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Who: Kimball Corson. Text and Photos not disclaimed or that are obviously not mine are copyright (c) Kimball Corson 2004-2013
Port: Lake Pleasant, AZ
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Comments on Solo Ocean Sailing
Kimball Corson
03/26/2014, Pago Pago

Comments on Ocean Sailing

Cruising the world in a sailboat requires you know a few things. Such sailing is approximately 10 percent about how to sail; 30 percent about weather and charting your course; 30, about seamanship and all that entails; and the remaining 30 percent is mechanical and shopping ingenuity. How to get, make or improvise for a needed part where one is not available locally is a real and valuable skill.

Another point about ocean sailing is it is mostly slow going. Even fast sailboats are not fast. Sailboats are pokey. Rickety cars on back country unpaved roads go around curves faster. If you believe ends are everything and the process or means is nothing and you want to get somewhere quickly, take the Concord or some another jet. Sailing tends to be a sniff-the-roses-along-the-way business by its very nature, a least when seas are calm. It teaches us how to look and how to see. So it is not for type A personalities who cannot get off their horses. (I know the extremes inasmuch as I crewed on Earthrace [photograph below] which set and still holds the world record for the fastest circumnavigation under motor power and even then we only averaged about 22 knots through thick and thin.) If boats are slow, oceans can be seriously rough, fast and treacherous. The Pacific is anything but.

Next, there are no fatties seriously engaged in ocean sailing. If they are overweight to start, they won't stay that way. Ocean sailors who live aboard, sail and maintain their ocean yachts are basically a lean, trim and fit bunch. It is a healthy life-style because a sailor is so physically active. Just getting into, running and getting out of a dinghy where you wish to go and properly tying it up at each end of a trip is physically engaging.

Also, ocean sailors rarely get sea sick. I have not been sea sick even in the worse of storms and blows, not even in cyclones and hurricanes and I have been in four and one major tsunami. The tsunami left 112 dead within a mile and a half of me. I lost an American friend in that one. And many boats were trashed.

Why sail is a fair question, especially if it is so slow and sometimes difficult. For me as a solo sailor, there are several reasons. Traveling on, living aboard and taking care of an ocean going yacht keeps you active, fit and trim. That is a major health benefit, especially as one gets older and is inclined to be more sedentary. Secondly, the sheer power and majesty of Nature in full roar is absolutely thrilling, even if it is dangerous. It would be one hell of a way to go. A category 2.5 hurricane or cyclone (a hurricane is the southern hemisphere), for example, contains the energy of hundreds of atomic bombs like those we dropped on Japan in WWII. Real muscle; not a Disneyland ride.

Also, when the winds are up sailing near the limits of a sailboat in moving seas can itself be a thrill. I attach a photo of my boat sailing at 3 knots above hull speed (11 knots) in the monsoon trough of the inter convergence zone which where the weather system of the northern hemisphere collides with the weather system for the southern hemisphere. That is surely a hoot.

Finally, and most importantly for me, the sense of wonderment and uncompromised freedom that comes from being alone on an open ocean at night well off shore and under a low canopy of stars in the milky way is a profoundly personal experience. You cannot get freeer that that. Also, in the proper circumstances, the experience can actually become a spiritual one, for example, while listening to Bach out in the cockpit under the stars.

Ocean sailing is a life.

Outfoxed II
Kimball Corson
03/24/2014, Pago Pago

Obama's Sanctions Against Russia Are a Joke

They are not sanctions against the country as with Iran. They are sanctions against seven of Putin's top aids and consist of freezing their assets -- to the extent Obama can -- but not freezing those of Putin. "We never start with leaders" was the explanation given.

Fully appreciating the joke, Putin announced personal sanctions against several Senators close to Obama.

After pounding our chest, we truly look like inept fools here who have been strategically had. Which is the case.

Millennials
Kimball Corson
03/24/2014, Pago Pago

A Purloining on Mellemnials

In the future, it seems, there will be only one "ism" -- Individualism or me-ism-- and its rule will never end. As for religion, it shall decline; as for marriage, it shall be postponed; as for ideologies, they shall be rejected; as for patriotism, it shall be abandoned; as for strangers, they shall be distrusted. Only pot, selfies and Facebook will abide -- and the greatest of these will probably be Facebook.

That's the implication, at least, of what the polling industry keeps telling us about the rising American generation, the so-called millennials." NY Times

Putin Outfoxes Obama
Kimball Corson
03/24/2014, Pago Pago

Here's an unpopular view to give neo-cons a fit

The Referendum Results Are In

According to the exit polls, 93% of Crimeans want to join Russia. The U.S. rejects that vote even though over 60 percent of the population of Crimea is Russian. Why? Because Russia "invaded" the country to recoup its native sons and incidentally get a Black Sea port. While they didn't take the country by force, they did come in armed and the former president fled in disgrace in the face of strong public protest.

It strikes me that Putin has out foxed Obama once again. The question now is how big a stink is Obama and the EU going to make of it, especially if Putin makes no further move on the Ukraine and declares as much. We are feigning much indignation. Will it blow over or must we make a mess of it by not minding our own business, our usual modus operandi. Time will tell.

Over Worked
Kimball Corson
03/24/2014, Pago Pago

But she never complained.

Going to the Dogs
Kimball Corson
03/24/2014, Pago Pago

Woof woof

MMT's Big Problem
Kimball Corson
03/24/2014, Pago Pago

Mike Wright of the MMT & Endogenous Money Group writes:

"This group is NOT for debating the validity of MMT or related ideas.
It IS for discussing political strategies for raising MMT awareness and getting it implemented. . ."

Yet there is one big theoretical problem with MMT. It is that ignorance of it and how it works by so many out there (e.g., Larry Summers) prevents it from operating properly. Here is why. As deficits rise to mobilize unemployed real resources, those ignorant of MMT react badly and create real problems we otherwise would not have. The Cruz government "shutdown" in reaction to raising the debt ceiling (more deficit spending) is a prime example. Ignorance of MMT is its biggest problem.

Many mistakenly believe MMT entails no limit on deficits. However, that is not true. Without unemployed real resources, inflation threatens. Much of the public and MMT's detractors don't realize the core idea is not to deficit spend per se, but is instead to use government financing to mobilize and put to good use unemployed resources, particularly human resources. This is very important given that almost half of our working age population is unemployed -- that is, almost enough people to run another economy the size of our present economy. That is a mega problem and a key reason for the idea of MMT.

It is not like there is no work that needs doing, either. Holes need not be dug and filled up again(except to bury phone lines). America's infrastructure, for example, is in horrible repair. Civil engineers say trillions of dollars will be needed to properly repair and renew it. Other work also abounds. It is a failing of capitalism that so much work needs doing and yet so many are unemployed. MMT can fix that properly deployed. Yet we do nothing. It is a shame.

What I am saying is the perspective I offer on MMT is the best approach to having more people understand the value of MMT and why being ignorant of it is a serious handicap for the economy.

The Supremes Backdoor Roe v. Wade
Kimball Corson
03/24/2014, Pago Pago

The Supreme Court and Religion

The Court has accepted a new case. The question is: Does the Obamacare law violate the religious freedom of private employers by requiring them to provide insurance coverage for post conception contraceptives?

To answer that question, the justices must first decide whether the companies challenging the law, three for-profit corporations, can even have religious views in the first place.

Assuming the Court gets past that hurdle and to the question, how do we think the five conservative Catholic Justices will answer it? Any bets?

Return of Terror to Iraq
Kimball Corson
03/24/2014, Pago Pago

The Aftermath of freeing Iraq of WMD and Making it Safe for Democracy

Fundamentalist Sunnis, Kurds, Baaths and Shiites continue to have at it. None want democracy and each group will accept peace only on their terms. We should live so long. More Bush styled clairvoyance is not needed from the neo-cons. What a mess. Where is Saddam when we need him?

Republicans Win the Senate!
Kimball Corson
03/24/2014, Pago Pago

Only on a bad day in a heavily gerrymandered world and not in the world of ideas.

However, this is Nate Silver's prediction, although he says it is close. Brace for a disaster or get out and help. The Democrats are no good, but the Republicans are walking disasters and significantly worse.

Republicans are the Oligarchy's favorites, as the Koch campaign contributions suggest. But for the Koch brothers, the Senate would not be on the table.

Cruising American Samoa
Kimball Corson
03/24/2014, Pago Pago

Some Comments on American Samoa

David Kane and his wife Kathy, on s/v Lightspeed (hyperbole, anyone?), who both passed through too quickly, have this to say about American Samoa:

"To fill in new readers we sailed out of American Samoa in January 2013 looking for safe refuge when a cyclone looked likely to threaten Pago Pago, American Samoa. In our opinion, Pago Pago, American Samoa is a poor cyclone refuge. The harbor is large and becomes crowded with commercial fishing vessels whom raft up to three deep off the wharf with sketchy tie ups. The combination of poorly secured fishing vessels and a lackadaisical community of 'go no where' cruisers almost guarantee that one, if not many boats will go adrift at the height of any significant storm."

Pago Pago is correctly recognized by consensus as the best cyclone hole in the South Pacific. I rode out Cyclone Wilma there without incident. As for the "lackadaisical community of 'go no where' cruisers," that is patent nonsense. I am a good example. Although my stay in American Samoa was prolonged by lengthy legal proceedings following my near murder (the felons each got a 27 year sentence), I and my some of my colleagues there have a markedly different approach to cruising than David and Kathy's race around the world approach.

I have been cruising for well into my second decade now and have visited virtually all countries of North, Central and South America as well as very many islands of the Pacific. More importantly, I have lived for more than a year in eight of the countries I have visited. I will leave shortly for Fiji where, from all I have heard, I will likely live for another year or so.

I argue the "cruise ship" approach to cruising of brief stops here and there precludes getting to know the culture, language and politics of a country, except most superficially. It is also harder to make friends that way. I have gained full fluency in Spanish and more than halting French so far and have learned very much else that brief stays preclude. Racing around the world to say you have done it simply isn't my cup of tea. It is a superficial approach and typically the province of those without the time, money or both to do it more correctly.

"A lackadaisical community of 'go no where' cruisers" is an ill informed, egotistical and ignorant insult by two who have tried to do too much too fast (they have put their boat up for sale), but believe they have ventured correctly and there is no other proper approach to cruising.

Why Many Republicans Are Mean Spirited Ass Hats
Kimball Corson
03/13/2014, Pago Pago, American Samoa

The Senate and President are pressing for renewal of unemployment benefits that expired for 1.3 million Americans. Moderate Republicans in the House are willing to go along. But Boehner and the Tea Party Republicans (mostly Libertarians) are vowing to block any such legislation. Of course, they feel those unemployed are just a bunch of lazy, spoiled, good-for-nothing bums who should be working.

But of course, like all of us, those Republicans also know the number of jobs available because of the bad economy is wholly inadequate to provide those jobs. So how are the lazy good-for-nothing bums supposed to get a job? Well, you might think that doing something about the economy would be how to proceed. There are many things that could and should be done, according to economists. However, those Republicans oppose doing anything there either. They create a catch 22.

That is why those Republicans are mean spirited ass hats. Remember that, the $24 billion dollar Government Shutdown and also our near Default the next time you vote.

Capitalism in America Has Failed
Kimball Corson
03/13/2014, Pago Pago, American Samoa

Every economy must organize itself to do two basic sets of activities: 1) produce goods and service for its population to consume and 2) distribute the income from that production process to its population to be used to purchase those goods and services. That is the fundamental business of an economy, production and distribution.

Capitalism does a reasonably good job of efficiently organizing the production process and using limited resources efficiently and effectively to produce the goods and services. With some glaring monopolistic pricing exceptions, deriving from various sources, it does a pretty good job with such organization and efficiency. (Before the demise of the antitrust laws, the monopolistic pricing exceptions were much rarer.) However, capitalism has a serious problem everywhere it is practiced in the world these days.

It fails badly on the distribution side. The income derived from the production process is not well distributed to the population for the purchase of the goods and services produced. It becomes concentrated in the hands of too few and excessive income inequality arises, aggregate demand is compromised, the economy is compromised and together with such inequality, monopolistic pricing becomes more widespread and prevalent. Just what we observe in the United States today.

It is all fixable, as I have explained, but much of our population has been successfully indoctrinated against the obvious remedies, mostly with the dogmas and ideologies of libertarianism, in one variant or another. How, you might ask? Here is how.

It is no coincidence that the Koch brothers are themselves libertarians. Nor is it happenstance that the Koch brothers and their super wealthy friends have implemented a libertarian version of the Powell Manifesto in the United States since about mid 1972 at a cost of many billions of dollars since then. Their funding and control of many of the bogus tight wing think tanks and political action groups propagating such libertarian propaganda, is simply one component of the plan set out in that Manifesto, but it is a key one.

[Read the plan or Powell letter to the US Chamber of Commence back than. The later Justice Powell did not intend his plan to be used as it has been, but Koch & Friends took it and ran. Now we have the results of their forty year effort -- the largest and most effective propaganda plan in the history of the world.]

So for the present, we are stuck where we are. Our economy is stuck. Our government is stuck. We are also stuck with excessive income inequality and we are stuck with capitalism's failed distribution system in these United States. The only social and economic class to gain from this state of affairs is the oligarchy which has too largely created and maintained it. Are we surprised?

The Naysayers on Growing Income Inequality Are Wrong
Kimball Corson
03/13/2014, Pago Pago, American Samoa

Their data and analysis are wrong and consist of right wing disinformation and propaganda. They are seriously injurious to efforts to remedy the problem, reform government and they aid the 1 percent and the oligarchy who mainly support them.

The best work on income inequality is that of Thomas Piketty of the Paris School of Economics and Emmanuel Saez of the University of California at Berkeley as well as the work being done by groups at Stanford, Harvard, Northwestern and several other top schools. That work shows income inequality has worsened substantially since the 1970's to the point now where the top ten percent get half of all US income, conservatively estimated, instead of a third of it as back then, just as Obama accurately said in his recent speech on income inequality.

Adjusted for inflation, the average income of the bottom 20 percent of households has fallen by nearly 3 percent since 1979, according to even the poor quality Census Bureau data. The average income of the top 20 percent is up nearly 43 percent during that same period. The income of the top five percent is up nearly 64 percent. There is proof of increased income inequality right there. But Census data are by no means the best and are often misused with bogus Gini coefficients. There are a million ways to misuse and manipulate economic data, knowingly or not. The right wing and 1 percent apologists could write a book about it.

More precise data on inequality have been pain-stakingly compiled from tax returns and other sources by the economists Thomas Piketty of the Paris School and Emmanuel Saez at Berkeley, and their numbers do indeed show that the top 10 percent now gets half of all U.S. income and not a third of it as it did in the 1970's. Combine this data and the work of the other economic groups mentioned with the other corroborating and affirming factors we can observe independently, and you can begin to get a sense of the scope, whys and wherefores of the rising income inequality problem in America -- even before the robotics revolution hits us.

Connect the dots to realize how and why income inequality is growing so rapidly: 1) in the last several decades, many American jobs and several industries were offshored by their rich owners and there were too few jobs and income sources to replace them; 2) next, we have the rising percentage of our working age population that is unemployed (now approaching 50 percent); 3) notice too, the on-going slump our economy is and has been in; 4) consider the role of QE in holding our economy up by continuing to inject huge amounts of cash into it; 5) observe the myriad practices and policies of the federal government which are being used by the oligarchy and their lobbyists to increase income inequality by transferring income to them (see my post itemizing the myriad government means used); 6) notice the length of time we have been in our national economic slump; much, much longer than usual - what some call the new normal; 7) observe too, capital's quickly rising share of total national income; consider as well, Labor's quickly declining share of national income and 9) consider that profits and stock prices are near all time highs. Also observe that the new robotics designed to replace workers and enrich the already wealthy have not come on line yet and fully impacted us. That will skew income inequality even further toward the rich. The fact of growing income inequality rationalizes or is consistent with all of these factors and observations.

No sensible, informed economist, trained as such, denies growing income inequality in America, but there is a growing tide of contrary propaganda and misinformation out there generated and propagated, directly or indirectly, by bogus economic hacks and by the far right's bogus think tanks and propaganda mills. Beware, consider the source and also look at the big picture. Don't be taken in.

My Take on the Twelve Biggest Myths in Economics
Kimball Corson
03/13/2014, Pago Pago, American Samoa

1) Banks cannot create new money out of thin air.
2) Banks "lend reserves".
3) The US government is running out of money and going bankrupt.
4) The US government must pay back our national debt.
5) The national debt will ruin our grandchildren's futures.
6) QE causes serious inflation.
7) QE does not line the pockets of the rich.
8) Trickle down economics works if we cut taxes on the rich.
9) The top 10 percent do not get 50 percent of all income or anywhere close to that.
10) Those who are unemployed are simply lazy and don't want a job.
11) Our income inequality is not a problem for the economy.
12) Deficits are a mistake because government should balance its budget like a household.

 

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