Posts Tagged With: Monsoon

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 9 Mopey 0004 (January 26, 2015)

 

Happy Birthday Ruth

“Never get out of the boat.”
Apocalypse Now

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN ELDORADO HILLS:

The weather in the Golden Hills has been delightful for the last few days — the temperatures brisk but pleasant, the skies blue and the clouds vague and wispy at their edges. This morning, although the skies were mostly clear by the house, at the health club a mile or so away, fog and mist covered the pool in a ghostly gray.
IMG_20150115_172222_324_2
Evening Sky Over a Golden Hills Athletic Field

While sitting in the health club jacuzzi, I noticed a woman happily moving in an odd way in front of one of the water nozzles. I surreptitiously tried the same moves and was shocked. While the move probably was not as agreeable for a man as for a woman, it did make me realize that there is more going on behind the locked gates of the golden hills, than manicured lawns suggest.
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Today I visited the first of the two medical specialists to whom I had been referred, the neurologist. The only thing that was confirmed was my hypochondria…
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My daughter gifted me a trip to visit her in Washington DC during the Cherry Blossom Festival in early April. I have been trying to decide on what side trips to make while I am there. She gave me some books for Christmas showing some of the sights and Civil War sites in and around DC. Dick suggested I visit the FBI museum which sounds like a good idea. I also would like to visit Baltimore to see what had changed since I last visited there as a consultant over 20 years ago.
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I read a book today that was described as Science Fiction and Adventure. Although it took place on another world, I had gotten almost all the way through it before to my horror it dawned on me that it was, in fact, a Romance Novel complete with bare-chested men with huge bulging muscles and women falling into pools, or lakes or caught in the rain so that their drenched clothing would cling to their bodies revealing what lay beneath, especially their blushing breasts and stiffening nipples. I waded through page after page of these same shirtless men with biceps like cantaloupes and well-soaked women with heaving breasts like ripe melons in unrelieved sexual arousal as though they had never learned about masturbation or how to make fruit salad. Alas, I enjoyed the book. I am thoroughly embarrassed and have promised myself never to do it again.

B. BOOK REPORT:

As readers of T&T know, I have a weak spot for Swords and Sorcery and Fantasy genre in fiction. I also acknowledge that on any ranking of literary genres it falls somewhere near the bottom. Be that as it may, I still while away many pleasant hours with Mages and Druids, Knights and Damsels and all the other creatures that usually inhabit these novels. Recently I completed reading the four books in the Trysmoon series by Brian K. Fuller. Unlike most series of this type, the four books really make up a single long novel — no single book stands alone. Like most of these novels the transcendental hero or heroine saves the world/king /nation, etc., by magic, sword or pluck. What makes this work different, at least to me, is that the three main characters seem more interesting than most.

The hero, a man without soul created out of mud by the evil one in order to destroy the world, saves it instead, with the help of many others including two women, a mother and daughter, who are the most beautiful and powerful women in the land. He sleeps with both of them and marries each in turn, saves the world, destroys the evil one and thereafter settles down with the mother in a tiny cottage in a god-forsaken village where they make a nuisance of themselves by, among other things, attending house parties that they were not invited to and copulating with each other wherever and whenever they had a mind to do so, which was often.

Pookie says check it out…

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

Musings on Events in the Near east (continued from last issue of T&T):

Looking at a relief map of the Near-east (It is the Near-east not the Middle-east) one notices that on the North lies the highlands of Anatolia in Turkey, a non-Arab strongly governed Muslim State. On the East rises the highlands of Persia, modern day Iran, a strong state with a significant non-Arab population. To the South sits the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula littoral along which exist several strong and wealthy states and two poorer troubled states, Yemen and to some extent Oman (more on this below). At the South-eastern corner lies the deserts of the Negev (Israel) and Sinai (Egypt) backed by the populous Nile River Valley and the immense and hostile Sahara Desert. This area is controlled by Egypt a traditionally stable (at least in area) state with a huge non-Muslim population. The Mediterranean and its littoral states (Israel and Lebanon) containing significant non-Muslim (Lebanon) and non-Arab (Israel with its Ashkenazi Eastern-European culture) populations. In Israel’s case, it is a currently strong state.

In the center lies the rapidly desertifying central Fertile Crescent area (Primarily Syria and Iraq). This area is overwhelmingly Muslim Arab. By 650AD or so it became the center of Arab-Muslim culture governed by Arab warlords extracting tribute from mostly non-Muslim populations and in turn paying an ever decreasing amount of tribute to whichever Caliph held nominal authority over the area. This continued until about 1000AD when governance over the whole of the near east effectively passed from the hands of the Arabs to non-Arab Muslims who created relatively strong and stable states. This remained the situation until the West (Britain and France primarily) returned the non-mountainous areas back mostly to the Arabs who immediately created warlord States until the petroleum reserves passed into the hands of at least some of the states around the Arabian Peninsular Littoral, leaving Iraq and Syria in the hands of Arab warlords representing a minority religious community in each nation. This was done intentionally because the Imperial nations recognized the Arab tendency toward internecine warfare among its family groups and their traditional inability to create (or have any interest in creating) an integrated state. They believed a ruling military based minority would assure stability out of fear of possible majority power.

There is a reason why the Arabs traditionally have had difficulty creating a stable State and it has little to do with character or things like that, other than the usual difficulty of nomadic people to transition into governing the areas they conquer. The reason lies in part with Mohammed himself and the politics of his time. (to be continued)

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

It wants to avoid the following:

“One additional element in this situation, which links the ruling minority and the alienated masses together, was the steady increase in the inequality in distribution of incomes, something which was supported, defended, and intensified by the power structure. This surplus in incomes at the top, used for non-productive purposes, kept the demand for luxury goods high for centuries after the curve of production in necessities had turned downward. The crisis in the production of necessities came in the third century, but the production of, or at least the demand for, luxuries was still as high as ever in AD 600. Moreover, during that period of almost four centuries, the growing corruption and violence excluded honest and hardworking people from access to the ruling system or even from the state, including access to justice or to public office. Both of these were increasingly expensive to a degree that honest, hardworking men could not pay. Both justice and public office required higher and higher costs of access (bribery or sale, if you will) from the fact that these two, plus access to the higher levels of the military system, became access to the affluence of the ruling minority and escape from the grinding poverty of the ruled majority.”
Carroll Quigley, Weapons Systems and Political Stability. (1975)

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Do not withdraw from the unreality of perception, revel in it instead.”
Trenz Pruca

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

IMG_20140426_174146_961.jpg

 

Categories: January through March 2015, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

TODAY’S FACTOID:

2008: The US Federal Reserve in its efforts to stave off a depression during 2008s financial crisis, loaned $1.2 trillion to an assortment of US and foreign banks, an amount “more than the total earnings of all federally insured banks in the US for the decade through 2010.”

Interestingly, that $1.2 trillion according to Bloomberg, is “about the same amount US homeowners currently owe on 6.5 million delinquent and foreclosed mortgages.” Nevertheless, it’s the “Wall Street aristocracy,” as Bloomberg labels them in a bit of welcome class warfare, that got the massive bailouts.

Mama, don’t let your children grow up to be cowboys, tell them to become bankers instead.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

a. Chief of Police – Musical Chairs: It seems the existing Secretary General of the National Security Council who is due to be replaced by the disgraced Chief of Police, himself superseded by an ex in-law of the fugitive ex Prime Minister of Thailand, Thaksin the Terrible, is furious at this turn of events. As well he should be since he in turn will be transferred to an “inactive position.” in the office of the new Prime Minister, who herself is the younger sister of Thaksin the Terrible. The inactive position apparently is one in which one gets paid but has nothing to do. The soon to be replaced Secretary General said that he would prefer to be transferred to the position of permanent secretary of another ministry so that he would have something to do beside coming into the office now and then to collect his pay check. Princess LuckyGirl‘s Deputy said that it would be inappropriate for the Secretary General to be transferred into an “active” position in the new government, since before he became Secretary General he was in charge of the agency responsible for putting members of the party of the new government in jail.

Members of the opposition party including Abhsit the Unready, the recently defeated Prime Minister but still head of his party, said it was unfair to hold the Secretary General’s prior position against him since he was, “Only doing his job.”

Princess LuckyGirl, upon hearing about the soon to be transferred ministers threat indicated that she would be open to meeting with him if she could spare the time from her busy schedule of running the country. She added that, in any event transfers of officials are the responsibility of the appropriate cabinet secretaries. The next day the cabinet met and transferred the disgruntled bureaucrat anyway.

It should be noted that the incoming Chief of Police has a master’s degree in criminal justice from Eastern Kentucky University in the US.

I hope this now ends this whole sordid business.

b. Red Comedians: Yoswaris Chuklom also known as red comedian Jeng Dokjic was made assistant secretary to the Interior Ministry.

I do not know what this means, but I guess everyone could use a good laugh now and then.

c. Passport follies: The United Kingdom which recently privatized its passport and visa offices world-wide no longer provides passport renewals for its citizens in Thailand and other countries.

Hooray for privatization.

d. Gambling with the story: Given the brouhaha over illegal gambling, one of the recipients of my “This and that…” posts has pointed out that during the period when the predecessor of Princess LuckyGirl‘s party was in power, before it was removed by judicial decision or coup, I do not remember which, the prime minister at the time, who was not Princess LuckyGirl‘s elder brother Thaksin the Terrible (3T) proposed legalization of gambling, (restricting the number of casino’s in BKK to five). He announced that he intends to give the Thai people their right to gamble if it is the last thing he did. Gambling was not legalized. He soon died of cancer.

Rumor has it the casino’s were to be awarded to 3T or friends of 3T or relatives or whatever.

e. Red Villages: The newspapers report that several hundred “red villages,” villages populated by “Red Shirt” members have been created in Northern Thailand.

What does this mean? Are they like new subdivisions? Why would anyone move there?

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

The afternoon Monsoon rains still drench the country flooding much of it.

During the Monsoon season, a series of low pressure areas stabilize just north of Thailand and I guess most of South Asia. The lows act on the atmosphere like lower elevation does on water. The warm wet air from the Indian ocean flows over South Asia toward the low pressure areas and drops its moisture as it rises into the mountains. Climate change models conflict as to whether we will see increased rains or movement of the stationary lows producing increasing drought. I suspect seasonal variation simply will be accentuated with more precipitation from the warmer ocean evaporation during the Monsoons and even greater heat and less rainfall during the dry season in the interior.

I continue to plan to come back to the US at the end of this month. It seems that my return through Italy and the East Coast has been cancelled, so I will fly directly from Bangkok to either LA or SF. I have no idea where I will be staying since I have not been made a party to Hayden’s schedule.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Conjecture,” Vince opined. “It is all conjecture. I do not know if I was asked to return because of any perceived abilities I may have or some more nefarious reasons. I have heard both theories. And, while I admit the latter is probably more reasonable, I haven’t the slights idea what the nefarious plot could be — although there have been several bizarre alternatives seriously suggested. For example, does this all have something to do with the reason Sam took his life and his wife died in what to some is a suspicious accident? Or, does it have something to do with “Red Star” or a shadowy group referred to as “The Brethren?”

“Red Star, “interjected The Great One. “That’s the little fraud Sam and the management committee pulled on the rest of the partners, that I and others were furious about and why I tried to get the lot of them thrown out and a new committee elected, but then you came along and simply dispensed with the existing committee. A lot of us believe that you were brought aboard simply to stifle our little rebellion.”

“Do you?”

“Well, to some extent. Not in so many words or even consciously. Let’s face it Vince, you may see yourself as spokesmen for the downtrodden and talk a good game, but no one knows if you have any administrative skills whatsoever. You remind me a bit of Hamlet. You cannot act unless you are sure beyond a doubt.”

“Thanks for the vote of confidence. But even Hamlet once he was sure, acted decisively.”

“Yes, and everyone died. That’s what worries me.” She hesitated a moment then continued, “But, Red Star, is there more there than just stealing some profits from the other partners? There’s a rumor that the Federal Government is investigating.”

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Where did that come from?

They used to use urine to tan animal skins, so families used to all pee in a pot and then once a day it was taken and sold to the tannery. If you had to do this to survive you were “PISS POOR,” but worse than that were the really poor folk, who couldn’t even afford to buy a pot, they “DIDN’T HAVE A POT TO PISS IN” and were the lowest of the low.
The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn’t just how you like it, think about how things used to be.

b. Department of, “I could not resist passing this on”:

It was reported last week by the Military Times that Marines are no longer allowed to fart in Afghanistan, as this is considered very offensive by the Afghan people.

For those of you interested in gaseous digestive residue, attached is one of America’s founding fathers’ take on the matter:

“Permit me then humbly to propose one of that sort for your consideration, and through you, if you approve it, for the serious Enquiry of learned Physicians, Chemists, etc. of this enlightened Age.

“It is universally well known, That in digesting our common Food, there is created or produced in the Bowels of human Creatures, a great Quantity of Wind.

“That the permitting this Air to escape and mix with the Atmosphere, is usually offensive to the Company, from the fetid Smell that accompanies it.

“That all well-bred People therefore, to avoid giving such Offence, forcibly restrain the Efforts of Nature to discharge that Wind.

“That so retained contrary to Nature, it not only gives frequently great present Pain, but occasions future Disease, such as habitual Cholics, Ruptures, Tympanies, &c., often destructive of the Constitution, & sometimes of Life itself.

“Were it not for the odiously Offensive smell accompanying such Escapes, polite People would probably be under no more Restraint in discharging such Wind in Company, than they are spitting, or in blowing their Noses.

“My Prize Question therefore should be, To discover some Drug wholesome and not disagreeable, to be mixed with our common Food, or Sauces, that shall render the Natural Discharges, of Wind from our Bodies, not only inoffensive, but agreeable as Perfumes.

“That this is not a chimerical Project, and altogether impossible, may appear from these Considerations. That we already have some Knowledge of Means capable of Varying that Smell. He that dines on stale Flesh, especially with much addition of Onions, shall be able to afford a Stink that no Company can tolerate; while he that has lived for some Time on Vegetables only, shall have that Breath so pure as to be insensible to the most delicate Noses; and if he can manage so as to avoid the Report, he may any where give Vent to his Griefs, unnoticed. But as there are many to whom an entire Vegetable Diet would be inconvenient, and as a little Quick-Lime thrown into a Jakes will correct the amazing Quantity of fetid air arising from the vast mass of putrid Matter contained in such Places, and render it rather pleasing to the Smell, who knows but that a little Powder of Lime (or some other thing equivalent) taken in our Food, or perhaps a Glass of Limewater drank at Dinner, may have the same Effect on the Air produced in and issuing from our Bowels? This is worth the Experiment.

“Certain it is also that we have the Power of changing by slight Means the Smell of another Discharge, that of our Water. A few Stems of Asparagus eaten, shall give our Urine a disagreeable Odour; and a Pill of Turpentine no bigger than a Pea, shall bestow on it the pleasing Smell of Violets. And why should it be thought more impossible in Nature, to find Means of making a Perfume of our Wind than of our Water?

“For the Encouragement of this Enquiry (from the immortal Honour to be reasonably expected by the Inventor), let it be reasonably considered of how small Importance of Mankind, or to how small a Part of Mankind have been useful those Discoveries in Science that have heretofore made Philosophers famous. Are there twenty Men in Europe at this Day, the happier, or even the easier, for any Knowledge they have picked out of Aristotle? What comfort can the Vortices of Descartes give to a Man who has Whirlwinds in his Bowels? The Knowledge of Newton’s Mutual Attraction of the Particles of Matter, can it afford Ease to him who is racked by their mutual Repulsion, and the cruel Distensions it occasions? The Pleasure arising to a few Philosophers, from seeing, a few Times in their Life, the Threads of Light untwisted, and separated by the Newtonian Prism into seven Colours, can it be compared with the Ease and Comfort every Man living might feel seven times a Day, by discharging freely the Wind from his Bowels? Especially if it be converted into a Perfume: For the Pleasures of one Sense being little inferior to those of another, instead of pleasing the Sight he might delight the Smell of those about him, & make Numbers happy, which to a benevolent Mind must afford infinite Satisfaction. The generous Soul, who now endeavours to find out whether the Friends he entertains like best Claret or Burgundy, Champagne or Madeira, would then enquire also whether they chose Musk or Lilly, Rose or Bergamot, and provide accordingly. And surely such a Liberty of Expressing one’s Scent-iments , and pleasing one another, is of infinitely more Importance to human Happiness than that Liberty of the Press, or of abusing one another, which the English are so ready to fight & die for.

“In short, this Invention, if compleated, would be, as Bacon expresses it, bringing Philosophy home to Men’s Business and Bosoms. And I cannot but conclude, that in Comparison therewith, for universal and continual Utility, the Science of the Philosophers abovementioned, even with the Addition, Gentlemen, of your “Figure quelconque” and the Figures inscribed in it, are, all together, scarcely worth a FARThing.”

Ben Franklin, presentation to the Royal Collage.

c. What Adam Smith really said:

“The government of an exclusive company of merchants is, perhaps, the worst of all governments for any country whatever.”
Adam Smith. The Wealth of Nations Book IV, Chapter VII, Part II, p. 615]

d. Testosterone Chronicles:

“A few years of big profits from risky derivative bets drove Wall Street traders crazy from testosterone poisoning. So it’s not really alpha males who blew up the global economy, it’s just a bunch of guys who overdosed on naturally produced steroids.”
Andrew Leonard, How Testosterone Poisoning Wrecked the Economy, SALON 5/19/2009.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

Barbara Stanwyck: “We’re both rotten!”

Fred MacMurray: “Yeah – only you’re a little more rotten.”
Double Indemnity (1944)

TODAY’S CHART:

Is God punishing Texas? It’s about time.

Categories: July 2011 through September 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment by 3Th. September 29, 2010

Today’s factoid: THE TRUE STORY OF MOCK DUCK

1900. Mock Duck leader of the Four Brothers and Hip Sing Tongs begins a gang war with Tom Lee’s much larger On Leong Tong over Mock Duck’s demand for 30% of Tom Lee’s gambling revenue in New York’s Chinatown.

1904 November 4 – Hip Sing Tong leader Mock Duck is wounded in a gunfight by three On Leong hatchet men near his Pell Street home.

(Apparently Mock Duck, when in a gunfight would squat down, close his eyes and fire off his two guns until he ran out of ammunition.)

1908 August 15 – The Tong war becomes even more violent after Low Hee Tong, a member of the Four Brothers Tong, purchases a rival Tong slave girl Bow Kum who is later murdered.

(you may want to click on Bow Kum above and read about her tragic story).

December 30 – Ah Hoon, a comedian

(apparently to his regret, the chinese version of Don Rickles)

and member of the On Leong Tong, is killed in his home by rival Hip Song members.

1912. Mock Duck is convicted of running a policy game and sentenced to imprisonment at Sing Sing Prison.

1913. A peace agreement is signed, with the exception of the Four Brothers, ending the gang war between the On Leongs, Hip Sings, and the Kim Lan Wui Saw Tongs.

1918. Tong leader Mock Duck, upon his release from Sing Sing Prison retires from crime.

1924. The gang war between the On Leong and Hip Sing Tongs begins again after several members of the On Leongs defect to the Hip Sings with a large amount of money.

1941. Mock Duck dies in bed of natural causes.

Today’s quote:

“And as to sexual desire, my body’s need is satisfied by what comes first to hand.”
Antisthenes, from The Economist by Xenophon.

Today’s news from Thailand:

The Bangkok Post reports that a pregnant Thai women went into a Thai hospital, where the baby was successfully delivered. Unfortunately, about 5 days after the delivery it was discovered that a nurse mistakenly stitched up the woman’s anus. The stitches were then removed, the woman relieved and an investigation begun.

Today’s medical chart:

I am not sure if this chart was intended to be posted on the examination room wall or used as a reference for some psychologist.

In reading it over I realized that I have succeeded in accomplishing everything listed on the chart often multiple times, except for Jail Term (unless nights in the drunk tank count) and Pregnancy for which I am unqualified. I wonder if one adds up the score from this chart and it totals more than 1000 will he or she win something, like two weeks in the rest home of your choice or a years supply of Valium?

Pookie’s continuing adventures in Thailand:

I spoke with Hayden for only the second time since he arrived in Sacramento. He sounded in good spirits. He was quite excited that, “Uncle Mask,” the owner of the house that he is living in, broke his ankle while walking the dogs. He also told me that he spends a lot of time picking his nose, but he hasn’t found any treasure yet.

The monsoon rains are still with us. They have honored us with their presence for the last three days, forcing me back into my apartment to watch reruns of old Simone Signoret movies on the french channel.

Today’s attachment:

So far the responses to my request for advice on which work in progress I should begin with to send you as an attachment have been all over the lot. The irrepressible and always reliable eight ball in the corner pocket Shotz Man replied:

the petrillo email survey
Please mark by coloring red (BOLD) the selection(s) of which of the below you wish to be in effect

0 keep me on the list so that I may receive a copy of all of the petrillo emails.

0 keep me on the list so that I may receive all of the petrillo emails except the one’s asking for money.

0 keep me on the list for emails that contains only the tales of pookie;and maybe petey.

0 keep me off the list that contains gross descriptions of politicians, thai food, the man on the street, and fat german female tourists, fully closed or (worse) semi-nude.

0 keep me on the list for anything pornographic involving animals.

0 keep me on the list for anything about petrillo being arrested for being an american friend of the red shirts, or for that matter, shorts.

0 keep me off the list for anything that mentions “cuz I”, “irwin”, “schatzman”, or, “the master of written disguise”.

0 keep me off the list that contains an email from Nigeria asking for money.

Nevertheless, surprisingly I received strong support for beginning these attachments with excerpts from my political blog posts. My first attachment, therefore, is a discussion entitled “Populism and Fred Harris.” I originally published it back in April of this year. I thought it was the most polished and least controversial thing I could begin with.

I will follow that in my next email with some of the initial chapters of my mystery novel work in progress.

Ciao.
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Populism and Fred Harris
by trenzpruca

This is my first attempt to write a diary for this venue. While I have made a living writing on behalf of my clients or for publication, it is normal for one to be timid and uncertain when attempting to enter a new arena and so it has been for me. After drafting and discarding several attempts to write what would appear to me to be a fitting and informative discussion, I turned to divert myself from escalating frustration by straightening out the papers that had accumulated over the years in various boxes and drawers. While doing so I discovered, The Fred Harris Campaign Handbook. It is probably the only remaining copy in existence.

For those not as old as me and for those who may have forgotten or missed it completely, Fred Harris briefly ran for President of the United States during the primaries of 1972 and 1976. In 1976, Jim Hightower was his national campaign manager and I was a volunteer on the California campaign tasked with preparing a handbook for his efforts in the California primary. The handbook was a collection of selections from the writings and speeches of Fred Harris arranged by topic so that campaign workers could respond to inquires about the candidate in his own words.

After rereading the contents of that long ago document from a now forgotten campaign, I realized how much of what Fred had to say remained relevant now despite the subsequent destruction of the historical American political consensus by the Californian and Texan presidential administrations. So I thought I would begin my diaries by examining some of the issues we face today in the light of what Fred Harris had to say about them 34 years ago.

But first a little about Fred Harris. Fred had been an US Senator from Oklahoma when that state still had a strong progressive populist tradition. Although he started out as a classic liberal, he eventually classified himself, and was in turn identified by the media, as a populist.

Populism deserves a diary of its own. It is a word often used in political discourse, but lacking a clear referent, is more a space filler than informative. For the purpose of this diary I believe it is probably sufficient to view Populism as a response by the populace of that time to specific perceived threats to their liberty and economic well-being.  Beyond dealing with those threats populism has little more to say.

What differentiates populism from the more ideological based political philosophies such as liberal, conservative, progressive, reactionary and libertarian is just that, ideology. Populism usually focuses on the current threats and has no ideology beyond dealing with them. It freely borrows responses to those threats from the proscriptions suggested by the more ideological political movements without acknowledgment of their philosophical underpinnings.

There are I believe at least two main types of Populist that I shall call Liberal/Progressive Populists and Conservative/ Libertarian Populists. Liberal/Progressive Populists tend to see the immediate threats to be from government as well as other large organizations, usually corporations or financial institutions. They often believe that government shorn of its threatening aspects can and should control the ravenous appetites of the other institutions.The Conservative/Libertarian Populist sees the current threat emanating primarily from government alone and may be relieved by the elimination of those specific governmental activities they object to. Fred clearly was the former and not the latter.
Let’s turn then to what Fred had to say in 1976 regarding an issue recently front and center of the political debate, health care.

“If you step north of the Canadian border, you have free medical care. No deductibles or co-insurance, no limits on hospital stays or how many times you see your doctor. When that system went into effect twelve years ago, there were those who said the hospitals would be hopelessly overcrowded. Not so, as people are getting preventive care, and as they’re entitled to care without having to be sick enough to go to the hospital.

If you step back across that boundary to the south, you find in this country-the richest country in the world the best medical care in the world for rich people, and awfully sorry medical care for a lot of people. We rank seventeenth among nations in infant mortality, which is a euphemism that means, ‘Your baby’s dead’. We don’t have to put up with that.

We ought to have a universal health care system, paid for out of the federal treasury, rather than an insurance system that might be regressive. There should be much more emphasis on group medical practice and preventive care. And a great more emphasis on paramedical personnel.”

(Fred Harris Campaign Handbook)

“It’s like déjà vu all over again.” (citation unnecessary). It has been 34 years since Fred’s proposal and although we have gotten a pretty good start on health insurance reform, we are still awaiting health care reform.

Fred goes on, in the continuation of the above quote, to address the baleful influence of doctor dominated institutions on attempts to make fairer and more effective the delivery of health care in the United States. In 1976 health care, for good or ill, was controlled primarily by doctors or doctor dominated institutions. It was those institutions such as the AMA that successfully resisted health care reform at the time.

In 1976, the Reagan and Bush fire sale of American institutions to Wall Street, insurance companies, energy corporations and the defense industries had not yet begun but once started, it effectively wrested the United States health care system from the hands of doctors and other medical delivery personnel and placed it in the willing hands of accountants, investment advisors and bankers.
It is interesting to note that Obama’s strategy of allying with the doctor and medical community was probably a major factor in achieving the level of reform that was obtained with the passage of the recent health reform legislation.

My next post shall examine Fred’s positions on Wall Street, a subject that makes the blood of all true populists quicken.

(This article first appeared in Daily Kos April 24 2010)

Categories: July 2010 through September 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

This and that from re Thai r ment. May 2, 2010

It has been a few days since I wrote last and while a lot has happened (dinners and visits from new and old friends, nights on the outskirts of hell and things like that) but little that can be wrapped into a simple tale. As you know from my previous emails one of my favorite writers is Thoreau, not because of his insight or style, but because he was an amusingly truly strange dude (Remember he thought getting thrown in jail was…well..cool). He believed the minutia of life represent the archetypes for the big things in life and by paying close attention to those little things you will learn something about something. He once spent a better part of a week at Walden Pond observing and writing about two gangs of ants who had decided to fight over something in the dirt in front of the door to his cottage. Thoreau seemed to see in their tussle a metaphor and analogue of the larger conflicts between nations, people and within ones own spirit. I really couldn’t understand what he was talking about. If I were to choose a metaphor for life from his experiences I prefer the one I mentioned in an earlier email, Thoreau standing at the back of his boat traveling down the Connecticut River, spittle dripping off the end of his nose, passing under the bridge on which the spittee stands. Think about it. Put yourself in Henry David’s flip-flops. Do you, staring at the smirk on the face of your adversary, feel the spirit of unity and oneness with the universe well up inside you as Henry David claimed he did, or do you decide to head the boat into the bank, jump off and beat the SOB to within an inch of his life or continue on forever questioning the nature of your experience and of your response. Now, that’s life.

Anyway, although the monsoons have arrived, so has the heat of “mad dogs and Englishmen” and so after walking to the cafe for breakfast, I return to my apartment turn on the AC, take a cold shower and nap until the shadows of the building cover the pool and I go for a swim and then at night perhaps walk along the beach in hopes of catching some ocean breezes.

Tomorrow, or the next day, I plan to travel down the coast to the next Provence called Rayong where the principal of the pre-school Hayden recently attended in Chiang Mai is vacationing with her husband and family.

I sill have a wracking cough, if the medicines I am taking do not clear it up in a few days, I probably will have to check myself into hospital.

Ciao

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EXCERPTS FROM DIARY PRIOR TO POST:

FRIDAY APRIL 30 2010 11 AM

Went to immigration for retirement visa. Done by 10AM. Cost about 2200 baht. Need to get reentry permit next. Go to pick up passport on Monday. See this and that.. for discussion

SATURDAY MAY I 2010 11 AM

Received 2 mails for May. She must need money. No word from Tai. Money must not be an issue yet.

Checked KOS for reaction to my diary. Only one commenting on my typo in the title. I guess you cannot follow-up. Should I send them to my list???

Hot again. Got to be a high misery index. Finished IRS submittal. Need print out and envelope.

Cannot recall what internet research I need to do. Write it down.

Should I do a pseudo travelogue made up of a pastiche of my emails and diary etc?

1 PM

Just received a call from Jerry. They will be in Rayong tomorrow. I must call them and arrange to meet with them.

2 PM

Received a call from Nikki in Italy. He was with Hayden. Hayden got on the phone and told me about his new batman watch that Nikki bought him. Hr also asked me why I did not pay Pi Newan and the electricity. Nikki told me he had been brainwashed on that matter. Nikki was returning to Zürich today and his course will finish mid-month. Does not know if they will be coming back to Thailand, but Natalie said something about returning to Chiang Mai for Hayden’s school. We will see…

7:30

Preparing to leave to join Gates and friends for his last night in Thailand.
Finished a draft of a new diary for Kos. I think it may be too histrionic and inflammatory for most readers. Maybe after I sleep on it I will reconsider its publication.

I have renamed the diary, Trenz Pruca’s Journal. Catchy eh?

Categories: April 2010 through June 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment. April 17, 2010

Yesterday afternoon the Monsoon finally arrived with the suddenness appropriate to its name. The sun was shining and then abruptly it became dark and the rains came down in a torrent, knocking out the lights and more significantly the internet connections. It stopped just as suddenly but the clouds remained and it rained on and off throughout the night. There was a strange-sounding thunder, more like someone threw some pot and pans down a flight of steps. Several times I awoke thinking there had been a car accident outside my window. This morning the sky remained cloudy.

Contrary to what one may expect the monsoon rains do not bring relief from the heat. Yes, the temperature is lowered a bit for a while but the humidity prevents that from providing any comfort. What the rains do however, is wash the particulate matter from the air relieving some allergies and the like.

Often when I am spending some time in a place I am not to familiar with and need to do something fairly complex like finding the various bus stations and other transportation venues and make reservations, I make a dry run a few days earlier when I don’t care what happens and can avoid the anxiety of being some place at a particular time. I did so today. Pattaya has multiple bus stations and other transportation venues placed around the city, each owned by a different company and specializing in taking passengers to a different part of Thailand. I planned to take the overnight bus to Chiang Mai tomorrow to pick up some of my things. I am glad that I did my dry run because it was more difficult to get to than I thought and there were no spaces available on tomorrow’s busses. So I plan to leave on Monday and hope I can find a way back from CM since the return busses are all filled throughout the week.

On my return, it rained hard for a while and I was thoroughly drenched while changing the taxi-bus, a modified pick up truck called a Baht-bus or songtaew in Thai. The worst part of the trip back which takes a different route then the trip out is that the route back is along Beach Road in Pattaya, the main nightclub and bar area in the city and the Songkran festival was still in full swing despite the coming of the monsoon and I was drenched again by the revelers as I transferred from one songtaew to another. I found a songtaew that was covered and not open like most and it sheltered me from the worst of the excesses.

The weapon of choice was a three and a half-foot long tube with a plunger at one end. One fills the tube by inserting the business end into a barrel of water and pulling out the plunger. When the tube was aimed and the plunger depressed in could propel a copious amount of water across a sizable street and knock the unwary to the ground. This weapon was wielded most often by young male western tourists (Farangs). While the Thai children and young adults were happy just throwing the water from a pan or bucket in my general direction or could be dissuaded from doing so with a stern look, the farang delinquents seemed to find great pleasure in hunting you down. At one point I was about ready to jump from the vehicle grab the dripping phallus and shoving it where…you know the rest. If I sound like an irascible dyspeptic old codger, well I am. Also my prescription happy pills have run out and cannot be reordered until the festival is over, I am slipping into withdrawal which always makes me happily annoyed at everything.

When the Baht-bus arrived at the Jomtien Beach Road, we found that the road was flooded much like, for those of you who have been there, Soi 11 in front of Ava Pub during the rainy season except that this flood extended for about a mile and lacked the rats, snakes and stinking offal pouring from Bangkok’s sewers and canals that assured a long slow death to anyone foolish to let their unprotected skin touch the water.

Anyway when I got off at my stop, I found the long driveway flooded knee-deep and had to wade the 50 or so yards to my building.

And if I did not enjoy the whole thing, I would not have spent the time writing about it.
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DIARY EXERPTS PRIOR TO POST:

WEDNESDAY APRIL 14 2010 11 PM

As usual cannot sleep. Will try Valium tonight. I seem to be getting back into a daily rhythm again that allows me more time to work on my writing. Today joined Daily Kos diarist. Suddenly all my contemporary political commentary rattling around in my mind that often kept me awake at night has vanished. I need to calm myself and perhaps review my emails for material.

FRIDAY APRIL 16 2010 2PM

Well the monsoon season just began. A few minutes ago a torrid rainfall began and knocked out the lights in the condo. The internet is down also.

Today I will probably not take my nap. Instead I intend to work on some of my much delayed writing projects and prepare for my trip to CM on Sunday.

The Cafe Le Mar is closed for vacation beginning tomorrow and continuing at lest until Tuesday so now is probably time to go.

SATURDAY APRIL 17 2010 2 AM

Cannot sleep again. Took two Tylenol but they haven’t worked. Took a small portion of Valium and am now waiting to see if it works. Do not know why I have been having such trouble sleeping recently. Whenever I think of Hayden my mind becomes so agitated sleep becomes impossible. Usually I solve this by thinking of something less emotionally stressful like the 49rs draft prospects this year. Even that does not work when my agitation it accompanied by itchy skin. I am not too sure what has been causing that condition. I think there are fleas in the apartment. On the other hand my bedding feels scratchy and uncomfortable. When I go to CM for the rest of my things I will try to take some sheets and pillow cases with me. I am sure they have a higher thread count than those that I currently sleep on.

Speaking of CM, my plan is to go to the bus station tomorrow and check the schedule and make a reservation if necessary. I will also check to see if my SS payment has been deposited yet.

I hope to arrive in CM early in the AM and get my work done at the house before the maid can call N. in Italy. Then I will go visit Choti and Jerry and the missionaries to say goodbye before meeting with Cordt and then returning to Pattaya on the night bus.

Categories: April 2010 through June 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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