Oil & Gas Cartels and American Inertia on Energy Issues : Major Culprits for the Current Economic Situation in the World?

OIL?

Nothing is as it seems in this world, not even a “barrel” of oil. Look at this 55-gallon steel drum used to transport oil. Is it a “barrel of oil?” Find out below.

Everyone talks about the economy, but no one does anything about it. To get the world back on the road to economic recovery, we have to know something about how the world economy works. For example, ENERGY, and especially oil is a big issue.

Everyone talks about energy, but who knows even the most BASIC facts about it?

YOU do?

Let’s try some simple questions about OIL. You will find the answers further below.

Questions about Oil

1. About how many barrels of oil are used up daily in the world? How many are consumed in the USA? What percentage of total oil consumption in the USA is accounted for by gasoline? Try to guess approximate figures if you do not know them.

2. How many U.S. gallons, or liters (litres), or British imperial gallons are found in ONE barrel of crude oil.

3) How does the price of a “barrel of oil” relate to the steel drum in which oil is actually transported? Explain.

4) In what year did U.S. oil production hit its peak?

5) What political consequences followed? – that are still with us today.

Answers about Oil

1. 80 to 90 million barrels of oil are consumed worldwide per day. U.S. consumption is calculated at 20 to 25% of world oil production, and about half of all U.S. oil consumption is gasoline. WAY TOO HIGH. Oil in the U.S. has to be increasingly imported since the USA relies almost 60% (!) on imports. Does that have some impact on the “economic freedom” of Americans? You bet it does.

2. The price of a barrel of oil is based on a barrel of 42 gallons, equivalent to 158.9873 liters (litres) or 34.9723 Imperial (UK) gallons, but those volumes are for calculation purposes only. Years ago, oil was transported in 42 gallon barrels, but not any more.

3. Oil is now transported in steel drums of 55 U.S.gallons. Music freaks will enjoy knowing that the 55-gallon steel drum has also become the de facto standard sized steelpan. In the early days of the oil business, Standard Oil used the 42 gallon barrel, which became the standard, only to be replaced as far as transport is concerned by the 55-gallon steel drum, a consequence of U.S. military shipping requirements during World War II. But the 42 gallon barrel was retained as a calculation basis.

4. US oil production peaked in 1970. U.S. oil production at that time was 25% or 1/4th of the world market, whereas the U.S. currently produces only ca. 12.5% or 1/8th of the world market.

5. Oil prices rise whenever demand exceeds supply, a situation which the oil-producing cartels try to control by cutting or stagnating production arbitrarily as they wish, which leads to oil price increases.

From the years 1948 to 1972, the price of oil remained steady at about $3 per barrel.

Although the use of oil as an instrument of political control in the world began organizationally with the formation of OPEC in 1960, the defining point was hit in 1970’s when United States oil production started to drop as a percentage of world oil production.

The USA had put itself in the unenviable position of being reliant upon the oil cartels. As written at WTRG Economics by James L. Williams, this became politically clear in 1972:

“[W]hen the price of crude oil was about $3.00 per barrel and by the end of 1974 the price of oil had quadrupled to over $12.00. The Yom Kippur War started with an attack on Israel by Syria and Egypt on October 5, 1973. The United States and many countries in the western world showed support for Israel. As a result of this support several Arab exporting nations imposed an embargo on the countries supporting Israel.”

Oil has remained a political football since that period. As more and more oil had to be imported by the United States and as U.S. policies ran counter to the oil cartel countries, the price of oil has sky-rocketed, and this has been followed by comparable price increases in consumer goods that are produced using petroleum products or oil-based energy (just about everything). The current economic recession is just the logical end result of a price push policy by the oil cartels, which has led to prices for consumer goods such as homes that are far removed from the normal economic realities.

But not just the oil cartels, but also America itself is greatly to blame for the current economic situation. Nothing had been able in the last 40 years to move Americans to change their greatly exaggerated over-consumption of energy.

American automobile manufacturers continued to produce technically outdated gas-guzzling cars, while at the same time, car manufacturers and drivers in Europe, for example, moved toward smaller vehicles with lower gasoline (petrol) consumption. Furthermore, U.S. federal and state governments failed to increase taxes on gasoline to European levels, thus providing people in the United States with no incentive to adopt sensible energy consumption habits.

America’s energy woes are thus in large part its own doing. This pattern continued until 2008, when the price of oil rose to an extraterrestrial high, 50 TIMES the price of oil in 1972, topping out at $147 a barrel on July 11, 2008. The price of gasoline (petrol) topped $4 per gallon, and finally, it appears, America had gotten the message. It had an ENERGY PROBLEM. It was a SHOCK.

People started to change their thinking, AND their behavior. They started to take vacations closer to home. They drove their cars less. They thought no longer about buying gigantic gas-guzzling SUVs but started looking at more economical vehicles, or considered not buying a new car at all. Rather than opting for gradual and intelligent change, America had opted for the “now or never” sudden flash, and they got it and are now in the middle of a forced restructuring of an economy that should have been renovated slowly already during the last 40 years, but was not.

The inevitable change in consumer behavior, more than any subprime catastrophe or bank failure itself, is at the heart of the current economic recession in the United States. Consumers have not only stopped spending like there was no tomorrow. They have stopped spending, period. The major culprits for this change of heart are the oil and energy cartels and American energy inertia, which has irresponsibly permitted the price of oil to reach levels that put fear and a lack of trust into the hearts of consumers around the world. And once such fear has been established, it is very difficult to replace it with anything else.

Nor have events in other energy spheres other than oil helped the situation. When energy giants such as Russia cut off gas supplies to European countries in the middle of winter because of a contract dispute with the Ukraine, as happened less than two months ago, you know you have a serious world political problem involving a lack of sovereignty because of energy dependence. It has put people on the alert. Trust in governments and institutions is at a low ebb. Fear and anger are the pervading emotions.

Even the oil cartels are suffering. Due to the outrageously high price of oil in 2008, demand for oil fell in 2008 for the first time in 25 years and is expected to fall even further in 2009. The foundations of the world economy have been badly shaken and every country that does not want to exist at the whim of the oil cartels is looking for alternative solutions.

In the meantime, here in Germany, the construction of windmills as alternative sources of energy and the production of biofuels to replace oil, gas and gasoline (petrol) is proceeding at an accelerated pace. The writing is on the wall. The oil cartels have nearly killed the golden goose. Only when fear is eradicated and trust is reestablished will things improve, and that is going to take a while. Right now the world is in a panic that will take strong measures to reverse.

Economic Recovery : Are You a Part of the Solution, or Are You a Part of the Problem? Latham & Watkins as a Negative Example of Recovery Policy

As can be read in numerous news sources (we refer here to the AmLaw Daily), Latham & Watkins is to lay off 190 associates and 250 non-legal staff – while “Latham’s 550 strong partnership will be unaffected by the cuts“, apparently under the motto that it is the other guy who should make the sacrifices necessary to cope with the current economic situation.

This is not the first time that the Latham firm has done this kind of thing. It also laid off people in the 1990’s.

Perhaps it is time that society began to put severe financial and tax penalties on these kinds of irresponsible employment policies. If companies viz. law firms are not responsible for their employees, who is? Well, if it is the government, then very high mandatory company and law firm payments for unemployment insurance for their employees should be imposed.

According to the Global 100 law firms (see Law.com), Latham & Watkins ranked 19th in the world among law firms in terms of profits per equity partner at $2,270,000 per partner based on gross revenues of $2,005,500,000. Due to the current economic situation, profits per equity partner and gross revenues, according to the AmLaw Daily, dropped as follows in 2008:

Profits per equity partner dropped 21 percent from $2.27 million to $1.8 million while revenues fell 4 percent from just over $2 billion to $1.9 billion.

The AmLaw Daily calls this loss “dramatic“. By our calculations, the drop in profits would have dropped Latham & Watkins from 19th to 28th place on the Global 100 profits per equity partner list – hardly a “dramatic” drop (28th and not 29th because position 19 would then be vacated).

If we assume that the 190 associates to be laid off earn on average let us say $200,000 a year and the 250 non-legal staff earn $68,000 a year, that results in an annual payroll savings of $38,000,000 for legal staff and $17,000,000 for non-legal staff or about $55,000,000 per year. Those figures are hypothetical since an outsider can not know the actual salaries of the people affected, but the numbers should be somewhere in the ball park.

Question: For the above hypothetical numbers, how much of an annual profit cut would the 550 partners at Latham each have to take to RETAIN all of these people in their jobs? What sacrifice would the law partners at Latham have to make to not throw their colleagues out on the streets, where YOU, as a taxpayer, ultimately have to take care of them and be their bailout – if they do not find other work, and they may not for quite some time, in a current economy marked by legal layoffs.
ANSWER: We just divide the $55 million by 550 = $100,000 per partner.

In other words, rather than each of the 550 partners at Latham & Watkins taking a $100,000 pay cut out of their own profit of $1.8 million per equity partner, dropping their individual profit to $1.7 million and thus doing their share of sacrifice for economic recovery, 440 people and their families – with far fewer resources at their disposal – are being thrown to the wolves.

Are Latham & Watkins part of the solution? NO. They are part of the problem.

World Economic Situation Emphasizes Unique Leadership Role of the United States of America : Friedman at the New York Times Pages Uncle Sam

Thomas L. Friedman has it right in quoting a “senior” South Korean official concerning the current world situation:

“No other country can substitute for the U.S.,” a senior Korean official remarked to me. “The U.S. is still No. 1 in military, No. 1 in economy, No. 1 in promoting human rights and No. 1 in idealism. Only the U.S. can lead the world. No other country can. China can’t. The E.U. is too divided, and Europe is militarily far behind the U.S. So it is only the United States … We have never had a more unipolar world than we have today.”

As Friedman writes:

Somewhere in the back of their minds, a lot of people seem to be realizing that the alternative to a U.S.-dominated world is not a world dominated by someone else or someone better. It is a leaderless world….

“There is no one who can replace America. Without American leadership, there is no leadership,” said Lee Hong-koo, South Korea’s former ambassador to Washington. “That puts a tremendous burden on the American people to do something positive. You can’t be tempted by the usual nationalism. When things don’t go well, most people become nationalistic. And in the economic world, that is protectionism … We are pleased to see President Obama is not doing that. Americans, as a people, should realize how many hopes and expectations other people are putting on their shoulders.”

Read the rest of this very intelligent article from Friedman.

Hat tip to CaryGEE.

SlideShare is a Nifty Website for Uploading and Sharing Presentations such as Power Point or Photographs, with Audio & Video Integration Offered

LawPundit Graphic Interface Updated and Modernized including a Veritable Widget Panoply and Special Features Installed

Update: The Wikipedia Widget that we had previously selected was not working as we liked so we replaced it with a WidgetBox Widget of Law Pundit (lower left column).
_________

In the course of updating and modernizing the LawPundit blog,
we now have the following widgets, gadgets and special features installed. We are not sure we will keep all of these new installations, but most of them for sure:

London by Night, From the Air : Fantastic Aerial Photography by Jason Hawkes

Jason Hawkes was the photographer for the memorable publication Prehistoric Britain from the Air, by Janet & Colin Bord, one of the most prized books in my personal library, which was instrumental in my writing of Stars Stones and Scholars, the cover of which is found in the right column of this LawPundit blog.

Hawkes recently outdid himself, creating a series of stunning aerial night photographs of London, England, UK.

These photographs have been reproduced at boston.com, the website of The Boston Globe, and are also found at the website of Jason Hawkes.

Hat tip to clipmarks
and the clipper benben1.

Other citations to Jason Hawkes and his photographic art are:

Telegraph.co.uk
– slide show of the London photographs

BBC – Jason Hawkes’ Photography – see the slide show of the London photos

CR Blog – with a link to a site showing a photo of the Eurocopter Twin Squirrel helicopter type used to get the photographer where he needed to be for the photography

The blog Aerial Photographs by Jason Hawkes – where Hawkes talks about how he got into this line of work, and also about helicopters, the strictly enforced heli-routes in London and the technical requirements for the camera and gyroscopes which can be used for this kind of shooting

Flickr – Jason Hawkes

Books by and involving Jason Hawkes photography

World Best Cities in terms of Quality of Life : Business Week presents Mercer Consulting list of Best Places to Live : The Top Ten

Globally seen, what are the best places in the world to live? And if it is good to live there, these places might well be worth a visit when you are planning your next vacation. We show the top 10 here.

Business Week carries an article by Carl Winfield at The World’s Best Places to Live 2008, presenting the annual Mercer Consulting list of global cities having the best quality of life (see the Mercer Quality of Living Reports). The ranking is an objectively-based subjective judgment which of course depends on the parameters used for evaluation, but the results are nevertheless of great interest for understanding social and economic trends worldwide.

In compiling their list, Mercer Consulting uses a base figure of 100 for the Big Apple (New York City) and ranks all other cities above or below that, with Zurich in Switzerland ranked at the top at 108 and Baghdad ranked at the bottom at 13.5.

We present the top 10 of the Business Week list of the top cities below, using where possible an official photograph at the official city or tourism website of each city, with our own commentary to that list, plus some of our own photos of selected cities, taken from our own experience or from a variety of sources (see for example Visit European Cities), i.e. we are not confined to the Business Week article or the Mercer Consulting Report. If you have not been to all of these places, then you still have a few places to go…. Enjoy.

1. Zurich (Zürich), SwitzerlandMercer Score 108 points


Photograph at the Official Site of Zürich Tourism
Zurich has a scenic location second to none in the world, with a magnificent view of Lake Zürich and the snowcapped Alps, as shown by the Zürich Tourism photograph of Zürich above. This location makes Zurich an outdoor recreation paradise. The predominant language in Zurich is German, a dialect called Schweizerdeutsch (Swiss German). French and Italian are also spoken, and, of course, English. Most people in Switzerland are multilingual. Albert Einstein studied at the ETH Zürich. (Check out our blog at Einstein’s Voice.) Zürich’s main pedestrian street – the Bahnhofstrasse – is one of the most famous of the world’s shopping streets, offering exquisite (and costly) products from nearly every well-known luxury store of significance. Perhaps equally famous is the newly renovated (by Norman Foster) Dolder Grand, one of The Leading Hotels of the World, and part of the Dolder Resort, picked by Tatler as the Smartest Escape in its list of the current 101 Best Spas. Even if you can not afford (or do not wish) to stay there, it is worth going to “the Dolder” just to have a cup of coffee and be King or Queen for a day. It is a singular location with a superb atmosphere.


Photograph of the Grand Dolder at the Dolder Grand website
2. & 3. Vienna, Austria and Geneva, SwitzerlandMercer Score 107.9 points (tie)


Photograph at the official website of the Vienna Tourist Board
European savoir faire guarantees that neither Vienna nor Geneva will likely complain about their 2nd & 3rd place ranking on the list, though inhabitants of either city will probably tell you that they are the true Number One.

Vienna has a storied history of immense political importance for the contiguity of modern Europe. During the Hapbsburg Dynasty as well as during the reign of Maria Theresa, Vienna became an important economic and cultural center. The Viennese Waltz and its composers Josef Lanner, Johann Strauss I and son, Johann Strauss II, immortalized the city in music, for which Vienna remains famous, for example, through its annual Vienna Opera Ball (February 19 this year – a Dress Circle Box ticket costs 17000 Euros). Not to be forgotten for the gourmets is the world’s most famous chocolate cake, the Sacher-Torte of the Hotel Sacher in Vienna, a Leading Hotel of the World.


Photograph of the Sacher-Torte from the Hotel Sacher website
An absolute must for us is the annual New Year’s Concert of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, broadcast throughout the world to close to 50 billion people. It is so popular that tickets are available only by drawing lots.


Photograph at the Official Geneva Tourism Website
Geneva is a beautiful city, as witnessed by the above photograph (actually a panoramic photo collage). Geneva is synonymous with the concept of global diplomacy, being the location of many United Nations organizations and the International Red Cross.


Photograph at the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG)
The Global Financial Centres Index 4, published by the City of London, ranks Geneva sixth, after London, New York City, Singapore, Hong Kong and Zürich, but ahead of Tokyo, Chicago, Frankfurt and Sydney.

4. Vancouver, CanadaMercer Score 107.6 points


Photograph at the official City of Vancouver Website
Vancouver will host the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.


As written by Dave Caldwell at the New York Times: “Although it is only 35 miles north of the border, Vancouver looks and feels different from any city in the United States or, for that matter, Canada. With its glass-and-steel towers crowding a sweeping harbor, it could be in Asia…. With nearly 16 hours of daylight in summer, Vancouver is an ideal place to play golf at one of the city’s 12 courses, or to go boating in the bays and inlets. Three mountains loom over Vancouver, close enough for skiing after school or work. Local residents say it is possible to golf, sail and ski in the same day.

5. Auckland, New ZealandMercer Score 107.3


Wikimedia Commons Photograph of Auckland, New Zealand by Arjan Hoogendorn
Auckland is known as the “City of Sails because the harbour is often dotted with hundreds of yachts and has more per capita than any other city in the world, with around 135,000 yachts and launches estimated.” Greater Auckland is inhabited by over 30% of the entire population of New Zealand, and has the largest Polynesian populaton of any world city. As written at Wikipedia: “Auckland lies on a portage between the Hauraki Gulf of the Pacific Ocean to the east, the low Hunua Ranges to the south-east, the Manukau Harbour to the south-west, and the Waitakere Ranges and smaller ranges to the west and north-west. The central part of the urban area occupies a narrow isthmus between the Manukau Harbour on the Tasman Sea and the Waitemata Harbour on the Pacific Ocean. It is one of the few cities in the world to have harbours on two separate major bodies of water.

6. Düsseldorf, GermanyMercer Score 107.2


Photograph from the Wikimedia Commons of the Düsseldorf Media Harbour
(the crooked walls are intended by architectural design)

A walk along the prosperous “see and be seen” boulevard Königsallee, known to insiders as the ““, is a must in Düsseldorf. A great number of German millionaires live in Düsseldorf and the neighboring Meerbusch, and Düsseldorf has the largest Japanese community in Europe. Düsseldorf is the capital of North-Rhine Westphalia and has a penchant for art, with 18 museums and over 100 art galleries, many clustered in the Old Town. The famed Düsseldorf Media Harbor or “Art and Media Center Rhine Haven”, also known as the Gehry Buildings, “was completed in the place of the old customs building in 1999. The American architect Frank O. Gehry … made a name for himself worldwide with his deconstructivist architecture … [e.g.] … the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, the Disney concert hall in Los Angeles and the dancing house in Prague….” The Deutsche Oper am Rhein is somewhat unique in that it performs both at the newly renovated Opernhaus Düsseldorf (Düsseldorf Opera House) as well as at the Theater Duisburg. The city recently won a gold medal in the European floral competition Entente Florale.

7. & 8. Munich, Germany and Frankfurt, Germany – Mercer Score 107.0

The capital of Bavaria, Munich, or as the Germans call it, München, is probably best known outside of Germany for its annual Oktoberfest.


Photograph of Oktoberfest at the Hacker-Pschorr Tent
Hacker-Pschorr explains the origin of Oktoberfest as follows: “In 1810, Munich Oktoberfestbier was served for the first time. According to Bavarian brewing regulations dating back to 1539, brewing was only allowed between the Feast of St. Michael (‘Michaeli’) on September 29th and the Feast of Saint George (‘Georg’) on April 23th.” That made October a special “beer month”.


Photograph of Frankfurt by night at Wikipedia Commons
Money, money, money. Frankfurt is Germany’s financial center and also home to the European Central Bank. This is where the famed Rothschild fortunes began. Indeed, the LawPundit was born veritably next door to the Villa Rothschild in Königstein im Taunus, one of the middle mountain suburbs outside of flatland Frankfurt, where the greatest number of millionaires per capita are said to reside (about 100 of the total population of 18000). Mayor Petra Roth welcomes you to Frankfurt as follows: “Welcome to the most international city in Germany, the largest financial centre on the continent, the historical city of coronations, the city of Goethe and the Frankfurt School…

9. Bern, SwitzerlandMercer Score 106.5


Photograph of Bern at Wikipedia Commons
Bern (also spelled Berne) is located in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. As written at Wikipedia: “The city was originally built on a hilly peninsully surrounded by the river Aar but outgrew these natural boundaries in the 19th century. A number of bridges were built to allow the city to grow beyond the Aar…. Berne’s city center is largely medieval and has been recognised by UNESCO as a Cultural World Heritage Site. Perhaps its most famous sight is the Zytglogge, an elaborate medieval clock tower with moving puppets. It also has an impressive 15th century Gothic cathedral, the Münster, and a 15th century town hall. Thanks to 6 kilometers of arcades, the old town boasts one of the longest covered shopping promenades in Europe.”

10. Sydney, AustraliaMercer Score 106.3

There is such a great photo of Sydney online that we just link you here simply to the Wikipedia. Click that photo of Sydney (top of the right column and then go the highest resolution on the next page). It is a fantastic photo of the city which calls itself the business gateway to Australia.

The Origin of the Cult of Horus in Predynastic Egypt : The Falcon was the Symbol of the Pharaohs on Earth & in Heaven – As Above, So Below

The so-called “Followers of Horus” were the people who first occupied Egypt and who created Pharaonic Civilization, starting in the predynastic era. Horus, the Pharaonic falcon, was not only their “God of the Heavens” but also served as the symbol of the first Pharaonic kings, the Pharaohs, and their predecessors.

The predynastic period of the falcon cult is testified to by many predynastic “falcon serekhs” (serekh = king’s name enclosure) in Egypt, all originating from the period about 3300 to 3100 BC.

The interpretation of the names of Egyptian kings has been a point of dispute among Egyptologists for quite some time. Our discovery that the Horus falcon marked heaven’s celestial pole in predynastic Egypt shows that the Horus names of the Egyptian kings were astronomical in nature. These names of kings were written below the falcon in the serekh and claimed certain heavenly stellar regions for the king. These heavenly regions basically correspond to the modern Zodiac in principle. The Horus names were therefore a type of calendar of kings. Using that calendar, one can determine the reigns of the early Pharaonic kings astronomically.
The Origin of the Cult of Horus in Predynastic Egypt DOC

Cartographia: Mapping Civilisations by Vincent Virga and the Library of Congress is a "Must Have Book" for Library Shelves

We are a bit late on this, but Cartographia: Mapping Civilisations by Vincent Virga and the Library of Congress is a “Must Have Book” for your library shelves. For example, it features the Waldseemüller Map, the first map to ever use the term “America“:

Waldseemüller map is the first map to include the name “America” and the first to depict the Americas as separate from Asia. There is only one surviving copy of the map, which was purchased by the Library of Congress in 2001 for $10 million.

We show this map below from Wikimedia Commons but see also LOC:


You can view 16 of the maps in small images at NPR.

The original Library of Congress press release stated:

September 26, 2007

Library’s Map Treasures Are Highlighted in “Cartographia”

New Publication to Be Subject of Program and Book Signing on Oct. 23

Maps are a visual record of human endeavor, each with a tale to tell. In their various forms, maps are models of time, diaries of political maneuverings and works of art that provide a unique vision of how the world evolved.

Drawn from the world’s largest cartographic collection, housed in the Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress, “Cartographia: Mapping Civilizations,” by Vincent Virga, has been published by the Library in association with Little, Brown and Company.

Comprising more than 250 maps, “Cartographia” celebrates the work of those who have charted the world from the dawn of civilization to the present. Among the rare gems included in the book are the 1507 Waldseemüller world map, the first to include the designation “America”; Orelius’s “Theatrum Orbis Terrarum” of 1570, considered to be the first modern atlas; rare maps from Africa, Asia and Oceania that challenge traditional Western perspectives; William Faulkner’s hand-drawn 1936 map of the fictional Yoknapatawpha County, Miss.; and a map of the human genome.

Vincent Virga is the author of “Eyes of the Nation: A Visual History of the United States,” which was a main selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club and the History Book Club.

Virga and co-author Ron Grim will discuss “Cartographia” as part of the Library’s Books & Beyond author series at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 23, in the Montpelier Room, located on the sixth floor of the Library’s James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. The program, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored jointly by the Center for the Book, the Geography and Map Division and the Publishing Office. For more information, contact the Center for the Book at (202) 707-5221.

“Cartographia: Mapping Civilizations,” a 272-page hardcover book with more than 250 color maps and illustrations, is available for $60 from major bookstores nationwide and from the Library of Congress Sales Shop, Washington, D.C. 20540-4985. Credit card orders are taken at (888) 682-3557. Online orders can be placed at www.loc.gov/shop.

# # #

PR 07-192
09/26/07
ISSN 0731-3527

Königstein im Taunus ca. 1895 : Photograph of the Detroit Photographic Company via the Library of Congress : Rendering 1646 AD : Modern Video of Town

Since the LawPundit was born in Königstein im Taunus, I have added some more information for family and friends and for anyone else interested in this part of Germany.

Königstein im Taunus in the late 19th Century (1890 to 1900) : Photograph at the Library of Congress, also found at the Wikipedia from the Wikimedia Commons:

The Evangelical Immanuel Church is seen just below the castle to the left at the top of the picture. Compare this to a rendering of Königstein from the year 1646 when the castle was still intact. Königstein means “the King’s Stone, Kingston”. It was a seat of kings. One sees that a church was at the same location as the Immanuel Church then as well. The bottom picture shows the castle of Lahnstein.


A modern “town portrait” of Königstein im Taunus (Stadtportrait Königstein im Taunus-Video) by Clipfish user chebs_76 (Sven Krebs) can be viewed at Clipfish.de, where the Immanuel Church and the castle ruins are shown – except for short German texts at the end and the beginning by the video-maker, the entire video is presented with English-language background music:

Below is the data for the Library of Congress photograph further above:
Library of Congress
Digital ID: ppmsca 00396 Source: digital file from original
Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-ppmsca-00396 (digital file from original)
Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Retrieve higher resolution JPEG version (212 kilobytes)
Retrieve uncompressed archival TIFF version (28 megabytes)

Königstein im Taunus : Clovis I : The Rothschilds : Frankfurt : Deutsche Bank : Financial Center of the European Union

Königstein has an interesting history which reaches back into ancient legend. As noted at the Wikipedia:

Shrouded in legend, the town’s founding date is unknown. The best known legend says that it was the Merovingian King Chlodwig (466-511) [Clovis I], who had a castle built on a mountain and a chapel in a neighbouring dale, who also founded the town in thanks for a prophecy that came his way there from a maiden who promised him victory over the Alemanni – which did indeed come true.

Clovis I was an important king for the history of Europe, and through his religious conversion for the spread of Christianity in Europe, and he was especially important for the rise of the nation-state France:

The legacy of Clovis is well-established on three heads: his unification of the Frankish nation, his conquest of Gaul, and his conversion to the Roman Catholic Faith. By the first act, he assured the influence of his people in wider affairs, something no petty regional king could accomplish. By the second act, he laid the foundations of a later nation-state: France. Finally, by the third act, he made himself the ally of the papacy and its protector as well as that of the people, who were mostly Catholics.

In modern times, Königstein im Taunus is an affluent residential enclave and spa outside of Frankfurt am Main with the highest purchasing power per capita in the State of Hesse. It is especially known for the Villa Rothschild, currently a Leading Hotel of the World, which was built from 1888 to 1894 as a home for the banker Wilhelm Carl von Rothschild, and known since 1949 as the „Wiege der Bundesrepublik“ (cradle of the Federal Republic of Germany), because it was here that the governors of the States of post-World-War II Germany set the course for the reconstruction of the German nation-state.

Wilhelm Carl von Rothschild left no male heirs and thus, by Rothschild family tradition, he was the last of the Frankfurt (German) branch of the Rothschild banking dynasty, so that the bank had to be liquidated, being merged with the Disconto-Gesellschaft of Berlin, which after numerous subsequent mergers, became what is today the Deutsche Bank. And, of course, Frankfurt am Main is today the financial heart of the European Union.

The Queen of England has a New Website as the British Monarchy rolls out its Newest Face to the World

It is high time that the media stop posting its sensationalistic doom and gloom, which only serves to depress private and public sectors, thus making the recession much worse than it would otherwise be. If people just went on living normally things would be much better.

What is in order is a bit of pomp and circumstance to lift the spirits. Look on the bright side of life.

The British Monarchy has a new online look.

You can find a comparison of the new website to the old website at Shane Richmond’s article at the Telegraph: God save the Queen’s website.

The LawPundit thinks the new website is on the right track. It is quite a bit more modern than the old one, even if still needs some tweaks here and there, but what does not.

We would say, well done!

The British and the Royal Family are not going to be outdone by new U.S. President Barack Obama, whose net-savvy website designers are setting new online standards for the high and the mighty and the rich and beautiful.

Indeed, I am having to tweak my own pages – just to stay that proverbial step or two ahead of developments. Cheers!

Me Morality: Why Are Law Firms and Corporations Not Cutting Salaries by 25% or more Across the Board and Saving ALL Jobs Rather than Firing People?

We remain continuously mystified about what appears to us to be the boundless greed of our fellow human beings. It is in our opinion this endless selfishness which is now driving the recession.

In a kind of mad panic, people and organizations are busy looking after their OWN skin only, rather than taking the course of action which everyone should be taking – and ultimately must take – to get the U.S. and world economy moving again, which is to contribute their fair share – AND RESOURCES, if they have them – to getting things back to normality as soon as possible.

But everyone wants THE OTHER GUY to bring the necessary sacrifices. In times of profit, people pocket the profits for themselves. In times of want, people pluck the pockets of others.

Law firms and corporations are a good example of the core of the problem. Rather than EVERYONE in a recession-struck law firm or corporation taking a substantial pay cut in order that everyone in the organization retain their job, the people at the top – the decision-makers, who got us into this mess in the first place – are continuing to ladle off the cream for themselves, while putting financially weaker people in their organizations on the street with no income at all.

We have serious problems with that approach to life and morality and think it points to a need for new laws protecting the rights of your average employee, affiliate or work associate, making it more expensive for employers to dump their employees on the street, rather than to keep them on the payroll.

All institutions benefit and profit from the investment that society makes in any individual on the job market and in the labor force. Just consider how much money society invests in the education of just one lawyer, who is then snapped up from law school as a lower-paid drone to beef up the profit of the senior and similar partners in a law firm. As long as money is rolling in, the profit-takers find this to be a great arrangement. You bill time out for example for say $500 an hour but pay out only say $100 an hour, and, after expenses, pocket the remaining amount from $400 an hour. It does not take a lot of cleverness to see that this is a formula for earning big bucks, presuming you have enough people working for you.

Such economic practices constitute simple basic “worker” exploitation in very visible form and most corporations and organizations operate that way. There are big dollars for the top few, and enough to survive for the rest, and, in a pinch, as in the current recession, again big dollars for the top few, but nothing for the rest, under the motto, “the best for me” and crap for everyone else. We oppose this kind of mentality – often encountered – wherever we can. The EARTH deserves better people than that. It can not be that society is run by the selfish. That never works in the long run.

Frankly, we think that there should be laws which require law firms especially (who should be setting a prime example for the rest of the citizens in any economy), as well as companies and similar employers, to create their own unemployment fund reserves so that they can take care of their own people in difficult times, rather than tossing them out to the wolves.

Why should private persons and firms be permitted to profit selfishly – and enormously – in good times from the work of their employees and affiliates but then be able to abdicate responsibility for those very same members of their own house in bad times, by shoving the responsibility off on the rest of society?

What is the theory of law and economy that permits that? It is the law of the jungle, something which the rule of law is intended to prohibit.

Evidence and the History of Western Civilization and Christianity : Moses and Exodus and the Kings of Egypt and Judah : Errors in Current Chronology

Economic Recovery and the Lessons of History : Joseph’s Bailout in Egypt in the Bible : Parshat Vayigash

Ups and downs in the economy are a matter of history generally.

One example that comes to mind here is the Bible – storing up in fat years for lean years, as Joseph did in ancient Egypt, which was not sufficient, as famine still swept the land and everyone came to Joseph for deliverance. The result was a “government bailout” by which Joseph issued handouts in exchange for concessions in freedom. Since our revised chronology of Egypt places Joseph in Egypt as Djoser (a seven-year famine is recorded for both), this formed the ultimate basis of the Pharaonic empire. As written at the Wikipedia:

Joseph gathered all the money in Egypt and Canaan selling grain and brought the money into Pharaoh’s house. (Gen. 47:14.) When the Egyptians exhausted their money and asked Joseph for bread, Joseph sold them bread in exchange for all their animals. (Gen. 47:15–17.) When they had no more animals, they offered to sell their land to Joseph and become bondmen in exchange for bread. (Gen. 47:18–19.) So Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh — except for that of the priests, who had a portion from Pharaoh — and in exchange for seed, Joseph made all the Egyptians bondmen. (Gen. 47:20–23.) At harvest time, Joseph collected for Pharaoh a fifth part of all the people harvested, and it continued as a statute in Egypt that Pharaoh should have a fifth of all produced outside of the priests’ land. (Gen. 47:24–26.) And Israel lived in Egypt, in the land of Goshen, accumulated possessions, and was fruitful and multiplied. (Gen. 47:27.)

Take a look at an analysis in this vein by Rabbi Avram Israel Reisner of the Chevrei Tzedek Congregation in Northwest Baltimore, who posts at the Baltimore Jewish Times on Joseph’s Bailout, Parshat Vayigash. (The Wikipedia writes: Vayigash or Vaigash (ויגש — Hebrew for “and he drew near” or “then he drew near,” the first word of the parshah) is the eleventh weekly Torah portion (parshah) in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading. It constitutes Genesis 44:18–47:27.“)

The analogy by Rabbi Avram is not perfect by any means, but thought-provoking it is. We specifically disagree with his idea that Joseph’s solution to the famine had anything to do with the later Exodus, which by our chronology took place about 800 years later at the time of the explosion of Santorin on Thera. Joseph, we are pretty certain, was Djoser.