Et tu, Cabbage?

So the Amazing Keyboarding Vegetable has one of his standard, weaselly, more-in-pity-than-anger columns up about When Good Governments Go Bad. A sample:

It’s hard to tell now if the I.R.S. scandal is political thuggery or obliviousness. It would be one thing if the scandal is just a group of tax people targeting the most antitax groups in the country. That’s just normal, run-of-the-mill partisan antipathy.

It would be far worse if the senior workers of the I.R.S. have become so isolated by their technocratic task that they didn’t even recognize that using the search term “Tea Party” was going to be a moral and political problem. If that’s the case, then the members of the I.R.S. leadership are suffering from a tunnel vision that turns outside reality into abstractions. When government workers lose touch with the normal human context of their job, that’s when the real horror show commences.

But it’s not really hard to tell now, because the IG report found that when upper management found out what the Cincinnati staffers were up to, upper management ordered them to stop. To give the Cabbage credit, he is silent on the issue of Benghazi emails, which may signal some parts of the Republican establishment are ready to shut up about them.

On the very same editorial page today, the editorial board of the New York Times writes,

The Internal Revenue Service, according to an inspector general’s report, was not reacting to political pressure or ideology when it singled out conservative groups for special scrutiny in evaluating requests for tax exemptions. It acted inappropriately because employees couldn’t understand inadequate guidelines.

Here it gets juicy —

But reality simply isn’t solid enough to hold back the vast Republican opportunism on display this week. Whatever cranky point Republicans had been making against President Obama for the last five years — dishonesty, socialism, jackbooted tyranny — they somehow found that these incidents were exactly the proof they had been seeking, no matter how inflated or distorted.

“This is runaway government at its worst,” Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, said at a Tea Party news conference on Thursday about the I.R.S. scandal. “Who knows who they’ll target next.” Representative Michele Bachmann knew. Standing next to Mr. McConnell, she said the I.R.S.’s next target would obviously be the religious beliefs of people seeking health insurance.

For Senator Mike Lee of Utah, these incidents proved that the federal budget has to be cut even more deeply. “We need to return it to a simpler, more manageable government,” he said, “because that’s the only way that we’re ever going to prevent things like this from happening.”

There are no “things like this,” beyond a coincidence of bad timing. But they do have one thing in common: when bound together and loudly denounced on cable television and in hearings, they serve to obscure the real damage that Republicans continue to do to the economy and the workings of government.

Now, you and I already know this. But compare/contrast to the way media acted during the endless Whitewater/Monica investigations. CBS News has actually said that Republicans provided “doctored” versions of White House emails to make the White House look bad. And the report didn’t tack “Democrats do it too” at the end. At least some parts of national media are not helping Republicans cover their butts for a change.

27 thoughts on “Et tu, Cabbage?

  1. maha,
    With all due respect, please stop comparing cabbages to Bobo.
    They’re far smarter, and more useful – especially in borscht, which I’ll be making tomorrow.

    And you’ve got to almost feel sorry for the Congressional Republicans.
    They were right in one regard – it turns out that there really IS a scandal in regard to Benghazi.
    Only, it wasn’t a “cover-up” by the Executive Branch.
    It was the “make-over” by our Conservative Cujo Congresscritters.

    And, they can’t make much out of the AP story, because they were the ones who goaded the Justice Department into doing what it did.

    And with the IRS, the ONLY group that got denied, was a Liberal one. There was an understandable delay, as the IRS had to check what was permissible, and from whom.

    And the fact that the Pee-Potty groups didn’t get their tax exemptions lickety-split, is that, on top of Republican-led budget and staff cuts at the IRS, the “5 Horsemen of the Apocalypse” on the SCOTUS, opened up the sluice gates to drown the poor IRS bastards in paper applications after the Citizens United decision.

    Look, we’ve known since at least Watergate that these Conservative boobs were totally incompetent.

    But today’s assclowns can’t even get out of the clown-car without de-pantsing themselves, and showing the entire world what a bunch of ‘bums’ and assholes they are.

  2. Hallelujah! I was so thrilled to see someone finally raising the obvious question that I’m even willing to overlook the misuse of the expression “beg the question.” I was actually kind of surprised to read this in the paper today:

    The Internal Revenue Service is under fire for giving extra scrutiny to conservative organizations that asked for tax-exempt status. But the scandal begs a broader question: Why are political organizations getting this government subsidy anyway?

  3. Oh, and this is low hanging fruit, but I couldn’t resist: When New York Times columnists lose touch with the normal human context of their job, that’s when the real horror show commences.

  4. Oh, and one last thing on Booooooooooobo, the man who makes stumps look like Mensa members – most of his columns involve taking the faults of the Bush mis-adminstration, and projecting them onto Obama’s.
    Here’s the “tell” in his latest screed:
    “We clearly have a values problem in the federal government. We clearly have a few or many agencies where the leaders don’t emphasize that workers need to check themselves, or risk losing what remains of the people’s trust.”
    Uhm… Boooobostiltskin, did you sleep through “the oughts,” only to awaken in January of 2009?

    All of his columns are full of references to people and quotes, using them fancy-schmancy 5 duller SAT words, in his never ending attempt to disguise the fact that, on top of not being any too bright – in the words of that great philosopher Woody Allen – Booooobo is “jejune”
    From “Love and Death:”
    “That’s jejune? You have the temerity to say that I’m talking to you out of jejunosity?”

    And in all of his “Odes to Bartlett’s Quotations” columns, Booobo, whether or not he’s projecting, starts off his columns with some sort of “either-or/right-wrong” premise – and you know which side he’s on right away – and then commences to fighting “The Good Conservative Fight” against all sorts of Liberal straw-men who dwell in Green windmills (sometimes with his trusty sidekick Sancho Douthat, at his side), until he “wins!”
    Proving,” at least in his own Higgs-Boson particle-sized mind, that after presenting all of the straw-men he has killed, that it is he who was right after all.

    The only explanation for his continued employment at the NY Times, is he must have some hellacious pictures of his bosses in all kinds of sexually explicit positions with barnyard animals, and/or sea creatures.

  5. Compare/contrast to the way media acted during the endless Whitewater/Monica investigations. CBS News has actually said that Republicans provided “doctored” versions of White House emails to make the White House look bad. And the report didn’t tack “Democrats do it too” at the end. At least some parts of national media are not helping Republicans cover their butts for a change.

    I know; shocking! And I say that without sarcasm.

    I think parts of the MSM are waking up to the long-term national damage inherent in the GOP’s strategy of alternating do-nothing attrition and fake-email sabotage. “Just say no,” as Mrs. Reagan used to say.

  6. Now, imagine if a democrat had taken an official document, which is what these emails are, and altered it. Imagine if, during the run up to the Iraq War, a democrat had gotten access to state department emails, altered them, and then leaked them, and used the altered emails to push a political agenda. There would be calls for criminal investigations, all kinds of “what did they know, and when did they know it,” “worst than Watergate” Nixonian references. The media would come down hard on the dems, and run breathless “scandal” stories 24/7, for days if not weeks. The original issue would all but be forgotten, and the focus would be on the fabrications. It would be dubbed “Email-gate.”

    This seems like a big deal that official documents were not only leaked, but altered to push a political agenda. But I guess unless the dems are willing to push it, it won’t have a chance of becoming a “scandal.”

  7. First of all, I’m going to admit I have NO love for the Infernal Revenue Service. I had a run in with them in 1974 that still makes my blood boil. In ’74, I was working as a “rod buster” on sand Key, making $6.50 per hr. I quit my job in early May, I married my girlfriend, and we headed to Los Angeles, where I attended a commercial diving school.I did not have any earned income from about May 7 through the end of the year.
    I did have a rather large casuality loss due to the rental property I was living in catching fire, and destroying practically all of my personal posessions.
    I filed a “long form” that year, and the large casuality loss in relation to the small income threw up a “flag” for the IRS. The fuckers audited me, and determioned I owed them $90.00 plus penalities and interest. At the time, my wife and I were living in a crappy apartment in the barrio, and just scraping by.The total was about $150.00, but at the time, it felt like $20,000.00.
    I ran afoul of the IRS 2 more times over the next 20 years, and they were very unpleasant, the agents were hostile to say the least, and not too bright besides.
    If you wish to set up a not for profit organization, be prepared to deal with hostile and not so bright people who are just itching to cause you grief; that’s who you will be playing with.

  8. ‘Gulag, how about sharing your Borscht recipe? I just bought some beets after watching Dr Oz’s show touting the power of beets to moderate Blood Pressure.

  9. “When government workers lose touch with the normal human context of their job, that’s when the real horror show commences.”

    Considering it’s a Bobo column, my first thought was to replace “government workers” with “journalists”.

  10. erinyes… Making $6.50 an hour in 74 you were high on the hog.. I was making $5.00 an hour as a Carpenter and I thought I had arrived. Minimum wage was $2.00 an hour in 74. Those are the good old days when you’d make $35.00 a day and feel like a champ. Now because of Bush I’m not even making $35.00 a day, and needless to say I certainly don’t feel like a champ.

  11. Congressman Dan Burton’s office investigated alleged campaign finance violations from Bill Clinton’s 1996 reelection campaign. His office released an audiotape of a doctored transcript of former Clinton aide Webster Hubbell. The aide was fired and Burton forced by members on both sides of the aisle to publicly apologize. There were calls for Burton to resign.

    Dan Rather was given a fake letter purporting to be proof of W having gone AWOL while in the Air National Guard. Rather assumed it had been properly vetted, went on the air with it. After much outrage, sturm and drang, Dan Rather was canned.

    Fast forward to today:

    Heretofore unknown republican aide doctors emails to show “proof” of a cover up in the Benghazi “scandal,” and gives them to ABC.

    ABC’s Jonathan Karl goes on the air with damning evidence in “explosive” emails proving a cover up and malfeasance in the Benghazi “scandal,” giving it “legs” it did not have before. White House releases the real emails, proving the “explosive evidence” Karl reported on was ginned up.

    No one is calling for the resignations of Karl, the aide or the congressman the aide worked for, to resign.
    Nixon infamously said, “When the President does it, it’s not illegal.”

    To fit the times we can change that to say, when a republican does it, it’s acceptable.

    And so much for the “liberal media.”

    • We don’t know the Rather letter was faked. The argument that the letter had been created with Word had serious flaws that no one would listen to at the time. The truth is that it more likely was created by a 1970s-era electric typewriter. However, without an original there is no way to know if the letter was faked or not, so it was extremely careless of Rather to use it.

  12. erinyes,
    Here we go.
    Russian/Ukrainian Borscht – or, at least, MY version of it:
    (Meat is optional, but if you’re going to use meat, beef or pork ribs, or neck bones, are terrific – one of the keys, is some kind of major bones, for calcium). If you go vegetarian, you may want to start with some vegetable broth – but it’s not necessary, since this is essentially, full of veggies.
    -Put a HUGE pot of water on the stove, and fill it with cold water. Throw in some bay leaves (to taste – I like a lot), salt, and pepper corns – I use about 8-10.
    -Take meat, and season it – I use salt, pepper, paprika, and onion and garlic powder.
    -Heat some vegetable oil in a skillet, make sure it’s meat-searing hot.
    -Put meat in skillet, and brown it on all sides.
    -Take browned meat, and put it in the pot, and start to boil water over low to medium heat. Put in a few tablespoons of vinegar (whatever’s handy is fine – except Balsamic – we’re Slavic – not from the Mediterranean).
    -Bring to a simmer – NOT A BOIL!!! – and allow meat to simmer for at least 3 hours: this leaches the bones of all of the calcium and minerals – that’s what the vinegar is for, btw.
    Don’t forget to keep skimming!
    After a few hours, take the same skillet – unwashed, or lightly rinsed – and put a little more oil in, if needed, add some red pepper flakes to taste and some salt and black pepper, and take as much celery, carrots, beets (canned is fine – fresh-peeled is better), onions, and garlic, as much as you’d like, and start to sautee them. Begin with the sliced carrots (slice it at thick as you’d like, I like them fairly thick) – you almost want to brown them a little. After a few minutes, throw in the cut celery, then, the beets. And as they’re almost ready, throw in the diced onions. As the onions soften, throw in the sliced or diced garlic – don’t let it burn! (I like about 6 -8 large cloves – I prefer sliced – but not too thick).
    -After at least three hours, the broth should now be ready, and the meat, soft and tender.
    -Take the meat out, put in the veggies, and whatever herbs you like – not too heavy on the Mediterranean, remember?
    -Give the veggies about a half-an-hour to simmer (again – NOT a boil). Thinly slice cabbage (I take the core, quarter it, and throw it back in the borscht), and throw that in.
    -Dice some potato’s – whatever kind you like, again, as thick as you like. Just like with the carrot’s, don’t peel them (also, don’t cut the fibers off the celery, like some people do).
    -Btw – canned, or soaked fresh beans at this point – red, pink, or white – are ALL great! And they make this almost a complete meal – though, they’re not necessary – except maybe for vegetarians, looking for some protein.

    -Let it cook for a about 15 minutes, until the potato’s are nearly soft.
    -Take a small can of tomato paste, and sautee that in a skillet in some oil.
    -After a few minutes, either add a can or two of plain tomato sauce (or, do what I do, and take a large can of whole plum tomato’s, and squish it in your hands – be careful for “blow-back!”). Sautee it over medium heat for at least 5 minutes.
    -When the potato’s are almost ready, add the tomato’s (if you add the tomato’s before the potato’s, then they will be hard), add the sautee’d tomato paste and sauce. I add a little bit of ketchup, for some sweetness and kick! (Hot sauce, too, if you like!) 🙂
    -Add some frozen, of sliced green, red, or yellow peppers after that.

    -In the last few minutes, add the meat (if you used any) back to warm it up, and throw in some fresh dill (the more, the merrier), and parsley.
    -Take off the heat, set aside, and let it cool for a few minutes.

    Serve with either sour cream, or yogurt.
    You can put the meat in the soup, or, serve it as a main course.
    We usually eat the borscht with some thick pumpernickel or rye bread, with a lot of butter (and, *sigh* salt and pepper).
    And, the most important thing at the end, is copious shots of vodka!
    Dessert, is usually – MORE VODKA!!!

    Btw – you can do pretty much this same recipe as a summer soup, or course, using fish – and or fish heads.
    Substitute the meat with fish, coated in flour, salt and pepper, fry it, and add it at the end, after the veggies;
    Serve cool, like gazpacho, with some thick pumpernickel or rye bread, copious amount of butter, and either slices of green, red, or regular, onion, with some salt and pepper.

    Borscht tastes better with each time you re-heat it.
    And, the old expression, which I definitely disagree with – ‘The better the borsch, the less the beatings.”
    But, for you women out there with abusive hubbies/boyfriends out there – this is something to keep in the back of your minds.
    Along with the thought of, not cooling the hot, simmering borscht at the end, but throwing in on the assholes lap.

    Btw – this is delicious if it’s frozen, and then heated up, too. And then, too, the more it’s reheated, the better it is.

    I have to make our dinner now, but, if I see any glaring mistakes, I’ll post them tomorrow.


  13. WOW! Thanks for the recipe,’Gulag!
    I’ll have to put making it on hold ’till next weekend,’sounds pretty involved.

    Yeah, Swami; Rod busters were pretty well paid; I heard the work described as being “ghastly”.Especially so on a hot summer afternoon on Sand Key. The crane operator and our crew welder made a buck or two more, but the money was great when I was 19 and I could actually bank money every week. I had a small house I was renting with 2 friends; my share was $30.00 per month.Those were the days!

  14. “It’s hard to tell now if the I.R.S. scandal is political thuggery or obliviousness”

    Yeah was it directed by that colored fella in the white house or just an innocent mistake by the IRS?

  15. “It’s hard to tell now if the I.R.S. scandal is political thuggery or obliviousness”

    Yeah was it a black guy or just IRS critters?

  16. erinyes,
    It’s really not that complicated – the only time consuming thing is straining off any fat (which, if you don’t use meat – or, leaner meat – doesn’t really take much time), and cutting the veggies.

    And remember, though this might take some time, it IS pretty much the whole meal – at least the first day – after that, you can use it as a soup/appetizer/first couse. All you need is some good bread, with some butter or oil, and you’re done! If you can eat more than two bowls of this, then you might want to consider entering the hot-dog eating contest closest to you.
    Btw – roasted beets are the best.

    There are as many variations of borscht as there are people. Some people use a lot of tomato’s, some less, some not at all – mine’s kind of in between. A lot depends on how flavorful (fatty) the meat is.

    You can also add some vegetable or beef or pork cubes (or powder), to enhance the flavor – again, it depends on how flavorful the meat is. You can easily make this with a lean meat, like a small pork loin – bone, or no bone, attached. Then, you don’t have to cook the meat as long, especially if there’s no bone to leach minerals from – though, the longer that lean cut stays in, the better the taste, and the softer the meat.

    Some people add sour kraut, either a little, or a lot – with, or, instead of the cabbage. If I do, I taste it first, and if it’s very sour, I sautee it for a while in a few drops of oil, and add a teaspoon or two of sugar while I’m stirring, then add it to the pot.

    You can experiment with local products. And if you do, and it tastes good, then share that back with me. 🙂
    There’s almost no way, anyone can screw borscht up – the can only improve it.

    Also too – you can make this is a crock-pot, if you like. I’d still brown the meat, and sautee the veggies, but that’s me. I know it’ll still taste great, ’cause that’s what my sister does sometimes.

    Oh, and the old saying, which I definitely disagree with, is, “The HARDER you beat your wife, the better the borscht.”
    Whoever thought up that one, probably was a ‘Darwin Award’ winner – even before Darwin was born.
    Who thinks like that?
    Never mind. I know who.

    Also three, and last – borsch is great with pirozhki’s, which are either fried, or baked, dough, with different fillings – usually, some left-overs. We do ours either stuffed with some browned meat and onion, some cabbage and boiled egg (my fave), browned meat with sour kraut, just sour kraut, mushrooms, buckwheat (pre-cooked), rice and meat, etc.
    Like I said – leftovers.
    If you like something, wrap it in a sourdough biscuit, and fry it for a few minutes, or bake it, and believe me – you’ll love it more!

  17. Thanks,’Gulag.I’m excited about trying your recipe.You write with passion,so it must be great.

  18. Gulag, my borscht recipe is pretty much same as yours except: diced turnips instead of potatoes, garlic dill pickle juice instead of vinegar, and served with sour cream AND minced fresh dill.

    Only other difference is, instead of fresh beets, I add 2 16oz cans of shoestring beets same time as 1/2 head of cabbage, cook just until cabbage is soft, then remove from heat and add an additional 16oz can of shoestring beets. I do this because it seems to keep the veggies from merging together into a single flavor. But mostly just because I like the taste of canned beets.

    Now you’ve gone and done it, Gulag, I’m drooling on my keyboard. Gotta run off now and buy some turnips and beets.

  19. Muldoon,
    Sounds great!
    Dill pickle juice, huh? Interesting – but I’m afraid to deviate. My Mom likes borscht this particular way, since she grew-up with it – this is her mother’s recipe, mostly.

    I’ve also made mine with turnips instead of, or with, potato’s.
    And we also usually have some fresh dill and parsley, to put on the sour cream we’re adding to the borscht at the end.
    The stores near us don’t sell shoestring beets, but that does sound good!

    When the weather warms up, we like the fish borscht cool (not cold). Served with good pumpernickel or rye bread, butter, slices of raw onion on top of the b&b, salted and peppered.

    And then, there’s the cold summer borscht (kind of like a Russian beet gazpacho) with canned beets and beet juice, lemon juice and slices, with sliced cucumbers, sliced boiled potato’s, green onion, minced hard-boiled egg, parsley, a fistful of dill, and sour cream.
    It’s like a liquid salad.
    CHEAP!!! And super easy to make!

  20. muloon,
    Let me tell you, that summer borsch it probably my personal favorite out of all of them.
    Just get the canned beets you like, and don’t drain the juice, and use that for the soup. It’s kind of thick, so you might want to add some water – though, to my taste, I like it beety and thick.
    We either have whole or sliced, but the shredded ones you have available would be SOOOOOOO much better, because I have to cut mine into what are, basically, shreds.

    Also, the way we do it, is, once you’ve shredded the beets, and flavored the juice with either lemon juice (and lemon slices – either full, or half-moon) or vinegar, with some salt and pepper, you throw the diced cuke’s in, the scallions, the dill and parsley, cover with plastic, and leave that to get cold in the fridge for a few hours, and for the flavors to marinate and meld (if you overdo the lemon or vinegar, or just prefer this a tad sweeter, just add some sugar, a little bit at a time).

    Just before we’re ready to serve, we dice the cold, boiled, potato’s into small pieces (with the skin, like I like it, or without it), and put them in a separate dish, which will be served alongside a bowl of sour cream or yogurt, as well as others with some dill, and parsley.
    This way, the left-overs can be kept, separate, in the fridge. And, like regular borscht, gets better the next day. If you mix it all together, the potato’s get kind of tough – it’s not that they’re bad at all, but, that’s my families preference. Sometimes, I mix the left-overs together, and leave them in the fridge. It still tastes great.
    And let me know how you liked it.

  21. erinyes,
    Yeah, NICE!
    Too bad it’s fiction.

    Can you imagine Brian Williams saying that?
    Or even UpChuck Todd?
    About 2 seconds after the producers understood what was being said, there’d be a test-pattern on the screen (you younger folks, raised on 24 X 7 X 365 TV, ask your parents or grandparents what a test-pattern, was), and the teleprompter reader who said it would be bodily pulled from the set, and taken to the nearest office.

    There, s/he’d be given his/her termination papers, and told they need to tell everyone that they retired – to spend more time with their families, or whatever BS excuse sounded plausible.
    And then told, that if word ever go out, there could be no guarantees of the safety of any family members – ESPECIALLY, any children

    There’s a reason 90% of our MSM is owned by 5 or 6 wealthy individuals and/or corporations.
    And that reason is, that supposedly, “We the people,” ‘CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!!!’

    Because if we knew the truth, 5 or 6 wealthy individual and/or corporations, wouldn’t be allowed to own 90% of our MSM – and would, instead of heading MSM companies, be worried about their heads.
    For all of Roger Ailes paranoia, he’s right to rigorously guard his security. He’s earned that right by spreading his own personal fears, hatreds, and paranoia, on the network he controls for one of the worlds richest individuals – Ruppert Murd(er)och.

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