Soon back in the USSA

We head to Bangkok today, and then to Colorado via Tokyo. It’s been a wonderful experience. People are the same where you go, but they are affected by culture. Indians have a reputation for being greedy, Chinese for bullying and rude. We haven’t seen enough of either to understand those stereotypes.

But those people we met, Nepali and Thai, are remarkable. They are courteous. The Thai smile is everywhere, not just in those in the tourist economy, but also in every face we see. They are a gracious people. There is a vibrant economy here, and we have not seen beggars as we did in India and Nepal. Cars are mostly new, streets bustling.

Politics is lively, public opinion influences public policy to a degree, unlike the USA where such a high-falutin’ idea is just an illusion. Class structure is everywhere, and wealthier people always have more influence, but in the US, that rule is virtually absolute.

It’s very hot. That makes trekking, even walking across town, a sweaty experience for me. Our next otrip is Switzerland or New Zealand – somewhere where we need heat rather than fight it.

I did think I could score a fortune betting on American football, as Thailand is 14 hours ahead of the US so we would know the outcome of games ahead of people in the States. It does not work that way, I’ve learned.

15 thoughts on “Soon back in the USSA

  1. Today we take a break to honor our vets. Plenty of time on the return flight to savor your recent experience. As with most trips to foreign lands, it’s a lot to process. Have a safe trip home, comrade.


  2. public opinion influences public policy to a degree, unlike the USA where such a high-falutin’ idea is just an illusion.

    Oh, I’d say the public is getting what it wants here, in large part.

    Class structure is everywhere, and wealthier people always have more influence, but in the US, that rule is virtually absolute.

    You are anxious to be influenced by the non-wealthy? ???


    1. I’m not so sure the public wanted single payer. It depended on how you asked the question.

      I’ll agree that the wealthy get a lot of public policy swung their way, like the tsunami of immigrants to drive down labor costs. But Joe Q. Public lines up behind a lot of it.


      1. “Depending on how…?”

        You’re talking about “push-polling” where the question contains education. Without it, public favored single payer overwhelmingly. They perhaps don’t understand it to mean anything other than “something other than what we have” but that level of dissatisfaction and desire for a more workable system has been present for decades.

        True, if you ask “If you knew that we’d be broke in ten years and that older people would be drowned in the ocean, would you favor single payer?” produced a different response.


      2. Okay.

        But I notice in these type of debates, populism is pushed when it suits the political purpose, but not always. Gay marriage has never won an election, but the activists rush to court to get their “rights” enforced over the top of popular opinion. Same with immigration and other topics.

        Back in the day the local Democrats would handily win elections around here. I would point out to a few that if I had all the Mennonites, Amish, Hutterites, Jehovah Witnesses et al who don’t vote voicing their preference, I could prevail. They would agree, but sort of admit they were only for democracy as long as their side would win. Now they are importing illegals just to stuff the ballot box. Gotta love it.


        1. It’s not a simple matter of public preference, as civil society does set rules that all communities must abide by. So, for instance, slavery cannot be voted in now, and abortion cannot be voted out. Same with gay rights – these matters are argued before the courts, and slowly society comes around.

          I don’t like the way the Supreme Court acts as our House of Lords any more than you do, by the way. They need to serve single terms and get the hell out. They are far too removed from daily life.


        2. I suppose public preference could ultimately change the abortion laws, or torpedo same sex marriage. Consent of the governed…

          But I’m becoming less enchanted with democracy, or maybe I should say universal suffrage. It seems we need to limit the franchise, or else we roar to the place where 51% loot the 49%.

          Part of leadership is to explain to the public that, yes, it is now time to subsidize male sodomy. Or whatever change is deemed an improvement on the status quo. I’m uncomfortable with activists petitioning the courts and then venue shopping the thing to get a favorable ruling.


          1. It’s complicated, isn’t it. We’d ought to give democracy a try, but it takes an educated public and eternal vigilance. Right now, we ain’t got much of that. Man, it’s a desert out there! You read the comments on the Internet? It’s a loony bin.

            Gays and “sodomy” don’t trouble me. If people are born that way, why try to change them? Orifices of choice, I suppose? Just don’t take pictures.

            Better minds than mind have dealt with order insociety to prevent extremes of wealth and poverty, which seems to be the key. Income and wealth naturally end up in just a few hands, but that doesn’t mean that it is right to leave it like that. Who was the learned judge who said that you cannot have democracy when you have those extremes?


          2. I agree with your sentiments here, but I’m cautious about explicit attempts to end poverty or prevent too much accumulation of wealth. Past attempts have too often been clumsy with an embarrassing body count.


          3. If you’re referring to the Soviets, I know nothing of their tax system. Marxism, Communism are failed ideas. That’s widely accepted, but Maoist parties in Asia were news to me. I don’t get out much.

            Socialism has even very successful. Capitalism can be a wild ride, so wild that it scares people, which is why we have monopolies and regulatory systems and labor unions and all of that. True competition is extremely and mutually destructive.


          4. Marxism, Communism are failed ideas…Socialism has been very successful.

            Seems to be a bit of a disconnect here.

            True competition is extremely and mutually destructive.

            Where’s Black Flag, so I can see his head explode in print?

            We do well to keep some uncertainty in the system, some method for people to need to work for what they get under the pain of loss. Just handing things out is corrosive.


          5. Our system is best described as corporate socialism. Canada and Europe are wealthy socialist countries. And Dwayne Andreas of ADM summarized the feeling of the business community best when he said “Competitors are our friends, customers our enemy.” He was saying exactly what I just said – competition is destructive.


          6. Well, yes, we are currently in a stage of crony corporate welfare funded by taxpayers and maintained by regulation. And it shows in the stats.

            But we grew to prominence not so much by socialism but by competitive striving of capable people. We couldn’t maintain it, which is troubling.


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