Nocturnal Lives

Musings from the mind of Amanda S. Green – Mother, writer, and possessed by cats

Category: Politics (Page 1 of 6)

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.

Morning dawns

and the world still spins on its axis. The election is over and there are a number of people, from both sides of the political spectrum, staring at their computer screens or TVs and wondering if they are still dreaming. For some it is a nightmare. For others it is vindication. For yet others, it is a sense of “is this real”?

Like so many last night, I stayed up, not quite until the end but well through the reporting of the results. At that point, Donald Trump was ahead in electoral votes but there were still a number of states left to report in, including California and some of the Rust Belt States, states so many of us thought would be solidly in Hillary Clinton’s hip pocket.

Perhaps we should have anticipated things not going how they were supposed to when PA went for Trump. Maybe we should have remembered the warning about the Silent Majority from so many years ago. Instead, many of us across the country and around the world bought into the MSM propaganda and believed Clinton would win, one way or another.

Earlier today, one of the political pundits was asked to explain how the polls had gotten it so wrong. He said he had looked at the over 100 polls taken in the last 10 days. Less than 10%, if I remember correctly, had forecast a Trump win. So how were they so wrong?

That part’s pretty easy to answer and it is something no one has yet addressed this morning. You have to look at who funded the polls, what questions were asked and who was polled. You also have to look at how many people were actually polled. We haven’t heard any of that. And, as a friend pointed out on Facebook, most pollsters miss the Millennials. Why? Because they call landlines and most folks under 40 have moved to cellphone only.

My mother, who is in her 80’s, pointed out something else when we were talking about the election. In Obama’s last term, those receiving Social Security have had several years without an increase in benefits and this year saw an increase of less than 0.5%. To add insult to injury, her payments for Medicare, supplemental insurance, drug costs, etc., have all gone up much more than that pittance of an increase.

Then there are those workers who have watched their jobs being sent overseas. Trump said what they wanted to hear. He promised to do all he could to keep jobs here and to punish companies who took manufacturing jobs out of the country and then imported their goods back in. When you have been out of work for a long time, that is a heady argument to vote for someone.

As I sit here writing this, I’m still in shock. I didn’t like either of the major candidates. I’ll admit I expected Clinton to win. Looking at the latest numbers, even if she had not already conceded, she cannot win the necessary number of electoral votes needed to become president. However, she might become the fifth candidate to win the popular vote but not win the presidency. The last time it happened was in 2000 when Bush defeated Gore.

There is a difference between the two elections, however. In 2000, Gore won more than 500,000 more popular votes than Bush did. The difference in electoral votes was five. Bush had 271 votes to Gore’s 266. There was talk then about needing to change the system but it went nowhere.

This time, the last electoral vote count I’ve seen has 276 votes to Clinton’s 218. That is a much wider margin and shows how Trump took key states, states that had been projected to be firmly in the Clinton camp. States like PA, WI and OH.

The 2016 election will go down in history for a number of reasons. I just hope Trump carries through with his vow last night/early this morning, to unite the country. But, for that to happen, he isn’t the only one who has to make the attempt. We all have to as well. We hold Trump, as President-Elect and later as President, accountable for his actions. We hold members of Congress accountable as well. But we have to hold ourselves accountable as well.

Yes, we have a responsibility too. Part of that is making our voices heard to our Congress critters. Let them know what we feel is important. We have to get off our high horses of entitlement. We have to give up our victimhood. We have to remember that this country works only when we work together. Cooperation, consultation, and calm heads are needed.

Most of all, calm heads.

At the risk of stepping on a few toes, God bless the United States and God help us.

Media rigging?

Before I get started this morning, I want to thank everyone for their support of Witchfire Burning (Eerie Side of the Tracks Book 1). It was a fun book to write and I’m looking forward to being able to get back to the series. For those of you who are asking, right now it looks like the second novel will be published toward the end of the second quarter of next year. I’ll update when I have more specifics about that. However, don’t forget that Skeletons in the Closet, the first of three novellas set in Eerie Side of the Tracks universe will be published October 25th, just a few short days from now.

In the news this morning, the ABC talking heads were going on and on about how Trump wants to cancel Saturday Night Live over their satirical skits featuring Alec Baldwin as the combover. It seems Trump took to Twitter — I know, big surprise there. I swear that man and his staff live on Twitter — with this comment:

Watched Saturday Night Live hit job on me.Time to retire the boring and unfunny show. Alec Baldwin portrayal stinks. Media rigging election!

Now, before I get to what the talking heads were really claiming, let’s look at the tweet itself. I don’t know about you, but I don’t see anything really bad in Trump saying it is “time to retire” the show. Hell, I’ve thought it on more than one occasion over the last 10 or more years. What gets me is that the talking heads have no problem with the show saying what it wants to but heaven forbid Trump — or anyone else who doesn’t fall into lockstep with them — saying anything different.

But the heart of the complaint against Trump in this particular story was his allegation that the media is rigging the election. I swear, if you go back and listen to the talking heads, they condemn him for not offering any proof that the media is doing just that. I’m sorry, but all you have to do is look at what they are reporting and how they report it to know there is a media bias in this election. Now, that’s nothing new. I’ve been voting for more years than I will admit and in each presidential election the media has attempted to sway the outcome.

And it isn’t just with the stories they post or print or televise prior to the election. Those of us old enough to remember can think back to the days when the media would start calling the outcome of presidential election on voting day long before the polls on the west coast had closed. The effect of that was to keep those who might have been considering voting for the “losing” candidate home. After much hue and cry, the networks have adjusted when they start calling the election but not by much.

I’m not sure when the media decided its job was to be the news and to make the news, but what we have now is a far cry from fair and impartial reporting. Yes, the mainstream media is, on the whole, doing its best to rig the election for Clinton. Why else are there no really in-depth and hard-hitting stories about the Clinton Foundation, the emails she erased, lost or whatever or Benghazi? Why aren’t the reporters digging into the Bill Clinton White House years, interviewing staff to find out how Hillary acted back then, how she treated the staff? Why aren’t they pulling up the soundbites of Michelle Obama and her attacks on Hillary because of how Hillary supported Bill instead of his victims? Funny how we’re not seeing any of that.

But that’s not to say there isn’t another sector of the media doing the same regarding Trump. There is.

So what are we, as voters and, hopefully, informed citizens supposed to do? Let’s start by using our brains. I know, all too many would rather let someone else do the thinking for them. Sorry, but I’m not like that. If you tell me how I should think or act or vote, I’m very likely to dig my heels in and tell you to go fuck yourself. I will decide what to do based on what is best for me, my family and those I care about. When it comes to voting, I will do the same thing, adding my city, state and nation in as well.

That means I look at as many different versions of the same story as I can. Each version will have a hint of truth and a lot of misdirection in it. It is up to me to figure out what is truth and what isn’t. Apply a bit of critical thinking helps here — of course, our schools aren’t necessarily teaching our kids how to think critically. So it is up to us to make sure the next generation — well, let’s be honest, it may be our grandchildren’s generation because the schools have done a number on too many of our kids — knows how to think critically, how to ask the hard questions and how not to go away until the answers have been given.

How do we save the country? We get involved. Instead of just beating our chests and crying that the sky is falling, we get up off our asses and we do something. We vote out those who have failed to represent our cities, states, districts, whatever to the best interests of the electorate. We let our voices be heard for once instead of being that silent majority that sits back and lets a handful of loudmouths sway things. We hold our politicians accountable for their actions. That is not only on the federal and state level but locally as well.

What we don’t do is give up. Every time we say the nation is lost and everything would be better if it just burned to the ground, we are playing into the hands of the other side. How? By giving them encouragement to continue doing what they’ve been doing. By telling those who might not be ready to throw in the towel that they will not have anyone watching their backs.

I don’t know about you but I still think this country is worth fighting for. Yes, the major party candidates for president suck big time. But they represent only one of the three prongs of government. Take a close look at who will best represent you, your values, your district and state’s interested and vote for that candidate. They hold the check and balance when it comes to presidential appointments. They hold the power when it comes to the purse strings. They hold the power when it comes to overturning vetoes and countering executive orders. In other words, quit being so fucking hung up on who might be president and worry about the 435 representatives and 100 senators sitting up on Capital Hill.

***

Once again, I want to thank everyone for your support of  Witchfire Burning (Eerie Side of the Tracks Book 1).

Long before the Others made their existence known to the world, Mossy Creek was their haven. Being from the wrong side of the tracks meant you weren’t what the rest of the world considered “normal”.

Normal was all Quinn O’Donnell wanted from life. Growing up on the “wrong side of the tracks”, she had been the only normal in the family. The moment she was old enough, she left and began life as far from her Texas hometown as possible. Now she has a job she enjoys and a daughter she loves more than life itself. Their life is normal, REALLY normal, until her daughter starts calling forth fire and wind.

Quinn knows they must go back so her mother can help five-year-old Ali learn how to control her new talents. But in Mossy Creek nothing is ever simple. Quinn’s mother has gone missing. Secrets from Quinn’s past start coming back to haunt her.

And the family home is more than a little sentient.

Can Quinn keep everyone — particularly Ali — safe? And will she ever get back her illusion of normalcy?

Witchfire Burning is the start of a new series. However, it takes place in the same town as Slay Bells Ring and some of the same characters are present in both. Both have a little bit of mystery and a little bit of romance. Witchfire adds in an urban fantasy note as well. While it wasn’t a book I had planned when I sat down at the beginning of they year to figure out my publication schedule, it’s one that decided it needed to be written and I had a blast doing it. I hope you guys all enjoy reading about Quinn and company as much as I enjoyed writing about them. Also, for those who prefer print versions, it should be available in approximately two weeks. I’ll make an announcement when that version is ready.

 

Where is the outrage?

I have really tried to stay out of the political fray. However, it gets harder and harder with each day that passes. I dislike both major candidates, if for different reasons. When you find yourself looking at their running mates to see if there are any redeeming qualities, you know it is a sad election year. But what has really bothered me of late is the double standard that exists, not only where the candidates are concerned but where their supporters are concerned as well.

What started me thinking about this — again — were two things I saw this morning. One was on the news and another came across my Facebook feed. The first was a leaked email from the Clinton camp where one of her advisers suggested she go after three “needy Latino” political figures, including the former governor of New Mexico. Then there are the comments, again from her staff members, about the Catholic faith and more. Yet, instead of outrage from the pundits about what what was said in these leaked emails, instead of calls from the Democratic leadership for Clinton to deal with her staffers and to apologize for what was said and the attitude it shows occurring in her campaign, we see little reporting on the matter. We hear from her campaign that there is no way to verify the veracity of the emails because if the email can be hacked it can be altered. Funny, the same thing could be said about videos, especially old videos.

So where is the outrage?

The second instance that had me thinking about the double standard deals with that bastion of feminism, “The View”. In particular, is deals with Joy Behar and comments she made Monday on the show. For those who aren’t familiar with the show, Behar or its political leanings, “The View” has long been dominated by liberals. Sometimes they manage to find a conservative to sit on their panel but those folks don’t tend to last more than a few seasons. Not that I blame them when Behar and, earlier, Rosie O’Donnell made life miserable for them whenever politics came up. It was during Rosie’s first tenure on the show that she and Trump had their big blowup.

So it shouldn’t be any surprise that, following Sunday’s debate, the women of The View had to talk about it. Where my question about outrage comes in deals with what Behar had to say. Following one of the other hosts, Sunny Hostin, suggested that Clinton had missed an opportunity to discuss the issue of sexual harassment and sexual assault. It is possible (I haven’t seen the full clip to be sure), Hostin even meant Clinton missed the opportunity to discuss the issues within the context of the accusations against Bill Clinton. Behar, in response, said Hillary could have responded, “’I would like to apologize to those tramps that have slept with my husband.’ Maybe she could have said that.”

Tramps. Wow, not exactly what you would expect a liberal feminist to say about a woman who is the alleged victim of sexual assault. Yet she said it. So where was the outrage in the media? Can you imagine how the media would have reacted had a conservative comic said the same thing, especially if said comic was male? Yet, other than some response on social media, the only sound out there was of crickets chirping. No outrage, nothing.

Now, someone must have taken Behar aside because she did issue an apology of sorts. According to her, it was a “joke” that failed. Duh. But again, why can she get away with that sort of “joke” and others can’t? The answer is simple, there is one set of rules for the left and another for everyone else.

What they don’t understand is that people aren’t, on a whole, as gullible as they think. Sure, there was a time when a lot of people believed everything they read or heard from MSM. But that was before the internet. Before everyone had smartphones. Before people started getting their news from other sources. It isn’t as easy as it once was to control the dissemination of information.

This is a lesson the MSM has yet to learn. It still wonders why circulations are down, why ad revenue is down and why people are turning to other sources for their information. The election coverage is a prime example of it. We see the bias in the media. We see what the media is trying to do. So we look elsewhere for our information. Sure, if we’re smart, we will continue to monitor the media because it tells us what the current agenda happens to be. It’s only smart to know your enemy’s goal. That lets you plan how best to counter it.

Do I think Trump should get a free ride for being a boor, a cad and, allegedly, a sexual predator? Hell no. But I also think the same should apply to Clinton. Why is the media digging as hard as they can to find anything it can use against Trump — be it sex, Trump U, or anything else — and not digging equally as hard where Clinton is concerned? I know the answer as well as you do but unless we ask it long and loud, the media will continue trying to paint the picture it wants instead of reporting the news. Of course, it may already be so corrupt — hell, let’s face it, it probably is too late for the MSM — it will never go back to reporting the news instead of trying to create the news. But we have the power where the media is concerned. We can choose not to read the papers, not to watch the newscasts and to continue getting our information from various sources. It is our duty to then check the sources against one another, gleaning out what is fact and what is fiction.

It is our duty to ask “where’s the outrage?”. I’m asking. Are you?

What is patriotism?

Last night, not long before I went to bed, I got involved in a discussion on Facebook about the current state of the country. In the course of the conversation, someone said they weren’t proud of the country. Someone else chimed in later claiming that none of those criticizing the OP could be patriots unless they posted their discharge papers and a photo of themselves in uniform. Unless they could do that, the implication was they had no right to say anything to the OP who was in the military.

My first reaction this morning upon seeing not only that allegation but the allegation that I had told the OP to leave the country was one of disbelief. First, I had not told the OP to leave. I had asked why, if he was no longer proud of the country, he didn’t go somewhere he could be proud. The question was meant to illicit a response from the OP, one in which I hoped he might realize there are still reasons to be proud of the United States. But, looking back, I can see in this age of perpetual hurt and sensitive feelings, there are those who might have seen my words as a demand he leave. They weren’t but shrug. Folks are going to be butt-hurt if they want.

However, it was the “you can’t be a patriot unless you post your discharge papers and a photo in uniform like I just did” attitude that got to me. First, this wasn’t from the OP. This was from someone coming to his defense. Someone who put words in my mouth and the mouths of others. Someone who, until another member of the military basically put him in his place, not once said there were other ways to show your patriotism. Even then, he made only a half-hearted attempt to back away from what had been said.

Do I like where we are politically right now? Hell no. I don’t like either of the major candidates. Both scare the hell out of me when I think about what they can do to this country, especially if they love the executive order as much as our current president and some in the past have. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t still believe this is the greatest country on the earth. Sure, there are problems. Yes, many of them are serious. But guess what? We’ve faced problems before and have managed to survive and grow as a country and we will again.

What people have to understand is that neither Trump nor Clinton are the United States. We are. Each and every one of us. We hold the responsibility to keep moving this country forward. How do we do that? By serving the country in whatever role we can — be that through military service, professional choices, volunteering, or whatever. We also do it by voting. There are a lot of other offices on the ballot this year besides the president and vice-president. If you don’t like who is running for president, remember that as you vote for your senators and representatives. Vote in those who can and will override presidential vetoes, who can and will present legislation to limit or overturn actions taken by executive orders. Vote for those on the state and local level who will impact your daily lives. That is patriotism in one form.

Hold your representatives responsible for their actions — and inactions. In his time in office, President Obama has issued 12 vetoes. Only one of them has been overridden by Congress. George W. Bush had the same number of vetoes and 4 were overridden. Clinton had 37 vetoes and only 2 of them were overridden. Look at those vetoes, who was in Congress then and now and did they act in your best interest and in the best interest of your district or state — as well as the country — when they allowed those vetoes to stand. Then ask yourself, if those same Congress critters are still in office, if they need to continue holding office.

As for those of you condemning Trump because of statements made more than 10 years ago, yes, the statements are horrible. But ask yourself this: do you want things you said 10 or 20 or even more years ago brought up and held against you now? NBC has suspended Billy Bush because of that tape, for comments he made long before he went to work at the Today Show. Remember the saying about glass houses before your own house comes crumbling down around you.

But that is going afield from my original premise. Patriotism can be shown in many ways, including questioning the way our country is run. Part of what makes this country great is the fact we can question our leaders’ actions and not fear the jackboots coming in the dead of night to drag us away. However, when you say you no longer have pride in the country, you need to step back and ask yourself what you really mean. Are you no longer proud of the country, of the ideals that formed it, or are you not proud of actions being taken by people within the country?

I am not proud of unjustified police shootings. I am not proud of actions by our politicians that lead to the unnecessary deaths of our troops or others who serve. I am not proud when mistakes lead to the deaths of civilians. I am not proud of those who see others as inferior to themselves based solely on color, race, creed, sexual preference, etc. But those are people. Not the country. For those people in the government who act in ways I’m not proud of, I have a recourse. It’s called my vote. I plan to make use of it. Do you?

Tuesday morning thoughts

The world didn’t come to an end overnight and I managed not to gouge my eyes out or poison myself with alcohol. The latter two were definite possibilities as I watched the opening half hour of the debate. That was about as long as I could stand it. Even my mother, who enjoys watching these sort of train wrecks more than I do, was ready to turn it off at that point. And no, this isn’t a post about the debates. It is too early and I have things to deal with today that preclude me getting drunk enough to blog about them.

It is, however, a follow-up post to the one I did last week about how the media frames a story. All you have to do is turn on the TV or radio, cruise the internet or open your morning paper for an example. Look at three different sources and you will find three different opinions about what the candidates said and which of them won the debate. Some will talk about how Trump sniffed and seemed to wear down during the debate. Others will talk about Clinton’s shoulder jiggle, and how she did it over and over again. Some say she killed Trump on the facts and others will say he killed her on the facts.

I swear, none of them watched the same debate I did.

And oops, I guess this post is sort of about the debate. Crap!

Here’s the thing. The debate isn’t going to change the mind of anyone who has already decided who they are going to vote for. That’s not what it was for. It was an attempt to go after those undecided voters as well as those who are leaning toward voting for one of the other candidates. Did either candidate succeed? I don’t know. I doubt it. But they have another couple of debate — Heaven help us — to try harder.

What did come out of the debate is that the media is going to do everything it can to try to convince us that their interpretation of the debate is the one we should go with. Already we have so-called fact checkers chiming in and body language experts and pundits galore.

I guess what I’m saying is that we can’t rely upon the media to tell us what the candidates said and what it meant. Do your research. Check what they said last night against what they have said in the past. Then vote. Vote for whomever you feel will be the best candidate. And no, that doesn’t mean you have to vote for either the hair or the technologically challenged. There are alternatives out there and no one has the right to tell you you can’t vote for them.

See, this is the problem we face right now. We are being told that if we vote for Johnson or anyone except one of the two major candidates, it is a vote for X-Candidate’s opponent. Historically, that has been correct. If I remember correctly, the last third party candidate to win any electoral votes was George Wallace in 1968. Ross Perot in 1996 was the last third party candidate to win 5% of the vote. There is no doubt third party candidates have fared worse than poorly in the previous elections.

However, there is something to consider when you place your vote. You aren’t just voting for the president and vice-president in this election. You are also voting for members of Congress, for your state and local representatives as well as for your local government. In a number of ways, those votes are much more important. A president who doesn’t have a Congress made up of like-minded politicians will have a harder time getting his — or her — programs passed. The threat of a veto becomes less of a threat. A Congress that isn’t in the president’s hip pocket also has the potential of overturning a president’s executive orders through legislation. It is called checks and balances.

Your local representatives, be it on the state or city/county level, have more of an impact on your day-to-day life than those in DC. They are the ones who determine your local taxation levels. They are the ones who decide what your children will study in school and how much money will be spent on education vs. sports. You should pay as much, if not more, attention to those candidates than you do to the two schmucks who took part in the debate last night.

Finally, ask yourself this: if the media and others wanting to frame the political fabric of this country wanted to give the American people a true choice in this election, why didn’t they let Johnson and the other 3rd party candidates take part in the debate? The answer is really simple. They have no desire to change this country from a two party system. The only way that will change is for the voters to make it happen.

Isn’t it time we let our voices be heard — to the media, to the politicians and to the rest of the world?

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