Tuesday, 30 June 2009


"Two e-mail death threats were sent to Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat on Sunday, a day after police clashed with ultra-Orthodox demonstrators protesting the opening of a parking lot in the capital on Shabbat. "

You reserve the right to live according to your rules and maintain that I - who dont live by them - am outside your law? Fine. Be it. You wish to place yourself outside of the very society that you live in? This can, in theory be arranged as well, as far as Im concerned.

There has to be a deal though. You enjoy a lot of the things I and the rest of the secular society gives you. You enjoy the safety, the, mostly secular, army provides you. You also enjoy a long list of things that is being paid for by my taxes. Your roads, your schools, your telephone lines, the police, direct aid straight into your purse..etc

You are shameless free riders in every respect. You live in places for which secular soldiers paid for with their lives. You cant just claim its yours. You have to do something for it. Provide for yourselves then, if you disagree. You live off my hard earned money that I pay in taxes to you.

Jerusalem is not yours. Its ours together. Secular society lets you have your share of it, out of respect for you keeping Jewish traditions. Lets face it, you did and do nothing for that. Most of the hard work has always been done by the secular part of society. Learn to respect us, in return. We just want to come to Jerusalem on the weekend and spend money there. You object against that? You dont object against my money though when it comes through state aid. Its the same money.

Money is not the issue, you say ? We should keep the Sabath you say ? How exactly do you expect me to listen to you, if all I see is that you respond with violence and blackmailing whenever you are asked to compromise on something that is not to your liking.
You ask for a lot from me and the likes of me, what do you give me in return ? What have you ever given to me except for despising me, threatening me and occasionally throwing rocks at the likes of me.

My idea: move to Samaria! Set up your halachic state there together with the settlers. The army will move out of there, after all many of them are the sons of those who want to come to Jerusalem on Saturday and park their car.
You will be on your own. Set up your own country as you please, deal with the UN, Jordan, the Palestinians and Obama, in short the rest of the world, as you please. Do what Israel has done 60 years ago. Start from scratch. On your own.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Elmer won in the end

Elmer won in the end, originally uploaded by yogi_bear91.

B.B. from NY Brooklyn was found dead in the early hours today. He has been shot from close range with a double barreled front-loaded hunting rifle. A short egg headed individual was seen near the scene. The police is asking for possible witnesses to step forward.

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

War in Gaza

Collective punishment doesnt work. This is one of the reasons why we are, where we are. The militant minority will have the upper hand over the non militant kind when people are starving or there is no electricity. Lacking basic services and food and medical supplies creates a sense of urgency. In that sense of urgency it is easier for the militant hard line views to take over the moderates.

Not letting medical supplies and food into Gaza, didnt stop the rockets it just made it worse.

You cant subdue people by force alone.. Come on, we should have learned that from Iraq or other countless examples from history.

You need economic incentives, and good ones. Make sure they dont get corrupted as in so many cases involving the recent history of the Palestinian arabs. So far, in Israel only Bibi FullofEgo Netanyahu mentioned this, as far as I know.
You need to establish trade links. If kids in Gaza can make more money by selling vegetables or other Gazan produce to Israel then by digging tunnels, you will have achieved something that couldnt be achieved so far by bombings.

Israel has a strong army.. and when you have a hammer you see nails everywhere.

That is not to say, that I disagree with the current military actions in Gaza. I dont think its unjust or disproporionate. It is self-defense !
Hamas will not stop arming itself. It will go for whatever rockets it can get its hands on and will target ANYONE and EVERYONE inside Israel. If Hamas had as much firepower as Israel, I would not be sitting here at my desk in Tel Aviv. I would be burried in the Mediterranean Sea already..

Nasrallah and Co. aka Hezbollah (G0d's Army) and their backers
They will not get involved. They are diverting the attention away from a possible perception that they should try to help Hamas, maybe by tying down some of the Israeli army. They focus the attention on Hizballah possibly being the next in line to get attacked. I dont think its the case though.. . Maybe no orders from Tehran. Could it be, that with a financial crisis in Russia and Ahmadinejad weaker by the day, the price of oil at $40 instead of $140 there is simply not much spirit in Mother Russia and Persia to go on being the naughty kid ?
Maybe this economic crisis and related fal in the oil price will do one good thing, rob rogue regimes of their oil based incomes ?

The rockets with timers pointed at Israel.
This story is dodgy.. This is some kind of con. It could have been Israel, but then the logic would have been to attack Lebanon hours after thats discovered. It didnt happen..
Or.. it could have been the Lebanese governement, which tried to show that "We are good guardians of our borders, and even are here to protect the Jewish Dogs.. sorry.. our Israeli Cousins".
I read somewhere that there is an arms deal between Lebanon and the U.S. for the sale of cool goodies like attack helicopters. Maybe Lebanon wanted to show that its on the American-Israeli side by planting and then discovering those rockets?
The most unlikely version is Hezballah planting them. If those rockets go off, they would have been held responsible without any doubts anyway. They also have the self-confidence to stand behind what they do. The number of rockets was also tiny, a few rockets.. what damage would that have really done?
It was either meant to be a provocation or those launchers were meant to be found.
Could Hamas have gone through all the trouble of planting those self-timed rockets there somehow, hoping to draw the Hizballah into the conflict ?? This sounds like, right out of a Tom Clancy book .. 

Game theory.
Do you remember the film Ransom, with Mel Gibson?(he is probably on his way to enlist himself as a spokesperson for Hamas - given his love and devotion for the Jewish people)
Anyway.. in Ransom Mel Gibson's child gets kidnapped and then our Mel goes on the tele in a live show, with a bagload of cash that he offers to give to whoever brings him the kidnappers.
Brilliant strategic move, mind you: this is what Israel did as well.

After being the defensive one in the game for years, and acting always in response to whatever Hamas or Hezballah did (rockets or ceasefire). This time Israel went and hit hard to claim the offensive ground. Are they sacrificing Gilad Shalit along the way? Well if they hit hard enough, it will create a difficult choice for Hamas, for hurting Gilad will mean a green light for turning Gaza into a parking lot. So maybe the strategy is right. They could even force Hamas to give Gilad back as part of a ceasefire agreement.
Of course, there is a not so minor issue, international support. This time however it seems that either Israel prepared the ground for whats happening now, and Hamas just doesnt get a lot of sympathy from anyone except Hugo Chavez and maybe Mel Gibson.

So all in all, Israel went and after years of being the clumsy elephant in the china shop, showed who's guvena'
I have my money on Israel this time..

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Moody's song

Yesterday (to the tune of the Beatles song)

All my models seemed soo triple-A
Now it looks as though we get all the blame
Oh I pray, that we re here to stay

Im not half the man I used to be
Theres a shadow hanging over me
Oh the FT came suddenly

Why she
Had to dig into this she wouldnt say
I rated
Something wrong, now I long for yesterday

Credit rating was such an easy game to play
We played along and got so well paid
Oh I believe in yesterday

Why me
the one to go I dont know, the FT wouldnt say
I rated
Something wrong, now I long for yesterday

Credting rating was such an easy game to play
Now my stock is going down the drain
Oh I believe in yesterday

Thursday, 24 April 2008

more boring stuff on economy

similar thoughts as to what i wrote about yesterday:

from the website:

Wednesday, April 23, 2008
The Greenback: Toward A New Monetary Policy

"As we transit to a world of resource depletion .. what is the proper monetary and currency regime? Clearly, not the existing fiat/credit currency, which depends entirely on financing present consumption by discounting future growth that may never occur..
Instead, I believe we should implement a monetary system that uses renewable, "green" energy as a benchmark.."

imagine.. for the sake of simplicity at an individual's level:
you would only be allowed to take on debt to buy a new car, if its either an environmentally friendlier one than the usual gas guzzlers, OR you can buy your gas guzzler if you can prove (somehow) that you saved energy somewhere else..
its not easy to imagine in practice, but the idea sounds good

why the hell do I care ?
im pretty sure we will destroy ourselves before we have the wisdom to stop

and im now also refraining from commenting on an acquaintance who despite living a single life (against her will most likely), having no family to carry around, using asphalt roads in 99.9% of the time is driving a 3ton 4x4 for reasons having to do with image and so on.. i wont comment. im refraining.
although i would love to ask her, "why do you keep destroying my planet? you could carry your fat ass around in a smaller car as well"
ok, i didnt refrain.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

mess ..

i have ingeniously managed to screw up. at work that is.
you see my job in an ideal world would be to intelligently guess things and then profit from things unfolding the way i imagined. the devil is in the details however, and while i may be right, i may be also wrong at the same time. how, you ask ?
because the time horizon of my guesswork is uncertain at best. you know something will happen, but you are not sure when. and between now and when your imagined scenario becomes a certainty, reality might turn out to be completely different. that different reality then, might then influence your actual guess.. this is what George Soros calls reflexivity. the feedback mechanism through which history drifts in an unpredictable way.

my view now ?
well.. let me start with a quote from a cleverly written website article i found: http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Investing/ContrarianChronicles/CateringToTheBailoutNation.aspx:
"The insidious and dangerous unspoken corollary to all this: Financial pain is now unacceptable. Those in trouble demand to be rescued, and the government seems to agree that the "creative destruction" component of capitalism must not be allowed to do its work. It's a sad irony that as former communist countries embrace capitalism, we seem to be headed in the other direction."
what the hell does this mean ? that we live in a world where we sacrifice a lot to shield us from bad decisions taken in the past, at the cost of future pain, that is now not yet visible or clear.

you want an example? pollution is a good one.. we pollute because a lot of the comfort in our life comes from turning the planet into a junkyard. and while the forward looking solution would be to cut back pollution by limiting the use of fossil fuels, it would be too painful to do it, so we keep on polluting just because its too hard not to..

but not only that, we keep increasing the amount of pollution. eventhough there are efforts to be more green, the reality is that emerging countries like China or India keep increasing their pollution so that the standard of living in those countries can catch up with the 'Western' world.

and now here is another thing.. debt
debt - which has so many names is essentially a way to increase current consumption at the cost of giving up some future consumption. why only some? because debt can be used to let creative ideas come to fruition, which could benefit us, and maybe even improve our lives. or even reduce pollution.
suppose i have a great idea to turn undrinkable water into drinkable, but i dont have the dough to build my funky machine that does that. i can go and borrow money, invest it in my idea, and eventually pay the debt back. its a win-win for mankind.

nevertheless a lot of the debt is used to purely consume and therefore:
debt can create an artificial increase in the demand for non-renewable energy.
the simple evidence is inflation of energy. a dollar will buy you a lot less oil then it used to. since debt is in dollars (or other paper money) the continous borrowing versus the constant amount of oil on the planet creates a situation where paper money keeps eroding in value againt the value of oil, or to put it another way; the value of oil keeps getting dearer expressed in paper money.

lets suppose you can keep borrowing for ever, what will the result be ?
the value of paper money goes to zero (as it has many times in the past) and the value of commodities soar. much like now. do you know that the price of wheat (flour), rice, corn, soybeans..etc has double or in some cases tripled just in the last 2(!!) years. not the last 20 or 50 or 100, but in the last 2 years !

my bottomline: there is too much debt. commodities is just one example how too much debt - in my opinion - can cause distortions and risks but the same point can be made with house prices too, in fact anything of which there is a limited supply.
so either the authorities let the debt pile shrink causing pain now, or we will end up with a bigger crisis of the system at some stage. either because paper money goes to zero, or because the decision to take the pain will come later, when there might be more debt and hence more pain to be taken.

right now financial markets are of the view that the debt machine can hum along and everything stays hunky-dory. my view is that things are likely to collapse under their own weight. why? because the confidence to see enough returns (in paper money) to service and repay debt or just to keep consuming at current levels is shaken given how expensive food, energy, raw materials are. even if the emerging countries like China, India..etc have a lot of catchin up to do, it seems likely that their fortunes are still tied to the consumer in the 'West' who is beginning to understand the need to scale down consumption.

so overall I think the world ought to enter a phase of retrenchment which should cause a a repricing of financial market assets, like stocks for example.

hi ho

Monday, 21 April 2008

Planned bike trips (sadly all within Israel):

From North to South:
this should be a beautiful trip, except for the fact that route 358 is not really ready.
20 - 44 - Bet Shemesh - 38 - Tzomet Nechusha 35 (towards Hebron) - 358 - 31 - Tzomet Lehavim 40 (North)

From South to North
Gaza route
Dead Sea 31 - Tzomet Lehavim 25 (West) - 232 - 4
Beer Sheva - 25 - 232 - 4

Bet Shemesh/358 route
Dead Sea - 31 - 358 - 35 - 38 - Bet Shemesh
358 aint open..

Northern Trip
is it safe to go north from the Dead Sea on road 90 ?

longer version
Jerusalem 1 - Dead Sea - Bet Shean - 71 (Afula) - 60 (Nazeret) - 79 - Haifa - Kwish HaKhof

shorter version
Jerusalem 1 - Dead Sea - Bet Shean - 71 (Afula) - 60 (Nazeret) - 79 - 77 - Tzomet Yishai 75 - Kiryat Tivon - 722 - 70 - Zichron - Kwish HaKhof