The Esau Effect

As I sat reading Genesis 25 and 26 — the story of Esau and Jacob — a tiny thought crept its way into my brain and lodge itself there so it could fester. I went to bed thinking of the two brothers and their life-long struggle over birthrights and blessings and I awoke to the same come the next day.

There was a lesson in the story, but I had to find it before I could share it. I had to understand it before I could find the lesson and why the story had become so overwhelming to me.

It took me a week to winnow things out. In the end it came down to Esau, who also in the end lost both his birthright, first through stupidity and then secondly, his father’s blessing through trickery.

I’ve boiled it down to this: Have we lost our birthright because of our stupidity and are we about to lose our blessings from our Father due to trickery?

Since childhood, I’ve watched as the American people have given up their God-given rights without so much as a fuss or a whimper. In that same time I’ve witnessed our Constitutional Republic slip closer and closer to a democracy – which in the end is the greatest wish of the Anarchists.

(Democracy with a lower case ‘d’ is a social condition of classlessness and equality; Anarchy is a state of disorder due to the absence or non-recognition of authority. Thus democracy eventually falls away into anarchy due to the human condition.)

And every four years I’ve watched as candidates come and go, many providing pledges and services that they cannot hope to provide. Yet, the people fall for the trickery because of their stupidity.

As I see the juggernaut that is the Donald Trump campaign, I can’t help but see the pattern Esau fell for twice. First is the taking of our birthright, and then comes the taking of all our blessings.

Here is why I see it the way I do: Trump is not a part of the ‘establishment,’ an outsider to the Republican electoral processes and thus hated for his current success. However the people love him for his brash-outspokenness and ability to channel their anger from what they see as an injustice done to the nation they love.

Yet they are blind in my opinion to the back room deals being made to keep the king from the throne. Yes, I’m claiming that the Progressive Democratic Party and the Progressive Republican Party are working hand in hand with one another to prevent Trump from winning the presidency, because he’ll upset the ‘things as they are’ way of Washington D.C. politics and not in a good way.

Many people have mistaken Trump’s tough-talking rhetoric for strong American leadership, when in fact it is far from that of a leader. Plainly stated, Trump is an angry, narcissistic, bully of a man as shown by these selected comments:

• “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters,” Trump told Iowa supporters.

• “I mean I had a rating – 68-percent would not leave under any circumstance. I think that means murder, I think it means anything, OK?” Trump said of his supporters during a rally in Sparks, Nevada.

• “I’d like to punch him in the face,” Trump said, about a man disrupting his rally the eve before the Nevada caucuses.

I cannot help think that anyone, big or small, who has ever crossed him in the slightest – especially during this campaign season — will be a target for his wrath should he be elected.

It isn’t hard to look back into the recent past of the 20th century to find a similar situation and to learn how it unfolded. Lutheran Preacher Dietrich Bonhoeffer comes to mind was a Lutheran Pastor who was an influential critic of Adolf Hitler and Nazism.

He publicly spoke against the Nazi policy of euthanasia and the murder of Jews. The day Hitler became the Fuehrer, he had Bonhoeffer arrested and imprisoned and eventually executed in May 1945.

And before you accuse me of claiming Trump is the next Hitler, let me go on record to say that I do not believe for a second. I am simply using this historical reference to make my point that we are going down a road that can have no good outcome for America or her people.

Lastly, I’m not advocating voting for Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. On the contrary as they are the antithesis of what America’s values are about: on the one hand you have a woman whose plagued by her own egotistical dishonesty while on the other you have a man who is an avowed Socialist, a believer in a system of governance that has led to the death of millions around the world.

Neither is a Constitutional candidate. But then again neither is Trump.

So how does the story of Esau turn out? Esau’s attitude is too common today as far too many cry out, “Give me what I want. I want it now. I want it regardless of its cost. Give me my indulgences — I do not care about the consequences!”

We are Esau and we’re about to suffer a horrible trick.

Progressive Politician Calls for Restricting Free Speech

Former Republican presidential candidate Jim Gilmore is criticizing the compliant media for giving free air time to Donald Trump. Gilmore also accused the Republican National Committee of outsourcing the debates to the networks, resulting in “a food fight that looks like the Jerry Springer show.”

“He also by the way said he didn’t have to spend any money because he gets all free broadcasting. And that’s what we’re doing right now. We’re giving him free time right now. And that’s an issue that has to be addressed in the future, as the FCC needs to address this problem of the free advertising they’re giving to selected candidates like Donald Trump,” Gilmore said.

As of February 20, the network evening shows of ABC, CBS and NBC have devoted 51 percent of all their coverage of Republican candidates to Trump. Comparatively, the next two most covered candidates, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, received 25 and 10 percent of the coverage, respectively.

He also said he would support the eventual Republican nominee to avoid another Democrat in the White House.

“I intend to endorse and support the Republican candidate for president because the alternative is either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders,” she said, adding, “They’re both talking about giving away everything and not doing anything to grow the economy.”

Gilmore, a former governor of Virginia, ended his presidential campaign on February 12 after poor showings in Iowa and New Hampshire, which is a good thing, seeing how he wants to restrict the First Amendment. It’s amazing how Progressive eventually show their true colors, isn’t it?

Arizona Fights Back Against Federal Gun Control

The Arizona House approved a measure on February 16 prohibiting the state from using resources, including people and funds, to enforce federal gun control laws. House Bill 2300 forbids state and local agencies from carrying out of any federal regulation restricting the right to own a personal firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition.

Any federal action would be considered unconstitutional if it “infringes the right to keep and bear arms guaranteed by the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution or that impairs that right in violation of Article 2, Section 26 of the Arizona constitution. It also bans the use of state assets or money in the enforcement of any forthcoming federal gun restrictions.

The bill has a provision designed to make sure local law enforcement doesn’t ignore it. It would bar state payments to cities and towns that don’t follow the enforcement ban and imposes civil and criminal penalties on violators.

Similarly, Senate Bill 1452, introduced on February 2, declares that “Any executive order or action that limits the rights guaranteed to a citizen of this state by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and that is not consistent with the constitutions of the United States and this state is an unlawful executive order or action and is not recognized in this state.”

Two other gun bills saw introduction,  including HB 2524 which allows Arizona to agree with other states not to put new restrictions on firearms transfers and HB 2338, which bars schools or universities from banning gun owners from carrying concealed weapons in their vehicles on public roads going through school property.

The legislation rests on the legal principle known as the anti-commandeering doctrine, based on four Supreme Court cases dating back to 1842 with Printz v. U.S. serving as the cornerstone. Simply put, the federal government cannot force states to help carry out or enforce any federal act or program.

The federal government relies heavily on state cooperation to carry out and enforce its regulations and by withdrawing the necessary cooperation, states can nullify many federal actions.

Death in a Debtor’s Prison Cell

He died in a Box Elder County, Utah jail cell shortly after being taken into custody, but Rex Iverson, 45, wasn’t there for a criminal act. He was there on a civil judgment — not paying an ambulance bill.

On Christmas Eve 2013, Iverson had to be taken to the hospital via ambulance. Unfortunately, because he was unemployed he couldn’t pay and in September 2014 a justice court small claims judgment against Iverson said had to pay the $2,376.92 bill.

When he couldn’t pay, he was arrested and jailed. The next day he was found dead in a holding cell.

At 1:10 pm, January 22, 2016, a deputy spoke with Iverson to find out if he would be able to post bail on the offense. When the deputy returned half an hour later to begin the booking process, Iverson was found unresponsive in the cell.

Iverson’s death is under investigation by the Northern Utah Critical Incident Investigative Team. So far foul play is not suspected.

Imprisoning someone because he or she cannot afford to pay a court-imposed fine or fee violates the Fourteenth Amendment of due process and equal protection under the law.

Section 1 reads in part:

“No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

And because Iverson and other people like him are unemployed or don’t have the money to hire an attorney, and since “justice court” isn’t considered a “criminal court,” defendants are often left to the ‘mercy’ of the system and with our proper legal representation. This is clearly a violation of the Sixth amendment, which clearly states:

“In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.”

Like the late musician Frank Zappa asked in a 1991 Spin Magazine interview, “If you don’t know what your rights are, how can you stand up for them?”

The So-called Missing 13th

The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is far different than the one originally proposed. The current amendment abolishes slavery and involuntary servitude.

It was passed by the Senate on April 8, 1864, and by the House on January 31, 1865 and ratified by the states on December 6, 1865 and reads as follows:

Section 1.
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Section 2.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

However, 36-years before the following note appeared on page 23, Vol. 1 of the ‘New York Revised Statutes:

“In the edition of the Laws of the U.S. before referred to, there is an amendment printed as article 13, prohibiting citizens from accepting titles of nobility or honor, or presents, offices, &c. from foreign nations. But, by a message of the president of the United States of the 4th of February, 1818, in answer to a resolution of the house of representatives, it appears that this amendment had been ratified only by 12 states, and therefore had not been adopted.

See Vol. IV of the printed papers of the 1st session of the 15th congress, No. 76.” In 1854, a similar note appeared in the Oregon Statutes. Both notes refer to the Laws of the United States, 1st vol. p. 73 (or 74).”

This so-called “missing” 13th Amendment reads as follows:

“If any citizen of the United States shall accept, claim, receive, or retain any title of nobility or honour, or shall without the consent of Congress, accept and retain any present, pension, office, or emolument of any kind whatever, from any emperor, king, prince, or foreign power, such person shall cease to be a citizen of the United States, and shall be incapable of holding any office of trust or profit under them, or either of them.”

What a different nation the U.S. might be had it been ratified.

Martin

There was something about the thin-armed, beer-bellied man as he walked along the sidewalk and passed the house. He had a thin, stringy beard and a severely receding hair line with the unkempt ends hanging over his tee-shirt collar.

“Good afternoon,” I called out.

“Good afternoon,” he replied as he continued up the street.

Yes. There was something that was vaguely familiar about the guy, but I couldn’t put my finger on it at the moment.

That night as I lay in bed hoping for sleep to overtake me, I thought about him again. Perhaps I’d seen him at the local Walmart or maybe the Save Mart – I couldn’t remember – but I knew I’d seen him someplace as I tend to recall faces all the time.

Then it hit me like a bolt out of the blue, a jarring memory that sent me sitting upright and absolved of all thought or want of sleep at that very moment. It was a stinging memory that I’d laid to rest years ago – but was suddenly walking through my neighborhood like a real Zombie.

“Martin,” I gasped.

He and I first crossed paths in early 1986. I’d been living in a boarding-house on Tripp Drive in Reno for a several months when Martin rented the room directly across from mine.

Martin was five years younger than me and because of this, his lack of body mass and extraordinarily hairless moustache on his upper lip, I considered him a kid. And as first impressions go, he set my alarm bell off as being a sneak.

And it didn’t take too long for my impression to prove itself out.

One Monday morning as I was leaving for work, I noticed my VW Bug’s front end pushed away from the curb. Furthermore, it had a nasty crack in the newly purchased fiberglass wheel well I’d recently installed.

Rushing back inside, I asked the landlord if she knew anything about what had happened to my car. She didn’t have a clue.

So, I went up stairs and knocked on Martin’s door. I told him about my car and he swore he had no knowledge of what had happened to cause the body damage.

Not wanting to be late for work, I drove off. However, I didn’t stop puzzling over the fact that my car was moved a good eight-inches from the curb and there was hefty crack in the body.

After work I drove home and parked in my usual spot. As I sat there it occurred to me that the landlord’s big old 1972 Chevy station wagon was recently moved.

Since she no longer drove, and the only time the ‘Beast’ as she called it moved was when I took her to the market to do her weekly shopping on Friday’s, I knew it had been driven. I had to find out by who, because I concluded that person had run the Beast’s bumper into my car.

“Did you take the car out?” I asked Ethel.

“No,” she answered, “You know I’m not allowed to drive anymore.”

“I know,” I replied, “But I had to ask. Anyone else drive your car since Friday evening?”

“No one,” she returned, “The keys are in my purse like always.”

Two days later, as I came in the front door and headed for the stairs, Ethel stopped me and in a near whisper told me, “Patsy from next door told me she saw someone she didn’t recognize driving the car late Sunday night. She described Martin.”

“So, do you want him out, because I’ll kick his ass down the stairs and out the front door, right now?” I asked.

“No. You can’t do that,” she countered, “I can’t very well simply accuse him of taking my car with proof. But do keep an eye on him.”

By now my rage was seething slightly below explosive. All I need was an excuse to pop him up along side of the head and drag him outside and give him a real smack down. I didn’t have to wait very long.

One evening I returned home from working overtime to discover my door unsecured. Every morning before I left the house I pulled it hard and rattled the knob to make certain it was locked.

As I pushed the door open, I looked around the room, but could find nothing missing. This caused me to question my recollection – perhaps I failed to double-check my door after all.

But that doubt was put to rest the next day as I realized a pocket knife I’d had in a desk drawer was missing. I searched high and low and never found it.

Then that evening, I was putting away my skivvies when I discovered both my birth certificate and my expired passport missing. They had been neatly tucked under the paper drawer-liner for safe keeping.

That seething rage became an explosive inferno as I stepped across the hall and pounded on Martin’s door. There was no answer, yet I felt certain he was inside cowering, so I pushed the door in by force.

I was wrong – Martin wasn’t in his room – but I wasn’t about to let an opportunity to search his room slip by me.

After trashing the place, I found absolutely nothing. He either had it so well hidden that it would take a team of detectives to find my stuff or he had taken it with him to wherever he disappeared.

Quietly, I sat up throughout much of the night waiting for the little asshole to return. He never did and eventually, Ethel had me clean out his room and repair the door so she could rent the space out to another boarder.

A few weeks later, with Mary moving to the area, we rented an apartment on Sutro Street where we would live for the next 12 years. As I was moving my stuff out of the boarding house I learned than Martin had also robbed me of a 20-dollar gold piece that I’d had hidden in my shaking kit and tucked under my bed.

There was nothing that could be done about any of it, so I resolved to let it go and move forward. Then about four-years later, as I pulled into the nearby Albertston’s on Oddie Blvd., I saw Martin coming out of the store with several grocery bags in his arms.

“Here, let me help you with those,” I offered with happiness in my voice.

Martin, not recognizing me at all, gladly allowed me to take five of the bags from him as he fished out his car keys out of his pocket. Behind him trailed a woman, a baby carrier in her arms.

Joyfully, I helped him load the truck with his groceries as his wife buckled the carrier into the back seat. That’s when I surprised him, saying, “I’d really like to have my birth certificate and passport back, Martin.”

His head snapped back and his face went pale as he knew instantly who I was and what I was talking about. Still a scrawny, stick figure of a man, he must have sensed I was more than willing to kick his ass if he got smart-mouthed or resisted me in anyway.

A fast as a ground-squirrel, he hoping behind the wheel and slammed his door shut; slapping the button lock down to make certain I couldn’t open the door and yank him out. I heard him yell at his wife to forget strapping the car seat down and to get in quick.

She had to scramble to get in the passenger seat as he had the car in gear and was pulling away within seconds of learning my identity. Martin nearly hit a mother and daughter as they came out of the grocery store and headed across the parking lot.

Yes, I could have followed him – but I decided not too. Instead I savored the fear of god I had jus’ put into the little man as he disappeared down the road.

That was the last time I saw Martin, that is until he walked by my home a few days ago.

The funny thing is that for years I’ve been trying to get a certified copy of my birth certificate from the federal government since I was born overseas as a military dependent, but to no avail, because I don’t have the hospital registry number. Then about a month ago, I accidentally stumbled on a copy that my parents placed in a ‘school record’s book,’ they started when I was baby – so now I have the necessary number.

Maybe it’s time I invite Martin over for cup of coffee. The whole idea makes me laugh.

Taking a Bite Out of Apple

In September 2013, Apple CEO Tim Cook joined first lady Michelle Obama during President Obama’s State of the Union address. Ironic how fast the tables turned from favor to opposition.

That’s because the Department of Justice and its law enforcement arm, the FBI are trying to force Apple to create a custom software application that will help the agency break into a seized phone. Apple doesn’t want to do that, because it would be creating a security flaw in its own privacy protections, which could then be exploited, both lawfully and unlawfully.

And the DOJ/FBI are using a 227-year-old statute known as the ‘All Writ’s Act of 1789.’ So what is this All Writs Act?

  • (a) The Supreme Court and all courts established by Act of Congress may issue all writs necessary or appropriate in aid of their respective jurisdictions and agreeable to the usages and principles of law.
  • (b) An alternative writ or rule nisi may be issued by a justice or judge of a court which has jurisdiction.
  • (June 25, 1948, ch. 646, 62 Stat. 944; May 24, 1949, ch. 139, § 90, 63 Stat. 102.)

(A ‘nisi’ or ‘rule nisi’ is a court order that does not have any force unless a particular condition’s met. Once met the ruling becomes absolute and is binding.)

It was part of the Judiciary Act of 1789, which created the federal court system and George Washington signed it into law. In essence it gives the court power to issue orders that do not fall under a pre-existing law.

It serves as a procedural tool for courts dealing with odd and miscellaneous issues that haven’t been covered by other laws yet. And if interpreted broadly, it could undermine the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which reads in part: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated…”

If U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym decides in favor of the government, she’ll set a precedent making it easier for any agencies to force a company (or individual) to comply no matter the reason or outcome.  As stated by Thomas Jefferson, “Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.”

The Instrument of Plunder

“How is it that the law enforcer itself does not have to keep the law? How is it that the law permits the state to lawfully engage in actions which, if undertaken by individuals, would land them in jail?” — Frédéric Bastiat, from his 1850 pamphlet, “The Law.”

In July 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency decided that federal law allows it to “garnish non-Federal wages to collect delinquent non-tax debts owed the United States without first obtaining a court order.” The EPA claims this new authority by citing the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996, approved under the Clinton administration.

Apparently, the DCIA gives all federal agencies the power to conduct administrative wage garnishment. The agency also pointed to a Department of Treasury rule from 2011 outlining debt collection for various agencies, including the EPA.

“Administrative Wage Garnishment would apply only after EPA attempts to collect delinquent debts and after Treasury attempts to collect delinquent debts through other means prior to any action,” giving the debtor the opportunity to “review, contest or enter into a repayment agreement.”

Americans have had to contend with such actions before. In fact, this same thing was addressed in a list of grievances by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence: “He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent out hither Swarms of Officers to harass our People, and eat out their Substance,” as well as “imposing Taxes on us without our Consent.”

The amount of money the EPA has collected in fines has increased steadily since President Obama took office. In 2012, the agency took in $252 million in fines, up from just $96 million in 2009.

This is what Bastiat meant when he also wrote, “It is impossible to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil than this: the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder.”

Where Consensus Rules Over Facts

A photographer has captured an image of a dead polar bear that he claims starved to death because of climate change. Sebastian Copeland was in the Canadian Arctic when he came across the animal’s emaciated corpse surrounded in molted fur on a patch of rocky ground.

Copeland claims it serves as an illustration of what polar bears face as the sea ice retreats, making it harder to hunt seals and forcing them further inland for food. His supposition’s bolstered by other climate change expert who’re warning that the Arctic could be completely free of ice in just 40 years.

Along with the polar bears, these experts say an estimated 150,000 penguins have been wiped out in Antarctica. The journal Antarctic Science says in 2010 an iceberg blocked access to the penguins’ natural feeding areas reducing the population to just a few thousand.

Yet, you and I are supposed to believe that the polar bear population is being threatened by a lack of icebergs. And honestly, even the experts like Polar Bear International, National Wildlife Federation or World Wildlife Federation can agree on the number of polar bears in the world.

In the end, it comes down to this: either there’s deadly ice in the polar ice caps or there’s not enough for survival – but you can have it both ways.

There’s NO Divide Along Party-lines

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell didn’t wait for Justice Antonin Scalia’s body to reach room temperature before saying he would give any President Obama nominee a fair hearing in the Senate before rejecting the choice along partisan lines.

“The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice,” said McConnell in a statement. “Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.”

The Senate’s number one Dem followed up with a warning for Republicans not to block Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, claiming such an action would be an abdication of their duties.

“Pursuing their radical strategy in a quixotic quest to deny the basic fact that the American people elected President Obama – twice — would rank among the most rash and reckless actions in the history of the Senate. And the consequences will reverberate for decades,” claimed Senator Harry Reid

Immediately afterwards, signs that Republican unity was wavering could be found.

“I think we fall into the trap if just simply say sight unseen, we fall into the trap of being obstructionists,” North Carolina’s Republican Senator Thom Tillis said, “If he puts forth someone that we think is in the mold of President Obama’s vision for America, then we’ll use every device available to block that nomination.”

Finally, GOP Senator Dean Heller, also from Nevada, is backing the Progressive power play, adding a new twist.

“The chances of approving a new nominee are slim, but Nevadans should have a voice in the process. That’s why I encourage the President to use this opportunity to put the will of the people ahead of advancing a liberal agenda on the nation’s highest court,” Heller said, adding “Should he decide to nominate someone to the Supreme Court, who knows, maybe it’ll be a Nevadan,” Heller said, in an apparent reference to Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval.

Sandoval is a former U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada judge. Prior to that, he was the Nevada’s Attorney General.

I wonder if any of these nit-wits have considered looking at someone who’ll ‘support and defend the Constitution,’ instead of trying to avoid looking bad to members of the opposite party?

Five Funeral’s Obama Did Attend

The White House says President Obama won’t be attending the funeral of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. The supposition is that it’s because he’s a ‘secret-Muslim.

However, his attending funerals have nothing to do with whatever religion he does or doesn’t submit too. It does however have to do with his political ideology; after all there are five funerals he did attend.

  • Reverend Clementa Pinckney, a Democratic state senator for South Carolina, who lost his life on June 17, 2015. Despite never having met Pinckney, Obama delivered his eulogy.
  • Former Democratic House Speaker Tom Foley, who passed away October 18, 2013. Obama spoke at the man’s funeral.
  • Senator Daniel Inouye, a Democrat from Hawai’i, who passed away December 17, 2012. Obama openly wept over the Progressive senator.
  • Senator Robert Byrd, a Democrat from West Virginia, who died June 28, 2010. Despite Byrd’s ties to the Ku Klux Klan, Obama gave a speech at the ceremony, calling the late senator his friend.
  • Walter Cronkite, a life-long Progressive Democrat and model for modern journalists, who died on July 17, 2009. Obama spoke at the service, openly admitting that he had never met Cronkite.

It’s simple – Obama isn’t attending Scalia’s funeral because he hates the principals he stood for as a Constitutional Supreme Court Justice. The pattern speaks for itself; if you don’t believe in the same Progressive ideology as Obama, you are his enemy.

And like all megalomaniacs, when it comes to one’s enemies, he’s simply washed his hands of the man.

The BLM Doesn’t Discriminate; Land is Power

A dozen or so years before Cliven Bundy faced down armed agents of the Bureau of Land Management over grazing rights, Nevada rancher Raymond Yowell watched as the BLM seized his herd. Adding to that insult, they’ve taken his money too since 2008.

Yowell’s 150 head of cattle had grazed for decades on the South Fork Western Shoshone Indian Reservation in northeastern Nevada until the BLM seized them. They sold the cattle at auction, using some of the money to pay off part of Yowell’s ‘back grazing fees.’

Then the BLM sent Yowell a bill for the outstanding balance, some $180,000. They’ve been garnishing the former Shoshone chief’s monthly Social Security checks ever since.

While Bundy defied the BLM over fees for grazing cattle on ‘government-owned’ land, Yowell’s cattle roamed reservation land. But a 1979 Supreme Court decision held that even land designated for Indian reservations is held in trust for them, and thus subject to BLM regulation.

The Western Shoshone have never relinquished their right to the territory and treaties led to the creation of the reservation granted to Yowell and other cattlemen the right to graze cattle on the land. He’s also sued the BLM, the Treasury Department and others for $30 million, saying he was exercising his “treaty guaranteed vested rights” to be a herdsman.

Members of the Te-Moak Livestock Association deny the land in question belongs to the federal government. They say it was never alienated under the 1863 Treaty of Ruby Valley.

The treaty gave certain rights to the U.S. in the Nevada Territory, but didn’t state that the Shoshone were to surrender their lands. This omission created problems for the Indian Claims Commission from the time it was established in 1946 until it was dissolved in 1978, forcing outstanding issues to be transferred to the courts.

The federal government purchased the land from the Shoshone in the 1940s, but tribal members claim they were paid cents on the dollar for the land. Also the traditional members claim the land was not for sale and they refused payment.

In 2004, the fed’s passed the Western Shoshone Claims Distribution Act, which authorized payment of $145 million for the transfer of 25 million acres to the U.S. Seven of the nine tribal councils within the Western Shoshone Nation opposed the legislation. Then on January 17, 2006, the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Western Shoshone National Council against the U.S. that sought to quiet title to lands defined in the Treaty of Ruby Valley.

In 2013, Yowell represented himself in a successful effort to win a federal injunction to stop the BLM from impounding his cattle, as well as a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that reversed the lower court. He continues to represent himself, this time in a petition to have the U.S. Supreme Court hear his case, where he argues his cattle were taken without due process and in violation of multiple treaties.

As all this played out, other members of the Te-Moak Band of Western Shoshone formed the South Fork Livestock Partnership had cattle grazing on the land. The SFLP members paid the grazing fee to the BLM.

Meanwhile, the TMLA, of which Yowell is a member, quit paying permit fees in 1984 with the claim that they didn’t have to pay for grazing on land that was rightfully that of the Western Shoshone. The BLM cancelled the Association’s permit in 1989.

Yowell retired in 2006 after nearly 30 years as chief of the national council. He said he leaves most of the heavy lifting to his son these days at his ranch on the edge of the Ruby Mountains where his parents first settled in the 1930s.

As Oglala Lakota chief Mahpiua-Luta (Red Cloud) stated, “They made us many promises, more than I can remember, but they kept one; they promised to take our land, and they did.”

Skepticism Surrounds Scalia’s Sudden Death

“The world might never know exactly what killed U.S. Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia,” writes Caroline Bankoff of the New York Magazine. What an odd word ‘kill’ is when it comes to a man who supposedly died in his sleep.

But then maybe because I’ve grown up with questions like, ‘Who shot Kennedy?’ I’m cynical when it comes to the death of ‘political figures.’ But in this case, I have ligit questions that need investigating.

Justice Antonin Scalia passed away in West Texas at the Cibolo Creek Ranch, a resort in the Big Bend region south of Marfa. Compliant media outlets like The Washington Post immediately claimed it was a heart attack.

However, a heart attack can be caused by several reasons and with only one medical examiner claiming it was from natural causes, more information needs to be sought. In fact, the coroner in this case, a Presidio County Judge named Cinderela Guevara contradicted news reports saying Scalia die of a heart attack, but rather of a ‘myocardial infarction.’

A myocardial infarction in the simplest terms is the destruction of an area of heart muscle as the result of occlusion of a coronary artery. This raises my question — what caused this destruction?

We’ll never know because an autopsy was never performed. In fact, Scalia was pronounced dead over the phone after Guevara “consulted with Scalia’s personal physician and sheriff’s investigators, who said there were no signs of foul play.”

In other cases, such as an unattended death or murder – the Ector County Medical Examiner out of Odessa, Texas would have been called. At 170 miles from Presidio County it’s the closest county with a licensed medical examiner.

This and other facts have started to emerge which leave at nearly 75-percent of people questioning what happened according to at least one poll. After all, the ranches owner, John Poindexter in an article in the UK’s Daily Mail says Scalia was found with a pillow over his head.

That alone should have set off alarm bells! And while Texas law does allow for an over-the-phone pronouncement of death, an eyes-on physical examination of the body should have been mandatory.

I’m certain that most law enforcement officials would agree with me that an autopsy in this case would be a matter of common sense.

It’s outrageous that a man of his stature wouldn’t have an autopsy to confirm cause of death. One would think his family would have insisted, but they’re ‘now’ claiming they didn’t want one.

And to make thing look even worse, in less than 24 hours, Scalia’s body was embalmed in accordance with Texas law because his remains were being flown to Virginia. This destroyed any evidence of foul play should it have it existed.

Add to this the timing of his death — and its hard not to see a conspiracy in Scalia’s passing.

Raindrop

For nearly half a year I transported the two women, from the same apartment building to same destination. Both had German accents, one was tall while the other short and blind.

The tall one, Margarete always went to the Washoe County Senior Center where she helped other seniors with their social security and other paperwork. Gertrude’s ride always ended at Washoe Medical Center where she played the piano for visitors coming through the front door.

One July morning, when the temperature was approaching the 80-degree mark, I assisted both women onto the bus. Gertrude immediately complained that it was to hot, so I offered to turn up the vehicles air conditioning.

This caused Margarete to worry that she’d get too cold. So Gertrude decided on a compromise – she’d remove her long-sleeve sweater.

Once she had it off, I noticed the strange look on Margarete’s face. She then leaned across the aisle and said something in German.

Gertrude responded in kind and then held up her left arm, showing Margarete what appeared to be a small tattoo on her forearm. They continued to talk between themselves in their native tongue.

Within minutes we pulled up in front of the senior center, where Margarete needed to be. There was a certain amount of reluctance on her part to get off the bus, but finally after chatting some more with Gertrude she got up and exited the vehicle.

After escorting her to the doorway of the building, I rushed back onto the bus, sat down in my seat and strapped in. I looked up into the overhead mirror and saw Gertrude had a small grin on her face.

Without prompting she started, “It’s a very small world.”

“It is,” I returned.

“For nearly five-years I’ve lived across the hall from that woman and not once have we spoken more than simple pleasantries to each other,” she continued, “And now this.”

I remained quiet, knowing she was already preparing to explain.

“In 1943, I was deported to Sobibór,” she stated flatly, “You know of the place?”

“Yes, ma’am,” I answered.

“There the Nazi’s gave me this tattoo – marking me as a Jew – an undesirable,” Gertrude said, “ And I now find out that Margarete was a prisoner at Sobibór too.”

“That does make it a small world,” I commented.

“Too make it smaller still – while I cannot recall her face, nor she mine from 53-years-ago, her identification number is one digit higher than mine,” she lightly smiled, “meaning she was right behind me in that awful line.”

“Oh, my,” I exclaimed, “That gives me goose-bumps.”

She grew quiet and remained so for the rest of the ride to the hospital. As was my custom, I escorted without a word inside the front doors.

Also as usual I poured myself a complimentary cup of coffee, and then spent a few minutes listening to Gertrude warming up on the keyboard. It was at that moment that I truly felt the old woman’s inner sadness as she began playing Chopin’s “Raindrop” prelude.

And for the second time that early morning, I felt the tingle of goose-bumps as they effortlessly rushed over my skin. Then I left early, fearful that someone might see my eyes filling with tears and I’d have to explain.

Asshat

It began innocently enough with a short news item that I’d written and posted on Facebook…

FORGETTING THE CONSTITUTION: Leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee are disagreeing on the Supreme Court nomination process in an election year. Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said it is “standard practice” not to confirm nominees during presidential elections. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said waiting would be a “dereliction of duty.”

Eric Taylor: Last time a SCOTUS justice died while still on the bench, they had a new one in less than a month (2005.) Reagan also appointed Justice Kennedy during his lame duck year in 1988. That’s the “standard practice” GOP asshats are nothing if not brazen hypocrites.

Me: The most recent declaration that there should be no new Justice’s appointed until a new President was elected came from Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer in 2007. So before calling anyone an asshat you need to know what the hell you’re talking about.

Eric Taylor: The problem with that narrative of yours is that there were no SCOTUS openings in 2007. Alito got appointed in 2006 and there were no more openings until 2009. I’m not sure if Schumer said that or not (I can only find citations from right-wing nut job websites), but if he said it in 2007, it meant precisely squat because there wasn’t actually an opening on the court, or any nomination pending.

Me: Here I presented evidence in the form of a YouTube Video entitle, “Senator Schumer on Roberts and Alito (https://youtu.be/tkRZVE3aDm8) And please don’t try and change the argument since you set it up.

Eric Taylor: Again, it was in 2007. No openings then so his statement was moot, at best. Also, his comment was somewhat regretful for his own votes confirming Roberts and Alito in 2005 and 2006 when they were (relatively) rushed through the nomination process by the GOP-controlled Senate. Finally, Schumer also said they should block nominees “unless there were extraordinary circumstances.” I’d say a vacancy on the court would qualify as extraordinary circumstances. In any event, while the GOP certainly doesn’t have the entire hypocrisy market cornered, they are certainly more brazen about, mostly because the lapdog media never calls them on it.

Me: Does not matter — it was stated by Schumer in 2007. Period!

Eric Taylor: Context is important

Me: Again trying to change the argument by adding something to it that wasn’t a part of the original argument.

Eric Taylor: I’m not changing anything by adding actual facts and context. Did you even read anything I wrote? I’m sorry I put some big words in there.

Me: This was the crux of your argument: “GOP asshats are nothing if not brazen hypocrites.” I countered with the fact that Schumer made the same comments in 2007, then backed it up with a video of him saying what I had claimed. You on the other hand tried to change the argument by trying to show that there was not confirmations planned, with wasn’t part of your original statement, then you added ‘ context,’ and to your argument and finally you’ve become insulting which is the true sign of a person who has no argument. You are a Progressive, through and through. So you can comment again — but I’ve proven my point and you’ll jus’ end up looking like the asshat in the end.

Eric Taylor: Through all of that you never addressed my original point and clung to your straw man argument even after I repeatedly minimized it.

Too be honest, I still don’t think he ever understood his original argument to begin with after all, both parties have their ‘asshats.’

Property is Property to the Federal Government

The fed isn’t only interested in seizing and holding state land they claim needs protection, they also go after the ‘little guy,’ as in the case of Michigan resident John Gutowski.

In 2013, federal authorities arrested Gutowski, charging him with conspiring to commit marriage fraud. The case: Too many marriage applications filed by immigrant residents living in apartment buildings he owned.

Evidently, Gutowski leased his apartments to Eastern European immigrants but the government alleged that he was actually helping them to find Americans willing to marry them so that they could stay in the country. They also confiscated over $250,000 in personal seized assets.

This goes against everything in that’s memorialized in Article IV of the U.S. Constitution: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Prosecutors were eventually forced to drop the charges. But they held on to the $250,000 in assets claiming the funds were the illicit proceeds of his ‘sham marriage operation’ though they lacked evidence. This goes to show that no criminal charges or convictions are necessary to strip you of your property.

In fact all the government needs do is show that the property was used in, or was the result of, a crime and it’s up to the owner to disprove to prove his or her own innocence. This differs from criminal law procedures where the burden of proof always rests with the government.

And under federal law and in most state laws, the law enforcement agencies that seize property get to keep and spend the proceeds. This gives them a financial incentive to seize property, even under questionable circumstances like Gutowski’s.

As Karl Marx wrote, “The theory of Communism may be summed up in one sentence: Abolish all private property.”

Jailed Because Gun Ownership Trumps Free Speech

Online talk show host Pete Santilli, who reported on the stand-off at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, will stay in federal custody until his trial. Arrested January 26 in Burns, federal prosecutors say he was a part of the conspiracy of threats and intimidation preventing federal employees from doing their jobs during the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Santilli used his Internet radio talk show to rail against government conspiracies and injustices. As a journalist, and all the reporting, interviewing and face-to-face confrontations he did during the takeover and occupation of the wildlife refuge falls under free-speech protections in the First Amendment.

Santilli spent nearly two months in Harney County supporting the wildlife refuge occupiers’ cause, but also expressing disagreement with the takeover and occupation. He’s the only journalist arrested in connection with the stand-off, even though several reporters, photographers, bloggers and freelancer writers came to Harney County to report on the situation.

U.S. District Judge Michael W. Mosman said that Santilli’s history “does not favor detention and that the weight of the evidence cuts in his favor,” he does believes the reporters admission to owning several registered and unregistered guns poses a risk to law enforcement. Mosman claimed that he did not consider Santilli — who lives in Ohio — to be a flight risk, but admission about the guns was enough to sway the decision.

Surprisingly, the ACLU of Oregon has come to Santilli’s defense:

“While many people might disagree with statements made by those involved in the Malheur takeover, Americans have a fundamental right to freedom of speech,” wrote Mat dos Santos, the legal director for the ACLU of Oregon, in statement posted to the group’s website.

So — whose next — and why isn’t the media up in arms over this?

When a Constitutional Sheriff Stands Up

Ten days before Christmas 2014 at around 9 a.m., the U.S. Marshals Service kicked in the door of an apartment intent on evicting the people living there because the buildings’ owner, Kent Carter owed the government more than $800,000. However, federal agents didn’t count on Eddy County, New Mexico Sheriff Scott London.

Called to intervene and upon arrival, Sheriff London stood between 20-year-old Wilson Baughman, a wife and mother to a one-year old child, and the Marshals Service despite being threatened with arrest. The sheriff reminded the feds that the case was still under appeal and that Carter and Baughman deserved due process.

On February 19 the IRS auctioned off three of the owner’s homes in Carlsbad despite the fact that the appeal had yet to be heard. Court documents showed that Carter had appealed the case but hadn’t had his day in court.

One of the houses was Carter’s personal home, while the two others were rental properties. Carter and his tenants were forced to move out in December in the midst of the legal battle.

London said the IRS violated Carter’s right to due process by selling off his property, even though Carter had a pending appeal. So before the auction took place, the sheriff sent a letter to the IRS notifying the agency that he wouldn’t allow the sale to move forward without proper due process.

“Thus I am notifying you that under the compulsion to my oath to the Constitution of the United States of America and the Constitution of the State of New Mexico, I shall not allow the sale of these three properties on 19 February, 2015,” his letter reads in part.

After the story got out, London received letters of support from as far away as France, with many people offering to come to Carlsbad and help Carter defend his property. London said he feared a repeat of scenes like the one we saw last year in Nevada, when armed protestors clashed with the feds trying to seize Cliven Bundy’s cattle.

So he and Carter decided to back down and give in to the IRS. But while it’s too late for Carter to get his property back, London is now seeking a congressional review of the DOJ, the IRS, and all the judges involved in the case.

The Oregon Land Battle Goes On

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management plans to close 164 miles of logging roads by using heavy machinery to re-contour some, decommissioning another 109 miles, and allowing 55 miles to return to a natural state on their own in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument area east of Ashland, Oregon.

The BLM claims culverts and drainage ditches are failing, allowing sediment and other debris to wash into the local watersheds. The agency also says that many of the roads proposed for closure are all dead-end logging spurs that branch off from more-traveled routes.

The 2014 Oregon Gulch fire burned more than 35,000 acres in Oregon and California, including part of the area. Over the years, many of the roads have been kept open so firefighters would have access to battle blazes and because they serve as fire breaks.

The Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument area was created by President Bill Clinton in 2000 to protect the Cascade, Klamath and Siskiyou mountain ranges convergence. Pilot Rock is inside this area, as is as a segment of the Pacific Crest Trail.

Meanwhile, the BLM has added thousands of acres to the area since its creation by acquiring (and not necessarily purchasing) private lands though it doesn’t have the budgetary finances to maintain what acreage it does have in its holdings.

More High Desert Goes Federal

The take-over of the Malheur National Wildlife Reserve near Burns, Oregon, may have ended but the federal land grab continues.

President Obama is granting national monument status to nearly 1.8 million acres of Southern California desert. In all, he will name three specific regions national monuments — Mojave Trails, Castle Mountains (both in the Mojave Desert) and Sand to Snow in the Sonoran Desert.

It’s a move the White House says will maintain in perpetuity the region’s fragile ecosystem and natural resources, as well as provide recreational opportunities for hikers, campers, hunters and others. The designations will also connect Joshua Tree National Park, the Mojave National Preserve and 15 other federal wilderness areas.

The designations nearly double the amount of public land that Obama has designated as national monument status since taking office. Meanwhile the Commander-in-Thief is in California this week for a fundraising tour.

My Time as a Mortician-assistant

One of the many part-time jobs I’ve had over the years was that of mortician’s assistant. Much of the job required me to be on-call at all hours of the day to pick up dead bodies from nursing homes, hospitals, private homes and the occasional crime scene or car wreck.

The hours, though difficult at times – like a full moon – were easy to get beyond and the pay was more than generous. But the hardest part of the job came when it was my turn to tend to preparing remains.

One morning I was called up to both pick up and prepare the body. I wasn’t emotionally ready for the sight of an eight-month old child, but I carried on, getting the job finished in a more than timely fashion.

For the next week I could not get that sweet, little baby’s face out of my mind. I dreamed it to the point that I had nightmares.

After two-weeks of sleepless nights brought on by this tiny one’s death led me to realize this job wasn’t something I wanted to do for a living – even part-time.

Brain Freeze

While en route to Las Vegas, I had to stop to fill up my trucks gas tanks and empty my coffee-strained bladder. After fueling up, I raced to the public restroom.

Already there were three people, each one occupying one of the four stand-up urinals. This included a grandfather, his grown son and his grandson of about 11 years in age.

As I sidled up to the empty stall, I heard the grandpa say to his boy, “It sure is cold.”

Chuckling, the young man responded to the obvious joke, “Yup, and deep too.”

The pair snickered at their hilarity, jus’ as the grandson piped up, “Ohh – brain freeze!”

I laughed so hard that I damned near pee’d on myself.

The Word IS ‘Terrorist!’

Time and time again — I’ve heard newscasters ‘ripping and reading’ the Associated Presses ‘FBI verses Apple’ story saying, “the San Bernardino Shooter.” It should be “…the San Bernardino TERRORIST.”

Syed Farook is a TERRORIST; his wife is a TERRORIST!

If he were jus’ a “shooter” at a post office, a “shooter” at a high school or the Uber “shooter,” the FBI wouldn’t give a crap about his iPhone and this wouldn’t be a story. It’s time to think, and rewrite where necessary, because words really do matter.

Oh My Gosh! I’m Viper!

Having hit my teens in the early 70s, I often used comic books to escape from the worry of the Vietnam War, riots as seen on TV, Watergate and gas rationing. It was nice to read some form of cheap ‘fantasy’ and tune out the real world.

Those were the days when you would go to the local neighborhood grocery store, mine was the Woodland Villa Market, and there on the metal turnstile rack would be anything from the old standard favs of Superman, Batman, Spiderman and Captain America to the less popular G.I. Combat, Sgt. Rock, The Unexpected, or Plastic Man. Today, you literally have to go to a book store to find a comic book – or subscribe to them like one would for any magazine.

One of my favorites was Weird War Tales, published by DC Comics. The anthology series came with supernatural overtones with horror, mystery, fantasy and science fiction elements – and was “perfect for a growing adolescent mind,” as my old man would say.

Recently, I went to Barnes and Noble to have a look around and I happened upon the January edition of Captain America. In it, a super-villain named Viper complaining about American exceptionalism and saying, “Someone has to make America marvelous again.”

Kind of sounds familiar doesn’t it?

Viper also has the audacity to whine about “overreaching government” and even asks, “Where in the constitution is anyone promised clean air, anyhow?”

It leaves me wondering — when did I become the enemy of Captain America?

For that answer one has to go back to August 1973, where Captain America was battling a conspiracy that led all the way to the White House. In the end, the head of the evil Secret Empire was then-president Richard Nixon, who killed himself, preferring not be captured.

 

Good thing I still have a trunk full of Weird War Tales to help me escape this adult world of twisted propaganda.

Jus’ Add the Call Letters

Why do some radio and TV personalities include the call letters or channel number with their names on Facebook? Do they think that is how people identify them.

Has some consultant told them this is good for their career? Don’t these personalities think they can stand on their own without adding the channel number or call letters to their own name.

It’s a silly practice.

Options

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been on the go. In fact, I’ve always craved adventure and activity of all sorts.

However, as I’ve grown older, I’ve discovered that some of the things I’ve survived have left their mark. The biggest mark in this case is my broken back.

Along with this come the usual aches and pains in and around the fracture site. But also because of this, my neck, shoulders and legs hurt from time-to-time.

It is with some hesitation that I share this as recently I added another pain in which I could bemoan. I’ve severely pulled (or even torn) my groin muscles and this is a hurt, though temporary, is one that I truly despise.

My philosophy about adventuring out into the wilds is much like my philosophy on life: I plan to do so for as long as I can walk and breathe. The moment I decide to give-up outdoor activity is the day my body id delivered to the undertaker.

That being said – I took a chance by rock-hopping some 50-plus feet above level ground. It nearly cost me everything as I stepped on some loose gravel and found myself without footing and rushing towards the edge of a drop-off.

Not one to readily panic, I flattened myself out onto my stomach and spread my legs as wide apart as possible while trying to find even the tiniest finger-hold to halt my decent. Somehow, I slowed and was able to grip a rough area in the rock’s surface using only a couple of my fingers on my right hand.

That was enough exertion to stress the muscles in my forearm, something that bothered me for a day or two. However, going spread-eagle really did a number on my crotch.

The burning sensation of a pulled muscle was nearly immediate – but far less painful than the alternative of falling. So, in essence and while it might sound like I’m complaining, I’m actually very happy to feel the hurt brought on by this newest injury.

It tells me that I am alive.

It also reminds me that I am not as young as my brain tends to trick me into thinking that I am. I’m also reminded that while surrendering to old age and aches and pains is not an option – being more careful while on trail is one option I cannot afford to overlook.

The S.S. United States to be Restored

There may still be hope for the S.S. United States as Crystal Cruises has signed a purchase option to restore the historic ocean liner and bring it back into service. The option commits Crystal to cover the costs of preserving the ship while undertaking a technical feasibility study, expected to be completed by the end of 2016 at an estimated $60,000 a month.

Known as “the Big U” and “America’s Flagship,” S.S. United States has a history that harkens back to the golden age of ocean liners. Before its retirement in 1969, the SS United States was the most glamorous and elegant ship in the world, having transported four U.S. presidents, international royalty, many of Hollywood’s “golden era” celebrities, as well as a million passengers.

I also have a personal history with this vessel, as it was the ship that carried me and my parents back to America from France in late 1962.

Conceived as part of a top-secret Pentagon project during the Cold War, the S.S. United States was to be converted into a war ship and carry 15,000 troops halfway around the world without refueling, if needed. The ship is 590 feet long, about five city blocks, which is 109-feet longer than the Titanic.

Crystal plans to turn the ship into an 800-passenger luxury liner with 400 suites that measure 350 square feet. To transform the vessel — at one time, the most powerful vessel in the world, setting a record, which still stands, for the fastest transatlantic crossing in 1952 — will cost between $700 million to $800 million.

The S.S. United States Preservation Society has owned the vessel since 2011; before that, it was owned by Norwegian Cruise Line. If Crystal Cruises is able to navigate the S.S. United States through safety and environmental regulations and finance the overhaul, the ship could hit the seas sometime in 2018.

I’d love to sail aboard the S.S. United States once again.

Its in the Mail

My medication arrived via the U.S. Postal Service. The heavy plastic packaging was a mangled hole-filled mess and all but three of the 90-day supply of pills were gone, having fallen out of the severely crushed bottle.

IMG_4571

Now, I’m trying to get the prescription refilled and the VA is dragging its feet. This is bureaucracy at its finest.

Good thing I’m being treated for depression, bi-polar disorder and PTSD and not paranoia — otherwise I’d think someone was out to get me.

Jerry’s Commission

The course work seemed easy as Jerry struggled to put his life back together. At his true middle age, he found himself homeless and without family or friends.

Each day Jerry arose, dressed and walked the two and a half blocks to the library and sat a computer console to complete the assignments given by his instructors the week before. He was such a regular that many of the staff, along with the other homeless men, knew him by name.

They could count on Jerry. He had a way with people – always upbeat – the sort of guy who could place a positive spin on most any negative situation.

Rarely though did anyone ever think to ask him what ailed Jerry.

But he didn’t mind, as he knew by the end of the second year that he was doing God’s work. It was the design the Creator had laid out before him in several dreams.

The voice in his head only served to reinforce this knowledge. Jerry also had a series of experiences that he knew could only be God-driven and therefore was certain he’d met his calling.

One day Jerry opened his file from the online-university to find a note addressed to him. It was somewhat of a surprise.

“At first,” it read, “I thought you were cheating somehow. But then I watched as you studied, sitting on the edge of your cot in what you call home.”

The instructor, Mr. Armstrong, explained that Jerry was the only student he had that had ever ‘aced’ his course. At first Jerry felt indignant but then the more he pondered it, the more he knew he should wear the acquittal as some sort of badge-of-honor.

Life changed for Jerry as he continued to study. Over the six-year period, he’d gone from destitute to owning a simple home and a decent vehicle.

Jerry had also met and married the woman of his dreams. She was more than willing to put up with his erratic work hours – even having gone to work with him from time to time to show her support.

The only problem Jerry could see in his life, was that his work wasn’t a part of his true calling – the one he had dreamed of all of those years ago. But he also continually reminded himself that ‘God is in charge’ and when the time was right, all would fall into place.

After another two years, Jerry finally came to accept that perhaps his dreams were simply that – “his dreams.” Around the same time he’d also found other ways to serve God, especially through his work.

Then it happened, nearly a decade to the date of his graduation from Divinity school, Jerry’s world began to crash around him. He lost his job, finding himself unable to find another one.

This time though, he didn’t feel the fear of losing his home, wife or even his friends. No, he insisted that there was a job out there someplace for Jerry.

“Odd,” Jerry said to the guy behind him in line, “I thought I had it all.”

“So how’d you end up here?” the man asked.

Sighing heavily, Jerry began to explain, “My wife got sick but was killed by a drunk driver as she headed to work one early morning.”

“Oh, I’m sorry,” replied the man.

“Then the bank foreclosed on our home,” Jerry continued, “and because she was the only one with her name of the deed or whatever – I was left out in the cold.”

“That’s heavy man,” the other fellow said.

“Anyway, I’m starting over again – this time as an old man,” Jerry complained.

There was a long silence between the men, filled only with the harsh whispers of men down on their luck, the shuffling of worn-out shoes and the ragged breathing of men who spent to long in the cold evening air around a homeless camp’s burn barrel.

“You know,” the man behind Jerry finally offered, “God has a plan for all of us.”

Jerry glared in the direction of the man, “Don’t you ever tell me God has a plan for me! This is it and there ain’t no more!”

The silence was startling as the others in line grew instantly quiet as they waited for the homeless men’s overflow shelter to open its doors. Each man suddenly felt Jerry’s sorrow and anger co-mingle with his own.