Percentage of civilian deaths among all the fatalities in recent wars:
World War I – 15%
World War II – 65%
Since World War II – 90%
With the advent of remote warfare [drones , etc.] soon only civilians will die in wars. Will we still pin medals for bravery on the uniforms of soldiers of the future? Maybe we should issue medals to surviving civilians instead.
TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:
a. To coup or not to coup:
1) It has been pointed out by some commentators that since the 1934 coup that overthrew the absolute monarchy, every coup has been preceded by representatives of the military announcing there would be no coup.
2) The representative of the Elections Commission claimed that there was a plot to launch a “‘silent coup’ controlled by the military but fronted by ‘respectable figures'”. “This” he continued “would be eerily similar to the ‘holiday’ proposed by the People’s Alliance for Democracy: an appointed government without political parties.”
3) There has been a report of a secret meeting of military and civilian political leaders that decided there must be an interim national government, but they could not figure out how to overthrow the system without a military coup so the meeting was adjourned.
4) Some surmise that a military coup has already been agreed to, but a few military leaders are still searching for tactics that would mitigate international sanctions that would most likely follow a military led overthrow of the current civilian government.
5) This flurry of rumor and intrigue appears all to have been generated by a poll released a week or so ago that shows the “Red Shirts” backed by deposed prime minister Taksin could prevail in the coming election.
b. Who is really in charge here:
It looks like the military leadership has excluded any significant policy role for the government in the border dispute with Cambodia. The military refers to the conflict in the possessive, “Theirs.”
c. Cluster flak:
In the response to the accusation of some in the international community that the Thai military used the much reviled “cluster bombs” in their border dispute with Cambodia, a Thai governmental spokesman said, “It depends on how you define the term [Cluster Bomb].”
Shades of Bill Clinton and Dick Cheney
POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:
I am now back in Bangkok and feeling ill. I am becoming increasingly concerned about my health. Because of this I am planning my return to the US to be sooner rather than later.
Two weeks ago SWAC encouraged me to make arrangements for Hayden to visit with his Chiang Mai friend Leo. I was delighted and did so informing my friends Choti and Gerry, Leo’s parents. They in turn set about planning for our visit during Songkran, the Thai spring water festival. Two days before our departure, as I should have foreseen, SWAC changed her mind.
I now plan to return to Paradise by the Sea tomorrow in an effort to regain my health and composure.
Since school ended for Hayden last week my role here has changed. He is spending more and more time with the maid and has seemed to be developing a close bond with her. It is a shame that, like the maid in Chiang Mai, he soon will be torn from the only nurturing female figure in his life. I shudder to think of what dark psychological brew is being cooked up there deep in his sub-conscious,
It has been said that affection for a child is the only type of love that is directed toward separation. To make sure no one ever forgets this, nature invented teenagers.
Perhaps it is a function of advanced age for one whose time is getting shorter to spend a moment of that time on senseless musings on the meaning of life. One would think that the meaning would be related to procreation and continuation of the species. Nevertheless, I have the impression that for most of us individually we act as though it’s meaning and purpose is something like maturity and self actualization. God knows, I have spent most of my life failing at both. But if you think about it for 3 million years or so our species and progenitors lived just about long enough to breed before we died. Only about a century ago did any but the fortunate few live to accomplish anything but toil for our daily bread, breed and die. Perhaps genetically, mother nature never equipped us to become mature and achieve self actualization and that is why as a rule we are so bad at it.
PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:
Further tales of the little masseuse:
Recently while leaving Paradise by the Sea to return to Bangkok the little masseuse and I took the small converted pick up truck transit vehicle called a songtheuw from the condo to the bus station to catch the Pattaya-Bangkok bus. When we arrived at the bus station my masseuse went to pay the songtheuw driver our fare. Suddenly an enormous row ensued. The drive jumped out of his vehicle, leaving the other passengers to wait while the two of them went at it, shouting at each other.
For a while I enjoyed the spectacle of the diminutive masseuse all 5 feet of her and the much larger bus driver (about my size) shred the Thai cultural requirement of Jai Yen (Maintaining a cool heart). Finally I stepped between them and the driver returned to his vehicle and drove off in a huff.
When I asked my friend what had had caused the argument, she answered:
“I tried to pay the driver the usual 10 baht (about 30 cents) per person fare, but he insisted that I pay 20 baht instead. I asked him why he is demanding twice the amount for the ride than I usually pay. He answered, ‘That was when you travelled by yourself, this time you are traveling with a farang.'”
JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:
Announcement: Would anyone who cares about what happens next in the novel please let me know. If no one does, I will inform the characters that they can brush off their resume’s and seek employment in other novels or (shudder) advertising copy.
a. Religious history laid bare:
In 200 AD, the great early Christian theologian and Doctor of the Church, Tertullian, argued that Jesus was a eunuch (c. 200 AD) . He wrote,“…He stands before you, if you are willing to copy him, as a voluntary spado (eunuch) in the flesh.” And elsewhere: “The Lord Himself opened the kingdom of heaven to eunuchs and He Himself lived as a eunuch. The apostle [Paul] also, following His example, made himself a eunuch…”
(Tertullian also noted the existence of a third sex (tertium sexus) among heathens: “a third race in sex… made of male and female in one.”
Tertullian, On Monogamy, 3: )
Oh my, could Jesus have been a “ladyboy.” Does this mean that in the mornings when I walk past Nana Plaza on my way to the gym, I may be seeing the reincarnations of the Christ?
Now that I think of it, it could be. Sometimes when I am approached by one or another soliciting me for early morning sex, I mumble, “Jesus Christ, give me a break. It’s eight o’clock in the morning.”)
b. What is wrong with Economics today:
A few weeks ago I sent out a list of some of the problems that I saw with classical and neoclassical economic theory. A few more have been suggested by Robert Nadeau. He believes the mathematical theories relied upon by mainstream economists are predicated on the following unscientific assumptions:
The market system is a closed circular flow between production and consumption, with no inlets or outlets.
Natural resources exist in a domain that is separate and distinct from a closed market system, and the economic value of these resources can be determined only by the dynamics that operate within this system.
The costs of damage to the external natural environment by economic activities must be treated as costs that lie outside the closed market system or as costs that cannot be included in the pricing mechanisms that operate within the system.
The external resources of nature are largely inexhaustible, and those that are not can be replaced by other resources or by technologies that minimize the use of the exhaustible resources or that rely on other resources.
There are no biophysical limits to the growth of market systems.
c. Today’ chart:
I thought it would be enjoyable to revisit one of my all-time favorites:
“God tells me he can get me out of this mess, but he’s pretty sure you’re fucked.”