Archive for June, 2008

Legal Oligarchy

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

Dear friends,

Today the legislative branch of our government here in the USA is wringing it’s hands over whether to give immunity to some telecommunication companies from class action lawsuits… For helping the government protect us from terrorists that want to kill us and our children.

I find it amazing that the legislature finds it so important to protect the rights of the legal oligarchy over the rights of retirees, pensioners, and everyone else who has a stock portfolio. Somehow society is helped if rich attorneys are further enriched at the expense of the rest of us. With the added bonus that the telecommunication companies would have had much less largess to invest in developing DSL, fiber to the premises and other innovative products to improve our lot…

It’s apparent who’s corner the legislature is in.

In a court in Maine several powerful law firms are vying for the right to file a class action lawsuit against Hannaford Supermarkets for having had someone steal credit card numbers from the Hannaford data base of shoppers.

I shop at Hannaford’s and use my credit card there. I am materially affected by the security breach. I cannot imagine how I gain when a wealthy law firm, from out of the area affected, is enriched, at the expense of retirees and pensioners. Plus, Hannaford Supermarkets will have less money to spend on upgrading their security. Further putting me at risk…

All for the enrichment of some rich out-of-state attorney.

But, you still argue, they are not an oligarchy…are they?

Pointing Fingers

Sunday, June 22nd, 2008

Dear Friends,

Commodity prices, like food and Fuel, are on a long term upward trend because;

Close to two billion people in China and India, until now, have had to find a stick, sharpen it on a stone. Then use the stick to scratch a furrow in some rocky dry soil. Drop in a few, gnawed on, seeds and pray that an armored division doesn’t roll through the garden. That was the way they subsisted.

Now some of them have jobs and more are getting jobs. When you have a job, before you get a plasma TV, you get a bite to eat. Maybe a chicken pot pie. As people join the world economy those people are entitled to an ever increasing standard of living. Anyone who would begrudge a better standard of living to the workers of the world is a unmitigated equine’s rectum.

Now the world economy must provide the sustenance that is required for the workers that once subsisted on nothing. As more people join the planetary workforce the needs of those workers must and will be met. The old paradigm of looking to ones own county for food is getting less and less important.

When Britain used food as a weapon in the first world war it was the normal way of conducting war. In fact, that is the way Hitler justified invading the Soviet Union. “Germany has a RIGHT to feed itself!“ was Hitler’s justification. Drang nach Osten. Today however, we meet the supply needs of our enemies. Allowing the enemy to shoot at our children as they feed the children and wives of the people shooting at our children. Making the need to have ones food supply in country superfluous.

The best way to meet the needs of the new workers is to turn to Capitalism and the global economy. There are smart people all over the world. As they plug into the world economy their productive capacity will be available to the world economy. Ideas will flow freely and our needs, as people, will be met with increasingly lower unit cost and greater production, until equilibrium is met. That is the fundamental force of Capitalism. Where there is a need, there is a profit, where there is a profit, Capitalism will meet the need. Especially in basic commodities like food and energy that naturally foster perfect competition among suppliers.

The best way to short circuit this natural trend is to implement some poorly designed governmental regulation distorting the marketplace and creating friction to meeting the needs of the worlds workers. In this case the action of one nation effects the rest of the nations. The larger the nation the greater effect… Most nations, at this time, on Earth have regulations that distort the commodities markets.

Governments and poorly educated people want protectionist regulation. When that regulation inevitably leads to the needs of the people not being met the knee-jerk reaction of those same people is to point the finger of blame at the Market.

Someone needs to tell the governments of the world that when you point at someone else… there are three fingers pointing back at you.

Religion or Government

Sunday, June 22nd, 2008

Dear Reader

It seems to me that the maxim that, too much blood has been spilled in the name of religion, used as a thesis for then opining that this means organized religion is bad, to me is patently false.

One only needs look into the lens of history to see the falsehood. How many people died at the hands of Gilgamesh, and all the other tyrants and invaders that came after him? Perhaps a billion or more human beings. Religion is a poor reflection of that magnitude of carnage. The second world war matched all deaths from religion to date. Including the human sacrifices that the Aztecs, and other Mezzo-American cultures practiced.

The same people who glibly ridicule the religions of the world, using this sophist argument, then proclaim the greatness of the State. Using such spurious arguments as “the government has a legitimate role to play in helping people better their lives.” The best one I have heard in a long time was when Peter Shumlin President of the Vermont Senate said on Vermont public Television that “What the legislature does best is decide what decisions to make for the people.” (This went by without any questions from the moderator… that would have been ‘biased‘.)

If we are to believe that the number of deaths that result from a given human action, i.e. Religion, makes it a bad, then we must also believe that another human action, i.e. Government, is much worse due to the magnitude of deaths resulting from its actions.

To deny the one, denies also the other…

Russia and the Numa

Sunday, June 15th, 2008

Dear Reader,

I don’t like as a rule to bring up specific cases of governments in this blog… but in this instance I will suspend my rule and make a general statement from a specific example. The example is Russia.

Descendants of the Scythians, the Russian people have one of the most sad histories of any people. Brutalized by the Mongols, and trod upon by the Tsars they have shown uncanny resiliency. Operation Barbarossa murdered twenty million of them. Yet they are still here. If any people deserves a day in the sun it is Russia.

The ascendancy of a people, especially today, requires virtue. Machiavelli said that a corrupt people can never be free. He also agreed with Confucius that corruption flowed from the governors to the governed. The Taipei Times reports that Russia’s government is one hundred fourty third in the world in corruption by Transparency International’s global corruption perceptions index. Apparently Russia has a problem. If the Russian government has a problem it only needs look in the mirror to see the culprit.

For Russia to reach it’s potential Russia needs to get a handle on the endemic corruption that is a holdover from the old Soviet State. To this end the Numa, (Fourth Branch of government), would be the best means.

The Numa would start by placing video cameras and other recording equipment in the offices of every government official. The tapes would be classified as secret or not. Those recordings not deemed secret by the pertinent government office in partnership with that department of the Numa would be placed on the internet or other suitable public location. Anyone having business with the government that was not satisfied with the results would have access to the relevant recordings. Making government open to scrutiny.

Next the Numa would investigate the past dealings of public officials. The Numa would prosecute any officials that had been found to have involved him/her self in corrupt practices. There could perhaps be some form of amnesty in the first years of the Numa to ease the transition. But truly egregious acts must be punished.

The primary purpose of the Numa would be to let the government govern. Not to allow government to be a vehicle to enrich those that come into power. Corruption in government makes good government impossible, the incentives are wrong. People need good incentives to do good works. Right the incentives and good government will follow.

Implementing the Numa in this instance would be tricky at best. The powerbrokers, (bureaucrats), would undermine the attempt at every turn. Knowing this is does not mean certain avoidance. People are crafty when their personal interest is involved. Regardless of the societal benefit or detriment. They would correctly see that they would be one of the key targets of this new branch of government. The crafters of the Numa would have to even more sly.

If the Russian people were to demand the implementation of the Numa and the government were to acquiesce to the demand, the power of the Russian people and their ingenuity would be unleashed. Resulting in a paradigm shift in world affairs… To the good!