This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 15 Papa Joe 0003 (October 4, 2014)

“Today the absence of government simply means government by corporations.”
Trenz Pruca

Happy Birthdays to Athena, Aaron and Anthony

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. TWO MOTT STREET BOYS ON A CART, CIRCA 1900
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B. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

SWAC arrived this evening to assume my nanny duties. I continue preparations to leave. For some reason, I am more anxious about this trip than my previous ones. I have always believed that it is the surprises of travel, good or bad, that make it worthwhile. Too much planing raises expectations that are almost never met. Still, this time I worry whether I planned enough as I pack and unpack my little suitcase to make sure I have included everything I should.
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Well, today it rained slightly on the Golden Hills. Not much, just enough to smudge the dirt on the car’s windshield. Very little moisture made it to the ground but it seemed to have cleared the air of today’s load of ash and smoke.
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Early Sunday morning, I grabbed my two suitcases (mine, the light one, SWAC’s, the heavy one to be delivered to her brother in BKK) and my computer and set off for the train station. Dick drove me to the Sacramento. terminal. There I boarded the early train to SF.
Usually, the cars are mostly empty and finding a seat easy. This morning, however, I caught the 49ers game-day train and almost every seat was filled with maroon-shirted fans happily on the way to this afternoon’s game, many of whom were getting a strong start on the train version of a tailgate party. When we got to Emeryville and I had to change to a bus to cross the bay into San Francisco. It was filled with orange-shirted SF Giant baseball fans.
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B. Pookies Adventures in San Francisco

In SF I had lunch with my daughter-in-law Annemarie, grandsons Anthony and Aaron and the new grandparents Peter and Barrie Grenell at a Savor on 24th Street. Later we visited with my granddaughter Athena who was painting a mural at the Mission Street Fair.
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Peter, Anthony,Barrie, Aaron, me
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Amanda, Jason

For those interested, Anthony has just moved to Vallejo. Aaron has started two businesses, a catering business and a landscape business. Ann tells me he is depressed because at twenty-years-old, his life is not turning out how he expected. Athena wants to become an artist among other things. She also often participates in feminist rallies and hopes to attend one in Texas.
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Athena the muralist

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Pookie the muralist

Peter, besides his role as grandpa, now plays in four different bands and is looking forward to retiring from the harbor district next year.
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In the evening I had dinner with my son Jason, his wife Heromi and my granddaughter Amanda. Then it was off to the airport.

C. ALONG THE WAY

I had a long uncomfortable plane ride to BKK. As I was getting in my seat and checking things one last time, I realized that I had either lost or left at home the small bag holding my tooth-brush, shaving equipment and all my medicines. While trying to convince myself that I was not senile, terminally stupid or going to die a horrible death during on the flight, I spent the next twenty-seven hours, worrying, sleeping fitfully, eating far too much airplane food to be healthy and watching movies,

One of the movies was John Turturro’s wonderfully touching and comic Fading Gigolo starring Woody Allen as Murray an aging owner of a failed bookshop turned part-time pimp who is living with a black woman with four children one of whom has head lice. Murray persuades Fioravante (Turturro), a flower store employee, to service his beautiful, wealthy and married dermatologist and other lonely middle-aged women. The movie’s central story is a a semi-sweet but ill-fated and unconsummated love affair between the gigolo and the widow of the Rabbi of a highly orthodox community in Brooklyn beloved by a shomrin (look it up) named Devi.

I liked the movie since it reminded me of my singularly unsuccessful attempt, in Rome many years ago, to experience life as a gigolo. My only so-called success in that doomed attempt was due to the sympathy of an exceptionally kind woman named Mona. I think I may write a short story or a novella based on the escapade.
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Mona

D. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

After twenty-seven hours of traveling including stops in Hong Kong and Singapore (where I spent the wait-over encased in a mechanical foot massage machine provided free by the airport for foot weary travelers), I arrived in BKK. The Little Masseuse who unfortunately had gotten the time of my arrival wrong, had come and gone from the airport. Surprisingly, I was spotted by my friend from the health club the old sailor and deep-sea diver who had just seen a friend off. We shared a two-hour taxi ride from the airport. When I arrived at my apartment I went immediately to sleep and did not leave my bed all of the next day and night.

On the third day I tried to leave but was still not feeling well so I remained in the apartment. By the fourth day I had located a supply to replace my missing medicines so I ventured forth to breakfast followed by a haircut, shave, facial scrub manicure and pedicure before lunch and then returned to the apartment for a nap.

First photo’s from Thailand:

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Me strutting along Soi Nana

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LM at breakfast in Foodland.

E. CONTEMPLATION OF DEATH AND DYING

Having lost my bag containing my medicines as I mentioned, the next day during one of my brief periods of fretful wakefulness, I realized that it would be several days before I could reach my Doctor, get the names of my medicines, and buy them at a local pharmacy. This fact confirmed my belief that my imminent death was highly likely. So, in my quasi-somnolent state, I contemplated what a good death in Bangkok would be for me. In no particular order:

Lying on a massage table, my face in the hole drool dripping from the corner of my mouth. The masseuse has just finished massaging my feet and lower legs and is spreading oil on the inside of my thighs.

Swimming in the health club’s outdoor pool, I have just taken a breath, and glimpse, floating on the water, the multi-colored fabrics of the indian woman who had entered the pool, as they do, fully clothed. As I dip my head under the water and exhale, silver bubbles flow behind me. Through the crystalline turquoise water I make out the sun dappled bottom of the pool.

Walking near my apartment, the sun shining, I fall through the sidewalk into the foetid canal and sewer that runs beneath BKK’s streets and as the slimy grey green ooze reaches my neck, I happily expire.

At the supermarket in the basement of Robinson’s I lean over a display of freshly opened Durian. The King of Fruit’s aroma reminds me of unwashed 1000 year old feet. I take a deep breath.

In Terminal 21 on the fifth floor, I sit at a booth at Baskin and Robins’. What passes for a root beer float in the area now that A&W can no longer be found, stands on the table in front of me. I press the vanilla ice cream deep into the soda and watch the foam fill the glass almost to overflowing. I suck deeply on the straw to see if I can forestall the foam from sliding down the glass and on to the table.

I am sitting in my room watching a Thai soap opera on the television. LM sits on the floor eating fish heads and munching on some foul-smelling Thai vegetable. The beautiful but dense ingénue in love with the handsome, quite stupid but rich leading man had just come from being physically and verbally abused by her rival for affection of said stupid, handsome but rich young man, now confronts a production value deficient ghost and stands mostly mute and unmoving through two sets of commercials. I expire, probably more from terminal boredom than the lack of medicines. My head leans gently against the wall where I remain until a little after midnight when the late night slapstick comedy shows end and LM shuts off the TV and realizes I had not collapsed on to my rock hard bed and covered my head with a pillow as I usually do.

At a sidewalk restaurant I sit and observe the the hazy street life in front of me while I chew on the first bite of my lunch. Two ladies of the evening on their way for an early start pass by, one dressed in a tight tan mini-dress that barely reaches the tops of her thighs and the other in a similar red dress. I topple forward and my face plunges into my one dollar plate of pork fried rice.

Standing on the Sukhumvit Road overpass, by Soi Nana observing the stopped traffic below I glance to my right and spy the King of Beggars sitting at his usual post on the sidewalk his leg, amputated above the knee, extended before him. I call him the King of Beggars because he always sits at the prime street corner in the area, is well dressed with a north African style skull-cap on his head and, unlike the other beggars, he always eats his lunch at one of the regular restaurants near by. His face is dark tan, his hair white. Above his well-trimmed white mustache his eyes grey as storm clouds meet mine.

Of course, I could always be run over by a speeding motorbike taxi, but that is just as likely if I am fully medicated as not, perhaps even more so.

Note: for those who have read this far and found the above entertaining the rest of this note is not for you. For those concerned about the state of my health (mental or physical) please know most of the missing medicines are various prescribed vitamins. Pretty much the only concern was with the loss of my doctor prescribed happy pills. True, sudden termination of the pills can produce withdrawal symptoms that are pretty awful. Also, should I decide to replace the drug with something like opium, LSD or Oxycontin it could be more than simply life threatening. Nevertheless, the withdrawal, jet-lag and exhaustion did make me feel as though death would be a welcome improvement.

I eventually manage to score the appropriate drugs from the pharmacy in Foodland. Everything else is the lies I tell myself. Lying to oneself is necessary for survival. If not, how would anyone make it through puberty? The ability to lie to oneself is natures compensation to those she has cursed with consciousness.
F. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

On the television news today it was reported that the country is experiencing an infestation of rabid ants who invade houses at night, climb into the beds of those who had been eating in the bed and not cleaning up before falling asleep and attacking every orifice of that person’s body in a crazed search for food.

LM assures me that she knows of a friend of hers who was so attacked and had to be hospitalized. I did not get much sleep again last night.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

From Pookie’s 2012 write-in campaign for President:

While reviewing old issues of T&T, I came across the following plank from my aborted write in campaign for President in 2012. I thought it remains valid today (the savings may be larger today).

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

Please see the blog: http://papajoestales.wordpress.com/

Pookie’s platform includes a minimum of $600 billion over the next 4 years in budgetary savings by immediately ending the following welfare programs:

1. Oil and Gas Tax Subsidies.

There appears to be no conceivable impact on the nation’s oil and gas supply by removing these subsidies. Estimated Savings over next 4 years: $80 billion.

2. Deferment of Taxes on Income of US controlled Corporations Abroad.

This subsidy seems to have little public benefit and only encourages offshoring of American jobs. Estimated Savings over next 4 years: $200 billion.

3. Accelerated Depreciation on Equipment:

This is most often used by companies to avoid taxation entirely. It should only be allowed (as it was originally) as part of temporary stimulus legislation to encourage companies to buy equipment during recessions. Estimated Savings over next 4 years: $140 billion.

4. Deduction for Domestic Manufacturing:

This deduction is simply a direct subsidy to companies. It is welfare pure and simple and has no place in the tax code. Estimated Savings over next 4 years: $75 billion.

5. LIFO (Last in First Out) Accounting:

This is simply a method to hide true profits. Estimated Savings over next 4 years: $25 billion

6. Agribusiness Welfare:

Another unnecessary welfare program. Estimated Savings over next 4 years: $25 billion.

7. Allow Government to Negotiate Prices for Medicare:

A direct subsidy to providers. Estimated Savings over next 4 years: $75 billion.

8. Annual tax break for drug companies direct to consumer advertising:

Why should we pay for drug company marketing to us? Estimated savings over next 4 years: $20 billion.

I would require the resulting savings of about $125 billion per year to be set aside and used to reduce the National Debt in any year where the GNP (or another suitable measure of the economy and society) exceeds 2.5% in growth (minus inflation) for the year or used for non-tax reduction stimulus funding (e.g. public works), or safety net expenditures (e.g. extending unemployment benefits) when it falls below 2.5%.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“…another cause of today’s instability is that we now have a society in America, in Europe and in much of the world which is totally dominated by the two elements of sovereignty that are not included in the state structure: control of credit and banking and the corporation. These are free of political controls and social responsibility, and they have largely monopolized power in Western Civilization and in American society. They are ruthlessly going forward to eliminate land, labor, entrepreneurial-managerial skills, and everything else the economists once told us were the chief elements of production. The only element of production they are concerned with is the one they can control: capital.”
Carroll Quigley, Public Authority and the State in the Western Tradition: A Thousand Years of Growth, A.D. 976 – 1976”

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This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 5 Papa Joe 0003 (September 23, 2014)

Sam Spade: Ten thousand? We were talking about a lot more money than this.
Kasper Gutman: Yes, sir, we were, but this is genuine coin of the realm. With a dollar of this, you can buy ten dollars of talk.
Dashiell Hammett, The Maltese Falcon.
TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE POLICY:

The Sacramento Bee reported today that the Federal Administration just released its policies for combating Antibiotic Resistance. For many months my daughter, Dr. Jessica Petrillo, was actively involved on behalf of the State Department in developing the international portion of the national strategy and contributed to the framing of the Executive Order implementing that strategy. For her efforts she received The State Department’s Superior Honor Award.

In addition to her work on the current policies designed to protect us all from the threat of antibiotic resistant pathogens, for the past few years she also has contributed significantly to the development of actions and strategies to defend this Nation and the world from intentional biologic attack.

We all too often forget that it is not only those armed with a gun that safeguard our nation. Intelligence, commitment and dedication to the public good instead of simple pursuit of economic advantage are as important, if not more important, to our security.

Congratulations Jessica, I am very proud of you.

B. HOPI CEREMONIAL DANCERS CIRCA 1900:

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C. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN ELDORADO HILLS:

There was a strange phenomenon in the skies over The Golden Hills this morning. A huge forest fire of about 100,000 acres is burning a few miles further up towards the mountains. The smoke turned the Eastern skies a yellowish-grey. Through this pall the rising sun appears a deep iridescent red. I could look directly at it for ten or twenty seconds. It all looked like a view from another world out of a science fiction movie.
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I have just learned that Peter and Barry Grenell became Grandparents a few months ago. The baby’s name is Anuhea which means fragrant breeze in Hawaiian. Congratulations to everyone involved.
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The forest fire nearby is under control. We can now breathe air again free of smoke and ash.
I have packed a tiny suitcase for my trip to Thailand and Sicily. It is still too large for carry on for the airline (Ryan Air) I have chosen to fly from Rome to Palermo. Checking in the small bag will double my flight costs.

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

QUIGLEY ON TOP

Security, Power and Political Instability

Introduction

In his unpublished magnum opus Weapons Systems and Political Stability Carroll Quigley attempts to provide a cohesive analytical structure to the morass of confusion regarding concepts of security and power. He goes on at length to demonstrate how the ideas he enunciates repeat in History and how the application of those concepts can explain most historical conflicts. I will not try to summarize his historical examples here but only attempt to lay out the operative concepts he identifies. The first thing I must point out is that he is not particularly discussing security from such things and famine or disease and the like, although he makes it clear that the lack of such security is more often than not a product of the exercise of power or the lack thereof. He is, however, examining the meaning of security in a clash of power among groups the effect of which could and often does produce tragic consequences to individuals often including death.

He begins by pointing out that security and power are different notions and that security has not always been a product of a state.

“Men have experienced security and insecurity throughout all human history. In all that long period, security has been associated with power relationships and is today associated with the state only because this is the dominant form which power relationships happen to take in recent times. But even today, power relationships exist quite outside of the sphere of the state, and, as we go farther into the past, such non-state (and ultimately, non-public) power relationships become more dominant in human life.”

Definition of Security

Security Quigley defines as:

“…the settlement of disputes involving clashes of wills within the group and the defense of the group against outside threats—are the essential parts of the provision of security through group life. They form the opposite sides of all political life and provide the most fundamental areas in which power operates in any group or community. Both are concerned with clashes of wills, the one with such clashes between individuals or lesser groups within the community and the other with clashes between the wills of different communities regarded as entities. Thus clashes of wills are the chief problems of political life, and the methods by which these clashes are resolved depend on power, which is the very substance of political action.”

The nature of power

He then goes on to ask and discuss, what is the nature of power and what is the relationship between power and security.

“Power,” he maintains, “is simply the ability to obtain the acquiescence of another person’s will.”

That is to obtain full cooperation, obedience to specific orders, or simple acquiescence.

The Basis of Power

These power relationships can be obtained by the exercise of one or more of what can be described as the triple basis of power in our culture: force, wealth or persuasion.

He states:

“The first of these is the most fundamental (and becoming more so) in our society, and will be discussed at length later. The second is quite obvious, since it involves no more than the purchase or bribery of another’s acquiescence, but the third is usually misunderstood in our day.

The economic factor enters into the power nexus when a person’s will yields to some kind of economic consideration, even if this is merely one of reciprocity. When primitive tribes tacitly hunt in restricted areas which do not overlap, there is a power relationship on the lowest level of economic reciprocity.

“The ideological factor in power relationships, which I have called persuasion, operates through a process which is frequently misunderstood. It does not consist of an effort to get someone else to adopt our point of view or to believe something they had not previously believed, but rather consists of showing them that their existing beliefs require that they should do what we want.”

Finally he explains regarding the above three bases of power:

“Of course, in any power situation the most obvious element to people of our culture is force. This refers to the simple fact of physical compulsion, but it is made more complicated by the two facts that man has, throughout history, modified and increased his physical ability to compel, both by the use of tools (weapons) and by organization of numerous men to increase their physical impact. It is also confused, for many people, by the fact that such physical compulsion is usually aimed at a subjective target: the will of another person. This last point, like the role of morale already mentioned, shows again the basic unity of power and of power relationships, in spite of the fact that writers like myself may, for convenience of exposition, divide it into elements, like this division into force, wealth, and persuasion.”

Psychological nature of power relations

In addition, he argues there exists a psychological nature in power relations. He proposes two analytical rules:

“1. Conflict arises when there is no longer a consensus regarding the real power situation, and the two parties, by acting on different subjective pictures of the objective situation, come into collision.
2. The purpose of such a conflict, arising from different pictures of the facts, is to demonstrate to both parties what the real power relationship is in order to reestablish a consensus on it.”

Influence of time in power relationships

A third influence on a power relationship is the changes that time may make to the above psychological rules and thereby the nature of a particular conflict.

Also, distance or space affect power relationships. If you cannot reach someone or some nation to apply the elements of power than a power relationship does not exist and usually cannot exist. In the modern world of course, although this criteria has diminished in significance, it most certainly has not been extinguished.

Relationships in the exercise of power

And finally “most power relationships are multilateral and not dual.” “Such multilateral systems,” he argues, “explain the continued existence of smaller states whose existence could never be explained in any dual system in which they would seem to be included entirely in the power area of an adjacent great power.”

Summary

In the political arena with its enormous complexities, attempts to use power no matter how applied often cause political instability. Nevertheless Quigley writes:

“In all such crises of political instability, we can see the operations of the factors I have enumerated. These are:
(1) the dichotomy between the objective facts and subjective ideas of power situations;
(2) the nature of objective power as a synthesis of force, wealth, and ideology in our cultural tradition; and,
(3) the complication of these operations as a consequence of changes resulting from time, from distance, and from a multiplicity of power centers.”

Examples of the relationship between power and security although described in the historical record laid out in the book will have to remain for another time.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“This same characteristic feature of our society, that we cannot use what we already have for the satisfaction of our needs unless we devote increasing increments of time and resources to different future desires, now pervades all aspects of our society. Everywhere our activities now have built-in feedback loops which require investment in future technical innovations creating new activities or there will be sudden collapse of our existing activities.”
Carroll Quigley. review of Ferkiss “In Search for a Solution to the World Crisis, 1974”

TODAY’S CHART:
drugs
I have no idea what the scale on top refers to. Anyway, it applies to drug use in the UK so who cares. What ever abuse they indulge in, I am sure we can do better in the USA.

Note: those interested in back issues of This and that…. they can be found at: josephpetrillo.wordpress.com

Categories: July through September 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 35 Pops 0003 (September 18, 2014)

“…[N]ilism is a male disease of the soul, because we are not bearers of life. Men do not carry hope the way women do.”
Michael Collins

Happy Birthday Uncle Mask and Ann

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. SPANISH MOSS
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B. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

The air has been so dry here at the edge of the Great Valley that Dick, HRM and I all came down with nosebleeds today. Either that or a great plague is sweeping into California. (For those who read The Earth Abides, the survivor lived in a cabin or was camping somewhere in these same foothills – if I remember correctly – when the plague wiping out most of humanity hit.)
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With reading Kautilya, the huge Quigley books and editing his “Weapons Systems and Political Stability,” as well as rewriting and finishing “Red Star,” I sometimes feel like I am back working in an office. I guess work is what we do when we’re too old to play and too young to wish that was what we were doing instead. Actually, what I am doing is really a hobby, there’s no money in it. A hobby is something we do instead of going to the movies or watching television when we have no work or are bored.
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Samuel Beckett’s writings explored the depths of solipsism. That is, talking to yourself to know you’re alive. So what is it all about? Well Alfie, it is not about the Grey Gay Dane’s quandary. It’s about Stayin’ Alive. Even if you can no longer dance, as long as you keep hearing the music you are still living.
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I talk to myself in my mind all the time. I guess we all do. I suspect some people have debates with themselves. I never debate. I only make speeches. I picture myself speaking to a small grey homunculus with large glistening eyes sitting silently in a huge chair in front of me as I go on and on. Me talking and it listening. It frightens me. I believe one day it will jump out of that chair, kick me in the balls and tell me to shut up.
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I’m not sure I really want to return here to The Golden Hills after my trip. It’s not that I am uncomfortable here. I am very comfortable. It’s just that I feel like a stranger visiting some place where I do not understand the language. Of course, I feel like a stranger everywhere but in some places, such as cities like BKK and New York, I feel many others are also and that gives me some consolation. It’s like we all know at least one thing about each other – that we come from somewhere else – and that gives us a sense of community – a community of the dispossessed.
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Summer wanes on the golden foothills at the edge of the great valley. The trees have not yet put on their fall colors but a good number nevertheless seemed to have given up. Their shriveled brown leaves drop unceremoniously to the ground to await the leaf-blowers.

I usually like the Autumn. It’s like the year, having put in its time, has gone into retirement. I will miss it this year. There is no Autumn in Thailand, just the ending or the Monsoons and the coming of the months when mid-day strolls in the sun are no longer life-threatening.
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My favorite waitress at Bella Bru Cafe where I have breakfast each morning has had a tough year. Somehow she broke her jaw and when it did not set right they had to break it again and reset it. Shortly after that she experienced severe pain in her arm that required another operation and the arm remaining in a cast for six months or more. Still, she remembers my regular order and has it ready when I walk into the place in the morning.

I do not know her name. Strangely, I know all about her medical history but find it too personal to ask her her name. I think she should be called Kate for some reason.

She probably makes minimum wage which is about one-half of what I get on Social Security. I wonder how she lives on that? I at least get free room and board while I am here. Still, when I was making about a million dollars a year, I spent more than I made and always felt I was living at the edge. Now I feel I am living better than I ever did then. Go figure.
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My daughter in law Ann Marie’s good friend Brooke has died in her sleep. I feel sorry for both of them.

Bill Yeates mother and father dies a short time ago. Bill and his wife Carol have travelled to Wyoming, a place his parents liked best, to bury them. I wish Bill and Carol well.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Kautilya, Arthashastra:

ANVIKSHAKI, the triple Védas (Trayi), Várta (agriculture, cattle-breeding and trade), and Danda-Niti (science of government) are what are called the four sciences.

Anvikshaki comprises the Philosophy of Sankhya (Metaphysics), Yoga (Concentration), and Lokayata (Logic and debate).

Righteous and unrighteous acts (Dharmadharmau) are learnt from the triple Vedas; wealth and non-wealth from Varta; the expedient and the inexpedient (Nayanayau), as well as potency and impotency (Balabale) from the science of government.
Kautilya, Arthashastra

In the West, Pythagorus and Plato developed a somewhat comparable system of education, Trivium (Grammar, Logic and Rhetoric) and Quadrivium (Arithmetic, Geometry, Music and Astronomy) that was generally adopted during Medieval period. Kautilya’s system appears more practical, as it includes applied economics and politics. (Applied economics – get rich. Applied politics – kill your enemy.)

B. Book World from Jasper Fforde and Thursday Next or the one thereafter:

The ongoing story of Thursday inviting three characters into her home.

‘I opened the door to find three Dostoyevskivites staring at me from within a dense cloud of moral relativism.’

‘Allow me to introduce Arkady Ivanovich Svidrigailov.’
‘Actually,’ said the second man leaning over to shake my hand. ‘I’m Dmitri Razumikhin, Raskolnikov’s loyal friend.’
‘You are?’ said Raskolnikov in surprise. ‘Then what happened to Svidrigailov?’
‘He is busy chatting up your sister.’
‘My sister? That’s Pulkheria Alenandronova Raskolnikov, right?’
‘No,’ said Razumikhin in the tone of a long-suffering friend, ‘that’s your mother. Andotya Romanova Raskolnikova is your sister’
‘I always get those two mixed up. So who is Marfa Petronova Svirigailova?’
Razumikhin frowned and thought for a moment.
‘You’ve got me there.’
“‘It’s very simple,’ said the third Russian, indicating who did what on her fingers, ‘Nastasya Petronova is Raskolnikov’s landlady’s servant, Avdotya Romanovna Raskolnikova is your sister who threatens to marry down, Sofia Semyonovna Marmeladova is the one who becomes a prostitute, and Marfa Petrovna Svidrigailova – the one you were first talking about — is Arkady Svidrigailov’s murdered first wife.’
‘I knew that’ said Raskolnikov in the manner of someone who didn’t, ‘so… who are you again?’
‘I’m Alyona Ivanovna,’ said the third Russian with a trace of annoyance, ‘the rapacious old pawnbroker whose apparent greed and wealth lead you to murder.’
‘Are you sure you’re Ivanovna?’ asked Raskolnikov in a worried tone.
‘Absolutely.’
‘And you’re still alive?’
‘So it seems.’
He stared at the bloody axe.
‘Then who did I just kill?’

‘Listen’ I said ‘I’m sure everything will come out fine in the epilogue. But for the moment, your home is my home.”’

(This drove my spell check crazy)

DAILY FACTOID:

1940:When some British Members of Parliament, led by Amery, put pressure on the government to drop bombs on German munition stores in the Black Forest, the air minister, Sir H. Kingsley Wood, rejected the suggestion with asperity, declaring: ‘Are you aware it is private property? Why, you will be asking me to bomb Essen next!’ Essen was the home of the Krupp munitions factories.”
Quigley, Carroll. Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time. GSG & Associates Publishers.

(Did you know that one of the biggest disputes during WWII among advocates of strategic bombing was whether it was preferable to bomb industrial plants or worker housing?)

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Are you an assassin? 

I am a soldier.

You’re an errand boy sent by grocery clerks to collect the bill.”
Conversation between Marlon Brando as Captain Kurtz and Martin Sheen as the soldier in Apocalypse Now.

(If the day ever comes when the common soldier realizes this, that will be the day they turn their guns on the grocery clerks.)

TODAY’S CHART:

wealth
I am not sure this chart means anything.

Categories: July through September 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 27 Papa Joe 0003 (September 11, 2014)

“Gentlemen, get the thing straight once and for all– the policeman isn’t there to create disorder, the policeman is there to preserve disorder.”

Mayor Richard J Daley 1968

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. THE COSMOS,
slide_219532_853900_free
as envisioned by a Pakistani teenager
B. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EI DORADO HILLS:

I was feeling a bit out of sorts so I thought a visit to the Man Cave before picking up HRM at school would help. The Man Cave looks like a large dark living room; sofas, easy chairs and ottomans. There were five or six men there lounging about, smoking cigars and watching Sons of Anarchy on the big screen TV.

I had never seen the show before. It seems to be about the trials and tribulations of being a biker gang member. The actors and actresses stared solemnly at each other and spoke in tones so low that I could hardly make out what they were talking about but assumed it was very important to them because they never smiled.

No one seemed to work much. Now, I know dealing dope is not as vigorous work as digging ditches, but usually one has to do something – like meeting customers and suppliers, collecting money, distributing profits and the like – but these people did not do any of that. Maybe because they were not particularly good at anything but auditions. They seemed to fight a lot too. Maybe they were good at that also.

Anyway the visit did not cheer me up much. I have been feeling irritable and dissatisfied recently and unable to either understand or meet HRM’s needs. We argue every day and it makes me sad.

I look forward to my upcoming trip, at least the Sicilian part of it. I have not seen my Sicilian relatives and friends in about 35 years. I will try to take the Camilleri – Montalbano tour. There are two. One through Agrigento (Montelusa) and Porto Empedocle (Vigata) where the books are set and one in Ragusa where the TV series was shot. In Porto Empedocle there is a statue of Montalbano.

Montalbano-1b

When I lived in Canicatti, Sicily for a few months about 40 years ago, my favorite sea food restaurant was in Porto Empedocle.
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Here in The Golden Hills of suburban comfort, swimming season slowly bleeds into cross-country season. The hummingbirds have begun their long trek to the shores of the Caribbean. I sit here every morning in the Bella Bru Cafe watching through the window as flocks of young mothers, having dropped off their children at school, descend upon the outdoor tables that surround the fountain.

In Italy and even at times Thailand when sitting like this in some café, I usually have the feeling that everyone is talking to me even when they are not. Here each group seems encased in a bubble from which a low rumble of conversation escapes. Maybe it is not like that at all and I am simply eager to leave on my trip. On the other hand, perhaps it is just the increasing attacks of agita as I grow older that makes me more gloomy.
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Today at breakfast a woman walked into the cafe with her pre-school daughter in tow. She was wearing an American flag twisted around her neck as a scarf — I assume in remembrance of the twin towers attack. I recall 40 years or so ago displaying the flag like that would be considered an insult to it. It is interesting how malleable emotionally charged symbols can really be. Then again fashion rules all.

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

Quigley on top.

On the importance to society of dissent and the unimportance of ideology or labels:

Carroll Quigley believed that social arrangements, including governments, although they may begin by pursuing valid social goals, gradually become institutions serving their own purposes and needs. Without constant reform, those institutions eventually disintegrate.

In a prior post, I mentioned Quigley’s conviction that protection of minority rights may be even more important to a society than suffrage because suffrage not only is often less than universal but, even where it is broad and inclusive, groups other than the majority of the voters routinely wield the actual power. It is, he argued, minorities seeking their place in society that ultimately engender change and reform in a society.

In 1970 during the height of the chaos of the counter-culture movement and the terrors of cold war, Quigley was invited by a concerned Department of Defense to lecture at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces (now Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy) on the nature and impact of dissent.

As shown in the quotes below, in that lecture he demonstrates the necessity of dissent to an organized society if that society is to remain capable of reforming itself to meet the challenges of the ever-changing and evolving environment which it must constantly confront and adapt to if it is to survive.

He also argues that ideology or labels are not significant determinants of the nature of the dissent but convenient tools for its expression (fashions if you will). As an example, the US Communist Party, first funded by Wall Street and then by the US government for their own purposes nevertheless still functioned as a mechanism of dissent, even against their paymasters.

“First of all, allegiance and dissent, it seems to me, are opposite sides of the same coin. We cannot have organized society without allegiance. A society cannot continue to exist without loyalty. But, I would further add, a society cannot continue to exist that is incapable of reforming itself, and the prerequisite to reform is dissent.

Allegiance is absolutely vital. But so is dissent. To me, allegiance means devotion to symbols and organizational structures, both of which are necessary in any society. Dissent, it seems to me, is the opposite side of the coin. It implies a critical approach to the symbols and to organizational structures of society.”
Presentation to the Industrial College of the Armed Forces on 24 August 1970

“No society can stand still. Its institutions must constantly adjust and evolve, and periodically undergo reform, because the needs they are supposed to serve are themselves constantly changing. And institutions cannot grow and reform unless the people whose needs they fail to serve, or serve badly, can make their dissatisfaction felt in short, unless they can actively dissent from things as they are. If dissent is stifled and denied redress, it builds up like a head of steam. Many people assume that dissent and the demand for reform are the first step toward revolution. They are mistaken. My study of history shows pretty generally that revolutions do not come from dissent. They come from a failure to reform, which leads to breakdown. It is quite true that misguided reforms which fail to attack real problems may also result in breakdown. But dissent, and reform responding to dissent, do not lead to revolution. They lead away from it.”
Ibid

“The Communist Party in this country was destroyed… It is extremely likely that by 1960 one of the chief sources of funds for the Communist Party in this country was the FBI spies who had joined it. And, the chief financial support of the Communists from about 1920 to about 1950 was Wall Street. Why? I do not know. If you’re interested, look up the story of The Institute of Pacific Relations; it was financed by Lee Higginson & Company of Boston, Frederick Vanderbilt Field of New York, and other big money interests.

When these people cut off this money, about 1949, the Communists were pretty much finished. Their only other source of money was Moscow, and Moscow has never been generous with funds for local Communist Parties, which they believe should support themselves. According to an FBI estimate, I believe, the Communists in this country are down to about 15,000 members. Take Angela Davis. She is emotionally alienated from our society, and for good reasons, but this has little to do with communism, even if she is a member of the Party. This is why I say ideology is not really important in dissent. People become Communists not because they like the ideology, but because they wish to demonstrate their opposition…”
Ibid.

Quigley maintained that the preservation of minority rights and dissent are two of the principle elements that make up “inclusive diversity,” perhaps the foundation on which our society is based and which he fears was being eroded and will over time lead to the shattering of our society*.

*NOTE: In this lecture over 40 years ago, Quigley predicts the potential rise of a movement in the United States from the disaffected and frightened lower middle class, (much like the Tea Party) that “…holds the key to the future. I think probably they will win out. If they do, they will resolutely defend our organizational structures and artifacts. They will cling to the automobile, for instance; they will not permit us to adopt more efficient methods of moving people around. They will defend the system very much as it is and, if necessary, they will use all the force they can command. Eventually they will stop dissent altogether, whether from the intellectuals, the religious, the poor, the people who run the foundations, the Ivy League colleges, all the rest.

It can be inferred from his comments that allegiance to what he calls the symbols, artifacts and organization of a society are more pronounced among those who have both a “future preference,” that is, are willing to make current sacrifices for future benefit and most threatened by the possibility those benefits will not exist when needed.

That group does not include the truly working poor who for the most part see little possibility of future preference or risk of falling further economically. What this group fears more is those whose social status may be even lower than theirs, blacks, Mexicans, poor immigrants surpassing them. (I was once told by a someone making less than a living wage for his family but more than the minimum wage that he supported the raising of the minimum wage as long as it was not raised as high as what he was earning.)

These latter, the working poor, are often male, bitter, despise the other classes, often racist and bear scant allegiance to society’s organizations or artifacts and only slightly more to its symbols. If they do join the disaffected lower middle class in something like the Tea Party, it can be fairly certain they will be the ones bringing the guns.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

Apologies, Regrets and Humiliations:

A. Italian travels:

Ruth points out that our travels to Italy occurred in 1997 and that there were only two children along. The third, Athena, had not yet been born. I apologize for the error. It still was a happy time.

AnnMarie recalls that the photo was taken in Spoleto and that day may have been one of the highlights of our trip.

B. Quigley:

Terry Goggin reminded me that he too was a student of Carroll Quigley in the late 1950s and found his courses “terrific.” I regret the oversight.

He also pointed out Obama’s demand that the EEC nations commit as much of their GDP to the defense of Europe (NATO) as the USA and Estonia do could have the effect of rebuilding the Atlantic Alliance as Quigley would probably urge rather than the US bearing all the burdens while receiving a scant share of the benefits.

C. Complaints:

Several readers mentioned that I seem to complain a lot in T&T. I am sorry that it comes across like that.

Actually, I see it more as my tendency toward irony, cynicism (cynicism is irony of steroids) and sarcasm (sarcasm is cynicism on cocaine), my bemusement at life’s oddities, and a long standing discomfort with sharing any positive feelings I may have. As for the latter, for example, were I to see a beautiful sunrise, I might also picture in my mind the image of the sun as a melted piece of processed cheddar cheese on an english muffin and write down the image instead of the feeling of pleasure – or hunger. Somewhere in my early childhood I was persuaded that expressions of joy left one vulnerable but expressions of disgust or melancholy were ok.

I apologize and will try to be more positive. I will probably fail.
TODAY’S QUOTE:

“The U.S. still names] military helicopter gunships after victims of genocide. Nobody bats an eyelash about that: Blackhawk. Apache. And Comanche. If the Luftwaffe named its military helicopters Jew and Gypsy, I suppose people would notice.”
“Propaganda and the Public Mind: Conversations With Noam Chomsky and David Barsamian”

TODAY’S CARTOON:
fergusoncops720

Categories: July through September 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 20 Pops 0003 (September 3, 2014)

“I think of myself as mostly a bad man who at times tried to do good and now and then succeeded only to find those successes often were ephemeral in significance and ambiguous in result.”
Trenz Pruca

Happy Birthday Good/Bad David

TODAY FROM AMERICA:
A. RUTH GALANTER AND I SOMEWHERE IN ITALY SEVERAL YEARS AGO:
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We travelled with my son, daughter in law, and three grandchildren. I remember it as a happy time. (I think I still have those pants)
B. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

1. Three lessons, more or less:

On Saturday I drove to San Francisco to visit my mother, daughter and son.

My mother, who is 96, is clearly dying. Unfortunately for her, she is fully aware of it and lies in her bed in the nursing home in terror of the prospect. There is a big difference between knowing that the great existential serial killer lurks somewhere around the corner and actually having him grab you by the throat.

(Did you know that in Irish mythology Death is a woman named Morrigan and appears in the form of a crow?)

Later, I had an excellent lunch with my daughter at an overpriced restaurant near North Beach. Among her portfolios for the State Department, she co-ordinates the American participation in the World Health Organization’s response to the rise in antibiotic resistant microorganisms. The creation of antibiotic resistant pathogens by inadvertence or design can be considered as great a threat to the US as terrorists launching a biologic weapon. When we speak about honoring those who defend our nation we too often forget about the many like her that also do so, with their minds and not with guns.

She brought me a briefcase full of photographs that I had stored at a friend’s house when I got rid of everything I owned five years ago. I had forgotten about them. Looking through them made me sad.

I also visited with my son and his family. My granddaughter had just returned from Japan where she and her mother had spent the summer with her mother’s family. I gave each of them one of LM’s colorful knitted caps.
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I learned there is a significant difference between the borderline and poor libertarians/tea partiers and its middle class supporters who you often see at protests and on Faux News. They, the borderline and poor, make more than minimum wage but often less than a real living wage. They rent and live in substandard housing in run down neighborhoods. They feel abandoned by the liberals with their emphasis on middle class interests and their seeming indifference to placing groups of working class poor in conflict with each other. They hate Republicans for their slavish support of oppressive corporate interests. As a result they have become bitter, anarchistic and compulsive purchaser of guns.

2. A question:

The following in a photograph of my current state of sartorial splendor. Several people have urged me to change my Facebook photo because I look too angry in it. Do you think I should replace it with this photo as a better representation of what I have become? I am obviously not the least bit angry or for that matter embarrassed.

IMG_20140831_094724_176_3

3. Along the Cosumnes River:

HRM is studying California history with his fourth grade class, beginning with the Donner Party. For those unfamiliar with how California schools approach the State’s history, they do not begin with the arrival of the Native Americans or of the Spanish, but with the Donner Party where a group of arrogant fortune seekers try to cross the Sierra Mountains in winter, get trapped in the snow and are forced to eat each other to stay alive until the remnants of the group were rescued.

Anyway, we decided to spend the morning with Naida West and Bill Geyer at their ranch on the banks of the Cosumnes River. Naida as you know wrote that wonderful historical trilogy about the area around the ranch during the Nineteenth Century. The eldest of the Donner children who was 14 years old at the time was married off to an unspeakably obnoxious employee of John Sutter, Perry McCoon. He was in his late 30’s. They moved to a small adobe cottage on the property where he left the young Donner girl alone for long periods of time. In the novel the young girl made friends with an indian woman from the village nearby who she discovers was also Perry McCoon’s wife and had a child by him.

I thought this visit would benefit HRM’s studies and ingratiate him with his teacher. Naida showed us some old photographs of the Donner girl and some of the other settlers in the area. She also brought out some of the Indian and settler artifacts she found on the property.
IMG_20140829_133859_646

We visited the site of the original adobe house, Perry McCoon’s grave, the remnants of dam site over which the miners and the ranchers had a shoot out and the indian village that the miners destroyed while slaughtering most of the inhabitants in an effort to steal their gold.

B. READINGS:

I have begun reading three non-fiction books more or less simultaneously. The first is Carroll Quigley’s Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Times that I discuss in this and the previous issue of T&T.

I also am reading Quigley’s Weapons Systems and Political Stability. That book, although over 1000 pages long, was only partially completed when Quigley died. It eventually was published in manuscript form without editing. I am attempting to prepare an edited version with comments and summaries that I will issue in a new blog I hope to create.

The third book a translation of Kautilya’s Arthasatra (Economics) written in about 300BC as a treatise on governance for the Emperor-King of the Maurya empire Chandragupta. Chandragupta was one of Alexander the Great’s allies in his conquest of Western India (now mostly Pakistan) who after Alexander’s death rebelled against his successor Seleucus.

Kautilya was Chandragupa’s chief minister. His book bears great similarity to Machiavelli’s, The Prince written over 1800 years later except that Kautilya was much more bloody. An interesting chapter of the treatise concerns how to undermine a democracy* of which there were several in India at the time.

*Note: historically a democracy was and always has been government by a more or less large group with an equal say in limited aspects of governance in their society. It almost never meant universal suffrage. For example, in the Athens of Pericles, it meant, at best, male property owners with a much smaller group composed of the largest property owners exercising the most power. In the United States, it generally meant, at the beginning, white male Protestant property owners. The history of the US can be seen as a constant battle over the years to expand suffrage culminating in the mid 1960’s and receding since then. The first limitation to go was Protestant, then property owners, then ensued a 150 year un-concluded war over white interspersed with the removal of male as a limitation on suffrage.The recent reaction against expanding suffrage seeks to give those possessing significant wealth greater weight in both suffrage and power than those lacking it and to restrict by several means the exercise of the franchise by non-white Americans, the poor or recently naturalized citizens without wealth. Despite the overall expansion of suffrage, real power in the US has almost always been exercised by a much smaller group of men owning or heading immense economic entities. Usually these entities have been big industrial, natural resource or financial concerns and for a brief period large centrally controlled labor organizations. There has never been in America a power entity organized to represent the middle class, the intellectual and professional class or the consumer. Those are generally perceived as the prey of the other power groups and the potential unwitting supporters of whichever group defrauds them into believing they have a real unity of interest.

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

QUIGLEY ON TOP

Carroll I hardly knew ye. Carroll-Quigley-1956 Carroll-Quigley-1956-Pr1_tn

I have never met anyone who has taken Carroll Quigley’s class at Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service who has not agreed the experience was life changing, and that includes such diverse personalities as Bill Clinton and Pat Buchanan. Clinton in his Democratic Presidential Nomination Acceptance Address 16th July 1992, said this about Quigley:

“As a teenager, I heard John Kennedy’s summons to citizenship. And then, as a student at Georgetown I heard that call clarified by a professor named Carroll Quigley, who said to us that America was the greatest nation in history because our people had always believed in two things: that tomorrow can be better than today and that every one of us has a personal moral responsibility to make it so.”

I remember Professor Quigley, in the old military barracks that served us for classrooms back then, plunging down the aisle, arm outstretched as though it held a sword or a spear, shouting out the intimate details of whatever great world shaking battle we were learning about at the time. I recall also my shock when I learned that Plato was not just some Greek in a toga who was Socrates mouthpiece and talked a lot about caves and shadows, but that his ideas, for better of worse, but mostly for worse, may have shaped the fundamental beliefs of whole societies.

His book The Evolution of Civilization (1979) contains more or less the substance of his lectures. Tragedy and Hope (1966) containing over 1300 pages and the uncompleted Weapons Systems and Political Stability (1983) with over 1000 includes most of his lectures adjusted and expanded to cover the special focus of each book. The question this brings to mind of course is, given the multitude of facts and the breadth of the subject matter, how was it possible for the student to digest this knowledge. Even more remarkable is that many of us remember the specifics of the lectures, even as in my case over 50 years later.

He accomplished this feat of teaching by the immense theatricality of his lectures combined with breaking down the facts into repetitive categories and the surprising novelty of his insights. As an example of the latter, I opened Tragedy and Hope and extracted a random quote:

“Helmuth von Moltke, who had never commanded a unit so large as a company previously. Moltke’s great contribution was to be found in the fact that, by using the railroad and the telegraph, he was able to merge mobilization and attack into a single operation so that the final concentration of his forces took place in the enemy country, practically on the battlefield itself, just before contact with the main enemy forces took place.”

All I had ever known of von Moltke before was that he had humiliated the forces of Napoleon III of France. The surprise that he was an amateur and his vaunted strategy so simple, forever fixed these facts my mind.

Of course, the way it usually happens with successful military innovations, they become doctrines that others copy. The French military academies took the concept of mass assault and interpreted it as a question of morale. Unbelievably, French military doctrine following their defeat, maintained that defense was irrelevant, that mass attacks were the only strategy and the army with the highest morale would always win because the army with lower moral would run away. This also would produce fewer casualties. The Italians modified this theory to eliminate morale and opted to place machine guns at the backs of the troops instead of in front of them in order to shoot any who hesitated in the attack. Of course, at Caporetto it meant that the Italian troops charging the Austrian lines surrendered in mass when they reached the enemy’s trenches. Italian troops were not so dumb as to buy their leaders view of “Patria” as something to die for.

This military doctrine of bringing troops rapidly to a huge front for a mass attack collapsed in WW I when both sides ran into barbed wire, machine guns and trenches and died in huge numbers no matter how quickly they got to the battlefield or how high their morale.

Perhaps the central element of Quigley’s teaching is that it is the humanism of society and not its form of government that should be at its heart. For example, about minority rights he wrote:

“I define democracy as majority rule and minority rights. Of these the second is more important than the first. There are many despotisms which have majority rule. Hitler held plebiscites in which he obtained over 92 percent of the vote, and most of the people who were qualified to vote did vote. I think that in China today a majority of the people support the government, but China is certainly not a democracy.

The essential half of this definition then, is the second half, minority rights. What that means is that a minority has those rights which enable it to work within the system and to build itself up to be a majority and replace the governing majority. Moderate deviations from majority rule do not usually undermine democracy. In fact, absolute democracy does not really exist at the nation-state level. For example, a modest poll tax as a qualification for voting would be an infringement on the principle of majority rule but restrictions on the suffrage would have to go pretty far before they really abrogated democracy. On the other hand relatively slight restrictions on minority rights — the freedoms of speech, assembly, and other rights — would rapidly erode democracy.”
The Mythology Of American Democracy

Teaching was Quigley’s life. Many of those he taught intended to enter the United States Foreign Service. He believed they needed to comprehend the cultures they would work in and therefore he developed a method of analysis of culture, history and society that would aid them in their vocation and hopefully create a better world.

He was always was an optimist. Later in life, however, that optimism began to wane. I guess it was like a person who builds one of the world’s most beautiful buildings and warns those who inhabit it that they must remain vigilant against rust and rot only eventually to find the residents too busy pursuing what appears important to them individually to bother with what was necessary for them all.

He ended one of his last lectures with the following:

“Now I want to say good night. Do not be pessimistic. Life goes on; life is fun. And if a civilization crashes, it deserves to. When Rome fell, the Christian answer was, ‘Create our own communities.’“

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“I see great things in baseball.”
Walt Whitman

TODAY’S CHART:
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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
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A stunning photograph of a scuffle in the Ukraine Parliament bearing an astounding resemblance to a Renaissance painting. Actually, it is more Mannerist than High Renaissance. It is also an almost perfect example of chiaroscuro. Caravaggio would love it.

Categories: July through September 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 10 Pops 0003 (August 25, 2014)

“Poets are not happy people.”
Trenz Pruca

TODAY FROM AMERICA:
A. COMPOSITION IN RED AND GREEN:

xl_american_odyssey_276-277
A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

In a modern upper middle class subdivision community like El Dorado Hills it is difficult to observe, like Thoreau did, the macrocosm in the microcosm, the larger in the smaller, the world in a blade of grass, society in the clash of competing ant colonies. The reason for this is that the novelty and chaos of the microcosm is determinately eliminated in a place like El Dorado Hills and replaced by orderly organization of the environment and the society living in it. It should be pointed out, I am speaking of organization and not regimentation. In fact, regimentation would be antithetical to the appearance of freedom the orderliness intends to convey. Alas, freedom, if one can use that generalization, reflects more in our adaptation and reaction to the vagaries of our environment. If our environment is too organized and orderly we risk being absorbed into it like a fly stuck in wet paint.

For this reason I often find few observations to write about here. How many ways can one discuss an organization or anything that de-emphasizes change.? The same trees appear in orderly rows along the parkway medians, distinctions among them blurred. Change seems slowed and conflict submerged in silence. I expect even the ant colonies have given up their competition over food.

A relief from this organized orderliness lies in the appearance here and there of feral animals who have adapted to this environment, wild turkeys, coyotes, snakes and the like. They romp fat and unwary across the landscape as long as the gates to the subdivision remain closed and the humans within disinclined or prohibited from killing and eating them.

Therefore, I welcome the odd and unknown clank and wheeze in the car requiring me to bring it in to the repair shop, as I did a few days ago, and, until the car is repaired, spend my day in and around Sacramento’s Capitol Park among my beloved trees.

Now, my friend Yeates is quite fond of birds and very knowledgable about them. I suspect that, from a smear of birdshit on the sidewalk, he could deduce the latin name of the avian shitter; the color of its feathers; where it was going and whether it was reading the NY times when it shat.

I, on the other hand, love trees. True, I do not know many of their species names unless I read them on a plaque affixed to the trunk, but I know I can hug them when I want to and which ones give good shade to old men sitting on benches in the park. I can tell the differences between those with rough barks and those with smooth. I know which ones would be good for climbing if I were 60 years younger. And, I can imagine grasping the highest branches and looking out over the countryside while wafting back and forth in the breeze unafraid of falling, confident that the branches will catch me in their arms before I hit the ground cradling me like a mother embracing her child.

Anyway, eventually I left the park and the trees for lunch with Stevie and Norbert where we played “ain’t it awful” while we ate.

B. A PLEASING COMMENT:

Naida West’s thoughtful and sensitive comment on my rumination in the previous issue of T&T about my upcoming 75th birthday pleased me greatly. I though you might enjoy it almost as much as I did.

“You wrote:

‘Someone’s 75th birthday seems to me to be an important milestone in life. One should spend those milestones with those with whom they had shared a portion of it, friends and family. Unfortunately, I will not be able to do so. …Maybe I’ll buy myself a birthday cake.’

I’ll go a step further and say: One’s 75th birthday IS an important milestone that ought to be shared with friends and family. I was happy to learn that my Carmel High School class of ’57 is throwing a birthday bash for all of us, since we’ve all turned, or will turn, 75 this year. We’re calling it the “57-75″ party — more than a reunion.

I recall my 2 birthday parties — the first a wondrous event with a kitchen table full of kids and my mother setting a birthday cake before me, ablaze with 4 candles. My father and I had held hands as we walked down the alley to the tiny corner grocery store to buy the candles, and I will always remember his loving tone as he spoke to me like I was a grown up. My cousin once removed, 7 at the time, leaned over and blew out the candles before I understood my role. Two of my aunts scolded him; he turned red, and I felt sorry for his embarrassment. My next and last birthday party occurred when I turned 8, with one friend there, and my brother and little sister.

Long ago I told my husbands, in turn, and my children, that I don’t care about my birthdays, that they needn’t bother their heads about it. Yet when I turned 75 in April, I felt it would have been nice to have some sort of shared celebration. Maybe I’m just an unfair old grouch looking back over 50 years of arranging birthday parties for my elders, my 2 husbands, and each of my 3 children from age 1 to about 15.

Yes, buy yourself a birthday cake! And consider me to be a spirit guest, as well as a member of the great class of ’57. In Carmel I’ll raise a glass of wine to you. A classmate who owns the party building, along with nearly every other building in downtown Carmel, has doubtless encountered evidence of your work.

Also from TNT, your dream: “…a reverse nightmare, waking up was the horror.”

Well said.”

I urge all of you who read this, to treat yourself (perhaps on your birthday) to Naida’s three wonderful historical novels set in the Cosumnes River area near Sacramento during the 19th Century. You will not be disappointed. You can order them at: bridgehousebooks@gmail.com.

Pookie says check it out.
C. A MESSAGE TO THE TOOTH FAIRY:

HRM wrote the following note to the tooth fairy which he placed under his pillow along with the detached tooth:

“Dear Tooth Fairy,

Did you ever take John Cena’s tooth? Yes__ or No___

Please respond.”

Clearly a future CEO; dynamic and imperious behavior set in an imaginary universe.

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:
Quigley up top:

Carroll Quigley (1910-1977), one of the great but unheralded minds of the latter part of the 20th Century, wrote a book entitled “Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Times” (1965). He believed the explanation for the disintegration of a society can be identified in the gradual transformation of social arrangements functioning to meet real social needs into social institutions serving their own purposes regardless of real social needs.

Perhaps because of what it also revealed, his book mysteriously quickly disappeared from the selves of bookstores to be replaced four years later by a heavily edited version that eliminated much the book’s disclosures. In about 2002, the original version finally was republished.

To professor Quigley’s great dismay, the revelations in the book and the facts surrounding its publication became fodder for the tin-foil hat brigade, including Alex Jones, and inadvertently inspired the conspiracy culture that still infects America today. Although “Tragedy and Hope,” became the wellspring of innumerable conspiracy theories, Quigley strenuously objected to them all. He wrote:

“This radical Right fairy tale, which is now an accepted folk myth in many groups in America, pictured the recent history of the United States, in regard to domestic reform and in foreign affairs, as a well-organized plot by extreme Left-wing elements…. This myth, like all fables, does in fact have a modicum of truth. “

After describing the “modicum of truth,” he continues:

“I have no aversion to it (the organizations and activities that the conspiracy theorists base their conjectures on) or to most of its aims and have, for much of my life, been close to it and to many of its instruments. I have objected, both in the past and recently, to a few of its policies… but in general my chief difference of opinion is that it wishes to remain unknown, and I believe its role in history is significant enough to be known.”

In this and following issues of T&T, I will write more about Quigley, discuss and at times criticize his arguments and disclosures as well as provide examples of its content and of his other writings.

As an illustration, Quigley, rightly or wrongly, maintained that until the later half of the 19th Century society as reflected in history was the story of the economic, intellectual and military elites. The peasants and proletariat were, other than for the technology they used, of little account.

“it is revealing that the ideological appeal for allegiance in the last two thousand years of Europe’s history (and, indeed, in most of mankind’s earlier history) made almost no effort to reach or to attract the peasants, who were, throughout history down to the nineteenth century, not only the most numerous class in society but were also, of course, the economic support of the power structure. This failure to make ideological appeal to the most numerous and most necessary group in the community was a consequence of the facts of power which are being discussed in this book. Whatever the number of the tillers of the soil or the indispensable nature of their contribution to the community, their power has always been insignificant, except in the few, relatively brief periods when they have been of military importance to the community. Except for the period before about 4000 B.C., and for a few centuries in Roman history and an even briefer period in some areas of Greek history, the peasantry has played almost no role in military life and, accordingly, almost no role in political life of the communities which have made history. This military and political incapacity of the tillers of the soil, so glaringly evident under feudalism or during the Thirty Years’ War, was a function of the distribution of weapons and of military organization, and is a remarkable example of the weakness of economic necessity in contrast with the role of force in any society. As we shall see, the rise in political significance of peasants and farmers in the nineteenth century, a rise which never took them to a dominant position, was a consequence of changes of weapons, a fact almost unmentioned by historians of the modern period. A similar neglect of peasants has existed in most of history, but on a gigantic scale, in Asia and in Africa, and, above all, in China,…”
Weapons Systems and Political Stability: A History. 1983, Washington DC: University Press of America.

Be that as it may, according to Quigley this élite produced a society in the West (including North and South America, etc.) that distinguished it from others and, without diminishing the values those other societies, it was something that he approved of.

“it is clear that the West believes in diversity rather than in uniformity, in pluralism rather than in monism or dualism, in inclusion rather than exclusion, in liberty rather than in authority, in truth rather than in power, in conversion rather than in annihilation, in the individual rather than in the organization, in reconciliation rather than in triumph, in heterogeneity rather than in homogeneity, in relativisms rather than in absolutes, and in approximations rather than in final answers.”
Quigley, Carroll. Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time. GSG & Associates Publishers.

Quigley believed that the intolerance or rigidity often evident in the religious practices and among some secular groups in the West were in the most part aberrations from its nature of relative inclusivity and diversity. I am less sanguine about this last point. It, however, has been reported that in the last few years of his life Quigley became more pessimistic about the West’s commitment to those ideals.

Quigley also published, The Evolution of Civilizations: An Introduction to Historical Analysis. First edition, 1961, New York: Macmillan, 281 pp., The Anglo-American Establishment: From Rhodes to Cliveden. 1981, New York: Books in Focus, 354 pages, and Weapons Systems and Political Stability: A History. 1983, Washington DC: University Press of America, 1064 pages.

DAILY FACTOID:
1775: Jeanne Baret of France, became the first woman to sail around the world. She did it disguised as a man so that she could assist botanist Philibert de Commerson, who was also her lover. One of them — quite probably Baret — discovered the Bougainvillea plant.

Ah, those French, always with the love and the flowers…

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:
A. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:

An honest commitment to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Second Bill of Rights.

“‘Necessitous men are not free men.’ People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.

In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all—regardless of station, race, or creed.

Among these are:

The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;

The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

The right of every family to a decent home;

The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

The right to a good education.

All of these rights spell security.”
Franklin Roosevelt 1944 message to Congress

Why would anyone be morally bound or wish to be morally bound to a civil society that does not share the goal that its citizens deserve a fair distribution of wealth, income and power? If the civil society is not dedicated to that end what else could it possibly be dedicated to? What is freedom, to those without wealth, income or power?
B. A young man named Oliver:

Oliver’s brilliant response to comments disagreeing with a Facebook post of his.

“Kayleigh Sedlack: Don’t be part of the problem Olivier.. Let’s try to be positive and find peace.

Nick Mojica: He is the problem.

Olivier Tomas Grandvoinet: Heyyyy get that shit outta here, y’all aren’t the demographic I’m rallying with at the moment.”

C. More from Facebook

I just noticed that my time-line has reported my new life event: “started working at retired.” Thank God, here I thought I was only wasting my time.

TODAY’S QUOTE:
“Here is a test to find out whether your mission in life is complete. If you’re alive, it isn’t.”
Lauren Bacall

TODAY’S CHART:
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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
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The Good Gay Poet Walt Whitman.

“God is a mean-spirited, pugnacious bully bent on revenge against His children for failing to live up to his impossible standards.”
― Walt Whitman

Categories: July through September 2014, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 10 Papa Joe 0001 (September 28, 2012)

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

First things first; my most recent blog post for Smart+Connected Communities Institute has been published. It is about technological improvements in earthquake warning systems instituted by California’s Seismic Safety Commission. Click here if you would think you might be interested in reading it. Even if you are not interested in it click anyway (several times if you feel up to it) so that they may feel encouraged to continue to employ me.

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

Alas my time here in California is rapidly approaching its end. I will leave for Florida on September 29 and then in quick succession on to DC, NY and Italy before returning to Thailand sometime around the third week in October.

Since returning to Sacramento, I have resumed my nanny duties, usually with little to distinguish one day from the next.

On Saturday I spent my morning at a local coffee house. Weekend mornings brings parents from the surrounding subdivisions taking their children there for breakfast. While waiting on line to give my order, the man in the line in front of me with two sub-seven year olds in tow, having heard the man in line behind me call out the name of one of his own three sub-seven year olds, commented to him that he thought it was an unusual name (I did not hear the name). The other man explained that he was a wine collector and had named all his children after wines. This one he explained was one of his favorite varietals grown in Napa Valley.

Later that day, Dick, Hayden and I traveled to the Mekouleme Hill ranch of Congressman John Garamendi for his annual BBQ. On the way we stopped at Bill and Naida’s ranch in Rancho Murietta because I wanted to say goodbye to them before leaving for Thailand. Both Bill and Naida looked remarkably well. That made me happy.

While at the ranch we toured Bill’s classic car collection that included this wonderful Woody:
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Bill also had a classic red pickup from the 50’s that I lusted for. All of his cars are up for sale, if any of you are interested.

After leaving the ranch we travelled down route 49 that bisects the “Gold Country” and stopped at a place in Jackson called “Fat Freddy’s” where we sat at the counter eating lunch washed down with malted milkshakes and listened to the woman behind the counter’s stories about Jackson Phil (as opposed to Phil Jackson the legendary Lakers basketball coach) the legendary gold hoarding squirrel who stole one nugget too many and is now stuffed and adorns a shelf on the wall behind the counter.

We eventually arrived at the Garamendi ranch. The festivities featured country and western music, gold panning, petting zoos, aging politicians and more. The following is a photograph of Hayden on the tractor posing with the Congressman himself.
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I remember him (Garamendi) from his first days in the State legislature in December 1974. He had come to Senator Jerry Smith’s office to be mentored in legislative process because Smith was assigned as his mentor. I thought he was a dick-head. Someone described him as a real boy-scout. Like I said a dick-head. Since then I am told he has mellowed out a lot.

After spending some time at the event reminiscing with Norbert and Stevie, we left and returned home.

The next day I watched the 49rs lose, plunging me into such deep depression that it required me to lie in bed and sulk for the rest of the day.

During the following week I settled back into executing my nanny and chauffeur duties and began packing for my departure on Friday. As usual, contemplation of leaving someplace where I have become relatively content made me sad enough to mist my eyes now and then as I folded my clothing into the suitcase. Nevertheless, the idea of staying here too much longer filled me with as much dread as leaving did sadness.

On Thursday morning we headed off to the courthouse in Placerville in hopes that this morning’s hearing would end the child custody case. Opposing counsel had notified us that repeated attempts to contact the petitioner for instruction regarding a response to our motion to dismiss failed and he had no choice but to not appear at the hearing. At the hearing the petitioner, without notification to anyone, called into the court and claimed no knowledge of his attorney’s attempts to contact him. The judge put the hearing off until the second week in October to allow petitioner to straighten things out with his attorney or to find new counsel.

The law is pretty clear on the subject. If a woman is married at the time the child is born, the husband at the time is the presumed father. In general the presumption is absolute unless the party wishing to be declared father can demonstrate an intimate nurturing relationship with the child the sundering of which would be catastrophic for the child’s well being. I cannot see how Petitioner reaches the threshold required in the published opinions to overcome the presumption. It seems to me that seven years of taking no for an answer does not an intimate parental relationship make.

While waiting for our case to come up on the agenda, we listened to a hearing on a dispute between a husband and his wife. It seems that the husband, who has an outstanding warrant for his arrest in Arizona, and his girlfriend, a medical marijuana user who admits to being stoned day and night, are living in the house that the wife previous lived in with the husband. The husband has not paid on the mortgage for 18 months or so and the mortgage company has not moved to evict him because the house is worth less than the mortgage. The wife, who has a series of arrests of her own on her record for shoplifting and other things, is pissed and wants the husband to be forced to sell the house and pay rent somewhere. When the judge hesitated, the wife produced a letter from a doctor claiming the loving couple’s 41/2 year old daughter had been sexually abused presumably while spending time with the husband and the stoner. The judge said he will have to read everything before deciding anything. Sheriff’s deputies had been called to protect the wife because the girl friend had made physical threats against the wife.

Humans are a fascinating species. I am convinced God created us because he or she (I refuse to take sides on the issue of God’s gender — although the Good Humor Man of my youth [see below] was always male) found presiding over the rest of the universe dreadfully dull and craved some amusement.

Later on in the day I took Hayden to his Taekwondo class. Sometimes parents while waiting for their children to finish their lessons read magazines and books to while away the time rather than to stare at their white uniformed loved ones jump around and grunt in make-believe mayhem. The place has accumulated a fairly well stocked library of bad novels and back issues of People Magazine left behind by the proud but bored parents. For the last few sessions, I had been reading a well thumbed through novel by John Gresham entitled The Bleachers and serendipitously I finished it up that but evening.

I normally avoid anything by Gresham. He writes with a very well written drab spare stylessness that passes for a style. His characters are one dimensional defined by the events around them. I think of him a similar to Elmore Leonard but without the wit and the humor. This novel was not his usual mystery, but a tear jerker for males about ex-football jocks returning to their small town to await the death of their high school coach. It was good enough to make me cry now and then. I like to cry when I read.

The following morning I hugged Hayden before he went off to school and we said our goodbyes. I cried some more. Than I left Sacramento on the first leg of my trip that may even eventually take me back to Thailand for the next few months.

TODAY’S MISLEADING FACTOID:
Graphic unavailable at this time
The yield per acre for wheat in England, France, and Germany and the yield for rice in Japan. These top-producing countries for the two most important cereals for direct human consumption have failed in the last 10 or more years to increase productivity.

(This chart was used by one of my otherwise generally reliable analysts, Jeremy Grantham, as evidence of one of the inevitable crises exacerbated by the effects of climate change and population growth; the leveling off of productivity increases for major food crops eventually breeding shortages and rising prices. [Grantham is an investment advisor after all.] What is misleading about this graph is that it shows the leveling off in four countries whose populations are not growing. Left unstated is whether or not per acre crop yields are increasing in countries with growing populations or whether additional acres of farm land are being devoted to these food crops in response to rising demand.

I expect crop yields are not increasing in any way as much as they did during the so-called “Green Revolution” of 30 or so years ago that, by keeping agricultural prices low, staved off wide spread social dislocation that could have been caused by rampant population growth at the time . Yes, hunger is a question of cost every bit as much as it is a question of ethics.

Similarly, I suspect that removal of crop land from production due to urbanization and climate change more than balances the unused acreage put into production due to the promise of higher prices.)

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. The Hundred-and-nineteenth Calypso of Bokonon (Vonnegut):

“Where’s my good old gang done gone?”
I heard a man say.
I whispered in that sad man’s ear,
“Your gang’s done gone away.”

B. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:
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C. What Republicans say about Republicans:

Want to know just how crazy all sides — including mine — in this “hell debate” are? Watch the movie “Hellbound?” and take a peek into the asylum that is housing the people who are destroying the world. They now own a major political party and are running a Mormon opportunist who believes in nothing and his Ayn Rand/Jesus/God-nut sidekick who believes in way too much and who wants to take what little the poor have away in the name of opportunity.
Frank Schaeffer. His father was one of the founders of what we now know as the Religious Right in this country, and he write about his experience growing up in that family in the superbly written Crazy for God.

D. Electioneering:
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E. Testosterone Chronicles (“Men, Who Needs Them” Edition):

When I explained this (the biological irrelevancy of men to human species reproduction) to a female colleague and asked her if she thought that there was yet anything irreplaceable about men, she answered, “They’re entertaining.”
Taken from the NY Times opinion page article, Men, Who Needs Them? By Greg Hampikian.

The entertainment quality of men in general, in my opinion, is highly overrated.
F. Investment advice for those of us who are so foolish as to invest in anything Wall Street is peddling:

20 Ways Wall Street is Ripping Off Small Investors:

1. Providing nominal returns, not real returns.

2. Encouraging too much diversification, if that’s possible.

3. Hiding fees and expenses.

4. Turning you into a passive investor.

5. Convincing you that money markets are the same as cash.

6. Telling you that bonds are safer than equities.

7. Explaining that in the long run equities outperform bonds.

8. Simply by lying about their products.

9. Convincing you that their bank is a large, stable, safe operation to deal with.

10. Recommending products that have enormous sales commissions attached to them.

11. Cheating you on bid/ask spreads.

12. Selling you what they don’t want.

13. Measuring your success in dollars.

14. Lending your securities to others.

15. Ripping your eyes out if you ever try to close your account.

16. Grabbing any slight positive real return for themselves.

17. Sticking toxic waste to small investors.

18. Pretending they can pick stocks.

19. Acting like they are your best friend and they have your best interests at heart.

20. Knowing next to nothing about the value of holding real assets like gold and real estate.
John R. Talbott is a bestselling author and financial consultant to families whose books predicted the housing crash, the banking crisis and the global economic collapse.

TODAY’S QUOTE:
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I always liked Wilde. That one could write a passable jail-house poem, a reasonably good book, insult everyone, dress like he did and still become famous even before the creation of the internet, confirms my belief that God is the ultimate humorist.

Speaking of God and humor, did you know that while growing up I always thought that God was the Good Humor man. [For those that get this — you are showing your age.] Every afternoon the Good Humor man rang his bells in front of my house. The sound of those bells filled me with hope. Would your God do as much for you?

TODAY’S CHART:
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TODAY’S CARTOON:
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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
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This is accurate except that it omits the importance of Occam’s Razor to scientific theory. That is, in its most basic terms, Occam requires that the simplest explanation that accounts for all the observable facts be preferred over the more complicated [However, as Einstein pointed out, “Everything should be kept as simple as possible, but no simpler.”.

Nevertheless, Occam’s Razor does not apply to fantasy, religion, politics, economics or sales. Perhaps it should, but if it did so, those worthy examples of human endeavor probably would soon disappear. I would miss fantasy though.

Categories: July through September 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 2 Papa Joe 0001 (September 21 2012)

TODAY FROM  AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN  CALIFORNIA:

So, this past weekend I returned to the Bay Area. My sister and her husband George picked me up at the Berkeley train station. We went directly to an exhibition at a local Japanese Tiako drum school in Emeryville. After listening to the students banging on their drums for a while we were all invited to take a lesson; which we did (including me). It was great fun and can be added to my bucket list.

I rejected signing up for lessons. I find the concept of repetition for the purpose of getting better at whatever — unappealing.

Here is a photograph of me banging on my drum.

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Later, after the lesson, we returned to my sister’s house where her son Brendan (he who recently had been released from the hospital following a serious operation to correct an intestinal obstruction caused by Crone’s Disease) was throwing a BBQ party. Brendan also plays the drums in a local rock band. After we ate through acres of several varieties of burned flesh, his band played music until the neighbors complained.

I went upstairs and watched three episodes of Game of Thrones.

The next day we took my mom out to lunch a Le Zinc, a bistro in Noe Valley, where we met up with Peter. After lunch Mary and George drove my mom back to the home. Peter and I drifted off to a local coffee-house where we sat on a bench in the sun, drank our coffee and reminisced.

I spent the night at my son’s house where after watching the Niners game (they won) and eating a pizza we argued over whether there is a world-wide conspiracy by the military to suppress evidence of mermen.

The following morning I returned by train to Sacramento.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

I could not decide if this belonged in Testosterone Chronicles (Penis Category) or in Bent News. I leave it for the reader to decide.

Mt friend Gary posted me the following that appeared in a Japanese newspaper:

“A man who cooked his genitals and served them up to diners at a Japanese restaurant has been charged with indecent exposure.

Mao Sugiyama, 23, had his penis and testicles surgically removed by a physician in March.

They had been certified free of infections and were frozen for two months before being served up at a banquet in Suginami, a residential area in western Tokyo.

He charged guests around £160 per person to eat the meal which was garnished with mushrooms and parsley.

Tokyo’s Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) said criminal papers against Sugiyama and three other people who helped organise the event were sent to the Tokyo district public prosecutors’ office.

Sugiyama who describes himself as an ‘asexual’ illustrator, could not be arrested for cooking or selling his genitals as there is no law against cannibalism in Japan.

If convicted of indecent exposure, Sugiyama, who has also had his nipples removed, could be jailed up to two years and fined up to 2.5 million yen ($32,000).

Mao, who goes by the nickname HC, said he had initially considered eating his own penis – but decided to serve them up instead.

He cooked the genitalia, which were removed in early April shortly after his 22nd birthday, himself while being supervised by a chef.”

(And for the twenty-fifth year in a row Japan wins the Academy Award for the Weirdest People on Earth.

— Alas, I sort of hoped the photograph of me banging on the Taiko drum would return the award to America.

— What the f**k is an “asexual” illustrator?

— At first, as I read this item I wondered why anyone would have his nipples surgically removed, but then I remembered that here in America many women have their noses surgically removed. At least they do not cook them up and serve them to their best friends.

— And before I forget, for those of you so inclined, there is no law against cannibalism in Japan.)

C. THAI OBSERVATIONS

From Jake Needham through Gary:

“If the mass of Thai people has a genius for anything, and that is certainly a fit subject for spirited debate, it is a talent for living day-to-day no matter what happens around them. It isn’t a show of resilience… it is more like the repeated invocation of a widespread collective unconscious, Thais can turn a blind eye to even the unhappiest of events. The Thais were a people who, after all, managed mostly to ignore World War II. They probably looked at the invading Japanese army as the latest wave of sex tourists to arrive on their shores, just a bunch of horny guys with money to spend, all of whom happened to be wearing identical outfits.”

TODAY’S FACTOID:

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PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:

Slide1
B. ELECTIONEERING:

1. “Describing the evolution of the Republicans’ racial appeal, the late Lee Atwater, one-time chair of the Republican National Committee and member of the Reagan administration, said in 1981. “You start out in 1954 by saying, ‘Nigger, nigger, nigger’. By 1968 you can’t say ‘nigger’ – that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing [and] states’ rights. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites … obviously sitting around saying, ‘We want to cut this’ is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than ‘nigger, nigger’.”
GARY YOUNGE

2.

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(I show this not because it accurately describes Mitt but because I think it is amusing. To some extent Mitt is getting a raw deal. I view him as a somewhat more conservative Eisenhower Republican who unfortunately must appear to be something he is not to his much more socially and economically conservative base without whose support he has no chance to be elected and unfortunately for him he neither understands nor agrees with.

The modern Democratic party is actually the heir to the Eisenhower-Rockefeller Republicans (with a slight Organized Labor bias). Its base is economically cautious and socially somewhat liberal. Its left-wing has no greater function than to operate as a break on its inevitable drift to the right.

Instead of saying that if he were Mexican he would be President, Mitt would have been more accurate to have said if he were running as a Democrat he would be elected president by acclamation.)

TODAY’S QUOTE:

Lincoln’s greatest fear:

“We may congratulate ourselves that this cruel war is nearing its end. It has cost a vast amount of treasure and blood … It has indeed been a trying hour for the Republic; but I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands, and the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before, even in the midst of war. God grant that my suspicions may prove groundless.”
A.Lincoln

(Alas, God chose not to grant this wish to Old Abe either.)

TODAY’S CHARTS:
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TODAY’S CARTOON:
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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

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Categories: July through September 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 33 Pops 0001 (September 17, 2012)

“When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.” 

Frederic Bastiat

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

After spending the night at my sister’s house in Berkley, we visited my mom and took her out for lunch in North Beach. This was the first time, despite her 94 years, that she appeared truly old, depressed and lonely.

The next two days I visited with my son and his family. I got my quarterly dose of reality TV. This time I watched something about living in Alaska. I got to see men (almost always men) trapping and killing animals; in this case beavers and a lynx. We got to see the lynx with its foot caught in a trap struggle to break free. After they dispatched the creature we were entertained by the hunters skinning and eating it. I fully understand the need of those living in remote areas to hunt and trap game, but how broadcasting the vicarious experience to overweight, indolent couch potatoes (like me) can be considered entertainment escapes me.

On the next day, I got to watch 22 overgrown men (always men) beat up on each other in an effort to push the inflated swine skin over an arbitrary chalk drawn line. Unlike the prior evening, I considered this great entertainment. As I am sure most of you already know the SF 49rs defeated the Green Bay Packers. Go Niners!

After the game I spent the rest of the afternoon in the park with Amanda my granddaughter.

Early Monday morning, I returned to Sacramento. While riding the J-Church to the train station, I contemplated my contribution to the transformation of the happy-go-lucky child that was my son into an angry and unhappy adult. So there I was that morning, just another old man sitting on the trolley before sunrise with tears in his eyes. Less so because of what has been and the pain it has caused but because we know that tomorrow will come and the tears if not forgotten will be added to the increasingly heavy burden of unresolved guilt.

The next day I bought a copy of the new novel about the Kennedy assassination by that Shakespeare of digression, Steven King. Never has a writer written so much so well about things that have nothing to do with the plot than King. He was far less verbose as a stoned alcoholic. Beware of writers in AA.

On the other hand Sheldon Siegel, a much less tiresome author has a new book out, The Terrorist Within. I look forward to reading it. As far as I know Sheldon is not in AA.

I spent the week back in Sacramento mostly as a chauffeur. When not driving various people around, I spent time preparing the responses to discovery requests in the custody litigation and finalizing the new post for the Smart&Connected blog.

At the end of the week my sister told me that she had met with a company that, on behalf of international organizations like The World Bank and various large foundations, advises and assists non-profits on social media issues. One of the managers knew about the Coastal Conservancy and had a very favorable opinion of it. Since I will be leaving California in about two weeks, I decided to spend the weekend following up on this. It will also give me an opportunity to visit with my family and Peter one last time before I depart.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. Conservatives are right, Liberals control the media and everything else.

A study reported in Psychology Today, on which I commentated a few posts back, pointed out that in general conservatives are less intelligent than Liberals. It goes on to state:

Conservatives often complain that liberals control the media or the show business or the academia or some other social institutions. The Hypothesis explains why conservatives are correct in their complaints. Liberals do control the media, or the show business, or the academia, among other institutions, because, apart from a few areas in life (such as business) where countervailing circumstances may prevail, liberals control all institutions. They control the institutions because liberals are on average more intelligent than conservatives and thus they are more likely to attain the highest status in any area of (evolutionarily novel) modern life.

(OMG, the Right is…well, right. Life is a Left-wing conspiracy.)

2. “We will never have the élite, smart people on our side.”
Rick Santorum

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

A few posts ago I wrote about the coming election as perhaps the last hurrah for the white male ascendency in American politics. Today in an article by Gary Younge quoted in Daily Kos, he confirms the situation (Note the quote by a Republican strategist that I underlined):

“This could be the final hurrah for what became known as Nixon’s southern strategy in what is shaping up to be the most racially polarized election ever. Black support for the Republican party literally cannot get any lower. A recent Wall Street Journal poll had 0% of African-Americans saying they intend to vote for Romney. At 32%, support among Latinos is higher but still remains pathetically low given what Republicans need to win (40%) and what they have had in the past — in 2004 George W. Bush won 44%. As a result, the party of Lincoln is increasingly dependent on just one section of the electorate — white people. To win, Romney needs 61% of the white vote from a white turnout of 74%. That’s a lot. In 2008, John McCain got 55% from the same turnout. “This is the last time anyone will try to do this,” one Republican strategist told the National Journal. And Republican consultant Ana Navarro told the Los Angeles Times: “Where his numbers are right now, we should be pressing the panic button.” […]”

(In my last post I quoted the following:

According to a recent Quinnipiac poll, Obama’s support among white males without college degree fell to 29%, which is the lowest of any Democrat in recent history.”

I feel sad for these men; deluded by their history of ascendency over women of their class and other minorities, lied to by their political and religious leaders and misused by their employers, they have been misled to believe their ever so slight social standing was theirs by right and not earned by effort.)

TODAY’S FACTOID:

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PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:
why-have-we-developed-such-income-inequality-in-part-because-the-average-hourly-earnings-in-this-country-havent-grown-in-50-years.jpg
B. Electioneering:

“Obama ran on ‘change’ in 2008, but Mitt Romney represents a far more real and seismic shift in the American landscape. Romney is the frontman and apostle of an economic revolution, in which transactions are manufactured instead of products, wealth is generated without accompanying prosperity, and Cayman Islands partnerships are lovingly erected and nurtured while American communities fall apart. The entire purpose of the business model that Romney helped pioneer is to move money into the archipelago from the places outside it, using massive amounts of taxpayer-subsidized debt to enrich a handful of billionaires. It’s a vision of society that’s crazy, vicious and almost unbelievably selfish, yet it’s running for president, and it has a chance of winning.”
— Matt Taibbi, Greed and Debt: The True Story of Mitt Romney and Bain Capital, Rolling Stone, August 29, 2012.

(Taibbi is a political polemicist who writes well. Although his basic facts are often correct, sometimes his rhetoric can be misleading. Romney may very well be considered a child of the conflict between manufacturers of transactions and manufacturers of products he was never a “pioneer.” The conflict, such as it is, has been going on for one hundred years or more.

The first break between the manufacturers of transactions, “transactionists” (In a broader context sometimes included among those referred to in classical economic literature as “rentiers”) and manufacturers of products occurred in the 1920s as they, the transactionists sought to obtain full partnership and ultimately dominate political and economic decision-making of society for their benefit. It brought on the Great Depression. Due to the New Deal’s emphasis on manufacturing, production and product development, the transactionists were reduced again to merely wealthy and fiscally conservative transaction managers for industrialists.

By the late 1970s and early 1980s they emerged again, but this time even the manufacturers of products were their enemies as they drove traditional manufacturing beyond our shores and persuaded the gullible and unwary that wealth accumulation does not require any products other than the transactions themselves.

Mitt was little more than a bench warmer on a very politically successful team.)

D. BOKONONISM – CALYPSOS:

The Fourteenth Calypso
When I was young
I was so gay and mean,
And I drank and chased the girls
Just like young St. Augustine.
Saint Augustine,
He got to be a saint.
So, if I get to be one, also,
Please. Mama, don’t you faint.

The Fifty-third Calypso
Oh, a sleeping drunkard
Up in Central Park,
And a lion-hunter
In the jungle dark,
And a Chinese dentist,
And a British queen–
All fit together
In the same machine.
Nice, nice, very nice;
Nice, nice, very nice;
Nice, nice, very nice–
So many different people
In the same device.

The Hundred-and-nineteenth Calypso
“Where’s my good old gang done gone?”
I heard a man say.
I whispered in that sad man’s ear,
“Your gang’s done gone away.”

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“In the beginning, the universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry, and is generally considered to have been a bad move.”
Douglas Adams, The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
TODAY’S CHART:
voting-infographic

(While this chart may contain interesting information, it is not very helpful. The presidential election, because of the electoral college system will be decided by the nature of the turnout primarily in Ohio. Without Ohio (and perhaps Florida) Romney probably cannot win . Obama on the other hand has a number of ways to put together 270 electoral votes required to prevail.

Control of Congress will depend more upon the number of women and minorities living in so-called competitive districts. If the district (or State) lacks minority voters in the percentages described the Republican will in most cases prevail.

Note: except for perhaps Florida the turnout percentage differences between men and women will remain constant. However the numbers of minorities varies greatly from district to district and state to state.)

TODAY’S CARTOON:

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Categories: July through September 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 26 Pops 0001 (September 10, 2012)

“The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.”
–W. B. Yeats

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

SWAC has thrown her back out and now walks about like an arthritic octogenarian. Hayden has come down with some form of stomach flu and Dick is in LA chasing earthquakes. As a result, I have been pressed into the role of part-time nurse to supplement my ongoing role of part-time nanny.

Last Saturday while visiting with Bill and Naida, after noticing the butterfly net Hayden had brought with him to fish for crawdads, Bill told me about his youthful adventures as an accomplished Lepidopterist. For almost an hour I listened, fascinated, to stories about butterfly hunting in Northern California 60 years ago. When he and his friends, the Crocker brothers, were about 10 years old they persuaded the State Parks Department to allow them to replenish the deteriorating collections at several of the parks. I learned all about how to get the wings spread properly when mounting the specimens and the many varieties of swallowtail fluttering around in the Sierra’s.

On Thursday I took the train from Sacramento to San José. I looked forward to dinner that night with Bill Gates and Jerry Smith. I had not seen Jerry in over a decade. For those unfamiliar with Jerry Smith, he was the State Senator who was the principle author of the California Coastal Act of 1976. He was later appointed to the Appellate Court by Jerry Brown at the end of Brown’s first turn as Governor of California over 30 years ago. After retiring Smith spent some time as an international consultant advising countries recently freed from soviet dictatorship on how to set up Anglo-American type judicial systems. Well after the time most people retire, he returned to school to study fine arts. He now is an accomplished sculptor.

We are perhaps the first generation in history where many of us live long enough in good health that we can enjoy five or six distinct careers during our lives and where it is not so strange to embark on one or two more after we reach 70.

Upon arriving in San Jose,  Bill met me in his new shiny Ferrari racing red Jaguar. We had lunch at a local men only dining club where the food was pretty good. After lunch we smoked cigars and drank brandy and the like in the game room where we discussed politics and the coastal act with a few of the members. They were all local developers except one who owned a string of radio stations in Texas and Florida. They appeared to be the remnants of the Eisenhower wing of the Republican party. As usual my inclination to pontificate was in full flower and so I talked and talked.

We later travelled to Saratoga where we had dinner with Jerry Smith and talked some more about California Coastal protection program. Jerry was the legislator who carried the bill. Before dinner we drank some wine and watched Obama’s acceptance speech. Jerry had cooked a great ravioli dinner accompanied by local wines and olive oil. After dinner we toured his house to look at some of his sculptures including a fascinating cast bronze replica of tree branches and wonderful outdoor bamboo arrangement in bronze and copper.

On the way home we stopped off at Bill’s nightclub Myth in downtown Sacramento. It has become quite a popular venue. There were about 400 people there at the time we arrived. By then I was exhausted and on the down side of the alcohol euphoria induced by the copious quantities I had consumed earlier in the day. I could only barely acknowledge the noise and the crowding and the remarkably large breasts that seemed required to work as a waitress in the place.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. Oh no, we cannot be the worst!

In a survey conducted in over 80 countries, 2,000 people were questioned on which countries have the world’s worst beer. The results listed the United States as #1, followed behind by China, the United Kingdom, Australia, France, and Italy. Budweiser was ranked as the #1 worst brand in beer by the takers of the survey.

2. Oh no again!

durex-sexual-wellbeing-global-survey-2

(Blame it on the beer.)

C. THAI OBSERVATIONS

The Bangkok Post Reported on August 28, 2012:

“Thais top infidelity chart.”

Thai men are ranked on top and their women are ranked second as the world’s most unfaithul [sic] lovers, with well over half of them admitting to frequent infidelity, according to a survey conducted by Durex, a condom producer.

Women from Thailand are ranked the world’s second most unfaithul [sic] lovers, according to the survey report.

The survey of 29,000 women in 36 countries names the women of Ghana the world’s most unfaithful, with 62 per cent of the women questioned there admitting they often cheat on their boyfriends and husbands.

Thai women were just a little more faithful, with 59 per cent admitting to infidelity, followed by Malaysia with 39 per cent.

In fourth and fifth place were Russia (33 per cent) and Singapore (19 per cent).

As for men admitting to extramarital affairs, Thailand came out on top (54 per cent) followed by South Korea (34 per cent) and then Malaysia (33 per cent).

(But they still don’t do it as often as Greeks.)

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

Pookie on Adultery:

I believe adultery violates God’s commandments, unless it is with a slave or concubine as the Bible permits. We should have uniform federal laws outlawing adultery, abortion and homosexuality unless you can afford it, or are a Republican candidate or are a priest, minister or Rabbi (Muslim clerics or rich people who profess Islam however are not excepted because to do so would be to condone sharia law. Also, they are not real Americans and they support terrorists.)

Adultery is a criminal offense in 23 states, with punishments ranging from a $10 fine in Maryland to life imprisonment in Michigan (at least according to one judge). It’s also prohibited by the Uniform Code of Military Justice. That means, for example, that Newt Gingrich may have violated the law in some of those 23 states. Where does he stand on the issue of criminals running for office? What is the religious right and the Catholic Church’s stand on adultery? Is it such a sufficiently lesser sin than supporting a woman’s right to choose that it does not disqualify one from running for office? Is it a lesser sin than Homosexuality? If Newt were gay could he become president? Does the Religious Right have any morals what-so-ever? Does the Newtster? Why would anyone name their child after a lizard?

In fairness to the Newtster, I have searched but found no evidence that either Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, or Harry Reid committed illegal adultery in one of the jurisdictions in which it is illegal. On the other hand it is probably safe to assume Bill Clinton did, but he did not divorce his wife although the weight of opinion, I believe, felt she should have divorced him. Ah well, they remain happily married and living separately so I guess every thing is ok.

I have it on good authority that neither Mitt Romney nor Paul Ryan have had heterosexual sex in over a decade. On the other hand it is a known fact that the muslim Barack Obama has been shtupping a black woman, but that does not count.

TODAY’S FACTOIDS:

2000 years: For 2000 years, 666 has been the number of the dreaded anti-Christ. An unlucky number for many, even the European parliament leaves seat number 666 vacant. The number is from the book of Revelation, the last book of the Christian Bible. However, in 2005, translation of the very earliest known copy of the Book of Revelation clearly shows it to be 616, not 666! The 1,700 year old copy was recovered from the city of Oxyrhynchus, in Egypt, and deciphered by a paleographical research team from the University Of Birmingham, UK. The team was led by Professor David Parker. (Listverse)

(Note: According to Wikipedia, area code 616 is the area code for the Grand Rapids and Grand Haven Michigan metropolitan areas, which includes Kent, Ionia and Ottawa counties, and parts of neighboring counties.

[Beware of people from Michigan!]

Also, Earth-616 is the name used to identify the primary continuity in which most Marvel Comics titles take place.

[Beware of Spiderman!]

Finally, 616 is the 25th member of the [H-A-X-Z Sequence], coming after 265, 351, 465 (it is the sum of the first two of these). 616 is a polygonal number in four different ways: it is a heptagonal number, as well as 13-, 31- and 104-gonal.

It is also the sum of the squares of the factorials of 2,3,4. i.e.. (2!)^2 + (3!)^2 + (4!)^2 = 4+36+576=616.

The Roman numeral for 616, DCXVI, has exactly one occurrence of all symbols except for L whose value is less than 1000 (D=500, C=100, X=10, V=5, I=1)

[Beware of anyone who knows this!]
Today: 75 percent of Japanese women own vibrators. The global average is only 47 percent.

(No wonder the Japanese birth rate is falling. This also may explain the last place finish of the Japanese in the above sexual frequency Olympics standings chart. I understand that 616 in the model number of the most popular vibrator in Tokyo.

[Beware of Japanese women! They are just not that into you.])
PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:

1. It is about time to really deal with the deficit.
original
2. The Perceptive Republican:

Mike Lofgren served 16 years on the Republican staff of the House and Senate Budget Committees. He has an article in The American Conservative entitled, “Revolt of the Rich – Our financial elites are the new secessionists.” I largely agree with it. He states:

“Our plutocracy now lives like the British in colonial India: in the place and ruling it, but not of it. If one can afford private security, public safety is of no concern; if one owns a Gulfstream jet, crumbling bridges cause less apprehension — and viable public transportation doesn’t even show up on the radar screen. With private doctors on call and a chartered plane to get to the Mayo Clinic, why worry about Medicare?”

B. Electioneering:

1. Use of words in political discourse, conservative style:

“The Right’s also better than us (liberals) at taking new phrases and using them to inject their terrible ideas into the public discourse. “Boning poor people” sounds awful and almost no one would support that, but call it “welfare reform” and people can really get behind it. Everyone likes the idea of eliminating supposed abuses, after all. “Privatization” sounds way less terrible than “giving away public assets for pennies on the dollar” or “taking Social Security and putting it all on black.” Creationism in public schools bothers a lot of people, but “teaching the controversy” about “intelligent design” sounds way more palatable. Fortunately for America, though, the public at large didn’t fall for this.”
Stumbling Through the Halls of Power

2. A voice from the crypt
216149_10151036953121275_538890019_n

(Is Carville still alive or have I just forgotten that he always looked like a cadaver? I suppose the reason that Carville is usually the only Democrat commentator regularly invited to appear on Faux News is that he has been dead for the past five years.)

3. Which Group hates Obama most:

According to a recent Quinnipiac poll, Obama’s support among white males without college degree fell to 29%, which is the lowest of any Democrat in recent history.

C. Testosterone Chronicles: Penis file.

Researchers in Vietnam studying the marine life of the Mekong delta have identified a new species of the Phallostethidae family named Phallostethus cuulong . These are small fish found in rivers in South East Asia, easily distinguishable because of one bizarre anatomical feature – their penises are on their heads!

(On the other hand, dickheads are very common among humans.)

D. BOKONONISM: Sayings of Bokonon (Vonnegut)

On man’s power to control:
Any man can call time out, but no man can say how long the time out will be.

Also on man’s power to control:
It is not possible to make a mistake.
[ It is described as a “customary greeting given by all Bokononists when meeting a shy person.” ]

On history:
History! Read it and weep!

On religion:
Of course it’s trash!

On man’s destiny:
Today I will be a Bulgarian Minister of Education. Tomorrow I will be Helen of Troy.
We do, doodley do, doodley do, doodley do,
What we must, muddily must, muddily must, muddily must;
Muddily do, muddily do, muddily do, muddily do,
Until we bust, bodily bust, bodily bust, bodily bust.

On the ignorance of learned men:
Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before. He is full of murderous resentment of people who are ignorant without having come by their ignorance the hard way.

On “the heartbreaking necessity of lying about reality, and the heartbreaking impossibility of lying about it:
Midget, midget, midget, how he struts and winks,
For he knows a man’s as big as what he hopes and thinks!
TODAY’S QUOTE:
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TODAY’S CHART:
chart751

TODAY’S CARTOON:
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Categories: July through September 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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