Hello, IRS?

It’s kind of scary to realize the Internal Revenue Service will be handling our medical records starting in 2014 as part of the Affordable Care Act, better known a Obamacare. The agency has already shown how it disregards rights when it comes to whom we support in presidential elections, so think how secure you and I’ll be knowing our health secrets are available to people who see us only as numbers or even the ‘enemy.’

It’s made worse if you realize these are the same dues paying folks of the “National Treasury Employees Union,” who spent a ton of cash on President Obama’s re-election and whose employees are now accused of investigating individuals and group opposed to their candidate. Furthermore, the federal government is planning to hire 16,000 more IRS agents in the next year jus’ to handle these records.

“Hello, IRS? Oh, good. I need to make a doctors appointment.”

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Toy Guns

Recently, a six-year-old boy brought a toy gun jus’ a little larger than a quarter onto a school bus in Palmer, Massachusetts and immediately found himself in trouble for violating the districts zero-gun policy. The school sent a letter home  saying he must to write an apology and attend detention and was facing bus suspension.

In 1967, when I was seven-years-old, I took a pair of pearl-handed, silver six-shooter cap guns to Margaret Keating School in Klamath, and wore them most of the day in my genuine plastic, brown cowboy holsters. The only time my second-grade teacher, Mrs. Lennie Newquist took them away from me was because I kept playing with them when I should have been doing my school work.

Fortunately, the six-year-old wasn’t punished. This came after school officials took the time to review the bus’ surveillance footage and concluded none of the children or even the bus driver were distressed over seeing the toy gun.

I grew up in a much better time.

Comma

The U.S. had jus’ fired a missile into Iraq that evening as a preëmptive strike and now the nation was at war on two fronts, Afghanistan was the other. As Jeff and I sat in the lunchroom of our workplace we discussed the implication and ramifications of a drawn out conflict in the Middle East.

Somehow we came down to bumper sticker slogans and he said “God Bless America.”

I repeated it — thinking I couldn’t do better.

Then he stopped me and said, “God Bless America.”

“I don’t get where you’re headed with this,” I told him.

He pulled out a pen and scribble three words on a napkin and pushed towards me. I read it and realized what he was saying and I knew then he had taken a slogan many might consider old and worn out and revitalized.

Jeff had written, “God, Bless America.”

Pallets

We had jus’ been told we were heading into combat, a first for many of us. We were whooping it up, yelling things like, “Let’s go kill us some commie bastards.”

As the day grew longer and our departure delayed time and again, we grew restless. But our bravado never wavered as we continued to wait, gear packed and ready to be stowed.

“What the hell’s the hold up, Gunny?” one Jarhead called out.

“We’re waitin’ for that pallet over there to be loaded!” the older Marine called back.

Puzzled, someone else asked, “What the fuck’s so important about a pallet?”

Without missing a beat, the Gunny answered, “Those are body bags, Gomer Pyle.”

Silence.

Religious Freedom Under Lois Lerner

New questions about IRS director of Exempt Organization Lois Lerner and the attitude she’s taken in the past about conservative and Christian groups are being asked. The Blaze reports, as head of the Enforcement Office at the Federal Election Commission, she had a hand in questioning the Christian Coalition during the 1990s, and again in 2003 as transcripts show her agency was busy questioning Lt. Col. Oliver North about why Pat Robertson and his wife were praying for him.

FEC: (reading from a letter from Oliver North to Pat Robertson) “‘Betsy and I thank you for your kind regards and prayers.’ The next paragraph is, ‘Please give our love to Dede and I hope to see you in the near future.’ Who is Dede?”
LTC: “That is Mrs. Robertson.”

FEC: “What did you mean in paragraph 2, about thanking you and your wife thanking Pat Robertson for kind regards?”

LTC: “Last time I checked in America, prayers were still legal. I am sure that Pat had said he was praying for my family and me in some correspondence or phone call.”

FEC: “Would that be something that Pat Robertson was doing for you?”

LTC: “I hope a lot of people were praying for me, Holly.”

FEC: “But you knew that Pat Robertson was?”

LTC: “Well, apparently at that time I was reflecting something that Pat had either, as I said, had told me or conveyed to me in some fashion, and it is my habit to thank people for things like that.”

FEC: “During the time that you knew Pat Robertson, was it your impression that he had – he was praying for you?”

CC: “I object. There is no allegation that praying creates a violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act and there is no such allegation in the complaint. This is completely irrelevant and intrusive on the religious beliefs of this witness.”

CC: “It is a very strange line of questioning. You have got to be kidding, really. What are you thinking of, to ask questions like that? I mean, really. I have been to some strange depositions, but I don’t think I have ever had anybody inquire into somebody’s prayers.I think that is really just outrageous. And if you want to ask some questions regarding political activities, please do and then we can get over this very quickly. But if you want to ask about somebody’s religious activities, that is outrageous.”

FEC: “I am allowed to make –“

CC: “We are allowed not to answer and if you think the Commission is going to permit you to go forward with a question about somebody’s prayers, I just don’t believe that. I just don’t for a moment believe that. I find that the most outrageous line of questioning. I am going to instruct my witness not to answer.”

FEC: “On what grounds?”

CC: “We are not going to let you inquire about people’s religious beliefs or activities, period. If you want to ask about someone’s prayers. Jeez, I don’t know what we are thinking of. But the answer is, no, people are not going to respond to questions about people’s prayers, no.”

FEC: “Will you take that, at the first break, take it up- we will do whatever we have to do.”

CC: “You do whatever you think you have to do to get them to answer questions about what people are praying about.”

FEC: “I did not ask Mr. North what people were praying about I am allowed to inquire about the relationship between-’’

CC: “Absolutely, but you have asked the question repeatedly. If you move on to a question other than about prayer, be my guest.”

FEC: “I have been asking you a series of questions about your relationship with Pat Robertson, the Christian Coalition. It is relevant to this inquiry what relationship you had with Pat Robertson and I have asked you whether Pat Robertson had indicated to you that he was praying for you.”

CC: “If that is a question, I will further object. It is an intrusion upon the religious beliefs and activities of Dr. Robertson. And how that could — how the Federal Government can be asking about an individual’s personal religious practices in the context of an alleged investigation under the Federal Election Campaign Act, I am just at a complete loss to see the relevance or potential relevance, and I consider that to be also intrusive.”

FEC: “Was Pat Robertson praying for you in 1991?”

CC: “Same objection.”

LTC: “I hope so. I hope he still is.”

At the time, the FEC was investigating whether the Christian Coalition had been “coordinating issue advocacy expenditures with a number of candidates for office.” The Christian Coalition successfully fought off the allegations, but not before investigators took nearly 100 depositions.

Lerner came under fire when she chose to invoke her Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate herself rather than testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform committee about the IRS targeting religious and conservative groups. She has since been placed on administrative leave after reportedly refusing to resign.

Blowing Kisses

We were on our way to the gas station to fill up my truck’s tank, when I looked over to my left and noticed an attractive woman puckering her red lips and blowing kisses at me. I smiled back and did my best not to look her way again.

When I rolled into the parking lot of the gas station, I looked in my rear-view mirror and saw the same woman behind me. She pulled up and got out of her car jus’ as I got out of the truck.

“Hello,” I said to her as she walked by me and towards the cab of my truck.

She stuck her head in the window and started talking baby-talk to my Pit Bull Terrier, Roxy. After the dog finished licking her face half-off, she turned and headed back to her vehicle.

As she strolled by me, she said with a smile, “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome,” I answered as she got into her sports car and drove away.

I though the old man on the other side of the pump from me was going to pee himself from laughter.

Beautiful Dream

1997

In a dream late last night,
As I slept in my easy chair,
Beautiful, filled with light,
The scent of pine in the air.

I talked with the Son of God,
In this dream, in my sleep,
He schooled me about the sod,
An’ the promise he did keep.

He said he loves the cowhand,
Tho’ not mentioned by name,
Face and neck all tanned,
He loves us all the same.

He showed how much he loves us,
Spreading his arms fingertip wide,
I pushed back my brim to see Jesus
On the cross exactly as he died.