Brit slam dunks American Presidents … even Abe

The presidential guru gets a grilling.
The presidential guru gets a grilling.

MC and chairman of the expats club opened with the usual remarks but stunned his audience with a word describing our wonderful Holiday In surroundings. He called it, salubrious. Good going Roy.

There were two speakers this day at PCEC, a Brit, Peter Henry Taylor originally from Liverpool England but who had spent 52 years in America. His topic was a short history of the USA and some remarks about its presidents. He was not complementary.

Checking the facts on Bhutan.
Checking the facts on Bhutan.

The second speaker was a managing tour agent from Bhutan, Kesang Tshering who had an extensive slide presentation on the beauty and reasons for visiting his country.

Peter started with an Irish joke and then proceeded to remind us that the Beatles came from Liverpool and that half the population of this less than wealthy area worked.

The overlying principle of his talk seemed to be to ‘get your facts straight’. With that in mind he told us that the potato famine was not caused by a lack of food but a buy off of land by certain nobles and the lack of the use of same. When Irishmen fled Ireland for England they ate corned beef and cabbage on the ships over and so it was thought that that was their diet. Those happened to be the only foods that didn’t require refrigeration.

Peter proclaimed that democracy started in England under Henry the 8th in 1066 when the Magna Carta was written. During the Q and A that followed more than one person challenged that claim.

Switching his topic again he started to talk about American Presidents, starting with Abraham Lincoln. Peter proclaimed him a liar and a failed attorney. He was always at odds with his cabinet and wasn’t a good president.

Talking about America’s healthcare system, he reminded us that Obama was not the first to offer universal health care to America. It was done by Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, Kennedy, LBJ and the Clintons.

Eisenhower was the least qualified to command the allied armies and was also not qualified for President. Nixon was a brilliant man, was an insomniac and a drunk. He was very shy and had the strange habit of arranging interviews of only 5 minutes with only 10 selected people at special events. He golfed a lot.

LBJ and Reagan were both men who did not feel qualified to lead the country but were pushed by their wives to take the jobs. Reagan’s successful job of revitalizing the economy was in Peter’s opinion really Carter’s accomplishment from earlier instituted programs. Interesting view.

Peter ended his talk by stating the old familiar proverb that the ‘more things change the more they stay the same.

The team from Bhutan.
The team from Bhutan.

Our 2nd speaker, Kesang was dressed in cultural attire and walked us through a nice preview of what one might expect to seed and do in Bhutan. His central theme was that most countries base their importance on their GDP where as in Bhutan success was measured in GNH — gross national happiness.

Bhutan is a land locked country south of China and surrounded on the other side by India. The country is still mostly agricultural with some 72% of the people still working and living on the land. Most of the 735 thousand population are Buddhists and all visitors to the country except India, Bangladesh and Myanmar need an e visa to enter the country. This fee is usually about $40.

Although there are four distinct seasons, visiting Bhutan can be seen at any time except the monsoon season in later August or early September.

One won’t find any Starbucks, McDonalds or large malls in Bhutan but internet is available in the cities as are many small shopping areas. The real draw of the country is its natural untouched beauty of forests, mountains and waterways.

Do visit the club next week for a really special presentation which I will only say will be one of a kind.