Gun insurance

Author: admin

One reality of the Uvalde, Texas, massacre is that none of us can truly fully feel the personal impact that only the surviving children do.

None of us who’ve never tried to hide from a homicidal gunman or wiped the blood on our face from a dead child lying next to us while playing dead can have the visceral reaction of 10 and 11-year-olds who lived the horror.

It’s just not possible!

In these days following the Uvalde killings, millions of words are being used to ask why it happened, what really happened, who really did what or who did nothing. Who’s to blame. There are some folks who want to arm teachers which, if there ever was a worse idea, I haven’t heard it. Others want to ban certain types of guns, change the age limit of who can buy one (or a dozen), limit the types of weapons they can get and on and on.

No one idea or group can banish the horrors. No legislation will keep some angry, mentally disassociated individual from being a home-grown terrorist. Keeping a loaded .38 in the teacher’s desk can’t. We’ve found out the hard way gun-carrying cops in schools aren’t always effective. Armed guards in schools won’t do it apparently.

We’re facing an intractable societal issue, the solution to which will require work on many levels from many sources. No one has the answer. If there is one eventually, it will be an amalgam of many ideas coming from many concerted efforts.

I’ve heard one possibility, used in passing that I think deserves more attention and possibly pursued: create a requirement for liability insurance for gun ownership.

For the record, I’m a gun owner. We have three in the house. Two pistols and a 12-gage. So, talk of having to have a small liability policy in force is coming from a gun owner. I’m one of ‘em.

The reason I think it’s worth pursuing is that it brings into play the involvement of both society and corporate interests.

Consider: we buy – under penalty of law – liability insurance if we own a car or other vehicle that uses our highways. (In Arizona, you had to buy liability insurance to own a golf cart used on community roads.) We have liability clauses in our home insurance. We have corporate liability insurance. Business owners cover themselves and their employees. It’s a common requirement encompassing nearly all of society.

Require such insurance when a weapon is purchased. Add a few bucks to the cost. Require annual renewal or some entity would be notified to follow up. By law.

I know it sounds stringent and likely smells of gun control to some. But, it’s not. It simply places a responsibility where it belongs: on the user. Just as we commonly do with vehicles on our highways. And with our homes. A responsibility of ownership with a duty to protect others if something goes wrong.

And, there’s this. It brings the insurance industry into the efforts to get a handle on the irresponsible use of guns. Billion dollar corporations. Thousands of agents and corporate leaders. People who now sit on the sidelines would have to get involved. Their sudden participation would have quite an impact.

Requiring liability insurance for guns is not a complete answer to our epidemic of violence against society. There isn’t one. But, it’s a single one that’s a first step on the long journey to finding that answer.

Sure. Some people will bitch and moan. There’ll be an outcry from folks who think having to buy liability insurance is akin to gun control or “un-American.” That’s fine. Just let ‘em hollar.

Bottom line: If you don’t like this idea, come up with your own. Suggest something better – something positive – something helpful to end the terrible violence against the innocent. In churches, theaters, schools, stores, on our streets. Everywhere.

It’s got to stop! We must find answers. We must. Because we could find ourselves like those kids in Uvalde. Hiding. On the floor. Covered in blood. Scared to death.

Disorder and chaos

Author: admin

The national Republican Party in our country is dangerously close to being an actual threat to our republic.

As such, the primary elections taking place across the country are so damned important. Damned important!

It isn’t that the GOP doesn’t have some worthwhile, legitimate candidates. It does. But, the problem is having to ferret them out in a field littered by philosophical nut cases, doctrinaire-spouting weirdos, racists, jingoistic simpletons and others just plain unqualified for the offices they’re seeking.

Case in point: Idaho. Three people were in the running to be the next Secretary of State. The current one is retiring. Of the three candidates, only Ron Crane seems to have figured out what a SoS does. The other two were exemplified by the fact that they didn’t believe Joe Biden was legitimately elected President in 2000. And they wanted to run future Gem state elections? Enough said.

In the Idaho Governor’s contest, at least three of the contenders exhibited rhetoric and used nutcase materials to show they had no idea what the duties were of the office they’re seeking. And, that included the current Lieutenant Governor who’s failed to responsibly run the Constitutional office to which she was elected two years ago. Luckily, she – and they – failed.

The various races for Secretary of State across the country may be the single most important elections to watch this year. In some states – Arizona, Georgia and several others – there is a fear that some candidates – should they be successful – would actually undermine our election process. Jiggle the numbers in future elections, as it were. Undermine legitimate outcomes not to their liking.

In Pennsylvania, a little covered but very important note. The Philadelphia Inquirer editorial board chose not to endorse candidates in several important statewide races. First time since the paper was founded in 1829. Based on face-to-face interviews and campaign appearances by a number of those running, The Inquirer said the candidates were simply not qualified for offices being sought. And that included races for governor and the U.S. Senate. In a state that is the fourth largest in the country.

Some candidates – Rep. Elise Stefanik, number three in the House GOP hierarchy – are endorsing the “great replacement” conspiracy. That nutcase, right-wing fallacy holds the White majority is slowly being diminished and replaced by Blacks, Latinos, Asians and other foreign nationals. Stefanik is far from being alone in such other worldly beliefs.

This Republic has seen thousands and thousands of campaigns for every office in the land for 250 years. Many have been filled with unqualified candidates, over-the-top rhetoric, screwball thinking and outlandish acts. Through it all, we’ve somehow survived and prospered.

But, this time it’s different. We’ve got right-wing zealots openly telling us, if elected, they’ll work to change our system of governance. They’ll use their elected authority to fundamentally alter future elections. In some cases, they’ll attack the very foundations which are the basis for our individual freedoms.

In our new Oregon home, we’ve voted. Did so by mail a couple of weeks ago. Having been out of state for several years, we had some catching up to do to get familiar with candidates in all races. The Oregon Voter’s Guide – an excellent publication – made the job easier. Every state should adopt their own versions of the well-proven Oregon system. It just plain works.

However you vote – in-person, by mail or online – this may be the most important election in our lives. Our government – our Republic – is being attacked by unqualified, conspiracy-driven and outright ignorant people, hellbent to impose their will on the rest of us. In most cases, they aren’t hard to identify. All you have to do is just listen to their unfounded screeds and check their qualifications in whatever official publications you can find. Like our Oregon Voter’s Guide.

If there ever was a time for a thoroughly informed electorate, this is it. Our freedoms are riding on the results.
 

Watch the smile

Author: admin

A smiling lady from Liger
rode on the back of a tiger.
They returned from a ride
with the lady inside
and the smile on the face of the tiger

That old doggerel comes to mind when watching Donny Trump try to keep up with the disreputable Republican contraption he’s put together.

SPOILER: He can’t.

One of the unchanging truths about right-wing politics is the unfailing trait of distrust. It’s always present.

Consider: Nearly every nut-case GOP group got started by folks who were angry/fearful of what the original group was doing/saying. Birch society. Liberty Lobby. The “break-aways” always think of themselves as the “truth keepers” i.e. the ones “keeping the faith.”

Distrust is the single most important element that’s saved the rest of us from a major societal disruption by a single nutball group. Groups like the Birch Society, Oath Keepers, etc.. The rest of us have survived this long because, at some point, distrust/anger/fear erupts among”the faithful” and there’s a splintering or morphing as the “faithful” bunch breaks away.

Trump is facing such a quandary at the moment.

Since exiting the White House, he’s been proudly gathering his “faithful.” Some individually; some as groups. Remember, to Trump, loyalty to him is the most basic requirement of association. Loyalty to him and him alone. So far, to the wandering “faithful” looking for a new leader on the right, Trump has appeared to be the logical choice.

For these many months, it’s worked. He’s headed his legions of “faithful” with little trouble. His style of continual lying, defending 20 or so legal actions, his mercurial temperament, his non-stop “politicus interruptous” way of doing things – all have seemed acceptable to his followers.

BUT – now, as the primaries are underway – and with the general election some four months hence – his legions are beginning to crack. Seems some of the “basics” of the far-right dictum of Trumpism aren’t really “one-size-fits-all.” After all.

As Trump has scattered his endorsements of certain candidates from state to state, some of the “baptized” have lost their primaries. And, in some cases, the winners have strayed from the MAGA line when polls showed such adherence damaging to their candidacies.

There are, it seems, individuals who are, while generally following the Trump line, creating their own “legions” of followers. Absent Trump.

Case-in-point: Take Florida’s governor. Please.

Ron DeSantis has been acting like Ivan the Terrible in modern-day Florida. Banning books. Making life tougher for LGBTQ folks. Running roughshod over people’s lives. With or without legislative concurrence.

In Texas, there’s also been very little influence from Trump. Governor Greg Abbott, much in the DeSantis mold, has been operating as a political “free spirit,” enacting policies similar to MAGA but not exactly the same.

Then, there’s Mike Pence. He’s actively campaigning for the guy DJT did NOT endorse in Georgia’s primary. Bit of a split there, it would seem.

In just these three cases, Trump is not the central figure. Which is the requirement for MAGA membership. DeSantis and Abbott have created their own “local” movements; each with some MAGA guidelines. But not all.

If polls are borne out in Pennsylvania, the primary victor there won’t be Trump’s endorsee – Mehmet Oz. And Trump’s pick in Georgia is in deep trouble and could be another loser.

One thing Trump is not is flexible. One thing the far-right is not is flexible. So, if there is some change in Trump’s MAGA “philosophy,” or if the loss of several of his “preferred” candidates creates doubt about his leadership among “the faithful,” his grip on them may be loosened.

Trump likes to be “out front.” He needs to be the leader in anything he’s involved in. But, as the political profiles of other folks rise and fall, Trump may find himself challenged for that front position. His reign may be challenged. By an Abbott or a DeSantis. Or a Pence.

Remember the lady and her tiger. And the smile. Watch for the smile.

Boom!

Author: admin

The time has come – it’s past time, really – for Senate Democrats to do some congressional “blasting.” Setting off procedural “dynamite,” if you will.

Good, fact-filled legislation, nationally important legislation – some of it already passed by the House – is sitting in Majority Leader Schumer’s inbox awaiting Senate action. Some has been there more than a year.

In the face of Republican stonewalling, major bills are growing moss as they age. Lacking more than 50 votes – with the Vice President there just to break ties – and with the constant threat of a filibuster hanging over all proceedings, the GOP has successfully managed a minority blockade of significant bills. The GOP and erstwhile Democrat, Sen. Manchin.

Among them, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act which is badly in need of being enacted into law. Now!

And, with the threat of losing Roe vs Wade looming, abortion rights legislation – whatever that turns out to be – needs to be quickly written and placed for a vote.

Since the slim Democrat majority was born, many of us hoped Schumer would use his many years of experience to hammer home some long-needed bills on many subjects. It hasn’t happened. And, it doesn’t appear he’s going to change his stripes in the remaining months of 2022.

If predictions of a 2023 GOP Senate majority are borne out, Democrats will find themselves being shoved to the back benches next January. Again. The dead legislation on important issues left over will fill the trailer of an 18-wheeler.

The time has come for Democrats to kill off the filibuster!

But, every time the subject comes up, someone always says “If we do that, and the Repubs retake the majority, they’ll run all over us.”

Road apples! So what?

If Dems stay their current course, everything in Schumer’s inbox will die. Abortion rights, voting rights, child tax credits – everything Democrats have campaigned on – promised for years – will never happen.

So, how do they face the electorate this Fall? And in 2024? More empty promises? More rhetoric?

They’ve got the hammer now! Use it now! Stop worrying about “what ifs” and pound through the big stuff! And, all the smaller stuff the House has already passed.

This nation is fractured. Badly splintered in almost every way. Between those divisions, and the changes wrought by COVID, life will never be the same for any of us. We’re never going to be the same country we were a couple of years ago. We’re facing a future in which we’ll be doing a lot of things differently.

Congressional Democrats – especially in the Senate – are fortunate to be in the majority at the moment. Yes, “…at the moment.” They won’t always have that luxury. Maybe that luxury could be gone yet this year!

So, while they have it, they need to make the most of it. Get done what badly needs to get done.

“Blow up” the filibuster roadblock! Kill the damned thing. Stop playing pussyfoot with GOPer’s who use it to stop Senate proceedings with a single phone call or a single email. Acknowledge that nearly everything around us has morphed into a new reality, put your “foot on the gas” and take care of the people’s business. The business of all of us.

This is not the time for political gamesmanship. Or even, in some cases, “playing by the old rules.” In some things, we need “new rules.”

This country must have the strongest possible leadership in its top political ranks. The conditions under which we live have changed and politicians need to recognize that and make their own changes as needed.

At the moment, Democrats are in charge. In a few months, it may be Republicans. No matter the Party, new conditions that have been forced upon us must be met by change. In nearly all things.

At the top of political changes necessary at the moment – kill the damned filibuster!

BOOM!

The search

Author: admin

In our recent long distance move back to the bosom of Oregon’s upper Willamette Valley, we’ve had some very unusual experiences.

I’m going to describe a few in upcoming columns. Let’s start with the search for a new church “home.”

Week one. We chose a local, traditional First Presbyterian Church. Brick exterior. Tall steeple. What seemed like a warm and welcoming sanctuary. Young minister.

When it came time for scripture reading, the Pastor reached under the Communion table and pulled out a small, long, narrow black stool. He placed it in the Chancel area with the end toward the congregation. Then sat astride it – as though it were a saddle – and read from the Good Book.

After his very brief sermon, he moved the “saddle” to one side and was joined by the Youth Minister. The “sermon” time turned into a back-and-forth with the congregation in a colloquy about “orientation, disorientation and new orientation.” We got lost. And left confused,

Next, we tried the First Christian Church. Traditional looking building. We went to the front door about 10 minutes before the service was supposed to start. The door was locked. We saw a few cars in the back so we walked around to an open door to a small classroom. Inside were 16 people. Seems the main sanctuary had been shuttered for some time because the size of the “flock” had dwindled to just these few.

It was Easter Sunday. The sermon? A lengthy – and disorganized – description of the Minister’s visit to a nearby federal prison in the company of a Catholic Bishop. Easter? Not a mention of Christ’s resurrection. Nothing about what it meant. Not a word!

Our third visit was to a First Presbyterian Church in another small community. Traditional looking sanctuary with a sizeable building attached for classrooms, offices and the like.

The service – the Sunday after Easter – was also traditional First Prez. At the conclusion of “joys and concerns” from the congregation,, the Pastor asked if there were any comments or questions. Being someone who always has a question/comment, I spoke up.

I remarked that, sitting in a church for the entire service, surrounded by self-proclaimed Christians, I was surprised there had not been one word about the genocide going on in Ukraine. No words of sympathy or an offered prayer for an end to the Russian attacks. No details of any national or international Presbyterian aid. Not one word.

The Pastor quickly responded with an off-the-cuff 30-second prayer addressing my concern, then a brief benediction and we adjourned.

Barb and I left our seats and were walking up the aisle when a woman climbed up on a pew behind us and grabbed my arm

“Why weren’t you here last Sunday when we talked about Ukraine?” she asked in a rather demanding voice.

Totally off-guard, I said we were visiting another church.

“What do you think about the wars in Africa,”she asked? “What about them?” Still holding my sleeve.

Trying to pull my arm free, I muttered something about which war was she talking about.

Her next words: “That tells me you only care about skin color.” And she was gone. Knowing absolutely nothing about me, she branded me a racist right there in the Lord’s presence.

It’s been a week since that incident. Committed to our search, we’ll be visiting another congregation this Sunday.

The experience of being branded a racist by an absolute stranger – calling herself a “Christian” – will stay in my head for some time to come. As those thoughts linger, I’m trying to learn something positive from the unwarranted intrusion. Something that could make me a better person – a better Christian. I even offered a prayer for the accuser.

Our seeking a new church “home” will continue. We have several small communities to visit. We have no concept of what that “home” will be. We have no description of what it might look like. Feel like.

But, we’ll know.

Aging out

Author: admin

I’m an old Rotarian.

I should say “former” Rotarian because, with all the moves we’ve made in the last few years, I’ve let my membership lapse and have become a “former.” Something I’ll soon fix now that we’re done moving. Again.

Rotarians have a procedure called “The Rule of 80.” When your years of being a member and your age add up to 80, you can stop paying annual dues. In other words, your annual financial obligations end at 80 years.

Me thinks something similar should be adopted by all political bodies. When your years of service and your age adds up to 80 or 70 or 90 or some such combination, you relinquish your seat.

California Senator Diane Feinstein is currently being urged to retire from the U.S. Senate because of her age. She’s currently 89 and has filed the paperwork to run again in 2024 when she’ll be 91.

The suggestion she leave comes from a California newspaper. In a lengthy story, the paper said Feinstein is having memory issues and is not able to fully do her job for the state’s constituents.

My guess is the person who wrote that piece is around 50. I’d also guess that person has had no recent face-to-face dealings with the Senator and was using second-hand information from others who had.

For those who think I have no idea what I’m talking about, I’m about to enter my 86th year on this earth and have had a 50-year media career covering a lot of political entities. Including the U.S. Senate. When it comes to subjects like aging, I believe I can address the issue with some experience.

Yes, I think there should be some sort of age ceiling in politics as there is in other careers. Commercial pilots, for example, “age out” at about 60. Some hospitals have an age ceiling for some medical practitioners within their facilities. By personal choice or rule, such end-of-career status tied to age is not something new. Idaho teachers have a “Rule of 90.” Firefighters and police, in most places, have similar retirement options.

Back to politicians. Old politicians. Nancy Pelosi is 82. Her second seat is occupied by Steny Hoyer who’s 82. Mitch McConnell is 80. Chuck Schumer is 71.

Yes, with age comes experience and – in some folks – wisdom. There’s also an accumulation of history, people skils and events that come with aging.

But, there also can be a reluctance to change, a desire to continue living and thinking as we used to. “Set in our ways” as some say. Our reflexes – both physical and mental – slow down a bit. Or, a lot for some.

Consider: Should the President, Vice President and House Speaker all become incapacitated or otherwise unable to do their duties at once, Sen. Feinstein would be President. Suppose that California news rag is right about Feinstein’s acumen. Would she be a capable President?

Again, speaking as someone who’s nearly four-score-and-six, and who’s personally felt most of the effects of the aging process, I know the loss of prowess, both physical and mental. Damn, do I know.

Personally, I’d like to see Pelosi, at 82, finish her current term – God willing – then retire or take a back row seat in another term should she run again. On her way out, she could even designate her choice of a new Speaker candidate for the next term should Democrats retain their majority.

Same for McConnell and Schumer and others in leadership. Set an age ceiling in both houses, say at 70 or 75. You could make it age-plus-service-years or just plain age.

An aging leadership, combined with an aging membership in both houses, has combined to “clog up the arteries” so to speak. A Congress, hidebound by making seniority the ruling process – with an average age of slightly under 74 – is not in keeping with the times.

Yes, there is as need for institutional memory and an awareness of the past in nearly every undertaking. Both very important. But, you don’t have to reach the age of 85 or so to have those two factors.

Being older doesn’t mean you’re not valued anymore; that what you know by virtue of a long life is not important to the legislative process. Not by a long shot. The idea of taking on an “emeritus” title in life should not be looked upon as something less than a valued participant.

Given our world today – the challenges we face as a nation – means we need our “best and brightest.” Longevity – in both life and service – is to be honored. But, depending on the individual, there comes a time when self-awareness of one’s limitations is necessary. For both the individual and the calling.

Given the U.S. Congress has operated in basically the same way for 250 years or so, it’s not likely to change the way it does business. Or, the ages of whose doing the business.

But, a guy can dream, can’t he? Even an old guy?

Face it. We will survive COVID-19. But, two things are certain in our future.

First, COVID will be with us from now on. No matter what eventually surfaces in the vaccine market, it’ll still be there. Just like a lot of other viruses. We’ll learn to live with it just as we have colds and the various varieties of flu. It’ll continue morphing into new strains and we’ll rely on science to keep pace. We’ll build new security methods of keeping it at bay. But, it’s not going away.

Second, the world as we knew it only a couple of years ago will never return. When we finally get through this ordeal – and we will – it’ll be a different world.

Take jobs, for example. Thousands and thousands of sales jobs are gone. And, in many cases, they’re not coming back. During our sequestration, we’ve turned to the I-Net for many of our regular needs. From new shoes to grocery shopping to health care to buying cars. From now on, it’s going to be a whole new deal.

Take cars. Carvana is one of those I-Net places where cars are bought (and sold) on the I-Net. They’ve been advertising to fill about 100 job openings. Such sales as are expected will be handled by a new call center. Other new hires will be delivering and picking up vehicles in the designated coverage area. Less sales personnel, fewer mechanics. Fewer admin and other support folks.

With many major retailers taking out bankruptcies or going out of business, same story. Floor salespeople, gone. Admin support staff, gone. More brick and mortar stores closing. Entire malls vacant or up for sale. The retail apocalypse long predicted because of e-commerce appears to have arrived in many places.

Business-to-business jobs are disappearing because of automation. So, more sales jobs lost. More office and administrative vacancies will not be filled. In the last decade, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, jobs most likely to be replaced because of new technology were not in manufacturing, as predicted, but in office and other support jobs. As companies – large and small – downsize and turn to more technology, fewer people needed. Those jobs are not coming back.

Take higher ed. Look at the shift to the I-Net. At our house, Barb has students all over the world working to get advanced degrees. Online. Colleges and universities are designing many more online offerings. They’re not getting as much revenue support from local and state governments, so they’re turning to the I-net. Fewer professional ed staff, fewer support staff, lower costs per-student, reduced housing costs by going electronic. We may even see mergers of institutions and some historic campuses close for good.

How about “work-from-home?” Lots of companies have found certain jobs can be done with the I-net resulting in lower overheads. Working moms can often skip the costs of babysitters and can spend more times with their kids. Also, no commuting costs. For thousands and thousands of parents, it’s a “win-win.” Many don’t want to go back to the office. Employers can cut spending in reduced admin costs. And fewer job needed.

How about air travel and hotels? Well, don’t look for any return to as many jobs as pre-COVID. Again, I-net. More travelers using the I-Net for their meeting needs. Lots of folks who used air travel for conferences and other group meetings are doing just fine with electronic gatherings. Business travel, according to those Census Bureau folks, found pre-COVID business bookings accounted for about 70% of income for airlines and hotels. Look for a post-COVID world of fewer hotel and airline jobs.

Fewer travelers. Less need for so many airplanes. Airlines have mothballed hundreds of planes. And there are mothball locations in six states. United cut 17,000 jobs. Delta another 12,000. Other airlines? Who knows? Will United and Delta and all the others be buying new planes when they’ve got hundreds they already own that can be quickly returned to service?

So, what happens to Boeing, Airbus and other aircraft companies? And their thousands of suppliers?

Non-residential construction has already taken a hit. The old I-Net, again. With nearly all sections of the economy using I-Net and other assorted electronic conveniences, less higher ed construction, less retail and mall building. In addition, fewer cleaning companies and security folks. It spirals.

Look for governments – from local to the feds – not only not rehiring for vacant positions but continuing hiring freezes and layoffs. They, too, have adjusted to current conditions and, using the I-Net and new software, working from home will likely continue, less building space will be needed and other adjustments will reshape the future.

Our world has always evolved. As we’ve aged, we’ve adjusted to the “new” as necessary. But, COVID hit us and our environment HARD! For many of us, our world just stopped. No eating out. No movies. No sports events. No church. No social events. No large family gatherings. We’ve had to sequester for some 30 months. Now, things are starting to loosen up though we still have to be cautious.

These are dangerous, threatening times. But, we’ve faced dangers before in wars, pandemics and more. And we’re still here.

That’s the really good news!

A loss of permanence

Author: admin

A friend and I were lunching the other day, talking about this and that as friends will do. Discussions on any topic were fair game.

One such was when he asked what was on my mind and I said “The lack of permanence.” I blurted it out. Then I expounded on it a bit before giving it much serious thought. But, I gave it a lot of thought driving home. And since.

“The lack of permanence.” That’s it!

For several years – and to this moment – I’ve felt anxieties, anger, a tendency to worry more about conditions and just a general unease. At first, I thought all these emotions – and more – were part of the aging process. After all, I’ve never been four-score-and-five before. And we aren’t born with a book of instructions to refer to as we go.

For nearly all my life, there’s been a sense of permanence, normalcy and order in nearly everything. Through all the troubles of this nation, we’ve survived, our living conditions have normalized and our institutions stood firm. Changes occurred and we readjusted. Returned to normal.

No longer, it seems! It just keeps changing and causing – for many of us – a sense of impermanence.

Take the USPS. You know, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor dark of night….” Permanence? Not under Louis DeJoy! Maybe the President can’t directly fire this guy who’s tearing our mail service apart. But, he can damn well fire the Board of Directors who keep the bastard in the job. Permanence? No!

Take public schools. Business as usual? Not since COVID, masks and “critical race theory.” Just consider the scholastic “wars” going on between school boards and angry parents nationwide. Some actual brawls over subject matter or vaccinations or just about anything. Good, experienced citizens quitting Boards because of unfounded personal attacks. Definitely not permanence or the historic calm we’re used to.

Been shopping or dining out recently? Permanence? We tried to have breakfast out at a very popular breakfast joint the other day. We were told we could be seated immediately but not served for 45 minutes to an hour! “Staff shortage in the kitchen,” we were told.

Tried to drop off the family pup for a bath. Noted line from the back wall of the store to the single checkout. Poor management or staff shortage? Really doesn’t matter. That’s the “usual” in stores and other service business these days.

Church? Permanence? Ours didn’t meet in the sanctuary for months. Used the I-net. Now, meeting in person but masks highly recommended. No social time following services. Is that the church you remember all these years?

Car buying? Is it “business as usual” at the dealership. Not now. Inventory down to 10-12 new cars – or less – on the lot. Prices at sticker. Or above. Shopping for cars online is the big thing. But, even there, sold-out or greatly reduced inventory. Chip shortage. Some dealerships closing. Try making a shop appointment. A week or two out.

Grocery stores. Same old shopping experience? Hardly. Many shelves empty. Short inventory. Fewer check-out stands open.

Personal banking? Some have closed lobbies. Others allow only two or three customers if lobby is open. Staffing levels cut. Branches with four or five employees. In some, no loan officers. Business as usual?

Congress? Effective? NO! The political parties are so divided little is done while needs of citizens go unmet. Poll after poll shows where the nation is on urgent issues – jobs, infrastructure, foreign affairs – even abortion. But, none seem to matter to congressional leaders, as they ignore the will of voters who sent them to the Potomac shore.

Sense of permanence in government? Again, hardly. We’re running month-to-month paying the bills with a total national shutdown looming over our heads every day. We’ve got a national political party hellbent on stopping any important legislation. Fractures in governance have made Congress nearly useless.

A new national budget, tailored to our needs, hasn’t been devised in many years. Pentagon spending so bloated even the military can’t conduct a complete – much less accurate – audit for hundreds of billions of dollars spent each year. Spending completely out of control. And, for the first time in my long life, our military has lost the last two wars. Wars lost to people with no air force, no navy, no up-to-date military equipment. Yet, we spend some 800-billion-dollars a year on “defense.”

Government has lost touch with the people. At some state and local levels as well. The postal service is a mess with higher prices and poorer services. Our national treasury is running nearly on empty. Civic continuity and comity are gone in many instances. Institutions we’ve valued for generations are being challenged as never before and some have been rendered nearly ineffective.

Our world is unsteady in ways we’ve never known. If you, too, are searching for permanence and find it, please let me know.

Go help or stay home

Author: admin

There’s a lot of difference between the Republican Party and the Republican party.

Notice that one “Party” is capitalized and the other is not. Here’s why – in my world.

We have to believe – and indeed there are some small indications – that there is still a Republican Party. Capital “P.”

In Idaho, for example, there are Republican Party requests for Democrats to cross over in the 2022 primaries. Those Republicans want Democrats to help weed out some of the far-far right screwballs in a closed primary so elected Republicans can have a more centrist Party in public office. We’re hearing the same “invitations”in other traditionally Red States. Get Democrat moderates to help with the “house cleaning.”

To do that, Democrats have to change their party affiliation from “Democrat” to “Republican” for the Primary. Easy peasy. Then, after the Primary – and the weeding – Dems can change back again.

That plea for help seems, to me, an indication that there is still life in the old GOP and that deserves a capital “P” for Party.

Now, why the small “p” when talking about the Republican party? Again, in my world, the small “p” is for those Republicans who’ve become Trumpers – the nutballs – the dangerous ones. The media still calls them the “Republican Party” when reporting on their scurrilous activities. I don’t think they ARE the Republican Party. Big “P.”

In a recent CNN nationwide poll, registered Republicans were asked “Who was elected President in 2018?” Just over 60% said “Trump.” Sixty percent! Thus, it would seem logical that, give-or-take, 40% said Biden or someone else. Some of that 40% – more or less – could be seen as members of the Republican Party. Capital “P.”

So, the question is when will that 40% of Republicans stand up and take control of their beloved Party? With or without Democrats to help with the housework, when will that 40% exert whatever muscle it has left to wrest control of things and get the GOP back on track to again be a viable political force?

If a “take-back” isn’t done soon – preferably the 2022 primary and 2024 general elections – that Republican party – small “P” – could have the upper hand for years. Not good!

That bunch is making an all-out frontal attack on our voting systems – national and local. Trumpers are already signed up to compete for the Secretary of States job in several states. Where the vote certifying is done. Pennsylvania and a few other states. Others appear up and down ballots for remaining offices. At the county levels and school boards, as well.

They want to take control of the vote counting up and down the ticket. If they can’t win by actual count, Trumpers want to be in a position to do their own counting. Or, not counting. Or, to play with the vote totals. It’s actually just that brazen.

Whether the Chief Trumper himself decides to run for President again is an open question. Personally, I doubt it. But, it’s almost unimportant, really. He’s got his minions on ballots all over the country. If a sizeable number of them win, it’s the toehold he’s looking for to throw doubt in what has traditionally been our system of formerly “free and fair” elections.

That’s what makes that 2022 Primary so damned important! And, that’s why that 40% or so of the real Republican Party – capital “P” – is asking Democrats to be Republicans for a day – primary day.

But, there’s something else to consider. Democrats – lots of Democrats – have to fill open slots on the ballot, too. We got Marjorie Taylor Green because she won a primary and no Democrat showed up at the general election to make it a contest. Idaho is known for its lack of competition as well, making primary races all the more important.

So, Democrats have to do some real soul searching. Whether to cross over and help the Republican minority take charge, or stay at “home” and try to elect some Democrats.

Voters in the 2022 primary need to be more educated about candidates and issues than in past elections. Democrats must decide if helping Republicans is more important than electing some of their own. They’ve got to look at races where they can be competitive and try for wins in their own backyard. Or, failing that, assist the GOP.

Filing deadlines are yet to come. Everybody has to wait to see what shakes out. But, it seems Democrats and Independents really hold the keys this time. For them, decisions have to be made case-by-case, race-by-race.

The outcome in the next two elections has never been more important.
 

A pox on ‘em

Author: admin

When I was just a “pup,” I got my first admonition about lying from my Mother – pussy willow switch in hand just to make her point. “Don’t lie!”

Then on to several careers – always with that willow switch in mind – in which being truthful was absolutely necessary for continued employment. Think radio/TV reporter, editor, lobbyist, opinion writer, business owner. Truth was dictated in every instance. Trust and believeability. Not lies.

Which is why I have such a difficult time watching “leaders” and rank-in-file members in Congress stare straight into the camera and L-I-E! They know the truth of various issues. But, they L-I-E with seeming impunity!

One current lie among Republicans, despite thousands of feet of video as exhibit one – is the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol. We’ve all seen it. We all know what happened. We may still have questions and may be viewing the action with different lenses. B ut, it happened! Several thousand belligerent and phony “patriots” did what they did! The truth is overwhelming!

Yet Republicans like Rep. Paul Gosar and a dozen of his close “friends”, our own home-grown political terrorists, will tell you “it was just a group of rowdy tourists having a good time.” There are some of us who believe Gosar had a hand in the free-for-all, as did some other elected nutcases.

The hard facts of the attack are known. People. Weapons. Destruction. Death. You can form any words you like around those facts. Those are still the facts.

But, House Minority Leader McCarthy has twisted those four words – those four facts – in interview after interview. On the floor of the House as well. And, he’s the most prominent single person who made a fast phone call to Trump to “call off his dogs” as some of those “dogs” were rampaging outside McCarthy’s office door.

McCarthy didn’t call Speaker Pelosi. He didn’t call Senate Majority Leader Schumer. He didn’t call the police. He didn’t call the military. He called the one person he knew who could get the terrorists out of the Capitol. He called Trump! The same terrorist who sent ‘em in.

As a result of what he did that day – of who he called that day – McCarthy has set himself up for a subpoena by the house committee investigating the attack. His fellow “hit man,” Jim Jordan, also called Trump that day.

Lying. By voice or vote. There are many liars in the Congress. Look at Idaho’s two Trumpian Senators – Crapo and Risch. Both attorneys. Both very familiar with the law. Both watched what Trump did to get himself officially impeached – not once but twice. With the facts before them, they – and nearly all other Republican Senators – lied. They voted not to convict. Facts be damned. Overwhelming evidence be damned. Firsthand knowledge of what Trump did be damned. Their votes were simply lies.

Think of their predecessors: Church, McClure, Hatfield, Boxer, Dole, Goldwater, Humphrey, Udall and dozens more who’ve served in that Chamber. You may not have agreed with some of them on this or that issue. But, lying? By vote or voice? I don’t think so.

If we can find a way to stop the flow of misinformation and outright lying, keeping some 340-million Americans prisoner in a manmade world of distortions, that’s a first step. Stopping the source of the verbal onslaught of lies could bring an awakening to facts – not distortions and disbelief.

We often speak of divisions extant in our nation. Especially in our political nation. Divisions many think can’t be overcome. Divisions many believe will eventually bring this country to it’s knees. I don’t think so.

There’s one thing that could immediately end nearly all our divisions: truth. If the lying stopped today – if those telling lies spoke truth instead – if truth were the first by-word of politics, commerce, business – if liars would just stop their lying – we’d be a much better nation – a less divided nation.

Without trying to sound Pollyanish, if truth became the watchword of all we say and do, trust could be restored. Reason could bring many arguments to an end. Honesty could help people regain trust in government. Just truth. Simple truth.

If McCarthy, Jordan, Gosar, Risch, Crapo, Biggs, Trump and their ilk can be removed from office – from the public sphere of influence – that’s a start. It’s not impossible. But, it’s a start. Holding the feet of people in public life to the fire of honesty could cure many of our ills.