Thursday, January 29, 2009

Indian Taliban show their true color - Karnataka CM comment on Pub culture

Now they are playing to their traditional support base, losers and goondas.
This is same stand as they have when people are burnt in India. Their stand is - you should not burn people, but victims should have behaved well. It is same as telling women are raped because they dress provocatively. You are condoning an act when you criticize the real victim.
Now people who commented that Mumbai attack happened because of the genocide/massacre in Gujarat. If you say that in some way you are condoning the terror attacks. When Mumbai attack happened, I chose not to think about reasons. I did not want to hear the reasons - attacking people is wrong - end of argument.
BJP is not a mainstream party or just another party, it is a party with a hidden agenda and it will always remain that. India does not have a good opposition party, BJP is winning seats just because of that.


Modifying the poem
"In India, they came first for the untouchables, And I didn't speak up because I wasn’t an untouchable;
And then they came for the Muslims, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn't a Muslim;
And then they came for the Christians, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Christian;
And then they came for the Biharis, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn't a Bihari;
And they came for pub goers, And I didn't speak up because I wasn't a pub goer;
And then they came for ......
And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up."

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

American Blaming China For Currency Manipulation

America and West cannot blame others for the mess they are in.

Nixon removed Gold standard. You can only manipulate a fiat currency. America manipulates the market, its interest rates, reserve ratio, etc. How do you draw a line on which intervention is acceptable and which is not? America cannot define that - quoting Obama, World has changed.

Americans evidently lived beyond their means funded by Chinese. In a normal society we call a person with such huge deficit, dependant on money from his foe, an irresponsible person. He will be cast out of the society.

Are Chinese going to buy the American treasury bond in future? That will mean that Chinese are financing the American fiscal stimulus package.

Chinese should ask America for better say in American fiscal policy, considering it is Chinese people’s money that America is playing with. It is time world force America to control its spending.

Racism or innocent joke - Comments on Language, Color, etc

I recently read a forwarded mail that makes fun of English usage of a nationality. My question is, do you treat it as racism or innocent joke?

Will Indians be ready to take jokes on them like this? I have seen that people do not, and take offence if they are made fun of like this generalizing the nationality.

I am not saying whether it is racism or is an innocent joke. Hope we all treat others the same way you want you to be treated. When you make fun of someone's color, poverty, language (any language) - please understand that you are not perfect yourself. If you are a person who can take open criticism, you can go on and joke, but may be there are people who cannot take the criticism same way.

From my experience I know Indians are very sensitive about comments on them, but are very generous when they give it on to others.

Special comment for 'protectors of Indian image': My comments are my views from what I have seen in general not on any specific incident or person. As an Indian I criticize my country and does not mean that I have to criticize other countries when I do not care about it. If you are of view that if a person loves his country he should not criticize it, then I think you are very wrong (and might be a fascist view). (When you criticize your kids does not mean that you do not love them.)

I do care if someone make fun of Indian accent or usage of English language. My answer is English is not their mother tongue and you cannot expect them to be perfect, if they are trying to talk English with you, it is a favor because you do not speak his/her mother tongue. Same goes for people who speak Hindi when it is not their mother tongue, especially people from South India. Please understand it is a favor by the person who speaks a language other than his mother tongue (unless it is required in your work). If you think everybody should understand your language or language you speak (at least till the level you know), you are not the one to decide the level and as Obama said World has changed. Learning and speaking a language other than your mother tongue is tough for most human beings.

As one good friend of mine said - Language is to lower boundaries not to create boundaries.

Note: English is my second language. I try to improve my English as it is required in my job, but I do not plan to be perfect in English any time soon.

(This specific mail I referred to had a reference to Hinglish, so it passes 'my' racism test and is considered a joke.)

If you do not like to get my Notes/comments, I am sure you can find ways to avoid getting it from the application that you use. You can chose not to get updates from me.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

US treasury secretary blaming China for currency manipulation-- Remember Nixon

American treasury secretary is blaming China for manipulating the currency. I suggest that he read the presidential archives kept in Washington to understand how China is able to do that. How can a country manipulate a real currency? Who removed Gold standard in the first place?

China does manipulate currency, America does manipulate markets and interest rates, we all do that. Who are you to define what is right and what is wrong? If there was a Gold standard, China would not have been able to manipulate, who is to blame for that?

Again you cannot keep blaming China for your deficit problem. You should learn to live within your means. China should respond by stop buying US treasury bonds and make America officially bankrupt. America is already bankrupt.

It is in Chinese interest that America stays on its feet so that it can pay back to China ;).

I do not understand the reasons why a $2trillion deficit country calling itself economic power. In normal society we call such people irresponsible and cast him out of the society. Strength of America is that the alternative is much worse.

I predict America will default soon. China, as unpredictable it is, may not buy the US treasury bonds and this will inevitably cause America to default and Dollar will crash. If you are long on Dollar, you get gambler status.

No amount of fiscal stimulus is going to work. Confidence is at its nadir. America is just increasing its deficit and risking a total collapse of its economy.

My comments are based on 10% data, and 90% sentiments/gut feeling. But that is the whole point, you do not need a lot of data, it all works on sentiments.

Vatican - Youtube - Stones from the glass house

Vatican has started a youtube channel to give regular update on Pope's take on major problems facing the world today.

I think he should give up some of his luxuries in Vatican to help the suffering poor. I wonder how a religious head can live in such luxury and still preach he is closest to God. May be God already heard about the saying -- Keep your enemies closer --- ;)

Capitalist economy and riding a Tiger

Living in Capitalist economy is like riding a tiger. You cannot get off from it without being eaten.

There is too much money in the economy, bank created money, fiat currency money. (The crisis world is facing is not about less money in market, but that people do not trust each other to lend. ) Without this organized banking fraud is not ended, economy will not stabilize.

if that money is taken out from the market, you cannot predict what will happen. There will be market crashes all over the world, industries will fail, etc. That is the right thing to do, unless you do not mind this big ponzi economic fraud that we are living in.

What is the right thing: There should be some standard for currency, gold, silver anything that is not easy to produce. Money creation by banks should be stopped. For a start increase cash reserve ratio step by step. Interest rates should be decided by the market.

Consequence: Economy will shrink when the money created by banks are taken out; shrink is a small word considering the ridiculous reserve ratios. Non productive industries will loose market.

I hope we can continue riding the tiger and let another generation solve the problem or get eaten.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Special envoys - Obama's step in the wrong direction

Appointment of special envoys and hawkish Clinton as Secretary of State is a bad move by Obama. World had enough of American arm-twisting diplomacy.

Obama should think of engaging world leaders as equals. As he said in his inauguration speech, the world has changed. You will make enemies if you act like king of the world. You are definitely the most powerful man in the world, be humble. Your inauguration pomp showed the world that you are not what world expected.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Microsoft cutting 5000 jobs

This from a company that sits on huge cash reserves.

Why can't they invest people and fix windows software for once? Why can't they put more into R&D? Answer is they just do not care. I hope all those laid off can work to make Free Software better in their free time.

Economic criminals(Satyam's Raju), China's Tainted milk scandal

Seems like Raju is a thief.

With so much financial irregularities happening involving white-collared executives, how safe are the pension funds managed by companies?

Accused, I won't call them guilty as China's justice system is not open, in the tainted milk scandal is awarded death penalty. I agree it is too harsh, but what about the economic criminals? They are still enjoying their high salaries and probably bonus and safe with a golden parachute.

[ Pension funds managed by government agencies is fraud anyway. But most of the fraud there is because of inflation and pension funds not able to catch up with inflation without taking undue risk on the pension fund money. ]

[ Again, my point is that this kind of growth is not sustainable. There is no way out other than to let the world economy shrink, but as much as possible with a soft landing. ]

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Expectation from Obama

I expected much more from Obama. I though he will reduce the pomp in the inauguration, and give a more humane face to the presidency and American diplomacy. There should be strong steps from Obama if he wants world to believe that America is ready to change course from arm twisting the world. But I appreciate when he accepted that the world has changed and America cannot act like it did before.

His first act of halting the Guantanamo Bay trials sends the right messages to the world. Hope this is an example to governments and agencies around the world that these kind of high-handedness does not work. America or other world governments cannot do things based on their economic or military supremacy. Same message for those Indians who wants Pakistan to be attacked and to Israel. (I too felt India should give a reply to Pakistan, but I think it will not solve the problem)

Alan Greenspan policies, Bailouts and Future inflation/Huge bubble

After the dot-com bubble, most people praised Alan Greenspan about the way he handled the economy by not letting things cool. He cut interest rates. Now everybody is blaming him for the mess that is created now.

Why don't people learn from mistakes, why create stimulus packages and bailouts that you are going to regret later. As a layman, I do not understand how the stimulus is going to work. If it works, it will end up postponing the crisis to a later date to a bigger crisis. If economy is in a mess, you need to solve, not postpone it.

How is America planning to solve the 2 trillion dollar deficit? Being the leading economy, if America fails, every one fails with it.

If bailouts are not going to work, what is going to work. What can be a solution which does not cause problems for so many people? Is there a way out?

I think pumping more money into this market is going to create a huge inflation sometime later. God knows what these wise economists have in mind to solve it. I could not find anything on how the extra money supply will be solved. How the central banks plan to suck the money from the market. Do you think they can suck it off the market?

Monday, January 19, 2009

ICICI best saving option for British

After Bank of England reduces interest rates, ICICI is the best savings option for the British.

ICICI gives 4.65 per cent for a 12 month bond. How does this affect ICICI? Will this positively / negatively impact ICICI stock in India?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire - Depiction of India in slums

Let me first start by telling that I am not in denial about India's poverty and problems we face, including atrocities done in slums, rich and poor contrast, riots, etc. I always thought Bollywood mainstream films always projected the ultra side of India and does not in any way reflect the real heart and soul of India.

Slumdog millionaire made me cringe. We do have slums, we do have violence, we do have riots. But you cannot kidnap a girl from a main railway station (is it VT?) at knife/gun point, a game show host will not tease the poverty of a Slumdog, audience will not laugh along with the host if he did. These are fine in a normal film, but the director did decide to show reality in the film, so he has to conform to only reality.

The theme of the film and cast is good. It could have been a better film, if the director's vision of India was not so 'colored'.

It is fine for a film to show poverty in slum, begging syndicate, child prostitution, riots, rich poor contrast, etc.. We do have problems - Slums and poverty are a reality, but when you show all problems in one film and mix it in unreality, it gives an image that India is barbarian and a lawless country. Yes, we do ignore the poor and concentrate on the rich and middle class, but India is not in slums. Slums do not represent India, nor does the rich cities, tall buildings and people in suits traveling in cars. India lives in the villages, people with a beautiful heart and dark skin. You will never find these problems in India's villages.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Million dollar question - Economic crisis and Economic stimulus

They say that too much credit is what got us into this mess. How would more credit get us out of it ?

If answer is that economic stimulus will generate demand, etc, then why did economy fail when demand was so high? What is guarantee that it won't fall steeper than this time? 

IMHO there is any way out from a deep depression and correction of asset prices. If you try to artificially prop the economy, it will lead to a much bigger crisis.

What governments and wise economics should do is to ensure this foolishness is not allowed in the economy again. Take this opportunity to change the system, stop fiat currencies, make markets transparent and simple,  make companies more open, no more secrets. If you do not correct, people will correct it with a revolution as Marx promised.

Crony capitalism and Indian real estate

Why is government helping real estate companies hold prices high and continue to fleece the customers? Hope people see the irony, My tax money is used to support the rich real estate companies so that they can charge me higher prices. Same with the way RBI is forcing or helping banks restructure the loans taken by these companies, taking a risk on depositor's money, again consumer's money.

When asset prices have fallen around 40% around the world ( ET editorial), why it is not happening to Indian real estate? Why is government partial to an industry, unduly favoring their corrupt practices?

Favors to one company/sector/industry is Corruption. Crony capitalism is not fair.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Citi - Fall of a giant -Example of executive greed

Problems Citi face, as I read in articles, is because of the greed shown by its executives. Making profits and pocketing huge bonuses by excessive risk taking. If this is the best capitalism can give, I think we need more regulation not less regulation. I would like to know how less regulation can regulate this greed and living to the moment attitude shown by these executives.

The damage brought on the world by these criminals, that brought the financial industry down and along with lives of millions around the world, is higher than what Osama Laden could do to the world.

These capitalist criminals need to be punished.

I wonder how Citi split will affect Indian IT industry. How do I find which all Indian IT players are doing business with a company, for example Citi, and the percentage revenue coming from that client? Does IT companies publish these information to stock market?

It is time Vikram Pandit and other Citi executives be punished. There should be some accountability for these executives for the damage they did to the financial industry by their excessive risk taking. If these executives are not punished it will lead to moral hazard.

Financial auditing - Independent body

Financial auditing is done by the auditors who are directly hired by and paid by the company that is getting audited. This is creating a conflict of interest.

Financial auditing for public companies should be done by a common industry body. There should not be direct payment from the company to the auditor. Every public company should contribute a fixed sum, based on their revenue, to this common body and they appoint an auditor for the company making sure that the auditor changes every 2 years.

The problem with this is there will not be a competition in the auditing business. Companies directly paying for the auditor seems to me like a potential thief appointing police to check himself.

Terrorism and Freedom struggle

How do you differentiate Terrorism and Freedom struggle? How do you judge a people's struggle as terrorism or freedom struggle, without being a hypocrite?

Kashmir militants - Freedom fighters or terrorists. Trying not to be a hypocrite, I cannot judge. I am very sure they have their reasons on why they are freedom fighters and Indian side has reasons on why they are terrorists.

LTTE - India used to support LTTE/Tamil Eeelam movement militarily. India/RAW wanted full control over LTTE, but their leaders had their own mind. Again India played big brother and sent IPKF to Sri Lanka, burning their finger fighting with LTTE. These incidents lead to the unfortunate incident of Rajiv Gandhi assassination. Now, how do you judge whether LTTE is terrorist or freedom fighter? When LTTE was under Indian control it was freedom fighter, but now it is terrorist for India.

Indian freedom struggle - Indians who judge other struggles as terrorism should not forget the Indian freedom struggle from colonialism. Your right is different from somebody else's right. Your terrorist is somebody else's freedom fighter. During colonial times Bhagat Singh was a terrorist for British colonialists, but he was a hero, a freedom fighter for oppressed Indians.

Palestinian struggle - How do you judge whether Hamas/Hezbollah is terrorists and not freedom struggle?

Naxalites in India - How do you brand them as terrorists? They are struggling for a cause they believe in.

From my view, you should have same parameters for your judgment. For me any violent struggle is terrorism, starting now. There are many occasions in which people cannot express their opinion in a peaceful manner, and they are forced to use violence to express themselves. But they are still terrorist, as you cannot judge what is a just cause and what is not.

Gandhiji and definition of terrorism

When I think about these, I understand how great Mahatma Gandhi was. He was a true visionary; he understood that violent struggles does not create good nation, especially in a diverse country like India. It is sad that his non-violent approach and gandhigir is translated to cowardice by the fascists in his own country.

In this world, looking ahead to an age of violence, Gandhiji should be the role model. I believe that the world would have been a better place if Gandhiji was allowed to live some more years. Gandhiji is India's greatest contribution to the world and humanity.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Sri Lankan anti government journalist assassinated

CNN reports the assassination of a Sri Lankan journalist - Lasantha Wickrematunge, who predicted his murder. His article - "And Then They Came For Me." - was published days after his death. As CNN reports these killing of people who oppose government is not uncommon in Sri Lanka. Full article from guardian
The article in which he wrote about his own assassination possibilities, he mentions the "And then they came for me" poem against Nazis. Coincidence that I used the same poem referring to the Indian fascists the day he was assassinated.
Freedom of speech most valuable of all freedom and all other freedom depends on this one. Freedom of speech is important, be it communist-China,Russia, Pakistan, India, or Iran. Freedom of speech is misused by anti government or anti establishment trouble makers. Trouble is you cannot judge what is use and what is misuse. Freedom of speech can work only if that judgment is not made by anybody.
Indian government guarantees freedom of speech and most of the time does not interfere. It is the fascists in India who come in cowardly mobs that steal freedom of speech.

Communism - Cost of Labor

Labor cost - The worker's labor-power is, under capitalism, a commodity, which can be bought and sold. When the capitalist hires the worker, the capitalist pays not for a certain labor but rather for the worker's labor-power

In Capitalism the amount of money paid to a worker has nothing to do with how much value/money he produces. Salary/Labor-cost is dependent on availability of labor, there will always be an excess supply of labor in the market and consequently salary will be low. You and me are paid salaries disproportionate to the billing cost.

Marx argued that the wage - the price of the labor-power - should reflect the price of the commodity produced when sold on the market

Communism - for the ignorant - keep your mind open and try to understand what Marxism is. While reading do not look at the stereotype communist that is created in your mind by the Capitalist media.

"Pure communism" in the Marxian sense refers to a classless, stateless and oppression-free society where decisions on what to produce and what policies to pursue are made democratically, allowing every member of society to participate in the decision-making process in both the political and economic spheres of life.

Politics of hate and the Indian Nazis

Accidentally read the Organizer editorial on Pashupathinath incident . In one article they managed to incite Hindus by calling them cowards - the way they put it tolerant mean coward - they showed hate towards Muslims -reference to Bamiyan. Finally they managed to blame the Pashupathinath incident on Christians. They cross boundaries of hate, these nazis.
If you are silent today, you will realise that politics of hate will affect you. Some of you might have realized how it feels to be targeted as a community when Bihari migrants in Mumbai were attacked by another hate-party. It is a disease, a cancer -if you do not stop it now, it will spread all over and cut off your body/country part by part.
The poem given below is interesting. Read Nazi history, Nazis come up by inciting people about how they did not get justice and fair share of the world.
"In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;
And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;
And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;
And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up."
Translated for India ----
"In India, they came first for the untouchables, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t an untouchable;
And then they came for the Muslims, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn't a Muslim;
And then they came for the Christians, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Christian;
And then they came for the Biharis, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn't a Bihari;
And they came for .................
And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up."

Rama Raju and Jesus Christ

The way press is handling Raju's jail term reminds me of how Jesus Christ was handled after he was arrested.
The roman governor, Pontius Pilate, after Jesus arrest made his soldiers beat up and insult Jesus so that people will feel sympathy and not ask for his death.
The same way press is leaking news about the jail and how Raju has to spend days with rapits, murderers etc. In my view what Raju did is comparable and he deserve that. Media should start writing about how fraud committed by Raju is affecting people and run a series on people who lost everything and mental tension people are going through.
Raju should never come out of jail ever for what he did. Anything less will be denial of justice.

Do you think Govt should bailout Satyam?

Satyam seems to be in crash crunch and might layoff people or hold salaries. Do you think Government should spend tax payer money to help Satyam employees and investors?
I think definitely not the investors. If I was not from an IT firm, I would have easily said screw the IT employees, they deserve this, they already earn a lot of money. If government needs to help employees it is the Diamond industry employees, who do not get as much salary as IT employees.
I hope I do not go through this problem. Slaving all our life to make someone rich is so important for us to feel secure.

25 crore fine for 8000 crore fraud - great deterrent

As per ET, maximum fine that Raju can get is 25 crore. In addition to this the paper states that he can avoid prison by turning approver. What shit !!!.
A poor thief gets much bigger sentence. This criminal has spoiled life of so many invsetors and mental pressure to so many employees. His risk taking could lead to lot 50K employees loosing their jobs. Punishment for financial crime should be mandatory prison sentence if proven guilty of direct knowledge of fraud, irrespective of profiting from it.
I don't buy Rajus statement that he did not profit from the highe stock price. As HT pointed out, he used the higher stock prices to get leverage for his other business (greedy) ventures. He did profit.
I empathize with Raju and his current state of affairs. I can understand that he is going through hell now. But he deserves most severe punishment for what he did. Given Indian sentiments to big people, I won;t be surprised if Raju turns politician :). He will be an asset to any political party ;).

The Satyam affair - No whistle blowers?

I cannot believe (i dont think anybody) that Raju could do a fraud of arnd 7K crore and cover it all this while without help of directors and executives. Company CFO, Presidents and all CxOs should be held accountable. I am surprised that these executives did not have enough integrity to blow the whistle.
Pricewater coopers should be investigated and punished/banned with employees involved held responsible for auditing.
I hate people who think they are better than everybody else (the brahminical attitude) just because they received a better education. Satyam Directors who received high remuneration should be answerable to the retail(and other) investors who lost money.
I am sure that this is just the beginning of more financial fraud coming out. Let Satyam punishment be a warning to executives in other firms that they can be held accountable.

Freemarket nurture unregulated greed, prosper on it and .....

Freemarket cannot survive without greed, it encourages greed. Irony is that it collapses when greed makes the market so fat that it cannot stand on its feet.
Regulations will not solve the problem, monitoring cannot be effective. Markets should be simplified and middle men (and suits) should not profit doing nothing

Author's market outlook for 2009 ;)

If somebody believes this bull run is going to last, I am sure you will lose your money. No economic stimulus can revive the economy now. It will take much more effort than this.
Siju's market outlook for 2009 ;) (mine is as good as any expert, nobody really knows)
Sensex will touch 6K before it rises again to 8K some time in 2010. If you think you can put money in options market, it won't work as you can never time the idiocy of the market.
If you are a good with reading emotions of the market, you can make some money riding the tide. Market will fluctuate between 8K and 10K for some time before crashing to 6K. ( I know market is trading at 10291 now above my upper limit, it is time to sell all you have and wait for 9K again :))
My prediction about market is as good as any financial expert. Nobody really knows how the market will behave ;).
Disclaimer: My market predictions are not based on any real data or knowledge from any (real) financial expert or markets. It's based purely on my gut feeling. If anybody wastes money based on this prediction, author is in no way responsible for it.
Isn't it so simple to tell all crap and put a disclaimer?
What is your expert prediction for markets in 2009? :)

Front running customer order - Another fin malpractice learned

This is an illegal practice by stock brokers that I learned about today. This is robbery and there are so many cheating options available with complex financial instruments available.
I think financial markets should be shutdown except for Commodities market and probably commodities futures with tight restriction to allow only hedgers. Speculators should be banned.
Credit derivatives should definitely get banned. I don't think rating agencies can do a good job other than to create employment for themselves. Again I am not an expert, but I would like to know opinions from experienced economic expert as to why they think credit derivatives (or most derivatives) are useful for general economy.
Let these people learn to make money honestly.

Monday, January 5, 2009

India asks SriLanka to hadover Prabhakaran - Does India want Tamil insurgency ?

It's stupid of India to ask for Prabhakaran. What does it intend to do with Prabhakaran? Hang him and antagonize the Tamil (and Malayalee probably) population? If India catches him in India it is another thing.
Let Srilanka handle the problem and suffer the consequence.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

RBI taking irresponsible risk on our money

By reducing the interest rate and fractional reserve ratio, RBI is forcing banks to take irresponsible risk on my money.

As an investor I would not agree to give out my money for cheap in this economic scenario. But I do not have control as RBI is deciding the interest rates.

Governments are foolish and corrupt to play with my money like this. People should protest by withdrawing all money in FD in banks. We should not let RBI take undue risk on our money.

The fiscal stimulus leads to a higher fiscal deficit, which again will make money in bank less valuable. Government and RBI is punishing savers and pensioners.

Economic Stimulus - Flogging an old, sick, obese (almost dead) Horse

Governments and Central banks around the world are trying to flog a weak, obese horse, an inefficient system that fed on decades of irresponsible behavior of the greedy.

To get the economy stand up again on its feet, governments are feeding it with more economic irresponsibility. I think it will get up again, but how far it will move and how long it will stand up is to be seen. It will definitely fall down again never to get up ever again causing destruction and anarchy around the world.

What the economy needs is revolutionary changes to correct the system, not another round of unsustainable growth, greed and irresponsibility. This will go on as long as people are not interested in economy and politics.