Thursday, January 06, 2005


An interesting email from Gene Berman (

"I have something I think may be of great use in the various efforts underway to aid tsunami-hit areas. It's not, unfortunately, something I am able to donate but even so, to the extent useful, would represent substantial saving over alternatives.

The basic item is an inflatable Pontoon Float. The unit consists of three inflatable tubes of heavily rubberized canvas duck (about 50 oz/yd). Each tube is 3 ft diameter X 22 ft. long. The unit package, in addition to the 3 tubes, contains nylon cord for lashing the tubes (the tubes are well grommetted), metal parts to form "edges" and to form bow and stern, and a suitable foot-pump (although any will do @ 2 psi). The entirety is export-crated and weighs right about 1000 lbs, about 800 lbs net of the crate.

When assembled and inflated, the resultant unit is a 9' X 22" X 3' high, barge-like unit, capable of supporting 12 tons. And, of course, units may be combined for larger surface area and carrying capacities as required and may be readily towed by powered craft. I've got 40 of the units ready to go @ US $4500 each. As a price comparison, nearly identical tube units are made by a US company named Demaree Inflatables. They make various configurations but one roughly similar to mine runs about $15-16G and the individual tubes themselves are priced at $5500.

These were formerly used by the US military for a variety of purposes, including the erection of temporary bridges, use as barges singly or in tandem, floating docks, piers, diving platforms, etc. They've since switched over to a different configuration and I bought them directly from the government. They're not used and all have been inspected to make sure they're in first-class condition.

I am making inquiries through USAID currently and naturally, it's tough slogging and slow--probably aggravated by demand for their attention on account of the disaster. I thought that you might have some suggestion or references as to people or agencies over there--a lot closer to the activity. (Technically, the units require clearance of the International Trade Administration before export--they're on the list covering munitions and strategic material--but I think that won't be much of a hurdle under present circumstances.)"



An interesting email from Michael D. Greaney, Director of Research, Center for Economic and Social Justice (

I am concerned that aid to tsunami victims will be handled by "the usual suspects" and in the same old way. I (naturally) see a "two-prong" strategy to giving aid to the victims, to which I invite comments (

1. Immediate direct aid in the form of food, clothing and medical assistance should be given to affected individuals, regardless of borders, race, religious affiliation, or party membership. This aid should not be given to any government, state or local, except under closely supervised conditions to ensure that it reaches the intended recipients instead of brothers, cousins and uncles of the bureaucrats, who will sell it to pay gambling debts and purchase liquor, women, and pornography.

2. The rebuilding of infrastructure and businesses should be financed through local "Capital Homesteading" programs, so that ownership of even the largest enterprises becomes widespread and people own their own government and control their own incomes legally and directly, making the government accountable to them, not to international financing agencies, terrorist organizations, or foreign countries. The blueprint for Capital Homesteading can be found as a free download on the website of the Center for Economic and Social Justice ("CESJ") (, under the title CAPITAL HOMESTEADING FOR EVERY CITIZEN. While designed for the moribund U.S. Social Security and Medicare systems, with very little tinkering it can be adapted to any country on earth.

The only problem with using Capital Homesteading in this fashion is that it builds economic (and thus political) power into ordinary people, not bureaucrats. If you want to discuss Capital Homesteading, CESJ's president, Dr. Norman G. Kurland, can be contacted as


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