Mar

6

Former Broker Tells Cautionary Tale About Criminal Past, by Brooke Southall, March 5, 2007

SAN FRANCISCO — A former bad apple held the crowd captive at the Investment Management Consultants Association conference here last week.

Patrick J. Kuhse, a former stock broker and supervisor at Planner Independent Management in San Diego, riveted the IMCA faithful with tales of defrauding clients and paying his debt to society in penitentiaries and a Costa Rican "dungeon."

"Everybody in [prison] looked like people in this room," Mr. Kuhse said. "That startled me."

In 1972 a high level director of parole and probation in my state asked me to give a talk before a large audience of police and justice-type folk. I've forgotten my text, but do remember I said the very same words as Mr. Kuhse said to his audience. That is, "Everybody in prison looks just like everyone in this audience." They laughed in disbelief, as if physiognomic comparisons could not be made.

They had a belief that people who don't like the laws that have been made, and so violate those laws, are in some way distinguishable by appearance.

Marion Dreyfus adds:

Robert Mitchum spent some time in the clink for possession and use of controlled substances. When asked later by a reporter what it was like in prison, he deadpanned, "Like Palm Beach, but without all the riff-raff."

Michael Olds writes:

I hope Ken will forgive me if I suggest that the phenomena he and the others mention here is somewhat more complex than the simple bias he suggests.

First of all the humor/shock expressed by the statement that everyone in the room looks like a criminal is more than likely a reaction to self-recognition; virtually everyone here today is a criminal or thinks that something that they are doing is criminal behavior for which they have not yet been caught.

Do I need to make a list?

Workers take product and tool. Twenty percent of your children are criminals because they are stealing your prescription medications and using them. Millions are made criminals as a consequence of activities that 'ain't nobody's business but they own.' Every New Yorker is a criminal when he j-walks. All women in California are criminals when they talk on their cell-phones while driving and putting on their make-up. It is illegal here in CA to drive in the rain without turning on the windshield wipers. Etcetera.

We call our politicians "law-makers." Naturally it is their conclusion that they are not doing their job unless they make laws. So what could be accomplished by one righteous king, three laws and a wise and educated judiciary is instead done by a massive self-serving misguided and ethically corrupt bureaucracy spewing out laws absurd in both number and quality.

The self-serving, misguided and ethically corrupt lawmaker, being dependant to some extent on an electorate that would desire its leaders to be high-minded, ethical, and altruistic, encourage the confusion of the legal with the ethical. Those in the position to offer moral leadership decline to pass judgment on the law.

The confusion of the legal with the ethical has in turn resulted in the corruption of the ethical standard and a population that largely acts unethically without reflection because what they are doing is not illegal.

Do I need to make a list?

I read a survey a while back that said that some 70 percent of people lie (I suspect some 29.9% of the rest lied to the survey-taker). The police are allowed to lie to trap criminals. Scott Brooks is allowed to coach children to hit other children because the rules allow it because it's the elbow or hip, not the fist. It's not just ok, it's something admirable! An indication of the sort of character we seek in our future leaders, that is to say, training in the interpretation of the letter of the law so as to permit unethical behavior.

Coffee sellers can call it Kona when it has as little as 10% Kona beans in it. That's just one example of what advertisers can say to deceive deliberately. I'd hate to tell you what may be called "organic" food today or what is called a "natural ingredient." There was a time in recent history where Jews and others were arrested, their property confiscated, and they were exterminated without popular outcry because it was all done legally. Here a while back it was OK to kill Native Americans and steal their land because it was legal. Etcetera, Etcetera, Etcetera.

So the man sitting in the audience listening to Ken say that he looks like a criminal smiles and gives an involuntary laugh, because he is not sure if Ken is referring to his unethical behavior that is legal or his legal behavior that is unethical.

But where Ken is missing out on the lesson to traders is in the fact that he has identified the man as a criminal through his appearances; that little involuntary laugh gives him away.

Sep

11

I asked myself this morning why all the attention, as opposed to the 4th, 6th, or some other random number. As best I can tell from my internet research, it is because the number five seems to be used as the number of humanity given that the body has five appendages (two arms, two legs, and a head) and five senses (hearing, sight, small, taste, touch). The fifth appendage provides the body symmetry. Thus remembering a fifth anniversary date must somehow reconnect us with our humanity. In music, the fifth is important because its addition makes a chord.

For the spec then, one might consider testing five market combinations like gold, bond, stocks, oil, the dollar for opportunities.

Michael Olds mentions:

Just one little note here. Five (actually probably any number) as standing for 'Man' is culture-specific. In Buddhist cultures it is six. There the mind is considered the sixth sense (and, unlike here, Man is considered to have one … little joke).

As alien as it may seem to most of us, the mind as a sense is considered to operate like all the other senses.

We have mind and we have mental objects. Mental objects coming into the range of mind, together with consciousness [an element, just like earth, water, fire and wave-form, and subject to 'conservation' (recycling) just like those elements] produce consciousness of ideas. String together consciousnesses of ideas, given direction by the specialized consciousness idea called intent, and what we get is what we know as thought.

How is this relevant to speculation and trading? One way is in how the idea could be used to free the trader from error bound up with ego. Ego brings bias, and bias ruin. Seeing the process in the way described above is seeing without the notion of ego. There is mental object data, mind data, consciousness data. There is no 'my mental object data' [let alone the truly messy 'I think'] to cause possessiveness and the resultant hesitation to let go of a bad idea…it is all just data.

Five is important because it is the hand. Half of two hands. Half of 10, on which our number system is based.

Five is the number of "comprehensive and yet simple" unity or a set; it is applied in all cases of a natural and handy comprehension of several items into a group, after the 5 fingers of the hand, which latter lies at the bottom of all primitive expressions of No. 5.

Sep

7

A super star does not a super apology make, but you don't have to be a superstar to make one.

Tom Cruise recently went over to Brooke Shields' home and apologized face to face for putting her down about taking meds for her post-partum depression. She not only accepted his apology, she had him join she and her family for breakfast. You don't have to be a "superstar" to give an apology and you can do something that even they don't do. You can give a "super apology."

Here are the five steps to making one, all done while looking the other person in the eye (to demonstrate sincere remorse which is the cornerstone of the process):

1. Say what you did wrong

2. Acknowledge how it hurt, disappointed, frightened or upset the other person

3. Admit you were wrong to do it and then apologize

4. Say what you are going to do to correct it and make sure it doesn't happen again

5. Ask those people you upset how you can make it up to them and then do it.

Michael Olds comments:

Dr. Goulston's response is well said from his point of view.

In the system of ethics taught by Gotama Saccyamuni [aka The Buddha] the manner of handling the situation where one has perceived that one has made an error in ethics is different than this. Gotama's manner of handling error might be found to be instructive here in your forum where there is clearly an effort being made to see things as they really are. In Gotama's system the process would better be called 'making conscious', and goes as follows:

1. Approach the individual transgressed against stating words similar to these: "Friend, I have committed a blameworthy, unsuitable act that ought to be admitted. I admit it."

2. Say what you did that you perceive needs to be admitted by describing your understanding of how what you did is wrong according to your system of ethics. Here, in Gotama's system, in highly simplified form: A) What was said was said knowing it was an untruth, B) What was done was done with intent to injure either mentally or physically, C) What was done was done with intent to take the un-given possession of another.

3. Ask that your admission be acknowledged as heard by the injured party with the intent that by having admitted it, brought it to consciousness face-to-face with the injured party where it cannot be easily forgotten, and where it will be easily remembered, future restraint will have been facilitated.

It will be seen that in this system there is no assumption that one understands what was experienced by the other person as a consequence of one's actions or to correct the situation.

This is because in this system there is the understanding that however much one may practice empathy there is known to be variation in beings which is largely beyond the scope of understanding of the ordinary person and which results in individuals being altered by events in various ways. We do not assume to know all.

With regard to correcting the situation it is understood that what is done is done and cannot be corrected. On the other hand there is no problem with expressing empathy ["I can imagine how I would feel…"] and doing a good turn for someone one has injured [compensating a person for losses incurred as a consequence of trusting in one's word, returning something stolen…perhaps manyfold, paying for medical care, and so forth].

In the case where one is unable to find and face the injured person this making conscious can be done face-to-face with some highly respected individual.

There is no expectation of 'forgiveness'; that is a thing that the injured party does for their own good. Should the injured person refuse to acknowledge having heard one's admission, that is considered their problem.

Archives

Resources & Links

Search