Thursday, May 24, 2007

Spend, Don't Save, Eat U.S. Beef and Ignore the Saudis Behind the Curtain

President Bush held a White house Press Conference in the Rose Garden this morning. In reference to China, he said we must “convert their economy from one of savers to consumers”. What a revealing comment about the psychology of our "national religion", Consumption.

He also stated the Chinese need to be eating U.S. beef. After all I’ve seen crossing this country, all the devastation caused by cattle and meat production, this is the height of insanity. Meat production must be reduced!

His speech passed through distinct stages: at first, the stilted, almost resentful and belligerent reading of the scripted words, then the uneasy searching for "truth" as he struggled to match questions from the press with answers from his "talking points" list, then easing into his comfortable one-sided banter (“...let me finish, I’m on a roll...") and finally the regurgitation of well-worn “truisms”.

"While we’re at it George, since you need to invoke the memory of 9/11 at every opportunity, can you explain why Saudi Arabia has not been held to account for the amazing fact that 18 of the 19 hijackers had ties to that country? Why do you consider the American public unworthy of an explanation? Why was information regarding the Saudi role redacted from the 'authorized edition' of The 9/11 Commission Report?"

"Are there perhaps some 'inconvenient truths'? Something that doesn’t quite fit your narrative of the 9/11 attacks? Could it be that you, your Administration and your good friend Prince Bandar are somehow complicit?"

"I don’t know the significance of your continuing obfuscation, but Americans are entitled to, and demand, the truth from their public servants."

Finally, it is almost laughable that the President is now publicly embracing the "Baker-Hamilton recommendations", a document he all but dismissed (as a political minefield for Republicans) in the run-up to last Fall’s elections!

Read the conference transcript, and you will find it astounding that such a man can be held up as "Leader of the Free World".


I pulled on some 34-inch-waist "Levi's" jeans. I have a couple pair that are virtually unused. Upon returning to the U.S. last year, I purchased them in Miami. They fit just fine at the time, however after eating my way across the country...

Anyway, in my on-going effort to downsize and reduce waste (waist), I’m going to force myself into them for the Fellowship of Friends reunion, and beyond.


A strange, light-hearted day, full of interesting interactions with people, especially women, it seems. I wonder if my beard (haven’t shaved since starting the trip eastward) has something to do with it? I’ve long felt that having a beard forces more focus on the eyes, and I have "friendly" eyes. (It's the rest of me people find repulsive.)

During a hike in Annadel Park, I was thinking about the goodness in all people, when an older gentleman on horseback (he felt like an old-time local) stopped abreast of me and started up a friendly chat before wishing me a good afternoon and moving on.

I went up to Lake Ilsanjo. After circling around the lake, two women, perhaps in their 40s, suggested I join them at a picnic table where they were seated. They asked numerous questions about where trails led, and also asked if I knew anything about Sugarloaf Ridge ("of course!"). “Maybe we’ll see you again…” one said as I took my leave.

Curious. Suspiciously, I wondered "what were they looking for?"

I paid special attention to the snake paths crossing the dusty trails. I saw more of their wriggly trails than ever before, especially near the lake shore. Counted at least twenty. Rattlesnakes are fairly common in Annadel.

Shopped for guacamole ingredients, comparing prices and quality at "Whole Foods", then "Oliver’s". "Whole Foods" was doing a brisk business as people prepare for the Memorial Day holiday. At "Oliver’s", I took time out to talk with "Dave" about our bikes. (He has a GS like mine.) Returned to "Whole Foods" to make the purchase, as their avocados were riper. Over $50 for 12 avocados, a few lemons and limes, an onion, cilantro, chiles, and a couple bags of tortilla chips.

It wasn't that long ago when I regarded $30 as "expensive" for the same ingredients. As I unloaded the groceries at home, it was interesting to watch the internal state: that of anxiety. A well-stocked refrigerator is something I never enjoy these days. The apparent extravagance means the depletion of funds is that much nearer.

Out to "Flying Goat" late in the afternoon. Again, warm interactions with people. Something in the air? (Pheromones?) The "usual characters" were there: Giancarlo outside chatting with a pretty Irish woman, Stacey and her mom just rolling in. I checked to make sure Giancarlo and Stefano received my Vermont postcard. He said they had.

Went over to the Veterans Building to meet Jess where the hospital shuttle bus drops her off near her car. Waited an hour, until 6:00, but she must have been working late. I let her insurance lapse, so we have to figure out what to do. At $1,300 annually, it seems excessively high!

Returned to "Oliver’s" this evening for some soda, a 6-pack of Hefeweissen and a couple more bags of tortilla chips!

Watched a disturbing documentary on Iraq: The War Tapes.

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