Tag Archives: Germany

Bits and Pieces – 20180430, Monday

Commentary

While I continue to tinker with the topic structure of these posts, I realize that the overall framework or statement of purpose is to track the major issues that will impact us individually and collectively as a society, today and in the future.

This sounds ambitious. The work, however, is more of collecting and organizing current news and writings of various authors in a coherent manner. Each post might be viewed as a two-dimension slice through daily life structured in threads (topics) that across time, introduce a third dimension. This latter view of a thread is what constitutes an essay or a book.

Much of what I include involves little or no commentary on my part. Sometimes, an issue or an item bubbles to the surface resulting in a more extensive treatment on my part. I have several issues that I simply don’t have time to explore

This issue of Bits and Pieces reflects the growing attention I am paying to the propaganda aimed at controlling us.

Bits and Pieces – 20170131, Tuesday

Commentary: I’m pondering how to make my news reading and reporting more effective for myself – it’s currently taking up too much time and retrieving information from my site is not as effective as I had hoped. So look for changes.

In trying to understand the thoughtless position of the left, I came up with the notion of a ‘narrative’. A narrative is a belief system by which we operate. I’m sure this is a concept well explored academically and I may be using a term that I read somewhere. It’s more than an ideology, something which it subsumes. It manifests in behavior such as passive or aggressive. Religion would be a narrative. I’m comfortable with this one because it arguably goes back to the early days of humankind. It is responsible for Stonehenge, burial practices going back at least several thousand years, and more.

Today, Scott Adams discusses two “filters” in his blog post  The Persuasion Filter and Immigration. Apart from being a brilliant analysis of Trump’s behavior and operating strategy, it provides a perspective for the recent “Muslim ban”. What is really interesting is that events are moving so fast that we will likely be able to test Adans’ hypothesis in real time over the next couple of weeks. As a bonus, it gives me things to ponder fro my narative thesis.

The Intersection of Three Crises

By Reva Bhalla

Within the past two weeks, a temporary deal to keep Greece in the eurozone was reached in Brussels, a cease-fire roadmap was agreed to in Minsk and Iranian negotiators advanced a potential nuclear deal in Geneva. Squadrons of diplomats have forestalled one geopolitical crisis after another. Yet it would be premature, even reckless, to assume that the fault lines defining these issues are effectively stable. Understanding how these crises are inextricably linked is the first step toward assessing when and where the next flare-up is likely to occur.

Germany Emerges

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, accompanied by French President Francois Hollande, met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Feb. 6. Then she met with U.S. President Barack Obama on Feb. 9. The primary subject was Ukraine, but the first issue discussed at the news conference following the meeting with Obama was Greece. Greece and Ukraine are not linked in the American mind. They are linked in the German mind, because both are indicators of Germany’s new role in the world and of Germany’s discomfort with it.

The Similarities Between Germany and China

By George Friedman

I returned last weekend from a monthlong trip to both East Asia and Europe. I discovered three things: First, the Europeans were obsessed with Germany and concerned about Russia. Second, the Asians were obsessed with China and concerned about Japan. Third, visiting seven countries from the Pacific to the Atlantic in 29 days brings you to a unique state of consciousness, in which the only color is gray and knowing the number of your hotel room in your current city, as opposed to the one two cities ago, is an achievement.

The world is not getting smaller. There is no direct flight from the United States to Singapore, and it took me 27 hours of elapsed travel to get there. There is a direct flight from Munich to Seoul, but since I started in Paris, that trip also took about 17 hours. Given how long Magellan took to circumnavigate the world, and the fact that he was killed in the Philippines, I have no basis for complaint. But the fact is that the speed of global travel has plateaued, as has the global economic system. There is a general sense of danger in Europe and Asia. There is no common understanding on what that danger is.

Germany Fights on Two Fronts to Preserve the Eurozone

By Adriano Bosoni and Mark Fleming-Williams

The European Court of Justice announced Sept. 22 that hearings in the case against the European Central Bank’s (ECB) bond-buying scheme known as Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT) will begin Oct. 14. Though the process is likely to be lengthy, with a judgment not due until mid-2015, the ruling will have serious implications for Germany’s relationship with the rest of the eurozone. The timing could hardly be worse, coming as an anti-euro party has recently been making strides in the German political scene, steadily undermining the government’s room for maneuver.

Flash Point: Europe is fixed! Not!

We received this note from our friend JR that echoes what appears to be a common sentiment.

This is simple. If the ECB sets rate caps on long-term rates then the solvency crisis is essentially over. This would essentially be a pseudo guarantee of bond markets with the ECB’s backing. This would almost certainly bring private investors back to these markets and help fund the governments. So we eliminate the solvency crisis. That’s a HUGE first step. http://pragcap.com/europe-a-policy-proposal-with-teeth

We will argue that the solvency issue is not resolved but simply kicked down the road. That in turn opens up a rarefied space we haven’t seen commentary or speculation on yet.

Sovereign Bond Yields

This page has links to Bloomberg and a number of sovereign bonds that may be of current interest.

Tracking the Next Recession

It’s a little late in the game to start this tracking series since we have been reading recession forecasts for months. However, the equity markets are skating happily on and the mainstream media is still, after 4 years seeing green shoots.

We have added this graphic for interest (updated 20130517).

Chronologically listed, the reports are:

Tracking The Downgrade of Europe (and Others)

When mutual and hedge fund managers want to buy fixed asset securities such as bonds, they rely on rating agencies for an assessment of default risk. This helps them to decide what a fair interest rate is on the debt to reflect the risk premium on their investment. Needless to say, if you are an institution trying to raise money, te lower the agencies’ ratings on your debt the more you will have to pay in interest.

Where the real problem comes in is if you already have a high debt load accumulated over a long period of time. You are regularly faced with old debt maturing. Since you are already treading water, you need to roll over the debt or in other words, refinance or reissue it. The problem with paying higher interest rates is not immediate, it is down the road (see: “Understanding Debt“).

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