Archive for March, 2013

Easter Sunday Omlet, Connecticut History, Me And Jesus Stuff.

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

My way of celebrating the resurrection of the Christ figure, is breakfast. Well really its just breakfast, I will throw in a little retro symbolism as I go along. First to get in the mood I watched about half an hour of the History Channel’s Bible. It was the episode when Jesus meets John the Baptist, Pontius Pilate meets Agrippa Herod’s grandson and Jesus splits for the desert for forty days while John takes the heat and looses his head. No Salome in this version. I turned it off when this dreamboat of a Jesus goes out on the Sea of Galilee with Peter and tells him to catch fish. There is the great line “I will make you a fisher of men” with some non Biblical small talk in between. It was pretty lame and fey. I thought they were going to make out on the boat. Apparently these were supposed to be redbelly tilapia, a fish known locally as “St. Peter’s fish” according to the Wikipedia article I looked up. But in the TV show the fish looked too small to be tilapia. I am not much of a tilapia fan myself, I prefer salmon, red snapper and mahi mahi.

Reading about Bible related stuff gives me a warm comfy feeling, reminds me of when I was eight or nine and really into being Catholic. I was over it by the time I was twelve. This incident happened sometime around Easter in the early 1960’s. I had some kind of an epiphany on one Saturday morning walking home from religious school at St. Pius Church or maybe at the Osborne Hill School where the nuns ruled Saturday mornings. Some kids and I were walking by the Mill River in my hometown of Fairfield, CT. The boys I was with saw some fish swimming though the shallows and decided to throw rocks at them and try and kill them, not for food, but for sport, just out of sheer male exuberance and a sense that it was a naughty pleasure. Well I didn’t go along, in fact I felt sorry for the fish, and I told the others to stop and let the fish go. Nobody paid attention to me. I was kind of embarrassed at my girlish sensitivity, but then I felt a surge of righteousness, like god wanted me to have pity on the fish. Jesus sure didn’t, hell he used fish like cannon fodder in his miracles. Perhaps it was the Krishna in me, or maybe I was just being overly sensitive, whatever. I didn’t think it was sporting to attack fish when they were in the shallows.

I am sure that is exactly where native Americans, perhaps the Mohicans, Siwanoy or Sasqua, a band of the Wappinger Confederacy would have taken advantage of the shallows, if they existed back in the seventeenth century. The river wasn’t dammed back then. This place I was walking, at the edge of the Greenfield Hill neighborhood was below the Samp Mortar dam and was probably artificially lowered. Up river a bit, on Samp Mortar Rock there were signs of Native American sites.

This is an interesting excerpt from a website detailing some of the regions native inhabitants.

“Samp Mortar Rock is a seventy foot cliff…Samp Mortar itself was the name the colonists gave to a sticky porridge made by the Indians from corn ground in the natural bowls at the top of the cliff…about two miles from the village of Fairfield… It is called “Samp Mortar Rock” from circumstances of its having on its top, “an excavation in the form of a mortar, and of sufficient dimension to contain upward of a half bushel of corn or other grain. The tradition is that it was used by the native Indians for the purpose of pounding their corn.”

The land around Samp Mortar Lake was inhabited by the Sasqua Indians to the west of the Mill River, and by the Pequonnock Indians to the east. The area below Samp Mortar Rock was home to a small tribe of Mohicans.” - Lake Hills: Indian Heritage

http://lake-hills.org/indian_heritage.php

My home town of Fairfield was colonized in 1639, only a year after the Great Swamp Fight in which the native power in the region was destroyed. Initially disease ravaged the tribes of the North East in the first part of the seventeenth century, then European expansion did the rest in wiping out the native powers and reducing the survivors to pathetic remnants. The tale of the Pequots, the premier group in the region is indicative.

The Pequots sought refuge with the Sasqua villagers in what is now the Southport section of Fairfield and were attacked by English colonists from the Hartford region led by Captain Israel Stoughton with Roger Ludlow and Captain John Mason,with Narragansett and Mohegan allies. The Pequots, once the strongest tribe in the region had just been crushed in the Mystic Massacre, where an entire village of Pequot elders, women and children were attacked by another force of English with their Native allies killing some six to seven hundred while the warriors were away raiding Hartford. Led by their sachem Sassacus, the surviving Pequots broke out of the surrounding English at the swamp fight and escaped to the Mohawks near New Amsterdam, the Dutch run territory. The Mohawks promptly killed Sassacus and sent either his head or scalp to the English in Hartford, looking for good trade terms, thus ended the reign of the Pequots in Connecticut, by 1638 a destroyed tribe. The remaining survivors were parceled off as slaves among the victorious English and their tribal allies.

As “Lion Gardiner, a soldier involved in the Pequot War, in his 1660 Relation of the Pequot Wars, expressed a different perspective:
“”And now I am old, I would fain die a natural death or like a soldier in the field with honor and not to have a sharp stake set in the ground and thrust into my fundament and to have my skin flayed off by piecemeal and cut in pieces and bits and my flesh roasted and thrust down my throat as these people have done and I know will be done to the chieftest in the Country by hundreds if god should deliver us into their hands as Justly he may for our sins.”" -Wikipedia from Pequot War

The implication being that the methods of warfare used by the colonists were extreme and induced extreme reactions among the natives. In this excerpt from the Wikipedia article about the massacre in Mystic:

“Mason insisted that any Pequot attempting to escape the flames should be killed. Of the estimated 600 to 700 Pequot resident at Mystic that day, only seven survived to be taken prisoner, while another seven escaped to the woods.

The Narragansett and Mohegan warriors with Mason and Underhill’s colonial militia were horrified by the actions and “manner of the Englishmen’s fight… because it is too furious, and slays too many men.” The Narragansett left the warfare and returned home.” - Wikipedia Pequot War.

In the spirit of Biblical justification for almost anything we have this quote from the period. It seems that the consequences of the Israelites smiting their way across the land of Canaan has reverberated through history.

“The colonists attributed the success of end of the murderous aggression of the Pequot tribe to an act of God:
“”Let the whole Earth be filled with his Glory! Thus the LORD was pleased to smite our Enemies in the hinder Parts, and to give us their Land for an Inheritance.”" - Wikipedia Pequot War.

This is one of many examples from the Old Testament of Israel slaying and smiting.

“And Judah went with Simeon his brother, and they slew the Canaanites that inhabited Zephath, and utterly destroyed it. And the name of the city was called Hormah.” - Judges 1:17
King James Version.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairfield_Swamp_Fight

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mystic_massacre

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pequot_War

This was only one of the first of many European led massacres of the Native Americans. Soon there after survivors from Connecticut Wappinger bands who had regrouped in the regions under Dutch hegemony were attacked by the new Dutch governor Kieft, in 1643. After being warned by local colonists who had developed friendly relations with the natives not to proceed, the Governor ignored them and ordered attacks.

“n the initial strike, since called the Pavonia Massacre, 129 Dutch soldiers descended on the camps and killed 120 Native Americans, including women and children. Having opposed the attack, de Vries described the events in his journal:
“”Infants were torn from their mother’s breasts, and hacked to pieces in the presence of their parents, and pieces thrown into the fire and in the water, and other sucklings, being bound to small boards, were cut, stuck, and pierced, and miserably massacred in a manner to move a heart of stone. Some were thrown into the river, and when the fathers and mothers endeavored to save them, the soldiers would not let them come on land but made both parents and children drown…”" - from Wikipedia Kieft’s War.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kieft%27s_War

“And so it goes” as Kurt Vonnegut was want to say. But onto the reason I wrote this in the first place my Sunday omlet.

First I chop up a quarter of bell pepper, a slice of onion, a piece of garlic, four or five small bella mushrooms and four dried apricots and place on the cast iron pan, heated to medium, greased with olive oil and bacon fat. I then spice with some chile powder, oregano, and rosemary. I then lower the temperature a little, throw in a little textured vegetable protein and chop up half a Roma tomato and add them and some fresh basil chopped up. I whip up two eggs with some water, place in the pan, add some cream cheese bits and then chop, not grate some parmesan cheese and place them in the pan, fold the omlet, and then after a few more minutes take the finished omlet out, place on the plate with a lemon wedge, some fresh cilantro and then sprinkle black pepper and habanero pepper hot sauce and you have a delicious nutty tasting omlet. Two eggs for one, three or four eggs for two or three persons.

For my holiday treat I made coffee with some Zagreb fine grind coffee I got at the Alpine Market, about a quarter of a bar of white chocolate I got at Whole Foods, and a good dash of cinnamon. This was my spiritual contribution, a multicolor tasty treat. All the best of this world slathered together in one breakfast communion. I dipped an Italian Lady Finger into this mix, from Food 4 Less for Heaven’s sake.

Afterwards my hemorrhoids were terrible (sugar and anal protrusions don’t mix well), but that is another story.

So there you have it, Christianity, a personal memoir, Christan colonizing guilty history, and an omlet. Happy Easter. May the bunny bring you many Chocolate Eggs. The origins of that tradition is a whole ‘nother story.

North Korean Tail Wags Dog

Friday, March 29th, 2013

It is fairly ludicrous to think that North Korea has the capability to strike the USA with a nuclear tipped missile, or a conventionally tipped one either at this point in time. They might have the ability to reach US bases in Japan on the outside. The recent launch of a satellite in December of 2012, was the first successful effort on the part of North Korea to send a satellite into space. No transmissions have been recorded from the satellite so indications are that it is an inert object. The February test of a nuclear weapon may have increased the North Korean potential threat, but to date they are not capable of sending a warhead outside of Japan with any assurance of accuracy and a nuclear armed warhead still seems to be something for the future.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/30/world/asia/in-pyongyang-bluster-fakery-and-real-risks.html?ref=nuclearprogram&_r=0

Their most advanced missile may have the capability of reaching the continental US but there is no evidence that they have developed a nuclear payload or heat shield capable of protecting a payload upon reentry. There is also the problem of guidance which they don’t seem to have to target in more than the most general manner, in this case I am thinking of the Iraqi Scud missiles launched against Israel, for the most part ineffective. Below is from the Wikipedia entry on North Korean weapons of mass destruction.

“There is no evidence that North Korea has been able to miniaturize a nuclear warhead for use on a ballistic missile. Re-entry technology to protect the warheads en route to their targets is also lacking. A 2012 display of missiles purporting to be ICBMs were declared fakes by Western analysts, and indicated North Korea was a long way from having a credible ICBM.” - Wikipedia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Korea_and_weapons_of_mass_destruction

Best estimates are that perhaps in five years the North Koreans might have the capacity to reach mainland US with a warhead, but as things stand they still have problems.

http://www.nti.org/gsn/article/north-korea-might-have-icbm-5-7-years-former-us-general-says/

Ranges of missiles as reported in Foreign Policy are more in line with traditional US security analysis.

http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/03/29/north_koreas_actual_missile_capability_vs_north_koreas_threatened
_missile_capability

It seems that in the late 1990’s there was pressure from Congress for the security establishment to increase the threat from North Korea by including worse case scenarios in their assessment. Under this regime they postulated that North Korea might be able to develop a missile capable of reaching the continental US but this seems to be more a bowing to hawkish Congressional views and to those who have an interest in the development of anti-ballistic missile technology.

http://www.iiss.org/publications/strategic-dossiers/north-korean-dossier/north-koreas-weapons-programmes-a-net-asses/north-koreas-ballistic-missile-programme/

http://armscontrolcenter.org/publications/factsheets/fact_sheet_north_korea_nuclear_and_missile_programs/

“Missile Last updated: February, 2013

North Korea possesses significant ballistic missile capabilities, and since the collapse of the Soviet Union has been one of the most active exporters of complete ballistic missile systems, components, and technology. Pyongyang received foreign assistance over the years, most notably from the Former Soviet Union and China, but the complete details of all foreign assistance remain vague. Considering North Korea’s long-standing interest in advancing its missile capabilities, its missile program is notable in that there have been relatively few flight tests. U.S. sources estimate that North Korea has deployed over 600 Scud missile variants, about 200 Nodong (Rodong is also an accepted spelling) missiles, and fewer than 50 Musudan or Taepodong missiles, while South Korean sources estimate a lower number.” From NTI

http://www.nti.org/country-profiles/north-korea/delivery-systems/

Specifications of most recent nuclear launch by North Korea.

http://www.spacelaunchreport.com/unha.html

The question remains, what does North Korea want with all this bluster? It would seem that the new leader Kim Jung-un is consolidating his position as leader by pacifying hard line interests in his military establishment. His clear capabilities are to launch conventional weapons that could strike bases in South Korea and Japan, but to what end? It would be suicidal for such an attack as the US could easily obliterate any North Korean capability. The problem is collateral damage in South Korea and Japan. Civilian casualties, especially in South Korea could be enormous and unacceptable, especially if North Korea was to launch a land assault. But that would not be sustainable without active support from China which at this point is simply not in the picture. Sino-American relations would have to deteriorate seriously before such a proxy war would be contemplated.

Mexican Community Police Replace Failed State

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

I am interested in this development of self activity among the people of Ayutla de los Libres, in Guerrero State. Most recently they arrested police officers and officials that they accuse of gang activity. This is community activism at a fundamental level. This is more than just a call for better policing, this is a sign of people willing to act autonomously in defense of their homes, families and community as a whole.

“(T)he practice has spread to other areas of the state, with movement leaders and local human rights officials saying more than a hundred small communities are now patrolling themselves… Before the outbreak this month, the vigilante movement already claimed to be the law in 77 towns and villages in the state. The movement has also spread to Colonia Lebarón, in the border state of Chihuahua, where residents set up a civilian defense force in 2009 after two residents were murdered, and Cherán, in Michoacán State, whose residents expelled the police in 2011, closed entrances to the town and armed themselves against violent illegal loggers believed to be protected by criminal syndicates.” from NYTimes article.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/27/world/americas/mexico-violence-prompts-self-policing-by-civilians.html?_r=0

This is a link to an interview with members of community policing groups in Mexico.

http://mexicovoices.blogspot.com/2013/03/mexico-leaders-of-crac-community-police.html

Recent actions arresting local police.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/mar/28/mexican-vigilantes-take-over-town

Om Shanti Om

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

“Prakash Makhija is…actress Shantipriya…
Someday”*
Sometimes he is not she
But look how big his penis is
Her vagina is so tight
Dripping honeyed nectar
Elysian Fields stuff for sure…

Bowers of cupid juice
Aphoristic Dido seeks her Aeneas
(Goodbye Romulus and Remus)
Hail Baal!
Ariadne drops thread,
Theseus Minotaur’s snack
All hail two fist Snake goddess!

Happy fertile harlot in Ishtar’s canopy
Copulate’s with apple tossing serpent
“Yeah I fucked Adam up”
Cleopatra Queen of the Orient
Slips into something more comfortable
“What’s your name boy?”
“They call me Caesar, mistress”

Oh how the golden apples gleam
Gaia’s cornucopia overflows
Dodo, Passenger Pigeon, and Great Auk
Sing the praises of her generous ways
Monks and priests fuck and suck with great relish
Yahweh begs a crust of bread
Atlas shrugs.

By Gary

3/26/13
Land of Shamala

* IMDb review of Om Shanti Om (2007)

Tithe To Titan’s Nebulous Ring

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

Oh how they wailed
Wind whipped gnostic voyagers
Space for three days no rest from vomit
Shipwrecked at last they cry out
“Deity, come swallow your whale”
See them crawl to coconut palm and
Agave cutting leaf.

Then as in a dark place, with merely a mantra and the
Monkeys throwing kola nuts upon tourists below
Camera’s clicking as the guide offers a banana
“For the ladies necklace please”
Hanuman takes the bribe after two
Bananas are offered
Laughing peacocks preen in Seva Kunj

Mount Meru stands “84,000 Yojan high”*
Sleeping on wooden pallets
Eating off of palm leaf plates
The monks soon adjusted
Selling lucky charms to family members
In passing they are told
“krishnah pandu-suta-priyah”**

The wind stopped howling long enough
Monkeys settled back on their branches
Peacocks cried like babies
Gnostics refilled hair shirts
And settled into solitude
John wandered the desert
“Salome, where’s my fucking head!”

By Gary
3/26/13
Long Beach

* Wikipedia article on Mount Meru
**Srimad Bhagavatam Canto – 1.19.35

Waxing The Saw

Monday, March 25th, 2013

Waxing The Saw

Garcia and company butcher “Wheel” on
Youtube, Facebook leukocyte
Moderns split … electronic fibrillation
Mind, poetry brain is
Fractured fairy
Tale aboard the Albatross

Prometheus prison bound
“he scorns both nature in herself
and art her follower; his hope is elsewhere”*
Taking the cure, the vapors… Nutcracker,
Hoffman plays mouse king
Rubin ain’t nothing but a sandwich

Easter Bunny worships Ishtar…Isis… Eostre, somebody warm
Brady Bunch behind bars and stars
Lunch ham on rye
Naked he came
Candle in hand
Pretty Jesus with lipstick on

A.J. sorts Supreme Court garbage
Aaron’s rod has edema
Mountain goat gods
Mount suspicious looking broads
News flash! Rear Admiral Byrd
Flies over the South Pole?

By Gary
3/25/13
*Quote from Dante’s Inferno, Canto XI, lines 110–111, Mandelbaum translation.

Another Really Good Omelet

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

Since nobody reads this site, and why would they? Its just me rambling or ranting, perhaps if I just write about my more successful cooking endeavors, I will get more response, or at least some response.

This morning I made a very tasty omelet. First throw a little olive oil in the skillet, chop up a quarter onion, a half a Roma tomato, half a zucchini, and toss them in the skillet on medium with some veggie ground beef substitute, maybe a quarter of a package, the ones they sell at Trader Joe’s. I guess that would be a good sized meatballs worth. Then add chili powder, basil, and cumin, whip up three eggs with about a third of a cup of water, add to the skillet, or in my case cast iron pan, chop up about three good sized fresh strawberries and throw them in, add about a quarter inch deep cut out of a cream cheese package, enough so you can taste it but not enough to ruin the omelet solidifying. Make your omelet shape and then serve with fresh cilantro, a lemon wedge, black pepper to taste and my secret weapon, extra hot habanero hot sauce, the kind where the pepper is the first ingredient, not water or vinegar. Just a couple of shakes will do, if you get the real hot stuff, too much will make your mouth burn for an hour and you won’t taste anything. The cream cheese should counter act any heat and make a nice balance for the taste buds. And that my friends is a mighty tasty omelet. Should feed two, or one really hungry guy or gal.

Oh and my buddy death likes it too.

Japanese Hyperinflation, Chinese Banking Continuity, Obama’s Mid-East Disengagement, & New Balance Of Power

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

Japan has a new Bank of Japan president who is attempting to a achieve 2% inflation rate to end the decades long deflation rates. There are those who think that Japanese quantitative easing will result in hyperinflation. Negative interest rate, is what the investment broker Takeshi Fujimaki, interviewed on NNK, recommends, charging investors to use banks and pulling money back out of private hands into the economy. He is afraid that within three years there will be hyperinflation.

http://blogs.wsj.com/japanrealtime/2013/03/05/forget-deflation-one-trader-sounds-hyper-inflation-alarm/

“History suggests that the long-term monetisation of public debt by central banks is a formula for hyperinflation…The world’s third-largest economy may be setting the stage for a global inflationary spiral, perhaps beyond anything previously experienced. As Japan seeks to deal with the longer-term consequences of its current policy, it could easily slide down the slippery slope that leads to hyperinflation. Troublingly, the rest of the industrialised world is at risk of going down with it. - Scott Minerd, ft.com

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/502b369e-8c85-11e2-8ee0-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2OPwXxNRh

Last night on the McLaughlin Group McLaughlin himself joined the voices calling Japanese economic liberalization a recipe for hyperinflation.

In related news, China has returned their Peoples Bank of China governor to continue in is post running the bank and providing continuity in Chinese economic policies.

Zhou Xiaochuan is the longest tenured Central Bank chief in China. He is architect of liberalization of interest rates for the PBOC and has been given a new term as governor of the Peoples Bank of China.

“Zhou, who took the helm of the PBOC in 2002, was reappointed on Saturday. He has led the drive to liberalize interest rates and abolish the yuan’s peg to the U.S. dollar, a step along the path to turning it into a global currency.” -from Reuters.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/17/us-china-pboc-idUSBRE92G0GN20130317

Meanwhile in Europe the crisis in Cyprus may lead to an economic unraveling of the EU if punishing investors as a means of insuring that the German led bankers get their money’s worth as they bail out Cyprus.

“Cyprus crisis: ‘This is the darkest week in our history since the 1974 invasion’

Cyprus is on its knees, with its banks on the verge of closing doors for good and locals and expatriates alike wondering if the island can be saved. Even if a deal with Europe’s bankers can be agreed, it will come at an inordinately heavy price” the Guardian.

“Cypriots are torn between fury and fear. On Saturday, despite signs that the country’s politicians were edging closer to brokering a deal with rescuers at the European Union and International Monetary Fund, it was panic that had taken over as people stormed supermarkets, jammed streets with cars and piled every conceivable product into trolleys. “It may be the very last time I can use this,” said one man waving a credit card outside Athienitis, a mega-store in Nicosia. “We might not have banks next week.”" Guardian.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/mar/23/cyprus-crisis-russians-euro-europe-eu

Obama’s trip to Israel, a bit of sleight of hand, while he makes words to reassure the Israeli’s, he has installed in his new Secretary’s of State and Defense two men who may be able to implement American disengagement from being so entangled in the Mid East as US Oil dependency on the region is reduced.

“Wishful thinking or not, Obama has already made new political appointments to his cabinet - starting with John Kerry as Secretary of State and Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense - that will allow him to downsize the US military and its involvement in the Middle East.

Paradoxically, Obama has moved Washington the closest it has ever been to Israel (perhaps) in order to begin decoupling US strategic doctrine from Israel’s. The two have become overly entangled during his predecessor’s terms in office culminating in a mindset that led to the war and occupation of Iraq, a mindset Obama vowed to end.” - Marwan Bishara for Al Jazeera.

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/03/201332312484627995.html

“As America imports less energy from the region and China imports more, it risks becoming the “new U.S.” in the Middle East.” -Damien Ma for the Atlantic.

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/07/dependence-on-middle-eastern-oil-now-its-chinas-problem-too/259947/

“Although many believe that the US-Israel alliance is the foundation of America’s Middle East policy, it was dependence on imported oil that motivated the US to establish a dominant military presence in the region after 1945. Indeed, until the Six Day War of June 1967, the US was not a major supplier of military hardware to Israel. America’s military presence was intended, above all, to preserve the Arab status quo, and hence the flow of energy from the Arabian/Persian Gulf, for the benefit of the US, its allies, and the entire global economy.” Yuriko Koike for Al Jazeera

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/03/2013320122153784433.html

“It thus follows that China’s global quest for energy security needs to be de-politicized. Western politicians need to recognize that their rhetoric in relation to China’s efforts to secure energy supplies overseas has done nothing but intensify fears that they might seek to deny China access to the oil it needs for development. Meanwhile, China needs to reconsider its stance of distrusting global oil markets and recognize that its reliance on aggressive acquisitions of overseas oil fields and equity oil production has been of little help in strengthening its energy security.” ZhongXiang Zhang

http://africa.chinadaily.com.cn/weekly/2013-02/01/content_16193681.htm

“China appears to be pursuing a multidimensional strategy that incorporates soft power that complements its broad military modernization and force projection efforts to secure its energy needs and also to limit U.S. access and ability to disrupt Chinese energy supplies during a crisis. This approach is sufficiently indirect to afford China room to maneuver without openly confronting the U.S. While nascent, it may also improve China’s strategic position to counter U.S. regional hegemony and naval supremacy in both the Middle East and within the Asia-Pacific region, from the source of its energy supplies, through its long and vulnerable sea lines of communications (SLOCs), to home ports in China.

The strategy has three components. The first is deepening economic ties, which evolve into soft power relationships deeper than that of the U.S. into key states, especially those needed by the U.S. for basing. China is already the Middle East’s next best oil customer after the U.S. and has taken a generally status quo attitude towards regime change. Trade between China and Gulf Cooperation Council nations already exceeds $80 billion per year, and this trade could easily lead to greater bilateral exchange, including weapons sales. By contrast, the United States supported popular democratic transitions during the Arab Spring and has expressed the desire to wean itself off Middle Eastern oil. These trends could significantly influence, if not alter, the geostrategic landscape of the Middle East in the 21st century. They could further reinforce the perceived need within the Gulf states to distance themselves from the U.S. and to develop even stronger bonds with China.” from Lt. Col. Eduardo Abisellan report.

http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/up-front/posts/2012/07/17-china-soft-power-abisellan

So with all these quotes, I make my point that the US administration is working to disengage from the Middle East and to reenforce the American ability to control the sea lanes particularly the Gulf of Malacca which is a choke point for Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian, and Korean access to Middle Eastern oil. This may be a major reason why the USA is disengaging in Afghanistan, has little taste for getting involved in Iran, and especially in Syria. The USA is looking to Turkey, Israel and India to provide some kind of security buffer for the region. with perhaps EU backing. France has already stepped up its involvement in Africa, holding a line, perhaps to block China, perhaps merely to counter the influence of Islamic fundamentalism. But as things emerge, world balances of power are shifting. Will the Chinese be able to offer an olive branch that the US takes seriously or is this simply stalling for time?

“Amid sound and fury, Turkey-Israel alliance endures
ANKARA - Relations between Turkey and Israel have a long and dramatic history, but over time the two countries have transcended their differences and grown closer in light of a mutual interest in promoting a democratic Middle East and, according to experts, Turkey’s outspoken stance this time around will be no different”

http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/english/domestic/10705597.asp

« Interview with Ali BALCI on Turkish scholarship and Ergenekon case
A SHORT INTERVIEW WITH DR. CATHERINE MACMILLAN »
The Quote of the Week: Turkey-Israel-India entente?

February 14, 2010 by Changing Turkey

Excerpt from Sushil J Aaron (2009) “Straddling Faultlines: India’s Foreign Policy Toward The Great Middle East,” Working Papers id:1970, esocialsciences.com.

“Interestingly, the India-Israel relationship has compelling similarities with that of the Turkey-Israel relationship. As stated, India’s defense establishment is expected to sustain the relationship irrespective of the preferences of the political establishment. Likewise, Gokhan Bacik states that, “In Turkey, the basic reason for rapprochement with Israel was the role of the central military and civil bureaucracy.””

http://changingturkey.com/2010/02/14/the-quote-of-the-week-excerpt-from-sushil-j-aaron-2009-straddling-faultlines-indias-foreign-policy-toward-the-great-middle-east/

“The emerging Israeli-Turkish-Indian connection is hardly unexpected. In many ways, it marks the logical evolution of a pair of strategic relationships that have charted remarkably similar trajectories for the better part of the past decade.

Common origins. The new relationships are the product of the end of the Cold War, which prompted foreign policy reorientations in all three countries.”

http://www.meforum.org/504/israel-india-and-turkey-triple-entente

Enough for today.

Death, Monkey Business, And Jesus

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

Over the years I have developed something of an intimate relationship with my own mortality. I joke around with death. We kid one another, tell secret in jokes, swap recipes, we are buddies.
I imagine daredevil athletes must have some kind of relationship with death. Certainly drug addicts and front line infantry must. Anyone who has had a gun stuck in their heads, or crotch, or a knife at their throat, or been stabbed by an irate girlfriend or overdosed or been through major surgery knows something of what I speak of, and I have experienced much of the above, but then I imagine anyone who has lived long enough has had some brush with death, an intimation of things to come.

I used to participate in various spiritual groups. Often they would breach the subject of death as something humans dread, something that they, as the guardians of our souls, would somehow protect us from the more fearful aspects of the oncoming freight train barreling down upon our fragile bodies trapped here on the tracks. As if some angelic intervention could stop a train, sort of Superman like, smashing it moments before we, the Lois Lane’s of this world were crushed beneath the fiery behemoth. But well, other than parents, who have pulled a drowning child out of water over their heads, or perhaps doctors who have performed life saving surgeries, or a fellow drug addict who had the good nature to keep an od’ed fellow addict breathing, well, who is to stop that train in its inevitable course? I certainly don’t think chanting a few words of some unknown but hoped for deity, ones personal Superman, will work, but then who knows, perhaps there is a deity who simply loves to rush around the aether saving one drowning soul after another, bringing them safely to some cosmic shore and delivering mouth to mouth spiritual resuscitation.

I try to envision this great Jesus, or Krishna, or Buddha figure, compassionate, armed with all sorts of spirit saving devices, picking up literally millions of souls a day. It must be exhausting work. But perhaps they have helpers, little Christ and Bodhisattva beings, Jinn, Pixies, Cherubim, Devas, and so forth who act in concert with the main guy or gal in sucking souls up into the higher realms. Shehaqim, Satya-loka, Sidrat-ul-Muntaha (the Lote Tree of the utmost boundary), and so it goes. More heavens than a barrel of monkeys.
To quote Funk:
“One monkey arouses a great deal of amusement. Two or more then double the interest and amusement. If one were to release a barrel full of monkeys, we must suppose that their antics would become hilariously comical.”
From “2107 Curious Word Origins, Sayings & Expressions from White Elephants to a Song Dance” by Charles Earle Funk (Galahad Books, New York, 1993).

I wonder if the lords of the dead souls have trouble with their helpers, monkey business, perhaps this saving of souls.

Monkey business after all can be detrimental to political life.

“Packs of monkeys had broken into the parliament, invaded the prime minister’s office and defense ministry, at times ripping up wiring and tearing through files. Those who resisted them sometimes got bitten – or worse. In 2007, one deputy mayor in Delhi died after falling from his terrace while fighting off a rhesus attack.” From Christian Science Monitor

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Global-News/2013/0321/Delhi-braces-for-return-of-some-serious-monkey-business

I am now thinking of those winged monkeys in the Wizard of Oz or perhaps Hanuman finding Sita in Lanka. Oh the conceits we bring to the table. Oh how death will make of all of us a cinder, a cypher blown away with the winds. I made that up. Very medieval of me, I always liked that scene in Monty Python where they are parodying the Black Death. Bring out your dead indeed. More monkey business.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kllZsaNGtVg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winged_monkeys

http://www.oocities.org/daskriti/raamaayan/raamgaan/10hanuman1.htm
“The most authoritative source for the etymological of words and phrases in the English language is “The Oxford English Dictionary the multi-volume collection commonly called The OED. The earliest recorded WRITTEN use of the phrase was “cage of monkeys,” in 1840. Of course, the expression most likely was used in SPOKEN English, long before it was ever written in print.

Here is the entry from that source:

31. colloq. a wagonload (also barrel, etc.) of monkeys: used as the type of something extremely clever, mischievous, disorderly, jolly, fun, etc.

In barrel of monkeys, perhaps influenced by barrel of fun (laughs, etc.) s.v. BARREL n.

1840 G. DARLEY Thomas à Becket V. viii. 129 De Traci chatters More than a cage of monkeys: we must wait.

1889 Harper’s Bazar 21 Dec. 932/4 My brother..says the American girls are perfectly fascinating… He says they are more fun than a box of monkeys.

1895 W. C. GORE in Inlander Dec. 115 Barrel of monkeys, or bushel of monkeys, to have more fun than, to have an exceedingly jolly time.

1908 W. G. DAVENPORT Butte & Montana 28 This is just more fun than a bag of monkeys.

1930 G. GOODCHILD McLean Investigates xvi. 310 If once we lose touch with Feeny good-bye to the Rajah’s ruby. He is as clever as a cartload of monkeys.

1968 A. POWELL Mil. Philosophers 155 They’re as artful as a cartload of monkeys when it comes to breaking the rules.

1978 G. VIDAL Kalki ii. 24 Christianity was never exactly a barrel of monkeys when it came to the here and now.

1986 Times 28 Apr. 31/6 Plot-wise, it is as mischievous as a wagon-load of monkeys. 1996 People (Electronic ed.) 2 June, Knows loads about loads of sports. Clever as a barrowload of monkeys.”

- Quoted from the website:
http://en.allexperts.com/q/Etymology-Meaning-Words-1474/Meaning-Origin.htm

I especially like the Gore Vidal quote about Christianity. I once passed by his place in Monaco, it was near the train station.

So to conclude, death, the grinning reaper, that joker of Family Guy fame is as we say always worth a good laugh at our own personal expense.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=eRn4O2nFV5c&NR=1

Next Taxes. Remember Jesus was buddies with the tax man and I assume he would love meter maids. He also had a soft spot for hookers. Who doesn’t?

“which of the two did the will of the father?’ They say to him, ‘The first.’ Jesus saith to them, ‘Verily I say to you, that the tax-gatherers and the harlots do go before you into the reign of God,” from Youngs Literal Translation of Matthew 21:31.

Best Home Fries And Poached Eggs.

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Take a pre-baked potato (I do a batch of them once a week), slice it up, with or without skin, and put in skillet with a couple of slices of low sodium bacon and some olive oil, heat medium. Add half a Roma tomato, a quarter of a bell pepper, a slice of onion, all chopped up rather coarsely. Spice with cumin, chili powder and sage to taste, add a little chopped extra sharp cheddar (a good aged one not the crappy store brand), some fresh basil chopped, and at the end a dab of cream cheese, mix it all up and serve when potatoes are browned. I don’t put the bacon in it, that I put on toast that has been buttered and then put poached egg on top. One slice of bacon with half a slice of toast and one poached egg. Then I pour a little hot sauce over everything, some black pepper and squeeze a slice of fresh lemon on the works (instead of salt). A little fresh cilantro can be added as a garnish, and perhaps a dab of mayo or catsup on the side, not too much, you don’t want to ruin the flavors.

Garlic, and jalapeno or serrano pepper can be added to the home fries, but this time I didn’t and it was great anyway. I tend to like my food spicy.


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