HELLO FROM EAU CLAIRE, WISCONSIN - merchants slogan: "We don't have it but we can get it for you."

Monday, July 28, 2014


Yesterday my wife came back from running errands with quite a tale to tell. She had stopped at Walgreen's to pick up some prescriptions. she drives a Prius with three stickers and an American flag on the rear bumper: "Obama 2008" "Jeff Smith for Assembly" and "Obama 2012".

As she approached her car, a man in his 60's began shouting at her to remove that American flag sticker because she didn't deserve to have it on her car. He told her that "you liberals are everything that's wrong with this country" and that some day, real Americans would "get rid of all the liberals".

Kim was dumbfounded and didn't say anything as he continued: "Did you ever serve your country in the military?" By then Kim was in her car, started it, backed out and left.

When she got home she was very upset for not having answered the attacks. She said: "I should have told him that I have every reason to be flying the flag on my automobile as the flag represents Americans constitutional right to believe in whatever they want."

"I should have told him that 'no', I didn't serve in the military but my father, my uncle, and my husband all had."
President Obama is in the habit of telling audiences that Republicans are patriotic and love America, but they just have a different idea of how to govern. That is just not true and it is likely the President knows it. If they cared one iota about America, its people, or the electoral process they would swallow their pride and work with the opposition to advance the interests of all Americans. Instead, they met in secret on Inauguration night in 2009 and plotted their revenge on the people by swearing an oath to subvert any attempt by the new President to pull the economy out of the catastrophic recession they created during 8 years of the Bush administration. That was over five years ago and the President’s re-election just enraged them to punish Americans by shutting down the government, wasting taxpayers’ time and money with fabricated scandals, and suing the President for doing his job.

Americans expect the President to display a semblance of comity when dealing with Republicans, but the time for niceties is long past. Although the President is beginning to express his frustration with Republican intransigence in public appearances, he seriously needs to address the nation in prime time and explain exactly why Washington is not attending the needs of the people. While he is at it, the President can spend five minutes disabusing several persistent lies Republicans spew without any pushback. For example, he could tell Americans the KeystoneXL pipeline is an export cash cow for the Kochs and the oil industry and that no oil will stay in America. To his credit, the President did say the pipeline is for exporting Canada’s oil to Europe, but it was buried in a NY Times interview; the people that need to hear about Keystone are not reading the NY Times. There are myriad Republican myths the President can dispel quickly, but it requires him to acknowledge openly that not only are Republicans rank liars, but that their actions, or lack thereof, are driven by their hatred for the people, America, and democracy.

Obviously President Obama is not going to address the nation and call Republicans liars, but he can reasonably posit that it is no coincidence that when Americans elect a Democrat as president, Republicans shut down the government, make drastic cuts to social programs, and go on an impeachment crusade. The American people will make the connection that every despicable act by Republicans over the past five years was driven by vengeance to punish the people for electing a Democrat as President; not, as President Obama says, out of their ideological form of patriotism or love for America. Maybe then the people will finally comprehend, like President Obama surely does, that not only do Republicans hate an African American Democratic President, they hate America, its democracy, and most of all they hate the people.

Boehner Is Suing Obama Because Republicans Refuse To Work… The Republican answer to the President's executive actions to help all Americans is suing him for doing what they refuse to do; work for the general welfare of the people.
Obama Drops A Major Truth Bomb On The GOP: They’re… Things are going from bad to worse for the Republicans as President Obama is openly calling out John Boehner and the GOP for suing because they don't like him.
Republicans Are Disgracing America With Their Talk of… By resorting to threatening to impeach President Obama over his use of executive orders, Republicans are not only humiliating themselves. They are also disgracing the country.
Conservative Calls For Obama’s Impeachment Are A Cover The list of charges conservatives have leveled at the President that they claim are irrefutable impeachable offenses that demonstrate their complaints are a cover for racism and anger over losing.
Obama Slams Republicans For Not Wanting 30 Million Americans In the strongest language that he has ever used, President Obama called out Republicans today for wanting to deny 30 million Americans healthcare.

The incident with my wife speaks correctly to Frank Reich's belief that it has everything to do with "the browning" of America and the terrible panic, knowing that being rich and white will not be enough to carry the day any longer.

I told her that the way she handled it was the best way possible. Anything she would have said would not have made a bit of difference to this man, who obviously has mental issues. I told her that who knows; had she argued, he may have been "carrying concealed" and if she had argued long enough, might have been shot.

This is the state our country is in, unfortunately. The Kochs and their co-conspirators, who decided long ago that they would employ the Goebbels "Divide and Conquer" method, are seeing it come to fruition.

Two weeks ago in Texas, and again in last week’s radio address, the President noted that Republicans were furious that, while they were busy obstructing governance and devising political stunts, the President was doing whatever he could to help Americans. However, the President posed a question that he obviously knew the answer to keep the possibility open that Republicans would abandon their obstructionist ways and join him in working for the people, he stopped short of elucidating what the impetus for Republican intransigence is driven by.

The President said, “The truth is, even with all the actions I’ve taken this year, I’m issuing executive orders at the lowest rate in more than 100 years. So it’s not clear how it is that Republicans didn’t seem to mind when President Bush took more executive actions than I did. Maybe it’s just me they don’t like. I don’t know. Maybe there’s some principle out there that I haven’t discerned, that I haven’t figured out. You hear some of them — ‘sue him,’ ‘impeach him.’ Really? Really? For what? You’re going to sue me for doing my job?” Barack Obama is an intelligent man, and he is well aware of recent American history, and although it is true Republicans do not like the President, there is more at play than just racial animus.


I found an online catalogue that I find refreshing as the items for sale fly in the face of convention. I suppose that's why I like it.

Anyway, I immediately sent in my order for this tee shirt as it really reminded me of The Vasectomy Song, which I wrote way back in 1979. I also found out some history of the operation itself.

Did you know it was once illegal to advertise where to get a vasectomy? This shirt was originally designed for the first publicized vasectomy clinic in Chicago (late 1960's). Each customer got a t-shirt. A portion of the sales from each shirt goes to support the great reproduction rights advocate Bill Baird. Bill was once arrested for distributing condoms to unmarried people. Although not an attorney and unable to hire one, he fought two reproductive rights cases in front of the Supreme Court.... and WON!

My song was eventually recorded by The Limeliters, a folk singing trio that I saw in concert as a student at Eau Claire State University. I was a fan of theirs as well as a fan of The Kingston Trio.

Folks might find it interesting to know how it happened that The Limeliters decided to record the song. I had been working in the lounge of the Holiday Inn, downtown Minneapolis, just the week before the trio made an appearance at Orchestra Hall in the city. They apparently saw my advertising that the Holiday Inn displayed on all the elevators, and decided they would like to hear some of my novelty songs.

Alex Hassilev called my house in Eau Claire! He asked if I could send recordings. I told him I would much rather meet with the trio and sing the songs to them in person, as I was a fan. That got me a free pass to the concert, which was a reunion tour with Glenn Yarborough, who had established himself as a single artist with "Baby the Rain Must Fall".

Yarborough was not at the meeting in Hassilev's room. It was Hassilev, bass player, Lou Gottlieb, and a woman who was introduced to me as Tommy Smothers' ex-wife.

I sang The Vasectomy Song and they really responded with enthusiasm. I recall Hassilev telling Gottlieb: "The Kingston Trio would KILL to have this song!" They asked if I would mind if they used it in their shows and might possibly record it at a later date. I said that was fine, but that I wanted credit for the song and if recorded, expected residuals.

So I wrote out the lyrics and then taught them the melody by singing it with them a few times. It was an evening to remember.

They, in fact, used the song in their live shows. I know this for a fact as I accidentally caught a folk concert out of Canada that they were a part of, and they closed with it.

After a year or so, I received a residual check for $75.00. Then nothing. At a much later date, through the diligent work of Elizabeth Fischer, who I dubbed "my marketeer", I received a larger check.

I suppose it probably is time to pursue residuals further. I have seen the song recorded on youtube, also. I am a member of ASCAP, but it really hasn't done me much good.


The above is not really what I had set out to blog about today. But I suppose my subject matter, our beloved governor, made me think of vasectomies.

Here's the question that has been gnawing at me for the past month with new revelations about "the Man": Excuse me, but could you tell me again just why you are going to vote for Walker this coming November?

Here's what's been going down:

During his first year in office,newly elected Governor Walker replaced the state’s Department of Commerce with the “Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation” (WEDC), a quasi-private entity that would, Wisconsin was told, spur economic development and drive a job creation recovery in the state. Instead WEDC has been plagued with allegations of corruption, cronyism and incompetence – and despite unbending support from Gov. Walker, WEDC has failed to recharge Wisconsin’s economy.

Jenny Dye, of One Wisconsin Now, reported that the lack of appropriate oversight and reporting made the success of WEDC incentives in achieving job retention, job creation and investment goals difficult if not impossible to analyze. A 2013 audit of the agency’s 2011-2012 performance found that only 45 percent of recipients of 59 awards had submitted contractually required reports on their progress toward meeting their contractual terms. The report also stated that some awards were made to ineligible recipients, for ineligible projects, and were given amounts that exceeded program limits. Further, one-third of the 30 WEDC economic development programs did not meet their expected goals.

Gov. Walker, campaigning for office, promised to create 250,000 jobs over the course of his term. Recent jobs figures and independent analyses portend he will fall disastrously short of that goal as Wisconsin remains mired as the second worst state in the Midwest for job creation and in the bottom third of states nationally.
Audits and analyses of the WEDC have found an organization rife with problems. Funds have been spent on things like iTunes gift cards, liquor and tickets for sporting events. Funds that have gone for economic development have not been properly tracked, been given to ineligible recipients and in many cases have been ineffective.
Meanwhile, Gov. Walker’s campaign and the Republican Governors Association have reaped over $2 million in campaign cash from donors, who have in turn received a disproportionate share of public economic development funds.
For the people of Wisconsin, has reality of WEDC matched the rhetoric of Gov. Walker? By any objective measure, the answer is a resounding “no”.

(My thanks to my wife, Kim Wilson, for this information)

In addition:

Walker’s WEDC is in the news again, this time for using taxpayer-funded loans to help Wisconsin companies ship jobs overseas. A WKOW 27 News investigative report found that at least two multinational companies who received millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded loans from the WEDC later laid off Wisconsin workers and moved those jobs to Mexico and other foreign locations. One company even received a second WEDC loan after outsourcing jobs.

Report highlights:

• “In April of 2013, Eaton laid off 163 employees at its Cooper Power Systems plant in Pewaukee and announced it was moving those jobs to Mexico. Less than a year later, WEDC awarded Eaton Corp. with up to $1.36 million in additional tax credits for a proposed $54 million expansion at that same Pewaukee plant.”

• “In July of 2012, Plexus announced it was laying off 116 workers from its Neenah facility…Plexus Corp. did not identify where it relocated those jobs to in 2012, but also has offices and interests in the United Kingdom, China, Germany, Romania, Malaysia and Thailand.”

The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign (a nonpartisan watchdog group working for clean, open and honest government and reforms that make people matter more than money in politics) found that the companies cited in the investigation for outsourcing jobs to foreign countries gave generously to Gov. Walker’s campaign.

Wisconsin is ready for a transparent jobs agency that lets taxpayers know how their loans are being used to create jobs in-state. Wisconsin is ready for accountability. Wisconsin is ready for job creation. Wisconsin is ready for a new direction with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke.

Tea Partiers will tell me that this is not the truth. Unfortunately, however, this IS the truth. SOME OF US, I GUESS, JUST CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH.

Saturday, July 19, 2014


I am way too old to be as worried as I am about current affairs and the state of the nation as well as the state of the state. But, truth be told, I am not able to disengage. I see the many inequities, the incredibly selfish lust for money of the already wealthy, the war on women that Republicans try to tell me is all in my mind, the out and out criminality of our own governor, and worst of all, with an upcoming November election that I personally feel will be the tipping point in American history as to whether we begin to restore the government to be "of the people, by the people, and for the people", the seemingly flippant attitude that was displayed in the past mid-term elections that gave us a Republican controlled House of Representatives nationally, as well as a Republican controlled State of Wisconsin government that has wreaked havoc on our state's environment.

Allow me to quote directly from Politicus, in an editorial comment by Rmuse:

"Since teabaggers and Fox News seized control of the Republican Party directly after the 2010 elections, there has been a preponderance of petitions decrying everything from the Christian right’s attacks on women and gays to the Supreme Court’s unwavering devotion to corporations and Catholic dogmata. It is true that Americans opposed to losing their democracy to religious and corporate fascism are rightly frustrated, but it is just as frustrating that any American is under the delusion that signing a petition is ever going to achieve or change anything, or prevent America’s slide into a corporate theocracy.

There is an inconvenient truth Americans are going to have to come to grips with even though it is painful; no amount of signatures on a petition equals one vote at the ballot box, one vote in either house of Congress, or will overturn a Supreme Court decision. One wants desperately to believe that Americans understand the gravity of the Supreme Court setting a precedent that, in effect, can abolish legally passed laws and eliminate long-standing protections in the United States Constitution, but sadly that is not the case. If the American people were aware that only through their votes could they affect change, it is possible that a close vote in 2000 would not have given the Supreme Court the opportunity to appoint George W Bush as president who followed his father’s footsteps and installed two hardline religious corporatists on the High Court."

The fact that "liberals" and "progressives" talked the talk in 2010, but did not "walk the walk" is why we are in the shape we are today. Each and every one of us has the right, nay, the obligation to get off our dead asses come November and make certain that we have turned the corner on this terrible regression we find ourselves in today.

It astounds me that Americans have such a short memory of current history . . . I'm speaking of going back no more than 14 years!

Republicans are producing tee shirts crying about how they miss George Bush!

Because the print is so small in the picture, here is the copy accompanying it: "Learning the Wrong Lessons" (Steve Benen)
It's not uncommon to hear Democratic officials complain that Republicans, if given half a chance, would return the country to the failures and disasters of the Bush/Cheney era. In an unexpected twist, the Republican National Committee is helping make the case that Dems are onto something.
The Republican National Committee is celebrating former President George W. Bush's birthday this weekend by selling wistful "I Miss W." t-shirts to its supporters. "President George W. Bush led our nation through some of its most challenging moments of our nation's history - - and we miss him and his leadership," reads a fundraising pitch on the RNC's website. "By sporting this comfortable, classic, American-made tee, you can share our message and help us elect principled conservative leaders to office."
(The shirts available for the low, low price of $27.00)
The larger point, however, isn't that Republicans miss a Republican president. Rather, the significance of the silly t-shirt is appreciating just how little the GOP has changed in recent years, even after party leaders seemed to decide collectively that changes were necessary.

So let me get this straight. We are to miss the guy who:
started two wars
One . . . Iraq . . . in which the whole case for was was built on lies.
Introduced the worst recession in U.S. history; one from which we still have not recovered fully.
Implemented a policy of TORTURE
Implemented a doctrine of WAR . . . BECAUSE WE WANT TO
Implemented a policy of not admitting people to a speech if they disagreed
Ignored previous administration's warnings about terrorist attacks and allowed the attacks on NYC on 9/11
Damaged irreparably the credibility and reputation of the United States of America.

A Facebook friend of mine posted: "the only person that missed G W Bush was the Iraqi that threw his shoes at him."

"Americans, says Bmuse, "have to come to their senses and face a fundamental, and very painful fact; because the Supreme Court and Republicans serve the religious right and corporations, it does not matter one iota what the people want. They can gnash their teeth, sign petitions, and bemoan the fascist elimination of their democracy until the proverbial cows come home, but nothing is going to change and it is all down to not voting; particularly during the 2010 midterm elections. It has gotten to the point that even when Democrats do turnout to vote, Republicans in service to the real leaders in America, the religious right, Wall Street, and Koch-corporate fascists, oppose their chosen representatives as evidenced by obstructing anything President Obama supports. The American people twice elected Barack Obama to lead the nation, but because Republicans do not want him as President, they spent the past five years bringing governance to a veritable standstill and it is due to being inexorably bound to the Christian and corporate prerogative.

In the leadup to elections, there is a mantra espoused ad nauseum that “elections have consequences.” One never hears that petitions have consequences for one simple reason; they do not. It is true that turning out en masse to evict Republicans from Congress will affect change for near future, but those Supreme Court rulings giving the religious right and corporations control over Americans’ lives are here to stay. One imagines a different America if more Democrats turned out to vote in the 2000 general election that would have prevented embroiling Americans in two unfunded and unnecessary wars of aggression, and prevented an out-of-control banking industry from nearly destroying the world’s economy. A few thousand more votes would also have prevented a conservative Supreme Court majority from abolishing the Establishment Clause, voting rights laws, campaign finance laws, and the right to class action lawsuits against predatory corporations.

It is true Americans are frustrated with the path the country is on, but their frustration should be put to use educating, registering, and encouraging other Americans to vote instead of signing useless petitions to overturn High Court decisions. It is too late to even ameliorate the damage conservatives on the Court have imposed on America, and the Constitution, but there is time to stop any further damage Republicans in Congress are planning to unleash on the people whether it is privatizing Medicare and Social Security, or eliminating Medicaid, food stamps, environmental protections, and every other social program the Koch brothers, Wall Street, and religious right want abolished. If Americans should feel anything, it should be desperation because while they are signing petitions, the religious right, Koch brothers, and Wall Street are mobilizing their forces to finish what they began in 2000 and 2010 to get what they want; government beholden to the Christian and corporate prerogative and a quick end to democracy."



Thursday, July 17, 2014


While reading the Upworthy story on women being harrassed, I had a flashback to a late night in Eau Claire. I had turned left off Water Street at 5th, wending my way home on the far west side of Eau Claire. It was a warm early summer night, I had my windows down, and as I crossed the intersection of 5th and Niagara, through my open passenger side window, I heard the sounds of an angry male voice and alarming cries of a female. I stopped my van and watched but for a second. When the college age asshole assailant, who was screaming at the young woman, whose arm he had gripped in his left hand, suddenly back-handed her across the face, I opened the driver's side door, stood up on the floor board so as to be able to see over the roof, and shouted at the top of my lungs: "HEY! KNOCK THAT SHIT OFF!" To which the bastard replied "mind your own business, asshole!"

"I am minding my business," I shouted, "and right now, YOU are my business! You should know that I have already called the cops(I lied) and that they will be here any second, so I suggest you let her go!"

And he did. And he decided not to stick around but went running off in the direction of Riverside Park. I then pulled my vehicle to the curb beyond the intersection, climbed out and approached the young woman, who was crying, her face buried in her hands.

"Are you all right?" I asked when I reached her.

"Yes, I'm all right, thank you," she said. But she obviously wasn't. I asked who the guy was and she said he was her boyfriend. I asked if I could give her a ride home, which she first refused. However, I insisted, telling her that I would feel much better escorting her safely to her apartment.

"What if, after I leave, he returns?" I asked. This was enough to convince her to allow me to get her out of there. We didn't speak as I drove the short distance to her apartment address. When she got out of the van, she thanked me again, and left.

I thought about her many times after that evening, wondering if she returned to that abusive relationship. There are two things I will never understand: How a supposed "man" can hit a woman, and secondly, why a woman would ever allow herself to continue to be in that kind of a relationship.

This, today, from The Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters

It's official. 10,000 acres of Wisconsin's public land is now being sold off to private interests, and it's just the start.

Rather than protecting the places that are so important to us, state leaders voted for the first time ever to require that public lands be sold off. This is the wrong direction for Wisconsin.

This is just the beginning. You can bet that more attacks on Wisconsin's lands are sure to come in the next legislative session. We're committed to fighting every day to restore Wisconsin's nonpartisan legacy on conservation that has sadly been abandoned by leaders in recent years.

That's why Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters is working with citizens, like you – to let our legislators know that Wisconsin citizens expect them to protect our land for our families and future generations.

Like you, we grew up camping at state parks, getting our hands and knees dirty in nature, and paddling our state's great lakes and rivers. It's who we are.

Now these special natural places are threatened. Make your donation to Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters today and help us fight back against future attacks on our land.


Bottom line: Once our public lands are sold, they're not coming back. We need to protect land now – for our families and for our children. Wisconsin's public land should remain public.

Thank you for being a conservation voter,

Anne Sayers
Program Director
Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters



There are few things as fundamentally crucial to the existence of human beings and, indeed, all life on Earth as water. It is difficult to believe any human being thinks water is privately-owned, a commodity, to use for profit at the expense of human life, but Americans know there are entities that will go to any lengths to feed their corporate greed. In several states in this country, climate change is wreaking havoc on the people in the form of severe, multi-year droughts. So, with extreme water shortages, what do two industries do with the vanishing precious resource? They either mix it with deadly carcinogens and pump it, under extremely high pressure, back into the ground, often directly over active earthquake faults, or draw it out of the ground, bottle it, and sell it for profit. It is a wealthy corporations’ ideal business model; free raw materials and a product no human being can survive without.

California, like many states primarily in the southwestern United States, is facing one of its most severe droughts on record. The conditions are so severe that in January Governor Jerry Brown declared a drought state of emergency in preparation for water shortages that are especially dangerous during the summer months. The critically severe drought has entered its third year of a projected decade (at least) long drought, and throughout California water restrictions are having a profound impact on agriculture. In fact, the water shortage is so severe that farmers in some of the most agricultural-rich areas of the country are being forewarned there may be no water within two years at best; that is if the extreme conservation measures work.

However, while the rest of the state is attempting to conserve what little life-sustaining water California has left, the Nestle Company ignores the emergency measures the state adopted because its water bottling plant is conveniently located on a Native American reservation. Like all N.A. reservations, it is considered a sovereign nation by the US government. It is a water-theft enterprise any greedy corporation would lust after because unlike farmers, individual Californians, and every municipality in the state, Nestle is exempt from complying with any water-saving state or federal regulations. To make matters worse, Nestle is depleting what precious water reserves lie deep underground in the aquifer and pumping it directly to its bottling plant and selling it for profit. This is not a new endeavor for Nestle, and their blatant disregard for Californians’ need for basic survival was best expressed by Nestle’s CEO and Chairman.

According to the former CEO and now Chairman of the largest food product manufacturer in the world, Nestle, corporations own every drop of water on the planet, and because he believes water is not a basic human right; if human beings get thirsty, they have to pay or die. It is the ultimate privatization insult to mankind, and worse because Nestle is intent on privatizing water the world over; a natural resource that falls from the sky and seeps into the Earth for man to use for survival. In the case of California, and other regions around the world, what precious little water remains for basic survival is being stolen by a filthy corporation to sell to those who can afford to survive, and they are being assisted by Native Americans claiming to be good stewards of the Earth. Maybe this is Native American vengeance on the white man for invading their sovereign land, massacring them, and sending the survivors to permanent interment camps with high-sounding names like “sovereign nations.” But that is another story altogether; this is about Nestle draining California’s water.

The Nestle Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water bottling plant is located on the Morongo Band of Mission Indians reservation and drains water from a Mojave Desert oasis at the base of the San Bernardino Mountains 85 miles from Los Angeles where just three inches of rain falls each year. Their little enterprise prevents water from seeping downhill to fill aquifers of nearby towns struggling for water during the drought, and prior to 2009, about when the drought began, Nestle submitted annual reports to local water districts detailing how much groundwater they were extracting for profit. Since the drought began, neither Nestle nor the Morongo tribe submitted any forms; likely because it would be bad for business to tell local residents how much of their precious water they are being forced to buy to increase Nestle’s profits.

Nestle already has a history of showing blatant disregard for the human race according to Corporate Watch. The company regularly barges into struggling rural areas and extracts groundwater to sell in bottles “completely destroying the water supply without any compensation,” and in fact “actually makes rural areas in the United States foot the bill.” However, Nestle is not focusing only on Americans’ water as reported by Corporate Watch that has documented Nestle and former CEO Peter Brabeck-Letmathe’s long history of disregarding public health and abusing the environment for profit to the tune of $35 billion annually from water bottle sales alone. Corporate Watch states that “NestlĂ© production of mineral water involves the abuse of vulnerable water resources. In the Serra da Mantiqueira region of Brazil, home to the “circuit of waters” park whose groundwater has a high mineral content and medicinal properties, over-pumping has resulted in depletion and long-term damage.”

One wonders if when the Morongo Band of Indians runs out of water themselves and is forced to buy water they allowed Nestle to deplete for profits, they will still consider themselves good stewards of the Earth or that Nestle is a “valued partner.” California is home to the largest Nestle water bottling operation near Mount Shasta that is suffering the drought as much as any other part of the state with nearby Shasta Lake unrecognizable as a lake. Still, the piece of human filth, Nestle CEO, condemned non-governmental organizations like the United Nations and other humanitarian organizations for perpetuating the “extremist idea that drinking water is a human right” that should not have a market price to enrich the Nestle corporation.

Although the extreme California drought is just one reason to take action against Nestle, the point is the giant corporation is pillaging a basic necessity for human life all over the world with little opposition and relative impunity. The company touts job creation as validation for draining the water supply dry and selling it back to thirsty Americans, but when they have exhausted the water supply, no amount of jobs or money will sustain life devoid of water. There is no end to the disregard for human life that corporations have made their overriding mission after profit taking, and at least in one California region, there is no possibility of holding a truly vile and inhumane corporation accountable for a crime against humanity; stealing their dwindling water supply and selling it back for profit because they set up shop in a sovereign nation inside drought-stricken California.


Citizen Action of Wisconsin

When Scott Walker forced tens of thousands of people off BadgerCare he promised that there would be no coverage gap and most would transition to the new on-line marketplace.

But Walker refused to release the actual numbers all spring and summer. Even when Senator Tammy Baldwin asked for the numbers Walker did not provide them.

Last week we at Citizen Action of Wisconsin filed an official open records request demanding the numbers, and on Wednesday the Walker Administration finally released them.

We now know why Walker was sitting on the numbers. Shockingly, over 60% of the 63,000 people Walker kicked off BadgerCare were unable to sign up for marketplace coverage!

Because of Scott Walker’s decision to put politics over people’s health, 38,000 Wisconsinites have no access to BadgerCare or to the new on-line marketplace for the rest of 2014.

We won’t give up until we reverse Walker’s decision to turn down up to $1 million dollars a day for BadgerCare.

We need you to give a tax-deductible contribution of $100, $50, $25 or whatever you can afford to help us win real health care access for everyone in Wisconsin.


Dr. Robert Kraig, Executive Director

Citizen Action of Wisconsin Education Fund

P.S. Contributions to Citizen Action’s charitable arm, Citizen Action of Wisconsin Education Fund, are tax deductible.

Monday, July 14, 2014


Citing personal safety concerns, Gov. Scott Walker has sharply increased the amount the state is paying to protect him and his family, boosting the budget for his security detail by 239% in his term.

Records show taxpayers spent more than $2.23 million in 2013 for the 10 state troopers who protect Walker and his family, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and dignitaries from other states and countries who visit Wisconsin. That was up from $657,457 paid out by Gov. Jim Doyle on security during his last year in office in 2010.

A large part of the increase in spending on security came as a result of Walker's decision to add five members to the Dignitary Protection Unit, the official name of the security team, in the wake of the 2011 protests over Act 10.

The first-term governor sparked protests around the state with his sweeping plan to curtail collective bargaining for most public employees. Both Walker and Kleefisch were the target of death threats during the frenzied debate over the bill.

"Have you been asleep for the past three years?" Walker said during a stop in New Berlin on Tuesday when pressed about his rising security budget.

But that's not been the only factor driving up security costs. Records show that:

· Taxpayers have paid some $978,000 to provide security for Walker's home in Wauwatosa — a figure that continues to rise sharply even though his two sons are in college and the governor has said he's spending more nights at the Executive Residence in Maple Bluff.

· Spending on items designated "other expenses" has increased by 716% in the past five years, with annual $600 clothing allowances for the security team; $975 bulletproof vests and iPads and iPad accessories for all 10 bodyguards; and a safe and car tinting.

· The number of out-of-state trips for which security has accompanied Walker has increased as his national profile rises and he is increasingly seen as a possible 2016 presidential contender. In 2011, he had state-funded security for 29 trips outside Wisconsin, a number that had risen to 47 by 2013.


Evidently our beloved governor is "running scared" but if you ask him, he would tell you that because he acted to save money for the tax payers of Wisconsin,(a complete ruse) some people hate him.

I am confounded to find that the governor's race is tied at 47% per candidate. Not only is Walker spending our money like a drunken sailor on shore leave, but the signs of corruption are becoming more evident with each passing day.

There are a lot of other reasons why Walker should not be elected for a second term; take for instance, the voter suppression attempts by his administration and his rubber stamp senate and assembly. Under the guise of discovering and preventing voter fraud, this attempt to keep the poor, the aged, and those who do not have a drivers licenses from the polls, legislation was presented.


Unfortunately for them, they are the guilty party . . . and parties.

Scott Walker supporter, Robert Monroe, a Shorewood, Wisconsin health insurance executive, was charged with 13 felonies relating to his voting a dozen times in five elections between 2011 and 2012, using his own name as well as that of his son and his girlfriend's son.

Even worse, Monroe voted multiple times in the April 2011 Wisconsin Supreme Court race that required a recount.

Then it came to light in the March 6, 2014 issue of the Wisconsin State Journal that Marcie Malszycki, a Repulican legislative aide who worked for Warren Petryk, 93rd Assembly, the man who co-sponsored the voter ID bill, voted improperly for Scott Walker in 2010.

Malszycki pled guilty to election fraud on March 4, 2014, and under a plea agreement, yet another count of election fraud, involving a vote alledgedly cast in the wrong district in 2008 was dismissed.

I wonder how many Wisconsin pick up trucks that proudly display their I STAND WITH SCOTT WALKER bumper stickers do any reading at all and are in the least bit aware of these happenings.

I have even seen SCOTT WALKER FOR PRESIDENT bumper stickers! We live in frightening times,

Sunday, July 13, 2014


Ever since the emergence of the ISIS in Iraq, and the increasing conflict and further loss of life, there has been one constant voice critical of President Obama's handling of the situation (a situation, by the way) that he was instrument in setting in motion as the "chicken hawk" vice president and "the power behind the throne" during George Dubbya's two terms: Richard Bruce Cheney.

If there is a hell, Cheney shall one day, in my opinion, sit at Lucifer's right hand.

When Cheney published his tome: "In My Times", strangely, there was not a chapter on the Vietnam conflict. As the brilliant writer, John Nichols wrote in Nation Magazine:

Try as readers may, to find the tale of Cheney’s Vietnam service or, to be more precise, his meticulous avoidance of service, they just won’t find that In My Times offers much in the way of revelation about Cheney’s times.

Cheney has always positioned himself as an arch militarist. But when he had a chance to get on the frontlines, he instead chose deferments. A lot of them.

Richard Bruce Cheney was “of age” for service durng the Vietnam conflict. Faced with the chance to engage on the battlefield or the home front, however, he dodged out—not for moral reasons but selfish ones. Pulitzer Prize–winning author David Maraniss, who interviewed Cheney for his book They Marched Into Sunlight, says the vice president just couldn’t be bothered. “I think he’s emblematic of a certain type. He wasn’t against the war, just didn’t want anything to do with it,” explains Maraniss. “He wanted to get on with his life and not let the world get in the way.”

Unfortunately, the world had a tendency to get in the way of young men who, like Cheney, were of draft age when the US troop presence in Vietnam began to rise in the mid-1960s. As a result, there was one sense in which Cheney mirrored the actions, if not the politics, of his fellow students. Dick Cheney was definitely opposed to the draft, at least as far as it affected him. Indeed, unlike George W. Bush, who performed some sort of service—ill-defined and unrecorded as it may have been—in the Texas Air National Guard, Cheney reacted to the prospect of wearing his country’s uniform like a man with a deadly allergy to olive drab. Between 1963 and 1965, Cheney used his student status at Casper College and the University of Wyoming to apply for and receive four 2-S draft deferments. As the war in Vietnam heated up, Cheney fought to defend and expand his deferments. Twenty-two days after Congress approved the Gulf of Tonkin resolution in August 1964, raising the prospect of a rapid expansion of the draft, he “coincidentally”—in the words of a Washington Post profile—married longtime girflriend Lynne Vincent. The advantage was that even if his student deferment was lifted, his married status might carry some weight with his draft board.

But the Vietnamese were not cooperating with Cheney’s schemes. The war kept demanding more and more young American men, and the range of those who were eligible for the draft expanded rapidly. On May 19, 1965, Cheney was reclassified with the most dangerous draft status: 1-A, “available for military service.” Soon afterward, Lyndon Johnson announced that draft call-ups would double, and on October 26, Selective Service constraints on the drafting of childless married men were lifted. Danang was calling. And it didn’t look like Dick had any excuses left.

But there was one way for ambitious young men to avoid serving their country while maintaining their political viability. If Cheney had a child, he’d be reclassified 3-A, removing him from the pool of those likely to be drafted. Cheney needed a kid — quick. And he got one. Precisely nine months and two days after the Selective Service eliminated special protections for childless married men, Cheney was no longer childless. His daughter Elizabeth was born on July 28, 1966. Convenient? Coincidence? That’s not Cheney’s style. Writer Timothy Noah did the math and suggested that the timing of Elizabeth’s arrival “would seem to indicate that the Cheneys, though doubtless planning to have children sometime, were seized with an untamable passion the moment Dick Cheney became vulnerable to the Vietnam draft. And acted on it. Carpe diem! Who says government policy can’t affect human behavior?”

Cheney applied for 3-A status immediately, receiving it on January l9, 1966, when Lynne was still in the first trimester of her pregnancy.

Twenty-three years later, when Cheney appeared before the Senate to plead the case for his confirmation as George Herbert Walker Bush’s defense secretary, he was questioned about his failure to serve. Cheney responded that he “would have obviously been happy to serve had I been called.” In a more truthful moment that same year, Cheney admitted to a reporter, “I had other priorities in the ’60s than military service.” Cheney’s lie to the Senate has never caused much concern, but that “other priorities” line has dogged him. After he selected himself to serve on the 2000 Republican ticket, former Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jesse Brown, a Vietnam veteran disabled by a gunshot wound to his right arm, said, “As a former Marine who was wounded and nearly lost his life, I personally resent that comment. I resent that he had ‘other priorities,’ when 58,000 people died and over 300,000 returned wounded and disabled. In my mind there is no doubt that because he had ‘other priorities’ someone died or was injured in his place.”

That may sound like a harsh assessment, but the fact is that at least a dozen men aged 19 to 47 from Cheney’s adopted hometown of Casper, Wyoming, died in Vietnam during the period when Cheney might have served. Because local draft boards had to fill quotas when a man who was eligible got a deferment, someone else had to fill the slot. The vagaries of draft quotas, military service and the war itself make it impossible to say whether Leroy Robert Cardenas or Walter Elmer Handy or Douglas Tyrone Patrick or any of the other sons of Casper who perished in Southeast Asia might have survived the war years and gone on to explore their “other priorities” if Cheney had responded to his country’s call. But that doesn’t stop some of those who served from asking, “Who died in your place, Dick Cheney?”

When Cheney served as vice president, Vietnam veteran Dennis Mansker raised that question on a website, where he maintained a list of the dead from Casper. Maybe Cheney did have other priorities, Mansker argues, but “so did these guys.”

No wonder, then, that there are increasing cries for Cheney to shut the fuck up!

Friday, July 11, 2014


The first time I was keenly aware of Antonin Scalia was when George W. Bush was handed the 2000 election by Scalia and his cronies. Scalia made no apologies to the accusation that his role in the case of Bush v. Gore conferred the election on Bush, telling critics "it was the right thing to do".

He also confounded many Court observers with his recusal record. Scalia, who portends to adhere to the judicial philosophy of "originalism", which holds that the Constitution is to be interpreted in terms of what it meant to those who ratified it over two centuries ago ( in direct conflict with the more commonly held view that the Constitution is as "living document" allowing courts to take into account the views of contemporary society) recused himself from cases that should have interested him, such as the Pledge of Allegiance case of Elk Grove v. Newdow but refused to recuse himself when there was a suspected conflict of interest in the case of Cheney v. US District Court for DC even though he had a close personal relationship with the then-Vice-President Dick Cheney.

From the press:

WASHINGTON - Vice President Dick Cheney and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia spent part of last week duck hunting together in a private camp in southern Louisiana just three weeks after the court agreed to take up the vice president's appeal in lawsuits over his handling of the administration's energy task force.

While Scalia and Cheney are avid hunters and long time friends, several experts in legal ethics questioned the timing of their trip and it raised doubts about Scalia's ability to judge the case impartially.

In a startling and unconvincing statement, Scalia asserted that the hunting expedition was not in an intimate setting, based on the facts that they did not sleep in the same room or hunt in the same duck blind and that he was not alone with Cheney at any time during the trip, except, perhaps, for instances so brief and unintentional that Scalia could not recall them; walking to and from the boat, perhaps, or going to and from dinner.

Although intimacy may be defined in many ways, a reasonable observer certainly could conclude that the expedition, as described by Scalia himself, was quite intimate. Flying to Louisiana on Cheney's own aircraft in the company of only Cheney and three other guests and spending two days in a highly communal setting with only twelve other men (members of Cheney's staff and security detail) certainly seems intimate to many persons who urged Scalia's recusal (the "originalist") to no avail.

At some point much later, Scalia was pressed to cite a "heroic moment" in his career. Scalia finally sited his refusal to recuse himself from the case involving Dick Cheney's claims of executive privilege for his energy task force. (Scalia, in addition to the duck hunting trip, also attended a private dinner with Cheney and then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Maryland's eastern shore, while the Supreme Court was considering Cheney's appeal.)

"Most of my opinions don't take guts", Scalia told New York'sJennifer Senior. "They take smarts. But not courage. And I was proud of that. I did the right thing and it let me in for a lot of criticism and it was the right thing to do and I was proud of that. So that's the only heroic thing I've done."

Somewhat ironic that this opinion of which he is so proud led to such things as the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the current raping of Wisconsin's silica for use in even more environmental destruction, fracking.

I would imagine as a "good Catholic boy" he can add to his heroic opinions, the recent Hobby Lobby decision.


My friend and erstwhile "marketeer", Liz Fischer, recently sent this to me:

Here is the history of one of the most controversial pieces of advertising copy ever written... The Pledge of Allegiance.

That's right. Little did we know, but this little thing that we grew up saying daily in school wasn't a noble tome written by our Founding Fathers. Nor is it some holy relic of history. Rather, the pledge got its start as a piece of sales copy.

I kid you not.

The author was a fallen Baptist minister named Francis Bellamy. The year was 1892. And Bellamy had recently lost his preaching job for giving sermons with titles like "Jesus Was A Socialist."

His friends James Upham and Daniel Ford had hired Bellamy to write for their magazine, "Youth Companion." One of the things the magazine did was sell flags.

On the magazine's reputation, Bellamy was able to convince President Harrison to ask for flag flying at every public schoolhouse. Three months letter, Bellamy wrote the Pledge to help promote the idea in the magazine.

It was a smash success.

And as Paul Harvey would say: . . ." And now you know the rest of the story".

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


Recently I was contacted by Mike Paulus of Eau Claire's Volume One. He had sought out the advice of Bruce Taylor, UWEC Poet Emeritus, as to whom he could contact to fill out two entries in an upcoming evening of "adult story telling". Here is the e mail:

From: Mike Paulus [mike@volumeone.org]
Sent: Monday, July 07, 2014 2:55 PM
Cc: Thom Fountain; Eric Christenson
Subject: Re: WANTED: Let's Be Honest Storytellers

Hey everybody!

We could really use some help getting 2 more featured storytellers for our Let's Be Honest show on Friday, July 18. The theme is "Sucker Punch: stories of getting duped ... or doing the duping."

If you have a great story for this show or know someone who does, please email me back!


Mike Paulus
online editor
Volume One Magazine
205 N. Dewey Street
Eau Claire, WI 54703
ph: 715-552-0457

Dr. Taylor's reply:

From: Bruce Taylor
Subject: RE: WANTED: Let's Be Honest Storytellers
Date: July 7, 2014 7:46:13 PM CDT
To: Mike Paulus
Cc: August Rubrecht , lheagle@larryhegle.com

Have you tried August and Larry?

Then I received a copy of August Rubrecht's reply:

Bruce, I very much appreciate your recommendation to Mike Paulus. I would love it if Volume One invited me to tell (especially if I could be on the same program as Larry Heagle). Unfortunately, I will be traveling to the Ozarks then for a mini-reunion with siblings, cousins, and one charming old uncle, one of the last two of my mother's siblings.

August Rubrecht, is without a doubt, THE best storyteller I have ever known! After my head returned to normal size, (7 1/8), I contacted Mike and told him I was available.

I will be a part of the show on Friday, July 18. I am going to use this blog today to "polish" up my true story.

It was a long time ago while I was still traveling great distances to do shows. This time around, I had gotten a call to perform comedy at a convention being held at the Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center just outside Alexandria, Minnesota.

I got an unusually early start that morning and while driving, I noticed that my van was due for a 5,000 mile oil change. Since I reached Alexandria with plenty of time to spare, and found a Pennsoil Ten Minute Oil Change business right there on my way into town, I took advantage of my early arrival, pulled in, and checked in at the desk.

I did notice that they were extremely busy, but as I said, I had hours to spare, so I wasn't too worried. After registering my vehicle, I joined several other customers in the waiting lounge, grabbed a magazine, and asked the woman sitting near an empty chair if she would mind if I sat near her. With her permission, I took the seat and began absent-mindedly flipping through People Magazine.

After a bit, I introduced myself to the woman. She, in turn, introduced herself to me and I struck up a conversation with her. (I really do enjoy engaging people, even strangers, in this kind of situation, as it passes time in a way much better than reading People Magazine ever could!

Besides, I thought she might be able to give me some insights into the city of Alexandria that I could incorporate into my performance. When I asked her about Alexandria, she told me that she didn't know much about the town as of yet, as she and her daughter had just recently moved from Blue Earth, Minnesota.

This opened up a whole vista of questions I could ask: How old is your daughter? (20) What is your daughter's name? (Jane) What made you decide to move to Alexandria (job as a registered nurse) Were you able to find housing? (a "fixer upper" house).

She asked where I was from and what I do for a living and I told her I am from Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and that I am an ex-middle school teacher that quit teaching. Had I not, I told her, I would have been the one on the roof with a high powered rifle. I told her that I am a comedian/guitar player. Why was I in Alexandria? I am the after dinner entertainment at the Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center, I told her.

She lit up at the words "Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center". She exclaimed that her daughter works there summers as a waitress for convention banquets! And that as a single parent (divorced) she was very proud of her daughter's initiative (in seeking employment for the summer).

I then asked her to give me a physical description of Jane, in case I had a chance to meet her and tell her that I had met her mom. Barbara then really opened up to me, told me all kinds of great details . . . how talented her daughter is at interior design and implementing it . . . that she had just finished tiling the entire bath room and it looked like a professional had done the work . . . that she was schooling at the nearby technical school, pursuing interior design . . . that she missed Blue Earth and her boy friend, Jim.

She would have told me more but her number was called and she left to get her car. As soon as she left, I took out my little note pad that I always carried with me in case of comedic inspiration, and hurriedly scribbled all the facts I could remember so that if I did get a chance to meet Jane, I would be able to speak intelligently about her mother and she would not think I was just some weirdo vagabond trying to hit on her.

I arrived at the Arrowwood, a large and impressive place with a central conference center, surrounded by a golf course and spacious vacation town homes.

When I work a conference, before I even take the guitar out of the van, I first scope out exactly where it is that I will be setting up my sound system, where the nearest entrance to the banquet room is, and who I need to contact and let know my purpose for being there.

This I accomplished, the last step being to enter the actual dining area to see if there was a stage of some sort set up. When I walked in, there were two uniformed young women, busily putting down place settings of plates and silver. Jane's mother had given me a very accurate description of her daughter. I recognized her immediately.

It wasn't until that moment that I came up with a plan.

I approached them and watched as they worked for a moment, my gaze transfixed on Jane. She became aware of my seemingly rude staring and looked up from her work.

"Hi, Jane", I said, and then turned to leave.

"Wait a minute!" she cried out, "how do you know my name?"

"It's right there on your plastic name tag", I said, knowing full well she had no name tag.

She actually looked down at her uniform!

"I'm not wearing a name tag," she said, alarmed.

"Okay, you caught me," I said. "I know your name is Jane because I am psychic. In fact, You are giving off a very strong aura and there is much I can tell you about yourself."

"Like what?" she said.

"Well, for starters, you haven't been living in Alexandria very long. You moved here from . . . Blue Earth, Minnesota, because . . . "

I paused, winced, rubbed my temples.

"because . . . your mother received a better job offer."


"Did I not just tell you that I am psychic?

"I don't believe you. . . you are just making lucky guesses. What does my mom do for a living?"

Again, I paused as if waiting for inspiration. "Is your mother's name . . . I am seeing a "B" Ba- Ba- Barbara? .

Her jaw dropped.

"She is a nurse . . . no, not just a nurse . . . a REGISTERED nurse."

"And she is very proud of you because of your talent and gumption." I paused again. "You are studying interior design. you just finished tiling the bath room floor at your house . . . I closed my eyes . . . I can see it. You did a very professional installation."

Now I had her hooked.

"What else can you tell me??"

"You will be going back to technical school this Fall to finish your two year degree in interior design."

She looked at her fellow worker. "Can you believe this?" she asked. Her partner was frozen in place, silverware in hand.

I turned as if to leave, then turned back and said: "You are really missing Jim, aren't you?"

Then I started walking away and from behind me I heard the other waitress: "Hey! Don't leave! Do me!"

"I'm sorry. My brain is really tired. My head hurts. Maybe some other time."

I sure would have liked to have been a fly on the ceiling when she got home and told her mother about the psychic she met at work!

Saturday, July 5, 2014


A letter to the editor of this past Sunday, only 63 words long, uses as it’s sole reference Citizens Against Government Waste. That’s one of those very misleading titled organizations like the Koch brothers Americans For Prosperity. I mean, if you take them at their face, just by their titles, you would think to yourself: "Americans for prosperity'? Hey, I'm all for every Americans being prosperous . . bet they are a good group!" "Citizens Against Government Waste?" Well, it's about damn time!" But the truth is both those organizations are about as honestly named as a new housing development calling itself Paradise Prairie. Housing four feet apart ain't no paradise and if it's built on a prairie, well, you can't see the prairie!

CAGW, according to the editorial, scores Senator Ron Johnson at a 100 per cent ranking while Senator Tammy Baldwin was given a 4 per cent rating.

Before you decide that Ron is a “superhero”, (as the author of the editorial did, which almost acted as a laxative to me, because to link Ron Johnson with the word superhero, just about made me shit myself!) you should know that the CAGW has been accused of fronting lobbying efforts of corporations to give them the appearance of “grassroots” support. It has accepted donations from Phillip Morris, the Olin Foundation, The Bradley Foundation, Microsoft, and Exxon-Mobil. Check out how grassroots any of these are!!!

In 2006, The Senate Finance Committee investigating ties between Jack Abrahoff and CAGW stated that CAGW “probably violated their tax-exempt status by laundering payments and then disbursing funds at Mr. Abramoff’s direction; taking payments in exchange for writing newspaper columns or press releases that put Abramoff’s clients in a favorable light; introducing his clients to government officials in exchange for payment, and agreeing to act as a front organization for congressional trips paid for by Abramoff’s clients.”

CAGW also supported a bill that would limit damages resulting from malpractice lawsuits; a bill that consumer watchdog groups opposed heavily.

Sunday’s editorial chose to limit the number of words and quote this right-wing organization as though it is expert and we should unquestionly trust their ratings without knowing their background; a background that includes articles like: “The Veterans Administration is a Socialized Healthcare System”. Ron Johnson, superhero? Ask a veteran.

Yeh, I said it! (had to clean it up for the paper, though.


Man, we had fun being in the Rock Falls Independence Day parade yesterday! Check out the photos on my Face book home page. Kim and I have marched (well, Kim marched, I drove either the Model A or Jeff's big Pick-em-up truck because Larry's a cripple you know) in parades in Maiden Rock, Mondovi, and now Rock Falls. I know what you are thinking . . Rock Falls, a parade? What a joke! But you'd be wrong . . there were more entries in the parade and more peole along the route than any of the other parades.

Afterwards, Jeff invited everyone out to the ranch for brats, hot dogs, and everybody bought a dish to pass. I brought two rhubarb/custard pies as our offering.

What's really cool is that the number of Dems walking along with Jeff are way more than his opponent has. And every parade that number grows.

If you are an independent or are leaning (D), you really should join us in the next one. Just go to "Jeff Smith for 93rd Assembly" Facebook page and find out what's next.


Tuesday, July 1, 2014


I have decided to start blogging again for a couple of reasons, primarily, because I don't relish conflict at all, and secondly, I feel that I now finally understand that Face book is little more than a virtual cocktail party at which two subjects are absolutely taboo: politics and religion. Unfortunately, with our present theocratical (is that even a word?) "Supreme Corp", that weird concept foisted on us by our founding forefathers, "Separation of Church and State" is down the toilet . . and last, believe it or not, I have actually received the following "threat" on messsaging: "I think letting people know what you are doing is fine, but if you don't stop posting that liberal crap I'm going to have to unfriend you". (Actually this is not a reason at all. I found it really funny that my "friend" thought that this would "shape me up". I wrote back and told him that for his own peace of mind, he'd best "unfriend"me. Then I laughed to myself all afternoon.)

Aside: I am having a hell of a time getting my damn Clear Wire modem to function today! Something wild is going on in the atmosphere I guess.

As I was saying: with the recent Hobby Lobby decision by the Idiot Five (all old men, you will observe) the door has been opened for all the religious crazies to praise Jesus and attack women, gays, lesbians, and probably Muslims and Jews; I guess anybody that "jist don't look right".

Today, the strategists who dreamt up Hobby Lobby's lawsuit aren't resting on their laurels -- they're plotting the next attack.

In the last 24 hours, religious-right leaders have started publicly bragging about plans to use the Supreme Court's decision to legalize anti-gay discrimination. In fact, "religious freedom" legislation to that effect has already been introduced in state legislatures across the country.

Right now, most judges, politicians, and journalists take the right's claims to speak for Christians at face value. Yesterday Supreme Court decision actually said that "no one has disputed the sincerity of Hobby Lobby's religious beliefs"!

But in reality, there are virtually no Christians who won't use birth control or refuse to do business with gays and lesbians, and when I say Christians, I mean real Christians, those who actually believe in the tenets of Jesus Christ's "Love they neighbor as thy self" and accept and respect every human, no matter if they be catholic, protestant, methodist, baptist, seventh day adventist, jew, hindu, muslim and yes, even athiests like Bill Maher; all manner of ethnic groups . . you don't have to be white to be right.

And of course, this isn't just about birth control -- it's about not letting conservative extremists get away with claiming to speak for the entire Christian faith. But with the Supreme Court opening the door to massive amounts of discrimination in the name of Christianity, we now have two fronts on which to fight: separation of church and state and the fact that corporations are not people.

Journalist Ryan Grim put forth an interesting premise today:

The owners of a chain of stores called Hobby Lobby don't like Obamacare. In particular, they really don't like the part that requires insurance companies to cover contraceptives. Normally, people who don't like a law petition the government to change that law. That's how a nation of laws works.

But these men are Christians. The Supreme Court ruled Monday that Christian business owners are special. Their deeply held religious belief that some particular form of contraception is immoral carries more weight than the force of law, five conservative Christian justices ruled. The court -- in a fairly bald admission that its ruling is incoherent -- added that no general amnesty from other laws should be assumed to be the result of its ruling and that its reasoning was strictly limited to women's contraception. Such a limitation raises legitimate questions about the rather perverted and obsessive minds of the five men who made the ruling, but it also carries little legal weight. Precedent is precedent, whether the precedent-setters say so or not.

As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wondered aloud in her dissent, "Would the exemption ... extend to employers with religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions (Jehovah's Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists); medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (certain Muslims, Jews, and Hindus)?

As long as we're doing a la carte law-abiding, Grim writes, here are a few additional ones that could become optional to certain people with deeply held beliefs.

Entire colonies of people are dedicated to the belief that being compelled to wear clothes is wrong. Others don't believe they should be compelled to make love only indoors. Don't wanna see naked people on your Saturday stroll? Hey, freedom isn't free.

Most religions profess a deep affinity for peace (while drenching history in blood in the name of religion, but whatever). Why should religious pacifists be compelled to pay taxes that subsidize war? Why should Randians, believers in Atlas Shrugged, the bible for dorm-room free-market evangelists, be forced to support the evil that is government?

There isn't much more religious of an experience than talking directly with God. Hell, Huston Smith included a section on acid in his definitive book The World's Religions. While we're at it, all drug laws rub up against religious practice. Sorry officer, this is our church.

If you've ever talked to a hemp evangelist, you know belief in the crop borders on the religious.

The Bible is packed with tales of impure women meeting a just end under a pile of stones. Today, in certain countries, they're known as honor killings. Will the court make an exception to murder for the deeply religious?

Female circumcision -- more commonly and accurately known as genital mutilation -- is central to the practice of some religions, according to some people who have strong beliefs. What is a democracy to tell people otherwise? In fact, the same could go for domestic violence, polygamy and whatever else.

For some Amish folk, following a strict religious interpretation of "Do unto others what you would have others do unto you" means selling raw, unpasteurized milk, a practice banned under U.S. law for its potential to carry dangerous bacteria such as salmonella, E. coli and listeria.

To hell with the Violence Against Women Act, when the Quran authorizes you to strike a disobedient wife, as illustrated in Chapter 4, Verse 34. And we don't have to limit the freedom to Muslim men. As Deuteronomy 25:11-12 testifies, "If two men are fighting and the wife of one of them comes to rescue her husband from his assailant, and she reaches out and seizes him by his private parts, you shall cut off her hand. Show her no pity."

One thing is certain. The world has gone mad. And our Supreme Corp is making certain that the good old U.S. of A. is going with the rest of it.