Nocturnal Lives

Musings from the mind of Amanda S. Green – Mother, Writer, Possessed by Cats

Category: Politics (Page 1 of 6)

Random Thoughts

A couple of things caught my eye this morning as I was drinking my first cup of coffee and scanning headlines and social media. The first is that I am really, REALLY glad I don’t have to be on I-30 this morning in Arlington. Traffic is never fun during rush hour but this morning it is much worse than usual. Several hours ago, police began a slow speed chase in Hunt County of an RV. According to reports, the driver allegedly shot a woman who managed to escape and call for help. However, there were children onboard so the cops had to act carefully to make sure nothing happened to them. Long story short, the RV caught fire in Arlington. Fortunately for the kids, the man did go to the back where they were and let them out. Then, according to latest reports, he shot himself. Tragic events that could have been much worse. Over the next few days or weeks, I’m sure we will learn more about what started this terrible chain of events but, no matter what, my thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of all involved and most especially to the kids.

I’ve kept quiet, for the most part, about what happened in Manchester. For one, I wanted more information before commenting. However, as it becomes more certain the bomber was an Islamic extremist, I have a couple of things to say. First, we can’t condemn every follower of Islam for what this man — and I use that term loosely — did. As with any religion, there are fanatics. Islam has more than its fair share but to paint them all with the same brush would be just as wrong as painting every Christian with the same brush as Westboro Baptist Church and Fred Phelps.

Second, we can no longer sit back and rely on memes and hashtags and “I stand with …” to fight back against those like the bomber. It is time to cut the head off the snake, salt the ground, saturate it with pig’ blood and end the matter. ISIL and organizations like is hide behind the Koran, knowing the West will bend because they are simply following their “religion”. Nope. They are not religious warriors. They are terrorists and the sooner we deal with them as such, the better. We are at war and, whether we want to admit it or not, war is not civilized. We can’t expect the enemy to play by any rules, much less ones we try to impose on them. It is time we adapt and overcome. If not, we will continue to see soft targets being hit and, next time, it might just be on U.S. soil.

On a lighter note, it’s 40 years ago that Star Wars opened. Some of us remember when there were no prequels — hiss, burn them!

Finally, I want to thank everyone who purchased or downloaded through KU, Battle Wounds. I have a favor to ask as well as a question. The favor is simple. If you’ve read Battle Wounds, or any of my other work, would you take a few minutes and go to Amazon to leave a review. It doesn’t have to be long. The thing is, reviews help not only entice other readers but Amazon has a threshold number of reviews you have to reach before it starts listing your title in the “other customers bought” section.

Now the question. It takes time to write novels — duh. I’m averaging one every 3 – 4 months. There are a lot of variables. Sometimes is isn’t quite as long and other times it is a bit longer. So, would you like to see more short stories, not only in the Honor and Duty series but my other series as well, in between? This wouldn’t impact release times for the novels. Let me know.

I guess it’s time to get to work. Nocturnal Rebellion is coming along. It looks to be on target to come out next month. Target date is June 20th, give or take a day or three.

Call them what?

I’ve come to expect all sorts of things that have me scratching my head when I scan the morning headlines. Like many of you, when I get up each morning, I take time to check various media sites, both traditional and non-traditional, look at social media and let the brain start working. Almost every morning, at least one story strikes me in such a way that I wonder what sort of world we are going to leave our children and grandchildren. No, this isn’t another post about the bombing in Manchester.

This is a post about an example of going too far to make sure we don’t label someone. Fresh from the state of Washington, we have an internal memo from Acting Department of Corrections Secretary Dick Morgan renaming those incarcerated in the prison system there as “students”.

Yes, you read that right, people like Gary Ridgway, the infamous Green River Killer, are now “students” according to the DOC. Why? According to Morgan, “The term ‘offender’ does have a negative connotation and significantly impacts a broad group of people and communities.”

Wait, “offender” has negative connotations that impact a broad group of people because someone has been convicted of a felony. So, to avoid that negative connotation, you are going to call those convicted “students”. What about all those students enrolled in pre-k – college you are now lumping in under the same label as the convicted felons? Are we going to have to find a new name for them so they won’t be negatively impacted as a result of this idiocy?

Yes, it’s a stupid question but so is the ruling. Morgan is worried about communities being tied with a crime or criminal and the negative impact that has on the area or on families. Well, who is it hat propagates this connection? The media. In most cases, it is the media that gives a suspected serial a name, ie the Green River Killer. It is the media that focuses on the family and community instead of on the victims.

But it is soooo much easier to take the stigma away from the ones who were actually convicted of the crime. While Morgan might have nothing but good intentions with this idiotic memo, it is ill-conceived and will do nothing to deal with what he perceives as being a problem. What you call the criminal won’t matter as long as the media continues its circus-style coverage.

But it is all about the feels.

For once, I’d like someone to consider how their actions will impact others. Morgan wants to call those in the state penal system students to keep their families and communities from suffering ill-effects by being called “offender-communities” or “offender-families” (terms I’ve never heard used). Say the new DOC agrees and leaves this order in place when he or she takes office. Somewhere down the road, someone is going to walk into an interview, be it for a job or volunteer position or college admission interview. They sit down and across the desk from them sits someone who is looking at their resume/application.

“Mr. Jones, I see you were a student before you applied here. Tell me, were you a student in the state education system, home school or in our glorious penal system?”

Mr. Jones sits there, wondering whether the interviewer is joking or has lost his mind because he doesn’t know convicted felons were called “students” instead of prisoners or offenders or anything else. “Ummm, state education system.”

“Excellent. Did you attend x-district or y-penal institution?”

You get my drift. It’s silly and stupid and more than a little sad. Why not just call them what they are? Convicted felons. As for the impact on their families or communities, that’s on the media and, let’s be honest, on the felons themselves. Calling them “students” or “zebras” or anything else isn’t going to change that.

So, Mr. Morgan, apply a bandage to your bleeding heart and focus on real issues within the DOC instead of idiotic things like this.

Oh, and if that isn’t enough to make you wonder what the hell is going on in the state of Washington, a story from two days ago recounts how Seattle police are no longer allowed to refer to alleged criminals as suspects but must refer to them as community members.

The derp is strong with this one

Yesterday, my friend Nicki linked to an online “letter of resignation” by Jacob Dorman. You see, Dorman was so very upset and worried and traumatize (my words) by the fact that KU was going to allow concealed carry on campus that he was ending his employment with them. That’s his right. His reasoning, however, had me rolling my eyes and laughing out loud. You see, he’s apparently convinced that allowing concealed carry on campus will cause more problems than it will solve and crime will escalate as a result.

Riiiiight.

First of all, he completely ignores the deterrent factor concealed carry has. Sure, there are instances where it hasn’t worked but there are also instances where it has. Just last week, it worked in Arlington, TX. Okay, not in a classroom but in a restaurant. A man walked in, started causing a commotion and, when the manager tried to get him to calm down, he murdered the manager. A customer, who was carrying concealed, pulled his gun and shot the perp. It was later learned the perp had come armed with two guns and two knives. How many lives did that customer save and all because he was carrying concealed?

There’s another argument Dorman and those like him fail to take into account. When you have signs posted all over saying a school — or church or anywhere else — is a gun-free zone, you are simply telling those who are inclined to cause harm that they can do so in that location without fear of someone having the means to stop them. Take away that safety — safety for them and not for those going to school there — and you have a deterrent in place because the perp won’t know who might pull a gun and defend herself and others present.

The other thing Dorman and others like him fail to consider is we have no way of knowing how often this is what’s happened. After all, most potential murderers don’t walk into the police station or call a reporter to say, “Gee, you know, I was going to go into John Doe Elementary School and shoot the place up but decided not to because the teachers can carry concealed.”

But, as you read the Dorman’s “resignation”, you see the real issue. He points out that, because Kansas is a small state, it has to recruit from out-of-state and all those wonderful liberal profs who don’t believe in guns won’t want to come to KU because — gasp — someone might actually have one. Gasp!

All I can say is that all my relatives who went to KU and were proud grads are shaking their heads — and in a few cases, rolling in their graves — and saying “good riddance”. The fact that Dorman has already secured employment at an out-of-state college shows he had to have been looking long before he submitted his outraged letter. Frankly, his histrionics reminds me of a few of the professors at the University of Texas last year when our state legislature voted to allow concealed carry on our college campuses. Yes, there are ways for the colleges to opt out — just as there are in Kansas (at least I assume there are in KS). But these poor darlings were so traumatized by the possibility someone might LEGALLY carry a weapon, they had to leave the university.

Hey, guys, here’s a little truth for you. Most of those who decide they want to shoot up a classroom don’t worry about if they have the legal right to carry their weapons. However, how many of them will think twice if they know someone else might also be carrying a weapon, someone willing to use it to keep them from hurting anyone?

See what Nicki had to say about this over at the Liberty Zone. She’s linked to some data that puts the lie to some of Dorman’s allegations. Check it out.

Busy, busy, busy and more

This week has been, in a word, busy. Hence the silence on the blog. One thing I’ve learned over the last several years is that when the fiction flows, the non-fiction (blog) takes a backseat. For that, I apologize, sort of. But I now have several short stories/novellas  (Battle Wounds, and two in the Eerie Side of the Tracks universe) rough drafted but I also have basic plot notes for several more novels. Add in the current works-in-progress and I know what I’m going to be doing for the next year or so  and that all assumes Myrtle the Evil Muse doesn’t hijack me with something along the way.

I’ll be honest, another reason I’ve stayed away from the blog is the fact that I did not want to go ballistic over some of the things I’ve seen in the headlines. Between Bill O’Reilly and some of the accusations against him to the Antifa protesters at Berkeley and just Berkeley itself, not to mention a local city council candidate, I sometimes wonder who in the hell we managed to claw our way out of the sea, much less the caves.

When you have (allegedly) college professors donning hoods or masks and attacking unarmed people just because they don’t agree with you, you have to wonder what those profs are teaching our children. When you have a university that prides itself on backing freedom of speech finding what seem like spurious reasons to prevent conservatives from speaking on campus, you have to wonder if they interpret the First Amendment the same way you and I do. When you have the media and public forgetting that we are assumed innocent until proven guilty, you have to wonder how far we are from the lynch mobs.

But the cake goes to the candidate who, allegedly, said that people who don’t feel they can afford to pay the taxes in our town should move to one of the neighboring towns. On the surface, the statement doesn’t appear too bad. However, the cities named might have lower tax rates than we do but, if you look at property valuations there, someone moving from here to there, even if they moved into comparable homes, would wind up paying more. While I understand the point the candidate attempted to make, the lack of knowledge of what is going on in our surrounding communities is dumbfounding.

Then there is the candidate who wonders why the city isn’t handing out — for free, one assumes — special food so people can feed the ducks at the local pond. Let’s forget about the cost to the city to provide the food, find a way to dispense and to clean up after it is put everywhere in the park but in the ducks’ mouths, I can certainly think of other things our town needs more than free duck food. The fact is the city passed the no feeding ordinance based on recommendations and, iirc, regulations from the state’s Parks and Wildlife Department.  The city spent thousands of dollars updating and cleaning the “lake” where the ducks live, and one of the driving reasons for that was the health of the ducks. But, damn, to hear it from a very small part of our populace, you’d think the city council hated all animals and were all named Grinch because they could no longer go feed the ducks.

Yet this is their big concern. Not the fact we are landlocked with very little area to expand our tax base. They want our town to be more than a bedroom community but they cry because they can’t feed the ducks and want the city to pay more for it. Where the hell are the priorities? Worse, why is this sort of mindset — attention on the very small and irrelevant details — what seems to be driving so many today?

Okay, enough of this. Deep breath and remember that just because a few yell the loudest, it doesn’t mean the majority backs them. In fact, my guess is that the majority is busy keeping their heads down and trying to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads. Like me, they would rather those running for office — and those reporting on them — looked outside their small bubbles and realized there were others out there besides their own echo chambers. If they had before the last election, they might have realized not only that none of the usual suspects, er candidates, were going to win the presidency but that a TV personality and millionaire would.

Now, I’m going to put my head back down and get back to trying to put food on the table and keep a roof over my head.

Say what?

Earlier this morning, I came across a story about a law suit filed by a California college student. It seems this young man attends a state college and had tried to hand out Spanish language versions of the Constitution on campus one day. He wasn’t inside any of the buildings. Far from it, in fact. He was in the public areas and, according to the suit, he wasn’t trying to convince anyone to think a certain way. He simply wanted to help students inform themselves on what was in the Constitution.

Except he wasn’t allowed to. As he was getting started, a member of the administration came up to him and told him he wasn’t allowed to hand out copies of the Constitution, be they in Spanish or English or any other language. The only place he could do so was in the “free speech zone” on campus. The zone, by the way, was described in one of the articles I read about the incident as follows: if the campus was the size of a standard tennis court, the free speech zone would be the size of a cellphone. That should give you an idea of how “valued” free speech is on this campus.

But it gets better. Even if he wanted to use the free speech zone, he couldn’t do so until he went to the powers-that-be and filed for approval — and received it — to use it and hand out his copies of the Constitution. .

Now think about that for a moment. A so-called free speech zone that required permission to be used. Hmmm. Maybe it speech wasn’t so free after all. What do you think?

Now we aren’t talking about a Speaker’s Corner ala Hyde Park in London. For those of you not familiar with Speaker’s Corner there, it is a large area in the park near the famed marble arch. There speakers can hold forth on just about anything they want as long as they aren’t inciting violence, etc. While not everything is legally allowed, the police are usually very tolerant. A quick search of some of the people who have taken advantage of Speaker’s Corner there throughout history shows they range from Karl Marx to Lenin to George Orwell to the Catholic Evidence Guild. Wikipedia lists many, many more.

Apparently, this particular California college system doesn’t believe its faculty and students can handle hearing diverse points of view. So, instead of facilitating such discussions, it shunts them off to remote parts of its various campuses. I’m sure when the system files its response to the law suit, we will see such things as protecting students from hateful speech, etc. The problem with this is that the world is full of opinions that don’t fall into lockstep with what any one person believes. Some of those opinions are hurtful. Others are hysterical. No one ever said the world is fair. It isn’t and never will be, not so long as there are humans on the planet.

When are we finally going to realize that we aren’t helping anyone by trying to protect them from speech they might find offensive or hurtful or just plain dumb? Shouldn’t we instead be teaching them how to counter it effectively? Instead of hiding heads in the sand, they should be able to look the offender in the eye and speak logically, persuasively and with facts to back them up as they offer a counter-argument. But no, our colleges would rather pamper them and let them continue the false belief begun in public school that they have a right not to be offended.

Free speech isn’t something that should be relegated to a small, isolated area of a public college campus. It isn’t something that should have to be approved by college administration to be able to make use of the “free speech zone”. If approval is needed, it isn’t free speech. It’s time the nanny state understood that.

College ‘Free Speech Zones’ In Spotlight After Student’s Lawsuit

http://www.latimes.com/local/education/la-essential-education-updates-southern-pierce-college-student-files-lawsuit-1490737382-htmlstory.html

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/03/29/la-college-sued-by-student-for-allegedly-curbing-his-free-speech-rights.html

Tuesday thoughts

It still amazes me the vitriol and pearl-clutching we are seeing from both sides of the political spectrum. There are those who are still firmly convinced Trump is trying to overthrow the Constitution and set himself up as emperor or something. Every action he takes is compared to Hitler or Stalin. Protesters take to the streets and many of them see no problem with destroying private property or assaulting people who don’t agree with them. At the same time, we are told that we shouldn’t condemn them for what they are doing because Trump scares them and feelz or something.

Mind you, they aren’t the only ones acting like spoiled kids. A certain set of Trump supporters are as well. If you don’t come down completely in favor of the president, these folks are quick to jump in and call names and accuse you of being the real problem. They troll blogs and FB or Twitter postings, acting as if they can do or say whatever they want without consequences.

It is really like watching two playground bullies trying to prove their predominance over the rest of us who just want to be left alone to earn a living, life our lives and get on with business.

Here’s the thing, none of you are doing your sides any good. Those of you who keep crying wolf every time Trump opens his mouth are creating such a constant static of background noise that we are tuning you out. That means when something serious really does happen, we won’t hear it because you have been screaming and ranting and wailing in despair so much and so long that we quit listening. Is that what you want to happen?

As for the other side, quit being poor winners. One of the things that make this country strong is our ability to question our leaders. Remember what it felt like the last eight years when you tried to question what Obama did and were told to shut up, that questioning him made you a racist or a traitor. Don’t start doing the same basic thing to the other side. Instead, praise the good the president does — when and if he does it — and question the bad. If you have to tell someone they are wrong, do it with facts and logic, not by name-calling and bully tactics.

Back to the other side, before you start crowing about how you have pressured publishers to pull books from the shelves — yes, I’m talking about Milo’s book — think about what is going to happen if the tide turns. More than that, each and every author out there who is standing on her soapbox shouting in glee that a publisher pulled a book by a gay foreigner should be ashamed of themselves. We, out of everyone, should advocate that every voice should be heard. We might not agree with what they have to say but to applaud when a voice is silenced is counter-productive for us all. Where do we draw the line?

Finally, since I have the city inspector due soon to check the hvac install, I need to cut this short. So go check out my post at Mad Genius Club this morning. I’ll be back tomorrow with a more coherent post — I promise.

Think

It seems easy enough. Before you hit the “enter” button, you should stop and think about what you just wrote. That’s especially true in this age of the internet where nothing ever really goes away. Yet so many people simply refuse — or don’t think — before posting. They don’t think that future employers will look at their online presence. They don’t think about their friends and neighbors googling what they posted. They don’t think about college admission officers doing the same. Then they wonder why it blows up in their face later.

What brought this up is a discussion, and I use that term loosely, I came across yesterday. Someone decided it would be a good thing to go onto another’s wall and proceed to tell everyone that 1) raising the minimum wage to $15/hr would not negatively impact employment numbers, 2) business owners are all liars and cheats, 3) businesses should be forced to spread their money around to everyone else and 4) raising the minimum wage to that magical $15/hr rate would lead to more entry level jobs.

Now, think about that for a moment.

I’m no master’s level economist but even I understand that if you increase the cost of producing goods — and the monies paid to employees does just that — then you will see that increase in production cost passed on to the customer. If that cost increase isn’t passed along to the customer, the business owner has to find another way to cut costs. CUT costs. Quite often, that is done by decreasing the number of employees.  So, already, you have impacted the price of goods and, potentially, the number of people employed.

As for all business owners being lairs and cheats, my only conclusion is that either the OP had a really bad experience with someone or, since he proclaimed himself a former business owner, he was projecting. The fact he had no problem painting all owners with such a broad brush weakens any other arguments he might have put forth to support his argument. When called on it, he refused to back down from this stance. Instead, he started shifting the goal posts, claiming he didn’t mean they broke laws and trying to play rhetoric games with the meanings of liar, cheat, laws, and ethics.

I can’t even grasp the idea that businesses, no matter how successful they might be or how large their cash reserves, should be forced to basically redistribute their money to those who have risked nothing to help make the business successful. As I read his comments along this line, I kept thinking about Jim Taggart, Wesely Mouch and others from Atlas Shrugged. You know the characters I mean. The ones who were the moochers, who didn’t want to put forth the effort or take the risk to make money. I even found myself wanting to pick up my copy of the book and start posting quotes from John Galt’s speech.

Mind you, I’m not a fanatic about Atlas Shrugged. But when I start seeing folks talking about taking money from one and redistributing it, I can’t help but think about what Rand wrote. Nor can I help thinking about the good old communist way of life where there are the “more equal among equals”.

Here’s the thing. I’m not against people making a living wage. However, I am against blindly choosing a number and requiring every business in the country to abide by it without first taking into consideration all the factors. A living wage in San Francisco is much higher than it would be for small town Iowa. If you want to live and work in San Fran, you should understand that you may have to work two or three jobs, while going to school to get the education you need to qualify for a higher paying position. I have little sympathy for the darlings who work at a coffee shop in San Fran and then bemoan the fact that they are barely making enough to cover rent, the same darlings who then say they don’t have a roommate because they don’t want anyone in their space. Sorry, sweetheart, you made the decision to live in one of the most expensive cities in the nation and you chose to live by yourself. Your employer should not be penalized because you aren’t taking reasonable steps to cut your expenses until you can find a better paying job.

But I digress.

The OP yesterday also said something that so blew my mind in a discussion about improving our economy and taking care of the workforce that it still amazes me. In the same point in the conversation where he was proudly proclaiming that all business owners were liars and cheats, he said he didn’t care if the higher minimum wage caused businesses to close their doors. In fact, he would have no problem if that happened to most businesses because, I guess, businesses are evil too.

Now, think about this. He wants the government to raise the minimum wage to $15/hr in order for the entry level workers to make a “livable” wage. But he has no problem with businesses closing down. He doesn’t see the impact that will have on the economy or on those workers he was just championing. That sort of cognitive disconnect is hard for me to fathom.

What is the answer about the minimum wage? I’m not sure. All I know for sure is that you have to look at not only how the increase will impact the workers but also the businesses, their customers and everyone else down the supply chain. You do no one any good if the wage increase winds up hurting the local economy more than it helps.

Look at what has been happening in those cities where local governments have mandated such increases. Businesses have closed. Others have let employees go or cut their hours. Still others have moved to automate more. Prices for goods have gone up and the unemployment rate for entry level workers has not, to the best of my knowledge, decreased.

Something has to be done — yes. Is raising the minimum wage to $15/hr the answer? Not necessarily. All I know for sure is that you have to look at the complete picture and not just those parts you think important.

***

Here’s a reminder that Dagger of Elanna (Sword of the Gods Book 2) is available for pre-order.

Cait Hawkener has come to accept she might never remember her life before that terrible morning almost two years ago when she woke in the slavers’ camp. That life is now behind her, thanks to Fallon Mevarel and the Order of Arelion. Now a member of the Order, Cait has pledged her life to making sure no one else falls victim as she did.

But danger once more grows, not only for Cait but to those she calls friends. Evil no longer hides in the shadows and conspirators grow bold as they move against the Order and those who look to it for protection. When Cait accepts the call to go to the aid of one of the Order’s allies, she does not know she is walking into the middle of conspiracy and betrayal, the roots of which might help answer some of the questions about her own past.

Where’s the line?

I have a confession to make. Real life isn’t the only reason why my blogging fell off dramatically the last few months. Since the election, I’ve been hard pressed not to blog about politics. It isn’t that I don’t want to talk about my take on issues. Those of you who have followed my blog for any length of time know I will wade in from time to time. No, the problem is that there are those on both sides of the political equation who simply refuse to actually read and consider what anyone says. They have taken the stand that if you don’t agree with me, you are wrong (or evil).

I am not a Trump fan. I admit that right off the bat. However, I also didn’t support Clinton. My reasons don’t matter beyond one. I didn’t think either of them would be good for the country. There were better candidates out there. Unfortunately, this election left us with a candidate for the Democrats who won the nomination thanks to manipulation from the DNC to make sure her opponent, Sanders, did not get the nomination. (I’m not sure he would have but I resent the hell out of the manipulation of the system.) Then we had Trump who no one thought would win the nomination and, when he did, did the second thing no one expected — he won the election.

No, I’m not going to debate the results. Yes, Clinton won the popular vote. By how much? Who knows. I say that because, in the few states where recounts were held, her numbers went down. I will also remind everyone that the US is not a democracy, not in the true definition of one. The founding fathers put the electoral college into place and, until that changes through constitutional amendment, it is the law.

And, for those who say we need to change it, I will remind you how that can come back and bite you in the ass. Don’t believe me? Look at how the republicans have been using the nuclear option so far with regard to Trump’s cabinet picks. That little “tool” didn’t exist until the Obama administration and was put into place to prevent the republicans from blocking things he wanted done. Now, the republicans are playing tit-for-tat. That is what happens when you start messing with rules just because you don’t like them.

After the election, many of those who had supported Clinton took to social media to tell us we needed to keep our opinions to ourselves and let them voice their concerns. They were afraid of what the president-elect might do. A teacher friend of mine, very liberal, worried that his gay students would be rounded up and either put into camps or deported. Those who entered the country illegally worried that they would be rounded up and forcibly returned to their countries of origin. Through it all, those who did not agree with their fears were told to shut up and let them voice their fears because, well, feelz.

On the flip-side, you had those who supported Trump and who felt like a double-standard was being applied by those who were mourning the fact Clinton hadn’t won the election. They pointed out, and rightly so sometimes, that the left hadn’t shown the same understanding to those who hadn’t wanted Obama to be elected as they were now demanding from those who voted for Trump. They reminded the Clinton supporters that those opposed to Obama had been called racists and told they were traitors for not wanting him as their president.

The proverbial line has been drawn in the sand and where all this leads I don’t know. I will admit I am worried.

The left wants to be allowed to say and do whatever they want. They don’t want to hear people who they feel marginalize their opinions or who promote “hate speech”. Death threats and violence have been used to shut down speakers like Milo. People are being jumped and beaten for simply wearing hats that proclaim “Make America Great”. Lady Gaga is attacked on social media for not politicizing her Super Bowl halftime show.

All I can say is grow the fuck up.

When you use violence to try to silence anyone’s voice, you are not upholding the values upon which this country was founded. When you publicly proclaim that it is your right to destroy private — and public — property to stop someone from voicing his opinion just because it doesn’t match yours, you are in the wrong. Then, when you cry that the laws against such destruction are being applied to you, you simply prove that you want to have a double-standard with you at the top of the “rights” hill.

I am not a Trump fan. Never have been. But, damn it, you guys need to listen to all of us when we tell you to stop making us defend him.

Where is the outrage when some Hollywood type — and, sorry, I don’t remember who it was other than some female comedian or the like — proclaims that all we need is to get the military and then overthrow Trump? Where is the outrage when people take to social media and start saying that the president — and, like him or not but he is your president — needs to be killed?

I would have a lot more respect for those screeching about how evil Trump is, or how evil Milo is, if the liberals would at least try to apply the same standards to both sides of the political spectrum. It amazes me that they don’t see the irony of promoting violent protests against Mile — a gay man who is not American.

Look, I get that Trump is a loose cannon. I wish someone close to him would take his phone and not let him have it back until his Twitter account was silenced. I get that it’s hard to figure what he’s going to do next because we have no public record (at least no public political record) to use as a road map. I get that all his rhetoric and bluster can be scary. Believe me, I get it.

But the way to combat it isn’t by telling half the country to shut up, that their opinions don’t matter or, worse, are evil. The way to combat it isn’t by trying to stop the free exchange of differing opinions. The way to combat it isn’t by destroying someone else’s property. They way to stop it isn’t by taking to social media and acting like self-important, privileged whiny brats.

And, before someone says that the Trump supporters are just as bad, stop. I haven’t seen them out setting fire to cars or braking business windows and looting. I haven’t seen them leaving so much trash at protest sites that the cost to clean up will run into the tens of thousands of dollars or more.

Most of all, if you are protesting, don’t start shouting you are a professor and think that gives you the right to do or say whatever you want. I promise all that will happen is you will likely find yourself at least cited for breaking some ordinance and that some enterprising person will do a google-search on you and find out you like to do lobster porn (and no, I am so not linking to that) or worse.

So, to both sides, grow the fuck up and quit making me defend Trump.

Every voice should be heard. . .

American flag. . . but that doesn’t mean action has to be taken each and every time.

A couple of posts caught my eye this morning. The first is out of Amherst, Massachusetts. Hampshire College, a Liberal Arts college boasting an enrollment of approximately  1,400 students found itself making national news. No, it isn’t because of the quality of the education it gives its students. It is over flying — or, in this case, not flying — the American flag.

It began the day after the election when some of the students decided to fly the flag at half-staff and university leadership sided with them. On the eve of Veteran’s Day, someone burned the flag. The next day, November 11th, officials replaced the flag and flew it at full-staff. As the mother of a member of the U. S. military and as someone who comes from a family that has a long history of serving the country, that is enough to raise my ire. You simply do not disrespect those who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for this country so those who decide it’s a good thing to burn the flag are free to do so (assuming they are smart enough not to destroy private property in the process).

It wasn’t until the next day that the college decided to lower the flag to half-staff. Apparently the administration wanted to “continue” discussing what the flag means.

What? Give me a fucking break.

But it gets better.

Monday, November 18th, saw a Facebook post from the university announcing that it would no longer fly ANY flags. Oh, students could still fly flags but the university would not. No institution flag, no state flag and no US flag.

John Courtmanche, spokesman for the college, gave CNN the following statement:

Our goal is to give voice to the range of viewpoints on campus across cultures, and hopefully find common ground. . .We’ve heard from members of our community that, for them and for many in our country, the flag is a powerful symbol of fear they’ve felt all their lives because they grew up as people of color, never feeling safe. For others, it’s a symbol of their highest aspirations for the country.

Without going into whether or not the fears are real for those who spoke out against the flag, I have more than a few questions for the university. First, who many actually voiced this concern and for how long? Why allow the flag to fly at half-mast the morning after the election and then show disrespect to the veterans and their families by flying it at full-mast just a few days alter?

Second, if this is a long-standing concern on the campus, why didn’t this “discussion” about what the flag stands for take place before now? What sorts of discussions are taking place now and who is handling them?

Third, when are we going to demand our education system, both public and private, educate our kids to the fact that they aren’t always going to get their way? That the world is an harsh place where you won’t always feel safe? When will we teach them that the rights you want — such as, the right to protest something you don’t like — apply equally to the other side?

Moving on, after word spread through the college’s community about what happened, “at least 1,000 veterans” gathered to protest the removal of the flag. This was after hundreds had gathered at the college earlier in the week to protest the actions of the administration. My real question to the administration is why give in to the feelings of some without taking into consideration the feelings of others? What thought process went into their decision?

My guess, none. They decided to go with those who voiced fear instead of taking affirmative steps to address the issue, starting with determining if there really was a problem on campus or not.

The next bit that caught my eye is the coverage — and some reactions — to the death of Fidel Castro. It amazes me how the MSM has folks on the ground in Havana, busy trying to interview the “man on the street”. All we are hearing from them is how wonderful life was under Castro, how great a leader he was, etc., etc., etc. Over the weekend, right after the news broke, an ABC correspondent went so far as to give his personal glowing endorsement of the dictator. Why? Because parts of Havana had been rebuilt over the years.

No mention was made of the treatment of most of the citizens there. No mention was made of the Human Rights violations the Castro regime was guilty of.

Now he is being painted as a revolutionary who, believe it or not — and I saw this on another author’s FB page — was a hero for saving Cuba from American imperialism.

Oh. My. Fucking. Ghu.

First off, the interviews with the Cubans in Havana remind me of some of the conversations I had with people living behind the Iron Curtain during the 1980’s. They were still under the boot heel of the Soviet Union. No way were they going to say anything negative in public about the government for fear it would get back to the powers that be. Freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, etc., were foreign to them. A distant memory for those countries that found themselves under Soviet “leadership” following World War II. For those in the USSR, most could not even imagine what those freedoms might be.

There is a reason why so many men and women risked their lives and the lives of their families to flee Cuba. These weren’t the rich under Batista. No, many of those who tried to cross to the US in leaky boats or rafts were poor to middle class. They wanted a better life for themselves and their families. They wanted a life where there weren’t government paid informants on every street, those given money and food and more to spy on their friends and family.

Was Castro worse than Batista? In many ways, yes. In others, probably not. But he was not a hero to be admired. He was a dictator. Damn it, all you have to do is look at the architecture and compare it to that of the Soviet Union. Look at how often you see images of Castro on the sides of buildings and statues erected of him. Now look at the US, at Great Britain or most any other country where there are elections and basic human freedoms like speech and assembly. Big difference, right?

It amazes me the number of people who are climbing onto the “Praise Castro” bandwagon, writers and entertainers who don’t understand that they would be silenced under his regime unless they wrote was was approved by the state. Grow the fuck up, folks. Look beyond the rhetoric to the reality. I have a feeling if you do, you won’t like what you see.

Double-standard?

I really didn’t want to do a political post. I’m tired of politics and have been for some time. I am not a fan of the President-elect. Nor was I a fan of Mrs. Clinton. I felt both of them had so much baggage they wouldn’t be able to get off the election train and find their way to the White House without another scandal of some sort occurring. But, whether I like it or not, Donald Trump is our President-elect. I might not like him but I do respect the Office of the President. I also expect the representatives and senators elected from my area to do their jobs and try to protect that which is important to our districts/states. We elected a president and not an emperor, despite what the MSM might have us believe.

And that isn’t the point of my post today. What is happens to be the double-standard I see being applied by the pundits and Hollywood/Broadway stars (and I use that term loosely in some instances). Last night’s music awards — sorry, I don’t follow that particular awards show, so I don’t recall the name — had a skit where some “name” portrayed Mrs. Trump. Complete with bad accent, the so-called humorous skit had her talking about her husband, Barack Obama, and her children, Sasha and Malia. Oh, the howls of laughter and applause. Everyone loved how the new First Lady was made to look like a baffoon.

Where was the outrage? Here they were making fun of someone who immigrated to this country, who held down a job and who will soon become the First Lady of the United States. Where were the voices calling out the “star” for her prejudice in portraying Mrs. Trump as she did? I guarantee you, those same voices who applauded last night would have been howling in outrage had that been someone doing the same sort of skit but with Mrs. Obama as the “star”.

We see liberals screaming and crying that every person who did not vote for Mrs. Clinton is a prejudiced, mysoginistic ass — and that happens to be some of the nicest things they have been saying about us. It doesn’t matter why someone chose not to vote her. It doesn’t matter that we didn’t vote for Trump. All that matters is we did not vote the way they wanted us to.

Four and eight years ago, we were told to shut up and respect the Office of the President and to give President Obama a chance. Yet those same voices are already calling for President-elect Trump to be impeached. He hasn’t even taken office and they want him out. When those who were pleased Mrs. Clinton did not win the election say anything, they have been told that they need to shut up and let the Clinton supporters grieve because they are “scared”. Hell, college professors gave students unable to cope with the election results a pass on examines at places like Yale.  But did they show the same sort of respect when those who had not supported President Obama wanted to voice their disapproval or disappointment?

Hell no.

Then there are those who are actively trying to sway those who will cast votes in the electoral college. Why? Because Trump won more electoral college votes than did Clinton even though she won the popular vote. Guess what? That’s not the way it works. Besides, isn’t it just a little hypocritical to demand a change to the electoral college voting system when the party backing Clinton believes in super delegates. Remember, this is the same party that actively conspired to keep Bernie Sanders from winning the nomination.

Here’s the thing, folks. I don’t like Trump. I hope he surprises me — pleasantly so — once he takes the oath of office. But I’m not holding my breath. There are systems in place to deal with him if he fails as president. However, do not expect me or anyone else to sit back and smile and nod and pat your head when you have spent the last eight years condemning us for not supporting Obama in the elections. We took our lumps and now it is time for you to do the same.

Oh, and maybe you ought to look at why Mrs. Clinton lost the election. I guaran-damn-tee you, a lot of folks who voted Trump did so not because they agreed with him but because they felt Mrs. Clinton would be a worse choice. A lot of Trump voters would have voted 3rd party if the system wasn’t rigged against a successful 3rd party candidate. (Don’t believe me, ask yourself why most presidential debates never include 3rd party candidates. Or ask yourself why it is so difficult for them to get on so many state ballots.)

I’m not saying you have to agree with me or support Trump without question. Far from it, in fact. He and his Cabinet need to be watched and questioned and challenged whenever they step out of line — hell, before they do. However, if you want to be taken seriously, you need to apply the rules you demand we follow to yourselves. It really is a case of getting away from the “do as I say and not as I do” mentality.

For the next four years, I plan to closely follow what happens on Capitol Hill and in the White House. I have no qualms about contacting my senators and representatives to voice my opinion. I have no problem letting the White House know how I feel either. However, no matter what I feel about the man in the office, I will respect the Office of the President. After all, the most the man can be there is eight years. That is the joy of our system.

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