Tuesday, July 31, 2012

31 August 12 Push the right buttons for all the wrong reasons

Cassi Creek:  This entry begins my involvement with Google Documents and on-line storage of data.  I’ve used some form of Word for word processing since I made the jump from DOS operating systems to Windows OS.  While I’ve never really used the macro capabilities and short cuts that a truly adept Word user may make use of; I’m familiar with many of them and may well find myself struggling to apply the formatting codes that I have made second nature.


Romney aide loses cool, curses at press in Poland

Posted by
CNN National Political Correspondent Jim Acosta

NYT: "We haven't had another chance to ask a question..."

“Gorka: "Kiss my ass. This is a Holy site for the Polish people. Show some respect."

“Moments later, Gorka told Jonathan Martin, a reporter for Politico, to "shove it." About a “half-hour later, the aide called reporters to apologize.
Gorka's comments to the media came just hours before Romney's foreign policy speech in Warsaw”

Cassi Creek:  Day two Google Docs.  I have the option of editing and correcting errors before I impale myself upon them.  However, for former Governor Romney, Europe is becoming an unfriendly place to be.  After demonstrating his apparent lack of belief in the British ability to hosts the Olympics, he left England under a cloud of British contempt.  When a nation ruled by a queen regards him as anachronistic and out of touch with the modern world, it does not cast him in a favorable light.

Romney’s trip to Israel also went poorly.  In a monumental lack of awareness, he managed to insult every would-be-Palestinian in the Middle East, as well as denigrating Islam in a public fashion.  In front of a pool of high dollar ultra-wealthy Jewish backers, he made a pitch for money.  while doing so, he demonstrated the very picture of racism that has plagued Jews for millennia and that led to the Holocaust and the creation of Israel along with the problems resulting from its statehood.    While there are cultural differences between Israelis and Palestinians, the failure to create a valid Palestine rests upon a series of bad leaders combined with the collective use of would-be-Palestinians as cannon fodder willing to scapegoat the Israelis by the autocratic Arab nations’ rulers, rather than a “cultural defect” such as Romney trotted out.  That comment sounded as if it would be very much at home in Nazi Germany or in Poland and Ukraine during the Holocaust.  Someone should proof Romney’s speeches.  He also praised the Israeli health system.  Apparently no one on his staff realizes that Israel  has a national health program.  
In Poland he managed to insult trade unionism, not recalling that it was the trade unions that led the Polish part of the Warsaw Pact breakup.  He wound up in a position that required he praise the trade unions while his supporters among the teavangelists believe that unions are instruments of the devil.
It also helps his image when his campaign staff  behave like asses and attack the media.  

I find no reason to support Romney for any political office.  He is trying to revise history so as to make his candidacy more acceptable to the extreme right that now controls the GOP/teavangelists.  If he continues to insult other nations and to confuse his base voters with a revised history, the Democrats may be able to shift the opinions of enough independents that the GO:P/teavangelist lie machine will become less effective.  In that failure, hope resides.

Monday, July 30, 2012

30 July 2012 Gideon’s checked out

British Hotel Replaces Bedside Bibles with Fifty Shades of Grey
Instead of the gospels, guests at the Damson Dene Hotel get "mommy porn" as their bedside reading.
By JUDITH WELIKALA | July 29, 2012

            “Nestled in the picturesque Lake District of northwest England, the Damson Dene Hotel seems, at first glance, like the typical English countryside hotel. But its bedside tables contain a shocking secret. Instead of the traditional bedside Gideon Bible placed at arm’s reach, its forty rooms each contain a copy of E.L. James’ bestselling erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey.
            “Jonathan Denby, owner of the hotel, told NBC News he felt that in a secular society,  it was “wholly inappropriate” to put a religious book in someone’s bedroom. He confessed the novel, which started life as Twilight fan-fiction, wasn’t his first choice of replacement. In fact, he hasn’t even read it. “I was thinking originally of putting in a book by Ayn Rand — Atlas Shrugged was my first thought,” he said, but “because everybody is reading Fifty Shades of Grey, we thought it would be a hospitable thing to do, to have this available for our guests, especially if some of them were a little bit shy about buying it because of its reputation.”
            “Fifty Shades of Grey traces the relationship between a business magnate and a young college graduate, featuring explicit depictions of bondage and submissive acts. Since the Damson Dene’s dirty little secret has emerged, the hotel has received dozens of angry emails — not from Britons, but from Americans — demanding that the bibles be restored beside the beds. Writing on his personal blog, Denby revealed that he has been called a “puppet of Satan,” and that several people emailed him “pretending that they were just about to make a booking the Damson Dene, but had changed their mind.”
Unsurprisingly, the move has also attracted the ire of local parish priest Rev. Michael Woodcock, who told the Westmorland Gazette, “It is a great shame that Bibles have been removed from rooms and very inappropriate to have been replaced by an explicit erotic novel.”

Cassi Creek:
          I’ve stayed in many hotels in the past.  In no instance have I ever found cause  to search for and/or read from a hotel room  bible.  If I were so inclined my preference would be unavailable.  The Gideons’ bibles are incomplete, ignoring the Torah and the Tanach.  What they do provide is a stripped down edition that is intended for Protestant Christians.  The non-Protestant Christians are ignored; as are all hotel guests who practice no religion.
          There are apocryphal tales of men (this sort of tale almost always involves men, it seems) who have checked into hotels, accidentally found a bible in a drawer, and been somehow prevented from committing suicide by some miraculous interaction.  These remain tales.  They are along the same order as the soldier spared a combat death when the bullet that hits him is slowed by a bible.  They provide fodder for inspirational speeches designed to raise money for some itinerant preacher milking a tent revival circuit. 
          In the first instance, the tale never provides verification.  In the second instance, those tiny little throw-away editions that churches shove into soldiers’ hands are too thin to stop a pellet gun.  Better to carry a Zippo over one’s heart into combat.  Zippo, at least, provides verifiable advertising. 
          If I want something to read in a hotel, I’ve got it with me.  I don’t need to look in the drawers.  If I want to watch news or simply want white noise, there is always a television.  If I want something erotic to kill idle hours, that can be had for a slight fee. 
          And now, for women who find little interest in average hotel erotica, a thoughtful  inn-keeper has provided something written for women that they can take or leave for the duration of their stay.  While it may not interest all women, it contains, by all accounts, less sex and violence than the Gideons’ contribution to non-literature.  

Sunday, July 29, 2012

29 July 2012 From the floor of the horse’s stall

Eric Cantor Rips Nancy Pelosi For 'Patronizing' Comments About Jews
          Back in the real world, Little Eric demonstrates that he is perfectly willing to allow his self to be used by the GOP in their latest attempt to distract Jewish Americans from their concerns about the necessity of a tax increase.  The GOP seems to believe that bringing up the Israeli concerns about Iran’s nuclear program will over ride  support for the Democratic Party among Jewish American voters. 
          Cantor continues to demonstrate political positions that cause me to believe that he and I have nothing in common and will never see eye-to-eye.  His willingness to destroy the social safety nets that have been keystones in Jewish voter beliefs since the nation was founded place him in opposition to the historical stance of the majority of America’s Jewish citizens. 
          Pelosi will be correct if she uses Cantor as her prime example. 
          The teavangelists, however, will probably find Cantor unwanted in their lack of regard for non-WASP citizens and members of Congress.  Cantor should realize that his welcome to the GOP is not matched by the teavangelist contingent in Congress. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

28 July 2012 The NRA and the butcher’s bill

28 July 2012 
Why killing is a profitable enterprise
By Michael F. McNultyPublished: July 27
Michael McNulty is an attorney in Tucson. He was chairman of the Giffords for Congress campaign in 2006, 2008 and 2010.
It is easy to ignore the issue of gun control, given the perfect leaderlessness it enjoys in Congress. Then again, it becomes harder to ignore when your relatives or friends are murdered in the company of someone you idolize, which describes thousands of us in Tucson.
            “ It is news to no one that the NRA has abandoned the sportsman in every practical sense; if the group were honest, it would change its name. Speaking as a rifleman, I think it’s an embarrassment.
                        “The NRA not only dependably opposes limits on assault-rifle sales but even opposes. Last year, the NRA went to the mat to prevent anyone from list against the names of those buying guns. These two actions clarify beyond argument that the safety and welfare of you and yours have simply dropped from the NRA’s list of priorities. The NRA represents gun manufacturers, end of story…”
            “It strikes me that the NRA is pretty comfortable when debates over mass murder devolve into intellectual discussions relating to civility vs. demagoguery, insanity vs. impressionability, and freedom vs. the tyranny of gun zealots. The more abstract, the better. In the end, however, it’s simple: The NRA shills for gun makers who profit from the murder of American citizens. If you think the country’s policies are shaped by Judeo-Christian values, you’re not paying attention.
Cassi Creek:
          There’s the long and short of it.  The gun manufacturers want higher profits and a wider market.  Scare the current gun owners by telling them that the insidious, evil, leftists are c coming to take their guns away and they will immediately panic and start to “stock up” on more guns and more ammunition.  Scare the teavangelist base who have yet to “stock up” and they will fall prey to the advertising monster, The NRA. that exists primarily to disseminate fear and lies about the supposed confiscation of firearms from private citizens.  It works quite well, fear sells guns.  Obama won the nomination and knees jerked nation-wide.  There was so much panic driven buying that the gun and ammo factories fell behind the demand. 
          To date, Obama has made no effort to seize privately owned guns and ammo.  Even in the wake of horrendous shootings in Tucson and Aurora, next to nothing has been said by the President.   That’s how strong the NRA has become.  That’s how much we need to re-define the 2nd amendment.  Not repeal or remove it, just rework it so that it is not a license for retail slaughter. 
They will plunder willy-nilly,
Cry the bells of Caerphilly.
They have fangs, they have teeth,
Say the loud bells of Neathe.
Even God is uneasy,
Say the moist bells of Swansea.
They will plunder willy-nilly,
Say the bells of Caerphilly. “

Friday, July 27, 2012

27 July 2012 Bytes and pieces

Cassi Creek:  Beginning yesterday, finishing today, sharp implements were applied to the various sorts of foliage that provide our green walls and carpet.  Gloria provided a lot of help, trimming and cutting back those areas where a mower is simply not the proper too.   She derives some enjoyment from her flowers, food plants, and herbs.  Other than enjoying the herbs she provides for the kitchen, yard work and gardening are merely chores for me. 
          Still, with her help and without the promised thunderstorms arriving before noon, we managed to get about 95% of the yard beaten back into submission.  The firing lane is cleared and is now safe for shooting practice.  The rest of the yard, other than the edges of the ditch/old creek bed along the road, looks presentable. 
          About 1400 the day’s first thunderstorms rolled over the western valley wall and put Loki into full storm mode.  She’s currently lying by my desk, watching a squirrel feeding from the platform feeder.  Normally, a squirrel on that platform generates a torrent of barks, mutters, and whines as she jumps at the sliding door and demands to be let out to chase the squirrel(s).  I believe that if I opened the door for her she would remain inside. 
          Last night, Gloria and I drove into Jonesborough to take part in a Contra dance activity.  About 20 people, 50 and over, Staged a simulated dance to be used in a Medicare advantage insurance recruiting TV commercial.  I dislike the Medicare advantage plans; they cost the government more than they should.  The insurance companies pad the policies with gym memberships and other such throw away items, then they charge Medicare more than the plan is worth.  The ability to do this is another lobbyist – written law.   If the plans fail to generate enough profit, the companies have been known to pack up and leave the consumer with no plan and often no physician. 
          I said nothing last night.  The event was planned by others and will result in the dance society having all expenses for one dance met by the advertiser.  That’s a good thing.
          Fortunately, we finished taping in time to order food from The Dining Room to bring home for dinner.  I want their recipe for black beans and rice. 
Shabbat Shalom!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

26 July 2012 Ready, aim…

          The major battle  of 2012 may now be begun.  Instead of studiously ignoring the 2nd Amendment, President Obama has engaged the NRA and hosts of pretend soldiers nationwide by attacking the assault rifle market.
“While the president said he stands by the Second Amendment and recognizes the traditions of hunting and gun ownership in the country, he told a crowd at a gathering for the National Urban League in New Orleans that there is work left to be done in tackling the problem.

"I also believe that a lot of gun owners would agree that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not in the hands of criminals," Obama said. "That they belong on the battlefield of war, not on the streets of our cities."

Cassi Creek:  this campaign just ran the volume knob up over 11.  Obama has publicly stated that he stands in opposition to the NRA’s “any weapon, any number, anyone, any time” policy.  Since there are already thousands of AK rifles and AK analog rifles in the hands of U.S. citizens, this will be proclaimed his signal that he intends to confiscate privately owned AK assault rifles. 
          There is absolutely no proof of intent to seize privately owned weapons demonstrated in his speech.  However, the NRA will already be cranking out TV spots, mailings, e-mails, and phone calls, designed to cause the mob of true gun-nuts to believe that their guns are suddenly in danger. 
          In the interest of clarity and understanding: 
          I am a gun owner.  I own 9 mm handguns and I own high capacity magazines.  I own one rifle that can be considered an assault-style rifle under existing legal descriptions.  I also own extended capacity magazines for it. 
          The handguns are for target shooting and for self/home defense.  They are not designed for hunting.  The rifle is a multi-purpose tool that can legally and technically be used for hunting as well as target shooting and defense. 
          My firearms were obtained legally at local shops.  I am not worried about the government taking them from me.  That is not in the plan for the Obama administration. 
          I agree with the President.  There is no need for U.S. citizens to own AK model weapons or, by extension, many of the AR-platform rifles that are marketed today.  I’ve shot both weapons and would have bought an AR platform if I had been able to afford it rather than my mini-14.  But I am not driven to own multiple copies of guns or to own every model out there for sale.  Most of all, I am not driven to pretend that I am going to save the nation from a non-existent threat to gun ownership.  There is no plot afoot to confiscate private guns.  If you or anyone think there is, you’ve been lied to by the NRA and the teavangelists. 
          Obama has just drawn a real line where the imaginary line once was.  I wish he had drawn it more deeply.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

25 July 2012 Morning becomes electric

Cassi Creek:
          That’s the throwaway tidbit for the folks who have achieved a decent level of literacy; and in doing so, eclipsed my meager knowledge of plays, playwrights, and the “legitimate theater.” 
          I must honestly admit that while I enjoy seeing a well-written, well-performed play, I can probably count the number of plays I have read for the pleasure of reading them, rather than reading them as part of a literature class, within the limits of a normal systolic BP.  Therefore, I’ll lay down that tribute to ancient Greece and keep moving. 
          Sometime around 0500, a group of thunderstorms rolled into the region, entrained, and began to drop rain.  The noise of a large thunderstorm dropping rain upon a metal roof is hard to ignore.  The repetitive, frequent lightning strikes add a unique character as they thunder rolls down the valley, echoing off the low-hanging clouds and the valley walls.   Factor in the sound of UPS working as intended, clamping surges, maintaining power to computers, phones, and other electronic devices; and there is a continual high-decibel assault upon any further sleep. 
          I finally gave up and rolled out at 0530.  I was trying to navigate around the house by lightning flash and LED indicators on the face of our various tools, appliances, and electronics.  Unfortunately, Loki was in full thunderstorm avoidance mode. 
          Her pattern includes achieving and maintaining tight proximity to one or both of us.  Since she believes that our reflexes are as acute as hers are, she fails to understand why we are angry when she stops suddenly in front of us, in a room with no light.  She also wants to find miniscule spaces to den up in.  This entails her trying to crawl or climb into every small, confined spot she can find.  We’ve had to remove her from the pantry.  She’s attempted the dishwasher, the oven, various kitchen cabinets, the lower shelf of a kitchen island, our shower, and beneath any of several desks and workbenches. 
          While she was demonstrating dog terror, I was trying to bring our house back on line.  The oatmeal, cooked overnight, had to be returned to “warm” status, three clocks had to be reset while a fourth had to be returned to on time and set as the marker for time with no power.  Coffee had to be brewed, an early start avoiding, hopefully, more power outages.  The computers had to be booted and radar maps studied to find a safe window to shower that provides no interruptions and us with water.  All of this becomes semi-autonomic as well as semi-automatic.  I can pad from room to room in the dark, bringing systems on-line while muttering to Loki and myself. 
          We did find a safe window to shower, and to walk out to the road between small storm cells to retrieve the newspaper.  Ready to face the day, with the last cells moving to the southeast and away from us, I sat down to eat.  At that point, the cable and internet connections failed. 
          The secondary patters are held in incomplete mode.  The primary resources we use to keep our selves aware of the world are suddenly as absent and unobtainable as if they were protected by jamming systems intended to prevent their electronic war specialists from stealing information from ours. 
          We are suddenly shoved backward to communications capabilities equivalent to those of the 1950’s or even earlier.  The teavangelists must be overjoyed.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

24 July 2012 Drone no nothing ‘bout history

Pakistan spy agency chief to tell CIA: End drone strikes; ID targets for us to attack
By Nasir Habib, CNN
updated 6:19 AM EDT, Tue July 24, 2012

“Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- The new chief of Pakistan's spy agency will urge the United States to end drone strikes on Pakistani soil and identify targets that the country's security forces can then attack, a senior intelligence official said.

“Lt. Gen. Zahirul Islam will deliver the message during a meeting with the head of the CIA on August 2, said the Pakistani intelligence official, who did not want to be named because he is not authorized to speak to the media.

"You (the U.S.) develop a target and let us hit it," Islam will tell CIA Director David Petraeus, the official said. "It would be ideal if the U.S. provides drone technology to Pakistan."

Cassi Creek:  this is essential idiocy at the stage described above.  There is no valid reason to allot such targets to any segment of the Pakistani military. 
          The reason for striking such targets sung U.S. forces and assets is the historical refusal of the Pakistani military to strike and eliminate Taliban and other fundamentalist forces.  This leaves a safe haven on the Pakistani side of the border where both Afghan and Pakistani Taliban and irregular forces can hide and re-equip. 
          To provide intelligence information to the Pakistani military at any level is to provide that information to the forces we are fighting.  The bonds of religion appear to supersede those of military unit and nation in this geopolitical region.   Not only would Afghanistan be given intelligence collected by U.S. agents and assets, that same information would rapidly make its way to Iran. 
          If the .S. is foolish enough to provide access to drones and drone technology to Pakistan, the same transfer to Iran will rapidly damage our current technical superiority.  Iran is quite capable of reverse engineering many items of our military’s closely guarded technical weaponry. 
The only answer to this request must be a resounding, “No!”

Monday, July 23, 2012

23 July 2012 What’s worse than the 2012 election campaign?

Cassi Creek:  I would have called the interminable, boring beyond belief, campaign period between late July and November the first place result.  Then, the crown was snatched away by the actions of one James Holmes, who attempted to murder the patrons at a midnight movie in Aurora CO last Saturday morning.  He managed to kill 12 people and wound 58 before the inevitable weapons malfunction slowed or stopped his random, rapid-fire murders.  He failed to inflict further damage and injury when his booby-trapped apartment was identified, detected, and defused by EOD specialists.  
          He sits in jail now.  No bail will be granted.  He will not be arraigned formally, until next Monday.  The media is in full display with every possible anchor, weekend anchor, 2nd string locale associate, and occasional free-lancer trying to get some on the air face time. 
          This morning CNN provided insight to how the trial will be covered.  CNN actually shoed two buildings, a jail, and a court house 100 meters apart and connected by a tunnel.  Holmes, they said, was to be moved in three hours, via the tunnel from jail to courthouse.  They assured their viewers that they would cover the entire event.  I am sure that someone somewhere sat transfixed for three hours, watching for three hours to not see the prisoner traverse the distance from jail to courthouse via tunnel. 
          It’s is going to be a long, long, trial.  It is going to be a long, long, election campaign.  I plan on a lot less television and a lot more reading.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

22 July 2012 Wild West vs. Civilized Europe

Switzerland and the gun

Switzerland has long maintained its armed neutrality

Guns are deeply rooted within Swiss culture - but the gun crime rate is so low that statistics are not even kept.
The country has a population of six million, but there are estimated to be at least two million publicly-owned firearms, including about 600,000 automatic rifles and 500,000 pistols.
This is in a very large part due to Switzerland's unique system of national defence, developed over the centuries.
Instead of a standing, full-time army, the country requires every man to undergo some form of military training for a few days or weeks a year throughout most of their lives.
Between the ages of 21 and 32 men serve as frontline troops. They are given an M-57 assault rifle and 24 rounds of ammunition which they are required to keep at home.
Once discharged, men serve in the Swiss equivalent of the US National Guard, but still have to train occasionally and are given bolt rifles. Women do not have to own firearms, but are encouraged to.
Few restrictions
In addition to the government-provided arms, there are few restrictions on buying weapons. Some cantons restrict the carrying of firearms - others do not.
The government even sells off surplus weaponry to the general public when new equipment is introduced.
Guns and shooting are popular national pastimes. More than 200,000 Swiss attend national annual marksmanship competitions.
But despite the wide ownership and availability of guns, violent crime is extremely rare. There are only minimal controls at public buildings and politicians rarely have police protection.
Mark Eisenecker, a sociologist from the University of Zurich told BBC News Online that guns are "anchored" in Swiss society and that gun control is simply not an issue.
Some pro-gun groups argue that Switzerland proves their contention that there is not necessarily a link between the availability of guns and violent crime in society.
Low crime
But other commentators suggest that the reality is more complicated.
Switzerland is one of the world's richest countries, but has remained relatively isolated.
It has none of the social problems associated with gun crime seen in other industrialised countries like drugs or urban deprivation.
Despite the lack of rigid gun laws, firearms are strictly connected to a sense of collective responsibility.
From an early age Swiss men and women associate weaponry with being called to defend their country.”
Cassi Creek:  The distribution of wealth among the Swiss and the social and cultural safety nets are most likely the major factor providing the apparent lack of gun-related crime. 
          Beyond any doubt, the pro-gun lobby here in the U.S. will claim that the cultural and social factors are not significant.  I believe otherwise.
Of further interest in an entirely different direction:

Saturday, July 21, 2012

21 July 2012 The NRA wants you to believe

          President Obama wants to confiscate all privately owned firearms in the U.S. 
          Thousands of inner city citizens of minority ethnicity are mobilizing to pour out of the cities to plunder, pillage, and rape citizens newly deprived of their personal weapons.
          If every citizen were armed with a handgun, there would be no crimes against people, such as Columbine, Virginia Tech, etc.
          In a room full of handgun owner, those owners would be able to select the single criminal and instantly target and kill him with no harm occurring to innocent bystanders. 
          In that same room, gun owners who never practice, or who practice too little, will all magically be transformed into expert marksmen capable of tack-driving accuracy. 
          The various militias and pretend soldiers scattered throughout the nation will be able to take up their private weapons and thus prevent the current government from becoming a tyrannical government by opposing the full might and power of the. S. Armed Forces. 
          Jesus wants you to help him win the war on Christianity by supporting the NRA with time and money.
          Everyone who can afford to pay the taxes on them should be able to purchase fully automatic firearms. 
          Legislators who oppose the NRA’s political agenda should be voted out of office.
          If President Obama is re-elected, he will issue an executive order seizing all privately owned firearms in the United States.
          Sound improbable? Sound like propaganda?  Sound like something only poorly educated people would believe?  You’re right.
          The NRA doesn’t really know what Jesus wants you to do.  But they’re willing to take contributions for him. I pulled that line out of thin air.  The rest of it is being spread about by people who can’t distinguish Fox News from pure fiction.    If you recognize the political danger here, please be sure to vote against any GOP/teavangelist on the ballot this fall.

Friday, July 20, 2012

20 July 2012 Which NRA lie about Obama is in use today

            “If Romney wins, will the world as we know it be over? Yes. And if Obama wins, we the world as we know it be over? Yes.
            “The election seems to be a contest to see whether we go back to the 1950’s vs the 1960’s. Being generous, it may be considered a contest between going back to the 1980’s, vs the 1990’s. But vote as hard as you want, we’re not going back anywhere. We’re going headlong into the freakish. Things have changed, are changing, and the changes are accelerating. Three things, globalization, technology, and climate are taking us to where no election has gone before….”
            “Obama doesn’t really have an answer and Romney has one that works for him and his friends.
This is as far as I got with today’s entry before I had to switch horses. 
            Just in case my position is unclear, I am fundamentally a democratic socialist, former combat medic, gun-owner, hunter, fisher, who distrusts any statement made by the NRA about gun control.  I don’t believe in secret plots to overturn the 2nd Amendment and/or to seize personal firearms.  Nor do I believe that a bunch of middle-aged men playing soldier on weekends can oppose the military might of the U.S. government or any other functional nation’s military.  I don’t believe that the “war on Christianity” exists other than in the minds of politicians and sky pilots who use it to bilk more gullible teavangelists out of their savings. 
Cassi Creek:  Woke up to another stark reminder that the insane walk among us.  As of 1300, the body count is 12 killed, 50 wounded.  The NRA has remained silent.
          President Obama spoke appropriately.  John Boehner and Mitt Romney spoke but it felt like every sentence had been previously cleared by the NRA.  To further poison the atmosphere,
https://s2.googleusercontent.com/s2/favicons?domain=www.huffingtonpost.comGOP Congressman: Aurora Shootings Result Of 'Ongoing Attacks On Judeo-Christian Beliefs' »
“WASHINGTON -- Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) said Friday that the shootings that took place in an Aurora, Colo. movie theater hours earlier were a result of "ongoing attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs" 

          Gohmert cashed in on a letter written by Michelle Bachmann accusing Hillary Clinton’s long-time assistant of being a plant for the Muslim Brotherhood.  Today’s bit of craziness tops yesterday’s. 
          Gohmert, an obvious recipient of NRA campaign funding, unleashed the “war on Christianity” as a reason for the shootings in Aurora CO.  Gohmert has failed to read his holy comic books.  The mythical Jesus carried no weapons and submitted meekly to his execution.  Somewhere between then and now, the Christian dogma picked up a chapter or two that apparently only NRA members get to read in full. 
          And in the interest of his re-election fund, he then dragged out the claim that an auditorium full of people carrying handguns would have stopped the gunman with no loss of life among the innocent.  Utter bullshit, Gohmert!
          Most handgun owners practice too infrequently, many never practice.  The most likely result to an auditorium of gun owners who believe that they can shoot like military or police snipers is horrid to imagine.  Gohmert’s rendition of the NRA wet dream would have resulted in scared, confused, poorly trained people firing blindly at muzzle flashes in a dark and smoky room filled with screaming people running panic’d about the space, and a blaring sound system amplifying the inability to sort out the situation and find the actual gunman while doing no harm to the innocent or the merely stupid.
           Very few of us, me included, are capable of being dumped cold into such a situation and making the correct assessment, then acting upon it correctly.  I’ve been in night firefights.  They epitomize confusion and are inherently error-filled.  Gohmert’s version of the NRA’s greatest self-delusion would have brought on the ultimate cluster-fuck.  The carnage would have been elevated to full-scale slaughter wrought upon the innocent by the gun-owners. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

19 July 2012 Sack HUAC – again

Posted at 08:23 AM ET, 07/19/2012
“Are Bachmann and Sununu attacks part of a new McCarthyism?
By Mary C. Curtis
John Sununu apologized, not for the sentiment but for these words: “I wish this president would learn how to be an American.” 
            “The former New Hampshire governor and White House chief of staff was speaking as a Mitt Romney surrogate, and the message was an old one, heard since Barack Obama was a presidential candidate. “This guy is not really one of us. He’s someone and something else.” Got it. Heard it. Sure we’ll hear it again and again. Birth certificates are no longer enough. From now on, one must pass the Sununu citizenship test.
            “Even for those who accept that Barack Obama was born in Hawaii, it is, don’t you know, a state unlike any other – multiracial, multicultural and in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Sununu, who was born in Havana, Cuba, has looked at the president’s background and decided it doesn’t fit, all irony apparently lost amid the bluster..”

Posted at 09:52 AM ET, 07/19/2012
The redemption of John McCain
            “The sound that you hear is John McCain getting out of the doghouse. That’s where I put him — appropriately and I thought for life — when he chose Sarah Palin to be his running mate. It was an impetuous decision by a man who did what I thought he would never do — put career, not country, first. A Palin presidency is simply unimaginable.
            “ Now, though, the old McCain has returned with a ringing defense of Huma Abedin. She is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s long-time aide de camp and, among other thing, a Muslim. The “other things” include marriage to former representative Anthony Weiner, who is Jewish and, when he was in Congress a down-the-line champion of Israel and all its causes. Still, in the quite-mad rhetoric of Rep. Michele Bachmann and some others, Abedin is linked to the Muslim Brotherhood and its attempt to gain access “to top Obama administration officials…”

Excluding atheists and gay people is a sad evolution and unnecessary evolution for the the group.

The Boy Scouts of America, an organization once known mainly for welcoming boys to a world of adventure, self-sufficiency and good citizenship, now is more famous for the groups of people it bans: atheists, agnostics and homosexuals.

Cassi Creek: 
            The House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) (1947–1975) was an investigative committee of the United States House of Representatives. In 1969, the House changed the committee's name to "House Committee on Internal Security". When the House abolished the committee in 1975, its functions were transferred to the House Judiciary Committee.
Growing up in the 1950s & 1960s, the  great and continual source of fear was that of  “ godless, international communism.  Performers and artists were black listed by the House Un-American Activities Committee.  HUAC, a self-perpetuating group that afforded undeserved power, demonstrated why Congress was often the enemy of all it claimed to stand for.  
          All it took for someone to wind up “invited to testify before the Committee was the mention of a secret list of the names of people who “might be secretly members of the CPUSA.   Taking its cues from rumors, misunderstood statements, innuendo, and outright lies, it left a trail of broken careers in its trail.  HUAC was capable of censoring radio, television, the theater, and movies.  It wielded that capability brutally and carelessly.  Witch hunting for communists in government and in non-governmental endeavors was common. 
          So poorly informed was HUAC, that it acted upon the slightest whisper of suspicion that someone might be a communist.   The FBI Director used HUAC to punish enemies and to increase his power.  Richard Nixon’s early progress to power was aided by his willingness to exploit HUAC and the Alger Hiss hearings.  The boy Scouts were even asked to spy upon their neighbors for the FBI at one time. 
          After the cold war ended, the political situation cooled down.   There were no communists to hunt. 
          Now, coincident with the rise of the theocons, and the various teavangelist demagogues the Star Chamber behavior is returning.  Formerly lumped in with “the communists” were civil rights activists, gender equality activists, minority religion members – primarily Jews and Muslims – and other people misfortunate enough to believe that the Constitution applies to all citizens, and that no state religion means just that.  Without a pool of hidden communists, Congress now can target Muslims, Jews, homosexuals, socialists, civil rights activists, pro-abortion activists, and all those other citizens who have been able to avoid falling into the cultural quicksand that threatens to engulf those who have learned to think and behave independently of magic myths and invisible sky fairies. 
          Michelle Bachmann now provides an outstanding example of how to avoid critical thinking and embrace mass political stupidity.  John McCain has just provided a behavior goal for the rest of Congress, House and Senate. 
          While McCain has taken steps toward self-redemption, the Boy Scouts have further lost their way. 
          The fear of homosexuality drives many of the program changes that the BSA has implemented since I was a youth member, and even since I was an adult volunteer.  It limits activities when sufficient adult leaders can’t be found.  The program is weaker because of such fears. 
          I began cub scouting at 8 years of age.  I received the Eagle Award in 1963 and continued in the program until I became 18.  I served as an adult volunteer for an additional 8 years.  During that time, I never was approached by anyone seeking homosexual behavior.  Nor, did I hear others complain.  This doesn’t mean such behavior did not occur around me, only that I was unconcerned about the behavior of other people and that I was not an object of lust for any other scout. 
          The Girl Scouts have changed to accommodate reality.  International Scouting has also.  The BSA needs to join the 21st century. 
          I periodically get requests for money from the BSA, Inc.  Like a Marine, one is always an Eagle Scout.  The award is presented only after approval by the national organization.  The decision to strip a 19 year old of his Eagle Award infuriates me.  The next BSA solicitation will be returned with a list of reasons why they will not be getting my charitable, tax-deductable, contribution. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

18 July 2012 it’s on the internet so it must be true

How to get smart: News literacy programs train readers to look beyond infotainment
By Kathleen Parker, Published: July 17
“One such delectable nugget tumbled recently from the lips of retiring Democratic Rep. Gary L. Ackerman of New York. Reflecting on his 30 years in Washington, Ackerman was asked to comment on the relative lack of comity on Capitol Hill. Did it ever exist?
Not really, he said, but at least Democrats and Republicans used to be friends. Today, crossing the aisle is tantamount to treason. The problem isn’t only Washington but society as a whole.
“I think the people have gotten dumber.”
“Extrapolating, might we conclude that extreme partisanship is a function of . . .dumbness? If so, then whose fault is that? Education’s? Surely, at least in part. But the problem is broader than a single institution. Dumbness permeates every aspect of our lives, including, dangerously, our media.
Ackerman put it well: “We now give broadcast licenses to philosophies instead of people. People get confused and think there is no difference between news and entertainment. People who project themselves as journalists on television don’t know the first thing about journalism. They are just there stirring up a hockey game…”
“The NLP (whose board I recently joined) focuses on school programs for middle and high school students. The group’s staff includes 22 news organizations and 200 journalists who donate their time and talents to work with students. Both groups try to answer the question: How do you find the truth?, and the CNL identifies news as “the oxygen of democracy.” Indeed, without a well-informed public, you get . . . what we have: a culture that rewards ignorance and treats discourse as a blood sport.
All freedoms depend first on freedom of speech, but not all speech is equivalent, no matter how many hits a Web site boasts or how many viewers ages 25-54 tune in to a given TV show. By such measures, the sensational will always trump substance. Unfortunately, the so-called “mainstream media” — that is, old media — have suffered a crisis of confidence, deservedly in some cases. But in most real journalism institutions resides a dedication to providing reliable information according to universally accepted standards and practices. Without them, our news would be limited to stories about sex, lies and the madam next door.
Cassi Creek:   Parker is one of the opinion writers who have yet to become so polarized that they are no longer journalists.  Recall that she warned her political party about the unsuitability of Sarah Palin.  Parker has now joined the News Literacy Project, hoping to help correct the inability of our students to separate news from entertainment.
          The current junior high and high school students lack the ability, and perhaps the capacity, to engage in critical thinking.  They lacked this skill before starting school and they have not been taught the necessity for the skill or the skill itself.  This renders them largely incapable of winnowing out the chaff that they download in their daily encounter with education and with life external to schools.
          There is a tremendous need to teach our students how to determine what is true, facts that can be relied upon when making critical decisions; and what is entertainment and other dross, base in content and unreliable for any purpose.  We have much of the GOP/teavangelist base incapable and unconcerned that they lack the ability to discern fiction from fact in their daily near miss with news.  These are the people who vote against tax increases to fund scholastic needs, and who will vote to raise taxes to support a new football stadium.  These are the people who will protest any classes explaining evolution unless it is offset by the required presentation of Christian mythology as if it were real. 
          Compounding this glaring lack of contact with reality is a change in the assimilation of news/propaganda among our senior citizens.  The men and women who gave birth to boomers were fortunate to have been news consumers when Murrow, Cronkite, Brinkley, and the rest who viewed reporting news as a sacred trust to deliver the truth as a public service were programming news for a once-a-day schedule.  Facts were checked, opinions were checked at the studio door.  The news was as reliable as it could be. 
          When news became an around the clock drive for ratings, when physiognomy eclipsed formal journalism education, when opinion became a marketable product – propaganda disguised as news and marketed as entertainment, many of our seniors missed the notice.  They were used to believable, reliable news.  Fox News slipped the change into the daily routine of many people who were not equipped to question “news” 
          We need to teach our students how to search for the truth in news.  They need to learn how to read books for information.  Tweets and other broadcasts designed to fit another attention hole in a 20 something misdiagnosed with ADD instead of an actual chronic sugar/caffeine overload, are not sufficient information to claim that one is well educated.  Witness if you will, Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin, ranting against the process of education and the educated as elitists rather than simply admitting that they missed the boat and the book. 
          I’m going to look into the News Literacy Project.  Perhaps it is another tool that can be used in the hope of preventing the former middle class from voting against its own self-interest.  Literacy is often feared by plutocrats, oligarchs, and other repressive political parties.  Is it any wonder that the teavanagelists are intent upon defining educated Americans as an “elitist enemy?”