Hobby Lobby: Deny religious freedom

July 18, 2014

The SCOTUS Hobby Lobby decision is better than two weeks old.  I withheld commenting on it until now, because 1.  “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” would eventually make fun of it.  And 2. Robert Herold of “The Inlander” would eventually weigh in on it.  Of course of the latter, Mr. Herold gives us a number of SCOTUS decisions about what the “establishment” clause could be interpreted to mean by the various Supreme Court cases.  With the Hobby Lobby (corporation against covering birth control through insurance) case:  the original James Madison argument about individual religious freedom has been set aside.  Now, corporations should have this “religious freedom” and all the greed and abuse that can come with it as a consequence.  Thus, the Jason Jones riff on the Hobby Lobby SCOTUS decision, by appearing pantless on the stage.  The Jason Jones “corporation”… can have that sincerely held belief of going without suit pants.  As outrageous as it might seem to some or however offensive it might be regarded by others, when you look at what is possible through the current “religious freedom” argument, then Mr. Jones had actually nailed it.  What could you not do through the claim of “religious freedom,” to engage in all of the acts that would otherwise be deemed as immoral?  BP not cleaning up that oil spill that damaged the coastlines of Louisiana and etc. because it would have been against their “religious principles?”  Why not?  Capital One and other banks seeking redress from being heavily fined by the Federal Board of Consumer Protection, by arguing that their “religious freedom” is at the basis for obtaining some highly unethical and immoral profits.  “Religious freedom” as the basis for failing to comply with federal banking laws.  The SCOTUS allocated “freedom” to basically screw with your employees or customers, was made a done deal with the Alito majority opinion.

In today’s highly politicized religion, the first principle seems to be all about ignorance.  Yes, you can say of the Apostle Paul that he wanted Christian women to bear children for their own salvation.  However, had he known more about the medical factors behind women bearing too many children; would the Apostle Paul have truly argued that a woman was “saved” through dying in child birth?  Or would it have been possible, that his Christian argument really would have been about, “doing no harm?”  If men and women, bond and free are equal before Jesus; then the SCOTUS decision doesn’t uphold  an already existing biblical moral principle.  No more than Hobby Lobby would have intended to.  So, found in Robert Herold’s opinion column was this specific eye opening quote:  “Contraception is health care.  OCOS, cancer, endrometriosis,excessive bleeding (from which I suffer and for which the only treatment other than a hysterectomy for me was an IUD), irregular periods… all are treated with hormones delivered via contraception and/or the devices that [Hobby Lobby] objected to…”  From a letter to the editor by a reader of “The Economist.”  Of course there is more concerning this quoted letter, with regard to men getting their Viagra covered through insurance.  But the point is really about corporations or societies being allowed to create an inequality, that quite frankly the Apostle Paul was supposed to have objected to.  We aren’t all equal before God it seems, if men can have their personal vanities covered by insurance.  But women’s essential health care needs, ought not be covered at all. 

So let us continue the ignorance argument one step further, by the fact that letter writers to the Coeur d’Alene Press objected to various birth control measures (because the words birth control is something they have a religious objection to).  Apparently, doing the research and getting yourself educated isn’t an option for some people.  Just claim “religious freedom” as a reason to neither accept facts or evidence, such as was published in the letter to a magazine, partially quoted above.  That would also mean, not accepting the facts and evidence found in one’s own bible.

 I recall Solomon telling his readers, that you can’t take your wealth with you when you die.  It is a property that would ultimately be distributed to others.  Hobby Lobby is not a “person” who can die, it is a commercial enterprise that simply could go out of business at some point.  It is the individuals who are its CEOs, CFOs, board of directors down to managers and employees of a franchise business who could die, because we are all mortal here.  But the corporation would go on, as long as there is a compelling interest to maintain it.  But then, corporations were not known in Solomon’s time.  They are in fact a fairly new idea in the vast panoply of history.  But I am sure that if the modern era corporation did exist in the time of King Solomon, his comments about wealth being a property that you could not take with you upon death; he would regard as still relevant when it came to the people founding for profit commercial enterprises.  Especially if that profit came at the expense of customers or employees, it would still be a wealth you could not take with you when you died.  Even further, Jesus the Anointed One had no use for rich men.  So, what does that bode as news for Hobby Lobby where the CEO, CFO, board of directors use “religion” as a means to become more profitable, and at the expense of a select group of employees?  I am sure that the Jesus “they suddenly believe in” would disagree with their point of view.

Entitlements as defined more than forty years ago:  giving someone a title, a right, or furnishing the grounds to lay claim; is the SCOTUS decision re Hobby Lobby in a nutshell.  But to provide such an entitlement to Hobby Lobby is to deny a right to someone else.  Interesting that the GOP once called something like that “liberalism.”  Steal from Peter in order to pay Paul.  Until of course, it became the liberalism that Hobby Lobby could take advantage of.  Steal from Janice in order to achieve, even greater profits up the chain of command.

There is no excuse for this

July 11, 2014

I have a Facebook friend who is a fellow Druid, he shared some cop versus animal horror stories with me.  A litter of kittens being shot point blank by a guy with a badge.  His witnesses are children who must have loved those kittens very much.  Were the kittens a nuisance, did they pose a threat to human neighbors?  Were those kittens a threat to the police officer?  Or was he the kind of guy who thought that by wearing a badge, his badge was a sufficient  excuse for his otherwise pug ugly behavior. 

Another scenario, dog is in a fenced in yard, the dog owner’s children are in the yard with the dog.  Was the dog barking?  Were the kids playing with the dog?  Was the dog a nuisance or a threat to the neighbors or the approaching cop?  Well, this latter scenario was that the cop got out of his patrol car and shot the dog in the face.  The homeowner had every right to be upset, because the cop could have easily nailed one of her children.

Facebook is where I heard all the gory details.  And where my fellow Druid could chase down these stories and post these links, then I have no doubt that my readers can do the same.

Before I continue with the rest of this post, I no longer have dogs.  I keep my cats, what I have of them, safely inside my mobile home.  My pets are no nuisance or a threat to anyone.  So, my neighbors would have no cause to complain about my pets ever being in their yards and causing problems.  So far, I have heard no complaints because I try to be a responsible owner.

However, we now have a scenario here in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho where the officer involved made some bizarre excuses for why he shot a dog locked inside some guy’s van down at Java on Sherman.  The window was only rolled down just enough for the dog to get fresh air.  What ever the cop did when approaching this van, he certainly set the dog to barking.  The after the fact excuses the cop made later, but he had to shoot through the window to kill the dog.  The photos appeared on Facebook.  The dog was restrained, the dog was no immediate threat, the officer still shot the dog.  From what I understand, the cop also took off with the dead dog.  He or she didn’t hang around for long enough to explain why it was thought necessary to kill a pet safely locked in a van.

No, I am not a police officer. But if this were a “suspect van” in a child luring case, I would assume that the cop would follow the necessary protocol and run the plates.  And as long as this van was in the Java on Sherman parking lot, the cop might have to just assume the owner was inside the establishment and contact him directly.  Did that happen, no.  Had it happened that way, the Coeur d’Alene Police Department would not now be facing a lawsuit.  Nor do you just kill an animal inside someone’s car where the windows are partially rolled down.  If you thought the animal was suffering: time to run the plates, get the help of animal control, find the owner and have something legal to say about his particular irresponsible conduct.  And from my understanding also of the situation, it would have been impossible for that cop to not know a dog was in that van.  I have walked past many a pickup, car, and van that had someone’s pets inhabiting it.  The dogs seeing my approach begin barking, even lunging.  They will scrabble up against the windows, clawing like crazy.  If they could, they’d follow you around while still in that car, barking or yapping like crazy.  You can be up to two feet away from that vehicle in question, and the dogs will immediately alert on you.  So, the police officer(?) would be well past the “I was startled” claim, by the time he pulled the trigger on a dog. 

The Coeur d’Alene Press page on Facebook had a number of posts from people rightfully outraged by what happened.  It could have been their pets, or even their children.  Others were trying to excuse the cop and lay all the blame on the pet’s owner, I regard the latter as no great surprise.  But it is social media, and news carries very fast here.  It is very possible to find the kinds of links my Druid friend found, and bring the info to the attention of others.  If he can, and you have to get on the internet somehow to post comments to the CDA Press page, then so can you.  Ignorance about other similar incidents is not an excuse.

NWCN discussed the CDA Police Department getting threatening phone calls.  This specific incident was reported on from Los Angeles, California to London, England.  At one time, the Aryan Nations gave the state of Idaho a black eye.  Now it is the cops, who apparently have nothing better to do, who are looking for an excuse to cause trouble.  Not all cops by any means.  But even a few cops gone rogue can give their respective departments a black eye and an international embarrassment, if nothing is Ultimately done about them.

Define respect: it is weakness and dependency?

July 3, 2014

On Facebook, he goes by the name of “Republicans for Liberty.”Once he has identified himself in this manner, then it is on to attack anyone and everyone in the most childish manner possible. First he posts the typical Republican talking points about what and whom he assumes to be a liberal. Then he projects that very argument onto people, whom as I recall, have not made such an argument themselves. All well and good, but if you are going to spout the words, you need to own the words. There is no one else who is making this claim but you.

It first began with a Matt Laur(?) asking “gender questions” of the new CEO of GM. You know GM, the car company that hit the skids over some dangerously defective automobiles that were ultimately not reported on or recalled until this year. The lady CEO in question has a tough job ahead of her. Between Congressional investigations, thorough investigations into her company’s practices, I highly doubt that she is a “weak or dependent” woman needing someone to sustain her, in getting GM straightened out. If she thought she could not have handled the job, she would not have applied for it. Did Mr. Laur take that into respect? I don’t believe so. Nor do I believe that any argument for demanding respect, puts you in the way of making a misogynistic argument. Nor is it an argument that the woman is “weak and dependent” if she doesn’t receive well earned respect from the news media. If Mr. Laur had been the recipient of a gender related question, I am sure it would have bothered him immensely. Nor would anyone have said that he or his supporters were “emotional, hysterical,” etc. for taking umbrage at the treatment Mr. Laur received. That being the case, then respect is something that you pay forward.

Then it was on to Hobby Lobby and the fact, that SCOTUS basically renamed it a church with its “birth control” decision. I don’t recall a biblical scripture that ever argued that corporations were now houses of God. However, I have read scriptures regarding business practices that effectively say, don’t cheat your employees or your customers. As for the biblical argument regarding birth control, when God became angry at the antics of his chosen people, well children both “born and unborn” could be slaughtered like anyone else. The scriptures are full of that kind of wrath of God. How the co-owners want the believe is fine by me. The church they choose to go to, is also fine by me. It is also my choice to not become Hobby Lobby’s customer. Where it is possible for that corporation’s employees to find work somewhere else, with a company or corporation that treats them with better respect, then they should. Otherwise, as found on Facebook, I know of plenty of people who will make a mockery of that decision. Such as “J.C. Penney asks for a SCOTUS decision to sacrifice its employees to appease Cthulhul.” Hobby Lobby is already prepared to sacrifice its employees “in the name of religion” for purposes of pure profit. Soon after that decision was made, Antonin Scalia tried to justify his own decision in this. Declaring that companies can only succeed by way of their Christian virtues. Okay! I don’t recall that greed is a virtue under any category. CEOs being paid some thousand times more than their employees, as actually being a virtue. Customers having to buy cheap (and easily breakable) imported products, in order that the CEO can pad his own off shore bank account, is a virtue. But we’ll just limit this argument to “birth control” and we are good. You prohibit a female employee from getting certain types of health coverage or insurance because you have a “religious argument” against it, only you make it impossible for that same employee to actually support herself on good hours and wages, that’s not a virtue. It definitely isn’t Christian and Scalia doesn’t know what he is talking about. That’s why this “Christian virtue” is limited to the shallow argument of “birth control.”

So having worked himself up into a rage while spouting the talking points which “Republicans for Liberty” projected unto others, I handed the item he wanted to sell me back to him. You said the words, own them. You deride by your own interpretation, what you think is the political views of someone else. Therefore, you need to look in the mirror for that. The more of what you claim is the problem of someone else, the more it looks like you are the one who actually has that particular flaw. It looks like you, because no one else is standing there proving that you are right. I understand that projection is a medical disorder. It has become quite the political disorder as well.

A history of disagreement

June 26, 2014

Last Wednesday 18 June 2014, a C.R. Becker had a letter published in the Coeur d’Alene Press.  One of two main points to be addressed here, was Becker’s claim that God’s word trumps governments and the laws of government.  The second main point, was his hand wringing over the 55 million abortions, regardless of the hows, whys, or even the circumstances for which those medical procedures might be performed.  That was right along with his “critiquing” certain writers, who also had published letters to the editor.  Which led to my also sending an e-mail letter to the same newspaper.  It was published yesterday on 25 June 2014.  From the Tanakh (Jewish bible) I selected Jeremiah 20:14—18, Job 10:1—22, and also Hosea 14:1.  In two scriptures a prophet and a rich man wish to have died before they were born.  In Hosea, it involved God ordained violence against a people who defied Him.  That is, a total wasting of life, from adults to infants, and pregnant women besides.  Considering that these scriptures, and others much like them, can be found in the Old Testament to the New (Jesus the Anointed One said at one point, “Woe unto pregnant women and nursing mothers…”).   Well, then these biblical texts portray God in a way, that the churches quite frankly will disagree with.  I think that is the problem, when it has politically served their purpose, church leaders do disagree with God’s word.

And because there is this history of disagreement, C.R. Becker would be entirely incorrect that it is “God’s word” that trumps anything.  Rather, down through the last couple of thousand years; it has been religious dogma that seeks to trump government and the laws of government.  Dogma that is developed by church leaders to portray a God how ever they truly wish to see him.  A God as interpreted, who will justify the actions and teachings of that particular church.  Therefore, it becomes necessary to ignore certain scriptures and to distort others, in order to arrive at the conclusion that: the bible supports the dogma in question.  As far as I am concerned, that is between the church leaders and their God.  If those church leaders wish to teach a distorted view of the bible to their congregants, that’s up to them.  At the same time, it doesn’t stop any individual from cracking open a bible starting at page one, and reading it entirely through.  I had, and searched out the scriptures I knew to be in the Tanakh, to ultimately copy their contents in the e-mail that was sent to the editor.  Don’t look to me to argue with what I presented, it was already in the bible.  If you want to argue something, argue with the God who can indeed be anti-life, when waxing wrathful against those who disobey Him.

Our founding fathers often held a Deist view of the bible, or a more enlightened view of God, as they moved solidly away from what the official church of England had taught.  I think of the anti-choicers, as also having a particularly enlightened view of God.  But in their left wing case, they are literally telling God how He must agree with their specific political positions.  Now if the bible is inspired by God, that is a God in history who has nothing in common with, this particularly narrow, big government oriented agenda.  Literally, because the bible can be considered in contention with such an agenda.

On another note, also found in the book of Job, “All things are possible with God.”  Evolution would indeed be on par with that scripture in Job.  Which means that creationists again disagree with their own bible.  “All things are possible with God,” means that we develop science and technology; we can run the “Cosmos” series with the late Carl Sagan and again with Neill DeGrasse Tyson.  Of course we can.  Because, according to Job, God made it possible.  Yet on Facebook, polls taken regarding evolution in particular, the majority of those polled disagree with the book of Job, reference evolutionary science.  They disagree with this particular inspiration from God, that all things are possible.  All right, then I will be blunt in stating that not only are these creationists left wing, they are willfully ignorant about their own bibles and science.  And in Italy, seems the majority polled there, accept evolution as a fact.

Or years ago, a fellow writing to the Coeur d’Alene Press, tried to tease a wooly mammoth out of a distorted misuse of scripture, and some kind of “dinosaur” out of a distorted use of another scripture.  Scriptures found entirely in the book of Job.  Oh incidentally, the scriptures described only one beast, the behemoth.  A mythological creature whom only God could bring to heel.  As described, it suggests that this behemoth was the only recorded biblical dragon.  The description of this behemoth, would not fit that of most known dinosaur fossils.  A tour of a natural history museum, would be a sure cure for that kind of willful ignorance.  Like I said, this is about telling God to justify specific political positions.  Demanding that He support this, as the same political/religious left wingers, take their case before government.

Samuel 1 8:4—18, “All the elders of Israel assembled and came to Samuel at Ramah, and they said to him, ‘You have grown old, and your sons have not followed your ways.  Therefore appoint a king for us, to govern us like other nations.’  Samuel was displeased that they said, ‘Give us a king to govern us.’ Samuel prayed to the Lord, and the Lord replied to Samuel, ‘Heed the demand of the people in everything they say to you.  For it is not you that they have rejected; it is Me they have rejected as their king.  Like everything else they have done since I brought them out of Egypt to this day—forsaking Me and worshiping other Gods—so they are doing to you.  Heed their demand; but warn them solemnly, and tell them about the practices of any king who will rule over them.’  Samuel reported all the words of the Lord to the people, who were asking him for a king.  He said, ‘This will be the practice of the king who will rule over you:  He will take your sons and appoint them as his charioteers and horsemen, and they will serve as outrunners for his chariots.  He will appoint them as his chiefs of thousands and of fifties; or they will plow his fields, reap his harvest, and make his weapons and the equipment for his chariots.  He will take your daughters as perfumers, cooks, and bakers.  He will seize your choice fields, vineyards, and olive groves, and give them to his courtiers.  He will take a tenth part of your grain and vintage and give them to his eunuchs and courtiers.  He will take your male and female slaves, your choice young men, and your asses, and put them to work for him.  He will take a tenth part of your flocks, and you shall become his slaves.  The day will come when you cry out because of the king whom you yourselves have chosen; and the Lord will not answer you on that day’.”

Among other things, these above scriptures suggest taxes.  A tenth of a peoples’ productivity being handed over to the king.  Plus, there is a suggestion as well, the potential for corruption in seeking an earthly (secular) king over God.  I reference this particular scripture in Samuel, because in today’s political/religious world view, it seems to me that the churches are repeating a most unwelcome and burdensome history.  They reject much of what is found in the bible and they turn to government to resolve all matters of canon and dogma.  That is, the churches now.  The same people who once said, “How government wasn’t the answer for everything.”

Issues of accountability

June 17, 2014

George Nethercutt of Spokane, Washington has an editorial in “The Inlander” at least once a month.  I regard his columns as “the clock being broken most of the time,” and on rare occasions, “the clock as actually being correct.”  The latter is not one of those times.  His column, “It doesn’t add up” was written and published ahead of the GOP Idaho State Convention held in Moscow, Idaho.  So on the surface at least, Nethercutt’s latest hysterical ranting about President Obama, would seem to have nothing to do with what happened “over the weekend” at the convention.  Then again, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor found himself “out of office” in an upset victory, by an unknown “TEA Partier” David Brat.  That would be enough in itself, for Mr. Nethercutt to scream in rage at President Obama.  Or the high octane political and moral embarrassments, that various GOP in elective office have engaged in.  Again sufficient reason, to scream with pure rage at President Obama.  It is called deflection from the pressing real problems the GOP actually do have.  The more political and moral problems that are chronically turning the GOP into a non-viable political party, the more Mr. Nethercutt needs to let loose an attack on the President.  His editorial can be found in print at “The Inlander” for the week of June 12—18, 2014.  Or go to http://www.inlnader.com/

However, why don’t we start with something that Mr. Nethercutt said, how President Obama escapes accountability too easily.  Actually, I haven’t seen our President dodging accountability yet.  Compared to the last President, George W. Bush, President Obama has run a far more accountable an administration than his predecessor has.  Is he perfect, no of course not.  Anyone with a modicum of intelligence would recognize, that anyone we elect to the office of the Presidency, isn’t likely to ever be perfect.  But some Presidents we elect are better than others, some of whom we have elected in the past were far worse than their predecessors or successors, and a few that entered office at any time were jokes.  It is through the actions of our more than forty presidents, and how their political decisions affected the nation immediately and for the future, that finally would determine if it had been a grave mistake to put them into office in the first place.  In the case of President Obama, he was immediately handed the “sin eater’s” job.  That way, George W. Bush could go down in history, as the President who’d never be held to account for political and etc. wrong doing. 

What, you haven’t heard of a sin eater?  At one time, about a century or so removed from here when some family member had died; food would be laid out next to the body lying in state.  It would then become the task of the sin eater to consume that food, and send the cleansed soul on his or her way to heaven. However, you can only eat those sins just once.  Intractable or chronic problems that had long predated President Obama’s entering the Oval Office, such as what has since been reported at the various VA hospitals, isn’t a scandal only now with President Obama being in office.  The real scandal is why it wasn’t addressed maybe decades sooner.  Or the IRS presumably politically targeting “TEA Party” type groups.  When the IRS is actually doing its job, it has to fully explore whether PACs and a variety of politically motivated organizations, really would qualify for tax exemption under some kind of 501(c).  You don’t scream “scandal” if the IRS is scrutinizing you like its supposed to.  Actually, it sounds more like the people doing the screaming, have something to hide.  Or take “Open Carry Texas,” an obnoxious group of people who carry loaded assault weapons onto the premises of various restaurants and big box stores.  Never mind how they are really seen by the rest of us, this group of fools want to “make a political point” about their version of the Second Amendment.  Never mind the school shootings and the facts of serial and mass murders, that are almost routinely reported in the news these days.  “Open Carry Texas” will insist on extending the sense of threat and intimidation even further, out of absolutely no consideration for anyone.  At what point and this is exactly why restaurant and store owners don’t want them on the premises, would “Open Carry Texas” maybe cross the line.  They decide to get angry, frightened, find an excuse to go ballistic, what innocent bystander would die as a result?  So, Mr. Nethercutt in response, goes on the attack against President Obama.

What I find most hilarious, is that the balanced budget issue only comes up when a Democrat wins the presidency.  You don’t hear about it when it is a Republican in the oval office.  That is because the Democrats have long been accused of being “tax and spenders,” and therefore the onus is on them to better control their inclinations.  Meanwhile, the Republicans are known as big borrowers and spenders, with the sky being the limit.  They don’t argue “fiscal responsibility” at all, when they are in charge.  Especially that being true, throughout the unlamented George W. Bush administration.  It is the Democrats who must bear the burden of accountability, for all the political failures of the GOP.  And it is the GOP who refuse to accept accountability, for the consequences of their ideology.  At that point I stopped reading Nethercutt’s editorial, and having explored the remainder of “The Inlander” will place the weekly in with the other recyclables.  Nethercutt was simply not worth reading after that point.

Going back to the debacle in Moscow, Idaho.  I had the occasion for discussing what happened at that so-called convention, with a neighbor. It took me a few times to refer to the former Soviet Union, how much what the modern era GOP do that frequently reminds me of what went on in the Soviet Union, before I finally got his attention.  “Lock step thinking” is what he said then, and lock step thinking is what we are actually discussing here.  Say, just a matter of decades ago (as we discussed it yesterday), someone trying to get elected on a truly insane idea, would have been told that what he just blathered away about was indeed an insane idea.  Further, such a person would have been immediately dismissed as not worthy of a second look.  But with “lock step thinking,” that formerly “insane idea” is now worthy of a second and third look.  It is also worthy of political funding and the candidate’s name finally appearing on the ballot.  What it also does:  Club for Growth, “TEA Party,” Freedom Foundation, etc.; it creates the kind of debacle in the Idaho State Convention that was also ultimately reported on MSNBC.  If you thought the “Idaho Gubernatorial Debate” was a joke, this convention made the entire State of Idaho, look like the dumping grounds for the gravely insane.  The comically insane, but not a people you’d ever want to run a government.

Lock step thinking was behind Eric Cantor’s defeat.  Enough said.  In closing, there is nothing conservative about “lock step thinking.”  But there are a lot of lemming-like qualities to that way of life.  And the real conservative isn’t going to be among the lemmings.  The real conservative will stay well away from the cliff’s edge.

The out-of-touch-with-reality syndrome

June 6, 2014

I took a break from blogging for all of the last two weeks, with an understanding that there wasn’t much inspiration being found in the news, Facebook, and etc. for me to post a topic.  Well, now there are a few issues that have since made an appearance.  Robert Herold wrote an article about the Warren Court and who had made up the SCOTUS back in the 1960s.  Compared to today, when the Justices primarily come out of law school, enter the world of corporate law, then somehow enter the fast track to eventually find themselves on SCOTUS itself.  Their lives are so sheltered from the every day lives of ordinary people, or the struggles of ordinary people, that there is no question where their political ideologies must invariably lay.

It used to be called “The Ivory Tower.”  It also used to be a pejorative affixed to the old left and probably for a good reason.  What did these people know, who went to Harvard for example, about the hard and gritty reality of ordinary Americans…  Now “The Ivory Tower” status has affixed itself to the so-called “conservatives” on the present Roberts court.  Justices there, who apparently have no clue how their rulings would affect the vast majority of us, as they beneficially act on the behalf of certain special interests.  Clueless and naive, used to be the claims made against the old liberalism.  For Mr. Herold to make “The Ivory Tower” argument against the Roberts court today, maybe the Roberts court is the new leftism.  http://www.inlander.com/  For the week of June 5—11 2014.

President Obama traded five Taliban prisoners for one Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl now 28 years old.  He was returned to American custody alive, but not necessarily in good health, in the last week.  Since that time, the B.S. has surely hit the fan.  The hatred has reached the point of over-the-top vicious, since Bergdahl was returned to us.  I am neither going to mention the author’s name in the Coeur d’Alene Press’ letters nor the title of his letter.  But his long-winded rant filled with vitriol is typical of what I have also seen on Facebook.  What the fellow apparently hasn’t realized, Sgt. Bergdahl has to be investigated by the U.S. Military to determine if in fact he deserted.  Maybe he did.  If he did, then he is subject to the UCMJ and not to the court of public opinion.  The U.S. Army must satisfy itself on the facts, did six men lose their lives searching for Bergdahl, yes or no?  Did Bergdahl leave a note behind stating his intentions, yes or no?  If yes, that being the case, then we should have heard of all the circumstances of Bergdahl’s disappearance, at the time it happened.  It can’t change the outcome, we still had to get him back.  Thus, for 2 June 2014, a Jim Wright posts a comment on http://www.stonekettle.com/ about the Bergdahl issue. Also a more current 4 June 2014 followup on the same issue. He’s right, of course.  Spewing a lot of venom now about the outcome of the “prisoner swap,” changes nothing of this country’s obligations to our own people.  Regardless of the circumstances of Bergdahl’s disappearance, and if he is ultimately found to be guilty of desertion, he is still home.  That is what matters the most.

Ever hear of fictional talk radio?  It isn’t the old timey listening to the serial “The Shadow,” airing live on broadcast radio for a few minutes each day.  No, this is talk radio that purports to claim that everything being said is true.  A portion of another letter also in the Friday 6 June 2014 edition of the Coeur d’Alene Press, made the claim that illegal aliens are some how swarming our military bases: http://www.cdapress.com/  Well, now I haven’t watched the CBS Evening News all that much.  I haven’t watched the local news on KREM 2 all that much either.  But if illegal aliens were running amok on military bases, per President Obama’s orders, then I would certainly be seeing the facts of it on the various news feeds found on Facebook.  The regular news media would be all over it, if it were true.  That’s the problem, the people who can’t stand the idea that President Obama might be a “liar” regardless; listen to entertaining levels of fiction pumped out daily from talk radio.  You want to see fiction, I’ll happily sell it to you, http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_12?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=are+you+a+space+alien&sprefix=Are+you+a+sp%2Cnull%2C404.  Just $9.99 downloadable to your Kindle, Iphone or Ipad with an 18¢delivery charge.  But it is a fictional work and not factual; certainly not to be taken as gospel.  With these letter writers however, they’ll believe the line of bull coming from talk radio long before they’ll believe anything coming from government.  And while I’ll agree that lines of bull does come from the politicians of our various levels of government, typically they will spout the bull for a variety of political reasons.  What struck me in this other fellow’s letter was apparently, Senator Ted Cruz is the only politician standing up for the average American…  Actually, that sounds like a pre-2016 Presidential endorsement for Senator Cruz.  Because otherwise, the Senator Cruz I am informed about, stands for nothing except what he can attain political advantage from.  Being a Canadian import and the son of a guy who fought on the behalf of a Marxist Cuba, I doubt that Senator Cruz stands for the American people.  That is, if what I heard was true about Senator Cruz’s dad, then he is the son of a Communist.  Thus, not necessarily is Senator Cruz an acorn, that fell far from the tree.

Being a writer of fantasy and sci fi stories, I am sure I know the difference between fantasy and the real world.  The real world in which I can get sick enough from debilitating health problems, that holding down a “real job” at the age of 60, is likely beyond me.  The real world in which an Idaho State elected official named Kathy Sims(?) can vote against a crisis center for the mentally ill here in Kootenai County.  Regardless of what Proverbs 29:7 may say about the matter.  Apparently, “we can’t just spend that money on Idaho’s citizens,” kind of attitude.  But we’ll defend anti-choice laws, we’ll spend plenty of money catering to privatized educational corporations, we’ll spend plenty of money listening to the bloviating of the NRA representatives in Boise, Idaho’s state capitol.  We’ll even have the money to spare, to handle the fraud charges against privatized prisons for profit, setting up shop in Idaho.  But when it comes to making it possible for the Kootenai County Sheriff Department handling property crimes, DUI arrests, etc. instead of having to watch over a fellow with paranoid schizophrenic issues finally getting admitted to the emergency ward; suddenly the money isn’t to be found.  This was in a recent Inlander, by the way.  Or the reality of “Open Carry Texas,” where the zanies in this case can’t recognize that their own actions are the reasons why, various businesses like Chili’s don’t want them around.  Neither would I.  Yes, those kinds of realities.  Something that you won’t see the haters on Obama deigning to discuss, in any letter to the editor.

The NRA

May 21, 2014

Obviously, the following “Daily Show” link will involve much more than just a discussion of the NRA.  However, it is good that Mr. Jon Stewart “front paged” this, introducing this segment at the top of his show: http://thedailyshow.cc.com/full-episodes/z9adzb/may-20–2014—aneesh-chopra 

The original episode had aired last night.  And it was quite the revealing discussion about first, a Chipotle Restaurant in Texas asking that people openly carrying assault rifles, please leave them at home. Well, because the other customers were upset at seeing the guns being carried into the fast food restaurant.  Which I would fully understand.  On the Facebook news feeds, I am thinking this was KHQ News, the news staff wondered if Chipotle Restaurant was making the right call.  I responded, “Yes, as a private business establishment, Chipotle was well within its rights.”  Then some jackass decided to introduce the “abortion” issue re the Affordable Care Act, in response to me.  That was when I replied to his posted comment about the need to treat other people and their rights with respect.  If he could not see doing that, refused to consider it at all, then he had no business even discussing a matter that wasn’t on topic.  The next jackass that responded, then discussed the “Lubley(?) (Restaurant, I guess) Massacre.”  Trying to liberally excuse the people openly carrying assault rifles, as maybe concerned for their own safety.  As Mr. Stewart appropriately said, most people would just see such people as a “guy with a gun.”  They wouldn’t know what a “guy with a gun” might do in bringing the gun to a restaurant; like shoot them, perhaps.  Which was the case in the abovementioned massacre.

What is interesting, is that in all my years of sometimes eating at restaurants, people with a love for guns did keep them at home or on a gun rack in their pickups.  They didn’t carry their weapons into a private business especially a restaurant, period.  Now, the argument seems to have become, my rights to my toys takes precedence over any consideration of my fellow man.  It is from this motivation of pure selfishness, that an Adam Lanza can grab a legally owned weapon, kill his mother and shoot up a school full of children and six of the school staff.  If Mama Lanza bought guns for self-protection and was training her sons to use them to that end, well tragically, that isn’t what ultimately happened.

So, what about “smart weapon” technology?  That was included here as well.  Without the bracelet, even if the weapon may otherwise be loaded, the criminal breaking and entering your home can’t use your own weapon against you.  Only the highly unreasonable individual, would deride any attempt at keeping a criminal from stealing or using against you, your legally owned sidearm.  He has your gun, but you have the bracelet, he can’t use your gun to kill another person.  That would be the purpose presumably, of what smart technology would do toward the prevention of crime.  Then I guess the NRA isn’t interested in preventing crime.  At the end of this segment Jon Stewart told everyone watching his show, that the NRA had finally met its match, the NRA.  The NRA is no longer capable of holding a principled stand on anything.

You realize that when they get scared

May 10, 2014

Say, George Nethercutt, you who used to be a member of the House of Representatives and then a well-paid Washington, D.C. lobbyist; perhaps you’ll remember who it was that denigrated those government institutions.  That’s right, you can look in the mirror.  But I’ll guess you can’t handle that, so you open up a can of whoop-ass on President Obama’s butt, instead.  Or you’ll screech about Mrs. Obama’s “lavish vacations” because apparently, the GOP have finally discovered that they have nothing positive to run on by November 2014.  Benghazi is more a “problem” for Hillary Clinton than it is a problem for President Obama.  Especially when people can flatly and correctly point out that there were more lives lost, under more tragic and embarrassing circumstances during GOP administrations, than is a fact with this administration.  And you GOP shrugged your shoulders, yawned and then moved on; unconcerned that maybe other American families would have loved answers about their own lost loved ones.  To this day, they are never likely to do so.  It happened during the watch of GOP administrations, no big deal.

So, our young people from 18 to 29 have become cynical and generally lacking in hope.  Where’s the jobs?  Let us remind Mr. Nethercutt that the GOP spent a good many years saying that government can not create jobs.  Well, a heavily subsidized private sector with a whole lot of tax breaks, can’t seem to create them either.  Seems they want some kind of “certainty from government,” or some kind of “certainty that they will get customers,” before they’ll introduce new jobs.  Well, it becomes the vicious circle, of scapegoating and finger pointing that assures nothing is done, that finally leads to our young people being inundated in college debt and no certainties that they will have a good job and a stable future.  Once you look past the shallow partisan talking points that is, this is what you find to be true.  If there is no “hope” for the young people, I suspect that partisan politics does play a huge role, the rest is the consequence of human greed.

Did the Affordable Care Act produce unfulfilled promises?  Or did the insurance companies decide to go the route of the banks, trying to take advantage of the laws in the early stages, and exploit their customers where they could.  Of course, the latter.  Ultimately, the insurance companies loved the new law enough,that the GOP aren’t going to be able to gain much traction on “Obamacare” in 2014.  You won’t hear Nethercutt having to admit to this however.  Therefore, what he doesn’t admit to, he isn’t honest about.  It wasn’t just a Republican who ends up firing the staffer he was caught kissing; or another Republican who is indicted on fraud and etc. charges; who ultimately embarrassed the GOP just this year.  How about Judge Roy Moore, who’s viral video says that the First Amendment applies only to Christians.  The multiple SCOTUS decisions that favor the deep-pocketed few, the SCOTUS decision that voided racial anti-discrimination laws in a number of areas to include voting rights.  Where the GOP are on the march to disenfranchize large segments of the populace; I shouldn’t doubt that we can have young people holding a low opinion about the government and the institutions of government, as not likely to ever hear them or respond to their needs.  None of that has anything to do with President Obama, it has everything to do with “Citizens United” and etc.  Again, Mr. Nethercutt isn’t likely to admit it.

How about Cliven Bundy?  If the GOP decided to “take issue” with a Democratic member of the U.S. Congress for saying that, opposition to President Obama is based on race; what has Mr. Bundy been opposed to that would have militias acting on his behalf?  Would he be paying his range fees and etc. if the President had been a Republican and white?  Would militias and etc. have come to his side, to “protest” the actions of the BLM, if they were operating under a white Republican administration?  Probably not.  So, whether we like it or not, something like this gets more play because of the President’s race, not because of his politics.

Any first lady since the 20th century has likely gone on good will tours.  Unless we were at war, it is likely that a lot of them had.  Until now, how many Republicans inclusive of George Nethercutt, have screeched about how much money was spent?  Especially at a time when the nation was hurting?  Well, then Mr. Nethercutt proved that Democrat to be entirely correct.  

Mr. Nethercutt lives well and prospers greatly, even though this nation is hurting.  He can put a lot of money, where it will benefit the interest groups he lobbies for, where they will benefit the most.  Even though the nation is hurting.  An honest self-examination before a mirror, seems to be out of the question with this particular partisan columnist.  —The Inlander, week of 8 to 14 May 2014.

Before the primaries

May 5, 2014

I saw this on Facebook the other day, a reference to Proverbs.  It was with reference to the fact that the middle class have begun to suffer.  But before you make this a “liberal” or “Democratic” argument, it had actually come from a fellow pagan.  His particular politics are currently unknown.  While I am not sure now, what scripture in Proverbs he used, there is something comparable to it found in the Tanakh.  Proverbs 22:7-9  The rich rule the poor and the borrower is a slave to the lender.  He who sows injustice shall reap misfortune; his rod of wrath shall fail.  The generous man is blessed, for he gives of his bread to the poor.  Also, Proverbs 22:16  To profit by withholding what is due to the poor is like making gifts to the rich—pure loss.

These were supposed to be wisdom words that had survived pretty much intact, from the time they were jotted down many thousands of years ago.  The problem is, in this era of super-politicized religion, these are wisdom words that also get thoroughly ignored.  With the above scriptures in mind, how would the Republicans currently running for state-wide political offices and at the federal level, actually match up to these admonitions?  Well, they want to pull the plug on the Affordable Care Act; that is first on the agenda.  Even though 76,061 Idahoans gained new health care coverage through the Idaho run state insurance exchange. (Statistics according to The Inlander.)  Well, Idahoans who could apparently afford the insurance now, than was possible earlier.  So, do the GOP have a particular moral argument against the ACA?  Not one that I can see.  No more than providing subsidies and tax breaks for the people least in need of them, has anything in common with the above scriptures.  To profit by withholding what is due to the poor is like making gifts to the rich—pure loss.

Do you remember that Judge who wanted to put his own ideas about the Ten Commandments, to be engraved in stone and installed in a very public area of a very public building?  I think of what he did then, years ago, as all ego.  So apparently, the dude is still around, last name of Moore, I believe, and has this video making the rounds that the first amendment is solely for Christians.  Well, may I advise here that an actual Christian, whether in government or as a private citizen, would surely turn his or her back on all forms of corruption?  Would follow the sage words of one King Solomon, about how you are supposed to treat your fellow man?  But that is not apparently how “conservative” is to be defined today.  One may claim “morality” by “bible belief.”  Or one can claim “how much better I am to you,” through “a strict constructionist” interpretation of the bible.  But if people are suffering through no fault of their own, then “how much better are you,” if you fail to act on their behalf?  

Remember the Ryan budget?  Remember how quick he was to take a hatchet to those safety nets?  Remember where his tag line was, to limit government?  Yet, do we also recall how quickly he was using the “money saved” as obvious gifts to the rich, in the form of subsidies, tax breaks, etc. Which brings to mind this question, when was the last time he read any of the bible?  Took to heart those scriptures found in Proverbs, that no matter what his position is in society, righteousness is found only through assistance given to other people.  Very specifically, poor people.  So, then King Solomon was a follower of Karl Marx, is that right?  Or did Karl Marx find something that he liked in Proverbs and used it as a basis for his socialist arguments?  That is something to think about.

Now for the definition of “conservative” out of a forty year old dictionary.  Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc and to resist change.  Well, those above mentioned safety nets, had certainly been around since the time of FDR.  Or consider when the SCOTUS decision was made that put an abrupt end to laws outlawing voting discrimination; those laws had been on the books for decades.  Or the SCOTUS decision that permitted unlimited money from shadowy PACs into any political campaign. Obviously, this kind of political thinking is in complete disagreement with the above definition.  The next definition also includes a person being cautious or moderate, precisely: acting with all due deliberation.  And as it pertains to Judge Moore, the third definition would be a real laugh riot:  Traditional in style or manner, avoiding showiness.  The dictionary gives reference to a type of clothing.  I am thinking about his ego boosting display of the Ten Commandments.  Very grandiose, very showy.  So who is this guy again who thinks he knows who the “Christians” are?  Further, that the first amendment is applicable only to them?  The Bill of Rights had certainly been established as law and institution, if you will, for better than 200 years.  An actual conservative would abide by the thinking of James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and etc.  As it would be in his personal interests to do so.  What you deny to others, can also be denied to you.  “The burning times” were not solely the bane of “accused witches.”  Fires were also lit for Christians, who failed to follow the official line of thinking, sent down to them by the government.  Which is why James Madison tried to protect the personal liberties of the faithful, so that they wouldn’t be entrapped like that again.  

Proverbs had a lot to say about the fools and the wicked.  I’d suggest the people check with King Solomon first, before they go out to vote.  It would probably be to their better interests.

GOP: Stay on Point

April 28, 2014

The editorial is published in the Spokane, Washington, free Weekly, “The Inlander.”  It can also be found, I am sure on http://www.inlander.com for anyone interested in reading it.  John T. Reuter, a former member of the Sandpoint City Council, is the executive director of Conservation Voters for Idaho.  He is also active in protecting the environment, expanding LGBT rights and the Idaho Republican party.  So a summary of what his published editorial presented.

First of all, Mr. Reuter discusses, that the long term success for the Republican party must be more than just saying “no” to government.  He points out a few good Republican ideas such as “Cap and Trade,” Common Core,” and the “Romney health care plan of Massachusetts.”  Then Mr. Reuter goes on to complain about the Republicans running away from their own good ideas, the moment those ideas gain Democratic support.  I’ll agree with that, President Obama begins endorsing “Common Core,” and authors of letters to the editors to the Coeur d’Alene Press, then begin dissing their own ideas as “communist.”  If it is now, to put it bluntly, it was before when the Republicans first put this particular idea on the table.  And here the people at Politico.com were pointing fingers and sniggering, over what “Obamacare” was supposed to do the Democratic party chances at elective office in November.  Seems to me, they could pay closer attention to the GOP as far as that goes.  The Republicans have becomes so hyper-partisan it seems, that they are unwilling to back the kinds of laws or reforms that this country could truly use.

Mr. Reuter named some names here, and he obviously did the research to specifically point out, when the GOP were supportive of educational reform and under what useful circumstances that reform might benefit others.  Precisely, it could be called a “conservative” educational reform, owing to a willing collaboration between states.  Just as cap and trade as described, would reduce over time, the carbon levels of polluting industries.  A compromise piece of legislation where by, those very same industries wouldn’t have to lose a lot of profit, for having to put in very spendy upgrade equipment.  Immigration reform had bipartisan support in the Senate, but apparently the “TEA party” controlled House of Representatives, couldn’t tolerate Senator Reid supporting something like that.  All in all, Mr. Reuter is telling the GOP, that if you keep running away from your ideas, once they gain bi-partisan support, both the party and the country are weaker for it.  Well, I agree.

I might not always watch the news, but I do watch the Facebook news feeds.  I also will read the comments that go with those news feeds.  The people who are increasingly fed up with GOP childish behavior, will say so.  The enablers, on the other hand, are often brutal and tantrum throwing children.  Visit the http://www.spokesman.com/ letters section.  Some people commenting just want to express how they feel about the letter’s stated topic.  Others however, look for all kinds of excuses to go on the attack.  There can be no reasonable discussion, agree/disagree about anything.  There can only be the name-calling because obviously, the children have run out of decent ideas.

I liked it that “The Inlander” published John T. Reuter’s column, weeks in advance of the GOP primary here in Idaho.  I’d suggest that the Republicans might want to read this column and start accepting personal responsibility for when they actually have some good ideas.  That is, if they don’t want “the people” voting for the Democrats, instead.  How hard is it really, for members of a political party to just grow up?


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