Header Ads

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

MR. TRUMP WE PRESUME


President Donald Trump
 

By Bashorun J.K. Randle, OFR, FCA

The retired partners of KPMG who are still awaiting their gratuity and pension have to thank Mr. Donald J. Trump, the newly elected President of the United States of America for the huge change in their fortune.  They laid huge bets that Trump would not only win but (as a “double”) also that it would rain on the day of his inauguration and (as the “treble”), his hair would turn out to be real!! 


The big money came with (the “yankee”) the accumulator bet – massive protests would break out in major cities all over the United States of America – New York; Chicago; and Los Angeles as well as  major cities in the global village – London (Britain); Paradise Bay (Antartica); Buenos Aires (Argentina); Melbourne (Australia); Brussels (Belgium); Vienna (Austria); Sofia (Bulgaria); Quebec (Canada); Prague (Czech Republic); Santiago (Chile); San Jose (Costa Rica); Copenhagen (Denmark); Helsinki (Finland); Paris (France); Tbilisi (Georgia); Berlin (Germany); Accra (Ghana); Athens (Greece); Budapest (Hungary); Irbi (Iraq); Tel Aviv (Israel); Rome (Italy); Tokyo (Japan); Nairobi (Kenya); Pristina (Kosovo); Macau (Macau); Mexico City (Mexico); Amsterdam (Netherlands); Auckland (New Zealand); Krakow (Poland); and Lisbon (Portugal).



The guy who hit the mega jackpot was Shamus O’Neal our Irish partner who hitched his own bets to a “Heinz” with Leicester City Football Club (the Foxes) odds of
J K Randle
winning the English Premier League at 5,000 to 1.  The Foxes duly won the title – “the greatest sporting upset ever, or the best fairy tale of football history’’ according to their coach Claudio Ranieri and captain Jamie Vardy.  Along with the other four bets, it earned Shamus a massive fortune.  He has not stopped smiling or laughing since he hit the jackpot.  As far as he and his feisty wife Gilian are concerned, Donald J. Trump can do no wrong!!



As the saying goes – money is not everything.  There is much more to the Trump and the retired partners of KPMG story that would justify the massive interest it has been generating.  It has gone viral thanks to the leaks by both Edward Snowden the fugitive CIA consultant and Julien Assange of Wikileaks.



The retired partners of KPMG just got lucky.  Thereafter came divine intervention.  First Donald Trump got to hear about the creative exertions of the ex-KPMG partners to remain financially buoyant in addition to the massive professional and technical advice delivered gratis to candidate Trump.  The icing on the cake was that when some members of the Senate (led by Senator John Lewis, the highly respected veteran civil rights leader and contemporary of Martin Luther King Jr) decided to boycott the inauguration ceremony, invitations were rapidly despatched to the ex-KPMG partners!!  They were specially embossed with the seal of the President-elect of the United States of America with personalised coded message:  “Admit Bearer (name specified) and Spouse To All Events.”

As for those who hailed from foreign lands, visa formalities were waived.  Truly, God works in mysterious ways.



Right from day one of his campaign, Donald J. Trump declared on FOX News that he was ready to relaunch his “running battle with the dishonest press” and accused them of totally ignoring his long held commitment, sympathy and support for the ex-KPMG partners whom he described as the veterans of the accountancy profession.  In return, we pledged our unflinching support for his candidacy.

In any case, we knew well ahead of the rest of America that Trump was the candidate to beat.  He had plugged into the sore underbelly of the U.S. economy and demography, regardless of the much trumpeted (excuse the pun!) stunning improvement in American economic fortunes under President Barrack Obama who enthusiastically declared on “Good Morning America” which was hosted on ABC network by Lara Spencer:

“Incomes are up and poverty is down.”

However, Fareed Zakaria the host of CNN’s “GPS” [Global Public Square] was taken by surprise when Ralph Kingan, the mayor of Wright, Wyoming declared his own verdict:

“We ain’t feeling too much of all that economic growth that I heard was going on.  They are patting themselves on the back in the East but it ain’t so out in the West.”



Our gut feeling about the potency of Trump’s candidacy was further re-inforced by the incisive comments of David Autor, renowned author (!!) and eminent economist who has built a solid reputation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  On CBS, he waxed lyrical:



“The economic dislocations of recent decades may be contributing to the polarization of the electorate.  By emphasising the nation’s economic troubles, the candidates are going where the voters are.  My co-authors and I have discovered that voting patterns have shifted most in the parts of the country that lost the most jobs as a result of increased trade with China.  Our study which focussed on congressional elections found that voters in districts with heavy job losses have tended toward ideological extremes, replacing moderates with more conservative or liberal representatives.  There is this undercurrent of economically driven dissatisfaction that works to the benefit of candidates who are non-centrist and particularly right-wing candidates.”

That is where Donald J. Trump was coming from.

While exchanging banter on “Saturday Night Live” on NBC with the anchor man, Colin Jost, President Barrack Obama did not appear to have any inkling of the hurricane that was lurking on the horizon.

It was a special edition of the late night comedy show and it was heavily advertised as:

“Saturday Night Live Says Goodbye To Barrack Obama (44th President of the United States of America).

The sub title was: “To Sir With Love” (please don’t go!!) and a moving tribute was sung by Cecily Strong and Sasheer Zamata.

President Barrack Obama cheerfully reeled off his own scorecard – a selective quote from the verdict of the trio of Binyamin Appelbaum; Patricia Cohen and Jack Healy:

“The recent upswing is real.  While economic growth has been modest, the expansion is now in its eight year.  The economy has added millions of jobs and incomes increased last year for households on every rung of the economic ladder.  The economic gains have been particularly strong for people who live in our nation’s large metropolitan areas and for those who have college degrees.”

Our relationship with Donald J. Trump got off to a shaky start when he tweeted:

“Every penny of the $7 billion going to Africa as per Obama will be stolen.  Corruption is rampant.”

It is not mere co-incidence that regardless of our remonstrations, he made it clear that Nigeria was in his cross-hairs largely on account of the front page report in the “Sunday Tribune” newspaper of January 22, 2017:

HEADLINE:   CORRUPTION AND INJUSTICE

“What manner of justice system deters minor misdemeanours while encouraging tragic transgressions?  Arguably the propensity of criminal activities in the country is a consequence of the incongruent justice that abounds.

On July 26, 2011, a Makurdi Chief Magistrate Court convicted a woman, Priscilla Ikyobo, of kidnapping and extortion and sentenced her to eight months imprisonment.  But the court gave her an option of fine.  For kidnapping, she was given the option of paying N5,000, while she was asked to pay N4,000 as an option to going to prison for extortion.  Meanwhile, the ransom demanded by them and the two men she conspired with to kidnap the victim was N2million.  Pray, what percentage of N2milliion is N9,000?  The judgment handed down to Ikyobo was nothing but a fillip to other kidnappers.



And so what about the judgment given in December 2008 to Chief Lucky Igbinedion, who left office as Edo State governor in May 2007 and faced a 191-count charge of money laundering and other corrupt charges at a Federal High Court?  But sequel to a plea bargain agreement, he had the charges reduced to one, which was that he neglected to declare his interest in a bank account.



Igbinedion pleaded guilty to the charge and was sentenced to a fine of N3.5 million, the equivalent of the amount in the said account.  No further reference was made to the corrupt charges earlier levelled against the two-term governor nor the setback the state suffered as a result of his alleged misdemeanour.  When not quite long ago, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) tried to re-open the 191-count charge case, Igbinedion hinged his defence on the law of double jeopardy.  He claimed that he had already been punished for the same offences the EFCC was re-opening and the judge let him off the hook.

Thus, when recently some former governors were arraigned for a series of malfeasance, they were largely unmoved, they knew they could always toe the Igbinedion line, plea bargain, pay a paltry part of their pillage to the state and live happily thereafter.

But what does that do to the people?  It fills them with a feeling that big time misconduct earns great recompense.  This, to say the least, is dangerous as it could result in anarchy.  The best way to stave off the grave consequences is to steady the scale of justice and not tilt it in favour of anyone.”

It turns out that Donald Trump was deadly serious and earnestly committed when he tweeted:

“I shall build a wall between the retired partners of KPMG (who are still awaiting their gratuity and pension) and KPMG.  KPMG will pay for the wall.”

He has proved as good as his word.  Not only has he fired off executive orders imposing a 25 per cent tax on all KPMG revenue earned outside the United States of America (“We have to bring the jobs back to the U.S.”) he has publicly declared his endorsement of water-boarding as the appropriate penalty for whoever is sitting on the entitlements of those partners who have contributed immensely to keep America safe by keeping the books safe in far flung places all over the world.



In the meantime, he has issued Presidential orders to the effect that KPMG partners from the following seven countries will not be allowed into the United States of America – not as visitors, green card holders or refugees:

·        Somalia

·        Yemen

·        Iraq

·        Libya

·        Sudan

·        Iran, and

·        Syria.

It took considerable effort and exceptional diplomatic skills to persuade Steve Bannon the Chief Strategist in the White House to intervene with President Donald Trump to refute (or at least partially amend/correct) the front page headline of the “NigerianTribune” newspaper of January 30, 2017.

Headline:     TRUMP BANS 2-YEAR VISA FOR NIGERIANS

PRESIDENT Donald Trump of United States (US) has signed the Executive Order banning Nigerians from enjoying two-year visa regime of the country.



In one of the sections of the executive orders, there is the inference that Nigerians will not be given two-year visa if the country also does not give American citizens visas of the same number of years.

Section Nine of the order states: “Visa Validity Reciprocity. The (US) Secretary of State shall review all nonimmigrant visa reciprocity agreements to ensure that they are, with respect to each visa classification, truly reciprocal insofar as practicable with respect to validity period and fees, as required by sections 221 (c) and 281 of the INA & USC 1201 (c) and 1351, and other treatment. If a country does not treat United States nationals seeking nonimmigrant visas in a reciprocal manner, the Secretary of State shall adjust the visa validity period, fee schedule, or other treatment to match the treatment of United States nationals by the foreign country to the extent practicable.”

Reacting to the development, a US official (names withheld), however, said the ban on two-year visa for Nigerians was still speculative.

According to him, the executive order on visa regime, as signed by President Trump, was not emphatic as the order on the ban of seven Muslim countries explictly stated in the order.

He said since the Executive Order was signed on Friday, the terms and enforcement would be known as the week unfolds.

Indications have emerged that Nigerians may be affected in the ban placed on some countries by the United States President, Donald Trump, on the country’s immigration policy.

This came as many parts of the world experienced travel chaos at airports and many travellers were either detained at various US airports or could no longer travel to visit their families.

One of those affected, Sir Mo Farah, a Somali who is a long-distance runner and who had his family in Oregon, US, lamented that he could no longer enter to live with his family because Somali was one of the countries affected by the ban.

Sir Mo wrote on Facebook: ‘On 1st January this year, Her Majesty The Queen made me a Knight of the Realm. On January 27, President Donald Trump seems to have made me an alien.

“I am a British citizen who has lived in America for the past six years – working hard, contributing to society, paying my taxes and bringing up our four children in the place they now call home.



“Now, me and many others like me are being told that we may not be welcome. It’s deeply troubling that I will have to tell my children that Daddy might not be able to come home – to explain why the President has introduced a policy that comes from a place of ignorance and prejudice.

I was welcomed into Britain from Somalia at eight years old and given the chance to succeed and realise my dreams. I have been proud to represent my country, win medals for the British people and receive the greatest honour of a knighthood.

My story is an example of what can happen when you follow polices of compassion and understanding, not hate and isolation. The sudden ban has affected dozens of other British residents, many of whom had been trapped in transit, unable to fly to the US.’’

Perhaps what endeared the retired partners of KPMG to Donald Trump was our persistence in drawing his attention to the incisive and brilliant observations of the Pullitzer – prize winning journalist George F. Will on a very delicate subject which he captioned:

“PROTECTING THE ECONOMY CAN END UP KILLING IT”

“When the president speaks of closed factories scattered like “tombstones” across America, has he noticed the shuttered stores in shopping centers, and entire malls reduced to rubble? He promises “protection” to prevent foreigners from “destroying” manufacturing jobs by exporting to America things that Americans want to import. Does he know that one American company might be “destroying” more American jobs than China is? And that this supposed destruction is beneficial? 

The company is Amazon (market capitalization: $390 billion), created by Jeffrey P. Bezos. He owns The Post, but it is for revolutionizing retailing that he ranks in the pantheon of American business. He belongs there with Richard Warren Sears, Alvah Curtis Roebuck, Aaron Montgomery Ward and Sam Walton, all of whom were constructively disruptive retailers and were as important in the nation’s commercial history as were Henry Ford, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.

In 2016, online buying during the holiday season surged 19 percent over the year before, which is one factor explaining this: Macy’s, after announcing in August that it would close 100 more of its remaining 730 stores, now says it will shed 10,000jobs. Sears, which is 13 decades old and still has 1,600 stores, has lost $9 billion in five years, has closed 500 stores and is closing 150 more (including some Kmarts). 

Sears stores in American downtowns, and the Sears catalogue that put downtown goods within reach of rural America (3 million catalogues were distributed in 1907, when the nation’s population was 87 million), caused difficulties for older retailers. In the second half of the 20th century, Walmarts at the edge of towns caused difficulties for downtown retailers with pre-modern — meaning pre-Walmart — global supply chains. Now Amazon is forcing Walmart to master online retailing.

In order to buttress our point we added what the following newspapers/magazines had to say on the same subject of “IDP’s” (Internally Displaced Persons).

(i)                The Times

‘’Specialists calculate that traditional retailers have shed more than 200,000 employees in the past four years, and that there are 1.2 million fewer retail workers than there would be if there were no online retailers. But Henry Ford, too, “destroyed” lots of jobs — those of blacksmiths, buggy-makers, etc. — the holders of which moved on, and usually up.

The typical online retailer generates $1,267,000 in sales per employee versus $279,000 at bricks-and-mortar stores.” 

(ii)              Market Watch (according to Rex Nutting).

‘’As Amazon revolutionizes consumer behaviour, it “is going to destroy more American jobs than China ever did.” If so, the “problem” is productivity. Amazon needs about half as many workers to sell $100 worth of merchandise as Macy’s does.”

Will’s thesis and conclusion are pungent and damning:

‘’Reactionary liberalism has long held, and today’s faux conservatism agrees, that existing jobs should be protected by policies that reduce the economic dynamism that threatens those jobs. Such protection means a net decrease in jobs but an increase in the self-esteem of blinkered protectionists who see the jobs “saved” but not those that, as a result of lost dynamism, are lost or never created.

Macy’s flagship Manhattan store was one reason Gimbels’s nearby flagship closed, after 76 years, in 1986. This, even though in 1945 Gimbels had been America’s first merchant to offer “a fantastic, atomic era, miraculous pen.” It was a ballpoint.”

Nevertheless, President Trump with the active connivance of Steve Bannon has declared:

“The press is the real opposition party.

He added mischievously:  “We are going to make KPMG great again.  It is the least I owe the retired partners who are still awaiting their gratuity and pension.”

Donald Trump’s detractors have plenty of ammunition with which to indict him as a bully and dictator.  They have even accused him of behaving like an African dictator or Roman emperor!!  Regardless, he just doubles down.  He never backs down.  As far as he is concerned, there is no such thing as half measures.

Anyway, we retired partners of KPMG have Donald to thank for inviting us to participate as “distinguished resource persons” at a remarkable event which is already in the public domain – thanks to the front page report of “The Wall StreetJournal” of January 24, 2017.

Headline:     “REPUBLICANS SET FOR POLICY RETREAT BACKED BY FIRMS”

Beginning this week, President Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress are poised to address business priorities that include revamping the corporate tax code, overhauling the health care system and rolling back regulations on oil and gas drilling.

Congressional Republicans will also take a break from Washington, gathering for a corporate-backed policy retreat starting Wednesday at the magnificent Loews Hotel in Philadelphia.

The three-day affair is largely sponsored by an organisation run by Washington lobbyists and paid for by dozens of U.S. corporations with a vested interest in the Republicans’ legislative agenda.  Mr. Trump is expected to drop by, as other Republican presidents have in the past.

The group, called the Congressional Institute, has organised retreats for Republican lawmakers for nearly 30 years.  But the event’s corporate sponsorship stands out at a time when Mr. Trump has promised to “drain the swamp” and change the way Washington works.  The leaders of the Congressional Institute say the financial support of the companies and lobbyists means taxpayers don’t have to pay for the retreat, as they do for their Democratic counterparts, who banned lobbyists from funding their retreat and have the government foot the bill.”

While the inferno is gathering and the maelstrom is supercharged by the series of decisions made in his first two weeks in office, Trump insists that all is well and everything is going according to plan.  He is only doing what he promised when he was campaigning for election.  However, the press would not let him get away with it:

“Nigerian Tribune” newspaper of January 30, 2017.

Headline:     “AS WORLDWIDE RAGE GREETS US IMMIGRATION ORDER”

“Airlines such as British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are offering refunds to customers whose travel plans have been ruined.

One woman affected is Hamaseh Tayari, a UK resident with an Iranian passport, who was stranded in Costa Rica after being denied boarding a flight home to Glasgow because it was due to stop-over in New York.

The distraught vet, who was on holiday with her boyfriend, said: ‘This has shocked me. We just discovered (what Trump did) at the airport when we went to check in.

I want people to know this isn’t just happening to refugees. I am a graduate and have a PhD. It has happened to a person who is working and pays tax.’

Ms Tayari has found a different route home and will shortly return to Glasgow.

She said: ‘We had been saving for months for this holiday and it will cost me a month’s salary just to get home.”

Iranian-born physics student, Naz Jahanshahi, from Manchester, was devastated to learn that she might have to cancel a trip to the US with her boyfriend.

The 21-year-old wrote on Facebook: “Words cannot describe how angry, upset and shocked I am right now. After Trump’s recent ban on people from ‘Muslim’ countries it’s turned out that because I am classified as a British Citizen and travelled to Iran three years ago to see family, that I am denied entry into the US.

Another Briton affected is World Bank economist, Jaffar Al-Rikabi.

He wrote on Facebook: “I am an Economist at the World Bank (based in Jakarta), and will not apparently be able to join my fellow colleagues at our MFM training week in Washington DC in March.

Why? Because, I’m a dual British-Iraqi national and hence President Trump’s recent executive order bans me from flying to the US. Allegedly, I am a threat to US national security.’

Iraqi-born Nadhim Zahawi, Tory MP for Stratford-on-Avon, is also banned from the US.

He told the BBC: “I don’t think I have felt discriminated since primary school when the kids were very cruel, as a young boy coming from Iraq of Kurdish origin.

For the first time in my life last night I felt discriminated against, it’s demeaning, it’s sad.”

The ban means he can’t visit his sons who are studying at Princeton University in New Jersey.

He said: “One of my sons had a life-threatening illness last year, spent time in a hospital in Princeton, wonderful healthcare in Princeton University hospital, but we couldn’t have travelled if we were going through the same thing now.

There are many other human stories – amongst the community in the UK. There are hundreds of thousands of people who were born in Iraq who are now British citizens. I always thought we were equal.”














No comments:

Post a Comment

Powered by Blogger.