The Robber Barons, by Matthew Josephson, 1934
Clarence Thomas autobiography, 2007
In October, 2007, I had just retired my state medical and DEA licenses. The practice of medicine was ruining my health and attitude. It had become too hostile and dangerous for this wimp of a psychiatrist.
I spent the next few months reading. These journal entries are the result.
MY GRANDFATHER’S SON, CLARENCE THOMAS, 2007
Monday, October 1, 2007 – I went to B&N hoping to buy a copy of Clarence Thomas’ book, My Grandfather’s Son, which comes out today. Jonathan, my B&N employee friend – the coin-collector customer-service-book-orderer, a 20’s something kid who agrees with me so is very intelligent – told me B&N only ordered 12 copies of the book. Corporate B&N in New York “didn’t know Clarence Thomas was from Savannah.”
Well, Jonathan, you and I both know that’s a lie, but we’ll pretend they don’t want to undersell his book in his home town. He’s much too credible.
Sure enough, B&N’s 12 copies sold out in about ten minutes. They had to rush order 40 more copies. Should be here in 2-3 days. 400 more copies would be more cost-effective. They can save on UPS shipments.
Apparently B&N’s entire marketing department missed the 60 Minutes interview with Thomas last night in advance of this pub date. 60 Minutes interviewed him right here in Savannah.
Is B&N trying to lose money? I would sell its stock real quick-like if I had it, and I would buy copies of Thomas’ book, instead, from another distributor. What is B&N trying to hide?
Thus do I think like a free market capitalist.
THE ROBBER BARONS, MATTHEW JOSEPHSON, 1934
Tuesday, October 2, 2007 – I’m reading in The Robber Barons, about Jay Gould, the money churner and asset plunderer par excellence. Gould was a master manipulator, but anyone who refused to play his games could have stopped him. He used Vanderbilt’s and others’ spite towards him to play out his line, then reeled in the big fish over and over. How many times do people bite before their mouths are full of holes and they are still starving?
I’m getting an explosion of awareness regarding American history. Why has this become my latest passion?
I see the patterns set in motion long ago, in the history of human beings as we remember them, and in America.
The American history most astounds me. Lincoln essentially bought political favoritism by giving the West, the Louisiana Purchase, away to friends, political donors, and corporate railroad interests. Thus did he finance his war on the South.
I’m seeing Lincoln and Wilson as ego-driven megalomaniacs, not the great liberators their handlers claimed. They got us into two of the bloodiest wars to date, and the third great liberator, Roosevelt, got us into World War II.
I haven’t appreciated the intensity of my feelings for peace. What I’ve believed was my own violent nature is merely the reflection of a world so foreign to me that I had to identify with it to understand it. Once identified, I can forgive it, or so I hope.
Vis a vis The Robber Barons, I don’t understand sleazy business practices. I read, astounded that taxpayers have allowed these people to get away with such cruel dishonesty for so long. We have the veneer of civilization, but the viciousness has only changed garments and venue in time.
Jay Gould must be the idol of today’s Wall Street. This is why product quality has plummeted. Gould, et al. paid more attention to stocks than to managing tangible assets, and today’s brokers are doing the same. They have even less connection with the corporations’ tangible products than before. They deal only in electronic stock certificates, used in place of currency for the insiders. It’s a method for selling other people’s and taxpayers’ productivity. The companies’ products and services are only excuses for selling stock and feathering government pension and benefit nests.
Through all these wars and contests, who has benefitted, I wonder, as I sit in my lofty 21st century perspective. I have the advantage of history to guide me. For all of recorded history, war and fighting don’t work. The fruits of victory are spoiled by the fighting.
Monday, October 8, 2007 – When you rob from the perceived rich to give to the perceived poor, you are still a thief. You set up a race to the bottom, because everyone vies to be the best thief.
What happens when everyone is equally poor? Leadership loses its relevance, and it’s every man for himself, unless he can learn to cooperate with those around him. This is genuine leadership.
Now government robs from the poor to give to the rich. This is easily camouflaged, because there are so many more poor people than rich people. Cumulatively, poor people consume much more food, energy, clothes, and other tangible products and pay more in taxes than the rich, who reap the bulk of the profits from taxpayer-funded infrastructure.
Tuesday, October 9, 2007 – I’ve been thinking about my friends’ attitudes, which they revealed over the years I went the psychiatry route. They seemed to think I defected. I was merely exploring my own consciousness through the medical model. They hurt my feelings most by making no effort to understand my point of view or to give me credit for the history we shared.
They seemed so afraid I would abandon them that they pushed me away. I had to go deep inside myself to find companionship. Here I make friends of ghosts, memories, my cat, plants, and the few people who accept me at face value or who must deal with me.
I feel like a witch appearing to burn at the stake, shackles melting in the heat, but who emerges triumphantly from the blaze.
“I’m only waiting for the chains to melt, Assholes, then we’ll see who can take the heat.”
The witch got a little burned in the chastening, admittedly, but she’s walking, talking, and breathing fire. She cackles.
Smell that? They piled hemp on the logs, this time, so the burning was more enjoyable.
I have internalized the sacrificial heat, contained and controlled it, practicing using the dragon’s fire to advantage. Sort of. Burned the tips of my first and second fingers the other day.
However, burning witches is a waste of time and resources, and it distracts everyone from doing anything useful. It pollutes the air and puts everyone in a bad mood.
THE BRIDGE OF SAN LUIS REY, THORNTON WILDER, 1927
Saturday, October 13, 2007 – I started one of Mama’s books, The Bridge of San Luis Rey, by Thornton Wilder. Published and printed in 1927, the book has thick pages, almost like cardboard. I have avoided it, thinking it a war novel, but I was wrong. It’s about a 100-plus-year-old, hand-made bridge across a deep gorge between Lima and Cusco, Peru. Set in 1714, it tells the imagined lives of the five people who fell to their deaths when the bridge finally gave way. I’ve read about Dona Maria, the sad, alcoholic, rich mother, whose adored daughter had repudiated her, married a rich patron of the Spanish court, and moved to Spain.
Now, I’m reading about Esteban, whose identical twin brother, Manuel, died, leaving him half alive and desolate.
THE CREATURE FROM JEKYLL ISLAND: A SECOND LOOK AT THE FEDERAL RESERVE, G. EDWARD GRIFFIN, 1991-2007
Saturday, October 13, 2007 – So far, The Creature from Jekyll Island is astounding. It is so clear, concise, well researched and documented, reasonable, and logical that I’m amazed it hasn’t made a larger splash. Perhaps the time wasn’t right. It’s a sleeper and about to come into its own.
Griffin writes about the history of money and defines terms. He mentions tobacco as commodity money. So are shrimp, eggs, and any food, and that’s the bottom line.
He discusses the gold standard, says there were only about three examples of “honest” money in the world: Ancient Greece, the Byzantine Empire – which lasted 800 years on the gold standard – a bank in Germany before Napoleon plundered it, and maybe one in Amsterdam.
By “honest money” Griffin means money which is 100% backed by solid deposits, like gold. He says fractional reserve banking, which is lending more money than you have in deposits, against deposits that already belong to someone, is dishonest, because the banks have no right to do that. Why have a bank store your money if it’s not safe there? If I want to lend money, I can do it and keep the interest.
Fractional money eventually disintegrates into fiat money. This usually seems to happen to finance wars. The author doesn’t specifically state the latter, at least not yet. He says fiat money has zero percent backing, and that’s what the US dollar has become, fiat money.
Seems funny in light of all the political debate about international currency. I don’t know if any international currencies are backed by gold or silver, so they are all equally worthless, according to Mr. Griffin.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007 – We all know quantum theory turns the “scientific method” on its ear. If it works in sub-atomic physics, it works in life, because we are all composed of those electrons they study.
Now, if the experimenter influences outcome by desire or expectation, there is no way the scientific method can be valid. Experiment design alone can determine outcome, as any drug study shows.
Now that we’ve established that the “scientific method” is a crock, a sacred cow that needs to be broiled and served up as steaks, for the mastication and nourishment of truly progressive science, we introduce the quantum leap from the scientific method, which is the fact that human beings, by the power of their will, have the ability to influence destiny!
DIAGNOSIS: TESTOSTERONE POISONING
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Genetics: A sex-linked condition, like hemophilia
Epidemiology: Found almost exclusively in males
Sadistic type: Bullies
Masochistic type: Cons
Death: Not politically correct
Funded by costs
Not economically sound
Prison camps: A better idea, but still must house and feed
Not economically sound
Castration: The nation is almost equally divided on this one. A growing contingent claims testosterone poisoning is a medical illness, with castration the treatment of choice, worthy of insurance funding. It is believed Leydig and other testicular cells could be recycled into pill form and scientific research. Many female scientists have already applied for research funding. A particularly elated female researcher said no man has had the balls to apply, so the women have an open field on government contracts.
THE RAIN FALLS ON ALL
Friday, October 19, 2007 – I dyed fabrics last night, noticing how cotton or silk, sewed with polyester thread, doesn’t dye right, because the polyester doesn’t absorb dye. It also melts at lower temperatures, which makes garments with polyester thread hard to iron.
As I do things like this, I think about world politics, and how they affect daily life. We are being socially engineered to use man-made products in lieu of natural ones, because our textile mills and cotton are going to China. Meanwhile, China exports acrylic – a petroleum product – to the US, complete with the overhead of packaging, transportation, import and export taxes, and distribution. Machine-made polyester is considered a cheaper improvement, but it doesn’t wear or last like natural fibers. To me, plastic clothes reflect America’s cheap, plastic attitudes.
It’s raining. The rain is natural and impartial. Governments come and go, but the rain falls on them all.
ON MEDICAL LICENSE RETIREMENT
Monday, October 22, 2007 – Other people are more upset than I am about retiring my medical licenses. This shows how over-rated the license is. Once I explain my rationale, no one challenges it. I’m becoming convinced this is the most powerful statement – nay, indictment possible regarding the health scare/snare racket. If the system has become so bad that I am afraid to practice within it, that must be truly scary, indeed.
From my perspective, malpractice has become entrenched, subsidized, mandated, and legislated to the point where the risk to me is too great to continue. Only by retiring my medical licenses do I make my stance definitive, direct, and consistent with my beliefs.
Monday, October 22, 2007 – My psychodrama continues. I removed stuff from the safety deposit box today and put it in a safer place than bank with a Diebold key. It makes me nervous that Diebold has the contract on voting machines, bank safety deposit boxes, and bank ATM’s. Call me paranoid. No, it’s not a conspiracy. Anyone can buy Diebold stock, I suppose. I should check it out.
THE “CONSPIRACY THEORY” AND LIZARD WISDOM
Monday, October 22, 2007 – People like Hillary Clinton scoff at “the conspiracy theory.” My sister mentioned it today. It is they who imagine such grandiosity. I merely think the politicos’ behavior is stupid and counterproductive. That there are so many people being stupid, incompetent, paranoid, dangerous, and dishonest doesn’t necessarily make it a conspiracy. It merely means the planet is overrun with idiots.
This is something lizards understand. On my way to run errands, I had a conversation with a lizard on my back door. He was too close to the hinge for my comfort. I stopped to caution him – her, I think, although she was large. I told her she needs to be more careful. I mean well, but I’m clumsy, and when I get agitated, I’m dangerous. I’m also noisy, so she needs to stay out of my way if she doesn’t want to get hurt. I watched her listen. She tilted her head this way and that, eyeing me from different angles, while spread getaway style along the bottom edge of a step. My head was sideways, watching her, studying the wide blue eye shadow that ringed her eye. Such wisdom in animals’ eyes, if you look closely.
According to the World Book encyclopedia (2005), lizards are 65 million years old. Cockroaches are 250 million, birds 213 million, cats 55 million, dogs 34 million, man two million years old.
I told the lizard this hanging out on back doors is a bad idea. I killed one of her relatives by accident the other day. He got caught in the screen flange. It devastated me, because I figure these lizards are Lizardo’s relatives and descendants, and they are watching out for me.
As I got in the car, I saw a second, smaller lizard on the porch, also watching me. I hope he/she was listening.
Of course they were. That’s how they have survived so long.
Then, as I leave, I startle three deer in the woods, a doe and two fawns. They stopped to watch me, and I told them how much I love them. It worries me that Carol is clearing out so much of the underbrush, because the deer have fewer and fewer places to hide.
LET ‘EM FAIL
Wednesday, October 31, 2007 – Status post a trip to Cutter’s Point Coffee, where I read a Wall Street Journal scarfed from an outside table. I’d also purchased the USA Today and Savannah Morning News from the news boxes in front of CVS/Piggly Wiggly, so I was saturated with more current events than I knew what to do with.
The Fed meets today, and Wall Street is all aflutter. The presumed crisis is most amusing to me. These idiots will not see that it is not my crisis but theirs.
What they perceive is a crisis, I see as blessed relief from Yankee oppression and aggression. Let the markets fail. It’s high time they did. Get outside before the skyscrapers collapse. The penthouses have the farthest to fall.