Tag Archives: TTIP

Patsy Ross and the curse of greed

Yes, we can do all kinds of things in Davos, Switzerland. We can enjoy cheese; we can enjoy the white slopes of Davos and not to mention learn about greed in the World Economic Forum. One article to start with Fortune, who gives us ‘Wilbur Ross Tells Davos: U.S. Is Done ‘Being a Patsy’ on Trade‘ (at http://fortune.com/2018/01/24/davos-2018-trump-wilbur-ross-trade-war-tariff/). The article brings up a few things and has a great ending (from a comedy point of view). With: “Ross also issued a warning against misinterpreting the Trump administration’s hardline approach to trade, in what could foretell what Trump himself will communicate to the Davos crowd on Friday. “We don’t intend to abrogate leadership,” Ross said. “Leadership is different from being a sucker and being a patsy.”“, you see if that was actually true than you would have had fairness in mind with the Trans Pacific Partnership. That document is a joke giving all the power to business and leave governments running for the hills as they get sued for diminished profits, in addition the TPP would not have given additional powers to patents leaving the option of generic medication in the basement. That cursed piece of parchment should never have been allowed to be completed to the degree it was, in secret and without proper open consultation. Now, we agree and accept that this was basically before the Trump administration and they rightfully opposed it, yet the dangers that the people of 12 nations are exposed to and exploited by is just too large. Consider the quote “Critics on the left also said the TPP would pave the way for companies to sue governments that change policy on, say, health and education to favour state-provided services“, since when is any corporation allowed to endanger the health of people by suing for damages? How greedy and stupid does a government need to get by endangering their citizens to such a setting? The full text (at https://www.mfat.govt.nz/en/about-us/who-we-are/treaties/trans-pacific-partnership-agreement-tpp/text-of-the-trans-pacific-partnership), also gives other dangers. Part of the deal was that, large pharmaceutical corporations (most of them American) want to extend the life of their patents, arguing that having spent billions to bring their research to fruition they should be entitled to a just reward so they can invest the profits into developing new medicines, the issue is that that timeframe had been given and they merely want to double that profit as much as possible. Yet in light of an aging population the effect is that generic medication becomes a long term inability driving cost up for the retired population by a lot, in some cases well over 100% more. So as we read that “Time Inc. chief content officer Alan Murray, agreed that pacts brokered decades ago “need a facelift,”“, the people are not given a fair shake in all this, it is all about the large corporations, whilst their tax accountability is off the table, making the forum a very imbalanced exercise. So as we saw the Patsy mention of Wilbur Ross, we are treated to no approach to keep the ‘jokers’ of Wall Street in check, there the political wings all fall silent and that is where the kneejerk dangers are. The law has failed the people, the Wall Street gains are beyond normal whilst those getting the cash seem to remains non-taxable, or taxable to merely the smallest possible degree. In this The Financial Times has an additional setting (at https://www.ft.com/content/cb18f700-011b-11e8-9650-9c0ad2d7c5b5). The emphasis on TTIP over TTP, as well as In this we see that he “repeated a willingness to revive negotiations on trade with the European Union“, yet left the United Kingdom unmentioned, which I see is merely a shot across the bow. In this Davos has been making jabs in that direction for 2 days now. In a place where every word and specific mentions are essential, it comes with clear setting on poses, stances and hand gestures, we see the total disregard and consideration regarding Brexit, or Brexit mentions in the same way that toilet paper advertises ‘softness’.

Finally, there is a continuation from yesterday’s blog as we see (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/live/2018/jan/24/davos-2018-merkel-macron-mnuchin-inequality-slavery-wef-day-2-live), the mention “Macron hails French recovery“, which sounds nice, but there is no evidence on that, only overly optimistic views for 2018. So as France still had 9.8% unemployment in July 2017, that against 4.2% in the UK and 3.6% in Germany, France is a long way away from hailing ‘recovery’. In addition, it was the view of Natixis Research that was used by Reuters to give us: “With growing optimism on the health of the Euro zone economy and its equity markets, it’s easy to forget that GDP growth in some countries such as France is somewhat below what one would expect at this stage in the cycle, with forecasts of under 2 percent for 2017 and 2018. According to Natixis’ research, structural unemployment and the rise in numbers of young people with no qualifications are a drag on the Gallic economy and will keep holding it back. “When the structural unemployment rate is as high as in France currently (more than 9%), recruitment difficulties will very prematurely stop growth,” Patrick Artus, who heads research at the French bank“, as such he uses a more academic stance, but our views partially align, France is not out of the woods yet and the Draghi Stimulus will still hit France as well because that money needs to come from somewhere in the end and France stands well over minus 2 trillion Euro. That is the part all the players are ignoring whilst the paths are made for large corporations, whilst the need to dam the flow through proper corporate taxation. None of that is properly in place in Europe (and the UK needs to fix a few things too). And as the people get to hear from Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair on how Brexit is a mistake, the first part of my prediction comes out. I only need to see one of the five as mentioned last week to make a similar remark to make the prediction I made over a week ago come true. Yet in all this there is also a benefit to get soon enough. You see as the US is now hitting others with steep tariff increases, he is directly giving the danger that all the others (probably with the exception of Japan), will hit back by doing the same to video games, when that happens America will get a massive hit to that $130 billion market which is predominantly American, in this the tariffs would equally hit the digital sold titles. In light of the numbers, The US is making a dangerous move that could hit them harder than they bargained for.

The fact that Digital game revenue surpassed $10 billion in December 2017 alone gives rise to the awkwardly bad decision that the US set itself up for. We will see if the last day of Davos gives us a few more pointers on how large corporations will see more opportunities come your way that is if we can believe Breitbart. That is how we got the news from the Washington Post with ‘Breitbart called Davos a collective of ‘leftist elites’ and ‘corporate cronies.’ Then Trump said he was going’, the article is not really giving us anything besides the views that Breitbart has and therefore not really informative, but they seem to touch on the part that I found interesting, is Davos about upbeat presentations, or is it the one informal place where certain power players can align their presentations because there will be large shifts in 2018, France seems to be starting the events that will hit the people in Europe, in this Reuters also reported on Italy’s view with: “Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni sent a message to US President Donald Trump on Wednesday (Jan 24) that leaders can defend their countries’ interests but must respect existing international agreements”, which is a truth, yet as several sides are hitting the European Community, it is a view that raises other questions on current international agreements .

In the end, Fortune dot come gives us two additional parts. The love of blockchain and the need for smart data will be driving elements over the next few years. None of that was a real surprise, but the amount of push towards blockchain was a larger surprise that I thought it would be. Forbes (at https://www.forbes.com/sites/dantedisparte/2018/01/28/one-thing-is-clear-from-davos-blockchain-is-out-of-beta), the power is seen in “While Blockchain and digital assets were widely featured on the main stage at Davos, perhaps the most insightful conversations were taking place in standing room only events hosted by groups like the Global Blockchain Business Council, whose CEO, Jamie Smith, and chairman, Tomicah Tillemann, have emerged as global emissaries helping Blockchain go mainstream. Indeed, Jamie Smith has made it her personal mission to be the explainer-in-chief of this powerful technology so that more of the world can grasp its potential”. I am still not convinced! You see, the Blockchain is clever and it is one that has great potential, yet the push of a solution that is unregulated and in addition to that it is an option for others to skate around the laws, because the use of blockchain will raise legislation to another level. This was partially discussed in the Business Insider on October 20th (at http://www.businessinsider.com/blockchain-cryptocurrency-regulations-us-global-2017-10). With: “Blockchain is the technology of choice for many start-ups. As per research by Outlier Ventures Research Team in May to June of 2016, 200 new start-ups were added in six weeks. Businesses and start-ups popped up around the virtual technology and sprouted with lightning speed. While many countries are supporting the development of the digital currencies, thus encouraging new ways of transacting and new businesses to bud, there are some that have boycotted the new technology, deeming it as an illegal negative disruption that brings financial instability and global economic unrest”. There is no denying the view that Davos is spreading, yet the push (partially implied in the Business Insider) to get Blockchain approved and mainstream by 2025 is a larger issue than some realise. The banking industry that took close to two decades to accept ATM’s to the degree it did in the end is now setting a new digital path in less than 10. That worries me, not because of the digital leap forward, but because of WHY they are doing it and I feel certain that we will see more and more revelations in the next 2 years.

It is my personal feeling that it is a greed driven path and that never spells any good for the people at large around, because they end up paying for it all, one way or another.

 

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A Syrian Reality

Another day, another mention of Aleppo, Syria and events. Hilary Benn speaks of the shame we all should feel. Yet, here we have an issue. Not with his sentiment, but with the clarity of who or what is in charge. Now that the UN has another meeting, labelled as ’emergency’, it is time for people to realise that labels are no longer things to see You see, CNN states ‘descent into hell‘, I say ‘the reality of choice‘. As we now see that Assad, with Russian aid secures the news like ‘Syrian Government Forces Are Close to Full Liberation of Aleppo City’ and ‘Syrian army gaining control of Aleppo eastern quarters’ we need to realise that America is no longer the leader of the free world, that it is too bankrupt to be calling any shots other than commercial deals (read: trade agreements) to feed its own greed. The fact that Libya has now asked Russia to intervene on its behalf. As General Khalifa Haftar is meeting with Russian minister to seek help, we now all need to realise that we are chasing the consent from an empty bag names America. Only now, well over a year too late are pundits all over the media field considering a change. Those who some consider to be half baked evangelical procrastinators of social sciences are now considering that Frexit ‘might’ happen. The data was clearly there for well over 26 weeks. Just like they were trying to stay buddies with those running the gravy trains, Brexit was ignored for too long and Frexit is very nearly a given next. When you consider the quote two weeks ago in the Guardian “Kenny’s administration in Dublin to strongly back any French attempt to gain more concessions from Brussels to prevent a possible ‘Frexit’“, we can now start quoting South Park (Oh my god, they killed Kenny) whilst Ireland is considering the dangers it is manoeuvring itself in.

What about Syria?

Yes, that is the question, because for the most, no one gives a dams about Syria! This is a harsh reality. When you look at the cold reality for Syria, you will consider that the natural resources of Syria include iron ore, crude oil, phosphate rock, manganese ore, asphalt, marble, rock salt, and gypsum. Most can be gotten in many places, whilst oil value is in the basement and iron ore is in an even worse place. The large corporations do not care for any of these substances, so as such The American Congress is speaking a lot, not saying much and acting even less. The evidence is all around you. This outgoing Democratic failure has done next to nothing substantial. We see mention of weapon support. It is less than it should be and likely done to write off old equipment or get some parties a tax breaks (personal assumption), it never amounted to anything serious. The same could be stated for the United Kingdom, who with the US was involved with Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve, because the growth of ISIL is scary for both of them. In my view, if there is any hero to be laureled in this mess than it would be the doctors who despite this level of ignoring are still trying to aspire the best the medical profession has to offer, in my view, most of these doctors are worth of any recognition that equals the Victorian Cross (American equivalent: Medal of Honor).

The grim reality of life set to value is that the morality of the things that President Assad was accused of. Perhaps some people remember how a little over 5 years ago, the unrest of the 2011 Arab Spring escalated to armed conflict after President Bashar al-Assad’s government violently repressed protests calling for his removal. Soon thereafter we had the issue that the government of a sovereign nation retaliated against those who were seeking to overthrow that government. This is the issue, you see, many of these nations had to deal with massive gaps in quality and quantity of life. There was a great deal of dissatisfaction that led to opposition and uprising against these governments and as such things escalated. There have been widely distributed claims that the US government’s support of the uprisings fuelled actions, funded largely by the National Endowment for Democracy (www.ned.org). This in an age where people in non-governmental places seem to think that whatever they do the US government had its back. Yet the outgoing Democratic Party had no money left, even worse, the total national debt is expected to hit 20 trillion just when President-elect Donald Trump gets into office. He gets a building to temporary live in and a debt that will take more than 3 generations to remove. Whatever happens, their choice will be American based, American focussed and there will be no space for any military action of any kind unless it is due to a direct attack on America. In all of this Syria is not mentioned, because for the players at large, it has no value, not the living, the dead or the national resources. For the next 8 years at least there is every indication that Russia will get a near cart blanch to grow its influence and after this December 2016 there is plenty of evidence that this will come with full Syrian backing, and likely Libyan backing too.

So this now ups the ante for Israel and in addition, it will require the allies and friends of Israel to up their game by a lot, because this game implies that the next cold war comes with one player short, an empty intelligence coffer and a much wider supported Russia. I reckon that Alexander Bortnikov will be having some very comfortable lunches with Sergey Lavrov. I can only assume that black bread and borscht will not be on the menu, Pancake! (Internal FSB translation joke).

These events are very much at the core because the US security council has the US and Russia in opposition, so that part is not expected to get into action, the only benefit here is that China could side with US, not because of any Syrian humanitarian need, but if the US gets committed here, the US economic prospects go down further, which would suit China just fine. In my view, if there is anything to be salvaged, than it needs to be Jordan, not Syria. If we actually have any regard for lives, than the support for Jordan, for its infrastructure and resources is essential as it has been trying to give support to 1.4 million refugees (Syrians and officially registered refugees).

Let this sink in readers, we are bickering all over the world on how many refugees we should take and Jordan has added 25% of its entire population from refugees and Syrians. That whilst Jordan has always had a shortage of water and a few other resources. In my view, the actions of King Abdullah II of Jordan seem to me to be more worthy of a Nobel Peace prize a lot more than the one given to President Barack Obama ever was. I am not ignoring the issues at the Jordanian border, the given fact by Al Jazeera et al that there tens of thousands of refugees stuck in no man’s land. Yet Jordan already has 1.4 million, 25% of its entire population, they have done more than most nations have considered. That part, will be opposed and countered by nearly every nation, but that is the grim reality. I feel certain that Jordan was not working with open arms, yet when we see the few thousand that are in Greece (OK, a little over 10% of those in Jordan), the fact that Syrians (as reported by Ekathimerini) have been quoted that compared to life as a refugee in Greece, they would have preferred to have stayed in Syria. Tell me, when a person prefers to take their chances and live in an active war zone, how bad are you as a nation? Now, we can agree that Greece was in a really bad place before the Syrian refugees arrived, so that did not help the Greeks any, also their lack of any infrastructure to deal with these amount of refugees must also be accepted.

In all these matters discussed, big business have remained silent, inert and lacking actual action that make a difference. In addition, as Donald Trump is stated to make a policy change that it will be ‘America First’, which under their economic climate is fair enough, when the dust settles and President Bashar Hafez al-Assad sits on his ‘throne’ as victor, how many nations will move forward trying to do ‘business’ with Syria? How many will enter the quote ‘moving forward’ in their speeches and statements? You see, the reality of any nation has forever been that those with empty coffers do not govern, the US is figuring that out the hard way, because its actions and messages on a global scale are ignored by too many players for it not to be the case. In the end, these trade deals have a one sided benefit for American companies. They would still get to sue other governments, whilst the President-elect is moving towards the tactic of: “Instead, we will negotiate fair, bilateral trade deals that bring jobs and industry back onto American shores“, and here I will be honest, it is pretty much the only option that the US has and no one can fault America for that, just realise that those who would have enacted the TTIP/TPP would have learned the hard way that American corporations would have sued governments for the mere profit of it. That too would bring money to America, and their board of directors. In all this, in light of Brexit/Frexit and now these trade deals, we see a massive lack of national legal protection in these ‘deals’, this whilst these corporations have only consented to continue certain factories when the tax breaks are juicy enough. When that falls away, those claimed economic national benefits fall away too and even today, certain taxations that wold have been seen as fair as those places took away billions, now that the economic weather changes, nations at large need to consider where to move to next. It is that weather that made me evangelize stronger bonds with the Indian pharmaceutical industry. Most nations have a growing need for generic medication and places like Syria, Jordan and Greece even more. Yet the people who should have realised this seem to be pushing for any pharmaceutical deal with America, whilst the players all know that there will be no local benefit, none at all, so again we see now that the Trump thinks like a business man, which is what the social left is not getting (read: comprehending), whilst they ignored the tax reform essentials, they keep on giving money from empty coffers, that party is over and those not adjusting their view will be in the cold soon enough. This also means that certain values change. This is the grim reality for Syrians, their value is none and have been so for some time. Not on a humanitarian scale, but the nations at large have no funds there, so we see that we turn our backs on a situation we cannot change and we cannot influence, in my personal view, mainly because some lawmakers were asleep at the wheel in setting up trade deals and certain tax loop holes (read: these loopholes were purely incidental and coincidental, not in any way orchestrated). Now we have to choose between economic hardship and humanitarian ‘sound’ suicide, how is that a choice?

So here we are, seeing another iteration of ‘boo hoo hoo’ Syria, we all know it, we all agree and we cannot do anything, mainly because those who could, gave away the keys to the castle and the executive washroom. Those who are now in charge are setting the pace and none of them want a war where they get nothing out of. This is the mere reality of an economic driven political society of elected officials. No monarchy would ever abide by that. Should you see that the Libyan and Syrian deal have no influence, when you hear someone preach just that, and how America will get on top soon enough, also feel free to investigate the connections that are now happening between Egypt and Russia. A new air base on the Mediterranean close to the Libyan border, so as America moved out, Europe is getting surrounded by Russian bases, if we include the now permanent Russian Naval base in Syria. This is why Israel needs to change its game, because it is not outside of the realm of issues that Mossad now needs to refocus their attentions to foreign operations and data gathering. A field that the Russian have been decently good at. They do have one advantage, Sergey Yevgenyevich Naryshkin might be highly intelligent; he lacks experience and is relatively new to the job. If he ends up relying on the heads of Political Intelligence and Illegal Intelligence, the game changes, because those two are not the newbies we would want them to be and the Middle East desk will be the new hot potato for Intelligence Officers with a scent for promotion for at least 5 years (read: Mossad will have to deal with Intelligence ego’s from all over Europe). My weird sense of humour would try to push those two into the marching path of General-Lieutenant Igor Valentinovich Korobov, a proud man and as per 2016 the new head of the GRU, pride is something that often be used against that very same person.

Why mention these matters, what is their impact on Syrian refugees?

No matter what happens in the coming 3 weeks, when the dust settles, most nations would want these refugees to return to Syria, many Syrians want to return to Syria, but that place is in rubble and those people have nothing left. Syria will be a construction heaven for Russian entrepreneurs for decades to come, also meaning that the economic times will change and the Middle East picture we had of it will have changed more than many understand or want to take for granted. The Arab spring will soon be seen as a temporary thing that was not the success people wanted and proclaimed it to be. Some in those fields will object and counter with all kinds of manipulated data, in addition the press will give a few more articles on how the Arab spring was the only way and it was a good way, yet when we see that Russian influence is rising all over the Mediterranean, and now with Morocco raising the tourist numbers for China and Russia, it could be interpreted that a first signal is given to Sergey Lavrov that a conversation of interest is soon to be an option. In my personal view, one of two corridors of travel for ISIS ends up being in Russian hands. If not correctly countered we will see a radically shifted view of northern Africa with America no longer being any form of player there. This also reflects on Syria, because these nations will allow Russia to set up an empty trade house where they are merely the middle man in commerce between Syrians and Northern African partners, so suddenly there will be large economic growth (moving from zero that will always be the case) and it will push a shift in other ways too. It is the Grim reality we face, because the actual culprit was greed and we have seen how both America and the European Economic Community was unwilling and unable to act against it, which is why we will only see a stronger push for Frexit and Brexit. A move that scares the US, because the Euro and the Dollar are too closely tied and this dissolving action will be seen as the nightmare scenario by the IMF and Wall Street, where the question now becomes: who is speaking for whom?

 

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For those doubting Brexit

There have been a few issues with the EU, some are petty and some only seem petty. You see, many are all in arms and all about the issue on how Canada is a good place, and it really really is. Yet, we have to understand that a trade agreement tends to be an agreement where one is better off than the other. That is a simple fact of life. A trade agreement, when completely balanced equally to all parties is a figment of the imagination of the visionary who wanted it, for the simple reason that it was in their interest. Now, that does not make the person evil or greedy, it is merely the reality of any trade agreement. Yet, when the trade agreement is done in secret, there will be additional issues. This is not such a case, but in the case of CETA (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/oct/24/belgium-eu-ultimatum-canada-trade-deal-ceta-wallonia), there is the image that French speaking Belgium (aka Wallonia) will miss out too much in this EU-Canada deal, so they are all about not letting it happen. The article gives us ‘Paul Magnette, the leader of the Wallonia region, says the deal is bad for Europe’s farmers and gives too much power to global corporate interests‘, which would give ample voice to the justification of Wallonia trying to scuttle this deal. It does not make Canada bad or evil, it only gives voice to the European side that Wallonian farmers lose out, from their point of view too much. This shows partially the justification of Brexit; yet in equal measure it shows how the Bremain group feels scared and scarred as well as their justification that together the UK would be stronger. On one side they have a point, on the other side, we see here that if Wallonia gives in, the EU basically sells their future short and away from them. The quote “One European diplomat said that the reassurances “responded to all of Mr Magnette’s concerns”” implies that Magnette is unreasonable as reassurances were given, yet we have all seen how politicians can roll on their backs when the wind turns, so is he wrong? In this case I very much doubt it, as does politico (at http://www.politico.eu/article/meet-monsieur-paul-magnette-the-man-killing-ceta-deal-trade-agreement/). Here we see two mentions. The first is “Wallonia did its homework” as well as “In particular, he protested that CETA would leave European governments vulnerable to court action from unscrupulous multinational companies“, these are issues raised in both the TTIP and the TPP. In the TPP it was New Zealand that showed backbone, whilst Australia folded like a tissue in front of a hair dryer on high, it was not a pretty picture. We have had several issues with the US in the past, yet not with Canada. It is my personal believe that large corporations are dictating the trade agreement language to governments at large, which is cause for concern in two ways.

In the first it means that the governments are not enough about governing and a little too much regarding the status quo of the Fortune 500 they have connections to and in the second it implies that they overall quality of government legislators is dwindling too much and as such national interests are not being met, which now implies that proper taxation laws are about a decade away and nations at large cannot afford to work that way.

In that light the quote in Politico seems pretty decent: ““This treaty affects the lives of 500 million Europeans and 35 million Canadians for years and years,” Magnette told La Première channel Wednesday. “We can take a few weeks, a few months to analyse the problems and overcome them.”” Is that such a bad idea? The fact that a decision is demanded in less than 12 hours gives additional cause for concern. Why the speed?

Canadian Global Research had this quote “The CETA agreement –presented to public opinion as an innocuous “bilateral” EU-Canada trade deal– constitutes a TTIP in disguise, which would eventually evolve towards the integration of NAFTA and the EU, i.e into what might be described as a giant “North Atlantic Trade and Investment Area”. Those who are involved in the negotiations are fully aware that CETA is a back-door mechanism which would would create the underlying conditions for the formation of a North Atlantic Trading Block, i.e. a US “Imperial Project” controlled by Washington“.

This now implies that this is a new approach to TTIP, a backdoor. The part where we see “US “Imperial Project” controlled by Washington“, gives voice to the part that I have given for close to two years. The United States of America is broke and bankrupt. This is the only path that the US has left to remain in the game for a little while longer, whilst giving 98% of American power to large corporations, which n my humble opinion was never a working or acceptable solution. The fact that pressures are applied to get this done quicker and quicker only gives rise to the fact that this American Democratic administration could end up being the worst in American history and this administration needs a clear ‘win’ to be less regarded as less of a failure. What a legacy President Obama brings, no matter how this goes, it will make progression for the next US administration near impossible, so we can see why the Clinton campaign was against the TTIP to begin with. In addition, the Canadian Tyee (at http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2016/10/22/CETA-Failure-Reflects-Public-Rejection-Trade-Deals/), gives us “Leaving aside the odd reference to how nice Canada is, this is remarkable language that lays bare the obvious frustration and disappointment for the government, which prioritized the CETA agreement above all trade deals“, in that my personal response becomes: ‘drop the option to large corporations to sue governments‘, first they get tax breaks, now they get to sue for missed alleged profits? When did we get ourselves so retarded that this: “Currently, the US Lone Pine energy company is using ISDS provisions in NAFTA to sue the provincial government of Quebec for $250 million because it suspended shale gas mining pending an environmental study in response to community concerns“? How on earth was the mining of Shale Gas ever allowed before clear environmental studies were made?

Environmental regulations are there for a reason. When the environment is damaged, these companies tend to get really far and away when the invoice is due, trying all kinds of loopholes not to be held accountable. The Australian Newspaper The Age gives us “The high cost of ISDS makes the threat of arbitration a potent tool for the tobacco companies“, meaning that in not so wealthy countries, Tobacco, Soda drinks and alcohol companies can hold a nation over a barrel when they can find an option to apply the ISDS. Australia Spend $50 million to defend its plain packaging requirement in cigarettes. A system that allows for Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), where we see the issue of alleged discriminatory practices is too dangerous. In addition, the proven dangers of tobacco, how many people died and were not compensated? How discriminatory is that?

Yet the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade gives us “Is ISDS a threat to Australia’s sovereignty? No. ISDS does not prevent the Government from changing its policies or regulating in the public interest. It does not freeze existing policy settings. It is not enough that an investor does not agree with a new policy or that a policy adversely affects its profits”, yet this is the opposite of what we see when we the Australian case of Philip Morris. The fact that only 5 days ago, News.com.au (at http://www.news.com.au/national/breaking-news/govt-wont-reveal-tobacco-case-costs/news-story/7a81f7003241d0290685b5ce1d83f6db) gives us “Nick Xenophon wants to know what it cost taxpayers to defend the case, but the department insists it needs to be kept secret“, it gives light to the danger that the ISDS poses, it shows that Paul Magnette, the leader of the Wallonia region seems to be a lot more clued in and a lot more on the ball than those trying to get this dangerous trade pact passed and in addition, the fact that court costs are kept secret means that the taxpayer is not getting properly informed. The ISDS is more than just investors feeling safe, it is a secondary tool to get revenue up when the forecast gets downgraded by (amongst others) environmental needs and governmental freedom to set policy, although some deny that this is happening now (like the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade), yet the fact that the cost is kept in secret gives indication that the sum is likely to be running towards the 9 digits, whilst it was about opposition on a health policy. Two cases like this could make most Eastern European EU nations bankrupt overnight, so there is cause for concern and in that Paul Magnette has a clear mindset in requiring more time.

In all this, the one part that is not making sense is that the ISDS could be seen that this is to protect non-visionary investors, investors that aren’t doing their homework, to give an additional option to get their money’s worth. Why on earth are we facilitating for corporate losers? If for example a UK company decides to cut corners and go for places where they learn that they are blocked, why would we give them any allowance for suing the UK government? If this example seems fair fetched, consider Philip Morris Asia Limited (Hong Kong) v. The Commonwealth of Australia. They might have lost, but the costs were really high. And this was whilst plain packaging was already in place. So getting rid of parts, or better the ISDS as a whole, would be a decent idea. Let’s not forget that if these companies were truly wronged, most common law nations have the option of proceeding through Torts.

Giving them additional options seems too far-fetched and in the end only counterproductive. No matter how many tears Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s trade minister brings to the table. In that part I wonder, why she had not considered removing the ISDS. Let’s face it, if investment is too dicey or dodgy, those companies should not go there to begin with, would that not be common sense? So why drive the ISDS? Perhaps I am oversimplifying the problem. I know that the ISDS makes sense, yet the Australian Philip Morris case shows the ISDS parts to be flawed and in light of how American and Chinese companies play the game, it is time to face the harsh reality that facilitation is becoming the lesser healthy alternative. In the end if there is profit, these companies will come.

So in the end, this was not about Brexit, but here we see in clarity, that this one market deal is not as great for the people at large as they think it is. For those only iterating that a one market deal is the only way, consider Wallonia, no matter how you slice it, people will lose out and if the court case is strong enough, you could lose a lot. A side that the Bremainers are not giving a clear view to, which is equally disturbing. There are elements on both sides, yet the disturbing one that Paul Magnette is bringing to light is one that too many have ignored. Brexit might end up giving the UK options and protections, that the EU trade agreements are currently trying to remove from the UK.

 

 

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The Mary Poppins of Economy

Yes, today is about Philippe Le Houérou, CEO of the World Bank (as well as Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank). The urban dictionary tells us that the term Mary Poppins means:

  1. A well composed/happy person.
  2. To do something well/flawlessly. From the measuring tape held by Mary Poppins “Practically Perfect in Every Way.”

So if one of them was asked, how did you go on misleading the people on free trade, he could say ‘I Mary Poppins’d it!’, which gets us to the soon to be late President Obama (who as a former President won’t be able to properly time manage his calendar). As we see the quote “the president does not mention Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump by name but makes clear that he disagrees with both candidates’ opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)” (at https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/oct/06/barcack-obama-america-future-economist-essay), I have to wonder if the first African American president wasn’t just a puppet for big business. We will soon see him evicted from his rental place at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20500, United States. Yet the question becomes, what next?

You see, there is a lot wrong at present. The issue is seen in a BBC article (at http://www.bbc.com/news/business-37580844). I have been stating it for a long time. My issue is not that I am correct, my issue in this is: ‘why fess up now?’, is it merely because there is a new administration coming in, or is it the general fear from Wall Street that Brexit is not the negative act for the UK as proven and fear mongering is no longer working and the upcoming issue that Frexit is becoming a general fear and the second exit will be enough to terminally kick over the Euro and the EEC? You see, the admission as seen in “the effects of globalisation on advanced economies is “often uneven” and “may have led to rising wage inequality”. The bank, which provides loans to developing countries, also says that “adjustment costs”, such as helping people who have lost their jobs, have been higher than expected.” It was the end station for too many people and until the grey faction (almost one third of the population) dies, this situation will not improve. On a global scale retirement funds are unlikely to exist by 2032, when it needs to give support to no less than 850 million people, giving a rise to the overall debts by close to a trillion a month. These administrations have been all about short term and now the time is getting close to the factual realisation that retirement funds will not survive the terms they need to. For those outside of Scandinavia not a good thing. Even as we see the great news in several nations, there is a factual mistrust (in me too), that the status is all it is cranked up to be. When we consider that a massive block of these people are retiring between 2025 and 2037, there is very little doubt that at present, the reality will set in no later than 2041, considering that many people will be in their 80’s at that point. The deal breaker will suddenly flare up and a massive wave of bad news will hit on a global scale. That is a speculation from my side!

This all hits back because the World Bank decided to keep people for the longest term into the dark and President Obama gives us “The world is more prosperous than ever before and yet our societies are marked by uncertainty and unease. So we have a choice – retreat into old, closed-off economies or press forward, acknowledging the inequality that can come with globalisation while committing ourselves to making the global economy work better for all people, not just those at the top.”, which just shows us how screwed up his vision is. ‘More prosperous than ever before‘ is like a joke and a bad one. The overall quality of life, after the downgrades from 2009 have never reset correctly. The amount of people who are after 5 years still waiting to see an actual increase in the quality of life is absolutely disgraceful and it goes far beyond American borders.

The two are related, not just the TPP, the TTIP in equal measure shows a level of syndication that we have seen in the pharmaceutical industry (just one of many) is almost unheard of and this is where it reflects on pensions. You see, the next 3 decades is essential for this industry, which gets us to the retirement group. Because without the TPP, or the TTIP, there will be a gap for those people to truly make a killing and that is what they want. The BBC quotes, might be relevant and correct, but they are not exactly accurate. First the quotes: “Hillary Clinton has found herself surrounded by political challengers questioning the benefits of international trade and globalisation. Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s opponent in the race for the Democratic nomination, defined his campaign by arguing that globalisation had hollowed out the US middle class“. You see, these facts are true, but the previous administrations were not about people, they are about the Walton’s and not the TV series from the 70’s. Jim Walton, Alice Walton, S. Robson Walton, Lukas Walton and Christy Walton. They are the people behind Walmart. Their fortune totalling over 122 billion dollar. Individual not as much as Ellison or Gates, but combined making both Gates and Ellison not add up to much and that is quite the achievement. You see, this is the place where people working full time still ended up below the poverty line. So, it wasn’t about the middle class. Walmart required globalisation to get cheap stuff from China (and a few other places), where people were happy to work for $2 a day to please all those Americans. Now, don’t think of me as some Karl Marx type, I believe in Capitalism, yet is also believe in fair play and not giving an inch to the greed driven. If these people are growing their fortune by 1.5 billion a year (each), getting the workers a better deal is not entirely out of bounds. Now, I have no list as to how they made the $1.5B, so there would be a fair debate here, but overall the issue remains, the people lost a lot and were not given any fair dues. Walmart might be one of the most visible ones, it is, by no means the only one.

So, as we were informed by the World Bank, a mere 5 hours ago, yesterday’s title ‘Why is globalisation under attack?‘ (at http://www.bbc.com/news/business-37554634), leaves us with a different taste. You see, the quote “But many people, including politicians, are now voicing their anger as they see jobs being taken by machines, old industries disappearing and waves of migration disturbing the established order“, my initial response would be ‘No Mark, you silly git, we have been voicing this for some time now!‘, you see, you are mixing issues up and not having any idea what painting you are describing. It’s almost like hearing a person state. Did you see that painting with those people with rifles? So until you are realising it is the Night Watch by Rembrandt. People will be wondering what it is about. So let’s cut up the quote by Mark Broad and look at the parts individually.

Jobs being taken by machines‘, has been an issue for the longest time, it was a worry when I was in middle school, and now I am approaching retirement. Some of it is a worry, for the most it is the time shaping global industries.

Old industries disappearing‘, is again mere evolution, old media goes out and Google AdWords comes in. The Age of Mobile is here and has been here rocking the world since 2013.

Waves of migration disturbing the established order‘ is expecting the actual fear he is trying to push. Yet, there are two waves. The economic migration and refugees fleeing for their lives. All are trying to get into Europe and our systems were never designed to administrate the relocation of 13 million refugees and none of that is about globalisation to begin with. In addition, the quote by Donald Trump given “We talk about free trade. It’s not free trade; it’s stupid trade. China dumps everything that they have over here“, which is exactly what his Walton friends wanted to begin with and that too is not the issue. What is the issue is the article that we got the next day. The quote ‘some have lost out from free trade‘ and we can easily replace ‘some‘ with ‘those not on a Fortune 500 list‘ or ‘those who are not big business‘, so when we get back to the parts that President Obama was miss-representing with “a foundation was laid for a better future. He suggests that the US should prepare for negative shocks to the economy before they occur and not have to fight for emergency measures in a time of need” he is obviously showing a lack of humour, because the fact that the TPP and the TTIP is all about big business, also means that the small fish will still go hungry and the rejection of these accords mean that unless the US gets a grip on their budgets, there is every likelihood that the US as a has been will knock on the doors of the new superpowers (China and India) whether they can have a seat at the table, with the not so unlikely chance that these two might prefer Russia over America. It leaves Europe in a stale position with not too many options for now. In the end the Commonwealth could sit at that table, but we need to see massive changes and the World Bank is not the party to be listening to. In this I would be in opposition to ‘C. Herring, George (2008), From Colony to Superpower: U.S. Foreign Relations since 1776‘, which was correct until the final meltdown and in addition the 20 trillion national debt was not taken into consideration either (which makes sense). In addition, we can at present say goodbye to Tony Blair’s statement of the EEC becoming a superpower, mainly because it is as broke as anything else. With Brexit that option diminished and with Frexit on the horizon, the EEC stops being an optional power of any kind. Now that Nicolas Dupont-Aignan is stronger in favour of Frexit and as Frexit is not just the words of Marine Le Pen, we will see that the width of Frexit could be dramatically increasing, moving this from optional to likely. This is a direct consequence of people seeing for over a decade on how globalisation did not bring them anything and France is an evolved nation. So they should have seen massive positive impact, yet the economic news in France has shown nothing on that for the better part of a decade. At present a still shrinking economy without any options to get it kick-started is part of the problem for France, so we see that the Mario Draghi Trillion didn’t help too much for France, so who actually did benefit?

Yet in all this, the other side given by the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/oct/06/imf-and-world-bank-launch-defence-of-open-markets-and-free-trade), where we see the words of Larry Elliott, which I personally find to be out of place. You see, like with BBC Marky Mark, Larry gives us ‘Institutions react to concern that Brexit vote and calls for protectionism in US are part of a backlash against globalisation‘, which is, as I personally see it also a miss Presentation rank, so just like before let’s do some splitting.

  1. Brexit vote is part of a backlash against globalisation’, I oppose this as Brexit grew due to a stream of irresponsible acts by the EEC and those in the UK were tired of paying for that whilst the quality of life was going straight into the basement and for the most, too many UK people are still in that basement wondering what sunlight looks like.
  2. Calls for protectionism in US is part of a backlash against globalisation’, which is about crunching down on IP and forcing paths for too many IP streams (like medication patents) to the brink of additional tome and now that the gig is up, the greying population will get a hold of generic medication. In this too many pharmaceuticals were about the maximised greed and exclusivity and their timespan is now ending. They could lose over 20% of a market worth trillions, and this is not a market that they want to give up. In all this the US debt is also a factor, because whispered ‘promises’ from boards of directors are not going anywhere and the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20500 doesn’t seem to get it, or he does and he is just putting on a show for the next 8 weeks as he is aiming for a 7 figure executive income. In all this, the one solution that should have been instigated (as stated by my 3 years ago) is the one nobody touches from fear that their nice jobs fall away.

The one solution that no one, not even Jim Yong Kim is discussing, is also not illuminated on CNBC, The Guardian, and the BBC or for that matter, the bulk of all media. A proper tax reform 5 years ago could have prevented many issues we see now. It would still be an issue, but the top 1% would have 10% less and the bottom 20% would not be in the poverty they are now in. All because the big fat cats were all about the status quo of the markets, the status quo of their lives and the growth of what they needed to have. When we see some weird level of justification in Obama’s words “That’s why CEOs took home about 20 to 30 times as much as their average worker. The reduction or elimination of this constraining factor is one reason why today’s CEO is now paid over 250 times more“, when the fact clearly shows that within 3 administrations on a CEO level their incomes went up by close to 700%, my initial not so diplomatic response would be ‘You should have done something you dim witted Dumbo!‘, I know that one should not address an American President in that way, but the need for tax reform was blatantly clear in the US in his first year and he did absolutely nothing there. So his continued view of “we need to be even more aggressive in enacting measures to reverse the decades-long rise in inequality. Unions should play a critical role“, where I see the need to state on how he pretty much ignored labour unions (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/labor-union-officials-say-obama-betrayed-them-in-health-care-rollout/2014/01/31/2cda6afc-8789-11e3-833c-33098f9e5267_story.html), so his words of exit could validly be reposted by the unions by them stating ‘Just shut up and go‘. That is one side that the Washington Post was making perfectly clear. Perhaps President Obama would like to recant the words by Taylor and Terry O’Sullivan, president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America with “they were not listening or they simply did not care“, which is quite the issue for Barack Obama, who could at present face the label of becoming ‘the worst president in the history of the United States of America‘, I am not stating this, I am speculating on this, when we see the list of his achievements and the list of actions that are about to get overturned would be instrumental in this. I don’t think that he ever expected this, but on the other hand, this would be good news for the Buchanan family, as James Buchanan would no longer be the worst president (according to the C-Span poll).

All these elements connect as there is too much a view by those who imagine themselves as the holders of ‘wisdom’ that globalisation works, it does, but only for big business, and as long as proper taxation is not done, as long as board members earn incomes 700% above what a CEO used to make, which was already a massive amount, this globalisation will not hold water and nationalisation is the only solution to trim the greed away. In that a company is either not in any nation, or those nations see a chunk of that cash being taxed and spend locally, which actually does give forward momentum to those economies.

So, these Mary Poppins figurines should stop singing “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” when they get their pay check and annual bonus, they should start realising that the reality that brings the new “SuperTaxedAndCalibratedIncomeIsANormNow” might become a top of the pops. In that part as equilibrium resets on a government tax level as well as a living standard, we could see an economy where people have money to spend, they might actually all start the economy together. None of it required the crazy Draghi scheme and debts might actually be gotten under control, because that element too was a consequence of globalisation. Isn’t that interesting to see that no one from the World Bank made mention on any of these elements, which are proven to be factors. So was this a second step against Brexit and perhaps deflating Frexit?

 

I will let you decide, but feel free to read some of the articles I linked and more important, ask yourself the question why certain elements in all this were left out, elements that were part of all this all along.

Have a great Friday!

 

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The UK NHS is fine

This is the view that some seem to impair on the Britons. When we look at the article (at http://www.bbc.com/news/health-37331350), “Seven-day NHS ‘impossible under current funding levels’“, we see that there is an initial massive problem. I have no reason to doubt any of this, yet consider the issues in play. The Guardian gave us “Jeremy Corbyn has urged his supporters to campaign for jobs and the NHS once the current leadership battle is over. A year and a day after he was first elected as leader, Labour’s leader told a rally in Brighton that whatever the result, he hoped that they would join with him to convince the rest of Britain to join in a quest for a fairer society“, this is just a from one article. Yet, when we look a little further we get the Canary, which gives us “All the time I’ve been in parliament, I’ve been opposed to privatisation of the NHS and I voted against it with colleagues in the Parliamentary Labour Party over many years because we wanted to see a fully-funded, public, National Health Service. The Tories have sought to privatise it. A Labour government will have to take the whole NHS into public ownership and make sure it remains there. The next Labour government will go further than reversing Tory cuts. We intend to deliver a modern health and social care policy, fully publicly provided, and fully publicly funded, by integrating health and social care into a single system, so that everyone gets the care they need when they need it.” (at http://www.thecanary.co/2016/09/05/jeremy-corbyn-lays-out-his-plan-for-the-nhs-in-under-a-minute/). You see, we all want that, the Conservatives are not against it, the government just cannot afford it such a solution. When you take the government Credit Card and spend over a trillion pounds. Under Labour the debt went from less than 400 million to well over a trillion. Even though 2004 did not hit the UK as hard as other places, Labour should have changed their approach to budgets by a lot, then in 2008 there would have been no option but to radically implement austerity measures. This was never done the way it required to be. The people were told these overly optimistic views, mainly, as I personally see it to let money roll. In December 2007, the 2008 forecast was between 1% and 1.3%, The European Commission in 2008 was “In summary, growth in the UK economy is expected to slow to around 1¾% in 2008. In 2009, with no large carryover effect from 2008, the gradual recovery in domestic demand through the year will bring annual growth to just over 1½%“. Yet, when we see the BBC report (not forecasting) at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8479639.stm, we see that 2008 went per quarter from +0.6% to -1.7% in 2009 it grew from -2.5% to 0.1%. So at no point was any forecast ever met. This is something that has been going on for over a decade. Not just the UK mind you, the EU as a whole is playing that same managed bad news cycle that starts with overinflated positivity whilst those behind this game are delusional beyond belief. Until a massive change is made in the approach business and politicians are taking to blow up the governmental credit card. This relates to Jeremy Corbyn because unless the man was lobotomised in 2001, he should know better. Under Labour governance, the debt went up by a little over 600 billion pounds. Did they not consider the consequences? Overspending year after year, followed by managed bad news is not a solution. It never was and any politicians voicing that it could should be barred from public office for life! (Again, this applies to both sides of the political isle). That simple realisation is all UKIP needed and the mistakes made today and the symbiotic relationship of required spending between business and government needs to come to an end. In this coming decade we need actual solutions, an actual path to restore the pushed imbalance of Wall Street status quo pushed us all towards. So until we all realise that, the NHS is fine, because soon many people will have too many additional problems and the NHS will not show up on their radar. That is my prediction if the current wave of weighted misinformation continues.

So the NHS is fine according to those who needs funds to the directions they desire. You see, here we get confronted with the reality that the Conservatives are dealing with. Do you actually think that the quote “Prime minister declines to guarantee points-based system and extra £100m a week for health service“, the reality of a budget is that money runs out. It did 2 years ago and solutions need to be found. I personally, as a conservative would have preferred that the NHS was higher on the list. Yet, reality got in the way here too. The UK got into Brexit and we all knew that there would be consequences even though realistically the extent would never be a given. In that regard, the issues that Japanese PM Shinzo Abe raised might be regarded as a joke. My reasoning here is that the quote “Countries such as Japan have already warned the UK that a lack of clarity about Brexit and loss of the benefits that access to the single market brings could lead” brought. So this PM is crying on the UK doorstep whilst he should have asked President of the European Union Donald Tusk. No, he wants to know this from the UK, which in my view makes him sound more like a servant of the Washington Oval Office than the PM of Japan he is supposed to be. In addition, is it not interesting that an organisation like the EU has nothing in place regarding the notion a leaving nation will have as an impact of its structure? All this reflects back to the NHS, because as we see more and more political bashing from the people who are now finally realising that their Gravy Train is about to stop and that their cushy incomes based upon virtual works and situations will not continue, now they all come up into the light to push people into continuing disaster that could soon be the former EU.

This all relates to the NHS, because it will impact the NHS. I am not pushing for the entire Junior Doctor Contracts. Whatever the stance is there, the truth is that a pilot strike for better conditions would be the same, the airline would be put under pressure, but the airline would continue. With the NHS it is not that simple and the impact could be harder, yet the people have a right to stand up what they consider to be their right. Yet in all this people are very easy to ignore that the government has been giving into pharmaceutical companies not just the TTIP and in that regard they did not take a tougher stance on those pharmaceutical parts, opening stronger ties with India and the essential need for Generic medical solutions (where applicable), because that also impacts the NHS, lower costs for medications means more for staff, equipment and location. We all accept that the NHS needs solutions and so far there is a lack of actual actions that are leading to longer term solutions.

Yet we need to see that Labour isn’t the only lose screw on the political bench, Tim Farron from the Liberal Democrats are on the same foot. I gave my answer earlier. Unless the UK can get the budgets truly under control and until massive changes are implemented that will allow for better budgeting, the NHS would stop because business people want profit through privatisation and too many people are wasting the true future options of Britons through misrepresentation of forecasts. If you think that this is off? That forecasting is too complex, which can be concurred by many including me to some extent, it is not the case to the extent that we saw for too long a time. I discussed part of this in ‘A noun of non-profit‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2013/05/15/a-noun-of-non-profit/), in addition there is ‘Cooking the books?‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2014/01/22/cooking-the-books/) where I proved some of these points and showed the danger. So basically, the predictions I made in January 2014 are now showing to be correct. So as people are looking at a way for the government to spend more money and show cooked forecasts, consider the next time this is done and the austerities that will then follow., We can no longer continue this irresponsible push for unrealistic solutions that do not lead anywhere and takes us to look away from the solutions that actually need solving. The NHS needs solving and it needs it now.

There is no debate about the NHS and privatisation. Everyone would happily get rid of the idea if there was money to do that. I am not mentioning the aging population, because that has been known for a very long time and we can only partially blame the economic crash, because that hit everyone square in the face. So when I read the LibDems demanding the end of playing politics, whilst they are sitting next to Labour doing just that, we have to wonder where they got their view from. The independent reported only 3 days ago. The article (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/lib-dems-demand-end-to-playing-politics-with-the-nhs-a7315236.html) gives a few quotes on that matter. “Mr Lamb has also launched a consultation on the introduction of a NHS specific income tax, which would ring fence a possible one pence per pound earned for the NHS budget, and appear on people’s payslips as such“, that is an optional solution. You see, this was introduced within the Netherlands decades ago and it solved plenty of issues. It is hard to talk about taxing this, but consider that the NHS will be short by 6 billion in the near future is at the heart of the issue. Consider that from your pay check, the government takes an additional £2 a week. Now consider the working population of 31 million people meaning that we have an optional 62 million pounds at our disposal, money that is destined exclusively for the NHS. Now, do not think for a moment that this will be temporary. There is the realistic consideration that this will be for all time, giving us two groups of people, those entitled to full health care and those with the minimum package. Now, retired people would get full health care on principle that they paid their dues a long time ago. There is every chance that people will not feel happy regarding this solution, but what options are left. The irresponsible ones seem to think that it will fit in the budget, especially those who haven’t been able to keep one since 1997. In this solution I feel decently comfortable with the solution that is consulted on by Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Norman Lamb. For one, I have seen this work in the Netherlands. In addition his version of “introduction of a NHS specific income tax, which would ring fence a possible one pence per pound earned for the NHS budget” sounds better than my £2 a week on small incomes. On the other hand, if we consider the minimum income of £286.54 per week, my amount sounded a little better, but we cannot deny the minimum £2.86 a week could solve nearly all options over time. It gets even better when we see that the average is £403.36 per week, so we are looking at a possible £120 million per week. I do believe that there should be an upper limit, yet where that ends is something that cannot be answered at this time. What is important is to seriously start taking up the ideas out there and see which one could lead to pressure release on the NHS, because at this point, every day not acted is another nail in the coffin that will be used soon enough to bury a past NHS era.

 

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The Taxing Delicious

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cause and Effect

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

What now?

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

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

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In This War!

We look at the news that is now taking on a she said, she said path, whilst he said is ignored towards what another he is stating. This is not a battle of sexes (which is a nice change). No this is almost like the US Senate versus Congress (also known as the fruits and nuts department of US politics), this is British politics in the Brexit phase that is now following. People dragging their feet, people going over simple narrow-minded seeding of statements whilst throwing the custard pies in as many faces as possible. It is like watching toddlers getting off the rocking chair. In all this there are also corporate players who have been hiding behind others whilst spreading unsolicited memo’s leaving them in the open to read with a ‘top secret‘ stamp on it. It almost feels like the GCHQ soap that we saw in Cheltenham 1991 (could be 1989 or 1990).

Anyway, when we hold people to account for their statements we will get these ‘miscommunication’ issues which will waste everybody’s time and it will not get anything done. That first part is seen in the Guardian in an opinion piece by Toby Helm (at http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/sep/10/brexit-camp-abandons-350-million-pound-nhs-pledge). My issue started with “dropped their pre-referendum pledge of a £350m-a-week spending bonanza for the NHS“. Let’s be clear here! Nigel Farage has stated on several occasions that the 10 billion pounds (34 million a day), should not go towards the EU, it should be spend in the UK on people for the UK. In addition, he stated on Good Morning Britain that he could not guarantee that it (£350 million a week) would go to the NHS. That was months ago! Even earlier (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkr_Qjey8s8), we see Nigel Farage talking about the debate that is required around NHS. I believe he is right, in all this the debate he opened is one that the Tories and Labour aren’t stating they are slinging mud. In that part we see that Nigel was promising to put 3 billion (out of the 10 billion) towards the NHS. It was an intent to do!

He literally said ‘we could put 3 billion pounds‘ (around 5:55 into the story). Means it was not a given, just an option! In this Nigel Farage was right. Labour and Conservatives had ideas which meant borrowing more money. Also, let me remind the readers that it was Labour who stuffed up the NHS IT program costing the tax payers 11 billion pounds. It was a complete failure and large loss, one of the largest the NHS ever faced.

Now of course we can sling mud all over and as a Conservative I guarantee you that you will lose at that point. The NHS is on the verge of collapse and neither side has done anything to truly take care of business. UKIP sees it as a disgrace and so it should be, because it has been known for over 15 years that the UK is largely an aging population, meaning the pressures on the NHS will only increase, that while it is being drained. In this we also need to take a look at the TTIP and the dangers it poses. We can try to have faith in the marketing joke the EU is when we see the focal point that is useless (at http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2015/january/tradoc_153010.4.7%20Pharmaceuticals.pdf). This is especially seen when we see the elements around protecting Intellectual Property:

– Companies to profit from their research and remain amongst the most competitive in the world- Patients to benefit from new medicines.
We won’t negotiate anything in TTIP which would:

– Upset this delicate balance, or
– Increase costs for EU countries

The TTIP is about profit, especially for American Pharmaceutical companies!

Places like EFPIA are not lying to you, they are just misrepresenting the needs. Because a strong TTIP is not what they state ‘How a Strong Pharmaceutical Chapter in TTIP will Benefit the EU‘, it gives massive powers to the Pharmaceutical industries, whilst stopping generic medication from getting in. And here is the crux for the NHS, to get part of their budgets to meet up with reality, there will be a massive need for generic medication. For over 2 years I have pleaded to get stronger ties with India that has a growing market of generic medical solutions. A partial solution can be found here! Now, it will not solve all, there are still patented medicinal solutions we need and they will be bought, yet the fact that pharmaceutical industries want another 20 years of exclusivity is just not proper, not realistic and not acceptable. The US should have cleaned house in that market decades ago, but they were only focused on flaccid politicians requiring Viagra. Now that the game is up they all want a little more (read: twice as much). This is not how patents are supposed to work, they never were!

Consider the following two quotes: “The EU and India are taking steps to end a trade row sparked by an EU ban of 700 Indian pharmaceutical products after New Delhi cancelled talks on a free trade accord earlier this month“, which was in August 2015 by the way! As well as “Modi personally argued that the long-stalled talks on a free trade accord should be revived, India’s turnaround puzzled the 28-nation bloc, which insisted the ban was a minor, technical issue unconnected to trade“, it was all about the product, not about trade, the issue that the EU licking the heels of Washington gives us “the delays risk leaving India isolated. While Modi is trying to double India’s global exports to $900 billion in five years, Europe’s top negotiator now spends more time on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with Washington“, you see, this 900 billion market is stopping an almost 2 trillion market of US pharmacy. Even if it is not all UK, what would you rather see? The NHS spending 90 million, or 2 billion on the same amount of medication? Let’s not forget it is down for over 13 billion at present. The NHS needs this generic solution and at present having strong ties with India makes a lot more sense than the ties with the US that are bringing the UK down, all because they would not clean their own stables!

This is and remains the foundation of Brexit, so when we see the Guardian quote “Anna Soubry, the pro-Remain Tory MP and former minister for small business, said it was outrageous that the Leave campaigners had “peddled that lie” during the campaign and were now quietly abandoning it“, we need to tell Anna Soubry that she needs to stop whining like a politician and start giving out papers that clearly define on how the NHS can be stopped to collapse, because as a fellow Tory she does know that from the moment the Tories came to power in 2010, too little has been done to revive the No Holy Sanctum, so actions are required. The fact that the previous administration from 1997 onwards also made its shares of mistakes as well as waste an additional 10 billion, means that massive effort needs to go into the NHS, having to listen to a whining Anna Soubry (in this matter) is a waste of everybody’s time. I am actually not happy to phrase it this way, because Anna has had quite the political career. Not into the limelight for too much, but I always saw her as upcoming House of Lords material, mainly because she has been outspoken on more than one occasion, at times this is how we hope our Lords would be. I never minds whether a person was right or wrong, just that they would be an evolving wisdom. Those vague stating politicians (as too many are) would never be Lords material, Anna still is in my eyes. This does not mean I will agree on her, or on my party. Things need to get done and too many aren’t getting it done.

In addition, we see all these financial doomsayers who are now resetting the view of Brexit in less negative ways. It is not as bad as they thought it was. This is their view on managed bad news. Another piece of the puzzle, where too many people were trying to demand that the Status Quo remain. When spending has not had the incentive of growth and managed bad news was used to dim the impact, now we see the opposite where their doom is not happening and now they are revising the numbers upwards (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/sep/09/city-banks-revise-brexit-doom-and-gloom-forecasts). Here we see the ‘bitches’ of Wall Street: Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse revising their numbers as the trade deficit is now falling for the UK and that gap is now optionally turning into the momentum of a better economy. So, is my view too extreme when we see the quote “Morgan Stanley initially forecast the economy going negative by 0.4% in the third quarter of 2016, but this week changed that to expectations of 0.3% growth“. This makes me state ‘How stupid or non-comprehending is your staff?‘ I would like to add personally to James P. Gorman: “You now have 7 quarters of data showing that managed bad news is never a real solution and that the Status Quo of finance is a mere illusion. So will you in the near future clean house and start being a visionary instead of remaining a facilitator?

I know, diplomacy has never been my forte, yet as Apple is likely to lose up to a 2% market share over the coming tax year, he needs to wake up and kick the right people into gear before he has to do a negative 2 trillion dollar speech, and perhaps I might just have oversimplified the problem for both you and him!

These are only parts of the solution, but we need to tackle them one at a time. Because the intricate mess both sides of the isle is trying to make them will not solve anything. I will go one step further, I am almost driven to get one additional degree in Medicine, move to the UK and work at the NHS trying to resolve the problems! You see, one of my lifelong idols is Lord Baden-Powell. I was never a boy scout (in more than one way), but I have always taken one of his quotes to heart “Try and leave this world a little better than you found it!” It is the master of all thoughts, because it does not make you solve things, it is not my burden, just leaving it a little better, a little cleaner is all we all need to do. The simplicity is that if all 68 million Britons do just that, we could all turn the UK into the paradise it once was and can be again in almost no time at all.

The simplicity of any solution is the one step you actively take! Because when it is done you take the next step! This is what happens when we are not stopped for too long by too many managers trying to figure out WHAT to do, just to start doing it. That is the brilliance of Brexit. That step has been taken, now we take the next step and the one after it. So many politicians have been too worried about looking good that they forgot about actually doing anything good. I reckon that the inactions towards the NHS and housing are ample pieces of evidence to show that I am right, and the Mud Ladle of Blame goes to both sides of the isle.

In all this the one massive reason for me to remain towards the Brexit side is the one no one seems to discuss, or perhaps the press is being told not to dig too deep into that side. You see, one of my major issues has been and still is Mario Draghi. Bloomberg gets close with the quote “About three months ago, the Draghi-led European Central Bank started buying corporate bonds in the region for the first time. The results have been dramatic and, at times, alarming” (at https://www.bloomberg.com/gadfly/articles/2016-09-07/companies-are-getting-paid-to-be-rated-junk-in-europe). You see, the simple clarity is that you cannot use a credit card spending over a trillion thinking it will have no impact of your credit score. The quote “Investors are now literally paying European companies to borrow. Sanofi, a French drug maker, just became the first nonfinancial private company to issue debt that yields less than zero” as well as “Bonds of some investment-grade European companies now carry negative yields” are just two examples of the mess and the nightmare that will soon hit too many places. Then there is “Less clear is how investors are justifying purchases of junk-rated bonds that promise nothing and come with big risks“, which is what we saw on Cyprus and in Greece. No one is held accountable and those screaming for more money have no idea and no option to pay it back. It was never a solution! So Draghi spending a trillion plus leaving the credit card to be added to the workload of his successor is not ever a solution. Moreover, the EU nations have to come up with paying it back somehow, so leaving this collection of spenders seems much better than to play possum and ignore that credit card, because that debt comes with interest and there is not one government in the EU who doesn’t have their own national credit card maxed out, which means that our children will have to work of this debt. That is not a world I ever accepted to be in!

Now consider the last quote “Does this mean risky debt in Europe getting less risky? No. Fundamentals are, in fact, deteriorating, according to the Bank of America strategists, with investors recovering less from defaulted debt than they have in the past“, which is partially the problem and the issue I have with the USA. Wall Street is setting up a scenario that is reminiscent of the old Pyramid schemes, with the difference that they quickly want to cash in one more time and breaking free from whatever remains. It is wrong on many levels, so as there is one more round of bonds and stimulus, the previous instigators cash in and get out with as much as possible, knowing that they will survive in the next two decades whilst the ones not getting out drown and lose all. This is why the Draghi method is so dangerous and we need to get away from it Brexit was part one, although Frexit (part two) is not a guarantee, the fact that Sarkozy is now ready to set a referendum if elected should be ample warning for the US (read: Wall Street) that the status quo route is no longer acceptable and too many nations are willing to let it all fall back to nationalism if pushed, should be more than enough for Wall Street to find a ‘live with the loses solution‘. Something we all know will never happen!

So in this war there is the immediate need to stop misinformation and above all get something done, in this case fix the NHS, it should be the only issue on the agenda of both isles for the rest of the year, that whilst Brexit moves forward. It is a tall order to deliver no matter how you slice it, but whomever does will have the support of the people for a long time to come, because that aging population will still hold the majority for well over a decade.

 

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