Friday, November 30, 2012

30 November 2012 Little to say

Cassi Creek:  November grinds down to a halt.  The last two mornings have featured temperatures in the 20s with heavy frost. 
          The chimney sweeps are supposed to stop by this afternoon to fix the stove problem.  We benefit from the stove and the house was chilly last night without it. 
          This has been another week spent waiting for medical offices to call in prescriptions and to review results.  It was so much easier to deal with medical needs when one or both of us were still working in the field.  We know what constitutes high quality care and what does not.  I find my store of patience is decreasing more and more rapidly. 
          Dinner last night wasn’t.  There was a good piece of leftover steak for Gloria.  I simply had no desire to eat last night.  That’s unusual for me and probably due to the Carba dopa – Leva Dopa combination that I’m taking.  I believe that the dosage I’m taking is causing weight gain, so if I miss a few meals it won’t be too much of a problem.  I have no idea what I’ll fix for dinner tonight.  
          Shabbat Shalom!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

29 November 2012 only 64 years late

Palestinian Statehood Vote: Palestinians Certain To Win U.N. Recognition As A State
“…The Palestinians say they need U.N. recognition of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, the lands Israel captured in 1967, to be able to resume negotiations with Israel. They say global recognition of the 1967 lines as the borders of Palestine is meant to salvage a peace deal, not sabotage it, as Israel claim…”
Cassi Creek:         The opportunity to create an Arab state from a portion of the League of Nations’ Palestinian Mandate was  available in 1947-48 as a result of the UN decision to partition the mandate into two nations, one Jewish and one Arab.  The Jews immediately began carving out a state while the Arabs began a long running effort to wipe out any and all Jews living in the State of Israel. 
          64 years, 8 major wars, land grabs carried out by the nations of Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Egypt, and the refusal to integrate several hundred thousand Arab “refugees” into Arab states as citizens  have created a non-functional “would be Palestine” which remains at war with Israel, resulting in thousands of dead and injured on both sides of disputed borders. 
          The actual progress toward statehood for Palestinians can be measured against the progress made by Israel.  Israel built a nation that has become highly involved in electronics, computers, medicine, and other modern industries.  During the same time, the would-be-Palestinians have done nothing.  Israel has received quite a lot of monetary support from the U.S. and from Jews around the world, which enabled it to absorb millions of refugees evicted from the USSR ad the Arab states.  Would-be-Palestine has received little in economic aid from the Arab states that trumpet their undying support for the Palestinians.  What money has been provided has, for the most part, been used to purchase weapons to use against Israel.  Guns or butter?  Statehood or weapons?
          The vote to create a Palestinian nation will find little or no infrastructure ready to receive it. The internal battles that have blocked statehood for 64 years are stilled making statehood a distant possibility.

          We laid a fire in the wood stove last night.  This is the first really cold night  since we had it cleaned and serviced.  The gasket that was replaced apparently was too thick.  About half an hour into a good burn the smoke alarm sounded and the front door on the stove popped open.  Fortunately nothing spilled from the stove.  We throttled the stove back as far as could be done, then spent the next 5 hours trying to keep the door closed.  Eventually, we were able to wire the door handles together to prevent them opening wider.  The burn rate was finally low enough at 0200 that we felt it safe to go to bed.
          The good news is no damage was done, no harm, and the smoke alarm works as advertised.  The Chimney Sweeps will be back tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

28 November 2012 Curiouser and curryouser

Cassi Creek:         Alice may have known what curry was before stepping through the looking glass and into another unreality.  I’m uncertain as to when the chefs and cooks of the British Empire returned from the sub-continent with the magical powder that could somehow render even lowest-bid rations intended for Tommy into a palatable form of ration. 
Some of the less disputed history can be found by following the link above.  As with any recipe item that bears preparing, serving, and eating more than once, the tale is uncertain and disputed by many claimants. 
          Like American chili in many ways, there are endless variations on the theme of curry.  The nature of curry powder changes from nation to nation and by geographic region.  The availability of protein sources is a major factor in determining what the primary ingredient is and what variation on the central theme emerges from the kitchen to flavor the rice. 
          Tonight I intend to serve a shrimp curry with a coconut milk base.  There will be no need to travel through the glass in order to find a recipe.  

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

27 November 2012 Believe in Tinkerbell and Grover

Breaking Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge

By Eugene Robinson, Published: November 26

            “Maybe the fever is breaking. Maybe the delirium is lifting. Maybe Republicans are finally asking themselves: What were we thinking when we put an absurdly unrealistic pledge to a Washington lobbyist ahead of our duty to the American people?
            “I said maybe. So far, the renunciations of Grover Norquist’s “Taxpayer Protection Pledge amount to a trickle, not a flood. But we’re seeing the first signs in years that on the question of taxation — one of the fundamental responsibilities of government — the GOP may be starting to recover its senses…”
Posted at 05:33 PM ET, 11/26/2012

Breaking up with Grover Norquist

            “Sen. Lindsey Graham. Sen. Bob Corker. Sen. Saxby Chambliss. Rep. Peter King. All wavering in their commitment to Sparkle Motion — er, I’m sorry, to the famed Norquist
Americans for Tax Reform no-tax pledge.
Are these great trees, falling in isolation? The Fix seems to think so. Or are they dominoes, starting a slide?     
            “One thing’s for sure: I haven’t seen this many people inching away from the pledge since one really dire afternoon in the Temperance Movement
            “The hardest part of breaking up can be figuring out the words. Do you use words? Maybe he’ll take the hint if you stop calling and, eight years later, show up married to someone else. That seems direct. Or maybe you could just leave the country…”
            “For everyone else, there are break-up lines. Here are a few that might be appropriate to the situation with Grover:
                        “Read my lips: No.”
                        ““It's not you. It’s means..."
Cassi Creek:         Excluding Gerald Ford’s pardons and amnesty for draft resistors, this is the first bit of sanity that I’ve heard emanating from the GOP ranks since Nixon was elected.  There is no excuse that justifies Congress handing over control of our national fiscal policy to a lobbyist who is only too eager to hand over that control to the super wealthy men who have spent billions trying to maintain their status quo with respect to taxes. 
          I had a high school classmate who was fond of coming up with plans to defund the government.  He claimed that government would destroy the United States prior to the year 2000 unless the Medicare and the Civil Rights laws were repealed.  He was the offspring of Polish refugees who had made their way to the U.S.  His parents were rabid anti-communists, and he had been infected with an unhealthy dose of anti-government sentiment by the time I met him. 
          It always amused me that his family took full advantage of the government programs that helped them reach and resettle in the U.S.  They sent their children to the public schools rather than paying for them to attend Catholic schools.  They were certainly not alone in their fear of the USSR.  They probably couldn’t have been resettled in a more reactionary region of the country.  My friend thought that the local Bircher militia affiliate was comprised of uncommonly patriotic men.  That none of them was willing to put on the nation’s uniform, that they had all found some mechanism to avoid military service, never seemed to cross his mind. 
          He would have been fully on board the Norquist lobbying establishment.  He planned to study political science at some land grant college before becoming a cog in the GOP machine.  I wonder which lobbying firm finally scooped him up. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

26 November 2012 Madness takes its toll

It's astounding, time is fleeting
Madness takes its toll
But listen closely, not for very much longer
I've got to keep control.”
          The official commercial madness is now underway.  The license to join a mob and to leave civilized behavior in abeyance has been granted by dozens of television clips showing how thin the veneer of civilization truly is. 
          Seeming  sane people have camped out in parking lots in inclement weather in order to be first, or near the beginning, of a line for admission into some chain store that promises to sell “item X” at the greatly reduced price of $ Y.00.  The caveat is always, “while supplies last.”  There is never a guarantee that the promised item will be available.
          Once the doors are opened, mob rule takes over.  In recent years past people have been knocked to the ground, kicked, pummeled, and trampled by that portion of the mob that is further back in the line, and thus, less likely to be able to grab item X from a shelf or from the hands of another person. 
          Such behavior at other seasons would result in the police being summoned and in arrests for assault.  Indeed, there have been stabbings and shootings at some stores.  Somehow, becoming a thug and injuring others, has become acceptable behavior if done in celebration of a mythical birth. 
          In the past, I worked at an analog to Wal-Mart that treated its employees about as Wal-Mart treats its employees.  The owners chose to open at the regular time on Thanksgiving Day.  No employee could afford to refuse to work that schedule.  There was no reward or bonus to employees for their loss of a family oriented holiday. This was my first exposure to holiday work requirements that did not stem from a medical or public safety reason. 
          Later, I came to prefer working the Thanksgiving weekend in order to escape being dragged into a mall or big box store, or in some manner held hostage to “shopping.” 
          The calendar shows me that it is time to avoid all stores other than grocery stores until 1 January 2013 rolls around and the muzak shifts from canned Christmas back to bad soft pop.   I can happily comply.  I can avoid and boycott Wal-mart and its analogs without feeling deprived or going into something akin to withdrawal.  Most of all, I can avoid the mall madness that warps the minds of men (and women) for the time.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

25 November 2012 Roe, Review, renege

Congressman Phil Roe,
          Congressman, you have signed the ATR “no tax increases” pledge. This instrument of intimidation is used by Grover Norquist to apply political pressure to legislators who should have known better than to allow a lobbyist to interfere in the electoral process. 
          While you may feel that aligning your seat with the political concerns of a lobbyist group that has no regard at all for the needs of your constituents fulfills the conditions of your election; you were elected to represent the people of your district.  The ATR is concerned only with preventing any and all tax increases for the upper 2% of the American populace.  It has pushed a policy of fiscal war against the former middle and working classes of the United States. 
          Of even greater concern is the proven connection of ATR with Jack Abramoff, convicted of money laundering.  There is no doubt that Norquist was aware of the money laundering and used proceeds from that activity for financing ATR’s operation.  Reviewing the history of ATR reveals that Norquist also profited from illegal manipulation of casino profits and that some association with anti-Israeli groups has occurred despite the professed support for Israel by the GOP as a whole. 
          As a resident of the 1st District, TN, I am horrified to find that any elected official can, in good faith, allow any lobbyists such as ATR to determine how they vote in Congress.  Norquist is not a resident of Tennessee.  To allow him to dictate the actions of Tennessee Congressional representatives is essentially selling the influence and power of that office.  Therefore I call upon you to remember who elected you to Congress, and to publically revoke your signature on “the pledge” and any other document pledging fealty to Norquist and ATR.  While Norquist may threaten your seat, He should not be allowed to influence elections.  You should support the people who elected you and trust them to accept or reject your actions and voting history rather than handing over your vote to the teavangelist faction that, if allowed, will torpedo the global economy in the pursuit of ideology based upon greed and fiction.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

24 November 2012 Excellent weekend day 3

          Cold, sunny, breezy.  There is an autumnal bite to the breeze as it blows down valley. 
          The Duck is still giving its all for the greater good.  Gloria will finish it for dinner along with black beans and mixed grains.   I’ll have black beans & rice with a frozen burrito to round off the menu. 
          The Middle East craziness continues.  The exhumation of Arafat will proceed, in hopes that the PA can hang his death around Israel’s neck.  The current myth is that he died of Polonium poisoning at the hands of Israel.  The PA will conveniently overlook at least one malignancy and probable HIV-AIDS, in order to create a mythical hero from a brigand who made off with quite a lot of the money donated for refugee relief to the PA. 
          The exhumation and subsequent post mortem toxicology studies will most likely serve no other purpose than to stir up hostility and animosity in the West Bank.
          I have given up, finding resistance of no benefit, and established a twitter account.  Since we have no text message cell phone package, that account will remain nailed to the house.

Friday, November 23, 2012

23 November 2012 Step away from the television

Cassi Creek:  The silence caused by the muted television is welcome.  I hear no GOP/teavangelist complaints about the election.  I don’t see people fighting to enter stores at some ungodly hour of the early morning darkness.  I don’t have to screen out commercials for programming I have no interest in watching, or for products I have no intention of buying.
          The day began well and holds great promise. 
Shabbat Shalom!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

22 November 2012 Everyone one but the bird enjoyed dinner

Thanksgiving is upon us.  We will now engage in our national celebration of gluttony, greed, and televised football games. 
          Gloria and I are doing our share to minimize the gluttony aspect.  We have celebrated Thanksgiving every year of our marriage with duck fixed in some manner.  I believe this year will find the duck being fixed on a vertical roaster in a closed charcoal grill.  We will manage two meals from one duck.  We’ll fatten out the table with haricot vert and baked sweet potatoes.  I’ll fix a small blueberry relish this year to accent the duck.  The only real gluttony items this year are two pies.  I bought a chocolate fudge pie for me and baked two sugar-free pumpkin pies for Gloria, so that she gets a bit of dessert that she rarely allows herself. 
          The day is bright and sunny; She and I have much to be thankful for.  While we are separated from extended families by hundreds of miles, we’ll be able to touch base with everyone. 
          The shooting in Israel has seemingly stopped for a while.  The shouting about who won will continue as Hamas tries to convince newly homeless families that moving from an apartment to a pile of rubble is a military victory.  Unfortunately, as with the teavangelists here, the Gaza populace is easily excited, poorly educated, and only to eager to believe misinformation when it is administered with a heavy dose of anti-intellectualism, anti-Semitism, or both.  All over the Middle East, Israel’s agreement to a cease-fire is considered to be Israel’s defeat.  At one level, it is.  The last conflict has been costly to Israel in terms of calling up reserves.  It has demonstrated a technical upgrade in the Israeli arsenal, but at an immense price for hardware.  All lives lost and all Israelis injured are evidence of a conflict that should have never been allowed to play out.  World opinion continues to demand of Israel what no other nation is asked to endure.  

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

21 November 2012 Into the kitchen to visit a duck

Cassi Creek:
          Today, I’ll be doing as much prep for tomorrow as possible.  I’m planning to bake a pie for Gloria so that she gets some semblance of dessert.  The weather promises to be clear and warm enough to cook over charcoal.  I may butterfly the duck and grill it.  I may use a tea rub on it, or smoke it over tea during part of the process.  Roasting it indoors is the last and least desirable option.  Somehow, during the trip to town yesterday we neglected to get cranberries.  We have frozen blueberries on hand.  Dinner may be an adventure. 
          I’m not sure what the Hamas plan is now.  It seems as if they are trying to expend as much ordnance as possible in hopes of inflicting as much harm and damage as possible.
          I encountered an unexpected response, last night, from a friend; who finds it hard to believe that Hamas would shelter its rocket teams and its rocket factories among the populace.  I’ve seen civilians used as cover to prevent U.S. forces from attacking villages and other infrastructure.  It is common practice when one side is hoping to defeat a more powerful force that adheres to a policy of no harm to civilians.  That is an ideal goal but is unrealistic when a smaller force wants to put the larger at a disadvantage.  Mosques, schools, hospitals, and family homes are common shelters of opportunity for Muslim forces fighting non-Muslims.   If Gandhi had used his passive non-violent approach against a Muslim nation rather than against Britain, he would have failed.
          A cease fire has just been declared – brokered primarily by Egypt.  I can only wonder how long it will last and how effective it will be before it is broken, most likely by Hamas.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

20 November 2012 Watching the wheels go round

          Today was a shopping day, several stops at different stores.  However, we managed to overlook several items on the list.  So the menu will be altered somewhat from what has come to be standard Thanksgiving dinner at our home. 
          We were fortunate, found bottles of Ambrosia honey from the western slope of Colorado.  This is an interesting product, hard to find, exists only in small quantities.  The taste is a unique sensation, blending high altitude wildflowers with sage. 
          Gloria pulled on a sweater this morning that happens to be what she was wearing when she met me at National.  It looked great on her then and it looks great on her today!  Life is good!

Monday, November 19, 2012

19 November 2012 Product placement uber alles.

Cassi Creek:
          When I was a child, a six ounce bottle of Coca Cola was a rare treat.  Whether it was a fountain drink in a pathognomic class. or a bottle pulled from a tub of icy water, so cold that your hands cramped upon contact,   The “Coke” bottle and glass were both easily and quickly identifiable whether one could read or not.  One might find advertisements for “Coke,” 7-Up” or other soft drinks painted onto the sides of barns, old brick buildings, in aging down town areas, and on outdoor thermometers. 
          Funeral homes and insurance agencies handed out thousands of paper fans at county fairs, tent meetings, and, of course, funerals. 
          I don’t recall to much product placement during the prime time shows,  They made the sponsors known at the beginning, middle, and end of every program.  But the after school – evening news and Saturday morning time slots were a steady string of animated and otherwise kid oriented advertising that left no second of air time without the host or the cartoon character pushing some sugared cereal, or even worse, some unpalatable product like “Ovaltine” or Malt-O-Meal at the under-aged viewers.  If the manufacturer couldn’t create a market for the food-like substance, they’d add a cheap, very, very, cheap, toy to the box or package.  I can recall “Wheaties” boxes with small license plates inside.  “Get all 48 state plates!”  Handicapped by my lack of taste for milk, cereals were bad marketing plans to encourage me to ask for such additions to the grocery list. 
          Such was product placement as I recall it in the early- middle 1950s.  By the 1960s, I was already fed up with advertising for most products. 
          I am an early boomer.  I managed to escape the big marketing programs of the 60s and 70s.  The Brady Bunch, any McDonalds’ talking food, Twinkies, cast or injection-molded toy cars and all the other nostalgia items that induce salivation in many of the older boomers are simply landfill material for me. 
          While I succumbed to some forms of advertising, nothing like baseball cards, marbles, comic books, or other such items now considered collectible can be found in my personal possessions.  I do have the first fly I ever tied a red buck tail streamer that taught me a lot about force vectors, velocity, and fear as it slipped off the rock holding it and came flying back at my face, propelled by a fully curved fiberglass fly rod that was suddenly straight again.  I don’t fish that fly anymore.  I keep it above my vise to remind me that glasses are often the difference between vision and no vision. 
          Some where in the house there are miniatures of Boris Badenov, Natasha Fatale, and Fearless Leader.  They remind me that subversion of the young is possible.  There is still a baking soda powered U.S.S. Nautilus – veteran of some cereal box give away hanging on a book shelf over my desk.  It’s not an original.  I bought it in 2002 when Gloria and I toured the U.S.S. Nautilus Museum at Groton Connecticut.
          So much for nostalgia. 
          The practice of product placement is now horribly out of hand.  Every minute of broadcast television and nearly as much of cable programming is filled with cans, bottles, cups, cars, trucks, and any other item that can be pimped for sales. 
          The approaching Mayan calendar predicted end of the world, 21 December, this year is of course so much hype and fantasy.  But if it were to be true, it is fair to say that there would be at least two companies planning to emblazon their soft drink’s logo on the face of the last rising sun. 
For what it is worth, I can tell the difference between “Coca Cola” and its rival.  I, by far, prefer the former.
          Things, including, end of the world scenarios, go better with “Coke!”

Sunday, November 18, 2012

18 November 2012 Let the rest of the world go by

          The day is bright, sunny, and basically one to enjoy as much as possible. 
          Dinner  is planned, and little else needs to be done. 
          The war with Hamas proceeds viciously, civilians in Israel are targeted repeatedly.  Hamas is using more powerful Iranian-designed rockets which can threaten Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.  Iran makes no secret of its involvement with Hamas.  Hamas, however, claims that it is manufacturing the newer rockets within Gaza. 
          The Iranian government seems to be making every effort to pull Israel into a shooting war with Iran.  Iran does not realize the depth of the hole they are digging for their troops and their scientists.  Should rockets traceable to Iran hit Jerusalem the international outcry will be louder than Iran imagines.  

Saturday, November 17, 2012

17 November 2012 The wait is always the hardest part

Cassi Creek:  All over the state of Israel, men and women are at their marshal points, weapons ready, listening for the order to push forward into contested territory.  The statistics show the IDF as the dominant force in the Middle East.  Statistics fail to realize that the cold calculations which govern the deployment of military units along a battlefront are derived from the actions of men and women who will go into battle not knowing whether or not they will return. 
          Israel is a small nation and the cost of even a small war in terms of lives, is brutal.  Every Israeli will know someone who falls in combat.  There, war is always personal and never to be taken lightly.  There is no “all volunteer” escape clause such as we know here in the United States.  When the sirens scream, everyone hears.  When the fallen are buried, everyone chants the Mourners’ Khaddish.” 
          Israel has been at war since the Labor Zionists and the other groups of Zionists began the massive project of reclaiming land destroyed by neglect, geology, geography, while simultaneously resurrecting a nation that was supposedly wiped from existence by Rome.  More recently, the UN partition decision in 1947 was the trigger for the more modern chain of wars.  Israel knows how to exist as a nation at war.  It has always been one.  It is a nation created with PTSD.  What it lacks now, and has lacked for at least 64 years, is an opportunity to live at peace. 
          Along the border with Gaza, up and down the length of Israel, its soldiers are prepared to fight for its existence yet again.  The older reservists know what they will face, the younger troops have yet to learn.  Ballistic, un-aimed rockets are launched from Gaza, intentionally targeting civilians.  Hamas forces launch another barrage and then take shelter in schools, hospitals, any place that will cause an international outcry when Israel targets the rocket teams.  Eventually, someone on one side or the other is going to issue an order that will trigger a higher level of violence. 
          Until then, the waiting is the hardest part.

Friday, November 16, 2012

16 November 2012 Don’t bother with facts The Jews wrote what ?

          The alarm was set to sound at 0530.  Naturally, I woke up at 0515. 
          I had an 0900 appointment to have an echocardiogram performed.   I checked in at the appropriate desk at 0940.  I was directed to a small waiting area with a painfully loud television tuned to the paragon of journalism, Fox News.  Clustered together, a group of older men, relative to me I assume, were complaining about Israel’s perceived lack of a massive and costly response to the latest Hamas rocket attacks.  The level of misinformation flying among them was frightening.  A small sample is paraphrased. 
“          “The Muslim President, Obama, won’t let them respond to Hamas. 
            “God will take care of Israel – so says the bible. 
            The Muslims don’t believe in the bible.  They’ve changed it
            “You can’t change the bible, God doesn’t allow it. 
            “The Catholics have changed the bible after it was written by God.
            And the kicker that almost pulled me into the fray –
            “The Jews changed the bible.”
          Fortunately my name was called and I was able to leave the den of idiocy that was ready to reduce any rational person’s cerebral density  to the equivalent of cubic kilogram of  inter-planetary space. 
          I’m used to the relatively poor caliber of information about planetary religions that exists here.  What I am not used to, and will never be used to, is the complacency that has emerged in the wake of the various religious demagogues that has become the norm for the nation.  
          The idea that legends adopted from several cults, woven into some semblance of continuity, and then translated through several languages might somehow yield an accurate history and an infallible source of authority when wielded as a tool or a weapon speaks too loudly of the lack of concern for the facts that apply to nearly any situation.  We wondered, during, the election, why no one ever descended upon the apparent lies that issued from the Romney-Ryan and more local GOP/teavangelists campaigns.  There seems to simply be no base knowledge of history, religious or any other, to build upon.  I believe that had I stood up and thundered, “Torah, Talmud, Gospels, Roman, Douay, Quran!” “King James”the men in that room with me would have wondered what I was talking about.  Like others who contribute to the mental morass that is American literacy, they have little to contribute beyond abject confusion.
          It must be remembered that their collective concern for the Jewish State of Israel is not about the citizens of Israel.  It is doubtful that any of them knows a Jewish American.  Rather, their interest is in the need for Israel to exist as an entity so that their “end of days scenarios can be triggered and played out. 
          Beyond that, Rockets launched blindly on a ballistic trajectory have fallen around Tel Aviv, and around Jerusalem.  The probability for Israeli deaths is ramping up rapidly.  30,000 reservists have been called up for duty by the IDF.  Shabbat Shalom!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

15 November 2012 Diplomat protection costs?

          Quite interesting to hear GOP/teavangelist members of the House demand to know why Benghazi security was lacking.  Such short memories they have. 
          Today required an early trip into Johnson City for VA.  Add an unexpected dental visit for Gloria.  Both of us wound up dozing on the couch this PM.  Leftovers for dinner. 
          Tomorrow requires an even earlier sortie.  

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

14 November 2012 More malfeasance from South Park.

          South Park, that wonderful bit of comedy that skewers everyone, seems to have relocated its core to Washington D.C. 
          The ashes of the Benghazi consulate are far from cold and out.  The official time line remains murky with some administration officials and the CIA proving scenarios that partially agree with the initial (movie maddens mob) reports while the more and more disloyal opposition and the teavangelist mobs can’t wait to accuse Obama and friends with deliberately sacrificing two diplomats and two contact security employees. 
          This series of events has been seized by the GOP/teavangelists as the next event to be used in the continuing charge toward destroying the Obama presidency.  Since McConnell’s efforts to sabotage Obama’s first term failed, the next course most likely to be taken will point toward impeachment.  The particular depth of hatred that seems to be based most solidly on racism keeps surfacing either in the teavangelist mobs or at their most lunatic fringes. 
“Posted at 02:10 PM ET, 11/13/2012

Eric Cantor and the Petraeus affair

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has some tall explaining to do to the leadership on Capitol Hill.
On October 27, Cantor learned from an FBI employee that an investigation had discovered CIA Director David Petraeus was having anextramarital affair. Cantor did nothing about that information, except to ask his chief of staff, Steve Strombres, to inform FBI Director Robert Mueller, according to ABC News. Four days later, October 31, Strombres notified Mueller. Meanwhile, House Speaker John Boehner and House Homeland Security Committee chairman Peter King (R-N.Y.) — two key House members with a need to know — were left in the dark by Cantor”
Cassi Creek:  Once again, Little Eric Cartman, the South Park character who epitomizes whining, self-centered greed, and vicious bigotry comes to mind.  Cartman is so mean spirited that the proper descriptive is still being discovered.  When disaster strikes South Park, Little Eric is up to his nose in schemes to profit at the expense of everyone else. 
          This behavior, of course, is highly suggestive of Little Eric Cantor, who held up disaster relief after Hurricane Irene, hoping to force concessions from the Democrats.  When the debt ceiling renewal, a crisis manufactured by the GOP/teavangelists threatened to collapse our economy if not settled, Little Eric not only held up all hope of resolution but further showed the depths of his patriotism and concern for the nation by taking part in a series of investments that would profit him greatly if the debt ceiling was not raised in accord with previous Congressional actions.  At Cantor’s hand, the nation’s credit rating was downgraded and Cantor racked up millions of dollars in profits by holding up the debt ceiling resolution. 
          Now Cantor is off on another power grab.  By sitting on the results of a personnel investigation carried out by the FBI, Cantor has created another situation that has him in a position to block the proper flow of information and to damage the authority of the Obama administration.  Even more disturbing, he has placed himself in a national intelligence oversight loop that he is not assigned to currently, and withheld pertinent information from duly authorized members of the Administration and of his own party.  This is obviously a power grab effort as he seeks to become Speaker of the House. 
          Cantor has the morality of a scorpion, concerned only for his wants and personal greed.  How he obtained access to an ongoing FBI investigation remains to be discovered.  How he has made use of it and how he will continue to destroy the careers of ranking military officers while backstabbing members of his own party may well provide  Paula Broadwell with material for her next biography.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

13 November 2012 Vast Cover-up Conspiracy

Cassi Creek:         The machine that spent the last four years looking for a means to impeach President Obama is ramping up for another try. 


Posted by Andy Borowitz
While the Borowitz report is humor, intended to be deliberately over the top, I’ve already encountered an accusation of a cover-up involving the Attorney General, and thus, the President.
          The same deluded minds that find the birther conspiracy viable are quite willing to believe that Petraeus  initiated the affair in order to use it as a diversion so that the White House can avoid testifying on the Benghazi consulate. 
          The same anti-Obama nut jobs that were willing to tank the nation’s economy last year are indicating that they have adopted even more delusional positions.  These new accusations will become the foundation for a series of attempts at impeachment if the teavangelists have their way. 
          My morning hike with Mike  tends to keep me somewhat acquainted with the right-wing’s latest wet dreams and delusions, as Mike is well versed in the NRA, Ayn Rand, 2nd and 10th Amendment world.  This morning he assured me that there is a cover-up involving Eric Holder.

 He also believes that the U.S. is in grave danger, although some time distant, of being subverted by Muslims and forced to exist under Sharia.  That Sharia threat is particularly amusing when one considers that the people trumpeting the loudest warnings are firmly in the teavangelist camp and willing to re-institute the Inquisition on American soil.   

Monday, November 12, 2012

12 November 2012 Red Skies in mourning.

Cassi Creek:
          The eastern sky, over and beyond our house, was bright orange and red this morning.   Combine this with the gusty winds that blew from the south last night and early this morning, and it accentuates the line of rain showers sliding up the ridges toward our corner of the country.  The predicted rain is clearly on the map and moving toward us like the trenches that redrew Europe’s demographics during WWI. 
          The GOP/teavangelists have spent the last 5 days trying to determine who, what, and why they will not be dispossessing the Obama family from the White House.  They will spend millions, perhaps billions, on focus groups, polls, retreats, and other assorted attempts to find a believable and valid answer to explain their defeat.  I’d be quite willing to tell them why they lost; for a nominal fee of course, but less, I’m sure, than their current strategists, propagandists, and lobbyists will charge them for explaining their own failures. 
          Using the Nixon Southern Strategy was a huge mistake.  Using the Reagan welfare queen ploy was also.  Romney’s 47% diatribe dug him a huge hole.  And the continuing alliance with the American Taliban and the racists at the core of the teavangelist demonstrated how distant the GOP has become from the America that was the magnet for so many immigrants who risked everything to come here. 
          The promise to “take back America”  begs the question, “from whom?”  In the course of two generations my extended family has changed from Caucasian in make up to a broader portrait of American Demographics that includes Native Americans, European Caucasians, African-Americans, Latinos, Chinese- Canadians, and who knows what transient participants.  Factor in at least one out of the closet Gay, a Lesbian or two, and you begin to fill in the proper demographic makeup for a modern American extended family.  To further explain the GOP loss, that campaign should recognize that this single family contains atheists, Jews, Roman Catholics, and almost any faith one can imagine except WASP evangelicals.  Billy and Franklin are not welcome at the door. 
          So the party of Palin, Huckabee, Rove, Romney, & Ryan needs to understand this clearly.  I’m describing only one, relatively small, American family that contains DAR eligible members, veterans of two wars, immigrants from Scotland, England, Holland, Czarist and Soviet Russia as well as Native Americans.  We have worked long years paying for Social Security, SSDI, and other financial safety net features, We’ve damaged our bodies in the service of our nation.  We accept the paybacks from the insurance premiums we’ve paid into as earned, not some entitlement that we’re stealing from the nation.  We aren’t scamming senior citizens out of their Social Security and Medicare benefits by trying to factor in a voucher system for health care that is designed from inception to be inadequate.  We’re not religious demagogues who set up offshore bank accounts on money they collect under false pretences. 
          Take back America?    We are America!  Gloria and I are part of a huge, well-intentioned, piece of the American fabric that will continue to melt into the demographic stew that is America.  Until the GOP realizes this, they will continue to be misled by robber barons, financial house thieves, and the continual cacophony of a poorly-educated, mob that lives on hatred and discord. 
          Look at our armed forces, look at our universities, and look at our families who proudly pursue citizenship in their new nation. 
          Those families and millions more like them are the reason that Obama won and that you old-line GOPer/teavangelists lost and will continue to lose.  I’ll send you my bill for services.  Cash only.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

11 November 2012 The guns fell silent

Cassi Creek:
          Remembrance Day, Armistice Day, Veterans Day; call it what you prefer, was intended to commemorate the lives of the millions of men and women who died in WWI.  It was hoped that we would come to view such wars as too costly in lives and the tools of war to allow any further conflicts. 
          We’ve been calling for an end to war ever since.  We’ve not been successful in our efforts to eliminate war.  The costs of war have grown immensely, single warheads costing as much as the delivery platforms from earlier wars.  There is always the underlying threat that some rogue nation or terrorist group will find a way to obtain a nuclear warhead to detonate. 
          There are no WWI veterans alive now.  WWI veterans are dying rapidly.  Korea and VietNam veterans are now in the senior position on the queue for services.  The Afghanistan and Iraq veterans are now the trailing end of the beast we all rode into battle. 
          The United States and its allies are engaged in a long and difficult war against religious extremists.  There is little likelihood that our troops will all be home and standing down when Veterans Day 2013 rolls over us.  But we can hope.  
          Since DNA identification became the standard of practice the U.S... Military produces no more unknown soldiers. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

10 November 2012 As others may see it

The latest round of political cartoons is worth considering today.  These are all found in the Washington Post. 

          This is by far the most hopeful and least likely to be realized offering.  Sargent matches the tremendously significant actions of men setting out into the unknown against the seemingly equally hazardous decision to eliminate the partisan nature of a badly gridlocked legislature.  Columbus and crew, and the Men under Captains Lewis and Clark had only their lives to risk.   The illustrious members of Congress must worry about remaining in elected office long enough to be chosen to complete the next roster of lobbyists.  They all claim to want what is best for the nation and its people.  For some reason that almost always works out to be a high paying influence peddling position for the “Gentleman from ____.”

          I don’t expect much change in the behavior of our Congress.  I still favor voting out almost all incumbents.

          This should be a self-healing event.  Fox News has been broadcasting so much bullshit and so many obvious lies that they fell into their own bizzaro world.  Now they are all trapped in a reality of their own making that exists nowhere else in the nation.  Sadly, they’ve created enough belief in their fairy tales that there remains a long line outside waiting to enter the bubble.  There is no cure for this condition. 

We’ll take the road almost not taken and try to rebuild the educational system, the infrastructure, and the trust in government that have all been so greatly damaged. 

Somewhere, super-rich Republicans are counting up just how much their last attempt to buy the presidency cost them.  They may have to sell a yacht, a vacation home, or a casino or two.  Too bad!

Friday, November 9, 2012

9 November 2012 One way or the other this darkness got to give

The end of a long, ugly road for the GOP’s Southern strategy

“…Speaking with reporters in the final hours of the campaign, Romney either developed never-before-seen acting skills or truly believed he was on the glidepath to victory; inside the Fox News bubble, perhaps no other outcome seemed possible.
But far more important than any of this, as we look to the future, is that since Romney’s loss, we’ve continued to hear conservatives who do know they are on camera or writing for publication carry right on cementing the impression that they think Obama only won because he was the choice of Moocher Nation: Not only had they failed to “take back America,” from the guy Newt Gingrich delighted in calling “the food stamp president,” but non-white America, they inferred, is not really America at all.
All of which explains how, in a tepid economy, Romney managed to lose the election more than Obama won it. Yet they’re still at it, with Ole Miss students contributing some standout visuals to the narrative that the GOP is not exactly minority-friendly.
George Allen seemed to blame his Senatorial campaign defeat to Tim Kaine on the anti-business bias of his fellow Virginians: “It would be nice if we had an electorate that supported entrepreneurs.” In Obama’s reelection, conservative radio host Mark Levin literally saw the end of civilization: “We will not negotiate the terms of our economic and political servitude. Period. We will not abandon our child to a dark and bleak future. We will not accept a fate that is alien to the legacy we inherited.” On National Review Online, Ed Whelan wrote that “the great American experiment in constitutional republicanism is in grave peril, if not doomed,” because somehow, the greatest country on earth has been overrun with layabouts: “As the Framers understood, self-government depends on a virtuous citizenry. Instead, we have a growing mass of citizens seemingly wedded to dependency on big-government spending.”
This must have been a moment brand new Republican Artur Davis knew would come when he spoke at this summer’s Republican National Convention, where 98 percent of the delegates were white. ”The Republican conservative base seems perilously close to shrinking to white southern evangelicals, senior white males, and upper income Protestants,” Davis wrote on Thursday.
His new fellows would do well to takes some cues from him and other minority voices on how to address that problem. But first, they’d have to stop hurling pejoratives at the Americans they so mistakenly see as “takers.”

Cassi Creek:
          Veterans’ Day rolls around in two more days.  The free market will use the occasion to hold appliance, car, and other types of sales all staged under sadly mis-used American flags.  Our veterans did not place their lives on the line so that they can be cited as the saviors of unfettered capitalism. 
          The 2012 general election is almost over.  Unless a large number of electors are co-opted, Obama will serve a 2nd term and the teavangelists will display increasingly bad behaviors.  “Take that, Mitch McConnell!” 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

8 November 2012 they’re coming for your…

8 November 2012  they’re coming for your…
          The election is over, the idiocy is only beginning.  The hate groups have already made their displeasure known, posting it on their corner of the internet. 
          As always the SPLC is a good place to begin discovering who, which, and what may be crawling from the compost in your neighborhood. 
Posted in Anti-LGBTExtremist PropagandaWhite Nationalism by Mark Potok on November 7, 2012
When the word came in last night that Barack Obama and the Democrats had won national elections in something close to a landslide, millions of Americans went to bed, satisfied that even if their candidate didn’t win, democracy had survived. The lopsided results made it clear that this election had in no way been stolen.
But not so at Ole Miss, which last month marked the 50thanniversary of deadly segregationist riots. Shortly after midnight, several hundred mostly white students protested furiously, reportedly yelling anti-black racial slurs and throwing rocks at passing cars. An Obama/Biden campaign sign was burned before campus police broke up the crowd in Oxford. There were apparently no arrests or injuries…”

This agency should be a weekly stop for all of us.  It will sadden and sicken most people to discover the depth of the hatred and misinformation that is rife in this nation. 
          If you paid attention to the closing rounds of anti-Obama campaign ads, you most likely noticed NRA propagandists setting up for another run of rumors about “Obama is going to seize our guns.”  That is going to become more and more prevalent as new rumors are invented and floated around the internet. 
          The last four years were less violent than they might have been.  The next four may surprise us all. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

7 November 2012 помните красный октябрь

          “Remember Red October!”
          95 years ago today, in Eastern Europe, still using the Julian calendar, the Kerensky Provisional government fell to the Bolsheviks in the Great October Revolution. 
          I bring up this bit of history because I am certain that my neighbors and many other U.S. citizens are firmly convinced that we have just re-elected a President whom they are certain is either a communist or a socialist.  The collective political acumen in this region of Tennessee is such that the teavangelist mob is unable to accurately define either socialism or communism.  Lacking that knowledge however, does not prevent them from demonstrating their lack of awareness and/or their certainty that the demagogues and dropouts who populate the Fox News band width are a more reliable and accurate source of political and historical information than are people who have actually studied political science and history at levels beyond the directions for preparation on a box of instant macaroni and cheese.  “Just add paranoia, overheat in microwave while listening to NRA propaganda.”
          The GOP/teavangelists, in the guise of spray-tanned Rep. Boehner , has already thrown down their gauntlet, announcing that neither compromise nor tax increases will be on their agenda.  Not content to have taken the U.S. government to the edge of financial collapse in previous displays of bigotry and racism powered refusal to work with a duly elected POTUS; the same asses who endangered the world economy simply because they dislike the reality of a black male in the Oval Office, are prepared to behave like petulant children yet again. 
          What further aggravates the situation is the guarantee that there will be still more secretly funded attempts to negate Obama’s presidency, and that these attempts will be launched and led by many evangelicals who are convinced that they are the targets of a war on Christians.  No other great power in the modern world would put up with such direct attacks upon its government by religious leaders.  No other great power in the modern world would put up with science and math education being undercut by the fairy tale fallacies of creation myths. 
          The Russian Revolution failed eventually.  It never achieved a true form of socialism, and like other governments of 20th century Europe, it became embroiled in the Great Patriotic War and the Holocaust, It collapsed under the same forces that destroyed much of Europe.  Given the level of industrialization of Russia in 1917, and the nature of Russian politics under the Romanov empire, the absolutely amazing thing about the Revolution was its elevation from a feudalistic agrarian nation into a great power competing in the technical race for the moon within the span of 50 years.
          The Soviet Union was a political disaster.  No communists or socialists hid under the beds of citizens, only Stalin’s agents wresting power from the Revolution for Stalin and his follow-ons.
          The Obama 2nd term carries the chance for real improvement in the U.S.  He has a Senate majority, will hopefully use that to appoint two new Supreme Court Justices.  He is well place to remove the teavangelists from White House influence, removing the Billy Graham camp from access to the government.  He has the opportunity to work with the Pentagon in scaling back our active duty military from a numbers-based structure to a task/results based force that is not being used to fight oil and mineral wars for cronies.  The opportunities are immense.  He’s learned during his first term that he can’t play for “being liked by his opponents.”  It is therefore time to play the game for the country rather than for re-election.  He can start by reminding the teavangelist mob that he is neither a socialist nor a communist.  They won’t believe him, won’t learn from him, but they’ll have been given yet another opportunity to learn.  For this election, that is the best we could have hoped for.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

6 November 2012 Come Mr. Taliban

Voter suppression comes in many forms:

This is a hateful action conceived of and executed by a political group that is founded in and sustained by racism and hatred. 
Equally hateful, intimidation efforts by the NBPP (New Black Panther Party) placing squads of physically intimidating men at the entrance to polling places. 

          The nature of politics today is so divisive that no trust exists among the body politic.  The past year has been a concerted effort by the GOP/teavangelist to disenfranchise voters in all the minority blocs that typically vote for Democratic candidates.  The demand that all voters show photo ID issued by a state approved agency has been proven to be costly and difficult for many minority citizens.  Further complicating the legal situation, some states have, under the guise of financial hardship, closed agencies that might issue the necessary ID cards, requiring that applicants travel through several counties on a restricted number of days. 
          While I have no ethical problem with a universal ID card which can be used to license driving, identify students, serve as a social security gateway, and be used as a passport, such a card, if used, must be readily available, provided by the national government, and secure enough in assignment and issue that it cannot be used to hack any other national network. 
          I also have no problem with our ID being issued by the nation rather than the various states.  Such a card could be used to vote any place in the nation, alleviating some of the storm-related problems we are dealing with now. 
          There are many people who would object to national photo ID documents until they are proposed for resident non-citizens entering the U.S.  The full-face veil worn by many Muslim women enrages the teavangelist mobs that fear terrorism at every turn in the road. 
          The difficulties we are encountering in our electoral process are partly due to the sheer number of voters involved in the process and the looming statistical margins of error that render even the most exacting procedures error-ridden.  Mix in the ease of spoofing an electronic voting machine by inserting malevolent code under the guise of repairs or routine maintenance, and the electoral process becomes less and less reliable.  Ohio’s GOP Secretary of State ordered an unknown “software patch to be installed in many of the machines used in today’s election. Lawsuits are pending.
          The machines we used last week in Jonesborough TN left no paper trail that I could see and required an election official to insert a key card into the machine before I could use it.  Am I paranoid?  Perhaps.  However the electoral process is now another thing that we, as a nation, were once able to point to with pride.  Now the vaunted “American Exceptionalism” has left our shores.  Backward Afghanistan can carry out a less error-laden election if they wish. 
          Good luck to us all.  Tonight may well be the beginning of a theocratic plutocracy where once the Democratic republic known as America held sway.

It promises to be a long night watching the returns come in.

Day light come and me want to go home!


Monday, November 5, 2012

5 November 2012 Send in the Marines, they’ve already changed for the occasion.

Marines Help Staten Island Residents
Headquarters Marine Corps
NEW YORK, Nov. 5, 2012 – Marines with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit arrived here yesterday via CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters to aid Staten Island residents impacted by Superstorm Sandy.

Cassi Creek:         In previous times of trouble that involved the United States government, or perhaps that worried a corporate boardroom, the quick and dirty solution was “Send the Marines!” 

          The 26 MEU will provide a lot of manpower for some frankly dirty jobs.   The 26 MEU has ca. 2200 personnel who can be tasked to search and recovery, security, and a host of other tasks necessary to the clean up process necessary to restore Staten Island to a habitable portion of New York City. 
          Their organic helicopter forces provide heavy lift and transport capabilities that most civilian helicopters lack. 
          Tradition and law prohibit the use of active duty U.S. troops within the borders of the U.S.    The various National Guard units have always been activated in disaster recovery such as Hurricane Katrina and other natural disasters.  However, the ability of an MEU to provide a unique logistics service will prove helpful in working so close to the seacoast.  

CNN National Poll: Dead heat between Obama and Romney

          Gloria and I are frankly worried about the outcome of this election.  We depend upon social security, Medicare, and Veterans benefits.  We have every reason to believe that if Romney & Ryan are elected they will institute a teavangelist driven purge of the United States social safety nets.  They GOP have wanted to gut and destroy every bit of progressive legislation since the New Deal.  With the help of nearly unlimited private campaign financing, they will be in a position to do just that.  They have spent the last four years using bigotry and racism to divide the nation along the pre-1964 conditions when white southerners could control the congress. 
          For Obama to win it seems necessary for the Latino and black minorities to come forward and to vote for Obama in numbers that clearly depict the new future of the United States with regard to the ascendancy of minorities in government and in social and cultural futures for this nation. 
          We’ve enjoyed the benefits of growing up and living in a nation in which we were clearly in the majority in terms of cultural and social benefits.  In order for Obama to win, it seems necessary that we must be willing to watch the majority culture become replaced by what is to be the new majority.  I’m uncomfortable with some aspects of minority popular culture.  But I’m not at all comfortable with the prospects of any more WASP or White teavangelist cultural dominance.  If it is necessary to see the face of America change in order to prevent Romney-Ryan handing this nation to the bigots and theocrats, then I am ready to see the nation’s face change.