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April 2, 2018

Trump Supporters

Trump supporters supposedly voted for him and continue to support him because he was not a mainstream government guy. He was the "religious" and "moral" choice. He spoke to them.

Yet:
- The religious choice didn't actually go to church (except for his THREE weddings), does not know the Bible, and does not act in a Christian manner.
- The moral choice has never been a moral person, doesn't follow the moral teachings of the Bible, and has done some decidedly amoral and immoral actions both before and since taking office.
- The candidate who 'spoke to them' has since done everything in his power to take money, jobs, healthcare, and voting rights away from those same people.

When a commandment of the Christian Bible says not to commit adultery, every indication is that Trump committed adultery, and these supporters have to take a twisted, convoluted approach to find justification for Trump's actions within the Bible, you've lost. Period. You are proving you aren't a Christian, you are proving that the reasons you claim to have voted for the candidate are false, and you prove that you want to have the things taken from you that he has taken from you.

I guess that is what it comes down to for me in the end-- these people claim to be Christian, claim to support Trump as the Christian candidate, and then act in what any outside observer can only say is a decidedly unChristian way. They aren't really Christians, are they? But Hillary Clinton, who does go to church regularly, does want to help the poor and needy, does want to follow the basic tenets of the Christian faith runs for office, they boo her, ignore her, call her a criminal, and shout her down. Hunh? Obama, who has been a Christian since at least his college years, went to church regularly, and actually had a minor scandal involving the pastor at his Christian church speaking badly about Muslims, is seen as a Muslim terrorist by these people. What? How can you have a scandal where you both ARE and ARE NOT Christian happen during the same election cycle?

And how do they continue to support a guy who takes jobs from them, food off their table, money out of their bank/mattress? I mean, Trump has, so far, proven that he has no clue how the economy works, how government works, and has managed to screw up nearly everything that has been a source of comfort and positivity in these peoples' lives, yet they still continue to support him?

At this point, I have to start questioning anyone who is still a Trump supporter's education level and intelligence. I mean, fool you once, shame on him, but fool you twice, three times, a dozen times, shame on YOU. You must be an idiot.

January 11, 2018

Fear and Loathing in America

In my experience, most hate and anger stems from fear: fear of the unknown, fear of consequences, fear of loss, fear of something. Lately, Americans and much of the world have been reacting in anger to a lot of different things: homosexuals and homosexuality, dispossessed people/immigrants, change. And I simply don't get why they are so afraid.

President Trump rode to power on a message of fear. He told Americans to fear immigrants, to fear gays, to fear Democrats, to fear change. He promised to do things to stem the fear. He was going to build a big, beautiful wall. He was going to send all the immigrants away. He was going to protect your job in an out-dated and failing industry. He was going to make America look to America first and foremost.

But, as has been proven by the world and by his first year in office so far, none of those things are things to be afraid of so he cannot enact his policies. Immigrants are actually vital to America's growth and continued economic dominance. Why fear immigrants? Immigrants start more companies than any other group of people. In addition, every non-partisan report you can find shows that by embracing immigrants you actually lessen the chances of terrorism. Those immigrants are too busy creating jobs, raising families, trying to fit, and being grateful for being out of the oppressive regime, war, or whatever caused them to flee in the first place to want to commit terrorism. And increasing the vetting process? Creating "extreme vetting"? I'm not sure that is possible. America already has the most stringent process that takes years and numerous background checks and interviews to make it through as it is.

How we treat those immigrants is important, though. If we just dump them in the rural south and expect them to be okay, then we might create home-grown terrorists. If we truly embrace them, however, the sky's the limit for them and for us.

Fearing gay people, transexuals, etc.? There is literally nothing there to fear. They just want to be left alone, to marry and divorce and live their lives just like everyone else. The world won't end, religion will be fine, and people won't see any more overt acts of sexuality that they are uncomfortable with and fear than they do right now. But they get the safety of the law on their side when medical emergencies arise when their loved ones die and other circumstances. All liberties that non-LGBTQ people take for granted now extend to all people. Period. That's a good thing.

The two political parties in America didn't use to fear each other. It used to be that Republicans and Democrats were simply people who had somewhat different priorities. They could sit down and work toward some common, middle ground and reach a consensus. Repubs would put up with a few more dollars going to a social program and the Dems would put up with an easing of regulation here or some more defense spending there. But they didn't fear and hate each other. It was all civil.

Somewhere around the 1990s, that really started to change. And, before Obama took office, the Republican leadership was already saying they would block anything he and the Democrats put forward, even if it was beneficial. So, we had eight years of works projects blocked, eight years of infrastructure proposals blocked, eight years of gridlock and bitterness. Now, with Trump in office, you have someone who can't get anything passed. And, the one thing the Republicans did pass will likely harm America and the very Americans they claim to serve. Why do they fear the common man so much?

What America needs more than anything right now is someone to lead us from a position of love and acceptance. Obama tried, but was blocked by right-wing rhetoric which, even when patently proven false, too many bought into. We need someone like a Reagan or a Clinton, who both made us feel good about being American and who were both able to build bridges between the Democrats and Republicans and get a lot of really good legislation passed. Or someone like a Kennedy, who got both sides of the aisle working together toward incredible achievements. The last thing we need is someone in office who may be unfit for the job, who definitely isn't smart enough for the job, and whose only position is of fear and loathing.

In your own life, look toward your fears and really evaluate them. Why are you afraid? Is there really something there to be afraid of? Can talking it out, researching it, or confronting it help you to move past it and on to something better?

Let's all try to be better. Let's all try to ignore the bombast and rhetoric that surrounds us on a daily basis. Let's all try to talk with people who challenge our beliefs and our assumptions -- and I mean really listen to them -- and see that maybe they aren't so different from us as we previously thought. Maybe then we can realize that we're all in this together, that we can ensure that it all works out, and that there isn't really that much to be afraid of.

Except spiders. Of course I don't include spiders. :-)

January 9, 2018

#MeToo and Sexual Predatory Behavior

I am concerned about the #MeToo movement and the subsequent firings of a plethora of men in a variety of industries, but mostly in Hollywood. I am concerned that these firings are happening with little to no investigation and, so far, no actual criminal filings or legal proceedings having happened.

I am all for getting abusive, predatory men out of the workspace so that women (and men) can feel safe. I applaud that, actually. But, and this is important, we have a system based on "innocent until proven guilty." I fear that the rush to judgment may cause some good people to lose their jobs with little more than an unfounded accusation of wrongdoing.

When I was in college, I was seeing a girl. We were not officially dating, we didn't go out, and we certainly were not exclusive in any way -- we just hooked up when it was convenient. One day, another girl asked the first girl to introduce her to me, which she did. This other girl and I hit it off very well and became something of an item. The first girl was hurt. I learned later from another friend that she was hurt enough that she told some of the other girls that she was going to go to the Dean and (falsely) accuse me of rape to "get back at" me. Luckily, all the other girls present were my friends, they realized that her doing that was wrong on many levels, and they talked her out of maliciously, and falsely, accusing me.

But, what if they hadn't? Even an unfounded accusation of rape would have likely changed my life forever! When my female friends told me of this, I know I turned all sorts of pale and was scared. Even the accusation without proof or substantiation would have likely ended my college career. That may have changed my entire life's path, my circle of friends, everything from that moment on. And that is just with an accusation. What if I was judged guilty without a hearing/trial and only on one person's (false) statement? Who knows how long and how hard I would have had to fight that accusation. I was very lucky to have such good friends who would stand up for me and talk her out of making a false accusation to simply get back at me for "dumping her."

So, having been on that side of things (or very nearly), I have a unique perspective on the fragility of position and I understand how malicious, unfounded accusations can change everything in an instant. Some of the men being accused today have had long-term rumors of their predatory behavior. Some have even paid financial settlements so that these activities will not come to light. In these circumstances, I agree that firing them is the right, and only, choice. There is existing evidence to show their pattern of behavior and wrongdoing to make this determination and act on it. In my opinion, they should also be charged and go to jail for their acts.

In some cases, however, I'm reading about nothing more than a couple of accusations with little or no substantiation. In some cases, it seems like little or no investigation into the matters has occurred. (I mean, really, is 12 hours enough time to do a full, "thorough" investigation into something that starts as a "she said, he said" situation?) Yet the man is fired and blacklisted immediately. What if some of these women are just jumping on an emotional bandwagon and using it to maliciously, and fallaciously, oust someone they don't like? What if there is no pattern of behavior or corroborating evidence (multiple witnesses, physical evidence like phone calls, emails, notes, etc.)? Do we summarily dismiss a man just because a woman accuses him? If anyone answers yes, then I start to get worried. Not every woman has pure motives and is telling the truth about assault, harassment, or rape. Not every man is a sexual predator, and just like no man should be believed without proof, neither should every woman be believed without some proof/evidence.

Also, what about a person's ability to change? In a few of these cases, I'm reading about accusations that are years, sometimes decades, old. If there are no new accusations, then maybe the man has changed? Maybe he has learned from his behavior and has changed it? Should we be firing and blacklisting someone who two decades ago was a lothario who harassed people but then, through some means, learned the error of his ways and changed? Isn't that a guy whom we want to keep around and maybe hear his perspective on things? Maybe he can shine a unique light on the situation from which other predatory males can learn something? I decry that the man was once this way, but I applaud him for changing, too.

Again, let me state clearly: if there is evidence that a man has committed any sort of harassment, assault, or rape, I want him out. I want him charged with those crimes, I want him to go to jail, and I want him blacklisted. But, please, take the time to fully investigate before simply throwing the man out. While I believe most women would not make up something as serious as a harassment, assault, or rape allegation, the fact that some women would makes me press pause and want to ensure we're all fully informed before blacklisting and ruining the life of anyone. I think we owe them that much, at least.

UPDATE

More quickly than I expected, a report came out that seems to mimic much of what I say here. The Aziz Ansari issue is in that gray area of only 1 person condemning him, and the reports indicating it is much more of a bad sexual encounter where Mr. Ansari either didn't notice or ignored her dislike for where things were going. Is this sexual assault or just a bad date/bad sexual encounter?

https://www.vox.com/culture/2018/1/17/16897440/aziz-ansari-allegations-babe-me-too 

August 16, 2017

Trump Lies? Really?

I keep seeing posts similar to this in my FB feed:

"In my lifetime have I never seen or heard of a President being scrutinized over every word he speaks, humiliated by the public to the point of wanting to hurt someone, slander, ridicule, insulted, lied to, threatened to murder him, threatened to rape our Beautiful First Lady, and have his children also insulted and humiliated." (This is a direct quote pulled from one of the most recent posts on FB.)

Really? "In [your] lifetime"? I guess you must have died before President Obama, eh? Because most of that stuff comes up within milliseconds of a Google search for Obama. Obama was threatened with death often (remember all those effigies burned and hanged? What about those carrying signs saying he should be assassinated? What about Ted Nugent's repeated calls for Obama's death?); slandered (the whole birther movement, among others); ridiculed, lied to, and insulted (too many times and topics to even list here, and most often by the Republican leadership in Congress); Michelle was threatened with rape, death, and racist name calling on a regular basis. For the most part, most people seemed to stay away from threatening or attacking the Obama daughters, so I guess that point stands out from the above.

I get it: you are a Republican, a conservative, or simply just a fan of Trump. You want to defend him. That's fine. But why say things that are so patently untrue and so easy to prove false? Is your memory so short?

There are plenty of things you can slam Obama for that are legitimate. You may not have agreed with the choices he made or the direction he took the country. But, why do you feel the need to exaggerate, lie, or otherwise overstate how bad your candidate has it when we literally just stopped eight years of some of the worst examples of all of that?

The other issue I have is that Trump brings most of it on himself. He makes wildly false statements, and then people get upset when the news and individuals call him on it. He exaggerates things that are easily proven as exaggerations, and people get upset when he's called on it. He simply makes stuff up out of whole cloth and, when the news calls on him to provide so much as one shred of proof for these stories, people get upset. Really? But they can't remember the exact same thing happening to Obama at nearly every speech he made? How about that famous time one of the Republicans interrupted his State of the Union speech by yelling "You lie!" at the top of his lungs? Or that time that the President called the Republican leadership into the Oval Office, talked with them about the health care vote, they were shown on video both entering and leaving the White House, and yet they claimed to not go at all, let alone talk with the President that day?

I don't care which party is in the White House. When a President lies, he should be called on it. Anyone who threatens the President with harm or death should be investigated by the Secret Service and possibly incarcerated. A President's words should always be scrutinized.

Simply put: If Trump is going to lie so often, so easily, about so many easily proved things, then he gets what he deserves.

June 26, 2017

On Racism

I don't get racism. The idea of condemning an entire group of people for real or perceived issues strikes me as odd.

If you were to take the skin off of any human being, you would be hard pressed to tell whether that person was white, black, Asian, Hispanic, or anything else. Under the hood, so to speak, we are all virtually identical. The amount of melanin we have shouldn't be used to determine much of anything, except maybe how easily one will burn in the sunshine.

Think about it this way: most cars are fairly identical under the skin. Some have slightly bigger or smaller engines, some have slightly better or worse braking systems, some have some added bells and whistles, but, otherwise, they are all fundamentally the same underneath. It doesn't really matter if the shell of aluminum and plastic that makes up the body is painted white, black, yellow, or brown, the car will run the same.

Same with people.

The idea of race being a determiner for anything is a dream. It comes, primarily, from slavers during the triangle slave trade of the 1700 and 1800s and from Nazi Germany during WW2. The people behind both of those situations were biased and in the business of manufacturing differences based on skin color, and all of those opinions have been debunked over and over again.

When I was growing up, I had a bully who was black. HE was a dick, so I blamed HIM for being that dick. The vast majority of black people I've met have been non-dickish people. So too with whites, Asians, and Hispanics; I've met some individuals who were dicks to me, but overall the vast majority have been worthwhile people. Why would I paint an entire group of people with the same brush as one or two?

America is currently over 70% white. Statistically speaking, that means you are probably going to run into more dicks who are white than any other race. Should you, as a white person, be racially biased against your own race whenever you run into those occasional dicks? If you are not condemning your own race, yourself included, for a few dicks, why are you doing the same for another race?

If someone is a dick to you, be angry at that individual. Don't use your anger to paint with broad strokes an entire group of people who happen to look like that dick.

February 17, 2017

Proving Plutocracy

A "plutocracy" is one form of an "oligarchy" wherein the small group of people who run things is made up of the wealthy. While many have been sidetracked by the current administration's hyperbole and lies, the Republicans in Congress have been destroying the work of decades. And why are they doing it? Because their corporate, wealthy, billionaire masters pull their strings and tell them to.

The Republicans in Congress have started to destroy EPA rules and laws to protect endangered species and environments. What is most curious is that, in a representative democracy such as America, those in Congress are supposed to enact the will of the people they represent. And stats show that well over 80% of all people, regardless of politics, are in favor of protecting the environment and animals. So, why would Congress do these things?

Because big business finds it inconvenient. Big business wants to be able to log anywhere, to mine anywhere, to drill anywhere. They don't like having to submit EPA forms proving they won't hurt animals or the environment. They hate looking at all that potential in National Parks and Monuments and not being allowed to move in with big machinery and destroy it. They hate having to spend a little extra to make sure there is clean water to drink and fresh air to breathe.

And big business is who pays for the Republicans' to get into office. They are the ones who write the bills for Republicans and ask them to turn those bills into law. Big Business is the one pulling the strings. (This is not to say that Democrats don't get money from big business and the super-wealthy; however, the Republicans have a much tighter, pro-business/anti-regulation stance fundamentally, and big business can pull those strings much more easily for Republicans than for Democrats, who traditionally have a pro-environment, pro-regulation stance.)

The richest few, I think, believe that they will always have drinkable water and clean air to breathe. Of course, history shows otherwise; you may hurt the poorest first, then the middle classes next, but, sooner or later, the effects of unrestrained business will hurt even those who can afford the best, afford the necessities even as they sky-rocket in price and scarcity.

Clean water is good for everybody. Clean air is good for everybody. Protecting animal and plant species and environments is good for everybody. And here's why: most medications, including new discoveries, come from plants and animals. And, sometimes, those plants and animals are only found in the most delicate of environments. How many cures have we destroyed in the Amazon rain forest already, that we will never know about?

Did you know that without customers, most business fail? So, if the poor and the middle class don't have clean water and clean air, they die or move away and cannot buy your goods or services. Your business dies, just as your customers and customer base dies. It is actually in your best interest to be regulated.

Did you know that the regulation business employs thousands of people? By forcing existing businesses to regulate, the government created a ton of jobs and more economic wealth. By doing away with those regulations, business is killing other business and putting people out of work, weakening the economy and hurting their own customer base.

Republican leaders are going back to their constituents and finding them angry. They are being attack on health care, the environment, and regulations by members of their own party because they are not doing what their people want them to do. They are not listening. These leaders are fleeing from their own constituents, ducking out of meetings, and "needing" police escorts because they refuse to do the will of the people they serve.

The people have to take back control of Congress. If over 80% of people like the environment and want to regulate whether businesses can drill, mine, or pollute there, contact your representative by phone or (snail) mail/postcard. They cannot ignore a ton of phone calls and mail arriving at their offices. Be polite, courteous, and consistent in your message. And, if they don't listen, DO NOT VOTE FOR THEM IN THE NEXT ELECTION!

#revolution

February 15, 2017

Where We Are

One of the things that frustrates me the most about this Nationalistic movement is that it is predicated on things that President Obama actually tried to do. He wanted to put a bunch of people to work on infrastructure. He wanted to get people training so that they could go from coal and gas to solar and wind (and others). He wanted to do a lot of things within the borders to get people working, get people spending money, and get people happy again.

And the Republicans blocked him every step of the way. They blocked his works bill for infrastructure every single time the Democrats put it forth... while refusing to bring forth their own works bill or work with Dems to make a bill they would pass. They blocked his bills for putting money toward re-educating people. They blocked nearly ever piece of legislation that the Dems put forth toward 'making America great again' and refused to help on bills that the Dems pleaded with them for bipartisanship. President Obama even put forth a moderate Supreme Court nominee nearly a year before leaving office, a person that many Repubs openly stated was a good choice and someone they would consider, and then the Repubs refused to do their job and, at the least, vet the candidate.

If you read pretty much any news that is not American news over the last 8 years, you would see that President Obama overcame the negative perception of the country built up over the previous 8 years of President Bush and got the world looking at America as a leader and innovator. The rest of the world praised Obama with his policies of sanctions against Syria, Russia, and others. The rest of the world saw those sanctions working and forcing the sanctioned countries to do things differently. You would read about how world leaders liked, praised, and enjoyed working with Obama, trusted him and his stance on things.

Now, those same leaders and news organizations openly mock the current American administration. They fear the isolationism and nationalism that the current administration states is its goal. They worry about the nationalists in their own countries as they surge because of the results of "BRexit" and the American presidential election. After America leading the way out of the recent economic collapse, the world fears that America's isolationism will stall that same economic recovery and even reverse it. Basically, the world is scared.

The current administration lies. It claims that Obama didn't try to do the many, many things he tried. It lies about who is at fault for where we are now. It lied about cleaning out the muck of Washington DC. It lied about cracking down on Wall Street (who it called liars more than once). The current administration uses executive orders when it doesn't need to. It threatens temper tantrums if it doesn't get its way, and seems to not understand how government actually works. The current administration is in constant attack mode against a press that is simply pointing out the many, obvious, provable facts that are out there. If they will lie about those things, what else are they lying about?

I can't help but imagine where we would be today if the Republican party had actually taken President Obama's many requests to work with him to heart and done it. Imagine how much better the ACA (Obamacare) would be today. Imagine if they had worked with him on his works bills and then helped pass it... we would be 8 years ahead on fixing old bridges, repairing old dams, maintaining old sewers, and fixing streets (among many other things). Imagine how the historically low murder rates and unemployment rates would be even lower if any one of Obama's retraining/education bills had been allowed to pass by the Repubs.

There comes a point where you have to set aside your differences, realize that things are failing, and work with the opposition to make it right. You have to realize that your constituents need you to lead, compromise, and do what is best for as many different people as possible, instead of needless throwing rancor and aspersions at the other party.

That, by itself, in today's political world, is a pretty revolutionary thought, isn't it?