"It is easy to confuse what is with what ought to be, especially when what is has worked out in your favor."
- Tyrion Lannister
"Lannister. Baratheon. Stark. Tyrell. They're all just spokes on a wheel. This one's on top, then that's ones on top and on and on it spins, crushing those on the ground. I'm not going to stop the wheel. I'm going to break the wheel."
- Daenerys Targaryen
"The Lord of Light wants his enemies burned. The Drowned God wants them drowned. Why are all the gods such vicious cunts? Where's the God of Tits and Wine?"
- Tyrion Lannister
"The common people pray for rain, healthy children, and a summer that never ends. It is no matter to them if the high lords play their game of thrones, so long as they are left in peace. They never are."
- Jorah Mormont
"These bad people are what I'm good at. Out talking them. Out thinking them."
- Tyrion Lannister
"What happened? I think fundamentals were trumped by mechanics and, to a lesser extent, by demographics."
- Michael Barone
"If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to."
- Dorothy Parker
Wednesday, April 06, 2016
Aung San Suu Kyi Moves Closer to Leading Myanmar
By WAI MOE and RICHARD C. PADDOCK
APRIL 5, 2016
YANGON, Myanmar — Myanmar’s democracy leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, foiled by military leaders in her bid to become president, would become “state counselor” under a measure approved on Tuesday by Parliament’s lower house. The newly created role could give her authority exceeding the president’s.
Military members of Parliament denounced the measure as an unconstitutional power grab, stood up in the chamber in protest and boycotted the vote.
The measure, approved last week by Parliament’s upper house, will now go to President Htin Kyaw for his signature. The president is a close ally of Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi whom she chose for the job.
While campaigning before elections in November, she pledged to be “above” the president if her party, the National League for Democracy, was victorious. It swept the elections and now controls both houses of Parliament with large majorities.
The military-drafted Constitution bars Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace laureate, from becoming president because her children are British citizens.
The position of state counselor would allow her to coordinate the activities of Parliament and the executive branch. She also holds the positions of minister of the president’s office and foreign minister.
Last week, she took on two more ministerial positions — education and energy — but she gave up those posts this week.
The combination of jobs means that she will oversee the president’s office, determine foreign policy and coordinate decision-making between the executive branch and parliamentary leaders. It is unclear what responsibilities that will leave for the president.
U Yan Myo Thein, a political commentator in Yangon, the country’s major city, said that it was not surprising Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi’s party and the military would clash but that he had not expected a dispute so soon. He said it could jeopardize relations between the military and civilian leaders in the coming years.
But U Tun Tun Hein, a National League for Democracy parliamentary leader and chairman of the lower house’s bill drafting committee, played down the disagreement.
“I don’t see the discussion and debate from the bill as a problem between the N.L.D. and the military,” he said. “It is the beginning of democracy in practice. There will be agreement and disagreement.”
U Kyaw Win, a Yangon writer, said that he was disappointed by the dispute and that he feared it could slow progress in reducing the military’s role in politics.
“How could we hold dialogue with the military with this tension?” he asked. “Politicians should maneuver strategically in dealing with the military, since we can’t send them back to the barracks overnight.”
The military, known as the Tatmadaw, ruled the country for more than half a century, and only in the last few years has it allowed democracy to emerge.
The military dictatorship kept Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest for 15 years and ensured that she could not serve as president by including the constitutional prohibition effectively disqualifying her.
The Constitution gives the military a quarter of the seats in Parliament and assigns it the role of protecting the Constitution.
Col. Aung Thiha, one of the military members of the lower house, objected to the bill giving Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi new authority, in part because it identified her by name.
“The bill goes against separation of powers and violates the Constitution,” he said. “Although this is a multiparty system, the bill is about a party leader. If our Tatmadaw’s voices are not considered and accepted, we won’t join in voting on the bill.”
The former president, U Thein Sein, who stepped down last week after paving the way for the historic change in power, shaved his head, put on a robe and became a monk on Monday for five days, according to the Ministry of Information. It is common in Myanmar for Buddhists to enter a monastery for short periods.
So what we are seeing already, in this campaign, is, we have received over six million individual campaign contributions. That's a political revolution, you know that? That's unprecedented, I believe, at this point in the campaign, in history. We are seeing...and when you talk about young people, please do not think that these are 23-year-olds or younger. In virtually every primary and caucus process, we have won the votes of people 45 years of age or younger. They're not just kids. And we're seeing, I think, a revitalization of American democracy.
Interview with New York Daily News
Tuesday, April 05, 2016
Perhaps we can have a serious discussion of measures like paid family leave, paid vacations, and work sharing, both as measures that are good in their own right, but also have the potential to bring us closer to full employment. If the distinguished economists attacking Friedman’s analysis can stop their fuming and start thinking, perhaps we can go this route.