Member since: Fri Nov 19, 2004, 10:10 PM
Number of posts: 16,872
Number of posts: 16,872
* I'll try posting here since it dropped like a stone in GD...
Hidden in cemeteries like Peaceful Valley in Canyon County are graves of children. Some of these kids died of curable or treatable ailments like diabetes, pneumonia and dehydration from food poisoning.
"These are not things children die of in our time this is what children died of back in the 1800's... Not in the 2000's," said child advocate Linda Martin.
"It's not Stage 4 cancer (that's killing children). It's pneumonia you're talking about an antibiotic... diabetes maybe a small shot of insulin or a pill... food poisoning... dehydration... fever," Martin said.
How can it be possible that the deaths of countless children over a period of decades as the direct result of religious superstition has not gained the attention of the FBI, the US Justice Department or even the UN? Yet that is exactly where we are here in the Potato State, where the largely Republican state legislature has ignored efforts to address this outrage.
State Rep. John Gannon (D-Boise) introduced a bill to remove the exemption in a child injury law for faith-healing parents, but to no avail.
Sen. Lee Heider (R-Twin Falls), head of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, stated “I’m a First Amendment guy, and I believe in the First Amendment, which gives people freedom of religion.” And - "We don't feel this is an issue that needs to be addressed in Idaho this year." Which is especially rich, since the Right-heavy legislature has gone hog wild this year with measures such as speeding up the OK'ing process for drilling and fracking permits, and rejecting new science standards which for the first time include global warming and evolution components.
Idaho statute 18-1501 protects practitioners of faith healing. It reads:
The practice of a parent or guardian who chooses for his child treatment by prayer or spiritual means alone shall not for that reason alone be construed to have violated the duty of care to such child.
But the state which has codified the right of the above parent to choose for his child curiously saw fit to grant children in the state mental health system the right to accept or reject for themselves the practice of religion:
CHAPTER 24 - CHILDREN'S MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES: Practice of religion. Every child shall have the right to practice or refrain from practice of a religion. No child shall be subjected to pressure, rewards or punishments based on his decision to practice or refrain from practice of religion or of any particular religion.
This is a case where the howling hypocrisy of Conservatives would normally grab a sentient and empathetic citizen by the lapels and demand a change in how he or she votes. If "Pro-Lifers" can't fathom the Mobius logic of zero tolerance for abortion while treating the lives of the Post-Birthed as political chaff, it's time for the adults in the room to step in. As it stands, we're no more advanced than a tribe that periodically pitches its children into a live volcano to appease the gods.
pictured - Peaceful Valley cemetery in Southwest Idaho where many victims of faith healing are buried
Posted by IDemo | Tue Mar 8, 2016, 10:45 PM (5 replies)
--edit to add science/schmience section
Specifically, for the title of "I got mine, fuck you. And especially the fuck you part".
There has not been a particularly uplifting political season here for Democrats or liberals since the defeat of Sen. Frank Church decades ago. The idea that the balance will swing back anytime now in pendulum style simply doesn't apply, and if anything, the pendulum arm has frozen in place at 3:00.
This year, though, the Idaho Statehouse and Governor have outdone themselves as bastions of Ayn Randian ferventness. Just a few examples here:
1 - A recent blockbuster news story told of the plight of children unfortunate enough to have been born into a particular religious sect and to suffer a serious medical ailment. Rather than seek out the care of medical professionals who have moved beyond applying leeches as a cure-all, this group holds onto Faith Healing as the only acceptable treatment. So what does an elected representative body ostensibly tasked with safeguarding their electorate from public hazard do to resolve this situation? Why - nothing, of course! Because religious freedom, and we're too busy besides!
"This law has applied to every parent in Idaho for the last 30 years," explained Gannon.
"The practice of parent or guardian who chooses for his child's treatment by prayer or spiritual means alone shall not for that reason alone be considered to have violated the duty of care to such child," read Sen. Lee Heider, (R) Idaho.
Sen. Heider is the chairman of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee.
"We don't feel this is an issue that needs to be addressed in Idaho this year," said Heider.
2 - We're too busy, unless it comes to bowing down and...let's leave it at bowing down, to energy interests:
Bill expedites oil and gas drilling permits
More energy production in Idaho could send more money pumping into local communities.
State lawmakers are considering a bill that would clear the way for a lot of that activity by speeding up the approval process for oil and gas projects.
<> It's important to note that this is an emergency bill, which means that it would be effective immediately upon the governor's signature.
3 - Governor Butch still equates medical marijuana to reefer madness.
BOISE, Idaho (AP) - As several states have moved to allow the use of recreational or medical marijuana, Idaho has maintained a hard stance against legalization of the drug.
<> The Legislature approved a bill last year that would've allowed people who suffer from seizures to use cannabis oil, which contains small amounts of marijuana's psychoactive ingredient, THC. But Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter vetoed the legislation.
4 - Science equals a whole bunch of gotcha questions
Because faith healing will work on our planet, too. Also.
Idaho Legislature rejects new science standards
BOISE -- Idaho lawmakers have rejected new K-12 science standards after receiving criticism over how the rules - which for the first time include global warming and evolution components - were finalized.
5 - Equal rights for The Gay? Never!
BOISE -- Lawmakers voted Thursday to kill a bill that would extend protections from discrimination in housing and employment to gays, lesbians, and transgender people.
Members of the House State Affairs committee voted 13-4 in a party split to block the bill from reaching a full vote on the House floor.
The decision came after three days of testimony from hundreds of people who packed into the Lincoln Auditorium inside the Idaho Statehouse.
6- Meanwhile -- Bless The Gun!!
Idaho House Bill 422 is proposing to allow citizens to carry concealed weapons without a permit, because Ben Franklin and Jesus. This bill has caused a veritable frenzy of online activism among Glockers as well as a Statehouse demonstration.
Hundreds rally for gun rights at Statehouse
"We do have a right as citizens of this great country and state as well to defend ourselves and, you know, take care of ourselves as we see fit,"
Posted by IDemo | Mon Feb 22, 2016, 11:46 AM (3 replies)
"The Devil's Chessboard - Allen Dulles, The CIA, and the Rise of America's Secret Government"
I read this book not long after finishing "JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters", by James W. Douglass. The two tomes come recommended together as some of the best compilation of details leading up to Nov. 22, 1963. Either alone presents a damning case for a shocking conspiracy involving a network of CIA/FBI/military operatives working under the behest of the Director - Allen Dulles. Read: "coup".
What Talbot's volume ads is the telling of Dulles's complete history, including his intelligence operations during World War ll and his use of 'ratlines' to spirit Nazis away from the grasp of Nuremburg, believing their science and military skills would benefit the US afterwards in its resumption of the battle against the 'true' enemy: the Soviet Union. One example was Major General Richard Gehlen, the Nazi Intelligence leader, whose path to continued leadership in anti-Soviet intelligence was greased by Dulles. The Red Scare of the Joe McCarthy era, in fact, was the driving force behind most of Dulles's intelligence and propaganda ops. When democratically elected leaders in Latin America or Africa were deemed even remotely Left of the hard Right representing US interests, the tag of 'likely Communist' commenced a bloody takeover. See: Allende in Chile, Árbenz in Guatemala, Lumumba in the African Congo, and more.
Cuba's Castro, in particular, brought out the venom of the CIA and US business. Talbot details the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion, which many later blamed on Kennedy's refusal to offer aerial support. But the 'failure' may actually have been engineered from the start to push Kennedy into a full scale invasion of Cuba, a move he did not make. Kennedy's fervent behind the scenes communications with Khrushchev to avoid a catastrophic global nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis further added to his reputation among the Elite as a friend of Communism rather than a powerful leader willing to engage head-on with military might.
Kennedy fired Dulles and others behind the fiasco, but that hardly presented an obstacle to him. Dulles continued to make himself at home at CIA headquarters where he enjoyed full support and influenced decision making.
The book makes it plain that the era of Allen Dulles's power defined nothing less than an effective coup in America. JFK was seen as a hated and useless president who would lose the Cold War if left to his own devices. His decisions were routinely ignored.
The evidence pointing to a coup became heavier with the events leading up to Kennedy's assassination. Talbot lays out timelines, relationships and personalities which taken together lead to the inescapable conclusion that Lee Oswald was no disturbed loner acting of his own accord at Dealy Plaza. His CIA connections are documented proof that he was being groomed for a bigger role in life than he had played until then. Even if that role turned out to be the "patsy" as he claimed after his arrest, the circumstances surrounding his life simply don't add up to anything less than Oswald acting as a CIA pawn in the larger game - the removal of JFK.
One difference between Talbot and Douglass with respect to Dallas is the focus on specific forensics in JFK and the Unspeakable; while Devil's Chessboard covers the basics, Talbot remains more focused on the back-stories of Dulles, Oswald, the Paine couple and others. A noted absence is of witness Ed Hoffman, the deaf mute Texas Instruments employee who had made a spectacular claim: that he had seen a rifle wielding man behind a fence above the 'Grassy Knoll', passing off the weapon to another wearing a railroad worker's uniform. There were questions by some surrounding the accuracy or truthfulness of Hoffman's account, and it may be that Talbot chose to leave his story out.
The history which Talbot relates in sometimes painstaking detail is not simply the story of a narrow slice of time, gone and forgotten along with finned Cadillacs and Beatniks. The culture of espionage, corruption and worse has resonated since then and shows no signs of diminishment. Call it The Powers That Be, the Power Elite, or the Deep State, the taste of fascism remains in America. I cannot recommend this book strongly enough for those who want the truth about how we got to this point.
Posted by IDemo | Tue Feb 16, 2016, 09:42 PM (7 replies)
The United States currently houses well over two million prisoners, the highest per capita rate on the planet. This number is apparently not of interest to much of the remaining citizenry. With tales of prison violence, false convictions, high recidivism rates, politically driven judges and more, isn't it time to take a good hard look at the concept of justice?
Incarceration is valued by Americans and most civilizations in human history for two primary reasons: criminal offenders can be removed from society to prevent them from further misconduct, and a sense of vindication can be gained by crime victims and communities. A vote for "corrections" doesn't count; it is simply a falsehood to believe time behind bars yields better, brighter, more productive citizens in any appreciable way.
On that first one - protection of society, this can certainly be a valid judgment when the crime involves physical harm to others or the threat thereof. And it turns out that very roughly half of US inmates have been incarcerated for violent offenses.
A large ramp up of the prison population occurred and continues to with the vaunted War on Drugs. This so-called war was drummed up with all the righteous anger and determination as nearly every war pursued by the US; with all of the failure and disastrous consequences that so commonly follow. Despite this, any calls to re-examine the policy conjures up "embracing the criminal" talking points among representatives of both major political parties.
What we are left with is a system which operates under the premise that vengeance equals justice, a belief which has held true for millenia. Victims or their family members often (not always) express relief when an offender is given a long sentence or the death penalty. "Justice is served" is understood by all to mean in a punitive manner.
But shouldn't true justice in an advanced, civilized culture offer better choices than the destruction of a life for the satisfaction of revenge? Doesn't the concept of lengthy incarceration and death penalties carry with it the inherent acceptance of vengeance as a desirable human trait? I have to believe that there is a better path.
Posted by IDemo | Sat May 16, 2015, 12:43 AM (11 replies)
Along with outsourcing, offshoring, and "right-sizing", contracting has become more popular with American business as a cost savings measure. A company can not only avoid paying their share of FICA taxes but skip on the unemployment compensation when a job has been completed. That's not to say there aren't legitimate circumstances when an independent contractor fits the bill, but the system has been abused, predictably.
I spent much of 2014 working for a tech startup company as a "1099 employee", or independent contractor. This, despite having no contract in place. What this means is that you are responsible for paying the full amount due for Social Security and Medicare expenses, including the half that would normally be covered by your employer. You also must make quarterly income tax payments rather than having them due by April of the following year.
Workers who should qualify as full-timers will often find themselves with a 1099-MISC form at the end of the year instead of a W2. But that doesn't mean you are necessarily stuck with that designation. There are tests that the IRS uses to determine how you should be classified, including:
1) Do you receive work assignments directly from the boss, or are you given a project to complete? Note - this one applies even if it is understood that they have the right to issue instructions, whether they actually do or not.
2) Who supplies the tools, workspace and supplies for you to execute the task?
3) Are you expected to work regular hours or can you perform the job on your own time as needed?
4) Are you free to work for other clients or is your time expected to be fully devoted to one employer?
5) Are you paid an hourly wage?
The IRS has a 20 point questionnaire with further tests to determine your status as described here:
If you feel you have been unfairly classified as a contractor rather than a full time employee, you can submit a form SS-8, "Determination of Worker Status for Purposes of Federal Employment Taxes and Income Tax Withholding". The IRS will mail a copy to the employer for them to make their case before making a determination. That won't happen overnight, particularly this year with an understaffed IRS.
Yes, you are very likely going to damage your relationship with the outfit that gave you the work. But this is just another means for employers to profit at the expense of the people who do the work that earns their profits.
Posted by IDemo | Sat Mar 21, 2015, 01:48 PM (7 replies)
If you have ever attempted to learn computer programming, you've probably seen a common example used by authors to demonstrate the misconstruction of a 'loop': a type of routine that executes a task repeatedly until a certain condition is met; say, adding 1 to a variable until it equals ten. Failing to test for that condition means the condition is never detected and the loop continues without end, locking up your program. "Lather, rinse, repeat? When do I stop?"
War crimes. Wall Street crimes. NSA crimes. Police crimes. Each has produced howls of various pitch and volume upon discovery, with occasional murmuring reverbs in the months and years to follow. But this nation and this culture exhibit a predictable and peculiar pattern when it comes to dealing with outrageous new discoveries -- we give the topic a vigorous aerobic exercising in social media, talk shows, blogs, and the back fence; and then we consign it to oblivion and wait for another day and a new catastrophe. The Rude One gets in a ruthless shot to the kidney (or 12), Chomsky and Hedges summarize for us just how royally fucked we are, again, and Morning Joe and crew spew their nonsense about the Lazy Takers responsible for it all.
And except for the faithful who have continued to show up to protest in each case, the outrage du jour is soon dropped off on a dark country road and left behind to starve. Our carefully cultivated appetite for 72 hour news cycles certainly helps in steering the car to the gravel shoulder.
The war criminals have not only never been charged, they are sought after for expert commentary without regard to the nightmarish human costs of their murderous past. They express disdain for the current Executive's failure to enjoy the taste of blood with the same epicurean zeal as they do.
The Wall Street mafiosos have enjoyed record-setting bonuses without the cumbersomeness of the 8x10 cells that they should be occupying, and have highly paid lobbyists striving to rewrite and weaken regulatory measures enacted after the collapse of 2008.
The NSA received a public spanking by some but not all of the media after Eric Snowden's revelations. Anyone believing that they have been properly chastened and have found Jesus and resolved not to eavesdrop on their girlfriends and yours, please leave your Samsung Galaxy on at all times.
Cops have been shown to be not so much into the "Protect and Serve" thing and more likely to simply shout "Pull!" than "pull over!". And to receive high-fives all round from fellow officers and the courts.
And on, and on, and on.
The list of outrages is long and deep and will continue to grow, but whether the nation has simply been deadened to injury, inured of change against long odds or is just ignorant, there is no reason to believe that an upset of the apple cart is impending. It's time to put torture on the exercise bike for its mandatory three days and then to go back to the forgetful blissful ignorance of believing the CIA exists to protect your American ass.
The condition that society should be testing for in our subroutine of citizenship is simple: when is enough, enough? But we have either developed a complete inability to detect that condition or are no longer even trying.
So, it's Lather, Rinse, Repeat.
Posted by IDemo | Wed Dec 10, 2014, 01:41 AM (3 replies)
The list of outrages is endless and maddening.
Zimmerman, torture, Too Big to Jail, war without end, NSA spying on American citizens, corporate media, crumbling bridges, two and a half million bodies in prison (a hugely disproportionate number of them black), the revolving door from Congress to Wall Street, an entire political party in desperate need of mental health treatment and an "opposing" party which doesn't, mostly.
Militarized police who can and do batter and execute people with impunity, and a justice system which increasingly responds like that of an old Soviet satellite.
Corruption layered a mile deep on top of insatiable greed and a complete lack of, nay laughing rejection of empathy for the less fortunate. Get a job. Pull your pants up.
The vacuuming of the Middle Class's wealth into the black hole occupied by the .01 Percent.
Katrina was for me though, the last straw that convinced me the republic is clinically dead. Collapsing infrastructure despite warnings that levees were in desperate need of repair. Politicians who unfailingly congratulated their fellow politicians, refused to blame anyone, or cruised above it all with dispassionate gazes while throwing in a "heckuva job, Brownie" for Brownie's disastrous job. While Momma didn't let it bother her beautiful mind. And this horrific catastrophe has receded as far from visibility and importance for the nation as the dark side of Comet 67P.
I no longer hold hope that an electoral system of lesser evils can or will correct the corruption and malfeasance of the last 30 to 50 years, depending on your historical perspective. I believe that nothing short of a complete shutdown of consumption for an extended period of time will hit The-Powers-That-Be where it hurts and maybe, maybe effect some actual change. Unfortunately, that's something the day's Black Friday videos assure us is absolutely never going to happen.
Posted by IDemo | Sat Nov 29, 2014, 12:08 AM (17 replies)
The media has been positively gushing with excitement over the release of the latest iPhone. You would think it included levitation and time travel capabilities along with, you know - voice, text, and a really nifty camera.
They have enjoyed the embrace of Progressives for a long time, presumably because they aren't the ogreish MicroSoft and are the platform of choice for creative professionals who as we all know, are almost entirely Progressive.
Their latest claim has been embraced as proof that they're fightin' The Man and keeping their customers safe from the prying eye of the law and the lawless (the NSA): Apple says iOS 8 will shield your data from police.
Except it won't. And they know it. This is not the claim of some heretofore unknown hacker wannabe. It's straight from Jonathan Zdziarski, possibly the world's foremost expert on iOS security and the author of iOS forensics manuals for police use.
But as the media and privacy activists congratulated Apple on that new resistance to government snooping, iOS forensics expert Jonathan Zdziarski offered a word of caution for the millions of users clamoring to pre-order the iPhone 6 and upgrade to iOS 8. In many cases, he points out, the cops can still grab and offload sensitive data from your locked iPhone without Apple’s help, even in iOS 8. All they need, he says, is your powered-on phone and access to a computer you’ve previously used to move data onto and off of it.
“I am quite impressed, Mr. Cook! That took courage,” Zdziarski wrote in a blog post. “But it does not mean that your data is beyond law enforcement’s reach.”
Just after Apple’s announcement, Zdziarski confirmed with his own forensics software that he was still able to pull from a device running iOS 8 practically all of its third-party application data—that means sensitive content from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, web browsers, and more—as well as photos and video. The attack he used impersonates a trusted computer to which a user has previously connected the phone; it takes advantage of the same mechanisms that allow users to siphon data off a device with programs like iTunes and iPhoto without entering the gadget’s passcode.
I am not saying that liking and advocating for Apple is a bad thing, but it's important to understand they are a corporation. Not all of their words and actions are without underlying factors which may not be in the best interests of the buying public.
Posted by IDemo | Thu Sep 18, 2014, 02:25 PM (0 replies)
What I mean is that believing the use of intelligent argument to effect a change in thinking by one's enemies or detractors has quite simply become a quaint notion.
While there may have been a time when arguments were more than the piñata parties of ad hominem they are now, it seems our political culture and society no longer support such a concept. Very few online or off have had a come-to-Jesus moment as a result of the sudden grasp of a new truth unveiled in the midst of heated discussion. What generally happens is that trenches are dug deeper, voices become louder, insults are offered instead of insights and minds are hardened rather than cultivated.
Although it can be satisfying to engage in argument if for no other reason than to clothe yourself with a "I'm not with Stupid" virtual T-shirt; Stupid is, unfortunately, pretty damn proud of his peanut-brained world view and not inclined to ponder the value of rationality.
Feel free to disagree, but remember - your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!
Posted by IDemo | Sat Aug 30, 2014, 09:24 PM (22 replies)
Odds are better than naught that it's one of the new breed of American combat cops. And unless you're Cliff from "Cheers" and begin most of your sentences with the word "actually", we have effectively become a police state.
Actually, IDemo, just the fact that you are able to post your terr'istic thoughts on the Internet means you're wrong. People aren't being rousted in the dead of night and hauled away in Black Marias for a night of torture and a trip to the concentration camp. Journalists who haven't shown deference to the regime aren't being poisoned. Politicians haven't faced a sudden unexpected end when they become less than agreeable to the gameplan of the Plutocrats. Well, let's scratch that last one for now.
Actually, binary thinking. Black and white versus degrees of difference: "A degree or amount by which things differ." When that degree or amount amounts to disagreement over the shading of the big picture rather than an unfiltered look directly at the subject, the dialog reaches a stasis. The subject at hand is a duck with a gas mask, wearing desert camo and carrying an automatic rifle and a boiling rage. And he didn't have to walk like a duck to get here. He arrived in a heavily armored vehicle straight from the last place it didn't belong either -- in an illegal undeclared war. All on your dime, of course.
We are by no means at the same place as Stalin's Russia. Citizens don't live in fear of being assigned a bed in a 'mental hospital' for incurring the displeasure of the local Party chief. But the term "Police State" has become applicable to the state of affairs we've arrived at. Virtually all of your communications minus your singing in the shower are open for intercept by the NSA/CIA/FBI/DoD. And pull the battery on the SmartPhone if you want to be sure about your shower exception. Your FaceBooking and Googling, along with all of your other adventures on the tubes; your library book choices, your email, all are potential targets for a surveillance system on steroids. Because terra.
Publicly protesting, even if peacefully, will more often than not gain you a face-off with a group who appear to have just parachuted in to your encampment with intents of taking out Osama. And who appear perfectly equipped, ready, willing and anxious to make you their bin Laden du jour.
It is time to remove the blinders and recognize that this nation's police have in many places morphed into a standing army, regardless of whether they are federal enlistees or report to the Pentagon. And that army has defined the citizenry it ostensibly protects as the defacto enemy: suspected of terrorism until proven otherwise. "Resisting" by existing. Free speech in a zone, maybe, but just STFU preferably. You may videotape your cats, but not your cops. Piss one off even if just by being in his space on a bad day, and pay the price -- tear gas, clubbing, false arrest, gunfire in a shockingly increasing number of cases, and an absolution for the thug(s) by our judicial system more often than not.
It is time to recognize that this has no good end, and will potentially be the spark that finally brings about the uprising that grand theft oligarchy and a world of warhawks have failed to.
Posted by IDemo | Thu Aug 14, 2014, 05:05 PM (2 replies)