Tag: politics (page 1 of 2)

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.

Busy, busy, busy and more

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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?

How the media frames a story

As I sit here watching the morning news, I can only shake my head over the events that have been happening in Charlotte. I’m not going to comment on whether or not the police were justified in shooting Keith Lamont Scott. Why I’m withholding comment is simple: I want to see the bodycam videos of the incident. When I do, I will be able to make a more informed opinion than I can now. However, that doesn’t prevent me from commenting on the events from last night and the media coverage of it.

The first thing that captured my attention in the coverage of the story was the opening soundbite by one of those taking part in the protest that last night’s events had been a “peaceful” protest. Yes, it might have started out that way but it was not how it ended. A peaceful protest does not have one protester shooting another. A peaceful protest does not have windows smashed and stores looted. A peaceful protest is, well, peaceful.

What really had me shaking my head and wondering how the reporter managed to say her lines with a straight face was when she described an upcoming piece of video where, according to her, another reporter was knocked down by a protester fleeing the tear gas. The only problem is the video didn’t back up what she said. The camera was focused on the reporter in question and, behind him, one person passed and then another came into the shot and very calmly came up and “bumped” him hard enough to take him down. There was plenty of room to go around the reporter. It wasn’t as if the immediate area was crowded. Nope. This was a case that, at least from that particular clip, showed one person intentionally running into and knocking down another. Yet that would not fit the narrative the reporter telling the story wanted, so she added facts (and I’m using that term loosely) to make it seem like things were something they weren’t.

Does this mean I think the protests should stop?

No. One of the strengths of this country is that we have the right to assemble and the right of free speech. However, neither of those rights translate into the “right to pillage and plunder” which is what happened in Charlotte last night. It is what has happened in other cities as well. When businesses are looted, when private property is destroyed, that is no longer protesting. That is criminal activity.

I live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. If you think I, along with thousands of others, didn’t have concerns and second thoughts when a protest was planned for Downtown Dallas just weeks after the ambush of our police officers during another protest, you’re wrong. However, I applaud the mayor and police chief, as well as their advisers and the organizers of the protest march for making sure nothing happened. It was a peaceful protest.

Note the word peaceful.

It still managed to bring attention to the concern of the organizers on the number of Black lives lost in encounters with police, whether it be by shooting or something else. It also brought attention to the number of police officers who are injured or killed when they are attacked. It brought about a dialog about what we need to do down here to stop both from happening again.

Dialog — something that has to happen before progress can be made.

Dialog — something that won’t happen when businesses have to worry about whether they will have windows and inventory the morning after a protest march.

Dialog — something that won’t happen when businesses are burned out simply because they happened to be located along the protest route.

Dialog — something that has to happen between all sides, including local businesses and government and community leaders.

As much as I dislike seeing anyone not standing during our National Anthem, it is the right of each and every one of us to choose whether we honor the nation by standing or not. It is something so many men and women in the military have given their lives for. Unfortunately, instead of facilitating the dialog, the media chooses to try to stir the pot with their coverage. They find the most inciting instead of insightful soundbites possible in their coverage and that is what plays.

It reminds me of when I was growing up. One of the local stations was known for what could only be called muckraking, yellow journalism at its finest. Beyond that, every Friday and Saturday night you could count on them finding the bloodiest murder scene or wreck to cover. Their weatherman smiled gleefully whenever discussing storms that did major damage. He all but danced with joy when a tornado moved through a community. Why? Because all that made for ratings and ratings meant they could charge more for advertising.

The problem was, people in the area started believing the DFW area was as bad as they were reporting. Even when the other stations reported on lowering crime stats, this one station kept fanning the flames. Finally, they were caught reusing footage — only a couple of times that I can recall — and the weatherman moved on. New management came in and slowly the emphasis went from the very worst to actually showing the occasional good news story. As the narrative changed, so did the way a number of folks looked at the area.

The media framed our outlook and it is trying to do so now, except this time it is on a national level. I’m not sure how we combat it. Actually I am. What I’m not sure is how effective it will be on a large-scale basis. The first thing we have to do is quit taking everything the media says at face value — and yes, there are still all too many people who do just that, especially if the media is hitting their hot buttons. The second thing we have to do is remind ourselves that there are always at least two sides to any story. Instead of rushing to judgment, especially when the two sides we are hearing are diametrically opposed, we need to gather the facts.

Yes, something has to be done to mend the rift in the social fabric of our country. I’m just not sure it can be mended as long as the media is more concerned about framing the news to meet its own narrative.

Another proof of what I’m saying is what is on the news as I write this. ABC came out and said that Trump’s business dealings with Russia over the years can and most likely will seriously impact, with the implication being it will negatively impact, the get tough with Russia stance the U. S. has had of late. While they have never worried about the blind trusts other candidates and politicians have set up over the years, now they have gone out to dig up someone who condemns Trump because how can it be a blind trust when the candidate knows what is in the blind trust? Pardon me, but each and every politician who has ever set up a blind trust has known what holdings were put in it. Remember, before the trust was set up, that person had been handling the businesses or at least getting reports about them. But that doesn’t fit the narrative, so it isn’t mentioned.

Because of the media and its desire to direct and make the news instead of simply reporting on it, the burden falls on us to discover what the facts are. No longer can we simply rely on the national and local news as reported by the mainstream media for information. We have to look to other sources and, gasp, we have to think. It is our responsibility to be an informed electorate and an informed citizenry.

The sky is not falling

It would be so easy to write about the decision that came down yesterday about Clinton and her email server. After all, everyone else seems to be putting their opinion about it out there. I’ve seen posts ranging from declaring the final fall of our judicial system to others saying it just proves the system works. So, guess what? I’m going there.

Me, I guess I’m a bit more pragmatic – or maybe just a bit more realistic. I never expected charges to be filed. For one, Clinton has long been tapped to be the Democratic candidate for president, no matter what Bernie and his followers thought. There was no way in hell federal prosecutors were going to ask for an indictment against the woman who could soon be their boss. That would be professional suicide. It would have been different, in my opinion, if she wasn’t the presumptive nominee.

Then there is the fact that this is a Democratic administration. More than that, the Obama administration, one that has shown it has little regard for the Constitution and one that does recognize and embrace the Chicago rules of politics. Who could have thought the Administration would allow the case to go forward?

If this had been a Republican administration, things might have turned out different. But who knows?

Frankly, in some ways, this is the best decision that could have been made, especially from the Republican point of view. Now Trump and his campaign have a report put out by the FBI that condemns Clinton for being extremely careless with how she handled her server and those email messages. This is something tangible they can hit her on time and again and her “everyone makes mistakes” will soon wear thin for those sitting on the fence about her as president. After all, if she was this careless as Secretary of State, especially after already being in the White House for 8 years as first lady, what would she be capable of as president?

There is another reason this actually plays into the hands of the Republicans. Clinton’s right to a speedy trial hasn’t started because no charging document has been filed. Double jeopardy has not attached yet because the trial hasn’t started. She has not been arrested. Yes, the statute of limitations is running but there is time for a Republican administration to reopen the case if it so desires.

Then there is the ammunition the FBI report could give to anyone filing a civil suit against her for her actions. I haven’t read the report yet, but I can see the families of those killed in Libya or those who might have had their security compromised by her actions filing suit. Since the burden of proof is lower in a civil suit, it would be easier to prove wrongdoing.

Still, in some ways, I have found myself drawing a comparison between the Kennedys of the 1960s-1980s and the Clintons. It is as though they are coated in teflon and nothing sticks. Still, just as the shine wore off the Kennedy family, it is wearing off the Clintons as well. The media, albeit inadvertently, is helping. We never would have known about Kennedy meeting with the AG on the tarmac but we found out about Bill Clinton and the AG meeting and the release of that knowledge forced Lynch to basically recuse herself from the decision-making process where HC and the her emails were concerned.

Of course, that was a polite fiction in some ways. Even though she said she would follow the FBI’s recommendation, she is still the head of Justice and that makes her the FBI boss. Gone are the days of J. Edgar Hoover who basically told presidents what to do and not the other way around. But how many of us will be surprised — not — when Lynch or Clinton’s campaign point out the AG had nothing to do with the decision and that meeting with Bill was just coincidence? (Riiiight. We all meet folks we know on the tarmac of airports)

Am I disappointed in the decision? Absolutely. I’m not a fool. I know if the average Joe Schmoe had done what Clinton did, he’d be up on charges. I listened to the press conference — the hastily called press conference — and noted the very careful language used to describe why charges weren’t being brought. The telling phrase, in my mind, was “no reasonable prosecutor”. That goes back to my earlier comment that no one would want to bring charges against someone who very well could be their boss in just a few months. That’s a way to commit professional suicide.

But do I feel this is the end of our judicial system? Hell no. It just proves what we have all known, if we let ourselves know it. The system isn’t perfect. There is no way for it to be, not as long as humans are involved in the administration of justice. And, as I said, I would rather this happen than for double jeopardy to attach and Clinton not be able to be brought before the bar later.

So here’s the thing, folks. If you don’t want Clinton to be our next president, quit bellyaching about how the system is broken. Instead, read the full statement and see what can be used against Clinton in the months leading up to the general election. Make an informed decision but quit throwing your hands up in the air and whining that this proves justice no longer exists in this country. That’s especially true if you never thought she would be indicted to begin with.

It will be interesting to see the full report – if they ever make it available (I’m having a failure of google-fu this morning. I haven’t found the report, only transcripts of the statement.) In the meantime, here is a link to the full statement and an article breaking down the statement from the Washington Post. In the meantime, I will do whatever I can to make sure she is not elected. That probably means voting for Johnson because Trump is too much of a loose cannon (as his instant accusation that Clinton had bribed folks to avoid being indicted. That’s the sort of thing you don’t say, especially as a candidate, without having proof at hand, something he hasn’t offered up.)

So quit acting like the sky is falling and get to work. Help elect the candidate you believe will best serve this country as president.


Speaking up and out

Yes, yes, I should be writing. What I’m finding is that these blog entries are acting like writing prompts of a sort and are helping kickstart the morning fiction. They are also helping lower my frustration level, something that also helps start the writing process. I will also finish up the posts about how I found myself writing a bunch-a-ton (yes, that is a word) of series without meaning to. That post should come out tomorrow.

Yesterday, I did a post over at According to Hoyt about how, if you demand equality — and it doesn’t matter who you are and what equality you are demanding — you have to take it all the way across the board. If that means equality in the military, you have to be ready to find yourself lining up for the draft along with the young men who already have to register, for just one example. It also means that you should not expect the requirements for jobs to be lowered just so you can qualify. The only time those qualifications should be lowered is when it is proven they are too high for the performance of that job and the new requirements still mean everyone who passes can go above and beyond what is expected because we have to prepare for the unexpected.

Today, I’ve seen a number of posts on various social media outlets shaming people who don’t believe how the OP believes they ought to. One was putting white shame on someone, along with a healthy dose of misogynistic accusation. No proof for the accusation was offered, other than the fact the person being accused was male, white and of a conservative bent in his postings. But that, you see, is wrong-think, at least according to the OP.

That’s fine. We live in a country where freedom of speech allows us to say what we want. Oh, wait, it doesn’t. At least not where a certain mindset of people are concerned. These people, like the OP, have no problems threatening the “wrong thinkers” with everything from trying to get them fired from their jobs to blackmailing them with telling their friends, family and customers how evil they are because of what they post on social media.

Yep, blackmail. Something that is against the law in every state in the Union. Something that forces someone to do something against their will or else something dire will happen. The so-called forward thinking sect has no problem with doing this to those they don’t agree with. Not just in the publishing field but everywhere. In the case I saw today, the person the OP was attempting to shame into changing his ways and deleting the offending comments from social media is not a writer but someone who works in the entertainment field.

In another post, the OP (a different one) was doing their best to shame all cis-gendered people. You see, according to the OP, if you are cis-gendered (or maybe it was just cis-male) you are born with a prejudice against those who are transgendered. Like the Catholic belief in Original Sin, this is the new and improved version (right along with white shame and male shame — does that make it the triumvirate of shame?) According to the OP, there is no way anyone who identifies as cis-gendered can be anything but prejudiced against those who are transgender and the only way we can be true friends to the transgender community to is accept this sin in ourselves and perform whatever it takes to drive this prejudice from ourselves.

So, yet another believer of the sect of moral superiority through self-identification speaks and makes a blanket condemnation of another portion of the population simply because that other portion is different.

Then there are those — and, yes, I know they are a not a huge number of people — who not only advocate the seizure of legally owned firearms but who have openly said the government should have a hit list of those who own guns, those who belong to the NRA and those who support gun rights. Those people, according to this particular sect, should die and the more painful the death, the better. Forget about the fact these are the legal gun owners they are targeting. Forget about the fact that such seizures wouldn’t stop gun violence because, guess what, boys and girls, most of gun-related crime is not committed by legal gun owners.

Not that such logic will sway the sect of the perpetual butt-hurt.

Yes, sect. This sort of thinking has become almost a religion to so many people — from the right, left and middle. You said something I don’t like. You just remove it an apologize for the rest of your life for your wrong-think or I will do everything in my power to prove you are evil. EVIL!

We are raising a generation of special egos, many of whom have never felt a negative consequence for their actions, no matter what those actions might be. Ethan Couch, better known as Affluenza Boy, is an example of what can happen when parents forget they are supposed to parent. Too many are willing to abdicate that role, expecting school or church to fill it in their kids’ lives but then not letting those institutions step up. There is always some academic who thinks it harms a child’s psyche by grading their papers and letting them see they aren’t the best at something. We will have a generation of mediocrity where feelz are more important that the actual doing.

Well, I, for one, have grave concerns for this country I love should this trend continue. I’m not sure what the ultimate solution will be but I know it starts with this election cycle. Maybe not on the national scale but on the local. The local scale where I can have an impact on what happens in my city and in my school district. The state level where I can let my voice be heard in the governance of the great Lone Star State. Yes, we have some crazies here, but so does every other state. At least most of our crazies err on the side of the individual. I will take that any day over higher taxes so everyone can go to college. (Guess what, Bernie, not everyone is suited for college and not everyone needs to go to college.)

This blog is one way for me to have a voice. Yes, it will still be where I talk about my writing and the publishing industry in general. But I am also going to talk about things that relate to life, liberty and the pursuit of not only happiness but justice. Why? Because I can and I should not allow that opportunity to be squandered.

Saturday morning thoughts

Today is a day of mixed emotions for me. For the second time in his life, my son is leaving the country. The first time, I knew exactly where he was going to be when and when he’d be returning home. That trip was a school sponsored trip complete with teachers, fellow students and a few parents. This trip, so many years later, is different. My son is a man now and he is leaving the US in the service of the country. As he reminded me when we talked last night, he will be home — sometime. While I’ll miss him and miss knowing that he is only a few hours away by plane and less than a day away by car, I know that I’m one of the lucky ones. My son isn’t going to a post in a danger zone. He’s just going to be further from home than ever before.

So you’ll have to forgive me for not having a snippet ready this morning. My mind and my heart haven’t been in the writing mode for several days now. Instead, I’ve been doing my best not to let this change in my son’s station get to me or to my mother too much. It’s been hard because Mom is worried that she might not get to see her grandson again. I’d like to say it’s a foolish worry but she is over 80 and you never know what is going to happen. All I can say is that she’s been blessed with good health and the determination not to turn into “the little blue haired lady up the street”. I’ll try to have a snippet up later but it may be tomorrow.

My mix of frustration and worry hasn’t been helped by the fact that this past week has been the last week of early voting. I’m no greenie but, damn, how many forests could have been saved if the candidates had been limited on how many mailers they could send out? Seriously, when I picked up the mail yesterday we had no less than 15 political flyers of some form or fashion. Each one of them went straight into the recycle bin without me looking at them.

If you want to see a candidate turn white and look at you like you’ve grown a second — and possibly a third — head, tell him that you wish we had a limit on the amount of time when they could campaign. I had the pleasure of doing that the other day of doing just that. One particular candidate came over to talk with myself and another woman and I made the comment that I wished our elections followed their British counterparts a bit more closely. When he asked what I meant, I said I wished we had a one month limit on campaigning.

The look on his face as he registered what I’d said was priceless. If his eyes could have done the in-out boing-boing you see in the cartoons, they would have. He was flabbergasted 1) that any political campaign could be run in that short of a period of time and 2) that I’d dare suggest it. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that soon after I’d uttered such heresy, the candidate went scampering off to friendly territory.

After having a discussion with my neighbor yesterday, I realized I really do wish the time candidates could campaign for the primary as well as for the general election was compressed into a much shorter period of time. By having campaigns going on for months and, in some cases, years, we don’t get the issues discussed. We get mud-slinging because voters will forget issues raised months before the election. At least that is what the politicians and their advisors think. So they dig and twist and, in some cases, outright lie about their opponent. Why? Because who doesn’t like a good scandal?

Compounding the problem is the fact we have elected officials splitting their time between doing their duties as our elected representative and campaigning for re-election. How many politicians have missed votes or committee meetings to be out on the campaign trail trying to keep their seat?

In other words, I’m tired. I’m tired of empty promises made during months’ long campaigns. I’m tired of political flyers filling up my mailbox. I’m tired of dirty tricks and attempts to mislead voters by PACs who copy long trusted voting information mailers in an attempt to push their bought and paid for candidates. I’m tired of people telling me to elect this candidate or that candidate to a state or local level office because they will deal with the federal debt or illegal immigration or because they are of the “right” religion or whatever. Sorry, but state and local political offices have nothing to do with the national debt — unless they are going to refuse federal funding for local programs. And, if they are going to do that, they’d better have a plan in place to replace those funds for the maintenance of the local infrastructure, etc. As for the religion thing, give me a break.

Of course, those saying that are also the ones who then try to back out of those statements all too often. They were misquoted or taken out of context or whatever. What they forget is that when they say these things in social media, they are out there forever. Even if they erase the message, it is in an archive somewhere and, believe me, their political opponent will find it.

So let’s get rid of the idiocy. Let’s get rid of campaign seasons that last longer than most TV show runs and limit the amount of time we get inundated with campaign promises that are never going to see fruition anyway.

Am I jaded? You bet. Of course, I also think there should be term limits.


Guarding the Gates

Yesterday afternoon, I stood out in the wind and cold — well, cold by Texas standards — as I helped campaign for someone I not only like but also respect a great deal in his run for office. This took place at a polling location I don’t normally go to — at least not to vote. I often go there to write. What I saw then, reminded me not only of how some candidates and their volunteers often turn voters off at a time when they should be wooing them but also what is happening in so many of our so-called professional organizations.

Because voting was taking place at the library, the magic “Do Not Cross” like was in place. Now, you’d expect candidates and their workers to respect the line, especially the candidates. Instead, I watched for more than an hour as one candidate and their workers crowed the line, intercepting every person trying to enter the line even when that person had already indicated 1) they weren’t coming to vote or had already voted or 2) didn’t want to talk to anyone because they already knew who they were voting for. At one point, there were four people from one “camp” crowding the three foot wide sidewalk making an obstacle course for anyone trying to enter the building. It was like watching the cattle lined up at the gate waiting to go home at night.

Now, I can’t speak for all those folks who were descended upon like carrion by the vultures but, for myself, the surest way for me to decide not to vote for someone is to have them waylay me even after I’ve said I didn’t want to talk. What they are doing isn’t guarding the gates, trying to keep the riffraff out. What those sidewalk crowders are doing is guarding the gates and keeping the dedicated voters from doing what they came to do. Sure, they eventually get past and inside to cast their ballot. But, by then, they are frustrated and often angry and will think twice about at least going to that particular polling place to cast a vote in the next election.

That is the same sort of gate guarding I see with professional organizations right now. It dawned on me that this is the case when I read a Facebook comment yesterday asking why SFWA always seems to be updating the requirements for short fiction markets to qualify as “pro” markets — always raising the pay requirement — and yet the organization hasn’t been as responsive when it comes to novel length fiction. There has been no adjustment to the advance requirements that must be paid by publishers in order for that “sale” to qualify as pro even though the standard advance as lowered, in some cases by more than half, from what it once was.

That lack of responsiveness isn’t helping new blood come into the organization any more than the “once qualified, always a member as long as you pay your dues” helps the organization. If SFWA, or any other writers’ organization, is to really represent the “pro” writer, it needs to make sure its members are pros. That means expanding the requirements for membership to include payouts that reflect what is happening in the industry today — including making reasonable requirements for those writers who self-publish or go with small presses. It means having a requirement for continuing requalification. Think of it as sort of continuing education requirements, if you will.

Sorry but I work at being a writer. I’ve made more in the last year than a lot of the members of SFWA have made in years. Yet I can’t qualify because I don’t have novel sales to the ever decreasing number of “qualified” markets they recognize. That’s not to say I’d join SFWA because, frankly, they don’t offer nearly the benefits I can get from membership to RWA and RWA has its own set of issues.

I guess what I’m saying is that if you are going to guard the gates, make sure you aren’t guarding them in such a way that you are keeping out folks who will benefit the organization while, at the same time, you keep the dead wood. Of course, my definition of dead wood most certainly doesn’t conform to that of some of those in SFWA right now. I happen to really believe in diversity and not just give mouth service to it. Diversity means admitting everyone, no matter what their ideas or beliefs, into the organization and not trying to run them out because they don’t fall into lock-step with the current cause du jour. Yes, you can have editorial guidelines for any organizational sponsored publication. But those guidelines should have their roots based in what the genre of the organization is and not in what the politically correct cause of the moment happens to be.

If you don’t keep an eye on who is guarding and gate and who they are letting in — or keeping out — you will find yourself in trouble. There will be insurrection or revolution. It is happening now with SFWA and organizations like it. Everyone needs to step back, take a deep breath and really look at what’s happening.

And then they need to ask if the leadership of the organization is really responding to what the membership as a whole wants or only a small part of it. Surveys aren’t necessarily the best way to get your information. Individual phone calls, face-to-face talks at cons, emails, video conferencing are all ways to get better information. Follow that up with an even-handed application of organization rules to everyone, not just those who cause trouble by not rolling over and playing dead when they aren’t following the vocal minority.

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