Archive for November, 2008

Future of America …

Posted on November 25, 2008. Filed under: American Thinkers, Personalities |

Lord Chatham, ‘the old lion’, (the elder Pitt) on 20th Nov 1777, feeble and old, yet retaining some of his former vigor, in one of  his last speeches in the House of Lords, concludes –

 “You may ravage.  You cannot conquer the Americans – and their mighty continental nation. It is impossible!” And as he breaks down, he adds, “I might as well talk of driving them before me with this crutch”.

Then much after Lincoln and the Civil War, came  FDR with his, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”.

In the late 1980s there was talk of Japan overtaking the US as the foremost economic power. The IT revolutiion put paid to that. Now the US’ own Intelligence forecaste puts China ahead in the coming couple decades. But –

1. Chinese foreign exchange surplus (partially due to their keeping their currency undervalued) of a trillion USDs, is ironically invested in US Treasury bonds.

2. Chinese currency can hardly become an international currency without China allowing outsiders to buy assets and property in the Socialist one party state. The euro and yen pose greater threats to the USD.

3. The highly export orientated Chinese economy is likely to suffer more than most in an impending broad based recession.

So, whose is the future? For one it could belong to ‘clean’ energy, biotechnology and maybe more IT. And maybe to some yet unknowns.

For starters, the US has lit the torch and shown the way ahead with the forthcoming Obama Presidency – 

 “Opinions alter, manners change, creeds rise and fall but the moral laws are written on the tablet of eternity”.

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Warrem Buffet says – Be yourself …

Posted on November 16, 2008. Filed under: Guide Posts, Light plus Weighty |

This is from the Introduction by Kenneth Fisher, in Robert Hagstorm’s “The Warren Buffett Way”.

The below mentioned could very well be the philosophy of most any successful man or woman. This is Warren Buffet saying. “You are you and I am I. Alway but always – Be yourself.

Throughout my career, people have asked me why I don’t do things more like my father did or why I don’t do things more like Mr. Buffett.

The answer is simple. I am I, not them. I have to use my own comparative advantages. I’m not as shrewd a judge of people as my father and I’m not the genius Buffett is.

It is important to use this book to learn, but don’t use this book to be like Warren Buffett.

You can’t be Warrenn Buffet. And if you try, you will suffer.

Use this book to understand Buffett’s ideas and then take those ideas and integrate them into your own approach to investing. It is only from your own ideas that you create greatness.

The insights in this book are only useful when you ingest them into your own persona rather trying to twist your persona to fit the insights.

I guarantee that you cannot be Warren Buffet – no matter what you read or hard you try. You have to be yourself.


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The Guy in the next bed in the MH

Posted on November 12, 2008. Filed under: From a Services Career |

There was this Air Force guy in the Naval Hospital, in the next bed to mine. He was vehement in saying, loud and clear and on a placard too, that he was Not a battle casualty. He insisted that he was merely an accident case since his jeep had over turned on the runway while bringing him back from his Mystere.

He was possibly the most laid back guy I ever came across. On occasion for days we would read, chat and what not, when suddenly he would exclaim, “Oh My God! I have’nt been for a crap for God knows how many days”. And he would slowly lower himself down from his bed and limp across to the latrines. Can any one beat that?

A talented and sensitve soul, he once scribbled a poem. It went somethilng like this – “She came with the evening breeze …….. pushing open my window …………  When did the window close? ……….. and wither did she go? ………  She gave me a moments joy ……….. but that is no reason to know!”

One day he wrote out an application to Air HQ saying that he requested to be discharged from service as he had become a ‘concientious objector’ and it was against his conscious to kill another human  etcetra etcetra. Surprisingly he got a reply and without waiting too long either. More surprisingly some senior soul even had a heart and that with an attached sense of humour. The reply stated that the Air Force had rejected his application but respected his sensibilities. As such the Air Force was transferring him from Fighters to Helicopters for Air Rescue!

In similar vein there was this Naval VC winner who pestered his seniors  with requests to post him back to active duty (he had been, because of his injuries, sent to the Reserve). After long and repeated refusals the Navy came out with this coup d’grace —  “Go to Hell … And please close the door behind you!”

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Is their Anything Original ??? …

Posted on November 9, 2008. Filed under: Personalities, Quotes |

Bit disconcerting, when you had credited some one with something, to find that some other, much earlier had said the same. Case in point. The great Gibbon, in his magnum opus, has observed – “The various modes of worship which prevailed in the Roman world were considered by the people as equally true; by the  by the philosopher as equally false and by the magistrates as equally useful”.

And here, much earlier, Lucius Annaeus Seneca says the same – “Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false and by the rulers as useful”.

Even the language of Lincoln can be traced back to the Bible. Is there anything original?

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The Obama Story Beginnings …

Posted on November 8, 2008. Filed under: American Thinkers, Personalities |

Obama was a good listener, attentive and empathetic, and his powerful mind could turn disjointed screeds into reasoned consensus, but his appeal lay in something deeper. He was a black man who had moved beyond racial politics and narrowly defined interest groups. He seemed indifferent to, if not scornful of, the politics of identity and grievance. He showed no sense of entitlement or resentment. Obama had a way of transcending ambition, though he himself was ambitious as hell. In the grasping race for status and achievement—a competition that can seem like blood lust at a place like Harvard—Obama could make hypersuccessful meritocrats pause and remember a time (part mythical perhaps, but still beckoning) when service to others was more important than serving oneself.

Barack Obama can be cocky about his star power. On the eve of his speech to the Democratic convention in 2004, the speech that effectively launched him as the party’s hope of the future, he took a walk down a street in Boston with a friend.. A growing crowd followed them. “Man, you’re like a rock star,” Nesbitt said to Obama. “He looked at me,” Nesbitt recalled in a story he liked to tell reporters, “and said, ‘Marty, you think it’s bad today, wait until tomorrow.’ And I said, ‘What do you mean?’ And he said, ‘My speech is pretty good’.”

As a bestselling memoirist he had created a mythic figure, a man named Barack Obama who had searched and quested and overcome travails, who had found an identity and a calling in public service. Obama recalled that he often joked with his team, “This Barack Obama sounds like a great guy. Now I’m not sure that I am Barack Obama, right?” He added, pointedly, “It wasn’t entirely a joke.”

The Clinton campaign blew through cash: fancy hotels like the Bellagio in Las Vegas and the Four Seasons everywhere; thousands of dollars on flowers and valet parking; and one memorable $100,000 grocery bill at a Des Moines supermarket. Hillary never spent a night in a motel in rural Iowa if she could possibly avoid it. She preferred to overnight in the Presidential Suite in the Des Moines Embassy Suites and to fly alone in private jets, without the press or staff.

 

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