This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. October 7, 2011

TODAY’S FACTOID:

Currently:

52 percent of Silicon Valley‘s tech companies were started by immigrants, who also contributed to 25 percent of US global patents.

24 percent of science and engineering workers with bachelor’s degrees and 47 percent of those with doctorates in the US are immigrants.

25 percent of ninth graders in the US fail to complete high school. Only Mexico, Spain, Turkey and New Zealand, among major industrialized countries, have higher drop out rates.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM AMERICA:

1. Steve Jobs: Steve Jobs, perhaps the most effective and creative innovator in modern America, has died. He was born in San Francisco to single mother. His father was a Syrian immigrant. His unmarried parents gave him up for adoption to a family named Jobs who lived on the Peninsula .

I guess to some, this would make him not quite American, as he was born in San Francisco to an unmarried woman and an immigrant father [who may or may not have been illegal] from the Near-east.

2. Apple Stock: Following the death of Steve Jobs, Apple’s management announced that its business plan was to expand the company’s existing products into new markets. No mention was made of developing “insanely great” world-changing products. This resembles Apple’s business plan that forced Apple to the brink of bankruptcy a few decades ago, after they had forced Jobs out of the company. Jobs purchased the struggling company from the accountants and business experts and restored it to concentrating on developing innovative products.

I guess this probably means that Apple stock is not a good long-term investment.

3. Interest Rates and the Insanity of the Economists: Recent reports have indicated that mortgage rates in America have fallen to below 4% their lowest rates in years.

Economists have told us that a major component of interest rates, if not the major component, is risk as reflected by the various rating agencies (Moody’s , etc.). This theory applies to private and governmental debt equally. But at no time in recent history has the risk to lenders of default on mortgages been greater. So what’s gong on?

Simple, risk has only a small part to play in setting interest rates, except when demand is highest. Then, it becomes a legal way to set prices to receive premium returns on certain loans.

So how does this translate to the governmental debt crisis in Europe and elsewhere?

We are told by these same economists that governmental default on debt will result in increased borrowing costs. Not true! The purpose of the so-called theory is to protect existing profits. Future interest rates will be set on demand irrespective of past events. While some banks my go out of business as a result of their unwise loans, the remaining banks will need to compete on interest rates to stay in business, as demand drops so will interest rates. This is more in keeping with traditional economic theory than what we are told about the impact of risk on lending.

And what will the result be if defaults occur? Well, probably the deadwood on Wall Street and the financial institutions will be walking the same unemployment lines as the industrial worker they have been so free to ridicule and fewer of the latter will be walking with them.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

I am writing this sitting on the Sacramento to SF train as I return to the City for at least a few days. We have just crossed the bridge over the American River (or is it the Sacramento River)? The beginning of the Skies are a dappled grey and white marking the beginning of the rainy season signaling the coming of winter to the Northern Sierras.

Before boarding the train, Nikki and I spent a frantic hour or two running about to the shops we visited yesterday looking for my lost phone, the one that had just been repaired. We finally located it under the seat of the car.

Throughout the search Nikki had to field hysterical phone calls from SWAC. Last night she spent with one of her friends. Before leaving she announced that she would be gone most of the day and instructed us to get Hayden up and to school. She also informed me that I should return to SF for a few days since the owner of the house was returning and there was not enough bedrooms for all of us.

In the morning just as we were putting Hayden into the car to take him to school, she called in a frenzy announcing that she needed the car right away. Although Nikki explained that it would be impossible since we had to drop the child off, eat breakfast, look for my phone and drop me off at the train station as she had instructed. Nevertheless Nikki had to field a call from the overwrought SWAC every two minutes or so. She would not tell him why it was so important for her to have the car at that specific time.

This evening I went with my daughter-in-law Annemarie to the San Francisco Film Society Theater to see a movie directed by John Tuturro called “Passionare.” It is a film about Neapolitan traditional music. I loved it. It was especially poignant to me because many of the artists in the film were the same ones that I enjoyed listening to when I first visited Naples over 40 years ago, much older now but perhaps even in better voice. For those who remember, one of the singers was Mina. I used to collect all her recordings.

I also enjoyed the film because most of the performers were older and the women still had their strong unreconstructed faces. It was like the Buena Vista Social Club,” but with older women rather than old male musicians.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

See: http://papajoesfables.wordpress.com/

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

RED STAR

Chapter: Blackhawk Down:

If one of the golfers playing along the 17th fairway looked up at the house above them they would be able to see through the sliding french doors that looked over the fairway the three kneeling men.

The oldest of the three men, bony and balding with liver spots showing through his wispy grey hair was outfitted in the garish clashing colors of the golfer, in this case a bright red polo shirt and violent yellow short pants. The tallest of the men looked to be in his mid thirties.  He was quite tall and slender looking with the taut wiry muscles of a professional athlete. He was dressed in a deep blue Brioni jacket, white silk tee-shirt and dark pants. The third a man in his late forties or early fifties was dressed as though he had just returned to camp from hiking through the woods, canvas jacket, red and black checked Pendleton shirt and tan canvas pants tucked into a pair of hiking boots.

The old man was speaking his prayer:

“It is dominion that we are after. Not just a voice. It is dominion we are after. Not just influence. It is dominion we are after. Not just equal time. It is dominion we are after. World conquest. That’s what Christ has commissioned us to accomplish. We must use strength to win the world with the power of the Gospel. And we must never settle for anything less. Jesus give us the strength of your power to achieve your kingdom on earth at this time so that we the elect can bring forth the end of times and share in your sovereignty forever. Amen.”

“Amen,” the other two mumbled. Then they all rose up off their knees and sat down. The oldster on an overstuffed arm-chair with a brown and yellow floral pattern. The other two sat on opposite ends of the large dark brown sofa situated at right angles to the chair.

After a few moments of silence, the wife of the older man quietly entered the room as though she were entering a church. The woman was quite thin, had greying brown hair and wore a relatively shapeless grey dress. She came in with a tray holding three tall glasses filled with ice and lemonade and set it on the low table in front of the men.

“Thank you my dear,” said the oldster.

“Yes, thank you Mrs Boone,” said the Brioni dressed man rising as she entered.

“Oh, please don’t get up for me. I know you all have important things to discuss. I thought you could use some refreshment.”

The third man neither rose nor said anything.

After Mrs. Boone left the room the older man said, “Charles, thank you for flying all this way to meet with us.”

“No problem Reverend Michael,” the outdoorsman responded. “I believe this meeting is now necessary. Anyway, thank you for the use of your jet. I will be returning to Alaska right after this meeting. I think it’s time I reappear from out of the wilderness.”

“What’s your story for the press,” asked the younger man?

“I will tell them I slipped and fell and struck my head and had a touch of amnesia and that I luckily found that cabin with enough provisions for me to nurse myself back to health and recover my wits.”

“Do you think that will work?”

“Yes, my disappearance I am afraid was not of much interest to the press so I think they will be satisfied with that especially when I also thank God for bestowing his divine providence on me.”

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Last Words:

“Go Raiders!”

Last words of Robert Charles Comer, who was executed for murdering a camper east of Phoenix in 1987 and for raping a female camper.

At least he died a football fan.

b. More I didn’t know that:

The following, was taken from an email sent to me by my good friend Phillip Cheresh.

Q: Why do men’s clothes have buttons on the right while women’s clothes have buttons on the left?
A: When buttons were invented, they were very expensive and worn primarily by the rich. Since most people are right-handed, it is easier to push buttons on the right through holes on the left. Because wealthy women were dressed by maids, dressmakers put the buttons on the maid’s right! And that’s where women’s buttons have remained since.
c. From God’s Mouth to your ears:

“And the men that died not were smitten with the emerods (hemorrhoids): and the cry of the city went up to heaven.” 
1 Samuel 5:12

I admit it, I too cry to heaven whenever I am smitten [a good word for the occasion] with hemorrhoids.

d. The difference between a traditional conservative and the modern version of those who call themselves conservative:

The traditional Conservative believed that social change is inevitable and often beneficial but that it should evolve slowly so that the citizenry can adjust to it. The modern Conservative believes that the only valuable social change is the violent, immediate return to a social order that never existed.

e. Testosterone Chronicles:

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Through size, corporations, once merely an efficient tool employed by individuals in the conduct of private business have become an institution-an institution which has brought such concentration of economic power that so-called private corporations are sometimes able to dominate the state. The typical business corporation of the last century, owned by a small group of individuals, managed by their owners, and limited in size by their private wealth, is being supplanted by huge concerns in which the lives of tens or hundreds of thousands of employees and the property of tens of hundreds of thousands of investors are subjected, through the corporate mechanism, to the control of a few men. Ownership has been separated from control; and this separation has removed many of the checks which formerly operated to curb the misuse of wealth and power. And, as ownership of the shares is becoming continually more dispersed, the power which formerly accompanied ownership is becoming increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few… [and] coincident with the growth of these giant corporations, there has occurred a marked concentration of individual wealth; and that the resulting disparity in incomes is a major cause of the existing depression.”
Dissent, Liggett Co. v. Lee, 288 U.S. 517 (1933), at 565-67. Justice Louis Brandeis

To me, Brandeis identifies the critical element that is missing in the current debate regarding our political system, the economy and the environment. While economists wax wroth over which theory of financial exchange is real, and conservatives and liberals are engaged in a fight to the death over whether government is the problem or the solution, the institutions that so troubled Brandeis, have continued their legislative and judicial march, increasing their wealth and power until now they stand on the verge of acquiring all the rights of an individual with a few of the duties. For all extents and purposes there has ceased to be a distinction between very large corporations (VLCS) and nations except that in many cases the VLCS have greater economic and political power than many if not most countries, as well as greater control of their dependents (worker’s and customers) than most countries have over their citizens.

With the impending collapse of liberal democracies under the influence of these institutions (VLCS) and climate, religious and ideological pressures, I can foresee a time in the not to distant future where in some cases the fiction of Democracy will be done away with and the VLCS will reign again as did the British East India Company in India.

We must never forget that to a great extent it was these types of commercial companies, with much less economic and political power [no one thought they were individuals] who created colonial America. Also, remember a nation-state originated as a commercial enterprise based upon the exploitation of land and managed by a small group of self perpetuating individuals. Liberal Democracy was an idea borrowed from city-states not nation-states.

TODAY’S CHART:

A huge share of the nation’s economic growth over the past 30 years has gone to the top one-hundredth of one percent, who now make an average of $27 million per household. The average income for the bottom 90 percent of us? $31,244.

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Categories: October 2011 through December 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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