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To the Right of Reality — August 2023 Edition

“We yanked the funding because all the kids left the program,” Josephine County Commission Chair Herman Baertschiger said on The Bill Meyer Show Aug. 1.

In July a Freedom from Religion Foundation attorney sent a letter to the Board of Commissioners asking them to reconsider their decision to defund the 4H and consequently the Master Gardeners program. This statement avoids his original justification for depriving the 4H of its funding.

The defunding came after a group of parents got into a disagreement with 4H leaders about wearing religious t-shirts at 4H functions. Baertschiger said at a May 10 meeting with 4H officials “It just saddens me, you taking God out of 4H” and he suggested 4H partner with local churches. During their June 7 meeting Commissioners Baertschiger and John West voted to cancel the small 4.6 cent tax for the 4H and Extension Services District, commenting that 4H and the Extension Service were imposing “woke” agendas on kids and “brainwashing” them, siding with a Christian youth group that complained to Commissioners they weren’t allowed to participate in 4H wearing obvious displays of their religion. West and Baertschiger defied the Services District Budget Committee, which voted against a defunding. A majority of the members said they believed 4H and the Christian group could work things out.  Master Gardeners, uninvolved in the dispute, complained but were shooed off by West and Baertschiger as a bunch of elites who could fund their own program.

Since getting the letter from the attorney, Baertschiger has changed his tune regarding his 4H defunding vote. He now says he voted to get rid of the tax because it was for the kids and 95 percent of the kids had left. That percentage has not been verified. After implying the 4H defunding wasn’t about religion, Baertschiger went on to give examples in history that showed the US was founded on Christian principles and said the letter from the attorney was part of a secular movement pushing hard against our Christian heritage. In the letter, attorney Christopher Line cites the First Amendment and said the Board may not use its power to force a select set of religious values on Josephine County citizens.

After that chat with Meyer, Baertschiger left on vacation, leaving his friends to fill in. A conservative automotive columnist from Grants Pass called in to complain that our public schools were training kids to be “punch throwing Antifa.” He wants to start collecting signatures to bring school choice to Oregon.

Musing about Trump, Meyer told his listeners “no matter what you think of Trump you gotta back this guy in his fight against tyranny.” In right-wing media, holding Trump accountable for breaking the law is “tyranny.” The columnist agreed saying “it’s not about him it’s about us.”

Anything that annoys a “woke” prosecutor will get you indicted, he proclaimed. Those Democrats, they’re a bunch of authoritarians, they concluded. They were joined by a caller who read quotes from his “patriotic bible” that says God was in every aspect of our country’s founding so God shouldn’t be left out of our schools.

Aug. 22 Congressman Cliff Bentz joined Meyer with the latest news about the Biden impeachment effort. Bentz said his friend Rep. Jim Jordon, who is on a subcommittee of a subcommittee, has been going through thousands of documents looking for a connection between Biden and the shell corporations he says Biden set up for nefarious purposes. Bentz’s other buddy, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, is on the verge of holding impeachment inquiry hearings once Jordon finds evidence the Bidens committed crimes. It didn’t seem to occur to Bentz or Meyer that an old Speaker trick is to keep firebrands so busy working on obscure research projects they don’t have time to cause trouble.

Bentz also bragged that he’s part of the one-third of the Congress that doesn’t take earmarks during budget negotiations, which means his rather low-income district gets left out of funding it could really use.

Bentz showed up at the KMED studio, causing Meyer to cut short a conversation he was having with Josephine County Republican Party Chair Holli Morton, who was describing her brush with right-wing celebrities at a recent Election Crime Symposium put on by the My Pillow Guy Mike Lindell. She said Lindell was “very available” and he’s the same in person as he is in his commercials. She said he spent a million dollars on the Symposium because “he feels our country has been stolen.” He even provided all the food, Morton said, but didn’t reveal what it cost to attend the event.

Meyer asked her if Lindell had been indicted along with everyone else. “Yeah, they’re going after everybody,” she said (Lindell has not been indicted, according to news reports, because he was more of a Trump groupie who was kept around for his money but not actually involved in the election overthrow scheme).

Morton came away from the Symposium determined to do something about all the crime in our elections. Meyer asked her what she would be doing to reform the situation.

Well, what we’re gonna have to do is petition each county to get rid of the machines. So that’s what we’re gonna start doing now. We can’t have the machines. They’re obviously the root of the problem.”

It wasn’t clear how she would use petitions to get rid of voting machines or if this is just intended for Josephine County or all 3,143 counties in the US.

In California Shasta County, 178 miles south of Grants Pass, dumped their election machines. Morton didn’t say if she was in touch with county board members there who have cost the county $3 to $4 million to restructure their election process and prompted state legislation forbidding the hand-counting of ballots.

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