Meet the 32-year-old wealth detective who finds the hidden money of the super rich

“Gabriel Zucman started his first real job the Monday after the collapse of Lehman Brothers. Fresh from the Paris School of Economics, where he’d studied with a professor named Thomas Piketty, Zucman had lined up an internship at Exane, the French brokerage firm. He joined a team writing commentary for clients and was given a task that felt absurd: Explain the shattering of the global economy. “Nobody knew what was going on,” he recalls.

 
 

At that moment, Zucman was also pondering whether to pursue a doctorate. He was already skeptical of mainstream economics. Now the dismal science looked more than ever like a batch of elaborate theories that had no relevance outside academia. But one day, as the crisis rolled on, he encountered data showing billions of dollars moving into and out of big economies and smaller ones such as Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Hong Kong, and Singapore. He’d never seen studies of these flows before. “Surely if I spend enough time I can understand what the story behind it is,” he remembers thinking. “We economists can be a little bit useful.”

Bloomberg article.

Satellite Shootdown Fraud

The Defense Department claims it is planning to shoot down a rogue ultra-secret spy satellite because the fuel onboard poses a danger to people on the ground.

This explanation is so transparent it is almost laughable. The likelihood of being injured by the satellite has been calculated as something like one in a trillion, whereas being hit by lightning is somewhat more likely: one in 1.2 million.

The real reason for the shootdown attempt?

1) Components from the ultra-secret spy satellite could survive the re-entry and be recovered by bad guys.

or

2) It is a perfect opportunity to test the U.S. missile to satellite intercept capabilities.

or

3) Both

We’ve learned a lesson starting back in 1960, when President Eisenhower lied to the American people and to the world that the crash of Gary Power’s U2 over the USSR was a “weather balloon.”

Ike got caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Ever since then, we’ve come to the realization that sometimes we have to take what our government says with a very, very large grain of salt

Congress Breaks Congress by Taking Too many Breaks.

Senator Arlen Specter once said something intriguing when asked what recommendations he would make for improving Senate procedures. He suggested, sotto voce, that Senators should work longer.
By his account, Senators start their week mid-day Tuesday with luncheon meetings and by Thursday afternoon they are itching to get back to their home states. By Friday most of them have fled the Capital City for Reagan Airport.
To backup this plaint, the official numbers are now in: The Senate met for a meager 126 days during the past legislative year; the House met for a paltry 93 days.
We shan’t say this is a “Do Nothing” Congress reminiscent of President Truman’s complaint made decades ago. (Shall we?)
But it seems true indeed that legislators have been presiding over a “Do little, in very little time” Congress.

Internationalism overtakes isolationism – International Relations

Beginning with the U.S. entry in the Spanish-American War, America experienced a shift of diplomatic and military isolationism from European affairs to one of internationalism and brief imperialism. It is important to note that no single event or person can explain U.S. foreign policy behavior entirely. American foreign policy is the result of a combination of causes and events, including the influence of several sources. These influences include five major categories to the making of U.S. foreign policy, including the following: external sources, American societal norms, the make-up of the U.S. government, the roles of individuals and institutions and lastly, the effect that individual people have in contributing to the foreign policy making process.

America’s “splendid little war” with Spain in 1898 provided the US with a colonial empire almost overnight. These newly acquired, or annexed, foreign lands, and the accompanying responsibilities thereof, included the Phillipines, Puerto Rico, Guam, Hawaii, and Cuba. One of the primary reasons that America went to war in 1898 was Spanish meddling in the affairs of Cuba, contrary to the Monroe doctrine. This American doctrine, however, did not preclude America itself from meddling in Caribbean affairs, or meddling in the affairs of any Western Hemisphere country for that matter. Spain had a massively larger army, but its navy was in disrepair. The U.S., on the other hand, had modernized its Navy under the direction of Alfred T. Mahan. This naval supremacy was the tipping point in the Spanish-American war between the two nations – the New World vs. the Old World.

When the US defeated the Spanish navy at Manila the victory propelled the US onto the world stage as a true and tested global actor. Up to that point, the US had been isolationist in nature, still recovering from the horrific American Civil War in the 1860’s. Some scholars believe that once U.S. western expansion was completed in 1880 and industrialization had come full bore after the Civil War, the American capitalist machine turned its eye to new markets in Latin America and the Far East.

The first openings of the Chinese market in the Far East put the U.S. in direct competition with the European powers, particularly Britain, Spain, France and Russia. There was a rush by the great powers at this point into the Chinese markets. The U.S. did not want to be left behind because this was a large market for U.S. industrial goods and source of seemingly infinite raw materials. John Hay, President McKinley’s Secretary of State summed up the U.S.’s awkward position at this juncture in history: “…we do not want to rob the Chinese ourselves, and our public opinion will not permit us to interfere, with an army, to prevent others from robbing her…”

The US, therefore, developed an Open Door Policy toward China, meaning that the US would not tolerate the division of China into “spheres of influence,” insisting that its territorial integrity be respected. This was a bold move on America’s part because it had little more than morality on its side, not a vast army, and only a small navy compared to European powers. This American “policy” had little effect because the United States was not prepared to support the Open Door policy with force. Successive administrations to the 1940s, however, considered it the cornerstone of their Far Eastern policy.

At the same time, the US was active in the external affairs of many Latin American countries. Of particular interest to US foreign policymakers was Panama and the isthmus canal project there. The US became directly responsible for Panama’s break from Columbia. Panama’s independence from Columbia secured America’s ability to connect the Atlantic and Pacific markets via the Panama shipping canal – a triumph of American economic and foreign policy.

Other external sources that influenced the U.S at this time included continued warfare between the great powers: The Russo-Japanese War; the British, German and Italian blockade of Venezuela; the clashes between Germany and France over French North Africa; the British-German naval arms race for control of the seas and the world’s commerce; and the growing tensions in the Middle East, where oil had been discovered. These were all inputs into America’s foreign policy decision-making process which pulled it from isolationism to internationalism. America was now vying with Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and Japan for what future U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt called “the domination of the world.”

Societal sources also had their unique impact on American foreign policy. Domestic beliefs were transferred to the international sphere. For example, America has always had a sense of exceptionalism – the belief that America is a superior country in every way and that American beliefs and forms of government should be exported to other nations. One scholar put it this way: “The United States (s)hould transform other nations into communities that shared America’s political and social values and also its religious beliefs.” This is reminiscent of Democratic Peace Theory, which is still in vogue today as seen by America’s continuing attempt to export liberal democracy and free markets to other nations.

TURNING and turning in the widening gyre … the falcon cannot hear the falconer;

The Second Coming
By Yeats
(frequently quoted by Joseph Campbell)

TURNING and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood

Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood

By Wordsworth

(Stanza V often quoted by Joseph Campbell)

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight
To me did seem
Apparelled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore –
Turn wheresoe’er I may,
By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.

The rainbow comes and goes,
And lovely is the rose;
The moon doth with delight
Look round her when the heavens are bare;
Waters on a starry night
Are beautiful and fair;
The sunshine is a glorious birth;
But yet I know, where’er I go,
That there hath past away a glory from the earth.

Now, while the birds thus sing a joyous song,
And while the young lambs bound
As to the tabor’s sound,
To me alone there came a thought of grief:
A timely utterance gave that thought relief,
And I again am strong.
The cataracts blow their trumpets from the steep;
No more shall grief of mine the season wrong;
I hear the echoes through the mountains throng,
The winds come to me from the fields of sleep,
And all the earth is gay;
Land and sea
Give themselves up to jollity,
And with the heart of May
Doth every beast keep holiday –
Thou child of joy
Shout round me, let me hear thy shouts, thou happy shepherd-boy!

Ye blessed creatures, I have heard the call
Ye to each other make; I see
The heavens laugh with you in your jubilee;
My heart is at your festival,
My head hath its coronal,
The fullness of your bliss, I feel -I feel it all.
O evil day! if I were sullen
While Earth herselfis adorning
This sweet May-morning;
And the children are culling
On every side
In a thousand valleys far and wide
Fresh flowers; while the sun shines warm,
And the Babe leaps up on his Mother’s arm: –
I hear, I hear, with joy I hear!
– But there’s a tree, of many, one,
A single field which I have looked upon,
Both of them speak of something that is gone:
The pansy at my feet
Doth the same tale repeat:
Whither is fled the visionary gleam?
Where is it now, the glory and the dream?

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting
And cometh from afar;
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
Shades of the prison-house begin to close
Upon the growing Boy,
But he beholds the light, and whence it flows,
He sees it in his joy;
The Youth, who daily farther from the east
Must travel, still is Nature’s priest,
And by the vision splendid
Is on his way attended;
At length the Man perceives it die away,
And fade into the light of common day.

Earth fills her lap with pleasures of her own;
Yearnings she hath in her own natural kind,
And, even with something of a mother’s mind
And no unworthy aim,
The homely nurse doth all she can
To make her foster-child, her inmate, Man,
Forget the glories he hath known,
And that imperial palace whence he came.

Behold the Child among his new-born blisses,
A six years’ darling of a pigmy size!
See, where ‘mid work of his own hand he lies,
Fretted by sallies of his mother’s kisses,
With light upon him from his father’s eyes!
See, at his feet, some little plan or chart,
Some fragment from his dream of human life,
Shaped by himself with newly-learned art;
A wedding or a festival,
A mourning or a funeral;
And this hath now his heart,
And unto this he frames his song:
Then will he fit his tongue
To dialogues of business, love, or strife;
But it will not be long
Ere this be thrown aside,
And with new joy and pride
The little actor cons another part;
Filling from time to time his `humorous stage’
With all the Persons, down to palsied Age,
That life brings with her in her equipage;
As if his whole vocation
Were endless imitation.

Thou, whose exterior semblance doth belie
Thy soul’s immensity;
Thou best philosopher, who yet dost keep
Thy heritage, thou eye among the blind,
That, deaf and silent, read’st the eternal deep,
Haunted for ever by the eternal Mind, –
Mighty Prophet! Seer blest!
On whom those truths do rest
Which we are toiling all our lives to find,
In darkness lost, the darkness of the grave;
Thou, over whom thy Immortality
Broods like a day, a master o’er a slave,
A Presence which is not to be put by;
Thou little child, yet glorious in the might
Of heaven-born freedom on thy being’s height,
Why with such earnest pains dost thou provoke
The years to bring the inevitable yoke,
Thus blindly with thy blessedness at strife?
Full soon thy soul shall have her earthly freight,
And custom lies upon thee with a weight
Heavy as frost, and deep almost as life!

O joy! that in our embers
Is something that doth live,
That Nature yet remembers
What was so fugitive!
The thought of our past years in me doth breed
Perpetual benediction: not indeed
For that which is most worthy to be blest,
Delight and liberty, the simple creed
Of childhood, whether busy or at rest,
With new-fledged hope still fluttering in his breast: –
Not for these I raise
The song of thanks and praise;
But for those obstinate questionings
Of sense and outward things,
Fallings from us, vanishings,
Blank misgivings of a creature
Moving about in worlds not realized,
High instincts, before which our mortal nature
Did tremble like a guilty thing surprised:
But for those first affections,
Those shadowy recollections,
Which, be they what they may,
Are yet the fountain-light of all our day,
Are yet a master-light of all our seeing;
Uphold us -cherish -and have power to make
Our noisy years seem moments in the being
Of the eternal Silence: truths that wake,
To perish never;
Which neither listlessness, nor mad endeavour,
Nor man nor boy,
Nor all that is at enmity with joy,
Can utterly abolish or destroy!
Hence, in a season of calm weather
Though inland far we be,
Our souls have sight of that immortal sea
Which brought us hither;
Can in a moment travel thither –
And see the children sport upon the shore,
And hear the mighty waters rolling evermore.

Then, sing, ye birds, sing, sing a joyous song!
And let the young lambs bound
As to the tabor’s sound!
We, in thought, will join your throng
Ye that pipe and ye that play,
Ye that through your hearts today
Feel the gladness of the May!
What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind;
In the primal sympathy
Which having been must ever be;
In the soothing thoughts that spring
Out of human suffering;
In the faith that looks through death,
In years that bring the philosophic mind.

And O ye Fountains, Meadows, Hills, and Groves,
Forbode not any severing of our loves!
Yet in my heart of hearts I feel your might;
I only have relinquished one delight
To live beneath your more habitual sway;
I love the brooks which down their channels fret
Even more than when I tripped lightly as they;
The innocent brightness of a new-born day
Is lovely yet;
The clouds that gather round the setting sun
Do take a sober colouring from an eye
That hath kept watch o’er man’s mortality;
Another race hath been, and other palms are won.
Thanks to the human heart by which we live,
Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears,
To me the meanest flower that blows can give
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.

The Bells

By Edgar Allan Poe

I

Hear the sledges with the bells –
Silver bells!
What a world of merriment their melody foretells!
How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,
In the icy air of night!
While the stars that oversprinkle
All the heavens seem to twinkle
With a crystalline delight;
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
From the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells –
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.

II

Hear the mellow wedding bells –
Golden bells!
What a world of happiness their harmony foretells!
Through the balmy air of night
How they ring out their delight!
From the molten-golden notes,
And all in tune,
What a liquid ditty floats
To the turtle-dove that listens, while she gloats
On the moon!
Oh, from out the sounding cells
What a gush of euphony voluminously wells!
How it swells!
How it dwells
On the Future! -how it tells
Of the rapture that impels
To the swinging and the ringing
Of the bells, bells, bells,
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells –
To the rhyming and the chiming of the bells!

III

Hear the loud alarum bells –
Brazen bells!
What a tale of terror, now, their turbulency tells!
In the startled ear of night
How they scream out their affright!
Too much horrified to speak,
They can only shriek, shriek,
Out of tune,
In a clamorous appealing to the mercy of the fire,
In a mad expostulation with the deaf and frantic fire,
Leaping higher, higher, higher,
With a desperate desire,
And a resolute endeavor
Now -now to sit or never,
By the side of the pale-faced moon.
Oh, the bells, bells, bells!
What a tale their terror tells
Of despair!
How they clang, and clash, and roar!
What a horror they outpour
On the bosom of the palpitating air!
Yet the ear it fully knows,
By the twanging
And the clanging,
How the danger ebbs and flows;
Yet the ear distinctly tells,
In the jangling
And the wrangling,
How the danger sinks and swells,
By the sinking or the swelling in the anger of the bells –
Of the bells,
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells –
In the clamor and the clangor of the bells!

IV

Hear the tolling of the bells –
Iron bells!
What a world of solemn thought their monody compels!
In the silence of the night,
How we shiver with affright
At the melancholy menace of their tone!
For every sound that floats
From the rust within their throats
Is a groan.
And the people -ah, the people –
They that dwell up in the steeple,
All alone,
And who tolling, tolling, tolling,
In that muffled monotone,
Feel a glory in so rolling
On the human heart a stone –
They are neither man nor woman –
They are neither brute nor human –
They are Ghouls:
And their king it is who tolls;
And he rolls, rolls, rolls,
Rolls
A paean from the bells!
And his merry bosom swells
With the paean of the bells!
And he dances, and he yells;
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the paean of the bells,
Of the bells –
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the throbbing of the bells,
Of the bells, bells, bells –
To the sobbing of the bells;
Keeping time, time, time,
As he knells, knells, knells,
In a happy Runic rhyme,
To the rolling of the bells,
Of the bells, bells, bells –
To the tolling of the bells,
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells –
To the moaning and the groaning of the bells.

100 years to an Imperfect Union

“Ten years after Appomattox, Northern support for the newly enfranchised ex-slaves and their white allies had faded. Recalcitrant Southern whites, whose Ku Klux Klan night-riding had been aggressively repressed by the federal government in the early 1870’s, regrouped under the political aegis of the Democratic Party. By mid-decade, most of the Reconstruction state governments had fallen at the ballot box to the forces of white supremacy, the self-proclaimed “redeemers.”

Mississippi, with a large black voting majority, resisted longer than other states, but redemption finally came there too, in 1875, sealed by a new frenzy of paramilitary carnage and intimidation. Two years later, after a disputed national election, the Republican Rutherford B. Hayes finally won the White House by agreeing to remove from the South the last of the federal troops who had upheld Reconstruction at the points of their bayonets. The troubled effort to build a Southern interracial democracy out of the ashes of the Civil War was over.”

—-
Lessons for Iraq… The US couldn’t build democracy in the South after the Civil War. Democracy-building is an ambitious undertaking in sectarian and ethnic concalves, as we have seen repeatedly – even in our own history.

See NYT review of:

‘Redemption: The Last Battle of the Civil War,’ by Nicholas Lemann
Review by SEAN WILENTZ

Link to REVIEW

“The story of Reconstruction’s demise in Mississippi is familiar to historians, and Nicholas Lemann, in “Redemption,” retells it in all its terrible gore. His account squares with recent scholarship, which has challenged both the traditional “Birth of a Nation” view (of Reconstruction as a tragic era of black plunder and white degradation = a fallacy) and the skeptical scholarship of the 1960’s and after that questioned the reformers’ commitment. Lemann, the dean of the School of Journalism at Columbia and the author of “The Promised Land,” among other books, affirms Reconstruction as a noble, thwarted experiment, the nation’s “unfinished revolution,” in the words of the era’s current leading historian, Eric Foner. This book strives to burn that academic re-evaluation into the minds of nonacademic readers. Written on a dramatic human scale, and leavened by some fresh research and analysis, it is an arresting piece of popular history. “

Dali Lama words of wisdom 

So long as I am alive, my time and my life must be utilized properly. Then after my death, I don’t care how people remember me.

Love, compassion, and forgiveness-these are the things I preach

The main cause of suffering is egoistic desire for one’s own comfort and happiness.

Many of our troubles are man-made, created by our own ignorance and greed and irresponsible actions.

Sooner or later you’ll find a limitation of resources and will have to adopt a more content lifestyle.

Education and compassion… if you combine these to your whole life will be constructive and happy.

It’s best not to get too excited or too depressed by the ups and downs of life.

If you shift your focus from oneself to others, and think more about others’ well-being and welfare, it has an immediate liberating effect.

Passed Arizona Educator Proficiency Assessment for HISTORY 

I took and passed the 4 hour AEPA History exam (plus essay). I am now certified to teach US and World history. http://www.aepa.nesinc.com/

Sample US history questions:
– The concept of Manifest Destiny would most likely have been used to justify…
– Which of the following best characterizes the Populist Party’s political efforts in the early 1890’s…
– One result of the Hartford Convention of 1814 was…

Sample World history questions:
– Bantu-speakers settled in all the following areas of Africa except….
– The Delhi Sultanate and the Aztecs had which of the following methods of governing in common?…
– Which of the following most clearly differentiates the period from 1450 to 1750 from earlier periods?…