Johpa

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About Johpa

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    Curmudgeon
  • Birthday 04/01/1953

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  1. Oh please, it is a great ride on a scooter. Just avoid the main crowded highways as much as possible. May I suggest taking the 1001 up to Phrao. From there you can turn east to the 118 and head directly to Chiang Rai. But better to maybe head westward and spend the night in Thaton (check out the 1346) and then head to Chiang Rai. You can also cross over to the 118 just shy of Fang via the 109. So many alternatives to get to Chiang Rai while avoiding most of the heavy highway traffic. And if it begins to rain hard just pull over at some coffee shop, noodle shop or a roadside sala (shelter). Maybe experience just how much better Thai food is outside the city.
  2. Actually a decent site to begin planning a ride for people new to Lanna Land. I never use GPS, don't have any problem getting a bit disoriented, or getting a bit lost, or riding up some road where I end up turning around. That is half the joy of riding. I find the online maps to be of limited value. The small roads don't show up at larger scale, only when you are already close. Far better to use the gt-rider maps.
  3. Just another irrelevant distraction to take your eyes off the final dismantling of the New Deal and the imposition of the corporate oligarchy by then billionaire class, all of whom are envious of the Russian oligarchs and their monster yachts. Don't mind about the slow degradation of public education by Betsy Devos, don't mind about the destruction of the environment by Scott Pruitt. Instead, become fixated on the ghost busters chasing phantom voters or twitter battles. As long as you keep your eyes off the real news, the new ruling US oligarchs are happy.
  4. Indeed gerrymandering is as old as the hills, both sides have engaged in the practice. But what happened in 1981 pales in comparison as to what happens today because of the amount of data accessible. There has been, quite literally, a quantum leap in the malfeasance behind the current gerrymandering compared to what took place decades ago. Hopefully those on all sides of the political spectrum can agree that given the new volumes of data and the newer algorithms that we should rely on non-partisan formulas for redistricting the electorate and remove the politics out of the process in hopes of restoring democracy to the land.
  5. You don't have to look outside the country for manipulation of votes. May I suggest reading investigative reporter Greg Palast's book "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy" for a glimpse into machinations with voting machines and voter rolls. And then maybe take a hard look at the extreme gerrymandering that occurs in the strong Republican "states rights" states. Putin only needs to manipulate Trump who, as a master intelligence handler, he plays like a Stradivarius.
  6. Nations are being made irrelevant. The blocking of the TPP was just a minor bump in the road for the corporatists and the oligarchs. Trump is their convenient foil. Armeggadon will be the battle between Jeff Bezos and Jack Ma with Google acting as referee. Rollerball!
  7. I think Rachael Maddow makes a great point to the brilliance of Trump's attack on Joe & Mika as we all talk about this gossip rather than the real news.
  8. Actually the unaccountable Pentagon funds were first noted under Bush the Younger, and highlighted by none other that Sec. of Defense Rumsfeld. And as I noted, when the disappearance of funds in the trillions makes it into the public eye very, very very bad things happen, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E12b4V1ilmg
  9. Again, the Paris Accord did not mandate anything, not even a single nebulous pledge. Trump could have maintained the US as signatory to the Paris Accord and reduced any pledge by Obama to any environmental fund to any extent he wanted to keep his denier base happy, and still be a signatory to the accord. And why worry about a billion dollars relative to the trillions of dollars unaccountable in the Pentagon budget alone every year. But of course we can't talk about that or very, very bad things begin to happen.
  10. The Paris Accord cost the US nothing. It is simply an accord where numerous nations agree that they are in accord, in agreement. In this case it is related to global warming, nothing more. I do not put the blame on our crumbling infrastructure solely on Trump. But he continues the tradition of campaigning to invest in infrastructure and then doing nothing while increasing the military budget. Worse, he surrounds himself with some of our most inept military leaders, which includes most of the generals and admirals in the US military. The good guys in the US military, the real brain trust, rarely rise above the rank of colonel. I cut my TV cable long ago so I do not have direct access to CNN. I tend to use the BBC for headlines and Google news as it collects news stories from multiple sources. I do look at the source and evaluate the credibility of the source by reading the "about us" page on the website and looking at the other articles being posted on that website to determine whether the website is a genuine news website, and yes they might get things wrong, or a fake news organization like Breitbart. I also note whether it is primarily a propaganda outfit such as FOX, and that is determined over time. But once I determine they are trying to feed me the Kool Aid, I tend to, at the very least, give them less credence. I suggest you do the same.
  11. At the same time, and rather surprisingly, local village families are getting relatively high prices for the ubiquitous banana.
  12. You are correct on many points, but not all. The Paris Accord was just that, an accord, not a treaty. It said nothing more than signatories agreed that global warming was an issue and, as such, would voluntarily attempt to reduce carbon emissions. But being a signatory to the Paris Accord cost the US nothing. By withdrawing from the Paris Accord, Mr. Trump abdicated the symbolic position of President of the United States of also being "the leader of the free world". And that is the first tiny step towards the dollar being replaced as the world's reserve currency. The eventual cost to the US economy by this ridiculous move will be measured in the trillions and not the billions of dollars. The US is quickly slipping out of the developed world status and beginning to resemble Thailand more than other democratic European nations. We have a corrupt military, corrupt political parties such as the Republican Party which is owned by the 1%, who also have a controlling interest in the Democratic Party. We have a second class and crumbling infrastructure, but still tax money is spent on military contracts. Our public education system has a poor record as does the health system which has poorer outcomes than other developed nations. In semi-retirement I work as a tour guide here in the US and have on average 12 guests from out of the country every day. They are gobsmacked by Trump, gobsmacked by our poor infrastructure, our homeless and our beggars in the large cities, our traffic, and the list goes on and on. But you are absolutely correct, people must stop complaining and run for office or at least get out and vote. Even if our electoral system is out of date and frustrating in that at the presidential level it allows the looser of the popular vote to win the election, people must not give up. And there is no fake news, only fake news organizations, like Breitbart. Mainstream media may not get it right all the time, but they are not the sources of fake news. The fake news story is just Trump attempting to draw attention away from his ineptitude. But I have to admit, Trump being a professional conman, a wise guy, this fake news ploy is his masterpiece.
  13. See, I told all you people Mae Rim sucks and you should all stay away. We have Aussies who speak cryptically, over priced steak houses, and because Mae Rim is such a geographically small district we must all deal with the wafting stench of pig manure on a daily basis. Yes, Hang Dong should tempt you all with their lush green fields and modern "mubaans". I mean heck, even I travel down for a burger at Papa Rocks. Head south young and old men, head south.
  14. If ifs and buts were candy and nuts we would all have a merry Christmas. And if evidence of collusion simply showed up on one's doorstep then indeed there would be no need for a special prosecutor to look into matters and we could all just drop the matter and get on with our business. As for the tax returns, they would either affirm or rebuke Trump's son's statement that the Trump organization has long been borrowing money from Russian banks. A heavy debt to Russian banks would give a motive if, and yes it is a big if, any collusion was going on.