Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The war has just begun

ISIS has just posted a clip titled The War Has Just Begun with a cover very similar to the Game of Thrones beginning. Could it be that they are living a phantasy war game of the 7th Century Arabia? Or are they trying to influence Western youth grown in video games? In any case, the mass murders in Mosul are real, certainly so for the victims.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Contrarians Invest in Argentina

The idea: "The situation has been so bad for so long, even modest improvement will create a rally. We are buying at such cheap levels that even in a worst case scenario we have downside protection. But if we’re right, there is three to four times upside”. George Soros and Dan Loeb of ThirdPoint seem to agree, as both recently made big bets on Argentina... Thompson likes U.S.-listed shale company YPF (ticker: YPF), which controls 40% of the Vaca Muerta shale..."

Bienville forgets that Argentina betrayed too many illusions in the past. "The nationalisation of Repsol’s shares in YPF in 2012, after the Spanish firm had made big discoveries of shale gas at Vaca Muerta, was a shock" (From The Economist).

Kardan Bonds

I hold a few Kardan bonds bought at a large discount. Today Kardan announced that it will renegotiate those bonds. Kardan owns TAHAL, my alma mater, that has been bleeding money on its Chinese WWTP contracts. In my times... TAHAL every year "returned" dividends to the State.  ירד לטמיון - an ancient expression meaning "Money lost to the Treasury". Pic. Jews paying taxes.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Why dont they leave as alone...?

The title of this post is a line from a song in the movie "Cabaret", starring Koko (pic). The quantity of books and studies done on us, the Ashkenazim, is absolutely crazy. Now Nature publishes  another exhaustive genetic research on us. Voto a Dios! what are we...  fruit flies?

So much attention will make me think I am something very special.

Allah hoo Akhbar

Lets assume you are a Jewish volunteer in the Caliphate. You sqat on the floor while the mullah lectures about the endless mysteries of the Quran - in Arabic. You make out some words like Allah Hoo Akhbar, God is Great. OK, you think, God is Not Small, but How Great? It is starting to make sense to you. Alarmed, you focus on Calculus I exam. How it was solved that two towers problem?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

How to lift yourself from depression

It was a miserable night. In the pool, I realized that the man in the next lane was swimming faster and couldnt catch up. Black  depression. Decided to ignore my misery and follow my routine: at 0400, coffee, and work. At 0700 bought fresh bread from the baker and continued muddling through my schedule. At 1630 went to fetch my granddaughter from the kinder, we chased cats but didnt catch any, she didnt stop talking and singing - that is happiness and/or contentment. Ten minutes a year running after cats with her is a life well lived.

Gutter Oil (II)

1300 food products were found having been made with Taiwan gutter oil. The criminal (pic) had labeled it fraudulently as lard. No pig was involved in the scandal. Thousands of consumers are complaining about the funny aftertaste of the pineapple buns (see below). They hate its new taste - that of pure certified lard.

Reluctant "allies"

Obama is trying to build a coalition against ISIS. Turkey announced that it will not allow operations from its territory. "They want to play roles, specific roles. They will play those. (They) will be articulated by the Turkish government when that decision is made." It doesnt sound an ally at all.

Egypt will not send soldiers. Effectively will do nothing.

Fighting are: Assad, Peshmerga, Iraqi army. Britain. America.

The degradation of ISIS should be easy. It consists in a number of cities linked by open roads, easily destroyed. It has no air force. It has attracted thousands of Western adventurers, just like godless communist Fidel Castro's sugarcane harvest and Ortega's Sandinista guerrillas did.  Now the ideal of rebuilding a 7th Century theocracy is attracting them to the Syrian desert. But they dont believe in Allah and will not wake up for the midnight prayer and at 0500 AM for the sunrise prayer to knock their heads into the cold desert pebble. The moment there is any serious trouble, they will demand their return ticket. ISIS's momentum is based on success, at any sizeable defeat and loss of life, it will disperse. Has no staying power. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Potash Thoughts

ICL is planning to register on NASDAQ probably to pressure the Israeli government that intends to tax it dry. The potash business as a whole is looking bad: this year, global capacity will hit 82 million tonnes, but demand will fall well short, even at a record-high level of 57 million tonnes, according to London-based commodity research firm CRU. That gap is set to widen slightly by 2020, when capacity looks to reach 99 million tonnes, far more than is needed to meet demand of only 73 million. The Russians will flood the market and destroy the competitors. Many potash mining projects in Canada, Argentina (Mendoza), etc. are being delayed. Pic. Utah mine.

On the other hand, the European Union recently announced another round of sanctions against Russia. Russian potash exports may suffer, while Potash Corp. (and ICL) could actually see more business at the expense of the Russian companies.

The Israel Corporation is going to sell 500 million dollars worth of ICL shares on NASDAQ.
They are going to use the money to buy another mine in China. They remind me of stoty of Dune, they are migrating to another planet, Arrakis, where the melange is. 

Buy or sell ICL stock? Nothing is certain.

New Persian Art

Original art and literature flourishes under obscurantism. Iran's artistic tradition is alive with calligrapher Vahid Ezzatpanah (left). I'd like to read Iranian samizdat but it is unavailable.

Job Openings in Japan

Japanese movie star Shimiken (pic) says he is one of just 70 male porn actors. "Everyday I meet the same people," he said, adding the number was "lower than that of Bengal Tigers". "In contrast, the number of actresses is as high as 10,000. We lack porn actors here."  The "ad" appeared in the Johannesburg Sunday Times.

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Need for a Good Imperialist War

I copy below Dan Wang's reflections on finance. We have been there and we know where it will end. 
Think about what happens when someone in Silicon Valley builds a successful company and sells it. What do the founders do with that money? Under indefinite optimism, it unfolds like this:
  • Founder doesn’t know what to do with the money. Gives it to large bank.
  • Bank doesn’t know what to do with the money. Gives it to portfolio of institutional investors in order to diversify.
  • Institutional investors don’t know what to do with money. Give it to portfolio of stocks in order to diversify.
  • Companies are told that they are evaluated on whether they generate money. So they try to generate free cash flows. If and when they do, the money goes back to investor on the top. And so on.
What’s odd about this dynamic is that, at all stages, no one ever knows what to do with the money. (Source)

10-year bonds are yielding about 2%. The expected inflation over the next decade is 2.6%. So if you invest in bonds then in real terms you’re expecting to lose 0.6% a year for a decade. This shouldn’t be surprising, because there’s no one in the system who has any idea what to do with the money. (Source: 27:35)
It is the classical situation of over-accumulation of capital and the consequent need for colonial markets that can absorb the excess. According to Lenin, this is a special case of capitalism. Today,  the uninvestable capital amounts to trillions: China buys American debt, Singapur and Norway's souvereign funds float in a cloud seeking a solid spot to land, even small embattled Israel has hoarded 100 billion dollars in foreign exchange.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Reform in Argentine Education

There will be no "Fail" grade. No one will repeat the year. Pic.: Peron instituted the obligatory "guardapolvo" (lab coat) for social equality. My uncle Ivor passed me down his German-style surgeon coat (right), closed around the neck, buttoned on the side and tied from behind; my Mother shortened it but still reached the floor. It was so huge that the pockets were in my back. We were dirt poor but well dressed  :-)

Black Burger

           Big Success in Japan. 

Water Bureaucracy: Departing from Reality

A hotel received a 100,000 dollar fine and asked for a proposal to advise them. The job will draw me into the water regulation issue in Israel, that is now being fought at the Supeme Court level. The wastewater regulation has been changed three times since 2011 and it is so complicated and full of contradictions that it is unoperable. Sewage is a biological product and its qualities change all the time, but in Israel one chance sample is acceptable at court. And the judges judge by the law that clearly says that pH=6.0 is permitted and good while 5.9 is forbidden and criminal. Maybe the remains of a yoghurt or a vinagrette salad got washed down the sink?

In the US, the water war is about giving the EPA expanded powers to regulate ponds and streams. "I have heard from many of my constituents that this rule would force them to prove that mud puddles and ditches on their property are not federally regulated waters," Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.) said.  "A mud puddle is just a mud puddle. We have departed from reality". Pic: A protected species shitting in a federal puddle.