Date: Sat, 21 May 2005
After spending three plus weeks in California, taking care of business, I got back to Chiang Mai on Tuesday. It was good to see those of you I could, and if I missed you I am sorry. There is a fair chance I will be coming back later in the year for a longer stay. But I do enjoy Thailand a lot and will probably spend more time here.
I was very happy to see friends. I had a chance to show pictures of my travels, and to talk about my experience. And I think that people genuinely enjoy hearing about it because it’s like traveling themselves, if only vicariously.
Being back in the USA, I got to see how things are going socially, culturally and politically.
What strikes me the most is that almost everyone was initially shocked by the election results in an “Anybody But Bush” world. Yet, after the election which was so obviously stolen, it’s just business as usual. That I find very strange. We gotta pay our bills but there is a very big bill that is piling up and will have to be paid. And aside from a few internet folks shouting in their blogs, the country seems to be sleepwalking, as the dead pile up in Iraq, the living dead wounded and the body bags come home, and the Dow Jones Industrials are about 10,000 and the median price of a house is up to $500,000 from $200,000 just a few years ago.
Did you see the story that shook a lot of people up, that a secret British memo leaked to the Press in the UK directly implicates Bush in an impeachable offense? The whole rationale for invading Iraq was “fixed to fit the policy”. That is, it was a pack of lies. Clinton’s peccadillos made the front pages day after day, but it took a week for this extremely important story to make it to the inside back page of the Press Democrat in Santa Rosa. Shall we say “buried” on the inside back page?
Serial war crimes and its ho hum. I don’t get it. But the situation is so stultified, that if and when I come back, I’d probably just go to making money, rather than carrying a sign on the streets demanding, like some crazed Hebrew prophet, that there will be hell to pay, eventually. Yet after 50 years and more of CIA and government dirty tricks and fabricated excuses for wars, the public just goes on and on as if “the terrorists” like the redskinned savages before them, are the problem.
Meanwhile back in Thailand, a woman at my bank invited me to look at real estate, since I expressed interest in buying property–bank held foreclosures.
Now read this part carefully. Her husband picked me up in his new BMW, a rare species here in Thailand. He is an executive with BMW about 30 years old. His observations:
1. Interest rates have risen and car sales of BMW’s competitor, Mercedes, have fallen 50% in the past year. He didn’t say anything about BMW most likely for confidentiality.
2. There are lots of billboards advertising very nice new homes, but the housing market demand has topped out.
3. His view is that Thais are very overextended in terms of personal debt vs. income.
4. When I asked him what is the senior management’s view of oil availability, he said they believe there will not be ANY OIL LEFT IN TWENTY YEARS.
5. He says he thinks gold will be a good thing to own. And debt should be avoided.
So BMW is realizing that the oil based economy is about to go the way of the dodo bird.
This is yet further confirmation of the work of Michael Ruppert and Richard Heinberg and other researchers. It is easy to dismiss them as crackpots, but what about a major corporation whose whole business model is based on a commodity that will be gone in 20 years?
At least, unlike most people they are not in total denial. My friend told me that they will be introducing a hybrid soon. But that is not going to solve the problem of maintaining industrial civilization. Yet here we are, just going along.
It’s about 100 degrees outside this internet cafe, where I type this and I am enjoying staying fairly cool inside. Frankly I myself cannot get my head around the stuff I write about. But meeting people who give me a perspective outside the box helps me, and I hope my thoughts at least stimulate thoughtful reflection on where we are and how we should live.
First published at www.cuke.com