Carousing, Post-bagging, and Flooding.


9 months, 26 Days, still sober

Mobi-Babble

It seems like a lifetime ago since I quit the booze and weaned myself off the high dosage of antidepressants that I used to take. So I have been clean of alcohol for nearly 10 months and antidepressants for 8 months. In the general scheme of these things, it’s not that long and nobody knows better than me that I am still not out of the woods.

Recently, there have been some worrying financial issues that have sent me into a mild depression, although at the time of writing, I do feel a bit better than I did even a day or so back.

Don’t get me wrong, the ‘financial issues’ are not going to bankrupt me, but without  going into details, I will just say that if not resolved, they will burn yet another small  hole in my projected monthly income and I will eventually have to adjust my lifestyle accordingly.

All in all, a bit of a blow, and largely of my own making, harking from the days when I didn’t take proper care of my money matters. Let that be a lesson to any procrastinating alcoholics out there. Closing your eyes to necessary business matters doesn’t make them go away.

Anyway, the depression has led me to feel a degree of boredom and lack of purpose in my life, (or maybe it’s the other way round), but at no point have I even considered the notion of having a drink or going back on anti-depressants. I actually recognise the danger signals. It is a known fact that many alcoholics return to drinking after weeks, months or even years of abstinence, purely and simply because they are bored and seem to have no happiness or joy in their lives. The solution is not to start drinking again but to find more purpose in my life.

I am not so much bored as dissatisfied with my daily life. I seem to spend all my time downloading stuff from the internet to watch in the evenings, dealing with all my myriad emails and working on my blog, even though I have now reduced its publication to twice a week. I have made no progress on my novel since I had that first rush of optimism following my return from the UK, so now, what with the problems in my finances, I don’t feel too positive about things as I did just a couple of weeks ago.

Things would be a whole lot worse without the wonderful Noo to take care of me and I am so thankful that she is here to stop me doing anything stupid.

Anyway, yesterday I decided to go out on a bit of a ‘girlie crawl’ in the hope that it might cheer me up a bit, and I am actually pleased to report that I think it did just that.

In recent months, most of my carousing has been done in the company of Rick, and more recently Bob, but I have now concluded that I am happier when on my own. If I am on the hunt for female companionship, then I’d rather do it alone. Having someone with me is distracting and invariably I have to fall in with their wishes as regards when and where to move on to pastures new. We may be at a particular bar where  I may have found a nice lady that I wish to spend time with, but my companion may have not be so lucky. So he wants to go and I want to say. And vice versa….

But at the end of the day when I go out on these lady-hunting expeditions, Iwant to spend time with some lovely, scantily clad women – not to chat with friends. If I want to out for a chat I will go to a beer bar or a cafe  and have a chat. If I want to have a nice kiss and cuddle, I will go to a different sort of place and indulge my weaknesses. I have always been like this; a loner as far as chasing whores is concerned.

So yesterday went pretty well. I had a pretty good time in a number of disreputable establishments and had fun with some very horny, gorgeous ladies whose bodies were so delectable that most of you living in the west would die to get your hands on one of them if you had half a chance.

I didn’t ‘go all the way’ but I wasn’t far off it, and more than one lady suggested that  even if I hadn’t, she had….

I won’t go into the gory details as I used to in the past, as it seems to bring out the worst in a number of my readers and they tend to get beside themselves with anger – accusing me of all manner of terrible sins – from distorting the truth to barefaced lies, to challenging me to going with them on some kind of whore-monger competition.

What tosh! I know what I know and I do what I do, which is a helluva lot more than most punters succeed in doing, but I don’t have to prove myself to anyone. If you don’t believe me, it’s entirely up to you.

Did yesterday’s exploits have the effect of lifting my depression? I actually think that they did; I suppose it was all good for my bruised ego. I returned home at around 8.30 p.m and Noo was waiting for me patiently. She looked absolutely lovely and it made me realise, yet again, what a gem she is.

Today, I feel much better, though still haven’t decided what I need to do to change my life for the better to avoid more depressive periods. But at least I am still sober and feeling more positive about things and that can’t be bad.

Postbag

It’s been quite a while since I published a postbag, mainly because there has been little of interest in the way of comments to bring to my readers’ attention.

Obviously everybody must agree with what I say, and has no need to write any comments. ☺ (I’ joking…)

Anyway, I recently had an exchange of correspondence with ‘Rebel’ and  today with ‘TT’. and a new correspondent called Elijah Green. Both Rebel and TT are two of my long term readers, and as  many of you do not bother to click on the ‘comments’ section, I publish below a  recent exchanges of views.

Rebel

Submitted on 2011/10/20 at 4:26 pm

Much better interpretation of the current political condition here in the U.S.A. than some of your previous commentaries. The bottom line is that money regardless of the source has polluted our system, it is the agenda of nearly every politician. In order to keep their positions and for many a higher standard of living then they’d otherwise have accomplished their votes are for sale.

The dumbing of America is no accident, it is by design. It is much easier to herd an ignorant population regardless if they lean left or right. It is the independent vote that is the unknown and decides elections currently. Their numbers will be curtailed as we become less sophisticated and fall in line with the undereducated. We then can be counted to choose left or right instead of compromise thus their votes easier calculated. It is easier to conduct business as usual when the population is struggling to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. The current “Moral Majority” on the right and the “Nanny State” on the left only assist the politicians by masking their dysfunction to compromise in the best interest of the people. What use to be an accepted difference in opinion is now a make or break issue on nearly any legislative attempt by either party. A point of view based on a political/religious philosophy is more important than solving the economic problems now infecting the world. Our politicians have failed to lead and will continue to do so until their pockets are separated from the corporate or special interest cash that controls them and ultimately all of us!

Money is said to be the root of all evil, never a truer saying than evidenced by today’s problems regarding child abuse as your blog stated. It is the children who pay the price for the failures of humanity. The European model of health and welfare is a more humane system for the masses, yes the cost is enormous but is used as an excuse not to do the humane thing here in the U.S. The children don’t vote so they are not a threat to the current politicians, they are the easiest of targets when it comes to how money is going to be allocated. We will and are paying a higher price for our failure to protect, provide and properly educate the most vulnerable of society. It is now less expensive to send a kid to most Universities than to incarcerate them per annum, yet we can’t build prisons fast enough. A system that values wealth greater than its humanity will someday be consumed by the very inhumanity and stupidity that their greed has created.

The current state of affairs in the U.S.A. is troubling; I can only hope that someday a true leader will arrive on the scene, that will save us from our apathy. If you’ve watched any of the resent debates of the republican challengers to Obama, you will have noted none of them are of the calibre to lead our nation to a corrected course. They are all more of the same, all to ready to serve their corporate master$. My prediction is Obama will be re-elected by the slimmest of margins. The crook you know is better than a crook you don’t know, the march to ‘corporatocracy’ continues.

It is much easier to live with ones countries short comings when all you have to do is blame them on someone else or pray them away on any given Sunday. It is much easier to navigate a known corrupt system than one disguised as democracy.

What’s to get Mobi?

MOBI

Submitted on 2011/10/21 at 5:32 am | In reply to Rebel.

Hi Rebel,

Thank you for your comments.

Most, though not all, my articles on USA issues in previous blogs have been deliberately provocative, so I am not surprised that you find my latest comments more ‘reasonable’. In this piece I have tried hard to moderate my language and keep things in proper perspective so as not to antagonise my American readers too much.

What I don’t get is the increasing divergence in cultures between the US and Europe; between the caring and the selfish, between the quasi religious and the secular – between middle ground, consensus politics and partisan, extremist, hate-filled politics….

Of course I am generalising – no nation or group of nations is perfect.

After all, ‘Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy.’

I agree with all of your comments and in particular I too deplore the lack of an inspirational candidate to challenge Obama and lead the ‘free world’ at a time of crisis. You may be correct about Obama scraping back in, but much can and probably will happen over the next 12 months.

Personally, I suspect that Romney might just wing it, but this Yankee-watcher will derive no pleasure from such a victory, as Romney is every bit a part of the corrupt political machine as all the others who have gone before. It will more of the same, and the politicians will continue to play the same games in Washington and nothing will really change.

What was that about: “In a democracy, people get the government they deserve”?

Rebel

Submitted on 2011/10/21 at 4:44 pm

Your definition of politics is apropos Mobi.

The divergence you speak of is a result of how superficial America has become, it’s the reason we have lost the status we once enjoyed in the free world. Our morals have been compromised, we are getting the respect or lack thereof that we deserve.

Romney is a Mormon, the Christian ludicrous are not capable of casting that vote for a “cultist”. He is too liberal for that faction of the conservatives. The imbecile Perry is a better fit for those waiting for the return of the invisible man. Huntsman a moderate, who is also Mormon would be my first choice, he’ll never make it through the first few primaries.

Thank you for clarifying my point about not having a government we deserve. The amount of money it takes to buy an election in this country, we get a choice of whoever the financiers decide to support. The population of working stiffs are merely ponds in the chess game for dominance that the wealthy and connected have rigged.

TT

Submitted on 2011/10/25 at 10:34 pm

Hi Mobi,

It is rare that I disagree with anything you say, but your words on Libya there sound like some David Cameron press release. It is us who hired the gunmen to fight the war – errrrr……factions of Al Qaeda if you’d have look at the press. Their massacres are now coming to light as are questions on the amount of civilian casualties created by their habit of standing off from built up areas and blasting away blindly. And the whole UN mandate of protecting the population? Dropping bombs on urban areas would achieve that I am sure.

And the raggle taggle army of ‘freedom fighters’ that you speak of ; Did you note the hardware that these ‘freedom fighters’ were armed with? Wonder who supplied that then? And how is it to be paid for? Hmmm.

And of course the latest footage of Gaddafi’s demise is nothing like the original story, or the next story, or the one after that. He was sodomised with a bayonet after being brutalised. With friends like that do we need enemies?.

Whatever you choose to believe of the propaganda, Libya had women’s rights, it had a good state medical system (Medical tourism being a money earner there), and a good educational system. I have known many guys in the oil industry who’ve worked there so can only base my opinions on what they have told me and of what I have read.

In all reality, can you assure me that our ‘freedom fighter’s will still be allowing women to walk around in Libya unmasked in one year’s time?. I’ve got a fiver says ‘No’.

As for the knock at the door – you do remember what country you live in?. In Libya it might have been political, in Thailand it is normally financial. Same, same, but different.

Cheers,

TT.

MOBI

Submitted on 2011/10/26 at 8:14 am | In reply to TT.

Honestly, TT, it almost sounds as though you have been brain washed by some fringe conspiracy theory hand out.

As I wrote in my piece, I actually lived for a year in Libya, albeit many years ago, but long after Gadhafi was well entrenched as the nation’s feared dictator. I lived there and worked there, never leaving the country until the day I climbed on a plane to leave for good – unlike a vast majority of oilfield workers , who only go into a country to do their tour of duty on an oil rig, and then leave immediately afterwards for their ‘R & R’

As a young man I worked for more than 8 years in the oil industry in all manner of third world countries, but everywhere I worked, I actually lived there, with the local communities, unlike most of my colleagues who were flown out of the country as soon as their tour of duty was over.

It is dangerous to generalise but I have heard more stuff and nonsense perpetrated by often ill-educated oil field hands, clearly ignorant in world affairs and history, who claim that they ‘know’ a country when all that they have done is work on one of the country’s oil rigs. Their only interaction with locals is on the rig and getting to and from their place of work so as a consequence, their views are extremely blinkered, and dare I suggest, somewhat self-serving.

I dare say many feel very aggrieved at having their generous, tax free income being cut off by a ‘pesky civil war’, started by Cameron.

Don’t’ get me wrong – I too do not claim to be an expert; I did state in my blog that  I lived a relatively rarefied, expat lifestyle in Libya.

Oil is the life blood of Libya, and the very best educated, (often overseas), and the most able Libyans work in that sector. Many of them were Gadhafi supporters because they came from that elite segment – mostly from Gadhafi’s own tribe – who were looked after and fostered by the ruling regime.

But even amongst those, there was a fear of saying or doing the wrong thing – and yes – getting a dreaded knock on the door. So any intercourse with such people might lead you to believe that Libya was indeed a well-run civilised society – but the whole world, (except it would seem, the likes of TT), knows very different.

I admit that I am becoming increasingly disaffected with Cameron as I feel his judgement on many issues has been shown to be flawed, but on the Libya issue, he and Sarkosy got it 100% right.

It took longer than most of us would have liked, and there a lot more deaths than any of us are comfortable with. But war is war and the rebels were determined to bring down a very brutal regime and if they hadn’t succeeded, then the slaughter in the streets could well have matched what transpired in Ruanda. Even the UN recognised this as a fact.

Of course, war crimes and unnecessary deaths and torture were carried out by both sides. Name me a war where this didn’t happen.

And quite frankly, I and a vast majority of the world couldn’t care two hoots if Gadhafi’s body was violated with a sabre up his backside – he perpetrated the most barbarous suffering and cruelty on his people and he deserved nothing less. Few will grieve his passing, or the manner of his death.

As for your bet as to whether all the women will be wearing veils in 6 months’ time – well I ask you ? Is this the acid test of what constitutes a fair and just society?

Sure it offends our western senses of what is right and how we should treat our women; but isn’t it time that we abandoned this idea that every country’s culture should be a carbon copy of our flawed western model, and when are we going to learn that any attempts to force our beliefs and principles on alien cultures and religions only leads to conflict?

When the Arab Spring has reached its zenith, there will be any number of Moslem states where the basis of their rule will be Sharia Law and where most, if not all women will have to wear the veil in public. If this is what the people of those countries, voting in free and fair elections desire, then who are we to gainsay them?

Surely all the rest of the world should try to do is to create a climate under which the people have the opportunity to elect their chosen government. As I wrote the other day in relation to The USA: “In a democracy, people get the government they deserve.”

Of course it remains to be seen if such countries will be more democratic than they used to be and if their people are treated any better.

But we have to give them the chance, and maybe – just maybe – we will be surprised by the results.

BTW, please don’t fall into the ‘Big Skippy trap’ of trying to justify your point by bringing another country into the debate. We are talking Libya – not Thailand.

Thailand is a totally different kettle of fish….☺

Take care,

Mobi

Elijah Green

Submitted on 2011/10/24 at 11:27 am

Concur with your thoughts on H.C.

I recall reading a comment about her made by a contemporary university student:

“She was a bitch back then in college, and she ain’t changed a bit”

MOBI

Submitted on 2011/10/26 at 9:26 am | In reply to Elijah Green.

Hi Elijah,

Yes, I’m afraid she has never come across as the caring liberal that she purports to be. Even as Foreign Secretary she has given out some public announcements to which have been tantamount to barefaced lies, and she knows it. Most of us did as well.

It is an interesting dichotomy, as, I actually believe that Obama, deep down, is a principled individual who really believes that what he is trying to do is best for the American people. Unfortunately, his ideology is fatally flawed and on top of that he has shown himself to be an incompetent leader. A great orator and a great ideas man, maybe, but hopeless in leading and in the execution of his ideas.

On the other hand, Princess Hilary is a lying, scheming, wily politician, and who knows – quite possibly an effective leader. Maybe she would have achieved more than Obama if she had been elected President? What say you?

The Thai Floods

There has been so much written about the Thai floods that there is little that I wish to add, and in any case the situation is continually changing so anything that I write will be out of date before the ink dries on the page.

I guess the only remaining imponderable is just how much of Bangkok will also succumb to the floods in the coming days and weeks. My guess is that most, if not all of Bangkok will suffer from some degree of flooding, even if it is only a few inches.

So what is really going on and is anyone to blame? Could the worst of the flooding have been prevented, and is the government completely incompetent in dealing with it? Are bi-partisan politics getting in the way of helping the people?

The possible answers to all these questions can be found in the newspapers and blogs that have churned out millions of words on this subject.

But to me, it is a bit like the Bangkok riots of last year? We are in uncharted territory and no one really knows exactly why it happened, whether timely remedial measures would have helped to alleviate the crisis and where it will all lead to.

One thing is for sure; it will have a considerable effect on the country’s economy. Last year, most people were surprised at how little the economy was affected by the Bangkok riots. The reality was that the great power houses of the Thai economy – industry and agriculture were hardly affected by what was going on in down-town Bangkok.

Sure the tourist industry suffered a small blip – but it was only a blip and it didn’t take long before the tourists started to return in droves.

But this time it is a bit different. Hundreds of major factories have been shut down for weeks,– possibly months; agriculture has been very hard hit and billions upon  billions of Baht in precious exports has been lost, some of it possibly forever.

After the 2009 riots, most foreign investors in the Thai economy, principally Japanese, reaffirmed their commitment to the country, but I wonder whether this commitment will stay just as firm after these devastating floods which have cost the Japanese their largest ever overseas investment loss in their history, some 50 billion dollars was a recent estimate. Maybe some of them will start to look for alternative places for on-going and future investment, particularly if the Thai government do not take immediate long term measures to prevent a re-occurrence of these widespread floods.

I haven’t yet mentioned tourism which also remained relatively unaffected by the 2009 riots. If Bangkok does become flooded, (I suspect that it will), and, heaven forbid, if there is even a slight disruption to flights at Suvarnabhumi airport, then I fear that it will have an adverse effect on tourist numbers for at least year or two – longer if the floods re-occur.

We have been mercifully spared the floods here in Pattaya, as has the south of Thailand which receives a huge number of tourists, but Chiang Mai has been badly affected, and if Bangkok goes under water, this will create a huge piece of negative publicity for Thai tourism at the event will surely be headlines in the world’s media.

So maybe some hard times lie ahead for Thailand’s economy. Not a total disaster, but it will certainly halt the previously burgeoning economic growth in its tracks. The government will have to tread a very careful path out of the resultant, as yet unquantifiable economic damage.

A couple of days ago, Al Jazeera had a thirty minute segment on the Thai floods, and the three participants were two intellectuals from Thai universities, plus the excellent Pavin Chachavalpongpun, who is based in Singapore.

The abiding message that one could take from this programme was that even the experts did not really have good answers to the questions I posed at the top of this article, but all were agreed that to one extent or another, bi-partisan political forces were at play.

Since then I have found an article written by Pavin Chachavalpongpun, as a guest writer in the Nation. It is worth a reprint here:

Even this national disaster is being used as a political weapon

Such a stupid bitch, she is!

As dim as a buffalo! She’s a bimbo, a brainless Barbie doll. The first female prime minister – who has brought all this bad luck upon the country!

This is what Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is now called and labelled by her upper-class critics.

Much of Thailand has for some time been submerged under floodwaters. Bangkok itself is bracing for raging floods. Soon, the capital could be turned into a giant swimming pool. At the same time, Yingluck is about to drown in the political floods. This is no longer just an issue of natural disaster. It has become a ferocious political game.

The discourse of “stupidity” is being used prevalently and discursively. Yingluck has been made to represent the face of stupidity. The objective is clear – to discredit her and belittle her endeavours to find solutions to the problem.

In employing this discourse to assess Yingluck’s performance, many seem to assume that Thai politics is the realm of the “intelligent”. But if it is so, then why did past leaders also fail to solve the relentless problem of annual floods once and for all?

If Yingluck is to be judged, then perhaps the word “weak” would be better used to measure her leadership qualities. It is true that Yingluck has responded to the floods too slowly. While she works tirelessly to display her commitment, she fails to produce an integrated approach to ameliorate the grave situation. But it is very convenient, in times of crisis, to condemn others. All fingers are thus pointing at Yingluck’s lack of crisis management skills.

But would it be fair to put all the blame on Yingluck? Should she alone be held responsible for the overpowering floods? Why was the Royal Irrigation Department keeping huge reserves of water in key dams at the beginning of the monsoon season and refused to release it despite the prolonged and massive rainfall we have seen during this monsoon season? Why did previous governments, which also experienced threatening floods, not put in place an effective flood management system?

Rumours, lies and false statements regarding the flood situation have been found on social networking sites. A picture of Yingluck, taken before the July election, which shows her taking a photo from her hand-phone on a helicopter, has been circulated on Facebook, with captions such as: “The nation is in crisis but this bitch is having a good time.” Another picture of a Yingluck lookalike partying and drinking whisky from a bottle was also shared in cyberspace.

News of His Majesty the King mentioning that if the floods approach Bangkok, then let the water pass and do not block the Chitralada Palace, was found to be bogus. A photo of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, taken in 2010, offering bags of commodities, was also intentionally released to mislead some Thais.

Could this be a part of a coordinated attack against Yingluck with the aim of destroying confidence in the government? Certainly, the opposition Democrat Party has been busy contesting the legitimacy of the Yingluck regime. Its leader, former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, absurdly suggested the declaration of an emergency decree to fight the floods. Through this, the military would be granted full authority to operate in almost any way it likes – a decision that will not be accepted by the current government. Yet, Abhisit did not elaborate on whether the military could handle the problem better than the Yingluck government.

Abhisit has also worked closely with MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra, the Bangkok governor, to compete, not cooperate, with the government. While many brand Yingluck as stupid, Sukhumbhand showed his superstitious faith in a Khmer ritual of “chasing water” in his search for a solution to the threat of floods in the city. He was intensely protective about his turf. At one point he declared, “Listen to me and only me. I will tell you when to evacuate.”

Meanwhile, footage of the military going into affected areas to aid flood victims is impressive. But the military, like the Bangkok governor, has functioned almost independently from the government. There is clearly a sense of competition between the government and its rivals. Some of the fiercest critics of the government have called for Yingluck to resign. Yingluck’s supporters interpret such competition and the pressure to remove her from power as part of a plot to stage a “water coup”.

This competition, even during the height of the crisis, unveils a reality in Thailand: this is a deeply fragmented society in which political ideologies have overshadowed public responsibility and the urgency for national survival. It is no longer a country where its members are willing to forge ahead and leave their differences behind. Eliminating political adversaries, at the expense of a national catastrophe, is seemingly acceptable today.

The last crusade to save the capital from the floods also reflects a self-interested mentality among Bangkok residents. Bangkok, once again, is a symbol of contentious politics. Other provinces have long suffered from flood-waters that do not seem to go away. It is a case of a great disparity between the people residing in the rural and urban areas.

For now, those who are complaining the most, the loudest, are the Bangkok residents, who have over the past two months been so fortunate to have been kept dry. Yingluck has fallen into the trap of political disparity: she recognises the absolute necessity to rescue Bangkok to please her Bangkok critics, but earlier acted so slowly to prevent surrounding provinces from being inundated.

Pavin Chachavalpongpun

PC is a fellow at Singapore’s Institute of South-East Asian Studies.

2011-10-26

I like to believe that if a similar disaster were to befall the UK, or indeed the USA, that at least during the time of crisis there would be a concerted effort from people of all political persuasions to first and foremost deal with the disaster and get all necessary help to the victims and to mitigate the flood damage.

Once the disaster is over, normal politics would hold sway once more and accusations would be levelled back and forth from all sides of the political spectrum. But at the height of the emergency, all would be doing their best to help and support the government in their efforts. We actually saw this recently in the cyclone and terrible flooding that ravaged Australia. Recriminations came later, but at the time, it was ‘all hands to the pumps’.

Not so Thailand. It is such a shame, and – dare I say it- that if it wasn’t for one man, the strong feelings and the deep divisions in Thai society would never have become quite as entrenched as they are today. 

I am not for one moment suggesting  that he was not treated shabbily – of course he was – but history will show that he has a great deal to answer for; from the terrible, bloody riots, to the polarisation of Thai society to the point where scoring political points is more important than the lives and welfare or ordinary folk.

I am sorry, Khun Thaksin, but two wrongs never, ever, make a right; I’m sure they must teach you that somewhere in Buddhism. In fact, maybe Khun Thaksin and all the many  Buddhists who are involved in managing this crisis, would do well to dwell on the Buddhist concept of ‘METTA’. 

Metta is the first of the four ‘Sublime States’: loving kindness, good-will, friendship, unconditional love for all human beings. Metta is the feeling of warm-hearted concern for the well-being of other people, whoever they may be, regardless of any ‘reason’ or any profit that might result. Metta is a spontaneous expression of a wish to do what one can to help.

BUTT…BUTT…BUTT… I don’t give a hoot…

The Death of a Colonel

 


9 Months, 23 Days, Still sober

Mobi Babble

Things have been pretty quiet on the Mobi home front. Noo’s son is still with us although he did spend a couple of days with his aunt in Samut Songkran.

I was a bit naughty on just a single  occasion, when I took Bob out for a tour of some of my favourite dens of ill repute, but apart from that, life has been pretty routine and I have spent much of my time at home with my family and dogs.

Pattaya has mercifully been spared the terrible floods that are devastating Thailand, but it has been no fun to follow the ever changing fortunes of the provinces and districts, including parts of Bangkok, as one by one, they succumb to rising waters.

My heart goes out to one and all who have been adversely affected.

The death of a tyrannical murderer.

The manner of Col. Gadhafi’s death has sparked much world-wide controversy.

I spent a year in Libya back in the mid- seventies, and although I did not personally witness any overt crimes against the people, it was clear, even in my relatively rarefied existence as an expat working for an oil company, that Libya was an authoritarian police state that brooked no dissent. The population lived  in constant fear of  a knock on the door and of doing or saying  something that might be disapproved of by Gadhafi’s all encompassing, totalitarian regime.

Through the years we have all become aware of Gadhafi’s penchant to sponsor terrorism in many parts of the world, including the IRA, and even as far away as the Muslim separatists in the Philippines. Then , there was the Yvonne Fletcher murder in London, the bombing of a night club in Berlin and the Pan Am disaster over Lockerbie, amongst many other atrocities attributed to the manic colonel.

I could go on and on, but frankly, to this writer, who has always taken an interest in Libya, given that I once spent a year there, I  remained in relative ignorance on just how much a monster Gadhafi was to his own people. It took the Arab spring and the popular uprising in Benghazi for the world to learn the true extent of this barbarous dictator’s  inhumanity to his own people. Stories emerged, (which have since been borne out by facts), of mass torture and killings and rapes  in prisons, where political prisoners were kept in appalling conditions, and often suffered terrible, agonising deaths.

Once civil war broke out, Gadhafi revealed his true colours to the world at large and it wasn’t long before the international criminal court announced that he was wanted for committing crimes against humanity. There is little doubt in my mind, that once the dust has settled and the history is written of this period, that Gadhafi will turn out to be one of the cruellest monsters the modern world has ever seen, on a par with Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot and Saddam Hussein.

I have great admiration for all the Arab people who have risen up against their despotic rulers, from Tunisia, to Yemen, to Egypt and Syria. Countless Arabs have paid the price with their lives, and nowhere was this more so than in Libya.

A rag-taggle, motley collection of young men, from all walks of life, put their lives at risk to over-throw a tyrant who had controlled their lives for more than four decades. A bitter, bloody war ensued and Gadhafi vowed to seek out every citizen who dared to defy him and kill them like rats. He hired mercenaries from neighbouring countries and sent his forces out armed with Viagra and orders to rape the women in any families in rebel held areas or that in any way opposed him.

The untrained, rebel forces, with virtually no heavy ammunition to hand, raged a war against the trained, well equipped, disciplined army of Gadhafi. It was hopelessly one-sided, but with the help of  NATO air power, the rebels eventually prevailed after many months of bloody carnage in which so many of Libya’s bravest young men were killed.

There is hardly a family in Libya who hasn’t suffered personal losses in this bloody conflict, in which so many people have also had their homes and possessions destroyed. Whole cities have been flattened and it will take many years to rebuild this nation.

This is the background in which the brave rebels unexpectedly come across their sworn and reviled enemy at first hand.

In similar circumstances, can we put our hands on our hearts and say that we, Brits, or we Americans would have done any different to what these desperate, frightened, ordinary civilians-turned soldiers did?

Maybe and maybe not, but frankly I doubt it. I also doubt that there is a single politician throughout the western world who isn’t secretly applauding the fact that Gadhafi was summarily killed, an act which has finally brought to an end his evil regime without the need for a long, drawn out trial and a possible rallying point for future insurrections.

But the hypocrisy of the outside world is mind boggling.

The United States has led the way in ‘calling Libya to account’ for the killing of Gadhafi, demanding that the interim government provide full details of how this terrible act came about.

They said: “Libya’s post-Gadhafi leaders must furnish a detailed explanation of how he had died”.

I have heard countless hypocrites on American television pronounce that the Libyans are uncivilised and they are criminals for committing such barbarous acts.

I ask: By what right does America have to call Libya to account for anything that takes place in their country? It is their country and their interim government has been recognised by the United Nations – it is a legitimate government.

It is the Libyan government’s business and their business alone on how they deal with one of the vilest monsters in history, and quite frankly if they had hung drawn and quartered Gadhafi and dragged him from one end of Libya to the other at the back of a pick-up truck, I doubt whether it would have bothered 99.99% of the world’s population one iota.

And just what ‘account’ are they expecting? It is obvious what happened. He was either killed in cross fire, or, more likely, one of the rebels put in the fatal shot. Does it really matter? It was bound to happen; everyone knows that the chances of getting him alive to a hospital were zero – such was the height of loathing and revenge in the hearts of the fighters who had sacrificed so much and the lack of discipline amongst them to prevent such an eventuality.

So the Libyans are uncivilised are they?

During my own life-time Americans in white hoods were still summarily stringing up and murdering blacks in the southern states of America , and it wasn’t that long ago that the entire American mid -west was controlled by men with guns and where lynch mobs ruled. By what right do the Yanks, or indeed any western power, have the right to call Libyans uncivilised? Let them look at their own recent, often violent and cruel histories before casting the first stone.

And then we have these dire predictions from almost every quarter that Libya will descend into anarchy and tribalism and that Muslim fundamentalism will take hold and the whole country is headed for disaster.

Well maybe that is true, but for what its worth, as far as this humble commentator is concerned, having lived closely with the Libyan people for a while and having listened to many of them articulate their hopes and aspirations very eloquently during the course of this uprising, I actually believe that they will make a fair fist of it, and that a functioning, fledgling democracy will emerge from this tragedy.

Let us see who is correct.

America – The classless society

Well, we all know that never was a statement more untrue.

I have written about this before in my blog and have set out the case to assert that America today is an even more a class ridden society in today’s world than the UK.

In my previous piece, I quoted from a Forbes article, entitled:  ‘The American Dream  - America, The New Class-Society ‘, and I reprint this interesting piece below, for the benefit of those who missed it the first time around.

“Class in America is determined predominantly by wealth. And in an information-based capitalistic economy, wealth is largely determined by educational attainment. That is taken as a difference from European societies, where inherited privilege, and particularly noble birth, is seen as predetermining a person’s starting point in society.

That view is anachronistic. The European class system has been buffeted by centuries of social turmoil–the church lost its lands, industrial revolutions muscled in on the landed aristocracy, enfranchisement became widespread. It has adapted as best it could–in the 19th century the marriage of American heiresses to impoverished British peers became a U.S. export industry–but increasingly, class in Europe is more style than substance.

Class is changing yet again, and the new incarnation of the class-society is at its most advanced in the U.S. A good education is now the most important determinate of class, and in America, access to good schools–whether private or public -is increasingly reserved for the well-to-do.

Homes located in decent school districts are often dramatically more expensive than those near mediocre schools. And the very richest now almost exclusively opt to send their offspring to private prep schools at the cost of tens of thousands of dollars a year.

As a result, since the 1980s, the wealthy have been living increasingly segregated lives from the general population to secure those advantages. And it is paying off: The proportion of upper-middle-class students at top American universities is increasing, regardless of diversity programs.

Merit (ability plus hard work) was always meant to replace the inherited privilege of the Old World as the route to the top in America. But merit in modern America is at least partly class-based.

While a few high achievers scale the summits of wealth, the rest are finding it harder to move up from one economic class to another. One study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston found that fewer families moved from one quintile, or fifth, of the income ladder to another during the 1980s than during the 1970s, and that still fewer moved in the ’90s than in the ’80s.

In America, the problem is amplified by widening income inequalities. The rich are simply getting richer so much faster that social mobility can’t keep up.

The much narrower income gaps in European economies are one reason that, contrary to many Americans’ beliefs, there is more social mobility in Britain and other European countries these days than in the U.S. Take Britain, the original class-society in the minds of most Americans. The popular image of Britain remains one of a nation of landed aristocracy where class is the weft and warp of society. In fact, that started to change after World War II

Six years of the shared deprivations of war were a great social leveller. Allied to that was a strong desire to break with the past that had brought the war about. Winston Churchill’s reward for being Britain’s victorious wartime prime minister was to be thrown out of office. In the first general election after the war, Britons elected Labour’s Clement Attlee and a government that would usher in the welfare state. Americans elected Harry Truman, and moved on to their next wars, both hot and cold.

The pomp and ceremony of state occasions in Britain gives the impression of the persistence of a class-ridden society. After all, any class-run society needs history and tradition to validate itself.

Even here, appearance can be deceptive. While the Queen and Royal Family stand at the apex of a system of heredity and landed titles – every noble is a duke, marquis, earl, viscount or baron of somewhere, though most lost their right to sit in the House of Lords in 1999–it is easy to overlook that England is now on its eighth royal family since William the Conqueror arrived in 1066 to sort out some family business with his Norse cousins.

Not that class has completely disappeared in England. Close your eyes and listen to an English person speak, and you hear class regardless of the person’s ethnic background. In the U.S., by contrast, you hear education, the underpinning of the new class-society.


I was reminded of the above article when I saw a small news item the other day in which Hilary Clinton was chatting informally with President Karzai of Afghanistan, the US ambassador and other high dignitaries of the region. She was asked about one of the Republican presidential candidates – Herman Cain.

“He’s a former pizza company owner,” Clinton told Karzai of Cain.

“Is he that,” Karzai replied.

“Oh yeah, he started something called Godfather pizza,” Clinton said.

“Yes, I see, I see,” Karzai said.

Clinton then turned to U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker and mocked Cain.

“The president was saying he saw a news clip about how Mr. Cain had said, ‘I don’t even know the names of all these presidents of all these countries,’ you know, like, whatever,” she said, mimicking the candidate dismissively.

“That wasn’t right, but anyway, that’s how politics are,” Karzai said diplomatically…

Maybe we should give Madam Foreign Secretary a quick, impromptu test to see just how many Presidents’ names she can recall, without the aid of her myriad minions to feed her the information. Maybe Bill O’Reilly could invite her onto his Thursday night quiz segment.

I ask you? Just how patronising can you get?

Now I don’t know about you folks but I have never liked Princess Hilary. I have always held a soft spot for Billy, her wonderfully lecherous husband, but Hilary – well nobody deserved to be treated like she was – but let’s face it, she has always come over as a supercilious, patronising, hypocritical  lying piece of shite. (That’s it, Mobi – don’t hold back).

To me, Herman Cain and Hilary Clinton epitomise the American class system – the privileged, wealthy background of Hillary Clinton, versus the low class, poor background of dear old Herman. And just look how Hilary delights in trying to ridicule someone who dragged himself up from his boot straps to become a corporate billionaire and is currently so popular that he leads the poll of would-be American presidential candidates.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not a huge fan of Cain’s politics – his 9-9-9 tax proposal sounds like it hasn’t been thought through properly and his stance on abortion is almost impossible to comprehend.

But wouldn’t it be just great if he were to become president and had the opportunity to put one in the eye to Princess Hilary? Maybe he should slap her down with a specially baked Pizza bearing the names of the entire world’s leaders….

On a lighter note: What is it with Obama’s modes of transport?

An egg-on-face moment for Obama, ahead of his visit to Virginia, when a Pentagon truck containing presidential seals, podiums and sound equipment was stolen from outside a suburban hotel Monday

Authorities found the truck later in the day at another hotel near the Richmond airport, according to the news reports. But no one would say whether the items inside had been located. No arrests were reported.

Whether the thieves knew what they were stealing – or whether they got that what-have-we-done-now feeling when they opened the unmarked box truck – is unclear as well.

The White House and police would not discuss details of the heist, such as whether the thieves hot-wired the truck or found the keys in the ignition. And the Secret Service said it’s not the agency’s problem. “Not our equipment, not our truck,” spokesman Ed Donovan said. “It’s not as though the nuclear codes are likely to be lost. And if they are lost, you change the codes.” 

Don’t you just love it?☺

ON a presidential trip to Ireland last May, The US Presidential Cadillac, nicknamed “The Beast” for its bombproof features, failed to make it out of the US embassy in Dublin as it became stuck on a ramp.

Barack Obama and his wife, en route to his ancestral home in County Offaly, had to abandon the car after the collision in front of waving crowds in Dublin.

Specially built for Obama, the General Motors vehicle boasts its own oxygen supply in case of chemical attack and armour-plated doors, but was no match for an Irish ‘Sleeping Policeman’….

BUTT…BUTT…BUTT…I don’t give a hoot!