Nicholas D. Rosen's Journal|
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|Wednesday, May 4th, 2016|
|The Upcoming Election
Every four years, I have been able to re-use the joke, "It's finally happened. Both major parties have nominated candidates who are unelectable." This time, something close to that actually seems to be unfolding.
I do not think highly of Hillary Rodham Clinton. I do not share her leftist views, and I do not admire her bossiness and enthusiasm for censorship of music, television, video games, and, perhaps worst, of movies, books, or other media that may lead to people voting against her (the issue in the Citizens United
case, which she has declared to be a litmus test for prospective Supreme Court justices). I also do not like her pattern of sleazy conduct, from her profits in trading cattle futures to her private email server for State Department business, to the entanglement of the Clinton Foundation with foreign donors whose interests were affected by her decisions as Secretary of State.
One thing I'll say for Mrs. Clinton is that she is a better-informed statesperson and a nearer approach to a decent human being than the walking definition of narcissistic personality disorder
who is the presumptive Republican nominee.
Decent people may differ over what is the least bad choice under the circumstances. I plan to vote Libertarian in the Presidential contest, and perhaps to contribute to Republican candidates for Congress. It seems possible -- perhaps not likely, but this whole mess so far is unlikely -- that enough people will vote Libertarian, and/or vote for a non-Trumpian Republican independent candidate, to throw the election into the House of Representatives. I don't know what the outcome of that would be.
|Sunday, May 1st, 2016|
|Georgist Conference in Southfield, Part Fifty-Six
As a follow-up, I remember some discussion at the Georgist conference about whether Alan Ridley's presentation should have been included. Admiral Yi was an impressive and indomitable man, but what does his career have to do with Georgism? And are his "management secrets" really applicable to our situation?
As a further follow-up, I delivered a talk of my own about Admiral Yi Sun-sin to USPTO Toastmasters a few months later. It went over well, and a few days later, one of my friends in the club told me that his wife, who is Korean, had told him that pirated disks of the South Korean television series about the great admiral circulated in North Korea. The North Korean government doesn't approve, because Admiral Yi, who is a national hero in both parts of the country, is portrayed as acting against the commands of a bungling king; people might get subversive notions about North Korea's current dynasty.
|Saturday, April 30th, 2016|
|Georgist Conference in Southfield, Part Fifty-Five (NOT GEORGIST)
You probably thought that all the sessions at the Georgist conference were about Georgist history and economics and related matters. Well, Alan Ridley gave us something different: "Management Secrets of the Amazing Korean Admiral Yi Soon Shin."
He gave us some history lessons, and showed us scenes from a South Korean TV miniseries about the incredible Admiral Yi (in Korean with some English subtitles). I'm not going to recapitulate sixteenth century East Asian history and Yi's astonishing biography here; instead, I refer you to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yi_Sun-sin
. Note that there are different transliterations of the great man's name. To whet your appetite, I'll say that although Admiral Yi lacked experience in naval combat, although his forces were often outnumbered and ill-supplied, and although he had to contend with a jealous, incompetent king and enemies at court, he nonetheless fought twenty-three major naval battles against the Japanese, and won all twenty-three, including the battle of Myeongnyang, which may qualify as the most astonishing naval victory in all of history.
Go and read the Wikipedia article unless you have already done so, or perhaps know all the story already. Now, here are Alan Ridley's "23 Management Secrets of Yi Soon Shin:"
1. Be motivated by high and worthy purpose.
2. Do not be afraid to stand up for what is right.
3. Know your strengths and weaknesses.
4. Maximize the use of patience.
5. Anticipate the future, but live in and be aware of the present.
6. Follow your gut. To thine own self be true.
7. Develop and exercise moral courage.
8. Work tirelessly to improve your lot and that of your associates.
9. Cultivate a loyal team by being a sincere friend, coach, and confidant.
10. Surround yourself with talented, wise, and trustworthy advisors and associates.
11. Seek out their special abilities and let them shine.
12. Know your enemy better than they know you.
13. Tap into the talents of those who have special insights and knowledge of your opponents.
14. Actively seek intelligence and develop a system to learn your opponents' intentions and capabilities.
15. Do not be deterred by forces you cannot control.
16. Make full use of uncanny psychological devices and insights into human nature.
17. Prepare for the worst, but plan for and expect good results without taking undue risks.
18. Don't let others force you into unwise decisions and actions.
19. Respect and honor your superiors and benefactos, but don't let them prevent you from doing what is right.
20. Be prepared to take drastic action.
21. Make your move when the time is right.
22. Choose only the battles you can win.
23. Win EVERY battle.
|The Red Queen's Race
I got one more amendment this week, and didn't work on any, so I'm up to five amendments on my docket.
I finished an Office Action on my oldest Regular New case, and I've made good progress on an Office Action on my next oldest Regular New case.
My Art Unit will be in special training on Tuesday and Wednesday, so that I can learn what I've been doing wrong the past seventeen years. I'll try to fit in some actual work on the othe days of the week.
|Wednesday, April 27th, 2016|
|Georgist Conference in Southfield, Part Fifty-Four
To continue with Karl Fitzgerald's talk on Saturday afternoon (August 8), he recommended Philip Soos, who did a study of Australian land titles and prices versus GNP. (I haven't been able to connect to Soos.com)
Then he talked about Alan Kohler, a finance reporter, at www.alankohler.com.au
He also said that Treasurer Joe Hockey (in South Australia, I think) proposed axing the stamp duty in favor of land value taxation. His proposal got watered down so they just cut the stamp duty on commercial real estate, IIUC. You can see more at www.bettertax.gov.au
The threshold to pay land tax in Victoria was $80,000 per property. They increased it in stages to $250,000, and land prices went up, of course.
A lot of slides and explanations went by quickly.
You can listen to more Renegade Economist stuff (remember, Karl calls himself a renegade economist at http://www.mixcloud.com/RenegadeEconomists/
In response to a question from Polly Cleveland, Karl Fitzgerald said that consultants are absorbing money for blather, while Georgists with real solutions aren't listened to.
Nate Blair said or asked that valuations in Australia are said to be good. If so, it's the only country in the world.
And that was the end of that talk.
|Sunday, April 24th, 2016|
|Georgist Conference in Southfield, Part Fifty-Three
In the afternoon of Saturday, August 8, 2015, Karl Fitzgerald spoke on "The Total Resource Rent of Australia and the Neocon Constriction." Karl began by saying that he has a bachelor's degree in economics, but not an advanced degree, so he doesn't call himself an economist. He calls himself a Renegade Economist, and has a website of that name (sorry, I had trouble connecting to it).
Monopoly rents are ten time higher than neo-classical assume, about 23.6% of GNP in Australia. He wrote or displayed some numbers: land rents, 14.2%; natural monopolies, 6.6%; resource rents, 2.8%; etc. I didn't manage to write it all down, and I noted that one might dispute his definition of "commons" to include domain registration and gambling licenses.
He had various numbers and factors for Australian land values and other resource rents, and said they summed to 60% or more of government spending.
He noted that in the 1970's, Tonga claimed sovereign rights to geostationary or it slots overhead, and those are now worth big money.
In 2013, Australian GNP was 1.487 trillion dollars. Land rents alone were $216.517 billion, or 14.56% just for land.
Rent-seeking is supplanting comparative advantage.
To be continued.
|Friday, April 22nd, 2016|
|The Red Queen's Race
I got one regular amendment this week, after disposing of two older amendments earlier in the week, so I'm currently at four amendments.
I've been working on my oldest Regular New case, and made progress, but I'm not done with it yet.
|Thursday, April 21st, 2016|
|New Faces on Money
Andrew Jackson had his virtues, and fought fiercely for his country, but I fully approve of removing his image from the $20 bill in favor of Harriet Tubman's; genocide compounded by treaty violation and defiance of a Supreme Court ruling is just too much to overlook. Harriet Tubman was a real heroine of freedom.
There was an article in Slate asking which dead white man Obama should in time replace on the currency
. In my opinion, Obama has been a better President than Buchanan was, and should in due course replace him on the three-and-a-half dollar bill. Barack Obama is not as great a statesman as Warren G. Harding, so I do not favor ever replacing Harding's head with Obama's on the sixty-seven cent coin.
|Tuesday, April 19th, 2016|
|Georgist Conference in Southfield, Part Fifty-Two
After our morning sessions for Saturday, August 8, we had lunch. While we were eating, or just afterward, the Unsung Hero Award was given to Pat Aller.
Heather Wetzel reported from Great Britain, and Tune Neilsen reported from Denmark. Thee are Georgists in many countries, even if too few of them.
Ed Dodson talked about his grey-haired groupies. He lectures at a community college, to a mostly elderly audience; when his talk was cancelled, his fans got upset, with the result that the dean called his wife, asking if he could come after all. Thus, his grey-haired groupies.
|Monday, April 18th, 2016|
The other day, we had warm weather, and I spotted a man in the supermarket, with shorts revealing some artistic tattoos on his legs, including a calligraphic Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
(Who will guard the guards themselves?). I complimented him on his literate tattoo, and started to ask him in Latin whether he had studied that language.
He told me that he he not, but had just come across the phrase.
|Letter to President Martin
I mailed a letter to Dr. Carolyn (Biddy) Martin, the president of Amherst College, of which I have the dubious honor of being an alumnus. I wrote to her a few years ago about the Angie Epifano case (Miss Epifano reported being raped by a fellow student, and treated badly by the administration). I said that her account of the smarmy arrogance of the deans at least seem plausible to me, and Amherst should try to teach its administrators some humility, and not simply go overboard in the other direction about rape.
I didn't want any woman to be raped, or to be denied justice if she was raped, but false accusations and moral panics do exist, as the Duke Lacrosse team could tell us, and I didn't want Amherst College to imitate the drunkard who fell off the right side of his horse, and then, resolving not to repeat that mistake, proceeded to fall off the left side. President Martin returned a courteous note to me at the time.
Now, "John Doe" is suing Amherst to be readmitted, because a female student performed a sex act on him while he was unconscious, and then, many months later, accused him of being somehow guilty, leading him to be railroaded and expelled. At least, that's his story, and his family and their lawyers seem to think they have a sound case.
So I've written another letter to President Martin, giving her the benefit of my advice. If you read that Amherst has readmitted Mr. Doe, and that a couple of deans have departed from the college, perhaps coated in tar and feathers, give me some of the credit.
|Sunday, April 17th, 2016|
|Georgist Conference in Southfield, Part Fifty-One
To continue with the Q&A session, Polly Cleveland asked David Triggs about Europe, and he predicted that the Eurozone will disintegrate.
Someone else asked him how to persuade people. He said that he doesn't try to convince landowners; he tries to convince everyone. He also said that he has a poor opinion of most economists, which drew applause.
There was a question about religion. Abiama, a Christian, said that not only Christians want economic justice.
Quisia Gonzalez asked about the central message. David Triggs said to tell the truth and be transparent. Always tell the truth. Gordon Abiama said that there different approaches, and one basic message.
Bob Jene asked Abiama about Boko Haram. Is it due to Islam? Evil people? A reaction to exploitation and corruption? Abiama said that it's a big problem, and said various other things faster than I could take full notes, and said, "I don't know whether this answers your question."
Lindy Davies spoke of abolishing state governments in Nigeria. Abiama said that there are problems at the state level, but also problems at the national level.
Paul Martin said that Nicaragua has a different style of corruption. Build a Georgist movement. Are politicians hopeless?
Abiama said that there are many fronts. Don't alienate people unnecessarily.
Alanna Hartzok mentioned Abiama's citizen initiative, seeking oil funds like Alaska's for each state in Nigeria. This made national news because ordinary citizens hadn't done thinks like that before in Nigeria.
And then we had lunch.
|Saturday, April 16th, 2016|
|Georgist Conference in Southfield, Part Fifty
There were questions for David Triggs and Gordon Abiama. Paul Martin asked whether we are like the religions which have become corrupt, because they have forgotten their source. David Triggs replied that whether we are or not, the danger exists.
Teckla Melchior asked a lengthy question about corruption in Africa and elsewhere. In response, Abiama talked about greed, and the background of colonialism and neo-colonialism. Triggs talked about the power of advertising, directed to changing people's value, creating desires, and outright lying.
Lindy Davies asked people to keep their questions brief.
Someone asked about why the technical solution to the water problem wasn't wanted. Triggs said greed for security.
Heather Wetzel identified as an agnostic, and said that we as human beings should take responsibility. She doesn't think that she's a lesser person because she doesn't have religion in her life. She asked Triggs whether he's tried to sell his tech idea in Britain. Triggs replied that he had tried to tell Oxfam, but they didn't listen; they have fixed ideas. Someone in California said that it was a great idea, but Triggs hasn't heard back from him.
There were more questions and answers, but those will be summarized in a later post.
|The Red Queen's Race
I got back from California to find two new amendments on my docket; a third showed up on Friday. I did an Office Action on my oldest existing amendment, so now I have five amendments on my docket. I've picked up one of them to work on, and probably finish by Monday at 3:00 PM, the end of the biweek.
I also dealt with my one Request for Continued Examination case, and I confirmed abandonment of a case which I had rejected more than six months earlier.
I've been trying to hash things out with a patent attorney about a rejected case; if we can agree, she may file an After Final Amendment that will put the case in condition for allowance.
|Tuesday, April 12th, 2016|
|An Impressive Teenager
I don't really know Reza, my cousin's husband, although I met him when I went to the wedding in 1999, but my aunt told me a couple of stories in Solana Beach (I'm now safely back in Virginia). When he was thirteen, his father sent him to study in the U.S., and to stay with a cousin who was attending college. It turned out that the cousin wasn't so much studying as partying -- he didn't end up getting a degree -- so Reza, after taking three buses to get to school and then to get back to the apartment, often returned to a scene of debauchery. He closed the door to his room, and did his homework. He also wrote to his father, who ended up making different arrangements.
My aunt made the point that he would have had every excuse for becoming an alcoholic and drug addict, but he didn't. He certainly seems like a good man, from all I've heard about him.
|Monday, April 11th, 2016|
I'm staying with my uncle and aunt, as are my sister and her daughter. My other paternal uncle came over for dinner last night, and so did my male cousin (son of the people with whom I'm visiting), my brother (who is staying with my male cousin), my male cousin's girlfriend, and also my female cousin (daughter of the uncle and aunt with whom I'm staying), and her two boys. Her husband and their daughter were off camping.
I believe I last saw my cousins seventeen years ago, when I came to my girl cousin's wedding, and this was the first time I met my first cousins once removed. My woman cousin also brought their dog, who adored me. He also adored everyone else, but still. All in all, it was a good family gathering.
In a few hours, I'll be taking a plane on the first leg of my trip back to Arlington.
|Sunday, April 10th, 2016|
I assisted my aunt in preparing an authentic rice pilaf with Basmati rice, potato slices, dill, saffron, and olive oil. I'm looking forward to dinner tonight, and may try doing something of the sort at home.
|Friday, April 8th, 2016|
I'm posting from my younger paternal uncle's house in Solana Beach, near San Diego. I flew out here on Wednesday, although one flight was repeatedly postponed, so I ended up taking another route and arriving early Thursday morning, at least by Eastern time; it was 11:17 PM in San Diego. My uncle Norman and cousin Eric picked me up.
Yesterday, we drove a few miles to visit my older uncle, Uncle Ronald, and go out to lunch. My brother Paul is also in town, and my sister and niece flew in this afternoon, so we had quite a gathering at the dinner table tonight. Earlier today, I went for a walk with my Aunt Rashel, and I can report that the neighborhood is lovely: roses, bougainvillea, and other flowers in front of white houses with red tile roofs. It's a bit cool for beachgoing, but we're planning to go to the San Diego zoo tomorrow, which should delight my niece.
|Tuesday, April 5th, 2016|
|The Red Queen's Race
This has been a short workweek; I'm going on vacation. I didn't get any new amendments, and I dealt with my two oldest ones, one on Monday before 3:00 PM, getting it counted for last biweek and last quarter, and one Tuesday morning, so I'm down to three amendments on my docket.
I've started work on my oldest and only Request for Continued Examination case.
|Monday, April 4th, 2016|
|Letter in Financial Times
The Financial Times
printed a letter of mine today, Monday, April 4. They edited it slightly, but preserved what I had to say:Why would Japan not want the economy to flourish?
Sir, I entirely agree with your view ("A chance for Shinzo Abe to scrap a self-defeating tax rise", editorial, March 31) that Japan's consumption tax is self-defeating, and that an increase in the tax should be scrapped. I only wish that you had paid more respect to your own sound arguments, and advised Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to end the tax altogether, instead of suggesting that consumption tax increases should be used as a break [sic
] to slow the economy down once it is already running at full speed. Why would Japan ever not want the economy to flourish?
The Japanese government may need revenue, but given that the harm done by the consumption tax creates a demand for "stimulus" spending, the tax is self-defeating indeed. The Japanese might investigate the benefits of land value taxation, which does not crush economic activity, and surely does not reduce the production of land.Nicholas D RosenArlington, VA, US