Wednesday, December 29, 2004

The dollar's fate no longer America's call

From the New York Times:

(open quote)

China has pegged its currency, the yuan, to the dollar. When this peg is either relaxed or tossed out, the dollar is likely to plunge sharply against it.

Some economists argue that if the Chinese do not allow the yuan to trade more freely, the dollar will not fall enough to reduce the nation's record current-account deficit.

That deficit, which is the broad gap between the nation's exports and imports of goods and
services, is expected to top $600 billion this year. A weaker dollar could reduce it by making
foreign imports more expensive for Americans while our exports are more competitively priced abroad.

China's possibly pivotal role in next year's dollar story is a reminder of its burgeoning economic importance, said Robert J. Barbera, chief economist at ITG/Hoenig.

"The adjustment to the dollar that all the economic models say we need to reduce the current-account problem is in the hands of China," he said. "It is not a U.S. call, and that is a profound change."
(Close quote)


Is America's power on the wane? I have had the feeling for some time now, that America's halcyon days are behind it rather than ahead of it. For the last 60 yeras or so, America has been able to go her own way and do pretty much as she pleases. As the strongest and by far the wealthiest economy in the world, the U.S. has, as the expression goes, been independently wealthy.

In today's more open global economy, America is much more vulnerable to external factors and influences. The globalised economy has encouraged countries like China and India to open up their economies to inward investment. This has ignited phenomanal economic expansion in these and other Asian countries.

As they grow bigger and stronger, America's slice of an admittedly larger pie is being eaten into. This is not what the Federal Reserve had in mind when it contemplated the benefits of globalisation. The idea was that America, as the driving force behind globalisation, would be the biggest benificiary.

As ever, the best laid plans of mice and men often have unforeseen consequences. The fact that the fate of the dollar now no longer rests in the hands of Alan Greenspan but in those of China's ruling elite, is surely one of them.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Malawi leader settles into palace

According to a BBC report, Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika has moved into a palace outside the capital, Lilongwe, which previously housed the country's parliament. Mr Mutharika's decision to settle into the 300-room palace caused outrage when it was announced in July.

Most of the parliament's staff are now based at a nearby venue belonging to a merchant bank, but MPs are still seeking a debating chamber. Parliamentary committees have been holding their meetings in a motel.

The presidential palace was built at a cost of $100m by former President Hastings Kamuzu Banda - but he only stayed there for 90 days.

Besides hundreds of air-conditioned rooms, it has its own school and supermarket. Parliament moved into the venue in 1995.

Mr Mutharika said he wanted to move from his Blantyre residence to Lilongwe, as part of attempts to streamline government operations.

But the opposition says the decision runs against his promises to cut government expenditure. MPs have rejected the idea of moving to a sports stadium and have been searching for new premises.

Mr Mutharika was elected in a bitterly contested poll in May.


In the meantime Western leaders like Britain's Chancellor of The Exchequer, Gordon Brown are proposing that the West cancels third world debt! Well that should go some way to paying for Mr. Mutharika's 300 room palace and a new parlaiment for the minions!

Wake up Mr. Brown et al! I say not a penny till these corrupt African demigogs put their houses in order. It is simply throwing good tax payers money after bad!

The naivity of our leaders is at times bewildering beyond belief.

There is no point in giving money to corrupt and incompetent third world governments.

Most of it will either be squandered, or find its way into Swiss numbered bank accounts. Perhaps Mr. Blair and Brown can explain to us how that is going to eradicate third world poverty because for the life of me, it's beyond me!

Monday, December 20, 2004

Sikh and ye shall not find!

Sent: 20/12/2004 22:40

Birmingham Theatre Scraps Sikh Play

The directors of a play depicting sexual abuse and murder in a Sikh temple have scrapped the production due to fears that protests against it would escalate.


Our right to free speech was further eroded today by an intolerant minority and a too tolerant majority. That the Sikh community should take advantage of their democratic right to condemn a play they deem as offensive and blasphemous but then choose to use undemocrat means to get the play closed down, namely the threat of and use of violence, is despicable. They want the right to make their views felt but do not want the author ( a Sikh woman) to have the same right. Such is the hypocracy surrounding this case, the author has even been threatened with kidknapping and murder. So much for democracy then!

That we allow religious and other minorities to come here and dictate what plays we can or cannot stage in this, the oldest of all democracies, is testament to the spineless, knee bending, focus group driven, shortsighted, misguided, politically inept leadership we now have in this country. A populist government is always a dangerous government and a shallow government. Allowing minority groups to dictate the agenda in this way will lead to more, not less, racial tension in this country and play into the hands of parties like the BNP!

That these Sikhs cannot see that the events depicted in this play have nothing to do with blasphemy but merely reflect the sinful behaviour of humans, shows just how narrow minded is their thinking. It is not God who is being accused of misbehaving. That might be construed as blasphemy. In this case, as I understand it, it is the humans that are erring not God. The sin is theirs, not God's. So what is the fuss about? Surely no one is claimimg that Sikhs are without sin, are they?

Imagine what would happen if christian believers burned every book, play or newspaper that either depicted or carried a story of a priest committing a lewd or sinful act in a church or destroyed every cimema that had ever shown a controversial film about Jesus. What kind of a democracy would that be?

We don't do this sort of thing because no matter how strongly we may disagree with the views expressed or detest the nature of the material, we still respect the right of those who hold such views to express them. That is the bedrock of our democracy. If you don't like the play, book or film don't fork out the money!

We believe in freedom of choice and freedom of speech. These people say they do but resort to violence when someone says something they dislike! In my opinion these people should go live in dictator land where they can force everyone to agree with them, if that is what they want.

I prefer to stay here and agree to disagree with those who do not share my opinions or visa versa. As long as they do not try to force me to agree with them, I will not force them to agree with me.

It does not mean that we cannot share a pint and talk about something else on which we can agree, like what a great football club Tottenham Hotspur are for example! Alright, alright! I am only kidding.......................come on you Spurs!!!!!!!!!

Monday, December 13, 2004

Cycles of Life


As seed turns to flower and blooms in the spring

Aromas waft scented upon the wing,

Of bees and birds and butterflies,

Till the petals fall and the flower dies.

Seeds fall upon the mulch of autumn.

Trees bend in the whistling winds that court them,

And the leaves blush in hews of red,

As they tumble lightly to their dewy bed.

The leaves lie sleeping in gentle decay,

Harvested by mould turning them into chalk and clay,

While seeds lie trapped in the frosted earth,

Awaiting the spring of a new a born birth.

A Baby Is Born

Cycles of Life Posted by Hello

A baby was born this day, in a Bethlehem manger.

Three wise men following a star journeyed to see the stranger.

From heaven he came, to this humble earth,

When the virgin Mary, gave him birth.

And Leaves His Mark

Seeds of wisdom did he sow.

On barren ground they did flourish and grow,

For his words were harvested by the twelve apostles,

And guarded for posterity, like ancient fossils.

And Dies And Is Reborn

Upon a heathen’s cross he died.

Why have you forsaken me Lord, he cried.

But he rose again from the dead,

So doubting Thomas said.

From Dust To Dust

From ashes to ashes and dust to dust,

We metamorphose as all life must,

From state to state in mysterious form,

Shall all life itself transform.

The Beginning And The End

Rivers of Life

Victoria Falls Posted by Hello

Seas blue to clouds dark grey,
Skies clear to dull rainy day,
Gentle breeze to angry wind blowing,
Cloudy day to starry night glowing,
Tiny seeds to mighty trees growing,
Trickles of water, to raging rivers flowing,
From snow covered mountains, to the waiting sea,
The rivers of life evaporate silently.