Consumer Fracking

A few posts-ago, I stated: “When inequality gets bad enough, serfs don’t have much money to buy products from overlords. This hurts the overlords’ ability to get even richer. That’s what’s wrong with the American economy right now. The serfs are tapped out.” When I re-read this, it prompted another thought – those reaping the benefits do not want to give up an inch – in fact, they want more. So if you can’t invest in a country where the serfs are tapped out – you take advantage of the global economy and all the juicy free trade agreements that exist (or will exist). What does this mean – it means move money to the market that has the most room for growth – where there is work, pay is increasing, and new consumers are consuming every day. Once the new consumers are tapped out for productivity and they can no longer afford to consume – move on to a new country – It’s like mining for gold – once the load is tapped out – leave the waste and move on. Another avenue is to try and squeeze even more profits out of the serfs – Consumer Fracking (as in fracturing for natural gas and oil – you heard it here) – For example, take a commodity the population desperately needs – like bread – provide it to the consumer at less cost (GMO grains – more yields, less cost), sell the bread in smaller amounts for a fraction more money – and call it profit growth. I will let you run the experiment with health care. As markets become saturated, natural resources become scarcer, and serfs become tapped – the profit machine will be pushed into a corner – and as I said, those reaping the benefits do not want to give up an inch. So watch out!

Last Word: Krishnamurti: We move from certainty to uncertainty, then from that uncertainty to another certainty, trust this person and then later on discover that he is not worthy of your trust and move to another, and again put your trust in him then discover he is untrusting, that’s our life.



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Internet Swell Update Update


The internet swell definitely heaved. Foam boards and novices not withstanding, everywhere was good. Tiburones for me, but there was ripping all over. A good friend sent me a picture for reference – a country spot. Look real hard and you can see the takers – and get some perspective. One of the best early south swell seasons I can remember. Many thanks!

A word or an act can seem like a mistake when it happens — and even shortly afterward. In years to come, though, you might look back on it and see that, though it created friction and even hurt at the time, it served a higher and more character-forming purpose in the long run. Supposed mistakes can lead you down paths that you never would have otherwise traveled. You end up discovering things about yourself and what makes you happy that may have otherwise never been found. Calling one’s boss “a raving buck-toothed lunatic, with the management skills of a deaf hyena and the talent of an oaf’s corpse” might get you fired — or even ostracized for a while. Yet the courage that might have taken could serve to bolster an otherwise compliant spirit and project you to higher goals and achievements. – Eric Schmidt, Chief Executive of Google spoke at the Hay Festival in the U.K.

Real wages fell 0.2% in 2012, down from $295.49 (1982-84 dollars) to $294.83 per week, according to the 2013 Economic Report of the President. Thus, a 1.9% increase in nominal wages was more than wiped out by inflation, marking the 40th consecutive year that real wages have remained below their 1972 peak.

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Internet Swell Update

Pretty much as predicted, the internet swell showed up yesterday, June 6, 2013. Surfed Tiburones shoulder high and a little bigger. It was sunny but the wind was blowing. Almost everyone showed up and the pack was pretty brutal. That said, I got a couple of good ones and bailed while the bailing was good. Today, the internet swell really pulled in. The wave charts tell the story – 5-foot and over Hawaiian style – meaning 10-foot plus faces – all day. It was a circus at the Point. This morning the tide was low and the Drain Pipe was tube dredging barrels. I heard it was 40 percent makable with sand-weighted caverns eating rippers alive. But ripping. Over 200+ out along the point alone. I surfed later in the afternoon. There was a stiff breeze, but conditions were good – and so was the tide. I Paddled out to Tiburones in between sets, so I really didn’t know what to expect. There was a lot of water moving around, so paddling was required to stay in position. A couple of middle waves came through - showing at a little overhead – and suggesting the sets were bigger. Up toward second peak bombs were exploding off the reef and rippers were taking it apart. And all the other internet squatters were wreaking havoc – boards flying all over – tomb-stoning in unison until it looked like a whole graveyard. Chaos was part of it. My first wave was a middle one – pretty good shape – took off and found my cord wrapped around the big toe of my front foot while my back foot perched on the rest of my cord. I estimate only about two-thirds of each foot was in touch with the board – couldn’t move my feet – and I was restricted to the last third of my board – the front of my board was bouncing weightlessly. It wasn’t the best start, but I made it to the end of the wave and rode over the back. Things definitely improved from there. Somehow I was able to negotiate the crowd and found some gems. My last wave was an outside bomb that walled all the way past the stairs at Privates – whereupon I straightened out and rode the white water to shore. I walked back and sat at the Steps watching serious sets and serious rippers. Can’t bag on this internet swell too much – it was the real deal.

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Zombies All

Internet swell tomorrow!!!!

This is a excerpt from an interview – It hits the mark regarding the zombie economy. The lethargic society - waiting for….The government won’t do it…redistribution through taxes….I don’t think so….So, its up to corporate america…their investors…..and consumers…..”maybe in the next world, maybe in the next world”

RALPH NADER: Yeah, has there—has there been a bigger con man in the White House than Barack Obama? He hasn’t lifted a finger since he made those statements. And when he made the statements in the 2008 campaign, he said nothing for four years on raising the minimum wage. He made no pressure on Congress. He hasn’t even unleashed people in his own White House on this issue.

AMY GOODMAN: What can he do?

RALPH NADER: What can he do? He can barnstorm it. That’s what the bully pulpit is about. He can go up to Congress. He can get George Miller and Senator Harkin, who have introduced weak minimum wage increase bills, to have dynamic hearings where he puts a face on all these people who can’t even make as much as the workers made in 1968. Look at the difference here. There are a million Wal-Mart workers who are making less today than Wal-Mart workers made in 1968, inflation-adjusted, while the boss of Wal-Mart is making $11,000 an hour, you know, plus benefits. Two-thirds of all low-income workers are hired by these big companies, like McDonald’s and Burger King and Wal-Mart, and that the bosses are making anywhere from $10 million to $20 million a year.

Now, what does that do to the normative juices of the American people? I mean, where’s the indignation here? I mean, why do they take it? They don’t have to take it. They can hit the streets. They can march. They can turn this around. How come they hit the streets in these Third World countries? I mean, isn’t it important for their livelihood? They can’t even get the necessities of life for their children. The cruelty is unbelievable here. We are an advanced Third World country. We have great military equipment and science and technology. Half of the people in this country are poor. They can’t even pay their bills. They’re deep in debt. And so, people sitting around are saying, “Oh, the powers that be, you know, we can’t do anything.” What do you mean they can’t do anything? They can do everything. They’re the sovereign. We don’t have “We the corporation” at the beginning of the Constitution; we have “We the people.” So, Let’s get it done in August. Let’s move. You’ll get a nice summons. You go around. You get your friends and neighbors. Bring that member back home in a town hall or wherever for an exclusive meeting on the minimum wage.


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Spring Stuff


Garden Spirit

The Rotation

Today marks 7 days of continuous south swell. Sore but motivated, I surfed Tiburones in the rain. During this span of good surf I went back into the board rotation – each board provided some fun – and further understanding as to why it was left out of the rotation in the first place. Is it time for another new board? Or is it just me? (probably me) – Pictures: assorted views since my last post – no questions asked.

May 20, 2013 – south swell started up couple days ago – small at 20 seconds from 200 degrees. Now, the buoys show 2.8 feet from 200 at 17 seconds. Surfed the first day on the LB at Tiburones and SB; surfed yesterday at Tiburones on the quad. Before the swell marched in, we were hanging on various wind swell nibbles and sliver-like windows. Have to say that it all came together yesterday. It was Sunday (i.e., heavily packed), hot and sunny, light breeze that never blew in the wrong direction, 3 to 15 wave sets, moderate tides, and 50 percent closeout ratio. Don’t know how the evening session was, but given conditions at sunset – it may have been….The swell is supposed to hang for awhile – we shall see.

Mark Twain once said, “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter — it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”

An article I came across opened with “Why has income inequality been rising in advanced economies — it’s not just the US, people — over the past few decades? The economic consensus mostly explains the phenomenon as a race between accelerating technological change and expanding education.” So, the article goes on to try and explain that income inequality is a result of technology and lack of education that is focused on technology and paced with the speed of technological change. Really? So, incomes have been flat since the late 1970’s, productivity has been exponentially increasing, and pay for management and CEOs has gone through the roof. Consider this: The average CEO of a big American company makes more in an hour than his or her average employee makes in a month. And, America is rapidly becoming a country of a few million overlords and three hundred million serfs. The point – it’s not really about technology – it’s about greed. The corporate pie is not sliced in a way that enriches and benefits all parties of the transaction fairly. Add in a little union busting, “right-to-work” states, and an oppressing unemployment rate, and those in charge will continue to have conditions under which they can squeeze more profit and shareholder equity from those who make the whole organization and system work. Back to the overlords and serfs – When inequality gets bad enough, serfs don’t have much money to buy products from overlords. This hurts the overlords’ ability to get even richer. That’s what’s wrong with the American economy right now. The serfs are tapped out. The overlords are responding by firing more serfs, to increase profits. Unfortunately, because one person’s “costs” are another person’s “wages,” this is making the problem worse. How to make it right? Persuade the overlords that it is in their best interests to share more of their wealth by paying their employees more for their hard work (work that, not incidentally, is what makes the overlords rich).

The Grant Study is one of the longest-running longitudinal studies of human development. The project, which began in 1938, has followed 268 Harvard undergraduate men for 75 years, measuring an astonishing range of psychological, anthropological, and physical traits—from personality type to IQ to drinking habits to family relationships to “hanging length of his scrotum”—in an effort to determine what factors contribute most strongly to human flourishing.

There was no significant difference in maximum income earned by men with IQs in the 110–115 range and men with IQs higher than 150. Political ideology had no bearing on life satisfaction—but the most-conservative men ceased sexual relations at an average age of 68, while the most-liberal men had active sex lives into their 80s. Most important is the powerful correlation between the warmth of your relationships and your health and happiness in old age. The author’s key takeaway, in his own words: “The seventy-five years and twenty million dollars expended on the Grant Study points … to a straightforward five-word conclusion: ‘Happiness is love. Full stop.’ ”

March 20, 2013 – south swell filled in today under the cover of overcast storm clouds and northwest wind. Still, plenty good. Tiburones had some decent shape, but didn’t top shoulder-high. What was great was that the Internet pack was not on it, and the crew felt warm and cuddly doing something else. The lineup was relatively free and easy. Yes – it was cold, but satisfying. Great start to spring.

March 1, 2013 – first legit south swell is showing on the buoys. The south numbers are 2.2 feet at 17 seconds from 185. Also, a west-northwest swell is barely showing on the radar this evening – 8 feet at 20 seconds from 300. Tomorrow, the masses expect a strong Internet swell – they may be rewarded.

Surfed the Steps today – solid west-northwest long period swell – high tide and draining way fast. Anyway, the talent level and competition was high, and I started my session struggling. You know, you want to get that first wave and build some confidence – I was losing confidence quickly paddling, maneuvering – but nada. Then I hooked into one and got two turns before the wave closed out – wasn’t much, but I remained hopeful. Finally, it seemed a good in-betweener was coming my way and I thought I was uncontested. Oh no – one of the stud kids spun around and was looking to paddle over and get it – but, it was one of the youth with soul. He looked over – saw I was paddling – and encouraged me to go. Definitely the best wave of the session for me – wave and gesture. Thank you Kane – you are a true surfer.

Medicine for profit? How does it work? Profit off fear and vanity. It’s an unfortunate truth. There’s not much profit for drug companies in producing new and better medicines for people that can’t really pay for them. Diseases suffered by the wealthy, like heart disease and cosmetic treatments like those for baldness will always command a higher price. Often, there are no morals in profit – especially in the corporate world where the functionaries are insulated from the effects– very zombie like. No translate into health care – dude, seriously.


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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.


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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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.


“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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