Who is The Talking Dog?

The Talking Dog

"Sure, the dog can talk…but does it say anything interesting?"

He ain't The Man's best friend

September 27, 2015, Human decency delayed...

I'm a little slow on the uptake (nothing unusual there)... Andy reports that Shaker Aamer, the last British resident detained at GTMO, is being released. He had been cleared for release for the last several years, but... well... see above re: "human decency delayed."

In the end, we as a nation seem to prefer our military having "a presence" in the vast majority of the world's nations, engaging in wars on terror, drugs, and on nations that refuse to abide by American capitalism and foreign policy, even as the cost of maintaining such a vast military infrastructure is the utter decline of our own infrastructure, be it transportation, education, healthcare, energy transmission, soil health, or frankly, you name it. More important we show that we are "strong." Strong defined as scared shitless of men like Shaker Aamer, a father of four, who, hopefully, will soon be reunited with his family.

This is an extraordinarily welcome development, as well as long overdue. Let's hope that the lack of a UK resident at GTMO will not dampen the enthusiasm of Brits toward ending the GTMO project (and its progeny)... including the use of "British" territory Diego Garcia by the American military for God knows what.

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September 18, 2015, The Talking Dog blog turns 14 today

Seriously. Check yourself, if you want.

I began this blog a week after 9-11 as a bitter crank, approaching middle age. Fourteen years later, I find, of course, that after the major 9-11 inflection point from which we could have sought our best selves and instead have had a fourteen year race to the bottom, I find, of course, that I am more bitter, more middle-aged, and more cranky. And I'm still, btw, one of the happiest people I know.

Thank you, Al Gore, for inventing the internets, so I can share the warmth with everyone.

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September 13, 2015, Happy new year

On the Jewish calendar, the day before sundown of the First Day of Rosh Hashanah is effectively new year's eve. I partied like it was... I don't know... and eked out a finish (and an official finish by just s few tenths of a second) in the inaugural Suffolk County Marathon today.

And now, I will be tired and sore when schmoozing with the mishpacha and davening in schul.

The religion is, after all, largely about suffering.

Happy new year, everybody (particularly my Jewish readers... if I have any...)

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September 11, 2015, The Most Wonderful Time of the Year


Honestly, on this, the 14th anniversary of the day that has been used to justify... so much... I'm not really sure I have anything to add (other than, of course, happy 9-11 to all, even the haters and losers; what did we all do before The Donald?)

One of the things that 9-11 did spawn, of course, was blogs. This one will celebrate its own 14th birthday in a week or so. Fourteen years... represents over a quarter of my life, but something like 90% or so of my daughter's... and she (and countless millions of her contemporaries) have not known a world before September 11th and the official national state of paranoia and Global War Against Everyone and Everything Terror.

Indeed, fourteen years is so long (representing, I think, much of, if not the majority of time since Al Gore invented the internet) that "blogging" as I once knew it has largely been replaced by social media, which, since its a game I refuse to play by and large, has left this blog in the dust (not that it was ever not within proximity to the dust).

But, as some of you know, I've also spent most of my working life in Downtown Manhattan, just a hundred or so yards from the World Trade Center complex (and the day itself resulted in the loss of the job I then had, as the firm I was with lost the use of its office space from a building one block North of the WTC, offices with a clear view of the events at the WTC. So, working in proximity to the target (and near such other targets as the New York Stock Exchange and the New York Federal Reserve Bank), one
tries to function without the endless maudlin hysteria that, alas, seems to have gripped the nation, a grip not loosened apparently in fourteen years.

Don't know. A cold, realistic assessment will acknowledge that this nation has been an empire since approximately 1940, when FDR extorted Churchill for access to numerous military bases owned and operated then by the British Empire in exchange for the lend/lease of military equipment (which, let's face it, Churchill kind of needed), and what had been an impressively expansive military presence anyway became the most widespread global empire in the history of the world (an empire, of course, that is fraying because it no longer pays for itself, though we insist on maintaining it and the hundreds of garrisons and hundreds of thousands of troops we must "forward deploy" abroad to keep it together)... and of course, it was blowback from maintaining this empire that led to 9-11, the formation of ISIS, the current "refugee crisis", etc., etc. Meaning, we were already largely a permanently mobilized praetorian state, with many of the unfortunate post-9-11 attributes (the surveillance, the permanent never ending wars on everything, the scapegoating of "the other", etc.) largely already in place... But still, 9-11 seemed like an inflection point, if nothing else, to take a lot of this out into the open. Which seems really disconcerting to me... especially as I consider countless young people who never grew up in the "pre-9-11 world." Which was more than just the ability to talk to other human beings through some means other than via a computerized intermediary.

Seems... like something has been lost. Something really important. Hey, what can I tell you?

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September 8, 2015, Happy birthday

To Vermont Senator, and perhaps our next President, Brooklyn's own Bernie Sanders, who turns a spry 74 today.

We'll leave aside his opponents' youth and inexperience and note that just as things a mere seven years ago were so awful that, we could have a Black man as President, the nation's worst job... so it seems, a septugenarian Jewish socialist from Brooklyn might be the man for these times.

Who knows? Repeat after me: with Hillary, all things are possible.

Happy birthday, Bernie!

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September 5, 2015, Saturday Hillary Funnies

Let's try to do some reconciliation of the following, shall we:

Item: A national poll (whether we accept its methodology or not) now shows upstart Republican candidate Donald "The Donald" Trump with a 45-40 per cent lead over Hillary Clinton (and a lead over other Democrats such as Sanders, Biden, and for some reason, Al Gore).

Item: WaPo reports that the Gruesome Twosome Gomez and Morticia Bill and Hillary Clinton paid an on-duty State Department staffer separately to maintain Hillary Clinton's e-mail server (located in the Clinton manse in Chappaqua, New York), while Mrs. C. was the Secretary of State.

Item: The Grey Lady reports that this year's "grand Hillary strategy" is to hold on to a "Southern firewall" in the event that Bernie Sanders scores big early wins in Iowa and New Hampshire. [Kind of like "by-passing Iowa" back in 2008, allowing Obama to pick up a win there... hmmmm...]

Item: The Clinton campaign proposes to "weave women's issues" into all of its campaign themes, and "take them out of the silo" they were in, I guess in her earlier campaign.

Item: A Gallup poll shows Hillary Clinton at her worst overall favorabality rating yet (around 41% overall) although she remains steadily strong among Democrats.

I don't know what to say about Trump, other than, as a Brooklynite myself for the last third of my life, I can't tell you how much I relish a national battle between Brooklyn's own Bernie Sanders and Queens' own Donald Trump. Notwithstanding that Hillary's main campaign office is a fifteen minute or so walk from Stately Dog Manor, and she has represented my state in the Senate, no one really thinks of Hillary Clinton as a New Yorker (including herself). Which, I suppose is what we're looking at: she would, if the question were specifically asked, register remarkably low on "authenticity." And say what you will about either Trump, or Sanders (or Biden for that matter), they register "authenticity" off the chart (and Jeb Bush, I'm talking to you-- your older brother was a far better actor than you, and pulled it off... just what is your problem, dude?)

Mrs. Clinton, you would think, would be campaigning as "Remember that eight years of peace and prosperity, growth, budget surpluses, and general optimism you had the last time a Clinton was in the White House? Isn't that what you want?" But she can't seem to get it out of her mouth, amidst what seems to be the Divine Right entitlement she seems to project (entitlement, of course, that allowed her family to earn well over $100 million in the last few years simply by trading on their name and apparent influence, as they fight to maintain their position in the aristocracy while she can't quite seem to project giving a crap about actual working people... the people she voted to screw by voting to make filing bankruptcy harder, and that her husband screwed in signing on to NAFTA, student loan exemption from bankruptcy, the repeal of Glass-Steagall, the Commodities Futures Modernization Act that gave us unbridled derivative trading and... well, I could go on for days even before I bring up the deliberate and needless antagonizing of Russia at a moment when we could have made that nation our friend forever that has led directly to what maybe the next Cold War)... Did I say that out loud?

Bernie Sanders has been described as having the politics of Lenin (or is it Lennon?) and the charisma of Ralph Nader. And yet, actual people on the ground can't seem to get enough of him-- his crowds and popularity are growing. He. Is. Authentic. And. perceived. to. be. Trustworthy. And amidst ever-more trying times, his "Neo-New Deal" policy proposals are popular. Will America get Bernie Sanders as a major party national candidate, the most distinctly ethnic New Yorker since Al Smith in 1928? It once seemed an absurdity. Now? Repeat after me: "With Hillary, all things are possible."

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August 30, 2015, Some things never change

And other things do...

Anyway, this piece on "Aristocratization" from our friends at the Onion, even seven years later, is still funny (and no, that is not Stately Dog Manor in the picture).

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August 16, 2015, Reach out and touch someone

The Grey Lady gives us this exegesis on the now thirty-year collaboration between the National Security Agency and itself AT&T. Short answer: if it was technically feasible for AT&T (and to a lesser extent apparently, Verizon) to hand the government anything transmitted over telecommunications (telephone or internet traffic), it would appear that it was done. Which has been my surmise for some time: the only limits on the government's ability to spy on you are technical, not "legal" let alone "constitutional." And so the powerful-- the government and its corporate partners (and yes, that is the word used), can, and do, eavesdrop on every aspect of your life, for purposes not of "national security," but of social control. This can take the form of the outright thought-control that results from the inevitable self-editing we all engage in knowing that "privacy" has long been something we had to "get over," or perhaps from outright blackmail in the event someone proposes to get out of line (in any meaningful way).

To the extent any of this is talked about in the national dog and pony show election spectacle, it's most likely by Republican Rand Paul (or to a lesser extent, by self-declared-socialist-but-running-as-a-Democrat Bernie Sanders). Most of this, of course, is blown away in the public imagination (such as it is) by the broader bluster of Billionaire Donald Trump, who actually might be the guy to do something about this, as Trump stands for generalized free-floating (White people's) anger about everything, and "everything" might just include the immense sums of money that the government is spending to spy on its own taxpayers (and not, of course, on illegal immigrants, who are probably spied on to a far lesser extent because they are far less likely to devote most of their lives glued to an electronic device on which they are espied.)

Oh well. We are in an intertwined Gordian knot of bad stuff. An example of this that strikes me is the President's scheduled jaunt to the Arctic to highlight the dangers of global warming which is an interesting case study. We have the same President who refuses to have his Administration sign off on a pipeline to transport Canadian tar-sand derived petroleum nonetheless approved Arctic oil drilling, stances that are "inconsistent." Kind of like "the most transparent Presidency in American history" prosecuting more government whistle-blowers than all of its predecessors combined. The first and only time in American history we have the White House and Justice Department overseen by people of color, also happens to be the same government to give hundreds of millions of dollars worth of military equipment intended for use in war zones to American police departments, where it will be, as disproportionately as everything else in law enforcement, deployed against... people... of color.

To try to put what's going on in the world in one long and unpleasant sentence, I am somewhat informed by my recent observations of the New York City subway system, in which virtually every advertisement I saw was either for (1) a financial value-skimming dot com (trying to suck value from everything from food delivery, to taxis, to help-wanted ads) that will now divert value to centralized Wall Street or Silicon Valley v.c.'s that used to go, albeit in a more diffuse, less "efficient" way, to Main Street and mom and pop ventures, or (2) some kind of vocational training, be it by a for-profit operation skimming from the federal student loan machine or occasionally by state-run community colleges. And so, my not particularly helpful take is that "Power that used to be spread out among workers, productive industries, governmental interests and the commonweal has now been ever-more concentrated into ever-more centralized pockets of power tied to money derived either from commons-devastating resource extraction or from the financial trickery facilitated by national policy designed solely to maintain the asset values of those already in possession of substantial assets based not on providing goods and services of real value but based upon the privilege of either issuing unlimited debt or accessing that debt at virtually no cost or risk which permits "them that has to gets" in ever larger quantities, resulting not merely in wealth and income disparity but power disparity to the point that an academic study concludes our nation is an oligarchy and not a democracy, and as a result of a peculiar psychopathology that has infected the powerful, their interests have amounted not to the long-term benefit (or even survival) of themselves or their offspring, but have instead resulted in an insane land-grab of everything in the interests of their personal short-term gain at the expense of the population writ large, resulting in ever more debt-generation (and all that goes with that), resource depletion, environmental degradation and the resulting adverse health consequences that result from that, loss of real living standards for all but those largest rentiers on top of the skimming-game pyramid, and a concomitant increase in the power (financial and otherwise) of those on top of the game at the expense of everyone else, all at the same time that decades of dumbing down education and popular culture seem to have quite literally sapped the very imagination of those not on top of the pyramid to the point where the only "solutions" amount to some variant of extending the status quo that has caused the problems in the first place."

OK then. Remember that you have an infinite capacity for adaptation-- it's what has kept our physically-not-very-formidable species in the dominant position on this planet for a while (and, it is the habituation to the forgetting of this fact that will, if things do not soon change in a big way, kick us out of that position, and possibly, kick us out altogether). What can one do? I will start by leaving that as an exercise for your imagination.

The one place that AT&T, Verizon and the NSA can't reach out and touch, by the way.

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August 2, 2015, Bread and Circuses: Delaware Edition

The Grey Lady treats us to its own version of NY Post style speculation/encouragement on the issue of whether Vice President Joe Biden will be entering the Presidential race against Eva Peron Eva Braun Hillary Clinton.

Let me say that with Hillary Clinton, all things are possible. She has already been instrumental in giving us our first Black President (no, not her husband). Right now, she is on track to give us, quite possibly, our first Jewish/avowed socialist President, or possibly our first Latino President, or, maybe even our first woman President (Elizabeth Warren or perhaps some Republican... such as Hillary herself). So that said, why not Joe Biden? Sure, he had been a Dan Quayle-style joke for these last six-and-a-half years, but repeat after me: "With Hillary, all things are possible."

With all due respect, Joe Biden is no one's example of a genius. At least he's authentic... but he's prone to "gaffes." Anyway-- until it became clear that Hillary was going to be a more serious enemy of her own candidacy than the entire right-wing press corps and Congressional Republicans combined, The Establishment [tm] was willing to let her have a quiet victory lap before her coronation while we all sat back and watched Bill and Hillary's buddy the Human Bad Hair Day (they attended his [most recent] wedding) savage the Republican side with his own version of a political reality show, slicing and dicing through political sacred cows and tearing off the Emperor's New Clothes faster than his real estate empire went bankrupt without his father to prop it up. But now, as her abysmal campaign "style," her continuous e-mail fiascoes and, well, her just continue to undermine her campaign...

So... here's the thing.

With the clear exception of Bernie Sanders, whose election would signal something rather dramatic (which is why it isn't going to happen), does anyone doubt that the next President, be it Biden or Hillary or Bush or Rubio or Walker or whomever... is going to (1) continue occupying over 150 other countries and active drone wars and shooting wars, (2) reappoint Janet Yellen or some other clone whose mandate is to prop up the asset values of the already rich and super-rich, (3) continue to shove corporate-giveaway abominations like Trans-Pacific Partnership and TTIP and the like down our throats, (4) take no effort to manage the ongoing American and global declines in anything other than the present manner of making sure that the rich and super-rich do not suffer even a little, (5) fill in your own variant of "maintain the status quo" be it "not close Guantanamo," "not rein in deficit spending," "not control health care costs" or whatever you like...?

I didn't think so. Because the President's recent diplomatic breakthrough with Iran should cause us to give a moment's pause, and realize just how similar we are to that nation. Like us, it has a notional democracy for the election of political leaders figures, and like us, it has the actual power-holders not elected by that process. The only difference is that in Iran, this arrangement is "official," whereas here, we delude ourselves into pretending that the few hundred billionaires who control an insanely disproportionate share of financial power do not also control all relevant political power.

What can we do about this? Well, you can consider sending money to Bernie Sanders (I have), and helping his campaign. Obviously, I have no expectations on this one. Otherwise, you can withdraw your unbridled belief in "American democracy." Because it exists only in places like "American Idol," although there, teenage girls will probably outvote you, just as oligarchs will outvote you in "elections." Of course, I'm not averse to absorbing the entertainment value of things. That said, we are being presented with a show... so why not sit back, and enjoy it?

Say what you will about Joe Biden... the man is entertaining.

July 19, 2015, Sunday funnies

A WaPo op ed columnist urges us to "Stop Laughing at Donald Trump," even as he mocks Republican icon John McCain for having been captured in the Vietnam War. Seems like reasonable advice, given that he might well be a false flag candidate.

The slow moving toxic-waste-train-wreck that is the Greek bailout rolls on as the EU approves a seven billion euro loan to pay back the EU bondholdersGermany the IMF and ECB. The Greek referendum of a couple of weeks ago just highlights the adage of "always have a plan B"... the amateur-hour Greek PM clearly wanted to lose the very vote he was campaigning to win... he wanted cover for the wrong thing... and the end result,,, will probably be yet more suffering for his put upon people.

And China, the world's largest second largest economy, has a stock market crash that might (or might not) be over. God knows they're trying everything they can to keep propping it up, including outlawing selling! Say what you will of communist China; they mean business!

And finally, I'm going to do something I'm not sure I've done on this blog before; I'm going to grade my fellow Columbia political science/international politics student (that would be the President, Barack H. Obama), and then given him an "A," on foreign policy, at least for the current quarter. I'm with financial commentator Mike "Mish" Shedlock on lauding the Iran nuclear deal. Coupled with quiet praise for Russian leader Putin on the Iran deal, the new diplomatic relationship with Cuba, and even behind the scenes manipulation of the IMF to be less bitchy toward Greece, the President is living up, to some degree, to the promise of his ascendancy to the office.

In order to give him the A, I have to drop his lowest grades, on things like the ever-festering sore that is Guantanamo Bay, the never-ending drone wars, bear baiting China and the like, but the Cuba and Iran things-- two of the longest-standing American policy fiascoes Obama inherited from his predecessors-- are sufficiently huge to sustain that grade, IMHO (yes, YMMV, but keep in mind, that even many in Israel blame Netanyahu and his "just say no" stance for the Iran deal)... and so, the simple reality is that restoring some level of normality with Iran (and Cuba)... is really big. It gives me hope that there is promise that just maybe in his last year and a half, he can make progress in some of those other areas (without getting the planet blown up in the process.)

And I'll leave it at that.

July 8, 2015, Be Afraid

As you know, American national policy is that Paranoia is Patriotic [TM]. Today, and really the last few days, are truly worthy of the old adage, "Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid." Not over the official horsesh*t, like ISIS Islamic State ISIL, but over, well, you know, the world coming apart at the seams.
(I'd personally blame that water-stealer Tom Selleck, but that's just me.)

Item: the Greek PM has, shortly after sacking the only grownup in his government Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, gone back to the EU finance people begging for a new three year loan, without discussing any specific terms of "reforms" that are supposedly warranted. Evidently, he called the snap "yes/no" referendum on the previous bailout terms hoping that the people he cares about (that would be "the rich") would carry the day and vote to keep the euro, austerity be damned... but, of course, it went the other way, and these things just, you know... sometimes don't work out... Meanwhile his country has an influx-of-refugees crisis brewing as well... oy... or should I say, Oxi...

Item: the Chinese stock market has collapsed, down around a third in just two or three weeks... and the nosedive seems to be continuing despite evasive action by Chinese regulators,

That would seem to be a basis for some concern in American finance. Except... no one could trade, because...

Item: the New York Stock Exchange had a still-unexplained "computer glitch" that suspended all floor trading for over three hours of the trading day today. Naturally, a cyber-attack is absolutely out of the question.
Just as it's out of the question that any kind of cyber-security problem was responsible for extensive outages that grounded all United Airlines flights for a while or shuttered the Wall Street Journal's web operations for a while.

No, of course not. It's not as if this country or its financial institutions have any enemies, now is it? Then again, why is it so hard to imagine that the technical infrastructure even of our most vaunted financial institutions (and a major airline) aren't suffering the same kind of starvation for maintenance and upgrading as the plain old physical infrastructure in the rest of the country, as every ounce of financial lifeblood that can be sucked by the proverbial vampire squid is drained from this economy, even if it means Wall Street is quite literally cannibalizing resources to pay its mandarins their Christmas bonuses, even if said resources would otherwise be necessary to sustain itself as an ongoing venture. Good times.

Then again... maybe it's that cyber-attack thing.

Don't know. Don't care. We got trouble. Right here in New York City.

June 21, 2015, Happy Solstice (Part Deux)

June 21, 2015, Happy Solstice

As Druids dance around Stonehenge, and Americans celebrate Father's Day, Roy Edroso gives us this taste of "heritage" from the American experience, in response to the recent racist horror of the murder of nine people in a church in Charleston, S.C.

Roy's inimitable take pulls no punches. Of course, the premise in which one can pull no punches these days is humor. People of goodwill have now been trapped by their own sense of fair play, which has metastasized as if a cancer into the premise of "everyone is entitled to their opinion," which in turn has morphed into the concept of what was once known as the "fairness doctrine," and in turn is a media that simply "presents both sides" of a given issue, as if each has equal truth value (or if one side has any truth value). Which, of course, is nothing other than an excuse for no one to believe anything they are told, because the one thing we do know is that much (if not virtually everything) of which we are told by politicians and the media and corporate America is complete nonsense.

Maybe, on this, the longest (and hence most sunlight-filled) day of the year, it's time we look at reality in the daylight, for a change. Dylann Roof is a hardened racist; his own web-site says so. And yet, it is necessary that, since Mr. Roof is White, that a hate crime directed at a historic Black Church and Black victims by a White man is anything but a hateful act of racist terrorism. Fine. Just fine. And the Confederate battle flag flying over his state's capital... is just a "symbol of heritage." Fine. Just fine.

Hey, not even someone with the authority of His Holiness Pope Francis, apparently, can
tell us that we are destroying our own planet's ability to sustain us,
without being attacked by the usual suspects. And the result, of course, is more cognitive dissonance, because why should anyone believe anyone?

Meanwhile, in seemingly more mundane news are areas we are not really being told about much, such as the coming financial crisis which will result from a failure to resolve Greek debt issues, next step, a "summit" tomorrow.

Some snapshots.

So many things are fraying at the same time; the only response to this, or to any survival threat, is mental clarity. And yet, as Americans (or indeed, anyone in the industrialized world, or at this point, just about anywhere), the prevailing ethos is the exact opposite: self-delusion, preferably on a profitable-to-someone-else electronic device providing the latest media nonsense. And if too much reality sinks in, we have pharmaceuticals. This has been a good answer for quite a while to getting along in a largely delusional society that, at least, was apparently functioning. It's getting clearer that now even the functioning is more delusion than reality, for more and more people. But the response is simply to double-down on the delusion.

Well, everyone has their own choice to make. You can choose to live in the ever smaller box in which our minds have been placed (and the attendant nonsense rules that go with it), or you can stop a moment, realize that some undeniable truths just are, and that those who are paid quite well to deny it because it's in someone's very real pecuniary interest to do so are probably a threat to your very survival, and at a minimum, you should at least recognize that fact.

I have no answers to anything right now. But at least I know the wrong questions.

June 7, 2015, Sunday Sunday

We'll start with the immediate solipsism, and note my finish in the Retro Four-Miler in a faster pace than last week, but still... not... fast. Ran the first mile with my friend E., who finished about eight minutes faster than I... all in all, her (10 min. mile) pace picked up after the first mile, and mine slackened. A tough year running-wise... but, now I have my nine, and hence, have automatic guaranteed entry for the 2016 NYC Marathon, and am already entered in the 2015... if I complete both, that will be fifteen in a row, and life-time guaranteed entry... just saying.

It seems, alas, that Vladimir Putin did not have life-time guaranteed entry to the economic summit recently known as the G-8 but now known as the "G-7" (the eighth, Putin's Russia, having been, in a schoolyard style pique, kicked out for not sitting still after the coup we staged in neighboring Ukraine)... and the remaining leaders of "the seven" (US, UK, Germany, France, Japan, Canada and Italy... but not Russia, let alone China) are meeting at a Bavarian resort.

The agenda will include, presumably, more schoolyard pique directed at Russia, possibly a discussion of how well things are going in the Middle East, and maybe some talk about the looming default by Greece, and its possible "bad" implications for the euro, the EU, and what's left of the global economy. Meanwhile, it seems that Russia and China are upping the business they are doing with each other (Russia's largest bank will now price some instruments in Chinese yuan), and the same report notes possible support for Greece from those sources, possibly as part of the not-yet-formed "BRICS" bank (BRICs standing for Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, together representing an immense share of the world's land, people, economic might and resources... and conveniently not invited to the G-7).

Good times. I'm going to do what may prove to be one of the most effective political acts I can think of... I'm going to buy some soil, and then mix it with my backyard compost, and plant some vegetables in the backyard, and then plant some more on my roof, and then water them. Change is going to have to originate "bottom up": Bernie Sanders is a nice thought, but he's not going to be elected, and we can expect business as usual. As business as usual is doomed (see above), insofar as the hierarchical complexity and the insanely high transactional costs (financial, environmental, social, etc.) associated there with are bringing down our system in front of us, the best we can do is generate a little resiliency in our lives, even if only at a small and symbolic level.

Again... just saying...

June 6, 2015, Happy D-Day

On this, the 71st anniversary of the invasion of Normandy, the Grey Lady treats us to this account of the newly declassified saga of torture absorbed by so-called "high value [Guantanamo] detainee" Majid Khan. Rather than paraphrase, I'll just give you the gory details from the report:

Soon after his capture, Mr. Khan said, interrogators waterboarded him twice, a contention that contradicts the Central Intelligence Agency’s claim that it had already named all detainees who were subjected to that practice. (The C.I.A. has denied that Mr. Khan was waterboarded.) As he was moved among a series of C.I.A.-operated “black sites” over the following months, Mr. Khan told his lawyers, the torture continued. He was beaten repeatedly. He was hung naked from a wooden beam for three days, shackled and starved. He was taken down once during that time to be submerged in an ice bath. Interrogators pushed his head under the water until he thought he would drown. He received what he called “violent enemas,” and was anally assaulted in a process the interrogators called “rectal feeding.”

Yes, this is what the brave men who risked (and all too often, gave) their lives fighting the Nazis on the beaches of Normandy were fighting for. Comments? I got nothing.

The Story of
the talking dog:

Two race horses have just been worked out on the practice track, and are being led back into the stable.

After the stable boy leads them into their stalls, the first race horse tells the second, "Hey, did you notice something odd about that guy?  I don't know, he just doesn't seem right to me".

The second race horse responds, "No, he's just like all the other stable boys, and the grooms, and the trainers, and the jockeys – just another short, smelly guy with a bad attitude, 'Push, push, push, run harder…We don't care if you break down, just move it, eat this crap, and get back to your stall".

The first race horse says, "Yeah, I know what you mean!  This game is just a big rat race, and I'm really tired of it."
A stable dog has been watching the two of them talk, and he can't contain himself.

"Fellas", he says.  "I don't believe this!  You guys are RACEHORSES.  I don't care what they say about lions, YOU GUYS are the kings of the animal world!  You get the best digs, you get the best food, you get the best health care, and when you run and win, you get roses and universal adulation.  Even when you lose, people still think you're great and give you sugar cubes.  And if you have a great career, you get put out to stud, and have an unimaginable blast better than anything Hugh Hefner ever imagined.  Even if you're not in demand as a stud, you still get put out to pasture, which is a mighty fine way to spend your life, if you ask me.  I mean, you guys just don't appreciate how good you have it!"

To which, the first race horse turns to the second race horse and says, "Would you look at this!   A talking dog!"

Your comments are welcome at:  thetalkingdog@thetalkingdog.com

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