22 October 2014

Meanwhile, This Is Who Is Quietly Buying All The Cheap Oil | Zero Hedge

Meanwhile, This Is Who Is Quietly Buying All The Cheap Oil | Zero Hedge:



With the US Shale Oil industry up in arms, Venezuela screaming, and Russia awkwardly quiet (as the Ruble slides with the falling oil price stabilizing domestic inflows)the 'secret' Saudi-US oil deal that pressured prices for crude down to $80 (18-month lows today) has 'hurt' a lot of the world's producer nations. However, as Bloomberg reports, there is one nation that is very grateful. The number of supertankers sailing toward China’s ports surged to a nine-month high as over 80 very large crude carriers (VLCCs) - the industry’s biggest ships - sail toward the Asian country’s ports. At an average of 2 million barrels each, the 160 million barrels will help refill China's 727 million barrel SPRwhich it started in 2012.

There are 89 tankers sailing for Chinese ports, 80 of which are VLCCs - the highest since January 3rd.

The number of supertankers sailing toward China’s ports surged to a nine-month high amid speculation an oil-price slump is encouraging the world’s second-biggest crude importer to accelerate purchases.

There are 80 very large crude carriers, the industry’s biggest ships, sailing toward the Asian country’s ports, according to IHS Fairplay vessel-tracking signals compiled by Bloomberg at about 10 a.m. today. That’s the highest since Jan. 3. Average shipments are 2 million barrels.

Brent crude, the global benchmark, plunged to a four-year low yesterday amid speculation Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other nations in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries won’t curb production. The slump is likely encouraging buying to fill China’s strategic stocks, according to Energy Aspects Ltd., a London-based consultant.

“There’s a lot of bargain hunting going on,” Richard Mallinson, an analyst at Energy Aspects, said by phone. “Whilst prices are low we think there’ll be buying for Strategic Petroleum Reserve filling and also just trying to capture these discounted crudes.”

...

The 80 bound for China compare with an average of 63 for the past two years and match a record in data that started in October 2011.
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In summary, just like Chinese gold imports rise when the price of gold drops; so China does the logical thing with other commodities, (i.e. oil) when prices tumble and instead of selling into the paper rout, it buys all the physical it can get its hands on.

22 September 2014

Why I Hope to Die at 75

Why I Hope to Die at 75 - The Atlantic



It's a great article and you should read it. I didn't include the article here because it's a large article.



Oh, and I think 75 may be a bit high for me, but I'm not decided yet.

15 September 2014

FBI launches national facial recognition system

FBI launches national facial recognition system - New York News:



NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) - The Federal Bureau of Investigation has fully rolled out a new biometric identification system that includes facial recognition technology.

The FBI, working with the Criminal Justice Information Services Division, says the Next Generation Identification System is now fully operational.
The system is designed to expand biometric identification capabilities across the country and eventually replace the FBI's current fingerprint system.
The system includes two new databases.
One, called Rap Back, enables FBI authorized entities the ability to receive ongoing status notifications of any criminal history reported on specific individuals. The bureau says that it will help law enforcement agencies, probation and parole offices, and others greatly improve their effectiveness by being advised of subsequent criminal activity of persons under investigation or supervision.
The second is called the Interstate Photo System. IPS facial recognition service will provide law enforcement agencies across the country an image-searching capability of photographs associated with criminal identities. The Feds say it is a significant step forward for the criminal justice community in utilizing biometrics as an investigative tool.
This latest phase ois only one portion of the FBI's NGI System. Since phase one was deployed in February 2011, the NGI system has introduced enhanced automated fingerprint and latent search capabilities, mobile fingerprint identification, and electronic image storage.
More than 18,000 law enforcement agencies and other authorized criminal justice partners across the country will have access to the system 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

30 August 2014

Henry Kissinger on the Assembly of a New World Order - WSJ

Henry Kissinger on the Assembly of a New World Order - WSJ:



Libya is in civil war, fundamentalist armies are building a self-declared caliphate across Syria and Iraq and Afghanistan's young democracy is on the verge of paralysis. To these troubles are added a resurgence of tensions with Russia and a relationship with China divided between pledges of cooperation and public recrimination. The concept of order that has underpinned the modern era is in crisis.
The search for world order has long been defined almost exclusively by the concepts of Western societies. In the decades following World War II, the U.S.—strengthened in its economy and national confidence—began to take up the torch of international leadership and added a new dimension. A nation founded explicitly on an idea of free and representative governance, the U.S. identified its own rise with the spread of liberty and democracy and credited these forces with an ability to achieve just and lasting peace. The traditional European approach to order had viewed peoples and states as inherently competitive; to constrain the effects of their clashing ambitions, it relied on a balance of power and a concert of enlightened statesmen. The prevalent American view considered people inherently reasonable and inclined toward peaceful compromise and common sense; the spread of democracy was therefore the overarching goal for international order. Free markets would uplift individuals, enrich societies and substitute economic interdependence for traditional international rivalries.
In the Middle East, religious militias violate borders at will. Getty Images
This effort to establish world order has in many ways come to fruition. A plethora of independent sovereign states govern most of the world's territory. The spread of democracy and participatory governance has become a shared aspiration if not a universal reality; global communications and financial networks operate in real time.
The years from perhaps 1948 to the turn of the century marked a brief moment in human history when one could speak of an incipient global world order composed of an amalgam of American idealism and traditional European concepts of statehood and balance of power. But vast regions of the world have never shared and only acquiesced in the Western concept of order. These reservations are now becoming explicit, for example, in the Ukraine crisis and the South China Sea. The order established and proclaimed by the West stands at a turning point.
The challenge in Asia is the opposite of Europe's: Balance-of-power principles prevail unrelated to an agreed concept of legitimacy, driving some disagreements to the edge of confrontation.First, the nature of the state itself—the basic formal unit of international life—has been subjected to a multitude of pressures. Europe has set out to transcend the state and craft a foreign policy based primarily on the principles of soft power. But it is doubtful that claims to legitimacy separated from a concept of strategy can sustain a world order. And Europe has not yet given itself attributes of statehood, tempting a vacuum of authority internally and an imbalance of power along its borders. At the same time, parts of the Middle East have dissolved into sectarian and ethnic components in conflict with each other; religious militias and the powers backing them violate borders and sovereignty at will, producing the phenomenon of failed states not controlling their own territory.
The clash between the international economy and the political institutions that ostensibly govern it also weakens the sense of common purpose necessary for world order. The economic system has become global, while the political structure of the world remains based on the nation-state. Economic globalization, in its essence, ignores national frontiers. Foreign policy affirms them, even as it seeks to reconcile conflicting national aims or ideals of world order.
This dynamic has produced decades of sustained economic growth punctuated by periodic financial crises of seemingly escalating intensity: in Latin America in the 1980s; in Asia in 1997; in Russia in 1998; in the U.S. in 2001 and again starting in 2007; in Europe after 2010. The winners have few reservations about the system. But the losers—such as those stuck in structural misdesigns, as has been the case with the European Union's southern tier—seek their remedies by solutions that negate, or at least obstruct, the functioning of the global economic system.
The international order thus faces a paradox: Its prosperity is dependent on the success of globalization, but the process produces a political reaction that often works counter to its aspirations.
The penalty for failing will be not so much a major war between states (though in some regions this remains possible) as an evolution into spheres of influence identified with particular domestic structures and forms of governance. At its edges, each sphere would be tempted to test its strength against other entities deemed illegitimate. A struggle between regions could be even more debilitating than the struggle between nations has been.A third failing of the current world order, such as it exists, is the absence of an effective mechanism for the great powers to consult and possibly cooperate on the most consequential issues. This may seem an odd criticism in light of the many multilateral forums that exist—more by far than at any other time in history. Yet the nature and frequency of these meetings work against the elaboration of long-range strategy. This process permits little beyond, at best, a discussion of pending tactical issues and, at worst, a new form of summitry as "social media" event. A contemporary structure of international rules and norms, if it is to prove relevant, cannot merely be affirmed by joint declarations; it must be fostered as a matter of common conviction.
The contemporary quest for world order will require a coherent strategy to establish a concept of order within the various regions and to relate these regional orders to one another. These goals are not necessarily self-reconciling: The triumph of a radical movement might bring order to one region while setting the stage for turmoil in and with all others. The domination of a region by one country militarily, even if it brings the appearance of order, could produce a crisis for the rest of the world.
A world order of states affirming individual dignity and participatory governance, and cooperating internationally in accordance with agreed-upon rules, can be our hope and should be our inspiration. But progress toward it will need to be sustained through a series of intermediary stages.
To play a responsible role in the evolution of a 21st-century world order, the U.S. must be prepared to answer a number of questions for itself: What do we seek to prevent, no matter how it happens, and if necessary alone? What do we seek to achieve, even if not supported by any multilateral effort? What do we seek to achieve, or prevent,only if supported by an alliance? What should we not engage in, even if urged on by a multilateral group or an alliance? What is the nature of the values that we seek to advance? And how much does the application of these values depend on circumstance?
For the U.S., this will require thinking on two seemingly contradictory levels. The celebration of universal principles needs to be paired with recognition of the reality of other regions' histories, cultures and views of their security. Even as the lessons of challenging decades are examined, the affirmation of America's exceptional nature must be sustained. History offers no respite to countries that set aside their sense of identity in favor of a seemingly less arduous course. But nor does it assure success for the most elevated convictions in the absence of a comprehensive geopolitical strategy.
— Dr. Kissinger served as national security adviser and secretary of state under Presidents Nixon and Ford. Adapted from his book "World Order," to be published Sept. 9 by the Penguin Press.