Tag Archives: Reflections

Bummer if that thing went off (from the drafts)

Enjoying a day out after the hospital stay last week.

Enjoying a day out after the hospital stay last week.

Ever noticed how many people hang around discussion boards of every description watching for things they can tell other people NEVER to do?

NEVER play with matches! NEVER ride a bicycle with no brakes! NEVER point an acetylene torch at your face when you light it! NEVER try to get inside a tree shredder while it’s running!

I think there must be something about typing a command about never that feels validating, self-affirming. Telling people what they’ll either have better sense than to do anyway, or who will pay no attention and will do it anyway.

And the fact is, it could as easily be said in ways people might listen to because it wasn’t so offensive and presumptuously downtalking. How about, “Sure would be a big bummer for a person to get his hair caught in that fanbelt.” Something along those lines.

About the only response I can think of appropriate to the NEVER command is “NEVER say NEVER!”

Old Jules
====================================================
Hi folks, Jeanne here.  That was from the unpublished drafts files…although it’s still possible that it was published and I just didn’t find it. So if it sounds familiar, let me know and I’ll be more careful pulling things out this way. There are 945 published posts on this blog, so I suppose you could just hit “random” and find something entertaining.

Fact is, Old Jules has an unstable phone line right now and can’t keep a connection long enough for the internet. It’s difficult to talk to him for more than a few minutes, although the breaks in the connection get fairly predictable. There’s a lot of repeating and frustration involved with a five minute conversation. But he did approve my putting up this old draft and an update.

Yes, but how is he, you ask.  Well…he’s not in the hospital. He sounds real good.  He’s got almost zero energy.  Drinking Caisse’s tea. Blood oxygen level normal. Blood pressure fluctuating. Reading a lot, generally staying warm and fed. Trying not to get dehydrated or winded. Although he’s isolated, Gale and his neighbor check on him from time to time and some others of us call him frequently and freak out (me)  if for some reason he doesn’t answer the phone (usually it’s on the charger).
I suspect it was pneumonia that caused things to deteriorate to the point where he went to the hospital. While treating him for that, they found other stuff to alert him about, and he’s tackling those in order of importance as he sees it.
A couple of us are standing by to take care of the cats if he decides to, or needs to, go back in for the rest of the recommended testing. Gale is out of town on a fairly frequent basis, so we are trying to make sure some satisfactory solution is found for them. I would just drive down there and get them, but 800 miles doesn’t allow for him to get them back easily when things settle down, so that’s not the first choice.
So basically, he’s resting a lot and trying to get his energy back, and I’m preoccupied with keeping tabs on him and passing on updates as needed.
When I can keep my head on straight, I’ll see if I can’t pull some posts out of the drafts from time to time, but I think my own blog is on hiatus for now.
Thanks, C.P., for sending the photo from last week.
And thanks again, everyone,  for all your kind thoughts.
Jeanne

Paraphrasing – Transcending the great Bartlett’s in the sky

  • Mao Tse Tung:  “We’ve got to find an alternative to marching four-abreast into the sea.  Four abreast would take forever.”
  • Jeff Chandler: White man speak with forked tongue.”
  • Walter Brennon:  “Them God damned Shoshones just kept a’comin’.  I’ve got five arrows in my chest and it HURTS!  They just kept a’comin’.”
  • John Wayne: Fill your hand you son of a bitch!”
  • Standing Badger Running:  “You guys serve whiskey to Indians in here?”
  • GI Joe:  “For me this war isn’t about killing Japanese or Germans, or protecting our freedoms.  It’s about NOT shovelling shit in Louisiana or burying bodies in the Solomon Islands.”

Hi readers. Thanks for coming by for a read.

I’d imagine most of you will agree the dew has just about fallen from the lily with all these quotations flying around the Internet.  Pick any subject, do a quickie websearch, and someone somewhere said a wise inspiring soul shattering sentence about it in some context. 

Pop it up and give the world a thrill.  Make their day.  You don’t even have to know who the person was who said it, nor why they said it, nor to whom.  Just shoot it out there and everyone who reads it will suddenly possess a new and enlightened viewpoint on the subject.

One suggested means of making sure everyone toes the line has been put forward by some other folks who’ve about got a belly full of what Talouse le Trec said about rock and roll.  It involves putting a “INSERT QUOTE FROM FAMOUS PERSON HERE” button on all Internet posts. 

Scans the rest of the words by the person making the post, searches the web for anything someone who once lived said on the subject,  and inserts a poignant touching few words with a name someone might recognize.

Seems to me that’s a bit too macho robbing.  The way to get humanity back on track is for Internet posters to contemplate what famous people might have said, whether they said it or not.  Or probably would have said if they’d thought about it.  Or sort of said when they were playing the part of someone else in a movie.

But the main thing is, someone has to do something before this thing wears so thin it won’t hold water.  Otherwise people might quit coming to the Internet to get their thoughts to make their day.

Old Jules

A century of bloodshed – Look what those lowdown stinking Muslims did!

Hi readers. Thanks for coming by for a read.

You never-forgetters have something to remember and celebrate not forgetting it.

This time a century ago the sneaky lowdown stinking Muslim Ottoman Empire was withdrawing from the Balkans.  Territory ripe for the taking by devil-take-the-hindmost.

Naturally the web of inbred monarch cousins ruling Europe, Russia and Britain wanted a piece of what those Muslims were leaving behind.  And by 1913 they’d all decided which cousins were friends this time around, and which were enemies.

Those cousins had plenty of cannon fodder and they were all waiting for a spark to set them off so’s they’d have an excuse for their patriotic homeland worship-ridden peasantry to cut one another down with artillery, machine guns and bayonettes.

A few months down the road they got their excuse when their Austrian cousin got offed by a Serbian as he drove by in a motorcade on the way to laying down the law the Austrians were about to provide for the Serbians to march to.

Thoroughly pissed off the cousins running France, the Austrian Empire, the Russian Empire, the German Empire, the British Empire, and scattered cousins elsewhere.  Eventually even the cousins running the United States.

So naturally they sent their peasants out to slaughter one another for the homeland, protecting their motherlands from all the damned foreigners taking the ownership of the land, food, wealth and power from the cousins who were providing them their weaponry and telling them to “CHARGE!  Fight to the death!”

Gave us one hell of a 20th Century.  After that the Russian peasants on the front lines starving to death fighting Germans and Austrians decided, “Screw this shit!”.  Went home and chopped their ruling cousins to death instead of going after the intended target.

Damned British cousins were having distractions in Ireland where they were starving everyone to death, and Wales with the coal miners wanting to get paid and have safety standards in their mines where so many were getting killed in mine accidents.  Had to call in the cousins from the US to bail them out.

As if that weren’t enough, the cheeky bastard Turks whipped the socks off the British Navy and all the Australian and Indian peasants the British cousins sent to invade Turkey!

French cousins had some difficulties because the damned German cousins kept telling their peasants in the trenches to shoot the French peasants, and the French cousins having to shoot their own peasants when they tried to get the hell out of Dodge.

And all because of the damned Turks.  Those damned sneaky-assed Ottoman Muslim Turks.  They caused it all.  The end of the Russian cousins, the Austrian cousins having to hide a longish time, the British cousins having to let go their stranglehold on Ireland and pay their damned miners in Wales, give them air down in the holes and ways to fight fires.

Damned Muslim bastards caused the WWII and Cold War.  Civilization hasn’t recovered yet.   30-40 million people killed in that one war and all because of those lowdown sneaking no-go0d-for-nothing Moslems.

Not to mention all the damage it did all over the world by opening up the Pandora’s Box of unions springing up all over the place keeping factory and industry owners from making an honest living by having to pay wages, have safety enough on jobs to keep a lot of injured workers from drawing attention to themselves.

And now they’re trying to do it again.  Forcing the cousins in the United States into sending the peasants out with the new generation of weaponry.

Old Jules

Wossname Bush dynasty looking out for US interests

Hi readers. Thanks for coming by for a read.

Two members of the Extended Family of US Presidents are scared the US will get into trouble if big oil companies and producers can’t export crude instead of refining it inside the US.

There’s no telling what sorts of awful things might happen if those big companies aren’t allowed to send natural resources to places where the profits are higher and where the labor and other costs of refining can be done in backward places where workers get paid a dollar a day.

Isn’t that nice?

George W. Bush Institute – U.S. Export Restraints on Crude Oil Violate International Agreements
Posted by Alan M. Dunnon September 11, 2013

http://www.bushcenter.org/blog/2013/09/11/us-export-restraints-crude-oil-violate-international-agreements

The U.S. current policy of restricting crude oil exports is fundamentally at odds with binding U.S. commitments under a number of international agreements. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, or GATT, is the foundation agreement for the World Trade Organization, WTO. Among the principle GATT commitments adopted by all WTO member countries is a prohibition on the imposition of quantitative restraints on exports. There are exceptions to this prohibitionbut they are narrowly construed and apply only to certain, and very limited, circumstances.
Crude oil and natural gas, like almost all other products, are subject to GATT disciplines on trade. These same disciplines apply to crude oil and natural gas under U.S. free trade agreements, FTAs, such as the NAFTA, as well as numerous bilateral investment treaties, BITs, most of which also incorporate the GATT prohibitions on restricting exports.
The Prohibition on Export Restrictions Is Enforceable
GATT obligations prohibiting export restrictions are enforceable in binding proceedings under the WTO Dispute Settlement Understanding, DSU. These are the very same procedures recently used by the U.S. to successfully challenge China’s restrictions on exports of raw materials and coerce Chinese compliance through the DSU mechanism. Currently, the U.S. again is using these procedures to pursue a second challenge to China’s export restraints on rare earths, tungsten, and molybdenum.
Importantly, some of the Chinese export restraints that were found to violate the GATT are comparable to the U.S. export restrictions on crude oil and natural gas, including:
• Quantitative restrictions;
• Additional requirements and procedures vis-à-vis the quantitative restrictions; and
• Delayed licensing requirements on exports.
Other U.S. international agreements incorporate the GATT obligations and prohibitions either by reference or direct recitation, and most of those agreements also provide a right of action by which parties may challenge violations to the agreements, typically in international arbitration and sometimes in the courts. For example, bilateral investment treaties and trade and investment facilitation agreements, TIFAs, often incorporate the GATT obligations and provide rights of action under arbitration.
U.S. Statutes Regarding Oil Export Licensing Should Be Interpreted By the Agency and the Courts to Avoid Conflict With GATT Rules
The current U.S. export control regime on exports of crude oil are rooted in a complicated web of U.S. statutes and implementing regulations that give the U.S. president and/or various executive branch agencies sufficient discretion to grant exports of crude oil or gas if the export would be consistent with the U.S. “national interest” or “public interest.” Basic rules ofstatutory interpretation dictate that the executive branch and the courts must resolve any ambiguity in interpreting these statutes in a manner that is consistent with the GATT and other U.S. international agreements. For example, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that:
[A]n interpretation and application of [a] statute which would conflict with the GATT Codes would clearly violate the intent of Congress.
Conclusion

The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, Article XI, prohibits U.S. export restrictions on crude oil and natural gas to other GATT/WTO member countries, except under very limited exigent circumstances. The limited exceptions to the basic prohibition on export restrictions are narrowly construedand reliance on these exceptions to the GATT prohibition would require the U.S. to impose onerous restrictions on domestic U.S. production and consumption of crude oil and/or natural gas. In addition, even delaying exports under protracted export licensing schemes have been found to be violations of the GATT.
These well-established rules of international trade are incorporated in numerous binding international agreements to which United States is a party. The WTO and other agreements have enforcement mechanisms that enable the parties to these agreements to compel U.S. compliance.
For all of these reasons, the current U.S. policies and procedures restricting exports of U.S. crude oil and natural gas are highly vulnerable to legal challenges in WTO as well as other international forums and the U.S. courts.

Alan Dunn served as Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce during the Administration of George H. W. Bush and as one of the lead U.S. negotiators in the multilateral GATT Uruguay Round negotiations, which established the World Trade Organization (WTO). He also served as a lead negotiator in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations with Mexico and Canada. He is a partner at Stewart and Stewart and has been practicing international trade law for 30 years. This guest post is in conjunction with the Bush Institute’s September 12 conference, Energy Regulation: Lessons about Growth from the States, the Nation and Abroad.

If a person can’t tell where the interests of a family hide when they’re inoffice, it’s nice to be able to see it by hindsight.

Old Jules

Cheated by Mexicans – Taking what’s rightfully ours

Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places – Johnny Lee 1980

Hi readers. Thanks for coming by.

We’ve got all these wars and troops all over the place but what the hell do we ever gain by it? Sheeze. Vietnamese farm fed fish in the grocery stores? Korean made television sets? Afghanistan heroin? Was it worth it? The only worthwhile thing we ever got from Vietnam and Korea were Vietnamese and Korean women who married GIs and improved the US breeding stock. We’ve been looking for love in all the wrong places.

Fact is, with all these recently discovered shale oil deposits recently discovered making us the most oil-rich real estate on the planet, it’s time we corrected an error made in 1848 by our sainted ancestors. When they snagged that little chunk of real estate from Mexico and brought the army home they had no idea about shale oil deposits. They left Mexico with way the hell more land than they needed.

Those Mexicans hadn’t learned their lesson yet about selfishly hoarding so much land they didn’t need and had no rightful claim to. Right here on our doorstep, land they cheated us out of by not telling us about oil shale and what might be under all that land we allowed them to keep. And who knows what other stuff they’ve got under there they aren’t telling us about? Stuff we might need later.

Those troops in Afghanistan aren’t getting us a damned thing except planeloads of heroin. The trouble with that war is that it’s not visionary. It’s too far from home and eventually everything the US gains there will have gone into the veins of a bunch of addicts, aside from a few Swiss bank accounts of politicians and military gurus.

We US citizens are sick of being cheated by Mexico and Mexicans sneaking in here stealing our grunt labor jobs nobody wants, sneaking around having valuable mineral resources they didn’t tell us about last time US troops had to go down there and kick ass.

This time we need to do it right. This time we need to take the whole damned place so’s we don’t have to do it again. Move the US Border Patrol down to Yucatan where it can do some good keeping Guatemala where it belongs.

Old Jules

Mexican–American War
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexican%E2%80%93American_War

Mexican Cession 1848
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mexican_Cession.png

Making money the old fashioned way

Hi readers. Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

I saw a bumper sticker in town yesterday in the parking lot of the last Gibson’s store in existence. 20 year old beat-to-hell pickup with the sticker, “I make money the old fashioned way – I work for it“.

Judging by the truck, I’m guessing he’s probably telling the truth.

Inside the store when I went to pay for my purchase the cashier held the bill up to the light, then used a black felt tip pen on it and squinted at it again. When she decided it was okay I asked whether they get any phonies.

Lots of them.” She shrugged and counted out my change, which I didn’t examine closely. That’s trust.

The fact is there are lots of old fashioned ways to make money. Working has always been the least efficient method, but it’s widely praised by people who have a lot of it by inheritance, politics, graft, bailouts, handouts, subsidies, and prostitution. Someone has to do the grunt work or the whole system of economics falls apart.

Fact is, someone has to ring the cash registers, clean out the sewer lines, change the oil on cars, sit behind desks doing meaningless, boring, dead-end chores all day or it would become downright inconvenient for people who made their money the various other old fashioned ways.

And those hamburger flippers and sewer plant operaters need to be able to find something about it they can construe as a virtue, rather than just being fools and useful zombies drawing lousy pay for essential work to keep things running.

Happy Birthday North Korea!

Today they’re celebrating the anniversary of the birth of their nation in North Korea. They’ve lasted a lot longer than most people had any reason to hope they would. And their leaders tended to have a longer lifespan.

Most of you will recall that hasn’t been precisely the case in South Korea. But it’s more difficult for the CIA to get into North Korea to assassinate their top guys. When the CIA assassinated Park Chung Hee,first president of South Korea, and Diem, president of South Vietnam, the guys in North Korea took it as an object lesson. Kept their heads down and a sharp eye out for anyone who might pass as a CIA operative.

Worked fairly well, too. They managed to stay alive all this time. Beats hell out of being an ally of the US and having to get offed for your trouble.

Old Jules

The Zen of politics – Romantic vs Classic forms

Hi readers. Thanks for the visit.

Probably some of you have noticed as I have that things in Washington D.C. aren’t always as they appear to be.

Moving the White House and Congress to Disneyland – A serious proposal

The reasons for this reach deeply into the psyche of the people who call themselves Americans. They’re entrenched in the idealized construct of the US Constitution and the romantic, dehumanized cardboard cutouts of the ‘founding fathers’, US presidents, generals, politicians and jurists. By definition their motives were pure, their decisions and actions were entirely driven by the desire to protect the rights of the future citizenry.

A classical view of all this would note a few contradictions inside the fog of idealism. The supposed ability of the judiciary, for instance, to shed the skin of partisanship and self-interest once sworn into office. The fact a substantial portion of the humanity born inside the borders, the ‘Indians’, were not to be included in the census, not to be taxed. In fact, were not citizens at all when it came to the protected rights of citizenship. The only protections the US Constitution provided them were treaty obligations approved by the US Congress. Even the 14th Amendment to the Constitution in 1868 pretended the tribes governed themselves and the US Government had no jurisdiction over them. Excluded for automatic citizenship even those who gave up tribal affiliations.

Keeping the options open, those realists. Kept them open until 1924, by which time the protection of any rights they might have had as citizens couldn’t do them a hell of a lot of good.

Not to say impartial or non-partisan Supreme Court jurists, or what happened to the rights of American Indians has anything to do with anything except reality.

The reality. Washington D.C. is inhabited by human beings looking out for their own best interests. They’ve pared the environment down so it’s contained in a two-party system to protect itself from intruders, outsiders, invaders. They’re all singing from the same songbook inside the conch shell where the only sound you hear is their ocean.

Whining about taxes, rights protected by Constitutional amendments, undeclared wars and candidates for National elected offices who aren’t blessed with chins can’t penetrate the walls of the conch shell.

The reality is that if any of that can be changed it can’t happen in a capsule of romantic form anchored to a past that never existed, celluloid people canonized in myth and a piece of paper with less substance than a US dollar.

Playing nicknack tallywack inside Washington’s two-party system only results in them throwing the dog a bone. But the dogs do love it.

That’s reality.

Old Jules

Andrew JacksonCare – Brute force over asking the Supreme Court

Hi readers.

Probably a good case can be made for Andrew Jackson being the lousiest president the US ever suffered. It might even be said his decision to use brute force against South Carolina in 1837, instead of asking the Supreme Court whether a State is allowed to nullify its agreement to be part of the Union, was the cause of the Civil War.

Certainly President Thomas Jefferson believed States had the right to secede. President James Madison waffled some on the subject, but might also have believed it. Daniel Webster still believed it in 1890.

The reason the answer wasn’t obvious was in the document preceding the US Constitution, the Articles of Confederation. Those 13 entities agreed to a permanent union. But the Articles of Confederation were nullified by the new US Constitution. And the new Constitution didn’t say a damned word about it being permanent.

So when the Tariffs of Abomination were passed by a majority of states, putting several into one hell of a pinch, South Carolina first protested, screamed, begged, stamped its feet, and finally declared itself no longer part of the Union.

That would have been a good time to settle the question. President Andrew Jackson could have asked the US Supreme Court to decide whether a State had the right to withdraw. But Andrew Jackson didn’t give a tinkers damn what was legal nor what was Constitutional. Andrew Jackson was a point-of-the-gun man, proved it when he moved the tribes across the continent at the point of a gun after agreeing they’d be okay if they’d put down their guns.

So President Andrew Jackson, instead of asking the Courts whether South Carolina had to stay in the Union, asked the same states who’d passed the Tariffs of Abomination whether they’d pay to send 100,000 troops to South Carolina to keep them quiet and hungry.

Andrew JacksonCare. Soon to be followed by Abraham LincolnCare.

Or, “How to get your face onto a piece of US currency“.

Old Jules

Abraham Lincolncare – A realistic way to remember US Presidents

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

I keep hearing about something called WossnameCare, which I don’t know what is and honestly don’t want to know.  Anything that names itself after a US president tends to arouse suspicion for me.  Strikes me as an attempt by someone who sees himself as the most powerful person in the world to inject his name into history books, along with a particular slant.  The fact an enormous lot of US citizens are opposed to is suggests it would be worthy of a lot of careful study before anyone formed an opinion.

But it also brings to mind something I believe is a flaw in the way we remember US presidents of the past, figuring out whether they did anything good, and remembering them for that.  The entire world and the citizenry of the US would probably be better served if we all remembered US presidents for the absolutely awful, terrible, long-range disasterous things they did and decisions they made.  An object lesson to anyone holding that office as a warning he’ll be remembered by history for his follies.

A few examples, in case I’m not expressing myself clearly.

Franklin Rooseveltcare might be a good place to begin.  Roosevelt gave us the Manhattan Project and the nuclear bomb.  Franklin Roosevelt can be said to be responsible for the Cold War Mutual Assured Destruction, that whole nest of horrors, as well as all that damned radiation contamination the Japanese are dumping into the sky and the Pacific Ocean.

Harry Trumancare.  The endless serious of undeclared presidential wars he began.

Lyndon Johnsoncare.  The Vietnam War legacy and more importantly, the welfare state.

Richard Nixoncare.  A Chinese toaster in every kitchen and a dead US toaster-making industry.

Ronald Reagancare.  Generations of an endless War on Drugs, a prison industry and the US becoming the country with more prisoners held in prisons than any other country in the world.

Bill Clintoncare.  The careful planting and nurturing of the US police state.

Father and Son Bushcare.  Endless wars and military adventures in the Middle East.

US presidents are in office because they are attracted to the thought of being the most powerful person in the world.  US presidents want their names in history books.  Naturally most of them are functionally illiterate and haven’t spent a lot of time reading history books.  They just have to ride along on gut feel and what they think previous presidents are praised for doing, remembered for doing.

And if US presidents are remembered for the ways they’ve managed to convert the United States to the country it has become, is still becoming, they might well take a deeper look at what they are about.  Give a few thoughts to consequences.

Old Jules