Friday, October 31, 2008

" Petro Dollar Vs Petro Euro " - The new Oil wars

I recently came across this insightful article and thought, shared it with you all. This article has most of the points covered that is also apparently shown in a popular documentary ZEITGEIST. 


Why the Dollar Bubble is about to Burst? IRAN HAS REALLY DONE IT...more deadlier than the nuclear..
The Voice (issue 264 -) ran an article beginning, ' Iran has really gone and done it now. No, they haven't sent their first nuclear sub in to the Persian Gulf . They are about to launch something much more deadly -- next week the Iran Bourse will open to trade oil, not in dollars but in Euros' This apparently insignificant event has consequences far greater for the US people, indeed all for us all, than is imaginable.
Currently almost all oil buying and selling is in US-dollars through exchanges in London and New York . It is not accidental they are both US-owned..
The Wall Street crash in 1929 sparked off global depression and World War II. During that war the US supplied provisions and munitions to all its allies, refusing currency and demanding gold payments in exchange.
By 1945, 80% of the world's gold was sitting in US vaults. The dollar became the one undisputed global reserve currency -- it was treated world-wide as `safer than gold'. The Bretton Woods agreement was established.
The US took full advantage over the next decades and printed dollars like there was no tomorrow. The US exported many mountains of dollars, paying for ever-increasing amounts of commodities, tax cuts for the rich, many wars abroad, mercenaries, spies and politicians the world over. You see, this did not affect inflation at home! The US got it all for free! Well, maybe for a forest or two.
Over subsequent decades the world's vaults bulged at the seams and more and more vaults were built, just for US dollars. Each year, the US spends many more dollars abroad that at home. Analysts pretty much agree that outside the US , of the savings, or reserves, of all other countries, in gold and all currencies -- that a massive 66% of this total wealth is in US dollars!
In 1971 several countries simultaneously tried to sell a small portion of their dollars to the US for gold. Krassimir Petrov, (Ph. D. in Economics at Ohio University ) recently wrote, 'The US Government defaulted on its payment on August 15, 1971 . While popular spin told the story of `severing the link between the dollar and gold', in reality the denial to pay back in gold was an act of bankruptcy by the US Government.' The 1945 Breton Woods agreement was unilaterally smashed.
The dollar and US economy were on a precipice resembling Germany in 1929. The US now had to find a way for the rest of the world to believe and have faith in the paper dollar. The solution was in oil, in the petrodollar. The US viciously bullied first Saudi Arabia and then OPEC to sell oil for dollars only -- it worked, the dollar was saved. Now countries had to keep dollars to buy much needed oil. And the US could buy oil all over the world, free of charge. What a Houdini for the US ! Oil replaced gold as the new foundation to stop the paper dollar sinking.
Since 1971, the US printed even more mountains of dollars to spend abroad. The trade deficit grew and grew. The US sucked-in much of the world's products for next to nothing. More vaults were built.
Expert, Cóilínn Nunan, wrote in 2003, 'The dollar is the de facto world reserve currency: the US currency accounts for approximately two thirds of all official exchange reserves. More than four-fifths of all foreign exchange transactions and half of all world exports are denominated in dollars. In addition, all IMF loans are denominated in dollars.' Dr Bulent Gukay of Keele University recently wrote, 'This system of the US dollar acting as global reserve currency in oil trade keeps the demand for the dollar `artificially' high. This enables the US to carry out printing dollars at the price of next to nothing to fund increased military spending and consumer spending on imports. There is no theoretical limit to the amount of dollars that can be printed. As long as the US has no serious challengers, and the other states have confidence in the US dollar, the system functions.'
Until recently, the US-dollar has been safe. However, since 1990 Western Europe has been busy growing, swallowing up central and Eastern Europe . French and German bosses were jealous of the US ability to buy goods and people the world over for nothing. They wanted a slice of the free cake too. Further, they now had the power and established the euro in late 1999 against massive US-inspired opposition across Europe , especially from Britain - paid for in dollars of course. But the euro succeeded.
Only months after the euro-launch, Saddam's Iraq announced it was switching from selling oil in dollars only, to euros only -- breaking the OPEC agreement.. Iran , Russia , Venezuela , Libya , all began talking openly of switching too -- were the floodgates about to be opened?
Then aero planes flew into the twin-towers in September 2001. Was this another Houdini chance to save the US (petro) dollar and the biggest financial/economic crash in history? War preparations began in the US But first war-fever had to be created -- and truth was the first casualty. Other oil producing countries watched-on. In 2000 Iraq began selling oil in euros. In 2002, Iraq changed all their petro-dollars in their vaults into euros. A few months later, the US began their invasion of Iraq .
The whole world was watching: very few aware that the US was engaging in the first oil currency, or petro-dollar war. After the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, remember, the US secured oil areas first. Their first sales in August were, of course, in dollars, again. The only government building in Baghdad not bombed was the Oil Ministry! It does not matter how many people are murdered -- for the US , the petro-dollar must be saved as the only way to buy and sell oil - otherwise the US economy will crash, and much more besides.
In early 2003, Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela talked openly of selling half of its oil in euros (the other half is bought by the US ). On 12 April 2003, the US-supported business leaders and some generals in Venezuela kidnapped Chavez and attempted a coup. The masses rose against this and the Army followed suit. The coup failed. This was bad for the US .
In November 2000 the euro/dollar was at $0.82 dollars, its lowest ever, and still diving, but when Iraq started selling oil in euros, the euro dive was halted. In April 2002 senior OPEC reps talked about trading in euros and the euro shot up. In June 2003 the US occupiers of Iraq switched trading back to dollars and the euro fell against the dollar again. In August 2003 Iran starts to sell oil in euros to some European countries and the euro rises sharply.. In the winter of 2003-4 Russian and OPEC politicians talked seriously of switching oil/gas sales to the euro and the euro rose. In February 2004 OPEC met and made no decision to turn to the euro -- and yes, the euro fell against the dollar. In June 2004 Iran announced it would build an oil bourse to rival London and New York , and again, the euro rose. The euro stands at $1.27 and has been climbing of late.
But matters this month became far, far worse for the US dollar. On 5th May Iran registered its own Oil Bourse, the IOB. Not only are they now selling oil in euros from abroad -- they have established an actual Oil Bourse, a global trading centre for all countries to buy and sell their oil!
In Chavez's recent visit to London ; he talked openly about supporting the Iranian Oil Bourse, and selling oil in euros. When asked in London about the new arms embargo imposed by the US against Venezuela , Chavez prophetically dismissed the US as 'a paper tiger'.
Currently, almost all the world's oil is sold on either the NYMEX, New York Mercantile Exchange, or the IPE, London's International Petroleum Exchange. Both are owned by US citizens and both sell and buy only in US dollars. The success of the Iran Oil Bourse makes sense to Europe , which buys 70% of Iran 's oil. It makes sense for Russia , which sells 66% of its oil to Europe . But worse for the US , China and India have already stated they are very interested in the new Iranian Oil Bourse.
If there is a tactical-nuclear strike on - deja-vu - `weapons of mass destruction' in Iran , who would bet against a certain Oil Exchange and more, being bombed too?
And worse for Bush. It makes sense for Europe , China , India and Japan-- as well as all the other countries mentioned above -- to buy and sell oil in Euro's. They will certainly have to stock-up on euros now, and they will sell dollars to do so. The euro is far more stable than the debt-ridden dollar. The IMF has recently highlighted US economic difficulties and the trade deficit strangling the US-- there is no way out.
The problem for so many countries now is how to get rid of their vaults full of dollars, before it crashes? And the US has bullied so many countries for so many decades around the world, that many will see a chance to kick the bully back. The US cannot accept even 5% of the world's dollars -- it would crash the US economy dragging much of the world with it, especially Britain .
To survive, as the Scottish Socialist Voice article stated, 'the US , needs to generate a trade surplus to get out of this one. Problem is it can't.' This is spot on. To do that they must force US workers into near slavery, to get paid less than Chinese or Indian workers. We all know that this will not happen.
What will happen in the US ? Chaos for sure. Maybe a workers revolution, but looking at the situation as it is now, it is more likely to be a re-run of Germany post-1929, and some form of extreme-right mass movement will emerge...
Does Europe and China/Asia have the economic independence and strength to stop the whole world's economies collapsing with the US ? Their vaults are full to the brim with dollars.
The US has to find a way to pay for its dollar-imperialist exploitation of the world since 1945.. Somehow, eventually, it has to account for every dollar in every vault in the world.
Bombing Iran could backfire tremendously. It would bring Iran openly into the war in Iraq , behind the Shiite majority. The US cannot cope even now with the much smaller Iraqi insurgency. Perhaps the US will feed into the Sunni v Shiite conflict and turn it into a wider Middle-East civil-war. However, this is so dangerous for global oil supplies. Further, they know that this would be temporary, as some country somewhere else, will establish a euro-oil-exchange, perhaps in Brussels .
There is one `solution' -- scrap the dollar and print a whole new currency for the US . This will destroy 66% of the rest of the world's savings/reserves in one swoop. Imagine the implications? Such are the desperate things now swimming around heads in the White House, Wall Street and Pentagon.
Another is to do as Germany did, just before invading Poland in 1938. The Nazis filmed a mock Polish Army attack on Germany , to win hearts and minds at home. But again, this is a finger in the dam. So, how is the US going to escape this time? The only global arena of total superiority left is military. Who knows what horrors lie ahead. A new world war is one tool by which the US could discipline its `allies' into keeping the dollar in their vaults.
The task of socialists today is to explain to as many as possible, especially our class, that the coming crisis belongs purely to capitalism and (dollar) imperialism. Not people of other cultures, not Islam, not the axis of evil or their so-called WMDs. Their system alone is to blame.
The new Iranian Oil Bourse, the IOB, is situated in a new building on the free-trade-zone island of Kish , in the Persian Gulf . It's computers and software are all set to go. The IOB was supposed to be up and running last March, but many pressures forced a postponement. Where the pressure came from is obvious. It was internationally registered on 5th May and supposed to open mid-May, but its opening was put off, some saying the oil-mafia was involved, along with much international pressure. ............................ In 2007 Crude was trades around 60 usd. Everyone know dollar was getting weaker and weaker day by day. Than US with the help of their two NYMEX & IPE exchange started rising the price of crude by Future trading on crude( called speculation). Today crude is around 140 usd. It means whole world who were paying 60 usd, now paying 140 usd, means demand of dollar increase to 230% and dollar start again rising. Even OPEC recently that in hike og crude, 60% contribution is due to speculation (Future market). Moral of story is USA has & will go to destroy any nation to keep its monopoly of dollar in world. 


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Wikipedia vs Citizendium - pioneer advantage?


Wikipedia - that was launched way back in Jan 2001 by Jimmy Wales, is today the most preferred Internet encyclopedia and has positioned itself with the other Internet giants such as Google and eBay. Wikipedia, is a collaborative effort of volunteers from around the world, each of them adding substantial contribution to the pooled information already with the Wikipedia. The very idea of adapting a system wherein the users themselves are the contributors, and a sense of pride they can relate to having contributed something worthwhile, which million others would read - has always strided toward the growing popularity and reliability of Wikipedia. Wikipedia has been able to create a base of knowledge outside of institutions where the onus of being the right - is decided by the availability of knowledge and reliable sources linking to it, not the pedigree behind one's name. 

But However, Wikipedia being an authorative source of knowledge has always been a question of doubt - at least the people who are researchers and experts in certain fields by themselves, finds it so. But, still that shouldn't stop Wikipedia from being a good place to start with. 

Wikipedia, having been the pioneer of Online encylopedia has with itself the "First Mover" advantage or the "Pioneer advantage", because of which over millions of users refer it on a regular basis for things they are unaware of. 
There are also many Marketing Researches, that supports the fact that market pioneer gains the greatest advantage. Carpenter and Nakamoto, found out that 19 out of 25 companies that were the market leader in 1923 were still the market leader in 1963, 60 years later. Another market study by Robinson and Min found out that in a sample of industrial goods businesses, 66% of pioneers survived at least 10 years, versus 48% of the early followers. 

But Larry Sanger, the co-founder of Wikipedia, who left Wikipedia in 2002 to start his own Online Encyclopedia - "Citizendium" has its own reasons to challenge the hegemony of Wikipedia. Sanger in press release said " Citizendium will soon attempt to unseat Wikipedia as the go-to destination for general information online". He left Wiki with a bad taste, notably for the way things were run in Wikipedia. He wanted Wikipedia to be the portal of credible information, which ultimately would have binded Wikipedia with the Institution experts. In August 2007, he aired his view that " The world needs a more credible free encyclopedia", making it quite clear for what he stood.  

Wikipedia, certainly does have its First Mover advantage but that doesn't stop Citizendium from working upon its Second mover advantage efficiently. And if things works out in favorable way for Sanger's Citizendium, Wikipedia's would soon have to rethink about it's marketing strategy. 

Some of the popular examples of Later entrants over-throwing the market leaders are: IBM over Sperry in mainframe computers, Matsushita over Sony in VCRs, and GE over EMI in CAT scan equipments. 

 Citizendium's aim is to create an "expert culture and community that encourages subject specialists ('editors') to contribute and 'citizens' (to be called "authors") to respect the expert contributions."(from Wikipedia's article on Citizendium)

Being the Second Mover, Citizendium can avoid heavy investment in R&D by replicating or by importing the million+ Wikipedia articles into Citizendium. These articles will them be worked upon by experts and authors in their respective fields. One of the major concern for Wikipedia here is that, the articles are available under the GNU free documentation license, since the project was actually started to create a fork of wikipedia. 

Hence, Citizendium will open up as an exact copy of Wikipedia, which would further save them five years of developement time. And most important of all, Citizendium can learn from Wikipedia's mistakes - No anonymous editing. 


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Box office

I've become a sort of movie buff, not that I frequent theaters or multiplexes which I infact seldom. I prefer the 14" of my laptop over the big screens, where things seems to be disposable to me within the confines of my room - cigarettes, snacks, pillow, cellphone, and ofcourse the God wikipedia, wherein I try to douse my curiousity if this movie would be worth watching. Time is a luxury, and making it worthwhile is certainly a divine exercise - to me atleast! Below are few of the movies that I would prescribe...


The Man from Earth : Released in 2007, written by Jerome Bixby and Directed by Richard Schenkman is a must for Atheists, Agnosts, Theists and all sorts of creatures, who believes in being rational - atleast to the extent where Religions becomes the central theme for most of their talks.
The beauty of this movie is the way, it makes you sit attentively and listen to all the dialogues, since the whole movie is all about it - Dialogues.
The story is of John Oldman, who claims himself to be a 14,000 year old Cro-Magnon caveman, and who survives until the present day. The entire film is shot inside a small room, relying solely on the intellectual discourse between the John trying to prove his claims and his friends.

The World's Fastest Indian (2005),
Do you like anthony hopkins? Yes - this should be a treat for you. It's a film based on the legendary New Zealand speed bike racer Burt Munro. Munro set numerous land speed records for motorcycles with engines less than 1000 cc at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah in the late 1950s and into the 1960s. Many of his records still stand to this day.
Inspiring movie... Age doesn't matter to the success. Success before your death would make you alive...


Everything is Illuminated:
If you like world war movies, with nazi's attrocities over jews, sort of Pianist type, this movie would be an all together different experience. The country side of Europe and the beautiful landscapes that adorns it - this movie has every bit of it.
This film is based on the story of a yound american Jew's journey to Ukraine in search of the woman who saved his grandfather's life during the Nazi's liquidation of Trachimbrod, which was infact a small village during the world war period.


Feast of Love: It is romantic movie starring Morgan Freeman. A movie that captures the significant portions of the lives of people, in and around you, which you might be aware and unaware of. The movie highlights on some of the facts of a broken relationship or shortlived relationship. It has a cast, which depicts a person trying his best to be the best for his partner, all in while forgetting to actually realize that he infact never saw deep into his partner; but at last realizes that it's not a love to hold against what your love actually loves.

And there are other casts with their own part of the stories to share.


An American Crime: It's a crime-drama film based on the true story of the torture and murder of Sylvia Likens by Indianapolis housewife Gertrde Baniszewski. Fans of Juno ( catherine keener ) would certainly love this movie, and ofcourse shed a tear too.

So if you have missed all these while, a movie that can make you shed tears or the least fill your eyes, this is the movie you should go for sure. A high quality performances Juno Star.

A story or the plot telling here would certainly eat away the climax of this movie, so I prefer to cut it out here.


Atonement:It's a movie based on Ian McEwan's popular novel " Atonement". Directed by Joe Wright, this movie is yet another of the kind of movies for people who like serious movies. James McAvoy and Keira Knightley, starring movie is about the impassionate love story they share, and how a mistaken identification by Keira's younger sister, brings their Love story to a totally devastating stage, which finally locks the fate of their love story. This story revolves around the Younger sister's life and how she tries to recuperate or atone the mistake she had committed and how her elder sister finally ends up paying for whole of her life.

A yet another must watch...

The man in the moon:

It's a 1991 drama film directed by Rober Mulligan, and was also the film debut for Reese Witherspoon.
The story is about a 14year old Reese, falling in love for a guy, who in turn falls in Reese's elder sister. The film focuses on the pain of the two sisters infatuated with the same boy, and the way relationships with family and friends gets affected.
The movie highlights the innocence, at least most of must have experienced, the so called Teenage infatuations, finally leading to overspilling Crush Lists.

That's it for now... Enjoy your movies...


Monday, October 06, 2008

Durga Puja - How I miss that

"Bengaliyon ka Puja, Par Mishmiyon(Tribe) ka Kharcha" ( bengali's festival, but tribal's expenditures ) ... my father quoted this when we were shopping for a kurta, way back in 1998's Durga Puja. I was in VKV Roing in 8th standard and unlike any other Puja round the corner; Durga Puja had it's own special place. Not just for me, but for every people in Roing, be it the locals or the Bengalis settled in Roing.

Durga puja, has a special place in the history and the tradition of Roing. Unlike any other local festivals, be it Reh or Solung, I think this is one of the event that everyone celebrates in pomp & gaiety and the celebration goes on for days all together.

Am not religious, neither I prefer making myself sound like one... but Durga Puja was a different thing to me. For Bengali's and many folks around, this festival would certainly be about praying and wishing. Well, I can say for myself and most of the youths back in Roing - this Puja was all about having fun, and tons of it infact.

It's been more than 6 years by now, when I last marked my presence in Durga Puja, and 2008 too will get added, and am quite unsure about the 2009 as well. I call my friends every year, especially in Durga puja, enquiring them about the Puja pandals and lottery pandals for the Puja.
Religion certainly doesn't have anything to do with it, and in my case it will never - since I've none.
Hanging around with friends, the whole day long... loitering with no business, but with bags full of smiles for every one you come around in the crowded road, talk about how you just made Rs.200 out of the only 50 you'ad. Talk about the lucky seven...and brag a little about the expertise you seem to posses to throw those TTballs to earn you the bucks... Bored... Get lost in the crowd again... Smile around... Look around... Come back... and try your luck.
Well, so much to do in Durga puja. And did I mention about how I won more than 25 beer bottles in a single day - well, I did once.
Certainly not a puja around.... but more than that.



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