Posts Tagged With: Republican Party

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

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

TODAY’S FACTOID:

2011: In the United States, John Boehner took over as speaker on the House of Representatives and soon after the Weiner affair commenced, proving once again the domination of American politics by men’s obsession with their sexual member.

Not only that, but if truth be known, it really was all about size. Boehner (which spell checks as boner) and the Republican Party were so astounded by Weiner’s sudden prominence that they demanded Weiner’s withdrawal before the public began expecting the same eminence of all politicians (that would unfortunately put the Republican party at a disadvantage). Unhappily for Boehner and the Party, a recent poll indicates that the public once having seen it, are having difficulty forgetting the Weiner.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND AND ITALY:

a. Thailand:

The political party of the “Red Shirts” have won a substantial victory in the Thai elections, garnering an absolute majority in the legislature. It now remains to be seen how the current military leadership will react. While the élite troops stationed in the eastern provinces of the country will probably remain loyal to their leadership, the vast majority of the ordinary soldiers in the army are probably supporters of the “Red Shirts” and probably could not be relied upon in a coup.

Although I expect that the current military leadership will hesitate taking any immediate action but will concentrate on fomenting civil unrest allowing them to step in at a later date “to restore order,” they must be cognizant that this time the new government may more careful in their actions, undermining the Military’s long-term power.
Since I am returning to Thailand on Thursday, I would be fascinated to know if I will me met with a coup in progress.

b. Italy:

Between their horrendous defeat at Caporetto and the stabilization of the new defensive line on the south bank of the Piave River, the italian high command decided that the strategy of driving the troops into battle through fear (by, for example, shooting any trooper who waivers during a charge) was not working and instituted the tried and true motivation for young men to risk death, an abstraction, in this case patriotism. So, learning from their allies, they cranked up their propaganda forces, directed it at their own people and managed to assemble a new army, slightly more willing to die.

A little side note as to why the Italian government was so obsessed by this stretch of terrain, after all it was mountainous and arid and at that time produced little more than emigrants. The reason was that about 60 years or so ago the movement to reunify Italy (although there never had been an “Italy” to re unify) called the “Risorgimento,” envisioned the historical Italy to include everything up to the crest of the Alps and for some the Tyrol beyond. It also included western Slovenia where many so-called ethnic italians resided*. Apparently the idea was to restore some semblance of ethnic homogeneity (although the people of the peninsular were anything but homogeneous and to this day have little in common with each other except corrupt governance) and restore some aspect of the Roman Empire (although the old Romans never let anything as puny as the Alps stop them).

Also the people in this area were in constant rebellion against the efficient tax collection administration of the Austro-Hungarians, preferring the culture of tax evasion endemic to Italian society.

Anyway, Diaz, the Allied commander, rather than attack, gambled on the Central Powers exhausting themselves assaulting his increasingly strong defensive position. The Austro-Hungarian Central Command recognized that by waiting it would only give the Italians time to strengthen themselves further, struck on June 1918 attempting to force a crossing of the river. The blitz failed with their already stretched forces losing 100,00 more men.

Diaz had prepared a counter-attack should the assault by the Imperial Armies falter. On October 24, 1918, (exactly one year from the commencement of the festivities at Caporetto), the strengthened Allied Army punched, across the river and a few days later decisively defeated the Austro-Hungarian army near the town of Veneto (Veneto was later reamed Vittorio Veneto in honor or the victory and the date made into on one of Italy’s major patriotic holidays).

That same day, following the defeat of their army, the Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed with Austria and Hungary forming their own national states and Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia declaring independence.

The Imperial forces that had lost between 300,00-500,000 men, split in two like their countries and signed an armistice on November 3. The Imperial commander requested that the Italians terminate their advance since the Imperial Armies had already laid down their arms. The Italians were having none of that. They realized they were faced with an opponent that a military leader could only dream about, a non-existent army for a non-existent nation, and promptly advanced, occupied the Tyrol and Western Slovenia and settled down to await developments elsewhere.

The German Empire seeing its southern front dissolve almost over-night and recognizing that shifting a portion of their already beleaguered troops from the Western Front to protect their southern border spelled disaster on both fronts, sued for peace two weeks later. Although, the history books in the United States (and to some extent Britain and France as well) appear to claim that almost magically the sudden appearance of American troops in France futilely flinging their bodies on to German barbed wire caused the Germans to surrendered in terror, it was the collapse of the Southern Front that prompted the German high command to recognize that further resistance was futile.

*As a footnote to the Horrors of War, a little less than 30 years later following the collapse of the Italian Fascist State in 1943, the Yugoslav Army under Marshall Tito marched into western Slovenia and cleansed it of its ethnic italian population by shooting those who had not fled their homes in terror. In order, I guess to save bullets, those unfortunates who surrendered or were otherwise captured (about 20,000 in all) were tied together and marched to the mouths of several deep mine shafts where the first few were shot and toppled into the mine shaft pulling the rest of the wretches in with them.

Given the brutal imagination applied to ethnic cleansing by peoples everywhere (e.g., Throwing smallpox blankets into Native American towns, or slaughtering those Irish unwilling to die of starvation in Connaught, or machine gunning the Greek and Armenian residents who failed to depart their two thousand-year old ancestral homes quickly enough) one wonders if gas chambers were not more humane. Perhaps someone can propose a treaty in which only genocide by lethal injection would be allowed.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN (THAILAND)ITALY:

Cellina River

Cellina River (Photo credit: Marius!!)

One day Vittorio invited me on an excursion into the Valcellina (Valley of the Cellina River) a small remote valley extending from the outwash valley of the Piave River to the edge of the Dolomite and the pre-alps. In its natural state it is virtually inaccessible, yet it has been inhabited for at least 10,000 years or more (Cellina is a pre Indo-European word still common in the mountains from the Pyrenees to the Carpathians). Throughout the millennia and up until the latter part of the 19th century , the Valley’s residents have lived much the same as they always did; hunting, gathering, wearing animal skins or homespun, starving, emigrating and selling their bodies or some rude handicrafts that they carried on their backs out of the valley across the mountains.

(It is interesting to me that sometime ago I had my DNA ancestry traced back on the female side [the Y chromosome tests had not yet beam perfected] to somewhere in the area north of Venice about 20,000 years ago. I like to think that there the ancestor of the Sicilian race and many of the Ashkenazi, plied her trade soliciting comfort for the traveler and breeding races and nations from the relative safety of this remote mountain valley.)

By the turn of the 20th Century a rough path had been hewn from the rock of the steep canyon walls. Then with the advent of Mussolini, a treacherous one lane technical marvel was constructed to allow workers into the valley to dam the river so as to provide electricity and irrigation to the arid but more populous Piave River plain below. The aqueduct and the electric transmission lines were buried beneath the road. The road also opened up the Valcellina itself, although less to augment the economy than to assist in emigration.

While the irrigation water and the electricity did much to begin to lift the region along the Piave out of poverty, it was the construction of the large American military base at Avieno the raised it to prosperity.

An American base, no matter how much we Americans view it relative to our national security, to the residents of the area in which it is located, it is essentially massive American foreign aid into the economy of the small region surrounding it.

Despite the American military’s attempts to provide for military personnel on base, the private consultants* as well as the teachers and other highly paid civilians for the most part preferred living in the life accommodating society of Italy rather than the life limiting environment of the base and thereby your dollars and what used to be mine benefit the happy citizens of Fulli.

Anyway, Vittorio and I travelled into the valley along the new road built recently to accommodate tourists that replaced the old one. We turned off on to a limited stretch of the old (most of it now only accessible to hikers and bicyclists) to visit an old osteria built almost 100 years ago to service travelers along the old road. It perches on a small ledge on the sheer walls of the canyon and has a parking area that can accommodate only about 4 small automobiles. It was empty of customers. Its proprietor was a tall thin young women, taller than I, with a traditionally large nose and a suspicious large Adam’s apple. We had a drink of wine and she told us that she had a hangover from drinking all night at the little town of Barcis that we planned on visiting. (To be Continued)

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

See: http://papajoesfables.wordpress.com/
TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPHS:

Pookie the intrepid at Barcis in Valcellina (Do I look presidential?):


Barcis the picturesque (Yes, the water is that color):

 

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. April 27, 2011

TODAY’S FACTOID:

2011: Although the percentage of foreign-born individuals in the US population is about 12%, forty percent of Ph.D. scientists working in the United States were born abroad, the great majority of them not of European descent.

What does this mean? Could it mean that native-born Americans are incorrigibly stupid? Maybe, after all about half of them voted for the Republican Party in the last election. Or perhaps it means if we do not put a stop to this flood of PhD’s across our porous borders soon all the smart people in the country will be foreign-born. Do you really want to live in a country like that?

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

a. The Faux War:

The phony border war over ownership of an ancient temple continues. Each side claims the other fired the first shots and that they were only defending themselves from aggression. The armies of both sides have begun removing their national civilians from the area; all the better to assure no-one but the respective militaries report what is going on. The removal of civilians also provides a clear field to expend large amounts of ammunition so that the respective military budgets can be augmented to replace that lost as well as provide additional reserves just to be safe. A few dozen soldiers on each side will of course give up their lives so that their deaths can be used as symbols of national courage for making the ultimate sacrifice for country and King. Of course no one asked either the King or the citizens of the respective countries, if they actually wanted these young men to bravely give up their lives for a pile of old ricks.

b. Malaysians can dance:

The government of Malaysia announced that it will allow its citizens to dance the “Poco-Poco” if they want to.

c. The Easter Bunny refuses to visit New Zealand for Easter. Threatens never to return:

During the Easter Holidays 24,000 bunnies were shot dead in the annual rabbit hunt on the South Island of New Zealand.

d. The Hell with the Women and Children, Save the Dammed Beer First:

Recently, a group of men in Australia were riding in a pick-up truck loaded with cases of beer. The beer and one man riding in the back of the vehicle fell off the truck as it rounded a curve in the road. The other members of the group stopped the truck, salvaged the beer, reloaded it on to the back of the truck and drove off, leaving the man, who had fallen off, behind to die.

e. Lese Majesté:

A Thai senior government official, supported by the Army Chief of Staff, threatened to charge a well-respected academic who proposed an “Eight-point proposal” to reform the monarchy in a lecture, with violating Thailand’s Lese Majesté law for insulting the monarchy. No one asked the King if he was insulted by the proposals.

For your information, what I have just written here could also be construed as a violation of the law, making me a criminal. All of you reading this have also probably violated the same law. See you in jail. It could be fun.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

This is probably my last post from Thailand for a month or two since I will be returning to the US tomorrow.

While sitting in the apartment watching the children play and laugh, I thought back to my childhood to see if I could remember laughing. I could recall times that I cried, some of them very clearly, but laughter, nothing came to mind. I must have laughed, all children do. My childhood was not so grim that it never could have happened. Perhaps happiness is just something we assume as children and so, at best, vaguely remember it when it happens, but sorrow is so unanticipated it sears itself into our memories.

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

It was one of those sunny days becoming more and more common in the Bay Area perhaps one of the few more welcome effects of global warming, so Vince decided to walk to Fat Al’s office and give himself some time to try to think things through. He walked up Market Street. He had been told that it had been called by the old timers as “the slot”. It has traditionally been considered the City’s main street.

When he arrived at the Bush Street its junction with Market, he turned right on to Bush and began the long climb up and along the side of Nob Hill, skirting Union Square. Beyond Union Square as he walked along he could look to his left along the streets that intersected Bush down into San Francisco’s Tenderloin, the repository of the City’s lost souls undergoing a make over by the Asian immigrants moving in sensibly to take advantage of the relatively cheap rents (and property values) of an area close to the City’s downtown.

Finally he arrived at the crossing of Bush and Larkin. Fat Al’s place of business was located on the top floor of a small four-story brick building perched on the southwest corner.

Fat Al operated out of the top two floors, while the bottom two floors were occupied by a small civil engineering firm owned by an attractive Iranian-American woman who also owned the building.

Vince pressed the button beside the entrance that announced “Pischotti Investigations,” heard the buzzer magnetically unlocking the door, pushed the door open, walked to the small elevator and took it to Fat Al’s office on the fourth floor.

Upon exiting the elevator into the cramped office space Vince was greeted by Marge, Fat Al’s wife and office manager. Marge is a big woman every bit as tall as Vince, with a round smiling face that matched her personality and a bushy head of what was once dark blond hair beginning its metamorphosis to grey.

“Hy ya Vince,” She called out. “Great to see ya. The big man’s all excited about you comin by. Go right in. He’s waiting”

Vince smiled, winked and waved at Marge and walked into Fat Al’s office.

Fat Al, upon seeing Vince enter immediately rose from his old wooden office chair, circled his cluttered desk and grasped Vince in a suffocating bear hug. “Vince,” he shouted. “You’re back home. How’re ya doing? You look great. How’re those Thai girls treating you? What can I do for you?” he rambled on not giving Vince the time to answer even if he could, crushed as he was in the bear hug.

He released Vince but still held him by the shoulders and looking into Vince’s eyes said in a little softer voice, “You look good amico. Glad to have you back.”

Then dropping his arms and returning to his chair which squeaked loudly as he dropped his great bulk into his chair, inquired, “What’s up buddy”

Unlike the seeming bowling ball hardness of the equally endomorphic Ike, Fat Al’s adipose tissue seemed to cascade from his narrow shoulders to settle happily and loosely about his gargantuan hips, buttocks and lower belly. Vince thought for a moment that perhaps he was surrounding himself with all this heft in reaction to the health club fitness induced anorexia of the First and David. “Shakespeare was right,” he thought. “About skinny people, not attorneys,” he amended quickly.

Fat Al Pischotti at one time had been the head of the City Police Department’s Homicide Division. He still likes wearing his police special in a little holster affixed to bis belt. After putting in his 20 years to qualify for retirement, he took his pension and left the force to become one of the legion private investigators in the Dashiell Hammett Sam Spade tradition for which the City is so proud and whom they treat of celebrities. His business consisted mostly of skip traces and domestic squabbles, not the type of things Vince and his cohorts in the large law firms needed for the type of private investigations required by their corporate clients. For those matters they hired new style PI firms, usually large multi-office enterprises staffed by accountants and people with the word “forensics” contained somewhere in their title.

But for Vince’s purposes Fat Al was just what he wanted and needed now.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Today’s Chart.

Migration of seniors from the US to Mexico:

Interesting, Mexico gives us their young and we in turn give them back our old. Perhaps we can arrange an exchange. For every unemployed teenage Mexican receiving unemployment benefits we will accept the return of one American senior living on a social security pension inadequate to cover their living expenses in the US.

b. Trenz Pruca’s Aphorisms, Apothegms, Epigrams and Maxims ( http:/trenzpruca.wordpress.com/) :

One of the most important goals for any democratic government should be to avoid removing risk from enterprise. Yet it currently appears that just about the only function of government has become to shield enterprise from risk.”

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“A woman simply is, but a man must become. Masculinity is risky and elusive. It is achieved by a revolt from woman, and it is confirmed only by other men.”

Camille Paglia as quoted on Masculine Virtues site.

As much as I may have to admit it, on this Camille may have a point. If she is right, we men may be dumber than I thought. According to her, unlike women who have no choice in the matter but to be as strange and bizarre as they often are, we men do, yet we do nothing about it but ask some other guy what he thinks)

Categories: April 2011 through June 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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