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Copycat or human’s hidden nature? November 29, 2014

Posted by hslu in Islam, Religion.
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In a span of a few weeks not long ago, Americans heard a few cases of beheadings in the US. Of course, most of us haven’t been able to come to terms with beheadings in the Middle East but we now have to face it in the US.

I’ve been living in the US for 40 years and I don’t remember ever reading this kind of cruelty and savagery in this country.

Why did these events even happen in a soceity like the one in the US? What have happened to these people? Did they learn their vicious acts from the actions of the IS? Are they trying to instill fear and panic to the American people? Or did they simply express their basic human nature when law failed to control their basic instincts?

Three weeks ago in Taiwan (10-29-2014,) a 79-year old 彰化 man cut off his 47-year old mistress’s ears, nose and lips while she was still alive because he suspected that she had flirted with someone in the tour group on a trip to Japan. He even flushed away the cut-off parts in the toilet and then called the police to report the crime.

Yes, you read it right: he tied her up while she was sleeping and then took an hour to cut up her faces while she was fully aware of what went on with her body.

Wow! I’ve read this kind of sadistic acts in novels and saw it in movies but never image it could happen in a civilized society like Taiwan.

Is the world being turned upside-down by the real nature of human being?

When I was going to school as a small kid in Taiwan, one of the books we read was ‘三字經: Three word chant.’

It begins with these two simple phrases: ‘人之初 性本善.’

What it means is this: Human being at birth is good-hearted by nature.

I actually don’t agree with what it preaches because I’ve long suspected that ‘人之初 性本惡’ or ‘Human being at birth is evil-minded by nature.’ The most obvious places to look for this type of human behavior is selfishness exhibited in children. Only through education and soceital influence, human learned to live under rules and regulations. Gradually human being learns to control his or her natural instinct and begins to let the good side shine.

However, extreme violence such as cutting other people’s heads instigated by religion can’t be explained by common sense. Al Qaeda stopped beheading after it bought condemnations from all over the world. The pratices have been bought back by the IS and the action broadcasted all over the web.

Is it because ‘人之初 性本惡’ or I missed something about human nature?

我猜江宜樺在找工 November 29, 2014

Posted by hslu in Politics, Taipei, Taiwan.
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只有台灣才有這種事:

現任行政院院長剛剛為國民黨選舉慘敗而自己請辭的消息才見報,有人就看到他去(quasi 民進黨)台北市新選市長那找工的開門磚。

image

Source: 蘋果日報網路版

臺灣的政客想要成功就需要學拍馬屁這一招。馬屁拍足了,好話講夠了,該打點的打點了,關係搞定了,升官就有希望。江宜樺官做到行政院長看不出來他做事有幾把刷子。大概馬屁會拍,一路拍出來的。

實在是荒唐。實在是可笑。

Saudi’s Weapon of Mass Destruction November 29, 2014

Posted by hslu in Economics, Energy, Global Affair, Middle East, Oil, Putin.
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OPEC has decided to keep its oil production at 30 million barrels per day for the next 6 months.

Actually, Saudi decided the course of action and everyone else in OPEC had to go along with what the head of the family wants. The reason was very simple: Saudi is tired of being the swing producer and it is about time for someone else to take up the role.

Well, you might call it Saudi’s Weapon of Mass Destruction: Saudi’s WMD. We call it a WMD because the destruction reaches far and wide.

Consider the following:

1.  US shale oil producers, especially the marginal ones and companies with huge debt, will be desimated. They will see their cash flow cut immediately and they will feel the financial pain right away. Well, they are Saudi WMD’s primary targets and they have no place to hide. Projects will be delayed. Hiring on hold. CAPEX will be cut. Dividends will be eliminated. Pretty soon, some people who have flocked to North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Texas in search of petrodollars will be called into their supervisors’ office because they will be getting pink slips instead of paychecks. People who have paid ridiculous prices for condos or townhouses in these areas will be underwater because they will owe more than their houses are worth. All those petro taxes to the cities, states and the federal government will slow down to a trickle and US GDP growth will drop accodingly.

2.  Some US banks may have to set aside more reserves just to cover the bad debts many shales oil companies will not be able to service. The US shale oil boom was built on cheap loans just like the failed dot.com companies around 2000 which were financed by angle funds and easy money from the VCs. The US shale oil boom is likely about to burst. The 敗家子-like behavior of the American shale oil companies is about to bankrupt the American shale oil industry under the weight of Saudi’s WMD.

3.  Ever since the rumor of Saudi’s ‘no production cut’ position was reported in the news, stocks of oil companies, MLPs, oil drillers and oil service companies have shedded 30, 40 or even 50% of their market values. Many investors have seen the values of their portfolios, IRAs and 401(k)s dropped. Dividends from energy-related companies and midstream MLPs will be cut and a cyclical bear market for these company stocks will begin. We at this time do not know how long this bearish cycle will be because we have yet to see the full range of Saudi WMD’s total destruction force.

4.  Russia’s economy will be hugely affected negatively. Russian GDP growth will probably be negative soon now that the international sanction is in full swing made worse by the depressed crude oil price for any extended period of time. Ruble is down so much from the level just several months ago and millions of Russians are already poorer because of Ruble’s diminishing purchasing power. However, Russia’s huge foreign currency reserve will cuision the blow and the international events will accelerate its pivot to China.

5.  Iran is unfortunately in the same boat like Russia does. America may have played a role in Saudi’s WMD which actually killed two birds with one quick and dirty WMD. It is quite effective, isn’t it? The fact that Iran is the archenemy of Saudi is beside the point. Saudi will take every chance to punish Iran and giving the chance Saudi will not hesitate at all.

6.  There is only one country in OPEC which has negative current account balance: Ecuado. The lower oil price achieved by Saudi WMD will make Ecuado’s situation even worse. Ecaudo is running a budget deficit but the small country has a puny foreigh curency reserve: ~$2.6 billion. Capital will flee. Ecaudo will raise its short term interest rate to stem its currency from sliding to fast. The country will sink into recession and we may see a default coming soon.

7.  Venezuela isn’t safe from Saudi’s WMD either because its budget deficit will increase and its foreign currency reserve isn’t big enough to defend its currency: Bolivar. Economy will tank and people of Venezuela will sadly pay with a lower living standard and a cheaper Bolivar.

8.  The greatest transfer of wealth from oil consumers in the developed nations to oil exporters will slow down a bit. However, this is only temperary. In less than two years, just a guess, oil price will recover and wealth transfer will resume.

9.  Saudi kings, princes and princesses will make less money. They are very rich already so the damage isn’t that bad.

10.  Saudi’s WMD also has many winners. Many countries will pay less for their oil imports: e.g., US, China, Korea and Japan. China in particular will be happy to add to its strategic oil reserve with cheaper oil. Consumers in general will keep more money in their pockets which will stimulate the economy. Sooner than later, economy will pick up and oil demand will rise. Oil production in the world will drop because marginal fields will shut down. Saudi will then remove the WMD and good old days will come back. Saudi will be a happy guy again.

台灣民進黨當家:遲早的事 November 29, 2014

Posted by hslu in China, Taipei, Taiwan.
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我幾年前就說過民進黨當家只是遲早的事。誰知道馬英九的無能為民進黨推波助瀾,幫民進黨鋪路讓民進黨早了三四年在地方當政也讓台灣早了三四年由基本的縣市裡變天。

image

     。 。馬英九的老套又搬出來了!。。
     Source: udn.com

在馬英九數年來不太英明的領導下,國民黨在這一次期中選舉一敗塗地。馬英九現在來談 ‘聽到人民的聲音’ 實在是已經太晚了。其實台灣人民對馬英九極度不滿的聲音,對台灣前途的憂鬱和對馬英九不信任的意見早就在台北和各地街頭的遊行示威,互聯網的網站上以及電視與電台上發表了幾年了。馬英九把它當做耳邊風不聞不問聽聽也就算了。逼急了在電視上鞠躬道歉暫時避避風頭。到頭來政策還是無法推行;問題沒法解決;生活沒有改善;人民依舊抱怨他就找個替死鬼請他下台。如今馬英九的 judgement day 到了,他也沒有地方躲了。

好好個國民黨(其實說真的,國民黨從李登輝叛黨後也並沒有那麽好)到馬英九這個敗家子的手上把祖產和祖宗的大業都丟光了。

不過我覺得:

如果馬英九早在五六年前就能捧著剛剛當選總統的光芒開始展現他傑出的領導能力趁著民進黨大敗,陳水扁坐牢民進黨黨員一盤散沙的時候為台灣這個種族分散的社會打下一點團結的基礎,今天他就不會輸的這麽慘;

如果馬英九能多用點心在台灣人民身上少,搞一點政治鬥爭和集權在身的齷齪事, 今天他就不會輸的這麽慘;

如果馬英九能以行政能力和有效的法規來改善台灣貧富不均的現象,今天他就不會輸的這麽慘;

如果馬英九能改善台灣的經濟體型,
推廣高科技的研究發展,增加製造業的成長來提高台灣
人民的就業機會和薪水,今天他就不會輸的這麽慘;

如果馬英九能學韓國政府的魄力大刀闊斧的改革以政府的資金做後盾輔助兩三個企業打入世界的舞台,今天他就不會輸的這麽慘;

如果馬英九能帶給台灣的年輕人一點希望和光明的前途,讓他們覺得大學畢業以後可以學有所用,可以安居樂業,可以養家扶小,今天他就不會輸的這麽慘;

如果馬英九的經濟和稅務政策能留住台灣的人才給他們一個充分發揮專長的舞台進而帶動台灣經濟發展和轉型,今天他就不會輸的這麽慘;

如果馬英九的三通政策除了帶給台灣旅遊業,餐館業和按摩業無數的低收入工作外也能引進大陸高科技的廠房,製造業的公司和充分的資金,今天他就不會輸的這麽慘;

如果馬英九真心的想要做一個全民的總統,他就不應該説 ‘我這不就來了嗎?’ 也不該擺個公子哥兒的樣子讓台灣人覺得他和本地人格格不入。如果他能找個台灣人替他打理形象, 今天他就不會輸的這麽慘;

如果馬英九有魄力罩得住立法院院長,能沉得住氣而又能站在不敗之地來打擊立法院長的短處,今天他就不會輸的這麽慘。

唉,馬英九這剩下來的兩年看來會難過了。馬英九要是沒法在 2016 前改變台灣人民對他負面的看法,沒法由行政法規把台灣創造成一個經濟奇跡,沒法突破大陸對台灣經濟和政治的控制,沒法擺脫 22K 的魔咒,那國民黨恐怕連總統的位置也保不住了。

你如果不相信我,你看看新北市的朱立倫拿了多少票就知道了。

台灣民進黨當家:遲早的事 November 29, 2014

Posted by hslu in China, Taipei, Taiwan.
Tags: , , ,
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馬英九的無能為民進黨推波助瀾,幫民進黨鋪路讓他們早了三四年當政也讓台灣早了三四年變天。

image

     。 。馬英九的老套又搬出來了!。。
     Source: udn.com

在馬英九數年來不太英明的領導下,國民黨在這一次期中選舉一敗塗地。馬英九現在來談 ‘聽到人民的聲音’ 實在是已經太晚了。其實台灣人民對馬英九極度不滿的聲音,對台灣前途的憂鬱和對馬英九不信任的意見早就在台北和各地街頭的遊行示威,互聯網的網站上以及電視與電台上發表了幾年了。馬英九把它當做耳邊風不聞不問聽聽也就算了。逼急了在電視上鞠躬道歉暫時避避風頭。到頭來政策還是無法推行;問題沒法解決;生活沒有改善;人民依舊抱怨他就找個替死鬼請他下台。如今馬英九的 judgement day 到了,他也沒有地方躲了。

好好個國民黨(其實說真的,國民黨從李登輝叛黨後也並沒有那麽好)到馬英九這個敗家子的手上把祖產和祖宗的大業都丟光了。

不過我覺得:

如果馬英九早在五六年前就能捧著剛剛當選總統的光芒開始展現他傑出的領導能力趁著民進黨大敗,陳水扁坐牢民進黨黨員一盤散沙的時候為台灣這個種族分散的社會打下一點團結的基礎,今天他就不會輸的這麽慘;

如果馬英九能多用點心在台灣人民身上少,搞一點政治鬥爭和集權在身的齷齪事, 今天他就不會輸的這麽慘;

如果馬英九能以行政能力和有效的法規來改善台灣貧富不均的現象,今天他就不會輸的這麽慘;

如果馬英九能改善台灣的經濟體型,
推廣高科技的研究發展,增加製造業的成長來提高台灣
人民的就業機會和薪水,今天他就不會輸的這麽慘;

如果馬英九能學韓國政府的魄力大刀闊斧的改革以政府的資金做後盾輔助兩三個企業打入世界的舞台,今天他就不會輸的這麽慘;

如果馬英九能帶給台灣的年輕人一點希望和光明的前途,讓他們覺得大學畢業以後可以學有所用,可以安居樂業,可以養家扶小,今天他就不會輸的這麽慘;

如果馬英九的經濟和稅務政策能留住台灣的人才給他們一個充分發揮專長的舞台進而帶動台灣經濟發展和轉型,今天他就不會輸的這麽慘;

如果馬英九的三通政策除了帶給台灣旅遊業,餐館業和按摩業無數的低收入工作外也能引進大陸高科技的廠房,製造業的公司和充分的資金,今天他就不會輸的這麽慘;

如果馬英九真心的想要做一個全民的總統,他就不應該説 ‘我這不就來了嗎?’ 也不該擺個公子哥兒的樣子讓台灣人覺得他和本地人格格不入。如果他能找個台灣人替他打理形象, 今天他就不會輸的這麽慘;

如果馬英九有魄力罩得住立法院院長,能沉得住氣而又能站在不敗之地來打擊立法院長的短處,今天他就不會輸的這麽慘。

唉,馬英九這剩下來的兩年看來會難過了。馬英九要是沒法在 2016 前改變台灣人民對他負面的看法,沒法由行政法規把台灣創造成一個經濟奇跡,沒法突破大陸對台灣經濟和政治的控制,沒法擺脫 22K 的魔咒,那國民黨恐怕連總統的位置也保不住了。

你如果不相信我,你看看新北市的朱立倫拿了多少票就知道了。

OPEC, oil price and unintended consequences November 28, 2014

Posted by hslu in Economics, Energy, Middle East, Oil.
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OPEC has decided to keep its production at 30 million barrels a day which was expected by the market. WTI is down to $70/bbl right after the news was announced. I guess that shale oil is selling below $60/bbl now which is below the costs of many shale oil projects.

Many articles talked about decline of US shale oil production which it will in time. But there is another angle to this headline: heavy oil and oil produced from oil sand projects face even higher pressure because prices for heavy oil are even lower but they cost more to produce.

Oil price will drift lower into the $60 range and more pain will be felt in the oil industry. Oil company stocks will face downward pressure until things stablize in the supply and demand picture in the world.

Wait to pick up some bargains when there is blood on the street.

There are fights breaking out on the main street but only some blood is spilled. More actions will come.

If I have to guess, just a guess, the bottom is closer to current level than the top is.

Well, your guess is just as good as mine.

TGI Fridays deals November 26, 2014

Posted by hslu in China.
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Wednesday evening deals:

Pick three for $15:
Corn beef sliders, Tuna Crisp and beef skewers. All nicely done. We like them all.

image

Dessert:
Wiskey cake for $7. Very rich. Very sweet. Once in a month type of food.

image

We come here often to relax. Have a draft beer and a cocktail.

Stay for an hour or an hour and a half. Watch some football or baseball. Watch peoole walking by.

Such is life.

Saudi won’t. UAE won’t. Russia won’t. Hmmm…, the US? November 26, 2014

Posted by hslu in China, Cold War, Economics, Energy, Global Affair, Middle East, Oil, Politics.
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Maybe US should.

Imaging, please, for just one nano-second of a press conference announcement from DOE in Washington, DC:

EOG, WLL, CXO, SRE, CLR, XOM, CVX, PXD and COP have agreed that they will cut their U.S. production by 2 million barrels per day starting January 1, 2015.

What will that do to the oil price and stocks of foreign oil companies?

Nah. It won’t happen.

But, aren’t some of them the ‘始作俑者’ of oil price decline by 30+% since June?

The best way to achieve a stable oil price is every oil producing country cut its oil production by about 2.5% because there is 2 million barrels of  excessive oil production in the world.

Nah, that won’t happen either.

Every country is in it for itself. The one which carry the biggest stick dictates the outcome.

And we are talking about Saudi. Period.

I talked about America acted like a ‘敗家子’ when it comes to producing shale oil without any consideration of long term national security in an earlier post on my blog.

image

Source: Businesd Insider.

Now, it is likely that Saudi will let the crude oil market to stablize itself.

With the total production costs of American shale oil around $60-$80/bbl vs Saudi oil’s $20/bbl, there is no argument here who is the onw with a big stick.

Imaging for a minute now, what if Saudi let oil price drops to $60/bbl and keep it for 2 years.

Of course, there is a consparicy that White House told Saudi to keep oil production up so that Russia will be weakened as a new run of cold war begins to take shape.

Well, your guess is as good as mine on this.

Do you know who is the biggest beneficiary on this?

Yes, you guessed. It is China.

China gets to import cheaper oil and it will save ‘BIG MONEY’ because it is the largest oil importer in the world. China will buy even more oil than its economy requires because China is building its strategic oil reserve from the current 10 day supply, or about 91 million barrels, to about 90 days of net import. China still has a long way to go so that it will take the opportunity to ‘fill it up’ with cheap oil.

Americans will benefit because we will keep more money in our pockets instead of sending it into oil producing countries. But, the only bright spot of the US economy, shale oil productions, drilling and oil transportation by rail will suffer. CAPEX spending will be cut. Marginal project will be delayed or eliminated. Finally, pink slips will fly. ‘敗家子’ will be broke again. Oil import to the US will rise.

Crude oil market will finally stablize again.

Big stick has spoken.

We will see what comes down after November 29.

Green Ark, 山那邊:綠葉方舟, 臺灣三義 November 26, 2014

Posted by hslu in Restaurants, Taiwan, Travel.
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A friend took us to this nice little restaurant hidden away from the bustling city life into the woods in Sanyi, Taiwan.

 

The restaurant

The restaurant

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Menu cover.

Menu cover.

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Kitchen.

Kitchen.

 

The property probably took up five acres at the foot of a small hill and the restaurant has several wooden buildings offering light meals, tea, coffee and desserts. It has a huge open space for dogs to run, a small hill for you to exercise your legs, a small pond for ducks to swim, an area for kids or their parents to play and places for lovers to cuddle together.

We stayed for about an hour including climbing the hill and wondering around enjoying the fresh air and country feeling. We had some coffee, tea and a piece of cake.

It was a nice time out and according to my friend there were many places like this one spreading out all over Taiwan.

 

America the hypocrite November 23, 2014

Posted by hslu in Global Affair, Islam, Japan, Middle East, Military, Muslim, Politics.
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Nation’s building has been the game America played for decades.

If a country is friendly to the U.S. and if the country is strategically important to American’s security and national interests, U.S. will sign alliance treaty with that country, shower the country and its leaders with American tax money, arm its military with advanced weapons and fighter jets and offer protection in exchange for a military base or surveillance operation. NATO countries, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Qarar, Japan, and Baltic states are good examples in this class of countries.

If a country is not a threat to American’s national security but America has no national or commercial interests in this country or the region, the U.S. will not engage with it in any substantially fashion no matter how many people got killed in tribal dispute, genocite or ethnic cleansing. Rwanda, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Congo, East Timor, Botswana, Sudan, Chad, Kenya and many other poor African nations. The best America will do is offering lip serviced at UN or when pressed by foreign reporters.

If a country can be used to advance the broader objectives of American’s ideological, political or economical ambition in the world, the U.S. will covertly or better yet openly establish a pro-U.S. government using money, military aids, trades and economic assistance to seal the critism from the opposition parties. Philippine, Vietnam, Taiwan, South Korea and Chili are examples.

If a country is a bad case to America and if America determines that this country is a threat to the world, America will twist other countries arms and put a sanction on its government and let its people suffer. If necessary, America will invade its territory, kill its soldiers and innocent people, support its opposition party and get rid of its leader. Once the bad actor is gone, a new guy was chosen and put in charge the puppet government. Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Soviet Union and now Russia belong to this group.

I called America the no. 1 hypocrite in the world.

Who gave America the right to set the rules for the world order?

How come there was no mention at the G20, G8, G8-1 or whatever it was, of hundreds if not thousands of innocent people killed by American’s bombs dropped by American drones in Africa or other places in the world?

No wonder American government or American foreigh policy isn’t loved by other people in the world.