“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?”
POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:
Please see the blog: http://papajoestales.wordpress.com/
Parody is impossible, another example: Recently, in my campaign for the Republican nomination for President of the United States, I made a proposal so outlandish that I believed it would beggar credulity; that if elected I would sell off everything government owns, including the White House, Air Force One and the Pentagon. Alas, I discovered that earlier this year, Rick Perry as Governor of Texas promoted and signed into law legislation that would allow all Texas State public buildings, nursing homes, hospitals, schools, ports, mass transit projects, telecommunications, etc., to be sold off to corporations. Even more incredible, the law allows the prospective purchasers to borrow the money from the state who then will guarantee the loans. According to Matt Tiabbi in a Rolling Stoned article, “…a foreign company theoretically could borrow money from Texas taxpayers to buy the taxpayer’s own state property at a discount.”
Rick Perry, the people’s hero and one of God’s elect.
ARGENTINA: In 2001 Argentina’s economy collapsed. Since then, under the presidential administrations of the late Nestor Kirchner and his wife Christina Fernandez, the country has grown faster than any other nation on earth except for China and India, while increasing pensions, child welfare and the minimum wage by 25% and creating a fund for early support for pregnant woman (Something the anti-abortion crusaders in the US eschew). The wealth gap between the top 5% and the lowest 5% has been halved, while in the US it has more than doubled.
They renationalized the pension funds that had been privatized in response to pressure from the World Bank and the IMF to do so. The private funds forced the Argentine taxpayers to foot 60% of the payouts while the private funds took their profits out of the country hastening the 2001 default.*
Finally, it has told Foreign banks that they will accept no conditions, such as the austerity measures imposed on Greece. Instead, against advice of the banks and financial institutions, they used the reserves of the Argentine central bank to pay off foreign loans and reduce the national debt.
It has done all this while building up near record foreign reserves of 48 billion USD. And, they did this all without having political control of the national legislature.
*By the way, the single worst thing that can be done to control escalating public costs for entitlements such as Social Security is to privatize it. Not only do the costs not diminish, but now they add to those costs their profits as well.
TODAY’S NEWS FROM AMERICA AND THAILAND:
1. Solar in California: Installed solar in California now exceeds that of all other nations in the world except, Germany, Spain, Japan, Italy and the Czech Republic. Hooray for us.
Among the reason for this milestone is that China, taking advantage of generous local subsidies as well as free trade and lower labor and environmental costs has been able to reduce costs of solar equipment enough to make it affordable for Californians while driving the local indigenous solar equipment businesses, out of business. Soon enough however the ordinary Californian, shortly to become unemployed, will no longer be able to afford to solarize their houses, but the average Chinese will. The CEO of a Chinese solar company predicted that in about a decade there will be only about 5 huge solar energy companies and that they will all be Chinese.
Free trade without equalization mechanisms for labor and environmental protections is perhaps the most treasonous act perpetrated by Wall Street on America. Pookie, Pookie, Pookie, lighten up.
“Surreal conversation with a traffic cop in Bangkok:
Me: What about the traffic jam behind you?
Cop: What about it?
Me: It’s almost 1 km long!
Cop: Let me finish my drink first.”
Voicu Mihnea Simandan
POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:
I decided to return to the Bay Area by train, “The Coast Starlight,” a trip I have always wanted to make. So I boarded the train at about 10:30 in the morning and, alternating between my seat and the observation car, watched the coast of central California slip by. It was a good chance to spend some time contemplating what I had spent so much of my time worrying about a few decades ago.
I tried to locate projects I approved or denied, entitled or failed to do and those I built or restored during my almost 30 year involvement with the California coast. Alas the route of the train took me past very few of them. We did however travel through the area around Vandenberg AFB that was one of the few places along the 1500 mile or so coastline I had not visited. For those of you not familiar with California Vandenberg in the location of the American space programs west coast operation. While Cape Canaveral in Florida is run by NASA the civilian space agency, Vandenberg is strictly military and very hush-hush.
I arrived in SF at about 9PM thoroughly refreshed after an enjoyable relaxing and relatively inexpensive trip. In the future, I hope to travel about the country by train, but I intend to avoid eating in the dining car. I decided to have dinner in the dining car in hopes of enjoying a good meal and meeting interesting people. I was seated at a table with a man and a woman of my approximate age. Our conversation consisted of little more than, “Pass the salt, please,” and the like. I ordered steak since the rest of the menu appeared unappealing to me. The meat was not too bad, but they did to the vegetables what I had only seen done to vegetables during my travels in England.
PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:
JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:
Chapter: Vincent Harried (cont.)
Meg continued, “I would like to know if you have remember anything else about your last conversation with Stephanie Coign?”
“No, I don’t,” he replied curtly, then added, “If I may ask, why are you taking so much interest in this? After all it is only an accident or at worse suicide, don;t you think?”
“I am just trying to cover all the bases for the report I have to file in cases like this.” Then she stopped, looked down at the floor for a moment as though she was thinking something through. Then looked up directly at Vince, her eyes filling with tears.
“No, that;s not true Mr. Biondi. I knew Stephanie, well. I cannot accept that she killed herself or accidentally drove off that cliff. Do not ask me why, I won’t tell you.”
Vince, surprised at this confession, tumbled into confusion, as more often than he liked to admit he did whenever conflicting emotions engulfed him; which was almost always and almost always left him wallowing in indecision. He immediately felt both guilt and compassion. Guilt because only moments ago he vacillated between dislike of this woman and the rawest sexual fantasies. Compassion, because of the tears in her eyes and whatever lingering fantasies remained. He realized that here was something with which he could further stir the witches brew he was thoughtlessly concocting. Uncharacteristically, he made a decision. He decided to confide in her, perhaps find an ally, even a lover (God was he horny) whatever. So he unloaded on her what he knew of Red Star, The Brethren, Sam’s death and Stephanie’s distress. He held back anything about Sam’s secret room, Russell and Isabella, Charlie and any mention of his plan and her role in it.
a. Cracked News from “Not the Nation” (The Thai version of the Onion):
Three-meter Mekong crocodile in my living room. Owner please claim ASAP. Looks hungry. Contact NakonSawan555@hotmail.
“Riverside” property in Lat Krabang. No road access but great views of Suvarnabhumi Airport. Ask for Lek@Rangsit evacuation center.
Totalitarian Chinese-style government that actually builds long-term flood solutions. Screw democracy.
b. Real Headlines and Ads (From the US):
“PRESIDENT EISEN HOWARD 1971 PROOF DOLLARS, SET OF FIVE, IN ORIGINAL CASES AS SHIPPED, $8 EACH COIN.”
“Air Traffic Controller. No Exp. Needed”
AVOID THE “SUMMER SLIDE” Learning Specialist Available for SUMMER TUTERING/Licensed Certified Teacher 20 yearexperience/MATH/READING/WRIGHTING/Call Ms. Simon”
(THE BOOK IS CALLED “GAMECHANGER” AND THEY HAVE A BIG ENDORSEMENT AT THE TOP; ON COVER:) “LOOKS LIKE A GREAT READ!” –GEORGE W. BUSH
MISSIPPI’S LITERACY PROGRAM SHOWS IMPROVEMENT”
c. What the Occupy protesters really want:
1. “Wall Street owns the country…Our laws are the output of a system which clothes rascals in robes and honesty in rags. The [political] parties lie to us and the political speakers mislead us…Money rules.”
Mary Elizabeth Lease in 1890.
2. “John Boehner calls on the bankers, holds out his cup, and offers them total obeisance from the House majority if only they fill it.
That’s now the norm, and they get away with it. GOP once again means Guardians of Privilege.
Barack Obama criticizes bankers as “fat cats,” then invites them to dine at a pricey New York restaurant where the tasting menu runs to $195 a person.
That’s now the norm, and they get away with it. The President has raised more money from banks, hedge funds, and private equity managers than any Republican candidate, including Mitt Romney. Inch by inch he has conceded ground to them while espousing populist rhetoric that his very actions betray.
Let’s name this for what it is: hypocrisy made worse, the further perversion of democracy.
Democratic deviancy defined further downward. Our politicians are little more than money launderers in the trafficking of power and policy — fewer than six degrees of separation from the spirit and tactics of Tony Soprano.”
Bill Moyers, America’s last true patriot.
d. How To Talk Like A Republican (The New American Lexicon):
From Frank Luntz Republican Party consultant in a memorandum to Party leaders and regulars:
After 500 years of western society’s struggle to eliminate the dead hand of unlimited inherited wealth tying up societies resources in the hands of unproductive heirs, do you really think that your sudden aversion to taxes on wealthy estates of over several million dollars (only the top 1% again) was something you thought of on your own because you thought it was only fair, especially if one day you became rich yourself?
e. Testosterone Chronicles:
In a study published by the journal Psychology, Crime and Law, Belinda Board and Katarina Fritzon tested 39 senior managers and chief executives from leading British businesses. They compared the results to the same tests on patients at Broadmoor special hospital, where people who have been convicted of serious crimes are incarcerated. On certain indicators of psychopathy, the bosses’s scores either matched or exceeded those of the patients. In fact, on these criteria, they beat even the subset of patients who had been diagnosed with psychopathic personality disorders.
This is not a joke.
“Sex is a big step on the way to happiness and joy. There is nothing wrong with it if it is followed with faithfulness and decency!”
Photograph of the California Coast in its late afternoon autumn colors near Vandenberg AFB taken from the train.