Saturday, 23 July 2016

After Considerable Consideration......



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     As has been said many and sundry times, these are the times that try men's souls.  We have been wandering about, listlessly and trying, if anything, not to think beyond the moment.   This was helped to some degree during the latter stages of our last stay down at our little adobe hut in the Mexican outback.    We had the misfortune, and yet, the opportunity for the performance of many low-heroic moments on the part of many a common man.   The "common men" were drawn from the little ejido (rural agricultural congregation / village) of Francisco I. Madero, Municipal de Hidalgo, Tamaulipas.

     The incident was a fire.  The fire was a matter that burned before authorisation, permits, and other door-to-door informative norms that are usually practiced in that area.  It was even set by the ground-clearing crew involved, notwithstanding the orders of the landowner who specifically forbade any burning at this time of the year, known as "La Canicula" or what the English-speaking world knows at "The Dog Days of Summer".  At this writing, we are nearly mid-way through this year's "Canicula", forty days of heat, usually very dry, but sometimes interrupted by tropical waves or even hurricanes.


     The events went something like this missive which we sent around to family upon return.  I believe it went out on the Thursday morning after my re-entry to Texas on Tuesday afternoon.   Selected portions of that account are included below:



Hello all...

     We have been out of the loop due to the fact that our telephone, television, and computer have been in dry-dock since Saturday last.   This was cause due to "someone" having cut our TWC cable-line that pertains to our system.  In my way of thinking, it had to have been the Time-Warner crew that was working  (during my absence) behind our place back last Saturday.   I was not in-country at that time, so the evidence is not available to justify certainty.  These events are never pleasant.   Your humble servant arrived here in the Magic Lower Rio Grande Valley around mid-day Tuesday past.  Service was restored to our Television, telephone, and computer to-day at 11:15 after being out for over five days.

     In any regard, we had a fairly uneventful stay of it, until near the end.  Our neighbour, Rafael Salazar, had ordered the services of a land clearing company to take out the old dead and dying Valencia orange trees that once composed the bulk of the Hacienda de La Vega's production.  That orchard was well into decline by the time we built our place there back at the turn of the century.  It had been planted originally in the mid - 1930s.    Now is was necessary to clear everything off and make the final preparations so as to begin the process that will end with the completion of planting about 125 acres in limes of a very special and highly sought-after type.   It is anticipated that the entire process should be done on or about 15 November 2016.   At this point, things are a bit ahead of schedule.

     Our problems began last Saturday.   A team of men were working with two Caterpillar D-6s,  and one D-9, with really heavy disc assemblies (4 - row, 36 - inch diametre  disc assemblies, totalling 40 discs, each disc weighing 120 pounds), literally pulverising everything beneath their path.   Some time late in the morning it became apparent that the men had started fires that were intended to burn up the accumulated wood and chaff associated with the clearing project.   The owner of the land, Rafael, had told the owner of the clearing and cleaning service that there would be no burning of anything because the area was dry, and the "canicula"  (dog days of Summer) was on, so burning would be done after obtaining the necessary permits and after establishing a prudent burn plan, considering the neighbours, and the fact that the Rio Corona's Sabine-cypress trees range from 400 to 1,300 years old and are quite famous.  It is worth noting that I was present when Rafael told the clearance company man about this matter and how it must be understood that there would be no burning.

      To shorten the rather lengthy story, we return to Saturday, around mid-day when El Gringo Viejo begins to have an uneasy feeling.   The various mounds of stuff are being set afire.  They are feeding over into other strewn chaff, steadily lighting the next mound to the east, as the variable and strengthening winds would permit.   The smoke was becoming quite noticeable, along with increasingly worrisome warmth that augments temperatures that are already in the upper - 90s, and heading for 102 - 104 degrees during the afternoon.    I go over to the main entry gate and look around, even as the smoke is beginning to be oppressive.   I am astounded to note threat no effort had been given to the forming of a perimetrical double-pass in width around the edge of the property line of the area under concern,   This would be the minimal norm for providing a border that could serve to protect both the primitive areas and riverine forests as well as houses adjacent to the Hacienda de La Vega.   But, alas, the bramble and all kinds of forest-fire friendly fuel was in full abundance along the Rio Corona as well as on the approach the house of EL Gringo Viejo....the now-famous Quinta Tesoro de la Sierra Madre.   After that, there were over 100 homes that would face certain devastation.

     At about 14:30 hours, I loaded up the rear of the Jeep Cherokee with a few clothes, my little suitcase with underwear, socks, t-shirts and the like, my shaving bag, money bag, documents about the property and house, threw the cats outside to their fortune, and made one last try to raise interest in the issue among the locals.   I drove into the Hacienda de La Vega and encountered about forty people at the little home of the the manager preparing to celebrate the birthday of said manager....all on them in full danger of slower moving, but still very active north-bound fire-line.   I tried to convince them to move, and that they only had about 15....perhaps 20....minutes of escape opportunity.   They remained immobile and confused.....at best.  They were waiting for the manager to return from a nearby village with chickens for grilling and with his daughter (not for grilling) so as to continue with the birthday celebration. They said he was due at any second.

     Then I turned and essentially made a quick drive down the longest lane in our village trying to alert each and every person I saw or whom it was thought might be at home.   For a second my brain coughed up a bad correlation...that of Paul Revere....at the point I was driving up to the home of Alvaro's (the Quinta's majordomo) sister and brother-in-law...Imelda and Efrain.  All were gone to Monterrey, save for Efrain, whom I managed to stir from siesta...he had done the early morning shift at the Hacienda de Santa Engracia (to-day a hotel) where he is the chief of the service staff and general charge d' affairs.  I told him what was going on and he immediately set out on his bicycle, declaring that he would try to collect more men.  He was told that I would  return to the Quinta and extend the hoses by another couple of fifty-foot lengths and meet them at the Brazil tree, about 50 feet to the south of the Quinta's "long, west-facing corridor   There I would have the hose with the "fireman's nozzle" and a few extra buckets.   Almost everyone arrived, however, with one large bucket and a smaller bucket for working little 'hot-spots'  with greater dexterity and accuracy.    In all, Efrain had brought about six or seven, while others were arriving one-by-two, half-trotting on the grade down the little trail where people, in normally calmer moments, would drive the few feet to the very nearby Rio Corona.

     We had water coming into our cistern, as per normal, starting at 15:00 hours, and our cistern was starting off essentially totally full from the day before, and that was our one best blessing.   So I set about to fill buckets as they were presented  and / or arrived.  If there were no buckets, I sprayed the fire in in front of me....about 15 - 17 feet to the fore and to each side.  The fact is, however, that 97% of the real work was done by the bucket people....harder and more dangerous.
     It was 40 minutes of the hardest work in my presence during this life.   The manager of the Hacienda de La Vega had returned with his daughter and the chicken, scruffed up the Caterpillar team....scolding them severely....and forced them to return to our fire-line, essentially a third of a mile away, on the other side of the Hacienda de La Vega.   I had seen them through the smoke, slowly clattering, squealing, roaring, squeaking as they approached ever closer to us....pulling their disking assemblies back to make a to-and-fro pass literally right in front on us.  How they could breathe in the smoke, I have no idea,
    The manager, a fellow named Ciro, came trotting up through the smoke with his big bucket and little bucket to join the fight.  Amazing.  Buying chicken for the barbecue, bringing his daughter down, driving through the smoke to see if his house and the family and other celebrants were still there and alive, then getting down and running over to the Caterpillar drivers and giving them Holy Hell and scathing, profanity-laced rebuke and ordering them to return to the fight that they had caused and then abandoned....and now coming to the fight himself, with his own buckets.   Ah, Mexico. (....by the way, Ciro has never used profanity of any kind within my hearing for the 15 years that I have known him)

     Being older and using that authority, he began to order some of the people to return to their homes and remain available if possible.   Efrain discharged a few as well, but about half remained.   Efrain had promised my back-door neighbour, Anastacio (Tacho) that I would give him a beer at the end of the fight.   After another hour, all had returned home save for Efren, who stayed around to make sure I did not keel over and croak.   He and Ciro would return to hold a vigil during much of the night to watch for possible flare-ups.   Four or five of their posse would be with them.  I sought out Anastacio next door and offered him another beer and 100 pesos for his trouble.  He took the beer, but refused the money.   I protested  and said, "Pero, Don Tacho, Usted ayudo' en salvar a mi casa (But, Tacho, you helped to save my house),"  But he responded, "Y Usted ayudo' en salvar a la mia (And you helped save MY house)".   Ah, Mexico.

    The next morning, at around 7:45, Ciro came back with a bucket, and declared that he had seen a bit of smoke near where we had been working the late afternoon before.   So I took the hoses down again and a few buckets and he rooted out the smoldering area and drowned it. 

     There are many side stories.  A lady from the National Forestry Commission, which my neighbour, the owner of the Hacienda de La Vega, had headed up the Northeastern Division (four States) called him after I had informed him about the fire.   This lady advised my neighbour that the Mexican satellite that monitors  such things as forest fires, etc. had sent the automatic notification to the Commission and she recognised the co-ordinates as being the Hacienda de La Vega.   It was evaluated to be a Level One (most potentially dangerous) conflagration and the estimated "ruin" was about 125 acres but no structures.   It was later evaluated as "controlled".  

     That is some of the story about "The Fire" .

EL GRINGO VIEJO

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Friday, 22 July 2016

A Secret for Texas - Aquarena Springs

Returned....burned out....but....

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     We returned on Tuesday, mid-day.   Uneventful drive, made good time and good fuel mileage.  Pretty full of woe and disdain, etc.   A fairly rotten political scene for El Gringo Viejo.
     But, at least (Sir Edmund) Hillary has been spared the fate of Scooter Libby, Martha Stewart, and Charles Colson who were readily thrown into the central government pokey for holding FBI raw data personnel files, making misleading statement to the FBI, and that horrible thing Scooter Libby did....you know....that horrible thing.....all those horrible things....(?).

     The FBI has a perfect record of covering for (Sir Edmund) Hillary, something like 0 - 18 by this point.   It is because of that fact we went out on a limb before departing for our little adobe hut in the Mexican outback a couple of weeks ago.   To wit:

(2 July 2016)   "As the OROG nation watches, and millions of other observers cease breathing to as to focus on the outcome of the Great (Sir Edmund) Hillary Interview with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, El Gringo Viejo reassures all that nothing will come of any of this.   Take one teapot, put two hundred million tonnes of landfill and septic discharges into said teapot, pour it out on the central government's system of justice as it relates to the Clintons, and the Obsolete Press as well as the FBI will assert that (Sir Edmund) Hillary is now qualified for Beatification because of all she has done for Women and Reproductive Rights and Everything.
     "In seriousness, the FBI's collusion with (Sir Edmund) Hillary in so many things....such as framing the White House Travel Office staff and even sending one to prison (conviction later overturned), and the forwarding of over 1,100 raw data personnel files (simple possession of each file a felony) at the demand of (Sir Edmund) Hillary, along with, at a later point, the raw data file of Linda Tripp to (Sir Edmund) Hillary when she demanded it, plus so many other collusions with Her Majesty....we can be absolutely assured that she is not only going to remain un-charged in these matters, but she will probably be given a glowing apology for ever having  had to suffer the troubling little pin-pricks of suspicion from all the little people, and sniveling investigators who actually thought they had any right to even look at Her Highness, much less interrogate her."


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     In any regard we have a few pictures from your home in the Mexican outback:

 Here, El Gringo Viejo checks on the quality of some of the
 several hundred avocados that adorn the corner of the "long
 west-facing corridor".  Like the Iguana said, "Time's fun when
 you're having flies,"




     Truth be known, these are not actually avocados.  Many, if not most, of the "avocados" we and the Mexicans eat are actually "paguas"(PAH  guahs).  What possible difference can that make at this point?   Almost none.   BUT!  The pagua is larger and almost always covered with a skin that is "fire-engine green".   The seed of the pagua is also larger both in terms of overall ratio of seed to meat inside and in comparison to any regular black-skinned avocado's seed.

This tree has suffered all kinds of wind abuse.  It may have
 even had some indirect lightning damage.  But it
continues to produce, and prosper.  We have  another such
  tree down 
a few yards lower down on the property
that also is a  good producer.  Almost any tropical
 fruiting thing grows and prospers in this
 area and with this soil. 

    We shall have more things upon which to report after a return from the dentist's office later this morning.
El Gringo Viejo
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Saturday, 2 July 2016

A Few Comments before we depart Monday for our little hideaway

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     As the OROG nation watches, and millions of other observers cease breathing to as to focus on the outcome of the Great (Sir Edmund) Hillary Interview with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, El Gringo Viejo reassures all that nothing will come of any of this.   Take one teapot, put two hundred million tonnes of landfill and septic discharges into said teapot, pour it out on the central government's system of justice as it relates to the Clintons, and the Obsolete Press as well as the FBI will assert that (Sir Edmund) Hillary is now qualified for Beatification because of all she has done for Women and Reproductive Rights and Everything.

     When Ruth Bader Ginsburg keels over that big countertop inside of the Great Temple of Justice, Loretta Lynn (sp?) will be appointed Queen of the Court and males will be required to use the women's rest rooms at all times.....but only after paying the entry fee of $1.00 for each visit in order to finance the operations for the counter-reverse, retransgendered volunteers entering the military now.

     In seriousness, the FBI's collusion with (Sir Edmund) Hillary in so many things....such as framing the White House Travel Office staff and even sending one to prison (conviction later overturned), and the forwarding of over 1,100 raw data personnel files (simple possession of each file a felony) at the demand of (Sir Edmund) Hillary, along with, at a later point, the raw data file of Linda Tripp to (Sir Edmund) Hillary when she demanded it, plus so many other collusions with Her Majesty....we can be absolutely assured that she is not only going to remain un-charged in these matters, but she will probably be given a glowing apology for ever having  had to suffer the troubling little pin-pricks of suspicion from all the little people, and sniveling investigators who actually thought they had any right to even look at Her Highness, much less interrogate her.

    Forget about (Sir Edmund) Hillary facing anything beyond another stumble into an airplane, or failure to wake up for her 03:00 telephone call.  Who knows, perhaps she will join Barry as Co-President of the United Nations next January, and they can push the reset button together.  Once ensconced  in the corner office at the UN building, the General Assembly can give (Sir Edmund) Hillary the Vince Foster Lifetime Achievement Award while they are approving the next Global Warming warning.

     And speaking of the United Nations:






The death by barbell of disgraced UN official John Ashe could become a bigger obsession for conspiracy theorists than Vince Foster’s 1993 suicide.
Ashe — who was facing trial for tax fraud — died Wednesday afternoon in his house in Westchester County. The UN said he’d had a heart attack. But the local Dobbs Ferry police said Thursday that his throat had been crushed, presumably by a barbell he dropped while pumping iron.
Ashe was due in court Monday with his Chinese businessman co-defendant Ng Lap Seng, who is charged with smuggling $4.5 million into the US since 2013 and lying that it was to buy art and casino chips.
Ng was identified in a 1998 Senate report as the source of hundreds of thousands of dollars illegally funneled through an Arkansas restaurant owner, Charlie Trie, to the Democratic National Committee during the Clinton administration. (Ng was not charged with any crime.)
Ng and Trie had visited the White House several times for Democratic fundraising events and were photographed with then-President Bill Clinton and first lady Hillary Clinton.
One source told me, “During the trial, the prosecutors would have linked Ashe to the Clinton bagman Ng. It would have been very embarrassing. His death was conveniently timed.”
Ashe’s lawyer Jeremy Schneider told me he is sure Ashe’s death was an accident. “There is not one iota of evidence that it was homicide. This is nothing at all like Vince Foster.”
Police in Dobbs Ferry village are keeping the investigation open pending an autopsy by the Westchester medical examiner.

You just can't make these things up.....the number of bodies just pile up and the people keep marveling at the Empress's beautiful raiment.  Amazing.
EL GRINGO VIEJO

Sent from our spies in Extreme Central Texas - A Real and True analysis of Benghazi

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The observers from the outpost in Extreme Central
Texas received this communique that can only 
be reviewed by the OROG Community and/or 
anyone that community might wish to reveal
this reconaissance.   We submit it to the readers
as a set of valid observations and very probably
extremely accurate deductions.

Xxx, Xxxxx, et al,
I know you have all been waiting for my erudite analysis of the
Benghazi report.   Sorry to be slow, but the social, cultural and
athletic distractions of The Villages have lured me away from
any serious reading.  I mean, should I stay in and study the
report or go out and play pickleball with a really hot 65
year old chick?  And by “hot” I do not mean the
temperature in Central Florida.
I have spent a few hours reading the report and my primary
conclusion is based on something I learned as a young action
officer on the Joint Staff.  This was during the Carter
Administration and my job was working papers on Foreign
Military Sales (FMS) policy.  My immediate boss was an
Army Col, but he was a nonentity, so I normally got my
guidance from Ace Lyons.  At the time Ace was a new one
star and not greatly concerned the minutiae of FMS.
However, we were often required to go to interagency
meetings on FMS subjects and he would ask for a
quick briefing. 
One evening I was attempting to talk to him about a subject as
he was packing up his briefcase to go home.  I was in the middle
of my passionate defense of the Joint Staff position when he
interrupted to ask for the bottom line.  I said that the bottom
line was that the State Department guys did not understand that
in 10 years………….
Ace:  Don’t be stupid!
Me:  Sir?
Ace:  You said something about the State Department and
10 years.
That is just stupid.  What do you think the long range planning
horizon is over at State?
Me:  (Knowing the insults usually came in groups of three.)
 Nine years?
Ace:  That is dumb even for a 1310.  But, let me teach you
something about the way things are in these meetings we go
to.  No one at my level, and very few at your level, in the
State Department can think of anything beyond the next
Presidential Election.  That is it.  Just until the next election.
When the military talks about long range planning they
ignore us unless there is to be a press release.  Then their
only concern is the effect the wording might have on the
election. 
Ace’s words seemed a bit harsh at the time.  But, Ace
when on to the 4 star level so perhaps he had a valid
perspective.  His words did come back to me many times
during a later Attaché tour and 10 years as a contractor
working on State Dept programs.
The thought that State’s planning horizon was only out
to the next election came back again as I read the Benghazi
report.  It occurred to me that I had been looking at the
problems from a military perspective and so much of what
was done simply did not make sense.  So many things that
happened, or did not happen, were in Ace’s words “stupid.”
But, in reading about the various meetings and e-mails
it occurred to me that it was basically a State Dept 
problem (with the CIA as a silent partner) and I should
look at it from their perspective. And suddenly it was
all crystal clear.
The REAL problem was that there was an election in less
than 60 days. The prime directive therefore, was to
minimize the bad press.  Fortunately the video that had
cause a bit of a demonstration in Cairo presented a way
to place the blame for the deaths on right wing idiots.
How could the Administration be blamed for a morally
justified riot that happened with no warning? 
In the first few hours after the attack, there was the
minor problem of getting the people and bodies out
of Benghazi.  Doing that in a way that would establish
and preserve the fiction that the “video” was the cause
of the “riot” was important.  The last thing they wanted
was to have some door kickers going into Benghazi.
That might make it seem as if there might be an
organized military opposition.  What if there was
a fire fight and a marine was killed?  Would that be
a combat death?  NOT GOOD!  
The answer was to keep the military away from
Benghazi at all costs.  Tell all the military commands
that an evacuation was arranged and they should
hold positions (can you say “stand down”) and then
hope the evacuation took place without any
opposition.  If we communicated to everyone
in Benghazi that we only wanted to get our bodies
out and that no retaliation would take place,
perhaps no one would attack the convoy to the
airport or the vulnerable aircraft on the ground.    
Once everyone was in Tripoli it was just a matter
of telling everyone as often as possible that there
had been a riot over a video, and then keeping that
idea operative until after the election.  Fortunately
they could throw the creator of the video in jail, etc. 
So, on Sunday, a few days after the attack, we have
Susan Rice going on all five Sunday morning
political shows to propagate that lie.  I have
watched all of her appearances on YouTube.
My absolute favorite is the State of Union
appearance with Candy Crowley.

Candy certainly knew the truth and was too
embarrassed to ask the exact question Susan
needed, but she got close. Close enough for
Susan to get all of her well-rehearsed talking
points in while Candy sat in silence and did not
interrupt.  Here is the link to the YouTube 
portion of the show:
With the party line established by Susan,
it was only necessary to hold on for a few
more weeks until the election. They could
trust most of the press and media not to ask
difficult questions, Romney to be too much
of a gentleman to seriously raise the issue,
and various talking heads to discredit FOX
or any other media that got out of line.
Questions about the attack were raised by
various Senators and Congressmen but
they were not widely covered.  Susan Rice’s
“talking points” were questioned, but that
was a side show and only added to the
confusion.  The statements of the families
of the dead were an unfortunate footnote,
but not a major problem as only FOX
covered their anger and grief.
And it worked perfectly.  Confusion about
Benghazi reigned supreme and nothing was
as widely covered as Rice’s Sunday
appearances.  Anyone who raised
questions was accused of being a
conspiracy junky by the Kool-Aid
drinkers.  Add a few more lies about
keeping medical plans and doctors
and the election was won.
After the 2012 election the time horizon
shifted to the 2016 election.  So the game
plan became one of delay, obstruction,
executive privilege, etc.  Only a Republican
congress would do any serious investigating,
and every committee would have loyal 
Democrats to loudly proclaim the probing
was a political witch hunt.  CIA director
David Petraeus was the wild card, but he
screwed up and allowed himself to be
discredited. 
So now we just a few weeks from the 2016
election and the plan is working nicely.
Unfortunately the Benghazi committee
discovered the Clinton email server issue,
but the results of that investigation can be
delayed until well after the election.  Then
a new time horizon can be established.
When I previously assumed the lack of
military response to the attack on the
Consulate and Annex was a massive screw
up, I was dead wrong.  It was obviously
part of an extremely well-conceived plan
to get past the election with the falsehood
that the video was the culprit.  It was so
easy.  Keep telling the lie, deny, obstruct,
and win.  Who can argue with success?
I will cease being interested in the
command center/military response
aspects of the Benghazi catastrophe.
I am now certain that the plan to keep
anyone in uniform far away from the
action was in place very early in the
evening.  Marines in Rota?  Give them
uniform changes and send them to
Sigonella.  F-16s?  Even if they were
armed, fueled and ready to launch
they would not have been used.
One would not want another accident
like what happened at Desert One in
1980.  If a shoulder fired missile shot
one down it would be big trouble.  How
could one fit that into the video/mob
scenario?  It was best to just tell
AFRICOM that the evacuation
would take place without any
need for cover and there was
definitely no need to send
anyone in to recover anything
from the Annex or the wreckage
of the Consulate.
Looking at this through Ace’s lens,
everything falls into place for me.
Even the minority report is logical
if you believe they knew and supported
the plan from the beginning.  
As of this moment I am officially
bored with the whole Benghazi thing.
Bored..... and revolted.

Attachments area
Preview YouTube video [FLASHBACK] On CNN Susan Rice blames the internet video for Benghazi