Thursday, 29 January 2009

Barak Obama, Yes We Can, Wins (written 5th November 2008)

Dear all

An African in the White House. An African American.

Our Hope. Hatikva: The Hope. Perhaps the hope of the world.

The Mayans predicted that we are currently in the fifth night, where the lessons of the fifth day happen, and where in the sixth day which starts next Tuesday, 11th, we actually start embracing the change. The sixth day is "the darkest hour" of each of the 9 cycles (which have 7 days and 6 nights) in the Mayan Calendar. The current change is a movement from Power to Ethics. As a socialist capitalist, ie a person who believes that the profits made by a capitalist system, which strives for efficiency and effectiveness, must be shared and that debts must be paid off or managed, I welcome this change to an Age of Ethics. The Bible says that some people are given wealth and the ability to make money. They have the associated responsibility to share some of it, as well as to lead by example.

BTW, if you search for Mayan Prophecy you will encounter doomsday scenarios. Having studied the prophecy, watched the videos, been to lectures, Mirjana and I have discovered that this is not a doomsday scenario. Rather it is a dawning of a new age of enlightenment, where time loses its meaning, and where ethics and sharing become the accepted paradigm worldwide. You can find the Mayan Calendar here:

Enjoy the following video: about Change.



Tuesday, 27 January 2009

The Exhodus after the Flood: Miracles and Plagues (Va-era 5769)

Tikkun Jacob Forum - Repair Your World - Miracles - Va'era 23rd Jan 2009; 27th Tevet 5769
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When one has a relationship with G-d, one knows He exists. One feels it constantly and one is reminded of it daily.

It could start with simply thanking G-d for all the gifts He continuously bestows upon us. These may be food, money, security, family, children, friends, work, play, the stars, the earth, water. But when they start including something we take for granted like electricity and we start thanking G-d for electricity every day, we might start thinking, where does the electricity come from? Who makes it? What happens when we turn on the light? How come the light turns on? Was the fire just started that turns on the light? Or was the fire on all day just in case someone turns on a light?

Imagine wanting to braai (BBQ) for your family at 7pm, you would start the fire at 6pm. But Eskom (South Africa's sole mandated electricity provider) doesn't know when you might light your fire, i.e. turn on your oven or hob, so just in case you need it, they light it for you at 5am. It burns the whole day until 6pm for nothing. Wasting resources and worse polluting the earth for a very long period of time whereas you only used the electricity for a short period of time. The only people winning are the owners of the power stations, the producers of the parts that make up the power stations, the directors of Eskom and the coal mine owners. The citizens of the country are not benefiting. We are paying. We pay for the electricity whether we use it or not! If we don't use enough, some of our tax money goes to run the power stations. From my reading and research, I believe that the real cost of running our power stations in South Africa is between R3 and R11 per kwh (kilo watt hour), but I am charged 57 cents per kwh for the electricity I use in my house! The rest comes from tax; from government grants given to the builders of the power stations; from foreign investors; and especially in South Africa, from the government's realisation in the 1960's that they should build spare capacity whilst the ability to build power stations was cheap.

When I started thinking about electricity, I started thinking about the power of the earth: especially of wind and sun power. If I walk outside on a windy sunny day, I get blown about, and I get burnt. Why can't we harness this energy? Why don't we harness this energy?

The answer is that we can harness this energy. We don't because of our centralised system which has vested interests in making money before considering the environment. These money grabbers don't care about us because if things go wrong, they will have money to buy their way out of trouble whilst we starve or die. But they are going to eat their own fortune. We are going to survive whilst they struggle. We are going to vote with our feet, our hearts, our money, our minds.

We are going to get off the electricity grid and if possible provide electricity to our neighbours. Instead of buying a Mercedes Benz C200 which I've spent the past 4 years saving for and especially the past 18 months since the new model came out, I decided to spend the equivalent money on my power station at home. On 1000 watts of solar energy (power) and a 1000 watt turbine. I also decided a year ago to start a business which I have called Orbital Renewable Energy which would provide consultancy to people wishing to find out about green energy, who wished to find out how to become energy efficient, who decided that they wanted to control their own supply and demand. These clients would be big business, the middle class in 3 bedroom houses, and shack dwellers.

The idea was that the number of small vendors in the RE (Renewable Energy) industry probably weren't spending enough time selling and much too much time on delivering product and supporting existing clients. This analysis comes from my knowledge of how the computer industry works. Small businesses have few clients, get to a point where they can't grow anymore and then stop growing. But if someone was selling for them, then they might be able to grow, eg by charging more, or perhaps by getting work and subcontracting and thus growing their businesses. I hoped to do this in the RE space.

But in order to do it, I had to learn. I had been reading for 4 years, but never done anything. My first task was to buy a battery, an electrical battery charger and an inverter. My friend Ismail and I connected the cables including a circuit breaker in case there was a problem. We charged the battery for 10 hours and then we ran the TV system for 2 hours. We felt amazing, but it was only the very first step of many.

We then bought a solar panel and a solar charge controller. The solar charge controller is similar to the electrical battery charger except that the electrical battery charger usually has constant power and therefore the electrical charger doesn't need to be as sophisticated. The solar charge controller needs to deal with constantly fluctuating input current, eg due to the sun moving across the sky, or because of clouds in the sky, or because of smoke from a fire, or because of the sun setting and rising and because of night.

We connected the solar charge controller and solar panel to our system and then charged the empty battery from the sun. It took 2 days. We waited for the system to go through all the charging functions. There are about 5 of them. After this we ran our TV system for 2 hours. These 2 hours were "free." What an exhilarating feeling it is to create and use one's own energy. And I still feel it every time I use G-d as my physical, not just mental, energy source. One could argue that there is a cost per hour, but the parts become part of my assets, increasing my asset value and making me a wealthier person and one who has 2 hours every second day of free electricity for my TV system.

Ismail and I then built a 24 Volt system. This uses 2 solar panels and is designed to run the TV system every day for 3 hours even if there are up to three days of clouds and no charging.

We then decided to put in a "critical load" system and take as much of my house off the grid as possible and make it a showcase for how others can do it. I have spent over 750 hours since March last year on this system, learning about all the components and how they fit together. Reading, reading and more reading. Understanding. Trying out. My house is a science experiment with things happening in every room. It is incredible. Every morning I wake up and go to school or I go to university without leaving home. I am testing, learning, trying out, writing, summarising, telling everyone I meet about this amazing free energy that G-d has provided for us.

Incredible. Thank G-d. Thank G-d who has provided for all of us, not just the wealthy people who want us to spend our hard earned money with their companies. They live lovely lives, but they aren't off the grid either. The paradox is that they can afford to be on the grid, whereas we cannot afford to be on the grid! We are paying every month for our electricity. Surely after paying for electricity for 20 years in our houses electricity should be free! We are conditioned to believe that there is a price for electricity and so instead of investing in our future and planning for our retirement ourselves, we leave it to other people. Then when we are ready to retire, we may find that there is a severe recession or depression and no money for us to retire on. Where did all that money we paid over the years disappear to? It couldn't have just disappeared. It must be in someone's pocket. Yes, my friends, it is in someone else's pocket. All your hard earned pension money didn't just disappear, but someone else has it. They have your blood, sweat and tears. They have your holidays with your family. They have the house you lost when you lost your job and really needed the 1000's you had paid into the pension. And then these companies have the gall to charge you interest when you are desperate and want to borrow your own money out of your pensions.

Anyway I digress a bit. I will write separately about the "cost of living" and why after 20 years of working, there doesn't need to be a cost of living anymore. It takes foresight and planning. It takes preparation and belief in G-d. It takes courage. But it is possible. And you can start doing it today, right now. When you have finished watching TV tonight, switch off the entire system at the plug. Mirjana and I are saving R140 per year doing this. When you have finished using your computer, shut it down, switch off all the components and switch off the plug. You will save even more energy. By doing this you are donating to G-d. You are giving charity. You are allowing others to get electricity they don't currently have. You are being altruistic, ie giving, and not greedy. You are understanding that energy is not free and we cannot simply waste it. You are beginning to realise that being able to switch on the switch at any time has a huge price and G-d in His Infinite Wisdom will bless you for saving His earth. For doing your bit to be a Messiah in a very small way. For giving back. For not always taking. For not being greedy for what you can have now.

The next thing you can do is only use your computer for research, for writing letters, for work and NOT for games. Use the games time to learn something or if you want a break, play Monopoly, or a card game, or go for a walk, or do something different. Perhaps gardening? Perhaps learning to be an electrician as I am currently doing. I have a matric. I have one year of engineering. I have 3 years of computer science including two years of university pure maths and two years of university applied maths (science) and I have a 2 year MBA (Master of Business Administration - I got it so that I as a (computer) scientist can talk my clients language) degree and I have a six month textile diploma. But things change and there are always new things to learn. eg about the economy, about electricity, about economics, about something that excites and delights you. About something that makes you feel good. About something that creates, that doesn't destroy. About something Kabbalistic that creates and that shows your connection to Adam Kadmon, primeval man, the first man G-d created. I am becoming an electrician. I believe that the future will belong to electricians, and to people who know how to find and look after water, and to people who can grow food, and other people that will help us "live off grids."

And so to the miracles that have happened over the past year to me and how my business idea has changed from a R5 million per year business idea that would take 2 to 3 years to achieve to a R250 million per year business that I expect to be up and running within months - and which doesn't require capital - and which doesn't require overheads and doesn't require finance. Imagine that for a new business - no capital required, no money required, no overheads, ie no insurance, no repayments, no salaries, no rates. All that is required is a new way of thinking. A paradigm shift in one's understanding of one's place in the universe and exactly what one can achieve. I'll be able to tell you by Friday this week if it is going to work or not. I have two critical meetings this week. I'll keep you posted, sorry, I mean e-mailed :)

Miracles have happened which have opened my eyes to the possibility that there is another way.

Miracle 1: delays
This is one miracle that is difficult to understand as a miracle. You see after a while one begins to see delays as "normal." Let's take an example. I phone a supplier who tells me that don't have a particular stock item I want. They tell me that if I place the order and pay for it in advance, I will have it in two weeks. I am happy to wait the two weeks, because I can put it into my schedule and do other things. But after two weeks, nothing happens. A few days later I phone the supplier and they tell me the goods are "in customs." I used to believe this excuse, but in the past year I have imported electrical products from Israel, Germany and the UK and none of them have ever been "stuck in customs." All the paper work is done properly in advance. The freight forwarder I use is not the cheapest one, but they are reliable. They helped me get a customs importer number. They helped me with the process. I had to get a tax clearance. I had to get a special international clearance number for the goods. The booklet is very complex. They helped me with the number. Nothing I imported has ever been stuck at customs. The paperwork has always been in order.

This delays problem means that I cannot plan my projects. I was expecting to finish my house (my first clients' project) in November 2008. From the number of people I have spoken to so far, I thought I would be doing at least R100,000 turnover per month by now. But I can't start selling until I can sort out my supply chain.

This is the miracle. I need to get my own supply chain. My own warehouse. How to do this? I hope to tell you next week.

Miracle 2: delays
I bought some solar panels. They are flexible 6 metre panels and they have a very special technical specification and a unique way of applying to a roof. They need to be stuck onto a particular kind of Zincalume sheet which has a PVDF paint coating. There is a manual that tells one how to do the applcation. The Joburg supplier told me that I could just stick the panels onto the Zincalume and "don't worry about the quickconnects, just cut them off."

I am a very thorough person and having read 10,000's of pages so far about PV (photo-voltaic solar panel) installations, I knew that I needed that manual. I therefore took the extreme step of emailing the technical contact given on the manufacturer's web site, but he has never replied, even unto today. He probably thinks: "I should only be helping my distributor, I have never heard of this guy David Lipschitz." So I took the more extreme step of phoning my supplier's supplier, ie phoning the manufacturer in Auburn Hills, Detroit directly. I was incredibly lucky to get through to Ashanta Broner, in the technical department. I said I needed the manual. She asked me how many panels I had bought. I said 8 x 6 metre panels; 1 x 3 metre panel; and two normal 64 watt panels. She asked where she could email to. I rather asked her for her email address. She gave it to me. I emailed her. I had the manual 10 minutes later. The manual is 55 pages long. Not something one can simply ignore. Why would someone write a 55 page manual if "people an just ignore it"? I asked her about cutting the quick connect cables off and using my own cables. She said if I do that I will lose the guarantee. The guarantee is 20 years! If you don't install the panels properly the guarantee is only 1 year!

The manual contains information about installation temperatures, about cabling, about performance, about a number of uses, etc. It is a critical part of the system.

After discussions with Ashanta, I found out on a Friday night at 9pm my time that there is a DVD showing the Unisolar factory and how to install the manuals visually. I requested the DVD. It was 1pm their time. I expected it two weeks later. I got it the following Monday morning, couriered to me at no cost! There was a cost though, and they had made money because someone was using 11 of their panels.

So much for South African efficiency. It just doesn't exist in the PV sector. I think people think there is a recession, so they aren't prepared to do any work. They keep promising and not delivering. This is not just the sales person, but also her boss and the general manager of the company. They have all promised me things and not delivered.

So I have spoken to the chairman of the group's secretary and she has put me in touch with the CEO of the company that owns the company I am dealing with, and he had lunch with me on the 26th January 2009. To apologise, and to hear my ideas for expanding his company in a recession.

Miracle 3: wrong product
A box I opened had the correct label on the outside, but the wrong product inside. I wasn't too purturbed as it was still two weeks till installation date. I ordered the correct product in mid December. I should have had it on the 12th January when I returned from my holiday. It is the 26th January and I still don't have it.

I didn't know the wrong product was a miracle until I was installing the main components on my system with Steven, my welder/builder/fitter, Ismail and myself. We had to fit an AC enclosure and a DC enclosure. The DC enclosure was a 100% with the knockout on the side fitting 100%, but the AC enclosure was about 1cm off on the knockout. The knockout is a part of the metal enclosure that has been cut, but not completely cut. You can leave it in if you don't need it or remove it easily if you need to put cables through that part of the enclosure.

I was standing behind Ismail and Steven who were scratching there heads. I had the bigger picture and I noticed a row of screws at the top of the DC enclosure and a row of screws at the bottom of the AC enclosure. We removed the AC enclosure and turned it 180 degrees. It turned out that the AC enclosure is actually a DC enclosure with an AC front panel, It looks normal from the front, but actually is wrong.

We started the installation on the 19th January, last Monday. I requested the supplier to courier the right component to me. I am still waiting. Note that the supplier cannot complain about not having money as they are currently sitting on R5500 of mine for another order that was meant to arrive from overseas on 16th January, but which is "still in customs."

I also requested my supplier to courier 3 male and 3 female connector cables to me. I am still waiting.

Note that I am still waiting even after the CEO of this company's parent company came down on the people in this company "like a ton of bricks."

The miracle is the learning that I have to open and check every box I receive before supplying it to my clients. I also have to ensure that I have all the equipment before starting a job.

Each of these miracles so far may not seem like miracles, but each of them moved me further away from a simple consultancy towards a company with an estimated R50 million of stock. Stock turns should be about 6 per year, ie stock moves every two months, therefore the turnover of this company should be R300 million per year. That is therefore the initial target of my new company in the first year. How to make it happen?

A friend said "you will fail unless I was a billionnaire. You should start small and grow the business carefully and slowly." But this is old thinking, so I made myself "a billionnaire", ie I thought "how would a billionnaire think?" When I thought like this and took a step back from my project, I found the solution and with G-d and my fellow man's help we will make it happen.

Miracle 4: the J roller
I needed a J roller for the solar panel part of the project. Another supplier in Joburg said they don't use it. But I want to follow all instructions with regard to fitting my panels and ensuring that I get my full 20 year guarantee.

I discovered after talking to numerous people in South Africa that screen printers use this J roller. I phoned a friend of mine in the textile industry and asked him if he could ask around for me. He spoke to a friend of his (who turns out to be my best friend from school, although I haven't seen him for years) and he said he has one. He offered to give it to my friend, which he did the next day. My friend asked where he got it. He said that he moved into a house 2 weeks ago and the house was empty except for the J roller!! He was about to throw it away when my friend phoned him. The roller I have now is a actually an old fashioned ink printer's roller and it worked perfectly. Honour G-d.

Miracle 5: the turbine
A couple of weeks ago, my neighbour told me that I had to move my turbine to another spot in my garden. This upset me immensely. I had asked him and shown him my plan and he had signed it was ok. I had seen another 44 home owners and two body corporates and had their signatures of support. I had spent a total of 50 hours on my EIA. The EIA was approved by my local environmental office and was now in the hands of the environmental office of the provincial government. I was expecting a reply by the end of January as to whether I could go ahead or not. I wept that night with emotion as I didn't want to spend R6500 advertising again and perhaps go through the long process of visiting my 45 neighbours again. One has to visit everyone within 100 metres of the property where the EIA is required.

I told my neighbour that I would contact the EIA office after they gave me permission. You see the important thing is to get the permission; to set a precedent so that the law can be changed to allow private wind turbines without the need for EIA's, but still with plans required, submitted to council, and authorised by the neighbours. He seemed ok with this, but yesterday, presented me with a letter stating that he was upset with me and that he had told the council and provincial parliament that I couldn't be trusted and that I in all probability would not tell them of his requests. As the chairman of the Milnerton Residents Association and as a Ward Forum committee member who spends all his time trying to get people to obey the law, I found this insulting. My neighbour seemed to be mainly concerned that the value of his property would decrease and that he wouldn't be able to sell it.

I sent an email to the head of environment, Mr Gerber, at PAWC (Provincial Administration of the Western Cape). I pleaded with him to allow the turbine with the proviso that if someone offered to buy my neighbour's house that I would remove my turbine if required. But that Barak Obama can see the peril that faces the world and so is preparing the USA to fight the plagues and restore sanity. I sent the email yesterday afternoon and Mr Gerber replied 1.5 hours later stating that he was happy that I was considering moving the turbine and that I was speaking to my neighbours. He said advertising would not be necessary again and that the documents received would be added to my file.

I prayed yesterday constantly. I went for a Reiki treatment to relax and detox my body. I burnt incense and tried to detox my house. I smoked a cigar last night and drank good Lagavulin Whiskey whilst sitting outside in my new office.

I wrote to Mr Gerber and thanked him for his understanding of the situation. I suppose that with all the "stuff" flying around re new pebble bed and nuclear reactors, that Mr Gerber is used to diffusing tensions. He did this with applomb. I am thankful to him.

In my prayers I asked G-d what the message was with regard to this potential delay. With regard to me fighting with these neighbours. Today my prayers were answered and faith enhanced as I move towards Israel. My neighbours arrived to tell me that they were withdrawing all opposition to my proposal and were leaving their complete trust in me to do what I saw fit. What an incredible miracle. They were very upset with what happened yesterday as well. With the verbal fighting and recrimination. With the accusations. They apologised many times. I could see they had been crying. They told me they had been to Church that morning and asked G-d for His guidance. He gave it to them. To give the turbine a chance. If it is noisy we will try another one. We won't give up until we start restoring this world to its most beautiful state we found it in when we arrived in the Garden of Eden.

Miracle 6: the eco-village project
I went to see the chairman of the Blaauwberg subcouncil as I wished to build an ecovillage in Milnerton and had a site. He said that only two weeks before, someone else had asked him the same question, but without a site. Chairman Bergh us together and now 6 weeks later we are well on our way to achieving our vision. More on this in another mail.

There are other miracles too numerous to mention here.

Let's get to the parashah of the week. In this parasha, G-d tells Moses that he will save the children of Israel, if only they will follow Him. But even though they are slaves, they are happy slaves. Yes, they get beaten from time to time. Yes they get badly treated from time to time. But they get their three meals a day. They get their food and they get their 4 weeks holidays per year. Their children are educated to serve Pharoah and their health funding and retirement is provided for as long as they put in a proper 8 hours per day. They have EGO's and don't need G-d. EGO stands for Edging G-d Out.

Does the last paragraph sound at all familiar in today's time?

G-d has warned us that if we become slaves, he will help us, move from Egypt where we are now - to Israel where we can go. This is not just a physical move which has only recently happened again, but it is a spiritual move as well. Egypt is represented as the "dark place" we find ourself. Where we find that we are enslaved with our responsibilities to watch the latest movies, keep up to date with sports and sports stars, spend our hard earned money on golf clubs and boat trips rather than on our families and on relaxing and expanding our minds. We are experts at soccer, sport, but can't fix starvation or Zimbabwe. The world is doing its darnedest to destroy the physical Israel. Without physical Israel we have little chance of achieving mental, emotional and spiritual "Israel."

Just as Jacob spent over 20 years working for Laban which helped him see the bigger picture so that he could become Israel after "striving with G-d", so too more recently the father of our nation, Nelson Mandela, struggled in prison for 20 years from his willingness to die for his people to his realising in the "Israel" (enlightened state) that he could lead his people from slavery to freedom peacefully. It's just that as you can see all that has happened is that his people have moved from one kind of slavery into another. This new slavery includes 100's of adverts selling cell phone music and "funny" tunes and pictures for R20 per week to people who have no money and are starving. They must be selling to be spending so much money on these inane adverts which disrupt an ignorant or uneducated person's life forever. The possibility of this person having the money and time necessary to educate their children and remove them from their slums is spoilt by them spending on the latest cell phone or the latest tune!

The slaves and their masters in Egypt didn't listen. It took 10 plagues to get them to listen. Are we going to wait for these plagues to happen to us, or are we going to do something?

The Jewish sages saw that each plague had 10 or more sub-plagues. We have a plague harassing us now. It is called the financial plague, more commonly known as the financial collapse. It's sub-plagues include:
the sub-prime crisis (caused by banks overlending). Some home owners couldn't make their first (yes first) month's repayment!!
negative equity
major international banks going out of business
major car companies going out of business, or being insolvent, even though in the early 1990's they made electrical cars and could have been ok today. A few years after making these cars, the car companies crushed them!
countries (eg Iceland) going insolvent
the world's money finding its way to the USA and the US$ to buy US treasuries. The USA has said that they will guarantee everyone's capital, but when people start realising that the USA is guaranteeing this capital by doubling the money supply (ie halving the value of the money) and by offering 0% interest, the money will soon find its way elesewhere
the world's central bankers printing vaste sums of money to "bail out" and keep their businesses going. This is going to create massive worldwide inflation and the value of our money will be less.
Other plagues that plague us include:
the slavery plagues: eg 1: to the latest cell phones, computers, ipods, cars - which we don't need; eg 2: to remembering all the names of the soccer league players - how does that help us? to filling up our minds with all sorts of things so that we go around mindlessly, not solving our most critical problems
the pollution plague: eg from cars, planes, cattle, ourselves. Did you know that 3 people produce enough gas to do all their cooking. Why do we need gas mines? Do you know that the biggest emitter of methane gas is cattle and that we can stop this problem as we only really need meat once or twice a month, not daily! Do you know that the single biggest point of carbon dioxide emissions on the planet is at Secunda where Sasol turns coal into oil in a process discovered by German chemists during the second world war? Pollution damages our health. We need the pollution plague to stop
the forest plague: we are destroying forests at an alarming rate. Yet forests are the sources of most of the world's medicines. Trees leach toxins from the soil. Trees/forests have fauna and flora that survive with them. Trees provide shade so that humans and animals can rest. Trees remove carbon dioxide and other harmful gasses from the atmosphere whilst at the same time emitting that life sustaining gas called oxygen. Trees are beautiful to look at and loving to touch. Our chidren can climb trees. Yet we are told in Cape Town that the trees drink our water and must be cut down. And so our beautiful forests on the slopes of Table Mountain and in Constantia / Tokai are being cut down. But these trees don't drink our water. Our water comes from the Hottentots Holland mountain range north of Cape Town, some 90 km from these trees and the rain must fall there for our water in Cape Town. We are told that the Table Mountain trees must go because they are "aliens." 4 million people in Cape Town are also aliens!! They/we were not here 400 years ago. Our forefathers saw that we need trees. The real reason for cutting down trees is simple. Our hardwoods are exported to Thailand to make into furniture. Our softwoods become paper so that we can have shops with 1000's of different magazine titles. I haven't read a magazine in months, yet I am completely up to date with what is happening
the plague of corruption: who doesn't know about this one?
the plague of lawlessness: we expect our citizens and children to obey the law, yet we promote lawlessness. We complain about the state of decay and the lack of the rule of law in our big cities. We complain about the social fabric deteriorating. Yet we are the cause. We have religious leaders leading the way in their big gas guzzling cars when they could easily afford to drive in a small car. We have politicians speeding around in special lanes for their sole use. They wrote the law of the road, but they don't need to set an example and obey the law. We have parents talking on their cell phones whilst overtaking on solid white lines and driving without number plates at top speed, whilst their children sit in the back wondering why their parents keep telling them to obey the law. What a paradox! What a mixed message!
I don't let these plagues get to me. I obey the speed limit. I have a car kit even though my car only cost R95,000. Yet I daily see people in R500,000 cars talking on their cell phones and driving at any speed they feel like. I stop at stop streets. Yet I see parents driving through stop streets outside their children's school whilst fetching them. These same parents, who constantly complain about the state of lawlessness, park on red lines or in loading zones, not realising that their behaviour is the reason for the country's decay - and for their children being addicted to computer games and "tik".

When I wanted to put up my turbine, the people who had turbines in Cape Town already (illegally) told me to just put it up. But that is breaking the law - that they themselves created when they elected this and previous governments! I had plans drawn up. I submitted them and when I got them back two weeks later I was told I needed to do an EIA. I asked for help. I received it. It has been a marvelous experience especially after all the problems I have had with the council over the past 4 years since I joined the Milnerton Residents Association. Now I know how to write and submit an EIA. And I am hoping that I can change the law so that EIA's aren't required anymore in future.

I am not going to wait for a plague to hit me. In fact, since February 4th, 1996, when I met Mirjana, who became my wife, I have been constantly "striving with G-d" like Jacob to eliminate all the plagues from my life and slowly but surely get off the grids - and move to becoming Israel.

I am doing something. I am not going to panic. I will not wait for the rush. I won't wait for the government who after all will only take my money to spend it on me (and themselves).

So firstly I am taking myself off (as much as possible) the electricity grid for the same price as a new car.

Have a great week.


Saving the South African Economy

Letter written to the Cape Town newspapers: ...

David is a scientist and Reiki Master with a Masters in Business Administration who helps people and organisations to heal. For more information please contact David at

Dear Editor

The Cape Times' "Rate Cuts Could Lift Rand" on 14th January 2009 and the South African Reserve Bank's (SARB's) recent statement that they are bringing the interest rate announcement forward a week refers.

As a healer working with companies and individuals, I am finding more and more distressed organisations and families in South Africa. The common perception is that the worldwide slowdown is not effecting South Africa. However I believe that this is a myth and that in the next few months 1000's of businesses will close and tens of 1000's of jobs will be lost.

There is a lot of goodwill in South Africa with business owners investing in their own businesses, but at some point this will stop and South Africa will be in trouble. I have asked everyone I know who is bailing out their own organisation to fax Mr Tito Mboweni at the SARB on 012 313-3197 or 012 313-3929 stating the total amount of money they have invested into keeping their companies going over the past three years, what their budgeted and actual turnover and net profit figures have been for the past 3 years (ending December), what their employee numbers were on the 31st December of each of these years was, and what their budgeted turnover for the year ending December 2009 is, and what their projected staff complement will be on 31st December 2009.

I believe that these "suddenly visible figures" will shock the reserve bank into doing something bold and aggressive that will stem the tide and show that the SARB is interested in supporting its primary goal of "the achievement and maintenance of price stability." The SARB can do two things that will: dramatically reduce interest payments, whilst removing liquidity from the market, increase net profit, strengthen balance sheets, and at the same time dramatically strengthen the Rand and dramatically bring down inflation AND maintain price stability.

Before I state what they are, I want to refer to the Cape Times' article on 14th January where Professor Brian Kantor of Investec and other economists state that "rate cuts could lift the Rand." A graph was shown on that day that shows that since 2002 rate increases have weakened the Rand and rate decreases have strengthened the Rand, exactly the opposite of what happened in South Africa before 2002.

The two bold initiatives are: 1) dramatically cut prime interest rates by a 1/3rd from 15% to 10% as has been done recently in the USA, Europe, UK and Australia; but 2) increase the banks "cash" reserve ratios held with the SARB from 2.5% of total liabilities to 7.5% of total liabilities and tell the banks that they must hold half of this reserve margin in physical gold at the SARB. Cutting interest rates by such a large amount will give business owners the courage they need to "stick in there", even potentially to invest in new capital or ideas, and potentially to grow or maintain their businesses. It will give credit card holders, car owners and bond holders a breathing space at a time when salary increases and bonuses are on hold. Importantly the ability for someone to go on a spending spree will be curtailed as the banks won't be able to lend because their reserve ratios will just have been tripled and they will be given 18 months to ensure that they meet these reserve requirements.

Bank's ability to give 100% bonds will be eliminated and may be reduced to 80% where it should be. Names such as United Building Society and NBS might reappear as people use their sudden availability of excess funds to start saving or repaying their debts incredibly quickly. The private person's ratio of debt to household disposable income will dramatically decrease thus fundamentally improving his balance sheet and giving him a firm foundation on which to grow his micro-economy into the future.

David Lipschitz
14 Mimosa Street


Evil flourishes when good men do nothing (Edmund Burke)

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Ask the South African Reserve Bank for Bailout Money - Inform them of a looming crisis

Dear all

The SARB and local banks are pretending that there is no problem in South Africa, possibly because they don't have visibility of a looming crisis which can possibly be avoided or at least mitigated if managed well.

If you are bailing out your own company, then please write to Mr Tito Mboweni at the South African Reserve Bank (SARB). I suggest stating that you have put x into the company over a certain time period and that you would like the SARB to also put x into the company, essentially to keep you going. Advise the SARB how many employees you have, what your turnover has been for the past 3 years, what your employee count was at the end of each year and what your projected turnover is for 2009 and expected number of employees in December 2009. Remind the SARB that in South Africa, there are typically up to 10 people dependent on each employee and that if the SARB don't help you out, then the government's ability to pay unemployment benefits at some point will be curtailed and social unrest will likely ensue.

The SARB might not do anything immediately, but as the letters keep coming in and as they start adding up the statistics, they will get a clear picture of what is truly happening in our terrific economy before it is too late. Most in South Africa are stuck in a make-believe world that the world can't touch us. It already is and has touched us with 1000's of companies' directors putting their money into their companies to keep them going. And they can't keep going forever. I have spoken to 3 people in different companies who are already only days away from closing, basically living from day to day, hoping that their debtors pay so that they can pay their creditors. They are slowly running out of a range of stock items which they can't replinish and so their ability to sell is being curtailed. Some of them import products and their ability to import is being curtailed, making their range unattractive.

The SARB might even realise that it's high time that interest rates are reduced in 25% chunks thus satisfying business owners, homeowners, and even bankers whose debts will be paid, but unfortunately not speculators who prefer small and more regular interest rate increases or decreases because they can make more money this way with the stupid games they play.

Here are the SARB's details:
Mr Tito Mboweni
Fax : +27 12 313-3197 or +27 12 313-3929

NB: We can and must survive this downturn. We can do it by doing the following:
1) Stop using all unnecessary appliances.
2) Turn off everything at the wall when it is off.
3) Try to get the kids to stop playing computer games and rather play Risk or Monopoly or some other such "old fashioned game" that a) doesn't use electricity; b) gets them thinking; c) might just get them to show us the way forward. The future is in their hands, but if 5 of them are sitting in a room playing a "network game" we aren't going to get very far very fast as well as them probably using in the order of 1500 to 3500 Watts, eg for computers, fans, airconditioning, heating, running the kettle, beers in the fridge, etc, etc.
4) Replace your fridges with energy efficient fridges. If you were about to go on holiday or spend R8,000 on new mags, rather buy the energy efficient fridge. The main problem I have here is that the old fridge is then used, eg if given to the maid or gardener, so energy use goes up, even though yours goes down. Any comments?
5) This will stop the government from building power stations and spending 343 Billion Rand on that over the next 10 years when they can make the same money available as "bailout money." There is a very simple way to stop the building of these power stations: don't turn on more than one appliance at the same time. If you turn on your kettle (2000W) and your oven (2500W) and your lawnmower (1000W) and your washing machine (up to 600W), etc, then if all are on at the same time, we need power stations to run at at least 6100Watts, but if you turn these facilities on separately, you use a maximum of 2500 Watts at any one time. You still use the same amount of electricity, but you just spread if out. I have left the geyser off this list as most of the time we can't easily turn if on and off. This committment not only saves the need for new power stations, but saves a massive amount of pollution as the power stations are producing the 6100 Watts continuously whether you use it or not; or perhaps rather, whether you switch on the plug or not.
6) Promote renewable ways of living: from electricity; camping solar water heaters for showers; food security, eg vegetables and fruits in your gardens; rain water collection; bartering excess food you have with your neighbours.


Tikkun Jacob Forum: Gossip, Lies and The Bible (Shmod 5769)

By David Lipschitz, 15th January 2009, Shabbat Shemot 13th Tevet 5769 (16th January 2009)

When one writes an essay which uses the Bible as a reference, and if one is Jewish, then one is always meant to refer to the Parashah or portion of the week that we read each week. This week it is Shmot which is very appropriate to what I wish to write about today because Shmot means "names."

Shmot starts with the names of the 12 sons of Jacob who became the 12 tribes of Israel. One's name is all that one has. For someone to slander that name is unacceptable. For someone else to transmit that slander is more unacceptable. One's name is the most beautiful word in the world. One's name (reputation) takes years to build up and can be erased in minutes through careless banter.

Here are some quotes re gossip ("to talk about the private affairs of others") and lying (I equate the two):
Friedrich Nietzsche: I'm not upset that you lied to me, I'm upset that from now on I can't believe you;
Mark Twain: A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes;
Anonymous: The truth may hurt for a little while a lie hurts forever;
Anonymous: A half-truth is the most cowardly of lies.

According to Wikipedia, a half truth's purpose is: "The purpose and or consequence of a half truth is to make something that is really only a belief appear to be knowledge, or a truthful statement to represent the whole truth, or possibly lead to a false conclusion."

According to Handbook of Reason by Dagobert Runes (1972), Lies are described as follows:
"Truth does not persuade by itself. It is not enough to master the truth. Can you interpret it for others? One faces often in life those who are totally bereft of scruples of logic as well as ethics and are endowed with considerable skills in persuasion. Stalin was fully aware that his comrades in arms were sincere and dedicated revolutionaries, yet in order to gain absolute power over the party and government machinery, he was successful in convincing the Russian people of the opposite and even drove his nation to such a frenzy of hate against the 'traitors' that they massacred the most illustrious Soviet Marxists with unparalleled brutality.
"Truth is a poor adversary of the Great Lie on the tongue of the skillful. For that very reason, this our beaten globe is still in the hands of the glib, not the true. Millions of innocent little people perish every decade, victims of hate-mongering perfidy promulgated by ruthless demagogues, and often even the sincerely liberal hearken to the false tunes of propaganda; the still voice of truth and profundity dies unheard in the wind. The Lie travels decked out with the colorful denunciations supported by shrewdly fostered personality cults, with the Truth is offered by the philosophically minded in her unadorned and uncorrupted verity. Perhaps this is the destined role Truth must play out in all times, done and to come, to be protagonist of the Good in the great turmoil of man's existence.
"Truth is a lonely traveller."

NB: If you ever feel the need to tell someone something that you know is going to hurt them deeply or if you are busy telling them and they ask you to stop and to rather meet in person to discuss it, respect that person and meet them personally. Telling someone extremely bad news which hurts them deeply, eg when it puts into question a very close 12 year old relationship, is something that is malicious to do over the phone. The person receiving the news has no one to talk to. No one to fall back on. No one to comfort them. At least if you are together, you can see what effect your words are having on the receiver and so modify the way you are telling them. Or cancel telling them altogether especially if you know that they are currently weak and already recovering from a recent emotional trauma.

Let us consider the Biblical nature of the problem and show that not committing Lashan Hara ("the bad tongue" called "the evil tongue" in modern parlance"), i.e. slander and gossip is actually a commandment which comes before the first commandment of the 10 commandments.

Adam and Eve are told in the Garden of Eden not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and bad. "Their eyes will surely be opened." "Eve saw that the food was good to eat and shared it with Adam." Please note that what happened in the Garden of Eden is essential for our way of life today. A way of life in which we have choice over our behaviour and actions! But Adam and Eve do eat of the tree and because of this, they get the trait of choice which includes lying (a "half" lie to G-d in this case) (Adam tells G-d that he is naked, not that he ate of the tree which G-d had forbidden him to eat of) and their son Cain telling half-truths "I know not; am I my brother's keeper" in answer to G-d's question about where Abel is. (Cain had murdered Abel). From a Kabbalistic point of view the two traits are known as sacred and profane. You can discuss this with me if you wish.

And so we end up with a number of cases in the Bible of people telling half-truths or trying to hide the truths. Each of these is designed to show us what we should rather do in the situations. Each of these was left in the Bible, when they could easily have been left out, to show us that relationships are difficult and that care is needed to ensure that the mistakes of the past aren't committed in our generation.

Unfortunately our generation is the worst since the Garden of Eden. A photo can be taken of a man and women hugging or kissing hello or goodbye or perhaps holding hands. This photo can instantly be transmitted around the world by cell phone, by sms, by Skype, by Facebook, and by other methods of modern social networking. The photo could say that the couple are in love; it could say they have a secret romance. Even if this is untrue, it is "juicy gossip" and so is transmitted from one gossiper to another. By the time it gets to the third or forth person from the original gossiper, it bears hardly any relationship to the original "truth" and has been embellished with more half-truths or blatant lies.

If the Bible shows what happens when we gossip before the 10 Commandments are expounded, then I argue that gossip is worse than idol worship. Gossip is worse than murder. It is worse than adultery. It is worse than stealing. It contains all three of these negative commandments.

If you gossip, you are stealing the right of the party to a fair direct hearing where the two parties involved resolve their issues directly (you can help them as long as you are with them when you tell this gossip/hearsay). You may be maliciously destroying a relationship. You may be murdering this relationship. You are bowing down to the idol of gossip.

Please don't gossip or tell hearsay. If someone tells you something about a third party and it is positive, then ok, but if it is negative, do not listen to it. Tell that person to tell the third party directly! You are not interested in spreading gossip although you might be interested in helping out directly!