TODAY FROM THAILAND:
A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:
Instead of my usual daily schedule of Health club, food consumption, playing with my computer, watching Thai soaps, eating and sleeping, my schedule these last few days has gotten frantic.
I am in the middle of preparing for my trip including obtaining re-entry permits and airline tickets; acquiring and packing the under $2 gifts for my family and closest friends consisting of fake watches, cheap jewelry, and inexpensive scarves that will rarely be worn but that I am sure the recipients of such largess will treasure for ever.
Before I depart, I need to find places to stay and to arrange for lunches and the like during my travels around the US.
In addition, I am trying to finish up the annoyingly delayed draft business plan my sister and I have been working on these last few months.
I am also in the throes of the administrative details of my first paid blogging assignment and trying to get a draft of the article completed before I leave.
The custody battle has heated up too. I am working with the attorney to defend against the claim. The law is simple, no matter who the father may be or how unsuitable the mother may appear, if she was married to someone else at the time the child was born, the putative father has no rights except perhaps the right to the obligation to pay child support. However, since everyone is in such a tizzy (how long has it been since someone has used that word in a sentence) over the putative fathers allegations about the mothers lifestyle and child rearing skills, I have to spend hours on the phone (international calls no less) trying to get everyone focused on what really needs to be done.
All this, and the GOOD/BAD David returns to town tomorrow from Qatar. Not that I view enjoying a lunch or dinner with the genial gentleman from South Dakota as an additional distraction, but I fear my preoccupation with these other things may stunt our scintillating conversations about puerile sex in all its manifestations.
David and I may consider spending a day at the Oval Table in the Outskirts of Hell with Ray who may still be around.
Alas, since I have written the previous two paragraphs, it has become clear that David is delayed somewhere on the sands of the Arabian Peninsula and we will not make our visit to the oval table with Sinbad the Tentmaker.
Thai Soap Opera update:
It has been a while since I updated the status of the several soaps I watch while eating dinner in my apartment.
One of my favorites ended a few weeks ago. It concerned a young man who wore a cowboy hat and covered his face with a scarf when he would be up and about beating up other people for some reason. His nemesis was also a young man who could pass for the masked man’s twin. They would periodically battle because each thought the other was the bad guy. After many weeks of this, the real bad guy turned out to be the guy with the mustache who not only had a gang but had magic powers as well. Mustache could defeat each of the young men alone. So the two young men joined forces for the ultimate showdown with him.
Now unlike US melodrama where such confrontations are resolved in a blaze of gunfire, explosions and car chases, the low-budget Thai soaps are limited to climatic battles with hands, feet, at times swords and very bad special effects . After two full episodes where the young men are fairly well trashed by the mustache, they manage to combine their much weaker magic powers and destroy the source of the mustache’s magic powers and thoroughly beat him up. They were unable to kill him however, so they staked him out in the middle of a field so that the vultures could eat him alive; which they did in living color while I was eating my dinner.
In the following final episode the masked man put his cowboy hat and scarf into a trunk and with the girl who had on and off rejected him, stood somewhere in the country-side with his counterpart and his counterpart’s often imperiled girl friend and they all smiled at each other for a long time.
B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:
1. The essence of politics in Thailand:
It has now become abundantly clear that the only issue in Thai politics is whether deposed, exiled, fugitive ex-Prime Minister and brother of the current Prime Minister Princess LuckyGirl, Thaksin the Terrible will be allowed to return to Thailand without facing arrest. Prime Minister Princess LuckyGirl‘s administration appears capable of passing any legislation it wants as long as it does not make it easier for the ex-prime minister to return.
2. Did he or did he not dodge:
Ex-Prime Minister Abhsit the Unready, is under investigation by civil authorities for dodging the draft way back when. The chief of the armed forces says that such an investigation is unnecessary since the armed forces had already cleared him in an inquiry into the matter while he was serving as Prime Minister.
In response, Abhsit the Unready has sued someone for defamation.
3. Defamation as free speech.
Under Thailand’s defamation law, truth is not an absolute defense.
C. THAI OBSERVATIONS:
In Thailand, like in most tropical countries, unless you live above the fifth floor of a modern condominium building, you soon become desensitized to tiny creatures crawling about your body, especially at nighttime.
The top five recipients of federal corporate tax breaks—Chevron Corp, Bank of America, Exxon Mobil, General Electric, and Boeing—gave $78.7 million to state political campaigns and another $45.3 million to federal campaigns from 1999 through 2010.This number does not include the untold millions these same corporations have spent on public relations, lobbying and consultants to manipulate public policy for their own benefit.
Bill De Blasio, of the New York City Public Advocates office, pointed out that these same five corporations benefited from $3.7 billion in corporate tax breaks in 2009, paid $0 in 2009 federal taxes, and in 2010 enjoyed a combined profit of $77.16 billion. Slightly more than $8.9 million went to political party committees, favoring Republicans 3–to–1 ($6.6 million compared to $2.3 million given to Democrats).
In other words you and I are paying these corporations our tax dollars to enable them to accumulate even more of our tax dollars. Makes you want to go out in the streets and protest doesn’t it?
Think about this; these same corporations mostly through the Republican Party but also with the support of a number of Democrats want you to believe that the source of all America’s fiscal problems is caused by a few Mexicans swimming across the Rio Grande, some black unwed mothers, teachers unions, health insurance reform and a women’s rights to choose. What is most appalling is the number of emails floating through the internet gleefully passed on, as though it was revealed truth, parroting this misdirection that are often created by those funded by the same corporate institutions so eagerly ripping us off.
(A lot of this was written by someone other than me, but I have forgotten who.)
Don’t confuse me with the facts, I have a war to fight:
1917: David Lloyd George, who was the British prime minister during the WWI Passchendaele campaign, wrote in his memoirs:
“[Before the battle of Passchendaele] the Tanks Corps Staff prepared maps to show how a bombardment which obliterated the drainage would inevitably lead to a series of pools, and they located the exact spots where the waters would gather. The only reply was a peremptory order that they were to ‘Send no more of these ridiculous maps.’ Maps must conform to plans and not plans to maps. Facts that interfered with plans were impertinencies.”
A. Pookie’s puerile epigrams:
Tomorrow is what one hopes will be better than yesterday. If it is not, then it is today.
B. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:
1. Why not deal with the budget deficit sensibly?
(It is not as though we are faced by an armed and dangerous Soviet Union spending itself into bankruptcy in a futile attempt to match us militarily. Do we need to spend ourselves into bankruptcy also in order to defend ourselves from a few ill equipped terrorist? How about if we just spend as much as all the other countries combined? I would think that would still keep us safe from armed invasion while also having the benefit of paying off the national debt.)
One must keep in mind that both plans maintain the existing middle class tax cuts. The Democratic Plan would allow the rates on the wealthiest Americans to return to what they were during the Clinton era when we last had a budget surplus.
The first thing to note however is that the Republican tax plan would remove the Obama stimulus tax cut for the middle class and effectively apply it to the wealthy. Therefor the middle class actually will experience a rise in their taxes.
The second, is that since the first about $5 million in value of an estate is already exempt from taxation, the Republican plan adds additional tax relief for the very wealthy that is not available to anyone else.
The Republican tax plan not only maintains the tax relief for the wealthy that had a lot to do with turning a budget surplus from the Clinton years into a deficit, but it actually increases tax relief for the wealthy while reducing it for the middle class.
By providing so much tax relief to the wealthiest Americans, the Republican plan increases the national debt so substantially that governmental expenditures cuts cannot balance it without eliminating almost all current governmental programs including national defense or by engaging in massive inflation of the economy.
The Republican proposal is premised exclusively on the belief that those who are most benefited by their plan will invest and spend in America the money they save from paying taxes thereby boosting the economy and raising tax revenues. This has not worked in the past.
As usual, those who publicly support the Republican plan and who are not generally included in the class that are rewarded by it, are nevertheless most often those who receive financial benefit from those actually directly advantaged by the plan.
C. 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.
This chart shows violence in America (basically assault) relative to other countries. While it reached rates as much as 5 times more than the most violent of other countries, the divergence is decreasing. To put this in perspective between 1975 to 1990 Americans were killing more of their own citizens per year than there were annual deaths of combatants in any war during that time. Since that time, Americans still kill more Americans per year than Americans die in all its wars and all acts of terrorism against Americans combined.
Interestingly, the decreasing rate of violent assaults in the US directly matches increasing rates of abortion availability. On the other hand the original rise in the rate of violent crimes exactly matches the entry of the baby boom generation into adulthood and falls as the pass on into middle age. So what does this all mean? The soldiers returning from WW II should have had better access to birth control and abortion. If they had the world would be in a much better place than it is now. History will probably consider the baby boom generation as the greatest calamity to infect earth since it coalesced out of cosmic dust.
Another point to ponder regarding the violent behavior of the modern American; during the past two decades Americans have killed more non-Americans than any and all other countries in the world have killed non-nationals. Admittedly some countries are as good as we are at killing their own citizens, such as in the Sudan, Rwanda, the Congo and now in Syria. But none are as effective as us in killing each other in random violence or by public execution.