Nocturnal Lives

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

Category: Politics (Page 2 of 8)

You did what?

I’ve written a lot this year about consequences. It seems there are a number of folks out there who simply don’t consider the consequences of their actions. It doesn’t matter if those consequences are direct to the person involved or indirect and aimed at someone else. Sometimes that lack of concern about consequences comes from carelessness, from simply not thinking through what they are about to do. Other times, too many times, it is because the person involved simply doesn’t care. They are entitled, you see, at least in their own mind.

What has me thinking about it again today is this story. It’s a simple enough story and one that should have been one of those feel good stories the news all too rarely covers. Simple really. A teen is making money by working at a food kiosk at the local mall. While on duty, a police officer comes up and orders a cookie. The teen recognizes the officer, who works at the mall, and wants to do something nice for him. So he buys the officer the cookie. It’s his way of telling the officer that he appreciates all the man, and those like him, do.

Pretty cool, especially when you consider the fact the young man paid full price for the cookie instead of using his employee discount.

Fast forward to the next customers. They’d been behind the officer in line and saw what the young man did. Instead of thanking him or commenting about what a nice gesture it had been, they did the opposite. They wanted a free cookie too. When they didn’t get it, they did not go gently into the night. They caused a commotion and, if I remember correctly, at one point it looked as if one of them might actually try to get into a physical confrontation with the teen.

Because they wanted a free cookie too.

Because they were special. Or entitled. Or just selfish pricks.

It doesn’t end there. The young man was called onto the carpet by his employer and suspended. Fortunately, his mother wasn’t about to take it lying down. She posted what happened to social media and pressure was put on the employer, Great American Cookies at Katy Mills Mall. Great American Cookies has backed off the suspension, saying finally that the young man did nothing wrong. Corporate has issued a statement in support of police officers.

But what would have happened had the young man’s mother not taken to social media? It was easier to suspend the young man than it was to fully review the situation and come to an informed decision. Sounds familiar, especially this weekend.

In another case, this one involving a public personality, consequences should come to bear. Early last week, police issued a statement laying the fault for a fatal crash directly at Venus Williams’ feet. No charges, fortunately, had been filed yet but the public statement was out there and being carried by every major news organization and sports channel.

Then, several days later, the police are having to backtrack and basically retract their initial statement. They had seen another video of the crash, one from a different angle. This video apparently shows Ms. Williams was not at fault in the crash. In fact, the video shows she had the green light.

But, in the rush to lay blame in a somewhat high profile case, the police also rushed in the collection and processing of evidence. Whether it was for political reasons or something else, they accused a woman who now, looking at the evidence, was not in the wrong. Will there be consequences? There should, and not just civil consequences coming from whatever action Ms. Williams might take against the police department.

There should also be employment consequences for those involved in making the hasty judgment and releasing it as a proven fact to the media. There are times when the police should simply say, “we are still investigating and will update you once we are through.” This was one of those cases.

It is not an easy decision, especially when the locals and the media are demanding fast action. They forget that real life isn’t like cop shows on TV. DNA results aren’t returned in mere minutes. Every cop shop does not have a fully equipped forensic lab and more. Evidence isn’t always processed in the local police station but is instead sent off somewhere else where that evidence joins the long line of items to be tested and reported on.

It is a situation the local cops in the town where I live face right now. Two weeks or so ago, a young teen girl disappeared. Several days later, she was found dead in a landfill a few miles away. Our cops have been doing exactly what they should. They have been investigating the case, asking for help from other agencies when needed and keeping their mouths shut in public. The police chief has been hammered because an Amber Alert wasn’t issued when the girl went missing. Never mind the fact that her case didn’t meet the legal criterion for such action to be taken. The criticism continued.

Others have complained because the cause of death has not yet been released. The truth is, as confirmed by the police in a short statement yesterday (maybe the day before), the ME hasn’t yet concluded what the COD was. They are waiting for tests to come back and that may take another month or more. Until then, or until more evidence is uncovered, the police will not be making any further statements. They do this out of respect for the family and because there is no sense to fuel media speculation.

Will there be consequences for this action? Possibly because, while the police chief is hired by the city manager, both he and the city manager basically hold their jobs at the behest of the city council. If the politicians decide the only way they can stay in office is to sacrifice someone, they might do so. Fortunately, our city council isn’t that mercenary. They really do have the best of the town at heart. So the only consequences I foresee right now are a demand that we find a quicker way to process evidence and find out why people died.

Three different situations, three different sets of potential or real consequences. In the first, a very real example of someone’s sense of entitlement negatively — and needlessly — impacting another person’s livelihood. In the second, an example of where the “need” to reassure the public that the police are working quickly to determine responsibility not only backfired but could be said to have negatively impacted a celebrity’s earning ability. I don’t think there was any malice involved, just a lack of foresight and a backbone. In the third, we have an example of a police force accepting the consequence of having public questions and some doubt leveled at them instead of potentially damaging any case that might arise out of the investigation. Looking at all three, I would much rather take the last example than the previous two.

When are we, as a people and as individuals, stop bulling ahead and take long enough to consider the consequences of our actions?

Another case of open mouth, insert foot

This morning, I saw a meme that made me smile. It basically said “I don’t think about what I’m going to say before I open my mouth because I want to be as surprised as everyone else.” Unfortunately, it seems there are far too many people who actually adhere to this mantra. Then, when their words come back to bite them in the butt, they don’t understand what went wrong.

The first instance of this that caught my eye over the weekend happened when I saw a clip from Tucker Carlson’s show. In it, Lisa Durden, a professor from Essex County College in Newark, went off on white privilege and more with regard to keeping whites off campus for the BLM commemoration of Memorial Day. (I think I got that right. You can check the clip linked above) Carlson called her on it, noting that what she advocated was just as bad as a whites-only gathering.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Durden had every right to express her opinion. But, as I’ve discussed before, we have to be aware of the very real fact that our words have consequences. In this particular case, she might not have mentioned her association with the college but she was on a nationally televised news program. It was reasonable to expect that either her students or fellow faculty members or college supporters would see the interview. The fact the college placed her on leave two days after the segment aired was proof of the negative impact her words had on her situation. Three days after that, she was let go.

In this case, the college has to weigh the good of the institution, as well as its students and faculty, against Durden’s right to voice her opinion. This isn’t anything new. Employers have always taken a dim view of anything an employee might do or say that could bring negative publicity to the employer. That is particularly true in the education sector. Today’s headlines are a perfect example. Not only do we have stories about Durden but there is another professor in trouble as well. On the local level, a kindergarten teacher has been fired for keeping her second job — that of porn actress. So, yeah, if you are working for someone else, you have to always consider if your behavior or your words are such that your employer could be negatively impacted.

The second professor to find herself without a job comes from the University of Delaware. Again, this professor, one Kathy Dettwyler, had every right to say what she did. She just wasn’t very wise to do so and especially not on social media. According to DelawareOnline, Dettwyler posted on her personal Facebook page that Otto Warmbier “deserved” to die for stealing a propaganda poster in North Korea. She went on to talk about white privilege, his parents’ failure to raise him right and more.

Now, I’ll admit, when I first heard about Warmbier’s trouble in North Korea, my first reaction was, “why in hell would anyone, especially an American, want to go there?” My second was that Warmbier was a dumb fuck for trying to take the poster. Then I remembered he was really nothing more than a kid and some of the less than smart — okay, downright stupid — things I did at that age.

But right or wrong, he didn’t deserve to die for what would, in most places on Earth, be a misdemeanor. It doesn’t matter what his skin color or nationality is. His death is a tragedy and something that never should have happened.

The University of Delaware, where Dettwyler was an adjunct professor of anthropology, has issued a statement saying she won’t be returning to the school as an employee. Prior to announcing that her contract would not be renewed, the university issued the following statement:

“The comments of Katherine Dettwyler do not reflect the values or position of the University of Delaware. We condemn any and all messages that endorse hatred and convey insensitivity toward a tragic event such as the one that Otto Warmbier and his family suffered.”

The fact she had made similar comments about Warmbier’s death in the comment section of an article in the National Review probably didn’t help her case any either.

Again, another instance of opening mouth and inserting foot all the way to the pink slip.

I’m all for freedom to say what you want but you have to remember that what you say reflects on more than just yourself. Those words you just spewed onto Twitter or Facebook, in an interview be it print or audio, also splash back on your family and friends, your business and your customers. If your words are inflammatory or contrary to common decency, the impact will be negative.

We’re not talking about whistle-blowers here. We’re talking about two women who got up on their soapboxes and spoke without thinking. Now I wonder how long it will be before they start attacking the institutions that released them. I also wonder what they had been teaching their students and this, my friends, is what bothers me the most. We have an entire generation where all too many feel they are entitled to do or say whatever they want and damn the consequences because the consequences don’t apply to them.

Then reality hits and they find they aren’t prepared for how much suckage that can be. That’s a lesson these two professors have learned the hard way. Hopefully, others will look at what happened and take it as a lesson in common sense. Unfortunately, I fear there will be those who will look at what happened and take it as a rallying cry to attack the universities involved for trying to “silence” the professors’ voices.

If the universities reverse their decisions, they very well may find themselves in the same circumstances as the University of Missouri after faculty member Melissa Clark called for “muscle” to help remove cameramen/journalists from a protest. Missou is suffering a decline in enrollment that has led to budget cuts, closing of dorms and more. Again, a perfect example of actions — in this case, more than just Clark’s but hers were the culmination — having consequences.

So, while the meme mentioned at the beginning of the blog is humorous and while it is all too tempting at times to say exactly what we feel and damn the consequences, stop for a moment and think. Ask yourself if you are ready to face those consequences, be they the lecture you’ll get at home or the loss of your job. If you can’t say yes and mean it, then keep your mouth firmly closed and move on. Or at least pause long enough to phrase your comments in such a way you speak with facts and reason instead of emotion only.

Consequences, Part Whatever

Yesterday, another soft target was attacked on American soil. This time, it was a group of Republican congressmen and their aides and family members who were out for an early morning baseball practice session. One man decided for whatever reason to stalk and then open fire on them. Fortunately, two members of the Capitol police were present and their heroic actions prevented the attack from being much worse than it was.

Those are the facts. There is a great deal of speculation about the gunman’s motivation and mental state at the time of the attack. I’ll hold off on passing judgment on him until we learn more. Yes, it does appear that his social media accounts were filled with anti-Trump rhetoric and more and we can probably draw some conclusions from that but I’ll wait. After all, look at how quickly things changed yesterday from what was being initially reported to what came out later in the day.

Besides, that’s not the purpose of today’s post. Today, I’m pointing the finger directly at those who have said that while they don’t agree with what the shooter did, those he targeted brought it on themselves. My only response to that is to say, “What the fuck?”

Many of those who I’ve seen saying Congressman Scalise deserved to be shot because of his support of the President are the same ones who decried the attack on Gabrielle Giffords at the top of their lungs. They claim the Republicans brought this on themselves because they are trying to dismantle the Affordable Care Act or because they are homophobic or any number of other accusations.

One person said they understood why the shooter acted as he did because they — the poster — lived in fear of what Trump would do to them because they’re gay. They are still waiting for the camps to be built and people to be rounded up.

Another said this is what happens when you don’t condemn a president who has so clearly committed treason. Now, when asked to provide evidence of said treason, none can be cited. Rumors and innuendo, all based in the fact that their preferred candidate didn’t win.

Others immediately turned what happened into another instance where they can flog their pet political agenda of taking guns away from the average citizen. At one point, the media characterized the handgun carried by the shooter as a semi-automatic that kept firing on its own. Anyone with even the slightest knowledge of weaponry would know that isn’t possible. But it sounded good in the media and the idiots ran with it.

What amazes me is that those who claim the shooter had reason to open fire on a soft target don’t see how their own rhetoric, and the rhetoric of so many others on their side of the political aisle, quite possibly helped the shooter form the mindset to do what he did. They don’t see anything wrong in saying that it’s all right to “hit a Nazi” or to spout the antiFA slogans. They don’t understand why they should be the ones standing up and condemning the property damage that has happened in the so-called protests or how they are the ones stifling free speech when they try to force universities and other organizations not to allow certain speakers to appear in public events.

When you are out there calling for the President to be killed, or for those who support him to face “the consequences”, you can’t then step back and accept no blame for what happened. It is time for each of us to look at how we “discuss” the issues and to realize discussion has been the last thing a number of us — on both sides — want.

Does this mean it is time to shut up? Hell no. But it is the time to listen and to note who is willing to discuss and who simply spouts rhetoric and calls for violence. It is time to hold those who do the latter responsible for their actions. It is against the law in many places to stand up in a crowded theater and shout “Fire!”, especially if people are injured as a result. There are certainly civil consequences for such action. Perhaps it is time that the same consequences be applied to hate speech, be it political hate speech or other.

For those of you who are saying Trump should be killed — or even that he should be tried for treason — ask yourselves this. How did you feel when people said that about Obama? Why did you feel that way? Now ask yourself this: what makes your objections to criticisms about Obama any more right than the objections to your criticisms about Trump?

Like the President or not, there is no justification for opening fire on a group of men and women out playing ball. There is no justification for opening fire on a group of people in the middle of an urban setting when those men and women are not combatants and you are not at war. There is absolutely no justification for opening fire on a group of people in a non-war situation when there are children present.

If you find yourself saying “but I understand why he did it,” then I suggest you need to re-examine your own values.

Goose, meet Gander

I’m not going to do a long post this morning, too much real work to do. In fact, I’d considered not blogging today — I know, I know. I need to blog. But something caught my eye earlier that I wanted to address. In one way, it’s nothing new. In another, the double-standard involved is getting to the point that it’s beginning to get under my skin. Okay, it got under my skin a long time ago. Anyway . . . .

Late last week, I heard second-hand about the New York’s Public Theater’s production of Julius Caesar. To say the production has been “updated” is probably putting it mildly. Let’s just say that, from what I heard, they’d left no doubt the production was a commentary on the current political scene in our country.

Now, as I said, this sort of thing isn’t new. One of our local theaters is doing a modernized setting and casting of “To Inherit the Wind”. It’s an excellent production — even if I had to suspend disbelief to have a female playing one of the historically male roles. And, no, it wasn’t because they recast the play’s character. It’s because I know the historical trial on which it’s based and I had to divorce my brain from the enjoyment of the play.

However, what got my ire up this morning is seeing all the comments not only condemning Delta and Bank of America for withdrawing their financial support of the Julius Caesar production but also condemning those who have issues with the production on a personal level. These are the same folks who got so bent out of shape by the rodeo clown wearing the Obama mask or who protested at the top of their lungs any time a conservative said or did anything to detract from Obama.

They are also the ones applauding Kathy Griffin for her beheading of Trump and claiming it is all part of “art” and “art” has always been political.

Yes, there has always been an element of politics in some art. My problem with them condemning those who have a problem with the Julius Caesar production is they would be doing the same thing were it switched around and instead of Caesar being Trump, he was Obama. If you’re going to take a stance, you need to be prepared for that stance to be used by both sides of the political aisle and you can’t cry foul when such representations are being made of your political hero.

So I guess it all comes down to this: if you’re going to toss stones, you’d better make sure you aren’t living in a glass house.

It also comes down to something else. Double-standards almost always come back to bite you in the ass. Think about that before you start condemning others. Me, I’ll poke fun at both sides, pray that whoever is in office isn’t a complete and utter failure ready to sell out country down the drain and prepare for whatever might happen.

Shrug.

Until later!

 

 

A few thoughts

It would be very easy to join the varied voices opining about Comey’s testimony yesterday. Like most of those commenting, I’ve heard the soundbites. I’ve seen the pundits spinning the comments this way and that. However, unlike those folks, I want to actually listen to all three hours of Comey’s testimony before commenting in-depth about what he said — or didn’t say.

I’ll even admit to playing musical channels with the news this morning. Hey, if I have to watch it with my morning coffee because my mother likes it on as she reads the paper, I can at least turn it off when the talking heads get too annoying. As a result, I haven’t had to sit through George and Matt and whoever on CBS as they tell us how wonderful Comey is and how awful Trump is. Hell, Yahoo even has a headline to the effect that Hillary was right.

Two things, if the soundbites are right, have struck me and I want to see them in context. The first is that Comey admits to being the one to leak his prepared testimony ahead of time. Well, to be honest, he asked a friend to give it to a reporter. That tells me he was trying to manipulate the atmosphere going into the hearing, especially since he knew, or should have, that his testimony would be streamed live and everything in his prepared statement would be there for the public to see.

The second thing — and again, I haven’t seen it in context, so I’m withholding judgment — is that he supposedly said he had not seen any direct evidence that the Russians had tried to hack the election. He, and the rest of the FBI, supposedly relied on information given them by other agencies. If this is true, then how can he then turn around and say he is convinced the Russians tried to hack the election? (Mind you, I’m not saying they didn’t but for an intelligence head to make sure a blanket statement without seeing proof does rub me wrong).

And that is all I’m going to say on yesterday’s events on the Hill until I’ve seen the testimony in full.

On a more personal note, I learned yesterday that I hate most home repair stores, services, etc. Late morning, I heard something hit our stormdoor. When Mom opened the front door a few minutes later, the stormdoor literally exploded into a zillion pieces. Luckily, it pebbled instead of shattering into sharp edges, etc. But it did so with enough force we had glass at least three feet into the house and embedded into the nooks and crannies of the front door.

I have a guess about what happened. The yard was being mowed and about the same time I heard the “pop!” at the door, one of the guys was using the weedeater nearby. But I couldn’t say so for certain. Anyway, I spent the bulk of the afternoon trying to get someone to install a new door for us.

Well, the local handymen can do it — in two to three weeks. They’re booked out until then.

Home Deport won’t install, even if you buy the door from them, unless you pay them to come out and measure the door first. Then you go in and order the door you want. Then you wait another week or two before it can be installed. Unless, of course, you pay extra to expedite the process.

I called one of the local companies that advertises doing stormdoors. Riiight. Only if you agree to let them, at “a very big discount”, install new windows or insulation. Nope. Don’t need that.

Another no longer does residential work, only corporate work.

Oh, and back to Home Depot, even with me standing in front of the sign showing how much installation would be, I was quoted a price $60 higher. So nope, not dealing with them — or at least not that particular customer rep.

I have calls in to a couple of other folks. In the meantime, I’m cursing the fact that I’ve got a bum shoulder that prevents me from installing the door myself. I’m at the point now that if I can’t get it fixed in the next few days, I’ll wait until my son comes home on leave in 10 days and have him help me install it. Yeah, I’m that pissed with the situation.

I guess that means I have to get my butt in gear and get back to work. Doors of any sort aren’t cheap and this year has been one hit in the pocketbook after another.

Until later!

Of leaks and oaths and voter lists

So we have yet another government contractor accused of leaking top secret documents to the media or other persons. In this case, Reality Winner now finds herself arrested and charged. According to media reports, the government narrowed it down to Winner being one of only six who printed out the documents in question and the only one in e-mail contact with the journalist in question. More, the media reports that she has admitted to being the leak. Even so, her attorney says she will plead not guilty and looks forward to her day in court.

Now, tell me this, am I the only one hearing Charlie Sheen in the back of my mind yelling, “Winner!”?

This revelation, if you can call it that, comes on the heels of a discussion I had with someone not long ago about what it means to make and oath and who will actually feel the moral need to stick to said oath.

Every member of the military, every person holding a top secret clearance pledges to uphold their oaths to the United States. The oaths may be different in verbiage but they all come down to one simple premise: the person taking them pledges to act in a certain way. In Winner’s case, she pledged not to violate the trust placed in her by her employer and by the United States not to reveal top secret information without prior authorization. If the media reports are accurate, she not only violated those oaths but she did so willingly and knowingly and has admitted to doing so.

So what is it she is alleged to have leaked?

From what I can tell, she supposedly leaked information that the NSA (or one of the other alphabet agencies) had proof the Russians attempted to hack voter registration rolls shortly before the election. Two things struck me when I heard that. First, that the Russians attempted to hack to rolls. Second, that the information they were after is, at least in Texas, available to any candidate. How do you think you get those targeted phone calls and mailings each election cycle? The candidates can ask for a list of those who voted in the previous election or primary. That gives the candidate not only the voters’ names but much more, including their voting history (limited but yes).

Something else to consider. If the Russians really wanted to influence the election, they would have been doing this much earlier and would have been doing more than “attempting” to hack. After all, early voting now comprises in many states the majority of votes cast. I know that here in Texas, you no longer have to present one of a limited number of statutorily recognized reasons to be allowed to cast an early ballot. Instead, polls are open for approximately 2 weeks prior to the election to allow anyone who wants to avoid the lines on election day the chance to vote.

Now, if the Russians were trying to hack in to see how the vote was going, that’s a different thing. But none of the reports I’ve seen or heard have said that. Even if they were trying to see how the vote was going, it was a too little too late. Unless, of course, they are playing a long game — something that wouldn’t surprise me one bit.

Still, are we ready to admit the Russians understood better what was happening in our country than the Democratic Party’s candidate and long-time politico Hillary Clinton? I don’t know about you but it worries me that a supposed ally, a country we have been at loggerheads with more often than not, might understand our country and our voters more than a woman who was First Lady, senator, Secretary of State and presidential nominee for a major party.

If that was the case, it should be a wake-up call not only to both the Democratic and Republican Parties but to all of us.

But getting back to Reality Winner.

If the evidence proves beyond a reasonable doubt that she did violate her oaths, she should not only be prosecuted but she should feel the full force of the law coming down on her head. Her own political beliefs matter not. Nor does her concern about any particular issue. She pledged to do a certain job and, as part of the job, not to reveal national secrets and she violated that oath. She can’t claim she didn’t know what she was doing. She served six years in the military and held a top secret clearance there. In the private contractors sector she held a similar clearance. She would have been told exactly what that meant and she willingly agreed to uphold the oath.

If she violated it, and it appears she did, she should now pay the consequences.

Of course, this being the day and age where a certain segment of our populace seems to believe themselves above consequences, you can expect to hear them coming to her defense because Trump! or Bush! or whatever.

The time has come to tighten security and to make sure those who violate it and break their oaths learn there are consequences and they will rain down on them and there is no umbrella, figurative or literal, capable of protecting them.

Get real, folks

My heart bleeds again for Great Britain. Twice in two weeks, it has been the target of terrorist attacks. Innocents in soft targets were injured and killed. That, by itself, is bad enough and should bring the condemnation of the world down on the heads of those responsible — and not just the individuals who drove the van into the crowd or those who stabbed and slashed the victims. Those who either “inspired” them or who gave them their orders need to be sought out and punished as well.

What is truly terrible, however, is the rhetoric coming from those who still refuse to accept the election results. According to them, what happened in Great Britain is all Trump’s fault. Or, if not his, it is the fault of those who want to increase security at border crossings. Or those who believe we have the right to bear arms. Or the fault of the white, male, Christian patriarchy because of whatever.

Sorry, grow the fuck up. The fault lies with zealots who kill in the name of religion simply because those they are “fighting” won’t adhere to their rules and so-called mores.

Yesterday, I saw someone on Facebook trying to equate what is happening now with ISIL and other organizations like it to the IRA. Sure, the IRA for years fought the British government. It, as well as more militant Irish “freedom fighters” used terror tactics to gain Irish Independence. But see, that’s the difference. The IRA and organizations like it were fighting for freedom of their country.

The last I looked, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq and all the other countries in the Middle Easter were free. Great Britain doesn’t hold them as territories or provinces, nor does the U.S., Germany, France or any of the other countries where they have launched terrorist attacks.

Why have they targeted these countries? Because the countries have not stood in the shadows and let them terrorize their own populace. They have not let them roll over our borders to terrorize our citizenry. But they also do it because they know, or they at least believe, we are too weak to actually finally draw that line in the sand and, once it’s crossed, wipe them off the face of the earth.

I have no doubt we will see attacks here on our soil, attacks similar to what France and Great Britain have seen. Why haven’t we seen them before now? Quite possibly because the U.S. still has an armed citizenry — not to mention police force. That makes our targets a little harder to attack.

Don’t believe me, look at what happened in Great Britain over the weekend. The terrorists attacked using a van they drove into the crowds and then they attacked with knives. For the last several years, there has been an active campaign in Britain to “Surrender your knife, save a life”. There’s a website by that name and certain knives have been banned. There was even a push — not sure how successful it eventually was — to ban certain kitchen knives because some chefs said there was no real need for them. All this in an attempt to lower crime in a country that already made the ownership of handguns next to impossible.

The thought behind the campaign is similar to that we see in the anti-gun campaigns. If you make a weapon illegal, it will lower crime. No, all it does is take a means of self-defense out of the hands of potential victims. The bad guys don’t care if a weapon is illegal or not. In fact, it’s better if it is because then the likelihood of their next target having one as a means of defending himself is lower.

But that’s not what this post is about. The simple truth of the matter is we have to wake up and realize that the terrorists who attack in “the name of Allah” don’t really care about Islam. They care about their perverted form of it and everyone who does not bow down to it is an enemy to be destroyed. We can’t play be the rules of civilized warfare because they most certainly won’t and don’t.

Can you imagine the uproar had our side attacked a concert or local entertainment district?

It is time to understand war isn’t won by rules and playing nice. War is won by taking the fight to the enemy and pounding away until they surrender or are dead. It won’t be bloodless and it won’t be without innocents being injured or killed. I don’t like and none of us should. But when the enemy hides in the middle of innocents because they know we won’t attack, what choice do we have?

No, I am no advocating the wholesale slaughter of everyone who believes in Islam. The majority of those who do are are angry and upset about what has been happening in the name of “Allah” as we are. But every belief — be it political or religious — has zealots. Some go further over the line than others. ISIL and the like have gone over the line and into the next playing arena. It is time we stopped waiting for the next shoe to drop. It is time for us to band together and take the fight to them.

We have to get out of the mindset that we will send in a few thousand troops, push them back a bit and then withdraw. That’s now how you win the war. That’s a skirmish, possibly a battle but not the war. Or do we have to wait until the U.S. suffers a horrible attack on mainland soil to shake us out of our complacency?

 

Hypocrisy in action

We’ve all seen the images of Kathy Griffin, the so-called comic, posing with the mock severed head of Donald Trump. It was graphic and it was over the line. Way over the line. Voices from both sides of the political divide stood up and condemned Griffin for what she did. Approximately 24 hours later, she issued an apology — of sorts.

Of course, that apology does little to negate the fact that, during the filming of her “stunt” she made a comment to that showed she knew she was crossing the line. She joked about how this was going to get her in trouble.

Now, poor widdle Kathy has hired Gloria Allred’s daughter and is claiming that Trump, his children and wife are trying to ruin her. She cried in a press conference today and is playing the victim card. And why? Because she went well over the line and got caught.

But she doesn’t want to suffer the consequences. After all, according to her, she doesn’t deserve this. She has helped people. That’s right. She’s a nice person and the evil Donald is out to get her.

The truth is she started believing her own PR and thought she could get away with an “act”, for lack of a better word, that went beyond being horrible. If a conservative comic had done something similar with Obama or Clinton, they would have been pilloried and Griffin would have been one of the first to condemn them. But now that the shoe is on the other foot, she doesn’t want to play.

“A sitting president of the United States, and his grown children, and the first lady, are personally – I feel – personally trying to ruin my life forever.” That’s one of the allegations made by Griffin in her press conference today. Gee, you’d think she can’t understand why the Trumps would be upset about what she did. Or that she didn’t consider the fact that Trump’s 12-year-old son might see her “joke”.

Here’s the thing. Griffin didn’t think the tide would turn against her. She didn’t think there would be any backlash and she sure as hell didn’t think CNN would fire her. CNN, the bastion of liberal think, wasted no time letting her go. They were right to do so. She tarnished their brand with her attempt at humor — except I’m not convinced she was trying for humor. She was, in my opinion, trying to score point on shock value alone. Well, the points were scored and their were not on her side of the tally sheet.

“As much as we might dislike an elected official, this is not a joke. If Kathy Griffin had been in our room at CIA seeing this type of horrifying murder take place, I doubt she would have made the mistake she did. I also think she should have known this without even having to see an actual event take place. I think the description we tried to invoke is clear.” This is from an op-ed piece by Lisa Chambers, a former CIA public affairs officer who does stand-up comedy after finishing her day job.

Griffin is a self-serving liberal who clearly thought she was above public outrage. She did something she would have screamed to high heaven if we had done it to one of her political idols. Why? Because she could and because, like so many of her ilk, she thinks she is above the rest of us. Her apology, which began with something along the line of “after I got up this morning and saw the feedback”, was not something she would have done had there not been pushback.

Sorry, Ms. Griffin, but you are not the victim here. You started this by what you chose to do. No one held a gun to your head and forced you to stand there and have your picture taken with the mock head, replete with blood. You made that choice. Now you can live with the consequences.

She can yell and scream that the Trumps are out to get her but I’ll tell you this. If someone had done that to me when my son was 12, my one mission from that moment on would be to make that person’s life miserable. There are just some things you don’t do and purposely taking action that can traumatize a child is one of them. So, screw you, Kathy Griffin. You made your bed, now lie down and wallow in it.

Here’s the thing. I have no doubt Griffin wants to use this to try to smear the Trumps as much as she can. But it is also a smoke screen. How long until we see that she and CNN have either come to some sort of “understanding” or she files suit against them for wrongful termination? Is there anyone else thinking this has all been a move to make sure she doesn’t lose any bookings or endorsements or other income opportunities because she fucked up?

Quit playing the victim, Griffin. You knew what you were doing. Now you need to pay the consequences.

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.

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