Saturday, June 30, 2012

30 June 2012 little of import to say



          Cassi Creek:  I managed to sleep in until 0730 today. 

          By 1339 it is already 98°F.  Yesterday topped out at 101°F.  I suspect it will be even warmer today.  It takes only a few moments outdoors in this hear to learn why the tropical latitudes custom of siesta evolved.  It is simply too hot to care about anything but cooling off.  It also hammers home the reason that the southern/red states remained so lacking in education and inventiveness until the advent of air conditioning. 
          A friend of mine recently lost his mother.  From what he told me of her, she had a lot in common with my mother.  His mother is entitled to burial at Arlington National Cemetery.  We’ve been corresponding about people who served in WWII.  The conversation generated this paragraph.


“It is hard to look at the men and women who taught us history, English,
shop, music, etc., and understand that those 30-40 year old civilians fought
and won one of the bloodiest wars ever waged, then came home and sold
televisions, delivered milk, as if little had happened. It is even harder
to see the few who remain, savaged by age, and think of them as warriors.
We were privileged to know them.
That’s today’s bit of awareness. As with all such knowledge, it arrives too late.

                   

Friday, June 29, 2012

29 June 2012 I guess it depends on how you spell bureaucrat and sinecure.




After yesterday’s SCOTUS decision was handed down, Congressman Roe assumed the universal disgruntled GOP/teavangelist facial expression and his office cranked out what appears to be standard teavangelist propaganda. 
          ““The court’s ruling gives renewed urgency to our efforts to repeal this law. If we allow its full implementation, our health care decisions will forever be in the hands of Washington bureaucrats. Despite the disappointing ruling, I am committed to working to repeal the law and address critical health care challenges that face our nation with reforms that lower health care costs.”
Cassi Creek:         Please explain to me, Congressman, why I should fear having my medical paperwork initiated and expedited by a GS-5 level employee of the United States. But should not fear the same paperwork being processed by the corporate equivalent of that GS-5.  The GS-5 will have guidelines that specify what treatments and procedures are appropriate for specific diagnosis.  Those guidelines will be established with the goal being the most benefit to the patient.  The corporate equivalent will also have guidelines specifying which diagnoses are to receive no treatment, with the goal being the most profit for the least patients treated. 
          The GOP/teavangelists have tried to defeat the affordable health care act multiple times.  It should become obvious to even that portion of your voter base that exists only to hate president Obama, that our nation needs to join the modern nations of the world and implement universal health care.  It costs far less to provide preventative care with early intervention if necessary than it does to treat patients in terminal stages of preventable diseases.  What we spend in taxes will be more than recovered by what we don’t spend treating the un-insured. 
          How many more times will the teavangelists, anti-intellectuals, and the NRA use their pseudo-patriotism and bigotry to prevent this nation doing what is right for the middle class and the working poor while Congress allows them to obstruct all progress and effort?
          It is time for compromise, time to eliminate 2-4 year long campaigns paid for by billionaires and super pacs, time to eject corporate America from the halls of Congress.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

28 June 2012 Victory for the common people



Cassi Creek:  Today is well begun.  Today is a day in which a little gloating is allowed.  Today is a day to listen to the wails, moans, and hopefully impotent threats of the GOP/teavangelists who have been soundly defeated by the Obama administration. 
          It is now apparent that health care reform can proceed without the probability of the teavangelists enacting a deliberately underfunded voucher system as called for in the proposed Ryan budget championed by the GOP/teavangelists. 
          I must admit that I believed that the Roberts Court would find most of the affordable care act to be unconstitutional, and would deliver a victory to the teavangelist/GOP wing along the nature of the corporations’ equal people decision.  I do not believe that corporations are equivalent to persons with respect to the 1st Amendment’s free speech clause.  The Citizens’ United decision did nothing for free speech but did everything possible to allow the purchase of political office.
          I don’t care that the Commerce Clause was found to be inappropriate.  The cost of health insurance should be configured as a universal tax imposed upon all citizens to pay for health care in a universal manner.  We’ve taken some large steps away from third world, multi-tiered health care today.  The goal of universal, national health insurance seems a bit closer today. 
          We still need to contain inflationary costs for health care.  We need to come to grips with the questions raised by end of life realities.  We need to realize that a dignified, pain-free death is to be preferred over the slow internal meltdown of all systems imposed by technology and by physicians who view patient deaths as personal affronts.  We need to educate families so that older members are not kept alive to vegetate at the insistence of some religious cult that views suffering as a ticket to the hereafter.  We need to form realistic guidelines on hospitalization vs. hospice care.  And we need to realize that a humane death is everyone’s right. 
          We’ve a long way to go to convert our for profit health care system into a universal healthcare system.  It won’t be an easy change.  But as of today, it becomes possible. 
          And as of today, it is possible to hear the moaning bitching complaints of the GOP/teavangelists as they promise to gut Obama’s plan for health care and to hope that they rapidly become aware of how they will be hated if they try.  The outcome of the 2012 election suddenly looks more promising.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

27 June 2012 19years and still thrilled!



Cassi Creek:  19 years ago today, in Columbia Maryland, Gloria and I stood beneath the Chuppa and were married in front of family and friends.  She looked radiantly beautiful and I was presentable.  We honeymooned on Cape Cod, canoed the salt marshes, went whale watching, saw rare and endangered swans, and dined repeatedly on lobster. 
          In the past 19 years, we’ve moved 4 times, undergone multiple spinal surgeries, (our scars match) and lost family.  We’ve both become disabled.  We’ve experienced many of the stressors of modern marriage. 
          We’ve learned how wonderful life can be with each other’s support and love.  What began as a whirl-wind, computer-driven chance – encounter; has matured into a rock-solid marriage that each day finds us more deeply in love with each other than before.  This marriage is not the commercial dating service algorithmic coupling of two people out of resources and willing to believe that they are being conjoined by some powerful force. 
          We had no intention of using an on-line dating service.  There were few of those in existence in 1992.  We just became friends and let that lead us into the future.  The computers were only tools we used to communicate.
          Now, 19 years later I’m still thrilled when I hear her voice, happy when I see her grin.  That thrill, sharing the day with her, waking up next to her, is still there and still growing in intensity. 
          Happy 19th anniversary, Gloria!  I love you more each day!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

26 June 2012 States’ Rights Wrong Again



Cassi Creek:  The Supreme Court, in a mostly rational decision, smacked the hands of the Arizona legislators who presumed to place the state above the federal government concerning immigration policies.  The court affirmed that immigration policies are the concern of the nation, not 50 little satrapies displaying 50 different degrees of bigotry.  Arizona’s attempts to deny Latinos entry to their state, beyond that number necessary for manual labor and housemaid duties, were soundly rebuked by the Justices.
          Once again, the actions of bigots and racists are being whitewashed under the cloak of evil invisibility that is commonly referred to as “states’ rights.”  Dating back to before the nation was formalized; there has been a continual struggle between those of us who favor a strong federal government, and those who are more at home with the idea of 50 independent satrapies with 50 different immigration, education, and other policies that may often be at odds to the federal position.  The states commonly referred to as “red states,” including those of the old confederacy; seem to demand a return to the society and culture that was the antebellum South.
          Justice Scalia made a statement intimating that if Obama administration policies had been in effect in 1858, Arizona would not have joined the U.S.  Mr. Justice Scalia would have been quite content in a United States that was badly fragmented and at war with itself. Such lack of central authority and oversight makes it much less difficult to engage in graft and other illegal means of increasing one’s wealth while blocking the development of a viable middle class. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

25 June 2012 The best laid plans...



          With the best of intentions firmly in mind, I only hit the “snooze” button twice this morning between 0615 and 0623.  Today the Pathfinder is to be delivered for a search and removal procedure.  The hoped-for “magical mystery cleansing” did not occur during the still, dark hours. 
          We clambered into both vehicles and took the back roads up to highway 11E.  The Pathfinder is now in the care of Auto Solutions.  We hope it can be retrieved today.   We also requested that the shop tighten an electrical connection that continues to cause the left speaker channels to drop out of service. 
          Since we were out and moving well, we decided to pick up some foods only available locally at the Mennonite store on highway 107.  We found most of the items we wanted and headed for the checkout lane.  Some sort of power outage had rendered the credit/debit card readers inoperable.  We had a large bag of groceries with no way to pay for them.  Neither of us carries much cash now, and we rarely have a checkbook with us.  We had just enough cash to pay for Gloria’s milk and some cheese that we had sliced for us.  Everything else was left at the checker’s station to be restocked. 
          The store has no backup procedure for days when the card scanners are non-functional. 
          We are tied down now, awaiting the notice to retrieve the Nissan.  I am not a patient person, do not wait well.  I left the Mennonite store feeling annoyed and disgruntled.    However, if I stop and consider, I must admit that my day has, and will, turn out better than will that of whatever beast now decomposes somewhere within my Pathfinder. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

24 June 2012 Wanted, one cold snap



          I need a cloudy, unusually cool day.  I need cool temperatures to slow the decomposition of the unknown, unseen animal that seems to be waging chemical warfare against our Pathfinder. 
          Recently, the unknown animal found its way in and died.  The animal and its odor were not removed by a trip through a car wash with under-carriage attention.   The smell appeared to be gone for about three days.  Friday it was definitely back.   .  So were the hotter than normal temperatures that accelerate decomposition.  It has been 90°F or higher every day since.
          The next step, taking place tomorrow morning, is professional help.  The Pathfinder goes into the shop for a deeper, more conclusive search and removal procedure.  This will most likely involve a dashboard-otomy. 
          Once the offending former organism is located, the problem becomes odor elimination.  There are some products available that are used in crime scene and in non-forensic clean-ups that may work.  The possibility that the smell can’t be conquered brings to mind the several urban myths about luxury vehicles rendered un-inhabitable by decomposition.  The next question, following possible eradication is financial.  We wonder if our Geico insurance will pay all or part of the cost for this trip to the garage.  Fingers crossed.
          I will drive the Pathfinder in for service and Gloria will pick me up.  My sense of smell is somewhat damaged by exposure to formalin over many years.  One hates to lose any sensory function, but it may be somewhat helpful tomorrow.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

23 June 2012 To Congress in plain language



          I intend to make you aware of my concerns for the 2012 elections.  Please read this carefully and be aware that it is applicable to all members of the House and the Senate.
          I voted in 2008 and will vote in 2012.  How I will vote in November is largely dependent upon how you conducted yourselves since 2008.
          Pay attention, I have many friends who feel as I do. 
          You were elected to represent the people of your district or state, not energy companies, not insurance companies, not investment banks, not hedge fund owners.  I regard your acceptance of gifts and campaign funds from corporations as graft and bribery.  Campaign finance laws have been introduced.  Pass them in both chambers and send them to the President, now.
          Financial regulations were enacted for a valid reason after the Great Depression.  When the GOP/teavangelists stripped them away, we learned again how greed and malfeasance could wreck a global economy.  Put the regulations back and keep them in effect. I don’t care if your campaign funds dry up, many of your constituents have lost everything they worked for and their jobs thanks to Congress’ pandering to big finance. 
          No one elected Grover Norquist.  He and his pledge should become examples of political stupidity, found only in footnotes of textbooks.  He is powerless if you refuse to allow him power.  He is also willing to wreck the remainder of our economy.  Ignore him, ignore his pledge, and send him home today.
          Despite the protestations of the GOP/teavangelists, government is not a business. Quit trying to make it one.  It is impossible to have a government without taxes.  Taxes are the price of civilization.  Those people who think otherwise might benefit from a vacation in Somalia.
          There is no war on Christianity.  This is not and should never be a “Christian nation.”  Those who insist otherwise are invited to vacation in Iran, Afghanistan, or Pakistan.  Those who want religion in schools are invited to pay for parochial schools.
          Healthcare, education, and social safety networks are markers for civilization.  Most Americans are willing to pay for those items via taxation.  We don’t want to live in a 3rd world nation where such services and benefits are unavailable.  We need a single-payer national health insurance with enrollment obligatory for all citizens.  We need national education standards, not 50 separate curricula.  One Mississippi is one too many. 
          The EPA does not “kill jobs”, it saves the lives of people endangered by corporate greed.  Science is not an alternate to religion.  It is reality expressed in replicable formats and values.  Scientists do not fake results to retain grants, they are not politicians. 
          You and your fellow elected need to give up the idea of further vacation or other days off.  You, collectively, have done nothing to merit vacation or increases in compensation.  You owe a huge dept to the men and women who elected you, not to the corporations, which now behave as if they own you. 
          You were not elected to overturn the Presidential election.  The bigotry that drives the stated intention of Mr. Boehner and Mr. McConnell, to wreck the Obama presidency despite the cost to the nation; does not belong in the United States.  So please use the rest of 2012 to complete the job you promised to do.  Let the President do his. 
          

Friday, June 22, 2012

22 June 2012 Same targets, fire for effect



Cassi Creek:         yesterday’s mental meanderings proclaimed that finding Eric Holder in contempt of Congress was akin to the anti-Communist witch-hunts of the McCarthy era. 
          I suggested that Holder should be in contempt of Congress and the NRA.
          Nothing has transpired since yesterday’s opinion to change my mind about this clusterfuck being played out by Boehner, Cantor, and the GOP money fairies that spread super-Pac dollars around Capitol Hill like cow shit in a feeder-lot. 
          It is always enjoyable to find something I wrote being supported (however unintentionally) by one of the big media opinion gurus.  Today’s Washington Post has an op-ed piece by Eugene Robinson, which provides some shared opinion status to what I posted yesterday.  I’m pleased to find the synchronicity as well as the similarity of viewpoint. 
          I write this daily drivel in an effort to offset the slow decay of age on what gray drive material still functions.  Once in a while, I get a bit of feedback, which indicates I have voiced an opinion that a happenstance reader finds agreeable.   I always appreciate this feedback.  I imagine other writers do as well.  Even if one is paid to produce print, it helps to have that small bit of public evidence that one is not simply scattering words like firing a shotgun into a dark room. 
          It pleased me to find Mr. Robinson’ column in today’s WaPo.  Here’s where I get to point and say, “See there!  One of the big guns feels the same way I do.”  Therefore, Mr. Robinson, on the off chance that you may have been that happenstance reader, let me offer you a heart-felt “Well done!” 
          And in passing, thanks for backing me up.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

21 June 2012 In utmost contempt of Congress and the NRA



Cassi Creek
          There is a witch-hunt taking place in Washington, D.C.
          The attorney General, Eric Holder, is going to be found to be in contempt of the Congress.  He should be, for Congress is nothing if not contemptible. 
          Mr. Holder refuses to provide some document that Rep Issa and his minions believe might possibly help them in their 3.5-year long quest to overturn the 2008 Presidential election.  Mr. Holder is obviously a suitable witch candidate by virtue of his race and his association with President Obama.   Mr. Holder, and now President Obama, who invoked executive privilege yesterday in this matter are going to be declared to be in contempt of Congress in pursuit of the effort to delegitimize President Obama. 
          Following the death of a border patrol agent, it was found that the weapon, which was used to kill him, was involved in a tracking operation by the ATF.  This operation, with roots in the Bush II administration, was ill conceived from the beginning.  “Operation Fast and Furious?”  Who has so little and so poor an imagination as to use that movie title?
          Congress, the GOP/teavangelist, wings of it anyway, hopes to pin a wrongful death and an imagined cover up on Holder and his Justice Dept. If they can’t find a means to remove Obama, they will eagerly pick off one of his friends.  This is rather reminiscent of the 1993 efforts to paint a suicide as murder and tar the Clintons in the beginning days of the effort to unseat him.  Any member of the Obama administration is fair game for slander.  Any Obama appointee is to be kept dangling, un-approved, while they lies and slander machine lambasts the Obama admin for failing to fill appointee slots.  A witch is a witch in the eyes of the teavangelists and any witch will do for a public inquisition and burning.  Congress is truly contemptible. 
          But even more contemptible is the less apparent reason for the witch-hunt.  The ATF maintains that hundreds of assault-style rifles are being purchased at gun stores along the U.S.-Mexican border and then smuggled into Mexico in violation of the laws of both nations. 

Commentary: NRA could help stop Mexico's gun violence
Andres Oppenheimer | The Miami Herald
            “When we talk about the violence that has left nearly 50,000 dead in Mexico over the past five years, we usually focus on Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel, or the Ju├írez cartel, but it may be time to include the U.S. National Rifle Association cartel…”
            “Last year, the NRA sued the Obama administration for regulation requiring that gun merchants in U.S.-Mexico Border States report bulk sales of assault weapons. It accused the administration of acting without congressional approval. Arulanandam said the measure is “ridiculous,” because “it tries to go after multibillion-dollar criminal enterprises like drug cartels by going after them with a paperwork violation.”
            “My opinion: The NRA and U.S. gun manufacturers have the right to defend the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment provision allowing Americans to keep and bear arms. But the Second Amendment doesn’t say that Americans have the right to buy bazookas, or AK-47s, or other military-style weapons, or to purchase dozens of them and sell them to whomever they want.
            “It’s time to stop this nonsense, which is causing so many deaths in Mexico, and also in the United States.


The fingers, justifiably pointing at the NRA as a resource for the Mexican drug cartels and the efforts by the current administration to limit or end such gunrunning have angered the men who make their immense incomes pimping for the arms merchants who make and market knock-off copies of Soviet-era assault weapons, as well as U.S. manufacturers firearms. 
          The NRA, as we all know, funnels millions of arms dollars back to re-election campaign funds.  They are in league with Congress and in thrall to the arms traders, large and small.
          I am a gun owner.  Do not belong to or pay any money to the NRA.   I’ve been a shooter since my earliest Boy Scouting days.  I happily pay the taxes on guns and ammunition that help fund wildlife preserves, animal conservation, and state conservation agencies.  Legal gun owners pay those taxes with each purchase.  Straw buyers, those purchases the NRA claims don’t take place, don’t pay those taxes.  In effect, those smugglers and gunrunners are cheating the hunters who still provide meat for their tables.  The NRA is no longer working to benefit hunters and marksmen.  It is not really interested in maintaining the 2nd Amendment for any purpose other than to bring in huge paychecks for the lobbyists and pimps who have no claim to a shared history with the men and women who fought to free this nation from its colonial status. 
          If pressed, I’d have to say that I hold the NRA in greater contempt than Congress.   But only slightly greater.  A whore by any other name still fills a Congressional seat.
           


         

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

20 June 2012 If that Dimon ring turns glass, Uncle Sheldon’s gonna buy you and election!



“The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”
-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, quoted in National Journal, November 4, 2010
 “
Nothing sweet about heckling Obama in the Rose Garden
·         Smaller Text Larger Text Text Size
By Dana MilbankPublished: June 19
What does conservative pundit Tucker Carlson have to do with an outhouse in Montana?
More than you might think.
Over the weekend, the Montana Republican Party proved wrong those of us who believe our political discourse has gone down the toilet. In fact, our political discourse has gone to a place where there isn’t even plumbing.
Outside the Montana GOP convention in Missoula stood an outhouse labeled “Obama Presidential Library” and painted as though it had been shot full of holes, according to the local paper. Inside, a fake birth certificate for “Barack Hussein Obama” was stamped with an expletive referring to bovine droppings. A message in the structure gave fake phone numbers for Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi “For a Good Time.”
The state party chairman, Will Deschamps, said that the structure was not in “real good taste. We do have a president of the United States, and we have to honor that.” But he also dismissed the matter as a “sideshow” and “not something I’m going to agonize over.”
By Ruth MarcusPublished: June 19
            “In the age of eight-figure checks to super PACs, is it time for a constitutional amendment that could end this dangerous farce?
            “The notion of fiddling with the First Amendment should make anyone nervous — especially anyone who has spent a career benefiting from it.74
            “Then again, so should Sheldon Adelson’s $10 million check to Mitt Romney’s super PAC. 
            “The mere “appearance of influence or access,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote in striking down the ban on corporate independent expenditures in Citizens United, “will not cause the electorate to lose faith in our democracy. By definition, an independent expenditure is political speech presented to the electorate that is not coordinated with a candidate.”
            “Take a look at the incestuous staffing of any super PAC, and consider whether you think it operates truly independently — and whether it bolsters your faith in democracy…”
Cassi Creek:         The Citizens United ruling by the Roberts SCOTUS should be recognized as a clear signal that the GOP/teavangelists are willing to go to any extreme in order to retain power.  When they are handed apparently limitless financial backing, in concert with the other changes in the election process it becomes all too easy to write the obituary for our nation. 
          McConnell laid out the game plan for the 2008-2012 electoral campaign.  The GOP, the political bastion of bigotry and inherited wealth, aided by the teavangelists, who further object to intelligence, reason, and who also wish to initiate theocracy, intended to overturn the 2008 election by any means possible.  Failing that, they plan to remove all respect for the office of POTUS because the current occupant is a black male. 
          I find it highly disturbing that the publicized intent to do away with the will of the people expressed in the election of Obama as POTUS was not met with an immediate and overwhelming call for the recall of the elected officials who plainly choose to ignore the popular vote of 2008. 
          The plan to discredit the President bothers me, too.  While I had nothing but disdain for Nixon and Reagan, I had and have respect for the office they held.  That it was degraded by their actions is a given.  But they were afforded civil treatment by Congressmen and Senators.  Even during the last days of the Nixon presidency, no member of the press interrupted him.   I believe that we invaded Iraq for falsified reasons.  I think Bush lied to the nation, probably with too much pressure from Cheney and the money machine.  Still, I had and have respect for the office Bush filled and that Obama now fills. 
          We are at grave risk of seeing our electoral process destroyed, to be replaced by a purchased head of state.  In other years, this might not be such a risk.  The underlying core belief in a democratic republic might hold enough voters to retain the nature of the government we now have.  Unhappily, the oligarchs who want to buy the nation are aided by the racism, religious intolerance for non-Christians, anti-intellectualism, limited educational goals and opportunities, social safety nets, anti-contraception/anti-abortion rights, and other remnants of the GOP southern strategy that have been used and re-used as wedge issues to divert popular attention from the real problems the nation faces.  If the public is stirred up about, who marries whom and who is allowed contraception; if the voters are fighting censorship as well as imposed theocracy at every turn, it becomes less noticeable when someone walks in with a fortune and buys the government. 
          Like fish in a school, we swim and turn at the smallest flicker of potential urgency.  Our carefully sculpted Constitution is not an unchangeable Aegis.  We must all work together, with compromise a primary tool. in order to maintain the strength of the system we were handed by the founders.  We must avoid the efforts to drag the nation backwards to make it a theocracy.  Our GOP/teavangelists are horrible frightened of the Muslim Brotherhood’s electoral win in Egypt.  They acknowledge that a retrogressive government would by a disaster.  Yet, they are quite willing to allow teavangelists to impose similar regression upon our citizens and government.  How stupid have we become?  What we can’t impose by legislation we will allow by oligarchic acquisition. 


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

19 June 2012 Teavangelists ban science, biology, geology, climatology, and truth



According to the associated press:
            HB 819 says that only the N.C. Coastal Resources Commission can calculate how fast the sea is rising for state governmental purposes and those calculations must be based on historic trends, which are much lower than the science panel’s projections.
            “The tactics remain the same today as they did centuries ago and it appears despite the lessons of history, Conservatives continue to hold on to the hope that by making facts disappear in a memory hole, the sun will start revolving around the earth, climate change won’t happen and the ocean will not appear in your living room.
            “By smearing the scientists or using time honored intimidation,
Conservatives hope to make scientific discovery that contradicts their version of the bible disappear.”
Cassi Creek:  This pattern of behavior is highly disturbing but not at all unexpected.  The various religions, their associated churches, and other places of worship, have long practiced suppression of scientific information.    
          Priests of all faiths have dangled some form of spiritual reward to those who were content to accept the currently favored dogma.  Those who chose to ignore the mythology and its explanations for why things happen or don’t happen have been threatened with the loss of that spiritual reward.  Particularly recalcitrant opponents of the status quo have suffered more temporal penalties ranging from arrest, isolation, and brutally but skillfully applied pain up to death.  Those individuals who believe that their brutality advances the purpose of some deity are far less likely to be concerned with the long-term spiritual consequences of their actions in a temporal plane. 
          The practice of rearranging the labels on the various disasters so that they comply with the political and spiritual patterns of suppression currently in vogue is as old as civilization.  The ability to manage such Orwellian tactics should have been decreasing in opposition to the access to public education. 
          The Taliban in Afghanistan in concert with other fundamentalist forms of Islam have managed to keep large nations behaving as if they were still in the early Iron Age.  They’ve managed to suppress the practice of all other religions within their borders, as well as music, art, education for females; and to cast such repressive laws in divine right authority governments.
                   The Chassidic cult of Judaism has managed to contain a large Ashkenazic community in practices that began in the Pale of Civilization as widespread repression.  Today, Chassidic Jews, at the most extreme, are still living in a manner that overlays the Diaspora with cults of personality, and the isolation from mainstream society and culture that they brought to the new world with them from the Pale.  Isolation, fear of isolation, and as in other repressive religions in current practice, inability to accept that mythology as explanations for physical events is no longer an acceptable explanation. 
          What is most frightening to me in the instances of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity is the population’s failure to use reason and logic, in concert with scientific observation to replace mythology.  When such failure to learn should be disappearing, huge segments of the U.S. are still following myths, accepting impossible explanations dependent upon magic, and now going so far as to legislate the use of erroneous information in public education. 
          How stupid can a voter pool of U.S. educated adults be?  I’m afraid we may find out before long. 



Monday, June 18, 2012

18 June 2012 “Mona Lisa musta had the highway blues




            You can tell by the way she smiles”
            The lyric, a bit of “Visions of Johanna,” surfaces in my mind once in a while and hangs around until I dig out the appropriate CD or tape and listen to the Grateful Dead perform Dylan’s song. 
            The only time I saw the Grateful Dead perform this was also the last time I saw them play as a band, 7 April 1995. 
            Gloria and I drove up from Palmetto to Tampa.  We managed to meet up with some on-line acquaintances that we’ve not seen again since that night.  Not all on-line associations yield long-lasting relationships that grow into enduring friendships. 
            However, one of our oldest and most cherished on-line friends has remained close in spirit despite distance, since those early days of “Prodigy.  In addition, Gloria and I will celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary this month.  Not at all a bad turnout from what began as a chance encounter between two people drawn together by musical interests and tuned in further by profession, age, and ancestry. 
            Visions of Johanna was performed during that end of spring tour performance in Tampa.  It was such a rarity in the performance logs that the previous performances could be counted on the fingers of one hand.  The band pretty much nailed this Dylan enigma.  Lesh’s bass lines hammered the hook home while Garcia rose above his 1995 ennui and illness to deliver the lyrics and guitar leads, if not perfectly, much like the old Garcia we all wanted to see and hear. 
            The show held even greater surprises.  Unbroken Chain was offered up and the 70,000-seat stadium erupted.  The younger people filling many of the seats had little clue as to why those opening chords evoked such a huge response. 
            The encore was U.S. Blues, delivered quickly and prophetically.  “Summer time done come and gone, my oh my!” 
            We made it to the car, out of the lot, and were home across the mouth of Tampa Bay before we had time to develop our own highway blues. 
            Now, it is off to find that CD or I’ll be hearing Visions for the next week.
The serious case of highway blues is going to center around the next five months of campaigning that will lead up to the Presidential election.  Dylan’s lyrics will seem crystal clear compared to the lies emanating from the GOP/teavangelist propaganda mills.



Sunday, June 17, 2012

17 June 2012 Too much of nothing





Cassi Creek:  The GOP/teavangelist drive to dismantle the partialy socialize medicine program that is Medicare is always based upon the voucher myth.  The insurance companies will supposedly offer an insurance plan that is matched to the amount of money, most likely to be obtained from the various states, that will be provided in the vouchers.  The policy holder will then be expected to cover any shortages. 
          In fact, the vouchers will be inadequate from the day of issue.  Seniors are going to have collectively higher costs for health care.  The insurance companies will have no intention of absorbing losses not met by the voucher system.  A third world delivery system will result. 
          The inability of seniors to purchase health insurance after retiring or after being laid off was a primary factor in the creation of  Medicare.  The failure in its creation was the decision to not make it include all citizens as a socialized delivery system. 
          Many members of Congress are old enough to recall those days when any serious illness or injury was a death sentence.  It is incumbent upon those members to remind the Congress’ younger members of what this was like.  The insurance companies want to maintain the high profits they currently pay their selves rather than support an aging population’s medical needs.  It is particularly shameful that there are members of Congress who are or were physicians, and who support the insurance companies position over that of the American public. 
          Even more deserving of wrath is the Senate for its handling of Jamie Dimont and the rest of the Wall Street and Big Bankinag thieves.  Listening to the GOP/teavangelists simper and suck up to Dimont is proof of how deeply the esteemed members of the Senate, and of the House, are in the pockets of the financial industry.  The likelihood of a follow-on recession is extremely high.  Should it take place, the blame belongs on the Congress and on the financial thieves who pay for Congress’s re-election campaigns.  It is time to relieve them of their elected sinacures, and to re-establish strong ethical and legal controls on the financial industry. 
          Any voter not able to see this, any voter still willing to vote for a candidate who is in thrall to corporate America, deserves what they suffer.  The rest of us need to remind theme loudly and often of which candidates are growin fat on the backs of the vanishing middle class. 

          

Saturday, June 16, 2012

16 June 2012 Nothing “intra” in their “intra – faith”



          The local newspaper contains a notice in the weekly Saturday religion section that an “intra-faith” rally will be held to protest the proposed HHS regulations requiring health insurance plans to provide funding for female contraceptives.  The scheduled speakers include one U.S. Congressman and two Tennessee legislators, both Republican.  The sponsoring organizations include local Roman Catholic churches and local evangelical Baptist churches. 
          The local community will most likely turn out to absorb the lies being pumped into the GOP/teavangelist anti-Obama machine. Local gospel/rockabilly music will fill gaps between demagoguery.  The overall theme of this 2-hour rant will be that the Obama administration is stripping American citizens of their 1st Amendment religious freedom. 
          Un-noticed in its absence, the truth about the proposed Obama insurance regulations. 
          Insurance companies operate on a for-profit basis.  They don’t care who takes what, or who has what procedure performed where, as long as they get their portion of the cash flow generated by the incident.  Insurance companies, despite the Supreme Court’s ruling, are not people and have no religion. 
          Despite the lies used to oppose requirement that insurance companies provide contraceptive coverage, no one is being deprived of religious freedom.  No one is being forced to undergo an abortion.  No one is being forced to take or use any form of contraception.  No one is being deprived of their right to practice their faith. 
          What is happening?
          The religious right, GOP/teavangelists, is making another attempt to force every citizen of the U.S. to observe the beliefs and practices of those narrow-minded, highly intolerant of other faiths, evangelical, fundamentalist Christian cults.  The rally sponsors are so intolerant that they did not get sponsorship from the many less fundamentalist churches in the city.  They promise “intra-faith” but fail to include all of their Christian co-religionists.  As for the non-Christian sponsors that would make it truly interfaith, don’t waste the time and energy looking for them.  There will be no Muslims, no Jews, no Buddhists, no Hindus invited to celebrate our “religious freedom.”  Before this group of teavangelists invites anyone not tied to remaking this nation into a theocracy, the mythical gates of hell will be frozen.

Friday, June 15, 2012

15 June 2012 PTSD and other Acronyms




Cassi Creek:  The day began clear, changed to partly cloudy, and ended with a pleasant sunset.  We dined on pan-seared chuck-eyes and beans. 
          All acronyms have been given the evening off. 

Shabbat Shalom!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

14 June 2012 “Tell me how long, do I have to wait?”






 “Standin’ on the corner, dollar in my hand,
Lookin’ for a woman who’s lookin’ for a man;
“Tell me how long, do I have to wait?”


Cassi Creek:  Hesitation Blues is an often covered blues tune dating back at least to W.C. Handy.  It carries the timeless lament “when will I get my share of the communal pie?” 
          The lyrics, as handed down and commonly performed, pertain almost entirely to sexual encounters.  Possession of a dollar, the key to all other possessions, becomes the crux of the search by the singer.  That the woman may be willing to trade her time and energy for that dollar fits easily into the direction indicated by the song.  We who were once middle class have watched as the giants of Wall Street finance turn the nation into an immense whore house where staying housed and fed becomes harder every day.
          Hesitation occurs for many reasons.  There may be rent to pay, an instrument to recover from pawn, or the singer may be waiting for his paycheck to filter down from his employer who will hang onto it until the last possible second in order to squeeze the final bit of interests out of what he holds. 
          Hesitation is all too familiar to the working poor, and is becoming the standard of life for the once-middle class as well.  The private sector is changing in nature.  The small business owners are no longer private sector.  That title should be rightly used only in reference to the large corporations that control finances and job off shoring in 21st century America. 
          The rest of us are joining in another chorus of “Hesitation Blues” while we wait for the 1% to let a little of the money we’ve made for them with our labor to trickle down.  But like the poor guy on the corner, we’re in hesitation mode, and we are less and less likely to have that dollar at the time we’re standing on the right corner. 



Wednesday, June 13, 2012

3 June 2012 Cleaning out the cartoon files


1
          Since I began this less than valuable attempt at documenting what I was thinking of at the moment; along with those (mostly) political events that I deem worthy of praising or condemning, I have not failed to post some bit of drivel to the project’s records.  Most of that material has been opinion, some has been needless repetition, and the random bit of noteworthy commentary may have found its way into the mix. 
          Since I began the project in hopes of slowing mental degradation, choosing to weave words rather than to work crossword puzzles, I can honestly relate that I seem to be grasping for the proper word in conversation less frequently.  That observation indicates the project may be successful.  I can only draw this conclusion with respect to spoken conversations.  While writing, it is simply a matter of opening an on-line dictionary or thesaurus if I find myself flailing in some mental cavern that refuses to let the proper words fly.
          I have no actual idea how many people read my post with any regularity, at some longer intervals, or even by random accident.  If you do read my thoughts and pre-occupations, I thank you for your kindness and perseverance.  If you visit my posts only infrequently, I applaud your good sense.  If you’ve reached this post by random accident, feel free to use it to frighten small children and local vermin that may visit your doorstep seeking amusement, shelter, or food. 
          I’ve copied and saved a large number of political cartoons that I uploaded as part of my posts.  Today I’m cleaning out many of those files so that the ones I intend to use in the next five months will be easier to find and use in future posts.  Due to the nature of the Win7 opsys, the project takes longer than I would like. 
          There is a bit of serious thought I’ll offer today.  Obama is being loudly criticized for stating that the private sector is doing fine.  He’s right despite the protestations of the GOP/teavangelists.  The private sector – big oil, big medical insurance, big coal, big finance- are all doing well.  They’ve all reported record earnings and profits over the last year.  To accept anything else as valid is to buy into the GOP lies machine. 
          Small businesses are doing less well because the control exercised by big finance and off-shored corporations is designed to prevent such profits by small businesses.  And to be honest, most small businesses are not ever going to show such massive profits. 
          The private sector does not honestly include middle class people running local businesses.  It never will again.  The new robber barons and their tamed and paid for Congress are going to make certain of that. 
          They are, of course, helped by their conditioned voter base, the flying monkey corps of the teavangelists.  It is easy to miss factual reporting when it is drowned out at every opportunity by the mindless baying of Faux News and the talk radio demagogues and their minions. 
          We need to find a method to eliminate the teavangelist base from the voter base.  If we don’t object to a bit of illegality, Florida seems to have a system that is ramping up to remove all “those people.”  Unfortunately, “those people”, voters who might possibly vote against the GOP/teavangelist candidates, are being removed from the voter roles without notice.   They will show up on Election Day to vote, only to be told that they have been removed from the register of voters. 
          The GOP/teavangelists are frantically trying to make it harder for citizens to vote, claiming that there is rampant voter fraud.  I find little evidence of genuine voter fraud.  What fraud exists in our system is directly tied to GOP/teavangelists’ efforts.  However, they seem so much less worried about the wholesale fraud they are committing by secretly disenfranchising hundreds of thousands of legal voters.




 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

12 June 2012 Not quite what Woody intended




         
Original 1944 lyrics
“This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to the New York Island
From the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me.
As I went walking that ribbon of highway
I saw above me that endless skyway
I saw below me that golden valley
This land was made for you and me.
I roamed and I rambled and I followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
While all around me a voice was sounding
This land was made for you and me.
When the sun came shining, and I was strolling
And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling
A voice was chanting, As the fog was lifting,
This land was made for you and me.
This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to the New York Island
From the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me.


There was a big high wall there that tried to stop me;
Sign was painted, it said private property;
But on the back side it didn't say nothing;
This land was made for you and me.[7]
Woody Guthrie has a variant:
As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said "No Trespassing."
But on the other side it didn't say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.
It also has a verse:
Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.
In the squares of the city, In the shadow of a steeple;
By the relief office, I'd seen my people.
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking,
Is this land made for you and me?”

          Irving Berlin wrote “God Bless America.  Woody Guthrie grew tired of hearing Kate Smith sing it over the radio.  “This land is the result.
          I can’t begin to list all the popular singers who have covered the song on albums or in live performance.  Along with Ochs’ “Power and Glory,” it ranks as one of the most powerful anthems to the America that won WWII, the America that welcomed Emma Lazarus’ New Colossus immigrants, the America that grew strong by providing a free public education system to elevate the poor into the middle class. 
          I’ve been fortunate enough to meet Arlo Guthrie and to hear him talk about his perceptions of his parents and their political beliefs and goals.  The view of America offered by Woody Guthrie and his friends and family is my kind of America.  It is an America that cares for its ill and injured, feeds and houses its poor, and it is an America in which every citizen’s voice and vote are supposed to be heard. 
          Much the night I’ve sat around a campfire talking to young Boy Scouts about “This Land.”  All it took was a guitar and the willingness to celebrate the words of a great American.   It’s much harder now, to get scouts to sing.  There interests and their taste in music have changed markedly from mine all those decades ago. 
          Arlo, back in the days of vinyl records reminded us that we have to sing loudly to end the war (VietNam for you younger folks).  We’re at war today.  We’re shooting people and being shot by people in Afghanistan, Pakistan, on our own soil, and more likely than not, in Syria and Iran.  However, the bigger war, the most important war, the war we absolutely have to win, is the war against the Wall Street robbers who nearly destroyed the global economy with their greed in 1929, and who nearly did it again in 2008.  And if we don’t stop their depredations, if we don’t limit their ability to steal from us all with computers and lies, they will find a way to destroy all our savings, our schools, our access to health care, and our access to the ballot box. 
          The greedy bastard in Congress and the even more greedy bastards that buy them are singing too.  They’re singing a different song, one with twisted hateful words.


         

We need to sing more loudly!