Category Archives: World Affairs

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The Double Whammy…its coming to a place near you…

Outside Wall Street

The so called double whammy is yet to come, the first was when the real high flyer’s fell from grace, but they still have bundles left in the bank, the Mom and Pop investors conned by financial institutions for a “better retirement life” have already been sent to the dogs with their savings and even their homes sold to repay debts, and were basically the ones who have taken the biggest hit in the financial crisis mainly with many to never recover, I could say that to a point they were stupid to bet their life savings (and their homes) on greed, but they should have bet both ways and not put it all into one pot of gold that turned out to be chocolate and melted, many of these retirees also come from  different era, an era were they should have known better than not to speculate their hard earned savings where they have no knowledge, but its all gone and now many countries will have to support them through old age putting tax and pressure on young earners to fill in the gap

The second whammy is now coming, the problem with this one is it is not as spectacular as the first of the nightly new broadcasts of company directors and bankers jumping out of windows, as the slow drawl of layoffs continue so will spending, the reality of people still living the “I’m still shopping as everything is fine” will suddenly realise that their money is now getting tighter, jobs will continue to drop and so the cycle downwards continues, governments want us to spend our way out of the problem and to a point it is working, but it can’t continue forever as we have to hit the wall sometime, in the 1930’s it was a severe depression that won’t happen today as we are now a global economy and that will save us, but we will suffer and for a few years yet and it will get harder and bleaker until something changes, but another change has happened a major social shift that is far larger and far reaching than we realise.

The world a few years ago was balanced totally in favor of the rich, the very few rich, but they undercut themselves into oblivion, why..well because profit at all costs was god and they forgot the basic rules that if you cut the money going down then how can the money come back up to you in profit, I’ll explain what I mean…

As you employ your staff to create more profit you have choices, to be more productive you can hire less people to do more work, or hire the same number of people and pay them less, another way and very popular was you could fire all your staff and send the work overseas mainly to Asia, but it all comes down to one thing, people you hire are either underpaid or fired both which means they have less money or no money at all, now in a raging growing economy that is not to much of a problem except you are sucking money out of the system and into your bank account, unfortunately the people whom buy your products are going broke as they have either less money or are simply broke, it was a system that was bound to fail sometime without a sub-prime mortgage crisis or not as you were sending yourself really broke while getting really rich, plus then you also have the fact that your workforce loath both you and your product you because their wages are lower than they were 20 years ago and they are working twice as hard and under the constant threat of “If you don’t I’ll fire you and take my business to China” mantra.

For one company or business to do this can be absorbed, but when 60% or more of a country’s businesses are doing this you have a major problem, you are creating a very large demographic that is going down to broke (poor) and are very angry, in other words the country is not a 1st world country anymore it is a 3rd world country and the 3rd world countries (India, China, SE Asia) are now the productive countries with money flowing in and not out, in other words they are rich and you are not, plus the fact that the companies that rely on your wages are now wondering why you are not buying from them anymore, rich people funny enough don’t spend money, the poor people do!.

Strange but true, let me explain..

Rich people will certainly invest, however profits and gains are mostly horded, put into banks and property or laundered away for a sunny day in Switzerland but not into the main economy and as there are very few rich people who do spend more the effect is good but not game changing, however poor people have to spend to survive and the sheer numbers of these middle class and poor income populations do make a bigger difference, so here you go and kill the middle class in layoffs, cutbacks or early retirement and send them poor(er) (and remember they were the ones with the most disposable incomes) and the few poor that do work are now very underpaid (commission work, few casual hours) or are out of work altogether..Brilliant well done you have put yourself out of business!

You could send your goods overseas but where, China?..they make it for nothing right now for you remember, so why would they buy it back at higher cost and then there is your other big problem of cutting corners on quality for profit which meant that your brand became damaged as well, but in an era of wear today and throw away tomorrow people didn’t really care if the item broke or fell apart which was good for you because they had to buy it all over again, they do now…the difference is that now people are paying for things with their own money and not with credit or company freebies, so now they want value and quality and funny enough will pay more to get it, but if you mass market your goods then the quality of say your Calvin Kliens is the same as your Kmarts because basically they come out of the same Asian factory people are going to move on to a product they can value or trust and its not you, you screwed them remember and along with that you stuffed up your brand and its long history.

The process of people getting poorer in a 1st world country was hidden by the fact that Real Estate was hyped and pushed up way to high by false security and well above a properties worth, and even allowing people who cannot afford such properties to try to buy them (Sub-Prime), plus the fact that people who already owned property found themselves in a gold rush were as the properties value went from $250.000 to $750.000 within a few short years making them suddenly rich, so they spent up big time, a spending spree of a life time and not only spending their own but the goodwill of generations past income and savings as well, in other words they sold their soul and their homes and descended themselves down to poverty and loss…but suddenly they are back to reality, instead of being worth $850.000 they are now worth $400.000 which is where they should have been in the first place, its still a lot of money but not in today’s worth and some people now owe that $450.000 as they spent the difference, and that is if you own your home outright, if you have a mortgage then you really have a problem and mostly its solved by either an auction or bankruptcy.

Large multinational companies have been so ruthless in getting profit at the expense of their workforce to the point it is a social disaster, young workers are disillusioned and angry at being so exploited that getting tanked and drunk is a better way to live than trying to make themselves a better life, wages are so dismal that they have two or three jobs to pay their way, for when the Baby Boomers left school they had a career or lifetime opportunities to pursue, not today, plus the fact that to get a higher education now means that you have to be rich, very rich, money is again the differential between having a good life and a career or being poor, the 60’s generation was not faced with this choice and they changed the world, this current generation just don’t care they can’t make money and they have no hope of buying or saving for a $500.000 house, “whatever”, so they live day to day not caring about anything except survival and getting through the next day.

This is the second double whammy the big one, the no money in the bank one, so what happens now question?

Too continue to pursue (demanding) growing profits over every other form of everyday life will mean disaster and with it and a total breakdown of our society which has already happened over the last 15 years and is going on right now and is getting seriously worse as it is that we just choose to just ignore it (just like the sub-prime debacle), yes business has to make money but not at the cost of total social collapse, unfortunately history has not been kind to us as we have a very poor record of the few rich exploiting the poor for just profit, the difference today is the very people you are exploiting is now your own customers which really is not good business and on top of that you now are taking money that should stay in your own economy and instead sending it overseas just to keep the stock market and shareholders happy, merging to create bigger models of scale is not great either just think of General Motors, bigger is not always better, Apple Corp absorb small innovative companies to add technical edge but do not intend to buy out Microsoft for market-share, so why be burdened with a mammoth when you can be lithe and creative and still be very successful with a good brand awareness.

So are we asking you to be social responsible, to survive you may suddenly have no choice, many will ask that “if we challenge our profits and businesses then I will fail”, if you don’t you will fail anyway, because now the situation is very different, rich are rich and the few successful upper middle class has moved up to join them, however the rest have moved down, way down in that middle class, lower middle class and poor (classed as just above the poverty line), street poor have always been below the poverty line (including druggies), are now all firmly down in the poor bracket, society is now not as diverse as it was, it is really now just the rich and the poor, so what choices do you now have?….

…well you have too ask yourself.. What is fair?

People will pay for quality in anything so price is now not the issue, if it is well made and lasts it will be purchased and you must educate your customers to buy for quality, surprisingly they do know the difference!, you don’t have to increase your workforce, you just have to pay them better and that is all the way down to the Fast Food store in fact it is the lower scales of labour that need the most changes….and this is the most important bit of this Journal.

There is a silent minority that don’t work and to a point no amount of training or dragging them to workplaces will change that, however money is not free and they are an increasing burden on the welfare system and it is not fair that people who do work hard are allowed to be taxed far higher and have to pay heavily for people who don’t contribute to the system this is the biggest burden on the surviving middle income earners and the extra burden of being taxed and piled high with other local, state and higher and exploding fees (registrations, licences, rates and like) which is slowly eroding their savings and taking a larger and larger share of their income, sending them down to the level of asking for state and national support and slowly creating a dissolving middle class and down into a new class of poor, which should not be the case as they are becoming the very people they support so who will support them?

We now have the extreme factor with current economic crisis that these income producing people will lose their jobs and worse not get re-employed.

Financially his a social shift of disaster, plus the old poorly paid poor are now living well below the poverty line, below even the street level.

But why work as well, if you do you are then carrying the country, taxed heavily and very low wages the reality is you get more for not working than if you do so, of course for the government it wants you to work but the reality is it doesn’t work..

The basic wage (sometimes called the Living Wage) is of course the idea to make sure that these workers are compensated reasonably for their labour, however it is well noted that the system has been circumvented and that few employer’s pay the amount required, one gag is to hire young people straight out of school under so called training schemes or the award wage for young people which is well is below the average wage of adult workers only to be released on them reaching an age that requires the employer to pay the full rights of the wage of an adult, leaving a young person unemployed and disillusioned at still a very young age, another problem is many people will work for less just for the work, immigrant or casual work means the system is undermined to the point that jobs are auctioned off to the person who is willing to work for the less amount of pay, mostly under the counter or the person willing to sign that they are getting the full rate when they are of course well below the law, other exploitation schemes are for commission only work or very few casual work hours, all of which really amounts to not even basic needs met by unskilled workers, in other words “why bother”and “I’m broke anyway”.

Governments don’t really like the idea of higher lower wages, the fear of employers firing employees and burdening the already overwhelming job market is to fearful for their own election chances plus the fact that such an higher wage will not make the country competitive in creating exports for sale overseas, it sends businesses to the wall, and for to compete with giants within Asia and Sub-Continent you now have to go off shore to be competitive on the world markets, but here is when the Double Whammy takes hold, yes you are competitive with world markets but you are doing something else as well, first you can not compete with China, its impossible and China strangely will change and not in the way you think!, for as low payed Chinese workers taste the effects of our culture they will want more of it and will want more money to be a part of it, in other words they will demand higher wages and better standards of living but that is still a few years off.

The problem for us we are going the other way and a large percentage are going very poor and manipulated with less and lower income wages we are slowly putting ourselves into a corner, people socially are already fighting for their financial lives and violence and the breakdown of basic social order is already with us, plus the fact that as people at this end of the scale have so little to spend it is not being translated upwards into other areas like tax and strangely enough profits for the very businesses that created the problems, cheap available credit has compounded the problem in the fact that for people to just survive they are putting their lives into debt just to fulfill basic needs, and as more and more of the population slide lower the problem will exacerbate into worse social and economic disaster, for youth and even now large percentage of unskilled and semi skilled workers it has become a exploited dire situation that will gradually infect the economies health to the point that every other demographic will have to shoulder the burden if not doing so already.

So what is the answer, for higher incomes (meaning rich) it doesn’t mean being taxed higher to deliver money low down to pay for the social poor, the solution is simple really, make low income work worthwhile, “oh the horror of it”, but really it makes a lot of sense on so many levels, low pay needs to go up not by a little but double! and even more and here are the benefits

1. low income people will want to work because they can now go forward in their lives and buy things or save

2. business will get better profits because people will have money to buy their goods and products

3. creates disposable incomes

4. many more people working will gather more tax and creates less burden on the social programs to survive

5. take the pressure off middle class to pay for everything including the rich whom don’t pay tax (they say they do but they don’t), more tax will come from the lower income population

6. creates self esteem and self confidence in people which is desperately required in the youth and low income population

7. people will want to do good work and will work harder because they will want to keep their good income

8. the wealth spiral goes up and not down

9. allows for young income earners to save and buy homes and start businesses

10. reduces the gap from poor to middle class (in fact it will restore lower-middle class and middle class)

11. reduces petty crime and violence, with money people will have no need to steal and feel inadequate, domestic violence will be lower as many problems are created by shortage of funds

To companies and small business this is probably a worst case scenario, labor has to be cheap to survive and make profits, labor is the biggest layout of costs in any business and there is no way we can compete mantra..

but the alternative for them is worse, dwindling profits, poor workforce, constant rehiring, constant retraining, poor customer skills, poor product sales skills, poor image, staff shortages, low moral, no company/business loyalty.

Harder to accept is a corporate mentality that goes though-out the whole service and commerce industries, the above problems are mostly solved by replacing costly people with machines, but machines don’t spend their wages in shops or businesses, and most of the above problems are caused by the mentality that can be solved by changes to their own methods towards their own employees, the distance between management and the work-face is in most cases non-existent if even most multi-national companies don’t even know what they manufacture or what their products are, and can own companies as diverse as farming to selling toothpaste to running hotels, large fast food chains and supermarkets are the worst offenders in churning over staff no matter how much they promote their training and hiring practises, and expect loyalty and good service, when in fact the complete opposite occurs with poor training and very poor wages it is often a recipe for disaster, far too many employers are not paying correct wages and providing impossible conditions of work (long hours, poor training, minimum if understaffed, non-wage payments, commissions) and this standard is not acceptable, it is also the duty of the employee to be accountable to the job required but fair pay and certainly good pay will change many attitudes towards their positions.

The standing of a country were as its population has good income across all demographics and not just in the corporate and rich brackets, but more importantly in its lower brackets can significantly change its social persona also gives governments more money to tackle its problems and decreases their dependence on direct taxes, with stability and incomes more disposable the genuine wealth of a country can grow, at this moment a few make a lot of money, most is sent overseas for manufacturing and imports so the wealth is dissolving from an economy and not being used for the needs of its own population.

One economic crisis has shown the underbelly of an even worse situation, one that has been perpetrating for a few decades, we feel safe in that we have a good standard of living however the truth is that a large part of our population are either sliding into poverty or are burdened and are severely over taxed (indirect taxation the worse offender) , I am not and don’t want to be an alarmist, however if you push populations to a point something will break, in the past war or revolution was created out of such ignorance, many say it is just the way of modern life, personally I don’t agree, commerce and business have been totally irresponsible in their business practices and governments have in fact encouraged such practices for tax and investment, however a change in attitudes can be changed but mostly besides paying people their worth and not allowing employers to exploit the system so avariciously in their favor…but left unchanged it will become our worst nightmare….

….If you thought the first economic crisis was bad then the second whammy will end in violence and social uprising that can reduce a country to years of turmoil and loss of life, people will not starve while the rich throw them crumbs…just ask any Frenchman or Woman…and if you think it can’t happen to you, then neither did the French..Its all there in history and the problem of history is that it can happen again because we have a arrogance that “it will never happen to me”, we do live in a global economy but to move people (including the poor and the youth) upwards in society who are willing to work hard and create good commerce and too not be so over exploited can be beneficial to all of society……even to the rich few.

“What recession”…after the economic crisis..

happy shopper

For most people the readjustment has already happened, for some they have lost half of their worth but still are worth more than most people will earn in their lifetimes, sometimes many lifetimes over..

Its only numbers on a screen or a piece of paper and that’s the way it was before the credit tsunami hit so what is different..for some if not all it is not much, for others a few they felt it in reality, they lost their job or had to sell their house(s) but strangely enough the Mercedes or BMW was still in the garage and the general feeling is it is all a blip!, something to endure for awhile then everything will get going again, we have put off the holidays (vacation) this year (tourism and airfares are going through the floor), we won’t splash out on a new (Kitchen, extension, spa bath or holiday home) and so on “times are hard” they mutter under now only two caffe lattes a day instead of the usual ten “i needed the total energy to get me through the day” cups.

things are well not that much different, the rich are still rich but poorer, and the poor are well still poor so no change there, the bankers are doing fine thank you very much now that the rest of us have fixed their equity problem but credit is still in short supply and new projects are being shut down or canceled and for ongoing projects the money has been found to finish them off and any other projects that are very advanced into the construction and planning stage they are still being advanced to their next phase, life goes on and very well thank you we still have to eat and shop so things will continue as normal, even that petrol thing has gone away so we are able to run our 4×4 at a reasonable cost again that won’t break the bank so “whats your problem”.

Well the deeper problem is that most people say “oh by 2010” next year by the way?, “that things will be on the up and up again so no problem”, their attitude is that the money they have lost will return with a golden egg, their job will reappear in some flash of light, “that house on Banksia Court is a great price now, so why don’t we put in an offer”, the investors (remember them) are gobbling up the Real Estate (read cheap) bargains at a ferocious rate and ready to sell off to the raising hordes of cashed up buyers that can gain by the exceedingly low interest rate its really wonderful this economic crisis, “best one for years and years” as the “opportunity abounds in the return of the markets and good olde cash” and its “nothing like the one in 1930 something”, this is a “new type of recession”, and remember that “9/11 event we all cruised through that and so this one will be be just like that” so “why worry”.

So with things going so swimmingly I don’t really want to spoil the party in fact it would be a shame too as I for one want things to be good and people not suffer or struggle which a lot do and one thing that is right is the fact we do still have to eat and put petrol in our cars and well “go shopping”…but to do all of this we need money and a big bite of optimism that things are fine, to which to a point things are…

…But except for the realisation that this is it, yes it, the “new new”, the recession the “real deal” and its not going to get better in fact the sooner we all except the situation the sooner we can all move forward, so lets get real shall we.

The level we are at is the real level, not a hyper level or the old (last years) level, that wasn’t a real level at all it was simply an inflated “lets not spoil the party”, level…

…a level that was so way “out of the ballpark” as the Americans put it that it was a stack of cards that was stacked on a stack of cards that was…well lets say we were living in a world of fools, we still are as the fools still believe it will all come back..the ones that will survive and prosper will accept the fact that there is a reality of now and start to live in the new world and not hope it will all come back tomorrow not because it can’t but because it shouldn’t, we won’t survive if it did because all we were doing was wasting everything on trivia, I’m not going there in this journal as that is a bigger picture, yes there will be slow growth as it should be but finance needs to more evenly balanced between classes, there will always be rich and poor, but the fall, if not the devastation of the middle class is the biggest disaster that is facing us all, it doesn’t allow people to live a better life as the gap to being rich is now too great to be bridged, and the rich only look after their own while pushing the gap even further upward, while pushing middle class lower to poverty and worse to minority spending.

And here is the real problem for as the recession deepens the middle class people spend less, why, because they will have less to spend so as they slip more to the poor end of the demographic their basic needs override the so called disposable income and with their basic needs costs rising at a rate of higher than inflation the flow on to anything else goes well down, what was a treat is then a luxury and now a luxury they can’t afford, and so on it goes, for the rich they have now a really big problem because it is this small area that they gather their fortunes, say for instance you are an upmarket clothing manufacturer and things are going great and your profits are $20 million a year, then the spending crunch hits and it will be your clothes that will take a dive first as people switch to cheaper clothing, so you cut your margins which really means your profits as remember the clothes still cost the same to make, you can only cut back so far in costs and labour and your factory bills are going through the roof which you have already done to maximise profits, so then how soon will that $20 million profit be a deficit, Airlines have already seen the reality, profit has gone through the floor and that is with cheap fuel in the tanks as well, and its not the poor Airlines either its the British Airways and Singapore Airlines that are stunned at the numbers coming out of their paperwork, once healthy they are suddenly begging for customers but it will be the small to medium profitable businesses that will really be hit and hit harder and many will go to the wall.

And of course the layoffs will continue, as these medium businesses shred their workforce (the first thing to go) it is also the larger companies that are also shredding smaller ones just to survive, the car industry is a case in point, just watching the General Motors debacle is like watching the Titanic sink..slowly with a large loss of life or in this case livelihoods and many of these new out of work company people are investing in small franchises to guarantee income but only so many can survive and many will turn to the Internet, the clever ones will make money the others won’t as the Internet is strange beast and for someone who can sell cars wouldn’t have the technical knowledge to build a really clever web site and will only copy a successful idea just like a million other out of work non-technical savvy entrepreneurs and so with their millions of sites of the same product they will fail in the giant big Internet ocean and on it goes.

But there is good news too, Real Estate will finally bottom and find its real level and so what you buy will be the value price of your property and not a hyped up price, however if your thinking of making a big profit on the property like in the good olde years then you and all those investors holding their cards close to their chests are in for one big almighty shock, and it could still go down further, but only by not much!, but still downwards and then the investors are going to panic and flood the market with properties they can’t off load as for now they have to pay for them and their expensive up keep and still lose at the sale, that is their fault as they couldn’t afford to buy them in the first place for really they just wanted to stimulate the market back into their favor and big profits, it worked very well before because as the hyper hype of pushing Real Estate prices into somewhere around Mars, investors and middle incomes could “spend spend spend” the huge margins coming their way with a sale of the higher inflated price or with a loan from the bank on well “really nothing”, suddenly now you are faced with your property being worth 15% or worse 25% less of its value in 12 months, however there is nothing wrong with this at all for now you are only back at the reality factor, in other words “It is only now what your property is really absolutely, X my heart and hope to die is really really worth”, and if you have taken out a $50 thousand dollar loan to buy a 4×4 tractor on that inflated price then well “brother your in deep shit”.

The really great news is that we are now all back on Planet Earth but its not over yet and not by a long shot, it will get far worse yet as the public spending and the severe job losses come home to roost and hit hard, and it will take years to climb out to a steady income, and make no doubt the party is well and truly over and anyone who wants to keep up the lifestyle will find themselves left behind as the world will change in a way that everyone can have a good time and not the excess of a few, yes we will still can have fun and so we should but being real with ourselves and our perception of the world will give more back than the take take mentality that has brought us to our knees, we are in a very different world than the depression of the 1930’s as we are now a global economy, we rely on each now more than ever, but right now we need to stop and really think of what sort of world we really want, and only then will we go forward..

..but for now to go forward we will go backwards and everything will settle down, somethings will be better because you will be able to afford that house at 25% off the cost and travel will be cheaper, clothes too in fact a lot of things will come down to a new realistic level, in other words the price they are today and customers will be more discerning and want quality and things that last than the cheap throwaway years of olde and with that many pricy cheap companies will fold because if you don’t adapt you will disappear, but finally things really are better than you really think as to have everything back into reality you can now plan and save and that a economic crisis is really the best thing that could have happened to you, I was so happy when it all fell down, really happy nothing has made me smile more, and I want it to continue as long as possible, mad..no, common sense because this planet needs time to recover from our continuous development, stripping of resources, over population, garbage and a million other things associated with greed and trivia.

…the economic crisis has saved us from oblivion, from killing ourselves, Its a warning to be responsible to ourselves and our home, its showed us our ugly side and it is not pretty, so heed the warning and enjoy the shortage of money instead of too much of it.

Weekend of Vacuum…

sorry-home

Its a strange place..no one is running the world right now, strange, yes…very strange, George W Bush has said his farewell speech, more subdued than goodbye, tired of the weight of command, he is just glad to get out of here and go home, personally I feel sorry for the son of a gun, he was over his head at the start and never rose any higher since, the office can age and tire a man, but for W it is more beaten than buggered, one last flight, one last look out of Air Force One’s windows at the country he presided over, “Goodbye Mr President”…

In starting these Journals (I hate the word Blog, It sounds like your going to the toilet!), I wanted it to be a reflection of the world, but they have turned angry, so is the world angry?..I wanted to try to see how it can be a better place, but history can produce some fireworks that happen to you, and the last six months have been a turning point in history like none other, it has been a ride like no other, for people like me I loved every minute of it, you may gasp in horror at that thought, but I feel like I am living history, instead of just reading about it, for that it is exciting and adventurous, something to talk about in my old age like my Dad talked about the Second World War, he hated it of course but it held a certain fascination that he survived it and made himself a better life by marrying my mother and getting me to school on time.

I have absorbed the Economic Crisis, like it was my own, the Presidential Race, the last days of the Bush empire, the speeches, the rhetoric, the bad CNN and Fox News nonfactual reporting, and their fabulous amazing and stupid, holograms…My own BBC is not any better, The Mumbai reporting was simply a joke even by their usually high standards..but the media is another journal waiting to be written, I wanted to write to deliver ideas to make this a better place to live, but ended up hopefully not being a rant, but history had other ideas and the idea of writing to organise what is inside your head, by putting it down and finding opinion you can see if you are seeing things in their correct order or observation, to know that why things happen because of the right reasons, to work out the facts and clearly see the correct picture..

..but here I have found myself angry, pounding the keys in sheer impatience, as with life the correct picture can be two sided or many sided, my view maybe not your view, or the Christian View, Muslim View, Political View and so on…that is why we have our differences and even wars, you can’t put things into simple right or wrong boxes, but to lay them out can help you find a thread, it may be wrong, but it could be right as well, sometimes you have to tell it like it is, The one thing I really hate is smallmindedness, I don’t care if your view is right or wrong, but at least try to see both sides of the argument, the idea or a view before making a judgement, however when you do and you have looked at the facts and seen both sides of the story then that is what it is and that is that…but at least you have thought about the idea or philosophy, and that is what i write…in time i may see my own huge miscalculations, as i believe that we make our decisions or ideas and statements that are right or wrong at that certain moment in time, and I accept that a new angle or more information can change the view it once was totally around to another new complete observation, this is the perils of Journalism, but you are just reorganising your thoughts and views..to make sense, to understand to record for that is the soul reason the Journal or any journal is created in the first place.

but why angry?..because people who should know better have behaved badly, this is of course nothing new in history, but here it affects my beliefs, even my own freedoms, well Do-Dah for you, you may cry, Mr cry-baby..but that is not my point, as people with the amount of information now affecting the globe, we are all now connected together, it is the “Global Village” as some dunk head from a university coined it, but we are wired together, there are no borders, no seas to divide us, we are now enmass able to think as one, the history channel is there 24/7 to discover and show up our past mistakes, great universities to learn and debate the past…and yet I could throw a brick at Tony Blair..Why?

Because he did a dumb thing, he also did a thousand right things, but for once he did a really, really dumb thing, against me, my country, my home, my own people, and that is where the danger is, Tony Blair is a smart man, very smart, but he had one major failing…idealism..believing in his own infallibility to change anything, its like a rock star that believes that he is the centre of the world, but in reality he just sings nice songs and wears silly clothes and gives us a good time, he can’t fix Africa or stop Global warming, that is really other people’s jobs like Tony Blair.

A hundred years ago you would accept a decision to invade Iraq, he pushed me so i pushed you back, but today…no, sorry its not acceptable, and a learned man like Tony, and with all of his cabinet he only had to look out of his window at the protesters and flags walking past 10 Downing Street and  screaming at him, I didn’t want him to do it, he didn’t ask me if it was the right thing to do, he just did it and so did little Aussie Johnny Howard, but that is because he wanted to climb up onto the world stage and play with the big boys..But Tony put me into the position that if I flew and landed in Singapore and two of Mr Bin-Laden’s brothers in arms boarded my flight and wanted to make a statement over the Indian Ocean, my passport was my execution..I am a nice person, everyone at my local coffee shop says to their staff, “he is a nice person, says thank you and how are you”, they smile and don’t scowl when I approach them, I try to see good in everything, but I am angry because Tony should have known better, was a better man than that, yes Prime Ministers have to make impossible calls of judgement, but in this case, because Tony did what he did, he made me a target in another country, he made the world unsafe when he wanted to do the opposite..point is we told him not too…but he still did it, why?

He wanted to save the Iraqis, its a bold statement, and no doubt the decision was made in good faith, but I needed our boys to protect me from al-Qaeda and their rampaging rhetoric, for that I would gladly state my British nationality, you may say i was already a target, I was, but suddenly every Muslim and Arab was after me and not just a ragtag of disbelievers in Pakistan, my odds had just shortened to the point I was a target everytime i left Australia or the United Kingdom, the decsion made the whole world unstable, and this is my really, really angry part..it did exactly what Bin-Laden expected us to do, he won, make no mistake, he kicked their bloody asses and laughed, and he is still winning, David beat Goliath, they divided the world between them and us, why…stupid…Tony Why?..as Blair was the one man who could have stopped George W Bush from his own imperialism, you say George would have still gone into Iraq, yes, but without the British, the Australians may have thought twice, without the Aussies and on their own the United States may have thought maybe we should wait, but Tony should have known better, it was a battle he knew could not be won, period, and would be unpopular, it was political suicide and so it was..

I am angry that the Americans should know better, I like Americans, but their stupidity in allowing their stupid overlong over expensive voting system that allows people like George W Bush gain power without everyone voting, and that a nominated judge can overrule a whole country and install anyone they like or want, and is thankful they have put things right on Tuesday, but they could have brought the world too close to World War Three, by their arrogance, head in the sand insulated environment, rhetoric entertainment media and I don’t mean Hollywood (oh, and yes maybe Hollywood as well), I mean CNN, ABC and mostly Fox News for their sheer incompetence in their reporting and balancing of facts and what is passable as news and the balance and checks that they should be doing as part of their job as the nation’s conscience, but mostly where Presidential puppies and irresponsible advertising are more important than starting a Third World War, yes the Americans are finally angry, but five years too late, was still more interested in Paris Hilton’s buffoon Ads and “Joe the Plumber” even in the last few months of the most important election in their country’s history, you could state this this is a little light humor in a long drawn out campaign, but the problem is it is not, it is ignorance, like not knowing that Australia is not Austria, god help us if the want to bomb Europe, Sydney will get it,  America is like Australia it is a young country, but it needs to grow up, if you want to be the Big World Superpower, well with that there is a responsibility, a huge mandate to be a leader and to act like a leader and that Mickey Mouse is a cartoon character and not a national Icon of presidential importance.

After this weekend there is a new world order, Australia has already changed its leader, Kevin Rudd is a strong youthful politician like Barack Obama, The United Kingdom has retired Tony Blair, Gordon Brown is living on his ability to be a man of change or a man of the past, I know soon my country will change as well, a change of mood can defeat Terrorism and its blind faith, the world can be united behind us against them, that is the whole world of Muslims, Christians, Jews, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Brazilians, Africans and Europeans in fact all the people that are against a few Terrorists, yes we can make our world safer, by showing them it is not acceptable for any cause to kill Innocent people that have done them no wrong, yes they have arguments of failed wars or boundaries to their cause, but we can help their children  by not to be allowed to hold machine guns at twelve years old for no other reason than win untenable political goals, that is not acceptable, and the United Nations will need to step up to allow the world to speak and act in cases of these brotherhood battles, the days of Imperialism wars are over, the world is too damn small and to damn populated to cross boundaries and invade for the sake of imperialistic goals and we have to find a better way of sorting out our arguments, and we are grown up enough to do that, we have bigger things to sort out than fight each other, saving our home, feeding billions, creating a better life for our children that is better than the last one, this is our responsibility, our future is a stake, too move forward the lessons have to be learn’t, we are intelligent enough to finally do this, and to not do so is our own stupidity, the after Dot Com bust, 9/11 the economic crash is the final..final warning, behave, we are all in this together, its not yours its ours, all of us together we are now interconnected like never before, things are different, we are all in this together, its not them or us, its us on our own.

This weekend is a pause too take stock, a truce in no mans land on Christmas Day, were we have come from and more importantly were are we going, there are immediate issues that have to be attend too, but once they are done or on their way, we have to set out a new agenda, a responsible one, for us, our home, our impact on this planet, our very survival…and then I can stop being angry and write about how this world can be better and not treated with irrelevance, or silly humour, greed is dead, survival is more important, friendship better still…

Goodbye George W….and thanks for all the Fish! (Douglas Adams)

Welcome Barack..now lets get down to business….

Person of the Year 2008….George W Bush?

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Every media will proclaim the victory of Mr Barack Obama as the wonderkind of 2008, change and the future, however the person that had the most impact on the year was really George W Bush…Bush!, I can see you already pulling your face in disgust and picking up your shoe,  but the story is that George W is the reason Barack is now President-elect and not anyone else, as timing in Politics is the same as in comedy, it is knowing when to say something or when to shut up, or when to be in the right place at the right time and when not too be, Barack was the star performer, Bush the worst….and because of the collapse of his Administration, his office, and that he created such a vortex of catastrophic failures during his two terms and as they all came to a decisive conclusion at one single point in time,  he was the Person of the year 2008…the one person who had made the biggest impact on the world in that single year.

As Harry Truman said “The buck stops here”…at the desk of the President, and George W was sitting at that desk.

But it is the tragedy of George W Bush that will haunt the world for many years, right down to you and me on the street, and proves that not everyone with the wish should or could be a President of a major superpower, at least we are still here, George at least didn’t do the really really stupid thing, but the feeling is that is only because some West Wing staff member locked the nuclear keys in a drawer, then forgot about them and went home, and because of that, Iran and us can now breath a little easier at least in the new year.

This Journal is not here to Bush bash or anti American bom bahing, but facts are facts and we and history will have to live with the created mess everyday, but the reality of the last eight years has brought the world to its knees, its time to look at how and why it happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again..and how Barack Obama can thank his lucky stars, that the 43rd President was George W Bush.

Every country has several faces it shows to the world, I am of British decent and is proud of its achievements, its history and its people, however we as a nation had some dark spots, Colonialism, Slavery, Cricket to name a few, we also introduced the Industrial Revolution and created the advancements that made the modern world it is today, but at the same time created atrocious housing and inhuman working conditions to fill the employment of the Northern Mills, and just to make the proprietors rich…and so what George W Bush created was the other side of the American Dream, the dark side..it was always there, it just needed the right vessel to become mainstream, hopefully these lessons will be absorbed not only by the new administration, but by all Americans in that we all have several makeups to our characters, its just some should be repressed or dissolved for good..we the British have to live with some aspects of our past…but we have learn’t from the mistakes and made our country stronger.

But Bush created almost something new, the aspect of uncontrol by doing things that would seem right but are dangerous to unleash, most decisions were made by one dimensional thinking, not taking stock of other outcomes, weighing up the for or against, they are almost all reactive in their conception,  if i do this, this will happen, but in this world there are several aspects or more to every situation, most politicians understand this, that is why most decisions are compromises not the whole ticket. So how did a man that thought this way or could be persuaded to simple logic to allowed to run for such an important office..

Carl Rove, Bush’s maestro Campaign manager is a master of manipulation and demographics, and found that if Bush used most minority extreme groups like the Christian Evangelical Right, Gun Lobby, Pro Life and every other party angry about their extreme minority causes he could get elected, dangerous, of course it is, but there was some very powerful people behind all this rabble as well, and we will get to them soon, This and a hand on the heart of extreme patriotism got George W to the line but but not quite over it in the November 7th 2000 election, because some discause had broken out in Florida, were his brother Jeb Bush was Governor, that after the 3rd recount that had went back and forth from the Florida Court to the US Supreme Court, the tally from the final machine recount stated that Bush had won the Florida vote by a margin of 537 votes out of six million cast, but many voters were not allowed to vote or others were not even counted, fair in an democratic country, and most of the abstained votes were black, isn’t that racist?..but George however was over the line and into the office of the President of the United States Of America…power not a vote had bought George W Bush to office, but the problem for W, was the fact he was now in a situation were as there were a lot now of people saying to him,” your in kid, now you are going to do this for us”, and the…them were the dark side of everything that should be kept under control, in other words they had control of the country and not the President,  So you had a Supreme power not incontrol of his power, a recipe for disaster and so what slowly unfolded over the last eight years was…power out of control.

The Republican Party did control the senate as well, helpless Democrats were reduced to fractions and the one thing Republicans do well is big business, corruption and adorn themselves with every trophy they can shower upon themselves that their elevated position can deliver, plus they could use all the power they could muster inside the White House and in Washington generally, power inside the White house was cornered by not the President, but by the Vice-President Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfield, Newt Gingrich, Grover Norquist, Carl Rove and Ralph Reed and be the “them” of other powers that put George W in the Oval Office, Cheney is a hawk in the extreme, or a bully would be more of a description, Cheney consumed power like a nuclear bomb consumes cities, and all that was needed was a spark…and it wasn’t long in coming..Sept 11 2001.

The details of the terrorists involved are debated in another blog coming, but here it was an excuse to show American arrogance to the extreme and an opening in the  darker side to the American Character, Cheney, Dept of Defense Head Rumsfield and their merry Neo-Con band were not interested in Al-Qaeda and Bin-Laden, they were to them mere pebbles on a beach even though they had left a large hole in lower New York City, Iraq was more to their liking, and for many reasons, one was its Oil, which is a giant money exporter and a desirable consumable in the USA, so why not just hand it over to the Texans to which George W was one of their kind, The Saudi’s were getting more difficult in their demands everyday and getting use to using their rising power; and it left the world’s most gulping consumer vulnerable and exposed to their demands,  Second was that to eradicate Saddam Hussein and to put a puppet government in control would also strengthen Israel’s precarious position in the Middle East, Third, Cheney’s former post was as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Halliburton, a so called energy company that had its fingers in many pies, including the US Military.

So now you have to understand how the US goes to war in this day and age to see the big picture on how Iraq was a great business deal first and a moralistic help on saving the Iraqi population second, first the strike was done,  Shock and Awe was started March 20th 2002 and completed with a victory on the 1st May…then the corporations moved in, their task was to rebuild Iraq, at a cost to the American Tax Payer and to the ownership of the Iraq’s themselves, everything in the American Logistical Command is put out to private tender, so the people working in Iraq are not Military but civilians, even security firms were not soldiers but civilian armed guards, the rest were builders, suppliers, truckers, fast food joints, IT workers,  just ordinary Americans just doing a very well paid  job in an Middle Eastern Country or now the 53rd State of the Union, making not peace but money, and a lot if not all of it went went back into the Republican Party’s Senators coffers and their large Company Banks, including Halliburtons or KBR.. a major construction company which was another subsidiary or Brown & Root Services another division and so on…The War is and was only about profit for America and not peace, but the problem was The White House didn’t expect the Iraqis to fight back and why shouldn’t they, it was imperialism in its extreme, and so a prolonged tactical insurgency took hold and pulled the Americans down into a quagmire of incompetence, complete loss of authority and loss of respect of American Military Might.

Now at the same time that Business Iraq was opening its doors, The Bush Administration decided that there was still way too much regulation around Wall Street, Bullish that the markets had survived the greed of the Dot.com bubble, and hoping it was not going to spread too far (down) in losses,  there then was the de-regulation for the markets, de-regulation was started by the Clinton Administration to create a smaller more efficient Government,  but it was soon seen more as a cash cow by the Bush Administration, so they put their foot on the accelerator, Energy was one that was ripe for picking, and soon it was game on, it lasted a year with Enron already in court for the so called accountancy misdemeanors, then came WorldCom, a few…no a lot more and more were then hauled before the courts including Halliburtons, and for more and more infringements of corporate law.

From The White House there was nothing but silence…Greed is good, don’t rock the boat, now all was in place for everything to go stratospheric, and it did…for years…Alan Greenspan the Chairman of the Federal Reserve first dropped interest rates from 3.5% to 3.0% then again then again to 1.0% after the self inflicted energy accounting scandals to try to stimulate the housing market, fair enough but with no real checks and balances from Washington, Wall Street then went on to the biggest bull boom of its life, so Wall Street started its Sub-Prime lending boom, almost giving loans and credit away, and reaping billions in rewards, companies thrived in an free market place with no restrictions…Oil was so cheap it was thrown away, Credit so available that children could get credit cards (A couple of dogs got their cards dropped in the mailbox too)…it was hysteria in a buying spree like no other, and Americans and the world lapped it up…..it was almost like George was on the street handing out $100 bills, but only to the very rich, and they gave them unreasonable Tax breaks too…Under Bush to be rich was good, to be very very rich was better. Continue reading

Jump!…no don’t..yes do..hold on…wait..no jump……

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Every day I sorted through the economic meltdown, its out of date.. yesterday’s paper, its like reading last months news, there was no doubt it was coming, I have been through the cause in my last blog, but now a stranger feeling has emerged, markets are a gamblers paradise, and boy have they had a great game, but the situation that developed, the weirdness of the situation showed a underbelly of real worry, a bit like those high Fire, Police and City officials that surrounded Rudi Giuliani, while 9/11 was developing, they were totally ineffective, lost in there own self promotion, lower lieutenants were asking them for the instructions that never came, yes 9/11 was a world changing event, but they were so incapable of responding to anything, and they looked like, well useless…Only the Mayor was effective, and Rudi deserved his accolades, but in 9/10,11,12 2008 it was the same except there was no Mr Giuliani, for once and the only time in his whole career W Bush was on the ball, the fear was in his eyes, and nobody listened, he pleaded, put his head in his hands and the world ignored him, so the mess just started to deepen, like the Titanic with out a rudder, you know its going to hit an Iceberg, but which one and how big, everyone is hanging on to the rails as another big block of ice scrapes the weakening hull, and if you had looked up at the bridge, who would you see well… nobody, only a few  junior officers were left up there and to scared to leave their posts or jump overboard, the ship had now a scary unpredictable life of its own and everyone, the whole world was a passenger going along for the ride and waiting for their fate.

For the people in centre of the tropical storm it was turmoil, there was no systems to put into place, no ideas, because everybody was so geared to running markets one way, on how to make billions out of hundreds of dollars and not the other way round, so the basics started collapsing, banks simply ran out of money, wouldn’t lend, needed anything to survive, time to jump out of the window……

Bush’s crying and pleading finally hit a note, and then every American including the self serving Republican senators, finally got the idea that they were the Titanic and a very very big iceblock was now towering over them all waiting to sink the good olde UsofA, the $700 million dollar bailout was pushed through faster than a Big Mac at a McDonalds drive-through window service.

a relief, its over, saved…thank god, thew………..but the next day the world markets went through the floor, the bailout didn’t even register…oh god…its out of control the ship IS holed and the water IS coming in…time to jump

..Then a market would rally, Asia and everyone went back to bailing out the water…”its okay, we’ll get through this, hooray!”…Then Europe would slide, “Oh God its is really over”…and head for the window again, and then every market would slump, the a slight change in the price of the yen and everyone would run back away from the windows again to start bailing frantically again and the markets would rally slightly, “yay, thank god”, Then the London banks started to disintegrate, Europe’s losses began to climb straight up, the Germans were next, The Russians closed theirs and Iceland simply dissolved into nothing, the markets collapsed and the banks froze…..this was it……time to jump

Gordon Brown brought a plan to the table, even the Americans said it was good and would now listen to anybody or anything to stop this madness, it was adopted and the markets steadied, but then as they moved slightly away from open window, Markets went everywhere, nobody trusted nobody, credit froze, Mr California, Schwarzenegger noted casually that he had a slight problem of cash, which is he had none and that he needed a handout, and by next tuesday if possible as now his state is poorer the Mexico, and would really help to be a part of Mexico to pay his bills.

The markets went into total Quantum physics mode, unpredictability was what you looked at five minutes ago, and now was there or then, Dow Jones was up, down, up, Hang Sang went down, right down then up, then down, Yen went down then up, then right down, Australian dollar went down then down and down, US Dollar went down, up, up, down..computer screens looked like video games, like the machine was on the blink or just gone mad, markets down then up, down, down, up, …people were just putting numbers in, anything, the only thing to happen next was for the screens to go blank as they reached their program perimeters, flashing numbers…….if you wanted to jump, you would have just to get away from the madness, Oil was going through the floor…….its $70 a barrel……now it $63 a barrel, a month ago it was $150 a barrel!….madness, who is in control?……

nobody…and that was the point everything was totally random, the whole world was just speculating on nothing, pulling here, pushing there..realty was the system was chaotic, and people and investors were losing simply billions and billions……i need a window….time to jump.

History will show what the fall of 08 will be, its not a copy of 1929, or 97, it will be unique, a time when we lost control, it was saved for now by an election, people are holding their breath, markets have steadied, countries have controlled interest rates, banks are full of government saviour money, the worst my be over, but i don’t think so…

The first problem is Americans are totally sure that putting Barack Obama in the White House will change the situation overnight, and by the middle of next year its all going to be hunky dory, Change…the slogan is, yes it is a new start, a clean slate…out with old in with the new, he’s young, gifted and optimistic…….and he will fix it, the economy, the black issue, the war, the other war, our credit, our roads, our healthcare, pretty sure by 2010, we will be shopping again just like last year……bring it on…….except..

he can’t, because the reality is we haven’t seen the bottom yet, yes the meltdown has happened, yes the Kings of Wall Street are now sleeping in their cars, the banks are speaking to each other again god bless them, but deep down the excess of the top is going down to the deep bottom, and here is where are our problems and Mr Obama’s are coming as huge as the Titanic slipping beneath the waves, as the real money dries up, so will the spending and the jobs and empty housing market, and the investors, the real hardship will then hurt, the debt is there, Americans are well over their heads, the cost of the war(s), and a poor internal infrastructure that needs cash now just to stay alive, small business will close, and even worse the world is not going to get them out of it, with the US Dollar the currency of the world in business, most went through Wall Street, but would youn trust Wall Street with your money now, they promised you and promised but spent your dividends on their lives, their houses, and put in their banks, they didn’t just not deliver on your profits but they spent it on themselves and shook the champagne glasses in your face, would you trust them now with your money, the Swiss are boring but they don’t spend your money or lose it, and will sens you enough profit to make you smile at the end of the year, The Americans said it will be fine after losing you millions in that Dot com. fiasco, and as Walt is great guy, you just have to like him, you trusted him again, but this time it really hurt, and why, because for a brief moment you saw like when 9/11 came down, there was really no one running the ship, nobody at the wheel of the Titanic, its great going up, but if anything comes up on the horizon, like a great big bloody iceburg, Wall Street will sail you right into it, and not safely around into the safe harbour, This one was way way to bad, and I just won’t take that chance again….my money will not go back to New York it will be shared around, Asia, Europe, Japan, now they are good with money………..

The Big Game….How to bring a small planet to its knees

Change is as they say is constant, that’s why it is called change, nothing never ever will stay the same, and now we are in a major flux, a big change, a defining moment, where in the history of the human race’s timeline we will now have a pointer to mark out a significant shift in the way we live and run this planet, the upside is we survive, the downside is the Earth will reclaim its control of its environment again because we will dwindle and disappear, it will take a couple of centuries to do so, but we will go, with a whimper and not a bang, cities will decay and the cement will turn to dust and the soil will again cover our achievements and our mistakes will be our undoing.

Everyone at this moment is having their say on our doomsday scenarios, so I will put mine in, but don’t dismiss this, it is real, very real, more real than you can ever imagine, and I am not going to go on a preach about Global Warming and Polar Icecaps disappearing because the reality is very different, and its caused by a few people with a laptop and an internet connection, and their all consuming daily activities are to just make money….for no other reason than to make more and more of something they already have in abundance, maybe its power they crave, but I think it is not that, it’s nothing more than a game, a gamble, a fun thing to do, but mostly a game, a huge poker game…..and its living and breathing in its own little world of greed and power……..

…the years 2007 and 2008 are the warning years, we’ve just had one, if another warning will come as I write this I do not know, but the big question is have we read the signs and are we willing to change, first some hard facts. In 1907 there was  approx 1,700,000,000 people on this planet, this year there is 6,720,125,767 give and take a few deaths and babies, that is 5 billion more people living on this finite world in only a hundred years, now no doubt this will curtail a little and not increase by the year 2050, even if the Catholic Church and sciencetific boffins want us to.

So to support such numbers we have had to have revolutions in agriculture and technology and we now live in more and more confined conditions, we have as a species been extremely clever in handling this overwhelming growth and even created a systems where a large majority of the population does live in extremely comfortable conditions with huge choices of food, clothing and everyday necessities provided by services and governments, we have created amazing transport networks of Road, Rail and intercontinental sea and air travel, and information services that truly makes the world a very small place, and there is a point, it is a very small place, and we all survive here every day, living mostly on top of each other in different languages and cultures, but survive we do.

A major component of the expansion has been created on one resource, Oil, it creates plastics, that created this computer I write on, it stores the food I eat, it is manufactured in a zillion different ways to meet our everyday needs, but more importantly it runs totally our transport networks, completely, absolutely, if the Oil stops we stop, completely, no oil, no food, that simple, if the Oil ran out today  we will run out of food in three days, true, I’m not scare mongering, unless you have access to any sort of grown food or a farm, even a farm will slow as the oil will not be there to run the equipment, so you will starve to death in a week’s time, maybe two, in a month or two  70% of the modern infrastructured world will be dead, the rest will fight for survival on what food they can get, the third world countries will strangely enough fair better as their infrastructures is not so oil based, but they will be soon over-run by billions of starving people, wanting even more the little they have now, and there will be no aid coming, what there is, is what there is, and we will fight for anything to keep us alive.

On top of this, is the fact that some countries, use twenty to thirty times more oil, per head of their population than other countries, why?, because it is so very cheap they can simply waste it, but also disposing anything they have used even if it is still a usable functioning product, but also running machines and industries that are simply so inefficient that they can consume this finite resource to the point of arrogance, and we haven’t even got to the money situation of the commodity as a market product yet, they say they won’t change because it will believe it or not, cost them money to do so,  a simple fact is if the population dies, they won’t have a market anyway, or a car to drive to work in, so do they have to change, the answer is yes, but I am now getting ahead of myself.

Although investing has been around since the 11th Century, it was in only 1602, the Dutch East India Company issued the first shares on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange, this allowed people to invest in a going concern, buying a share, it gave companies capital to build their businesses, and the shareholders to receive a profit on their investment, all fine and fair weather, if you wanted to trade shares, Stock Markets then rose to allow you to do so, creating portfolios of investments across  a diverse range of businesses that can soften any general ups and downs of general trading conditions, markets and weather, with this the worlds stock markets became powerhouses of capital, allowing  for the shear growth and building of the western world, in only one decade, and mostly in the last fifty years through huge financial stock markets, we have totally transformed our world around us, there have been a few blips, 1929, 1973-74, 1989, and euphoria of the Dot com. boom in 2000, there is now approx 51 Trillion US dollars invested in this market at this date, and the markets can be a bear which is going down or a bull which is going up, and except for those few blips, the market has always gone up, and so does everything else, real estate, prices, and commodities, but here we have built this machine to always make a profit, every year it goes to newer and newer heights. Mostly at the turn of the 20th century most investments was in usually within your own countries borders, but since the 1950’s it has become a global market and the advent of computer networks now anyone can pretty well invest in most world markets, but it is the shear mass of shares that now dominate, from banking giants to the housewife who wants to invest on the side, can work and share in this huge market, and it works and it works very well, however in the last ten years a creeping problem has been slowly developing within this system, a dangerous one, and even a fatal one, and a few are enjoying it as a game, a big stakes game…but still a game.

You can if you wish with your laptop connected to the internet sit on a beach in Thailand and work your share portfolio, the idea is to make a profit, in the start of share trading it took many years of the investment to create a profit from a business or company, so for most people it was a nice little top up for their retirement and when they cashed in their shares and bought a new car and a house by the beach, but through the trading houses it became quickly a few years of an up and coming company to give you a good dividend, but computers and digital communications changed all that again and quickly, years could be brought down to months and now days, sit up at night, make your deals, collect the profit the next night, a small one, maybe $100 to $200 dollars, or lose, but losing is rare, even if you lose tonight, you can usually get it back in a month or so as the market or seasons change, if you play your cards right, many were out there every night playing their cards, and if you were good, very good, you could make a million dollars a year, now there is nothing better than greed to blank out commonsense, with the internet startups you could turn a simple $2000 share into millions in months, so now everyone got in on the bandwagon, and it crashed, badly, but it didn’t stop the real hard core players to get around that, their instinct and cannyness they knew where to put the deal in and deliver, so a very good investor by now could make $50 million a year, that is not one but maybe 50 or hundred of them, soon this elite group could control $2 to $3 Trillion of the market, which is fine, but the problem is they work in a herd mentality, they watch each other like hawks, and when one moves they move, wanting the same return on their investment, not in a month but in a week or sometimes a day, this is all they do, and all they look at is the numbers, not factories, people, cities, or even property, just numbers, they even don’t know how much money or numbers they have, and the idea is to make those numbers go up, outwhit another investor, take his share, make a killing of maybe $10 million dollars a day, that is the game and the win, they are isolated from reality, they live and sleep the numbers, they are worth more money than they can ever spend in their lives, but they want more………it’s a drug.

You are a good company business man, your company has traded for over sixty years and your brand is strong, you have had a good year, profits are up way up, and you share them with your long-term investors, the hard core investor notices that there is a profit to be made, a good one, and in he comes, and your shares go from $2.65, to $18.00 overnight, then other people notice that spectacular jump and in they come, soon its pushing $28.00 per share, all wanting a profit, your rich, very very rich, but only for a brief moment, because then the hard core takes his investment cut, sells out at $28.00 a share and takes more than his huge investment back, the larger market wonders why it is falling badly and its over within a day your now worth only .68 cents a share, your business goes from a well oiled machine to an empty shed in months, your staff are redundant, and your worthless, your just numbers, nothing else, numbers a game….and he will savour his multi-million dollar win for about an hour then go straight back to numbers to find another quick victim.

Property is very good for hiding money, until well something goes wrong, really wrong.. and for the first time these speculators got hurt, really hurt, they saw years of building and saving and squirreling away their bounty disappear, they were suddenly the victims now, and it hurt really hurt…..and they wanted it back right now and straight away.

They had got also completely reckless, so much money has been made, it was became easy to make a million before lunch, remember they work on a global scale, deals are made with very large companies and mergers, shareholders just want more, if a company didn’t deliver it was smashed, destroyed, just by picking up the tab and moving on, so they have to deliver, there is no other option, vast amounts of easy money being made was now filtering down to areas that would have never had been touched in the past, credit was available and mortgages to people who never dreamed of the sort of huge sums now available to them, nothing could ever go wrong, The US Treasury and Alan Greenspan dropped early in the decade the interest rate to a low of only 0.01 percent, so it became an even larger tidal wave of paper and cheap mortgages, it couldn’t last, because of one basic rule, don’t lend money to someone that can’t pay you back, but with the insane rising of property prices, higher and higher every year everyone didn’t even think it would even slow, or even stop..ever….but it did.

And so the Sub-prime crisis of god olde USofA started, and the rest of the world followed, yes the people started to lose their homes, at first the investors didn’t care it was just a few numbers on a screen, but then reality crept in, and then more naively banks and the investors thought that they could just simply auction the off the repossessed houses and businesses and get their money back, problem was nobody bought them, and they went empty, first one a street, then a whole street then a whole suburb, then the cards really began to fall, and then banks began to fall, this was going to hurt and really badly.
For our friend in Thailand looking at his laptop screen it was a nightmare, his money was disappearing, or going down and out fast, first he was angry then he cried, then he wanted it all back, and what makes more money than anything else on this small rock…..oil.

So with his a last billion he turns to the commodities market, and so does his friends, that herd mentality kicks in and oil is suddenly the flavour of the day and the price goes up, and up and up……and up., he breath’s awhile then it goes up more, remember, he has no comprehension of time or life, just the numbers everyday on his laptop, and he is totally unaware that all around him the world just stops, just grinds slowly to a halt, people can’t move anymore, trucks go on strike, shops start to go empty, airlines first put up their fuel subsides then just go broke, first it’s the LCC (low cost carriers) then the larger ones, politicians start blaming everyone, people start blaming politicians then the Oil Companies for profits, both the politicians and the Oil men can’t believe their luck with so much brilliant easy money going in their respective banks, the Arabs are dumbstruck, the Middle-Eastern  cartels that thought they ran the Oil business realise they have no control over it at all, it’s the guy on a beach in Thailand and his greedy cronies that are now running the world.

His surprise, is the fact that when he goes shopping everything is becoming very expensive, it doesn’t worry him of course as he is worth a few billon dollars, but he also doesn’t realise that he   is the cause, unlike other investments, Oil can create a ripple effect, like a wave after wave running up on to a beach, if the price goes up, its carried along to other items, say the transport delivering the goods puts his price up because it costs more oil to do so, then the supermarket will put his prices up also to cover the cost, but here a funny thing happens too, real people those who work everyday in a job with a set income start to run out of money, so they will cut back on items including oil, to cover their basic needs, and this is what happens in an oil price crunch, everything slows down, the more oil goes up the more the world stops, and unlike a property or company investment the changes are in days and not in months or weeks so the effects of his investments are immediate, and dangerous, he has created a vacuum,  money has come in yes for him, but the money on the street has suddenly dried up.

And now he has moved on….he this time collected his bounty, so the oil price has dropped away again and world starts to breathe again, he thinks that his only problem now is to get that damn property market moving upwards again as he still has a lot on his books or he might be buying at the bottom of the market price, he needs to move it, up,  and quickly so he can get his profit from the upturn of the real estate market, but here is a fundamental problem?….
There is no free lunch, if you go to say a meeting and free food is on offer, there is the fundamental situation that although you are eating the free food, someone somewhere has had to pay for that free food, for our greedy crony, for every billion he makes someone somewhere has to give him his billions, and its usually the person at the bottom of the food chain, not the companies, not other investors, not governments, not banks, but the everyday Joe that has 3 kids and a mortgage, and the only way Joe could pay before was because his house or property investment rose, above the market, above its realistic price of worth, maybe its called a correction, but prices are put back into their correct place, and it should then level out…But it didn’t……because he stopped the world, only just for a second with his Oil investment, and it was enough, the point of pushing something to far, past the point of commonsense or rational thought, Greed, total greed is the reason…then

Its not a game anymore, those numbers are becoming real, and disappearing and very quickly, Wall Street is suddenly in turmoil, and you are part of the problem, a big part of the problem, then the investment banks are crashing, falling over ..gone, First it was Bear Sterns, Then Northern Rock in the United Kingdom, showing the major warning signs early in the year, but hey who cares, we have had worse, without that Oil spike could they have been the only ones.. then amazingly Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, and Morgan Stanley, are all gone, and life is in freefall, this is the worst of the worst, Then hope as the US Treasury creates the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, a saviour, an act of god, he could even make a small profit out of that, but congress then voted on the bill, 228 members voted against and 205 for passing it, so it failed to pass, and the market has gone into total freefall again…..this was today, what will be tomorrow…..

What now…a new world order

As Barack Obama is elevated to the cause of the Democratic Party’s endorsement for President, It makes you wonder how it came to this situation of how a country could get so much wrong, and can anything be salvaged from such stupidity, yes a new term with a new administration can create a feeling of change and a blanket to cover the mess, but how much does America need in self-analysis now, the one thing it seems very good at, in looking back and wondering why or how or debating its roles in its own self reflection, just as it did in the eighties after Vietnam, Its just that which is the biggest delusion, how can such a large population get itself so blindly misguided, and make such a blunder in history that it may never recover from, I’m not here to be Anti-American, but try to understand in this modern age, with such modern communications and awareness of news and instant information get so behind in letting things go so far out of context.
The first thing that is hard to understand, is that after such decades of global situations, and with so much known of why did we do that or undertake certain actions of political or global policies, that the Bush Administration made such a catastrophic decision to invade Iraq, Vietnam was a major mistake and America payed a permanent cost in lives, reputation & monetary costs that it just does the exactly same thing again, why did it do that, why blindly follow an so called neo-con administration to hell and then think , “Oh that was so dumb”, why change tactics of finishing off a war in Afghanistan, instead of moving essential forces that could have finished the situation of finding radical terrorists that have created an unstable worldly situation in less than a year, to having a double front of conflict, that has decimated one of the largest armies in the world, to bring down a tyrant that had nowhere to run, no money, and was on his last years of his political life and beyond belief is the fact that they re-elected a President knowing that it was a major mistake, If fact he wasn’t supposed to be elected in the first place, just a stupid election system that allows only the people who will vote…can, and others who want to, that can not, its not democracy, its manipulation

Public opinion has forced out United Kingdom’s Tony Blair and Australia’s “Mr I’m living in the 50’s and all the way with LBJ”, John Howard, not that the British or Australian public wanted to go to war in the first place, yes they wanted the religious radicals to be taken into account for September 11, but not a religious crusade, both countries marched to show their disapproval on the issue, but their governments overruled their protests, believed that if they kept in with the Bush administration they would still get favourable trade deals of trading and paying American companies to take money out of their own economies, meanwhile America did nothing and went to the movies.
Americans are intelligent people, so why did this stupidity happen, why was it allowed to happen, and why has the rest of the world been made to pay the price of such stupidity, And now for the next ten years the same self analysis will start all over again, the very people who should have stood up and said “This is dumb”, will bring out books and movies, write articles on where it all went wrong, thinking it will be all alright again, and next year Mr Obama, will try to put the mess out of the public’s immediate eye and say, “we will prevail, America is a great country, we are great”, yes they are great, but only in allowing such colossal mistakes to happen when they should not, and unfortunately America will not find it easy this time to just shrug its shoulders and carry on if it owes the world a favor, just live in its own rhetoric because the world has moved on and America has not, and the source of such stupidity is found here, Americans live in their own fantasy world, cosseted in power and that their way is the only way to righteousness, too much self belief in patriotism and religious favor, has led them to be manipulated, but a bigger problem is the country is way behind the rest of the world, it tries to make you fit to their antiquated systems, a country of gallons, fahrenheit, and miles even after the country that invented such terms have gone decimal, calls items after products or companies, like Xerox for a photocopier machine, cell for a mobile phone, and will punish you for calling it the incorrect name, The brilliant iPhone, Apple Computer’s wonder gadget, couldn’t be released to the rest of the world for over a later year because the American phone system is so outdated, it just wouldn’t work on the fast 3G networks standard in most other countries, and here is America’s major problem, will they ever accept that other ways of doing things could be better than theirs, accept the not invented here mentality of using a better product or fight it to death at their own ignorance and arrogance, Concorde was destroyed with such mentality, now it is being used against Airbus and their A380 Super Jumbo Aircraft, derailing at every opportunity to ruin the manufacturers chance to give the traveling public a better product, and denying their own population a chance to move forward and decrease the overwhelming chaos that occurs at major airport hubs because of overcrowding, Asia is not so stupid, 80% of these giant machines will fly on Asian routes, growing moving forward, something America was very good at….once.

Other countries now realise that to centralise their financial bases in America is a bad dangerous thing to do, so money will slowly flow out to Dubai, Delhi, Shanghai and other new emerging financial growth centres and not have to hand over huge profits to American dealers for nothing in return, America still has huge financial muscle, but self absorption, over confidence in their own superiority, and to find out slowly that most of the rest of the world having moved on, on finding that these foreign interests just don’t care or need their brands or unfavorable deals they demand anymore.
This will Barack’s biggest challenge, to change America’s attitude to be a partner in the world and not think they run it, Asia, the Middle East and Europe know they don’t need America’s attitude and most of all its forceful way in doing what it wants them to do, the hawk mentality has done this country serious damage, even strategic countries that always aligned themselves with American business and political policies are wary of again following blindly into conflicts or business deals aligned to American interests, why would you when you can deal directly and get a better deal, Middle Eastern and Indian business interests are taking control of huge markets, that are wary of American interests just coming in and absorbing exciting emerging markets that are extremely valuable to them globally, and will defend their markets ever more strongly than they have done in the past, in fact, it is becoming the situation, where it is America that is on the back foot, Their self absorption is that they are slowly realising they are totally out of step with the rest of the global trends, China’s reconstruction has been at a such a ferocious rate, not just there but most of Asia and the Middle East are doing things that has America bewildered on its progress, while they are stuck in a meaningless war, and constantly barricade themselves more and more inside their own borders.
They forget that 9/11 happened because they took no notice of the worlds problems, that Bin-Laden and his friends decided to bring them into the reality of the real world’s problems from which Americans have still not learn’t nothing, but to simply overreact and fire missiles and bullets anyone who could be guilty, but still more of their brand of self absorption, self pity, and what have we done to you sort of ignorance, when pushing policies demanding their right of way, damage to other economies, and do as we say and not do as we do sort of attitude.

Barack Obama, may get the American Dream, but the same rhetoric that can get him elected to office will not be enough to convince other parts of the world that we want the American way again, we won’t buy it, we don’t need to, we are doing very well thank you very much, he is better using his power to change attitudes and help his people in his own country, making them more efficient, healthy and reducing the shear waste of an overconsumption society and to join the rest of the world that have been trying to do so for decades, because America has still so much to offer, and in doing so will reduce the tension generated in the world, people will fight hawkish overbearing behaviour, but will welcome friends, everyone has a right to respect another culture, it my not totally agree with there ideology, but every country has a right to feed and house its people and believe in a faith, their traditions, their history, without an other country saying its wrong or right, America can not hold nuclear weapons at the ready to strike anyone they want to and expect Iran, China or Russia to just sit there and say, “If you can then why can’t we”, its a double standard, and these issues are America’s future, the past is the past, the warnings have been taken, this is a pivotal point in history.

If Barack Obama can over come such attitudes he will go down as one of the greatest leaders in history, a world leader of great importance, can certainly take his place among the peoples of the world and just as importantly give America the great credibility that other races of people will again respect Americans for their true and independent spirit and one administrations tragic mistakes will be consigned to history, But as history’s recent past has shown American attitudes are hard to change, they are not willing to learn from their mistakes, if fact they feel they have done no wrong and feel wronged and misunderstood, but this time the world will move on with or without them, changed or not, its time open their eyes to reality, yes “Its time for change” say the election posters, and everyone, The people, government, industry, companies are now in a new world order, like it or not, they have been slowly dragged kicking and screaming into the new world, its how they handle it will dictate how the world accepts them, or rejects them, its their choice and history is not on their side.
God Bless America……