposed to be freed up will after paying the civil servants their 2.2 billion in outstanding parts will not even cover all the bills until the end of the year and whilst Greek taxation is not being addressed, another interest invoice of 22 billion will be due in under 10 months. Yes, 22 billion just for the interest payment!

So as we are misdirected by some people hiding behind the fact that IMF payments have been overdue before, the issue here is that Greece is now TWO payments behind, totaling a little over 1 billion, part one due in two weeks! So as the Greeks vow not to leave the Euro, the question will soon become, do they actually have a choice in this, because when payments are not forthcoming, there must be repercussions, the one part Greeks are really good at denying.

I must of course also mention that there is debt restructuring document, which is regarded as being ‘hopeful’. The view comes from Peter Spiegel of the Financial Times and the quote is “The restructuring plan is ambitious, offering ways to reduce the amount of debt held by all four of its public-sector creditors: the European Central Bank, which holds €27bn in Greek bonds purchased starting in 2010; the International Monetary Fund, which is owed about €20bn from bailout loans; individual Eurozone member states, which banded together to make €53bn bilateral loans to Athens as part of its first bailout; and the Eurozone’s bailout fund, the European Financial Stability Facility, which picks up the EU’s €144bn in the current programme“.

The fifth premise: My issue on these document is that they are ALWAYS based on too positive an outlook, which is why they usually fail. In addition, Greece will at least need another 20 billion, that is if the 7.2 billion that they are trying to get their fingers on is already in the given picture, which is not a given at present.

The quote “to get back under 60 per cent of GDP” is just insanely unrealistic. You see, to do that you need to fix expenditure by a lot, the one part the Greeks utterly refused to do, in addition, they just rehired the people they had let go, so expenses are back up too!

As Peter Spiegel (@SpiegelPeter) states: “It also involves eliminating a chunk of Greece’s bailout debt“, which is fine by me as long as the BANKS pay for that part, if it comes from Goldman Sachs’s pocket so much the better! Let’s not forget that part of this entire mess was because Goldman Sachs helped Greece mask the actual debt it had (source: Der Spiegel) on February 8th 2010! How much forward momentum did Greece achieve since then (like lowering debt)? NONE!

I will say again that this is all unfair on the Greek people, but they did elect this lot into parliament, as they elected the previous bunches, how about knocking on those doors to get at least some of those funds back (which also lowers debt)?


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What’s the matter?

That is the question I asked myself. Greece is in worsening shape, we see certain news as it happens and I noticed how certain ‘facts’ are now missing in the news articles I have been reading. In other news we have the UK election as it is going towards the final day before the people in the UK will decide on who they trust to give them a better life and now we get news that Isis decided to mess with Texas. So here on the day when the Dutch celebrate that the Germans were defeated and the Netherlands became a free nations once again, we see these issues come to blow more and more.

Miss Representation

Yes, she has image, she is the vision we desire and we all stare at her cleavage, complete with two boobies, one named ‘slush fund milk’, the other one we name ‘the party’s choice’, both giving ‘as implied’ the consumer the honey of equality. Now we get the real deal, if we bring the breast to our mouth, will we taste honey? Or will we perhaps the taste be more of the same, more of what is bland, non-nourishing and will never satisfy.

The first issue is Greece and the representation it is receiving. The first part we see in the article ‘Greece vows to pay debts as it awaits handout from international creditors‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/may/04/eurozone-enjoys-production-boost-but-greece-and-france-dip). In here we see the following quote: “Greece has vowed to honour heavy debt repayments over the coming weeks but says it is counting on international creditors to release billions of euros in rescue funds before the end of the month“. Now, let’s be frank, no lie is told here, but the direct fact is not that payment is due, but that the first payment was due May 1st and is due to the fact that it was a public day, payment was rescheduled to be due May 6th, the first payment of 200 million will be due in 24 hours. So why is that not clearly voiced? Before the end of the month another 760 million will be due, making the total slightly south of 1 billion. The second article ‘Greek debts: what does it owe? When will the money run out?‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/apr/24/greek-debts-what-does-it-owe-when-will-the-money-run-out), states almost the same. Yet this one shows a little more, even more than I bargained for.

You see, there we see May 1st an IMF interest loan payment (now due May 6th) and May 12th we see the part that 760 million is due. The part that was unknown to me is also the part that is not loudly voiced to EEC nations, because this knowledge will influence the voters (as I personally see it). You see, the missing part that is not voiced in many sources is the small fact that two T-bill batches mature, the first one on May 8th and the second one on May 15th, each worth 1.4 billion.

Now we get the part I voiced over and over in the past, that the consequences of bonds are high and the Greek people are about to learn this the hard way. You see, when a T-bill matures, it becomes a nice piece of paper, one that has value. You see, at the beginning, you are offered a paper that offers a percentage, so you buy it for $918.10 and when the bond matures a year later (if you got one for 1 year), you get $1000. A nice 10%. So, before the end of May, Greece will have to make two payments, one for 960 million, and one for 2.8 billion. Greece is out of options, out of money and the quick 5 billion they sold in 2014 to get a quick cash option is now starting to come back. Billions are needed and the Greek treasuries are about to learn that not only could it never afford to play the Syriza game via Alexis Tsipras, the assurances we see in the papers left right and centre is now showing to be hollow and not realistic. Greece is about to seek another deal and one more and then likely some more. Greece is awaiting 7.6 billion in aid, yet where will it go? Before the end of May Greece needs 4.7 billion and in addition before the end of June, Greece needs to come up with an additional 6.8 billion, the 7.6 billion will not even cover the bills. Greece is about to make a call that will hit the financial district and small investors alike, the Greeks are facing a hel we do not wish on anyone and for the most, as I see it, the only people who are allowed any consideration are the wealthy power players that depend on continuation of the status quo. How can this ever go to a better place?

Here you see why I whacked Syriza again and again. The rock star game we saw by Yanis Varoufakis is the killer here. Alexis Tsipras did not act when he should have done this and the non-austerity approach was a non-solution from day one. Why do I feel that I am the only one seeing this, or at least the only one clearly voicing this, because the UK elections, when the voters learn that Greece is about to desire up to 30 billion before the end of the year, so that it can pay the outstanding bills. It is status quo, but in the end, there is the direct risk that almost none of these funds will help, aid or support the Greek people, who I genuinely feel for, does Syriza? My issue still remains what it was from day one, the Greek had the freedom to choose, but I believe that they chose poorly. Now you have no reason to take my word on this, but Antonis Samaras has a degree in economics and an additional MBA from Harvard, which gives him a financial view that I lack, even though my numbers gave a clear view as an analyst regarding the dangers Greece had, I saw this in 2013, it was already clear that the dangerous waters for Greece were icy cold and deadly deep.

My article ‘Are we getting played?‘ from May 18th 2014 shows my view that allowing the Greek bonds back on the market was a really bad idea, now we see that this view was a decent reality. Here we are, looking at a game that is being played with Greece and the Greek people in the middle, austerity is not the great idea, but it is the only solution. It should be clear that there is no short term solution, austerity will remain around for close to two generations, the debt will take no less than 4 generations to become manageable, but only with a restructured Greece, it is not a nice picture to watch, it will be an entirely different Greece, there should be no doubt here.

This now links to the UK and its elections too. You see, the news as is, is that the voters need to realise that it needs to support an EEC nation that will need another 30 billion, with no guarantee that this is the end of that. The economy is in a slump and too many nations are feeling the slowness of the economy that is unlikely to return to the ‘old’ days.

The news is given in the article ‘Ignore the Tories: the figures show the recovery is veering off course‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/may/03/ignore-the-tories-figures-show-recovery-veering-off-course) but in a way that gives me pause. The quote “Economists are divided about the causes of this so-called “productivity puzzle”. It’s unclear whether it’s caused by a lack of investment, poor education and training, or the fact that our labour market is so flexible that it’s cheaper for firms to ramp up output by hiring short-term, low-skilled staff than to buy in new technologies and equipment” is at the heart of all of this. You see, these economists are not just setting a bad example, they seem to leave out several elements, they know to also be at the heart of all of this and the picture that follows is incomplete.

You the reader will know some of the elements, you live these elements and some economists getting the fat checks have not been at the heart of it all. Consider the following, when did you buy anything else than food lately? Anything else than the weekly needs? When did you buy a TV, when did you buy a car or any luxury items that are produced in the UK? The UK is better off than most other European nations, I see where the people in the Netherlands and Belgium have a little cash, but most people are lowering their debt, all over Europe people do the same thing, they are not buying to the extent they were, they replace only the essentials and they buy cheap. This is why Aldi and Lidl are so successful. The evidence is all over the place, yet we see “Confidence is certainly higher than it was five years ago, but aside from notable successes such as the car industry, there is little sign of a radical shift in the shape of the economy. Manufacturing output has been growing, but remains below its pre-crisis peak“, which makes perfect sense. The view of these economists is: “But deficit reduction is not the only purpose of economic policy: they also set themselves the aim of building a more sustainable model for growth. Here too, they have largely failed“, is that so?

You see, to grow an economy, people must buy, they are not buying and they carefully consider each purchase. This is the ignored part, in addition other nations ‘might’ seem to push forward, but consider one final part, when you buy your equine burgers, is that what it states on the packaging? Perhaps you were hoping for cow?

This is at the heart of those making sales in places. Quality is at the heart and the quality of life has been under attack for some time now, an issue many economists ignore too. Should you wonder about that then take a gander towards Texas! The only hilarious part there is that ISIS attacked the one state where the population is better armed then the police, the defence department and the military reserves. How does this reflect on the other elements? Believe it or not but there are real economic consequences to terrorism, especially when it is done on US grounds. As the US economy is already slumping, this could add negatively to it all. Yet it must be stated here the one line that has direct bearing “No evidence Islamic State had actual hand in attack in which two men opened fired outside centre exhibiting Muhammad cartoons“. So, I am not doubting the statement. It is not that far-fetched that those acting out for personal reasons are very willing to get linked to a larger group, for both defence and to propagate their own ego. This all matters, if you do not believe it to be true, you should decide to watch Kung Fu Hustle. A movie well worth watching (it is hilarious). So is it a good idea to relate ISIS to a comedy? Well, when you start acting out in Texas, that call is not the wildest one to make. You see, there is a dark side here. When we consider the words from Tim Clemente, who stated “Former FBI agent Tim Clemente said the gunmen may have plotted the attack without direction from ISIS“, the danger becomes, if that is true, who else has gone the loopy tunes? Is it not weird that a place, dedicated to freedom of speech, is giving a way to the freedom of speech to people who are dedicated to remove freedom of speech? This is not at the heart of it all, what is the heart of the matter is that if this is happening in the United States, is the danger of lone wolf (sympathiser) actions in the United Kingdom so far out of realm of possibilities? Now consider the statement by British Labour “A Labour government will control immigration with fair rules“, now consider that Italy received over 200,000 refugees with no way to get it all processed. How many will arrive into the UK?

Be cautious here, I am NOT stating that these people are terrorists, yet the danger that a terrorist would try to enter Europe this way is not that far a stretch. Statistically speaking, if only 0.1% came in, than we will see that Italy, after that, the EEC and the UK will have to deal with 200 extremists, 200 people inflating actions. Now the truth is that there is no evidence that 0.1% is extremist, but today’s life of dangers and consequence is a numbers game and the numbers are against us all. Even though I could advise Andrew Parke (the man that the people at MI-5 call ‘Big Boss’) on how to clean his ship, I must also add that Andrew is very up to date on how to do that, he does not need me. Yet the political elements ignoring the intelligence issues are all positioned to blow it all on spending’s towards an economy, they ignored the elements that could drive an economy even further down.

Three elements all linked towards a change that impacts the UK economy and the British way of life, yet none of them were linked to the UK on their own. Here is what’s at play! Too many events are too intertwined and too misrepresented to ignore, yet those who trivialise the elements are not the ones paying the bills when their ‘prognoses’ goes pear shaped, it is a game we can no longer afford to be played.



Filed under Finance, Media, Politics

The Trans European Crash

It is a work of power, but not from any one station. The Germans would call it a Kraftwerk, but this is not an express as envisioned by Florian Schneider or Ralf Hütter. No it is a subtle hidden crash, pushed by those who need the status quo, not the fallout before they leave with a huge golden handshake.

You see, people forget how things are interconnected. We forget too often that the machine is based on values that are virtual and on foundations that are a generation old, we all forget that!

It is now 2 days ago that we see an article (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/live/2015/apr/30/markets-await-eurozone-inflation-as-greece-takes-on-brussels-live-updates), the title ‘Eurozone edges out of deflation – as it happened‘ is not informative, it all seems like a collected pile of lose facts, are they connected?

They are to some extent, but not in the view people have. Let me enlighten you!

The Greek government was struggling on Thursday to complete payments to more than 2m pensioners after claiming that a “technical hitch” delayed an earlier disbursement“. I will not attack that. We all have our doubts, but we need to consider that technology glitches, it always does so at the moment it hurts the user the most. Yet the response ““Normally I only withdraw half the money at the end of the month but today I’m taking it all” said Sotiria Zlatini” gives us pause, the expected bank run is coming and this might not be the bank run, but Greeks all over Greece fear that the bank run will happen whilst some pension money is still in their bank accounts. This gives a view of 2 million pensioners holding on to their money for dear life. You see, a small element is that at this very moment that this is written the Greek government was due to pay 200 million. Had that payment been made?

If an ‘extension’ has been granted, you can be sure that this will upset the Conservatives with David Cameron and it will fuel UKIP with Nigel Farage. Two non-related entities, yet they are all connected through other strings. Yet, the news we hear from Reuters is “Greece’s next payment to the International Monetary Fund, totalling some 200 million euros in interest payments, is due May 6 because of the May Day holiday in Greece, an IMF spokesman said on Thursday“, so, because of one day, they get an additional 5 days. Do I now have your attention regarding the ‘Status Quo’? Still, the ‘technical glitch’ the Greek bank has could be for real, but now consider the 2,000,000 accounts that will withdraw all funds, how short will the Greeks be to make payment? Yet, another part of the Guardian already informs us of a third bailout negotiation, something we knew, but the timing is so auspicious, we will see if the Greeks made payment before the €7.2bn (£5.2bn) in funds are released. Perhaps a third party deal through an investment bank will see the 200 million released on May 5th, for perhaps a mere 243,546,576 dollars? Any takers at Goldman Sachs perhaps? I am not sure if that will happen, I am merely speculating!

You see, this goes a little further, it is not just the message of “Eurozone inflation picked up in April to 0%, from -0.1% in March. It brings to an end a four-month run of deflation“, which I got from Eurostat. You see, which of the 28 Euro players have rounded up their numbers? Likely more than one, so was the inflation 0%, or was it perhaps -0.048%? It is in the margins that we see the game being played, but playing it all from the margins is a dangerous game, because trimming the fat always leaves us with one player that takes the smallest slice of beef, now we are bleeding and one player goes ‘Oops!’.

We get the next piece from Germany. The statement “The number of people out of work in Germany dropped by 8,000 on a seasonally adjusted basis in April, to 2.792m. A bigger fall of about 15,000 had been expected“. I have two issues with this. the first being that these 8,000 mean 7.5 million a month less drainage on the German Treasury Coffers. These people now have a job, which is good for all parties, which means they will get extra groceries, perhaps treat themselves to a slice of cake to celebrate, which every person should do if they get themselves a job. It is the second part, the prediction ‘A bigger fall of about 15,000 had been expected‘, why? What data precipitated that thought?

You see, the people doing the forecasting as a whole have not been doing that great a job. They failed on multiple levels for years, mainly because of ‘unexpected’ conditions.

Now we get to Spain, where we see the quote “It shows that reforms work, it should help reduce unemployment much further and thus political fragility and it serves as a shining example to Greeks of what their country could have if its government finally returns to the path of virtue“, which is nice, but in this case, the given quote from Christian Schulz, economist at German bank Berenberg is one we also need to take caution with. I would like to claim this as a mere fact, because my ego would like to see Tsipras and Varoufakis cut down to size (am I too honest?). They played a very dangerous game on behalf of people who cannot afford to lose as they have nothing left, yet in my view Antonis Samaras had the right path. It was a painful path for all Greeks, but it was slowly getting Greece back. Now the Greeks face fears they never faced before. This is however not about Greece, this is about Spain. In my view Spain had nowhere left to go but up, or die. At 23%, one in four does not have a job, those with jobs work many long hours to keep their job, many products are still not getting sold because many people cannot afford it, so Spain is getting back on board, but ever so slowly and let’s face it, beating a 0.3% prediction, making 0.5% is not great, but it seems that exceeding predictions gets to be rewarded. The reality is that 0.5% is 2.5% below the currency inflation, so we have nothing to celebrate. When Spain loses even 2% unemployed persons, as they get a job, then we can make a cautious cheer. That moment is nowhere near at present. So why the optimism?

Now consider other elements, consumer spending is falling in France, Italy and a few other places. The economy slowed down in a massive way this quarter, even though in some places unemployment figures look better. The Netherlands now has the lowest unemployment rates compared to other numbers for a long period of time. Yet, the news came with the image of a lovely Dutch girl with impressive cleavage buying a backpack, which does not sway from the blow that the American economy is getting and that affects the Eurozone too.

So here we have the initial part, some EEC nations are now getting a little positivity (most less than 1%), which is better than zero or minus, but it still is a long way from serious movement away from dark times, they are still overhead for the largest extent.

Will you stand by the view that the economy is getting better? I say that this Trans European Crash is still moving along towards the assets of all citizens there. You see, every month I am wrong, it will not be because of the premise, but because some people were allowed to push forward the status quo. In the case of Greece that will be another €7.2bn, with additional funds for bailout three and four. Whomever considers that there will be no bailout four, so you better wizen up fast! Greece has almost 316 billion in debts, it will need another 7.2 to make payments now and then we will see the need for no less than 10 billion more and who knows how much for bailout number 4, which becomes a lot more important now that we see that the Greek government is out of cash. So as the Greeks are not defaulting, Europe gets the added pressure of 17-30 billion before the end of 2016 (likely no later than Q1 2016). So the Greek debt will go beyond 200% of GDP. So when you read these miracle messages of suddenly growing from 0.6% to 2.9% I worry, because someone is again getting creative with the numbers and not with the actual GDP. If the Greek GDP is doing so well, how come we see zero messages on how manufacturing is up by a lot, how unemployment numbers are down, as I see it this is a number ‘fixing’ game where Greece is kept on the edge of the Abyss in virtual representation, whilst in reality Greece took three steps forward over the edge! But those who need the Status Quo, those who invested and want their money, or give their losses to someone else are giving us a skewed picture.

This is what UKIP has been up in arms about. I can tell you now that the picture is a lot more complex than I give it, but I believe that I am right, I believe that several announcers are painting us something that is not there, that is even without the laughingly bizarre article in Forbes by Panos Mourdoukoutas on how ‘Greece’s Net Debt Is 18% of GDP, Not 175%‘, which sounds fine in theory (he uses net debt, not total debt), but why is all that taxation not collected? I see the article nothing more than the article of a Greek having a go at the Germans (oh, how original), yet in this light we also see Reuters stating ‘Ratings agencies say no default if Greece misses ECB, IMF payments‘ (at http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/05/01/us-greece-default-ratings-idUSKBN0NM3N420150501). This is partially true as I reported earlier, because missing a payment is only the track to the Grexit and Default, but not the immediate consequence.

Now we get to the jewel in that article, which links to all other parts “The only potential impact Allen & Overy’s Yannis Manuelides saw from any missed payments was that they could technically give the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) the option to demand immediate repayment of one of its big Greek loans. But as the EFSF is government controlled, that seems highly unlikely and it would most likely waive that option“. This is the crux, those in charge will put pressure on the EFSF to get time to settle things, which means the EFSF will not act immediately, because the governments want to make sure that there is no other option to get their money, so everything gets pushed forward. Yet not paying should have an impact on several linked numbers and it could hit Italy and France, this is the true nightmare, Greece is pushing to get both Italy and France on the edge, because that will unlock the big blocks of cash, from which Greece would ‘benefit’, in that regard we could see that Greece gets reduced to a mere slave labour nation, but that is just me stating the obvious.

This is partially the issue I feared coming. One small nation of less than 10 million gets to push the rest around because no one is muzzling the people who are not playing the game according to the rules, as many politicians are not held to account, Tsipras and Varoufakis worked under the premise, if they need not, then neither do we, which is not that ludicrous a thought, but Greece is the only one approaching 200% of GDP, giving pause to the incorrectness of their train of thought.

Station Crash

This is the point where the brilliance of ‘Kling Klang’ studios is shown, the repetitive background of the Trans Europe Express shows the status quo of the finance world, like a monotonous train engine, it is pushing the Greek situation and as we lose the ‘n’ of finance, we get that Greece becomes the debtors fiancé, a shattered relationship (perhaps battered might be the better word) that has no good ending in sight. In all this, I look again towards the Album of Kraftwerk and the brilliance how it relates here. Europe endless gives me the lyrics ‘Life is timeless’, or in this case the European’s time is lifeless. So as we watch the economists admiring themselves in the Hall of Mirrors, we see a shift, one that is NOT BECAUSE of Greece (lets remain fair here) but as they were allowed to continue, we see a shift of people now less and less willing to see Europe continue. When we see stories on how some families in UK sometimes have less than one meal a day, where Spain is in so much hardship the people are bleeding, but now Spain moves forward, in all this Greece sees itself above the law of normalcy and this will soon come to blows. Germany need only to step back and not interfere. So as Varoufakis states that Grexit advocates are ‘anti-European’, we see additional resentment towards Greece, not from the powers, l but from the voting population at large. In that form at present, National Front is still making headway in France, which spells really bad for the Eurozone. Spain becomes a second player, if it goes on like this, slowly making headway, additional fuel against Tsipras is won, yet if it goes the other way, several players will need to pull out if they wish to avoid getting hit by the debts of both Greece and Spain. You see, when one goes, the banks will want to offload the debts as fast as possible, preferably in the last hour before defaulting, leaving who owns it a mess no one will survive, which means they will try to get governments to sign long term agreements for the debts. Will it work? That is uncertain, the fact that most players desire status quo, means that it is not impossible, in the end the debt goes to millions of taxpayers, that might survive, the banks ending up with this bill will topple and go under. This is where we are!

Greece (possibly with Spain) will push France and Italy, they will push whatever is left!

Now we get to the banks and the Greek bank run, this was nicely stated in the Reuters article I mentioned earlier. Here we see “They would be more likely to default on their T-bills (than the ECB) the only problem is that they are then defaulting mostly on their own banks… and in any case a distressed exchange on T-bills would definitely be classed as a default“, this is the fear I had, yet I did not think it would go that fast, because this act leaves the Greek population without any money and this means that the Greek solution could only work outside of the Euro, super inflating a Drachma, paying people pieces of paper that had no real value, a new kind of monopoly where everyone gets cash and no cause for it is needed. Here we see the faltering logic in it, partially the logic on my side too. It can only work if Grexit is forced, which some places do not want (they want their investment) and the inflated Drachma means that retirement funds have no value whatsoever, not even the printed money that is handed for it. A virtual mess of real money and no assets. It is a currency that goes nowhere, a funding from nothing that cannot be, because any product that needs importation will not be affordable. Basically that new Drachma would be even less stable then the old shekel, a worrying thought.

Now we get the UKIP charter in a new light. UKIP will close the borders and will proclaim the European Union to be null and void in the light of the Union Jack, the only Union that England will recognise. After that Germany, Sweden, The Netherlands, Belgium et al will have no alternative left to them, just because Greece would not play ball. The UKIP view is the worrying one, because the electorates that were once an ‘outside chance to win‘ could grow beyond contender, Greece got them there, by playing the rock star game, the British people are now angry, because many of them are getting by on too little whilst team Tsipras/Varoufakis kept playing the ‘we do not care game’ loudly and squandering, it opposes the UK standard of normalcy. They will often spend money, but fess up to it and pay it back, Greece leaves the impression that paying back is not a given, which has been illuminated more than once by Yanis Varoufakis.

Yet, Europe is more than Greece and Greece is less than 5% of that entire mess, which is not voiced that often. Because at GDP, the debt of Greece seems phenomenal, but the debt Italy holds is massive, it is only because Italy does have its products to bring abroad, it has additional tourism and it has almost 60 million people is why Italy does not seem to be in as much danger. But at 130% of GDP, Italy is in trouble, the debt of Greece, if defaulted could push Italy pretty much over the Abyss too. This is the danger Europe faces as Italian Liga Nord could do worse damage to Europe, especially as it does not like the place Greece is pushing them. The Italian debt at 2.6Trillion Euro’s is nothing to be sneered at. Their debt is growing at almost 4000 Euro a second. To deal with the interest, every Italian would have to pay an additional 2,000 Euro a year. This was the danger all along, where Greece is, Italy soon will be and after that France will follow, that is the Trans Europe Crash we will face. This is why Nigel Farage wants to bail out before that bill comes, which is fair enough. If the European governments had changed their irresponsible views 5 years ago, there would be an improved path and Greece would have more time and no one would worry, but that is not the case. The train is approaching station eleven and time is no longer a luxury.

The moment we dread is coming, yet in all honesty, how hard it will hit is not known. We only know that all in Europe will suffer, those who will survive decently are those without debt, the rest will suffer for many years to come. So are you still happy you let things slide or are you ready to pass the Accountability Act? In that act, those who created the mess do not get to push it forward, they either resolve it or become liable. It is in my humble opinion the only way to get governmental budgets properly addressed.

But that might just be my view on this.


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Filed under Finance, Media, Politics, Science

Finding inspiration

The act to incite, perhaps even a form of stimulus. Yet, when we go back to a more theological page we see: ‘a divine influence directly and immediately exerted upon the mind or soul‘. So what is wrong with inspiration? You see whilst inciting could be seen to encourage a positive term, incitement is for the most ALWAYS negative. When we see incitement we see: ‘the action of provoking unlawful behaviour or urging someone to behave unlawfully‘, why not see incitement an act as to encourage positive change? Even stimulus is now nearly always seen as a negative. The stimulus package being a foremost example.

In an age where hardship rules, we could use a positive force, yet when we see that projection of feigned wellness is combined with managed bad news, what positive force could be atoned? This is the thought that has been in the back of my mind as I am completing my current assignment. A choice I made in the past, whenever I get one step forward, the next instance I am facing two steps back. This is perhaps just a situation that exists between my two ears (as we refer to mental issues).

Greece is not even the foremost example on my mind. There are other issues where we see a change on what is for some and will never be for most. The next part seems a little repetitive as I have mentioned these parts in the past.

  1. How is it possible?

Here we see a side of the world that seems out of context as per last year. Forever the oil prices were going up and up until it went beyond $120. Profits were astronomical. Now, as prices are just below the lowest basement, we see the following parts (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/apr/26/bp-profits-down-still-in-deep-water). “It’s a big week for big oil, with both BP and Royal Dutch Shell reporting results. Despite crude prices hitting a 2015 high at the end of last week, they are still almost 50% down since last June, which means continuing trouble for the businesses“. Now consider the reality. Take a litre of crude oil, ½ becomes Petrol, one third becomes Kerosene and the rest goes into dozens of other products. Now consider the history of your shopping. Since 2008 (and since the oil drop of 2014), when did your petrol price go down and by how much? Jet fuel should go down, yet Virgin, Qantas and others are keeping the Jet fuel surcharge in place. So at present we have accounted for almost 85% of the crude oil, the rest goes into products like soap, Vaseline and other carbon based artefacts.  None have ever made a decent downgrade in price. However, the article claims on such hardships even though the price of the raw resource is still lower than ever. So what stories are we being told? Are the oil companies guilty of incitement to exploitation?

  1. How are we in this position?

Here are 8 mergers for last year, several more are to come and hundreds more have passed and a fair amount of mergers are set at mega billions, several in the pharmaceutical industries.

Lets take a look at a few of the 2014 mergers: Value: $67.1 billion, May 18, 2014, Value: $46.8 billion, June 15, 2014, Value: $46.8 billion, April 7, 2014, Value: $25.3 billion, February 18, 2014, Value: $23.6 billion, March 11, 2014, Value: $19.4 billion, February 19, 2014, Value: $17.1 billion, April 30, 2014, Value: $16.01 billion, January 13, 2014. Total $262 billion. Now consider that these mergers are for the most tax-free when they are seen “as reorganizations through acquisition. Under this model, companies must swap, rather than outright sell, assets and equity such that the two companies end up becoming one new company with an agglomerated store of assets and equity“, that is very nice for the boards of directors and as multiple borders are broken, many options (highly complex ones) open up to maximise non taxability. Yet, many governments have done next to nothing to curb this form of greedy exploitation at the expense of the local governments whose protection they enjoy and the exploited workers who are left at the short end of the stick in many cases, again and again. There is often little consequence for the acquiring party will soon find themselves in an upward reorganisation, but the other party is more often than not in a less positive position, which is the way of the world, I will not oppose the issue of reorganisation and acquisition, yet the laws have been bend beyond reasonable. In the near past there was a level of equilibrium, as the governments got a slice of that pie. Now, as too many levels of non-taxability are offered, we see a completely unbalanced view of life, to a smaller part in regards to rich industrialists, but to the largest extent to a whole score of enabling politicians with a limited sight to the future whilst blind staring to what was in the past the ‘now’ and never to adjust the future of what should be.

We are all feeling these shortcomings now, Greece a lot more than the others I might add!

Now we get back to Greece for one simple example. The one thing Greece had to do for well over a decade is the step only taken (if we can believe the press) only last week (at http://www.newsweek.com/greece-launches-frantic-crackdown-tax-evaders-ahead-repayments-324927), here we see the story of Leonidas Bobolas, arrested and not to be released until back taxation had been paid. Some might think it is a solution, for me and many others it is a final desperate act by a government that did not take things serious until it was too late. This must be a laughing moment for Kostas Vaxevanis, whose list must be very important at this moment, but there is every chance that the truly big rollers are getting away with it all and more important, the money that will be gotten here is nowhere near the amount required for the payments over the next 16 weeks. It is the final spasm of a nation that has every real danger of becoming extinct a second time. New Greece might soon join Ancient Greece as it becomes forgotten, slowly but surely.

OK, I admit that this future is unrealistic (not to mention vastly exaggerated), but is that not how the Greeks currently feel? A system so broken that the people are suffering. The place where Democracy was born by the mind of Aristotle. It was the foundry where the Olympic Games were devised, yet in all its social paths, the one path forgotten was the safety of the Greek future. Why will this tax evasion path fail? Well, consider that Leonidas Bobolas is ‘regarded’ as one of the large evaders, now consider that his due taxation was less than 2 million Euro and add to this the following quote: “Government data suggested that some €70bn was owed in unpaid tax at the end of 2014. Transparency International found the country’s opaque tax code and corruption of tax collectors meant evasive tax arrangements could be set up for as little as €100“. To get to 70 billion, they would need at least 55,000 tax evaders, all due 1.5 million, now consider the Kostas Vaxevanis list that covered less than 2100 names. The amount due cannot be met, not even close through this way. In addition we see even more posturing of inaction. This comes again from Yanis Varoufakis who stated: “one of the key reforms the government was proposing was the creation of a fully independent tax commission to tackle the problem“. I would personally translate this into a delay of up to 24 months with no actual actions at all. This one arrest is just for show as I see it, a few more will make headlines, but in the end, the funds will not be there on time and we can state that clear evidence of inaction from the Greek government is a mere display of fact.

Why mention Greece?

Greece is at present the extreme example, but not the least of the issues. It shows a governmental failing that is present all over Europe. Greece in its position is only the first one to visibly no longer manage its upcoming bills. The majority of European nations have maintained an inability to manage budgets, which is the second tier in this. As these governments make new mentions of ‘stimulus’ as a solution, it only masks an inability of forward momentum, whilst on the other side of that formula we see governmental spending sprees that cannot be covered in any way, shape or form. One example is the Dutch Stimulus package of 2009, one document (at http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/economic_governance/sgp/pdf/20_scps/2009-10/01_programme/nl_2010-01-29_sp_en.pdf) forecasts a GDP growth of 2% in both 2011 and 2012, a number that would never be achieved, in the end, the growth would be -0.2% and -0.6%, the year after that it was -0.8%, we can speculate that without the stimulus it would have been worse, which is a likely result, but the fact remains, how well are the people off? Let’s not forget that stimulus packages are basically loans, the interest on those billions go somewhere, so in the end the people pay! France with its 26 billion package in 2008 would not see a positive jump until late 2013, then only 0.6%, after that until 2014, France only marginally kept its head above water. Italy does not even get close to those numbers and only had one moment in 2013 where they were positive at 0.1%, the rest is all negative. They pushed in a mere 9 billion. So with three nations, Europe has spent 44 billion and no real results to show. It could be debated as I stated earlier that the state of affairs for those nations would be a lot worse, I could agree with this on the mere premise of the thought. Yet, the one issue that should have been done, namely proper budgeting has not been achieved by any of these nations for over a decade and debts are stockpiling. This has been at the centre of my considerations for a long time.


Whether this is mere bad budgeting or a completely unbalanced system where corporations have been uber enabled, whilst their rights are not questioned is another matter entirely. In that regard we have the HSBC view (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/apr/24/hsbc-warns-it-could-leave-uk-over-eu-referendum-uncertainty), where the option of the UK leaving the Eurozone would make HSBC move offices to other shores. Yet, when we google this bank we see articles on how they pay millions and millions less than expected. Now, these articles are not the ones you should have too much faith in, but with this much smoke, the question becomes, were tax bills burnt? I am willing to partially ignore the Swiss scandal as this is only one instance, it is the overall picture that goes far beyond just the HSBC. When we consider Libor, the fines of billions that followed with banks all over the world, we see that populations all over Europe, even on a global level are denied the funds for their support that they should be entitled to. Yet, the paths taken now are also questionable. I support to the larger extent both the Conservative path as well as the Australian Liberal party. Here we see a protection against naming apparent tax-dodgers. My reasoning? If a company engages in legal paths for revenue and investments whether on shore or offshore where the tax laws allow for it, the companies who are creative enough to exploit the loophole shouldn’t be punished. This is at the core of the issue, the tax system has to be fixed and altered. Yet, as we see with HSBC, politicians are often too scared for their own political hide (as I personally see it) and will push forward any tax change. This has gone on for over a decade and many changes are yet to be properly addressed. This is at the heart of the matter.

In the end, what is the wisest of actions? To cater to HSBC and mind liking parties that seem to pay the minimum in taxation, whilst at the same time, the millstones of debt are dragging down all European nations? The UK might have the highest European debt (1.7T), yet the path that the conservatives have taken its population has the best options to lower the debts whilst offering a modest growth. The inability of the other European nations to adhere to this is only one of several factors. Greece is now becoming a larger issue as their timeline of pushed from April to May and now we see the mentioning of June by Yanis Varoufakis: “We wish to merge the current review with the June agreement“, which is now a more pressing issue as the voters in May would steer fast into a direction many will not like, this is the danger, as emotion drove Greeks towards Syriza, that same dangerous move could push the UK voters stronger towards UKIP and the Euro exodus that could follow. Another version where we see a legal incitement away from the Euro, there is no inspiration, just a need for what could be regarded as ‘false sense of security‘. That danger only increases when we consider the next quote: “Tsipras said he was optimistic an interim agreement would soon be reached. But Greeks know another bailout will be needed even if the short-term €7.2bn is secured“, that part and the inability of the Greek government to seriously commit from day one is at the heart of all this.

A need to incite a tax system that works more honest towards the nations that give ‘free’ protection to the corporations that seem to shun a moral refinement is needed. Not just for the UK, but for all European nations. Yet, will this happen? This is the question we should ask when we look at the papers from the IEA (Institute for Economic Affairs), where we saw on December 1st 2014 the following quote: “Despite the Conservative’s pledge to raise the threshold to £50,000, over 5 million taxpayers will pay the higher rate of income tax by the end of the next parliament. Indeed, it is likely that the number of higher rate taxpayers will continue to increase even if the threshold is raised“. I question the spirit of this. You see, the groups are 24.1 million in the basic rate and 4.5 million in the higher rate (source: UK Statistics Authority). I do not deny these numbers, yet, raising the threshold will force other measures too. A more immediate and more just move would be to increase the 0% rate from £10.6K to £13K, which will also benefit the higher rate to some extent (£2.5K less taxable), after this I personally advocated raising both groups, the Basic rate +1% and the higher rate +2%. he reasoning is simple, in the end a budget has to be met, even though we see these ‘holier than thou‘ groups all moving for more tax breaks, yet, in the end, until tax loops and tax havens are dealt with, the tax coffers will remain massively underfunded. Let’s not forget that the UK has to meet a 1.7T issue, all using official bank notes with the ‘£’ symbol (replacing IOU’s in place). If the IEA really wants to push certain tax shifts without properly balancing the equation, we will see a push for drastic austerity sooner rather than later. It is not a mere guess, it is an outcome of mathematical certainty. Only after a serious dent has been made in the total debt, then it would be possible to consider a change. All this is now endangered when we see ‘promises’ by Ed Miliband as he states: “Labour will pledge to deliver a surplus in the current budget as soon as possible in the next parliament. This could allow the party to borrow to fund capital investment for infrastructure projects“, so a surplus and MORE borrowing? So basically he will likely spend his budget and the budget of the next administration in one go. The UK is still dealing with the borrowing acts of a previous governing labour. I see at the heart of ANY government at present, the need to borrow ZERO, whilst still reducing the overall debt to some degree (not possible to state by how much), this is the only way to incite true growth, to inspire a growing economy and to stimulate some version of ‘quality of life’. There are a few steps that any of the elected parties could do, but that requires vision, I have some answers, but filling that solution will take a different view, not one of borrowing, but one of an adapted vision that allows for new growth by changing the equation of costing, a different approach to a changing world where the UK moves ahead stronger still, which will be good for the entire Commonwealth at large!

An act to incite stimulus through Inspiration, a positive wave not based on pre-spending.


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An exceptional pound of flesh

Two articles hit my eyes as I took a small break from my midterm exam. When you dig into the: who, what, when, where how and why of Patent Systems, your sanity prevails if you take a small break every 2-3 hours. It is just the only sane and safe way to avoid getting stuck on the same page.

The two articles were ‘Cuba seeks foreign investment as it shores up increased diplomatic ties‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/10/cuba-seeks-foreign-investment-as-it-shores-up-increased-diplomatic-ties) and ‘Pound volatile amid general election uncertainty‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/apr/10/pound-volatile-amid-general-election-uncertainty), there is no real relationship in these matters, or is there?

First, let’s take the last part first as to get it all out of the way. The end gives us: “Investors were also positive on Greece’s payment of a €450m (£325m) debt to the International Monetary Fund on Thursday“. Why? Let’s not forget, this payment is nothing more than 1/3rd of a billion against outstanding HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS, so why are investors relieved? Greece has not presented any decent acceptable plan and the visit from Tsipras to Moscow to rattle some cages will count against him sooner rather than later. In addition I would like to call attention to the ‘altered’ view from Christine Lagarde as she mentioned “developed and emerging economies still suffering the after-effects of the 2008 crash must collaborate better to avoid an era of low growth”, which reads like a detour, an extra train stop on the track where the distance between recession of true growth seems to be increasing, not decreasing or remain stable. Apart from the fact that Greece only has 5 days left to present their plan (at http://www.bbc.com/news/business-32229793), the one part everyone simply ignores is that after they get the money, then what? If these newly elected officials will not push through and re-debate the issue again, the Eurozone is down another seven billion euro plus, then what? Will Greece become a vulture funds target? Will we see newly created carefully phrased denials on what will never be? That one part can be found in the quote “Without new money it will struggle to renew €2.4bn in treasury bonds due to mature in the middle of April, or pay back another €0.8B to the IMF on 12 May“, so consider that Greece might be unable to pay back 770 Million Euro on May 12th (decently likely scenario), what else can they no longer pay? Let’s not forget that the 12th of May payment makes up for 0.25% of the debt, the interest would be is a lot more than that, so how will any ‘investor’ choice pay out? Are you people awake now? So, I dealt with Greece! Now to the linked other parts!

You see, the link to England will become apparent soon enough, when we consider the quote “Analysts have warned that the pound could have further to fall as financial markets react to uncertainty created by the closest general election for more than 20 years” l, we have to wonder how reserved these analysts truly are, a stable growing economy is scaring them? I agree that the plans from Ed Miliband are decently ludicrous, bus in the end, if elected, he must do what is best for the nation (which means that he would have to vote for David Cameron, hawk! Hawk! Hawk!). In all seriousness though, a close call or not, there is something wrong with the statement Michael Hewson makes: “The pound has started to come under some pressure in recent days as the prospect of political gridlock“, whilst the market is positive as Greece pays back less than a percent of its debt, this whilst it is clear that Greece has no funds left. How is that dimensionality rational in any way, shape or form? That is, unless you take into account the part that the Guardian is not mentioning. If the market is truly worried on what happens when Nigel Farage comes out on top, or ends up with too much of a gain, then the united front that Farage and Le Penn would show, would truly be a concern to investors, because those two have had enough of the entire Eurozone issue on several levels and Greece only worsened their resolve (meaning that both are more eager to pursue the end of their EEC membership. a nightmare scenario for markets on a near global base.

Now, the markets also made the following ‘claim’: “Currency traders have also been unsettled by signs of weakness in Britain’s manufacturing sector. Production figures are due out on Friday morning“, this is fair enough, you see, manufacturing is an issue and it is not that strong in the UK or in many other places for that matter. Yet, two hours ago, the following was reported: “UK industrial output is weaker than expected: it edged up 0.1% in February, vs expectations of a 0.4% gain, while manufacturing met City forecasts with a 0.4% rise. Industrial production is the wider measure, which comprises manufacturing, mining and utilities“, so manufacturing met the expectations, so why the hesitation? I am not making any assumptions here, but I am wondering on how much certain markets assume that met expectations were supposed to be exceeded. Especially in a European mess that is still all over the place. It is almost like the markets will not tolerate any bad news, is this linked to some views on US bubbles (housing for one) that could burst before June 30th? This is a question, not an assumption or an implied issue. but the question should be asked in a very clear way and certain parties should answer it in very clear ways too, because at present, when you see some journalists report on economy, they quickly move all over the field, pretending to draw a picture, whilst the sketch we end up seeing is that of something we did not ask and it leaves many with too many questions. Did I oversimplify the matter again?

So now we get to the true path in all this, the link between the Pound and Cuba. Some might know them, some do not, but I remember the Cuban Fleet Freight Services (Cuflet). I reckon that looking into options with Cuba via Cuflet could spell good times for several players, if manufacturing options are found in emerging markets, why not see what offers could be made and found there. The Dutch could gain a headway by looking into the Bicycle market, engineering projects, the issue is clarity. When we consider the article ‘Navigating Complexity in foresight: Lessons from the UK future of Manufacturing Project‘ (at https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/sites/default/files/fta2014-t1practice_52.pdf), I personally am willing to get a few giggles from the futility that figure one shows (2008, Popper’s foresight Diamond). I do not disagree with the image of with the elements of creativity, interaction, evidence and expertise brings, but in the end Manufacturing is about what one has and the other one needs. So elements like Viability, opportunity, economy and shipping brings us the need for what can be manufactured, what could be sold and what is to be delivered. So when I read the conclusion on page 11, where we see “The high level of complexity of manufacturing systems and the diversity of forces acting on them make anticipating future configurations , challenges and opportunities particularly difficult. Manufacturing foresight needs to deal with multiple units of analyses, assimilate a variety of evidence at different levels of disaggregation from a variety of sources and integrate diverse stakeholder’s perspectives“. A view from academics from Cambridge as well the government office for science.

So let’s break that down in something we all can understand.

  1. Good business is where you find it. (Robocop, 1987), which gives us opportunity
  2. Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction (Ernst F. Schumacher), which gives us a handle on complexity in regards to manufacturing systems (the reason to avoid complexity whenever possible).
  3. We have to choose between a global market driven only by calculations of short-term profit, and one which has a human face (Kofi Annan), which gets us to the economic side.

We have been so blinded looking at those who only seek short term maximised personal gain, that we forget the satisfaction that can be gotten from a long term goal where both sides make gains and interact with their economy in a profitable way, without denying the other party their goals. Here we see the option for both the UK and Cuba. It is not a given, it is not a guarantee, but an option, an opportunity to consider. It is the one side of Warren Buffett I do (partially) admire, he thinks long term (in case of Tesco, not long term enough), but overall the long term side will always pay off, which is the path we should walk, which is of course not the path that the bulk of hedge funds operators want us to consider and as too many listen to those people, we end up having a problem. So as we look at the pound of flesh that could give us a sterling reward, we tend to ignore that part for the fake glory of short term boosts. Yet, if we see Lidl and Aldi where we clearly see exactly that this longer term approach will keep them afloat, unlike their competitors, which is the issue at hand!

Because in the end, the conclusion quote from the academic article gives us the massive anchor that they did not properly dimensionalise ‘assimilate a variety of evidence at different levels of disaggregation from a variety of sources and integrate diverse stakeholders perspectives‘, too often the data presented from the view of the stakeholder cannot be trusted. Whether it is the weight applied to the source, the way the question was formulated and set into the data collective, or the methodology of analytics that was pursued afterwards. It was a painted view from a person with a goal and a presented image, that ‘presented’ image tends to colour all connected evidence, which gives us a view of many games as they are played, but in all this, we all make the same mistake, we compare presented results and statistical results, whilst the individual sources are often too unknown, which is truly a bad an unexceptional path to walk.


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