The great high-pressure dome across the eastern two thirds of the United States reluctantly relinquishes its hot pressure cooker on 200 million Americans one tenacious degree at a time. In the other dome, the US Capitol Building, the pressure cooker for political leadership and action intensified last night. The debt ceiling deadline approaches and the big babies on the Beltway, pretending to be adults — our leaders on Left, Center and Right — are letting their inability to find common ground, grind the US credit and credibility down as a leading economic superpower into the baked earth.
President Obama spoke to the nation Monday night, followed a few minutes later with a speech by the Speaker of the House John Boehner. Though I found Obama’s “Spockian” delivery more logical and substantive, he inserted a passage about an agreement to raise revenue that is clearly not in the Senate or House propositions ready to be put before a vote. Speaker Boehner’s speech relied on a deer-in-the-headlights sing-songy slogan-filled explanation of the Republican position that I found evasive when confronting the past and un-substantive when explaining how cutting spending without raising revenues can make 2 + 2 equal “5″ in the math, if anyone cares to look at it. As I have stated before in my earlier article (see Debt Ceiling) mathematical realities trump subjective politics. Never before in history has a nation gone to war without raising tax revenues to pay for it, or balanced a budget without raising revenues to pay down the debt. Yet, in the last decade we have seen a president (G.W. Bush) cut taxes whilst going to war and reform spending on medicine without paying for it, and, as cruel mathematical truth shows, you lose the Clinton surplus and drive the nation precipitously down into debt.
Boehner needed to confront mathematics in his speech, especially because Obama laid out those issues. He sidesteps it at his and the GOP’s political future peril in the 2012 elections.
The GOP establishment is under the powerful influence of their Third Party coalition with the Tea Party revolutionaries. The movement that swept them back into power in the House of Representatives has the power to trump mathematics by ideology. I know many of my Tea Party readers are upset by what I say and I respect their sincerity, but the future is my expertise and I speak from that platform in these pages when I tell you that an ideological movement, not anchored to mathematics and rationality, does not have a future they desire waiting for them. Indeed, blind and irrational ideology is setting the stage for a far different future than politically desired if less zealously ideological heads and hearts do not prevail in the GOP caucus.
I was disappointed with both the President and the Speaker’s speeches last night. Both drew a political line of partisanship before the other. We are in a standoff, the nation held hostage by political posturing and an inability to compromise.
If I might channel last night from the mindset of a more enlightened humanity to come, the President and Speaker should have stood together before the national and international audience, like Lincoln and Douglas did in their famous debates. Both should have had transcripts of the others opening statements so they could prepare to answer each point in detail. The president would go first with his speech. Boehner would reply to each of his points. The president would then respond to the Speaker’s rebuttal, then the Speaker would have a final say.
In the second round of this foursquare debate, the speaker would make his speech explaining the GOP-Tea Party view. The president would rebut the points in detail; the speaker would have a chance to defend each point. Finally, the president would have the last say.
I tried to get professional debunker of all things paranormal and Nostradamian, James Randi, to act like a true skeptical inquirer and commit himself to such a foursquare debate. He always wiggled out of it.
Such a skeptical inquiry and debate, if it had been held last night before a worldwide audience, would present to the American people and the world at large a stable discussion of ideas, not slogans and partisan posturing. Each would be called to answer to such, and come clean with substance. I believe such a debate would restore American credibility in the end, even though this current debt-ceiling crisis has already seriously harmed our credit economically and Americans will see the consequences of this in the latter half of 2011 with higher interest rates.
We are now a week away from seeing the sole remaining military and economic superpower potentially default on his debts. The world nervously watches America in growing disbelief. I will have more to say about this as we approach the end of July. I already wrote extensively about this coming economic crisis of ideology over reality at the end of last year in Predictions for 2011.
The “last supper” in July is coming. The final Sabbath of July. Obama will break the unleavened bread and drink the bitter wine of buckling to pressure when he sits on 31 July in the crossfire between Tea Partiers and Republicans at his right hand and Democrats at his left hand.
On a happier note…
Today is Tuesday.
Tuesday reminds me of Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) livin’ large before an end of the next week Lent to the debt ceiling comes. I’m hungry. Let’s sandwich in Part Two of the Future of Food while we can afford to eat.
Here is Part Two of my interview with Ingrid Weithers-Barati on the Future of Food, published at the Raw Epicurean back on 22 September 2009:
IWB: Edgar Cayce was a vegetarian who advocated eating vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds, at least 1/3 of it raw [uncooked] in any diet type. Are there other prophets, past or present, that you are aware of, who embrace[d] a vegetarian/vegan dietary lifestyle?
JH: Well, I met a few like J. Krishnamurti or Yogi Bhajan and sat at the feet of one for many years, such as Osho, who were all vegetarians. Osho never considered himself a prophet but his predictions are quite stunning and far-reaching.
IWB: Any who embrace a raw food diet?
JH: Not that I’m aware of personally. (Isn’t it good that you can’t hear plants scream?)
Actually, I do feel them go through their own anguish when they are harvested. I experienced plant life’s silent scream working on a truck farm and as a lumberjack cutting down juniper trees in my youth. Now I like talking to plants and trees before I harvest them. I am reminded of the Zen master who used to be a woodcutter. He would walk through the forest and ask the trees which one was ready to come down. When he got the appropriate impressed “answer”, he took out his axe.
In the future, even Vegetarians, Vegans and Raw-fooders will become more meditative and commune with their plants before they slaughter them. They will feel the death as well as the life and the spirit of the food they harvest. You cannot know life without equally feeling death at the same time.
In the distant future, in the Age of Capricorn, human beings will transcend the food chain altogether and attain their nutrients direct from the sun.
IWB: Nostradamus‘ lifelong passions were writing and culinary delights. Edgar Cayce enjoyed photography, and I read he was a Sunday school teacher. What are your passions and hobbies?
JH: Running, f**king, eating good food, drinking good wine and aperitifs.
Dancing in a trance, sitting doing nothing (a luxury these days), singing, laughing, writing music, playing a cow in a musical or the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood (a Children’s Opera). Yesterday I crashed the Island County WA parade running in my blue shorts, tank top, and silver running shoes with bouncing green twinkle shamrock antennae clipped to my head. I ran a quarter mile ahead of the parade receiving the accolades of the waiting crowd, sometimes apologizing for budget cuts constituting my run as the parade this year. Laughter and joy was had by all as a crowning “clowning” warm-up for a wonderful parade.
Love, for one.
Then there is a love of all kinds of music. I write my  books and counting often listening to classical music, though I will listen to anything that captures what it is truly trying to convey, whether it is Wagner’s Ring or Nirvana’s Heart Shaped Box or Vangelis’ Antarctica or provocative CDs such as Enigma. I can start the day playing Van Morrison, Michael Jackson and end up with Alanis Morissette and Radiohead. I can dance to Grateful Dead and am a big fan of Dead can Dance.
Hobbies? I used to be a pretty good miniature ship builder of museum quality boats. I was once a master painter of miniature figurines. I also used to paint canvases in oils. I love how turpentine changes the smells and tastes of everything. Ever since 2005, I apply these painting talents to painting on bigger canvases called the interiors and exteriors of houses as a painter. (Writing is a calling. Anyone who thinks they will get rich being a freelance writer, might as well believe they can get rich being a schoolteacher. It is a passion and a calling to be a person of word craft with a message.
IWB: In your book, Nostradamus: A Life and Myth, there are many references throughout the book about one of his favorite passions — culinary delights. Tell us about his interest in the culinary arts and what type of food he loved to make.
JH: South French passions for Mediterranean cuisine go back more than a millennium as Nostradamus’ writings show. He had a passion for all kinds of foods, recipes for salads (liberal in their use of rose petals and wine). His chief culinary concern was the science of fruit preservatives. In this following passage from my biography on the prophet Nostradamus: A Life and Myth are examples of how this wandering apothecary, physician and Anthony Bourdain of the 16th century, had “no reservations” as a chef on a pilgrimage around France, Spain and Italy, gathering recipes that found themselves in his travelogue on the trail of medicine, cosmetics and food recipes:
We might follow a trail of bitter cherries left in passages of Traité des fardemens et confitures to mark some places passed. Nostradamus was obsessed with the sweet desires of the stomach — in particular, finding ever better ways to cook up fruit preserves of bitter black cherries of “the most delectable taste, which will keep for a long while.” In a rare moment of owning to where he had been, Nostradamus on the trail of the perfect black cherry jelly, says he had “seen it made in Toulouse, Bordeaux and [La] Rochelle.” Toulouse, the district seat of the Inquisition, seems an unlikely place to have been seen in 1539 [the year before they had "summoned" him for examination for questionable healing practices]. After Bordeaux he might have ridden north to La Rochelle, but another written extract could point his mule south, abandoning France altogether to hide out for an extended period among the black cherry confectioners and sweetmeat makers of Valencia, Spain:
I have often seen preserved things from Valencia, which were extraordinarily good … Their sugar is inferior [to] ours, but they are more skilled in the art of preservation. The same is true of their sweet meats in the manner in which they finish them, for when the sugar has been thoroughly absorbed and all bad and harmful moisture has been removed, they completely get rid of this sugar (which has become blackened through repeated boiling) and use a very beautiful one, which then makes the confectionery exceptionally attractive and excellent.
Nostradamus: A Life and Myth, page 86.
IWB: Did he have a favorite food recipe?
JH: Beyond black bitter cherries? It seemed he liked best whatever he was engaged in preserving, whether it as pumpkin sauce to cool fevers and have a very pleasant taste, or taking bitter oranges into a sugar preserve, or honey preserving walnuts, or making a concoction called “boiled wine.” He wrote about a green ginger recipe originating from Mecca, Saudi Arabia. His quince jelly preserve endorsed by the Papal Legate of Avignon made him famous. His tastes seemed to mix the bitter with the sweet, though he also advised readers how to make candies and marzipan.
Ingrid Weithers-Barati: What fruits or vegetables are your favorites, least favorite and why?
JH: I can’t eat much fruit as it makes me too acidic, but I do like bananas, strawberries and blackberries and red wines (grapes).
I do eat nearly all vegetables. My favorites are broccoli, red onions, garlic, and mushrooms. My least favorite: Okra from India. It used to be eggplant too but I do love the way Punjabis make it
IWB: What‘s the one thing about you few people know?
JH: Nice try. If I tell you, too many people will then know it. Let us keep that to the chosen few. A man of mystery is far more intriguing, is he not?
IWB: If you could be or do anything else what would that be?
JH: A full-time composer of music. I wish I had the time and the financial backing to compose and conduct the many symphonies, concertos, symphonic poems and songs that play with full instrumentation in my head. I fear that I will be the only one to enjoy them if life is not much longer than the next moment.
I am bringing a few of these pieces into the world right now through the help of a dear friend, Talia, who is a composer and violinist who once played with Van Morrison in his Into the Music CD and was one time the kid who played violin with Jack on the Jack Benny Show.
IWB: What one word would you use to describe yourself?
IWB: Where and what was your most memorable raw food meal?
JH: At the Conscious Life Expo [February 2009] in LA, I lived three times a day on the Vegan wraps of food vendors with a café in Redondo Beach. They are called Leaf Organics. Go there if you can. They are the Mecca of vegan wraps! Leaf Organics! Yumm!! They used big broad leafs like burrito wraps. I still don’t know exactly what they put in there to make it so good. Who thinks when the thoughts drop in the no-mind of munch?
IWB: What is the most amusing response you‘ve experienced or reaction you’ve received when you told someone you are a prophet scholar?
JH: I don’t remember. So, I guess it will have to be the next response-reaction.
IWB: Looking forward, do you see a growing interest in vegetarianism/veganism?
JH: Yes indeed. To use a plant metaphor, it will be “grass roots” in nature until the emergency of food sustainability coming in the next decade forces a lot of people to get off the agra-meat machine. Ecological stresses caused by such high waste farming will become unprofitable.
IWB: Thank you John.
(26 July 2011)
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