Thursday, September 03, 2015

Argentina Invites the Vultures and the "Me-Too" to Play Ball


Argentina invited 27 parties that in 2001 choose to reject the terms offered then (30% of the debt) and still have outstanding claims against the Republic, to step forward and put numbers to their demands. As from October the 9th Argentina will not recognize additional claims.

Reading between the lines: Argentina wants to settle.

Did the Vultures win? Looks like. 


Wednesday, September 02, 2015

The day that algorithms panicked

As we know, some Chinese Communist mandarins mismanaged the Shanghai stock exchange and Chinese small savers/speculators sold out in mass. The world financial media shouted "China is collapsing" and their fear mongering resulted in losses of about 15% in two trading days. Today, quotes seem to have stabilized.

These days some 80% of the trades are done by automatic algorithms, supposedly immune to human emotions and cool as liquid nitrogen. The background data says that we are entering a recession but no crash:  the price of oil and commodities in general fell to near nothing, a phenomenon that is supposed to stimulate industrial economies as well improve foreign exchange balances. Almost free raw materials plus cost less credit did not stop economic decline in Europe, Japan, China and even America, so something else must be happening. Could it be that the animal spirits are tiring that is, the world is getting older and no amount of financial Viagra can excite it? Maybe what the world needs is a long pause to regain its vitality.

I dont discount the possibility that it is not the world but me who is aging. An ant was crossing a small stream on a leaf and the breeze turned the leaf. "The world is ending" cried the ant. "No, it is not, it is only an ant drowning", said the elephant. 

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

"Our Goodness is Killing Us"

So writes the Italian La Stampa today. But it is also killing migrants. Two of them found dead in a vehicle trying to cross the frontier en Ceuta. The probable cause: CO poisoning and heat. The other one under the baggage.

Update: They survived. 

Monday, August 31, 2015

"No te metas"

Argentina's Attorney General Alberto Nisman organized a special meeting of the Argentine Congress to debate the Government's obstruction of justice in the case of the AMIA terror attack. The perpetrators were officials of the Embassy of Iran in Buenos Aires but successive Presidents were paid off by the Iranians. The night before his speech, Nisman was assassinated. The murder has not been solved - obvious clues are not investigated and the police is focusing on... his mother.

The first rule in the barrio was "No te metas", that is, mind your own business. Alberto Nisman paid with his life for forgetting this axiom. But his life is not enough to pay for the crime of trying to impeach President Cristina Kirchner, and judge Canicoba started today a formal judicial process against his mother Sara Garfunkel, his sister Sandra Nisman and Jewish businessman Claudio Picon. They stand accused of "laundering monies stolen by the late Attorney General". I don't know if Nisman took bribes, but I know that Argentine businessmen normally operate with foreign accounts. In the febrile pre-election environment of Argentina, this development could lead to a general witch hunt against Jewish businessmen.

Low tide

At low tide you see who has been swimming nude... The world bourses are in turmoil and now I discover, once more for the eleventh time, that investment advisers are floating with nothing on and now, when the water is low, they are left with their stinking asses in the air.

In our last meeting, I was talked into investing in Israeli companies involved in the gas business. "Once the Government reaches an agreement with Noble Energy, the stock will rocket up. It is a question of days." It happens that today ENI, the Italian energy giant, found a very large gas field in Egypt, which was to be our main export market. Today the energy sector in Israel is melting, its markets gone, collapsing like a wet noodle. Am I angry? Ha! you bet.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Fél órás felvétel a debreceni "menekült"-táborban történt zavargásról (2...

Refugees Begging for Hospitality


The place is Debreczen, Hungary. Last week. Desperate refugees fleeing war and hunger are shouting "Allah Who Akhbar" and "Jihad". At 28.33 they are seen preparing stones to be thrown at the police. A voice: "In ten years, Hungary will be Muslim". Seems to me I recognize some faces from East Jerusalem. They look familiar to us Israelis. I wonder why the Europeans brought them to their clean, nice cities. The scenes are repeated all over Europe, from Malmö to Lampedusa. More are on the way...

Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Past as a Disease

Northern Semites prayed to Baal Shamin (Lord of the Heavens). This god had been totally forgotten, its temples abandoned and covered by desert sand. No one had worshiped it for two thousand years. The chances of  the rebirth of the ancient Aramean cult are nil.

Yet the followers of the Prophet have blown up the last ruins of its temple at Palmyra (pic). Did they sense some danger from Baal Shamin? Their acts look senseless and beside the point, except if we assume that they are fighting phantoms and are blind to the present. Can such a delusional movement, experiencing reality as hallucination, re-enacting the Prophet's struggle in Mecca, achieve victory?

People is obsessed by holy history and cannot get past it. Muslims repeat the Prophet flight from Mecca - the Hegira - assuming the identity of Mohammed. I see Christians carrying heavy wooden crosses along the Via Dolorosa up to the Hill of the Skull. We Jews are trying to rebuild the Temple of Salomon. Are we all slaves of our history? Is the past a disease that humans are condemned to repeat forever?

Friday, August 28, 2015

Circum joins the Potash adventure


Ethiopia and Eritrea was opened up for exploration and miners from all over the world are rushing to register their claims and tell tall stories to the fellows back home. The glut in the potash market is to stay for long but potash miners are a hardy, optimist race with a suicidal urge to dig dirt in alkaline hellholes. Circum is a South African start-up in Ethiopia searching for investors. Rudolph de Bruin (not in the pic) and David Twist have put up some seed money. This is a game for big boys, alte kackers (aka "slow drivers" like me) cannot join the adventure.