POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:
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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.”
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.
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.
a. Strange apocalypses:
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.”
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:
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:
“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)
Because we will always have Paris.