Sunday, September 30, 2012

30 September 2012 down home Saturday nights

Gloria's cousin  Sonia is booked  at "The Down Home", taking the stage at 2100.    We always try to attend her shows.  
It has been rainy all day; intermittent periods of mist broken  by frank downpours

We left the house to drive into Johnson City at 1730, intending to eat at a new cheese steak place.  We missed the sign, and wound up driving into downtown JC before doubling back and finding it.  The  order turn-around was quick and the food was suitable.  Then back down town, find a reasonably  close parking spot on a formerly major street now showing a veneer of neglect and decay, common to many urban streets in crumbling center cities; where the traffic flow exceeds posted legal by 20 mph.
The venue began filling up about 2000, as the mostly female audience arrived and was seated and served. Many of the crowd know each other from previous events,and other places.  The gender split seems a bit more even tonight than on previous nights when we've seen Sonia play here.
"The Down Home" is a great venue for acoustic musicians.  We' heard David Gans and Doc Watson perform there.  We've also heard one of the  worst local groups I have ever seen on stage, “the Squash Blossoms.”  Other than pointing out their lack of instrumental and vocal skill, and the mind-numbing sameness of every piece they attempt to perform, I will simply hope never to see them again at any venue. 

            Gloria had a great evening.  My enjoyment was hampered by my inability to separate the vocals from the instrumentals; and both of those  from the background. This seems to confirm the impressions I’ve formed at other events that feature music. 

            The drive home required a lot of care as there was heavy fog under a full moon. 
            I’ve taken advantage of the drier weather, today, to move pool items into the shed and bring out the winter gear so that the pool company can use it Thursday. 
            Since we left at 1730 and returned at 0024, Loki was thrilled to see us.  Despite the common impression that dogs have no awareness of time flow, Loki seems to have an acutely developed, time-oriented routine that she follows.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

29 September 2012 Fake to Syria: pass to Hezbollah, Hamas

            “(CNN) -- The United States warned Iran to stop providing arms to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad even as it announced millions of dollars in non-lethal support for the opposition attempting to oust the government.

            “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on Syria's neighbors to take steps to prevent Iran from using their land and airspace to transport weapons to al-Assad's forces.

            "The regime's most important lifeline is Iran," Clinton told reporters Friday at a gathering of the Friends of Syria, an ad hoc group meeting in the shadow of the U.N. General Assembly.
Clinton's warning followed an admission, according to Iranian state-run media reports, by the commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guard that its elite Quds Force was operating inside Syria but not involved directly in military action….”
          Cassi Creek:
          The sound of saber rattling echoing back and forth between D. C. and Teheran is becoming loud enough to be heard outside the Middle East.  The U.S. continues to warn Iran about some behavior it finds unacceptable and Iran continues to send their blithering idiot of a figurehead out with a message promising the eventual triumph of Islam while the Revolutionary Guards export hardware and terrorism, and defy international agencies that seek to prevent the development of an Iranian nuclear device.
          Iran may never fire a rocket into Israel.  It funds and equips the fools and fanatics of Hamas and Hezbollah, who will happily carry some sort of suicide device into Israel to detonate.  Alternatively, Iran will loan them a rocket with a biological or chemical warhead, which will somehow wind up being fired into Israel. 
          Iran claims to have no intention of building a nuclear weapon.  Much of the Western world knows this to be a lie.  However, the timeline may suggest a differing view from what the West believes.  It may be that the real danger lies in chemical and biological warhead.  Iran need not even build those, it can demand and receive all it wants from Syria. 
          While Syria seems to be moving its chemical weapons, most built to be used with the Soviet-era busses common to the Middle Eastern Proxies weaponry that Iran shares, some may easily become un-accounted for and somehow wind up in the arsenals of Hezbollah and Hamas. 
          This is a very real danger that must be prevented happening. 
          Despite Ms. Clinton’s calls for the neighboring Arab states to prevent Syrian atrocities and to prevent them using their lands to carry out wholesale murders; those neighboring states will do nothing to prevent escalating warfare in Syria.  There is no love lost between the various Muslim states of the Middle East.  They’ll see each other self-destruct before coming to each other’s aid. 
          A nation that embraces suicide and religious fanaticism as weapons delivery systems would have no scruples against releasing disease or chemical devastation upon its perceived enemies.  Iran has no lack of Islamic fanatics.  And, with Syria collapsing into tribal and religious fanaticism as the existing regime tries to retain power a hellish day longer, no one will notice when Iran slips containers of disease or gaseous death to its proxies.  Those proxies will use them on Israeli and U.S. troops and citizens, pushing past everyone’s previously drawn “red lines.”  Syria will take the blame and the initial retaliation.  Only later will Iran emerge as the vector and become the target.
          Will the houris really be there?

Friday, September 28, 2012

28 September 2012 falling leaves

            Woke up this morning at 0620 to the alarm's strident demand.  The morning hike with Mike took place in misty, muggy conditions that promise rain before day's end.  The hike was easier this week than last.
            We left for Johnson City at 1100 to have Gloria's IV pump DC'd.  At 1220, she is no longer   hooked to an IV bag and a battery-powered pump.  She’s quite happy to be free of a liter (+) of liquid hanging off one shoulder at every moment.  The 1/5 second green LED flash failed to keep us awake, but even I was able to hear the pump cycling and whirling as it fed antibiotic-laden NS to her circulatory system.  She’s had a rough spring and summer due to multiple-drug-resistant microorganisms that may have originated in food.   
            The promised rainfall materialized on the drive into town.  The rate was just sufficient to require intermittent wipers and to streak the windshield.   Radar loops indicate some heavier rain to our Northeast.  However, as expected, there are brief periods of falling leave joining raindrops.  Hillsides are beginning to show autumn colors. 
            Unfortunately, Tennessee lawmakers are once again showing their willingness to destroy our republic and to replace it with a theocracy that will exclude millions of Americans.  They are no different in their petty bigotry and belief in ancient fairy tales than their Iranian counterparts or the Afghan Taliban.

            Tomorrow I plan on pulling pool maintenance prior to next week’s closure. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

27 September 2012 Things that go by in the dark of night

          Gloria snores gently once in a while.  I rather enjoy hearing it dark.  She tells me that I snore loudly enough that when I first moved in with her, she used to wear earplugs. Despite my snoring, we've managed nearly 20 years together, so far, and anticipate many more.
          Now I’m apparently talking in my sleep.  Gloria says most of it is unintelligible, but the random work may be discerned.  She says that I laugh while falling asleep.  Last week she told me that I was yelling, “En Francais!”  I have no idea what prompted that demand. 
          Yesterday morning, at 0520, I took Loki out to get the newspaper.  Walking back from the road I could hear a screech owl calling from the south end of our property.  Last night around 0200 I woke up to hear Loki growling and muttering.  Shortly after that, I heard a pack of coyotes attacking something and then fighting for the remnants. 
          It is pretty much a quiet place to live as long as I’m not taking part in a dream.  

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

26 September 2012 A morning spent among the 47%

          I woke up at 0200 this morning, three hours before the 0500 target time I programmed into the alarm.    Once 0500 rolled in, I rolled out but was somehow immediately behind the clock. 
          I had an 0830 Neuro consult scheduled for today in a part of Mountain Home VAH I needed to locate.  I pulled into a parking slot at 0755 and by 0820 had found the proper clinic, checked in at the clinic and then surrendered a set of vital signs to an LPN to prove I was clinically able to request and receive services.
          By 0845, I was being examined by the resident doing intake to the OP neuro service.  He did a thorough, teaching hospital neurological physical exam.  He then presented my case to the attending physician on the service who did a few repeats.  He then had the resident order imaging studies and begin a course of medication.  I am to return in one month to see if a Diagnosis has been generated or if further studies are required. 
          During my morning, I was surrounded by other veterans, covering a range of five wars.  Every one of us sacrificed something of ourselves for the nation, even if it was only time.  Many of us are also using Medicare, which we have paid into for most of our working lives and are still paying premiums for care.  Yet each of us is likely to be included in that infamous 47% who are supposedly ripping off the country by using healthcare benefits that we purchased in a manner Mr. Romney can’t begin to imagine.
          I remain puzzled by the continual reliance upon Fox News by so many of the region’s veterans.  Fox News output of lies and misinformation results in a badly uninformed pool of voters who will hand their lack of knowledge downward among their families.  If Romney –Ryan should win there will be no more VA hospitals.  They will privatize the VA facilities among corporate healthcare providers.  For us, existing vets, and for those who may result from a conflict with Iran spurred by the GOP/teavangelists, that would be disaster.

Get your influenza vaccination – don’t delay

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

25 September 2012 Chew on that

          Today began with a seemingly endless series of phone calls.   Gloria had a dental appointment at 1400; I had no appointments.  At 1030, the dentist’s office called and asked if I would like to shift my October appointment for one today.   Since I was planning to drive Gloria to her appointment, I jumped at the chance. 
          We turned the pump for the pool filters back on to try to keep the pool clear until it is closed for the season.    
          Nothing else of world shattering import took place here today.

Monday, September 24, 2012

24 September 2012 Nail a retread to my feet…

          Once more, the joys of home ownership intrude.  When Gloria went out to turn off the pool heater, she discovered a steady stream of water coming from the bottom of the heater.  We found no apparent source for the water.  The filter and pump were working; there was no air in the piping.  I turned the pump off as well as the heater. 
          In addition to the routine winterization that we have performed every fall, we now have a hardware repair to deal with. 
          We are on the closure schedule for 15 October.  Gloria asked them to move us up if they can.  Now we need to keep the pool clear and free of detritus until the winter cover goes on it.  Sometime this week I need to move the winter cover to the back deck and marshal the pool hardware and fittings so that they are rapidly available when the pool crew arrive. 
          Also in the repairs list, Chimney sweeping. The one year we tried to avoid that service convinced us of the foolish nature of that omission. 
          Newspaper delivery has become erratic again.  The overall worth of the Johnson City Press does not justify the frustration incumbent in making the early morning hike in the cold dark, only to find no paper in the tube.    
          We have firewood to begin the winter.   I need to find some days when pain and mobility levels allow me to split, stack, and trim to length our on-hand wood.  We’ll need another load by midwinter. 
          All of these tasks and chores need to be interwoven into the calendar that sprouts new medical appointments every time I turn around. 
          Dinner last night was chili.  Dinner tonight may be salmon patties.  That remains to be determined.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

23 September 2012 No particular place to go

          The pool heater is turned off, propane lines closed.  The pool season is officially over. 
          There is a pot of chili simmering on the stovetop for dinner tonight.
          The ability to sleep in yesterday and today was greatly appreciated.  Next week is another filled with medical appointments and VA chores.  At some point, I also need to mow the yard. 
          Apologies to Chuck Berry.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

22 September 2012 Yom Kippur War 2nd iteration

What if Israel bombed Iran? The view from Washington.

By Karim Sadjadpour and Blake Hounshell, Published: September 21

For months, Israel has threatened to strike Iran’s nuclear sites. The United States has urged restraint. If such an operation were launched, how might Washington react?
President Obama is enjoying a quiet dinner with Michelle, Sasha and Malia at the White House residence on a Thursday evening in October when he gets the call…”

What if Israel bombed Iran? The view from Tehran.

By  Azadeh Moaveni, Published: September 21

For months, Israel has threatened to strike Iran’s nuclear sites. The United States has urged restraint. If such an operation were launched, how might Tehran react?
Hamid has been awake since midnight, when Israeli bombs struck the Tehran Nuclear Research Center in nearby Amirabad. The boom reverberated throughout the city nearby, sending plumes of smoke into the night. Sirens punctuated the hours till the gray-pink dawn. With the Internet down, Hamid crouches before Radio Tehran, which reports that key nuclear sites at Arak, Natanz and Isfahan have also been hit.

If Israel bombed Iran, what would life in Tel Aviv be like?

Anat Berko, Published: September 21

For months, Israel has threatened to strike Iran’s nuclear sites. The United States has urged restraint. If such an operation were launched, how might Tel Aviv react?
“Our pilots,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proclaims on the Channel 2 TV news, “carried out their difficult and dangerous task for the sake of the state of Israel. They have struck several Iranian nuclear facilities and have returned safely.”

Lessons from an Iranian war game

By David Ignatius, Published: September 20

Perhaps it was the “fog of simulation.” But the scariest aspect of a U.S.-Iran war game staged this week was the way each side miscalculated the other’s responses — and moved toward war even as the players thought they were choosing restrained options…
“…The unsolved puzzle for the U.S. side was how to stop the conflict, once it started. The Iranians, for their part, had decided to bleed the United States in a protracted struggle. The lesson of the exercise, concluded Pollack, is that “small miscalculations are magnified very quickly.”
Cassi Creek:  It is worth the time reading these articles in their entirety.
          This is all conjecture but based upon the writings of people who practice such conjecture for a living.  The suppositions of people who reside in D.C., Tel Aviv, and even Teheran bring significant weight to the calculations of death and destruction that these articles predict. 
          The Iranian calculations are made more complex by the religious nature of their government and the same division of their military.  Israel is hampered by their Haradim and their refusal to bear arms as part of the IDF despite the willingness of some Haradim to initiate civil disruption using funds sent from U.S.  Citizens who want to bring about a Greater Israel (biblical Israel)
          The U.S. presence is also made more difficult by the justifiable military alliance with Israel and the pressure exerted by Christians eager to bring about the mythical battle of Meggido that will initiate their end of days scenario.
          Failure of abilities to communicate between the hostile factions is the most dangerous problem in the projected conflict.  Gaming these conflicts out so that our military has valid operating  assumptions and hard guidelines may be the most critical thing our armed forces and the White House are engaged in doing. 
          Yom Kippur is a date I selected for historical reasons. 
          I’m hopeful that this particular war will not begin.   We need to avoid the worldwide economic disruption that Iran could bring about.  I don’t want to see the loss of life that will take place in Israel, in the U.S., and in any other locations that might become strike points where Iranian-funded terrorists might target Americans. 
          I am greatly concerned that a GOP/teavangelist victory in November would lead to the certainly of a war with Iran.  There is too great a chance of profiteering companies such as Halliburton will pressure Romney and Ryan into another commercially selected war such as Iraq.  This is to be avoided despite the pressure being brought to bear by Romney-Ryan and the GOP/teavangelists.

Friday, September 21, 2012

21 September 2012 Summertime done come and gone, my,oh,my

                              Today is the end of the longer, hotter, dryer than normal summer of 2012.  It has been characterized by hundreds of wild fires, lost homes, lost crops, closed river shipping,  dust storms, and a vanishing polar ice pack in the Arctic in concert with ice shelf loss in the Antarctic. 
We're going to stop in Jonesborough this afternoon.   We have to renew  our disabled hang tags.  There's a new sandwich place opposite the court house that we want to try for lunch.  We have no idea about the menu.  hopefully there will be something Gloria can eat.
   Tonight's dinner will be chicken wings left over from  last night's meal, and some sort of green vegetables.  
Today, tempreatures reached 80 F and will drop into the 50s before sunup.  The weather should be excellent to produce some fall colors.  
Shabbat Shalom!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

20 September 2012 Summer departing track 12

Monday morning the calendar was clear – only two appointments.
Today, the empty squares are filled with where and when.  The simple end t September has become complex and is already spilling over into October. 

Erratic reports follow:
Happy New Year!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

19 September 2012 One nation divisible with liberty and justice for 47%

          The video isn’t necessary beyond authenticating the voice.  The words are quite accurate in describing how Mitt Romney views Americans who need and use the safety net he has promised to repair. 
          “One nation, indivisible with liberty and justice19 September 2012   One nation divisible with liberty and justice for 47%
          The video isn’t necessary beyond authenticating the voice.  The words are quite accurate in describing how Mitt Romney views Americans who need and use the safety net he has promised to repair. 
          “One nation, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.”
Our flag, the one that millions of Americans followed into one war or another in an effort to protect and defend the nation, is looking a bit more ragged than usual. 

While denying class warfare, Romney has managed to affirm his belief that only the wealthy deserve his attention and his support.  He has opened a mass dumpsite, into which he would shove all the victims of his studied neglect. 
          We have to ask what the cut off value is.  How much cash and negotiable instruments does one need to be considered worthy of living in the Romney-Ryan future America? 
          We also need to discover whether or not there might be exemptions from the social/cultural uselessness that seems to be the likely deemed status of half our nation’s population.  Who among us may pass the test for admission into the upper percentiles, the worthy, who pay income taxes?

          FWIW, I’ve always considered myself to be lower-middle class.  I attended a land-grant state university, did not join a fraternity, worked in healthcare at a technical level.  After my employability status was altered by a careless driver and an employer that did everything possible to delay a worker’s comp claim, I had to rethink that assessment.  It was the cost of medication, the inability to find health insurance, and a homeowners’ insurance company that declared bankruptcy rather than pay claims that caused me to take advantage of VA benefits that I earned in time of war. 
          The great recession has altered our status as it has many other professionals and retirees.  $250,000/year seems to be the new middle class entry level.
          With the condemnation of Americans who no longer pay income taxes comes the realization that lack of a job alters many patterns of behavior that simply can’t be recovered by waving one’s social/financial responsibility like a flak vest.  The rules of the game have changed and no matter how responsible one may have been, the deck is now stacked in such a manner that only the rich have any hope of buying in.  The rest of us had better hope that The GOP/teavangelist slate is soundly defeated. 
          While we linger on taxes not paid, voters need to consider the number of wealthy Americans who pay little or no tax to the government.  They, like numerous corporations bank offshore and hire a corps of accountants, lawyers, and lobbyists to insure that the tax codes leave them no tax burden.  It appears that evading taxes is acceptable in the Romney-Ryan future although earning too little to owe income taxes is not.  That seems to match the way that the GOP/teavangelists look at national service too. 


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

18 September 2012 Romney displays the depth of his contempt for his fellow Americans.


Posted at 09:27 AM ET, 09/18/2012
Four questions for Mitt Romney
By Ruth Marcus

(1) Under the federal tax code, a couple with two children earning less than $26,400 will pay no federal income tax because the standard deduction and exemptions reduce their taxable income to zero. The Tax Policy Center has explained that this reflects components of “the basic progressive income tax structure that intend to exempt subsistence levels of income from tax and to adjust for differences in ability to pay based on family size. “

Do you disagree with that approach? Do you believe that this family’s tax burden is too low? If so, how would you raise it?  Eliminate the deduction for children?  Raise marginal rates? Make the tax code less progressive?
(2) Of the 47 percent of households that do not owe federal income taxes, two thirds pay payroll taxes that amount to 7.6 percent of income.  Indeed, under standard economic theory, the employer’s side of those payroll taxes also comes from their income — meaning that their 15 percent tax rate compares roughly to your 13.9 percent effective rate in 2010, the year for which you’ve released returns.  And, of course, these households pay state and local sales and property taxes, plus federal gasoline and other excise taxes.
In what way do you believe these households are failing to “take personal responsibility and care for their lives”?
 (3) Of the 18 percent of households that pay neither income nor payroll taxes, most are elderly (10 percent of households).  
What do you believe these elderly households should do to “take personal responsibility and care for their lives?” Do you support repealing special tax benefits for the elderly, such as the extra standard deduction, the tax credit for low-income seniors and the exclusion of a portion of Social Security benefits from taxation?
(4) Another 7 percent are households earning less than $20,000 a year.  That seems like a far cry from the 47 percent  you describe as “dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government 5has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.”
But I’m confused about where you stand, because you have also said, "I'm concerned about the poor in this country. We have to make sure the safety net is strong and able to help those who can't help themselves."
Do you believe in a safety net or not?-- 
Cassi Creek:
The compassion of candidate Romney for his fellow Americans is quite evident in his off-record comments.  It is readily apparent that he has consigned 47% of us Americans to the role of of non-productive dead beats eager to sponge off him and the other ultra-rich who wish to run the nation  as they would run their various corporate empires. 

For the record, former governor, I am a 64-year-old VietNam veteran.  I began working and paying taxes on my earnings at the age of14.  Since then I have dutifully played FICA, Social Security, and income taxes from every paycheck. Like many Americans, I have taken advantage of every legal deduction and loophole that Congress has added to the tax codes.  Serving in the Army and working in a medical laboratory were not lucrative career options.  There have been years when the codes worked in my favor and I owed no additional income taxes.  When  your corporations were so positioned I don’t recall hearing you complain. I doubt you volunteered to pay extra taxes. 
I retired after an auto accident left me unable to work in my profession without endangering coworkers and patients.  - responsibility to others.  After r a long, fight, I was granted SSDI.  I'd be happier working and pulling down a paycheck.  My wife and I would be happier if we didn't have to measure medicines against meals    I obtain my healthcare through Veterans affairs.  I was a combat
medic.  I owe no one any apology, least of all you, who made a career of stripping this nation of jobs for a few pennies in the pockets of shareholders.  I do not think I am owed money by virtue of my nation of birth.  However 30 + years of FICA premiums, 30+ years of income taxes when I could work, and continuing monthly premiums  to Medicare generate a legal revenue stream just like the insurance policies that you have in place as your fall back.  I simply pay a larger insurer much smaller premiums for a much smaller return than you.. As for my medical care provided by VA, I was a combat Medic in VietNam.  There’s no amount of money that can compensate anyone for filling that slot.  If you fail to comprehend that, you have no business holding any political office.  We do not need another Middle East war started to help profiteer corporate friends. 

            You are lacking in every skill needed to head this nation.  Statecraft is not about keeping investors and bankers happen.  It is about keeping citizens safe and secure
          Neither you nor your VP pick understand the first thing about the concepts that define this nation.  

Monday, September 17, 2012

17 September 2012 For “energy policy”, read “snow job”

Toles provided the equation today. 

Cassi Creek: 
          The answer is readily evident, and can be answered correctly by solving from several disciplines. 
          In plain language, we have too many people using too many fossil fuels, releasing too much CO2 into our atmosphere, raising the global temperature.  Other problems include the use of repetitive lies to convince poorly educated voters that a “cleaner” form of coal exists to be mined, and that hydraulic and explosive destruction of subterranean rock strata will release hydrocarbons without contaminating overlying wells and other water sources. 
          We have too many people.  We are trying to feed and house more billions than the planet can support.  Immediate response to this facet of our problem should be a sharp and strict reduction in the birth rate, globally.  It is not hard to reason out this solution – fewer people to share in the same level of consumption would lead to a larger per capita portion for each consumer.  Of course, there is a grossly uneven distribution of wealth and consumables that will not be redistributed without the application of force at some point in time.  The rich and the very rich will not readily take part in redistribution of wealth and resources. 
          Also complicating the “too many people” facet, the insistence by fundamentalist Christians, Jews, Muslims, and other cults that irresponsible breeding is desired and required by the various sky faeries that were slipped into various cultures to avoid having to teach real science to people who would rather not read books and articles with polysyllabic words and without pictures of partially-dressed young people. 
          No one who has ever worked with coal can honestly call it a “clean fuel”  There is also nothing clean about mountain top removal.  Yet the campaign lies generator is complaining about “heavy-handed-regulators” as if the EPA was beating corporate board members into submission with cudgels and whips.  Living near strip strip-mined former mountains, I would support increased regulation by people with much heavier hands.  Where the energy companies are engaged in depleting natural resources and destroying watersheds and forests in the name of progress and profit, no lie should be allowed to go uncorrected.  There is no clean fossil energy.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

16 September 2012 Mittelschmerz and the Arab Spring

Cassi Creek:        
          Yesterday I wrote about the historical origins of the current Arab readiness to engage in mindless mob behavior over things that modern nations descended from what is know n as “Western Civilization” take in stride.  Writing on religious books, cartoons about religious mythical beings, and other events of that nature are not valid reasons to engage in mob behavior. 
          There is evidence, according to CNN that some of the “protestors” in Egypt were paid to take part in the protests. 
            “Cairo, Egypt (CNN) -- Egypt's prime minister said some of the thousands involved in days of protests near the U.S. Embassy got paid to participate, state news reported Saturday, the same day riot police managed to force demonstrators from the area.
Prime Minister Hesham Kandil said "a number" of those involved in the tense, sometimes violent protests, which began Tuesday, later confessed to getting paid to participate, according to the state-run Middle East News Agency. He noted, too, that some of the demonstrators were acting on their own and weren't paid to vent their anger against the United States over an inflammatory anti-Islam film that was privately produced in that country.
Kandil did not say whether the government knew or suspected who paid the demonstrators, according to the MENA report.”
          With this in mind, I chose the title for today’s post quite deliberately. What does it mean, why did I use potentially inflammatory terms to describe the Egyptian government, Egyptian citizens, and particularly the mob from Benghazi?  Look it up if you need to.  While you’re prowling through the dictionary, look up, also, the acronym, “Whiskey, Indigo, Mike, and Papa.”

Saturday, September 15, 2012

15 September 2012 Self destruction for fun and prophet

By Fouad AjamiPublished: September 14

“Why is the Muslim world so easily offended?

“Modernity requires the willingness to be offended. And as anti-American violence across the Middle East and beyond shows, that willingness is something the Arab world, the heartland of Islam, still lacks.
“Time and again in recent years, as the outside world has battered the walls of Muslim lands and as Muslims have left their places of birth in search of greater opportunities in the Western world, modernity — with its sometimes distasteful but ultimately benign criticism of Islam — has sparked fatal protests. To understand why violence keeps erupting and to seek to prevent it, we must discern what fuels this sense of grievance.
“There is an Arab pain and a volatility in the face of judgment by outsiders that stem from a deep and enduring sense of humiliation. A vast chasm separates the poor standing of Arabs in the world today from their history of greatness. In this context, their injured pride is easy to understand.
“In the narrative of history transmitted to schoolchildren throughout the Arab world and reinforced by the media, religious scholars and laymen alike, Arabs were favored by divine providence. They had come out of the Arabian Peninsula in the 7th century, carrying Islam from Morocco to faraway Indonesia. In the process, they overran the Byzantine and Persian empires, then crossed the Strait of Gibraltar to Iberia, and there they fashioned a brilliant civilization that stood as a rebuke to the intolerance of the European states to the north. Cordoba and Granada were adorned and exalted in the Arab imagination. Andalusia brought together all that the Arabs favored — poetry, glamorous courts, philosophers who debated the great issues of the day.
“If Islam’s rise was spectacular, its fall was swift and unsparing. This is the world that the great historian Bernard Lewis explored in his 2002 book “What Went Wrong?”The blessing of God, seen at work in the ascent of the Muslims, now appeared to desert them. The ruling caliphate, with its base in Baghdad, was torn asunder by a Mongol invasion in the 13th century. Soldiers of fortune from the Turkic Steppes sacked cities and left a legacy of military seizures of power that is still the bane of the Arabs. Little remained of their philosophy and literature, and after the Ottoman Turks overran Arab countries to their south in the 16th century, the Arabs seemed to exit history; they were now subjects of others.
“The coming of the West to their world brought superior military, administrative and intellectual achievement into their midst — and the outsiders were unsparing in their judgments. They belittled the military prowess of the Arabs, and they were scandalized by the traditional treatment of women and the separation of the sexes that crippled Arab society.
“Even as Arabs insist that their defects were inflicted on them by outsiders, they know their weaknesses…”
Cassi Creek:
          The article above is well written, penned by a respected author.  It touches directly upon the explosive content of the matter.  “The Arabs once ruled the Mediterranean basin and much of South Asia.    They became the dominant culture in that region.  Then they were thrown from power and prominence.  They’ve never gotten over the defeat. 
          Western culture was able to divorce itself from many aspects of religion that dominated political power.  European recognition that science explains the real world allowed Europe to defeat societies that use magic and myths to explain the world. There has been little scientific discovery by Arab cultures since the Spaniards threw the Moors out of Europe. 
          Missing in the explanation by Ajami is the tribal culture and attitudes that hold the Middle East in thrall to a destructive pattern.  The belief that asking for help brings shame to one’s entire family keeps hundreds of thousands as essentially stateless victims of their own histories.   The thousands currently fleeing Syria for Jordan will be held in minimally livable compounds.  This is exactly what happened to would-be Palestinians in 1948.  The “refugees” were held separate from Jordanians while Jordan annexed the land that was to be Palestine.  Every Arab state that lost to Israel in 1948 built cannon fodder compounds to hold and house brother Arabs and brother Muslims who could then be pointed out as evidence of how Israel stole the lives of Muslims. 
          But the lack of civility and rationality began long before Israel’s renaissance; It will not be resolved until the tribal culture and the stranglehold of Islam are stripped from the political realities of self-destructive tribal cultures that must be dragged into the 21st century, one bleeding pseudo nation at a time. 
          What needs to be heard throughout the Arab and Muslim world is “goodbye Mohammed!”

Friday, September 14, 2012

14 September 2012 Bringing bacon-flavored popcorn, too.

          I generally have no concern for the pronouncements of film critics.  I wouldn’t recognize most actors if they introduced their selves, licked my hand, and told me how much my attendance at their film meant to them. 
          There is a growing problem in today’s world that can only be addressed by dragging some states into the 21st century and then dragging religion out of the political milieu.  The idea that religion has any role in modern government is grossly incorrect. 
          Religion, correctly identified as a crutch by Marx, grew into being in an effort to explain natural phenomena in a world missing higher mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, and other scientific disciplines that do explain, very adequately, natural phenomena.  The addition of a priest class that made a very good living by appearing to intercede between human kind and the sky fairies that were imagined to control the workings of the universe; went a long way toward retaining a belief in those supernatural deities that might intercede in the physical world if enough supplication and sacrificial donations happened. 
          The general shakedown into 5 or 6 major religions that dominate such behaviors on planet Earth led to the sequential development of three desert-borne cults that tried to sell monotheism, direct visitation by prophets that swap behaviors, and that in the case of the latest developing 2, insist each is the only true pathway into some form of paradise at some undisclosed location invisible to any not directly invited by a deity.  These two also share the concept of endless punishment for failure to believe, to affirm, and to behave according to a peculiar version of a badly translated collection of bad verse and allegories borrowed from an even older collection of sky-borne rules. 
          What this has led us to is a situation in which the cult leaders of Islam have inculcated enough of their minions with the idea that a particular prophet  is such a magical power that any mention of its name, any refusal to believe as the most radical cult members do, requires the cult members to riot, destroy property, kill people, and generally behave as if non cult members must be forced to behave as if they, too,  believed in sky faeries and have no ability to think for their selves or to understand that outside their mosques and meeting halls, no one particularly cares what names, images, pictures, or insults are linked with the name Muhammad. 
          To be fair, I also could care less what similar behaviors are used when other imagined deities are mentioned.  Draw a picture of the Jesus faerie, paste it on a dog a donkey, or a caricature of a pope or priest who was extraordinarily evil, and ask me if I need to riot.  I may fall over laughing, but I will not be at all concerned about who attempts to insult which leader of whatever cult happens to be failing miserably to oversee the universe. 
          Today’s news tells me that riots and embassy attacks are happening in 11 nations, which allow Islam to interfere in government.  We need to protect our diplomats and our facilities.  Beyond that, we have no obligation to behave as if we are so poorly educated as to fit in to cultures that allow fictitious deities to interfere in our national affairs. 
          The fundamentalist Muslims, Christians, and Jews who are now interfering with the work of many governments worldwide need to be made to understand that the United States is not founded upon any religious platform and will not limit its citizens freedoms at the insistence of any religious fanatic belonging to any cult.  It is time for Islam and its followers to join the 21st century, time for modern nations to ignore the demands of any religious cult and to demand that cult members follow the rules of law and civil order.  

Thursday, September 13, 2012

13 September 2012 Hatred abounds

Tom Toles drawing for the Washington Post put it quite succinctly.

          Our Middle East Policy is disintegrating in the wake of the so-called “Arab Spring.”  We hope to see a form of democratic government develop and replace the dictatorships and religious dictatorships that previously controlled the Arab states. 
          The outcome, so far, has been three or four more or less religious takeovers, scattered and lost anti-aircraft weaponry, loss of Soviet era chem weapons, and a Syrian civil war lasting nearly two years. 
          To that report, add four diplomats and ancillary staff killed by mob action in a planned assault upon several embassies and consulates.  The supposed trigger this time is a 13-minute you-tube hatemongering session that mentions the name Mohammed in a fashion that is somehow insulting to a fictitious prophet. 
          The actual culprit remains to be identified.  Mike believes it to be the action of radical Muslims bent upon conquering the U.S.  I park my camel outside the tent of teavangelists who want to foment a new crusade, growing wealthy in the process.  Your guess may point to another source.  

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

12 September 2012 B-40 in Ben Ghazi.

The news last night from from Egypt was discouraging, to say the least. Once again, an ateempt to stir up riots using Muslim mobs has generated violence in Middle East.
The far right, Christian & Jewish, has plotted to cause poorly schooled and impoverished Muslims to attack both a U.S embassy, and a consulate. Even worse, our ambassador to Libya and three other FSOs were killed by a b-40 blast.
            The U.S. culprit in this machination aimed at starting yet another Middle East war to benefit still more GOP/teavangelists who want to engage in another round of crusades for fun and profit. 
            The mob in Libya, counted yesterday, numbered in the thousands.  Today it totals only in the hundreds.  The organization involved in the mob action was clearly carrying out a pre-planned action as they stormed and damaged U.S. diplomatic territory.  The murder of U.S. diplomats is a grievous action that is not to be excused. 
            The politicization of this event by the Romney campaign, inappropriate and illegal is now taking place.  This is highly reminiscent of the sainted Reagan working behind Carter’s admin to keep the Iranian hostages in captivity until Reagan could assume office and gain credit for their release, credit he did not deserve.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

11 September 2012 Poverty for fun and political power

                “…Not for a second did I think that Ann Romney got it. This has nothing to do with wealth. After all, the Kennedys were rich. So were the Roosevelts. Someone who appreciated the plight of the poor would not have trivialized it with campy stories from her let’s-pretend past. The challenge is not the isolated person who has fallen on hard times who Mitt and Ann have helped — I applaud that! — but the utterly impoverished, the erstwhile homeowner, the financially precarious old and those who have flunked out of the middle class. They too have stories about eating off an ironing board and stuffing themselves with pasta and tuna fish. Only it’s not about the past, but about the present and, worse, the future.
                “…This is classic “weaponized Keynesianism” — the claim that government spending can’t create jobs unless the money goes to defense contractors, in which case it’s the lifeblood of the economy. And no, it doesn’t make any sense.
“What about the argument, which I hear all the time, that Mr. Obama should have fixed the economy long ago? The claim goes like this: during his first two years in office Mr. Obama had a majority in Congress that would have let him do anything he wanted, so he’s had his chance.
“The short answer is, you’ve got to be kidding.
“As anyone who was paying attention knows, the period during which Democrats controlled both houses of Congress was marked by unprecedented obstructionism in the Senate. The filibuster, formerly a tactic reserved for rare occasions, became standard operating procedure; in practice, it became impossible to pass anything without 60 votes. And Democrats had those 60 votes for only a few months. Should they have tried to push through a major new economic program during that narrow window? In retrospect, yes — but that doesn’t change the reality that for most of Mr. Obama’s time in office U.S. fiscal policy has been defined not by the president’s plans but by Republican stonewalling.”
                “…Don’t worry, Romney says, he’ll make sure all Americans have the health care they need and deserve. Someday. Somehow.
On one level, the confusion Romney generated Sunday about his views simply reflects his willingness to say whatever he thinks people want to hear. “Romney panders” is such a familiar story by now that it hardly qualifies as news.
But health care is no ordinary issue. Bringing universal health-insurance coverage to the citizens of Massachusetts — via the individual mandate — was Romney’s greatest accomplishment as governor. This is subject matter he truly understands.
He knows full well that if he fulfills his promises, or threats, regarding Obamacare, there won’t be any affordable coverage for people with preexisting conditions. He knows that if he follows through on Medicare and Medicaid, seniors will have to pay more for their care and many poor Americans won’t receive adequate care at all.
No wonder Romney has so much trouble sticking to a consistent story
Cassi Creek:  The Romney-Ryan promise to immediately repeal Obama’s Affordable health care act may not be worth the air time it has previously occupied.  The teavangelists have apparently realized that some of their base has begun to understand that they will be stripped of healthcare items that they like and wish to keep.  We’ve all got a pre-existing condition or two out there in a chart in some medical office.  The insurance companies will happily pay a clerk-typist (pronounced “bureaucrat”) to find them.  That same clerk can send out the notice to Medicare patients that the annual cost of caring for the elderly has just exceeded the monetary worth of this year’s insurance voucher, again. 
          Krugman’s article is quite accurate.  The lack of jobs action by Congress was and remains part of deliberate obstruction by the GOP/teavangelists.  Whether or not enough of the voting populace is able to accurately fix the blame for job program failures on deliberate obstructionism remains to be determined. 
          Equally important will be the ability of voters to avoid being taken in by the Romney-Ryan charade of poverty while starting out in life.  There is no reason to believe that the Romney family suffered for lack of any advantage.  They may have eaten canned tuna.  If they did, so what.  Canned tuna is a staple protein though out much of the world.  I doubt that the Romney pantry tuna was labeled for felines.  Truly poor Americans know the difference.  Truly poor Americans don’t have desks.  They don’t have ironing boards.  They don’t have the security of a job that pays for housing and food.  They do understand shoehorning a family into a motel room or sleeping in a car in a parking lot. 
          Truly poor Americans don’t have the luxury of attending college.  They don’t have the luxury of being able to see a doctor, a dentist, or to get help to avoid pregnancy.  
          There’s nothing cute about poverty in America.  It doesn’t sound any better if the tale is told wearing a tailored suit.  It doesn’t come with a family gym membership, access to a golf course and tennis courts, smart phones or the internet.  There is no one running on the GOP/teavangelists ticket for POTUS who understands poverty.
          However, Romney and Ryan, if elected, will do their best to continue to create poverty in America. 
          They will fire government workers while privatizing every government service they can.  They’ll preside over the off shoring of millions of jobs.  They roll back the social and cultural condition to the days of no family planning and no contraception.  They will do everything within their abilities to create a new pool of impoverished Americans.  Tuna fish and pasta will not be served. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

10 September 2012 It never crossed my mind

          “Don’t trust anyone over 30!”  This was a common anti-war cry during the anti-VietNam protests.  The supposition was that all we young people would find some commonality drawn from our youth that would render us a cohesive political force to be reckoned with.  What we actually forged was the beginning of the class war we are engaged in today. 
          We were an noncohesive force that was either going to send its males to the meat grinder war that was accentuating or differences; or that was going to use family money and ties to buy a degree and a job in corporate America. College, whether one could afford to hide out from the draft boards for four years was the line of demarcation.  We’ve been living with that separation ever since Ike sent advisors in to help the French loose at Dien Bien Phu. 
          Do we drink beer and listen to country caterwauling, or smoke pot and lionize Jerry Garcia.  Do we watch NASCAR or soccer?  Do we enlist in the armed forces or do we harbor contempt for the men and women who wear the uniform and who believe that they are honestly preserving the tenets of American government as they risk their lives in yet another of the series of wars that are being fought at the demand of oil companies or another Halliburton CEO. 
          We VietNam vets are aging rapidly now.  We’re the old men and women who populate the halls and waiting rooms of the VA hospitals.  We’ve managed to survive our combat injuries and we’re now dealing with the consequences of aging.  We’re way over 30 now.  That’s a place we never worried about as we pulled an LP outside the wire, as we re-armed the planes for another Tac Air mission.  It is a place we never worried about as we plugged sucking chest wounds, tied off arteries, or tried yet another way to make sure the young man on the litter or on the muddy ground got to worry about being over 19. 
          There is another place I worry about now.  It is a place where my fingers no longer dance on a keyboard or a fret board.  It’s a place where music is muddied and diminished  It is a place where age doesn’t matter but Occupational Therapy does.  Over thirty, over 60, over the hill; I never thought of that place when I was engaged in that class war of the 1960s.  Today, it is no longer my choice whether or not I think about it.