Friday, August 31, 2012

Problem: How do you separate Church and State, as declared in our Constitution?

During my morning constitutional atop the porcelain goddess, I started thinking about how Church and State can coexist as separate, but equal entities. I admit, I’ve thought of this before, but not thoroughly, by any means. Now that there is a general election in two months, there seems to be an audible murmuring coming from “The Evangelical” sector. I have to wonder just what makes one an “Evangelical”? Do you need to express a lot of fire and brimstone; thump your Bible; belong to the “right” Church?

I plucked this little gem off facebook©, and thought I’d give it a try with some fact checking. It didn’t take very long to debunk the argument contained in this piece. A quick trip over to Wikipedia© [division of church and state] gave me all the information I needed. “Did You Know” must pass “GO” without collecting $100.00, and go strait to jail. This is a total misrepresentation of the facts. The only accurate statement is Article 6 of the U.S. Constitution.

I. President Thomas Jefferson in 1802 wrote: “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof", thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”

II. Another early user of the term was James Madison, the principal drafter of the United States Bill of Rights. In a 1789 debate in the House of “Re-Congress” should not establish a religion, and enforce the legal observation of it by “law-presentatives” regarding the draft of the First Amendment, the following was said: "Congress should not establish a religion, and enforce the legal observation of it by law.".

III. John F. Kennedy, in his Address to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association on 12 September 1960, addressed the question directly, saying, “I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute……. I do not speak for my church on public matters—and the church does not speak for me.”

IV. The Pledge of Allegiance was written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy (1855–1931), who was a Baptist minister, a Christian socialist, and the cousin of socialist utopian novelist Edward Bellamy (1850–1898). Bellamy's original Pledge read as follows:

”I pledge allegiance to my flag and the republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

V. In 1923: I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. Louis A. Bowman (1872–1959), an attorney from Illinois, was the first to initiate the addition of "under God" to the Pledge.

VI. Prayer Breakfast: In 1952, Holger Christian Langmack wrote a letter to President Truman suggesting the inclusion of "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. Mr. Langmack was a Danish philosopher and educator who came to the United States in 1911. He was one of the originators of the Prayer Breakfast and a religious leader in Washington, D.C. President Truman met with him along with several others to discuss the inclusion of "under God" and also "love" just before "liberty and justice".



             FRONT                                                                          BACK

There is no mention of the almighty here. There is no mention of the Holy Ghost, Satan, or any other Religious icon. If you look way back in History, you will easily see the consequences of a church and State marriage: The Greeks, The Romans, The Huns, The Mongolians, The French, The Spanish, The English, The Irish, The entire Islamic World, Israel, and now The United States. It’s a very slippery slope we go down, if we allow the “more Holier than thou” folks in the “Evangelical” movement a foothold on our National Government. If this movement isn’t stopped dead in its tracks, our path forward is going to be wrought with pain and suffering. Just say NO!


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Media Coverage of Our Military in Time of War

August 29th, 2012
I am starting to notice a trend in reporting about our Military Personnel currently in harms way. The New York Times is demonstrating a better than average amount of reporting on both current and future conflicts that have a good possibility of involving the U.S. Military.

The New York Times

New York, Friday, August 24, 2012

Lots of coverage on page A10:         Iran’s nuclear program

                                                            Afghan-on-Afghan Attacks

                                                            China vs. Myanmar

Although, not directly involving our Military, these are three issues of ominous importance to the United States.

The New York Times

New York, Saturday, August 25, 2012

Good coverage on page A6:             Syrian Refugees

                                                            Pakistani Militant Leader Dead by Drone

                                                            Acknowledgement of our War Dead

Any day that a Drone strikes the right target is a good day. Syria will most likely come into play in the near future. Any chance to memorialize our fallen Service Personnel is most welcomed by the Military Veteran sector.

The New York Times

New York, Sunday, August 26, 2012

International Section, pages 8 & 9: More on the Massacres in Syria

                                                            More on Pakistani militant leader’s death by Drone

                                                            More on China vs. Myanmar

                                                            Afghan tribal warring

                                                            Hamas / Gaza / Israel conflict

It seems that the more information I gather concerning armed conflicts and and other restless situations that stand to occupy our Military strength, the more I am impressed with the appearance of just how "Tribal" vast segments of the World are. This leads me to believe there are no "Nations", and, perhaps, there is no "United States of America". Maybe we are simply Tribes involved in a loose association with each other.


Sunday, August 26, 2012


You all know my position on “E-Speak”; it is an insult to the English language. There is another type of language that the General Public does not come in contact with on a regular basis. This is the proprietary language of Big Business. I will refer to this language as “Bizz-Speak” (more aptly contracted to: B.S.) Having recently been in the possession of a document that epitomizes “Bizz-Speak”, I would like to share some of the more mind-boggling, tongue twisting terms that are considered as normal communication between “B.S.”ers. I can usually wade through and have somewhat of an understanding when it come to reading “B.S.”, but here are a few that forced me to hit a brick wall.

“swaps” and “security-based swaps”; swap dealers and major participants [1]

[1] Remember that card game, “GO FISH!”? Damn, if this doesn’t sound familiar.
 “The draft Form W-8IMY requires its users to identify the type of entity reporting and their status (from a list of more than 20 possibilities under FATCA. The possible status choices include participating, nonparticipating, and deemed-compliant foreign financial institutions.In choosing a status, the reporting entity must also certify its obligations.
The obligations vary with the status chosen. In some cases, the reporting entity would have to certify whether it has agreed to take on primary withholding responsibility, or if it has agreed to transmit withholding certificates.” [2]

[2] Over the years, I have had the opportunity to acquaintance politicians on almost every level. I have to say that, with all due respect, the politicians I have met probably do not possess the time, nor the verbiage, to produce language such as this. These two facts, alone, lead me to believe that someone else actually “wrote” the legislation. Uhmm…let me guess! Perhaps one of those slippery, ambulance chasing Lobbyists?

“The Bill Would Impose Cost-Benefit Rules on Independent Agencies:
On August 1, Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Susan Collins (R-ME), and
Mark Warner (D-VA) introduced S. 3468, a bill to impose regulatory cost-benefit
rules on independent agencies. Currently, such independent agencies as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the Commodities Future Trading Commission (CFTC) are exempt from the Obama Administration’s January 2011 Executive Order No. 13,563 directing non-independent agencies to propose or finalize rules only after a “reasoned determination” that their benefits justify their costs. The Independent Agency Regulatory Analysis Act would “fill the gap by authorizing the President to bring independent agencies into the same analysis and review process that governs other regulators,” according to the bill’s sponsors.The legislation “affirms the authority of the President to extend to independent agencies the same requirements for cost-benefit analysis that apply to other government agencies.” The legislation would require independent agencies to
use the same burden-reducing principles that apply to regulations issued by non-independent agencies.
These rules include:
1.      A requirement to evaluate the cost and benefits of new rules, resulting in the adoption of the least
 burdensome approach;
2.      A requirement that the agencies examine whether existing regulations have contributed to the problem the agency seeks to address with a proposed rule;
3.      A requirement that regulations be based on the best available economic and scientific analysis; and,
4.      A requirement that the agencies consider alternatives to direct regulation, including incentives and public disclosure.
Additional, more stringent requirements would apply for proposed regulations that would have aneconomic impact of $100 million or more. S. 3468 would authorize the President to require agencies to produce a “regulatory impact analysis” that quantifies the costs and benefits of proposed regulations and cite less costly alternatives. The cost-benefit analysis would then be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs OIRA) for review.” [3]

[3] Really? Are we all playing “Mumbley-Peg”, now? This oral diarrhea could only spew from the pen of a lawyer bent on dazzling his/her client, the politician, and justifying all those “billable Hours”. I just love it when they go nuts and invent words that further confuse us.

                        The House Tax Writer Introduces LTC Bill

On August 2, Representative Charles Boustany (R-LA-7) introduced H.R. 6300, a bill that would require reports from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on a number of policies designed to improve access, at reduced taxpayer cost, to long-term care service. Among the policies to be studied are CLASS program repeal, enhanced tax rules
for long-term care insurance (LTCi), and improved technical assistance and other support to State long-term care partnership programs.
The bill would:
Enact a “sense of Congress” that states that:
·        Congress should repeal the CLASS program, the federal long-term care/disability income program enacted in health reform Federal and state governments should work together to reduce the number of middle- income people who will rely on Medicaid to finance their long-term care needs.
·       Require Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide technical assistance to states on the implementation and administration of qualified state long-term care insurance partnerships, including assistance in recovering relevant costs from estates, an annual information-sharing conference, and coordinated educational efforts.
·      A required HHS report, due by January 1, 2014, would also evaluate methods to expand LTCi for middle-income individuals through the long- term care partnership program “for the purpose of improving retirement security and long-term care options.” HHS would be required to solicit input from stakeholders, including insurance industry trade associations. The study would also look at Medicaid eligibility requirements, Medicaid look-back rules, and estate recovery.
 ·    Require the Congressional Budget Office to report to Congress’ Budget Committees, by January 1, 2014, on:
        1) The projected number of middle-income people who will rely on Medicaid for long-term care services,
           and the cost of that reliance
       2)  An evaluation of policies to improve LTCi coverage and non-Medicaid financed long term care options -
           - the evaluation would include:
                a] The potential for repealing the CLASS program Inclusion of LTCi in cafeteria plans 
             b] Incentives for states to increase purchases of LTCi.
                c] A reduction in current law’s home equity exemption from Medicaid’s spend-down rules.
                d] An extension of the Medicaid spend-down look-back period to 10 years  
Federal incentives for states to require the use of liens for estate recovery purposes.
             f] Cost estimates of policies being evaluated.
The reports would have to include recommendations for Congressional action, including on “which options would be most effective at reducing projected State and Federal long-term care expenditures under the Medicaid program while providing an adequate safety net for low-income individuals.” [4]
[4] I rest my case, sort of. Would it be possible, and more efficient, to make a list of what you can and cannot do. Let’s take banks, for instance; left side of the ledger = a list of what certain types of banks cannot do; right side of the ledger = a list of what certain types of banks can do. Simply go right on down the line listing the “do’s” and the “donnot’s” for every type of business located in the U.S., foreign and domestic. Job done. Next!