Oddly enough, John Kitzhaber is not really to blame

The State of Oregon is one of the few states in America that has a citizen initiative process. This means that Oregon voters can enact or repeal laws when their elected representatives fail to respect the will of the citizens. The political elite, like former Governor John Kitzhaber, hate the initiative process with a passion. They are the shepherds and we are the sheep, so how dare we dictate to them!

In 1978 Oregon voters, through the initiative process, enacted the death penalty in a landslide vote. In 1981 the Oregon Supreme Court overturned the 1978 law. In 1984 Oregon voters rebuked the Supreme Court, and reenacted the death penalty by a solid margin. In the following 30 years, no ballot initiative or bill has successfully overturned Oregon’s death penalty laws. Like it or not, it is our law, and there is only one legal process by which it should be repealed – a vote of the people. At least in a democracy, that is the way it is.

Proud of the fact that he “has made a career of doing things his own way,” one of Governor John Kitzhaber’s first major decrees following his win in the Oregon 2010 gubernatorial race was to illegally suspend Oregon’s death penalty. In November of 2011 he announced that, “I refuse to be a part of this compromised and inequitable system any longer; and I will not allow further executions while I am Governor.” He took this action without a bill or  initiative or vote of the legislature or vote of the people, as though he believed that being a duly elected by people gave him divine authority.

With this 2011 decree Governor Kitzhaber put every controlling legal authority in Oregon on notice that he intended to violate Oregon law whenever he pleased, however he pleased. He then sat back and waited for someone to stop him. No one did. Not Attorney General Ellen “I ignore the Constitution” Rosenblum. Not Senate President Peter Courtney. Not House Speaker Tina Kotek. Not Secretary of State Kate Brown. Not Treasurer Ted Wheeler. Not Oregonian editor Peter Bhatia. And in a 4-3 decision in favor of Kitzhaber, not the Oregon Supreme Court. Not even the citizens of Multnomah County, who repeatedly elected Kitzhaber to office, cared about his blatant disregard for the Rule of Law. For the first time in his political career, instead of chaffing under the law, John Kitzhaber felt elevated above the law, and rightly so. His allies had made him emperor for a day. He would still be emperor today if it were not for Oregon’s lone journalist, Nigel Jaquiss, who doggedly pursued Kitzhaber’s corrupt activities and then force fed the facts to Oregon’s political elites.

While we may never know all the wrongdoings of the former governor and his first lady, Cylvia Hayes, Oregonians and the citizens of Multnomah County know the gist of the situation. Kitzhaber and Hayes had big plans for themselves and for Oregon. Plans so big and so important that they ought not be subject to or scrutinized by something as insignificant as the Rule of Law. They lived this mantra. They won elections with this mantra. And they unrepentantly ended their political careers with this mantra.

Had Oregon’s legislative branch and judicial branch of government done their sworn duty back in 2011, and reigned in Governor Kitzhaber when he unilaterally voided Oregon law, we would not be where we are today. Instead they chose to ignore their legal duties and the Rule of Law, and now my state is in complete political disarray. Had they stood up to the governor in 2011, they would not be forcing him to resign today. There is a lesson to be learned here. When you cut a swath through the law to get at your perceived devil, that devil will always turn on you. Oregon’s political establishment brought this mess on themselves. They deserve every bit of suffering and every sleepless night, for they failed us all. I only hope they learn that exempting themselves from the Rule of Law is bad policy.

My predictions are these:

  • Instead of learning from their mistakes, Kitzhaber’s allies will bend over backwards to rehabilitate his public image with sympathetic anecdotes, editorials and photo montages.
  • The engagement of former Governor John Kitzhaber to former First Lady Cylvia Hayes will shortly be broken.
  • Neither Kitzhaber nor Hayes will go to jail.
  • Whoever Multnomah County elects to replace Kitzhaber in 2016 will be just as bad as the last four people to hold the office.

Why You Should Support the Net Neutrality Legislation

The Internet is a digital world. You can buy, sell, travel, communicate, work, and play. When you sign up with an Internet service provider, in essence you are purchasing a piece of virtual property in the digital world. The size of that property, its “speed,” depends on how much you want to pay your ISP, but it is your property. You use it however you want. You can purchase a domain name and create a website or blog, and you can hire contractors, like Netflix or Hulu, to bring content to your property. How much you can do simply depends on the size of the property you bought from your ISP.

The reason for needing Net Neutrality is simple. Companies like Comcast want to make lots of money. Once they sell you your piece of Internet property, Comcast then wants to resell your property to anyone else who steps foot on your property. For example, the piece of property I bought from my ISP is big enough for me to hire Netflix and stream movies. I bought the IP address and enough speed to stream movies to three devices. Then I hired Netflix to deliver content to me.

What companies like Comcast want is to sell me Internet speed, then resell that same Internet speed to Netflix. They just sold the same piece of property twice. If they get their way, no matter how much I spend for Internet service and speed, Netflix will never work unless Netflix pays the ISP for the Internet speed I already purchased. That is why your support of Net Neutrality is important. ISPs have no more the right to pick where you can go and what you do on the Internet than VISA or MasterCard have the right to pick where you drive and where you eat.

Understanding “Taking the Lord’s Name in Vain”

Growing up Catholic, I could not help but understand many religious factoids with all the worldliness of an eight-year-old kid. For the most part, the rules about murder, stealing and lying were easy to grasp, but the stuff about bopping my friend’s mom or loving the neighborhood bully were a bit baffling. When the Nuns told me that sins put black marks on my soul, I immediately conjured a mental image of smoker’s lungs. I had to grow up before I figured that stuff out. The last rule I figured out, pretty late in the game considering the simplicity of it all, was the Second Commandment, the one about taking the Lord’s name in vain.

I have a suspicion that most folks out there still see the Second Commandment through the eyes of their Sunday school classes, and believe it is pretty much limited to dropping a GD or a JC as an explicative when they get excited. You can divide those folks into two rough groups, the atheists and the monotheists. I have to say that both groups sound equally ridiculous when they drop God’s name on a whim, like he is their drinking buddy or something.

Atheists sound positively stupid. Let me get this straight. You are not convinced that God exists and you are certain that, if Jesus existed at all, he was just a religious zealot who got lucky and founded the dominant religion on planet Earth. Yet you constantly demand that a God you have no faith in damn all sorts of petty stuff, and you beg a dead rabbi to witness all the incredulous crap that occurs in your life. That’s clever.

Religious folks are even worse, though. We actually believe in God, and most of us believe that Jesus is God become man. When we drop a GD, we are actually calling on what we believe is the most powerful being in the universe to bring his full weight and fury down on whatever is irritating us. Can you imagine if God actually paid the least bit of attention to all our blather and cursed every little thing we asked him to? That would make global thermonuclear warfare look like a crisp walk on a pleasant autumn morning. Please! And to have the vanity to believe that JC actually wants to listen to all our petty criticisms of the world around us is pure idiocy. We are like a global cloud of mosquitoes swirling around God’s ear whining “GD this,” and “JC that.” We are lucky he largely tunes us out.

Still, that is only the Second Commandment for beginners. I believe that the Bible directs the real truth of the Second Commandment at those people who use God’s bully pulpit to violate God’s law. People who don the authority of God and then commit evil in the name of God. The Bible is replete with warning about these false prophets and false teachers. These are the people who use their position of religious authority to rape and abuse children, to enrich themselves, to start wars, to commit murder, terrorist acts, genocide, and the like. From Jim Jones to David Koresh to Bernard Law to Jimmy Swaggart, these sort of folks take the Lord’s name in vain with extreme gusto. The Lord will not hold any of these people guiltless. It is better to be thrown into the sea with a millstone around your neck than to harm a child. Call it the Ratzinger Conundrum. No cloak of faith or title will protect a single person. No Imam, rabbi, priest, pastor, nun or witch will be exempt. One and all, their best hope is that the atheists are right and all religion is make-believe.

Call Brian Williams’ “Mistake” What it is – A Big, Whopping, Attention Getting Lie

Brian Williams’ future uncertain as NBC News launches investigation – LA Times.

NBC’s Brian Williams is a liar. Plain and simple. He did not make a mistake. He did not misremember. He lied. When you lie, you are, by definition, a liar. If you do not like that title, don’t lie. I do not know whether he did it for ratings or if he has all the insecurities of an adolescent girl, and I really do not care. That is not the story here. The real story is how other journalists respond to Williams lie. You see, journalists have a moral obligation to tell the whole painful truth, even if they do not like it. Too many of them, like the LA Times’ Stephen Battaglio, too easily abandon that mandate. They pull punches. They let things slide. They promote their personal political agendas instead of reporting the truth. Battaglio cannot bring himself to use the one most accurate word to describe Williams in his article. Battaglio says Brian Williams made a mistake. He says Williams issued a false statement, told a tale, a version of a story, a conflation, an erroneous version, and strayed from the facts, but he refuses to call Williams a liar. That is bad journalism, folks, and it makes me wonder why Battaglio abandons his journalistic integrity and pulls that punch.

British Imam is candidly honest with journalist Sean Hannity

“You’re An Evil SOB!”: Hannity Slams Radical Pro-Sharia Imam For Justifying Paris Shooting.

While I wholeheartedly disagree with British Muslim Imam, Anjem Choudary, I applaud his candid honesty. In a world filled with doublespeaking progressive apologists, politicians, and corporations that all perpetually lie about their agendas, to have someone admit his ugly truth is absolutely refreshing. Now if we could just get the executive branch of our government to do the same thing.

The NFL Fosters an Environment of Cheating, Drug Abuse, and Violence… Say it ain’t so, Joe!

Did you watch the Superbowl yesterday? The NFL says thank you for your support!

In the world of athletics the fans, coaches, teams and organizations all have the tendency to turn a blind eye to the indiscretions of the athletes, coaches, and owners. We write the rules of the game and the codes of conduct for the participants, only to hand out absolution like Halloween candy when participants exceed the boundaries. We have turned ‘Trick or Treat’ into ‘Trick and Treat.’ We are permissive, overly indulgent parents who have reared a pack of spoiled, selfish brats who, in some cases, literally get away with murder. Still, in almost every sport on planet Earth there is a breaking point… a point where tolerance ends, even if it is too little too late. Every sport, that is, except in the National Football League.

Here is a list of some non-NFL associations that have issued lifetime bans to participants for various infractions.

In 1920 ‘Shoeless’ Joe Jackson, along with a bunch of his Chicago White Sox teammates, conspired to fix the 1919 World Series. Baseball commissioner, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, banned them for life.

In 1927 NHL player Billy Coutu assaulted a referee. The NHL banned him for five years. He never played in the majors again.

In 1954 NBA player Jack Molinas was convicted of points shaving during his NCAA years at Columbia University. The NBA banned him for life.

In 1962 English footballer Tony Kay conspired to fix a match for purposes of gambling. He served ten weeks in jail and was banned seven years, ending his career.

In 1983 boxer Luis Resto wore illegal gloves during a match. The New York State Boxing Commission effectively banned him for life.

In 1989 Pete Rose placed bets on his own team so Major League Baseball banned him for life.

In 1993 Canadian sprinter, Ben Johnson, tested positive for a banned substance after winning a race. The IAAF banned him for life.

In 1994 Tanya Harding was part of a conspiracy to injure rival skater Nancy Kerrigan. The USFSA banned her for life.

In 1995 the NBA banned Roy Tarpley for life for drug and alcohol abuse.

In 1999, Cincinnati Reds owner and outspoken racist, Marge Schott, was facing a third suspension by MLB. She sold the team and left baseball.

In 2012 cyclist Lance Armstrong finally admitted to doping. The UCI stripped him of his titles and banned him for life.

In 2013 El Salvador banned 14 players for life for fixing games.

In 2013 Greek footballer Giorgos Katidis gave the crowd a Nazi salute after scoring a goal. Greece banned him from the national team for life.

In 2014 Portuguese footballer Ricardo Ferreira assaulted a referee. He was banned for 50 years.

In 2014 Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling made some derogatory, racist comments to his girlfriend. The NBA banned him for life and took away his team.

Now look at how the National Football League handles rules violations and acts of moral turpitude equal to or more egregious than the aforementioned list.

In 1999 Cleveland Browns player Orlando Brown assaulted a referee after being inadvertently hit in the eye with a weighted flag. In most sports that is the quickest way to heavy sanctions, including a potential lifetime ban. Brown’s suspension was the only thing that got suspended.

In 2007 Michael Vick went to jail for running an illegal dog fighting arena on his property and committing all sorts of deranged animal abuse like hanging dogs. Four months after he was released from prison he was back in uniform, tossing the pigskin for the Philadelphia Eagles.

In 2007 Patriot’s coach, Bill Belichick illegally videotaped opponents sideline signals to gain an unfair advantage during games. He was fined, but not suspended or banned. Since Belichick is fabulously wealthy, the fine was meaningless. Now he is caught up in another cheating scheme in 2014. My prediction is maybe another slap on the wrist for Belichick, but not until after the Superbowl.

In 2012 the NFL banned absolutely no one for their participation in the New Orleans Saints ‘Bounty’ program designed to pay players to intentionally hurt opponents. The Saints players intentionally injured five NFL quarterbacks in what amounted to a paid, game-fixing enterprise. Despite being worse than Tonya Harding and Pete Rose combined, the architect of the Saints bounty program, coach Gregg Williams, is still coaching today.

In 2012 Dallas Cowboys player Josh Brent killed fellow teammate Jerry Brown in an auto accident. Brent was drunk and driving recklessly, and not for the first time. In 2009 he was sentenced to sixty days in jail for driving under the influence. After the 2012 incident, Brent admitted trying to tamper with his monitoring device and failing two drug tests. The only punishment he got from the NFL was a fatherly lecture… and a paycheck.

In 2013 Miami Dolphin player Richie Incognito, largely considered the NFL’s dirtiest player, actually drove teammate Jonathon Martin off the team with his racist bullying. While the Dolphins kicked Incognito off the team in the wake of the embarrassing scandal, the NFL could not find the guts to do what Greece, MLB and the NBA organizations did with Katidis, Schott and Sterling. Instead of banning him for life, the NFL allowed Incognito to retain his free-agent status. He still gets to play if a team will have him.

In 2014 Ray Rice KO’ed his very petite girlfriend like he was Mike Tyson. On camera. Then dragged her limp body into the lobby like he Tarzan, she Jane. He deserves to be banned from all sports for life. All men who hit women should be. I wouldn’t buy a used car from that guy. Too bad the NFL loves him.

In 2014 Adrian Peterson beat the hell out of his helpless, four year old son with a switch. Just about every square inch of the boy’s body was covered in bleeding welts and bruises, including his genitals. That is okay in Texas, so no jail time for Peterson. That is okay in the NFL, so Peterson will be allowed to show his face at training camp next season if he wants to.

As far as I can find, the NFL has never banned a player for life for using performance enhancing drugs. They did ban Stanley Wilson (1989) and Dexter Manley (1991) for cocaine abuse, and Art Schlichter (1987) for gambling. That is about it. By using an emasculated system of suspensions and fines, the NFL consistently rewards it athletes and coaches for their evils. Think on how many NCAA coaches have fled looming sanctions at their college programs only to land in the NFL! It is as though the NFL has hung out a shingle with “Cheaters Welcome” written on it.

So where exactly does the NFL draw its strength? The fans. We pay for the tickets. We buy the products. We subscribe to the packages. We play the fantasy games. We give the NFL tacit permission to condone the most heinous acts so we can be entertained by games on the field and controversy off the field. The NFL’s ratings dwarf all other sports… even in the off-season. The NFL will continue with its sensational corruption until such time as the fans stop buying the product. For now, we are getting what we pay for – moral bankruptcy with all the validity of professional wrestling.