Pubblicato in: Finanza e Sistema Bancario, Unione Europea

L’Italia ha il sistema bancario più solido dell’universo.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2016-10-31.

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Ipse [il Premier Renzi] dixit.

«Gli eventi di queste ore agevoleranno fusioni, aggregazioni, acquisti. È il mercato, bellezza …. Il Monte dei Paschi oggi è a prezzi incredibili, chiunque verrà farà un ottimo affare …. Già, continuava, non pago: «Investire in Italia oggi è una ghiotta opportunità»

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«C’è stata una grande sottovalutazione a mio avviso negli anni scorsi della questione bancaria – ha detto Renzi nel suo intervento – non tanto e non solo da parte della politica ma anche da una parte del gruppo dirigente del paese nel quale inserisco i politici, ma anche altri settori, l’università, l’accademia, i professori, i banchieri, gli imprenditori, i giornalisti …. hanno pensato di avere un impatto sulle banche mentre l’Europa si orientava verso un altro modello: ogni riferimento a Montepaschi e alle banche popolari è puramente voluto …. iamo intervenuti per garantire delle regole corrette, ora ci sono le condizioni per affrontare l’argomento in maniera definitiva»

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Annunci
Pubblicato in: Storia e Letteratura

Lutero. Oggi è l’anniversario. Ma avete mai letto cosa scrisse?

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2016-10-31.

 martin_lutero_1

Oggi ricorre il 499° anniversario di quando Martin Luther affisse le sue 95 tesi alla porta della Chiesa di Ognissanti a Wittenberg.

Di lì prese origine la riforma luterana e, quindi, quella protestante.

Luther è di quei personaggi che hanno impresso svolte epocali nel divenire umano.

Se non spetta certo a noi un giudizio morale, ma quello storico deve convenire che il 31 ottobre 1517 segnò l’inizio di un modo differente di concepire religione, persona umana, società in cui vive.

Lasciamo il problema religioso ai teologi: storicamente, Luther dette la stura ai principi tedeschi di iniziare un processo di autonomizzazione nei confronti dell’Impero. Processo sicuramente politico, ma altrettanto di affrancamento dalle imposte.

I principi tedeschi infatti, come peraltro tutti a quell’epoca, erano alle prese con l’enorme problema di come costituire ed organizzare i propri principati, specialmente dal punto di vista economico. Per loro la riforma luterana fu manna dal Cielo: era una bellissima motivazione per riaffermare la propria indipendenza ed incamerare tutti i beni ecclesiastici che si erano accumulati nei secoli.

Quelle che comunemente sono denominate guerre di religione, di religioso avevano poco o nulla: erano guerre di bottega, per chiamarle con il loro nome politicamente scorretto. Ma le guerre costano, ed anche molto. E di soldi non ce ne sono mai a sufficienza.

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Né si potrebbe dimenticare ciò che successe pochi anni dopo.

Nel 1526 il Sultano Solimano I, detto il Magnifico, sconfisse nella battaglia di Mohács, gli ungheresi ed occupò una gran parte dei territori magiari. Tre anni dopo arrivò a mettere sotto assedio Vienna, subito dopo un orrendo massacro a Buda.

L’Imperatore Carlo V era tutto impegnato con la guerra contro la Francia, e dovette basarsi soltanto sulle proprie forze.

I protestanti non dettero il minimo aiuto, cosa che invece fecero massicciamente in occasione del secondo assedio di Vienna del 1683.

Per poco, la riforma protestante non aveva esitato nella conquista turca del cuore dell’Europa. La storia mondiale sarebbe cambiata radicalmente.

* * * * * * *

In questo contesto Martin Luther pubblicò nel 1543 il suo famoso libro “Degli ebrei e delle loro menzogne“.

Per chi non lo avesse razionalizzato, all’epoca in Germania gli Ebrei erano generalmente ricchi, gestivano buona parte del commercio internazionale e dei relativi servizi bancari.

La storia insegna che la ricchezza è un crimine agli occhi dei governanti.

Come capita per molti grandi uomini, il dramma di Luther è che quasi nessuno si è peritato di leggere cosa avesse scritto. È impressionante sentir parlare di lui e domandarsi di chi mai si stia parlando. Negli ultimi decenni questo libro è stato soggetto ad una massiccio tentativo di ridimensionamento a livello di birbonata fanciullesca, mentre invece è la base dell’antisemitismo dell’enclave protestante.

Proponiamo quindi al Lettore un piccolo estratto di alcuni passi di codesto pregevole libro: giudicherà quindi lui stesso cosa deve pensarne, anche se la lettura dell’intero libro sarebbe molto suggeribile.

 


da Martin Lutero, Degli Ebrei e delle loro menzogne, Einaudi, 2008, pag. 188-189, 190, 191, 192, 195, 201, 203, 213, 217-218, 221-222

 

[Gli Ebrei] ci tengono prigionieri nel nostro paese. Ci fanno lavorare, col sudore della fronte, a guadagnare denaro e proprietà per loro, e loro stanno accanto alla stufa, indolenti, flatulenti, ad arrostire pere, a mangiare, a bere, a far la vita bella e comoda con le nostre ricchezze. Ci sbeffeggiano, ci sputano addosso, perché lavoriamo, e li accettiamo come inetti signori e padroni nostri e del nostro regno. Che cosa dobbiamo avere ancora a che fare, noi cristiani, con questo popolo dannato e infame degli ebrei?

 

[Le misure da adottare] Io voglio dare il mio sincero consiglio.

 

In primo luogo bisogna dare fuoco alle loro sinagoghe o scuole; e ciò che non vuole bruciare deve essere ricoperto di terra e sepolto, in modo che nessuno possa mai più vederne un sasso o un resto. E questo lo si deve fare in onore di nostro Signore e della Cristianità, in modo che Dio veda che noi siamo cristiani e che non abbiamo tollerato né permesso – consapevolmente – queste palesi menzogne, maledizioni e ingiurie verso Suo figlio e i Suoi cristiani. Perché ciò che noi fino a ora abbiamo tollerato per ignoranza (io stesso non ne ero a conoscenza) ci verrà perdonato da Dio. Ma se noi, ora che sappiamo, dovessimo proteggere e difendere per gli ebrei una casa siffatta, nella quale essi – proprio sotto il nostro naso – mentono, ingiuriano, maledicono, coprono di sputi e di disprezzo Cristo e noi (come sopra abbiamo sentito), ebbene, sarebbe come se lo facessimo noi stessi, e molto peggio, come ben sappiamo.

 

Mosè scrive al XIII capitolo del Deuteronomio, che se una città pratica l’idolatria, bisogna distruggerla completamente col fuoco e non conservarne nulla. E se egli ora fosse in vita, sarebbe il primo a incendiare le sinagoghe e le case degli ebrei. Perché ordinò molto severamente ai capitoli IV e XII del Deuteronomio di non togliere né aggiungere niente alla sua legge. E Samuele dice al XV capitolo del I libro che non obbedire a Dio è idolatria. Ora, la dottrina degli ebrei non è altro che glosse di rabbini e idolatria della disobbedienza, cosicché Mosè è diventato del tutto sconosciuto presso di loro (come si è detto), proprio come per noi sotto il papato la Bibbia è diventata sconosciuta. E dunque anche in nome di Mosè le loro sinagoghe non possono essere tollerate, perché diffamano loro tanto quanto noi, e non è necessario che essi abbiano per una simile idolatria le loro proprie, libere chiese.

 

Secondo: bisogna allo stesso modo distruggere e smantellare anche le loro case, perché essi vi praticano le stesse cose che fanno nelle loro sinagoghe. Perciò li si metta sotto una tettoia o una stalla, come gli zingari, perché sappiano che non sono signori nel nostro Paese, come invece si vantano di essere, ma sono in esilio e prigionieri, come essi dicono incessantemente davanti a Dio strillando e lamentandosi di noi.

 

Terzo: bisogna portare via a loro tutti i libri di preghiere e i testi talmudici, nei quali vengono insegnate siffatte idolatrie, menzogne, maledizioni e bestemmie.

 

Quarto: bisogna proibire ai loro rabbini – pena la morte – di continuare a insegnare, perché essi hanno perduto il diritto di esercitare questo ufficio, in quanto tengono prigionieri i poveri ebrei per mezzo del passo di Mosè, al XVII capitolo del Deuteronomio, nel quale egli ordina a quelli di obbedire ai loro maestri, pena la perdita del corpo e dell’anima; mentre invece Mosè aggiunge con chiarezza: in «ciò che ti insegnano secondo la legge del Signore». […]

 

Quinto: bisogna abolire completamente per gli ebrei il salvacondotto per le strade, perché essi non hanno niente da fare in campagna, visto che non sono né signori, né funzionari, né mercanti, o simili. Essi devono rimanere a casa. […]

 

Sesto: bisogna proibire loro l’usura, confiscare tutto ciò che possiedono in contante e in gioielli d’argento e d’oro, e tenerlo da parte in custodia. E il motivo è questo: tutto quello che hanno (come sopra si è detto), lo hanno rubato e rapinato a noi attraverso l’usura, perché, diversamente, non hanno altri mezzi di sostentamento. […]

 

Settimo: a ebrei ed ebree giovani e forti, si diano in mano trebbia, ascia, zappa, vanga, canocchia, fuso, in modo che si guadagnino il loro pane col sudore della fronte, come fu imposto ai figli di Adamo, al III capitolo della Genesi. Perché non è giusto che essi vogliano far lavorare noi, maledetti goijm, nel sudore della nostra fronte, e che essi, la santa gente, vogliano consumare pigre giornate dietro la stufa, a ingrassare e scorreggiare, vantandosi per questo in modo blasfemo di essere signori dei cristiani, grazie al nostro sudore. A loro bisognerebbe invece scacciare l’osso marcio da furfanti dalla schiena! […]

 

Se però i signori non vogliono costringerli e non vogliono porre rimedio a questa loro diabolica ribellione, allora vengano espulsi dal Paese, come si è detto, e si dica loro di tornare alla loro terra e ai loro beni, a Gerusalemme, dove possono mentire, maledire, bestemmiare, deridere, uccidere, rubare, rapinare, praticare l’usura, dileggiare e compiere tutti questi empi abominî come fanno qui da noi […]

Pubblicato in: Banche Centrali, Devoluzione socialismo, Sistemi Economici

Bond. Un mercato turbolento. -2.9% in un mese.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2016-10-31.

 2016-10-31__bonds__001

Se fosse possibile dirlo anche se sommessamente, il problema è quello dei debiti sovrani. Ma siccome non lo si può dire, sarebbe politicamente scorretto, non lo diciamo.

Abbiamo già riportato notizie non rasserenanti per i detentori di bond:

→  Hedge Fund. Solo +2.0% negli ultimi tre anni. 2016-10-28

Nonostante che molti economisti e larga parte del pubblico siano convinti a livello di credo religioso integralista che le banche centrali possano stampare cartamoneta a piacere, il sistema sembrerebbe essere inceppato.

Il lungo periodo di tassi negativi ha forse più danneggiato che “stimolare” il sistema economico: se il dell’Eurozona il pil valeva 9,799 miliardi al 2011, a fine 2015 era salito a 10,400, nonostante una politica monetaria oltremodo lassa, il sistema bancario. Né ci si illuda sia che termini a breve, sia che possa durate sine die: la posizione dell’Ecb è molto chiara.

«The European Central Bank (ECB) decided to stay the course and made no changes to its monetary policy at its 20 October meeting, matching market expectations»

*

Aspetti del problema.

«Bond traders suffer worst rout in three years»

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«Yields reach multi-month highs in Germany, U.K., U.S.»

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«Corporate issuers undeterred, sell $62 billion of debt»

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«Bonds worldwide lost 2.9 percent this month through Oct. 27»

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«The result is that investors are abandoning one of the year’s biggest trades — a bet on higher-yielding, long-term bonds — as they wake up to the limits of central-bank demand that drove bond yields to record lows as recently as July»

* * * * * * *

Al pratico: poniamoci la domanda fondamentale.

Facciamo l’ipotesi che il sig. Rossi sia stato talmente fortunato da vincere cinque milioni di euro in una delle tante lotterie.

Come potrebbe allocarli?

I buoni del tesoro hanno al momento quotazioni proibitive e rendono poco meno del due per cento. Potrebbe ricavare un rendimento lordo di circa 100,000 euro all’anno, diciamo 7,500 netti al mese: pochino per una cifra  così imponente ed investimento chiacchierato e chiacchierabile, insicuro alla resa dei conti. Come si comporteranno i titoli di stato quando l’Ecb terminerà isuoi interventi?

Investire nell’azionariato? È un mercato che rende molto poco, capriccioso e, negli ultimi tempi, anche molto volatile. È un problema di fiducia.

Acquisire degli immobili in un periodo di quotazioni al ribasso? Con gli affitti che rendono un boccon di pane, difficili da mobilizzare, esposti all’indiscreto occhio del fisco? E con tutte le pese di gestione?

Investire nella produzione. In altri tempi sarebbe stata la scelta privilegiata. Ma chi mai si sognerebbe di accollarsi tutta la fatica di aprire e gestire una qualche attività produttiva per poi trovarsi impantanato in un dedalo burocratico che imperversa proprio in un momento di crisi profonda?

*

Pensiamoci bene: potremmo anche essere noi il fortunato sig. Rossi.

Il nodo sembrerebbe emergere evidente: in questa situazione non esiste un qualche investimento che sia ragionevolmente sicuro e che renda qualcosa di altrettanto ragionevole.

Più che la crisi si resta atterriti dalla stasi: i mercati stanno stagnando. Nessuno si fida più di nessuno. Vediamo liquidità immense che girano a vuoto alla ricerca di una collocazione ragionevole.

Senza risolvere questo problema di fiducia non se ne verrà mai fuori.Il problema è politico, non economico né finanziario.

Sarebbe demenziale parlare di ripresa economica senza prima aver ripristinato la fiducia nel sistema e senza aver reso remunerativi gli investimenti produttivi.


Bloomberg. 2016-10-29. Bond Traders Suffer Worst Rout in Three Years as Selloff Deepens

– Yields reach multi-month highs in Germany, U.K., U.S.

– Corporate issuers undeterred, sell $62 billion of debt

*

After all central bankers have done since the financial crisis to prop up bond prices, it didn’t take much for them to send the global debt market reeling.

Bonds worldwide lost 2.9 percent this month through Oct. 27, according to the Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate Index, which tracks everything from sovereign obligations to mortgage-backed debt to corporate borrowings. The last time the bond world was dealt such a blow was May 2013, when then-Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke signaled the central bank might slow its unprecedented bond buying.

Europe led the losses that reverberated worldwide this week as signs of accelerating inflation and economic growth spurred speculation that the European Central Bank and its major counterparts are moving closer to curbing monetary stimulus, including asset purchases. The result is that investors are abandoning one of the year’s biggest trades — a bet on higher-yielding, long-term bonds — as they wake up to the limits of central-bank demand that drove bond yields to record lows as recently as July.

“Portfolios, banks, and hedge funds stocked up on these government bonds on the belief that global central banks would be buying them for years,” said Tom di Galoma, managing director of government trading and strategy at Seaport Global Holdings in New York. “Now, there has been a shift in central-bank policy globally.’’

In a year in which global bonds have earned more than 6 percent, it’s been months since yields were this high in major economies. Yields on 10-year gilts reached 1.31 percent, the highest since June 23, the day of the U.K. vote to leave the European Union. Similar-maturity German bonds were set for their worst month since 2013, pushing yields to 0.217 percent, a level last seen in May. U.S. 10-year Treasury yields touched about 1.88 percent, the highest since May.

Turbulent Times

There’s potential for more turbulence ahead. Next week brings interest-rate decisions from the Bank of Japan, the Fed and the Bank of England. Then on Nov. 8, Americans go to the polls to choose a new president.

Partly to get ahead of all that, companies including yogurt-maker Danone SA and Honeywell International Inc. sold about $62 billion of bonds worldwide this week, the most since mid-September, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Global corporate bonds lost 0.6 percent this week, sending the average yield on the notes to 2.39 percent, the highest since June, according to Bloomberg Barclays index data.

There are signs that investors welcomed the higher yields. Even as the U.S. auctioned $88 billion of notes this week amid the rout, most auction metrics painted a picture of orderly sales. For the five- and seven-year offerings, a measure of demand known as the bid-to-cover ratio matched or exceeded its average over the prior 10 auctions.

Buying In

“As you start to see yields back up, it will start to be interesting for many clients to start to buy into it,” Jim Keenan, global head of fundamental credit at BlackRock Inc., which oversees $5.1 trillion, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television.

Contributing to the repricing that’s swept fixed-income markets is mounting evidence that central banks’ historic stimulus efforts are finally paying off.

While the ECB is still projected to extend and likely tweak its asset-purchase program at the end of this year, conviction on the plan’s longevity has waned amid signs that global inflation is accelerating. 

A report Friday showed consumer prices in Germany rose this month at the fastest annual pace in two years. U.K. data Thursday showed Britain’s economy grew more than forecast in the third quarter. Earlier in the week, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said there were limits to officials’ willingness to look past an overshoot of their inflation target, signaling a chance that stimulus, including a bond-buying program, might not be expanded.

And the U.S., the world’s largest economy, grew last quarter at the fastest pace in two years, the latest data showed Friday.

Pubblicato in: Criminalità Organizzata, Unione Europea

‘The Deutsche Bank Downfall’. Questo è il titolo dell’ultimo articolo del Der Spiegel.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2016-10-31.

 rosa-salvator-scuola-rovine-1615-1673

Rosa Salvator (scuola). Rovine. 1615-1673.


Quando il gioco si fa duro, le signorine stanno in panchina.

È la seconda volta in pochi giorni che il Der Spiegel contravviene l’abitudine del “politicamente corretto” pubblicando un articolo davvero molto lungo e dettagliato su Deutsche Bank, ma firmato da due maschi: Ulrich Fichtner e Martin Hesse.

Femmine a casa, a fare la calza.

Nonostante, e forse a causa, la massiccia presenza di femmine rampanti, alteramente e diversamente genderizzati, ambiente multiculturale e socialdemocratici di alto bordo, Deutsche Bank ha dei bilanci tali da rendere probabile il trasbordo dei libri contabili al tribunale fallimentare.

Poi il Contribuene sarà chiamato a ripianare i debiti, sempre che sia ancora possibile. Forse potrebbe riuscirci l’Ecb: ma saranno lacrime e sangue. Non oggi, non domani, ma dopodomani sicuramente.

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«What we have found in the course of these myriad interviews — combined with the hours spent analyzing bank balance sheets, thousands of pages of files, committee meeting minutes and archive material — is that the collapse of Deutsche Bank is the result of years, decades, of failed leadership, culminating in the complete loss of control of the company by top managers during the period between 1994 and 2012.»

*

Parole durissime:

«the collapse of Deutsche Bank».

*

«And there are people who deserve blame: management board spokesmen (the bank’s equivalent to a CEO before a true CEO leadership model was introduced in the 2000s), members of senior management and advisory board members over the course of several years. Their leadership failures were not primarily the result of professional incompetence, since the people involved were and are extremely well educated, often proven professionals with significant amounts of experience. The source of their mistakes lies elsewhere, in cultural factors and psychological disposition.»

*

Non hanno ancora il coraggio di dire, oppure non possono farlo, che il declino è iniziato da quando la presenza socialdemocratica nella banca è diventata predominante.

 


Der Spiegel. 2016-10-29. The Deutsche Bank Downfall

How a Pillar of German Banking Lost Its Way

For most of its 146 years, Deutsche Bank was the embodiment of German values: reliable and safe. Now, the once-proud institution is facing the abyss. SPIEGEL tells the story of how Deutsche’s 1990s rush to join the world banking elite paved the way for its own downfall.

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Greed, provincialism, cowardice, unfocused aggression, mania, egoism, immaturity, mendacity, incompetence, weakness, pride, blundering, decadence, arrogance, a need for admiration, naiveté: If you are looking for words that explain the fall of Deutsche Bank, you can choose freely and justifiably from among the above list.

The bank, 146 years after its founding, has become the target for all manner of pejoratives, and not just from outside observers. All of the above terms were used in interviews held during months of reporting into the causes of the downfall of Germany’s largest financial institution. They popped up over the course of several hours of interviews with four Deutsche Bank CEOs, three former and one current. And they were uttered in interviews with eight additional senior bank managers and board members conducted over the course of several years, from the 1990s until today, and in meetings with captains of industry who know the bank well and during encounters with major stakeholders. More than anything, the disparaging words come up frequently in interviews with those who have worked or still work at the bank as customer service advisors, as branch managers or in positions lower down on the food chain.

What we have found in the course of these myriad interviews — combined with the hours spent analyzing bank balance sheets, thousands of pages of files, committee meeting minutes and archive material — is that the collapse of Deutsche Bank is the result of years, decades, of failed leadership, culminating in the complete loss of control of the company by top managers during the period between 1994 and 2012.

It is a story about how Hilmar Kopper, Rolf E. Breuer and Josef Ackermann, the leaders of Deutsche Bank during those fateful years, essentially turned over the bank to a hastily assembled group of Anglo-American investment bankers before Anshu Jain, the prince of these traders, rose to the top and spent three more years sailing the bank full-speed-ahead into the shoals.

It is also a story of how these bank heads, along with numerous other members of the management and supervisory boards, stood aside as Jain and the many other new investment banking heroes modified the staid German financial institution to serve their own purposes — essentially looting it and robbing it of its very soul — without leaving behind a better, stronger bank.

The subject is vast and convoluted, given the many aspects and paradoxes that come with the decline of such a large financial institution. One of those is the fact that, even as Deutsche Bank is rapidly losing value, it is still seen today as the largest systemic risk for the global finance world. Every detail in the sequence of its decline is controversial, partially because the financial world still considers it normal that nobody take responsibility for anything but themselves. All of them are most concerned with painting their own role in the best light possible and presenting the decisions they made as the only ones possible at the time.

But their claims must be examined critically. When looking back at past decisions, one can easily sem like a know-it-all, but it’s just as inappropriate to fall prey to historical relativism. When a bank like Deutsche, once an icon of respectability and solidity, transforms into a caricature of “The Wolf of Wall Street,” something must have gone wrong and someone must have been responsible.

And there are people who deserve blame: management board spokesmen (the bank’s equivalent to a CEO before a true CEO leadership model was introduced in the 2000s), members of senior management and advisory board members over the course of several years. Their leadership failures were not primarily the result of professional incompetence, since the people involved were and are extremely well educated, often proven professionals with significant amounts of experience. The source of their mistakes lies elsewhere, in cultural factors and psychological disposition.

The German-ness of Deutsche Bank also had a significant role to play over the years. It looks as though Deutsche Bank managers wanted to free themselves from Germany’s reputation for provincialism — and went so overboard the consequences can still be felt today. Because once they successfully managed to expunge everything that was German about the bank, it suddenly seemed helpless and empty, aimless and confused.

Deutsche Bank is broken. It might be able to extract itself from the 7,800 lawsuits it is currently involved in, or it may shrink to the point that it will no longer pose a systemic risk, or it may manage to find investors to help it scrape together sufficient capital to fulfill legal requirements. In the most extreme case, it may even be bailed out by the German state. But it is broken nonetheless when compared to that which it once was: a brand, a symbol, a German icon.

It may sound strange to say that a bank needs a home as well as a strong domestic market, but Deutsche Bank’s name carries weight in the world. The clichés about Germans being upstanding, efficient and competent are alive and well in Asia and America. It is an image that Deutsche Bank promulgated even after it had long since pulled up its roots — even after senior managers had begun making clear to employees and clients alike that they found their bank’s provincial origins a bit embarrassing. It was a time when their work saw them commuting between Singapore and Los Angeles, Cape Town and Beijing — and when the needs of the global elite were more important to them than those at home.

On Thursday, John Cryan, the bank’s new CEO, presented a surprisingly positive quarterly report. The bank posted a 256 million euro profit, compared to analysts’ expectations of a 949 million euro loss. Even so, the bank has left behind a rubble-strewn landscape that still hasn’t been cleaned up years later. And analysts are nervous. Will the situation calm down? Or will it get even worse?

But even though this week people will focus on the bank’s recent failures, its decline didn’t begin yesterday, or in 2007, or 2008, but as a lofty dream more than 20 years ago.

In a June 1994 meeting at the Deutsche Bank branch in Madrid, Hilmar Kopper, then Deutsche Bank chairman of the board, resolved together with a handful of senior managers to transform the Frankfurt-based concern into a globally operating investment bank. The move was intended to propel the bank upwards, but after a few good years, the slide began — one which continues to this day.

  1. Performance without Passion

A visit to Deutsche Bank’s 2016 shareholders’ meeting.

On the morning of May 19, 2016, Deutsche Bank investors both large and small were gathered at the Frankfurt convention center. There were grumblings that they are getting poorer by the day. The bank was still not doing well. Shareholders were streaming into the main entrances for this year’s shareholders’ meeting. In the back, the VIPs were driving up in sedans — senior managers and board members. They were tasked with talking about what has been an extremely bad year.

The institution had lost 6.8 billion euros and was stuck deep in crisis which could threaten its very existence. Paul Achleitner, chairman of the supervisory board, received sarcastic applause when he took the stage, but nevertheless held a self-satisfied speech. He looked well-rested and said at the end of his speech that it was worth fighting for Deutsche Bank. For him, at least, that was undoubtedly true.

Jürgen Fitschen came up next to bid farewell — and his speech was met with only scattered applause. For years, for decades, he had been part of the bank’s senior management, working in such far-flung places as Bangkok, Tokyo, Singapore and London. Ultimately, he became co-CEO with Anshu Jain and led the bank’s “cultural change” for the last four years. He always seemed like the last remaining source of respectability at the bank. On this day, though, he seemed rather colorless.

The bank’s “cultural change” campaign was meant as a return to values, a reminder that the bank’s history could still be inspiring, but it coincided with a flood of lawsuits and damage claims and the term “cultural change” came to be seen as a bad joke. Fitschen’s speech was interrupted by jeers. One man screamed at him from the audience, but it wasn’t clear what he was saying.

The meeting wouldn’t make any more sense to the uninitiated. Deutsche Bank’s 2015 annual report was full of enormous, inconceivable numbers. The balance sheet total was listed at 1.6 trillion, with 101,104 employees being paid at 2,790 branches in 70 countries. There were, the statement notes, 561,559 shareholders in 2015 and, on the Dec. 31, 2015 cut-off date, 1.38 billion shares on the market, of which 7.8 million were traded each day at the stock market in Frankfurt. How was it possible that such a firm was standing at the precipice?

Shareholder representatives took the stage. That moment was the highlight of their year and they strutted up to the stage before the full house. They used terms like “rat catchers” and “Augean Stables,” a reference to the Fifth Labor of Hercules, which required him to shovel manure out the king’s cow stalls. The angry men spoke well beyond the eight minutes they had been allotted and accused managers of having created the atmosphere that made much of the fraud possible. They said the bank had been plagued by decades of mismanagement and was in need of restructuring. They took the pay structures to task and mocked the “cultural change.” Indeed, the meeting wasn’t unlike several past shareholders’ meetings. And then lunch arrived — time for the stakeholders to calm themselves at beautifully laden buffets.

John Cryan, the bald-headed CEO of the bank, chaired the event. He was a better speaker than either Achleitner or Fitschen and was a calming presence. He spoke German, as the head of Deutsche Bank has always been expected to do — and something that only one CEO, Anshu Jain, the cosmopolitan from London, refused to. At the last shareholder meeting he presided over as CEO in 2015, interpreters translated his speeches — and it was, as all those present understood, a sign of deep contempt for that which is referred to here as “German culture.”

  1. Gordon Gekko, or How It All Started

The masters of Germany Inc. wanted to be masters of the universe, but couldn’t even speak English. From the 1980s to the 90s: The Deutsche looked old.

The term “globalization” only began to emerge in the 1990s, a time of economic euphoria in the wake of the fall of the Berlin Wall, after the perceived victory of capitalism over the historical dead end of communism.

In the wake of 1980s “Reaganomics” — named for the US President Ronald Reagan — and the anti-socialist doctrine of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, neoliberalism flourished. For its adherents, neoliberalism was considered a well-founded theory. But its opponents saw it as an erroneous belief in the self-regulating powers of the markets. Nevertheless, neoliberalism entered the mainstream and in Germany too, politicians were eager to deregulate and weaken state oversight.

The Internet arrived, a game changer, and English was suddenly the language of choice. The “New Economy” was here and the “Old Economy”, the industrial economy of things, was considered passé. The virtual economy was the future and “shareholder value” became the driving force of all economic effort.

Things were changing in the banking world as well. Whereas money used to be earned with bonds, stocks and commodities, bets were increasingly placed on fluctuations in the values of bonds, stocks and commodities. A meta-market, one driven by new mathematical formulas, developed alongside the real market — one which took on increasingly madcap characteristics with ever more insane “financial products.” Risk was transformed into securities and those who weren’t part of the machinery hadn’t a clue what was going on.

Well-known US financial institutions such as J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and Shearson Lehman Brothers helped bring the best university graduates from all around the world to Wall Street, creating new role models and masculine sex symbols. In 1987, Tom Wolfe’s Wall Street novel “Bonfire of the Vanities,” about the precipitous fall of Sherman McCoy, described investment bankers on the hectic trading floor as “masters of the universe.” In Oliver Stone’s “Wall Street,” released the same year, Michael Douglas’ character Gordon Gekko became a kind of mascot of greed, with his wide suspenders, thick cigars and generously gelled hair.

At the time, in the late 1980s, it was inconceivable that such a person might ever rise to the top of Deutsche Bank. Until 1988, Friedrich Wilhelm Christians headed up the bank, a discrete, courtly gentleman from Paderborn, a city in the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Born in 1922, he had worked for Deutsche since 1949, a graying witness to the origins of Germany’s social market economy.

In 1988, Deutsche Bank was the largest player in the German economy. It held large stakes in many, if not all, large corporations in the country: a quarter to a third of Daimler shares; co-owner of Karstadt and Südzucker; a stakeholder in Metallgesellschaft; a major shareholder of the construction firm Holzmann, the Hortmann Group and the porcelain producer Hutschenreuther. The list could go on. The bank’s senior managers and directors also sat on the boards of 400 companies around the country. Without the bank, nothing worked, and standing in opposition to the financial institution was fruitless. Deutsche Bank was Germany, Germany Inc., a small state within the state. Indeed, it was so powerful that many considered it at the time to be a danger to democracy.

In 1985, Alfred Herrhausen became Christians’ deputy and, after Christians left the bank in 1988, was CEO for a year until he was murdered by the left-wing terrorist group Red Army Faction (RAF). Herrhausen had lofty plans for a better world and the development of Africa. He wanted to consolidate the bank to make it more flexible and he understood that international investment was the future. The bank’s German clients were increasingly discovering the enterprising nature of international financial institutions and Deutsche had to be careful not to be left behind.

Herrhausen’s successor Hilmar Kopper shared those worries and he was a new kind of Deutsche Bank CEO, much more Gordon Gekko than Friedrich Wilhelm Christians.

Back then, German was still spoken at the top of Deutsche Bank — it was a time when German personalities such as actress Hannelore Elsner were invited to management retreats to recite poetry. Those who valued good manners, timeliness and order — and who held the correct, center-right political views — tended to have good careers at the bank. In this atmosphere of demonstrative decorum, there was, it seems safe to say, the virile alpha-males types who personified avarice, spoke English and had no use for tradition seemed both attractive and repellent. And the Germans — “chaste souls,” as Kopper, himself something of a ruffian, liked to call them — needed a wakeup call.

World War II had receded sufficiently into the distance and the German economy had experienced its miracle — now it was time to look overseas. Companies with global potential had their headquarters in Munich, Stuttgart, Berlin and several smaller towns, and they needed a bank to stand at their side during expansion. That, at least, was Kopper’s view and he was easily able to convince the bank’s board.

It was also a time when senior German managers began hearing of the fabulous sums being earned by their counterparts in the US. Though they may — in good, Protestant tradition — still have considered such salaries and bonuses to be indecent, the prospect of such earnings was nevertheless attractive. In general, the ruthless, success-oriented methods of Anglo-American investment bankers were the polar opposite of the relatively staid demeanor of Deutsche Bank, which likely only increased the Germans’ fascination.

In June 1994, Klopper and a small group of senior managers met in Madrid and made the decision to recast Deutsche Bank as a global investment bank. Fundamentally, it seems like a sound decision given that the bank’s old business model — Germany Inc. — wouldn’t earn enough on the long term without the addition of more lucrative business segments. Corporate loans alone weren’t enough to ensure growth. The bank began expanding a bit into Italy and Spain, but the real adventure waited in Wall Street and the City of London. And that’s exactly where they wanted to go.

The problem was, though, that Deutsche Bank at the time, in the mid-1990s, didn’t have the right employees to make the change, and the German labor market and universities weren’t yet producing them. The bank needed mathematicians, programmers, code experts with business instincts — and it needed salespeople who could sell the bank as a product; people who didn’t just sit in their offices managing accounts but who went out knocking on doors, creating a market and bringing a whole new field into being. It needed people to come up with brand new services that could be sold at a premium; people to come up with contracts that clients had never dreamed of. It needed products that found new, convoluted ways to avoid interest rate risk, limited exposure to volatile currency markets and helped absorb loan defaults. The New Economy needed all of that and more. And the bank needed new people, no matter what the cost.

III. Edson Mitchell and the 50 Bandits

At the end of the 1990s, Deutsche Bank went shopping and grew. Now, the bank employed “conquistadors” who partied with the Rolling Stones. Small-town Germans had a few questions.

It was time for Edson Mitchell. Born in 1953, he was the archetype of the new era — perhaps a bit too short, but wiry and always dressed in the most expensive suits. Mitchell’s grandfather emigrated from Sweden to the United States and his lower-middle class family valued hard work and toughness. At college, Mitchell was always among the best students, including at Dartmouth Business School. At age 27, he began working at Merrill Lynch.

His coworkers admired Mitchell’s competitive nature, his directness and his chutzpah. He was, people said, “aggressive in a positive way,” always wanting to make bets and compete with others. Despite his short height, he played basketball ruthlessly, leaving it all on the court, even during practice. Later, when he began playing golf, he couldn’t get through a round without making constant bets with his playing partners.

Merrill Lynch declined to promote him to senior management because of his abrasive leadership style, whereupon an offended Mitchell left for Deutsche Bank in 1995. Even then, he was already well-known in the scene and considered something of a star.

Kopper hired him and Mitchell brought along 50 of his best coworkers. It was a spectacular move, unheard of for Deutsche Bank, but one that would soon become standard in international banking. Investment bankers know no loyalty. They move in packs to the best hunting grounds — to where the most money can be made.

A red-headed chain-smoker with narrow, clever eyes, Mitchell would go on to lure many more hunters to Deutsche Bank. He was given carte blanche to build up the Global Markets division within the company and charged with assembling a large, international business in London that traded in securities and derivatives, currencies and commodities. He was, in short, charged with transforming Deutsche Bank into an investment bank.

Because he personified the cultural break senior bank managers wanted, Mitchell was polarizing from day one. His direct employees swore eternal loyalty, but those who were not in close contact with him both hated and envied him from a distance. Mitchell was a man of numbers who was considered severe and intolerant of mistakes. On one occasion, when he wasn’t recognized by a Deutsche coworker in Frankfurt and asked who he was, he replied: “I’m God.” Another striking quote attributed to him: “If you don’t have $100 million by the time you’re 40, you’re a failure.”

Initially, though, Mitchell seemed like a failure. His division lost money and was unable to figure out how to integrate the business of British investment bank Morgan Grenfell, even though that is exactly why he had been brought on board. Deutsche Bank had purchased Morgan Grenfell in 1989, but failed to learn from the mistakes of that sale: When buying an investment bank, you are essentially buying the people who work there — but they generally don’t want to work for you and tend to quickly find new jobs. That was the case at Morgan Grenfell too, as employees left the firm in droves, taking their knowledge and connections with them. It took considerable time for Edson Mitchell to stop the bleeding.

His response to both success and failure was always the same: He would demand more money both for himself and his people — exorbitant sums for a bank like Deutsche, where, unlike Mitchell or his people, many still saw modesty as a virtue.

Mitchell and his people felt differently, and saw themselves as “Indians,” as “mercenaries,” as “conquistadors.” They called their boss a “shark” or the “terminator.” Personnel interviews with Mitchell rarely lasted more than two minutes, after which he would decide who would be allowed to stay and who would be pushed out the door.

Those who stayed led lives in accordance with the contemporary definition of happiness: They commuted between London and New York, celebrated deals with huge parties on the shores of Lago Maggiore or on the Thai island of Phuket, they leased private jets and drank prodigious quantities of champagne. And, unnoticeably at first, they also gradually brought disrepute to the entire finance industry and Deutsche Bank, in particular.

That is when it started: Disdain began sneaking into the vocabulary of the traders. They treated clients like idiots who could be sold garbage as gold. It was around this time, around the year 2000 — a time when Hilmar Kopper had been succeeded by Rolf Breuer, and Josef Ackermann was still waiting in the wings — that the process that would lead to the global financial crisis just seven or eight years later began. And Deutsche Bank, which still looked like its old self back home, had become unrecognizable in London and New York.

On Dec. 22, 2000, Edson Mitchell died in a plane crash on his way to celebrate Christmas with his family in Maine. He was just 47 years old. When news of his death became public, Deutsche Bank’s stock price briefly plunged then quickly recovered. The cynicism at Deutsche Bank was such at the time that people said that, although it was a terrible thing that he had died, it would have been worse if he had gone over to the competition.

Mitchell, though, left behind an extremely competent and ambitious team that continued working in his spirit. People like Grant Kvalheim, an American born in 1957 who specialized in bond issues. Seth Waugh, another American one year younger than Kvalheim, had been brought over from a hedge fund by Mitchell shortly before his death and was an expert on fixed-interest securities. Still another American, Thomas “Tommy” Gahan, born in 1961, had spent 11 years at Merrill Lynch where he had become a junk bond expert. And there was Anshuman “Anshu” Jain, a Brit who had been born in 1963 in Jaipur, India. A protégé of Mitchell’s, Jain hung a portrait of his mentor in his office after his death. He once said that he would have “gone to the ends of the Earth” for Mitchell.

In 2001, Jain became Mitchell’s successor as head of the Global Markets division and soon achieved superstar status. In February 2006, the Financial Times ran an admiring profile of Jain, who the paper called a “pioneer.” Jain was 43 at the time and developed the trade in so-called derivatives. Today, derivatives are notorious for the role they played in the global financial crisis, but at the time they were only known to experts. Jain was completely at home in the alphabet soup of derivative abbreviations — CDO, CDS, ABS, RMBS — and his numbers made him to one of the best traders of the era. Deutsche Bank had him to thank for a growing balance sheet and huge profits — and a rise in renown and glamor. The London trading division that Jain led was responsible for a considerable portion of the company’s entire profit.

Under Jain’s leadership, Deutsche Bank climbed into fourth place in the global derivatives market, at a time when some had begun issuing dark warnings and others had left the field. The Basel-based Bank for International Settlements, often referred to as the central bank of central banks, warned against the new tools being used to spread risk. But Jain was unconcerned, as were Financial Times reporters. The London-based paper quoted analysts who said that Jain was “top-notch” and had “proved he can walk on water.”

Other Mitchell protégés also did well at Deutsche Bank: Michael Philipp, William Broeksmit and Henry Ritchotte, all from the United States. They were joined by Colin Fan, a Canadian with Chinese parents who was born in 1973 and went to Harvard. He was considered a “child prodigy,” though he was later brought down as a result of questionable business practices. These traders represented the new face of Deutsche Bank.

Nobody mattered much anymore except for the Americans and the Brits. The old structures, which had stood in good stead for almost a century, had been trampled. The Müllers, Meiers and Schulzes, the branch managers in Düsseldorf and Stuttgart, the former stars of the Deutsche Bank empire, they were no longer valued. Their loan portfolios, still as full as ever, were mocked as antiquated.

And the peeved inquiries from provincial Germany regarding the huge sums being earned by the new guard were ignored. Was it true that Edson Mitchell earned $30 million a year? Could it really be true that in the 2000s, half of all profits, hundreds of millions of euros, ended up as bonuses in the pockets of the super-traders? Did they really earn more than any of the board members in Frankfurt?

And why did management insist on flying Kylie Minogue to the annual investor conference in Barcelona? And the Rolling Stones? Why did Ackermann spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to rent out the entire Kennedy Center in New York and treat invited guests to a show involving the best opera stars of the day? Was that really necessary for the bank’s core business?

  1. Life Is a Construction Site

Deutsche Bank loses its German-ness. It wants too much too quickly. It becomes more American than the Americans. Controlling is spotty and Ackermann has arrived.

Deutsche Bank had lost its home, its center. Germans working at the bank — employees who had proudly worked there for decades — were left behind. The bank was now making clear to them that they were only really suited for the unfortunately unavoidable bread-and-butter business of managing loan portfolios and accounts. And that they were completely exchangeable. The big money-makers, by contrast, in London and New York, were considered irreplaceable by senior management at Frankfurt headquarters.

That, at least, is how it must have seemed to Deutsche Bank employees in Germany. They began to feel estranged from the bank, a feeling that also held sway at headquarters itself. In the early 2000s, one employee in Frankfurt said that the building’s mirrored facade was but an illusion. In reality, he said, it was rotting from the inside because the bank’s workers had lost faith.

And that wasn’t the only line of conflict in the bank. The satellite offices in London and New York had contempt for headquarters in Frankfurt, which they referred to as “the Kremlin.” On the other hand, some traders who worked for Deutsche Bank in New York said they felt like they were on an island and that headquarters actually exerted too little control instead of too much.

It was a clash of two different cultures that couldn’t be reconciled: that of the modestly growing German corporate and commercial bank, which saw itself as an institution operating with an eye to the long-term, and of the world of the investment bankers, whose primary aim was to earn money in the here and now, future be damned.

In such a confrontation, the hunters almost always win out against the gatherers: the Americans and Brits won the clash of cultures within Deutsche Bank, crushing the company’s identity. Senior management and the bank’s supervisory boards at the time were ignorant of the development and apparently completely misinterpreted the situation. The leadership in Frankfurt, first under Kopper, then Breuer and then Ackermann, were unable to integrate the new divisions into the bank’s normal business.

“Compliance” is the name given by bankers to the division charged with ensuring that business is conducted in accordance with the law and that internal rules are observed. But at Deutsche Bank, this division didn’t grow quickly enough. The teams in New York and London were allowed far too much latitude and received inadequate legal consultation. The same was true when it came to risk management.

American Deutsche Bank employees were surprised at how easy it was to get even their riskiest deals rubber-stamped by the mother ship. In the US, they had become used to difficult negotiations with despised risk management personnel, during which they were forced to explain even the smallest of details. Each deal required exhaustive documentation, the analysis of various scenarios and legal expertise.

But at Deutsche Bank, they were working with managers who had a completely different interpretation of their role, managers who either didn’t understand the deals they were being asked to evaluate or who wanted to act cool in the presence of the Anglo-Americans. The Americans, in any case, were often told by the German risk management division: “What a great deal! Good luck!” They often couldn’t believe what they were hearing and, at their parties, laughed about their colleagues back in Frankfurt.

A situation developed which, in the course of our reporting, was described almost exactly the same way by several different interview partners: Under Kopper and Breuer, Deutsche Bank wanted way too much, way too fast. It tried to launch several highly complex operations at the same time and tried, as though it would be no problem at all, to shift from a German culture to an Anglo-American one. At the top, English was now the language of choice, but not even that proved unproblematic because there were still a few older managers hanging on who had a tenuous grasp on the language. The bank’s leadership also thought that it would be able to take the step from a classic business model to that of an aggressive investment bank with no ill effects.

As a result, Deutsche Bank became like a site undergoing constant construction — that still hasn’t been completed to this day. Every quarter, the bank’s organizational charts looked different. New divisions were created while others were closed down; personnel was cut in one area and doubled in another.

By the end of the 1990s, the bank had begun to lose control. At the time, this could, perhaps, still have been prevented, but the management in Frankfurt and the supervisory board, didn’t react. It’s possible that some board members — who were actually upright businessmen — were intimidated by the new generation, by people like Mitchell and Jain. Perhaps they didn’t believe they were competent enough to contradict them. It is also possible that some board members didn’t care as long as the bottom line, and their own salaries, looked good. And finally, it is also possible that many of them were simply too scared to say anything.

Starting in 2002, Josef Ackermann stood at the helm of the Deutsche Bank ship, having been named Breuer’s successor fully two years earlier. He didn’t seem like someone who enjoyed being contradicted. And he also had no patience for critique of his money-printing operations in London and New York, which continued to expand the bank’s balance sheet and increase profits. Ackermann’s harshest critic at the time was Thomas Fischer, a member of the board in charge of risk management but also in charge of day-to-day operations. He questioned the many risky positions the bank was establishing in all manner of fields, and the confrontation quickly became a power struggle from which Ackermann emerged victorious. Fischer’s departure from the bank marked the end of internal resistance in Frankfurt — and the end of internal checks and balances.

Ackermann had a free hand, and he took advantage of it. In 2002, a banking crisis took place that has now been almost completely forgotten, but despite widespread concern about global stability, Deutsche Bank’s team in the US was not made to suffer. The generosity shown by the risk management division was matched by the bank’s approach to remuneration. Whereas Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch cut personnel costs by 10 percent in the third quarter of 2002, salary and bonus payments at Deutsche increased by 6 percent, according to estimates at the time made by those working in the investment banking division — despite the fact that the division’s earnings had fallen by 15 percent.

  1. Ackermann and the Arsonists

A new face after 130 years of tradition. In Frankfurt, a new, exclusive executive committee was established. The bank failed to see the 2008 financial crisis coming. Internal conflict. Who controlled the controllers?

When Josef Ackermann took over control of Deutsche Bank on May 23, 2002, it was something of a revolution. One-hundred-and-thirty-two years after its founding, Deutsche Bank began imitating Anglo-American leadership structures. That might sound like a minor detail, but it was a huge cultural shift. Until that point, the head of Deutsche Bank had been the board spokesman, essentially the first among many equals — and all decisions had to be passed unanimously by the board. British and US banks, by contrast, were led by a CEO, who presided over all of the bank’s divisions. The bank’s power was unified in this single position.

Ackermann downsized the management board from nine members to four and created a new body that sounds like a cross between communist and capitalist leadership fantasies: the Group Executive Committee (GEC).

This executive committee, made up of 12 members, became the bank’s new center of power, an alternative management board. The members of the management board also belonged to the new committee along with seven managers who led the bank’s largest divisions and who reported directly to Ackermann. He constantly set ambitious goals for his managers and had them submit daily reports. Although at first he pressured them by being demonstratively amicable, he later became pedantic and, ultimately, vindictive. People who witnessed the development speak of “psycho-terror.”

Ackermann became the bank’s Sun King, which must have been gratifying for him. His career had suffered the same kind of break as Edson Mitchell’s. Just as Mitchell had been blocked from rising to the very top at Merrill Lynch, Ackermann had been sidelined at Credit Suisse, an institution he would have liked to lead. But in the mid-1990s a competitor had been placed at his side and he wasn’t happy about it. Kopper, who was head of Deutsche Bank at the time, let Ackermann know that he would be welcome in Frankfurt at any time and it is very possible that, even before his arrival, he was told that he might ultimately become chairman of the management board.

Ackermann, who comes from Switzerland, is an interesting, enigmatic personality. He undoubtedly has narcissistic qualities, and is given to boasting about his abilities and famous acquaintances. It is a part of his character that shines through in meetings with him and all profiles written about him. He’ll talk about how former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg welcomed him as a hero or about how the head of the Jewish community greeted him by telling him he had been “sent by God.” In his speeches, Ackermann is fond of bringing up honors he has received and never fails to mention that, when he was head of Deutsche Bank, he always received standing ovations at shareholders’ meetings.

Appraisals from coworkers run the gamut from admiration to aversion. Ackermann would seem to be the kind of person people either love or hate. In Frankfurt, his underlings learned to fear him as a man with an apparently photographic memory for numbers. Ackermann, it was said, could take but a brief glance at a spreadsheet and commit every single number to memory.

When he was appointed in 2002, he became the first foreigner to lead Deutsche Bank, a detail that no media report at the time left unmentioned. Ackermann never thought much of discussions about the bank’s German culture. Externally and for PR purposes, he was happy to parrot the bank’s German values, but internally, he presented himself as a devotee of internationalization — as someone whose job was to throw open the window in order to air out a particularly stuffy hallway. The “Deutsch” in Deutsche Bank was good for marketing, but not so good for earning money on Wall Street. Ackermann set about changing the bank’s core identity while still celebrating the institution as a bastion of tradition.

He used the Executive Committee to limit pesky controls and to shift around resources without fear of being contradicted. The new power center was dominated by the investment bankers surrounding Anshu Jain and Michael Cohrs, who was responsible for large-scale mergers. It cemented the power structures at the bank that had existed at least since takeover of Bankers Trust.

Deutsche Bank had taken over Bankers Trust, an American investment bank, in 1999, a move that made it one of the biggest banks in the world, a fact it proudly proclaimed. More than anything, the takeover sent a message to the banking world that Deutsche Bank was serious about its plans to become a leading investment bank. It made it easier for Edson Mitchell, who was still alive at the time, to recruit both new talent and new investors. The earlier argument that Deutsche Bank was insufficiently represented in decisive markets no longer held true.

The new leadership structure gave the investment division easier access to resources. They were able to negotiate the budget for their capital-intensive activities directly with Ackermann, who was also responsible for distributing bonuses. It was a clever structure that also helped avoid friction with shareholders and the public: While management salaries in business operations had to be disclosed, those of GEC members did not. In the good years, Anshu Jain and several other committee members earned more than Ackermann. Indeed, in the course of his career at Deutsche Bank, Jain alone is thought to have earned between 300 and 400 million euros.

But Ackermann’s organizational coup also had an additional effect. By shifting the most important decisions from the management board to the Executive Committee, the supervisory board no longer had as much influence on the bank’s leadership. According to German law, the supervisory board can only control the management board — and supervisory board members only learned as much about the activities of divisions under the control of the GEC as Ackermann was willing to tell them. Effective control was made even more difficult when Ulrich Cartellieris resigned in 2004. After that, there was only one trained banker left on the supervisory board: Rolf Breuer.

Germany’s financial supervisory authority BaFin checked the new committee prior to restructuring but found no cause for complaint. The authority was satisfied by the bank’s explanation that, from a legal perspective, GEC members were not company directors. As such, BaFin abstained from looking into the qualifications of the GEC members, something it always does for board members. As a result, the existence of the Executive Committee didn’t just lead to a shifting of power within the bank, but to a culture of organized irresponsibility. Beneath the GEC were further committees and subcommittees and in the end, nobody knew who had responsibility for what. Neither did Ackermann, even as his formal power continued to grow.

In 2006, he had the supervisory board promote him from management board spokesman to management board chair, a step on the road to becoming an American style CEO. For the bank, the move would later have a fateful side-effect: whereas the management board to that point had always elected its leader from among the board’s members and had the supervisory board approve the choice, from that point on the supervisory board was responsible for finding the bank’s next leader.

On May 4, 2006, Clemens Börsig, who had been the bank’s chief financial officer up to that point, became head of the supervisory board. It is difficult, if not impossible, to find someone involved with the bank who has much good to say about Börsig. Most are unanimous in the view that he was overwhelmed by the position, particularly when it came to finding Ackermann’s successor. When the Swiss banker first mentioned in 2007 that he planned to step down in 2009, a chaotic search for his successor commenced — at the end of which Börsig suggested that he himself be appointed. The supervisory board rejected his attempt at self-promotion and successfully convinced Ackermann to stay. Although he and Börsig were no longer able to get after that, they still had to work together for three more years.

Finally, Börsig tapped Anshu Jain and Jürgen Fitschen to succeed Ackermann against Ackermann’s will. But real problems were brewing elsewhere. Even as Frankfurt was fighting over personnel and responsibilities, the world outside was collapsing. Between 2007 and 2011, a global financial crisis was followed by a European debt crisis that threatened to tear Europe apart.

Instead of quickly and carefully reexamining its business model, reevaluating its exposure and reconsidering its future, Deutsche Bank learned basically nothing from the crash. Under Ackermann’s leadership, it had lost both the intellectual weight and the organizational structures to lead a competent debate about the narrowly avoided destruction of the entire banking universe. Entangled in childish, personal bickering, the bank missed its chance to start anew.

Critics of the bank see it as an unforgivable failure, the consequences of which still haven’t been overcome. Once Jain took over from Ackermann in 2012, the bank remained one of the few financial institutions in the world that continued to conduct business as usual. And because it underestimated the consequences of the 2008 debacle, it didn’t have the sensitivity to understand how seriously lawmakers saw the development. Frankfurt realized only far too late that regulators might actually move to curb investment banking.

  1. Rules Are for Fools

Deutsche Bank had its fingers in every pie, earning the most when its own clients are suffering. The 2000s looked like a police report.

In April 2002, the German paper Welt am Sonntag printed an interview with “exemplary banker” Friedrich Wilhelm Christians. Christians was Deutsche Bank’s management board spokesman before he moved to the supervisory board in 1988. Christians was celebrating his 80th birthday a few days later and agreed to answer a few questions about the good old days and the bank’s current situation.

Christians was asked if he found the high salaries and other activities of the investment bankers to be justified. “Of course not,” he replied. “A bank with over 100 years of success and tradition destroys a lot with this kind of activity. It was always something special to work at Deutsche Bank. These young guys don’t care. They only care about making sure that their bonuses are paid.”

It was a voice from the past — that wasn’t heard in Ackermann’s Executive Committee in Frankfurt. Their language was English, and many likely didn’t even know who this old Christians guy was anyway.

The transformation of Deutsche Bank had largely been completed. Germany’s largest commercial bank had become an Anglo-American investment bank. Before long, the British magazine Economist would, in a perceptive article, refer to Deutsche as a “giant hedge fund.” The era of enormous excesses began, an era of ludicrous mistakes and of intentional and frivolous misdeeds whose legal ramifications are still eating away at Deutsche Bank’s balance sheet.

The years that followed were filled with egregious activities that state agencies would later spend years examining. Starting in 2005, Deutsche Bank began selling huge quantities of dubiously structured, repeatedly reassembled and newly packaged mortgage loans.

Starting in 1999, and continuing at least until 2006, the bank engaged in deals in Libya, Iran, Burma, Syria, Cuba and North Korea, many of them suspected of having been conducted in violation of US sanctions, including money laundering.

Starting in 2003, the bank is thought to have manipulated currency trading with the help of illegal software, thus purloining money from many thousands of customers.

In 2005, Deutsche Bank hurt mid-sized companies and German municipalities by selling them derivative financial products known as Spread Ladder Swaps, which failed to bring the advertised savings, instead resulting in losses.

Starting in 2008, the bank began helping US citizens hide unreported income in Swiss bank accounts.

Starting in 2009, the bank became part of a tax avoidance scheme involving CO2 certificates.

In November 2010, Deutsche Bank traders in South Korea manipulated the country’s leading stock index through the 1.6 billion euro sale of a bundle of stocks.

Starting in 2011, Deutsche Bank employees in Moscow and London helped transfer rubles worth 10 billion dollars out of Russia in daily tranches without a recognizable commercial purpose.

In 2011, Deutsche Bank was involved in the flourishing business of “Dark Pools,” trading platforms that allow both buyers and sellers to remain anonymous — but the bank was accused of having manipulated the prices of the securities to the detriment of the customers.

When several banks banded together to manipulate the Libor, the interbank interest rate, Deutsche Bank was involved.

When gold and silver prices were manipulated, Deutsche Bank came under suspicion.

All of that, and the above list is just a sampling, took place during the years Josef Ackermann was the absolute sovereign of Deutsche Bank. Did he lose oversight? Or did he allow it to happen? Did the bank’s all-powerful controller lose control?

They were years when Ackermann did everything in his power to improve the bottom line, and Anshu Jain and his team delivered. It was Jain who created structures that allowed for even greater profit, but were also open to manipulation. Later, he would establish the narrative that the problems were all caused by individuals — black sheep — at the bank, but investigative reports compiled by state agencies have revealed Deutsche Bank’s failings and trickery to be systemic and organizational in nature.

The Libor rate, for example, which is vital for businesses and savers alike, could be manipulated because the bankers involved in the calculation of the interest rate were encouraged by Anshu Jain’s management team to consult with traders within the bank who had made bets on exactly this interest rate.

On the eve of the financial crisis, the bank allowed itself a particularly notable bit of treachery, one which destroyed what was left of its once unassailable reputation. It didn’t just sell its customers securities whose worthlessness was already apparent to the bank’s own traders, but allowed its own investment bankers to place bets on Wall Street on those securities’ further loss of value — and grab just a bit more off the top at the cost of its own customers.

Greg Lippmann, who joined Deutsche Bank in 2000, is the name of the trader who ultimately bet 5 billion dollars against his own products. His story, which has since been turned into a movie, can be read in a report on the causes of the financial crisis assembled by the US Senate. The report also contains testimony that, on three occasions in the winter of 2007, Lippmann obtained permission from Anshu Jain to continue with his extremely amoral activities. Lippmann allegedly earned $1.5 billion for the bank with such bets. It would be interesting to know if, as billions were disappearing around the world in 2008, he received a nice bonus for his efforts.

VII. Easy Come, Easy Go

Deutsche Bank’s balance sheet and its total results as an investment bank: A sober look at the books.

Several million numbers flow into Deutsche Bank’s balance sheet and the most recent annual report for 2015 is 500 pages long. But if you take a closer look at the bank’s annual report over the years, you can find numbers that tell the tale of the institution’s metamorphosis.

The bank has become much larger since 1994, but it has lost value. It began taking much greater risks, which ultimately proved not to be worth it. The final analysis of Operation “Deutsche Bank Rebirth” is rather sobering.

In 1994, the bank had 73,450 employees, three-quarters of them in Germany. But by 2001, there were 94,782 people working for Deutsche Bank, half of them abroad. In 2007, at the apex of the boom, fully two-thirds of the bank’s employees were outside of Germany — and not even one-third of the company’s revenues came from Germany.

The balance sheet climbed from 573 billion deutsche marks in 1994 to 2.2 trillion euros in 2007, an unbelievable expansion. But size alone isn’t necessarily indicative of value. The value of a financial institution is determined by its stock price and market capitalization. And here, the results aren’t nearly as impressive. There was a time under Breuer and again under Ackermann when the bank’s value had temporarily doubled relative to 1994, but today Deutsche Bank is worth less than it was before it completely revamped its approach.

Other numbers provide an indication for why that is. The bank has a completely different internal structure. In 1994, most of the bank’s earnings came from traditional commercial banking. But by the 2007 peak of the speculation party, the investment division’s share of the bank’s earnings, often made with the help of particularly risky deals, had climbed to over 70 percent.

Ackermann’s strategy initially seemed successful. At the peak of its success, the bank achieved a 31 percent pre-tax return on equity, which is estimated to be twice as high as it was in 1994. Return on equity measures the profit earned on the investment of the bank’s own equity. It was Ackermann’s longtime and oft-stated dream to achieve a return of 25 percent. At the time, he was unfairly berated as a greedy, unscrupulous shark. Before 2008, Ackermann’s 25 percent wasn’t an unusually high return.

What was unusual, and unsavory, were the tricks and the brutality Ackermann used to achieve his target. Return on investment climbs, of course, as profits rise — but it also rises when the amount of equity invested is lowered. And if both happen at the same time, the bottom line becomes quite attractive indeed.

Ackermann continually demanded that his people buy back Deutsche Bank stock and destroy it. Doing so is not against the law; indeed stock corporations do it quite regularly to reduce their proprietary equity. But seen another way, Ackermann was hurting the company’s long-term prospects for the sake of short-term balance sheet figures.

At the beginning of the Ackermann era, the bank’s core capital quota stood at 10 percent. By the highpoint of the boom and the onset of the crisis, Ackermann had pushed it down below 9 percent. That means that the bank’s capital buffer was shrinking, which increases risk. In the language of the branch, Deutsche Bank was highly leveraged, investing with more of other people’s money (debt) and less of its own. At Deutsche, this debt-to-equity ratio would sometimes reach as high as 40:1 in those days.

An additional risk that the bank took on during this time can only be found in more recent annual reports: Penalties or damages accrued as a result of illegitimate or illegal deals. Such bombs only go off after a significant amount of time has passed and their effect can first be seen in an appendix to the 2012 annual report. There, one notices that the line item for “operational risks/litigation” exploded from 822 million to 2.6 billion euros. At the time, investigations into the Libor affair were ongoing and penalties were looming. But such risks continued to rise in subsequent years — and continue to do so.

Ackermann has defended himself by saying that, until the financial crisis, he intentionally crept as close as possible to the line of what was permissible and prides himself on that approach. With capital, with leveraging, with risk, he took advantage of the full extent of his leeway. Otherwise, he says, the bank wouldn’t have been competitive. But was the strategy worth it?

The numbers in the annual reports help provide an answer to that question too. Both the high profits and most of the legal problems were produced by the Global Markets division under the leadership of Anshu Jain. In the 15 years between 2001 and 2015, Global Markets earned 25 billion after taxes. But a majority of the more than 12 billion euros that have been paid out by the bank since 2012 due to the bank’s legal troubles must be subtracted from this: fines, damages and penalties. The bank has set aside an additional 5.5 billion euros, but analysts believe that the bank could need up to 10 billion for the payments.

That, though, would mean that almost the entire profit earned by Global Markets would disappear. The huge investment bank experiment would result in a goose egg, or, even worse, a lasting burden. Because in order to keep the traders busy, other divisions were neglected. Investment in the bank’s infrastructure, in its computer systems, was insufficient. It was only due to regulatory pressure that the bank recently invested a billion euros in improved control and security systems.

The costs to the bank’s reputation caused by the activities of Ackermann and Jain, however, cannot be calculated. How might Ackermann “price in” Deutsche Bank’s ruined reputation — the bank’s collapse into a broadly scorned financial institution that has little to do with its German roots?

And then there are the bonuses. From 1994 to 2015, the number of bank employees rose by 30 percent, but total salaries rose by 200 percent, to 13 billion euros. Most of that was paid out to Jain’s team. Notably, that salary figure hasn’t declined much since the crisis. In 2015, 756 of the bank’s 100,000 employees earned more than a million euros. For what exactly?

VIII. Not a Nice Place

Deutsche Bank wanted to come home. John Cryan destroyed half of its market value. It was the end of self-deception.

Deutsche Bank’s recent history gives rise to numerous questions beginning with “could,” “would” or “might.” Would the bank’s path have been different had it merged with Dresdner Bank in 2000? Might things have turned out differently if the investment division had been set up as a separate bank alongside the classical institution under a holding company? Could one not already see in 2002 that Wall Street is on a constant cycle of boom and bust?

In the crisis before the crisis, the one in 2002, 50,000 bankers lost their jobs on Wall Street and a further 25,000 became unemployed in London. Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs both downsized. But Deutsche? Deutsche Bank stepped on the gas. It made fewer cuts than its competitors because it hoped to increase its market share on the next upswing. And it worked. Josef Ackermann was celebrated as a genius — until around 2007 or 2008.

Deutsche Bank didn’t learn much from the global financial crisis. Ackermann is fond of reciting numbers that allegedly prove he drew tough consequences from the crisis, but decisive changes were not made. The investment in, and the step-by-step takeover of, Postbank may have been an attempt to broaden the bank’s foundation back home, but management in Frankfurt never seemed particularly invested in the acquisition. Ackermann made minor corrections here and there to the bank’s overarching strategy, but refrained from far-reaching changes. Unlike its competitors, Deutsche didn’t just dance for as long as the music played, it continued until 2012, until Ackermann’s departure, and even further, once the greatest of the investment bankers, Anshu Jain, rose to the top. Investment banking was all he knew and all he wanted to know, and his co-CEO Jürgen Fitschen simply watched and did nothing.

It was the bank’s investors who pushed Börsig, the supervisory board chair, to install Jain on the throne because they still believed that the superstar could make it rain money again. That was a mistake. Jain expanded the Group Executive Committee to 22 people to reward his acolytes — which meant those who had presided over one scandalous deal after another were now at the top of Deutsche Bank. Why would anyone expect these investment bankers to make the necessary break with the past?

They couldn’t and didn’t. As more and more information came to light between the years 2012 and 2015 about the ways Deutsche Bank traders had made their billions, Jain did little to help clear things up. He instead whitewashed and dallied, while enjoying the protection of Achleitner, the supervisory chair. His co-CEO Fitschen was left to talk about culture and values to no one in particular.

But now Deutsche is getting its comeuppance for having avoided and arrogantly treated the regulators. British and American regulators seem particularly eager to go after the haughty bank from Frankfurt and partly justified the high penalties they levied on the bank by referring to the bank’s insufficient cooperation. Jain, in any case, couldn’t to deal with regulators, at least not German ones.

He could also no longer do what he became famous for: make money. The new head of Deutsche Bank misread the zeitgeist, thinking he knew better than all the rest. Even as competitors reduced their speculation on interest rates, currencies and derivatives, Jain continued and increased his market share — in a market whose products nobody wanted anymore.

Deutsche Bank continued dancing — on Wall Street and in London. It danced and danced, looking like it had lost all connection to reality and all business sense. Even today, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal, Deutsche Bank carries a debt-to-equity ratio of 24:1, while Goldman Sachs has gone down to a ratio of 9:1. And the bank is still juggling billions in derivatives, securities that are essentially bets on future developments. Its derivative portfolio represents no significant risk, says current management, but given all that has happened, investors have lost trust — just like what happened with Lehman Brothers. If history repeats itself, Deutsche Bank would be at the center of the inferno.

How, then, will the story of Deutsche Bank continue? Will it continue? With John Cryan? He is Ackermann’s polar opposite. Whereas the Swiss banker always insisted that the bank was stronger than it actually was, Cryan, who comes from the UK, is open with the bank’s employees about its deficits and talks publicly about things that aren’t going well. Doing so, however, has scared away customers and shareholders: Nobody wants to bring their money to a bank that seems like one of the industry’s losers. Since Cryan took over as CEO, Deutsche Bank’s stock price has plunged by 50 percent, at times even falling below 10 euros per share, a price last seen in the 1980s.

There are weekly reports of high-ranking managers and investors turning their backs on Deutsche Bank because of its cloudy future. It is losing market share in investment banking faster than Cryan’s consolidation strategy calls for. His teams also don’t give the impression that they’ll be able to make much headway in Germany, the home market that has suddenly become all important. And how should they? The corporate client division is led by an American in New York. The circle, if you will, a closing: Deutsche has become an American bank trying to reconquer its erstwhile homeland from abroad.

But many bank employees are happy to see the era of self-deception come to an end and see it as an opportunity. Cryan and the bank are confronted with the same questions that presented themselves in 1994, when Deutsche turned onto a dead-end road: In what business sectors and in which markets does Deutsche Bank have a future? The answers to those questions are more difficult to find today than they were then.

The bank has lost its identity and is now tasked with identifying new goals at a time that could hardly be worse for the banking industry. Interest rates are practically non-existent, and they are likely to stay that way for some time. The European Union is at risk of disintegration and new, faster digital competitors are growing quickly. Regulators and politicians, traumatized by 2008, are keeping a watchful eye on banks, demanding higher capital reserves and limiting their room for maneuver. Investment banks of the kind that existed prior to 2008 are no longer welcome in Europe.

But what else can Deutsche Bank do? There is no doubt that it has to shrink significantly. It has to consider whether it really needs to be present in 70 countries and ask why it has more employees than ever despite having been suffering for years.

If things go well, the bank will soon be able to put the largest of the left-over legal challenges from the Ackermann era behind it, perhaps even by the end of this year. That, at least, would provide the time and the space for the formulation of a new strategy, if it’s not already too late. The bank is dependent on investors and no longer master of its own fate. Survival is the goal.

If the penalties are too high and the bank brought to its knees, Germany will face a discussion that will have a significant effect on the 2017 general election. At a time when populists are dominating the political debate, a bailout of Germany’s largest bank using taxpayer money would be a particularly touchy operation, to say the least. Nobody will be interested in taking the lead.

This is the bank’s situation, 146 years after its founding. Once a symbol of Germany — Germany Inc. — and the country’s financial pillar. Its managers were respected, admired as people who lived up to the country’s values and expected the same of their employees.

Those times are gone. Deutsche Bank as we once knew it is dead. As one of the bank’s former senior managers said, the bank stumbled into a “Darwinist niche,” a place where there were no more competitors and no more enemies. And the gentlemen at the top of the company became complacent and inattentive.

The proud institution became a self-serve buffet for a few, who became fantastically rich. The bank’s old leaders, insofar as there were any left, didn’t have the strength anymore to put an end to the chaos. They simply watched, lazily and cowardly. And so the work of generations went down the drain. And we are told that no one is to blame.

Pubblicato in: Criminalità Organizzata, Devoluzione socialismo, Senza categoria

Australia. Asylum seekers banditi a vita dal loro territorio.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2016-10-31.

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«Asylum seekers sent to Manus Island and Nauru after attempting to travel to Australia by boat would be permanently banned from applying to enter the county under a proposed new law announced on Sunday»

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«Speaking in Sydney, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the government would seek to amend the Migration Act (1958) to prevent irregular maritime arrivals taken to a regional processing country from making a valid application for an Australian visa, even if they had been classified as refugees.»

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«The current policy of sending asylum seekers who arrive in Australian waters by boat to countries like Papua New Guinea and Nauru where their status as refugees is confirmed or rejected has bipartisan support in the Australian parliament»

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«The proposed bill will be introduced in the next parliamentary sitting week»

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Per il terzo principio della dinamica ad ogni azione corrisponde una reazione, uguale e contraria, agente sulla stessa retta di applicazione.

Per quanto principio fisico, si applica tranquillamente alle azioni umane.

«Poscia, più che ‘l dolor poté ‘l digiuno»: così affermava Dante al verso 75 del XXXIII canto dell’Inferno.

Si inizia ad intravedere la vittoria finale e definitiva della Realpolitik su ogni forma di utopia, di ideologismi, di cose contro il comune buon senso. Ma è anche una vittoria contro la criminalità organizzata.

Il cuore del discorso è scritto in un singolo termine “irregular”.

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Sarà un cammino tutto in salita.

L’Australia dovrà subire le fortissime pressioni delle Nazioni Unite, di tutte le Organizzazioni Internazionali, delle più disparate Onlus, Ong, e di tutte quelle organizzazioni che si autodefiniscono per i “diritti umani“.

Non solo, saranno da rivedersi trattati ed accordi.

Ma la vera battaglia si preannuncia nelle aule delle così dette Corti di Giustizia Internazionali, che di giustizia hanno solo la parola nel titolo.

Prosegue e si allarga la rivolta all’impèrio mondiale. Gambia.

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Bene.

Siamo all’inizio delle fine di una farsa degenerata in tragedia.

Come aveva detto SS Papa Ratzinger:

«Il problema non è quello di garantire il diritto a migrare, quanto piuttosto il diritto a trovare lavoro dignitoso nella propria patria.»


Bbc. 2016-10-30. Australia asylum: Arrivals by boat face lifetime visa ban

Australia has unveiled tough new plans to bar any asylum seekers who try to reach the country by boat from ever being able to enter.

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The lifetime ban on visas would apply even to those travelling as tourists, for business, or who married an Australian.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the move would send “the strongest possible signal” to people-smugglers.

The proposed ban is to be put to parliament later this week.

Australia transports asylum seekers who arrive by boat to off-shore processing centres in Nauru and Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island.

Even if found to be genuine refugees, they are already blocked from being resettled in Australia. They can either return home, be resettled on Manus or Nauru, or go to a third country.

‘Battle of will’

The new legislation would apply to all those sent to Nauru and Manus from 19 July 2013, including those who have returned home, and anyone who arrives in the future. Children, however, would be exempt.

“This is a battle of will between the Australian people, represented by its government, and the criminal gangs of people-smugglers,” Mr Turnbull said.

“You should not underestimate the scale of the threat. These people-smugglers are the worst criminals imaginable. They have a multibillion-dollar business. We have to be very determined to say no to their criminal plans.”

He added: “If they seek to bring people to Australia those passengers will never settle in this country.”

The law will directly affect about 3,000 adult refugees being housed on Manus, Nauru or in Australia undergoing medical treatment.

Australia’s Labor opposition says it is yet to decide whether to back the new law.

Australia has been repeatedly criticised for its tough policy on refugees and asylum seekers.

Earlier this month, a report by Amnesty International compared its camp on Nauru to an open-air prison.

Mr Turnbull dismissed the report’s findings as “absolutely false”.

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Australia and asylum

– The number of asylum seekers travelling to Australia by boat rose sharply in 2012 and early 2013. – Scores of people have died making the journey.

– To stop the influx, the government adopted tough measures intended as a deterrent.

– Everyone who arrives is detained. Under the policy, asylum seekers are processed offshore at centres on Nauru and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.

– The government has also adopted a policy of tow-backs, or turning boats around.


Reuters. 2016-10-30. Australia would deny entrance to boat arrivals under proposed law

Asylum seekers sent to Manus Island and Nauru after attempting to travel to Australia by boat would be permanently banned from applying to enter the county under a proposed new law announced on Sunday.

Speaking in Sydney, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the government would seek to amend the Migration Act (1958) to prevent irregular maritime arrivals taken to a regional processing country from making a valid application for an Australian visa, even if they had been classified as refugees.

“The bill will apply to all taken to a regional processing country since the 19th of July, 2013,” Turnbull said.

The current policy of sending asylum seekers who arrive in Australian waters by boat to countries like Papua New Guinea and Nauru where their status as refugees is confirmed or rejected has bipartisan support in the Australian parliament.

It was on July 19, 2013, that previous Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd declared that no irregular maritime arrival would ever settle in Australia.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said the policy would not apply to anyone who was under the age of 18 on the date they arrived at either Manus Island, Nauru or any other country designated as a regional processing country.

Up to 3,000 people on Manus Island, Nauru or in Australia undergoing medical treatment could be affected by the proposed laws.

Refugee lawyer David Manne said Australia should be doing more to protect displaced people and queried why the country needed to be taking even tougher measures.

“It is fundamental that Australia lifts its effort to make a far greater contribution to this global crisis,” he said.

“The way to do it is not to propose further measures that are about protecting borders rather than protecting people,” Manne said.

The proposed bill will be introduced in the next parliamentary sitting week.

Turnbull said the legislation is about sending a united and concerted message to people smugglers. Turnbull said there had not been a successful attempt by people smugglers to bring irregular maritime arrivals to Australia in more than 800 days.

“If they seek to bring people to Australia those passengers will never settle in this country,” he said.

 

Pubblicato in: Sistemi Politici

Anche l’Island volta a destra. Socialisti annullati.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2016-10-31.

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«Iceland’s center-right Independence Party on Sunday declared itself the winner of the country’s general election»

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«Party, which emerged as the top party with 21 seats, said on Sunday that it will lead efforts to form the country’s next government»

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«Iceland’s Primie Minister Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson resigned on Sunday after his Progressive Party suffered a severe battering, losing 11 seats and dropping 13 percentage points»

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«The anti-establishment Pirate Party, founded just four years ago by a group of activists and former hackers, gained significant ground after, tripling its seat tally to 10 and reaping gains from popular anger towards the establishment parties»

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I commenti definitivi saranno fatti a dati consolidati.

I dati di fatto sarebbero questi, ricordando sempre come siano dati provvisori:

– Il partito progressista, socialista, ha perso ben 13 punti percentuali ed 11 deputati: una débâcle.

– Il partito per l’indipendenza avrebbe conseguito la maggioranza relativa, aggiudicandosi così la formazione del governo.

– Il partito dei pirati ha triplicato i voti, raggiungendo 10 seggi.

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Si vedrà a dati definitivi come potrebbe essere formato un governo di coalizione.

Prendiamo in ogni caso atto che sta proseguendo la devoluzione del socialismo ideologico in Occidente.

 


Deutsche Welle. 2016-10-30. Iceland Prime Minister resigns, paving way for next government

Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson’s Progressive Party suffered a severe battering in Saturday’s general election. The Independence Party emerged as the top party and is expected to form the next coalition government.

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Iceland’s center-right Independence Party on Sunday declared itself the winner of the country’s general election.

With no party claiming a majority, leading parties were preparing to haggle over coalition arrangements. However, The Independence Party, which emerged as the top party with 21 seats, said on Sunday that it will lead efforts to form the country’s next government.

“We have the most support … So I’d say yes,” Independence Party leader Bjarni Benediktsson said, when asked whether he considered his party the winner.

Iceland’s Primie Minister Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson resigned on Sunday after his Progressive Party suffered a severe battering, losing 11 seats and dropping 13 percentage points. His party was rocked by revelations disclosed earlier this year in the “Panama Papers” of how his predecessor, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, had sheltered private funds offshore.

His resignation paves the way for a new ruling government.

Benediktsson added that he would prefer a three-party coalition, but refused to say with whom.

It appears likely that the Independence Party will form a coalition with its allies, the Progressive Party and the Regeneration Party. Negotiations could be onerous, however, after the Independence Party and the Regeneration parties fell out over holding a referendum on resuming EU membership talks.

Iceland’s president Gudni Johannesson has yet to hand over the mandate to the party that will be responsible for forming the government. However, outgoing Prime Minister Johannsson had said it would be “natural” for the president to hand the mandate to the Independence Party. The two met on Sunday in what was one of Johannesson’s final acts as prime minister.

The anti-establishment Pirate Party, founded just four years ago by a group of activists and former hackers, gained significant ground after, tripling its seat tally to 10 and reaping gains from popular anger towards the establishment parties.

However, the Pirates’ final tally was lower than the party had hoped for. In April, the party was polling at around 40 percent. Early reports on Saturday suggested that it could take power in a left-leaning coalition with its three centre-left allies.

Together, the coalition won 27 seats, not enough to upset the formation of a center-right coalition. Ultimately, it appears that Iceland’s people have opted for stability. 

Pubblicato in: Senza categoria, Vignette Umoristiche

Le Vignette di Matt. The Telegraph.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2016-10-30.

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Il mondo è carico di problemi, alcuni gravissimi, altri gravi, ma in gran parte artificiali.

La gente comune ha un bisogno indicibile di credere in qualcosa che né esiste né può esistere.

Così può ripetere con grave ponderatezza che nel 2168 due più due renderà sette e non quattro. Processo evolutivo!

Tanto, tra centocinquanta anni chi mai si curerà di controllare la previsione?

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Matt è a mio avviso uno dei migliori vignettisti oggi all’opera. È delicato ma sarcastico. Mette in ridicolo le nostre piccole abitudine ed i nostri piccoli pensieri. Ma sempre con la bonomia di un sorriso.

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Pubblicato in: Amministrazione, Devoluzione socialismo, Sistemi Politici, Unione Europea

Spagna. Poco chiaro come il nuovo Governo voterà in Commissione Europea.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2016-10-30.

 museo_del_prado_2016_25185969599

La situazione spagnola è rimasta bloccata per oltre dieci mesi.

Poi, alla fine è prevalso il buon senso, anche se non sembrerebbe facile poter prevedere per quanto tempo possa durare.

Punto 1°.

Per quanto riguarda la situazione domestica, essenziale è stato il dimissionamento forzato dell’ex segretario del partito socialista spagnolo, che si opponeva strenuamente a qualsiasi possibile accordo.

Spagna. L’astensione socialista consentirebbe un altro governo Rajoy 2016-10-23

Al momento, degli 84 deputati del psoe solo 68 hanno obbedito all’ordine del partito di astenersi nel voto di fiducia. 15 hanno votato contro e di questi ben sette sono della federazione catalana.

Mr Rajoy dovrà muoversi con grande circospezione, concordando ogni suo provvedimento sia con la sua maggioranza, sia con il partito socialista, sia anche con l’opposizione interna allo psoe.

In altri termini: sarà un governo perennemente ricattabile, e sarà ricattato in continuazione.

Punto 2°.

Se l’attenzione è doverosa sulla situazione domestica spagnola, concentrazione ancora maggiore dovrebbe essere riservata a quello che potrebbe essere il comportamento spagnolo in seno alla Commissione Europea, ove linea politica e voto spagnolo potrebbero essere più determinanti. Infatti, in seno a tale consesso molte decisioni dovrebbero essere prese alla unanimità. E tutto ciò accadrebbe in un momento particolarmente delicato per la Unione. Il 23 aprile si terranno le elezioni presidenziali francesi, e Mr Hollande uscirà di scena. Il probabile nuovo presidente, Mr Juppe, è sicuramente un europeista convinto, ma difficilmente potrà trascurare le istanze portate avanti dal Front National, pena severi turbamenti del suo quadro politico interno. Poi, ci sarebbe da valutare ben l’impatto della presa di posizione del Gruppo Visegrad e della Polonia.

Polonia – EU al round finale sulla Corte Costituzionale.

Ma si terranno anche a brevissimo termine le elezioni politiche in olanda, per non parlare poi degli effetti delle elezioni austriache del 4 dicembre.

In sintesi: in una situazione altamente complessa e contrastante, l’ambiguità spagnola potrebbe giocare brutti scherzi alla conduzione politica dell’Unione Europea e, di conseguenza, a quella di tutti gli stati membri.

Punto 3°.

La situazione spagnola dovrebbe dare da meditare profondamente su molti problemi fondamentali della vita pubblica.

Non è questione politica, bensì organizzativa della gestione della cosa pubblica.

Non esiste un sistema elettorale “perfetto“: tutti hanno dei pro e dei contro.

Il sistema proporzionale, con o senza soglia di sbarramento, potrebbe essere considerato ragionevole in situazioni alquanto statiche e dominate dalla presenza di due grandi che si alternano al potere. Venendo meno codesti presupposti, si determinerebbe il chaos e la impossibilità di esprimere un qualche governo coerente e stabile.

Il metodo elettorale francese con doppio turno, nato dopo la profonda crisi politica degli anni cinquanta, garantisce un governo, sicuramente. Ma lo garantisce anche al prezzo di assistere impotenti a delle inique conventio ad excludendum, per cui il partito di maggioranza relativa potrebbe essere escluso dal governo

Forse, nell’attuale situazione odierna, il premio di maggioranza conferito al partito di maggioranza relativa potrebbe essere una soluzione.

*

Ripetiamo solo per chiarezza: nessun sistema elettorale è “perfetto“.

A nostro parere però, i danni politici e sociali derivanti da una situazione di impasse governativa sono molto più pesanti di quelli derivanti da un sistema elettorale imperfetto.


Adnk. 2016-10-30. Spagna, Rajoy rieletto capo del governo. Decisiva l’astensione del Psoe

Dopo uno stallo politico di dieci mesi, i deputati spagnoli hanno votato la fiducia al governo conservatore di Mariano Rajoy, rieletto primo ministro della Spagna. Il leader del Pp e premier uscente ha ottenuto 170 voti a favore su 349, 111 contrari e 68 astensioni dei deputati del Psoe.

Rajoy, che ha perso un primo scrutinio all’inizio della settimana, aveva bisogno di una maggioranza semplice per formare un governo di minoranza. Migliaia di persone hanno protestato oggi nelle immediate vicinanze del Parlamento di Madrid contro l’investitura.

Degli 84 deputati del Psoe, 15 ‘ribelli’ – 7 dei quali della federazione catalana – hanno votato ‘no’ disobbedendo all’ordine di astenersi imposto dal partito. Tutti rischiano una multa fino a 600 euro e potrebbero anche essere espulsi dal partito. L’ex leader socialista, Pedro Sanchez, che questa mattina ha dato le dimissioni pur di non dare il via libera al rivale, non ha partecipato al voto. Parlando ai media dopo la fine del voto, Rajoy si è detto felice, aggiungendo che “c’è molto lavoro da fare” e proverà a “cercare un accordo e la comprensione con tutti”.


Reuters. 2016-10-30. Spain’s Rajoy set to win confidence vote, ending government impasse

Spain is set to install its first fully functioning government in 10 months on Saturday when parliament is expected to grudgingly grant conservative leader Mariano Rajoy a second term as prime minister.

The vote will draw a line under two inconclusive elections and fruitless attempts at coalition-building between bickering parties, but it won’t guarantee political instability. Rajoy’s weak minority government will struggle to pass legislation.

The opposition Socialists have instructed their lawmakers to abstain in a parliamentary confidence vote set for 7.45 p.m. (1745 GMT), allowing Rajoy, caretaker prime minister since December, to be confirmed as leader of a proper administration.

The result will be a triumph for the 61-year-old Rajoy, who is renowned as a political survivor.

After winning a 2011 election, Rajoy slashed public spending to tackle rising debt as Spain endured a severe recession. Unemployment soared to 27 percent and the country’s banks needed a 41 billion euro ($45 billion) European bailout.

Voters punished Rajoy’s People’s Party (PP) even as the economy later recovered, stripping it of its absolute majority.

But the PP still won the most votes in elections last December and in June, and Rajoy resisted calls from rival parties to step aside and let another PP leader try and form a coalition.

He will now have to negotiate with his political opponents to pass any legislation, including the budget, given his PP has only 137 seats in the 350-seat parliament.

“This is going to require an effort from everyone, on our part too, in terms of trying to pass legislative initiatives,” senior PP lawmaker Rafael Hernando said in a radio interview on Saturday.

STRUGGLE WITH THE OPPOSITION

Rajoy struck a conciliatory tone this week, offering to work with opponents on issues like pension and education reform, and opening the door to further dialogue with Catalonia, a northeastern region in the grip of a strong independence drive.

But his political foes are sceptical he can change his style. Thousands of demonstrators are expected to march in protest against a new Rajoy government in Madrid on Saturday.

The Socialists, the second largest force in parliament, are deeply divided over the party’s decision to allow Rajoy to govern.

Former Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez, ousted in early October over his refusal to enable a Rajoy government, said on Saturday he would quit his seat in parliament rather than abstain in Saturday’s vote. He suggested he could try and run for the party leadership again in upcoming primaries.

“I completely disagree with the decision to enable Mariano Rajoy to govern,” a tearful Sanchez told a news conference.

“From Monday onwards I’m going to get into my car and go all over Spain to listen to those that are not being listened to.”

Rajoy, who may need to pass fresh spending cuts to meet deficit targets next year, will be able to count on support on some issues from the liberal Ciudadanos or “Citizens” party, which came fourth in June elections.

But others, including the Socialists and anti-austerity Podemos (“We Can”), have said they will fight Rajoy’s policies and will not approve his budgets.

Antonio Barroso, a senior analyst at risk consultancy Teneo Intelligence, said Rajoy would head a minority government with the weakest parliamentary support since democracy was restored in Spain after General Francisco Franco’s death in 1975.

“It is unlikely that the new government will last four years,” he said in a note.

Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Giustizia, Unione Europea

Polonia – EU al round finale sulla Corte Costituzionale.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2016-10-30.

 polonia-stemma

Il problema è molto complesso e spinoso. Cercheremo di delinearlo semplificandolo: l’importante è farsi capire.

Ogni stato dispone di una Corte Costituzionale. A seguito riportiamo quanto recita sull’argomento la Costituzione Italiana, in quanto sostanzialmente molto simile a quella polacca.

«Art. 134.

La Corte costituzionale giudica:

– sulle controversie relative alla legittimità costituzionale delle leggi e degli atti, aventi forza di legge, dello Stato e delle Regioni;

– sui conflitti di attribuzione tra i poteri dello Stato e su quelli tra lo Stato e le Regioni, e tra le Regioni;

– sulle accuse promosse contro il Presidente della Repubblica, a norma della Costituzione.

Art. 135.

La Corte costituzionale è composta di quindici giudici nominati per un terzo dal Presidente della Repubblica, per un terzo dal Parlamento in seduta comune e per un terzo dalle supreme magistrature ordinaria ed amministrative.

I giudici della Corte costituzionale sono scelti tra i magistrati anche a riposo delle giurisdizioni superiori ordinaria ed amministrative, i professori ordinari di università in materie giuridiche e gli avvocati dopo venti anni d’esercizio.

I giudici della Corte costituzionale sono nominati per nove anni, decorrenti per ciascuno di essi dal giorno del giuramento, e non possono essere nuovamente nominati.

Alla scadenza del termine il giudice costituzionale cessa dalla carica e dall’esercizio delle funzioni.

La Corte elegge tra i suoi componenti, secondo le norme stabilite dalla legge, il Presidente, che rimane in carica per un triennio, ed è rieleggibile, fermi in ogni caso i termini di scadenza dall’ufficio di giudice.

L’ufficio di giudice della Corte è incompatibile con quello di membro del Parlamento, di un Consiglio regionale, con l’esercizio della professione di avvocato e con ogni carica ed ufficio indicati dalla legge.

Nei giudizi d’accusa contro il Presidente della Repubblica, intervengono, oltre i giudici ordinari della Corte, sedici membri tratti a sorte da un elenco di cittadini aventi i requisiti per l’eleggibilità a senatore, che il Parlamento compila ogni nove anni mediante elezione con le stesse modalità stabilite per la nomina dei giudici ordinari.

Art. 136.

Quando la Corte dichiara l’illegittimità costituzionale di una norma di legge o di atto avente forza di legge, la norma cessa di avere efficacia dal giorno successivo alla pubblicazione della decisione.

La decisione della Corte è pubblicata e comunicata alle Camere ed ai Consigli regionali interessati, affinché, ove lo ritengano necessario, provvedano nelle forme costituzionali.

Art. 137.

Una legge costituzionale stabilisce le condizioni, le forme, i termini di proponibilità dei giudizi di legittimità costituzionale, e le garanzie d’indipendenza dei giudici della Corte.

Con legge ordinaria sono stabilite le altre norme necessarie per la costituzione e il funzionamento della Corte.

Contro le decisioni della Corte costituzionale non è ammessa alcuna impugnazione.»

*

Gli elementi fondamentali sono quindi:

– giudica la “legittimità costituzionale delle leggi e degli atti”;

– “Contro le decisioni della Corte costituzionale non è ammessa alcuna impugnazione”;

– la nomina dei Giudici è pro tempore, nove anni in questo caso;

– la nomina dei Giudici di Corte Costituzionale è essenzialmente politica.

*

Chiariamo immediatamente che il fatto di essere di nomina politica non dovrebbe inficiare la correttezza giuridica e professionale dei Giudici, ma poiché tutti siamo esseri umani, sono stati visti comportamenti partigiani e si possono registrare comportamenti ambigui.

In ogni caso, in Italia come in altri stati è prevista una procedura di rimozione o sospensione dei Giudici di Corte Costituzionale:

«- I giudici della Corte non possono essere rimossi né sospesi dal loro ufficio se non con decisione della Corte, per sopravvenuta incapacità fisica o civile o per gravi mancanze nell’esercizio delle loro funzioni (art. 3 comma 1 legge cost. n. 1 del 1948).

– I giudici della Corte possono essere rimossi o sospesi dal loro ufficio solo in seguito a deliberazione della Corte presa a maggioranza di due terzi dei componenti che partecipano all’adunanza.» [Fonte]

In Germania, per fare l’esempio di un altro stato europeo, la Corte Costituzionale Federale, Bundesverfassungsgerichtsgesetz, è composta di sedici membri, eletti per metà dal Bundestag e per metà dal Bundesrat a maggioranza dei due terzi. Anche in Germania il Giudice di Corte Costituzionale è inamovibile, eccettuati i casi di inidoneità permanente o di gravi violazioni dei doveri d’ufficio verificati dal Plenum, cui spetta pure di decidere sul giudizio di accusa intentato dal Bundestag ai sensi dell’art. 98 GG. Anche in Germania, quindi, è previsto che il potere politico in carica possa avviare procedimenti di rimozione dalla carica.

In Polonia la Corte Costituzionale è composta da 15 membri eletti nominati dal Sejm, ossia dal Parlamento.

È di grande interesse leggere il Preambolo alla Carta Costituzionale polacca.

«Having regard for the existence and future of our Homeland,

Which recovered, in 1989, the possibility of a sovereign and democratic determination of its fate,

We, the Polish Nation – all citizens of the Republic,

Both those who believe in God as the source of truth, justice, good and beauty,

As well as those not sharing such faith but respecting those universal values as arising from other sources,

Equal in rights and obligations towards the common good – Poland,

Beholden to our ancestors for their labours, their struggle for independence achieved at great sacrifice, for our culture rooted in the Christian heritage of the Nation and in universal human values, ….»

È di interesse anche comprendere come The Constitutional Tribunal Act preveda all’art. 8 la imputabilità penale dei Giudici di Corte Costituzionale:

«1. Consent to a judge of the Tribunal being held criminally liable or deprived of liberty shall be granted by the General Assembly of the Judges of the Tribunal, hereinafter referred to as ‘the General Assembly’, with the exclusion of the judge of the Tribunal indicated in the application.

  1. The President of the Tribunal shall forthwith inform the General Assembly about any detention of a judge of the Tribunal and about the said President’s stance taken with respect to that matter.

  2. Before the adoption of a resolution concerning the issue referred to in para 1, the Tribunal shall hear an explanation provided by the judge concerned, unless this is not possible. The resolution shall be adopted by a majority of two-thirds of votes cast by the judges of the Tribunal present at the sitting of the General Assembly.

  3. Until the Tribunal adopts the resolution to grant consent to a judge of the Tribunal being held criminally liable or deprived of liberty, only urgent steps shall be taken with regard to that judge.»

* * * * * * *

Problema attuale.

Nelle ultime elezioni politiche il partito Diritto e Giustizia ha vinto le elezioni conquistando la maggioranza dei seggi parlamentari. Per dare un’idea della vittoria, né il partito socialista né le altre formazioni di sinistra sono riuscite ad eleggere un deputato che fosse uno. Questo è quanto ha deciso il popolo sovrano nel segreto dell’urna. L’élite della Unione Europea considera riprovevole tale partito, che denomina “nazionalista” ed “euroscettico” pur non essendo arrivata al punto di dubitare sulla validità delle elezioni.

Forte della maggioranza assoluta ottenuta tramite libere elezioni, Diritto e Giustizia ha avviato procedure in accordo all’art. 8 su citato, rimuovendo quei giudici di Corte Costituzionale che in passato erano stati nominati dall’allora partito socialista e che avevano emesso sentenze sfacciatamente partigiane.

Questo ha scatenato le ire dell’Unione Europea. La elitè dirigenziale è infatti ideologica e si è vista privare del fattivo supporto di sodali zelanti.

Dapprima l’Unione Europea si è mossa con le accuse ben pesanti di non essere democratici, quindi di voler sovvertire l’ordinamento democratico europeo, ed infine ventilando la possibilità che l’Unione Europea bandisca la Polonia dall’Unione stessa.

L’ultimatum europeo scadeva il ventisette ottobre e la Polonia lo ha respinto senza fare una piega.

«Poland’s Foreign Ministry has repeatedly objected to what it calls the EU’s interference, lack of respect for “sovereignty,” and “incomplete knowledge” about the Polish legal system»

*

«The government has continued to make changes to the way the Constitutional Court functions, including a new proposal to change how the chief justice is elected»

*

Ma adesso si arriva al punto cruciale. Ossia se l’Unione Europea debba virare in un’unione politica ovvero ridimensionarsi a sola unione economica. Questa è la posta in gioco.

«Warsaw’s failure to roll back its reforms of the top court before the deadline means Brussels can now move to suspend Poland’s voting rights in the Council of Ministers, the EU’s decision-making body where the bloc’s 28 national governments are represented.»

*

«Such a step would be unprecedented in the bloc, and would require the agreement of all 27 other member states»

*

Non sembrerebbe essere poi molto facile che Mr Juncker abbia la maggioranza assoluta in seno alla Commissione Europea. E dopo il 23 aprile dell’anno entrante tale possibilità scenderebbe ulteriormente di livello.

L’impressione è che si siano cacciati in un vicolo cieco. L’EU ha detto di voler cacciar fuori la Polonia, ma almeno al momento non si vedrebbe come. Sarà ben dura che il Gruppo Visegrad voti per la espulsione. E non sappiamo ancora di sarà il futuro Presidente francese, né il risultato delle prossime elezioni politiche olandesi.

Non escludiamo però l’ipotesi che a cambiare non sia la Polonia, bensì la dirigenza dell’Unione Europea.


Deutsche Welle. 2016-10-28. Poland rejects EU demands as court crisis deadline expires

Poland has rejected a plan from the EU Commission to solve the country’s constitutional crisis. Failure to address concerns about rule of law and democracy could see Warsaw lose its voting rights in the bloc.

*

Poland’s foreign minister said Friday that the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party had no plans to accept the European Commission’s recommendations, calling them “groundless.”

“We don’t agree with the one-sided interpretation made by the European Commission,” Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski said in an interview with Polish radio.

The right-wing populist government pushed through a series of controversial legal reforms soon after winning elections late last year. The changes have alarmed EU officials and led to anti-government protests in the country, with opposition activists accusing the PiS of trying to undermine democracy and weaken the Constitutional Court.

In July, the European Commission gave Warsaw three months to reverse its reforms or face sanctions for breaching EU standards on the rule of law and democracy. The deadline of October 27 has now passed.

What now?

Warsaw sent a letter to the Commission on Thursday, reiterating that it found the demands unjustified. A Commission spokesman said Friday the document had been received and would be carefully assessed “in due course.” The body is expected to outline how it plans to proceed in the coming days.

Poland’s Foreign Ministry has repeatedly objected to what it calls the EU’s interference, lack of respect for “sovereignty,” and “incomplete knowledge” about the Polish legal system.

The government has continued to make changes to the way the Constitutional Court functions, including a new proposal to change how the chief justice is elected. The Council of Europe, the continent’s human rights watchdog, and the European Parliament have raised concerns about the situation. In Germany, Bundestag President Norbert Lammert said Poland’s actions were “the wrong approach for Europe, and therefore also for Poland.”

Warsaw’s failure to roll back its reforms of the top court before the deadline means Brussels can now move to suspend Poland’s voting rights in the Council of Ministers, the EU’s decision-making body where the bloc’s 28 national governments are represented. Such a step would be unprecedented in the bloc, and would require the agreement of all 27 other member states.

Pubblicato in: Senza categoria

Supercalcolatori cinesi. Ora sono i primi al mondo.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2016-10-29.

 Tianhe-2 Supercomputer

.

«In informatica FLOPS è un’abbreviazione di FLoating Point Operations Per Second e indica il numero di operazioni in virgola mobile eseguite in un secondo dalla CPU.»

*

Molti moderni microprocessori sono in grado di eseguire simultaneamente anche quattro Flops per ciclo di clock.

Un PetaFlops indica 1015 (dieci elevato a potenza 15, 10^15) operazioni in virgola mobile al secondo,  ossia mille trilioni di Flops.

*

Sono prestazioni da capogiro, e molti potrebbero domandarsi a cosa possa servire una simile potenza di calcolo.

*

Un grande numero di problemi in fisica, chimica e scienze collegate, quali per esempio la metereologa sono modellati da set di equazioni che non sono risolvibili in modo chiuso, bensì aperto, cosa che richiede un elevatissimo numero di operazioni.

Per esempio, il progetto della sagoma di un’ala di aeroplano richiede la simulazione di velocità crescenti in atmosfera a densità decrescente: è un computo particolarmente lungo, specie poi se si intendesse fare variazioni al progetto per ricercare la sagoma ottimale. Conti che solo una ventina di anni or sono sarebbero stati impossibili.

Un altro esempio? Decrittare un messaggio redatto con codice di cifra ignoto.

Un altro esempio ancora? Interrogare un database composto da milioni di miliardi di informazioni, ottenendo la risposta cercata in tempo reale.

*

È evidente il valore strategico di un supercalcolatore efficiente.

La contromisura americana è del tutto sequenziale:

«A year ago, we revealed that the U.S. State Department blocked the further sales of Intel Xeon and Xeon Phi processors to Chinese institutions, most notably the Tianhe-2 supercomputer»

* * * * * *

La risposta cinese è stata anch’essa sequenziale.

Invece che acquisire materiale statunitense, se lo è progettato e costruito in casa.

Il risultato è che adesso dispone del più potente supercalcolatore esistente al mondo.

Nulla vieta di pensare che nel volgere di qualche anno sarà superato, ma nel contempo nulla vieterebbe di pensare che i cinesi provvedessero a migliore costantemente il Tianhe-2.

Anche in questo settore la Cina è diventata autonoma.

L’epoca in cui i cinesi producevano canestri di giunco è terminata.

Nota.

E l’Italia? Il progetto del Cineca prevede di ottenere 50/60 PFlps entro il 2020.

Solo Dio e la Segretiria del partito democratico sanno quanto costerà al Contribuente.

 


VrWorld. 2016-04-15. 100 PFLOPS: China’s Supercomputer Circumvents U.S. Sales Ban.

A year ago, we revealed that the U.S. State Department blocked the further sales of Intel Xeon and Xeon Phi processors to Chinese institutions, most notably the Tianhe-2 supercomputer. The U.S. Administration also blocked the move in which a China-based investment fund would invest in AMD i.e. one of original reasons for Radeon Technologies Group – which is even without the said investment, performing above and beyond its financial capabilities.

The reason to move against Tianhe-2 is complicated yet simple – ever since its debut in June 2013, the Tianhe-2 supercomputer from NUDT (National University for Defense Technologies) sits on top of the World’s 500 fastest computers list. From the looks of it, Tianhe-2 (the name translates to ‘Milky Way’) looks to keep on sitting on top even after we see the launch of U.S. supercomputers Summit and Sierra (IBM + Nvidia), as well as Aurora and Theta (Intel).

With its 32,000 Intel Xeon E5-2692 v2 processors, and 48,000 Intel Xeon Phi 31S1P co-processors, Tianhe-2 delivers a peak performance of fantastic 54.9 PFLOPS, and a sustained performance of 33.86 PFLOPS. What is little known is that Tianhe-2 is not a fully built supercomputer. In fact, Tianhe operated at a 50% capacity, as the original target for the system was 100 PFLOPS peak and 80 PFLOPS sustained.

According to our sources, China did not react in a way the current administration expected. Rather than pressuring with (empty) threats that affect the commerce between the two of world’s largest economies, China invested all the funds intended for Intel and other foreign vendors – into the development of in-house Alpha and ARM superprocessors, which have the potential to beat the traditional x86 architecture. In terms of funds, NUDT planned to buy 32,000 more Xeon processors (this time, based on Haswell-E) and 48,000 more Xeon Phi co-processors. We’ve been hearing that over $500 million was invested in bringing the Chinese silicon from a prototype phase to production-grade level.

The New Tianhe-2: Meet the 100 PFLOPS Supercomputer

At the 2016 Supercomputing Frontiers conference in Singapore, we learned the first details of the fully developed Tianhe-2 supercomputer, scheduled to debut in June 2016 during the 2016 International Supercomputing Conference in Frankfurt, Germany. This system is expected to deliver over 100 PFLOPS peak performance, and keep the crown of the world’s fastest (super)computer.

The new Tianhe-2 represents a hybrid design, featuring two new additions, as the old Xeon Phi cards are being phased out. Phytium Technologies recently delivered their “Mars” processors in the form of PCI Express cards that replaced the Xeon Phi cards, and motherboards to upgrade the system. Given that there are 48,000 add-in boards installed, the new 64-core design enables the system to reach its original performance targets. With the three million new ARM cores inside the Tianhe-2, its estimated Rpeak performance in the Linpack benchmark should exceed 100 PFLOPS.

Should Tianhe-2 reach its full deployment of 32,000 Xeons, 32,000 ShenWei processor, and 96,000 Phytium accelerator cards, we might see an upgrade in the range of 200-300 PFLOPS – if the building can withstand the thermal and power challenges associated with it.

In August 2015, a little known company Phytium Technologies planned to demonstrated “Mars” processors at the HotChips conference in Cupertino, CA. However, its Lead scientist was denied a visa to enter the U.S. and we could not see the physical boards which featured this extremely powerful processor. The slide above shows the base architecture of the initial engineering sample, with the final delivered boards featured significantly higher performance specifications.

While we were not privy to see the final silicon, we known that the performance went up by almost three fold, and that the final production board delivers 1.5 TFLOPS of compute power, most probably in a dual chip arrangement (akin to Tesla K80 and FirePro S9300 x2).

There are several implementations of this processor in Tianhe-2: add-in card that replaces the Xeon Phi, and motherboards featuring upgradable memory, all using very affordable DDR3-1600 memory. Phytium Technology delivered motherboards with multiple processors and up to 256 GB per Mars processor. Typical implementation measns the company achieves a triple 64 – 64-bit ARM core inside a 64-core processor attaches to 64 GB memory using 8-channel memory interface, not the 16-channel as mentioned in slides – that is for onboard (G)DDR memory.

Bottom line is, the sales restriction enabled a small startup to deliver a product which achieves higher performance than the products it was supposed to replace. All in all, a win for NUDT, and a small company that ‘no one ever heard off’. We will see how the market will develop, and is there a space for Phytium Technology on the supercomputing market. Tianhe-2 might be just the beginning.

Also, this is not the only development coming from mainland China. Jiāngnán Computing Lab successfully developed a new multi-core Alpha processor. Considered a sixth generation design, ShenWei Alpha processors achieve more than 1 TFLOPS of compute performance. However, we were not able to confirm what volumes are involved with the new batch of ShenWei processors. What makes them mysterious is the fact that Wikipedia only lists three generations of their Alpha processors, while the scientists are talking about fifth, sixth and seventh generations.

 


VrWorld. 2016-04-07. Uncle Sam Shocks Intel With a Ban on Xeon Supercomputers in China.

Just as Intel’s (NASDAQ: INTC) CEO Brian Krzanich opens the regular staff meetings before a dramatically reduced IDF2015 Shenzhen conference, it is a good time to review how government and enterprises don’t see eye to eye when it comes to strategic business.

Remember the Tianhe-2 machine at Guangzhou Supercomputer Center, the current World’s number one according to Top 500 Supercomputer list? Unlike some other China supercomputers – Tianhe-2 is fully Intel based machine,  the world’s largest assembly of Intel Xeon CPUs and Xeon Phi accelerators.

Even after Intel ‘opened the kimono’ and gave a nearly 70%  discount on its processors and accelerators, it has given Intel, and therefore US technology sector a major foothold in China and Asian region as such. Over the course of past two years, we were involved in a lot of discussions with Intel staff who were not privy to see the financial impact of the deal — and even argued our undoubtedly solid information. We’re not here to report how things should be, or are in marketing and investor presentations to its numerous staff, but how things really are.

During 2015, the Tianhe-2 supercomputer was supposed to be doubled in its size, up to 110 PFLOPs peak, again using the very same Intel processors and accelerators. Since now these are mature products with lower real manufacturing cost for Intel, they could finally make some real money.

Well, it was not to be: our tweety bird from the window chirped to us that Uncle Sam has put this supercomputer centre, together with National University of Defense Technology in Changsha, the system’s creators, and Tianjin centre, among others, on so a so-called “Denial List”, which prevents any high technology from the USA to be sold to these sites. Our sources used even harsher words.

Knowing that these several sites alone are expected to order some 250+ PFLOPS of compute in the next few years (around 500,000 top-end Broadwell-EP Xeon E5v4 processors, or  approximately $1 billion high margin list price) and they were THE Intel friendly ones, this is quite a loss to Intel, thanks to Uncle Sam.

But, what’s worse strategic loss in time is that, based on this decision as an excuse, indigenous China high end processor architectures can now push the government to gradually remove any dependence on US. This means just one thing: an AMD or Intel x86 processor technology is increasingly becoming errata non grata. Should the Chinese government react in force, it will give the Chinese vendors the blank check support to go all the way a developing their Alpha, POWER and MIPS processors for both the government and the mainstream commercial use.

You may think they are not up to the mark, but remember how fast British ARM architecture became the dominant processing architecture in the world. And this group doesn’t need to worry about the antiquated x86 ISA, worry about satisfying the dumbed down shareholder masses, or overpaying their marketing and sales staff, as well as the fat check, golden parachute-protected CxOs.

They have taken the best that the USA has developed (some of key Alpha, GPGPU and MIPS architects left US over the course of past four years, a lot of them due to non-renewed visas) and discarded due to corporate shenanigans, and the continued developing it much farther than anyone expected both on hardware and software side.

So, thanks to Uncle Sam, China might not have a 110 PFLOPS Intel based supercomputer but it definitely will launch a 100 PFLOPS system based on upcoming 64-core, TFLOPS-class ShenWei Alpha, with true blue CPUs possibly faster per socket then even the next generation Xeon Phi or Volta/Pascal-based Teslas.  Next, of course 100 PFLOPS Chinese POWER8 or 9 — (thank you IBM) and then possibly even Loongson MIPS – -it may come back into the high end field with renewed government support because of this Uncle Sam move. All are clean, elegant, scalable high end RISC architectures.

So who are the winners and losers from this?

NUDT and Tianhe may be the losers for now, but only short term. They will simply speed up their HPC ARM plan.

Intel comes out the big loser from this and a lot: who will want to do a phased deployment large x86 machine in China now, and worry about future phases? Then comes Uncle Sam himself: they lost even that little bit of influence on the high end China HPC. How is that for “cutting your nose to spite your face?”.

 

Rai News. 2016-04-14. Ricerca: al Cineca arriva “Marconi”, il supercomputer.

È tutto pronto per la nascita di ‘Marconi’: inizierà a metà aprile l’installazione del nuovo supercomputer italiano per la ricerca, un sistema co-disegnato dal consorzio Cineca, che andrà ad affiancare il ‘fratello’ Galileo. Cineca è il Consorzio Interuniversitario di calcolo, con sede a Casalecchio di Reno. Fondato nel 1969, senza scopo di lucro, è costituito da 70 Università italiane, 5 Enti di Ricerca e il Ministero dell’Istruzione, dell’Università e della Ricerca, per il supporto alle attività di ricerca della comunità scientifica tramite il supercalcolo. Dopo una selezione iniziata oltre un anno fa tramite bando europeo, a dicembre 2015, è stato assegnato l’incarico per l’infrastruttura a Lenovo, uno dei tre maggiori produttori globali nel mercato dei server basati su architettura x86 e da oltre due anni in cima al mercato pc. Il piano complessivo prevede un investimento di 50 milioni di euro in due fasi: la prima metterà a disposizione della comunità scientifica una potenza di calcolo pari a circa 20 Pflop/s e una capacità di memorizzazione dati di oltre 20 PetaByte, che sarà in produzione nel 2017. La seconda fase, che inizierà nel 2019, punterà sull’incremento della potenza disponibile per raggiungere i 50/60 Pflop/s entro il 2020.