Winter Stuff

Weeks of solid surf this winter – today is no exception. I have participated to the best of my ability – as many days as possible for me. It’s been a great run. Some days are crowded, other days the crew is just too worn out or not engaged by the weather. There is no doubt I drift back and think about the warm Baja weather and water I enjoyed a few months ago, but a new booty and cap have helped me to stay enthusiastic on the coldest of days. The Steps has been on for the most part, except for some due west long period swells that seemed to turn the bottom part of the Point into a closeout beach break. Tiburones has also had its day – but the shape has not been as consistent as the Steps. Of course, Tiburones is often out of character in the winter. The pics show a beach break – and if you zoom in, you can see a taker – provides some scale.

Myth

Jobs and the economy. I listened to an interview with a scientist/author about his new book discussing the unsustainable economy built on technology. His premise is that as technology and machines – jobbots or humines – become more prevalent – taking over more and more jobs – the unemployment rate will climb with no end in sight. Literally, a time will come when there are many more people than jobs. He posits that when that time comes, people will need to be provided with a guaranteed wage. This comes about because our economy is consumer driven (although you hear otherwise by some). If a large sector of the population does not have jobs or income, they will have no money to consume – and the present economy falls apart. And it’s a vicious cycle. People are not buying goods and services, providers of goods and services go out of business, workers at the providers of goods and services are without jobs, more people are left without the means to buy goods and services. Economy is a relationship between people – community – so the relationship breakdown, the community breaks down – unsustainable economy. At least that is the vector the author described. Its not hard to see – there are plenty of examples today of machines and technology – jobbots taking the place of humans. How about smart meters? Sold to the public as a great way to monitor your utility use – I’m not sure how it saves you money now when your cold – you can watch in real time as utility dollars get spent – and if you want to save money – be cold – same as before the smart meter. Really, the jobbot allows savings and higher profits by streamlining the billing process, trimming down on the staff required to read meters, and reducing liability costs associated with employees and meter readings. Another example I saw recently was really fascinating. I guess picking nuts is pretty labor intensive – picking, sorting, packaging, and waste removal. Well there is a humine that takes care of it all much more efficiently. It has a scanner with thousands of eyes that can sort nuts much faster than a person; it has high-pressure jet streams that act like hundreds of fingers removing bad nuts, separating nuts by quality, removing debris and trash; it moves the “product” to another machine that packages up the “product” ready for sale – it’s amazing. And of course there are many more examples of jobbots working right now or plans on the table of jobbots. I’m not against it. It’s fascinating. But there is fallout.

In the past, the Chinese dynasties had a system where certain members of the population were chosen to be educated and work in government positions. The rest of the population – artisans, craftsmen, farmers and the like provided the goods and services – the jobbots. The educated government employees were expected to spend their time being administrators, poets, artists, educators, and the like. Similar to the science fiction utopia where all is supplied by jobbots and humankind is left to contemplate the ethereal things of life and pursue poetry, art, and a sun tan. In practice within the existing economy – jobbots, humines, and a guaranteed salary – definitely not the current vision. The other day, Eric Cantor stated: “We will advance proposals aimed at producing results in areas like education, health care, innovation and job growth. Our solutions will be based on the conservative principles of self-reliance, faith in the individual, trust in the family and accountability in government. Our goal – to ensure every American has a fair shot at earning their success and achieving their dreams.” It’s obvious this is in direct conflict with the concept of guaranteed wage or even recognizes the unsustainability of our current course. First, there is no community in his vision. It’s a lot of self, individual, individual family group, and of course a government of individuals overseen by individuals for the benefit of individuals and selfs. Pretty much – no relationships – like individual atoms of an insert gas bouncing of each other in a balloon called earth. It seems to me that economy without community is not going to work – and self isn’t going to contribute to a guaranteed wage.

Krishnamurti says: “ Life is a process of relationship. There is no life without relationship. This is a fact. You may be a hermit, you may be a monk, you may withdraw from all society, but you are related. As a human being, you cannot escape from being related. You are related to your wife, to your husband, to your children, you are related to your government, you are related to the hermit who withdraws because you feed him, and he is related to his ideas. So relationship is the basis of human existence. Without relationship there is no existence. You are either related to the past, which is, to all the tradition, to all the memories, to the monks, or you are related to some future ideation. So relationship is the most important thing in life. Do you see the truth of that, not verbally, not intellectually, but actually with your heart and mind?” And so community – the economy? However out of balance the community – the economy is today, at some point it must come back into balance – community – either by will or necessity. What does this balance look like? Should we begin to visualize this balance and in doing so help to make it reality. First, we must all agree on community.

Income inequality – “Income inequality is better addressed through expanding education and opportunity and economic growth,” he said, “not by taxing the rich.” Indeed – there are those that will always vilify the government for wealth redistribution, even while the government is slashing public sector jobs and turning them over to the private sector. The inference is that the market is the wealth distributor – i.e., better education, more “marketable skills”, supply and demand, etc. But can everyone form the bottom move into the top half? And if redistribution is not a governmental function, either by creating and maintaining jobs or through the tax system, then what about the market – the private sector (since we are moving to a predominately private sector)? Instead of money and wealth, how about value. How valuable is the foundation of a house? How valuable are the workers in a factory? What makes up the foundation of business and corporations – the management or the rest – the hospital janitor or the surgeon? What about redistributing value – and then the wages? A burger would cost the same, profit could still be part of the pie, as would shareholder value – but the pie would be distributed differently.

‘There are minds which not only retain all receipts, but keep them at compound interest for ever’ – Edgar Allen

Knowledge breeds knowledge, as gold gold.’ Edgar Allen Poe

On inflation – one thing all this money-printing just hasn’t done in the US in 2012 is create the kind of substantive inflation that a lot of corporations need to beautify their revenues. Inflation creates the pretense of growth—just like salaries that have been rising, but less than inflation. It makes things look good on the surface, and analysts can go around and hype the company’s “growth strategy,” and everybody is happy.

But the special thing about having a camera there is that I can capture the flinch, laughter, or other momentary lapse from this big secret we’re carrying together: that we’re in a place where we have to believe it’s okay to kill each other. Our eyes plead with one another to keep up this pretense. Karium Delgado, former Marine Corps combat correspondent, 2012

The first fall swell, 8.1 feet from 290 at 14 seconds, showed up today – still within the spell of the fall equinox. It was kind of sloppy to start with, and way crowded. My problem is that the wave selection gets limited. South swell spreads things out whereas west-northwest and northwest swells tighten up the line-ups. Generally, Tiburones underperforms on northwest swells – and to add heartache to injury – you have to sit there and watch Second Bowl go off – with a billion takers.

South filled as the west backed off. Tiburones was on, Second Bowl for in-betweens, and First Bowl consistently good – going on a week of surf.

Thoughts on the economy: Several factors have come together to produce a frustratingly weak economy that has persisted in the U.S. for more than a decade:

  • “Globalization” has opened up a vast pool of billions of workers who work for much less than Americans. This, in turn, has resulted in companies shifting formerly middle-wage-paying jobs overseas.
  • Technology has continued to increase productivity, allowing companies to do more with fewer employees.
  • Average hourly earnings have been flat for ~50 years (after adjusting for inflation), as companies steer their wealth primarily to senior management and owners at the expense of average employees.
  • Tax policies have increasingly favored investors and high wage earners over middle-class and upper-middle-class wage-earners.
  • An obsession with “shareholder value” at the expense of other stakeholders (namely, customers and employees) has led companies to cut employee costs to the bone.

When a free-market economy is functioning well, as the American economy did for most of the 1950s, 1960s, 1980s, and 1990s, the benefits of the system accrue to all participants, namely:

  • Owners and senior managers
  • Customers
  • Employees
  • Society at large

When the system gets out of balance, however, the benefits begin to accrue disproportionately to one or two of the constituencies at the expense of the others. And that’s the situation we’re in now. The benefits of our free-market capitalist system—which, by the way, is the best economic system on the planet, by a mile—are accruing disproportionately to owners, managers, and customers, at the expense of everyone else. Why do benefits of free-market capitalist system accrue disproportionately? If we want to fix our economy, we have to fix that. Specifically, we have to persuade companies and their owners to hire more employees and share more of their immense wealth and profits with them.

Zombies – - – -

“If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, as our current President plans, I will have no choice but to reduce the size of this company,” Westgate Resorts CEO David Siegel

“If we fail as a nation to make the right choice on November 6th, and we lose our independence as a company, I don’t want to hear any complaints regarding the fallout that will most likely come,” Arthur Allen, CEO of ASG Software Solutions

This is what it has come down to – CEOs threating their employees, many working close to minimum wage, that if Obama gets elected, they get the axe – it is job extortion. Dude, seriously – what year is it? Another instance of soul – to lack of it – zombie capitalism – economy without a soul – profit without a soul – life without a soul – all around us. It’s the new meme. Zombie bite and you become one – How does it work?

And more: CEOs of the Business Round Table and the analysts and their industry contacts of the Morgan Stanley index have enormous resources at their fingertips, and an army of experts just an email or a phone call away. They’re smart people, they’ve been around the block a few times, and they have insights through their connections that outsiders can only dream about. Still, they were wrong about the financial crisis. But now they’re predicting an economy that’s going to be nearly as tough—and mostly because of the impending “fiscal cliff.” Are they wrong again? This time in the opposite direction? Or are they finally correct in their predictions, and economic fiasco is on the way? Or perhaps they have another agenda altogether. Namely a form of extortion directed at Congress: give us our goodies, or else an economic nightmare will befall the nation, and you’ll get kicked out in the next election. Thus they added their seemingly rational voices to the already phenomenal circus about the “fiscal cliff.” Watch for these indices to climb back next year, even if the fiscal cliff stays in place.

And it goes on – health care experts have portrayed Walmart’s decision to exclude workers from its medical plans as an attempt to limit costs while taking advantage of the national health care reform known as Obamacare. Among the key features of Obamacare is an expansion of Medicaid, the taxpayer-financed health insurance program for poor people. Many of the Walmart workers who might be dropped from the company’s health care plans earn so little that they would qualify for the expanded Medicaid program, these experts said. “Walmart is effectively shifting the costs of paying for its employees onto the federal government with this new plan, which is one of the problems with the way the law is structured,” said Ken Jacobs, chairman of the Labor Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley.

 

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Aquatic Apes

The road

A friend related a theory regarding human evolution I had never heard of – the aquatic ape hypothesis. The theory posits the ancestors of modern humans spent a period of time adapting to life in a wet environment. The theory was developed to address the fact that some traits that set humans apart from other primates parallel those in aquatic mammals. These traits include hairlessness, descended larynx (enables us to hold our breath) – and, well there are more. I’m not sure – at first glance the theory sounds weak – but then I considered surfers. I’m not talking about the reent drop-ins – but the core crew. Is it possible that some genetic material from eons past resurfaces every once in a while and drives some of us to the water? It is true that some of us act like apes while in the water – but there are other more subtle traits – like the need to have ocean air in your lungs, the draw to fishing and beach-combing, the feeling of comfort provided by just being in the ocean, the invigoration provided by paddling and swimming, the joy of moving with a wave, and hanging with the crew. It’s possible – surfers are the ancestors of aquatic apes – at least some of us.

The desert in green

Took a road trip recently – down to the tip of Baja and back. It was spectacular! Great landscapes, good people, and surf. It was more education than vacation. I am still trying to get my mind around it – kinda ramping down – so there isn’t much to say. My benefactor and teacher assured my experience would be in-depth, and so there is much to consider. While I was gone, the final weeks of the election came and went, the president was reelected, and the head of the CIA had a fling. I didn’t miss a thing – except my wife and family. Now, its back to work – but I brought back a couple of things – part of the education. With respect to surfing, I learned that I was way too comfortable – I need to get back to some serious “I need a cord” surfing. My benefactor pushed me into some good overhead surf that was fun-filled with boulders, boils, jagged rock-lined beaches, late-take offs, and outside maulers. I brought a super responsive 5’4″ and a 6’2″ – the shorter board didn’t cut it – but I discovered the beauty of a little length and weight – back to the drawing board. Anyway – I will relate a little more about the trip next time – maybe a fish story – those are always good.

Final Word: My benefactor taught me a phrase Picasso used – I dwell on it  - “authenticity of process”

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Story Time

Whitey Sunbathing

Story along the rail is varied and usually entertaining. Today was no different. The talk turned to the Senile, which had a story about Whitey sightings over the weekend. There was even a picture (included) that showed the Grey Man touring the cement ship. As the conversation progressed, one of the guys mentioned seeing a White tailing him while long-boarding the beaches – the idea being that the length of the board would give Whitey something to think about. The story turned to the spook-factor associated with the beaches and particularly Dunes Colony (Salinas River Mouth). Sure – you can find great surf there – but nobody out. The story began to develop. All agreed that if you did go out and got in a tangle with the Grey Man, your chances would be slim. First, you would have to get into the beach and hobble to your car – the beach is usually empty and the hike through the dunes is taxing even when you’re in one piece. Then someone pointed out that if you made it to your car, you would find it broken into. The parking lot at Colonies is notorious. We all laughed as we envisioned looking for your cell phone amongst chunks of broken glass, only to be vexed – a lost cause. As days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months, the local riffraff would just laugh as they passed your decaying corpse – too bad. Finally, a ranger would brave the elements and check the lot. There he would find a rusted-out car and parts of a human skeleton and neoprene strewn around it. The vision got a hearty laugh – and then the subject turned to the internet swell, the lack of real swell, how crowded it could be on the day of the internet swell, and the two guys that just collided on knee-high slop. Story time.

Final Word :

One should count each day a separate life. -Lucius Annaeus Seneca, philosopher (BCE 3-65 CE)

 

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August Came and Went

No surf, but beautiful

And there was almost no surf. I can count the number of times I surfed on two hands, mostly knee to waist high. But – the weather was great, friends kept me in fish, I have work and a lively family – I keep a smile on my face. As we enter fall and shadows get long, I begin to get a little edgy. I love summer – winter is cold and grey. So right now I try to revel in it. I surfed in no surf today. I said to one of the guys that I knew the swell was dead, but I just wanted to come out and kick the body. Gruesome. But it was all nothing compared to other’s troubles.

We are human beings, beings amongst many others, breathing the same air; happiness, sorrow, and stress. Krishnamurti said, “You suffer, you are uncertain, you are anxious, you are in agony, pain. That is what you are. You have belief, knowledge, character, and that is what you are. And that is exactly what your neighbor is. He is suffering; he goes through agony, sorrow, pain, trouble. So, is your consciousness separate from the rest of mankind? No, of course not. If you admit that, if you see the truth of that, then are you an individual? You may think you are an individual because you are dark, you are short, because peripheral activity makes you think you are an individual, but deeply, are you not the rest of mankind? When you realize that, the truth of that, you will never kill another, because you are killing yourself. Then out of that comes great compassion, love.” I believe this. So I was deeply hurt when I saw the results of a beating inflicted upon one of the forgotten in our community. This person lives mostly outside the common place, the common expectations, the common comforts, and the common get-along. I see her most days – she works, she laughs, she has good times with friends, she has bad times, she gets harassed and gives it back, she has a smile on her face – and when she discovered my name – she used it to say hi. She walks a hard road – no boots – no boot straps to pull up. I said hi today – and trying to hide her face – she responded – but I noticed the pot of gold at the end of her rainbow was gone. She took her sunglasses off and raised her head so I could see her face. I was so hurt. Black and blue deep bruising swollen – I felt her pain in my dantien. She said the rest of her body was the same. Someone came to her nest while she was settling and beat her. Beat her and beat her. In our community. I note community because this is our center – where we start. Where our relationships are near. Again Krishnamurti: “Life is a process of relationship. There is no life without relationship. This is a fact. You may be a hermit, you may be a monk, you may withdraw from all society, but you are related. As a human being, you cannot escape from being related. You are related to your wife, to your husband, to your children, you are related to your government, you are related to the hermit who withdraws because you feed him, and he is related to his ideas. So relationship is the basis of human existence. Without relationship there is no existence. You are either related to the past, which is, to all the tradition, to all the memories, to the monks, or you are related to some future ideation. So relationship is the most important thing in life. Do you see the truth of that, not verbally, not intellectually, but actually with your heart and mind?” So how does beating the forgotten happen? Who cares? Who is responsible? Who does not understand community and relationship? How do we learn – how do we change? I am sad tonight.

“Man to man is so unjust, children, you don’t know who the trust.” Supposedly we can all trust the law because we are all treated the same under the law (guaranteed under the Constitution). And, if one citizen is treated or acts outside the law, it diminishes the law and diminishes our Constitution. As I have said before – Repub-low-crats are all the same – different at the edges. My solution – impact my community – the people I meet – relationship. Here is some more insight - John Cusack Interviews Law Professor Jonathan Turley About Obama Administration’s War On the Constitution

Max Keiser – when you have companies that are supposedly free market who are in the oil business and they don’t include the externalities of the pollution that they’re creating or the cost of that pollution, they are by force subjecting other people downstream to deal with the consequences and, in many cases, deadly consequences of the force of those externalities being pushed on those people. Consider the explosion at the Chevron refinery recently as a close-to-home example – we will pay for the actual damages and the externalities linked to the whole enchilada.

Sandeep Jaitly – Money is the universally acceptable ultimate extinguisher of any debt and, as far as I can tell, fiat credit which is the system that we have currently, doesn’t fit that bill. Throughout time, the universally accepted extinguisher of any debt has always been . . . ultimate extinguisher I should add . . . has always been gold or silver. American consumers, are digging in their heels though the entire power structure has been pushing them relentlessly to buy more and more with money they don’t have, and borrow against future income they might never make, just so that GDP can edge up for another desperate quarter.

Basically, Romney’s plan is “trickle-down” economics: Give rich people more money, and eventually this money will work its way down to the middle class. If the problem in our economy were that there was a scarcity of investment capital, this might be an effective solution, but there is plenty of investment capital available. The problem in the economy is that the economy’s primary customers, the hundreds of millions of people in the middle class, are broke. And one reason they are broke is that this country has been trying “trickle-down” economics for more than a decade, with tax rates on the richest Americans almost as low as they have ever been. During that period, inequality has grown, economic growth has stalled, and average wage growth has stalled—to the point where the middle class has gone broke. What will create sustainable jobs in our economy right now, therefore, is not “richer rich people” but a healthier economic ecosystem, in which entrepreneurs, investors, employees, and customers are all healthy. And right now, the most important one of these elements, the customers, are sick.

Last Word: The power to command frequently causes failure to think. -Barbara Tuchman, author and historian (1912-1989)

No problem with southern exposure

Both ways in the summer

California - an island - don't you wish?

 

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Lammas

Summer Crowds

Maybe This Fall?

Still Dreaming

Summer Past When Waves Were Waves and Penguin was a Man

The Unruly Crowd

Today is Lammas – a day that marks the halfway point between the Summer Solstice and Autumnal Equinox. In ancient times, it marked the time of the first harvest of fruits and grain. Back in the day, a festival was held to celebrate Lammas, complete with food and sports. It’s also a day I personally celebrate because it marks Jerry Garcia’s birth – and I am an eternal fan of his music – from banjo to pedal steel to wood to psychedelic electric.

The surf has been pretty dismal this summer. A few souths have scraped by, but as I think back, the most memorable waves were associated with a northwest wind swell. That’s not to say I haven’t been surfing. I have marked up several knee to waist high evenings, mostly at elevated tides. Over the last couple of days, the LB glide has been my favorite. I still fancy the Steps and Tiburones. While it has been an exceedingly crowded summer, I have managed to stay out of trouble – and the evenings have set up like a locals bar. One evening, the surf session was lit up by the exploding effervescent energy of the kids. I don’t know about other activities where seniors mix it up with youth, but to be in the wake of the boyz when they are having fun is golden. On this particular evening, as we sat in the water waiting for the long-traveled south swell to standup on the reef, the boyz noticed hot-rod flames of white clouds and a half moon backed by evening blue – I mean they noticed it. Next thing, one of boyz hopped off his board and went under – and after a moment - popped up and encouraged the others: “get about six inches under the water and look up at the clouds, it’s sick!” Of course! And so it goes.

Observations:

“True, as at other times in the life of our nation, we live in an Age of Extremes that prizes intensity over sanity; rhetoric over reality; and destruction over creation. But this too shall pass, thanks to the infinite, inspired wisdom of the sovereign people who, with God’s continued blessings, will again affirm for the generations American Exceptionalism. Truly, it is a challenging and fortunate time to live in our blessed sanctuary of liberty.” Rep. Thaddeus “Thad” McCotter (R-Mich.)

“Failure is not something to be avoided but something to be cultivated. … It is a sign of weakness and often a stigma that prohibits second chances. … Yet the rise in the West is in many respects due to the rise in tolerating failure. Indeed, many immigrants trained in a failure-tolerant culture may blossom out of stagnancy once moved into a failure-tolerant culture. Failure liberates success.”

Andrea Pirlo, who was named man-of-the-match in the Euro 2012 semifinal, also sounded a note of caution for Sunday’s final. “We haven’t done anything yet,” he said. “There’s no use going to Rome and not seeing the Pope. We want to go home with this cup.”

It is astounding how significantly one idea can shape a society and its policies. Consider this one. If taxes on the rich go up, job creation will go down. This idea is an article of faith for republicans and seldom challenged by democrats and has shaped much of today’s economic landscape. But sometimes the ideas that we know to be true are dead wrong. For thousands of years people were sure that earth was at the center of the universe. It’s not, and an astronomer who still believed that it was, would do some lousy astronomy. In the same way, a policy maker who believed that the rich and businesses are “job creators” and therefore should not be taxed, would make equally bad policy. I have started or helped start, dozens of businesses and initially hired lots of people. But if no one could have afforded to buy what we had to sell, my businesses would all have failed and all those jobs would have evaporated.

That’s why I can say with confidence that rich people don’t create jobs, nor do businesses, large or small. What does lead to more employment is a “circle of life” like feedback loop between customers and businesses. And only consumers can set in motion this virtuous cycle of increasing demand and hiring. In this sense, an ordinary middle-class consumer is far more of a job creator than a capitalist like me. So when businesspeople take credit for creating jobs, it’s a little like squirrels taking credit for creating evolution. In fact, it’s the other way around.Anyone who’s ever run a business knows that hiring more people is a capitalists course of last resort, something we do only when increasing customer demand requires it. In this sense, calling ourselves job creators isn’t just inaccurate, it’s disingenuous. That’s why our current policies are so upside down. When you have a tax system in which most of the exemptions and the lowest rates benefit the richest, all in the name of job creation, all that happens is that the rich get richer. Since 1980 the share of income for the richest Americans has more than tripled while effective tax rates have declined by close to 50%. If it were true that lower tax rates and more wealth for the wealthy  would lead to more job creation, then today we would be drowning in jobs.  And yet unemployment and under-employment is at record highs.Another reason this idea is so wrong-headed is that there can never be enough superrich Americans to power a great economy. The annual earnings of people like me are hundreds, if not thousands, of times greater than those of the median American, but we don’t buy hundreds or thousands of times more stuff. My family owns three cars, not 3,000. I buy a few pairs of pants and a few shirts a year, just like most American men. Like everyone else, we go out to eat with friends and family only occasionally.

I can’t buy enough of anything to make up for the fact that millions of unemployed and underemployed Americans can’t buy any new clothes or cars or enjoy any meals out. Or to make up for the decreasing consumption of the vast majority of American families that are barely squeaking by, buried by spiraling costs and trapped by stagnant or declining wages.Here’s an incredible fact. If the typical American family still got today the same share of income they earned in 1980, they would earn about 25% more and have an astounding $13,000 more a year. Where would the economy be if that were the case?Significant privileges have come to capitalists like me for being perceived as “job creators” at the center of the economic universe, and the language and metaphors we use to defend the fairness of the current social and economic arrangements is telling. For instance, it is a small step from “job creator” to “The Creator”. We did not accidentally choose this language. It is only honest to admit that calling oneself a “job creator” is both an assertion about how economics works and the a claim on status and privileges. The extraordinary differential between a 15% tax rate on capital gains, dividends, and carried interest for capitalists, and the 35% top marginal rate on work for ordinary Americans is a privilege that is hard to justify without just a touch of deification We’ve had it backward for the last 30 years. Rich businesspeople like me don’t create jobs. Rather they are a consequence of an eco-systemic feedback loop animated by middle-class consumers, and when they thrive, businesses grow and hire, and owners profit. That’s why taxing the rich to pay for investments that benefit all is a great deal for both the middle class and the rich. So here’s an idea worth spreading.  In a capitalist economy, the true job creators are consumers, the middle class. And taxing the rich to make investments that grow the middle class, is the single smartest thing we can do for the middle class, the poor and the rich. Thank You. (TED lecture – I forgot the presenter’s name – sorry)

The Arizona Secretary of State claims that unless he “sees” Olame-a’s birth certificate, he may not be able to put the President’s name on Arizona’s presidential ballot. Why? He claimed it was a standard response to pressure from over 1,200 Arizonans who had emailed him with concerns about the president’s eligibility and the authenticity of his birth certificate. Now – 1,200 out of how many Arizonans? You mean to tell me a threshold of 1,200 signatures gets action? Heck – why do I hear about petition drives where the effort is to get 50,000, 250,000 or more? Seems you could get all you need in one day at Walmart.

“But this long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead. Economists set themselves too easy, too useless a task if in tempestuous seasons they can only tell us that when the storm is long past the sea is flat again.” Keynes.

The capitalist maintains his rights as a purchaser when he tries to make the working-day as long as possible, and to make, whenever possible, two working-days out of one. On the other hand…the laborer maintains his right as seller when he wishes to reduce the working-day to one of definite normal duration. There is here, therefore, an antinomy, right against right, both equally bearing the seal of the law of exchanges. Between equal rights force decides. Hence is it that in the history of capitalist production, the determination of what is a working-day, presents itself as the result of a struggle, a struggle between collective capital, i.e., the class of capitalists, and collective labour, i.e., the working-class. Karl Marx.

But – as with Caterpillar, it was never about labour costs, but opportunity. Public opinion has shifted. The rights to organise, and bargain collectively, have transformed from bedrock civil rights to vestigial luxuries; good salaries and pensions from objects of inspiration to resentment. All of this from the decades-old message drummed into us by politicians and businesses alike, that we are all on our own. Human agency consists of two choices: take it or leave it. To want more say in what you do for a living, for how much and under which conditions, and to want the same for others, is crazy.Caterpillar understands this. Its corporate culture may be more predisposed than most to punishing uppity workers. But for it to do so without even the flimsiest appeal to economic necessity is truly a milestone. And in today’s atomised America, it isn’t just good business. It’s good politics.There is only so much to go around, and the efforts of one group or the other to assert a claim to a larger share can be called class warfare. It can be a war waged through changes in the taxes, in a restructuring of incentives and pay scales, an increase in the benefits given to the poor, or revolt. The first three are legitimate battlegrounds in a democratic society such as ours, and it is really taking a good joke to far to suggest it is damaging to the body politic for members of society to look at the differences in income and take action to redistribute in their direction.

“Only a man who carries a gun needs one” Angel and the Badman – 1947

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Beltane

Beltane was an ancient Gaelic festival that marked the beginning of May and marks the suns progress halfway between the spring equinox and summer solstice. Beltane and Samhain are the leading terminal dates of the ancient Gaelic calendar. The astronomical date for this midpoint is nearer to 5 May or 7 May, but this can vary from year to year. Beltane marked the beginning of the pastoral summer season, when herds of livestock were driven out to the summer pastures and mountain grazing lands. The celebration of Beltane centered around a bonfire on a hill of some significance. According to Nora Chadwick, it was “a spring-time festival of optimism. Fertility ritual … was important, in part perhaps connecting with the waxing power of the sun, symbolized by the lighting of fires through which livestock were driven, and around which the people danced in a sunwise direction”. There was more than one fire, and people would parade themselves and their livestock between the fires to cleanse themselves and bring luck. Celebrating fertility was also a focus; Maypole Dancing being one of the prominent activities – and whatever went on in the forest afterword. In old Celtic traditions, it was a time of unabashed sexuality and promiscuity where marriages of a year and a day could be undertaken. Like Samhian, Beltane was seen as a time when the Otherworld was near at hand – fairies and other folk mingled with earthly folk. May morning is a magickal time for wild water (dew, flowing streams, and springs), which is collected and used to bathe in for beauty, or to drink for health.

Beltane for surfers marks the beginning of the southern hemisphere groundswell season. And sure enough, the first week of May brought a nice south swell mixed with northwest wind swell. I surfed the Cave Bowl on the SB for three days and took the LB out to close the swell. I stayed to the hours around low tide, but had to listen to the crew tell me how good it was when there was more water over the reef – NBD – I got some fun ones. Congratulation to Anthony for becoming a new father – Titus – I do hope he becomes a defender of everything Anthony brings to the water.

Pictures range from a Beltane image to Rick’s Ranch Favorites – and they are favorites of mine.

I am not a fan of Nike – and what the heck do they bring to surfing – but the Lowers contest is on in some good surf – check it where you can. Speaking of contests, the Log Jam came and went at the top of the Point. On the Friday before the contest, it was fun to check all the LB rippers pose out at the Steps. Killing it for sure, but I am glad they were only invading and not occupying.

Speaking of the Point, what about the makeover? To revitalize the Point comes with a cost – in the eyes of some of us. The makeover is bringing in hordes to enjoy the Point – which is cool, but for those of us that had the low-population version; it’s a little harsh. Change is good, but as a pile of shit brings change with the attraction of flies, revitalization is increasing the attraction of all sectors – in mass.

Its Easter weekend – the weather was beautiful on Saturday, but the surf was nearly not. Even still, I got inspired and decided to watch the moonrise while out on the LB. A couple of other local crew members were also there with the same idea. It was nearly dark when I reached the lot and I parked my board on the fence – top rail spanning a corner spot. Took a quick rinse and was walking back to the van when a couple of kids on bikes pulled up and asked me if they had reached 26th Avenue. I let them know they had another mile and a half to go. Back to the van, and as I got ready to change, the kids started to heckle me. The kids proclaimed I was a faggot-kook riding an LB. No worries. I started to rinse with my back to the hecklers when I heard my board hitting the landscape rocks located below my board. I turned to see one of the kids pushing my board off its resting place onto the rocks. I blasted off – first stop – the kid molesting my board. I pushed him off his bike and he landed on the ground. I had my board in my hands, and while I was lifting it off the rocks, I let the kid know in no uncertain terms that no one abuses my equipment – full stop. Next thing I know, the kid was reaching into his pant’s pocket – he pulled a knife on me. I was stunned – I said: “are you kidding me?” Without thinking, I positioned the tail of my board in direct alignment with his head and told him: “put that thing away and get the fuck out of here!” Luckily, another one of the local crew, Zeke, was sitting in his car nearby, saw what was going on, and came to my aid. He yelled at the kids: “what the hell are you guys doing!” With the odd stacked against them, the kids took off on their bikes. Afterwards, with adrenalin pumping through my veins – I thanked my hero for coming to help and assessed the damage to my board. The tail got scratched up, but no holes. It’s Easter Break!

Rant: “So it is that the crisis was orchestrated by so many who should have, instead, been sounding the alarm – not only bankers but also regulators, rating firms, government agencies, private enterprises and investors. That a former U.S. Senator, Governor and CEO of a big six financial institution was at the helm of MF Global on the eve of its demise due to trading losses, or that the largest-ever Ponzi scheme was run by the former chairman of a major stock exchange will long be remembered by the public. The repercussions have stretched beyond banking, creating an atmosphere of fear affecting and inhibiting those who should be leading us toward a better post-crisis economy.” M&T Bank CEO Robert Wilmers, 2012.

The global economy will have trouble with oil prices above $125 per barrel, Hansen said.  At the other end, the cost of production establishes a floor for oil prices.  That cost ranges from around $80-$90 per barrel for Saudi Arabia to $100 for Russia.  Those are the prices necessary to guarantee domestic stability, since both countries use oil revenue for political purposes; the variable cost of production is much lower.

Each day is a chance to look at our situation in a fresh new way. Before we become dissatisfied, and look outside of our current situation, we should ask: what are our opportunities now? Take stock. What can we make of our current situation? Go to your job like it’s the first day of a new opportunity to build a business. What should we do to become sustainable and grow? Enthusiasm for the future –

“All those moments in time, like tears lost in the rain” – Roy in Blade Runner

 

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After the Big Swell

Mixed-up Patios

Tea Kettles

Spring Day

The Same Spring Day

The big swell showed up kinda sloppy, but by the late afternoon, the swell looked a bit more organized. The pictures show the big swell at mid-day. By the next day, the swell had dropped to a point where the bottom contours had something to work with. Still, the swell had a lot of west in it, so there were more closeouts than usual. And of course, Easter Break broke. It was pretty crowded after the big swell – with the masses continuing to migrate all week. Yesterday I counted over 1,000 feet of LB in the water at Tiburones. For my part, I surfed a few sessions at Sharks – Patios was way too crowded. I surfed at low tide while the wind was topping; still didn’t cut the crowd as much as I would have liked, A couple of the set waves were kelpy and the water was frigid – but I had fun. Today was small, windy, and crowded. I would have gone out, but the crowd-restricted wave count and water chill convinced me I was better off doing something else. Even still – it was a beautiful day – picture perfect.

Last Word: When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace. -Jimi Hendrix, musician, singer, and songwriter (1942-1970)

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Springter

Popeye's Favorite - Where the Valley and the Surf Meet

Stormy South - Drain Pipe

Spring Equinox!!!! Spring Equinox!!!! March 19, 2011. Just finished a solid week of rain and some surf. There was a mix of small south and near-shore groundswell producing shoulder to head-high surf. A strong north wind filled in behind the lows that have been bringing the weather. The water was cold- so cold – and the wind didn’t help. I got some fun ones at the Steps before the crowd; tide and stiffness conspired to bring me in. The shower was hot and long.

Surfed Tiburones at low tide today; the wind was blowing strong out of the north-northwest, and the cloud cover enhanced the chill. Across the bay, snow could be seen on top of the Los Padres range. Got a couple of wind-swell zippers and hightailed it home for some warmth. While I was out, I saw spring in person. A new mother otter had a small ball of fur on her belly while she swam through the kelp near the takeoff. I considered how cold I was, and how many frigid springs otters have been rearing pups. Unfuckingbelievable! March 21, 2012 – the sun came out and a spring wind textured the water. I repeated the Tiburones trek and had a fun session – small crowd – Gary and Knee-Boarder Roy. A long-wait small south was running with wind-swell inbetweeners. Water was still chilly – as expected for spring. More rain is coming.

Swell started out weak today – March 30, 2012, but definitely west-southwest. Later in the day as the tide filled in, so did the swell. Not real good shape – more west. I looked – and looked – and finally bagged it for another day. We shall see. A tad more south and things may shape up. But wait – the buoys tell the story – 9.3 feet from 300 at 17 seconds and 2.1 feet from 180 at 20 seconds.

It’s early, early early, April 1, 2012. Gerry says there’s a good south hitting the islands. I heard it was going to be macking here today. So, i checked the buoy – see below. The south would be great – the west-northwest would be overwhelming – together – a spectacle? The rising sun will provide the feedback.

Looks Big on Paper

Last Word: The universe is all whys and maybes. All meanings coincide; all answers are condensed into one or none. Nothing yields to logic. Lucius Shepard

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See Ya Scott

Winter

The Point

Lines

Moon Rise

When family or acquaintances pass away, it leaves you a little stunned, like getting jolted awake while in a dreamscape. You’re left thinking it over – life and death – death and life. Seems to me we know death as juxtaposed to life. The contrast is in what we know of life. Death is the black side of duality – the unknown shadow. So what is life – is it true – “life is what we make it?” How about the eight senses: sight, touch, taste, sound, smell, logic, emotion, and dream. Yes, I added a few. Good and bad – all you see, all you hear, scents floating in the air near and far, the taste of food and drink, the sound of rain and music, logic and emotion, a dream. Surfing encompasses all these things; love encompasses all these things; time with friends and family; your relationship with animals – life. You embrace it everyday and, once in a while, spend some time relishing the flavor – the senses. Are you seeing; are you touching; are you tasting; are you hearing; do you take time to savor the scents that you encounter; do you contemplate, read, love, and dream? Even at work! I didn’t know Scott well. He showed up after being out of the lineup for quite awhile due to injury. It was pleasant to surf with him – and heck – he went left most of the time. He was a good surfer and definitely had soul. He was also good to talk to on the cliff. Like I said – I didn’t know him well, but isn’t that the case with a lot of the guys we know from the lineup. I surfed yesterday. I was out at second bowl when I saw Scott walking down to Tiburones. I’m sure he spied the left – not big, but breaking on the shallow part of the reef. The surf was breaking close to shore – I gave him an arm wave as he slowly made his way down the beach. Later, as I got out of the water, I looked down to Sharks to see how the waves were shaping up. I saw Scott sitting on the left. Today I found out that Scott passed while surfing. It made me think about life – why I want it so and what Scott left behind. All you see, all you hear, scents floating in the air near and far, the taste of food and drink, the sound of rain and music, logic and emotion, a dream. See you on the other side when my time comes – but now I live.

Rant -

Not surprising: “Other countries negotiate very aggressively with health care providers and set rates that are much lower than we do.”  They do this in one of two ways. In countries such as Canada and Britain, the government sets prices. In others, such as Germany and Japan, they’re set by providers and insurers sitting in a room and coming to an agreement, with the government stepping in to set prices if they fail.

In America, Medicare and Medicaid negotiate prices on behalf of their tens of millions of members and, not coincidentally, purchase care at a substantial markdown from the commercial average. But outside that, it’s a free-for-all. Providers largely charge what they can get away with, often offering different prices to different insurers, and an even higher price to the uninsured.”

Check the effort -

Enjoy the Nose Ride King

The living are soft and yielding; the dead are rigid and stiff. Living plants are flexible and tender; the dead are brittle and dry. -Lao Tzu, philosopher (6th century BCE)

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Stay Local – Ride a Bike

Surfed today!!!! Went out at Tiburones at low tide. The sun was out and the wind was just for texture. The surf wasn’t big, but I got some fun ones. The first weekend of March continued to provide beautiful weather and plenty of outdoor time. The surf took a sabbatical, but low tide boning, the bike, and music kept be busy. Thank you. Pics show Bill going JTH—-

Gasoline prices are up and probably going up as you read this. All manner of bullshit is flying about. Of course, we’ve been here before, but who’s paying attention. The loudspeakers are blaming the Fed, O-lame-a, and the lack of domestic oil production. The fact that we’ve had a mild winter and natural gas production is outstripping demand is not mentioned. How about this: demand is booming in Asia and the Former Soviet Union, offsetting mediocre demand in the U.S. and Europe; inventories are low; and supply has been hit in several countries due to geopolitical and technical problems. And, a road we’ve been down before: over the past year, refineries have faced a classic margin squeeze. Prices for Brent crude have gone up, but demand for gasoline in the U.S. is at a 15-year low. That means refineries haven’t been able to pass on the higher prices to their customers. As a result, companies have chosen to shut down a handful of large refineries rather than continue to lose money on them. Since December, the U.S. has lost about 4 percent of its refining capacity. Really, the industry has no reason to keep gasoline production at capacity. Similarly, the industry has no motivation to take on more exploration or production. XL-Pipeline – its an avenue to oversees markets – its got nothing to do with the USA – except in that corporate deals will come and go – most of us will see no benefit and the use of our commons will once again be pawned off to the in-crowd. It’s hard for some to realize, but when demand is down and margins need to be maintained, prices increase – it has nothing to do with the Fed or the president.

“Capitalism might be the greatest engine of prosperity and progress ever devised, but in recent years, individuals and communities have grown increasingly disgruntled with the implicit contract that governs the rights and responsibilities of business. The global economy and the Internet have heightened our sense of interconnectedness and sharpened our awareness that when a business focuses only on enriching investors, it implies that managers view the interests of customers, employees, communities and the fate of the planet as little more than cost trade-offs in a quarter-by-quarter game.

It’s time to radically revise the deeply-etched beliefs about what business is for, whose interests it serves, and how it creates value. We need a new form of capitalism for the 21st century, one dedicated to the promotion of greater well-being rather than the single-minded pursuit of growth and profits; one that doesn’t sacrifice the future for the near term; one with an appropriate regard for every stakeholder; and one that holds leaders accountable for all of the consequences of their actions. In other words, we need a capitalism that is profoundly principled, fundamentally patient, and socially accountable.” – We Need A New Form Of Capitalism for The 21st Century, Polly LaBarre, Harvard Business Review.

It’s been said here before: A new report by the Center for Tax Justice has found General Electric made $81 billion in U.S. pretax profits over the past decade but paid just 2.3 percent of its profits in taxes — far lower than the official 35 percent corporate tax rate. Between 2006 and 2011, GE received a tax rebate of $2.7 billion.

And: A New York federal judge on Monday dismissed a lawsuit brought by thousands of organic farmers against the agribusiness giant Monsanto. The farmers were seeking to prevent Monsanto from suing them if their crops become contaminated by Monsanto’s patented products, which can drift onto nearby fields. Does this sound right?

This from Robert Reich: “But many of the gains are distributed narrowly in the form of profits to owners, and fat compensation packages to the “talent.” The share of the gains going to everyone else in the form of wages and salaries has been shrinking. It’s now the smallest since the government began keeping track in 1947. If the trend continues, inequality will become ever more extreme.”

“We’ll also face chronically insufficient demand for all the goods and services the productivity revolution can generate. That’s because the rich save more of their earnings than everyone else, while middle and lower-income families – with fewer jobs or lower wages – no longer have the purchasing power to keep the economy going at full tilt. (Before 2008 they kept up their buying by sinking deep into debt. This proved to be an unsustainable strategy.) Insufficient demand – as everyone but regressive supply-siders now recognize – is a big reason why the current recovery has been so anemic and the pie isn’t growing faster.”

“So while the productivity revolution is indubitably good, the task ahead is to figure out how to distribute more of its gains to more of our people.” Solutions offered by Mr. Reich include: higher taxes on the rich that go into wage subsidies for lower-income workers, combined with job sharing. We also need better schools (from early-childhood through young adulthood, followed by systems of lifelong learning) so everyone has a fair shot at a larger share of the gains. Finally, the benefits of the productivity revolution should be turned into more abundant public goods – cleaner air and water, better parks and recreation, improved public health, and better public transit.”

Lets take a look. Higher taxes on rich that go into wage subsidies and job sharing: First, job sharing. Sounds good, but an aspect of education – how about Corpgov use some of those large profits to train and advance their workforce, bring in new lower-skilled workers, good retirement and public service for those who have served, and keep the wheel turning? Benefit – skilled, educated, loyal, happy, self-fulfilled employees, homeland peace corps, and participation in a sustainable endeavor. Next, taxes to wage subsidies. All sorts of folks balk – suggesting its just wealth transfer – government Robin Hood. Think a little deeper; consider that a portion of those massive profits could be used to provide  higher wages instead of zombie capitalism. Now, Corpgov distributes profits over a narrow range of investors and executives, and looks to the federal government to make up the wage difference by providing food stamps, health care subsidies, child care, and a number of other programs – funded by wage-earner tax rates. Instead of tax redistribution – how about soul capitalism that looks to take care of all stakeholders and a tax system that fairly looks to all of us to support our country. Benefit: consumers without debt able to participate in the market, demand for goods and services, self-reliance, self worth, pride in self and country, and less stress (more health).

Now – schooling, training, life-long education – not even a discussion – it would only make us a better nation, a better society, and a society able to make better decisions. And public good – infrastructure, clean air and water – like it or not – even Corpgov needs these things. We all benefit. So why not look to Corpgov – taxes and profits – to maintain the public good.

Drew says: Want war – how about a war tax on every citizen and corporation. Still indirect participation, but participation nonetheless. He who feels it knows it. Maybe if we had to pay a war premium, we would pay more attention to the whole boondoggle.

It is astonishing what foolish things one can temporarily believe if one thinks too long alone – Keynes

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