Monday, September 6, 2010

Journey into History

My daughter, Nicolene, sent me a link to the Denver Post's website in which a series of 1940's pictures are published. I couldn't help but relate to the circumstances of the folks back then. (I listed the URL's of the sites below because they mess up the formating of the text if I keep them in-line.)

There are many photographs in this collection that freeze situations in time that amazed me, especially thinking how things got done back then compared to living in the 21st century, remembering some of my own experiences during that time.

I included one picture here, of Shulman's Market on Union Street in Washington, D.C. in 1941, which took me on an unexpected journey.

Just out of spite and to show off modern technology, with a few clicks I Googled Salada Tea, whose billboard one can see in the bay window of the display area to the left. (Click on the image to see an enlarged image.)

It immediately (well almost) produced about 38,000 results. The company's webpage indicates that it now belongs to Redco Foods and one can buy a case of Salada tea for $26. It must be a small case, considering the price of tea lately.

Wikipedia gives a more historical account of this company. It was founded in 1892 by Peter Larkin whose claim to fame was that he packaged his tea in foil instead of the loose-tea distribution model that was common at the time. Peter claimed that his tea was fresher and, I suppose, he would also have claimed that it would be as clean as it was when it left his factory. It worked because his tea became wildly popular. I couldn't help but wonder whether he patented his packaging method.

Other interesting posters in the windows are Prince Albert Crimp Cut long-burning pipe and cigarette tobacco as well as propaganda posters of Hitler, Mussolini and Yamamoto.

The posters of the latter trio weren't clear, so I didn't bother enlarging them. Based on folks who claim to have been there, the propaganda included phrases such as "What do you say now, America." Fascists and despots who are bent on taking our liberties away may ponder the course of history that followed those words.

Googling Shulman's Market produced over 400,000 results and I clicked on the very top one that had a copy of the picture above in its main page (http://www.shorpy.com/node/117). It also has comments from folks who knew the store and lived in the area. I added shorpy.com to my favorites with the intent of browsing around a bit more later.

What I didn't know was that the Library of Congress has a store, or a shop as they call it in which they credit the photographer as one Louise Rosskam. Among other things the following is said:

The Shulman's Market image is one of the more complex FSA images. The unfinished story of the little white girl sitting forlornly while the black mother and child stare, is compelling. Rosskam photographed many store fronts in Washington D.C. as well as farms and small communities.

To see more of the book showing this and other FSA images, click on the book "Bound for Glory: America in Color, 1939-1943" on the left side below

Medium : 1 transparency : color
Created/Published :Between 1941-1942
Creator : Louise Rosskam, photographer, 1910-2003
Part of the Farm Security Administration-Office of War Information Collection housed in the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress

Even though I make a living delving into and scouring the Internet, some things never fail to amaze me. On another site I found a photograph of the same store taken a few minutes after the other one. In the time it took Louise to walk back across the street and set up her camera and tripod, another little girl walked over to the white girl to talk to her. She moved over a little bit, too, so it was a conversation taking place between the two girls. Enlarging the image by clicking on it reveals that the new girl might be showing a doll to the forlorn girl - it is not clear.

Some sites contained photographs in which folks wanted to verify that the car in front of the store is a 1931 Chevy. They even published restored similar cars that matched the one here.

In another site I found yet another photograph of the same store, taken perhaps a while later as the little white girl is now gone and other people moved into the photograph.

Louise hasn't moved, however, as can be seen from where the top of the Chevy's windscreen coincides with the corner of the building and the black women with the gray sweater is now walking away from the store.

When I spend my leisure time on the Internet after having worked 50 or 60 hours on it during the week, I am reminded of pilots who fly away for some relaxation. It has to be in the blood.

For now I have stopped looking around for old pictures on the Internet because I get frustrated when it takes Google longer than one second to produce a half million results. What are we coming to?

Nevertheless, I encourage those of you who like to look back at history (and perhaps cross paths with times that you can remember) to visit these sites. For me it was a reality check that I want to check off regularly.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Power Freak

That just about sums me up. Not the kind of power that politicians, bishops and emperors run on; the kind of power that takes one from point A to any other point on the globe in a real hurry.

I wish an F18 pilot would invite me along for a ride instead of some reporter or news anchor who wouldn’t know an airplane or raw power if it bit him or her on the elbow.


I would like to yank a jet off the runway, perhaps not this close to the ground as you can see in the picture hereby, but perhaps a couple of inches higher, just to be sure I won’t be kissing the runway with those expensive pair of cheeks of the F18. Air force pilots can afford to rotate so close to the ground because, in the first instance, it’s not their airplane, and secondly, they have practiced riding a rocket out of the cockpit. I haven’t and it’s not my jet. If it were my jet, I’d have to fork over some serious cash just to write my name on the title, let alone keeping it there. But, as my brother always used to say, if you are going to dream, dream of worthwhile stuff not affordable ones. That’s a waste of time.

Ideally, I’d like to have a machine in which I can pull the nose up into a vertical climb and watch the ground fall away until it becomes a smooth surface, the horizon exhibits proof that the flat-earth theory is false, and the blue of the sky is beneath me.

For some reason, I wouldn’t want to experience that without the roar of the power that comes with that experience. I’d have to first think about doing that as an angel or spirit or other than having a massive jet engine strapped to my posterior. Perhaps that would have a kick of its own, I don’t know. Right now, kerosene, plenty of it per minute, and an engine that knows what to do with it, seems to be the ultimate thrill. Without that, it would seem like a Jurassic movie with mime-dinosaurs. It won’t fly, but we’ll have to wait and see, right?

When I still had my Aero Commander, I would sometimes call on her more than 500 horses to get us up and away real quick, and without question or hesitation -- and at their own peril if it should come to that -- they would send a shudder through the airframe that told me she still had somewhere within her the DNA of angels. Not ordinary angels, but homesick ones that just wait for their pilot to speak the words of Superman, “up, up and awaaaaaay.”

Back into my realm of expectations, I relate the F18-imagined experience to a turbo-charged VW Passat that I had a couple of years ago. The turbo-rush of that 1.8 liter, four cylinder engine made me call it my little rocket ship.

It’s a good thing I cannot afford a turbo Porsche or something really potent. I’d bend the steering wheel from all the trying to pull it up into a vertical climb.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Overpopulation and Food

Not many people know that there was a 19th century historian, Thomas Carlyle, who advocated the reintroduction of slavery in the West Indies because the liberation of slaves, he argued, resulted in a drop in their living standards and not having slaves in food production (crop harvesting and so on) would lead to massive starvation as population growth exceeded the rate of increase in the food supply.

Fools come in many shapes and sizes and have been throughout history. Carlyle referred to the study of economics as a dismal science because of his rather narrow understanding of human nature, liberty and capitalism.

I remember somewhere in the past I heard a story about a filthy rich person who made his fortunes in the railroad business in the 19th and early 20th century and prohibited any of his money to be invested in anything other than the railroads after his death.

Because the executors of his estate were compelled to follow the testator's wishes, his money ran out and his estate was liquidated while the 20th century was still a teenager.

I know that it is easy to stand well into the 21st century and look back and point fingers, but the cardinal mistake anyone could make is to underestimate human ingenuity and then rule from the grave. My dad always said that the suit you will be wearing when you move to that small piece of real estate located on the wrong side of the flowers does not have pockets. Let it go already.

Even in this freshly minted century it is possible for one to look back many centuries by looking at other cultures with traditions that haven't changed.

When Carlyle made his rather idiotic statement about slavery, he based it on the constraints of food production of his time. It would have been a cause of witch-burning if I could tell him then how I produce food for my family today.

If I want meat, fruit, salads, bread, cheese and spices for my family, I can enter a weird gadget that whisks us away at 70 miles per hour to a building where all of these products are harvested, prepared, cooked, and assembled in a meal in no more than five minutes. While the weird gadget whisks us home again at an unbelievable clip, we would probably have our meals and be done by the time we get there.

Carlyle would have employed his entire family, with slaves and animals, for an entire year to accomplish what I do in minutes. If I spend more time on preparing and enjoying food, it would be purely for leisure and because of the company.

Regardless how simple feeding one's family and oneself has become, it doesn't mean that it is the end of technological development. We are looking at all the things around us in just as much amazement as the railroad millionaire and Carlyle did.

The answer is not to enslave people to keep a production process affordable, it is the counter-intuitive approach: liberate people so that technological innovativeness can be unleashed. How many wonderful innovations have been lost due to slavery, intimidation and poor education? These are perhaps the most costly of all human behaviors and they are all related.

It is unavoidable that we ask ourselves whether we have outgrown the Carlyles of the world. Is there anyone left today who believes what Carlyle believed? Surprisingly, liberals of today advocate the slowing down of technological development through dumber education and creating subjects not fellow citizens. We should go 'organic' or 'free range' and work the land ourselves so that we can honor and connect with 'mother earth.' I tell you, be careful what you wish for; 'mother earth' can be a terrible taskmaster. But cowards are first to criticize and judge others while they are well fed and safe.

Another thing: the earth is not my mother. I know my mother very well and she is not round and she doesn't spin endlessly around her axis.

Humans are custodians of the planet, not its children. Earth doesn't feed me or care for me. It takes hard work to extract the earth's resources and work them into usable things.

And I don't need slaves to help me with my work, either. I need people who can think and on whose intellect and innovation I can count, hopefully, better educated and more intelligent than what I am, which shouldn't be too difficult.

Capitalism -- individual liberty and the free market system -- will set people free and sufficiently feed them every time it's tried.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Overpopulation

I read an article by some wild-eyed expert who listed all the dangers of overpopulation of the planet citing carbon footprints, people in developed countries having some ridiculous tonnage of carbon emissions over their life-times, and so on.

At a currently estimated number of people on the planet of about 6.6 billion people (some estimated 6.8 billion but without the U.S. government's census workers out in Africa, Mongolia and Peru to count all the newborn babies last night, who would know what the real number is, but I digress) I tried to calculate and put in perspective the magnitude of the problem.

As other people already did, I also used the state of Texas as an example and divided its area by 6.6 billion people to see how much acreage one person could count on getting when push comes to shove.

Numbers are fascinating, so let's play with them a little bit. Texas consists of an area of about 269,681 square miles. A square mile is exactly 27,878,400 square feet, so Texas covers 7,487,608,550,400 square feet. If we divide the area of Texas by the number of people (6.6 billion) we get 1,134 square feet for every man, woman and child on the planet. That means, a family of four would get either 4,537 square feet of living space, which is huge in terms of necessary living space as opposed to desired living space, or more than one person would live together. So, we should play with the numbers again.

If 80% of all the people on the planet live with someone else, it means that 5.28 billion people would live with one other person leaving 2.64 billion spaces in Texas vacant. If 50% of those 5.28 billion people have one other person living with them, that makes it three people per every 1,134 square feet, another 1.36 billion spaces would be vacant. And, one last time, if another 20% has one other person moving in with them to make that number a four-person family, another 1 billion spaces would be vacant. So, of the 6.6 billion spaces required in Texas, the entire world's population can be accommodated in 1.6 billion spaces of 1,134 square feet each.

The remaining 5 billion spaces represent an area of 204,121 square miles in Texas that remains unoccupied - including the entire planet. Nobody, not a single soul lives anywhere else; not in Africa, Asia, Europe, Russia, Australia - nowhere not a soul.

The vacant space in Texas would be larger than Rhode Island, Delaware, Connecticut, Hawaii, New Jersey twice, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maryland, West Virginia, South Carolina, and Maine combined.

Who will feed all these people in one location and where will they work? Well, more spaces will be left vacant as some people would have to move to adjacent states, which will be used for food production and other industry to accommodate this mega-mega city, but we will leave them vacant in case some of them wishes to come "home" to visit family. The rest will all work from home on their computers eliminating the need for mass transportation.

If we should fill up the state of Texas and use all the other surrounding states as production facilities to keep the Texas World going, we can accommodate another 21 billion people. If we should build these spaces as high-rise complexes, and build every space up to 10 stories, we can accommodate 270 billion people before we have to think about the rest of the U.S. or Africa or Australia, or Europe. That should last us for another thousand or so years.

What about the carbon footprint when the people's presence is currently dispersed across the entire globe but in this scenario it becomes a concentrated exhaust stack of waste and pollution?

With all the people of the world concentrated in such a relatively small area, one can build a wall around Texas, slap a roof over it and scrub all the air and water of impurities and dispose of the waste in one concentrated plant.

That's ridiculous.

I know.

But you started it.

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Thunderstorm and the Pope

I read with interest and great sadness the report on AOPA's website (http://www.aopa.org/asf/epilot_acc/nyc08fa260.html?WT.mc_id=100507epilot&WT.mc_sect=sap) of a Piper Apache that broke up in a thunderstorm. The pilot was an airline captain with thousands of hours flying his newly purchased private plane home with his 200+ hour son.

The author of the article mentioned the differences between flying a passenger jet around thunderstorms and a low-powered, normally aspirated twin, in terms of power and equipment. No doubt the pilot was more confident at the outset than what was good for them; an over confidence that has dealt with high-time jocks of many stripes. When the poor Apache rained from the sky in pieces, the monster of the skies had its fill, taking a father and his son with it proving that time in the cockpit is no guarantee who makes it out alive or not.

I can understand if a pilot is caught unawares by clear air turbulence but deliberately flying in and around severe thunderstorms shouldn't break up your ride, in my (not always) humble opinion. When I was much younger and less prudent, a few times I would deliberately fly into a thunderstorm to see what's inside. Curiosity didn't get this cat, by the grace of God. Curiosity wasn't the only motivating force, either. The rough air maneuvering speed of a light aircraft seemed awfully high to me, ordinarily just less than twice the stall speed. Which means going into rough weather at, roughly, 130 mph in an Apache. That speed already makes for a stiff ride, which means a 50fps gust would give the pilot and pax a serious jolt and even perhaps injury. With two engines hanging onto the wings to boot, I'd hate to subject the airframe to those stresses.

My first CB experience happened in a single Comanche with 250 hp. I flew along a squall line trying to either go around it or find a hole through which I could sneak. When I realized it was no use, I thought I'd poke my nose into its white fluffy side and peak inside.

The Comanche's rough air speed was 138 mph, if I remember correctly, which didn't appeal to me at all, so I slowed down to 90 mph, kept the wheels inside with no flaps. I figured I can recover from a stall but I cannot grab the wing as it goes by.

The results were instantaneous and very educational to say the least. One thing that I instinctively knew was not to fight the controls but make small control inputs and stay aware of the aircraft's (unusual) situation rather than try to fly straight and level. Even pointing the nose down till the AH would almost be brown all over at 90 mph IAS, still produced 6,000 fpm plus ascents. And when the Comanche went through the updraft column and hit the adjacent down draft, it was the same with the nose as high and power as much as I could and it would still dump me down at 6,000 fpm descents.

Until the ascents won and coughed me up in perfectly calm and clear air at around 14,000' there wasn't much else to do but ride the beast. I ended up not on the other side of the squall line, but back where I came from. I can see that it will easily kill one by either throwing the plane against the ground or rise above one's oxygen level, pass out, and then lose control completely. Without hail, the airframe shouldn't break.

That flight into severe weather taught me valuable lessons, which proved later to have saved my life. For one, to stay out of these suckers.

Once I got sucked into a thunderstorm at night flying below cloud in West Africa. Terrain flat, elevation not more than 3,000' with no cloud below 8,500' made for a pitch dark night VFR flight of about 1.5 hours. About 45 minutes into the flight things suddenly went wild, which I immediately recognized and flew the Seneca II through the storm yo-yoing up and down between 7,000 and 12,000' before gaining more moderate skies.

Incidentally, I had a hitch hiker with me as my sole passenger. It happened sometimes that folks needing a ride would sit in the control tower and listen to where folks are headed and then ask if they have a seat open. It so happened that I picked this guy up for a ride to my destination. It was a blessing that he was in the Seneca, because I didn't know that the Seneca's pax seats are clip-ons and during our roller coaster part of the flight some of the seats became adrift. He was very helpful in keeping them behind the cockpit. I guess we exceeded the "clip-limit" of the seats.

When we landed he bowed down and Pope-like kissed the ground and said he will never, ever get into one of these again. Eh. Lost one for general aviation, I suppose.

But, I gained one for GA at another occasion. A brand new Mooney 231 was in South Africa (perhaps the first one) and the owner wanted me to fly it from Lanseria to Wonderboom for reasons I cannot recall any longer. I had to ferry it back to Lanseria that night.

A business associate was at Wonderboom when I had to fly it back and I invited him along. Having never been in an airplane before, he flatly refused and especially not at night. My car was at Lanseria, so I promised to bring him back to his car. After a lot of people employed mob-tactics on him, he relented but said he wanted to get his briefcase in the trunk of his car. He didn't see me following him a few minutes later to his car (I truly thought he was going to bolt) and I saw him writing his last will and testament in his notebook in the light of the trunk's light. I knew I shouldn't laugh at him so I said I did the same before I got into a plane the first time, too. :-)

We had a wonderful flight taking a few turns over Johannesburg and he marveled at the beauty of the city at night and the stillness of the air. I must admit, the air was especially silky smooth. He later took up flying and became a very passionate commercial pilot. So, I guess the Seneca's mess was redeemed by the Mooney's perfect flight.

I got to get back to work.

Thanks

Nico

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Clintons are on the move

After Barack Obama's meteoric rise to power, even before he was elected to the presidency, the general consensus was that Obama dismantled the Clinton Political Machine. And that, was the claim, was indicative of Obama being an effective president: brutal in the protection of the Constitution.

The Clinton Political Machine wasn't something that could be dismantled by anybody, much less in such a short period of time.

When Hillary lost the primaries, the Clinton choices were limited to supporting McCain or Obama. The one was inconceivable, the other was a time to lay low and regroup later. With Obama's credentials, and the Clintons knew a lot more about him than we did, he was bound to make serious mistakes that would set the stage in which the Clintons could begin to move on the presidency.

Hillary announced ahead of the Administration's announcement (and I wouldn't be surprised if it was even before the official decision on the matter was made) that the Department of Justice will file a lawsuit against Arizona because of sb1070, their illegal immigration law.

Whether the Administration decided to go ahead and file the lawsuit or not, it is never the Secretary of State's job to announce such a move, and definately not from foreign soil. It is always either the President or the Attorney General that makes such a substantial announcement. It took the AG a day or more to confirm the Secretary's announcement. This sounds as if the DOJ was caught by surprise and was pushed into going forward with the lawsuit.

Somebody in the Administration must've read the Arizona law by this time and determined that an Administration lawsuit has very little chance of prevailing. So, it's fair to argue that they wanted to prolong the decision as long as possible to hold on to the negative fog that they could generate and sustain. Making the decision too soon throws away valuable political capital especially with the onrushing elections in November. Now, that the decision has been made, the Administration's hand has been forced to bring the suit or face huge embarrassment if they should abandon the idea. At best, they can hope for a continuance that will only bring the case to court after the elections, or have a judge hear it that has similar views on America as they do.

The question is why would Hillary fire too soon and embarrass her boss? It's hardly possible to write her announcement off as ignorant, or, as we have become accustomed, that she misspoke. Why this deliberate move?

That's the question.

I propose that the Clinton Machine is on the move. Even conservatives give Bill Clinton better marks for executive skills than for the President. The general mood for or against the Clintons in the nation, leans heavily in favor of the Clintons, even counting conservatives. My guess is that if a third term for a president was possible, Bill Clinton could take it again in 2012. By law he cannot, but there is another Clinton in the wings.

She gained valuable experience as the Secretary of State and will have an opponent that has almost committed political suicide. Even a moderate president couldn't live up to the hype that was generated about Obama during the election. He was bound to fail unless he could take some classes on walking on water. She must have insider knowledge about him that would make any of us have nightmares while awake.

So, putting the Administration on the spot further embarrasses the President. She needs the President's approval numbers to tank completely and to stack up his failures. I wouldn't be surprised if the President fires her after the November elections. That would be exactly what she wants; it would launch her second bid for the White House.

Once the mid-term elections in November are over, the President's effect would be zero or minimal at best, giving her two years to work the Republicans over.

The fun has just started.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Parallels with Africa

Sometimes I post news and stories from other countries, especially South Africa, mainly because I have a deeper perspective of what's going on there than most Americans and because there is a correlation between what happened, and is happening, in South Africa and what is happening here. Some may retort that Africa has very little that correlates with the United States, but that is a head-in-the-sand response.

When Joe Slovo, one of the architects of South Africa's current communist government, said, when asked at a press conference about the abject failure of communism whenever it is tried, that they have now learned what Karl Marx, Mao Tse Tung, and other communist architects did wrong, rational folks had a hard time believing that he would say such a thing. A South African communist regime will implement communism in a manner that it will succeed avoiding the mistakes of the past, he said.

Needless to say, communism has reduced the life-expectancy from almost 70 years of age to below 50 and caused South Africa to be one of the most violent countries in the world with overall poverty still sky-rocketing. It took them all but 15 years to accomplish that and the numbers are still sliding south.

That was to be expected and those who toy with socialism and communism should expect nothing different as an outcome should such a disastrous transformation take place here.

There is, however, another correlation that one can easily overlook and write off as "an Africa thing." One has to look at the utterances of the South African president last week during a speech at an ANC (African National Congress, the ruling communist party) recruitment campaign. As head of state and head of the ruling party, the 30,000 people attending the campaign expected to hear substantive utterances from their great leader.

He treated them to an admonition not to abandon the ANC, whose popularity has been in decline recently, because, he said, abandoning the ANC would anger the ancestral spirits who will make deserters ill. In the West, one cannot help but giggle at such an outrageous statement, especially if it comes from the head of a state intended to be a serious admonition.

Seen in the context in which President Jacob Zuma made this statement to his followers, it is, on the one hand, a desperate attempt of a failing doctrine to stop the abandonment of the communist regime. On the other hand, it is a very well orchestrated play on his followers' deep-rooted fear of avenging, angry ancestral spirits.

Let's go back a bit into the history of their ancestors. This is only one account of many similar deceptions that took place in their history.

In the early part of 1856, a teenage girl named Nongqawuse went to fetch water in a river nearby where she lived. She returned claiming to have met with the spirits of her ancestors. She claimed that the ancestors told her that her people should destroy their crops and kill all their cattle, the only source of the nation's well-being. Two fears haunted her people at the time that made them believe in the veracity of the prophecy; more than they might otherwise have done.

Many of their cattle were dying because of a type of lung disease that raged at the time putting their continued sustenance and wealth in jeopardy; and the British were a threatening presence in their land.

Nongqawuse said further that the spirits also told her as soon as the killing and destruction was complete and obeyed by all, the ancestral spirits would rise up and kill the British invaders, replenish their granaries and give them abundant, healthier cattle than they had before. The chief, Sarhili, ordered his nation to obey the prophecy, not only fearing the wrath of the ancestors if they should disobey, but desiring the abundant reward if they should obey.

Nongqawuse dated the fulfillment of the prophecy as February 18, 1857 and such specificity gave the prophecy further apparent legitimacy, which struck further fear and urgency into the hearts of the people. Historians estimated that they killed almost 500,000 head of cattle in the carnage that followed.

The prophecy predicted that the sun would rise on that February morning and then turn red as a token of its fulfillment but on that summer day the sun remained bright and hot as it did on any other day.

It is estimated that about 80,000 people died of starvation in the aftermath of this catastrophe with evidence of cannibalism and other atrocities. Nongqawuse was jailed for a while and died of natural causes in 1898.

A tragic event, indeed, but how does this correlate with the United States in current times?

Principally, in the prophecies of a socialist utopia that is promised if only we would kill our so-called diseased wealth: capitalism and individual liberty. Where Nongqawuse's prophecy played on the Africans' irrational fear of angering their ancestral spirits, we are played to have a similar irrational fear of angering liberals and Muslims and be labeled racists, equating our faith in God and the U.S. Constitution with intolerance and even fascism.

Where the Africans were so convinced that their diseased cattle herds will be replaced with plentiful healthy cattle for everybody that they actually went into action destroying their herds, so we are also asked to be convinced that, first, our founding principles are our diseases, and second that the "spirits" of communism will reward us with untold liberty and wealth for all.

The call to believe the false prophets further became apparent when our elected officials said they voted on bills that they didn't read nor understand, and our Speaker said that we should first vote for a bill to find out what is in it. Or, we should first act and then find out later what we have done. Or, first kill your diseased wealth and only then can you be sure of true wealth later.

How is that different from Nongqawuse's prophecy?

How will the outcome be different?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

You cannot cure stupidity

I read the following article on an African news service, produced by SAPA, a local press association, much like Reuters.

Johannesburg - The Hawks arrested four people implicated in a 419 scam at the weekend after they allegedly held a US woman hostage for nearly a month, an official said on Monday.
"Police believe the four lured the US citizen with a promise that she had won $1.06m (R8m)," Hawks spokesperson Musa Zondi said.
The gang started scamming her last year and fleeced $60 000 from her between April and July.
"After July, the communication went cold until they approached her again in April this year."
She was told to come to South Africa in person to claim her prize and bring $2 000.

Taken hostage
"She duly came and on arrival on April 15 they took her hostage from the airport and kept her in a house Albertsdal, Alberton for well over a month. She was fed once a day while in captivity."
The woman managed to free herself on May 22 after breaking the window of the room where she was kept hostage.
She sought help from the neighbours who contacted the police.
"Intensive investigations were conducted by the Johannesburg Hawks unit working alongside crime intelligence colleagues," said Zondi.
The four people - three Nigerians and a South African woman - were arrested on Saturday.
They were due to appear in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court on Monday.
The US woman has since returned home.
- SAPA


My first reaction was that it serves her right for being so blatantly stupid and greedy as to believe that the 419-scam is true. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this scam, its name refers to the article of the Nigerian Criminal Code (part of Chapter 38: "Obtaining Property by false pretences; Cheating") dealing with fraud.

Googling "419 scam" produces about 317,000 references. Ample information is available to tell anyone that it's a scam and you are sure to lose your money, if you are lucky. Some lost their lives, as this lady nearly did.

I know of a lady who got strung up for about $5,000 before she realized that it's going nowhere. She even prayed for a successful outcome of her "business" dealings all while the language of the teaser email openly declared that the money the scammers promised her was gotten by illegal means, if there was any money in the first place, of course. They promise stolen money. Yet, the desire to obtain a lot of money for no effort still blinded her to the reality of the deal and they almost took her to the cleaners. By the time her husband figured out what was going on, he was livid, as one might expect. They patched things up but she lost her access to their bank account, which is getting off very lightly, I'd say.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with this scam, remember, you are their ideal target. If you want to send money to a Barrister, or a prince, or an orphaned child whose father left her $10 million dollars in a country where such a sum would certainly crash the entire economy, be my guest. But, getting on a plane and flying half-way across the globe to an African country with $2,000 in hand to boot, deserves to have you removed from the gene pool.

These scammers remain active because there are enough people who still send them millions of dollars every year, and those who fly there with more cash in hand either disappear or are held hostage for even larger ransoms.

Unless you learn what is realistic and what an attempt to pick your pocket is, you deserve to have your pockets and bank accounts emptied.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Writers Catalog

There were so many stories and events that I wanted to share with you the past month or so, but, not writer's block but writer's catalog made procrastination a much more immediate reward. Writer's catalog is what overwhelms me when so many things need to be done that in the end I just continue with something else. You can see I just made that term up, aptly describing the lack of discipline in my head vaguely resembling my desk.

A friend sent me a series of cartoons depicting the current season of Memorial Day in which we celebrate those men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice and those who are living with broken lives for the sake of our freedom and prosperity.

Twice today I got a lump in my throat. These cartoons were the first cause. I easily (and insufficiently) slipped into those families' lives and felt their grief on my skin having only a gravestone by which to remember their loved ones. All they have is a cold stone, with never changing words, as a token of their most compelling thoughts and desires, frozen for eternity.

Once, at church, a lady from a sharing-congregation lost her daughter, the circumstances under which she died I cannot recall any longer. In our attempts to comfort her she bravely stated, with the raw grief visible in her entire demeanor, that parents have no business outliving their children. That shook all of us who heard it - shook us because of the reality and truth of the statement. At what terrible price was that experience gained?

At what terrible price do we acquire our freedom? At what terrible price will we regain lost liberties; regain our foothold on the slippery slopes of rhetoric into which most of us have bought?

A correspondent wrote about the flight, in which he was a co-pilot, which was delayed because he didn't show up on time. Almost 100 holiday makers were steaming at the gate having to wait for such an irresponsible crew member.

As he left the house on his way to the airport he noticed that his dog was gravely ill. Not just any dog but the dog that he and his wife nursed from a flea-infested pavement mutt to a trusted, well mannered member of his family for the past 12 years. Understandably, he was terribly upset when his friend died while the vet was examining him on the stainless steel table. It was just the end of his life. So, when he slid into the right hand seat of the airliner his uniform was still full of dog hair and spit from carrying it into the vet's rooms. And tears. His.

For being late and delaying a flight, he got reprimanded and received unsolicited lectures about doggy-heaven and the afterlife. To his grief anger was attached by ill-advised people around him.

Why am I telling you this?

Perhaps we should recognize what attaches anger to our grief when we celebrate the lives and sacrifices of those who got up and walked into the path of an oncoming bullet, or sat in a vehicle that was on track to detonate a bomb.

If we tolerate, even in the smallest measure, those who diminish that sacrifice, that life, that purpose, we allow ourselves to be distracted numbing us to the cause of our liberty and prosperity.

Guard against the holiday and the festivities drowning our obligation to pause and reflect on our heroes, and the parents who are outliving their children and children outliving their parents.

I got the other lump in my throat, and cried.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Left or Right?

In a speech that I gave on Saturday I spoke about the Left and the Right, politically speaking.

It's easier to write about a subject than speak about it because I have a backspace button when I write and I don't have to send it to my blog unless I am happy with what's inside it, which is also a fleeting feeling of accomplishment. When I read it again tomorrow I most likely hit stuff that I cannot believe I wrote and have to fix it and resubmit my blog.

Those who have read my blogs before know that I have a distinct definition for conservatives, which I have never heard others articulate before. I am not saying it's not out there, I just haven't heard it before.

Having given a definition of a conservative, I took that reasoning further in this speech, trying to find a definition of someone on the Left and someone on the Right of the political spectrum. It was well received by my audience, but it seemed to me as if it was something some of them had to swallow hard before they could digest it, if they ever did. Those who got it, expressed their enthusiastic appreciation afterwards. I wasn't alone in the dark.

My pursuit to find definitions of those on the Left and Right first took me to the Left, and I asked around. What's the definition of someone on the Left, I asked.

I received hums and ahs but no definition. Characteristics and descriptions of what they believe in, yes, plenty of them, such as collectivist, bigger government, more taxes, for the workers, liberals, progressives, socialists, and, depending on who you ask, even communists and anarchists.

No definition.

So, I set off to the land of the Right and asked around for a definition.

Again, I received hums and ahs and characteristics and descriptions of what they believe in, such as individualism, lower taxes, smaller government, conservative, capitalist, and, depending on who you ask, even fascist.

No definition.

Perhaps if I ask a Centrist to give me a definition of a Centrist, I could use it and figure out what the definition of someone on the Left is and similarly, figure out what the definition of someone on the Right is. So, I asked a Centrist.

That's easy, he said. We are slap-bang in the middle between Left and Right.

No definition.

What are we to make of all this confusion? How will we know if someone is right or wrong? How and against what will we measure misleading leaders and distinguish them from those who are trying to keep us on track? How will we even know we are going off the track if we don't know by what to measure the track? It's like trying to fly a particular heading without a compass.

There is, however, a particular actor in this play I haven't asked. The conservative. Perhaps if I ask conservatives what it is that defines them, I could deduce the definitions of the Left, Centrist, and the Right.

A conservative is someone who is voluntarily subject or obedient to a well-defined, well publicized, universally accessible set of principles and precepts.

What? Like a doctrine?

Exactly, came the reply. A doctrine like the U.S. Constitution.

From this doctrine all the laws of the land are spawned. Our obedience to the Constitution is immediately inherited by all the laws that flow from it. That means we are equally obedient to the state and city laws as we are to the Constitution; even our local municipality's ordinances enjoy our obedience as a consequence.

This is not new, we practice the same thing with our social clubs and other associations we voluntarily belong to. We subscribe to their constitutions in which their principles and precepts are embodied, and as long as we are obedient to those principles and precepts, we remain in good standing.

If I violate the constitution of my local tennis or golf club, and I refuse to change to be more in conformance with the principles and precepts that are embodied in those clubs' constitutions, I get expelled. Or, if I insist on not bearing the image of that to which I chose to be obedient, I lose the opportunity to be an image bearer of that organization.

Expulsion for violators and rewards for those who make good on their word, keep the image bearers honest and the organization honorable, protecting its integrity, if you will.

It means I, as an individual, disappears and I become an image bearer of that in which I believe and to which I am obedient. It seems as if I surrender my individualism, but the opposite is true. My individualism is recast into the image of an American that is defined within the four corners of the image of the U.S. Constitution. If someone sees me violating the Constitution or acting against its image, I must change to conform to the image, to become a more honest bearer.

It is evident that this definition doesn't say whether one is Left or Right in the political spectrum, or whether one believes in God or a tree or Allah, or in nothing at all. It requires only that a conservative should be able to point to a well-defined, well publicized, universally accessible set of principles and precepts to which he or she is obedient. This means one can be a conservative Jew, or conservative Christian, or a conservative American because there are doctrines for all three that anyone can read and determine whether a Jew is an image bearer or not; whether a Christian is an image bearer or not. One can also judge the actions of someone who claims to be an American and determine whether he is an image bearer of the Constitution or not.

With this information I sat down and tried to see if I can formulate definitions for Left and Right wing people. I couldn't do it. There is nothing I could find by which the images that they bear could be defined. It was definitely not that of an American.

Being left or right supposes movement away from that which is clearly defined and universally accessible, which means bearing an image other than that of an American. No wonder I couldn't get a Leftist to give me a definition. No wonder I couldn't get a Right-winger to give me a definition. No wonder the Centrists were happy that they were slap-bang in the middle of these two non-entities.

There is nothing more noble to a conservative's left or right that it would be worthy of compromise for the sake of accommodating those who tug the true image bearers away from that which defines them.

It dawned on me that this definition of a conservative is not restricted to the confines of the geographical North America. Mexicans bear the image of their constitution; Englishmen do the same for Britain and so on. People bear the images of their respective countries.

What if the Constitution of the United States of America is adopted by others in the world, in other countries? Wouldn't they, too, become image bearers of America? Wouldn't they be more likely to be recognized as Americans than those who have been born here but bear images that are portrayed by foreign doctrines such as those of the old Soviet Union or Tsarist Russia, or England, or France, or even Zimbabwe?

From personal experience I know that image bearers of the United States of America can be found all over the world, yearning to be openly image bearers of this country; yearning to come here and totally immerse themselves in bearing that image which conservatives hold so dear that they would suffer and even die for the privilege and honor.

Let's be that shining light on the hilltop, that beacon that guides all who follow it to truth, liberty and prosperity.

May God Bless the United States of America.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Lessons in life

Aviation brings many good lessons for life, as would any other thing that depends on nature for its outcome. Farming and competitive sport are other good examples that spring to mind.

One particularly potent lesson that nature teaches, a deal breaker one might say, is that the consequences are certain when the rules are violated. One may still petition a judge or a prosecutor for leniency or strike a deal that benefits both the state and the accused, but when nature's laws are broken, there is no appeal or a jury to consider circumstances. There are only sudden and immediate consequences.

Nature is a perfectly balanced system which will only allow one thing at the cost of another, creating benefit only when the desired is greater than the cost. Nothing is for free.

For instance, an increase in speed increases drag exponentially, which means drag will eventually overcome speed regardless how much power one applies to the equation. To be able to move through the atmosphere is a necessity of life. Something as basic as walking moves the air around us out of the way, some air going around our left, some going around our right and some going over our heads. As soon as we have moved on the air rushes to congregate again behind us, bouncing around a bit in the aftermath.

What does this have to do with anything?

When we make rules that have consequences when violated, we tend to ignore the example that nature holds for perfection. Not that we should be as harsh and impersonal as nature is when we deal with humans but instituting rules and then ignoring them is as misleading as the sleight of hand of a magician, which is not magic at all. It does, however, challenge the perception of reality, which is the magician's goal.

Contrary to an airplane that has to deal with nature every time to its fullest extent and in every minutia, humans are able to click into stupid-mode and quickly unlearn decency, decorum, and even basic needs to survive, expecting some other, magical outcome.

Education comes to mind. Not many folks would knowingly invest in a scheme that is blatantly a fraud. Some skill in hiding the deceit is required to fool people into parting with their money. But people are perfectly willing to let others, whom they know nothing about, have never met and probably will never meet, educate their kids, knowing full well that the kids of today will decide the events of tomorrow. How bad and misleading a scheme is that?

Ponzi, or pyramid schemes, are the easiest to pull off, which is why they are illegal together with robbery and embezzlement, but the similarities to the fraud of education is daunting. Like a pyramid scheme, having someone else educate one's kids, has instant payoffs on the short term (the parents are free to pursue other activities, which may instantly bring in more cash or provide more leisure time) while the crash comes later when not enough investors can be recruited to pay the existing investors (as adults, the kids might be totally unprepared to adequately operate in their environment). The damage is far worse with education than with a fraudulent investment scheme because education fraud cannot be rectified in a single generation, if at all. And, yet, we see scores of parents lining up to invest their kids' future in this human Ponzi scheme.

Immigration is another fraudulent scheme. As our dollar devalues due to poor and reckless monetary polices (it doesn't matter who causes it), the integrity of citizenship of this country is also devaluing. Having been born here is not a guarantee that one would be a patriot and loyal to the homeland any longer. There, naturalized citizens have an advantage over those who have been born here, because during the naturalization process, the new citizen swears an oath of loyalty to the flag and the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.

In spite of the sacrifices that come with pulling up roots and replanting them in another country in another culture, the disruption that it pours out on one's families, and other things that never go away, the naturalized citizen perseveres, burning with a patriotism for his new homeland that oftentimes surpasses that of citizens that have been born here.

Moreover, the naturalized citizen desires to be here for the fruits that the opportunities to pursue happiness provide. These fruits are not free; they can only be had at the costs that are associated with them, as it is with any other operation, such as aviation, farming or competitive sport.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Capitalism and Greed

Years ago, when the word millennium was rarely found in casual conversation, I was in business school working on case studies, which is the staple diet of the MBA curriculum.

The particular case study involved a mining company that found itself dropping from being a rising star in the top 20 to a company in financial trouble within the span of one year. Not wanting to bore anyone with details, my class presentation of the cause of this company’s peril was management’s poor understanding of what capitalism is. I went on to describe what would have prevented management from even considering the course they took, while the professor’s expectation was a solution more focusing on the financial management analysis and diagnosis of the case.

In short, and stated much less complicated than how it was described in the case study, the company, caught up in the prestige of record year-over-year growth, their rise on the Fortune-list of businesses and a healthy market capitalization, paid out their capital equipment reserves as dividends. It meant that they would have incurred enormous debt when replacement of their machinery was required. That the cycle of capital equipment replacement was measured in decades didn’t help and it placed a kind of apathy-blanket on management’s judgment to rather pursue immediate profits and prestige than the need to ensure that the company would survive.

Survive?

I was almost laughed out of the class because I dared to put something else above the pursuit of profit. I was given a fair grade for my task but I couldn’t help but feel that I was penalized for holding to a position that more accurately defined capitalism than what I got from the class. Granted, the class’ objective wasn’t to hypothesize about financial models, but to identify and recommend fixes for the subject company’s ills and get a better-than-passing grade for the case study. So, I took my medicine and harbored the unsatisfied notion in a safe place somewhere in my mind.

Over the years I would occasionally pull the unsatisfied notion from the deep recesses of my mind and raise the question to whomever would listen, perhaps to stir up a bit of trouble. Many were business owners and others were financial managers. The astonishing thing was that almost all scoffed at the idea that a company would entertain an objective of survivability above the pursuit of profit and that it was counter productive to attracting and retaining good investments in one’s stock. Additionally, they claimed, it would rather make management lethargic than nimble. I disagreed trying to explain my reasoning but I failed every time. I wondered what was wrong with my reasoning.

It turned out there was nothing wrong with my reasoning; I couldn’t properly differentiate between profit and survivability and neither could anyone from my professor, to my class mates right down to every person to whom I raised the question.

The answer came about when I watched a video of Milton Friedman (you can watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWsx1X8PV_A) where he spoke on capitalism and greed. Then it struck me: words have true meanings and they have apparent meanings. (I always knew that, but somehow it never germinated in the profit-survive debate in my head.) Greed is a good thing, much like having a gun and just as much as it would be destructive to employ a gun in a reckless manner, so the reckless employment of greed would also be destructive. The same goes for the concept of capitalism. These terms, just like “gay,” “liberal,” and “progressive,” have been morphed into meanings they never had; meanings that are in total contradiction to the original.

So, I worked anew on profit and survivability and the answer came spontaneously while writing in a blog last week: Profit is the goal, survivability is the compass. I think it would be fair to say that greed is the fuel. Only when all three have been mixed into the business model in appropriate and responsible measures, will there be a pleasant, compassionate, and rewarding result coming out of the oven of time.

I think my professor’s dead already, so there would be no satisfaction in trying to tell him what I found.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

What is a conservative?

I had a fun day today. Went out with long-time friends and hit some tennis balls, some further off the court than others. It was a beautiful day in Southern California, the best one can hope for outside of an Aero Commander drilling holes in the sky, that is.

Nevertheless, it wasn’t long before the change-over break took longer than some sets as politics crept into the conversation. That’s what makes playing with these guys so much to look forward to. There are, of course, a diverse set of opinions on everything one can imagine, which happens to be both curious and precious.

Without noticing that I slowly glided into polemical naughtiness, I asked one of the guys to define a conservative. He started listing attributes. I stopped him and asked him for a definition. Obviously shooting wildly around in the hope of striking something, he listed characteristics of conservatives. Things such as lower taxes, less government, supply-side economics, lower welfare, and so on.

After a brief side-bar explaining that supply-side economics is only half the story of capitalism and that for capitalism to fire on all cylinders both a supply-side and a consumer-side are necessary. Another side-bar had him agree that conservative contributions to private charities far outstrip that of any non-conservative, even filthy rich ones and that conservatives are dead set against government welfare because it shares the gene pool with slavery. That was another useful side-bar in the never ending quest to educate.

However, at this point I realized that I might come across as confrontational and I already had enough on him on the tennis court, so I offered to define a conservative for him.

A conservative is someone who adheres to a set of predefined, well published, clearly understood, principles. (I had the word “logical” also in there but I deleted it. It is not required that it should be logical to every one.)

That means there can be conservative Christians that are apart from those who say they follow Christ but what they say and do are not according to their predefined principles. There can also be conservative Jews and those who do not follow their predefined principles. Similarly, there are conservative Americans who follow their predefined principles, the U.S. Constitution and those Americans who do not.

In this manner one can classify Muslims, Roman Catholics, Presbyterians, Buddhists, and just about everybody else as conservative if they hold to and obey their principles or as something else if they do not.

Except liberals (more recently: progressives) and atheists. They don’t have a predefined, well published, clearly understood set of principles to which they can point and say: there, go and read who I am and what you can expect me to do in certain circumstances. They have nothing.

The world’s most prominent atheist, professor Richard Dawkins, said this about atheists and agnostics: “Indeed, organizing atheists has been compared to herding cats, because they tend to think independently and will not conform to authority.”1

I always wondered if Dr. Dawkins thought that one through before he penned that confession. There are numerous similar shoot-myself-in-the-foot confessions in his book, but I don’t want to critique the book here. Suffice to say that I am sure that I am not taking his confession out of context.

When Dr. Dawkins takes the position that atheists “will not conform to authority” it strikes very hard and wide at the heart of religion (that’s expected and the theme of his book) and any other suggestion of authoritative precept to which they would be obedient, such as the U.S. Constitution, for instance.

The U.S. Constitution is a doctrine that holds no promises of reward or threats of punishment in it. It just contains a set of principles. From it are spawned laws, regulations, codes, and other principles containing promises of rewards and threats of punishment, which are all intimately dependent on the parent principle, the Constitution. So, according to Dr. Dawkins, atheists “will (also) not conform” to the laws of the United States if it were not for the fear or cost of the punishment that is promised upon their violation.

Consequently, if there is a good chance that they can get away with breaking the law or believe that the law doesn't apply to them, there is nothing else that will prohibit them from committing a crime. No sting of the conscience, no moral drag or turbulence that will make them hesitate.

Dr. Dawkins continues: “Even if they cannot be herded, cats in sufficient numbers can make a lot of noise and cannot be ignored.”2

Still no mention of anything which will guide them in the “noise” making department. And to what end would they make the noise, one may ask? There can be only one thing: to destroy those who believe in God, a belief which is, in the first instance, none of his business. Without principles chaos creeps into society and eventually tyranny will take hold. I bet you a dollar to a doughnut Dr. Dawkins didn't connect those dots.

I would suggest that atheists are “unherdable” because they have nothing outside of themselves to which they are obedient: no set of principles, no precepts, no guidance. Truly like herding cats.

In an earlier blog I asked the question why conservatives are considered “right” and liberals “left” of the political or religious spectrum. Right of what? It is a question that suggests there is something nobler to our left. Since there is nothing to our left that has a clearly defined, publicly accessible set of principles, moving to the left can only mean going from set beliefs to chaos, be they Christian, Jew, American or whatever conservative they may be. It cannot be done.

I am not suggesting that atheists cannot be good adherents to the U.S. Constitution, in fact I know an atheist who is as conservative as one can get, but he does not at all fit Richard Dawkins’ definition of an atheist. So, my friend does have a belief in something and can, therefore, be herded – voluntarily.

Finally, if someone claims to be a Christian, for instance, but does not hold to Christian principles, anyone, believer and atheist alike should be able to discern that this is someone who claims to be what he is not. There is no special understanding or illumination required; just the simple language of the principles to which the person claims to be obedient.

Social and sports clubs have their principles and doctrines, too. Continue to violate them and you lose your membership. That goes for churches and other institutions, too. Your employer has a set of principles that will get you fired if you violate them. Your marriage is based on certain principles that can cause its destruction if you violate them. Life is full of doctrines and principles that affect almost all facets of our lives. Atheists and liberals believe they are not bound by any of that. They will not conform to authority.

Isn’t it high time that we expel those who claim to be Americans but who continue to violate the Constitution, or who try to let the Constitution breathe and live through other means than those that have been established by and through which it should live and breathe?


1 Richard Dawkins, The GOD delusion (Boston:Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006),5

2 ibid.

Friday, January 22, 2010

What are we thinking?

It’s 5 AM and I am up as usual, not that I am a workaholic, oh no. Quite frankly, I don’t know why I get up so early and have to take a nap during the day again to fill up my sleep-log for the day. Eh.

Going through my email, I read that Piper is now also going to enter into the Light Sport Aircraft market. You know, building planes so small and light and slow and cheap that you don’t need a full Private Pilot’s License to fly them. All you need is some abbreviated training and a medical almost equal to what the DMV would require to allow you on the road because the only people you will be able to kill are you and one passenger. And not being able to fly faster than a hundred or so knots, the likelihood of that is also remote should your flight end more rapidly than you intended.

If your friend invites you to get on board for a quick “flip” and you see there are only two seats and you can at any time touch all four corners of the inside of the aircraft without moving from your seat, you know there’s going to be some changes from your regular airline experience.

Not that I am knocking small airplanes, not at all. I learned to fly back in the 60's (of the previous century, that is) in a two-seater with speeds slower than an 18-wheeler when there was a smidgen of a headwind. For many years the biggest plane that I have ever been in was one that I piloted, which had no more than seven seats on the inside.

What struck me as weird is the fact that Piper would be manufacturing this new sport plane in the Czech Republic. Cessna’s sport plane is manufactured in China. As manufacturing origin, I have no problem with either of those countries because the standards for using those flying matchboxes in the United States are stringent enough that I can confidently strap any of them to my posterior and go and drill holes in the sky.

It’s the “why”-factor that is weird.

These companies, and they are not alone, already have manufacturing facilities and labor know-how right here in the U.S. Why would they find it necessary to have their wares made elsewhere? Now, if the thought of boycotting them or introducing legislation or taxes that would prevent them from doing this, is the first thing that popped into your mind, you are thinking on the problem side and not the solution side.

Entrepreneurs’ innovativeness should never be underestimated. I mean, even in Zimbabwe, where total anarchy reigns, where inflation of a million percent per month rages; where people, who pay with banknotes, bring them by the wheelbarrow-load and have them weighed instead of counted, businesses are still operating. Pathetically, yes, but they are operating in spite of their government’s efforts to kill all production.

Why would any government do that? Because Robert Mugabe is a card-carrying communist and to people of that weird club, capitalism is an anathema; the curse word with which the ultimate evil is drawn upon oneself. The word “profit” casts an evil spell upon unsuspecting, innocent people dragging their souls off into the abyss of free enterprise where they will burn for eternity in the fire of liberty and prosperity. That’s why.

The economic goals currently forced onto the economy here in the U.S. also restrain capitalism having already demonized profit and private enterprise. The same result as in Zimbabwe should be expected: rising inflation and a diversion of blame. Mugabe still blames England for giving them independence in 1980. Bush 43 has a long haul ahead of him if that’s any indication.

The entrepreneur will always act by following the path of least resistance to profitability. It will stand us in good stead to see how entrepreneurs act and where they find their resources, build their new products, and sell them, rather than trying to restrain or re-educate them.

It is no different from the nomadic tribes in the deserts of the world. They know where to find water at the very spot where you and I will die of thirst. They are entrepreneurs in their own right. If one were to legislate that they should find water where and how it suits some government bureaucrat, for example, it will not produce enough water when it’s needed most. With less water more people will be prone to dying of thirst even though they are perfectly obedient to the laws of the land. Bureaucrats, on the other hand, thrive on the demise of those "honorable, law abiding" victims with pious pontificating. Even ceremoniously handing folded flags to their loved ones.

Watching what entrepreneurs do and how they do things could mean the difference between poverty and prosperity; bondage and liberty.

Restraining the entrepreneur is like duct-taping the weather vane into a position one likes instead of letting it operate freely giving the information you need, not like.

Restraining the entrepreneur is like covering the aircraft’s altimeter with a Post-it sticker because the pilot doesn’t like what it tells him.

There are many good analogies in aviation that work equally well for life and business. One is to always fly in the middle of the sky. It’s very dangerous on the edges of the sky where there are trees and mountains and water and rocks and stuff.

Planes do not fly well outside of the sky.
Businesses do not yield profits well outside of capitalism.

About Me

Seeking the truth until I find it.