Daily Archives: July 16, 2012

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. December 12, 2011

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

1. Political leaders then and now:

Then:

“It’s time America realized that there is no gay exemption in the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in the Declaration of Independence.”
~Barry Goldwater

Now:

“The problem is that sexual activity with people who you are in close quarters with who happen to be of the same sex is different than being open about your sexuality … They’re in close quarters, they live with people, they obviously shower with people.”
Rick Santorum

2. Democrat behaves badly:

In the past few days John Corzine ex-Democratic Senator and former Democratic Governor of New Jersey in testimony before an US Senate committee investigating his conduct as CEO of a company involved in perhaps the largest bankruptcy in the US since ENRON, claimed he ” did not know” what was happening in the company.

For those accusing me of one-sidedness, I pledge that should Corzine eventually run for the presidency of the US, I shall ridicule him with the same vigor as I did the candidate that said he did not need to know anything about foreign policy to be president because he will have people to do that sort of thing, and the candidate who, at the time he announced his candidacy, when questioned about immoral and corrupt personal and professional life, promised that he “learned his lesson” and would not do it again.

No, not good enough? What you really want is for me to criticize President Obama and Nancy Pelosi directly? Ok here goes—-Both of them have demonstrated the same fortitude and courage in opposing the thugs in the leadership of the opposing party as Neville Chamberlin did with the thugs at Munich.*

Happy now?

* For those of you who do not know who Chamberlin is and what happened in Munich, I suggest reading the Wikipedia account at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Munich_Agreement.

By the way, this item confirms the validity of Godwin’s Law

3. Another Republican decides something is very wrong with his Party’s leadership:

“Basically we’re still stuck in the situation we were three years ago and we haven’t made any progress at all except that our problems are much worse because of political reasons, because we now have a crazy party in charge of one of the Houses of our Congress and they won’t allow anything to happen because it’s in their vested interest to make things worse,” Bartlett explained in his typically exasperated way. “Plus they have a theory that is completely nuts…. I’m very depressed. […] The most we can hope for is that a complete crazy person like Newt Gingrich gets the Republican nomination, the Republicans lose so badly that they lose control of the House and don’t get control of the Senate and then maybe in a year we can finally talk about doing something rational. […]”
Reagan advisor Bruce Bartlett

Is it unfair and one-sided to quote a Republican leader who criticizes his party in language no Democrat elected official could or would dare use? Do I also have to find a Democrat critical of his own Party to be fair? Or a Republican who blindly loves his Party? Would the possibility that the Democrat I chose could be more radical than the main-stream Democratic Party be considered fair? Is fairness really what is wanted here? Remember, the Faux News, network logo “Fair and Balanced” is not just a marketing slogan asserting that their news reporting meets that standard, but also implies the claim that all other news networks are both unfair and unbalanced. That means for example, if they (Faux) for some reason have an objection to the assertion that the world is round, they could consider it to be fair and balanced for them to maintain that in fact the world is flat.

TODAY’S FACTOID:

1. Education matters:

Even in the lowest paying industry, “Hospitality and Tourism,” the average difference in average yearly earnings between someone with only a high school diploma and someone with an advanced degree is almost double and over a 30 year career can total about $800,000 or more.

And, if there is a question about finding employment during hard times, employment opportunities increase significantly with education.

Even if a person is underemployed relative to his or her educational attainments, studies have shown that he or she will still earn more on average than those with less education.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND AND AMERICA:

1. American are not as wealthy as they think:

Figures from Credit Suisse’s World Wealth Report show that the typical American is a lot poorer than generally believed. In the US the mean average wealth is only $53,000. Compared to the typical Japanese or European, the typical American is only half as rich. Half the people in the US have less than $53,000 net worth. You can imagine what the bottom 20% have.

The reason for this is that although their raw average individual wealth is higher (but less than Britain’s) it is skewed by the very very wealthy. The mean average wealth, the wealth of the average American is much much lower (it drops from about $250,000 to around $50,00).

What this means is that for the average American, they are quite poor compared to other developed nations and the country is no longer the land of opportunity.

This is a devastating and grim insight. It explains why so much of America seems, well, so poor. Because it is poor. People don’t have any money. They dress poorly. Eat poorly. Live poorly.

Compared to Britain and Europe, much of the difference can be explained by the housing bubble, and subsequent housing crash in America. If we remember correctly, the US housing stock was valued at about $20 trillion in ’07. It lost 33% of its value, putting a quarter of mortgaged houses underwater and wiping out about $7 trillion of “wealth.”

It should also be noted that the US Federal Government, through the Federal Reserve and TARP paid out over twice the amount homeowners lost in wealth to the banking industry ($15 Trillion) to save the banks from collapse. Is anyone asking why we did not give the Homeowners $7 trillion instead to buy down their mortgages and bail out both for one half the cost?

2. Thailand, Cracked News from “Not the Nation”(the Thai version of “The Onion”):

Prosecutor Offers ‘Uncle SMS’ Reduced Sentence In Exchange For Acting More Evil

3 Dec 2011 BANGKOK – Following the high-profile conviction of Ampon Tangnoppakul for allegedly sending lèse-majesté texts last year, government prosecutors have offered the 61-year old grandfather a new deal. Under the proposed agreement, Ampon’s sentence will be reduced from 20 to only 5 years if he agrees to act more evil between now and his incarceration.

“We are experiencing a lot of negative press coverage for this case,” explained a spokesperson for the DSI. “By acting like such a sympathetic character, Mr Ampon is doing irreparable harm to the entire system. We would like to therefore ask his co-operation in being less sympathetic, for which we are willing to reduce his sentence.”

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Yesterday was the last day of the week-long celebration of Kings birthday and the little masseuse and I went to the palace grounds for the evening. Unlike his birthday itself when there were almost a million people in attendance and the evening was occupied mostly with pomp and speeches, there were fewer people yesterday and the emphasis was on entertainment. The absence of the overwhelming masses allowed us to visit the several pavilions at the site that mostly contained photographs about the king’s reign and Thai history.

The entertainment began with a big band orchestra made up of either high school or college students and a number of singers, two of whom appeared  professionals and the rest students.

While most of the singers sang pop tunes in Thai, a young man, who clearly appeared terrorized to be performing, sang a pretty good blues tune. Its minor cords seemed to require a lot of effort from him. He later sang a fine rendition of “My Way” in english but he blew the last note and seemed to die right there on the stage. I felt like crying for him. He did not come our for the finale.

A group of musicians followed playing traditional Thai instruments mostly hooked up to amplifiers and included two heroic drummers who banged on their drums with what seemed like every part of their body except their penis, and I am not so sure about that. They were followed by a team of traditional Thai dancers equally divided between young women in traditional costumes and tall thin young men dressed in attire that looked like it came out of the late middle ages in Italy. Although they appeared to be tall thin young men, in Thailand you can never tell. This was followed with a dance that looked like a Thai boxing match between monkeys (they had furry tails) and young men. There was a lot of jumping about and pushing each other. Finally, just before we left, we watched a dance with the long sticks (I am sure many of you have seen a version of it) where some of the dancers rhythmically strike two long sticks together and the other dancers jump in and out of without getting their ankles broken.

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

Old man memories; Donald Lundy:

Sometime between about second grade and junior high school, I lived in a village in New York, called Tuckahoe. The village  nestled in a wide spot in the valley carved by the Bronx River. In the village resided a collection of poor people, mostly italians and blacks along with a few middle class jews. We lived there because the high income towns that surrounded us restricted individuals of those three ethnic groups from living there. A number of Tuckahoe residents however worked in those other towns as gardeners, domestics and the like. Others worked in the industrial plants in nearby Yonkers while the remainder mostly occupied themselves with the shops and business that serviced the residents of the village.

Like most low-income areas of that time, the village had an industrial past. The vast marble quarries that attracted the italian immigrants had by the late forties and early fifties played out leaving the village a relatively impoverished residential enclave surrounded by great wealth.

Immediately after school we kids ,would run and play in the streets until dinner time and then again after dinner until bedtime. My parents insisted I return home before dark and go to bed shortly thereafter where I jealously listened to the other children, playing in the streets near my home well into the night.

Several of the village boys in my age group,including me, as boys tend to do, began to spend most of our play time together and began to envision ourselves as a gang much like that in the “Our Gang” comedies that were popular short features shown with the double features that on Saturday mornings we watched in the local movie house referred to as The Itch.

As we grew older, we modeled our gang on Leo Gorcey and the Dead End Kids. In fact the leader of our group, Peter Cirrincione, referred to as “sir rinse” even adopted Gorcey’s walk. I guess I would have been the good-looking skinny sullen guy in the movies who was always somewhat alienated from the group. Unlike some of the other characters like Huntz Hall, the actor who played my part often changed during the decade or so that their movies were popular.

Like that character, I was always a bit moody, aloof and estranged. I could never simply follow whatever “sir rinse” wanted to do and so would go off on my own a lot. At that time I was quite small for my age, quick to take offense and so I fought a lot. Also because I preferred to spend my time reading, I appeared arrogant often correcting things the others would say. In other words, I was a bit of an asshole. (To be continued.)

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

RED STAR

Chapter: Something about the fan and feces (cont.)

She grimaced and pulled the purse closer to her as though she feared that Vince would pick it up and play with it.

“Damn it Isabella, did you expect me to stand idly by and do nothing?” he said.

No,” she responded curtly, “but I expected you would think about the others you may have put in danger'”

That silenced him. He really hadn’t thought of anyone else. Now he wondered if Ike or Fat Al were at risk; or anyone else. Still he was not convinced that this was much more than government security paranoia.

Nevertheless, he blurted out, “I apologize, I did not think about that. It was inconceivable to me that my office would be bugged.”

“What else didn’t you think of,” she said sarcastically?

“I did not think I would find myself as attracted to you as I am,” he let slip and immediately regretted it.

Her eyes widened and she gazed at him until the door to the kitchen opened disgorging a waiter pushing a small food cart and her eyes slid over to study him.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Strange Apocalypses:

GEOMAGNETIC REVERSAL

The Earth’s magnetic field provides a shield against harmful radiation from our sun that could rip through DNA and overload the world’s electrical systems. Every so often, Earth’s north and south poles switch positions and, during the transition, the magnetic field will weaken or disappear for many years. The last known transition happened almost 780,000 years ago and it is likely to happen again.

Danger sign: Electronics stop working.

b. Profiles in Presidential courage:
“A few years after World War II, a child who was born into poverty had a slightly better than 50-50 chance of becoming middle class as an adult. By 1980, that chance fell to around 40%. And if the trend of rising inequality over the last few decades continues, it’s estimated that a child born today will only have a 1 in 3 chance of making it to the middle class.

It’s heartbreaking enough that there are millions of working families in this country who are now forced to take their children to food banks for a decent meal. But the idea that those children might not have a chance to climb out of that situation and back into the middle class, no matter how hard they work? That’s inexcusable. It’s wrong. It flies in the face of everything we stand for…”
Barack Obama in Ossawatomie, Kansas.

Recently someone told me that Obama doesn’t really believe this but is just saying it to get votes and that when he proposes laws and programs to address poverty, unemployment and inequality he is also doing it to be re-elected. Hmmm, I think I can live with that kind of hypocrisy, don’t you?

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

“But if you want to see the story pulled together in one compelling narrative, read this — perhaps the best book on politics of the last two years: Winner Take All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class. Two accomplished political scientists wrote it: Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson – the Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson of political science, who wanted to know how America had turned into a society starkly divided into winners and losers.

Mystified by what happened to the notion of “shared prosperity” that marked the years after World War II; puzzled that over the last generation more and more wealth has gone to the rich and superrich, while middle-class and working people are left barely hanging on; vexed that hedge-fund managers pulling down billions can pay a lower tax rate than their pedicurists, manicurists, cleaning ladies and chauffeurs; curious as to why politicians keep slashing taxes on the very rich even as they grow richer, and how corporations keep being handed huge tax breaks and subsidies even as they fire hundreds of thousands of workers; troubled that the heart of the American Dream – upward mobility — seems to have stopped beating; astounded that the United States now leads in the competition for the gold medal for inequality; and dumbfounded that all this could happen in a democracy whose politicians are supposed to serve the greatest good for the greatest number, and must regularly face the judgment of citizens at the polls if they haven’t done so;

Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson wanted to find out “how our economy stopped working to provide prosperity and security for the broad middle class.” They wanted to know: “Who dunnit?”

They found the culprit: “It’s the politics, stupid!” Tracing the clues back to that, “unseen revolution” of the 1970s — the revolt triggered by Lewis Powell, fired up by William Simon, and fueled by rich corporations and wealthy individuals — they found that, ‘Step by step and debate by debate America’s public officials have rewritten the rules of American politics and the American economy in ways that have benefitted the few at the expense of the many.”

There you have it: they bought off the gatekeepers, got inside, and gamed the system. And when the fix was in, they let loose the animal spirits, turning our economy into a feast for predators. And they won — as the rich and powerful got richer and more powerful — they not only bought the government, they “saddled Americans with greater debt, tore new holes in the safety net, and imposed broad financial risks on workers, investors, and taxpayers.” Until – write Hacker and Pierson – “The United States is looking more and more like the capitalist oligarchies of Brazil, Mexico, and Russia where most of the wealth is concentrated at the top while the bottom grows larger and larger with everyone in between just barely getting by.”

d. How To Talk Like A Republican (the new American Lexicon):

I assume we all remember how effectively, “the right to choose” was used during the debate on Obamacare. I also assume those of us who used that phrase thought we used it because it was factually accurate and not cynical political manipulation. But then, I guess both sides resorted to “cynical political manipulation.” They did didn’t they, or does someone cynically want us to believe that?

e. The difference between Americans and Europeans :

Americans are more likely to believe in unilateral military intervention.

f. Department of abasement, apology and correction:
“This and that…” is written for my own enjoyment. I send it on hoping that those of you who actually read it enjoy it also. If not you are free to erase or avoid reading those sections that you find objectionable.

Not too long ago, one of you objected that a graphic sex scene in my mystery novel since might be read by the teenagers who are on my mailing list and requested that if I could not refrain from that in the future, I at least warn her so she can do whatever she thinks appropriate on her end. I am ok with that and will try to honor the request. (By the way, in the next few chapters of the so called Mystery Novel, there will be a considerable amount of gratuitous violence, obscene language and a little kinky sex. You may want to be prepared.)

More recently, in response to my increased coverage of Republicans during their debates and the news coming out of the Occupy protest, I find myself accused of a one sided hatred of Republicans. I am embarrassed that I actually responded to that. I am even more ashamed that I unknowingly had been subjected to what I call “Faux News Think,” and fell into the trap.

“Faux News Think,” as I should have realized, is a method of political discourse that anyone who had taken Rhetoric 101 would recognize. It is a gussied up version of school yard debate techniques, that demands that one side explain themselves while the other never has to do so. The genius of it is that Faux News and those that developed it, whether knowingly or unknowingly, managed to inculcate it into enough of the population that some believe they thought it up themselves and it is reasonable and natural.

I am thinking of writing an article about it. In my next Post I will explain what it is in some detail.

TODAY’S CHART:


TODAY’S CARTOON:

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. December 8, 2011

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

1. Theodore Roosevelt, Populist Republican President:

“The essence of any struggle for healthy liberty has always been, and must always be, to take from some one man or class of men the right to enjoy power, or wealth, or position, or immunity, which has not been earned by service to his or their fellows. That is what you fought for in the Civil War, and that is what we strive for now.”

2. David Frum, Republican political strategist attempting to save the party from itself.

“This past summer, the GOP nearly forced America to the verge of default just to score a point in a budget debate. In the throes of the worst economic crisis since the Depression, Republican politicians demand massive budget cuts and shrug off the concerns of the unemployed. In the face of evidence of dwindling upward mobility and long-stagnating middle-class wages, my party’s economic ideas sometimes seem to have shrunk to just one: more tax cuts for the very highest earners.”

3. Ruth Porat, executive vice president and chief executive officer of Morgan Stanley, a member of the 1% urges and a Republican:

“The wealthiest can afford to pay more in taxes. That’s a part of the deal. That makes sense. I don’t know anyone that doesn’t agree with that. The wealth disparity between the lowest and the highest continues to expand, and that’s inappropriate.We cannot cut our way to greatness.”


TODAY’S FACTOIDS:

1. September 2011:,

According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, more Americans than last year believe the world is warming and the change is likely influenced by the Republican presidential debates. The percentage of Americans who believe the Earth has been warming rose to 83 percent from 75 percent last year in the poll conducted Sept 8-12.

Now a new Pew poll provides further support for that finding. From 2009 to 2011, the percentage of moderate or liberal Republicans who say there is “solid evidence” the earth is warming jumped 22 percentage points, from 41% to 63% — 15 percentage points just since last year (from 48 to 63).

See, who said Republicans can’t learn? They simply might, however, be just a bit slow. Unfortunately, their elected officials seem a lot slower than their base.

2. Education matters:

Careers that require at least mid level skills or higher will grow faster.

3. China has 64 million empty apartments.


TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND AND AMERICA:

1. Thailand, Flood Aftermath:

As the flood water recedes and the clean-up gets under-weigh, proposals for dealing with future flooding abound. Almost all, if not all, imply continued development of the flood plain, which the King warned against two decades ago. Each of these proposals seek to handle future water flow from storms similar to those recently experienced. Without getting into the impacts of climate change or the ongoing debate over whether the recent floods were 100 year or 1000 year floods and whether it is cost effective to size your infrastructure to handle something that only occurs every century, no proposal that I have seen so far accounts for future development of the flood plain, but instead ignores what it makes more possible.

For example, the channels, canals, drainage structures and retaining basins are all proposed to be sized to handle future flooding. But they also allow even more development in the flood plain that would overtime increase the amount of water the infrastructure must handle, undoubtedly overwhelming them. Developers are proposing projects in which cement walls built to a hight of a certain level of flooding (significantly less than that recently experienced) surround the homes. Since these would be built in the flood plain, the result would be higher and more sever flooding because the water would have less area to spread out into.

The only way to avoid this is either to prohibit future building in the flood plain, which is impossible, or require all structures be built, as they have been traditionally, on stilts leaving the ground level free for water flow and drainage. Any impervious surface necessary would have to be compensated for with something like a drainage ditch of equal size as that covered by the impervious layer and dug down to a depth of one or two meters and filled with permeable material so that future flood water can be held and drained into the subsoil. This won’t happen either.

2. Thailand, petrol:

Thailand has ordered the use of petrol (for cooking primarily) phased out in one year and  replaced by ethanol produced from sugar plants. The petrol companies support the move, so do the sugar growers.

3. Thailand, pardons:

In honor of the his birthday The King has pardoned 26,000 inmates, but not Thaksin the Terrible who nevertheless remains at large.

4. Thailand, cuisine:

The number of Mr Donut stores in Thailand are expected to double in five years.

5. America:

According to Felix Salmon, without the Fed and the Treasury, the shareholders of every single money-center bank and shadow bank in the United States would have gone bust. He adds that he does not understand why officials from the Fed and the Treasury keep telling him that the US couldn’t or shouldn’t have profited immensely from its TARP and other loans to banks. Somebody owns that equity value right now. It’s not the government. But when the chips were down it was the government that bore the risk. That’s what a lender of last resort does. That’s why Bagehot’s rule is to lend freely but at a penalty rate. The bankers should not profit from the fact that they were over leveraged, and compelled the government to act as a lender of last resort.

6. American weather disasters:

America suffered a record 12 weather disasters this year that each caused at least $1 billion in damage.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Today December 5 is the Birthday of The King of Thailand, King Bhumibol. It is the end of the seventh 12 year cycle of his life which makes it special. It is also poignant for many Thais because the precarious nature of The King‘s health may mean it is possibly his last birthday celebration.

Although the celebration lasts for about a week, on his birthday itself a grand festival was held near the palace with 100s of thousands of people attending, fireworks throughout the city, interminable speeches by politicians and endless chanting by 100s of monks. Also there was a short speech by the obviously very ill monarch where he asked everyone to behave themselves.

As Kings go, Bhumibol in my opinion, is one of the best. Not that Kingship is one of the better systems of governance. It is not, being essentially a reward to the original biker gang-leader who slaughtered and raped his way to the top to allow his mostly inept descendants to have a free ride while participating in elaborate ceremonies, eating things too rich to be good for them, dressing uncomfortably and every now and then putting someone they did not like to death in very horrible ways. As in everything, experience and expectation to the contrary, every now and then the system throws up an exemplary individual. King Bhumibol is one.

During most of Bhumibol‘s reign, major political power in the country was exercised by some of the strangest dictators known to history (One dictator even had the improbable name of “Weird”). Nevertheless, Bhumibol carved out an exemplary niche for himself. Rarely, if ever, during his reign have the other political powers in the country concerned themselves with anything other than the welfare of the small group that exercised control over the military and commercial resources of the country who resided primarily in the nation’s capitol, largest city and commercial center, Bangkok. Until recently Bhumibol was not only the spiritual leader of the country, but its conservationist, environmentalist, cultural preservationist, water policy czar and rural development maven. He established and managed the nations national park system, developed and promoted the nations folk art, designed its water and flood protection systems, instituted a means of promoting village products throughout the country and the world and much much more.

He appears to be a most humble man. Most Kingships and nobility systems depend upon a system of religious deification, preservation of dignity, elaborate rituals and cultivation of support from the most powerful and conservative institutions in the nation. Bhumibol understood this but maintained only the slightest interest it, only as much as necessary. On formal occasions the rituals or prostration and the like were observed and noted. During his visits around the country pursuing his interests such rituals disappeared. For example, when reviewing a flood control site he often would roll out his maps and plans on the hood or the nearest vehicle oblivious to the usual pomp that surrounds royal excursions.

He is a scientist and inventor with many patents to his name (mostly for water projects), musician and composer, sportsman (won a gold medal in sailing in the Asian Games on December 12th which has become National Sports Day in Thailand) and much more.

Nice going big guy. Happy Birthday.

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Again I regret the post has gotten too long and as usual, the saga of Vince and Isabella loses out.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Strange apocalypses:

MEGA TSUNAMI

Geologists worry that a future volcanic eruption at La Palma in the Canary Islands might dislodge a chunk of rock twice the volume of the Isle of Man into the Atlantic Ocean, triggering waves a kilometer high that would move at the speed of a jumbo jet with catastrophic effects for the shores of the US, Europe, South America and Africa.

Danger sign: Half the world’s major cities are under water. All at once.

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

1.To end the lie that Americans are overtaxed.

The above chart suggests that those that believe US taxes are too high may wish to move somewhere else. Clearly they would be very unhappy in Denmark, Sweden, Italy or a number of other countries, but perhaps they would enjoy moving to Mexico. America, love it and support it by paying your taxes, or leave it. Haven’t I heard something like that before? [By the way, I do not pay taxes any more, so I left]

2. To end theft of our tax dollars and erosion of our military strength by defense contractors.
“In the 1980s, there were legislative efforts to make contractors keep data on any should cost [Alternative to grossly more expensive ‘did cost’ pricing for military hardware] they did and make it available to the DoD, but those standards, especially Military Standard 1567A were finally vaporized by 1995 [during Clinton administration] with the historical cost advocates winning full control of the pricing in the DoD… this has lead to paying more for less and less weapons — more bucks for less bang.”
Dina Razor

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

“No wonder the US Chamber of Commerce feels right as home with the landmark designation of its headquarters. 1615 H Street now masterminds the laundering of multi-millions of dollars raised from captains of industry and private wealth to finance — secretly — the political mercenaries who fight the class war in their behalf.

Even as the Chamber was doubling its membership and tripling its budget in response to Lewis Powell’s manifesto, the coalition got another powerful jolt of adrenalin from the wealthy right-winger who had served as Nixon’s secretary of the treasury, William Simon. His polemic entitled A Time for Truth argued that, “funds generated by business” must “rush by multimillions” into conservative causes to uproot the institutions and “the heretical strategy” [his term] of the New Deal. He called on “men of action in the capitalist world” to mount “a veritable crusade” against progressive America. Business Week magazine somberly explained that ,“…it will be a bitter pill for many Americans to swallow the idea of doing with less so that big business can have move.”

I’m not making this up.

And so it came to pass; came to pass despite your heroic efforts and those of other kindred citizens; came to pass because those “men of action in the capitalist world” were not content with their wealth just to buy more homes, more cars, more planes, more vacations and more gizmos than anyone else. They were determined to buy more democracy than anyone else. And they succeeded beyond their own expectations. After their 40-year “veritable crusade” against our institutions, laws and regulations — against the ideas, norms and beliefs that helped to create America’s iconic middle class — the Gilded Age is back with a vengeance.”

d. How To Talk Like A Republican (the new American Lexicon):

e. The differences between Europeans and Americans:

f. Testosterone Chronicles:
1.

In an effort to be fair to both sides of the political divide I thought I would share this publicity photograph of my favorite political commentator.

Some of Apple Annie’s most endearing and courageous quotes:

“… just remember the lesson from my book: it just took a few shootings at Kent State to shut that down for good.”

“This is the first time they got bullets back… and that put an end to the protests pretty quickly.”

“I don’t really like to think of it as a murder. It was terminating Tiller in the 203rd trimester.”
(Dr Tiller was the head of an abortion clinic assassinated two decades ago by anti-abortion activists)

“I am personally opposed to shooting abortionists, but I don’t want to impose my moral values on others.”

Sounds a lot like man talk

2. Also to read about a real “Bad Ass” go to:
http://www.badassoftheweek.com/shrestha.html
TODAY’S QUOTE:

TODAY’S CHART:


“Extreme weather like the droughts in Russia, China and Brazil and the flooding in Pakistan and Australia [in 2010] have contributed to a level of food price volatility we haven’t seen since the oil crisis of 40 years ago. Unfortunately, this could be just a taste of things to come because in the next few decades the build-up of greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere could greatly increase the risk of droughts, flooding, pest infestation and water scarcity for agriculture systems already under tremendous stress.” — John Beddington, UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser (March 2011)


TODAY’S CARTOON:


TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Because we will always have Paris.

TODAY’S POSTER:

Categories: October 2011 through December 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. December 5, 2011

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

1. How deep are your political beliefs mommy?

Republicans could be hurting their general election chances by calling for mass deportations of undocumented immigrants and vowing not to reform the system until the border is secured, a pollster and a Republican strategist said on Tuesday and advised them to abandon those proposals.

2. Recent twitter post from “The Onion”:

Rumors Of Extramarital Affair End Campaign Of Presidential Candidate Who Didn’t Know China Has Nuclear Weapons.

3. Buddy Roemer, Populist Republican Candidate for President:

According to Roemer, The Dodd-Frank financial reform law is “a disgrace” because it formalizes the concept that mega banks like Citigroup and Goldman Sachs are “too big to fail,” regardless of whether they pursue reckless or unscrupulous practices. “The taxpayers will not support any more bailouts,” he says. “That’s [the view of] Occupy Wall Street. That’s the Tea Party. That’s Buddy Roemer. It’s America, and if the bank is too big to fail, then the bank ought to be disbanded.”

TODAY’S FACTOIDS:

1. 2011:

According to the WMO in its annual report on climate trends and extreme weather events, unveiled at UN climate talks in Durban, South Africa, this year caps a decade that ties the record as the hottest ever measured.

“Our science is solid and it proves unequivocally that the world is warming and that this warming is due to human activities,” WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said in a statement, adding that policy-makers should take note of the findings.

“Concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have reached new highs and are very rapidly approaching levels consistent with a 2 to 2.4 Celsius rise in average global temperatures.”

Scientists believe that any rise above the 2.0 threshold could trigger far-reaching and irreversible changes on Earth over land and in the seas.

The 2002-2011 period equals 2001-2010 as the warmest decade since 1850, the report said.

2. November 30, 1941:

Einsatzgruppen shoots 10,000 Jews from Riga in the Rumbola Forest.

Lest we forget

3. How to live longer, get a cat.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota’s Stroke Institute in Minneapolis found that cats, by nature, alleviate stress and anxiety, potentially reducing the risk of heart attack in humans by 30%. It’s not just the felines’ unconditional love that helps cat owners stave off stress-related cardiovascular diseases. A cat’s purr actually produces vibrations at frequencies that have been known to help with pain relief, bone and muscle growth, and wound healing.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND AND AMERICA:

1. America: a public dialogue.

“You don’t own me. I pay your salary. I work for the private sector and you work for the taxpayer.”
Historian Dr. Douglas Brinkley to Representative Don Young (R. Alaska) at a congressional committee hearing in response to Congressman Young telling Brinkley, “I’ll call you anything I want to call you when you sit in that chair… You just be quiet,” when Brinkley attempted to correct the honorable Congressman’s pronunciation of his name: ”

2. America: From the HP Psychometer (Bat-shit Crazy).


Every year we hope it’ll be the last we hear of Black Friday shoppers trampling one another to death over cheap electronics, but sadly 2011 was no different from previous years. Not only did Target shoppers haphazardly step over a 61-year-old man who had collapsed and later died, but one Wal-Mart shopper thought it appropriate to pepper spray nearly 20 people in the face, while another group of shoppers fought like animals over $2 waffle makers and yet another group stampeded an Urban Outfitters. We’re sure there are more we could share, but our faith in humanity is already at dangerous new lows.

3. Thailand and Yingluck’s boots:

After failure of a no confidence motion for her government’s handling of the flooding in Thailand and the release of a poll showing that Prime Minister Young and Lucky‘s popularity actually increased, the press has begun to suggest that the mud does not cling to her boots. Like Ronald Reagan she seems to be another Teflon political leader whose popularity rises no matter what happens in their countries or what mistakes their administrations make.

4. Parking in Thailand:

“He parked in my driveway,”
Statement by a retired Thai Army Major General explaining why he shot, kicked and stomped on a Bangkok Post news photographer.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

The epic floods are slowly dissipating and all over the country cadres of people are out with brooms signaling the beginning the massive cleanup. Business leaders are busy telling everyone how optimistic they are about making money from the reconstruction. The Travel industry has rushed to market the concept that the floods never happened. Various so-called visionaries have proposed a host of generally impractical remedies for minimizing future flooding while the construction and engineering industry and a few large landowners are pushing several super public works projects including a 200 mile long canal along the eastern part of Bangkok to divert water around the city and into the Gulf. Meanwhile the politicians have begun squabbling over fault.

Two things have struck me when I consider the floods and their aftermath. Well, many things actually, but two I feel like mentioning.

The first is that at the beginning or the monsoon season, I mentioned in these posts that while watching the evening weather shows here in Thailand I noticed a series of stationary low pressure areas remaining motionless north of the Mekong River. I assumed at the time that the stationary lows were a normal pattern of the monsoons season since they obviously sucked the warm moist air from the high pressure ridges in the Indian ocean. This warm moist air would pass over the highlands of South and Southeast Asia where, as it rose above the mountains, it would lose its ability to hold as much moisture which would then fall as rain eventually ending as run off in the Mekong River or in the tributaries to the Chao Phraya.

After the first two or so storms, I noticed that the line of lows had, in South East Asia at least, moved south of the Mekong and now sat right on top of the highlands. I did not think much about it at the time, but after reading about the blame game, I realized that Thailand has two major drainages, the Mekong draining toward the Pacific ocean and the Chao Phraya drainage through Bangkok to the Gulf of Thailand. Once the lows moved south that ment that instead of being carried away by two drainages, now the entire rainfall from the remaining 3 or 4 major monsoon storms had to drain through central Thailand. I would think someone should have noticed that at the time and warned the authorities.

The second thing of note is that the King, who for all extent and purpose is the primary water policy expert in Thailand, in the 1990s warned the country that the lowlands around eastern Bangkok was the essential flood plain and had to be kept clear so that flood waters could flow to the sea without damaging the existing built up areas. Ignoring the King’s warning the business and political establishment saw eastern Bangkok as a growth area and proceeded to eliminate the flood plain with massive industrial estates and the new international airport. As a result the water denied free movement through the flood plain spread out into the City.

Now they want to tax the people of Thailand to build a massive canal so that even more of the flood plain can be developed. And you know what? Thailand may not have a choice, as usual.

MOPEY JOE’S MEMOIRS:

There was a time, twenty years or so ago that I frequently found myself in New Orleans. I often attended conferences there or otherwise occupied myself on things coastal; consulting and so forth. I liked the City and southern Louisiana a lot and would often extend my stay or return for vacations alone or with my family. I was particularly fond of the misty romantic bayou area in Cajun Country; the Bayou Teche of James Lee Burke and the “Evangeline” area. I used to wander around the Bayous, staring at the water and the Spanish moss encrusted trees and watching the alligators stalk the nutrias. Sometimes I would stop in a local restaurants and devour cajun cuisine or search for places to listen to the music, Zydeco and Jazz.

In New Orleans, through our mutual involvement in environmental issues, I became friends with a someone who lived in a large deteriorating mansion in the Garden District. He was a descendant of a man who, just prior to the Civil War, “cornered” the cotton market for two days and thereby made enough money so that at least 5 generations of his heirs could avoid real work. I do not know what cornering a market actually means, but it appeared to be the “hedge fund” equivalent of the time. I do know that like the derivatives of our time, cornering a market has little if any socially redeeming purpose. In this case it produced no jobs, no products and no wealth for anyone but him and his descendants and can probably be considered just slightly above outright theft on almost any moral scale. Anyway, my friend shared with me a capsule history, from the point of view of each generation’s education, of his family and most of the anglos descended from those that inhabited the district before the Civil War.

The initial settlers in the Garden District were generally uneducated but had become wealthy the good old fashion American way, they stole from someone else. They sent their children to Oxford and Cambridge. They in turn sent their children to Harvard and Yale. The third generation went to Tulane and the fourth to LSU. As the trust funds ran out, the most recent generation, if they attended any institution of higher learning at all, attended New Orleans Junior College.

My friend’s tale got me to thinking about whether other American groups experienced a similar progression through the generations as did the citizens of New Orleans Garden District.

It immediately struck me that the American experience was truly unique in the world and it usually cycled more or less over three generations.

The first generation were most often immigrants who usually migrated from poverty into very slightly less poverty. By poverty I mean the deadly combination of the absence of material resources and constant fear due to the precariousness of their existence. These immigrants were rarely educated, but, sometimes as a result of hard work, luck or simple persistence, some became wealthy, a few fabulously so while others managed to make do and provide their families with an upper lower class or middle class living that they could not aspire to in their previous homeland. Others, perhaps even the majority failed miserably and passed on their poverty to their children.

The children of this first generation who had succeeded in moving out of meanest poverty, often sought to enter the artistic or mandarin class, doctors, lawyers, accountants business managers, investment advisers, academics, teachers, government workers.

By the third generation some found themselves comfortable simply maintaining their middle class status while others unfortunately seemed to fall back into the ranks of the poor but with a difference; a marked reduction in fear and helplessness. By this time they are acclimated to their society and so have become more confident in their survival as well as their acceptance. These latter descended to lower paid positions, such as in social service and the arts. Finally a few simply became, well bums and by bums I mean those who accept the meanest absence of resources while also remaining free of the fear and desperation that marks true poverty.

Now of course, the reason for the above tortured analysis was to lead back to me and my own story or worse, to a rationalization of some of the circumstances in my life.

My grandfather Joe was the archetype for the first generation. Leaving the dire poverty of the mountains above Naples, he found in America a precarious existence admittedly better to some degree than what he left behind. Through, hard work, luck, a bit of thuggery and a lot sharp dealing he achieved great wealth, beyond his wildest dreams. Alas, all that came crashing down when he lost everything in the Great Depression.

My father, during my grandfathers years of prosperity, hoped to enter the Mandarin class as an attorney until the economic hard times threw him back into the lowest class where he spent his life as an untrained laborer as though he not his father were the immigrant. His children in turn now became the second generation desiring careers in the arts (my sister and brother) or the Mandarin class (me). But if truth be known, I always secretly yearned to represent my grandfathers third generation and revert to living fearlessly poor, to become a bum. I have achieved that blessed state twice in my life. First when I relocated from the East Coast to SF and became a committed hippy and now, living a poor but happy life in Thailand.

There, aren’t you glad you read through all this, including the questionable analysis, and blatant self-indulgence and finally arrived here at the end. I am.
JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

RED STAR

Chapter: Something about fans and fecal matter (cont.):

Vince’s smile evaporated. “What do you mean?” he responded, beginning to feel the anger rising within him from her challenge as well as the almost certain knowledge that he knew the answer?

“Agreeing to talk to the US Attorney for one thing.”

“Why should that bother you? They’re your people and both you and Russell know I do not know anything significant.”

“Don’t be coy,” she responded moving her eyes from his and toward the waiter approaching the table. “You wanted to stir things up.”

“You do not know what you’re doing,” she added just before the waiter arrived and asked her if she would like something to drink.
.
She declined. He asked if they were ready to order. She stared at him for a surprisingly long time before answering him and responding for both of them that they were not. She continued staring at his back as he receded into the kitchen then turned back to Vince and continued, “And if I know about it, so does everyone else.”

“Ha,” he exclaimed smugly, “you think there is a leak in the US Attorney’s Office?”

She shook her head, “No in yours.”

Bullshit, unless they were listening in on my telephone call there couldn’t be. Not about this. I don’t think Ike would say anything.”

“There is little that goes on in your office that we do not know about, and if we do then someone else can also. Your office has been bugged and not only by the US government at least not the agencies that we are aware of. Now let’s look at our menu and order before the waiter get’s even more nervous than he is already, shall we?”

“You bugged my office? What right do you have to do that,” he demanded as he glanced through the menu of only two pages with limited expensive options descried more like one would describe a piece of art rather than food?

“Someone else did too? How do you know,” he asked trying not to plead?

“More than one we guess,” she responded putting down the Menu.

The waiter suddenly appeared at the table. Vince wondered for a moment how he knew so quickly they were ready to order .

They ordered. She asked for some sparkling mineral water to accompany her meal. He chose a glass of Kendal-Jackson Cabernet that he always liked that he noticed they were serving by the glass. As the waiter turned to return to the kitchen with their order Isabella noted her place setting was missing her salad fork and asked him to bring her a replacement.

After he left, Vince feeling uncomfortable with how the conversation was going decided to lighten things up and asked, “If you are my body guard where is your gun? You look great, but it doesn’t look like you can hide a gun somewhere under that outfit and the purse looks to small.”

“The purse is a gun,” she responded glancing down at it shimmering on the table by he right hand.

“Oh, a James Bond thing,” he tried to joke. It sounded lame even to him. (to be continued)

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Strange Apocalypses:

END of TIME

What if time itself somehow came to a finish because of the laws of physics? In 2007, Spanish scientists proposed an alternative explanation for the mysterious dark energy that accounts for 75% of the mass of the universe and acts as a sort of anti-gravity, pushing galaxies apart. They proposed that the effects we observe are due to time slowing down as it leaked away from our universe.

Danger sign: It could be happening right now. We would never know.

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

1. A society that cares for the well being of their children.

2. End government redistribution of national income growth to the wealthiest few families.

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

“By then his document (Lewis Powell’s memorandum to the corporate elites mentioned in my previous post in which he called upon them to mount a campaign to distort the national economic consensus in order to benefit themselves) had circulated widely in corporate suites. Within two years the board of the US Chamber of Commerce formed a task force of 40 business executives — from US Steel, GE, GM, Phillips Petroleum, 3M, Amway, and ABC and CBS (two media companies, we should note). Their assignment was to coordinate the crusade, put Powell’s recommendations into effect, and push the corporate agenda. Powell had set in motion a revolt of the rich. As the historian Kim Phillips-Fein subsequently wrote, “Many who read the memo cited it afterward as inspiration for their political choices.”

Those choices came soon. The National Association of Manufacturers announced it was moving its main offices from New York to Washington. In 1971, only 175 firms had registered lobbyists in the capital; by 1982, nearly twenty-five hundred did. Corporate PACs increased from under 300 in 1976 to over twelve hundred by the middle of the l980s. From Powell’s impetus came the Business Roundtable, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, the Manhattan Institute, Citizens for a Sound Economy (precursor to what we now know as Americans for Prosperity) and other organizations united in pushing back against political equality and shared prosperity.* They triggered an economic transformation that would in time touch every aspect of our lives.

Powell’s memo was delivered to the US Chamber of Commerce at its headquarters across from the White House on land that was formerly the home of Daniel Webster. That couldn’t have been more appropriate. History was coming full circle at 1615 H Street. Webster is remembered largely as the most eloquent orator in America during his years as Senator from Massachusetts and Secretary of State under three presidents in the years leading up to the Civil War. He was also the leading spokesman for banking and industry nabobs who funded his extravagant tastes in wine, boats, and mistresses. Some of them came to his relief when he couldn’t cover his debts wholly from bribes or the sale of diplomatic posts for personal gain. Webster apparently regarded the merchants and bankers of Boston’s State Street Corporation – one of the country’s first financial holding companies — very much as George W. Bush regarded the high rollers he called “my base.” The great orator even sent a famous letter to financiers requesting retainers from them that he might better serve them. The historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. wondered how the American people could follow Webster “through hell or high water when he would not lead unless someone made up a purse for him.”

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:

Luntz is now advising Republicans to refrain from using the word “Capitalism” because it is in bad repute. For more of his advice to Republicans on how to mislead the populace about what they are really up to see:http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2011/12/01/380121/luntz-gop-occupy-wall-street-capitalism-is-immoral/

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“This book is about the second half of that story, the demarche, and the political ideas—variously called conservative, reactionary, revanchist, counterrevolutionary—that grow out of and give rise to it. These ideas, which occupy the right side of the political spectrum, are forged in battle. They always have been, at least since they first emerged as formal ideologies during the French Revolution, battles between social groups rather than nations; roughly speaking, between those with more power and those with less…”
–Corey Robin, The Reactionary Mind : Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin

TODAY’S CHART:

TODAY’S CARTOON:


TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:


Remember, Goldman Sachs and these guys not only brought you the economic crisis they profited from it. Now they have been chosen to get us out of it, and I guess make a profit off it, whether or not they succeed. Trusting these guys with the economy is like trusting Tony Soprano with your wallet.

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. December 2, 2011

Historically, Populism like most mass movements scours up both the worst and the best in a society as it scrapes across its depths. It is prompted by a deep mistrust of a community’s most powerful individuals and institutions who, its adherents believe, have misused and mishandled the trust they had been granted, violated the social contract if you will. As the indefatigable realist Machiavelli pointed out; on the broad areas of public policy the general populace is almost always more reliable than the élite.
Trenz Pruca

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

1.


2. Ann Coulter to a gathering of gay conservatives:

“Marriage is not a civil right — you’re not black.”

1. is written by Borowitz to mock Gingrich’s post Clintonian* morality, 2. is not a joke.

*Shouldn’t we be thankful to Bill Clinton for his successful efforts to liberate adulterous politicians so that they are now free to come out of the closet and unashamedly run for political office?

TODAY’S FACTOID:

1. First Century AD:

a. Early terrorists, known as Sicarii or “dagger-men” were an extremist group that opposed Roman leadership over the Jews and wanted to take back Jerusalem. The Sicarii were famous for using small daggers and stealth tactics to murder their enemies in crowded places before slipping away.

b. Most men and women in Ancient Rome wore a basic undergarment called a tunic, which they belted at the waist. The length and design of the tunic distinguished the wearer’s social status. Elite Romans wore longer tunics with stripes, whereas slaves and manual laborers generally wore tunics that came above the knee and allowed freer movement. Only male citizens were allowed to wear the togas. These draped over the body on top of the tunic.

c. Only about 75% of babies in the first century AD survived their first year; half of all children died before the age of 10. It was also up to the father to decide whether or not the family would keep a newborn baby. If the baby was deformed or the family could not afford to keep it, the baby would be abandoned in the street where someone might take it in as a slave or servant.

2. September 1986 (Who is our enemy?):

James Atwood, an American with strong CIA links and Gerhard Mertins, a former senior Nazi officer and arms trader company executive, supplied weapons to the Nicaraguan Contras as part of the Iran-Contra affair. Iran-Contra was the highly controversial and illegal arrangement whereby the US sold weapons to Iran – then run by the hard-line Islāmic regime of Ayatollah Khomeini and subject to a global arms embargo — and used the proceeds to fund right-wing Nicaraguan rebels who were fighting to overthrow the left-wing Sandinista government.

Ah, the wonders of outsourcing; do we really want to privatize National Defense?

3. Japan Inc. How they do it:

A 92-year-old japanese blue chip company falsified financial statements for two decades, possibly with  cooperation from auditors, to hide over $1 billion in losses, which weren’t uncovered until the company’s first-ever foreign CEO took a second look at the accounting.

Is that how it is done on Wall Street too?

4. Einsatzgruppen Operational Situation Reports #156:
“A major Jewish action took place on November 23, 1941, after the Jewish population, on the previous day, had been requested by means of posters to assemble. In all, 1,538 Jews were shot. Their clothing was handed over to the mayor of Poltava who gave special priority to ethnic Germans when distributing it.”

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND AND AMERICA:

1. To pee or not to pee:

The Nation, the tabloid option of the two main english language newspapers in Thailand noted that during Prime Minister Princess Lucky Girl’s absence due to an attack of food poisoning, a cabinet meeting was held chaired by the First Deputy Prime Minister. When the First Deputy Prime Minister stepped out to take a pee (as reported), he handed the gavel over to Cheeky Chalerm until his return. Since Cheeky Chalerm is the Third Deputy Prime Minister, the Thai and English language media erupted with rumor and speculation as to why the First Deputy Prime Minister did not pass the gavel to the Second Deputy Prime Minister who also attended the Cabinet meeting. The weight of opinion is that it signifies Cheeky Chalerm‘s move against his competitors (and no I do not know how many deputy prime ministers there are in the Thai Government).

I have it on good authority that Obama does not allow pee breaks during Cabinet meetings, thereby pissing [so to speak] everyone off and shortening the meetings considerably.

2. A hero by any other name:

The media in Thailand has tried to focus attention on some of the many heroes who acted with valor during the recent crisis. Recently they zeroed in on a policeman who had waded through the rising waters pushing a small boat containing a matronly woman until it reached a place that allowed the woman to step out on to dry land. When the woman offered a gratuity to the policeman he refused. Even when she tried to leave the money behind in the boat the policeman surreptitiously slipped the tip back into the woman’s purse.

Now I applaud the cop who did his duty and undoubtedly deserves commendation as do many others who behaved selflessly during this crisis. However I simply wish to note that it appears the press in this case may be implying that in Thailand a policeman refusing a gratuity truly is a newsworthy event. It would be as newsworthy as a Wall Street investment banker refusing his fee because the investors in the instruments he was peddling lost their money.

3. Good US economic news for a change:

ADP JOBS REPORT SMASHES EXPECTATIONS AT 206K: Analysts were expecting 130K new jobs, but instead ADP just reported that there were 206K new private payrolls added in November. Also the previous month was revised up from 110K to 130K. Combine that with the big global coördinated intervention among the world’s central banks, and you’ve got the brew for a gigantic rally today. S&P futures are up 2.7%…

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Having finally shook the effects of jet lag, one day, I set out to accomplish a number of things. Due to my absence from the country, I had forgotten the rule that in Thailand a westerner can accomplish no more than one significant thing per day (if that much). I had planned to visit the Italian consulate to obtain the visa application forms for the Little Masseuse, do some banking at the Bangkok Bank branch near the health club on Sukhumvit Soi 11 and have a long lunch with a very attractive young woman.

Actually the attractive young lady is my most recent wife of five tears or so. Although we had not seen each other for well over a year, we have spoken over the phone now and then. Before leaving on my most recent trip to the US, she called to croon about her affection for me and how much she wanted to get together with me again and asked me to bring her back a bottle of DKNY perfume. Now you need to understand that when I first met her she was a beautiful 18-year-old and when I last saw her 10 years or so later she was a beautiful 28-year-old woman. 10 years or so ago, I was a relatively vigorous old man with some financial resources. Now a decade later, I am a very old man, virtually penniless and well I guess you could call it, performance deficient.

So I thought why would this still attractive woman want to get back with me again? This is Thailand after all, my age and physical capabilities are irrelevant but my absence of financial resources and prospects are an insurmountable obstacle. So what is she after? Being a muslim married to an infidel and burdened with an illegitimate child, I assume her remarriage prospects among men of her faith is nil. It could be she wants to use her marriage to me as a way to emigrate to the US, but that seems far-fetched. She has several times these past two years suggested we meet but whenever we agree to do so, at the last-minute she cancels or doesn’t show up.

Nevertheless when two days ago she telephoned and asked to meet, curiosity, as always, got the better of good sense and so I agreed to have lunch with her.

Before setting out for the bank, I called to confirm. She said she was too ill.

When I got to the bank I found it did not open until 11AM so I waited. It took about an hour to transact my simple business resulting in me being unable to get to the consulate before it closed for the day. So, satisfied at having accomplished my one thing for the day, I headed back to my apartment for a nap.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

See: http://papajoesfables.wordpress.com/

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Editor’s note: Now I know you are wondering what has Isabella’s shorts all in a knot and eager to know if Vince scores, but I am afraid this edition of “This and that…” has gotten too long so you will just have to wait a few days.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Differences between Americans and Western Europeans (according to the Pew Global Attitudes Project (via Patrick.net))

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

1.

Image unavailable at this time.

2. See c. below.

3. The Occupy protestors are forcibly suppressed while:

Banks have illegally foreclosed on nearly 5,000 military members according to the US Comptroller of the Currency.

I get it, the Bankers have jobs while the protestors supposedly do not.–No? Then because the Bankers wears suits? Cologne? Are true American Patriots?

c. Excerpts from Bill Moyer’s (America’s last true patriot) speech to Citizens United:

“…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. ”

Let’s recall the context: [By 1971 as a result of citizen activism and resulting legislation by both parties] Big Business was being forced to clean up its act. It was bad enough to corporate interests that Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal had sustained its momentum through Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy, and Lyndon Johnson. Suddenly this young lawyer named Ralph Nader arrived on the scene, arousing consumers with articles, speeches, and above all, an expose of the automobile industry, Unsafe at Any Speed. Young activists flocked to work with him on health, environmental, and economic concerns. Congress was moved to act. Even Republicans signed on. In l970 President Richard Nixon put his signature on the National Environmental Policy Act and named a White House Council to promote environmental quality. A few months later millions of Americans turned out for Earth Day. Nixon then agreed to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency. Congress acted swiftly to pass tough new amendments to the Clean Air Act and the EPA announced the first air pollution standards. There were new regulations directed at lead paint and pesticides. Corporations were no longer getting away with murder.

And Lewis Powell was shocked — shocked! — at what he called “an attack on the American free enterprise system.” Not just from a few “extremists of the left,” he said, but also from “perfectly respectable elements of society,” including the media, politicians, and leading intellectuals. Fight back, and fight back hard, he urged his compatriots. Build a movement. Set speakers loose across the country. Take on prominent institutions of public opinion — especially the universities, the media, and the courts. Keep television programs under “constant surveillance.” And above all, recognize that political power must be “assiduously (sic) cultivated; and that when necessary, it must be used aggressively and with determination” and “without embarrassment.”

Powell imagined the US 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.”

You have to admit it was a brilliant strategy. Although Powell may not have seen it at the time, he was pointing America toward plutocracy, where political power is derived from the wealthy and controlled by the wealthy to protect their wealth. As the only countervailing power to private greed and power, democracy could no longer be tolerated.

While Nader’s recruitment of citizens to champion democracy was open for all to see — depended, in fact, on public participation – Powell’s memo was for certain eyes only, those with the means and will to answer his call to arms. The public wouldn’t learn of the memo until after Nixon appointed Powell to the Supreme Court and the enterprising reporter Jack Anderson obtained a copy, writing that it may have been the reason for Powell’s appointment.”

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:

Although all lawyers have a lot to apologize for, from my experience the ordinary citizen has far more to fear from the “Corporate Lawyer” than the “Personal Injury Lawyer,” but then Corporate Lawyers probably on the whole vote and contribute much more to the Republican Party than to the Democrats.

e. Strange Apocalypses:

STRANGELETS

Quantum mechanics contains lots of frightening possibilities. Among them is a particle called a strangelet that can transform any other particle into a copy of itself. In just a few hours, a small chunk of these could turn a planet into a featureless mass of strangelets. Everything that planet was would be no more.

Danger sign: Everything around you starts cooking, releasing heat.

f. Department of abasement, apology and correction:

I have mentioned that at times I have received criticisms of some things I may have posted here. I also mentioned that I receive many, many emails containing things I do not agree with and even find their content objectionable (but not the porn – that’s a man thing). I would like to make clear that I am not signaling in any way those posts should stop. God no, I enjoy each one. I also find that they encourage me and provide me with content. In addition, I find, as anyone should, that criticism is sometimes beneficial, . While I may not agree with the comments they often highlight gaps or seeming bias in my thinking. So please keep them coming.

g. Testosterone Chronicles:

Sex adds years to your life. Researchers at Queens University in Belfast followed about 1,000 middle-aged men over 10 years and found that males with a high frequency of orgasms lived twice as long as those who did not experience pleasure.

I love science.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“we want a virgin to do a hooker’s job.”
Lori Klein, an Arizona State Senator and Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain’s Arizona state chairman defending her candidate.

TODAY’S CHART:

Is it because the continuation of the Payroll Tax Cut benefits the rich so little that the GOP opposes it, or is it just because Obama supports it? Oh, in case some believe that the GOP opposition to continuing the tax cut is because of its budgetary implications, forget it. Continuation of the Bush Tax cut for those in the highest income bracket (the very wealthy) has a much greater impact on the budget deficit.

TODAY’S MAP:


TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:


TODAY’S POSTER:

TODAY’S CARTOON:

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

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