Richard Burton was Welsh. Clearly then there’s no one better than he to read Welsh Incident by Robert Graves (1895-1985). His baritone is perfect to convey the mood and the mystery.
Month: October 2021
Her Majesty’s Prison Belmarsh
“Her Majesty’s Government”, also known as the United Kingdom Government, is certainly not all evil but considered comprehensively across the centuries and around the world, it is as evil as governments get.
“Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service” administer civil and criminal justice through the courts of England and Wales (not Scotland and Northern Ireland). As part of that, Her Majesty runs prisons. UK prisons are not the worst in the world but it includes “Her Majesty’s Prison Belmarsh” which has the distinction of being “UK’s Guantanamo Bay”.
Julian Assange has been incarcerated in H M P Belmarsh since April 2019. His “crime”? Exposing the criminal behavior of those who run the military-industrial complexes like Messrs. Bush and Blair. Which explains why the British government is punishing him by throwing him into Belmarsh and the US wants him extradited to the US.
Belmarsh is for the worst of the worst. Around a third of the inmates are Islamic terrorists. Continue reading “Her Majesty’s Prison Belmarsh”
The Belmarsh Tribunal
What’s the Belmarsh Tribunal? Begin quote from Progressive International:
Just after the bombshell revelations about the CIA plot to kidnap and assassinate WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange while he sought political asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, the Progressive International comes to London with the first physical Belmarsh Tribunal. The intervention comes ahead of Assange’s extradition proceedings, which are set to continue in London’s High Court from 27 to 28 October 2021.
Inspired by the famous Russell-Sartre people’s tribunal, the Belmarsh Tribunal places the War on Terror on trial and holds the US government accountable for its war crimes. It is named for the London prison that has held Assange in permanent confinement for the last two years, as he faces extradition to the US, whose government plotted his assassination. The Belmarsh Tribunal will hold its first physical proceedings in London on the 22 of October 2021 at the Convocation Hall, Church House, Westminster, which was used for sittings of parliament during the Second World War. Continue reading “The Belmarsh Tribunal”
Epictetus the Stoic
Epictetus summarized the Stoic attitude of taking responsibility for what was within one’s control thus: “I must die. If forthwith, I die; and if a little later, I will take lunch now, since the hour for lunch has come, and afterwards I will die at the appointed time.”
Milton Friedman summarized the role of the government thus: Continue reading “Epictetus the Stoic”
Here I am not referring to the off-Broadway theatrical review Oh! Calcutta! which debuted in 1970 and “ran in London for over 3,900 performances, and in New York … including a Broadway revival that ran for 5,959 performances, making the show the longest-running revue in Broadway history at the time,” (according to the Wikipedia.)
I am referring to a speech ostensibly made by one Adit Jain of IMA in June 2021. No doubt Jain in the title to his talk is cleverly referencing that play but that’s not material here. The fact is that Bengal has descended into disaster because … Wait, let me not get ahead of the story. Continue reading “Oh! Calcutta!”
I love IRS. Not the “Internal Revenue Service” but “increasing returns to scale”.
Understanding the economic concept of “returns to scale” is useful for understanding the tremendous increase in the production of wealth in our modern world.
A bit of vocabulary first. The stuff that goes into production are called “factors of production.” The vocabulary is the same as in basic arithmetic where the product is derived from factors — for instance, the factors 2 and 3 when multiplied yield the product 6.
When you increase the factors, the product increases. That is, the “scale” or the size of the operation increases and therefore the product increases. If the increase in production is proportionate to the increase in the factors, then we have “constant returns to scale.” Continue reading “IRS”
Percussion player from South India, Pirashanna Thevarajah plays ghatam and mridangam exceptionally well. Here he introduces another percussion instrument used in Carnatic classical music — the morsing.
 It’s the same as jew’s harp. The wiki entry says:
There are many theories for the origin of the name jew’s harp. The apparent reference to Jews or to the Jewish people, which only exists in the English language word for the instrument, is especially misleading since it “has nothing to do with the Jewish people; neither does it look like a harp in its structure and appearance”
Let’s Go Brandon
CORE – The Economy
It’s hard to overestimate the importance of public understanding of the fundamental principles of economics and some of the many uncontested facts (facts that are generally accepted by acknowledged peers of experts) of economic history. The lack of public understanding — worse still a misunderstanding — invariably leads to awful misery that could have been avoided by teaching the public a few essential details of the nature of our social world and how it works.
We have to be taught and we have to learn how to think about our world, just like we have to be taught how to read, write, reason logically and do arithmetic. Unlike comprehending and speaking natural languages, we cannot instinctively read, write, reason or do arithmetic; we have to learn. Reading, writing and doing arithmetic is “unnatural.”
Let’s recognize that the basic principles of economics are unnatural and therefore run counter to our intuition. Our natural instincts lead us to think and believe in ways that are almost always at odds with the facts and the true nature of our economic (therefore social) world. Briefly stated, this is so because our instincts evolved over evolutionary time-scales of tens of millions of years when humans lived in small groups of a few dozen people, hunting, gathering and foraging to survive. Only in the very recent past of around 200 years — the blink of an eye compared to hundreds of thousands of years — the world changed so dramatically that nearly everything that made sense in the long past was rendered totally irrelevant and wrong. Continue reading “CORE – The Economy”
Isaac Asimov (1920 -1992) is arguably one of the greatest writers in the English language of the 20th century CE. He was prolific: “so prolific and diverse in his writing that his books span all major categories of the Dewey Decimal Classification except for category 100, philosophy and psychology,” says the wiki.
He lived to write and admitted that “if my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster.” In his 1990 memoires, he wrote, “I have had a good life and I have accomplished all I wanted to, and more than I had a right to expect I would.” Few people are as lucky as he was in that he got to do what he loved most to do, and did it exceedingly well. The graph below shows that in 1989, he published around 44 books — that’s nearly one book a week. Continue reading “Change”