You can’t separate the two

August 20, 2014

Phil Membury’s letter to the Coeur d’Alene Press 20 August 2014, was off the wall hilarious.  He claims that he isn’t “criticizing the writer” he is only criticizing what people write.  Well, to put it very briefly, if you know the person by what they write, then you criticize the person for what they wrote.  That has been my experience over the years when ever it comes to letters being written and published to the Press.  The critiquing authors don’t like what someone else wrote, so they send in these hyper-critical letters about the authors in question.  Or, they send in letters fully intent on smearing the authors’ good name.  Mr. Membury has been as guilty of that as anyone else in the past.  So now, he tries to claim, “I don’t know this person well enough…” (which has never stopped him before), and then goes on to launch his latest diatribe.

It kind of reminds me of how a bully would act.  “You made me do it!”  “You are the one engaging in ad honimen attacks.”  (It can’t be me, after all!)  But who else is doing the writing to truly hurt, shame, or embarrass others?  Well, it has Mr. Membury’s name at the bottom of the letter.  Instead of writing a long letter trying to “defend himself” and deflect his particular problems unto others, Mr. Membury could make it a brief letter and explain why he disagrees with someone else.

As a rule any more, I don’t get the Coeur d’Alene Press.  If I go down to the park’s Club House on a Wednesday or a Friday, I may see letters to the editors to which I may or may not respond.  Some of them being just bad enough, to bring further attention to on the blog.  Others being just ridiculous enough, for me to send in an e-mailed letter to the editor.  A few weeks earlier, Mr. Hans Neumann wished to express all this outpouring of grief and outrage over the death of the dog known as Arfee at the hands of a Coeur d’Alene Police Officer.  To which he wished to compare some 50 million odd abortions/aborticides.  I am quite prepared to argue that if you want to express “humanitarian concerns” for fetuses, then being just as humanitarian toward say your neighbors, should be a logical extension.  Mr. Neumann isn’t known for “love thy neighbor” letters.  Neither is Mr. Membury or other radicals who typically populate Kootenai County.  I had also seen some hostile to illegal alien children, currently populating the U.S. borders, in letters to the editors.  Just as on Facebook, the news feeds show me videos or photographs of “white” humanity opposing “brown” children.  Of “white” Republicans proclaiming that “brown” children are likely carrying diseases.  What wasn’t being asked, until this female journalist got on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” why these kids were even trying to cross our borders in the first place.  She had a ready answer:  drug cartels, the crimes they spawn, the violence and corruption that are the very consequences of their activities.  So, in countries where these drug cartels are basically running the show and the governments in these countries seem incapable of handling them and bringing them to justice, then apparently it has become a fact that these kids are fleeing for their lives. 

If abortion/aborticide is supposed to be an “humanitarian” crisis of some 40 years in the making, then the humanitarian crisis now on our respective borders is also more immediate.  But which one gets the handwringing and which one gets the obviously bigoted reaction?  You know something, the fetus is a “child in the womb” according to these modern day “Christians.”  These illegal alien children were only born.  I can think of no sharper disconnect between a “born” child and one “not born yet,” that to watch our utterly embarrassing reactions to at least on humanitarian crisis.  Simply because it might cost us something in money, time, and effort to actually address and resolve it.  Which is why I regard the anti-choice argument as lacking in any real morality or even sincerity.  A “Christian” can only be all for having that child brought into the world, until it actually costs something to make that child a part of American society.  I don’t know in all honesty, how you can be a humanitarian on the cheap.


 

“Inside Edition” was presented on Facebook not so long ago with reference to these pastors of megachurches and etc. who through donations from their congregants:  amass fleets of private jets, build personal mansions; in short, they have become vastly wealthy people who are tax exempt.  At least one of these people was just arrogant enough to proclaim, that his private airport and fleet of jets was in “the service of the Lord.”  The bible I have read must not be the same bible that he was referring to.  I don’t find any supporting scriptures, about amassing vast fortunes at the expense of your congregants, as being quite okay with God.  Just as I do not hear, how these “immensely wealthy pastors,” are reserving any of that money for charitable purposes.  One private jet can cost in the millions, what about a fleet of them?  How much money does it cost to buy land and build as well as maintain an airport?  What if that money was sent instead to places, where children were caught up in the tribulations of drug cartel operations?  If American Christians and their pastors were prepared to put themselves at risk, trying to secure the lives and fortunes of these children?  Or, how much would that money now amassed in grandiose mansions, fleets of jets, and etc., help the impoverished people in this nation?  Job creation, preventing home foreclosures, housing the homeless?  After all, it isn’t their own earnings which these pastors are currently amassing, it is the wealth of others.  I truly don’t believe that God expected the priests in his service to get rich at the expense of others.  Presumably the last time it happened, Jesus was sent along to make some public criticisms about that kind of practice.


 

 

Stakeholder v Shareholder

August 12, 2014

Robert Reich brought out recently, a commentary about the one time stakeholder capitalism.  That is, where businesses were prepared to do business within their communities, and generally have a stake in their customers, employees, and neighbors.  The kind of stakeholder capitalism where the cost of doing business included, paying your employees good enough wages that they could support themselves through honest work.  And further, recognizing that your employees were likely to become your customers, when it came to the purchasing of the products initially manufactured.  I have discussed this before, in many ways and not just here on the blog.  So I will now ask this question, who also is the shareholder?  And that is not just the individual who buys or invests an interest in that particular company or corporation.

Until I left J.C. Penney, I was such a shareholder, investing in J.C. Penney stock with a percentage of my wages.  Only the corporate headquarters seemed to be of an opinion, and passed on down to store managers nation wide, that people like me could be hired but we weren’t deserving of good paying jobs.  My investment in J.C. Penney stock was supposed to be retirement money through a 401(k).  At the end of my employment there, I wasn’t given enough hours with wages to feed a rabbit, let alone decently pay bills or put food on the table.  Apparently, some investors and shareholders can be kicked to the curb if they are employees of said company.  So what is meant by investment in reality?  Seems to me, that it should be mutual.  The employee is making your money for you, then you should thank that employee by providing hours and wages.  Apparently not.  By actually employing that person with an understanding of:  an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay.  Apparently not.  Instead, J.C. Penney, WalMart and others, create “the taker class” by refusing to uphold that particular maxim.  Which the Republicans can then condemn as a “burden on the rest of us.”  But who are “the rest of us?”

I wouldn’t know if the late “Government is the problem and not the solution” President Ronald Reagan was a man bought by the corporations.  But obviously his “supply side economics” was a spear head against not only a government actually having a stake in this society, but also, neither do businesses have to maintain such a stake.  Problem with that kind of thinking, while said corporate interests could pull up those stakes and disinvest in actual society, they still want their customers to come from that same society.  Just as the government itself still wants its taxpayers to come from that particular society.  It was the sort of disconnect that would take about 30 years, to completely wreak havoc on the American economy.  But it did in fact do so by the time George W. Bush entered office.  With an economic meltdown before he left office. So, you don’t want to employ an American workforce, or what American workforce you have, you want working as cheaply for you as possible.  Where can they go to spend that pathetic little paycheck that you insist on giving them?  The round figure of $60.00 a month from March to April, before I quite working for J.C. Penney altogether, wouldn’t have added to the Walton Family profits.  What it would have done was technically qualified me for welfare.  These were a destitute person’s wages, they were not the kinds of wages that would have supported my taking care of the bills for my new home, property taxes or rent.  With a store manager who was literally hoping that I was on, or soon would be on, some form of public assistance.  That’s right, public assistance.  Apparently, the store manager at the time, couldn’t wrap her head around the fact that public assistance comes from taxpayers.  In order to pay taxes, you must first be gainfully employed…  You must also be able to live in a state, where the political party would actually care about the people [you the store manager] insist on making as poor as possible.  Not here in Idaho.  Oh yes, I could quit working for J.C. Penney, but it was ill health brought on by tons of stress, not just because of the pathetic looking paycheck.  I also doubt that an illegal immigrant would have worked for $60.00 a month, as it wouldn’t have been worth his time or effort.

President Ronald Reagan made it quite clear to anyone caring to listen, that the government you vote for has no stake in you.  But the money that corporations invest in government, members of government will answer to that, because this is shareholder or investment money you see.  And the government as a business, needs to account only to its shareholders.  Like J.C. Penney or even WalMart, the Republicans in particular forget just who all their shareholders are.  Your vote is just as much of an investment into that same government as are your tax dollars.  Your public contributions on your form 1040 (as an example) are as much of an investment in political campaigns as are more private donations.  The problem with the “shareholder” concept in private enterprise or politics, is who you don’t recognize for that shareholder and therefore, whom you won’t account to at the end of the day.  So, the GOP once called this “federalism.”  There are others who say this is “fascism,” economic “fascism.”  I don’t think this kind of thinking deserves a label, period.  if you can’t see people until you see them as your putative customers.  Or if you can’t see people until you cajole them to vote for you in a political ad.  Then what do you see?  The day that pure greed needs a label or a political justification, is the day that I have to shake my head at this kind of truly twisted thinking.  No, it isn’t “fascism,” it is greed.  It isn’t “supply side economics,” it is greed.  It isn’t “we can’t be truly competitive until…” it is greed.  It was the consequences of greed that caused the American economy to go into a tailspin before Bush left office.  The SCOTUS “Citizens United” decision was the consequence of greed.  the Hobby Lobby “Religious exemption” claim, upheld by SCOTUS, was the consequence of greed.  If you are greedy, you have no stake in anything.  And if you have no stake in something, neither is it factual capitalism.  Capitalism as currently defined “in pursuit of profits” (I’ll agree, as a business owner myself and someone who also wishes to sell the books that I write), doesn’t take into consideration that “profits” don’t just come from investors, tax breaks, subsidies, and etc.  They also come from your employees being gainfully employed, who ultimately are customers of the products you manufacture. (I can only sell my farmers market wares or books to people who actually have money to spend.)  If you as the corporate CEO can’t see that, then this is just downright greed.  Call it what it is, just greed.  Capitalism has no future where just greed is concerned.  And greed is the most anti-capitalist threat to the business world, that in these modern times, they are likely to confront.  Not “socialism,” not government regulations, not taxes; greed.  That is the true bottom line.

Fascism? It begins with thou

August 8, 2014

You can find the latest Leonard Brandt letter 8 August 2014, published at http://www.cdapress.com/.  Otherwise, I will discuss certain of its absurdities here.  At least Mr. Brandt did introduce an interpretation of fascism that I best understand as well:  people who dictate to you, how you should think.  People who declare with whom you may properly associate with and further, whom you ought to serve:  IE in business, as a customer.  In short, fascism is bigotry personified and glorified through and by government itself.  I have heard that fascists had praised “capitalism.”  Precisely, that form of capitalism, that had no qualms trading with the enemy before or during times of war.  But in Mr. Brandt’s case, “fascism” is now forcing a business run by Mr. Brandt, to serve customers who are among the LGBT community.  Which I regard as interesting.  Even more interesting is how he uses Jesus to argue how much of a victim he has become.

A couple of points to be made here:  Jesus’ position on “the enemy” can be found in a scripture in Luke, “Love even your enemy, pray for those who persecute you.”  If Mr. Brandt feels he is being persecuted for example:  running a restaurant and having to serve dinner to a gay or lesbian couple (and quite frankly, he wouldn’t know if they are or are not).  He already has a biblical scripture that requires of him to serve them regardless.  “For God makes the sun to shine on the good and the evil, the rain to fall on both the righteous and unrighteous.”  Literally, a love that does not allow you to discriminate.  As opposed to fascism, that indeed prefers that you can do so, with predictably deadly consequences.  Mr. Brandt’s real argument seems to be: “fascism” is telling him he can not discriminate against some customers, through an example of refusing to serve them and finally shoving them out the door.  Nor allow that he can show a more favorable attitude toward others, who are deemed to be his kind of people.  In other words, the Jesus he wants to prop up his letter, is a Fascist.  Or politically correct.   It says, what of the bible Mr. Brandt did not read today.

Quite frankly, I am afraid that Mr. Brandt lost me when he started whining at the LGBT being able to claim American rights for themselves, that quite literally he could personally take for granted.  Therefore in history, Fascism is revealed as official government bigotry.  That bigotry which was aimed as a deadly weapon against some people, first by making them non-citizens, and finally subjecting such people to the most brutal of assaults, etc. that was possible.  Gays and lesbians, gypsies, Jews, and etc. were among the unwelcome “pestilence” that made the “host nation and its people” weak.  With reference to Hitler and Mussolini.  Oh yes, that kind of fascism.  Is Mr. Brandt facing a Kristallnacht (sic?) if a couple of gays want to be married and choose Mr. Brandt’s commercial business, for catering services at their wedding?  No.  Nor is he facing the destruction of property, if for religious reasons, he wants to refuse to offer his services to this particular couple.  But if he knows what the “thou shalt not discriminate laws” are; then he is at his own risk for a valid lawsuit and fines, for failing to comply with anti-discriminatory laws.  Laws that say you can not discriminate, are not “fascist.”  Jesus himself who said that “love must be perfect” (again with reference to Luke) was never a Fascist.  Question:  given the letter that Mr. Brandt had published, what then does that make him?

Benghazi: waste of tax dollars

August 6, 2014

The House Special Select Committee to investigate Benghazi, and of course to find cause to “impeach” President Obama, finally declared an end to a two year old investigation.  No bangs, no whimpers, just closed the investigation with this understanding that no crimes or coverups were involved.  Now if the Republicans had been prepared to accept the obvious at the time the Benghazi incident had occurred, well then we wouldn’t see possible billions of tax dollars wasted on a futile investigation.  For anyone who knows better, Benghazi was a political opportunity and one to be milked for all that it was worth.  As long as the Republicans kept Benghazi on the front burner, then news media such as Politico.com, Fox News, and the MSM could treat it like a “what will Benghazi do as far as Hillary Clinton’s chances for the presidency?”  Or “is impeachment in the wind for our current President?”  Why would “impeachment” even be on the radar?  After all, George W. Bush had far more actual scandals throughout his two term presidency, a greater likelihood that he wasn’t prepared to follow constitutional law, but the GOP weren’t prepared then to do their due diligence.  In President Obama’s case, the GOP had to manufacture reasons to whine about his even being in office.  Oh and by the way, from what I have seen on Facebook, if this is true about “TEA Party” groups getting heavily funded by specific donors; then the IRS would have excellent cause to investigate them in particular for their 501(c) charitable tax exemptions.

It is an election year, and Congress has less popularity “according to the polls” than President Obama.  One reason why is the GOP.  The refusal to do anything at all for their constituents GOP.  The willingness to immediately turn on and stab the backs of the people, whom the GOP want to have vote for them.  On Facebook, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has judicial approval for his “anti-union” law.  Did anyone forget to tell the guy who presented on Facebook, Gov. Walker’s celebratory fist pump, that union members are also taxpayers?  The money that Gov. Walker supposedly saved with his anti-union law, is money that won’t enter the economy.  Mainly because it came out of the wallets of union members.  Next question is, who did get all that “saved taxpayer (union inclusive) money?”  Gov. Walker being anti-union, is only a quarter of the story.  Gov. Walker stabs the people in the back with his anti-union law, and still expects the people he shafted to put him back into office. 

Or perhaps social media is creating some unique problems for the GOP.  It may not be official polling, but there are a lot of people very disappointed with how the GOP have turned out.  You want to investigate to the grave and beyond, Benghazi?  How about the veterans you won’t support, the struggling poor, and the elderly?  How about the crumbling infrastructure that at some point, even the super wealthy have to drive on?  Fracking and the toxins it produces?  Monsanto and the toxins it creates that might produce immunities for certain types of pests in the insect world, plus superweeds.  But not necessarily are human beings so quick to evolve, and avoid the toxins that Monsanto produces and introduces to the food supply.  Or the newest labeling for corporations escaping their tax obligations:  inversion.  Well, if they want to become a foreign corporation, then they should not get subsidized and etc. by this American government.  Reap all the rewards, so to speak, without the honest labor.

So, the GOP close up shop on Benghazi and according to what I have seen on Facebook, the (old) left takes into consideration that the news media, especially Fox News, doesn’t say anything further about it.  Why, they wonder?  No scandal, no sensationalism, therefore, no news.  So the next big question is, who drove the Benghazi story?  The GOP politicians, or the news media?  Suggests here that it is a chicken and egg story, which came first?  When you really pay attention to what the news media has actually said and reported on during the Obama Presidency to date, there is no indication that they have been “in the tank for him” at all.  The investigation effectively exonerates our President, and the news media says effectively nothing, except for what gets reported on (linked incidentally) through Facebook news feeds.  No scandal, no sensationalism, no news, and no apology for not doing their (the news media) jobs right.  Maybe the GOP closed the door on this investigation, because they were worried about the only polls that matter in November.  Benghazi is the least of their worries.  It is the constituency that the GOP did not serve, and who’s tax dollars they wasted, who are the Republican politicians’ greatest concerns.  Notice that I don’t say “conservative.”  A conservative politician would have gotten to the facts sooner, had laid everything out on the table faster, and determined in the least amount of time possible what went wrong.  A conservative politician would neither have wasted people’s time or money, on an endless investigation.  Obviously, the GOP aren’t conservative. 

Of Benghazi itself, nothing more than an opportunity for political opportunism.  The lives of four Americans are less important than the latest means to bash the President.  When you look at the whole picture on Benghazi, it does become politically clear.  Benghazi was without question a tragedy.  Was it possible for such a tragedy to be avoided?  Not likely.  Given the radical and volatile elements now existing in the Middle East.  It was bound to happen regardless of what security measures are put into place.  Any investigation should examine the evidence and seek out new measures to guard against the hypothetical next time it happens.  This Benghazi investigation wasn’t about that.  It was about an opportunity to “stick it to” a hated President, and further, to forget about working for the voters.  It was about power and an opportunity to use that power against a sitting President.  But it wasn’t about the U.S. Constitution.  Specifically that article that states:  Treason, bribery, and other high crimes and misdemeanors. 

Today’s Congress, especially its “TEA Party” element, has probably done far more to have itself impeached with respect to the U.S. Constitution than even the President has done.  Regardless of whether you think the IRS was right or wrong, the VA health centers having legitimate scandals to address, or even whom President Obama wants or does not want in his cabinet.  “High crimes and misdemeanors,” precisely those known and defined under federal law, isn’t some label you slap onto something in order to justify actions that are purely political in nature.  The evidence of a high crime must exist, before you can impeach.  It didn’t work with Clinton when it was Monica Lewinsky, it won’t work now with President Obama.  And where the evidence did exist of high crimes in high places with the Bush administration, the GOP obviously weren’t going to hear of it.  My suggestion to the voters is, you don’t like the partisan hypocrisy, this time, vote with your best interests in mind.  The next time, create something in these political parties that serves the interest of the nation and not the self interests of the people you elect.  The GOP did not mind wasting your money on Benghazi.  Don’t plan to return them to office.

Recognizing tornadoes

July 25, 2014

Damaged willow tree on Mt. Carrol Street June 2007 tornado

DSCN0438

23 July 2014 at Oak Crest Manufactured Home Park

DSCN0439

Returning to my home on the day of 23 July 2014, the maple tree had been sheared, heavy limbs had crashed down on my neighbor’s back deck and buried one of my raised beds. Interestingly enough, the container garden on the deck was unscathed.

 

The Weather Channel finally acknowledged that two types of tornadoes are known to exist. One type, common to the midwest, is a thunderstorm producing funnel cloud. The other type, is referred to as a dynamic tornado. More commonly thought of as a whirlwind. You may or may not see a funnel cloud with a dynamic tornado, but just take a look at the photos, dynamic tornadoes can be just as destructive. 

Years ago I watched a video in which, the only way you knew a tornado was in progress, was to watch a bunch of debris being tossed above the city skyline. No funnel cloud in sight. Nor was it a “straight line” wind. Debris was floating and swirling about in the wind, and being lifted possibly hundreds of feet in the air. Here in the Inland Northwest, we may sometimes see funnel clouds. But more often than not, we get high winds with a torque. In short, the “swirling winds” that KHQ TV, etc. finally got around to acknowledging, was a thunderstorm generated dynamic tornado. This severe thunderstorm that generated a dynamic tornado, pounded eastern Washington, to Northern Idaho, and finally made quite a mess in Canada. A two state, two country weather system that left one hell of a damage track behind.

You can call me a “storm chaser” if you like. However, unlike the people who take lengthy trips into the midwest to catch a glimpse of, or take videos and photos some pretty nasty funnel clouds; I can be sitting at the Kootenai County Farmers Market downtown location and watch a monster storm move in. 23 July 2014, I am set up to do business on 5th Street and Lakeside Avenue in downtown Coeur d’Alene. I am waiting for the bell to ring so that we can start our business, I am kind of knitting on a scarf for the fair, and I am keeping a weather eye out for the building clouds over to the west. A supercell appeared in the clouds and I pointed it out to other people. The supercell disappeared after awhile, but the clouds were greenish (evidence of hail, lots of hail). The clouds got all ruffly looking (much like you would see in the movie “Twister”). Then they were curving kind of odd. Then the lightning bolts flashed red, fanning out from a central point. The wind buzzed even as the rain began to fall. A good thing for the easy ups being held down by weights, or they would have gone aloft. As it was, my own stuff for sale, was getting scattered across the ground in what was now a drenching downpour. I get it collected no matter what and restore it to my table. The wind seems to quiet a little, although the rain is still coming down pretty good. I go over to talk to a fellow vendor and a gust of wind pops my picnic umbrella up and sends it flying. You don’t get to do much business after that. We [the vendors] had probably been an hour on site before were breaking down to go home. When I got back to mine, I was looking at quite a mess.

The night of 23 July 2014, I checked in with Facebook and either saw news footage of the aftermath of this storm, or personal photos and videos from people who saw how much this storm had wrecked theirs or their neighbors’ property. Riverside Mobile Home Park, many parts of Spokane, Washington, some guy’s private hanger filled with planes, Silverwood R.V. Park… In the next two days, as I discussed our latest tornado phenomenon with my neighbors: one elderly lady expressed that there was no warning before the dynamic tornado hit Oak Crest. She acknowledged swirling winds. Neighbors living behind my own mobile home, were trying to rescue their personal property in a few frantic moments 1. Their gazebo about to fall over, 2. The wind was trying to pull an A.C. unit out of the window. So, on top of everything else, this tornado had quite a bit of suction to it as well. It also apparently angled, and sheared a bunch of limbs off another tree, behind another mobile home at the “corner” of Marlborough Avenue. Meanwhile, barely clipping branches and leaves off of trees on the other side of the road. I hadn’t gotten home yet, when the tornado blasted through Oak Crest. For anyone who might be my readers from the midwest, how familiar does this sound to you? One neighbor didn’t think it could be a tornado, because he saw no funnel cloud. Yet he did describe lightning damaged trees and others being uprooted in a “furious gust of wind.” This at the Golf Course where he has a job. The Golf Course is approximately two miles south of Oak Crest and possibly a mile west of the Park. He didn’t see a funnel cloud. That doesn’t mean anything. A dynamic tornado doesn’t have to produce a funnel cloud to still cause a tremendous amount of damage.

Out of context

July 23, 2014

In this morning’s (23 July 2014) Coeur d’Alene Press, was a letter to the editor by one Ed Torrence.  I glanced through that letter, that is I did not choose to read it, because it was larded through with the usual talking points.  “Liberalism spreads like cancer.”  “SCOTUS and the POTUS usurping our powers.”  “Progressive politics.”  Even further, “how we need to vote for ‘conservative candidates’ with a backbone.”  Finally, “our need to take this country back, and if you haven’t voted you are part of the problem.”

So how about a history tour?  You know, when “progressive politics” was actually against the state and all forms of oppressive authority, that would have diminished the standing of some people in society, and elevated others.  Especially of the latter, where their financial circumstances were such as to make them a “revered” presence.  The actual progressive politics or socialism, even anarchy, was in reaction to this “Social Darwinism.”  Precisely, I am “socially fit” because of all the money I have.  Certainly the argument of the late 19th century to the early 20th century, up and until the financial crash of 1929 that led to the great depression.

Or even the progressive politics of the 1960s, which was anti-war, anti-authority… With reference to the Underground Weathermen, Students for a Democratic Society, etc.  But of course, Mr. Torrence isn’t discussing an originally left wing “anti-statist” point of view here, he wants to reserve that argument for these unidentified “conservative candidates.”  Liberalism or “progressive politics” is that of a central authority, who gives no consideration to constitutional constraints on government before, laying even more tyrannical claims on the freedom of individuals.  What is so interesting, is that the deep red anarchists used to say the exactly same thing.

I addressed the SCOTUS Hobby Lobby decision in a previous post.  If anything, I can agree with Mr. Torrence as to the liberalism (statist activism) of the Judicial branch of government that did indeed usurp the freedom of individuals and handed them off to corporations such as Hobby Lobby.  The Hobby Lobby decision was one of five justices (I believe) appointed by Republicans, who truly had taken the powers and rights of the people away from them.  Now, exactly whom would Mr. Torrence recognize as being “conservative?”  Further, on who’s behalf would he “take this country back?”

If it costs money to build a Crisis Mental Health Center in Kootenai County, Idaho; it also costs money to subsidize, or give tax breaks to major corporations, agribusiness, and wealthy individuals.  If it costs money to educate young children, it also costs money to tax exempt churches.  If it costs money to provide subsidies for health care to the very poor, it also costs money to pay legislative and congressional salaries.  If it costs money to take care of the veterans of war, it costs money to send them to war.  If welfare and food stamps cost money, in order to feed young children, then opposing birth control makes that a most ironic argument.  And while I will agree that a woman who smokes, drinks, takes drugs during pregnancy, isn’t doing her “unborn child” any favors. Apparently, it is cheaper to send an e-mail to complain about it and compare such an act to aborticide, than to spend the money to actually do something about it. 

Government that outsources to private enterprise the technology that it wants to receive costs money.  To turn to private (for profit) prisons to place its convicted inmates, also costs money.  The Idaho Luna educational “reform” laws in which out of state businesses would receive huge chunks of taxpayer money, until it was voted down state wide, would have cost a whole lot of money.  Not only that, but there is no proof of efficiency or even cost effectiveness, when it comes to this symbiotic relationship between government and private businesses.  Instead, going back to Ronald Reagan’s complaints (and I think those complaints were legitimate at the time), private enterprise in general sees a free meal ticket through government, and will seek to take advantage of it when ever it can.  When outright fraud isn’t being perpetrated by far more criminal sources.

So yes, the U.S. Constitution isn’t being strictly followed, but that is true of both the Democrats and the Republicans.  An out of control government bears as much of a Republican imprimatur as it does of the Democrats.  Spending other people’s money isn’t party specific.  Neither is representing only specific special interests, party specific.  So, identify what is supposed to be “conservative with a backbone” as opposed to “progressive politics?”  Because “conservative” has become a pro-business and pro-wealth argument.  “Conservative” is now an argument that oligarchies are preferred to people actually having a Democratic say in their government.  Just as “conservative” is a demonstration of deep contempt being felt towards one’s fellow human beings.  Of this latter, against whom then would you “take this country back?”  The poor, the mentally ill, the disabled, the elderly, the children you previously said you wanted born into this world?  And if “progressive politics” is a label to be tossed at everything you don’t like, such as: starting with Franklin D. Roosevelt, who used the federal government to begin the process of lifting this country out of a depression.  A Lyndon Johnson, who’s “great society” introduced the war on poverty.  Or even President Barack H. Obama’s Affordable Care Act which only harkened back to Thomas Paine’s “Rights of Man.”  Well, it is a “progressive politics” that only demonstrated a government of the people that tried to promote the common welfare.

Then is “conservative with a backbone” supposed to be against the common welfare?  I’ll put it bluntly to anyone who holds that kind of thinking:  You were born here.  You have the advantages in everything this country provides.  You have the advantages of prior legislation and SCOTUS decisions that assisted you in voting rights, when you could legally drive, hold a job and the perks that came with being employed.  What you are granted with marriage and the number of children you have in your family.  What you have in privileges or rights in general that come with being an American.  You are guaranteed streets and other infrastructure to travel on, you can go to a public library.  You can take your family for a picnic in a public park.  A policeman or fireman answers your 911 call.  The snow removal guy makes it possible for you to go to work.  You are still going to complain?  That isn’t “conservative with a backbone,” that’s just being a spoiled rotten child.

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.”


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 101 other followers