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Day: September 12, 2014

New opponent for MHS senior: cancer

Payton Williams (right) and friend Tregg Peterson practice on the tennis courts at McNary High School last week. Williams was diagnosed with soft-tissue sarcoma in July. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)
Payton Williams (right) and friend Tregg Peterson practice on the tennis courts at McNary High School last week. Williams was diagnosed with soft-tissue sarcoma in July. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

There are some things cancer, and its various treatments, will take from its victims without them having a say: energy, appetite and mental acuity are a few.

But, there are some where the patient has more control.

For 17-year-old Payton Williams, his dreadlocks were in the latter category.

“I’d spent five years growing them, and I wanted to lose them on my own terms,” Payton said.

Discussing his dreadlocks is one of the few serious moments in talking with the McNary High School senior that isn’t immediately followed by a joke. That’s something else the cancer hasn’t taken: his sense of humor.

“He has a fun presence about him that you have to laugh and have a good time. He’s always positive and trying to get people to laugh,” said Tregg Peterson, another McNary senior and longtime friend.

Payton was diagnosed with soft-tissue sarcoma in July and is undergoing chemotherapy in the run-up to surgery to remove two tumors in November.

After surgery, he’ll put in another 12 weeks of chemotherapy treatments. In the midst of it all, he’s seen family and friends rise in support (see related story page 10) while his doctors haven’t yet settled on a final diagnosis.

He was scheduled to undergo the next of many biopsies earlier this week for a final determination.

The ordeal began last spring while Payton was playing tennis for the Celts.

“I started having back pain, but it was like a pulled muscle. My dad would massage it, but an hour later it would be back,” Payton said. A bone scan was ordered, and a swollen vertebrae appeared to be the source of the problem.

In June, Payton attended a YoungLife camp and threw himself into the physical activities. While playing a modified game of dodgeball, he removed his shirt and spent time defending his legs and feet with his hands, hunched over more often than not. When he bent down to retrieve his shirt, he was almost unable to stand back up.

An MRI was scheduled, cut short and replaced with a CT scan that revealed a large tumor climbing from his pelvis to his spine and another on his stomach. (Don’t ask him about the barium shakes he had to chug the following day for further tests.)

On July 16, the tumor on his back was diagnosed as cancerous while the one on his stomach was found to be benign. Payton took the news in stride.

“It was kind of like going to the doctor and being diagnosed with the flu, it was just, ‘Well, what do we do next?” Payton said.

It hit harder for his parents, Kim and Spencer, but Payton’s attitude has had its own side effects.

“I get strength from him. I’m usually pretty sappy when it comes to things like this, but I just went into mama bear mode because we had a lot of decision to make,” Kim said.

The response elicited a quip about mama bears and tree sap from Payton. Kim laughed whole-heatedly.

While many of the bills will be covered by insurance, medications, copays and trips to Portland for doctor visits and treatments are adding up quick. Payton’s sister, Shaylee, and her friends suggested setting up a gofundme.com account. They ended up needing Kim’s assistance and set a goal of $400. Not long after it was set up, they’d collected $4,000 and were closing in on $6,000 at press time. More than half of that total has already been put toward hospital copays.

“The cost of treatment set in pretty quick. The day they diagnosed Payton, they told us we had another appointment that Friday and to bring $500,” Kim said.

Despite all the tests, Payton is just beginning the battle. He’s only got one chemo treatment under his belt, and even that was more of an adventure than it is for most.

“I have to keep my metabolism up, so I have to keep moving or they’re going to give me a shot in the stomach. I’m inside this bubble suit because I need the clean air, doing my laps trying to avoid the shot and, when I look down, the chemo bag is leaking. I go up to the nurse and get her attention and then they’re putting on masks and hazmat suits while I’m inside with a leaky bag in shorts and a T-shirt,” Payton said.

While a team of doctors and nurses is aiding in the medical fight, moral support has come from all corners, especially those not in hazmat suits.

When Abby King, of the local non-profit 4Him2Day that provides support for local families whose children are fighting cancer, visited, she asked Payton directly whether there was anything he wanted.

“I have everything I want right here at home. I’ve got good friends and a great family,” he said. “It’s kind of a tough question to answer, though. Now that I think about it, a giraffe would be nice.”

Payton said the diagnosis hasn’t changed much about his day-to-day life yet. Kim disagrees, but it’s been positive change.

“He definitely has more appreciation for what he has. I think he’s realized how much he loves his life and that it’s not infinite,” Kim said.

It’s also given him a rejuvenated sense of interest in the career he plans to pursue – bioengineering.

“It seems like such an easy thing to fix, you know? All you would have to do is fix the one messed up sequence in the cell and this whole cancer thing would be over, but when you’re talking about one sequence in billions of sequences, the problem is a whole lot bigger,” he said.

The worst of it may be yet to come, but Payton does his best to not let it interfere with his life. He was on the McNary tennis court less than an hour after the interview ended.

“I’m more tired and I wash my hands more, but when I have energy, I want to be doing things. Playing tennis, ping pong, bowling. I’m just a teenager,” he said.

Talking about tennis, Payton wonders aloud if losing the dreadlocks might not be such a bad thing after all.

“That’s going to be different without the hair this year. I won’t have to wear a headband. I used to miss the ball all the time because the dreadlocks got in the way,” he said.

Second Smith trial continues

The defendant Victor David Smith (right) shown here during the first trial in June.
The defendant Victor David Smith (right), shown here during the first trial in June. (KEIZERTIMES/File photo)

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

SALEM – The second murder trial against Victor David Smith is continuing.

Smith has been accused of murdering Keizer’s Phillip Johnson outside his apartment on the night of July 1, 2004. The case against Smith ended with a mistrial back in June.

The second trial began with jury selections on Wednesday and opening statements for both sides on Thursday, Sept. 11. As of Friday’s lunch break, the prosecution has brought 10 witnesses to the stand. Defense witnesses will be called next week.

Like they did in June, prosecutors contend Smith was upset about Johnson seeing his live-in girlfriend Imani Williams and decided to take care of his problem by murdering Johnson. David Wilson gave opening statements for the prosecution and has been splitting questioning with Paige Clarkson.

Smith’s attorney, Olcott Thompson, emphasized during his opening statements other people had issues with Johnson at the time of the murder and predicted the state would not be able to prove Smith was the killer.

Among the witnesses for the prosecution was Johnson’s live-in girlfriend at the time, pregnant with their daughter, born six months after her dad was murdered.

“No one should have to go through this,” the girlfriend said. “I want justice served. I want my daughter to know the coward who did this will rot in jail. She’s 9 years old and will never meet her dad. Why? Because of someone’s stupid choice.”

The trial is expected to conclude next week.

Wildcats bring potent air attack

McNary’s Brady Sparks sprints around a pack of linemen in the North Salem game Friday, Sept. 5. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)
McNary’s Brady Sparks sprints around a pack of linemen in the North Salem game Friday, Sept. 5. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes 

The McNary High School varsity football team hosts its only non-league game of the season Friday, Sept. 12, and it promises to be a doozy.

The Celtics and Westview High School Wildcats, of Portland’s Metro league, kick off at 7 p.m.

Both teams won their first contests of the 2014 season last week and will have momentum as much as anything else riding on the outcome of the game.

The Wildcats went 7-4 last season and took second place in the Metro Conference. Last week, they clobbered Tualatin High School in a 49-13 rout. The Celts beat North Salem High School 35-21.

“They’re going to be a bit different than North in the way they play the game. It’s going from a heavy ground game team to a pass team with a hurry-up offense,” said Devon Dunagan, a McNary senior.

Wildcat quarterback Austin Brisbee threw for nearly 2,800 yards and 23 touchdowns last year. Brisbee had three touchdown passes and 313 yards against Tualatin. Westview’s running game is becoming a threat as well. Tailback Trevor Bovero and teammates Max Chung and Jayden Hanna all scored on the ground against Tualatin.

The mix is likely to test the Celtic defense, which few members of the team were pleased with last week.

“We had some big flags with North Salem and those are things that we need to clean up this week. We can definitely be doing our jobs better on defense,” said Celt Trent Van Cleave. The Celts lost one of two fumbles and lost 58 yards to five penalties.

McNary presented a fairly balanced offensive package last week even though no one individual player posted eye-popping numbers. Brady Sparks put in 170 yards of the Celts’ 193 on the ground with a touchdown. Quarterback Drew McHugh completed 11 of 18 for 133 yards with two touchdown passes. Kyle Torres led the receivers with 35 yards on four catches and a touchdown, but David Gonzalez, Matt Aguilar and Anthony Nguyen were nipping at his heels with no less than 26 yards in the game.

McNary senior Steven Wilkerson said the team’s focus leading up to the game would be on fundamentals.

“It’s not about how big or strong you are, it’s all in the first two steps of every play,” he said. “As far as Westview goes, we don’t plan on letting them get in the hits, if they do, we’ll punch back.”

Celts trample Vikings 35-21

Celt David Gonzalez gets just ahead of an attempt at a tackle in the North Salem game Friday, Sept. 5. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)
Celt David Gonzalez gets just ahead of an attempt at a tackle in the North Salem game Friday, Sept. 5. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A . HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

The McNary High School varsity football team never trailed in its season-opening 35-21 win over North Salem High School Friday, Sept 5.

The Celtics pounded away on the ground game using attacks led by a variety of runners, but junior Brady Sparks led the team with 170 yards on 20 carries. Senior Drew McHugh completed 11-18 in his debut as Celt quarterback after struggling in the first half.

“We already expected we were going to win, but then we played down to their level instead of keeping the game at our level. We can really work on more team effort and communication up front and encouraging each other across the team,” said Steven Wilkerson, a Celtic senior.

North won the coin toss, but never left their side of the field as the Celt defense shut them down at their own 25-yard line. McNary answered with a big return on the punt by junior Matt Aguilar and moved the chains to the North Salem 27-yard line when McHugh connected with Devon Dunagan on an outside route. Senior Kyle Torres ran the ball to the end zone on the next play to put the Keizer team up 7-0.

North’s next drive stalled just past midfield, but the punt buried McNary at their own three-yard line. Two small-gain run attempts and a deflected pass kept them there. North started its drive from McNary’s 21-yard line and evened the score 7-7 two plays later.

“We had a couple of plays where we were backed up to the end zone and we just gave in a bit. We need to keep playing hard even when things are going the other team’s way, even if we’re at the 10-yard line,” said Dunagan.

The Vikings pooched the kickoff, but McNary recovered at its own 44-yard line and McHugh connected with Sparks on a short route. Sparks ran the ball to the end zone from the Viking 37-yard line for a 14-7 lead.

North’s return spanned the change in quarters, and the Salem team penetrated deep into McNary territory. The Celts held the line inside the red zone on tackles by Kolby Barker and Jason Sperle. The Celts punted away the opportunity and stymied North at their own 14-yard line at the end of the half.

Torres made a 72-yard run for a touchdown on the first play of the second half, but was called back on a holding flag. In the reset drive, McHugh connected with Torres, David Gonzalez and, finally, Aguilar who ran the ball in for the Celts’ third touchdown of the game at 9:25 in the third quarter. The teams traded punts on the next drives, but junior Trent Van Cleave read the Vikings’ opening pass play and picked off the attempt, running the ball back for the a touchdown from around the North 20-yard line. The pick-six gave McNary a 28-7 lead.

“Devon (Dunagan) had covered the guy earlier in the night when he ran that quick hitch route and said he was a little too far back, so I stayed close and just got in front of the throw,” said Van Cleave.

Dunagan made two key tackles for McNary on North’s next drive, but the Vikings cinched up the score 28-14.

McNary lost its attempt to answer on a fumble recovered by North and Hayden Sader nearly picked off a pass that would have stopped North on the next play, but it proved to be a three-and-out at any rate.

The Celts started their last scoring drive on their 45-yard line, thanks to a return by Gonzalez, with 1:01 left in the quarter.

McHugh connected with Torres to put McNary at the North 31-yard line. The Vikings held off three attempts by Sparks on the ground, but McHugh found Aguilar to reset the downs at North’s 17-yard line. On the next play, Gonzalez grabbed a lateral pass from McHugh and ran it for the Celtics’ final touchdown of the night.

A deflection by Celt Tim Hays and a gang-tackle by Jacob Burrus, Nick LaFountaine, and Torres both threatened to deflate the Viking sails, but a pass interference call that resulted in a big gain and a delay-of-game penalty game the Salem team just enough breathing room to score one last time for the final 35-21.

“Offensively, we were able to score and that was good, but we could have done better on defense,” Dunagan said. “North runs a power-T formation that we’re going to see again in our league and we’ll have to be able to stop the run.”

KYSA, KLL look to merge

kysa-kll-logos

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

Could the bitter battle in Keizer youth sports actually be nearing an end?

Representatives from both Keizer Little League (KLL) and Keizer Youth Sports Association (KYSA) indicate the two groups are working on a merger.

Clint Holland indicated during the annual Keizer Parks Tour on Monday evening a merger was being worked on.

“I’ve heard they merged the two groups,” Holland said. “KLL would take the younger kids, while KYSA would take the older kids.”

KYSA president Kurt Barker and KLL official Jamie Vasas both told the Keizertimes on Tuesday a merger is indeed being worked on.

“We have not merged,” Barker said. “The two boards are talking and trying to figure out a plan going forward. That is the ultimate goal, to merge and form one big group. I think we’re going to have something in place this next year for a temporary situation. Hopefully by the following winter we should be one big happy family.”

Barker envisions having both tournament baseball teams as well as non-tournament teams, under one umbrella organization.

“Families could pick whichever type of baseball they want to be a part of,” Barker said. “We want to have the options so all of Keizer’s kids are being taken care of in Keizer.”

Vasas noted he became involved in KLL after the acrimonious little league split of 2008 and never quite understood why Keizer had two competing organizations for youth baseball.

“This is one thing I’ve always wanted,” he said of a merger. “It’s been ridiculous what we’ve had in the past. There’s no reason we can’t do this. I want to have both programs play under one umbrella group.”

Vasas, who noted Barker was invited to a recent KLL board meeting, feels a merger will be in place by the time the 2015 season gets going.

“Nothing is really set yet, since baseball just got over for the year,” he said. “But that’s what our plan is for next year.”

Support can’t falter with apts. nixed

Many people in Keizer were sure the fix was in. They voiced the opinion that the city council had made up its made in favor of building 120 apartments in three-story buildings at the Herber property on Verda Lane (affectionally called the cow pasture).

The council chambers was filled with residents on Tuesday, Sept. 2, ready to make the case against allowing such a large development on the property that sits above Claggett Creek Park between Chemawa Road and Dearborn Avenue. Their testimony was passionate at the quasi-judicial public hearing, which means the seven councilors were sitting in judgement of a hearing officer’s approval of changes. The audience at the council chambers was ready to watch the council approve the changes and thus allow construction of apartments at ‘the cow pasture.’  They were wrong.

The council voted to direct city staff to prepare an ordinance rejecting a zoning and lot line change that is the first step in platting out a mulit-residence development. Comments from Councilors Joe Egli and Dennis Koho, who both gave reasons why they didn’t approve of code changes that would allow 120 apartments to be built, were followed by Mayor Lore Christopher saying she was not in favor of that large a development in anyone’s backyard.

The vote to reject the code changes was unanimous. Since the hearing was quasi-judicial, the mayor had warned the audience that loud demonstrations would not be allowed. There was a feeling that the residents wanted to stand and cheer.

The lesson to learn here is that the city council does listen to reason. Though the hearing officer decided that the applicant had met the requirements to have the codes and lot lines changed, the seven councilors saw it differently. The point that was hard to get over was the traffic mitigation. The Chemawa Road-Verda Lane intersection is one of the most congested at certain times of the day. Even with the planned round-about there it is hard to fathom that up to 200 extra cars in that neighborhood would not adversely affect traffic.

You can fight city hall—or reason with it. The applicant has the right to appeal the council’s decision to the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA). That is possible; other possibilites include developing single family homes on those seven acres. That land is private property and the owners have a right to do with it as they wish—within the constraints of law and regulations.

Councilor Koho spoke up in favor of asking Keizer voters for a bond to purchase the land to add to Claggett Creek Park. He pointed out to the audience and said, “I need all of you here to be out knocking on doors.”

Those who wanted the city to buy the land need to stand up now and say “How can I help make this a park?” The code changes were stopped. Let the city hear your voices again.

– LAZ

No to open primaries

To the Editor:

I used to live in a state with an open primary (Washington).  It sounds pretty good—in theory.  In practice it can be something else.

In the primary, parties with a strong candidate sometimes found themselves encouraging their members to vote for a weak candidate of the other party to improve the odds that their candidate would win in the general election.  Yes, parties still matter, but is this fair?  Not in my book.

I vote Measure 90, no!

Art Burr
Keizer

Does Thatcher deserve Keizer’s vote?

To the Editor:

Our current state representative, Kim Thatcher, is running for state senator. She has been in the state legislature for several years.  Before I could vote for her I would like to know what she has done for Keizer.

As far as I know, she has done very little. I hope she will produce concrete evidence that I am wrong. I was told by reliable sources that during the last legislative session there was a hearing on a bill that would have cost Keizer taxpayers millions of dollars. I am referring to a proposed bill submitted by Rep. Brian Clem affecting the Rawlins property at Keizer Station. Our city manager and attorney appeared before a legislative panel objecting to the bill and received no help from our Kim Thatcher. There was speculation that she was beholden to two state Republican legislators from central Oregon where the Rawlins reside.

Thank goodness the bill did not pass.  She may have worked quietly behind the scene for us but I am not aware of it. I am writing this now to give candidate Thatcher plenty of time to respond publicly and maybe in the Keizertimes.

Bill Quinn
Keizer

Obama beyond the sound bite

By E.J. DIONNE JR.

In 1937, Franklin Roosevelt went to Chicago to give one of the most celebrated speeches of his presidency. Pushing against isolationist sentiment, he condemned the “unjustified interference in the internal affairs of other nations” and “the invasion of alien territory in violation of treaties.”

He didn’t mention Nazi Germany, fascist Italy or imperial Japan, but everyone knew what he meant when he called for a “quarantine” to stop “the epidemic of world lawlessness.”

Yet the next day, when Roosevelt met with reporters, one journalist suggested he had offered “an attitude without a program.” As the historian Susan Dunn recounts in her fine book, 1940, Roosevelt “did not disagree.” He replied: “We are looking for a program.”

Roosevelt’s sessions with reporters were off the record, so FDR’s phrase didn’t get the same immediate attention as did six of the now most-quoted words President Obama has spoken in office, “We don’t have a strategy yet.”

Let’s stipulate that comparisons between our time and the World War II era are inherently vexed. Still, it’s difficult to miss the parallel between the statements of uncertainty from two presidents who were struggling with a world flying out of control in a domestic political environment that resisted consensus.

In contemplating Obama’s foreign policy, Mark Twain’s reference to Richard Wagner’s music—it’s “better than it sounds”—comes to mind. His policy is better than he has articulated it, and it’s certainly better than his remark about strategy.

Obama has reason to be frustrated that one sentence can be ripped out of context to paint a picture of a directionless approach to the world that doesn’t match what he is actually doing. He is, in fact, working to build a broad coalition to roll back the Islamic State, as Walter Pincus reported in The Washington Post, even as he is trying to rally opposition to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.

But if recent days teach the president nothing else, it should be that how his foreign policy sounds truly matters, to allies and to adversaries. It’s not only domestic critics who are talking about “the sense of drift—and strategic confusion—which has gripped his presidency.” The words come from an editorial on last week in The Financial Times, the London-based newspaper that is reliably friendly to the United States and endorsed Obama twice.

Among other things, the paper suggested that Obama needed to “present a broader foreign policy vision” than the one he offered in his May speech at West Point. The White House is considering such a follow-up, but it should accelerate the process.

Nonetheless, the president’s critics at home should also step back. They should stop pretending that careful, deliberate planning is a grievous sin and acknowledge the high costs of impulsive action. Obama is right to put in the effort to rally Sunni Muslim states to join the fight against the Islamic State. The struggle against brutal extremism will fail if it’s perceived as part of an inter-religious war that pits Sunnis against Shiites.

Obama’s comments in Estonia before the NATO conference suggested he’s been listening to his critics. He made very clear at a news conference that it “is going to take time for us to be able to form the regional coalition that’s going to be required so that we can reach out to Sunni tribes in some of the areas that ISIS [the Islamic State] has occupied, and make sure that we have allies on the ground in combination with the airstrikes that we’ve already conducted.” He was also clear about the United States taking leadership. “We are organizing the Arab world, the Middle East, the Muslim world along with the international community,” he said, “to isolate this cancer.”

And Obama stoutly condemned Russian “aggression” in Ukraine, while offering strong words of reassurance to central and eastern Europeans. “We’ll be here for Estonia,” he said. “We will be here for Latvia. We will be here for Lithuania.You lost your independence once before. With NATO, you will never lose it again.”

But the truest words Obama spoke were: “This is a moment of testing.”

Americans face a test of whether we can have a rational debate about our role in the world that involves more than throwing sound bites in the president’s face. Obama’s own test is to acknowledge the reality that, like it or not, many nations are looking to him — and to us — to offer a coherent path away from this “epidemic of world lawlessness.” Doing so will be no easier for this president than it was for FDR.

(Washington Post Writers Group)

U.S. feasting on Iraq ‘cakewalk’

When we Americans think about the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and wonder when they will strike us at home, we have George W. Bush and Dick Cheney to thank for the creation of a new “caliphate,” defined as a uniting of the Muslim world with ISIS serving as its leader.

Those two master manipulators of U.S. foreign policy, with significant help from the Saudis and other Middle East financiers of extremism, have brought to an end the divisions into which the separate states were formed by European colonial powers after the Ottoman Empire fell in 1918.

Had our immediate former president and his vice president not decided on what they blithely sold as a “cakewalk” in Iraq, had they not been absolute in their statements about Saddam Hussein’s nuclear arsenal and his tie to al-Qaeda and 9/11, had they not sent the sons and daughters of other than their own American families to die in Baghdad, terminated the Iraqi army, built American military bases all over a formerly independent nation, and rocked themselves to sleep with fantasies over absolute control of oil fields free for our taking and profits, we’d still have bad guys like Saddam Hussein in their dictator jobs but ISIS would not exist. Yes, that’s right, Bush and Cheney created a vacuum and ISIS has filled it.

When Bush and Cheney and their cabinet members plus other Hawks and military generals launched their “Global War on Terror” to do away with the “terrorist networks” and thereby “drain the swamp,” there were a mere rag tag bunch of jihadists afoot in the world with a few camps in Afghanistan and small bands here and there.

Now, with the invasions of Muslim lands beyond the need to eradicate the bad guys in Afghanistan after 9/11, the feverish madmen but effective warriors have organized into a murderous army of fanatics bent on conquest.

If the U.S. under the leadership of Bush and Cheney were out to correct the problems of the Middle East, instead of being driven by some obscure threat made by Saddam against George H.W. Bush and anticipated oil money profits for Halliburton into Cheney’s deep pockets, then their target should have been Saudi Arabia. It’s beyond debate that our greatest enemy in the Middle East is Saudi Arabia, one in the same that pretends to be a U.S. ally and that our leaders have so gullibly accepted without question. Oh, that’s right: It’s the oil, stupid!

How so? The dominant influencers in Saudi Arabia are members of the ultra radical Wahhabi movement that was founded by an Islam theologian, Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Wahhab, in the 1700s. Ibn al-Wahhab wrote to his followers that those who would not conform to his view “should be killed, their wives and daughters violated, and their possessions confiscated.” He carried out that threat with bloody determination, cutting the heads off thousands of Arabs who rejected his doctrine while amputating body parts of others who merely expressed lack of interest. Now, ISIS has unleashed al-Wahhab’s admonishments in 2014.

The Saudi royal family, with Wahhabi descendants heavy in its genetic mix, are somewhat divided over Wahhabism but greatly fear it’ll bring to Saudi Arabia its ruthless and violent ways of dealing with those it conquers. So, true believers or not, they play along and respond with the big bucks (Saudi riyals) that financially support the efforts of ISIS as it seeks to assert itself and establish a new world-wide Islamic caliphate.

The Saudi royals are rich beyond anything Midas ever enjoyed, using their fortunes to live lavishly at home. They keep most of their subjects (Saudis are mainly Sunni) happy through sharing some of their oil wealth while serving to protect the royal family and make the Wahhabi cause purportedly their own through huge riyal donations.

Even though the Saudi royal family is known as a hedonistic bunch that behind-the-scenes violates all that Muhammad’s Islam preaches, they save themselves from the doctrinaire 18th century extremist set of austerely minimalistic standards and strictly orthodox religious practices by handing out significant portions of their oil profits to ISIS. And, like Saudi Osama bin Laden of al-Qaeda infamy, their grand prize is to bring the U.S. to its knees.

That’s us folks, complements of Saudi Arabia, “our dear friend.”

(Gene H. McIntyre’s column appears weekly in the Keizertimes.)