Joshua M. Blahi is the man who was known as General Butt Naked during the Liberian Civil War which drew to a close in 1996. He always went into battle naked except for boots and weapons, hence his war name. I still find his story both troubling and perhaps redemptive.

Blahi’s crimes were heinous and revolting, including ritual sacrifice of young children and drinking of their blood and eating their hearts. Yet he claims to have been called by God while he was still in the midst of a battle. He says he immediately dropped his weapons and left the war entirely. After many weeks of fasting, prayer and counseling with a pastor he saw Jesus in vision and was told to repent and never return to his old ways. He says he knows he has been fully redeemed through faith in The Lord Jesus Christ. For awhile he lived in hiding in Ghana, but now preaches the Gospel in a church in Liberia. He was the only man involved in the Liberian Civil War who returned to the country and requested that he stand trial for his crimes, but there were no genocide laws at the time which he could be charged under.

After reading his story I felt compelled to write a poem about him, a poem that could just BE, with no judgment made. It was at first a very daunting and frustrating experience. My pitiful attempts at trying to describe what hand-to-hand combat might be like were stymied when the most beastly word I could think of was “snot.” I didn’t want to use profanity and yet I wanted to convey the idea of violence contrasted with the call to repentance and where the call might lead. It turned out to be both a physically and emotionally difficult task.

Blahi’s story is very controversial and he has many detractors who still feel he is “the most evil man in the world.” I do not know what crimes can be forgiven by God, but He is the only one who knows the hearts of men. Has He atoned for the General’s sins? I chose to write my poem as though I do believe, and yet questions remain. So here is my offering, I hope it causes thought on the possibilities of redemption for each human being.


Naked, plunging again into slaughter, aching
to inflict pain –
Furiously pounding pulse revels in screams
As legs push powerfully forward,
gasping effort of lungs, muscles and sinews
now wading – blindly – through sobbing moans, the
leaving life of others,
arms straining, stabbing, slashing;
– always forward through smoke and noise –
Drunken on blood, consumed hearts of
children form rivulets, greencongealing from mouth
and nose:

Insensate, lust of killing remains.

But now, suddenly – silence –
– – – choice – – –
between the familiar comforts of hell or
the rigors of Damascus –

Strange scene when God speaks, and
old ways cease.
Feet stop, filthy body slumps, sweating and spent –
Eyes see
(at last),
and back turns.

Who will believe this stranger in the land?


Following a discussion of lateral thinking and its importance to education, the question of critical thinking arose. Just what is this thing called critical thinking and how can it be developed?

The word critical has many meanings. It can mean adverse or disapproving
comments; an analysis of the merits or faults of an idea or thing; of something at a point of crisis; or having decisive or crucial importance to an undertaking or idea.

All of these meanings are components of thinking, or processing of information. But crucial to the processing of information is having a fully informed opinion. Critical thinking is to analyze and make judgements on the merits or faults of any idea, problem or venture one is involved in. These judgements can only be made based on the information a person has.

The following thought on intelligence relevant to this discussion was posted recently:

“Central to a general understanding of intelligence (of whatever kind, at whatever stage, in whatever species) is the ability to make connections.
That, in effect, is what intelligence is. It’s a neural network.” Brad Nelson.

True, and neural networks are being built within our brains constantly. That’s how we learn. New neural pathways can be formed even in the brains of the aging. Reading and writing, and many other activities, may also help keep brains youthful.

Based on prior knowledge, need or experience, people make instantaneous decisions every day. Sometimes, however a shoot-from-the-hip stance can be destructive. A more thoughtful or even formal approach may be in order, and this is where critical thinking comes into play.

If a person has a crucial decision ahead, they need to determine if they have enough information to reach a truly informed opinion on the matter. Where might they find the information they need? How critical is their decision to other people? Could their lack of information be harmful to others? Are there other sources or their own experience that might change their first or second opinion? Do they need the advice of an expert?

All options should be considered before a difficult decision is made.

In order for a valid decision to be reached there must also be some principles, standards or truths a person can firmly rely on to test the decision against. It does no good to reach a selfish or pragmatic decision that causes a person to go against those truths he or she may hold dear.
No one wishes to be foolish in their decisions.

The philosopher Soren Kirkegaard gave a standard of truth for all when he said: “THERE ARE TWO WAYS TO BE FOOLED. ONE IS TO BELIEVE WHAT IS NOT TRUE; THE OTHER IS TO REFUSE TO BELIEVE WHAT IS TRUE.”

Read that again, carefully. Can a person be fooled in any other way?

If the truth will make us free, then it is also true that we become slaves to the lies we believe. Believing what is NOT true is easy and lazy, it requires no critical or even lateral thinking at all. A person simply accepts ideas because someone else said or wrote them. If a man or woman believes what is not true, they are implicit in their own slavery.

Note that the second part of Kirkegaard’s proposition REQUIRES ACTIVE PARTICIPATION, a person must REFUSE to believe what IS true. It takes an act of will, a deliberate turning away from the search for truth, perhaps even a hatred of truth. Those who refuse to believe even when shown the truth, or refuse to tell the truth when they know it, are morally complicit in their own destruction.

Only critical and lateral thinking can give all mankind the necessary tools to walk the winding pathways of life with intelligence and joyful hearts. Keep learning, watch everything, look at differences, make connections in your wonderful brain, and always search for Truth.

May a few lines sung by J.R.R. Tolkien’s Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, lead your feet and mine:

For still there are so many things
That I have never seen;
In every wood, in every spring,
There is a different green.


Children of Abraham

Late one very dark night, I stood with my friend, Ibitsam, under a streetlight in Chicago. She held before me a picture of her son, Mohammed, so I could see how he had looked a few short months before when he had still seemed healthy. She said he was no longer recognizable to anyone. We held each other and wept for her son, who died only a few hours later.

Ibitsam, she was well named, for her name means Smile in Arabic. I had seen her glorious smile when we first met and had seen how it transformed a rather plain face into a thing of great beauty. She was also intelligent and kind. Her husband, Abdul Aziz, came to get me the morning of Mohammed’s death and said he wanted me to come and “look” at his wife. I thought he meant for me to help her in some way, but he literally wanted me to “look” at her, to “see” her. In her exhaustion she lay across the bed, passed out like a small, broken bird. Abdul Aziz said a simple thing as he gazed lovingly at her, “Isn’t she beautiful?” Oh, yes. They flew home that afternoon so that was the last time I saw her.

Over many years I have met and grown to love other Arab women, and many of their husbands and children, including almost all of Ibitsam’s ten brothers and sisters. I also believe I was “adopted” as a member of an extended family when the highest ranking clan chief pulled me into his arms and kissed me on both cheeks in front of all the adult males and females in their group. I, who had been told never to touch or shake hands with an Arab male, was stunned and never figured out for certain what had happened. But thereafter the women accepted me as one of their own, insisted I share their food, and in all ways treated me as family. Some of them even removed their veils in the presence of my husband.

Now when I hear arguments raised for and against Islam and/or Arabs, I am torn. Because of the ones who are now my friends, I fear for them when their homes are wracked by war and I weep for their losses. But I also stand with the Jews, and Israel as a nation. I do think we will pay a high price, not just in the United States, but all around the world, for the impression that we have turned against Israel and accommodated Islamic militancy.

I have met Arabs who are evil in their disdain for us, the Great Satan, even while taking advantage of all that America has to offer. Do I think even those I call friends would hesitate to behead me and mine? I’m not sure, but I fear that some, if called upon to do so, would indeed go ahead and kill us all. There is always a small uneasiness that makes me question even those I think of as friends. I am very sorry for that.

Once for several days my daughter and I helped keep a death watch over the most beautiful and engaging child I have ever met, an almost four-year-old Arab boy named Haitham. His body was rejecting a lung and kidney transplant and his great will to live made for a long, grim struggle. His absolutely devoted father finally could not bear to see his pain and was physically unable to visit without totally breaking down. We periodically sat with Haitham’s mother until one day she also could no longer bear the pain. The task of watching this death was not for the faint hearted, yet it was also a precious and holy time.

Haitham’s death led me to ponder on him, and all Arabs, as children of Abraham. After his willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac on the mount at Moriah The Lord God told His friend Abraham, “. . . in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is upon the sea shore. And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed” because thou hast obeyed my voice.” (Genesis 22:17-18).

Christian’s are taught that ” . . . if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:29) In these days Christians and the children of Jacob, who became Israel, are still sundered from the children of Abraham’s son Ishmael, and Jacob’s twin, Esau, but as we accept Christ we are of Abraham’s seed. Perhaps these groups must reach a point where they all accept Christianity before they can become the blessings they were meant to be to “all the nations of the earth.” To many people these are obscure matters from an ancient history that doesn’t mean much to them, and the enmity between us seems insurmountable, yet God’s words are eternal.

Even in my uneasiness about these Arab people who are my friends and brethren, as a Christian I know that the Lord God’s promises to Abraham are true, and that each of us who are of Abraham’s seed will yet bless all the nations of the earth. How that will eventually come to be I cannot comprehend, but in the Lord’s own time it will surely happen.



After all that has been said about Benghazi, nothing is as damning as the callousness, dishonesty and lack of humanity put on full display by President Barack H. Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and other members of this ruthless regime towards the families of the four Americans killed there on September 11, 2012.

Anyone who was paying even a smidgen of attention in those few days after the attack had a pretty clear picture right away of what had gone down in Benghazi, and the failures of this administration in dealing with the attack. Why the Regime thought they could get away with lying, and then sending Susan Rice out to compound the lies is beyond belief. And still they lie, again and again.

Remember the scene and the promises made at Dover AFB on September 14, 2012, as the flag-draped coffins of the four American Citizens who had been murdered three days before, Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, who preferred to be called Chris, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Tyrone S. Woods arrived back in their homeland? Remember the crocodile tears that were shed as a “visibly moved” (per the UK Daily Mail) Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said that Chris Stevens was a friend of hers, and promised the mother of Sean Smith that her son’s murderers would be brought to justice.

President Obama said, “Their sacrifice will never be forgotten. We will bring to justice those who took them from us. . . . Four Americans, four patriots. They loved this country. They chose to serve it, and served it well.” Then he jetted off to a fund raiser. He mourned no longer than necessary.

At Dover AFB Mrs. Clinton hugged Pat Smith as she blamed a video for what had happened, and promised Mrs. Smith that if any information changed she would be the first to know. As of May 4, 2014 Mrs. Smith says she still has not heard anything from anyone, despite her pleas.

All the promises that were made, the tears that were shed, and then, nothing. Less than a year later Hillary Clinton would famously testify: “what difference at this point does it make?” We heard her say Chris Stevens was her friend, but she seems no longer to care, and doesn’t she still have “promises to keep” to Mrs. Smith and other family members?

Now a State Department spokesman says John Kerry can’t appear before the Special Committee. Oh, wait, maybe he can after all. And Rep. Adam Schiff (Dem. CA) recommends that Democrats just boycott the hearings, even while Nancy Pelosi demands that half of the committee be Democrats or, if not, the Dems actually may follow through on the boycott. This is the same Nancy Pelosi who as Speaker regularly weighted Special Committees with Democrats. And if Elijah Cummings is appointed to the committee will Pelosi control him since he can’t control himself?

Charles Woods, father of Benghazi victim Tyrone Woods, repeatedly asked Obama to answer questions about the murders and what was being done about them. The mainstream media paid scant attention to him. Remember when this brave man called Obama out on Benghazi and told him to act like a man? He addressed his words directly to Obama and asked him, for the sake of his own soul, to stop lying. He ended by saying, “It’s better to die a hero than to live a coward.”

Since he received no recognition or answers from the administration, Mr. Woods finally returned to his home in Hawaii. I think I heard someplace that Obama regularly plays golf in Hawaii. Did he ever take time out to visit Mr. Woods, or even call him while he was there? We can guess he prefers to live as a coward.

All the necessary facts are known about Benghazi by which to make an informed judgement. But the most damning aspect of this whole affair has nothing to do with the facts of the attack as much as it has to do with the blatantly callous disregard shown to the families of the four murdered Americans. Perhaps if President Obama and the other principal players in his regime had shown even one speck of human feeling for those families they could have avoided the problems they now face.



Do you still pick coins up off the ground? Do you have a savings jar of some sort? Do you remember a time when people were taught that thrift is a virtue? Do your children and grandchildren have piggy-banks and savings accounts?

Having asked these questions I admit the biggest question I hear whispering in my ear is: “What possible difference does it make anymore?” (Shades of Hillary Clinton!) As the putative president of the United States, and his wife, run around the world spending money not their own, one has to ask why any of the rest of us should even “save” a single cent again.

When hosts of citizens don’t understand how the tax system works, or doesn’t work; how they think “drastic cuts” to the rate of growth are actual cuts and don’t know that the government shut down was all contrived; why we need “zero based budgeting” and a Balanced Budget Amendment, even the hardiest souls might quake at how to teach so foreign a concept as “real” government savings. But let’s begin with what that quaint Constitution says on the matter:


This means that the House of Representatives holds the purse strings and is charged with submitting a budget for each fiscal year, and there is a debt ceiling which is, supposedly, not to be exceeded. The budget proposed by the House is sent to the Senate where that body adds its demands for funding, then the budget goes before a joint conference committee for resolution. Both Houses vote on the finished product and once it is passed they forward it to the President for veto or signature. At least that’s how things are SUPPOSED to work.

In reality the budget forwarded by the House is loaded with pork barrel spending by the Senate and by both Houses during reconciliation. Thus the politicians can reward themselves and their cronies, and powerful voting blocs in each state get more funding for their pet projects. The longer members of Congress serve, the more powerful they become and the more pork they bring home, keeping their constituents happy and voting for them. So they keep playing the same old game, year after year.

Other methods of increased spending include raising the debt ceiling, supplemental spending resolutions and adding a desired unfunded program or project and cost as a rider on a completely unrelated bill. (Didn’t the Senate promise not to do that anymore? Have they kept their word?) Everyone turns a blind eye to such shenanigans, and yet again the taxpayers are looted.

The President usually also presents a budget, making clear where his priorities lie. This President’s budgets have been rejected every year since he took office. NO ONE IN EITHER PARTY HAS EVER VOTED FOR HIS BUDGETS. Under this President the game has changed and there is a method to his madness. He prefers to have no limits on his power and with the budget and the budget makers under his thumb, he manages to unconstitutionally keep spending. That means that every time we reach the debt ceiling another battle erupts. And the cowards in the House of Representatives never have the courage to close the purse.

The passing of the fiscal budget is a CONSTITUTIONAL REQUIREMENT, so both Houses appear to have evaded their duties. However, the House has regularly forwarded budgets to the Senate where ONE MAN, the odious Senate President, Harry Reid, pronounced them DOA. Did he then negotiate with the House or attempt to resolve the issue? Not Slimy Harry. He threw the budget someplace (a drawer, a garbage can? Who knows?).

Now that a budget deal of some sort has been brokered, Congress can pretend to follow it while everyone happily keeps spending, and the government faces a trillion dollar addition to the “debt ceiling” to allow even more spending. The supposed “cuts” of course are way down the road. As the old children’s song says, “The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round.”

And so, with no budgetary restraints, the Senate President and the President of the United States have proceeded to rape the Treasury and the citizens of this country, and each year increase their power exponentially. After all, what’s a few trillion between thieves? They now think they are so powerful there’s nothing that can be done to stop them and they can take whatever they want. You can always tell who the bad guys are. . . They are the ones who don’t care what happens to ANYONE but themselves and THEY DON’T CARE IF YOU KNOW IT.

Now we can go on to the next manufactured crises. Is it immigration reform or the minimum wage this week? Both plus Racism? War on Women? Or was that last week?

There are words, dishonorable, oath breakers, liars and sinners come to mind, for those who have no conscience. Those who have eyes to see and ears to hear have many times been shown President Barack Obama, Senator Harry Reid and the House leadership for who and what they truly are. Hypocrites, every darn one of them.

Once again we as a nation are faced with the cowardice and lies of the political class and almost everyone connected with it. Is it even possible to recognize any semblance of truth coming out of Washington, D. C. or from the fools who pass themselves off as the brightest amongst us?

Obviously impeachment should be seriously considered for the president and Reid. But no one will do it. The court eunuch Boehner needs to face his own devil – himself. He needs to be put out to pasture post haste. The man can’t even find his way to state the facts which support his case and hates anyone who can. He seems to have totally forgotten the most important job of the House of Representatives, that of saving the nation from insolvency, and he seems to have even forgotten his oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution.

John Boehner, you choose dishonor a whole lot and you have now failed everyone. None can trust you again to keep your oath for anything. Anyone who follows your lead is also guilty and should suffer the same fate.

What a shame it is that so few men stand on principle. And so this nation is led by fools and simpletons. Statesmen and oath keepers need not apply.
If political leaders were anything resembling honest, they would admit they have ceased minding any amount of money, whether on behalf of the country or that used for their own greed, power or comfort:

If Congress minded the thousands, would the millions take care of themselves?
If Congress minded the millions, would the billions take care of themselves?
If Congress minded the billions would the United States still be well over seventeen trillion dollars in debt?

Now here we are, another billion or trillion dollars more in debt each time the president wields his pen. Add Obamacare to this mix and try to guess the debt ceiling next time. After all, what’s a few trillion among thieves?

We would do well to remember that if the devil had fingers, his prints would be all over the world, and since the devil is always in the details, that is where his fingerprints are to be found. Unfortunately we know whose fingerprints help make the devilish details, but no political or moral fortitude exists to stop the carnage.


Harry Reid Feels Your Pain

Bonnie’s mother is Navaho (or Navajo, if you prefer). When she had to choose a tribe, Bonnie also chose to be Navaho, so when she had her second little Indian, a lovely girl with masses of black hair, she gave her the wonderful name Nizoni, pronounced ni-ZHON-ee, the Navaho word meaning Beautiful, and beautiful she is. Nizoni was born exactly one year and nine minutes after her older brother, Gavin, so they are real “Irish twins.” Or is that considered a racist term now? Their shared birthday parties are a juggling act, although as long as everything (including the chili) has chocolate in it, Nizoni is happy.

Bonnie’s father is one-half Hopi and a member of that tribe. At Gavin’s Hopi Hair Washing Ceremony, all his direct Hopi relatives (parents, aunts, uncles, etc.) washed his hair and gave him the Hopi name meaning Tadpole. Other members of the tribe are witnesses to the ceremony. At Nizoni’s Hair Washing, being a girl, she was named after the Kachina for cumulus clouds.

Bonnie’s father is also one-half Tewa. His father was the last full-blooded Tewa Indian in Bonnie’s family, and he was the first Indian Platoon leader in the US military. During the closing weeks of WWII, he and the members of his platoon parachuted behind enemy lines in the Phillipines and helped rescue a group of American POW’s who they knew were scheduled for execution by the Japanese within 24 hours. Bonnie’s grandfather was a great man and a great warrior.

When her third little Indian, Soren, was born, she gave him the middle name of Tewa, a lifetime remembrance of his heritage. He was named Little Corn at his Hopi Hair Washing. His mother thinks he’s pretty corny for sure when he’s hungry and yelling for food. He’s nine months old now and seriously considering walking. Since his eyes shine with mischief, Bonnie wonders how she’ll corral him when the time comes and if there’s any sleep in her future.

If you question Bonnie about her heritage she says she prefers to be called an Indian, with no hyphenated anything. That she is a patriotic American is a given. She wishes some Americans would just get over being so phony about their supposed sensitivities and if someone wants to call her a “Redskin”‘ hey, that’s fine with her. She’s proud to be an Indian and hopes the Redskins keep both their pride and their name.

Bonnie’s children belong to a mixed world, for you see she chose a (gasp!)
white guy for a husband. Alex’s roots in America go back only to the Mayflower, so he’s a newcomer to the land. Together Bonnie and her Alex are more concerned about the character, good behavior and toughness of their Three Little Indians than they are about any manufactured hurt feelings. They are, however, not above using Indian culture to make a point.

When Gavin started school this past autumn, he quietly folded his arms and bowed his head over his food at lunch. His teacher told him he was not allowed to do that. He was confused and upset when he told Bonnie and Alex about it because he had been taught at home to always bless his food. His parents very carefully considered their options and what they hoped to accomplish for their son. The next morning Bonnie went to the school and explained that in Hopi culture and tradition it is important to give thanks for the bounty of the earth. Caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place, the school, to be politically correct, bowed to Hopi, not Christian, tradition.

Harry Reid’s evil remarks are both demeaning and insulting to both sides of Bonnie and Alex’s family. Please Harry, everyone’s heard enough from you, just go away.

We are the blessed ones as the Three Little Indians invade our home every day. They giggle as they pull their Papa’s suspenders and kiss the bald spot on his head. He saves himself by bribing them with anything chocolate and calls them his “War Whoops.” The dog loves them with slavish devotion and makes certain they are safe in the yard. They love the dog and tolerate me as they kiss me and call me gramma.

Harry, not a single one of us needs anything from you.


    . . . in sickness as in health . . .

    I had thought to be first to leave since you were
    . the one called upon to do the caring, and you soon did
    . as you stood always by me.
    Now I’m not so sure as you descend into your
    . own private hell of illness, PD –
    . Parkinson’s Disease.
    I dreamed last night of a time when you ran up the ladder
    . while carrying two bundles of shingles on your shoulder
    . something you can no longer do.
    I wasn’t worried then but I do worry now –
    . all the “I” sounds above are not about “me”, but about what
    . “we” are – in this together.
    Yesterday we met with Parkinson’s friends to share
    . news and humor (always mixed with pain) –
    . the only place where PD can be funny.
    Sallie wants her PD to “just go away” but says so
    . with laughter and everyone laughs, too,
    . because they know PD doesn’t “go away.”
    We laugh with Peter, who, like many others “freezes”
    . while walking forward. He can only move then
    . by walking backward.
    Once at the airport he “froze” after clearing TSA, then
    . had to walk backwards all the way to his gate and
    . onto the plane – no one even questioned him.
    Some PD people “freeze” but can be “unfrozen”- or
    . is it “thawed”? – by only a touch. Others must be led from
    . the front or pushed from behind.
    Some “freeze” if they try to step on a stool, or step on a line
    . or crack, or maybe the opposite is true, they can only
    . walk if ON a line or crack. Crazy.
    We discussed ways of coping with loss of balance, constant pain,
    . garbled speech, which medicines cause trouble for some
    . but not others, and the things doctors don’t know.
    Susan is newly diagnosed and wants to know if anyone
    . else has trouble with speaking, drooling, falling
    . sleeping, vivid nightmares, leg cramps –
    The three Dans, Deanna, Peter, Sallie and Bob answer as best they can –
    . Susan asks quietly, “Has anyone lost their sense of smell?” All
    . hands go up. She looks relieved.
    After all this is only a “movement disorder” that
    . makes your arms “shake a little bit.” I once heard a
    . doctor on the radio say so.
    He evidently has not seen anyone in the throes
    . Of dyskinesia, or shaking from head to foot, or walking
    . by running rapidly on their toes and moving mere inches at a time.
    Nor has he seen anyone who has not
    . slept more than minutes for what seems like months – as
    . they cry out for nonexistent help.
    Just before leaving I briefly touch again on a matter that intrigues
    me, one that PD people do not often discuss, even
    amongst themselves, and certainly not with doctors –
    “How many of you believe you were born with PD?” Eyes always
    drop as almost all hands reluctantly raise. No one, and I do
    mean NO ONE, will tell their doctor this.
    If a patient did, would it matter to the doc? Or would he think the person
    is assigning too much importance to tracing the cause of
    his illness, or maybe think he’s just crazy?
    You see, no one knows what causes PD. There have been no real
    advances in meds or treatment for nearly twenty years. Big things
    are always just around the corner.
    Until the Big Things happen, we live with what is. I hope you
    know how much of this I share with you as I clasp your trembling
    body in the night.



A few years ago my youngest daughter and I decided to drive the Top of the World Highway, which runs from the Alaska Highway near Tok in Alaska to Dawson City in the Yukon Territory. The border crossing is at a tiny town named Chicken, population about 17, depending on the time of year. The road splits at Chicken and the Taylor Highway goes north about 32 miles following the Forty Mile River to Eagle, a small town on the Yukon River. The drive to Dawson City is beautiful and we had a great time, but we had to stop for awhile in Chicken when my daughter’s chronic illness caused her some problems. We were in Chicken long enough to know there is nothing but wilderness anywhere in the whole Forty Mile area. It is impossible for the inhabitants to have any secrets.

There are miners who hold placer mining claims along the Forty Mile. They sluice for gold only in the summer months and most of them bring their wives and children to help with the work. There are clean water regulations that the miners must follow so they don’t pollute the river and the State usually has agents out checking the mining sites and settling ponds once or twice a summer, just to make sure only clean water is released back into the river. The agents travel alone and carry arms for safety against bears and other critters. Once in awhile a miner might be cited for a minor infraction, but it’s no big deal, and the miners and agents have traditionally had a good relationship.

At the end of August, 2013 miners and their families were startled when at least 6 or 7 heavily armed Federal agents dressed in combat gear, including body armor, driving military vehicles and wearing large police signs began showing up at their mining sites, looking and acting as though they were ready for battle. Over several days they searched around cabins and outbuildings, threatening and trying to intimidate the miners and their families, who were totally mystified by the visits. The miners called Alaska State Troopers and the Governor’s office demanding to know what was going on. The Governor called the EPA and was told that the State Troopers had asked for help from something called the Alaska Environmental Crimes Task Force because of “rampant drug and human trafficking going on in the area.” The Troopers said they knew absolutely nothing about such a request, nor had they ever heard about such charges. The Troopers denied they were involved in the raids at all and said the harassing agents from the Alaska Environmental Crimes Task Force came from several different federal agencies, including the EPA.

The Alaska Dispatch reports that Alaska’s lone US Representative, the Senators and the Governor have looked further into the matter and demanded an explanation from the EPA, but to date no response has been given.

Alaskan’s are angry over this matter, and anyone who has ever been to Chicken and Eagle can only wonder how “rampant drug and human trafficking going on in the area,” could possibly be a reality. Where would the trafficking come from and where would it go? I mean, attempt to haul anything through or hide it in the Forty Mile? Get real.

The Cliven Bundy matter in Nevada is another ratcheting up of domestic militancy by the EPA, the BLM and other federal agencies. All done with blessings from the top of this ruinous regime.

Chicken came before the Feds, but they just want it gone.



In the late 1970’s Popular Science ran an article about The Next Decades Up- and-Coming Young Scientists, or something of that nature. At the time I was busily engaged in the trenches rearing three small children. Our eldest son had scored very high on an IQ test (I almost want to say here that he was “diagnosed” with a high IQ), which was no surprise, but it did increase our insecurities about how best to meet his needs.

The author of the article in question interviewed several of the men and women scientists who had been recommended for the magazine’s honor. Some of the questions asked and the answers were very illuminating.

When asked when they knew they were “smart”, over half said they had no idea until they took the SAT and/or entered college. They thought of themselves as “just one of the guys” until they went away from home. There were very few who said their parents told them or any of their siblings they were smart or praised them for it. Some of the respondents still sounded shocked that they were considered smarter than average.

When asked what they considered their biggest advantages in growing up,  the answers were almost all along the lines of:

My parents made me do my homework, and they checked it.

I had responsibilities at home, but learning was a priority.

My mother took me to the library at least once a week to get as many new books as I was allowed to borrow, and made certain I both read the books and took care of them. My parents questioned me about them.

Both of my parents were interested in what I was doing and what I thought. We ate dinner together and discussed everything under the sun.

All of the respondents said their strengths started with their parents and being taught to work.

The article also quoted one top scientist as saying, “You can learn anything in the world if you have an IQ of 120, anything above that number is just so much gravy.”

I’m still not convinced that we know enough about intelligence to “test” for it. What is considered intelligence in one culture may be totally irrelevant in another. Is a Polynesian explorer steering his canoe by his knowledge of the ocean and heavens any less intelligent than a book taught scholar at Cambridge? Would some of our present day educators have enough knowledge to survive if dropped into a wilderness? What kind of IQ would survival take?

So, does IQ matter? I read once that after Richard Feynman won the Nobel Prize in Physics, he and his wife visited his old high school where he asked to see his school records. Upon leaving he turned to his wife and said, “Winning the Nobel Prize didn’t seem like such a big deal, but now that I know my IQ it seems huge.”

I have watched the trap that parents of “smart” kids can fall into when they think that their child “has no peers”, as I heard one woman say. It’s an easy trap to be caught in. When our son skipped sixth grade and began Middle School he left his friends behind and felt lost without them. He came home one day and happily told me he had made a friend. Without thinking, I asked, “Is he smart?” My son, wiser than I, answered, “I don’t know, but he sure is nice.” I mended my ways.

Remember, we should be engaged in the business of rearing good people first, geniuses if we have to. Now that I have watched my children become adults and begin families of their own, I have learned a few lessons that, in the real world, seem important to me in growing those good people:

All children should be taught to work at a young age. They should also be given some moral and/or religious instruction.

All of your children, whether genius or not, will have different strengths and weaknesses. Other children are their peers.

All children will fail, and need to be told they failed. Their feelings will recover and their self respect will be strengthened when they master what they failed at.

Never be afraid to tell your children “NO”, and mean it.

Unless they are infants or ill, never clean up after your children. They need to clean up their own messes and mistakes.

All children should learn a skill or trade, but not all should go to college.

Your child may be a “late bloomer”, cut him or her some slack.

All children, no matter how “smart”, will have troubles and heartache. It’s called the human condition.

At some point, earlier than you might think, you lose the right to be your child’s boss. They’re on their own.

As long as your children know how to work and love God and learning, chances are, no matter what they do, they’ll be fine.

One more thing. If I were doing things all over again today, I would home school in a heart beat.



My friendly advisor in Judaic thought tells me that in some sects of Judaism the practitioners are told not to engage in intercessory prayers on the sabbath, although they may ask for blessings on the sick. The theory here is that God established the first sabbath based on His own need for rest following creation, and that He still has need for rest from the pleas of His children. As my friend says, “I’m sure He doesn’t like to hear our whining all the time.”

This is a new way of looking at prayer for me. I have heard sermons given  where we are told to pray once in awhile and ASK FOR NOTHING, but GIVE ONLY THANKS to God for His blessings, and that such a prayer should make us more grateful and aware of all God does for us. Making it a regular sabbath day matter had not occurred to me.

In what manner ought we to pray? Even the Disciples asked, ” . . . Lord, teach us to pray . . .” (Luke 11:1) KJV. Dietrich Bonhoeffer recommended the Psalms as a teaching tool for prayer based on a sermon given by Martin Luther. Bonhoeffer said that every person seeking God in prayer should take the time to study all of the Psalms at least once each year.

Jesus did give the true pattern of prayer in answer to the request of His disciples. Although it is translated a little differently in the Gospels of Luke and Matthew, the essence is the same, and it is beautiful in its profound simplicity. It is known as THE LORD’S PRAYER as given in Luke. Let’s break it down to see if we can truly consider the meanings:

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
We pray to the Father of us all, who dwells in Heaven, and give reverence to His name to show our love and awe for Him.

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.
We need to be reminded that it is His kingdom we seek. In order for that kingdom to come, we seek to follow His will here on earth and to pray to understand it. This reminds us to always consider our doings carefully and not rely on our own limited understanding.

Give us this day our daily bread.
Such a simple thing, our daily bread. We don’t ask for great riches or glory here, merely the “bread” that sustains us. Beyond that we also need to remember that Christ is “the Bread of Life.”

And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us.
The reminder that in order to be forgiven by God, we, too, must forgive all men. We need so much help in forgiveness and we need to ask God to help us in that grueling task. Notice here that Luke says we are to forgive “indebtedness”, a term which covers all sorts of payments we think are due us, maybe even the value of a tooth for a tooth, or for emotional or monetary harm. We need to learn to forgive, but we can still ask for justice to prevail.

And lead us not into temptation; But deliver us from evil.
Does God “lead” us into temptation? Does He always “deliver” us from evil? These are hard questions. Is this another statement of how the world really is? Can we be led easily into temptation, or from time to time, through no fault of our own, find ourselves in a place where we must be “delivered from evil?” Perhaps we need to think of this as a responsibility we each have, to pray for the strength to resist temptation and, if at all possible, the strength to flee if we are placed in a dangerous or evil situation.

Luke 11: 2-4. KJV
. . . For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Matthew 6:13: This ending is left off in Luke’s account. But we must remember it and always keep in mind that the kingdom belongs to our Father, whose kingdom, and power, and glory we seek.

Amen. This is our seal of acceptance for what we have prayed.

The Lord does not want “vain repetition”, but rather thoughtful prayers – from the heart. Jesus said that God our Father knows what we need before we ask, but we still need to talk to Him about those needs. That is good six days a week, but perhaps we should approach our sabbath day prayers a little differently. Give our Father a rest and let the thanksgiving really count on that day.



In previous postings about the Sabbath Day observance required by the Fourth Commandment I had raised the question of why God would make this a matter of freedom for Israel, and I felt I needed to consider what keeping the sabbath holy might do to make us as individuals and as a nation worthy of that freedom.

As I posted before, there are three things God required of Israel in regards to the sabbath day. They are: (1) To keep the sabbath day holy; (2) for you and your family to do no work, nor are you to require anyone else, including strangers and slaves, or even animals, to do any work on the sabbath day; and (3) to remember that the Israelites had themselves been slaves and that God had made them free.

I did not understand the relationship between the sabbath and freedom, and yet The Lord told Jeremiah that if the Kingdom of Judah would again keep the sabbath holy Jerusalem would remain free and stand forever. Last week I caught a small glimpse of the link between sabbath worship and freedom and why our nation is losing liberty.

When people turn away from God and no longer follow His ways, they lose the knowledge that it is He who made man free: that all men are created equal, and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Unalienable, or inalienable, means an inherent, or inborn, right which cannot be taken away, nor should it be relinquished by the possessor. If people forget this meaning it becomes easier for unscrupulous men and women to foster the thinking that it is the Government that GRANTS freedom. One way to understand the nature of freedom is to REMEMBER that we have all been in some form of slavery. We have not all been in physical slavery, but we are all slaves to the lies we believe.

Where do we learn the TRUTH that makes us free if we no longer give time to God and His Word? How do we even know what freedom and liberty are if we have no contact with truth? Keeping the sabbath holy was enjoined on the people of the bible to keep them REMEMBERING God by REMEMBERING that only HE can teach us Truth and guarantee freedom.

Learning about the truth of God and the purpose of our lives requires us to consider HIM in all our doings. The sabbath day requirement to REMEMBER WE WERE SLAVES directs us to the ways of The Lord

He does not want slaves, He wants men who freely turn in love to Him, with broken hearts and contrite spirits. When men humble themselves before God and put Him first they become more able to resist relying on the arm of flesh and to begin acting on God’s Commandments which were given to insure freedom and safety for all. That is the only way to have a civilized society and a nation worth saving.

Is sabbath day worship the most important thing we can do for the freedom of the United States of America? How many of us will it take for God to honor our effort? Are YOU willing to follow this commandment?
I, for one, am convinced that this understanding of the nature of freedom and the sabbath is a small but important step in the right direction.


Why can’t Tommy come over to play?

When our eldest son had just turned five and his sister was almost four, we moved to a new home in a semi-rural area. There seemed to be no young children in the neighborhood, but right across the street from us lived two brothers of about ten and twelve. They lived in absolutely appalling squalor and had parents who ignored their basic needs. The oldest boy, Tommy, struck up a friendship with our children and played with them in our front yard where we could watch them. In spite of his home circumstances Tommy seemed like a nice boy and one of us was always around so we relaxed thinking all was well.

One day Bear went downstairs and found Tommy had sneaked our daughter into the house and into her bedroom, closed the door and was kissing her and removing her clothes. Bear marched Tommy out the front door and told him to never come to our home nor touch our kids again. Going to his parents would have been absolutely futile, the State Children’s Services already had a bad name, and we were reluctant to start a neighborhood feud. Our daughter and son were told Tommy could not come over anymore, and Bear talked privately to our daughter, asking why she didn’t stop Tommy from what he was doing and cry out for help. “Well,” she said, “you kiss mom all the time so I thought it was OK.” Yikes! Bear let her know that what Tommy had done was not OK and told her what she should do if the circumstances ever arose again.

A couple of days went by and our son came and asked why Tommy was not allowed to play anymore. As much as I could I filled him in on what Tommy had done and said we couldn’t trust him now. Our son went off for awhile, then came and asked if Tommy could come over again if he apologized to Bear. I sent him to his dad to find out. Not wanting to discourage good behavior on Tommy’s part, Bear said he would consider it. Our son talked to Tommy and he did come and apologize. Bear thanked him for his apology and told him he would think the matter over, but both he and I had absolutely no intention of letting Tommy be around. We hoped to let the matter drop there.

A few more days passed and our son approached me again. This time he said he had come up with a solution to the problem. He had a really bright idea alright: “Whenever Tommy comes over we’ll just lock Sissy in the closet until he goes home.” The sheer audacity of my son, the male, chauvinist pig in training, was overwhelming to me. What kind of a kid was I rearing here anyway? I kept my cool, stood there for a moment and finally asked if he really thought his sister should be locked up. He sighed and said, “I guess not,” and left.

That evening I told Bear about our son’s “solution.” We both had to laugh at his ingenuity. Then I put my mind to his obvious need for proper training. The next day I looked at our son and realized he was just five years old, barely out of infancy. He had needed friends to play with, and Tommy had filled some of that need. He had no concept of what constituted improper behavior on the part of a much older boy. He was not a beast, he was a lonely little boy who needed to learn more about the problems of the larger world. We began discussing some ideas with our children much earlier than we had thought we needed to, and began doing more as a family to try and find other children for ours to be around.

Later I gave serious consideration to my son’s idea of locking his sister in the closet. I wondered if that same thought hadn’t been a societal and cultural solution to the matter of protecting women in a barbaric society. You know, “The boys are coming from the Mountain Tribe, hide the women.” So the women were placed in protective custody away from the men. Perhaps the women finally rebelled at being stuck off alone in a room away from their accustomed quarters, so the family built a larger secure space for them. A Harem for the women. Then what had started out with good intentions became first a tradition and then a prison as the years passed.

I began to consider many cultural things we in the west find degrading to women, such as veiling and chadors. Perhaps wearing such coverings also started with good intentions. Think about living where sand gets blown about into eyes, noses and mouths. Even the hair gets filthy. Wear at least a head covering or robe that can be quickly pulled over the head and face in a sandstorm and you solve a real problem. As the years pass the wearing of head coverings of different kinds becomes another rigid rule.

What about the women who are forced to walk three steps behind their men? Is it possible that custom also started as a protection for women in nomadic societies? The men walked in front with spears and clubs to protect the important but physically weaker women and children. Soon what started out as a protective measure became a rule and then a law. Women MUST walk three steps behind their masters.

Over time did these and other customs cause men to degrade women in their own minds and consider them as evil chattel? It would be a short step for some men to blame women for their own problems, even if you leave Mother Eve out of the equation. What about our own thinking today when boys and men are treated disrespectfully and their very nature as men is questioned? We drug boys and deny they are different than girls. Do we have customs that serve no good purpose? Probably. And conversely, in our hubris have we destroyed societal norms that were a protection to us all? If you look at the moral squalor around us you’d have to say yes.

I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you more of Tommy. We watched as he and his brother became more and more untamed. The family finally moved some years after the happenings I’ve described. Then one day the news covered a story of two adult men who held a party where teenagers were supplied liberally with drugs and alcohol. Three of those strung out teens stole a car, drove on the wrong side of the highway out of town and hit a State Trooper head on. After the trooper’s death the two adults were charged with Involuntary Manslaughter and Contributing to the Delinquency of Minors. One of those men who held the party was Tommy. I watched his first court appearance on TV. The other man involved in the party was busy laughing, acting tough, and giving the finger to everyone. And Tommy? Well, I have never seen a more broken person than Tommy. His whole skinny little body was quaking, he was crying and groaning as he wrapped his arms protectively around himself, rocking back and forth. He never raised his eyes as the tears ran down his face. He looked as though he had stepped from a torture chamber in Dante’s Third Circle.

As I watched I saw the young him and the things I knew about his life. I felt so guilty and wondered what I might have done to help him. Maybe once in awhile I could have brought him over for cookies and milk at a clean kitchen table and that would have given him hope. Some small sign of caring might have been enough, but in reality I still don’t know what we could or should have done.

The broken man he became haunts me as much as the young boy he was.



The unseemly horror story of Justina Pelletier taking place in Boston, Massachusetts is so nauseating one wonders at the ability of the physicians involved to live with themselves, to say nothing of the judge and those in Children’s Services.

After reading that the “doctor” who diagnosed Justina with Somatoform Disorder had come from Holland and been a Resident at the hospital for only seven months, I was stunned. It is misleading to treat him as a full-fledged Doctor of Psychology or Psychiatry, and for him to make a diagnoses of Somatoform Disorder, or anything else for that matter, without the direct aid of his Supervising Physician. He had only completed the “Book Learning” portion of his studies (no matter how many “papers” he had authored), and had been accepted at Boston Children’s Hospital as a Resident to train for his medical specialty. Residency requirements depend upon the specialty selected. They vary from three years to become a GP (for instance), or up to seven years for more advanced degrees such as Neurosurgery. THEN the doctor must also complete a Fellowship in his specialty. The Fellowship timing varies from one to three years.

Only after completing all that training may the doctor take the exams for licensing to become a physician all on his own. He would need still more testing and training if he wished to become Board Certified. Thus the doctor in Justina’s case has completed nothing but basic medical school and was performing duties under his Supervising Physician’s license. Who is that person and why did he or she allow this travesty?

Which brings us to the Governors of the States of Massachusetts and Connecticut. Why has Deval Patrick not stepped in to end this matter once and for all? Has it not occurred to him that the anger his Children’s Services are causing by their arrogant and overweening actions is harmful to both him and to his state? Both residents of the state and nonresidents alike are aware of his lack of leadership in this matter. There are those who will no longer visit Massachusetts nor bring their children to its hospitals. All those who have been following Justina’s story and praying for her see what the governor  does, or does not do in this matter and should hold him accountable.

And why isn’t Governor Dannel Malloy of Connecticut demanding the return of a juvenile resident of his State?

There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that can begin to describe the disgust that Boston Children’s Hospital and Judge Johnston deserve.



We used to say that, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” and even as children we knew that meant someone, sometime would love us and see what we really are. Both boys and girls tried to make themselves -maybe not beautiful, but as attractive as possible. Girls could hardly wait to wear lipstick and maybe the boys would notice. If we complained to our moms that we wished we were pretty we were told, “Beauty is as beauty does.” By that we learned that character had as much to do with beauty as did looks. Both outsides and insides were covered.

I thought about all this because I went to get my hair cut yesterday. I wish words could adequately describe the “hairdresser” I was given. She had long “claw” bangs dyed neon pink, the sides of her head were dark and shaved about three inches up, the rest of her black hair was longer and ran down the center of her head like a dead animal. Added to that were the piercings just down from the corners of her mouth, which were shiny black. I didn’t check the tats. All I could think was, “Whatever happened to beauty?”

The question is probably more along the lines of “When and why did people deliberately choose to be bizarre, wild, weird, strange, unattractive or ugly, anything but beautiful? I know, I know, some of them are wonderful, love cats, and wouldn’t hurt a flea. Nonetheless, they make themselves so unattractive at times one has to wonder about their sanity. Even some naturally beautiful people make the worst of themselves.

Remember, you who are older, when NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC writers and photographers would travel the world and bring back stories of tribal customs that distorted bodies, particularly women’s bodies? The rings stacked up around women’s necks to make them long and “beautiful”; or the plates in female lips that made them stick out so far as to make them useless. Even the Chinese foot fetish that killed and maimed women for hundreds of years are examples of how far out of kilter people can get in search of supposed “beauty.” Funny, one thinks about genital mutilation today as being even more ignorant, and yet people tolerate it. I am not a Feminist, but one does have to wonder about men who have no respect for women and force cultural norms upon them that result in pain and degradation.

Men’s excesses today tend to be in the realm of huge body tattoos, which I personally find unattractive, and to ear gages and piercings. I had a friend who told me he once thought about getting tats, but decided to try phony ones first. He used the phonies one time and thought about living with them the rest of his life. He decided he didn’t need tats after all.  Good choice.

If beauty were just a matter of physical attractiveness, or lack thereof, it might be easier to understand, but to go out and hear filthy thoughtless language, hateful hand gestures, and loud pornographic music directed against women, UGH!

Ugliness seems to top all the charts today.



Now Obama wants to have favored groups, people of color, receive specialized training to prepare for jobs. Funny about that. People of non-color get no such special treatment. Obama uses the biblical sounding group name “Brothers’ Keepers” for his new protected class. In what sense is this a biblical concept?

Did God tell Cain that he WAS his brother’s keeper? Do any of us really want to be our brothers’s keepers? Do YOU want to be “kept?” What is a “keeper” anyway? We should remember that there are keepers who restrict  freedom and even imprison others.

Cain killed Abel, his brother, because he coveted his property and his standing with God. When he was confronted by God who asked where his brother was, he tried to change the subject. Cain was the one who  challenged God by asking, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”  The answer is of course not, but he WAS his brother’s murderer.

What exactly do we owe our brothers? To do them no physical harm nor cause them mental anguish; to not steal ANYTHING from them, INCLUDING their spouses or children, nor their property; to not bear false witness against them or ruin their good name; to covet NOTHING that is theirs. There go those Ten Commandments again. God’s prescription for civilized society.

Most of the time we should just leave our brothers and sisters alone. Let them live their lives as they desire. We do have a responsibility to be civil and aid our neighbors in their need. But once the aid is given it is not our place to enslave each other. If our aid includes gifts, it is not up to us to tell our brothers how they must use that gift. Their property, once they have received it, is their own to use as they see fit. If you think your gift has been misused then don’t throw your help that way again.

We are “keepers” of our young children until they are able to care for themselves, and, insofar as we are able, we must care for those who are incapacitated. Again, we only do what our brothers NEED and ASK of us and what will not weaken them.

Politicians and government should NEVER be our keepers, however much they pretend to be the only ones capable of helping.

If you wish to support a charity you should investigate where its money really goes. Several charities have high overhead and leaders who make VERY large salaries. We can all be fooled but we can try to be careful. Many years ago Bear and I wanted to find a group that helped children. We received heart-rending appeals from a religious order showing the priests holding and feeding stick-thin African babies with huge bellies and flies on their faces. I actually had the checkbook out to make a donation when I heard on radio news that the very group I was addressing was facing indictment for theft and that NONE of their donations were actually used to help anyone but themselves.

Do not, as a rule, make charitable donations to a government entity. Find a private charity you trust and follow its record carefully.

We may not be our brothers’ keepers, but we should be generous when disaster strikes and our help is needed.



The use of the word “crave” in the Tanakh translation is illuminating. My reaction to “covet” is strong, but to “crave” something hits me in the gut. Covet sounds like it could be a longing from afar, almost like a “wish” for something, but a craving sounds beastly and uncontrollable. That may be because of drug associations with the word. The King James Version is different still and uses the word “desire” in relation to  your neighbor’s wife, and “covet” where the Tanakh uses “crave.” Our grandson and Bear both find covet to be a stronger word.

At any rate, the commandment is very clear that we are not to desire, crave, or covet our neighbor’s family, property or goods of any kind. Bear says that should cover all the bases.

I cannot help but think that of all the commandments that deal with our relationships to our “neighbors” or fellow men, this particular one is presented last in order for a purpose. This one warns us of the beginnings of sin that lead to greater sin: bearing false witness, stealing, adultery and murder, all the ways we can harm one another, and we have already been told not to do those things.

When we wake up and find ourselves taking the path of covetousness, while we still have the capability and strength to see clearly our need to repent, we must do so and stop our downward slide into those greater sins.

In our youth, many of us succumb to jealousy over the beauty, poise or apparent riches of others. Teenagers may feel ugly, unloved and stupid, and so jealousy of others takes over. This is one of the reasons youth require much positive training and reinforcement in proper behavior. At any age, though, we all need to learn to restrain jealousy. Keeping any of The Ten Commandments takes self awareness and self control, virtues disdained in our society today. Many seem to have fallen into a degree of hedonism that can lead to the destruction of civil society if we do not reverse course.

Do not covet anything that is thy neighbor’s also has political repercussions as class warfare is used to divide us as a people. Do you think another’s money should be confiscated by tax policy to be given to others? Do you really believe that redistribution of wealth is a worthy goal? Who gets to decide what you do with what you have earned?

How should charity be handled, by the heavy hand of government, or by individuals acting freely out of love for their fellow men? Where is the most individual growth fostered?

Do not covet that which is not yours, and become adult enough to work for your own daily bread.



What, exactly, is false witness? Lying about someone? Destroying someone? Does false witness only happen under oath and in a courtroom? Who are the neighbors we shouldn’t bear false witness against?

Even if false witness is a legal technicality, should we be lying about anyone at all, ever? Of course not. But sometimes we repeat what we believe to be the truth in order to warn against “wolves in sheep’s clothing.”

In some circumstances it is hard to know when to be silent and when to speak. There have been times in my life when I was not told about the dangers I faced, even though others knew what I was up against. And other times I have been told lies about someone out of spite.

In a court of law a person is sworn under oath to speak the truth and can be charged with perjury if they lie. But what do you call it when a public official lies about an opponent? If there is a policy disagreement there should be open debate about the policy. To knowingly manufacture lying stories and accuse another of crimes without a shred of evidence is another matter. When Harry Reid accused Mitt Romney of not paying taxes based purely on hearsay I felt like he was doing more than lying, he was bearing false witness.

Because of his past actions I can no longer believe one word said by Harry Reid, and by so saying I am not bearing false witness against him since his words are said to mislead and harm others. Anyone can see his lies, and those who don’t need to be warned.

Some things that are said are nothing more than spiteful gossip. I think a rule here is to decide if what you hear is based on a “need to know” for protection from harm or if it has only a prurient interest. Ask yourself, “Why do I possibly need to know this?” And if there is no compelling reason, then just let the matter go.

When and why do you need to know when false witness is given? When you need to protect yourself and your loved ones from harm, when you can help to vindicate the falsely accused, and when a false swearer must be held accountable for his or her lies.

And who is your neighbor? As technology shrinks the world and gives us the ability to contact anyone, anyplace at all, it would seem that we are all truly neighbors. We are further commanded to love our neighbors as we also love ourselves. The Golden Rule applies here, then do the same to others as you would be done by.


THE EIGHTH COMMANDMENT:  YOU SHALL NOT STEAL, Deuteronomy 5:10. Tanakh Version, JPS.

One would think of this commandment as self evident in creating a civilized society. No such luck. Stealing has been a problem since humanity began. In ways large and small there are people who can always justify “taking” what they want or think they “need.” Is it a new pen, change from the cash drawer, shop lifting, or embezzling from the boss that tempts you? Would you get a thrill out of breaking and entering? Would you do it because you “deserve” more things or because “everybody else does it?”

Cain’s anger and choice to steal his brother’s flocks led directly to murder. How many murders today are the result of first deciding to steal?

Reading recently about the woman chosen to head ObamaCare in Colorado who has been indicted for embezzling massive amounts from a federal housing program in Wyoming leaves me scratching my head. It’s simply startling what people think they have a right to, and what they will do for financial gain. Some of them get away with their predations for many years and seem to never get caught. Some in the Government are known by Department heads to be padding accounts, double-dipping, and getting paid for personal travel for years and yet they receive no punishment at all when they are finally publicly exposed. They may even get promoted or simply transferred.

How much of the public debt has accrued because of theft and malfeasance all down the line? There is mind numbing malfeasance and outright theft by elected and appointed officials, and administrators within the bureaucracy, and recipients of government contracts and programs. Virtually penniless elected officials become millionaires, if not billionaires, and no one says a word.

In the end stealing leads not just to dishonor, fines or jail time for the thief, it also leads to a gradual breaking down of inhibitions in all who are willing to steal for their own gain. If the man at the top is willing to lie, cheat and steal, then the restraints that inhibit such behavior in others below him weaken and gross immorality occurs.

I have often wondered about Adolph Hitler’s underlings. If there had been no Hitler, would Eichmann, for instance, have been just a faceless bureaucrat all his days? Would the men who carelessly murdered and maimed their fellow citizens in the name of the state have been the animals they were? The same questions could be asked in any bureaucracy that falls into lawlessness. The old saying that, “A fish rots from the head down” is only the truth.

The public loss of confidence in the honesty and integrity of members of the government is another symptom of rot at the top. The corruption may take time to filter through society, but filtered or not, it does continue to taint all down the line and becomes public knowledge. TRUTH will out and eventually shine through to those who have open eyes to see and ears to hear. Many eyes and ears are beginning to open. Every honest citizen has begun to wonder if there is anyone at all in government worthy of trust.

God Himself has told His people not to steal. He knows how sin weakens us and always leads to greater sinning. Theft makes slaves of us all.





Now that Alaska has its own scandalous medical situation, I wonder how many other states and hospitals are as sleazy as Boston Children’s Hospital. When the word finally got out that the “doctor” who diagnosed Justina Pelletier with Somatoform Disorder was in the United States to complete his medical training and had been at the hospital for only seven months, all kinds of red flags got raised for me.

First of all, this guy would probably be only a resident. That means he is not even yet a full-fledged doctor of anything. My experience with residents has been less than wonderful at times.

When our daughter was at Boston Children’s she had a resident come in and tell her that they would not give her her thyroid medication because her blood tests indicated she was fine and didn’t have any thyroid problems at all. She told him she had been taking the medication for two years and that was why her levels were normal, so if they took her off she would no longer be “fine.” He continued to argue but finally conceded the point and gave her the medicine. Why should she have had to defend herself? If the guy had any brains at all the situation should have been obvious.

One of the worst problems with residents is they tend to think they know it all and many of them stay that close minded in spite of what happens around them.

For the life of me I cannot understand how this “doctor” at Boston’s has been given leeway to do what he has done. And where has his supervising physician been in this mess?

The DFS in Massachusetts has been less than stellar in their handling of Justina’s case. For them now to say their goal has “always” been to do what’s best for Justina and reunite her with her family as soon as possible is a complete joke. Who does anyone believe anymore? Any patient, or their guardian, at any time has the right to request a second, third, or fourth opinion, and they also have the right to leave a hospital when their needs are not met.

And Judge Johnston needs to be thoroughly investigated. Who does he think he is and what conceivable right does he have to issue a “gag order” in such a matter?

This whole case is such a travesty, both medically and legally. Whatever can be done to restore trust in a hospital with such policies? I sincerely hope Justina’s family sues the hospital, the doctors and the state of Massachusetts, and that they sign no non-disclosure agreements.

In the Alaska case, I know that if our Governor does not at least speak out soon, I will work tirelessly against his reelection, and when the judge comes before voters for retention I will work just as tirelessly against him. When the names of the doctors are known I think they should be sued, individually and as a group. I will never again set a foot in any Providence medical facility if I can possibly help it.

What are the laws in your state governing what the medical profession can do to you? You might check out your state’s Youth and Family Services while you’re at it.



My father-in-law worked caring for hogs when he attended college at UCDavis for a degree in Animal Husbandry. He observed that the hogs he supplemented with cod liver oil were more healthy and sleek than those who were not given the supplement. He decided that if the oil was good for the hogs it was also good for him, so every day for the rest of his long, long life he took cod liver oil.

After graduating from college he returned to the family ranch in California’s Napa Valley and became a dairyman. After a few years he said he got tired of being “married” to the cows, moved into town and opened a creamery, buying milk from local sources. He agreed that pasteurization was necessary but felt that homogenization was a mistake. He said that drinking milk with different sizes and shapes of butterfat was much better for human consumption than that with uniform sizes. At the time we discussed this matter we had no idea that soon all fats would be declared harmful to human health. That is another pronouncement that medicine will soon regret.

Many people are now beginning to recognize that raw unhomogenized milk is much better for humans than what one can buy at the grocery store. Where you are allowed to buy raw milk is another matter. The full force of the almighty federal government has been sent out against one honest Amish farmer for his sale of raw milk. Big Brother always knows best so you and I no longer have choice in the matter.

If, in fact, Pop was right we should still be letting the cream rise to the top, skimming it off for other, perhaps better, purposes and using whole unhomogenized milk. Perhaps we would all be more healthy.

Homogenization within a society is another matter of great concern every citizen needs to seriously consider.

It hardly seems acceptable today to celebrate individualism. As much as we discuss “diversity” it seems some types of diversity are undesirable in our society and people who profess certain opinions are considered unworthy. Hasty prejudgements are made in political debate, and false witness is borne against leaders in opposing political parties. Only those with cast iron souls seem to survive the lies hurled at them. Science has been politicized to the end that few survive the lies and slurs made against their work and good names.

Maybe we all need a good dose of cod liver oil to make our bodies and minds clear and healthy, and none of us should desire the homogenization of our society. You might love NASCAR, I might prefer going to the opera, that is entirely up to us, and it is certainly not the business of anyone else to  make that decision for us.

We all have gifts and intelligence to offer as we pursue our God-given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of OUR individual happiness.