It’s been a long time

March 17th, 2014

Haven’t posted for a year.  I gave up when the only comments I ever got were spammed links to advertisements. I had to change to “moderated” where I have to approve of a comment before it will appear.

One of the two events occupying the news around the world is the secession of Crimea from Ukraine. Most everyone has an opinion, but we base our reactions on what we already think about ourselves and about Russia.

Just to remind ourselves that there is much more to this than we know, read what Encyclopedia Britannica says happened 160 years ago:

“Crimean War, (October 1853–February 1856), war fought mainly on the Crimean Peninsula between the Russians and the British, French, and Ottoman Turkish, with support from January 1855 by the army of Sardinia-Piedmont. The war arose from the conflict of great powers in the Middle East and was more directly caused by Russian demands to exercise protection over the Orthodox subjects of the Ottoman sultan. Another major factor was the dispute between Russia and France over the privileges of the Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches in the holy places in Palestine.”

America has invaded other countries with unanticipated results. Mr. Putin wants to try his hand. Maybe he still cares about the holy places in Palestine and could eventually weigh in over there too.

It was four years ago this month when I noted the terrorist attack in Moscow and wondered what the long term response might be. We are seeing it now, perhaps.

Money Can Make You Crazy

May 1st, 2012

The NewYorkTimes reports that the wife of a man killed on the street by a CIA contractor last year in Pakistan has just been killed by her father. She had received a large amount of blood money from our government due to the incident, and she was about to leave her parents’ household and take the money with her.

A Brief Respite, an Easy Prediction

April 10th, 2012

We can all get a break from suffering in the crossfire of the slings and arrows of the Republican primary battles. I think they damaged each other fairly permanently. The media atmosphere will be easier to breathe for a while until they all band together to do their best to damage Obama.

Obama, who has done a decent job with the hand he was dealt, will not deserve the trashing they will give him.

I’m Back

April 5th, 2012

I’m going to start posting some of my thoughts. Pretty obviously, that’s what a blog’s for. I’ve been reluctant due to my doubts that the world needs any more punditry, especially from amateurs.

But there are so many things that I think should be said. I’m going to try to concentrate on saying only these things.

Today’s example:

Why does the current administration not state very loudly that the steep upward trajectory of our nation’s debt was generated by President G.W.Bush’s policies, primarily the waging of wars without honestly addressing the costs, and the especially the need for those who most favored the wars to be willing to be taxed to pay for them.

NEW FOCUS: AUTO MAINTENANCE & REPAIR IN S.F. CA

February 5th, 2011

HELLO ALL. This blog will heretofore concentrate on my life as an auto mechanic and repair consultant with a facility in the Mission district of San Francisco.
I do all the work myself, so I can only be of service to a limited number of clients, but if you like what I do, I can make your life with your car more pleasant and more affordable, by honestly advising you on what your car needs, and by not leading you into spending money on things it doesn’t need. If you have the time to work with my schedule, we can order parts via the internet and in some cases save you half of what other shops will charge you for the parts.
As most of you know, it is the norm in the car repair world for shops to take advantage of the car owners lack of knowledge regarding the truth of what they claim. I will explain problems that I find, and I will offer you choices of ways to deal with the problem, depending on your budget and the length of time you intend to keep your car.

The new leading edge for Manufactured Goods

February 5th, 2011

I saw a wonderful movie, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” which masterfully wove into the story a multi-level complexity that engaged my mind, and left me cheered up about the sometimes discouraging complexity of my own life. A thread of this weave was the moment when the two protagonists needed a car for their investigative foray into the boonies. Did they commandeer one by knocking bad guys out of their driver’s seat? No, they went to the rental agency and secured a modest Kia SUV, and let the drama proceed.

This happened at a peak moment in the drama, so the importance of the frontal image of the Kia was heightened for me. I think the subliminal message in these few frames was to remind us that the focal point of the advancement of industrial/technical production progress in the world today, is South Korea.
The facts are reported to us on a regular basis, but the conclusions are ours to grasp, to realize, and to operate upon. The most successful manufacturer in the world today in the two most ubiquitous and important appliance categories is Samsung, from South Korea, tops in the fields of Television and Mobile Phones. That’s pretty spectacular, no?
If you examine the other major consumer category, Automobiles, you can find a glaring phenomena: most manufacturer’s prices are head to head with each other, with two brands priced noticeably lower than the rest for comparable models, Kia and Hyundai, the South Korean brands.
Are you old enough to remember when Japanese cars broke in to our markets? Datsuns (as Nissan products were then known) and Toyotas were being bought in unusually high numbers by middle Americans who looked at the facts, at the experiences of their neighbors, and at their own strained personal economic situations, and dared to go beyond the mainstream economy’s dogma about buying American.
We are long past any remaining patriotism driving most auto buying decisions, and in fact if you examine the situation thoroughly, the remaining difference between historically American and Foreign car brands has more to do with whether the workers are unionized or not, rather than where they are made. Both categories make their cars both inside and outside of the USA.

There were many years wherein Japanese cars were still thought of by many as representing the cheap workmanship and copy-cat designing that characterized Japanese made toys in the 50s.

But while the corporate advertised version of reality wasn’t watching, consumers who had to budget their resources tried and adored the Japanese alternatives to the increasingly uninteresting cars from the Big 3, and appreciated the opportunity to drive technology similar to the more advanced European cars in an affordable form. The Datsun 510 had an engine similar to the small Mercedes, and the Datsun 240Z was considered the Japanese Jaguar, with its inline 6 cyl. overhead cam engine.
So I propose that we are at a similar juncture here, when many are using and appreciating Korean products, but others are not aware that they have risen to the top of the value equation.

Whoops, Financial Markets fall, Dow below 10K

June 4th, 2010

I thought Dow 10,000 was going to hold. (See previous post)

So the converse of the theory is that if a support level is breached decisively, there may follow a return to retest the lows of the chart excursion.  I was too optimistic.

Stock Market Passes Test

May 27th, 2010

What drives the numbers behind the stock markets? Nothing less than the collective emotion of humanity.

There is a lot of correlation between past and future patterns in the behavior of the markets, and the only explainable constant is human behavioral tendencies.

One of the widely shared observations is that markets test their key levels by returning to them under certain conditions, and much is to be learned by the results of activity near these psychologically important thresholds.  It looks to me that the world’s markets are watching the test of our Dow Industrials 10,000 level. The Dow has floated unconvincingly above that level in a show of hopefulness that the 2008 meltdown has been overcome, but reverberations of that crashing of part of the house of cards that the world economy actually is, has affected Europe and set off a retest of 10,000 as a reliable support level (meaning that there is ample buying power to drive it higher than that.)

It looks to me like the test has been passed; 10,000 has held on a closing basis, even though it was pierced mid-day recently. If so, that means the entities with the most money in the world believe that the financial system will be successfully patched together for another period of growth in the world, even though it might leave behind more individuals than ever in the march toward overall stability.

Sleeeeeezeee

April 7th, 2010

I just got a phone call from a man who identified himself as being from PG&E (and I’m sure he was, as it came to a number that is only known to a few people, but it IS listed on my PG&E account.) He sounded just like a telemarketer. He began by alluding to the issue of choice of power distribution companies, and I immediately asked him if he was campaigning for the ballot proposition 16 that would hamper public power efforts. He evaded the question and in a very skillful way, tried to get me to declare on the phone that I wished to opt out of the plan which Marin County, where I live, is creating to compete with PG&E. I could easily imagine a citizen receiving such a call being confused in a different way than I was confused by it, and opting out of the new system before it is even implemented, and way before the vote on the proposition. Isn’t it illegal for PG&E to use profits they make from their monopoly to fund marketing campaigns designed to gain commitments from customers to preserve their monopoly?

Terrorists strike Moscow

March 31st, 2010

Terrorists struck Moscow yesterday. We will have the opportunity to watch a nation which has been an ally, and an adversary of ours, react or respond. Whatever happens will be another significant step in the evolution toward the future of our finite planet. In the big picture, if there is to be a long run for humanity, there will have to emerge a reshuffling of alliances, probably along some basic principles which are familiarly American. Perhaps Bush and the neocons saw something important, which they misidentified as a need to spread democracy; it is the need for the people of the planet who subscribe to some kind of fairly administered rule of law based on individual values, to line up against those who subscribe to, or accede to, unprovable beliefs of superiority which confer upon them the right to suppress the rights of others. When we choose our alliances for the ideals we share, instead of to protect others’ resources that we wish to gain, we might be able to revise our priorities to once again deserve a little respect on the basis of “moral authority.”