Posts Tagged With: Factoid

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 12 Pepe 0006 (October 30, 2017)



“Lawyers do favors like cats take mice for a walk.”
Hill, Reginald. The Roar of the Butterflies (p. 105). HarperCollins.





My Beloved Friend Luigi (Gigi) Gallo, His wife, Lia, and Their Son, Marco, at Dinner in Sicily. Gigi and Marco were Award Winning Race Car Drivers. Marco is Now One of Italy’s Premier Sport’s Nutritionists.




The skies over the Golden Hills have turned blue again. Alas, as good as it is for us who live here, for those living on the other side of the Great Valley suffering from the still blazing conflagration, it only means their lives have probably gotten even worse. A week after the fires began, they still rage on, thousands remain homeless and many unaccounted for.

On Sunday, HRM baked a birthday cake for me. He, Dick, and Sharkie the Goldfish gave me a nice warm jacket as a present accompanied by a birthday card signed by each.

The weather has gotten warmer in the golden hills. A new species of geese recently has taken up residence in the lake by our house. These geese, unlike the Canadian variety that are common at the lake this time of year, have white necks and a bump on the top of their beak. I have never seen them around here before.
The new geese on the lake being led around by the local white duck. Perhaps the duck is the lake’s resident real estate agent.

Dick left for a week in Thailand. Nikki arrived a day or two after Dick departed. HRM and Nikki attended a big concert at Discovery Park in Sacramento. Dick came down with food poisoning in Bangkok. I swam in the pool a lot and seem to be gaining weight again — about four pounds in the past week.

After Nikki left, Adrian arrived for the weekend. Since he will be available to care for HRM, I decided to spend the weekend in SF with Peter and Barrie. So, on Saturday, after downing a bowl of Raisin Bran and watering the plants, I left for the city by the bay.

That evening, I accompanied Peter to the El Cerrito Free Folk Festival where Peter was to perform with his Blues band, Blind Lemon Pledge, and where I played temporary roadie.
Blind Lemon Pledge with Peter on Bass.

I also enjoyed the music of an engaging trio harmonizing folk songs. It was the group’s final appearance together as one of them was to depart to the East Coast within the next few days to commence a solo recording career.

Then we returned to Peter’s house where we talked mostly about getting old. The next morning, after Barrie returned from her morning swim in SF Bay, we ate a breakfast of locks, bagels, and cream cheese. I then returned home —No Bernie’s and coffee while sitting on the Old Man’s Bench talking with Don on this trip —a pity that.





As citizens of the United States of America, our allegiance is to the Constitution. The Constitution of the United States created neither flags nor banners nor pledges or anthems.

What it does do, and does so clearly, it preserves the right of any individual to peacefully express his or her objection to perceived violations of their Constitutionally protected rights and to petition for their redress. No anthems, pledges or banners no matter how fervently held by some can alter or deprive a citizen of those rights, and the peaceful exercise of those rights remain available to the citizen in all cases until a ruling adverse as to that specific exercise of those constitutionally protected rights are adjudicated by a competent judicial tribunal as beyond such protections in that particular case.

This is a sacred ideal bound into our founding documents at the birth of our nation. It is these ideals that ostensibly we as a nation have gone to war to protect and for which citizens of this nation have died doing so. No banner no matter how bloody, no anthem no matter how fervently sung, and no pledge no matter how passionately believed can be more sacred to a citizen of the nation than this.

We see around us throughout the world a darkness descending as nation after nation falls to that ideology against which we fought our revolution and most of our wars — the evils of the autocracy of wealth, privilege, might, and ideology.

Even where our leaders may have misled us as to their purposes, citizens of our nation have fought and died believing they did so to protect their fellow citizens and the ideal enshrined in our Constitution that the individual citizen has the right to effectively protest perceived injustice.





When I was a child, I was an obnoxious sharp tongued little snot especially to my mother who so loved me and sought some return of affection from me that she would do just about anything that she thought might please me. For example, every morning, she always laid out my clothes, freshly cleaned and pressed — every morning of my life until I left the house to live with my first wife. When I was just a child, she would over-starch everything even my underwear. I would sometime bleed from the chafing.

It is not that I am sloppy or wear any old wrinkled thing I find on the floor where I may have left it the night before or last week out of some misguided belief in fashion independence, but actually, because I have no knowledge and less will to do anything else. Come to think of it, my mother often told me that for the first nine months or so of my life I cried and screamed without letup almost the entire time. I would have murdered me in my cradle — but not my mom she was convinced I was destined for great things — a saint or even Pope. Alas, I failed to achieve either.

I was going to continue on in this dyspeptic vein writing about my annoyances and missteps throughout my teenage years and then jump to my declining years, but it’s been a few days after I wrote the above and I am feeling quite chipper— almost optimistic — so, I decided to stop here. Maybe, I will pick it up again in a later post. Meanwhile, I discovered this photograph of me taken in early 1944. I am wearing my sailor suit (a patriotic gesture to WWII) and appear to be either uncomfortable with the amount of starch my mother put in it or suspicious about something — probably everything.
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An amicable pair is two numbers each of which is equal to the sum of the divisors of the other. The smallest ones, 220 and 284, were regarded by the Pythagoreans as symbols of true friendship.

(So, if I am 220 who is 284? Do I get to choose? What would Pythagoras do?)







A. Xander’s Perceptions:

Good for Lebron. Michael Jordan was criticized — rightfully — for not speaking out on issues and problems within the African-American community (who did he think bought his overpriced shoes, anyway?). Colin Kaepernick is still blacklisted and jobless for having the temerity to exercise his First Amendment rights by kneeling during the playing of the national anthem. Until very recently, most football teams stayed in their locker rooms until after the playing of the anthem.

The national anthem wasn’t even proclaimed as our national anthem until Woodrow Wilson did so just before our entry into World War 1, and Congress didn’t make it official until 1931. And yes, I was actually in attendance at the Padres-Cincinnati twi-night doubleheader in which Roseanne Barr sang the anthem . . . before the SECOND game, BTW. It was supposed to be a tribute to working women, but Barr was booed as she took the field. Whether she just has a crappy singing voice or whether she decided to stay in character — or to deliberately piss off the crowd in conservative tight-ass Navy-town San Diego — she was given no respect beforehand. I suspect she did it on purpose to give the crowd some payback for booing her mere presence (the Padres at the time were owned by a group of investors headed up by Tom Werner, the producer of “Roseanne”).

Colin Kaepernick, BTW, was hardly the first athlete to stage a protest during the national anthem. Sprinters Tommy Smith and John Carlos famously raised their fists — covered in black gloves — at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City to protest the treatment of African-Americans in the U. S. You’d have thought they dropped their pants and crapped on the podium.

This country STILL hasn’t lived up to the lofty ideals expressed in the Preamble to the U. S. Constitution. Virtually no one in the country understands what the phrase “in Order to form a more perfect Union” truly means.

Did you ever doubt I was going to explain it?

The phrase “in Order to form a more perfect Union” was mentioned because the Articles of Confederation were an unmitigated disaster. There was no central federal government, and we were FAR from being a united nation. We were thirteen nations, each going its own way, with everybody printing their own currencies, passing their own laws, and just daring some foreign nation to come in and take us out. Most importantly, there was no authorization to raise taxes for “the common defence [sic],” among many other things. This more perfect union fixed that problem by creating a stronger federal government with the power and ability to raise taxes to fund a nation of thirteen independent little countries into a functioning whole.

So, now you know: Paying federal taxes is patriotic! Have fun with that little fact.


B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

In life, there is right and wrong but in law, there is only what can or cannot be proven.
Trenz Pruca by way of R. Hill.


C. Today’s Poem:

A Man Said to the Universe

A man said to the universe:
“Sir I exist!”
“However,” replied the universe,
“The fact has not created in me
A sense of obligation.”
Stephen Crane


D. From Peter:

“For some reason, I couldn’t scroll past a few early paragraphs to reply, so here goes. The technical nonsense fits with a couple of other recent things resulting from our switching our Wifi network; some company (Sonic) says it’s faster; apparently, it is, but adjusting stuff has been tedious. Minimal compared to losing one’s domicile and everything in it in a fire. That, coupled with declining memory, leads to endlessly reciting the Diamond Sutra while swigging last drops from a bottle of white port on a Tenderloin curb, oblivious to whatever else surrounds until you can’t remember whether you said ‘Om’ enough; or, if you’re lucky(?), you’ve been put in a home where your days pass, as my brother commented on his first wife’s mother who was in such a home with some variety of dementia, where you are “happy as a clam”…….

H’s comments about his schoolmates suffering having unhappy home lives are deeply depressing, chilling for the future, and in the context of the country’s frightening political and psychological ills, seriously gloomy.

Survival— keeping on, as the next day might actually dawn beautiful and worth having stayed around for. Meanwhile, the physical therapy continues, with probably another month to go before the occasional aches finally vanish. Could be worse.

As to eyes, yes re: survival, but I’d venture that as the vast majority of what prehistoric humans ate was not animal flesh but roots and tubers painstakingly gathered daily by The Women, eyes were indeed needed for that even more than, though as well as, for gazelles.

Joys of context: observing based on one’s beliefs- drop acid and Observe.

Meanwhile, on Nov. 17 (a Friday), the fine folk of Noe Valley are throwing a fundraiser event to benefit victims of the Sonoma/Napa fires, at the “Town Square” on 24th St., where the farmers market is held, from 5-9pm. All the bands that play at the farmers market will play during the event, everyone doing their bit. They Call Me Lucky will kick it off at 5, followed shortly by Blind Lemon Pledge; so I get to play in both early. Bannon will not be speaking.

Before I forget, Om.”




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Photographic Study: Sunset on the Golden Hills

Categories: October through December 2017, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. March 28, 2011


a. 10,000 BC The Middle East domesticates goats (they later domesticate sheep).

(And the jokes have not ended yet.)

b. 2010 General Electric managed the remarkable task of paying absolutely no taxes on US profits of $5.1 billion.

(37 companies like Citigroup and AIG that received more in tax credits than they paid.)

c. 2006 Jackson Pollock’s 1948 painting entitled No. 5 sold for $140 million (Inflation-adjusted value: $151.8 million).

(Not a bad wage for spilling a can of paint.)


a. There was a 6.8 magnitude earthquake in northern Burma just across the border from Thailand. There was some damage to buildings in the area. As usual after events of this kind there are calls for strengthening the building code. Developers claim current codes are adequate (even though buildings did fall down). As far as I know Thailand has no significant zoning codes or planning laws. I am not sure if it has a building code or has code enforcement capability.

b. Apparently here has been a military reshuffle that has consolidated the power of the dominant “Tigers of the East” faction. This faction spearheaded the suppression of the Red Shirt protest.

c. Thailand has purchased 200 tanks (yes 200) from the Ukraine (yes the Ukraine). Many of the troops are unhappy with the purchase preferring a South Korean model over the Ukrainian. Apparently the Ukrainian model has to stop moving to reload.
(What foreign enemy does Thailand require 200 new tanks to repel? Stops to reload!!!)

d. A recent report in the Bangkok Post raises fears that a potential victory by the opposition party could lead to replacement of the current army chief (protegé of the leader of the military coup that toppled previous democratically elected regime) resulting in another coup attempt.

e. Fake Buddhist monks (usually foreigners) are becoming a problem in Thailand. It appears that these fake monks are wandering the streets of the country alms-collecting after 10 AM, the time the local monks end their activity and return to the temple precincts.


I am writing this from Paradise by the Sea where I have been residing the past four days. I will probably return to Bangkok today and post this from there.It is still overcast and both the sky and the waters of the bay are a shimmering grey with almost no discernible horizon. The only colors are provided by the beach umbrellas and the flags fluttering from the fishing boats as the chug out to lay their nets in the bay.

I have done little since I have been here except enjoy the solitude and the break from parenting.

Of course Hayden’s impending departure is sad for me. I have the option of returning to the US with him and SWAC in early May. I may consider it since I have to arrange for my operation during May or June anyway.

SWAC is now contemplating sending him to boarding school in a year or so. For a young boy whose separation anxiety has become almost pathological, such a course of action seems incomprehensible to me. On the other hand he is now getting to that age where whatever trauma he has suffered begins to become hard-wired into his personality. Here may be a boy growing up too quickly being forced to face down life. What was once and endearing little boy suffering under the vagaries of adult insensitivity, within a year or two may congeal into the personality of an uncontrollable brat, making such drastic solutions the only options for such inept parenting. On the other hand, and there is always another hand, maybe not.


Chapter 15:

The next sensation Vince had was of a strong hand pulling him up by his arm followed by blinding pain in his head. Slowly his vision cleared and he saw that it was Isabella pulling him upright with one hand. In her other she grasped a gun. As he gained his feet and leaned into her for support and the world continued to spin about he noticed a body lying in its back on the sidewalk bleeding profusely from its nose and mouth and gasping for breath.

“Whaa..” he got out of his mouth slowly before feeling her push him toward the car.

“Quick,” she said, “lean on me.”

As he turned for support he glimpsed what appeared to be the other assailant limping away around the corner.

“Give me your keys,” she demanded when the reached the car. She took the keys unlocked the doors and helped him into the passenger seat,got into the driver’s side, threw the gun into the back seat, started the car and squealed off down the street in the opposite direction from which the other attacker fled.

“Where are we going?” he asked, grabbing the back of his head and pressing on it in a futile attempt to stop the pain.

“To the hospital to have you checked out, you may have a concussion.”

“No, no,” he said. “Lets go somewhere I can walk around for a while. I am sure I will be all-right.”

So she drove them to Noe Valley, a fully gentrified San Francisco neighborhood. A one time working class ghetto, than artist hangout in the sixties and seventies, followed by an influx of yuppies flush with money from dot-com startups seeking a picturesque community in which to set down roots and drive up property values which they did with a vengeance until at one time property values were the third highest neighborhood in the City. With the collapse of the dot-com bubble, those who had not already cashed out of their inflated properties were trapped by their mortgages just like the working class families of a generation or so ago.

She parked about a block off the main commercial drag, 24th St, of the neighborhood and after walking about for about an hour or so they found themselves sitting in one of the overabundant coffee shops that sting up in neighborhoods like this like crab-grass in a suburban lawn.

“What happened back there?” Vince asked.

She stared at him for a moment with that placid look she affects. “You were very brave. You stepped in from of me and threw a punch into the face of that guy. He fell down and dropped his gun.”

“Why did I fall?”

“You probably swung so hard you tripped”

Later after driving him to his apartment and parking in the parking lot, she said,“I have to be going. I’ll take a taxi.”

“Won’t you come up? I may need medical assistance during the night.”

She laughed. “I am sure you will be all-right. I will call tomorrow,” and walked off.

He now stood in his bathroom the following morning, swallowing a handful of Tylenol to kill the pain. He stared in the mirror and began to have an uncomfortable feeling. At first he thought is was chagrin at his failure to appear attractive enough to he for her to accept his clumsy invitation to spend the night. No, although that was hard enough to deal with, it is something else he thought. Then he looked at his hands…


a. The Wit and Wisdom of Michael Collins:

` “…[N]ilism is a male disease of the soul, because we are not bearers of life. Men do not carry hope the way women do.”

b. Pookie’s Epistle on Economics:


My underlying criticism of economics today is what it leaves out and not what it includes. Among the many things left out in its idealized systems is that in the real world markets are manipulative. The basic drive to avoid competition by gaming and controlling either supply demand or the markets themselves appear to be either downplayed or ignored by resorting to the myth of the “invisible hand.”
Let me begin by repeating the insightful quote by HM Keynes:

“Capitalism is the extraordinary belief that the nastiest of men, for the nastiest of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all.”

I think we all for the most part agree with his observation. I would, however, substitute Classical (or Neoclassical) Economic Theory for capitalism. It appears most economic theory essentially ignores the reality that these nasty men won’t work for the benefit of all of us and perhaps more importantly some of them will unduly effect the course of economic events affecting the rest of us in a negative way. Many economists appear to approach this problem in one or more of the following ways:

1. They wring their hands and call for political intervention (Keynesians, etc.).
2. They ignore it claiming it could never happen (Neoclassical economists).
3. They consider it an externality along with the host of other externalities that are outside of the scope of their discipline (All).
4. They think it is a good thing (Neoclassical again and others).

To some extent they are all right that this and other supposed defects are external to the discipline. Such things like ethics, fraud and the commons and so on are beyond the tools of their profession. Looked at another way however, these so-called “externalities” represent almost everything that is important and necessary in life and in society. Nevertheless, these panjandrums of industry, academia and government are asked to advise us and even to act on our behalf on such things as jobs, education, food supplies and even our national interest all of which are fundamentally determined by ethics, fraud, the commons and a host of other so-called externalities. Unless these externalities, especially the thirst for power, are brought into a sociological system, the discipline will remain both defective and dangerous.

A recent article in WIRED discusses the seemingly inevitable domination of goods and serves by the uncontrolled few and examines its genesis.

“It is the cycle of capitalism. The story of industrial revolutions, after all, is a story of battles over control. A technology is invented, it spreads, a thousand flowers bloom, and then someone finds a way to own it, locking out others. It happens every time.

Take railroads. Uniform and open gauge standards helped the industry boom and created an explosion of competitors — in 1920, there were 186 major railroads in the US. But eventually the strongest of them rolled up the others, and today there are just seven — a regulated oligopoly. Or telephones. The invention of the switchboard was another open standard that allowed networks to interconnect. After telephone patents held by AT&T’s parent company expired in 1894, more than 6,000 independent phone companies sprouted up. But by 1939, AT&T controlled nearly all of the US’s long-distance lines and some four-fifths of its telephones. Or electricity. In the early 1900s, after the standardization to alternating current distribution, hundreds of small electric utilities were consolidated into huge holding companies. By the late 1920s, the 16 largest of those commanded more than 75 percent of the electricity generated in the US.

Indeed, there has hardly ever been a fortune created without a monopoly of some sort, or at least an oligopoly. This is the natural path of industrialization: invention, propagation, adoption, control.

Now it’s the Web’s turn to face the pressure for profits and the walled gardens that bring them. Openness is a wonderful thing in the non monetary economy of peer production. But eventually our tolerance for the delirious chaos of infinite competition finds its limits. Much as we love freedom and choice, we also love things that just work, reliably and seamlessly. And if we have to pay for what we love, well, that increasingly seems OK. Have you looked at your cell phone or cable bill lately?”

And the writer identifies a rule that describes this tendency to control over the so-called market by individuals or a small groups:

“Monopolies are actually even more likely in highly networked markets like the online world. The dark side of network effects is that rich nodes get richer. Metcalfe’s law, which states that the value of a network increases in proportion to the square of connections, creates winner-take-all markets, where the gap between the number one and number two players is typically large and growing.”

To me it seems that this dolorous progression; invention, propagation, adoption and control — and some version of Metcalfe’s law are vital to a valid description of the economic process. But, in the public debates and analysis of economists on the current state of our society, I rarely observe any recognition that this problem even exists.

The great historian Fernand Braudel pointed out that a “capitalist” does not participate willingly in markets or specialize but instead he searches the world to find whatever it is that would give him control over supply. In other words the last thing they want is competition.

Perhaps instead of capitalist (which like the word Capitalism) has become defined more by emotion, politics and private interest than any referent , we should call them by the name coined by Buckminster Fuller, “The Great Pirates”.

Although individuals may open shops and small businesses as alternatives to working for someone else, the Great Pirates enter into an enterprise only if in fact there is sizable unmet demand that can be easily controllable, or they perceive the potential for controlling the supply of some good or service. No other purpose makes any sense. To the Great Pirates competition is anathema.

Nor do the Great Pirates plan much beyond the next quarter or to counter immediate perceived threats to their own income and wealth. Nothing else appears to be of particular significance to them except to game whatever system is available for their own benefit (They hire consultants, economists, accountants and attorneys for everything else). As Stephen Herrington put it:

“I’ve never met anyone that was that smart and that ruthless at the same time. Maybe I’ve just not met the man in charge. Bernie Madoff was not that smart, only ruthless. He, like our global finance system, adapted to conditions as they presented themselves. He had no plan other than the next paycheck… Madoff gamed the low-interest rates arising from government policy of monetary easing necessitated by tax cuts. He promised higher returns and security where banks and stocks could not. He created a Ponzi scheme not too dissimilar too what global finance undertakes internationally right now. Global finance is loaning, secured by nation/state assets, on assets that will eventually run out and leave the countries loaned to in default and the banks failing because of defaults. They, like Madoff, do not have a plan.

Global finance now preys on government’s obligations to meet the needs of people. They loan and government pays, never quite reaching the horizon in which the returns on Keynesian investments in national economies pays off. This has become a global socioeconomic hamster treadmill in which no one benefits except the brokers. Eventually the global economic decline this predicts will affect bankers too. They just refuse to see it coming, like Madoff.”

The Huffington Post, May 13, 2010

These Great Pirates individually or in concert exert a significant influence in the creation of distortions of the so-called market. Failure to account for their influence as sooner or later a given in every market is a core defect in economic theory and if it is treated at all it is treated as an anomaly or dismissed as impossible.

Exacerbating this problem with market capture or dominance is that we are also currently experiencing a fundamental shift in the nature of the institutions that provide the vehicle for this. Corporations were originally created by government for a specific manufacturing or trading venture or task intended to benefit the state. Because often the uncertainty was so high and the potential size of the loss so great, the then existing debtor laws placed the investor’s estate at risk for confiscation on account of the debts occasioned by the potential failure of the enterprise, therefore it was necessary for the state to protect the investors estate in order to encourage investment in these ventures. After a certain amount of time estimated to be required to achieve the goals of the venture, they were supposed to go out of existence and the market system returned with all its risks intact.

This governmental intrusion (the creation of corporate institutions exempt from individual responsibility) into the supposed normal workings of the market for a public purpose, has over the centuries evolved first into exempting them from any time limit on the existence of the enterprise except organizational suicide or bankruptcy. The latter in most cases merely being a reorganization of their immortality.

Currently, this public exemption from the basic risks upon which the entire edifice of classical economics is founded has progressed to where these publicly chartered entities appear to be successfully grasping for the right to be treated as individual citizens under the Constitution but with fewer, if any, duties (including paying taxes should the corporate tax structure be shifted onto a consumption tax as these entities clearly desire).

Nor are they required to adhere to any standard of patriotism other than that needed to sell their products. (When has a corporation gone to war like the citizen solider is required to do?) As one of our founding fathers put it:

Merchants have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains. Thomas Jefferson

As an aside, if the so-called bond market vigilantes as so dead set on threatening the government by raising their bond ratings if their income from prior bonds purchased by government are put at risk, shouldn’t they be considered to be traitors or terrorists. The kings of old were willing to throw a few of them in jail whenever they attempted that brand of extortion.

Perhaps one of the most fundamental concepts imbedded in the United States Constitution is the objection to and prohibition of the establishment of hereditary nobility controlling the resources and power of the nation. After 200 years or so the corporate entities created by we the people for a limited and comprehensible reason, now stand on the threshold of something the nobles of old could only dream about, immortal control of wealth and power.

Add to this creep to an enduring aristocracy of the corporate elite is the evidence that these same entities originally created by us but now almost laws onto themselves have begun to take over (as did the nobles of old) the very functions of government that here in the United States were reserved by our Constitution to we the people.

Corporate officials and employees are involved in all aspects of governing and negotiating “over policy making, implementation, and enforcement,” as one legal scholar has noted.

Yet contractors’ imperatives are not necessarily the same as the government’s imperatives. Contractor companies are responsible for making a profit for their shareholders; government is supposedly answerable to the public and the nation in a democracy.

Amid this environment complicated by mixed motives, new institutional forms of governing have gathered force as government and contractor officials interact (or don’t) in the course of projects; as chains of command among contractors and the agencies they supposedly work for have become ever-more convoluted; as contractors perform inherently governmental functions beyond the capacity of government to manage them; and, as contractors standing in for government are not subject to the same rules that apply to government officials. Wedel and Keenan, Shadow Elite The Huffington Post, August 26, 2010.

One cannot have a market system where major players in the market are exempt for the risks inherent in the concept. Instead of focussing on returning capital to the rules of the market, the elite seek the Economists as their mouthpieces who dutifully obsess with other thing things like breaking up community land holdings in order to bring them into the market (See DeSoto______)

Despite the obviousness of it all and irrespective of the fact that these entities (The Great Pirates and the Multi-national Corporations) are major players on the economic stage and have garnered to themselves the power and ability to destroy and enslave whole societies, should the worst occur, the economic consultant community I expect, once again, will claim they could not have seen it coming.

Make no mistake about it, this is not Capitalism. Marx was wrong. He did not comprehend the sociology or psychology of it all. This lust for wealth, power and control is fundamental to humanity and the various so-called economic systems (Capitalism, Feudalism, Mercantilism, yes and even Socialism and Communism) are merely the mechanism used to assure that the fruits of society are reserved for its most socially irresponsible members. Fraud is endemic to all these systems and yet mostly ignored in their intellectual underpinnings.

As a result of this, the basic concepts of supply and demand are ephemeral at best since both are almost infinitely manipulate (e.g., advertising manipulates demand and monopolization manipulates supply).

Another thing missing in most economic discussions that I have read or listened to, is the impact of transition costs (fees, etc.)inherent in a market as well as the independent entities (brokers, etc) managing the transactions in distorting the ephemeral efficient market (ultimately it is the parasite who usually does the best).

While many astute and responsible people call for a paradigm shift in the essential bases of economics (such as Krugman [New York Times September 2, 2009]) they must be approached with caution since they themselves are practitioners of that very discipline that has been found so wanting.

In Science a physical theory that is logically consistent may be considered to be the truth only until it is falsified. Once falsified the theory looses its status and should be thrown away. The Economists wish their discipline to be considered the next best thing to a hard Science but they seem unable accept their theories may be added to the trash heap of history. Not only is it lacking in its central concepts but almost without exception its practitioners work for the very interests that seek to preserve their hard-won ascendency. You would be considered a fool to believe an attorney retained by his opponent when he tells him that is looking out for your best interests. Why then do we believe the economists?

It we must choose a discipline with which to begin a reformation of this world view, I would much prefer sociology at least there the pretense of a panglossian world is muted. It also does not look back to a founding prophet (Adam Smith) from which all deviations can be described as evolution of the essential truth (whether or not referred to as paradigm shifts). That is a religion and not a science.

What I think is required now is to begin with the basic concept of the society that we wish to live in and the social science we call Economics today should be developed as a mechanism to describe how to get there, that is if we the people hire them before they go to work for those who would prefer we not get there at all.

c. Today’s chart:


“A conservative is a man who believes that nothing should be done for the first time.”

~Alfred E. Wiggam

Categories: January 2011 through March 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. March 25, 2011


2008-A record 14.6% of all new marriages in the United States were between spouses of a different race or ethnicity from one another. This compares to 8.0% of all current marriages regardless of when they occurred. Multiracial Americans numbered 6.8 million in 2000, or 2.4% of the population. Now statistics show that the percentage has increased to 6.7% in 2010 (Now over 12.5 million in November 2010).

(I could not help but notice that this 12.5 million is almost the same number that some claim are the number of illegal aliens in the United States today. Could it be that this rampant miscegenation is part of the same liberal plot to destroy American Capitalist Christian values, or am I just being smarmy again?)


The situation in Libya and Japan’s dominance in the news media seems to have made most of the ruling political entities in Thailand happy since those in opposition are experiencing great difficulty in obtaining coverage.

What happens in Thailand over the next few years may mean something to the retired farangs living here and some of the Thais but probably within a score of years it will be of little importance. Many other things are happening other than the shifting fortunes of the existing powerful like Gaddafi or those seeking the spoils of power themselves. We are approaching the perfect political and sociological storm caused by the undeniable impact of climate change, the continued explosive growth of population, globalization and urbanization added to the exhaustion of energy and resources like water. For example just the demographic shift in available workers for future production throws all long-term economic and political prognostication into turmoil.

It has been estimated in some business journals that only sub-Saharan Africa stands to see an appreciable growth in youth manpower. In fact, the sub-Sahara will account for over 100% of total growth in the world‘s 15-29 population, because many regions will find their pools of young manpower shrinking over the next two decades. Japan and Europe as a whole are both on course for significant absolute declines in this key manpower pool over the next 20 years (prospective drops of almost 25%). But by far the most massive falloff in young manpower is set to take place in China. Over the next 20 years, by the Census Bureau‘s projections, this key working age group will be falling in China by fully 100 million persons—or over 30 percent.

In 2008 some two hundred million people — 3% of the world’s population — were living outside their native land. In most first world countries the population of foreign-born was over 10%.

The most ironic fact of all this is that in all likelihood the future lies in the North Central US, Canada and Siberia. Those working age people will flock to the agricultural and natural resource jobs made available by warming and diminishing resources elsewhere (think water and wind). The already minuscule population base of these areas (6 million in Siberia and 35 million in Canada, that currently comprises about .05% of the world’s population on about 15-20% of its land area) will be overwhelmed by these new immigrants, irrevocably altering those societies.


I have retreated to the solitude and solace of Paradise by the Sea to try to deal with the fact that I seem unable to deal with the facts. If these decisions were of the significance of say life or death I would understand my difficulty in making them. But alas, I must admit they are more about whether to have a second cafe latte or leave for the US on April 29th or May 5th or whether I should wear my camouflage shorts today or a solid color pair. Heaven must be where one goes to avoid all responsibility. God upon greeting you probably says, “Congratulations you made it. You don’t have to give a shit anymore. Just wear a white shift and spend all day stoned on glory and a sense of superiority that no you longer have to figure out how to survive as you or for that matter even be nice to anyone.”

(Damn, I finally found a reason to want to go to heaven.)

For the past few weeks the weather has been mostly overcast and a bit dreary here in Thailand. Obviously we are going into some seasonal change. Some people I have spoken with have said that this weather is quite unusual for the season. Others blame it on global warming.

Annual fluctuation in weather is mostly meaningless. Any process of climate change — both natural and man-made — unfolds erratically over time (a lot like the stock market). Long term all peer-reviewed studies have shown that, regardless of the cause, we are locked into some degree of warming; but by the end of this century, the actions taken now whether to try to curb it or to ignore it and deal with a host of other problems will matter enormously. To a greater or lesser degree, the worlds desert belt (Sahara, Middle East and Southwest North America will expand north and south (probably including Northern India and Southeast Asia and Central China) while the east and west coasts of the northern continents will experience more precipitation as rain and snow.

The Chinese have a curse, “May you live in interesting times.” Alas, our children and their children certainly shall.


Chapter 14

Vince awoke suddenly with a splitting headache and shattered memories of last night. He gobbled up five extra-strength Tylenol to deal with the former and lay back on his bed to try to deal with the latter.

He recalled that he and Isabella had just left the Club Basta, a trendy restaurant located in the Mission district on the wrong side of Mission Street. They had just finished dinner and were walking back to his car. The area was filled with semi-abandoned small factory buildings and warehouses that gave employment to the irish and italian immigrants who flocked to the Mission during the first half of the twentieth century. Now these buildings where not abandoned are invested with artist studios and restaurants and night clubs seeking low rents, the first wave of the eventual gentrification of the neighborhood. The neighborhood sat at the edge of the Mission Barrio where the new immigrants, from South and Central America settled after their predecessors left for the East bay and peninsula, taking the businesses and jobs with them leaving to these new immigrants the long difficult task of forging a new neighborhood from which they in their time will leave also.

They had just turned the corner onto a narrow dark street on which he had parked his automobile. Between him and his car he saw two men walking toward them looking a bit drunk. At first they did not concern him, but as they drew closer whatever evolutionary development of male harmonies operated to make him wary he placed himself between them and Isabella. Now of course, not even Neanderthal man would place himself in the danger that modern man in his misguided concept of chivalry would.

As they grew abreast suddenly he saw something that looked metallic being drawn out of one man’s pocket. He moved forward seeking to protect Isabella from whatever. Suddenly he felt himself thrust violently back against the warehouse brick wall. There was a flash or white light, like lightning from a summer storm, then everything turned red and faded to black.


a. Chart of the Day:

b. From Gods mouth to your ears:

“He that is wounded in the stones or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord.”
– Deuteronomy 23.1.

(Does this mean that those who have had their prostate removed are excluded from church or temple? Should I rethink my doctor’s recommendation on theological grounds? Should I pray for a miracle?)


“Our houses are such unwieldy property that we are often imprisoned rather than housed by them.”
~Henry David Thoreau

Categories: January 2011 through March 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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