The (high) cost of being sick

Recently our darling Belle-the-collie-dog was a little off-weather.  She “leaked” in two places – once on the wood floor where she likes to sleep, and once on the sofa, where Paul likes to sit!  We were concerned enough to schedule a trip to the Vet for her to see if there might be some underlying problem causing this.

Let’s see if I can tell this short tale so it’s coherent.

She went for her visit and Paul took a sample of her pee.  She had blood drawn for the inevitable blood-work studies.  Once the results came back, Belle’s doctor called to report what they’d found.  Anaplasmosis, to be exact.  It’s a tick-borne illness.  She would need a course of antibiotics for this, and, according to Dr. M, this particular medication, Doxycycline Hyclate, is a rough one to take – makes the patient have an upset tummy and/or diarrhea.

Wonderful.

Dr. M. said that if she had these side effects, she would prescribe Belle some pills to settle them down.

Paul went up to our local pharmacy near here to get the prescription for the Doxy.  When he got home he had a deer-in-the-headlights look about his face… he said that this was one expensive pee-leak!  I was to guess at the price… I guessed $59… Nope.  $75?  Nope, $150? (please no),  Nope.  Higher.  He gave me the bag with the price on it and I was stunned…

There are two spots for prices on these bags.  One is the “YOU PAY” price and the other is the “RETAIL PRICE.”

On this first go-round, the “You Pay” price was $234. and change.  I about lost all the marbles remaining in my head!  What?  TWO HUNDRED AND THIRTY FOUR DOLLARS? For a 30 day supply of antibiotics?

What?  I shook my head a few times thinking my eyes were playing tricks on me.

I can’t remember the exact other figure under the RETAIL PRICE but it was a little more than the first price… say by about $25.

When I spoke with Dr. M next, I ranted and railed about this price!  That was when she told me that if we had gotten the pills at her place (Vet Clinic), it would have cost us $71.

SEVENTY ONE DOLLARS!  As opposed to the $234. that we paid at the pharmacy!

I was seeing RED!

To make a long story shorter, we decided that Paul would try to get a refund on them and he would go to the Vet Clinic and get them there.  Dr. M. called the Pharmacy and explained how outrageous their price was and she, in the end, convinced them to refund us most of it but we would just keep those pills.

OK.  Fine.  Paul had to go down and get the stomach upset tablets from Dr. M. anyway later that day.

So when he got back with the original bottle of pills, they were in a newly printed bag, and, now sit down.. this was the label on the new bag:

price 003

Can you see the prices?  We pay now – $89.90 (as opposed to the $71 the vet would have charged us) BUT the clincher is that the Retail Price jumped from somewhere around $275-give-or-take a few dollars before, to a whopping $553.29!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What?

I realize that is not what we are paying, but why such a huge jump?

I must admit I am still in the dark, but I give up.

Belle is on the antibiotics now and the tummy upset pills and we shall see how she makes out.

When we had given them to her the first time, she threw up her whole breakfast.  Here’s hoping all stays put this time!

Geesh!

Cheers,

Bex & Co.

Below:  My latest pile of crocheted cat blankets I made to be donated to the Odd Cat Sanctuary for the kitties to sit/sleep on.

pileofmats 001.JPG

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Just throwing this out to the Universe

I keep hearing “Who have the Dems got to run in 2020?  Nobody!”

Well, to that I say… that is so wrong.

I am not writing this to argue with anyone, because the Lord knows that there are enough people out there who would argue with me, but I’m just putting it out there.

My choices for possible candidates for President and Vice President to run in 2020 are:

(and I actually only have three but there are a whole lot of others who might fill the slots, but these are my favorites)

Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg for President

Eric Swalwell for VP

or

Adam Schiff for VP

or

Michelle Obama for VP

Now in the case of Caroline being President for a good 8 years, and Michelle helping her to turn the country back around to a righted position again, then Michelle would run in 2028 for President.

Just thinking about this sends chills down my spine.

If only dreams would come true.

That’s it.  It’s out there.  Things will never happen in this world if no one dreams them.

Cheers,

Bex

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On Senator Jeff Flake’s announcement to not run for reelection – transcript of speech.

Tuesday – October 24, 2017
What a speech!  I only caught the last 15 minutes, or so, on TV today, but it was superb… and this from a very conservative Republican!  But I admire this man a lot, and that he can’t bring himself to stay in the Senate thanks to the shenanigans of our less-than-illustrious leader, is such a crying shame.  I only hope more and more of his colleagues will find their true voices and speak up about the disaster that has befallen our country since last November 8th.
If you missed Sen. Flake’s speech, take a few minutes and read it here.  I have not read every word for edits, as I have supper to get for us right now, but I just wanted to save it.
BTW, I heard someone today say this is the Second Best Speech ever Given in the United States… second only to Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.  Now that’s saying something.

Mr. President, I rise today to address a matter that has been much on my mind, at a moment when it seems that our democracy is more defined by our discord and our dysfunction than it is by our values and our principles. Let me begin by noting a somewhat obvious point that these offices that we hold are not ours to hold indefinitely.  We are not here simply to mark time. Sustained incumbency is certainly not the point of seeking office. And there are times when we must risk our careers in favor of our principles.

Now is such a time.

It must also be said that I rise today with no small measure of regret. Regret, because of the state of our disunion, regret because of the disrepair and destructiveness of our politics, regret because of the indecency of our discourse, regret because of the coarseness of our leadership, regret for the compromise of our moral authority, and by our — all of our — complicity in this alarming and dangerous state of affairs. It is time for our complicity and our accommodation of the unacceptable to end.

In this century, a new phrase has entered the language to describe the accommodation of a new and undesirable order — that phrase being “the new normal.” But we must never adjust to the present coarseness of our national dialogue — with the tone set at the top.

We must never regard as “normal” the regular and casual undermining of our democratic norms and ideals. We must never meekly accept the daily sundering of our country — the personal attacks, the threats against principles, freedoms, and institutions; the flagrant disregard for truth or decency, the reckless provocations, most often for the pettiest and most personal reasons, reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with the fortunes of the people that we have all been elected to serve.

None of these appalling features of our current politics should ever be regarded as normal. We must never allow ourselves to lapse into thinking that this is just the way things are now. If we simply become inured to this condition, thinking that this is just politics as usual, then heaven help us. Without fear of the consequences, and without consideration of the rules of what is politically safe or palatable, we must stop pretending that the degradation of our politics and the conduct of some in our executive branch are normal. They are not normal.

Reckless, outrageous, and undignified behavior has become excused and countenanced as “telling it like it is,” when it is actually just reckless, outrageous, and undignified.

And when such behavior emanates from the top of our government, it is something else: It is dangerous to a democracy. Such behavior does not project strength — because our strength comes from our values. It instead projects a corruption of the spirit, and weakness.

It is often said that children are watching. Well, they are. And what are we going to do about that? When the next generation asks us, Why didn’t you do something? Why didn’t you speak up? — what are we going to say?

 Mr. President, I rise today to say: Enough. We must dedicate ourselves to making sure that the anomalous never becomes normal. With respect and humility, I must say that we have fooled ourselves for long enough that a pivot to governing is right around the corner, a return to civility and stability right behind it. We know better than that. By now, we all know better than that.
Here, today, I stand to say that we would better serve the country and better fulfill our obligations under the constitution by adhering to our Article 1 “old normal” — Mr. Madison’s doctrine of the separation of powers. This genius innovation which affirms Madison’s status as a true visionary and for which Madison argued in Federalist 51 — held that the equal branches of our government would balance and counteract each other when necessary. “Ambition counteracts ambition,” he wrote.

But what happens if ambition fails to counteract ambition? What happens if stability fails to assert itself in the face of chaos and instability? If decency fails to call out indecency? Were the shoe on the other foot, would we Republicans meekly accept such behavior on display from dominant Democrats? Of course not, and we would be wrong if we did.

When we remain silent and fail to act when we know that that silence and inaction is the wrong thing to do — because of political considerations, because we might make enemies, because we might alienate the base, because we might provoke a primary challenge, because ad infinitum, ad nauseum — when we succumb to those considerations in spite of what should be greater considerations and imperatives in defense of the institutions of our liberty, then we dishonor our principles and forsake our obligations. Those things are far more important than politics.

Now, I am aware that more politically savvy people than I caution against such talk. I am aware that a segment of my party believes that anything short of complete and unquestioning loyalty to a president who belongs to my party is unacceptable and suspect.

 If I have been critical, it is not because I relish criticizing the behavior of the president of the United States. If I have been critical, it is because I believe that it is my obligation to do so, as a matter of duty and conscience. The notion that one should stay silent as the norms and values that keep America strong are undermined and as the alliances and agreements that ensure the stability of the entire world are routinely threatened by the level of thought that goes into 140 characters — the notion that one should say and do nothing in the face of such mercurial behavior is ahistoric and, I believe, profoundly misguided.
A Republican president named Roosevelt had this to say about the president and a citizen’s relationship to the office:
The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants.He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the nation as a whole. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly as necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile.” President Roosevelt continued: “To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.

Acting on conscience and principle is the manner in which we express our moral selves, and as such, loyalty to conscience and principle should supersede loyalty to any man or party. We can all be forgiven for failing in that measure from time to time. I certainly put myself at the top of the list of those who fall short in that regard. I am holier-than-none. But too often, we rush not to salvage principle but to forgive and excuse our failures so that we might accommodate them and go right on failing — until the accommodation itself becomes our principle.

In that way and over time, we can justify almost any behavior and sacrifice almost any principle. I’m afraid that is where we now find ourselves.

When a leader correctly identifies real hurt and insecurity in our country and instead of addressing it goes looking for somebody to blame, there is perhaps nothing more devastating to a pluralistic society. Leadership knows that most often a good place to start in assigning blame is to first look somewhat closer to home. Leadership knows where the buck stops. Humility helps. Character counts. Leadership does not knowingly encourage or feed ugly and debased appetites in us.

Leadership lives by the American creed: E Pluribus Unum. From many, one. American leadership looks to the world, and just as Lincoln did, sees the family of man. Humanity is not a zero-sum game. When we have been at our most prosperous, we have also been at our most principled. And when we do well, the rest of the world also does well.

These articles of civic faith have been central to the American identity for as long as we have all been alive. They are our birthright and our obligation. We must guard them jealously, and pass them on for as long as the calendar has days. To betray them or to be unserious in their defense is a betrayal of the fundamental obligations of American leadership. And to behave as if they don’t matter is simply not who we are.

Now, the efficacy of American leadership around the globe has come into question. When the United States emerged from World War II we contributed about half of the world’s economic activity. It would have been easy to secure our dominance, keeping the countries that had been defeated or greatly weakened during the war in their place.  We didn’t do that. It would have been easy to focus inward. We resisted those impulses. Instead, we financed reconstruction of shattered countries and created international organizations and institutions that have helped provide security and foster prosperity around the world for more than 70 years.

Now, it seems that we, the architects of this visionary rules-based world order that has brought so much freedom and prosperity, are the ones most eager to abandon it.

The implications of this abandonment are profound. And the beneficiaries of this rather radical departure in the American approach to the world are the ideological enemies of our values. Despotism loves a vacuum. And our allies are now looking elsewhere for leadership. Why are they doing this? None of this is normal. And what do we as United States Senators have to say about it?

The principles that underlie our politics, the values of our founding, are too vital to our identity and to our survival to allow them to be compromised by the requirements of politics. Because politics can make us silent when we should speak, and silence can equal complicity.

I have children and grandchildren to answer to, and so, Mr. President, I will not be complicit.

I have decided that I will be better able to represent the people of Arizona and to better serve my country and my conscience by freeing myself from the political considerations that consume far too much bandwidth and would cause me to compromise far too many principles.

To that end, I am announcing today that my service in the Senate will conclude at the end of my term in early January 2019.

It is clear at this moment that a traditional conservative who believes in limited government and free markets, who is devoted to free trade, and who is pro-immigration, has a narrower and narrower path to nomination in the Republican party — the party that for so long has defined itself by belief in those things. It is also clear to me for the moment we have given in or given up on those core principles in favor of the more viscerally satisfying anger and resentment. To be clear, the anger and resentment that the people feel at the royal mess we have created are justified. But anger and resentment are not a governing philosophy.

There is an undeniable potency to a populist appeal — but mischaracterizing or misunderstanding our problems and giving in to the impulse to scapegoat and belittle threatens to turn us into a fearful, backward-looking people. In the case of the Republican party, those things also threaten to turn us into a fearful, backward-looking minority party.

We were not made great as a country by indulging or even exalting our worst impulses, turning against ourselves, glorying in the things which divide us, and calling fake things true and true things fake. And we did not become the beacon of freedom in the darkest corners of the world by flouting our institutions and failing to understand just how hard-won and vulnerable they are.

This spell will eventually break. That is my belief. We will return to ourselves once more, and I say the sooner the better. Because to have a healthy government we must have healthy and functioning parties. We must respect each other again in an atmosphere of shared facts and shared values, comity and good faith. We must argue our positions fervently, and never be afraid to compromise. We must assume the best of our fellow man, and always look for the good. Until that days comes, we must be unafraid to stand up and speak out as if our country depends on it. Because it does.

I plan to spend the remaining fourteen months of my senate term doing just that.

Mr. President, the graveyard is full of indispensable men and women — none of us here is indispensable. Nor were even the great figures from history who toiled at these very desks in this very chamber to shape this country that we have inherited. What is indispensable are the values that they consecrated in Philadelphia and in this place, values which have endured and will endure for so long as men and women wish to remain free. What is indispensable is what we do here in defense of those values. A political career doesn’t mean much if we are complicit in undermining those values.

I thank my colleagues for indulging me here today, and will close by borrowing the words of President Lincoln, who knew more about healing enmity and preserving our founding values than any other American who has ever lived. His words from his first inaugural were a prayer in his time, and are no less so in ours:

We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.

Thank you, Mr. President. I yield the floor.”

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Not Sure Anymore

To blog or not to blog – that is the question.

It used to be fun to blog, for me, but not anymore.  I’ve run dry in the thought-department, at least thoughts that might be interesting to others.

So far I have tried to type this entry 3 times and I keep losing what I’ve just typed.  I used to be a professional (medical) typist (transcriptionist), and typing at a good clip was my way of life.  Not anymore.  I use a flat keyboard (laptop) and it just isn’t like the old days when I could put  my hands on the keyboard and go to town… not having to look where the letters are, not having the cursor jump around on me all over the screen, not having the text I’d just spent a while entering go suddenly away!  It’s all very frustrating and to my shattered nerves at almost 70 years of age, it’s not fun.

I loved my old blog at JounalScape.  I don’t love my blog here at WordPress.  I’m thinking of cancelling it.  It is costing me $99/year to keep it the way I have it set up.  I could go for the cheaper version but not sure that would work either.  Is this worth $99/year to keep? I can’t even remember when I last wrote an entry.

Summertime in New England is here and has been quite hot, quite wet for a while, but now has turned cooler and sunny.  I am thankful.

My air-conditioners are thankful.

My dog is thankful, if she could talk, that is.

I am not thankful that old age is creeping into our lives here and is scaring me.

I am not thankful that the 36%, or however many there are (I refuse to take the blame for this debacle), elected a president that is so destructive to this country.  Politics is making me crazy.  I am worried.  I have been visualizing this country being morphed into “The United States of Russia” soon.  It’s all pointing that way.  Unless something happens to change things but I can’t see it.  There are no cahunas – no spines – left in Washington anymore.  They are all letting Russia and its puppets just steamroll right over us all – dismantling our systems and slowly, but surely, taking over everything.  You just watch..

Enough.  I always seem to get back to politics.  It’s making me crazy, like I said.


I have been crocheting in earnest now since 15 December 2016.  That’s more than 7 months.  I have way too many things to show you here that I’ve made.  But here is my latest project (if I can figure out how to get photos in here!):

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There we go.  I am making squares.  I’ve never done this technique for a blanket before, but I have all this leftover yarn from the Moorland Blanket job that I never did, so I’m using these lovely colors, from England.  Colors of the Yorkshire Moors.

I make about 2 or 3 squares a day, usually 2.  I have nowhere near as many squares as I’ll need (about 60 I figure), but I’m plodding along.

I’m also making two other blankets at the same time.  Below is the Coast Ripple blanket, also yarns from England.  This photo makes it look like it’s large enough, but I am following a pattern and I have many many more rows left to go.

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Another one I’m working on is called “Hydrangea” – similarly, English yarns and colors – all actual colors of dried hydrangeas:

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Belle keeps me company.

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Belle is the best girl-collie in the whole world and outer space!I

I got into a “market bag” fad and made these, gave 2 of them away, and made a few more.

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Anyway, I could go on and on, but I’ll stop now.  My camera said I need to recharge the battery.  Luckily, I have a spare battery recharging, so I need to change it.

That’s all for now.  Back to my squares.  Maybe by next summer I’ll have a squares blanket to show for all these hours of crocheting.

Oh, I almost forgot about the drapes I crocheted!  I love them to pieces, in the front Reading Room.

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Cheers,

Bex & Co.

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Recruitment, or not…

Listen and Learn

(click on the link above before getting to the second part of this blog entry… )

If you watch TRMS (The Rachel Maddow Show) on a regular basis, like we do (without fail every weeknight at 9 pm on MSNBC), you’ll know this already.  But if you don’t, and you are wondering what all the hoopla is these days about her and her show and the incredible adoration that has been heaped upon this television anchorperson of late… then click on the link above and see for yourself.  I believe this was from last night, 24 May 2017 because, like I said, we watch it every night.

The fact that “we” watch it every night has little to do with me, either.  If we had gone along as we’d been going along all these last 31 years of our married life, with my husband being a right-leaning political person and me being more of a wack-o lefty… you probably could never have convinced him to sit and watch a full hour of Rachel Maddow on telly every weeknight, like we do now.

I had been a fan of hers but not THAT big of a fan that I’d give up my bedtime of going up at 9 p.m. to my cosy bed.  But now I do – now WE do. Our whole evening is geared around waiting and then watching, listening, and learning what Rachel has to say about the world events of the day.  It’s that important to us.  Both of us.

Back a ways, during the presidential campaign from hell, as we just went thru last year, I wanted him to see a Rachel show and he just waved it away saying he couldn’t STAND her and the way she delivered her monologue on her show.  I said, but dear! She’s so good, just watch ONCE and you will see what I mean… he didn’t understand.

Then one night for some un-remembered reason now, we both watched Rachel just when things were heating up and it was becoming apparent that the Dumpster was on his way to becoming the Repub. candidate for Prez.

Rachel has an interesting way of telling a story.  She usually goes a good 20 minutes, from 9 pm til 9:20 at least, without a commercial break.  Which is odd enough.  But it allows her to develop, in her own inimitable way, her story so that the average viewer can fully appreciate the meaning of it all and not just sit there, eyes glazed over, and not really soaking it in.  She drills home the important points, sometimes describing them three times in a row, in different words, so we will “get it.”  And we do.

After that first night when we watched Rachel together… the next night, Paul said “What time does Rachel come on?”  (Huh?)

He was not going to miss her — ever again!  And he/we haven’t missed her again.  On the odd night that she is not there, we are crushed!  Fill-ins just don’t cut it.  It has to be Rachel or no one.

Waiting over the long two days of the weekend is torture for us.  Mondays roll around and we are both chomping at the bit for 9 pm to roll around again.

I would never have predicted this in a million years.  I also would never have predicted that my right-leaning, conservative, always a Republican previously husband would change to “Independent” and then, last year, vote for Bernie Sanders in the primary!  But he did.  If you know Paul, you can sort of understand why it’s so amazing.

This is getting too long and I haven’t begun the main thing I came here to say!

Rachel Maddow Video

Once you’ve watched the little video above, especially the portion with former CIA Director Brennan telling about how the Russians recruit Americans to do their dirty work for them, you will have the background for my little story here. So please watch it first, and then read on.


Back in 1972 or 73, I can’t remember which year, my first (ex) husband and I were living in Bloomington, Indiana.  Bill was a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science, with a specialty in Soviet Foreign Policy.  Never having had the advantage of going to college before that time, I had just enrolled in Indiana University, majoring in history, after having worked for a full year as a medical transcriptionist in the Bloomington Hospital Radiology Dept. Hey, someone had to support us!

It was lovely.  For the first time in my young adult life, since the age of 18, I did not have to work a full-time job.  I got a small Student Loan, and I also had a part-time work-study program where I would go into the office of one of the departments each morning for 2 hours and do typing… for very small pay.  Bill had a scholarship as well as student loans, and with this small amount of money, we barely managed to make ends meet there in Bloomington.  We lived on campus in married student housing.  We had a cat and didn’t learn until we’d moved out there that cats were not allowed in our high-rise apartment building, but we kept “Bruno” with us, anyway.  We hid him.  One day when the campus police came by to do a routine but unannounced apartment inspection (to weed out the filthy dirty tenants who were unsavory types), they got us for having a cat!  They gave us 2 weeks to either get rid of Bruno or to move out.

We went down to the student place and pleaded with them… he’s been our cat for a few years now and we couldn’t think of getting rid of him!  How inhuman could they be?

But they won.  He had to go – or we had to go.  No moving them.

So we moved out to the Indiana countryside, about 5 miles away from the University, to a cute little town-house neighborhood where the rents were downright affordable.  Bruno, Bill and I.

Then one day it happened.  We were approached.

I don’t really remember if he was from the phone company or where… but a young man, around our ages, (24/25), came to our door when we were both home studying and came into our home.  When he was done with whatever he said he was doing there, he stopped to chat with me (Bill was upstairs but was listening to the whole thing hidden away in the hall upstairs).  This guy was telling me about a cat he’d had that had recently died from cancer (our previous cat had died from leukemia at 1 year of age!) so we had that in common.  Then he started mentioning a few names of men he knew on campus and they happened to be some of Bill’s professors and one, in particular, was his Ph.D. Advisor.  Wow!

Then he got talking about someone on TV, I think it was Marvin Kalb but not 100% sure… and Bill had somewhat known him, as well, from our time in Washington, D.C. (where he graduated from U. of Maryland the year before this).  This guy in our home was hitting all the bases with us.

Then he asked us if we ever thought about visiting “an island to the south of the U.S.” – he couldn’t quite remember the name of it… and since I wasn’t really in the know back then, I couldn’t help him.  (Bill, on the other hand, upstairs and eavesdropping, knew exactly what “island to the south of us” he was talking about.  But he remained silent for a little while more.  He was talking up this great little island, how we’d probably fit right in with the people who lived there… and he went on and on about all of this, with me, like a dunce, just lapping it all up.

Finally, Bill had had enough, and down he came and told this guy to just go… get out of our house!  I thought he was just being rude… and finally he convinced the guy to get out.  Then he told me why.  The guy was trying to recruit us to become spies or something like that… just as John Brennan talked about in the video above… and he’d done his homework!  They knew all kinds of things about us… mentioned people we knew… HIS cat had had cancer (yeah, right!) and there were many other things, too.

I asked what island he was talking about, and Bill said “Cuba, of course!”  He was recruiting us.

I was quite shaken by this.  But because Bill was so adamant that he leave us alone… he did… we failed his test of good specimens for “The Cause” I guess.  Scratch them off the list.  Move on to more unsuspecting suckers.


So that’s my story and how we escaped becoming just some more statistics in the never-ending world of political high espionage and intrigue.

And the reason I tell this story here is that what John Brennan said was so true and I can attest to it because it happened to me once, way back in time, in what seems like another lifetime.

So if you don’t already do it, and you want to learn more about what’s really going on in this topsy-turvy political world we live in, tune in to The Rachel Maddow Show every weeknight at 9 pm EST on MSBNC.  It’s a whole education and it’s free!  (except for the exorbitant cable fees they charge now-a-days.)

Cheers,

Bex & Co.

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(Our little townhouse outside Bloomington, IN (the one with the black trim around the door) where all this intrigue took place, just inside that door! )

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(above, me around the time this all took place)

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