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Friday, June 24, 2016

The Panic of June 24 2016

The major European banks - like Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank - have crashed over 15% to record lows. British banks Lloyds and Barclays both down 30 percent. This crisis prompted massive demand for USDollars, sending basis swaps (and other funding vehicles) spiking which it appears is why The Fed said it was ready to provide liquidity.

Can England leave the EU?

Having been born in Hungary, I am a citizen of the European Union (I don't exercise my rights) but like many, I too think that things happen in America, China and Israel, not in decadent Europe. After centuries of wars, Europe succeeded in forming an union and to live sixty years in peace. Now it seems that it will disintegrate. England wants to leave.

I don't think it can. When the Southern States decided to secede, the North went to war and did not allow it. The same thing happened in Argentina after the independence in 1810, centrifugal forces tried to free themselves from Buenos Aires's centralism. After four decades of wars, the  caudillos were eliminated and an unitary state was set up. More recently, Katanga seceded from Congo, that is, till the Congolese raped all the girls and ate the boys. Biafra wanted to secede from Nigeria, it was encircled and defeated. Eritrea seceded from Ethiopia but I am still expecting its demise. Catalunya is fighting for independence since the Guerra Civil, yet still is ruled from Madrid.  If one can generalize from these cases, it is that the central nucleus never allows preposterous fantasies like voting to opt out. There is no such thing. Political unions acquire a soul and a will to survive and will resist dismemberment.

A strong political-military organism like the EU+NATO is not a bridge table where one may  stand up and leave in any moment. Even a bridge or poker tables will not let go players who get bored or are losing. J's prognosis: Hostility will grow. It will escalate to war and re-union. I never thought that Europe could be united through negotiations, it was too good to be true. A new Karl (pic) will rebuild the Holy Frankish Empire, with the Anglosaxons inside.  

Learnt New Concept: "Organic Animal"

Like in “The proposed rule meets the recommendations of the National Organic Standards Board and USDA’s own Inspector General, setting needed standards for organic animals …"

The Euro Sinking

Well, it happened. Britain decided to resign from the European Union. I think Merkel's precipitated decision to open the gates of the Union triggered the exit. Every day are arriving about 1500 "refugees" in an endless and unsustainable stream.

The forex market reacted very roughly and the Euro is losing (11.30 AM here) 3.5%. The dollar is victorious. Europe is cheap for us, this is the time to buy a nice vacation in the Austrian Alps.

Morning in Minsk

Five years ago the price of potash fertilizer was 1000 US$/ton. Then Uralkali broke up the potash cartel lead by Canadian POT, launching the dog-eat-dog era that brought us to US$ 200/ton today. Could it be that after years of non-stop alcoholic intoxication, Comrade Lukashenko is having a moment of sobriety?

"Secretary General of the Belarus Communist Party (in power) Alexander Lukashenko said his country isn’t against reviving a trading joint venture with Russia’s Uralkali PJSC that, until 2013, had helped control supplies and buoy prices." The news are from Bloomberg.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Gag of The Invaders

I never lost an episode of The Invaders, a science fiction series of the sixties. I am sure you babies don't even know what I am talking about. You have never heard the leaden voice presenting ...
The Invaders – Alien beings from a dying planet
Their destination – The Earth
Their purpose – To make it their world

The invaders assumed human form and were indistinguishable from your school buddies except for one small imperfection: they could not bend their pinky finger. We (my friends and me) started observing the people around suspecting they may be invaders, focusing on their pinkies. That required developed observation skills because the pinky is rarely visible, making it difficult to judge - without alerting the suspects - if they can bend it normally or they let it stick out, betraying their imposture. We became junior detectives following unsuspecting residents of the barrio, studying the workings of their little fingers.

Forward fast fifty years and discover that the crooked little finger had a hidden symbolic meaning.  “The extended pinky used to be a symbol of effeminacy,” author Cohen recalled.  “You know, the effete holding a glass of champagne with the pinky extended?  When this show was done back in the sixties, the homosexual community was kind of a submerged, invisible community.  People were living secret lives.  I thought, here are these aliens living amongst society, keeping their true identities secret, their true selves secret, and this is funny because the pinky kind of symbolizes homosexuality in some way, and nobody will get the gag, but I’ll put it in there anyway.” 

Nobody is Safe in America

The Flint Water Fiasco continues to claim victims. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has filed a civil lawsuit in Genesee County Circuit Court against French company Veolia Environnement SA (VIE.PA) for exposing residents to high lead levels.  Schuette said the state is seeking damages that could total hundreds of millions of dollars.

In spite of my animus against Veolia (it just folded up its operations in Israel), I am ready to testify that it did not pour lead into Flint river. It had a very small contract to help Flint municipal geniuses to operate the pumps. Veolia shares are dropping and the company will spend millions on lawyers. Moody should reclassify America's Country Risk. Only madmen invest in that dangerous jungle, full of rabid attorneys.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Zanganeh signed his own Death Sentence

Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh announced June 17 that the country sells its crude oil to international markets only in euros.  The idea is to end the petrodollar's hegemonic status as monopoly oil currency and hence challenge the U.S. dollar supremacy. Mr Zanganeh should reflect on the fate of those who tried the same in the past: Saddam Hussein and Muammar Qaddafi (Pic.: Memento mori). 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Poison on Tap: How Government Failed Flint and the Heroes That Fought Back

It has been two years that my mental radar is locked on the Flint water crisis, and I have discussed it here to death. Yet the story has caught people's imagination and refuses to go away. Now, a book has been published on Flint, complete with racist evildoers and shining Black heroes that fought back.

The movie cannot be far away, with courageous African American Flint City employees fist-fighting with white Michigan State politicians. Many violent karate and car chase scenes, and a happy end with the good guys getting the girls. 

A legend is born.

One day I shall write down the REAL SECRET CONSPIRACY that was behind the mass poisoning of an American city's whole Black population. How the conspirators met in the old, cavernous anti-atomic underground refuges of Flint's Chevrolet factory, how they signed the conspiracy oath with their own blood and performed obscene ceremonies at the light of a burning cross. I shall reveal the connection with the Black Hand of Serbia, the Pythagorean geometrical sect of Sicily, the Ninth Banner Manchu secret society and Veolia Water plutocrats. All I am waiting for is someone to pay me. My rate is sheqel per word.

American Jewry's Political Action

Antisemite Prof. Kevin MacDonald (pic) argues that Jewish communities tend to act to make their environment, the society at large, more comfortable for their existence, frequently harming the interests of the native population. MacDonald focuses on the decades long battle of the American Jewish community to change immigration laws, causing by the way a profound and irreversible change that affects the whole country. Instead a homogeneous North European population that excluded Jews, it produced a fractured multi-racial society where the specific discrimination is almost impossible.

Thus, MacDonald attributes superhuman powers to the small Jewish community, which legitimately tries to defend Jewish interests, but has no wider objectives such as changing the enormous mass of the society (*). The American Jewish community openly fights promoting Jewish interests, and with such success that it has lost its own raison d'etre. Instead, now concentrates on helping foreign communities. AIPAC is active modifying American foreign policy in favor of Israel, but less known is its activity in favor of Ethiopian Jews, Yemenite Jews, Argentine Jews, etc. As a byproduct of its protective political action, American Jews have acquired immense political power in countries like Argentina, Hungary, Ukraine, Ethiopia, Yemen, etc. As far as I know, all their activity is strictly limited to local Jewish rights and safety, and never intervened in anything else.

Observing the fast dissolution of American Jewry itself, I think Jewish political activity should be re-directed from foreign policy to focus on changing American society in ways that would ensure Jewish continuity. American Jews already have disengaged from areas like Negro rights, immigration, etc.  The new objective should be to strengthen the Jewish community, more explicitly, to disassemble the Enlightenment structure which is corroding Jewish existence everywhere.

(1) Make Jewish identity legitimate once again. In the free, open and generously egalitarian  America that we have helped to bring into existence, ethnic separatism is unacceptable. Rejecting intermarriage, for example, smacks of racism and it is indefensible in public.  Although a small group of Haredim manages to live separate lives, they too are succumbing to American values. In short, we need an American society where Jew marrying Jewess is not only legitimate but enforced by the Government. You need imagination to visualize that, but it can definitely be done.

(2) Jewish education funded and enforced by the Government.The current regime imposes racially mixed schools, using funding and legislation to ensure that each school's population contains a mix of Negro and other ethnics. Government and public opinion does not tolerate Jewish schools that rejects Blacks and White Christians. The way must be found that purely Jewish schools are funded by the Government and Jewish parents must be motivated to choose those schools without feeling horrible racists. In France, there are Jewish schools maintained by the State: This achievement was work of one man alone, so it is feasible in America too. American public schools are unbearable for Jews, with its population of hormonally mature Negro boys and its emphasis on social subjects, so it would be easy to make Jewish parents to opt for Jewish schools if that option was seen legitimate and available.

(3) Re-erecting the gates of the ghetto. Given the mortal danger of American mixed neighborhoods, there is a spontaneous tendency to move into "Jewish" areas. The government is actively fighting this tendency and forces the creation of racially mixed neighborhoods, where Jews feel unsafe. A gated community with its own security people operates almost as a ghetto, it is necessary to create exclusive Jewish gated neighborhoods or streets, not furtively but publicly acknowledged and Government sponsored.

(4) In pre-Enlightenment Europe, the Jews managed to create a situation where membership in a Jewish community was imperative and in many cases, enforced by the authorities. On the "sweet" side, the community provided many services such as cemeteries, inclusion in the "poor roll" (social security in an era when it did not exist), commercial contacts, accessible banking services (The community in Argentina operated cooperativas de credito that provided startup capital to penniless immigrants), poor houses and free kitchens (even today in Buenos Aires), etc. On the hard side, to get residence permits ("green cards") you had to be a member of good standing, approved kosher by the rabbi. In places like Prague, to marry legally (necessary for tax purposes and estate planning) you needed community recommendation. To practice a trade you needed to be member of a guild, and in many places the finance (usury) guild and foreign trade was in hands of the community. Sometimes, the Jews paid taxes as a community and the Community had the power to impose taxes on its members and use the police (jail) to enforce payment.

The purpose of all was to ensure Jewish continuity, and it worked. Jews emerged from the ghetto so strong and vital that frightened Europe. Politically aware Jews like Herzl saw the problem and proposed as solution conversion and assimilation, but seeing it was not acceptable (it did not work in Spain in the 15th century) he organized emigration (the creation of a Jewish Home). The society also felt the existence of a problem, and re-introduced restrictions (such as numerus clausus in Hungary) that culminated in the Final Solution of the Jewish Problem, that is, total extermination. Which makes me doubt everything I wrote above, maybe this problem is above my head, so let's start this day's work with the highly soluble "Engineering Lab" project (**).
(*) The background theory of Jewish effectiveness is - MacD says - group evolution. Atypically for an antisemite, he does not attributes evil intentions to the Jews. 

(**) The Lab provides testing services to building contractors, certifying the materials they employ in their projects. The building blocks (and filling soil materials) in Israel contain coal ash, which is not only radioactive but leach poisonous alkaline elements (pic.: a leaching test). The Environment Ministry got interested in the issue and it is something of a test case. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Destiny of the Jewish Communities of Europe

Generalizing, up to the Enlightenment (1790 - 1850), it was forbidden for Jews to exist in Europe. Jews were expelled from France, Europe's largest kingdom, in the 12th Century and never allowed to return. Notwithstanding the absolute prohibition, the French Revolution found about 20,000 Jews in three groups, all living under precarious and temporary legal arrangements. The Portuguese in Bordeaux, the Italians in Avignon, and the Ashkenazim in Alsace. The Portuguese had arrived to the war ravaged, depopulated area of Bordeaux as "New Christian" merchants, soon they got organized in a strong community even with a  "New Christian Church". Through very active lobbying and political action in Paris they achieved tolerance permits (pic left), which were not recognized by the local authorities but gradually they legalized their situation. Surprisingly for me, Europe was always tightly organized and policed, with multitude of petty regulations, different for every town and political unit. 

The Portuguese merchants (aka Jewish refugees) had no way of making a living legally, as all the trades were controlled and monopolized by official guilds with their rules and their own police. They found unoccupied niches like production of kosher wine for export to the Portuguese communities of London, Amsterdam and Hamburg, the chocolate industry, and the trade with French colonies (sugar, indigo, etc.). The community appointed a permanent lobbyist in Paris who had a budget for entertaining and bribing court aristocrats, they hired the best Parisian lawyers and pamphlet writers. Although Jews were forbidden to live in France, the Portuguese community of Bordeaux acquired the power to protect its members and even provided the police with lists of Jewish "vagabonds" (aka Ashkenazi itinerant peddlers) they wanted to be expelled. As their influence increased, they seized trade monopolies in colonial products and even supplying French Canada in war with the British.

With the conquest of Alsace, France found itself with Ashkenazi (German) Jews occupying the economic niche of retail finance (usury). They financed ambitious peasants to buy land and supplied the army with horses. Usury was legal and they enforced debt collection with the police. They were restricted to trade in free fairs, because they undercut local guilds and merchants. German towns had laws to limit the number of Jews, they had to get permits to  marry and to settle down. Permits were restricted and were given only when someone left an empty slot.

As the "Portuguese Merchants" of Bordeaux, the Ashkenazim had to fight ferociously to avoid being expelled and to achieve the right to practice some trade to survive. Ashkenazim found opportunities in textile factories, iron works, etc. - beating the Medieval, conservative guilds. By the time of the French Revolution, French Ashkenazim had a strong community in Metz which had developed the political skills to the point that it was common opinion that "the Jews were too powerful and used their influence against the natives".

The French Revolution, the Enlightenment, gave full civil rights to the Jews. The result was that individual Jews saw no reason to continue paying the heavy community membership tax, and consequently, the communities lost their power over their members and their political action influence. In less than a century they lost their cohesion and when the Nazi party appeared on the scene, Jewish communities were weak and unable to focus on the imminent danger, and presented no fight against anti-Jewish restrictions like the Nurnberg Laws and deportation.

I think that Enlightenment was a catastrophe for European Jewry, which cannot pull itself together since then. The new Euro-Arabia that is evolving before our eyes certainly means growing oppression for European Jews, may be it will harden a new nucleus and revitalize the communities. 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Artist as Mountain Guerrilla

Then he ascended to Zion and befriended Koko the Talking Gorilla. Then was reborn as the Red Explorer.  The promised land is not in sight yet, must keep going.

Jeff Koons

We have a film festival here in Kever Benjamin City. Yesterday we watched a BBC doc on the billionaire sculptor Jeff Koons.  The man is a smooth talking salesman but yes, he has merchandise to sell. He invented those oversized anodized aluminum balloon figures (pic), that are immensely non-threatening and look great in the lobby. A genius.


Sudden Death of the Coal Industry

All my saving in potash fertilizer shares became, suddenly, almost worthless. That was two years ago but the trauma is always with me.  So the incredible, sudden, devaluation of the shares of the coal industry strikes a sensitive nerve. Quote from Sam Batkins's blog:

"The  “War on Coal,” EPA and the Department of Interior have combined to impose $312 billion in costs and more than 30 million paperwork burden hours. All of these burdens aren’t directed solely at the coal industry, but the Clean Power Plan, coal residuals rule, the MATS measure, and Cross-State Air Pollution Rule will impose nearly $20 billion in annual burdens on the industry. The sharp drop in natural gas prices also plays a role, declining 70 percent since 2008. However, the market cap of four of the largest coal companies was more than $35 billion in 2011. After a flurry of regulation, it’s now a smudge on the graph, a decline of 99 percent."

This is happening now before our eyes. Lots of coal engineers may have lost their jobs and find their curriculum worthless. Conclusion  #1: There are no solid, stable industries. In Israel, a Ministry of Health leak against sausages is killing Zoglovek and other processed meat producers. Public sentiment against sugar could kill Coca Cola and the fight against animal fat may be the end of MacDonalds. Conclusion #2: Economic success (survival) is dependent on Regulation. In this highly organized society, familiarity with complex, chaotic and everchanging regulation is the key to survival. In fact, that is the river shallows where this water engineer has been drifting in the last fifteen years. I teach in the university to keep my engineering self respect but the money is made dealing with the bureaucracy.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Is Reform good for the Jews?

The air is changing in Israel and difficult questions that were not asked in public are now quietly being formulated. For example, the declaration by Reform rabbis in the USA that they are welcoming transgender people (Pic.: "The Orlando Transgender Resolution") provokes the question: Did these people read the Bible? Do Reform people take seriously their supposedly Jewish religion? 70% of Reform live in mixed marriages or households, is their way sustainable? Will there be Reform Jews in two generations? Is Reform Judaism strengthening the Jewish people, or is it corroding it and accelerating its assimilation and disappearance? These questions were not formulated in public because Israel was weak and depended from American goodwill, and Reform Judaism was seen as our most powerful ally. The question being asked now is: Do we need, do we want among us the grandchildren of Scott, the idealistic Jewish boy fighting for Negro rights in the sixties, the famous Scott of Rav Kahana's books? Scott's grandchildren, if he had any, grew up in a "new" family, may be with two parents of the same gender but different ethnic origin or some other combination. Is Reform weakening Jewish identity and eating up the Jewish people? What can Scott III and Scott IV add to the Jewish people's survival?

Crazy Tel Aviv Jews

Feeling Unsafe in Argentina

Argentina's former secretary of Public Works José López received a secret message that the police was on his way to his home. Always ready, he packed his submachine gun and filled several handbags with the small change he always kept at home for these emergencies, and drove for safety in a friendly monastery. He stopped his car in front of the entrance, the engine running, and started throwing handbags over the wall when the police caught up with him. Central Bank tellers were called to count the money. Total: U$S 8.982.000 in cash. Prudently, Lopez had not transferred all his booty to secret bank accounts in Seychelles, like Presidenta Cristina Kirchner and her gang of thieves, he always kept dinero at hand in case he would have to run. But there are no safe places in Argentina.