This and that from re Thai r ment by 3Th. November 29, 2011

“The super-rich have not paid their dues to society in recent years, and more and more of us now know it. The average personal income tax rate on the wealthy was far lower than that paid by middle-income earners. In emerging markets, capital gains and withholding tax on dividends are tax-exempt. In other words, the new breed of super-rich paid no personal tax.”
Hassan Heikal, The “super-rich” chief executive of EFG Hermes, the premier investment bank in the Middle East.(See Hassan Heikal’s Proposal, below.)

TODAY’S FACTOID:

1. Fox News Viewers:

Fox News viewers are less informed than people who don’t watch any news, according to a new poll from Fairleigh Dickinson University. This isn’t the first study that has found that Fox News viewers more misinformed in comparison to others. Last year, a study from the University of Maryland found that Fox News viewers were more likely to believe false information about politics.

2. First Century AD:

a. Public baths were a fundamental part of Roman culture and daily life. At the end of the workday, men of all ages and social classes would convene at the local baths to converse, discuss business, and relax. The baths also provided areas to exercise and plays sports as well as buy food.

b. Despite the extreme violence, gladiator fighting was one of the most popular forms of public entertainment in first century Rome. While most gladiators were criminals, slaves, or prisoners or war, successful contestants usually achieved great fame and fortune. These men in armor who battled wild animals and other human challengers for sport were celebrated in frescoes and mosaics throughout the Roman world.

c. Like gladiator contests, chariot racing was a dangerous and bloody sport that often resulted in the death of drivers or horses. But that only made the event more popular. Almost 200,000 devoted fans would come out to watch the chariot races that took place in Circus Maximus, considered the oldest stadium in Rome.

3. Today (Who is our enemy?):

Counterfeit electronic parts, installed on military equipment manufactured by Boeing, L-3, and Raytheon, are currently in use on aircraft flying missions in Afghan combat zones.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

It is good to return to a place where the politics are real; that is simply corrupt and self-serving and the fate of the world does not hang on anything they do or not do.

Contrast this with the situation in the US where the fate of the world may really impacted by what we do or do not do. Here we have a half-crazed Australian media mogul and a few fat so-called pundits (who failed at every job they ever previously attempted), trying to persuade a large number of Americans that they would be better off if their nation were lead by the least informed criminally insane person who could be persuaded to appear on a television series that could be entitled, “I may be dumb but not as much as you.” On the other hand, the only alternative to this is represented by a group with the political acumen and moral fortitude of a dying grasshopper. Presiding over this we have a leader whose primary claim to fame is that he appears much tougher on thugs in foreign lands, than on those domestic thugs running free about a mile up Pennsylvania Avenue from where he currently resides.

Compare this with the following:

While attending a formal affair, the home of a former governmental minister was attacked by a fairly large gang, who tied-up the domestic help and robbed the of money in the ministers bedroom. They seemed to know where the money was located and took nothing else of value. The minister claimed that he had been robbed of 1.5 million dollars. When some of the thieves were arrested they were found to have on them 6 million dollars taken from the ministers house. When asked about this, the minister responded that he did not know he had so much. It was later learned that perhaps up to 30 million had been stolen. Also, the robbers had told the domestic staff as they were tying them up that they were sent by their “Boss,” to retrieve the money paid to the minister that was supposed to be used to bribe other officials but had not been so used. Later information surfaced that the minister’s associates recently had been busy buying several homes in a posh section of London.

The new government has announced that they will look into the matter. The police have announced that the arrest of the remaining thieves is imminent.

It is expected that except perhaps for the thieves themselves, no one will be prosecuted, the police will retain most of whatever funds are recovered and the whole matter will soon disappear from the news, if it has not done so already.

Now that’s politics as it should be.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

I have returned to Bangkok after a long uneventful flight. The movies offered were especially uninteresting and I could not sleep so I spent a lot of time prowling around the cabin, locking myself in the lavatory experimenting with the various scents and lotions they have in there while staring at myself in the mirror and sitting watching the little airplane crawl slowly across the map on the tiny television screen supplied with my seat.

After I arrived, I went to my apartment in a taxi driven by a retired police officer with a married daughter living somewhere in Sacramento. At my apartment, I napped until the Little Masseuse arrived and administered to my physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.

The following morning, I received a shock. The tiny restaurant that I used to spend most of my time in eating various meals and playing with my computer is no longer in operation. It has been sold to an uncommunicative Thai who removed the WiFi as well as the American menu. I went instead to the place I often eat my dinner and had breakfast. The restaurant is on the first floor of what appears to be a short-time hotel and inexpensive guest house. In the evening the small outdoor bar is tended by two attractive ladyboys. Although free wi-fi internet connection is provided, no electrical outlets are apparent in the dining room, so my internet adventures are limited to my computer’s battery life.

After breakfast, I returned to my apartment, took a nap and waited there because the Little Masseuse gets off work at 3 PM. The next day I went to the health club and swam for about an hour. I was pretty much blissfully unaware of actually swimming. It felt like I was stoned.

On my last day in SF, I left my son Jason’s house where I had been staying, hugged my granddaughter Amanda and went to have an early dinner with Peter Grennel at Coppola’s restaurant on the first floor of the building on Columbus Avenue that houses his Zoetrope Studios and drank a liter of house red wine from his vineyard in the Napa Valley, shared a pretty good anti-pasta and ate an excellent interpretation of spaghetti Carbonaro. As usual Peter and I engaged in a thoroughly delightful and humorous conversation about the various pleasures of growing old.

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

RED STAR

Chapter: Something about fans and fecal matter:

Vince arrived at the building that housed the same expensive, dark restaurant that he had brought LaGrande to. He had a more that vague hope that the evening would end much as that one did. He was early and a bit nervous. He checked around the street to see if he could spot his various shadows. He could not, but he assumed they were there. Somehow tonight that comforted him.

As he rode up in the elevator he tried to piece together how he was implementing his strategy but gave up before arriving at the floor upon which the restaurant was located, admitting to himself that he hadn’t the slightest idea what he was doing. He was ok with that.

He asked the maitre’d to be seated at the table in the darkened corner of the dining room, barely visible to the other diners. Although it was a little too near the doors to the kitchen, he felt that its remoteness was more romantic. He waited fidgeting with his tie, the napkin and the utensils. He ordered a glass of 2004 Cakebread Chardonnay and waited some more, sipping the wine instead of playing with the place settings. He began to sweat.

At exactly the precise moment they agreed upon, Isabella emerged from the elevator and swept across the floor toward him. She was wearing a bias cut simmering silver mini dress. It appeared as though someone had taken a bolt of the material and draped it from one shoulder, under the other arm leaving that shoulder bare and back to where it began. The lower edge of the strip of fabric dipped to mid-thigh on the same side as the bare shoulder and swept upward passing no more than two inches bellow her crotch before continuing half way up the opposite hip then dropping down again to barely cover her rump and returning to the partially covered thigh. It was ever so slightly loose along her waist but low and tight like spandex across her mostly exposed and bulging breasts and her ample hips. She carried a smallish purse in the same fabric on a strap slung over one shoulder. Her stiletto heels were the same color of the double strand of black pearls that gleamed darkly from around her neck. She looked like nothing else that the most beautiful bar girl imaginable inhabiting the dives of Bangkok.

As she neared her table Vince got an enormous boner forcing him to rise from his seat only part way and shake her hand slightly bent over. He was embarrassed as he sat down again. She assumed the seat opposite him, a slight smile on her face but the same calm expressionless eyes as always.

As she settled in, never taking her eyes from his, she said, “Just what the fuck do you think you are doing.” (To be continued.)

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

A. The Newtster as seen through a Conservative’s eyes:

Conservative columnist George Will on Sunday roundly criticized Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich as “the classic rental politician.”

“Gingrich’s is an amazingly efficient candidacy in that it embodies everything that is disagreeable about modern Washington. He’s the classic rental politician,” Will said during a roundtable discussion on ABC’s “This Week with Christiane Amanpour.”

B. The Republican candidate excluded from the flavor of the week debates because he is too sane comments on the Occupy movement:

“They look different, they smell different. The Occupy movement is a little scruffy, but I can remember scruffy kids that turned the nation around on civil rights. I can remember scruffy kids that turned America around on the Vietnam War, We ought to listen to these kids.”
Buddy Roemer. We ought to listen to Buddy also.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Strange Apocalypses:

VACUUM DECAY

If the Earth exists in a region of space known as a false vacuüm, it could collapse into a lower-energy state at any point. This collapse would grow at the speed of light and our atoms would not hold together in the ensuing wave of intense energy — everything would be torn apart.

Danger sign: There would be no signs. It could happen half way through this…

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

“It shouldn’t be surprising that the Democratic Party of even President Obama’s re=election team  would campaign against Wall Street in his cycle. However the bigger concern should be that Republicans will no longer defend Wall Street companies – and might start running against them too.

Well known Wall Street companies stand at the nexus of were OWS protestors and the Tea Party overlap on angered populism. Both the radical left and the radical right are channelling broader frustration about the state of the economy and share a mutual anger over TARP and other perceived bailouts. The combination has the potential to be explosive later in the year when media reports cover the next round of bonuses and contrast it with stories of millions of Americans making do with less this Christmas”

Memo from DC lobbying firm Clark Lytle Geduldig & Cranfor (which has had close ties with John Boehner) written to the American Bankers Association proposing an ambitious project to monitor and undermine the Occupy Wall Street movement, as well as sympathetic politicians. (In fairness to the Bankers they rejected the proposal. However, whether they rejected the proposal because they disagree with it or because its contents were publicly revealed is not yet clear.)

Holy cow, imagine if OWS and the Tea Party realize they have same enemy, not just government but who it is that effectively controls government as well. The enemy of Wall Street is not Socialism, it is Populism.

It is interesting to note, instead of suggesting that because millions of Americans are suffering, perhaps good PR if not common sense or simple morality would argue they go light on the bonus crap, they [the authors of the proposal] decide on a holy war to sabotage populist anger. Why would they believe the Bankers would even contemplate such a proposal? How did this happen? See Moyers speech below.

c. Excerpts from Bill Moyer’s speech to Citizens United:

“How did this happen?

You know the story, because it begins the very same year that you began your public advocacy and I began my public journalism. 1971 was a seminal year.

On March 29 of that year, Ralph Nader bought ads in 13 publications and sent out letters asking people if they would invest their talents, skills, and yes, their lives, in working for the public interest. The seed sprouted swiftly that spring: By the end of May over 60,000 Americans responded, and Public Citizen was born.

But something else was also happening. Five months later, on August 23, 1971, a corporate lawyer named Lewis Powell – a board member of the death-dealing tobacco giant Philip Morris and a future Justice of the United States Supreme Court – sent a confidential memorandum to his friends at the U. S. Chamber of Commerce. We look back on it now as a call to arms for class war waged from the top down.

… Powell imagined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as a council of war. Since business executives had “little stomach for hard-nose contest with their critics” and “little skill in effective intellectual and philosophical debate,” they should create new think tanks, legal foundations, and front groups of every stripe. It would take years, but these groups could, he said, be aligned into a united front (that) would only come about through “careful long-range planning and implementation, in consistency of action over an indefinite period of years, in the scale of financing available only through joint effort, and in the political power available only through united action and united organizations.”

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:

What this means is blame it on the lawyers, but not those lawyers who represent Wall Street or large corporations since, of course, nothing they do is “frivolous,” but only those attorney’s who take on cases of ordinary citizens suing Wall Street or large corporations because as we all know, unlike Wall Street and large corporations, anything the ordinary citizen does that may adversely affect those corporations is frivolous, probably dishonest and socialist.

e. Testosterone Chronicles:

In an analysis of the range of findings of the emotional differences between men and women in situations that could affect social decision-making (some of which I have included in precious posts), the authors opine that on the whole, women seem more empathetic and more focused on the collective good. This is broadly consistent with the suggestion by at least one of the researchers that women are more likely than men to base moral decision on a care orientation, whereas men gravitate more towards principles.

This is why I previously wrote:

“For at least 10,000 years or so virtually every political system, economic system and religion has been designed by men for men. There is no natural or divine law that requires any of these structures be designed in the way that they have been. During those same 10,000 years every justification of those structures have been developed by men to benefit men.”Trenz Pruca’s Journal.

Would it not now be appropriate for men to just step aside and turn the whole sorry mess we have made of things over to women? I doubt very much that they could do worse than we men have.

f. Barry Goldwater, American, tells it like it is:

“I’m frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in “A,” “B,” “C” and “D.” Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me?

And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of “conservatism.”
~Barry Goldwater

g. Hassan Heikal’s Proposal:

“We should impose a one-off global wealth tax of ten to 20 per cent on individuals with a net worth in excess of $10m, with tax receipts going to their country of citizenship.
The aggregate wealth of those individuals — that is those with net worth in excess of $10m — is approximately $50,000bn. Paradoxically they — or I should say, “we” — represent fewer than one in 10,000 of the world’s population.

The global proceeds of what I call the “Tahrir Square tax” would be, if levied at 10 per cent, approximately $5,000bn. Europe should receive $1,500bn, more than enough to deal with the European public debt crisis. It would bring down eurozone public debt, excluding that of Germany and France, to below 50 per cent of gross domestic product.[emphasis added]”

h. Department of abasement, apology and correction:

It has been pointed out to me that recently my politically oriented comments appear to have been one-sided and that in fairness I should balance out my opinions by attacks on the other side. Now despite my experience that people who urge that are usually those who refuse to give and inch on their side of the argument and hope you will be foolish enough to do what they propose. Sadly, in the political realm, the Democrats, like Charlie Brown and the football, always seem to fall for it. Since I have been accused of being a Liberal and a slavish supporter of the Democratic Party, to appease the critics I will fall for it too.

I promise:

1. when the Democrats decide, at the behest of the media, to stage a series of debates, ostensibly to identify who is qualified to occupy the most powerful office in the world, and then the best they can do is to parade a group of ignorant clowns before the public week after week to the horror of even the most ardent but thoughtful conservative and who weekly embarrass themselves and this nation before the world, I will devote all my time to ridiculing them and not once mention the “other Party” for as long as they are at it.

2. were the Democrats as a group actually to begin to unite behind the ravings of some ideologues [as the GOP has with Norquist and the like] and hold the Country hostage [like the GOP did twice most recently as a result their anti-tax pledge], until say, a dictatorship of the proletariat was established, I promise I would be equally upset and attack them without let-up even if someone accuses me of blind partisanship.

3. should the majority of the Democrats in Congress as well as those running for the Presidency of the US believe that some religious group or groups have some God-granted right to control their votes in Congress or the actions and policies of the President, I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of “conservatism.” (Haven’t I heard something like this somewhere before?)

TODAY’S CHART:

Note: The Republican congressional delegation opposes the extension of the payroll tax cut on deficit grounds while at the same time stand firm in insisting on the continuation of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. Who’s working for you baby? Slight though it may be, there is a difference between the Parties, if one could call the Democrats a Party and not just a collection of non-Republicans.

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Has the use of casual violence against assembly and free speech become the new norm? Some have suggested that the Occupy protestors should be thankful the violence is not as severe as that suffered by those in the ‘Arab Spring’ uprising. That is like saying at least our torture is not as bad as their torture.

TODAY’S POSTER:

BOLSHEVIK POSTER: “Bloody Sunday.” Artist unknown (1925).

That I show this poster, does it make me a Communist or worse a Bolshevik?

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Categories: October 2011 through December 2011, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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