Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Peanut Gallery

Statements, comments and forecasts that have no substance, but just might turn out to be relevant.

1. If anyone was under the impression that the Trump attack on NAFTA has anything to do with Canada, they would be mistaken. If the energy component is removed from the calculation (and it would be since the US prefers Canadian oil to Middle Eastern oil), Canada imports slightly more from the US than the US imports from Canada. Secondly, Canada has not seen much advantage from this deal, losing manufacturing jobs to Mexico and China. Thirdly, in the interests of market share Canada would gain from a more protectionist US policy. COMMENT: It appears that Trump is obsessed with Mexico. His approval rating is falling rapidly and he needs to keep his base intact. 

2.The private race to the moon is really starting to heat up. A team from Israel called SpaceIL has signed a contract to launch its robotic lunar lander toward the moon aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in the second half of 2017. SpaceIL is therefore a strong contender to win the $20 million top prize in the Google Lunar X Prize (GLXP), contest organizers said.
To date, only three entities have succeeded in soft-landing a spacecraft on the lunar surface — the governments of the United States, the former Soviet Union and China.

3.Israel's economy shot up in the final three months of 2016 and looks set to have grown annually by 4 percent, easily outstripping the central bank's expectations. It came on the back of robust exports, but also increased consumer spending. On an annualized basis, gross domestic product soared 6.2 percent in the fourth quarter, the Central Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday, as it also revised up the annualized third-quarter 2016 growth estimate to 4.2 percent from 3.6 percent. COMMENT: BDS......who? 

4.Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Feb. 22 that the Russian government has created a force of special information warfare troops, AP reported. Shoigu's comments are the first official acknowledgement from the Kremlin of the new force and were made during a speech to the Russian parliament. The announcement comes amid the fallout surrounding Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election. COMMENT: Typical politician speaking out of both sides of his mouth. This is nothing new and this force has been operating for many years.

5.China has nearly completed construction of some two dozen structures on artificial islands in the South China Sea that appear designed to hold long-range surface-to-air missile batteries, two unnamed U.S. officials said Feb. 21, Reuters reported. The concrete structures have retractable roofs and appear to be around 20 meters long and 10 meters high, one official said. In December, a report from the U.S.-based  Center for Strategic and International Studies said that China had installed anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems on all seven of the artificial islands it has built in disputed parts of the South China Sea. COMMENT: It appears that China is unperturbed by all the bluster emanating from the US.

6.Jon Medved, CEO of the Jerusalem-based ‘Our Crowd’ venture capital group: the “issue” of Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria is no more relevant to the international business community than they would be if they were located on the moon. “Are you kidding?” he laughs. “Listen to me: It is a non-issue. No one even knows how to spell it. It may be a big issue for diplomats and the United Nations, but it is completely orthogonal to what we are doing. It’s like a different planet.” COMMENT: In 2016 investment in Israeli Hi-tech was $4.8 billion compared to all of Europe's $13.6 billion. Compare populations and you have your answer.

7.Tired of stretching your arms to the limit just to take a selfie? Do cameras, tripods and selfie sticks frustrate you? A new Israeli invention that turns your everyday phone case into a flying aerial picture-taking drone may be just what the world needs! (LOL). Check this out....WOW! COMMENT: Israel is changing our world...not with words but with actions.

8.The Old City of Jerusalem will soon join the ranks of the new, when free Wi-Fi is introduced in all four quarters. Benefits of the technological upgrade include an improved tour experience, as more visitors will be able to access various phone apps that facilitate navigation of the ancient alleyways. COMMENT: In Israel...the sky is the limit!

Life takes on meaning when you become motivated, set goals and charge after them in an unstoppable manner - Les Brown

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader - John Quincy Adams

No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit for doing it - Andrew Carnegie

Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Muslim Ban

While serving in the IDF I was leading a patrol in an Arab village in Judea and Samaria. Suddenly from the nearby Mukhtar's home a loudspeaker wailed an age-old timeless message to the populace...."Death to the Jews". We surrounded the house preparing to enter. Without warning a storm of stones from every direction rained down upon us and shouts of "Allah Akbar" punctured the air. The Arab residents were out on the balconies and rooftops shrieking and whistling. The perfect ambush! As we prepared to rush the house and silence the threatening message, a Jeep pulled up beside the front gate and out jumped member(s) of the Shin Bet (Israel's FBI) who had apparently decided to chaperone us...phew!

Since the Mukhtar's house afforded some cover from the the screaming mob, we burst through the door and were greeted by an unbelievable sight. The Mukhtar was smiling and on the lounge table were cups of sweet tea with nana (a Moroccan mint herb). While we savoured this traditional brew the Shin Bet unit huddled with the mukhtar and was provided with a list of potential terrorism threats from within the area. The Mukhtar was "arrested" and taken to HQ for "questioning". Needless to say he was released and given a heroic welcome  home by some of the villagers. That folks, is one example of how homeland security and the war against terror operates. 

The stunned silence out of Israel that greeted Trump's Muslim ban (and that's what it is) speaks louder than all the combined total of articles published on this subject. No comment from Israeli government members and the two main opposition parties. It matters not whether 50% of Americans support this ban (let's face it, voters in the US have not covered themselves in glory for a decade or two), it matters only that most of the Muslim world sees it as a slight on their culture. Within the context of keeping America safe this ban added thousands of Jihadists to a list of imminent dangers in a volatile world. What is unfathomable, is why the Trump administration did not add a country like North Korea to the list of banned countries. Perhaps they could have exempted threatened Muslim minorities in Iraq, Syria and Iran (like the Kurds) from this ban. What is even more incomprehensible is the public swagger that accompanied this order. The follow up of palpable leaking by the US intelligence agencies to the news media does not surprise me....not in the least.

The Islamic world is imploding. This is a simple truth and the result of some Muslim countries and communities who are unable to compete economically in a changing world. Sunni muslims are battling Shiites. Secular Muslims are at war with their religious sects. The so-called Arab nation states are unravelling. The logical conclusion is to let nature take its course. This order, regardless of one's personal beliefs has strengthened the dark forces lurking in the shadows and added a Christian twist to the narrative. The damage has been done and it's only a matter of time until the consequences of this mistake are felt. It wont be pleasant.

I like to pretend that I'm a tough guy. It's kind of an admission of defeat if I have to ask for help - or even kindness. But if it doesn't come, at some point I snap and demand it - Mary Parker

It's easy to be a tough guy when no one's going to come knocking on your door -  Pete Hamill

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Peanut Gallery

Statements, comments and forecasts that have no substance, but just might turn out to be relevant.

1.Stratfor: Deployments of nuclear-capable missiles always send a message, but it isn't always immediately clear who the target is. Chinese media reported Tuesday on the possible deployment of long-range Dongfeng-41 intercontinental ballistic missiles in northeastern China close to Russia, triggering speculation in Russian media about China's intent. The nature and capabilities of the Dongfeng-41, along with its deployment near the city of Daqing close to the Russian border, mean that the systems are far more likely intended as a nuclear deterrent against the United States. The plot thickens. The Russians are not worried. The missiles are aimed at the US. One week into the Trump presidency and an unforeseen consequence which is not reported by western media. (they are too worried about debunking Trump theories).

2.The new U.S. president made good on one of his campaign promises Monday, formally withdrawing the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade deal, and signalling his intention to renegotiate NAFTA "at the appropriate time." COMMENT: There is no such thing as a vacuum in economics. China will be laughing all the way to the bank as they move to replace the US. This decision will not save US jobs...just the opposite! Total capitulation to China.

3. Officials say the Obama administration in its waning hours defied Republican opposition and quietly released $221 million to the Palestinian Authority. GOP members of Congress had been holding up the money. A State Department official and several congressional aides say the outgoing administration formally notified Congress it would spend the money Friday morning, just before Donald Trump became president. COMMENT: The Palestinians are using foreign aid to reward terrorists for acts that kill Israelis. About $140 million a year. Obama knows this and yet he still authorized a midnight transfer of funds. 

4.China and the Philippines have agreed to work together on 30 projects on poverty reduction worth $3.7 billion, representatives from both countries said following a Jan. 23 meeting, Reuters reported. Details about the agreements, which come during a two-day visit by a Cabinet delegation from the Philippines to China, have yet to be released. Under the leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte. COMMENT: The Phillipines are aware of the coming new world order and are playing China against the US.

5.Start-up Israel: An Israeli biomedical company announced that it has for the first time successfully transplanted artificially grown human bone into a group of patients suffering from bone loss. A statement from Bonus BioGroup on Monday said the semi-liquid graft injected into the jaws of 11 people during the first phase of the clinical trial earlier this year had successfully fused to existing bone and filled gaps in the deteriorating jawbone. “For the first time anywhere in the world, a quick, and effective and safe bone rehabilitation using a single injection of a living, growing graft transplanted inside a human bone has been completed successfully,” the company said. COMMENT: Go Israel!

6. On a state visit to Israel last week for the first time in his nation’s history, the president of the Muslim-majority West African nation of Sierra Leone expressed his gratitude to Israel for the Jewish state’s assistance in fighting the Ebola virus. “I must use this opportunity to thank you, the Government and the people of Israel, for the support that was provided to us during one of the most difficult moments in our history – the fight against Ebola,” President Ernest Bai Koroma said last Thursday at a joint appearance with Rivlin. “It was a moment others chose to turn their backs and isolate us, but Israel provided us with support, with financial, technical support, and we had people that volunteered to go out and assist us….That we have put the Ebola behind us is because of the support of this nation. COMMENT: “I hope that real love and truth are stronger in the end than any evil or misfortune in the world.” 
― Charles Dickens

7. In a sign of growing ties between Israel and Africa, Jerusalem is hosting seven ministers and many other top officials from over a dozen Western African countries at an agricultural conference in Israel this week. The three-day conference which began Monday, entitled “Enhancing Sustainable Agricultural Productivity in Arid and Semi-Arid Regions,” is co-organized by Mashav, Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation, and the Economic Community of West African States, a union known as ECOWAS. COMMENT: Its not what you say or how you say it....Its what you do that matters.

“You are what you do, not what you say you'll do.” ― C.G. Jung

Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters - Albert Einstein

It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see - Henry David Thoreau

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Peanut Gallery

Statements, comments and forecasts that have no substance, but just might turn out to be relevant.

1.Russia and Turkey carried out joint airstrikes against the Islamic State near the Syrian town of al-Bab on Jan. 18, the first time the two countries have launched joint strikes against the militant group, BBC reported. The coordinated strikes come months after Turkey launched operation Euphrates Shield, seeking to block advances by Kurdish forces and push back the Islamic State. COMMENT: One of the first orders of the day for the Trump admin will be to support the Russians and Turks in the war against ISIS. The dawn of a new era.

2. Is NATO obsolete? George Friedman: "The issue is that the U.S. was engaged in wars for 15 years, and there was no automatic support from NATO or major European countries in those wars. The countries that wanted to participate fought, with as much or as little as they chose to send. Those that wanted to fight in one war and not the other did. Europeans must face two facts. First, this is 2017, and the wars that matter to the U.S. are being fought in the Islamic world. Second, this is not 1955, and Europe is not struggling to recover from World War II. It is a wealthy region, and its military capabilities should be equal to those of the U.S.
COMMENT: It appears that the age of automatic US support of the EU and NATO are over. Perhaps the EU should have understood that the demonization of Israel and the embrace of multi-culturism (one big happy family eh?) might have unforeseen consequences.

3.Michael Diamond on moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem: So I say move it, and do it right away, with the full support of most of Congress which will support it, and against the yelling and screaming of most of the State Department, many of whom need to be removed from their positions anyway.  Enough of this accommodation.  The leader of the western world deserves to have its embassy in the capital of any state with which it has relations, particularly allies!  And if the threat from the Palestinians is that they will “open up the gates of hell!” then the only reaction must be “those who open up the gates of hell will have hell to pay!” COMMENT: Couldn't agree more!!!

4.The United States will be invited to upcoming talks aimed at resolving Syria's conflict due to be held in Kazakhstan on Jan. 23, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reiterated Jan. 19, Reuters reported. This follows on Lavrov's Jan. 17 statement calling for U.S. attendance at the peace negotiations, which were organized chiefly by Russia and Turkey. The U.S. response is unclear at the moment given the power transition Jan. 20. COMMENT: Like I said before....The dawn of a new era.

5.The daily TIP: Israel and the Palestinian Authority signed a water cooperation agreement on Sunday, the fourth major infrastructure deal agreed to in the past year and a half. The agreement, which will restart the Israeli–Palestinian Joint Water Committee, was signed by Gen. Yoav Mordechai, head of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) office, and Hussein al-Sheikh, the Palestinian Authority’s Civil Affairs Minister.
The committee is charged with modernizing the water infrastructure in the West Bank, giving Palestinian villages and towns better access to water. COMMENT: It matters what you do...not what you say Mr. ex-president Obama!

6.Start-up Israel: Big data company Oracle said Monday it would open a Startup Cloud Accelerator program in Israel, the second of several it plans to open soon in a multimillion dollar global program. The center, based in Tel Aviv, will help promote local innovation in cloud technology, the company said. COMMENT: Who's afraid of the big bad UN wolf?

7.China’s borrowings hit 168.48 trillion yuan ($25.6 trillion) at the end of last year, equivalent to 249% of economic output, Li Yang, a senior researcher with the leading government think-tank the China Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), has told reporters. But the huge number, which includes government, corporate and household borrowings, was lower than some non-government estimates. COMMENT: Corporate loans are 156% of GDP. This truly looks like an accident waiting to happen.

8.Ynet: Israel opens first ever NATO office - IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Major General Yair Golan was in Brussels for the official opening of the Israeli office at NATO headquarters after it was decided that the two sides should have a closer working relationship. Roni Leshno Yaar, who submitted his credentials to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, is the first Israeli representative to NATO since the Jewish state was accepted as a partner to the organization (not a member). While in Brussels, Maj. Gen. Golan also met with the head of the Turkish Armed Forces General Hulusi Akar. COMMENT: Apparently NATO is not as perturbed by Israeli settlements as is ex-Secretary of State John Kerry.

Maturity is when you have the power to destroy someone who did you wrong but you just breathe, walk away and let life kill them - Alyssa

Don't trust everything you see. Even salt looks like sugar - anonymous

Sometimes it's not the people who change, it's the mask that falls off - The Good Vibe

Monday, January 16, 2017

Preposterous Predictions 2017

If we get 7 out of 10 predictions correct that would be pretty good. 

We continue to follow the money, the movement of refugees and the decline of modern day globalism.

1. Islam will continue to implode. However the architecture of the confrontation between Sunni and Shiite muslims will be aggravated by a heightening of the crisis between Christianity and Islam. We are at the beginning of the end of European multi-culturism and this trend will imbed itself this year.

2. The increase in nationalism will reverberate around the world as Trump attempts to forge a new version of the sixties. One of the unforeseen consequences of "Making America great again" could mean the lessening of the influence within the world community of a UN that has lost all sense of integrity.

3. The US  Senate and the House will develop a much more bi-partisan approach in some instances as they attempt to balance a new and impatient US president attempting to make some of the changes he promised while campaigning. Russia, immigration and human rights spring to mind.

4.Islamic Jihadists are not frightened by Trump. The fact that he has so many businesses at home and overseas and they all carry his name makes them an appealing target. We will witness multiple terrorist attacks on his assets. They know full well the infidel will retaliate and thats exactly what they want. To them he is a great mobilization tool and therefore this makes for a win-win situation as far as they are concerned.

5. The two state solution between Israel and the arabs will die a painless death equivalent to a diseased animal being put out of its misery. An inaudible sigh of relief from what is left of the Arab world might be heard at this time. Others will raise the possibility of a Palestinian State in Jordan. Regardless of the lip service, there wont be a Palestinian State any time soon.

6.The new Trump administration will have a bumpy landing something akin to watching a bull in a China shop (excuse the pun). The new president will fire at least two of his advisors before the year is out. 

7. The most affected by this new nationalist revolution is the European Union. Especially Holland, France, Italy and Germany. The effect of Brexit will only be felt this year as Theresa May moves forward with an aggressive Brexit strategy. As for the rest of Europe, it is clear that their politicians still do not understand the menace of Islam in their societies. The people do - and will vote with both hands. 

8. If 2015 and 2016 were years of market stability, 2017 will be a year of extreme volatility. As nationalism continues to expand, central banks will adopt a policy of "every country for themselves" and currencies will be their weapon of choice. The threat of trade wars will exacerbate currency devaluation, rising inflation, falling bond prices and interest rate rivalry. There is no such thing as a calm least as far as the markets are concerned. The federal reserve will clash with the Trump administration over a stronger dollar.

9. In today's world perception is more important than truth. Vladimir Putin knows this. He took one look at "Useful idiot" Obama and went to work. For a country struggling financially he managed to portray Russia as a huge power, when it is definitely not. He saw Trump as a much more "useful idiot" than Clinton. The expressions "Never try to con a con man" or "You cannot fool all the people all the time" come to mind. The true nature of the relationship between these two men will surface in 2017.

9. In Israel the centre-right coalition will strengthen even as we witness the end of an era. The Bibi Netanyahu star will begin to fade this year.

10. Egypt will confront the growing partnership between ISIS and Hamas in the Sinai and Gaza. General Sisi, president of Egypt is not a man to be trifled with and he will meet force with even more force. He will be aided by Israel. Unlikely allies, but allies nevertheless.

11.Year in and year out I copy and paste the same forecast on Israel. "Israel is always at number 11 and outside the ten forecasts. Why you may ask? Israel from year to year remains a shining light to the world, regardless of the tinted glasses through which some may view this." This year is no different.

Have a great 2017

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Preposterous Predictions 2016 - Report Card

Preposterous Predictions 2016
If we get 7 out of 10 predictions correct that would be pretty good.     

Lets follow the money and the refugees

1.Stock markets and investors have become accustomed to markets continually recovering as a result of central bank manipulations. This will end in 2016 as markets come to terms with reality. The international credit bubble created as a result of the 2008 crisis will slowly disintegrate, punctured by collapsing raw materials demand and the demise of the oil market. The economic downturn will have a profound effect on our world and we predict a primary bear market in stocks and the continuation of the primary bull market in the US Dollar. - B totally wrong about equities but correct about the USD.

2.The slowdown in China will continue at an increased pace. Potentially China can go one of two ways. Either it breaks down into separately governed regions (Coastal vs Inland) or a ruthless dictatorship will attempt to control economic dissatisfaction within the Chinese population. The Chinese currency (the Yuan) will continue to be devalued in an attempt to jumpstart fading Chinese exports. A - Correct. The Yuan depreciation continues as the Chinese population looks for safer alternatives. The ruthless dictatorship is building as I write. 

3.Historically the movement of refugees has created new geopolitical realities. The mass movement of refugees from unstable regions into the European Union is a geopolitical weapon of change that will create political, economic and violent chaos. Anti-immigration and anti-EU parties will strengthen and the movement towards fragmentation will be reflected in the value of the European symbol of unity, the Euro. A minus - The euro is steadily declining.

4.The Italian banking system will come under serious pressure this year accompanied by friction between old enemies France and Germany.  All it takes are a few terrorist attacks to understand that the so-called liberal European multi-culturism is just a cover for a deeper and darker psyche lurking in the shadows. A - Reports are emerging about the Italian Bank problem.

5. Russia will weather an economic meltdown (the Russian people are made of sterner stuff than most) as its ruble crumbles, but not without chaotic conditions amongst neighbouring countries who rely on Russian support (and energy) for their economic wellbeing. Russia will also have to overcome an AIDS epidemic of major proportions. A minus - Russia's neighbours are experiencing controlled chaos. According to UNAIDS, Russia has one of the fastest growing HIV/AIDS epidemics in the world.

6. Apple will lose its shine as competing companies close the technological gap. They might even have to consider lowering their prices. A minus.

7.Regardless of who the candidates might be, the Republicans will take the White House this year. President Obama's naive foreign policy of shaking hands with a crocodile, his alienation of US allies, his creation of a massive debt bubble and his inability to unite the American people will signal the demise of big government for the near and distant future. As for his legacy....need I say more? A - The luckiest A in history. Who would have believed?

8.Climate change will have positive (yes, positive) and negative results as the trend continues. Countries like Canada and parts of the US and Europe will definitely have the advantage, whereas parts of the Middle East and Africa (Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Algeria, Sudan and others) will continue to pay the price. A

9. Islam will continue to implode leading to a Sunni-Shiite face off. The violence being the product of dictatorships, religious fanaticism and the inability by over a billion people to compete economically. The stream of refugees will turn into a flood creating change wherever they flow. A

10.North and South America will be the least affected by the refugee fallout, being continents geographically insulated from the deluge. Unless of course some politician decides to play saviour and opens the door. A

11.Last year I wrote about Israel..."Israel is always at number 11 and outside the ten forecasts. Why you may ask? Israel from year to year remains a shining light to the world, regardless of the tinted sunglasses with which some may view this." This year all that is needed is to "copy and paste"  AA

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Peanut Gallery

Statements, comments and forecasts that have no substance, but just might turn out to be relevant.

1.John Mauldin: "Canada also has a housing bubble that looks increasingly ready to pop. Home prices in Vancouver are unbelievable, and Toronto is not far behind. These prices have little to do with oil and everything to do with Hong Kong Chinese and other Chinese buying property. Wealthy Chinese, eager to evade their own country’s capital controls, are buying homes as offshore savings accounts. What happens in Canada will tell us something important about China and vice versa. Anything that keeps Chinese money from leaving the country will raise the odds of Canada’s bubble popping." COMMENT: Funds fearful of a Chinese debt meltdown, a potential US China trade war, a powerful US Dollar puncturing the world credit bubble and the potential disintegration of the European Union are pouring into North America. More specifically they are pouring into Canadian real estate. Its not only Canadians who believe that Canada (and Australia) are the last safe havens on the planet.

2.An ex-MI6 officer who is believed to have prepared memos claiming Russia has compromising material on US President-elect Donald Trump is now in hiding, the BBC understands. The US president-elect said the claims were "fake news" and "phoney stuff".
COMMENT: Trump, the king of fake news and its main beneficiary, had better succeed as president otherwise the swamp quicksand will drain him.

3.Russia denied unverified reports that it has compromising information about the president-elect, dismissing the claims as 'absolute fabrication and utter nonsense' on Wednesday. Earlier, two U.S. officials told NBC News that briefing materials prepared for Trump included damaging allegations, which have not been verified by American intelligence agencies, about his dealings with Russians. Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman for Vladimir Putin's government, said: 'The Kremlin does not collect compromising information.' COMMENT: LOL...Really? I thought the Russians would immediately verify! 

4. Three US senators have introduced legislation that would commit the United States to moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a move US presidents have opposed for decades but which President-elect Donald Trump has repeatedly signaled he is willing to do. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R), Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R) and Nevada Sen. Dean Heller (R) proposed the Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act on Tuesday, the first day the new Congress convened on Capitol Hill as Republicans prepare to control the White House, Senate and House of Representatives for the first time since 2007. COMMENT: After the Obama betrayal of Israel, the time is finally right to make this move.

5. An annotated edition of "Mein Kampf," Adolf Hitler's notorious manifesto, has become a non-fiction best-seller in Germany. News agency dpa reported Tuesday that 85,000 copies of the book have been sold since it was first published a year ago. Despite its incendiary and anti-Semitic content, the book wasn't banned in Germany and could be found online, in secondhand bookshops and in libraries. COMMENT: A sign of the times

6.The Turkish lira continued to depreciate Jan. 11, dropping by nearly 2.7 percent on the day and hitting an all-time low of around 3.93 liras to the dollar, Bloomberg reported. The lira has already fallen by nearly 9 percent since the start of 2017 after dropping by nearly 17 percent in 2016. COMMENT: The Turkish currency is not alone in this pre-Trump era. The Japanese Yen, the Euro, the Chinese Yuan, the Mexican Pesos and many others are compensating for possible US Tariffs and/or political upheaval.

7.Stratfor: Though Netanyahu's government does not have complete control over the Israeli settlements proliferating in the contested West Bank, it has no intention of amending its settlement policy. Holding the territory between the borders established after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and those drawn after 1967's Six-Day War is part of Israel's defensive strategy.  As for the rights of generations of Palestinian refugees, a unifying cause for the Arab states since 1967, new refugee populations in the Middle East have pushed the issue to the backburner. COMMENT: The two-state solution died when the Obama inspired Arab spring began. 

My fake plants died because I did not pretend to water them-Mitch Hedberg

The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made- Groucho Marx

“He knows nothing; and he thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career.” ― George Bernard Shaw