Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Homeland Insecurity: Remembering September 11

Homeland Insecurity: Remembering September 11

Rockvale TN, September 11, 2013 - - Twelve years ago at about this time, 2:55 pm Amsterdam time, I was sitting in the Joost Pub when somebody came in and told Willem the barman to turn on CNN. When he did there was a picture of a building that had fallen to the ground. A couple of minutes later we watched in horror as a passenger plane crashed into the building next to it.
Like the Kennedy assassination, everybody who experienced 911 knows where they were and what they were doing when the Twin Towers collapsed. And like the Kennedy assassination unsolved mysteries remain. I saw the second tower implode and I have opinions that would brand me accurately as a conspiracy theorist. But that's ground well (but not well enough) gone over, and we're not going to go there today.

What I want to write about today is the aftermath of that horrible event.

As everyone freely acknowledges, the shock of that event made it possible for plans to unfold that would lead us into what will no doubt prove to be failed and wasted wars in Iraq and Afghanistan at the expense of still thousands more lives both dead and ruined.

911 also made possible the creation of Homeland Security, and I have to say that when I heard the word “Homeland” I had an icy feeling of where we were headed, and here we are, with the NSA , capable of spying on our own citizens, but incapable, apparently, of
using data handed to us by the Russians to prevent the Boston Marathon massacre. For me, “Homeland” carries the same tyrannic connotations as “the Fatherland” did for Nazi Germany, or “Mother Russia” for the bolsheviks.

And as everyone knows, (but nobody has done anything about {WHY?}) we were lied into those wars in which billions were lost. Not misspent, not misappropriated, though of course some were, but literally picked up and carried away, to parts unknown by parties unknown.

The fact of the fabrications of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Rice, and countless others who were either in on the ruse or dupes themselves, has been slowly obliterated by time just as messages on a beach fade with each tide. These traitors have escaped into compensated retirement, or the World Bank, or they show up on television now and again as “experts on terror”, which of course they certainly are, having generated quite a bit of it themselves..

Their crimes, and they were crimes, have faded from memory because now we worry about other things: fat cats who figuratively give the Homeland the finger by living here and paying their taxes cheaply elsewhere, for example. Health problems that could be ameliorated with an affordable diet for all, and education levels that are such that thousands of “institutions of learning” make their bones by offering nonsensical glamourous courses to student loan applicants, who do not find work once they graduate, but who nevertheless owe a great deal of money they cannot pay back.
Today, all across the Homeland, there are more payday loan places and pawnshops than there are fast food restaurants. Prices are cheap at WalMart because the pay is so low that many of its employees are on food stamps and Medicaid. If the minimum wage had kept pace with what it was in 1967, it would now be on the order of $20 per hour.,

Whether a calculated plan carried out, or a genuine terrorist event allowed to happen, or a complete surprise to the American government, the shape of America was changed on September 11, 2001. Now it doesn't seem so farfetched that the NSA is functioning with no oversight, that the homeless veteran is no longer an anomaly, that 1% of the population control nearly half the assets of the Homeland. We look on the wealthy with admiration and envy, rather than the utter rage we should be feeling.

The effects of the manifesto drafted by the Project for a New American Century, which called for an event “similar to Pearl Harbor”, is still with us. The specter of unbridled government control is imposed by those simultaneously calling for smaller government. The country has gone to hell in a bucket while we have watched reality television and the Kardashians, and paid our credit cards with more credit until we have none left.

There is no security in the Homeland.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Rockvale, TN, September 9, 2013 - - You'll remember, or maybe not so much, my story of how Fluffy Guy showed up at the Boarding House lookin all completely matted and just horribly disreputable. If you didn't see it, you can go back to June right here on this site, and re-read all about it.
But if you do remember, I thought I'd bring you up to speed on this pilgrim's progress into the world of cats who live amicably with people. You'll recall that he was, when he first came, the actual living breathing definition of the word scrofulous. He was so completely fur all stuck together and infested with ticks and fleas that we were unable to tell much about him except that he didn't like people or other kitties very much. It took us two months of work and snipping and brushing and combing and gentle sweet talking to get him, or at least his hirsute parts, straightened out. He only hung around during all this for the food.

When we had taken care of the obvious grooming challenges that were Fluffy Guy(we called him that, perhaps in hope), we could tell that he had come to us with other defects as well, among which most worrisome was the fact that somehow his nether parts, those back there towards his tail, were out of whack. He was unable to use his hind legs for jumping, so that we were given cause to wonder if this were the result of some trauma involving stick, broom, or car because he was certainly malformed back there.

We decided to wait and see. Waiting and seeing was a lot cheaper than taking him to the vet where we already have a bill as large as the gross domestic product of San Marino.
So we waited and watched. Gradually, amazingly, his little bottom began to fill out. He became more and more capable of actually leaping. And running.

And as time went on we also became aware that this cat, who had come to us looking almost exactly as disgusting and old as this wino Sam that I used to know back in the Est Village, was in actual fact a very young cat. Indeed, he was a kitten. With an extremely large head and upper body for sure but a small bottom, now filling out. Also now filling out were a couple of other parts, round in nature, so we took him to the chop shop and had these parts dealt with. We hadn't closely observed the not very largeness of them before due to all the matted fur and the yowling and scratching and biting.

So, over time, Fluffy Guy has become a clean kitty, who now takes extra special care of his personal grooming himself. Patty has gotten into the habit of combing all the cats to get the occasional stray flea off their little faces, and Fluffy is always first in line.

So I guess he's here to stay. He's a clean little guy now, and sometimes I'll wake up just before dawn to find him snuggled up to my back, snoozing away. He has a few toys to play with, as the older cats are too dignified for such foolishness as exercise with no reward. Sometimes when I'm walking past the breakfront he'll be playing MONSTER! and reach out and grab my feet (but ever so gently) from underneath it.
He has discovered that the parquet floor in the kitchen is fabulous for sliding, and now skates around the island in the middle. If you pick him up he starts purring.

I know. I have a lot of cats. But I'm glad that this just one more came into our lives while he was still malleably young, and didn't grow up wild not ever knowing love or human kindness.  Pray, if you do that sort of thing, for Peace on Earth.