Baggage.

Now that Trump is the President-Elect, we need to look at who he is bringing with him into the White House. One of the names that has sparked a lot of controversy is his Chief Strategist:  Stephen Bannon. Mainly due to his ties with White Nationalism and the “Alt-Right”.  His publication “The Breitbart News” has been labeled as being racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, and bigoted towards the LGBTQ community. After reading some of their headlines and articles, I can absolutely see why one would say that.

When you publish or say things like:

…the women that would lead this country would be pro-family, they would have husbands, they would love their children. They wouldn’t be a bunch of dykes that came from the Seven Sisters schools up in New England.

or

There’s No Hiring Bias Against Women In Tech, They Just Suck At Interviews.

or

Gay rights have made us dumber, it’s time to get back in the closet.

or

Birth control makes women unattractive and crazy.

or

Hoist it high and proud: The Confederate flag proclaims a glorious heritage.

and also

The solution to online ‘harassment’ is simple: Women should log off.

It’s easily seen why you and your “news” site can be considered nothing but racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, and bigoted garbage. You are not printing news, you are printing your opinions and trying to back them up as facts by giving skewed data from legitimate sources.

The man himself is noted for being a fighter and a strategist. He is quoted as saying: “Fear is a good thing. Fear is going to lead you to take action.” and that is exactly how he ran the Trump campaign. He tapped into the fear and resentment of the so-called “Alt-Right” and other conservative type groups and motivated them. Now he is the power behind the throne, so-to-speak, in the oval office. His views aren’t that of the GOP and he is actually quoted as claiming to be a Leninist. He goes on to say:

Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.

To quote Lenin:

The art of any propagandist and agitator consists in his ability to find the best means of influencing any given audience, by presenting a definite truth, in such a way as to make it most convincing, most easy to digest, most graphic, and most strongly impressive.

VLADIMIR LENIN

This is the man now advising Trump on his presidency. His “alt-right“, white nationalist views are going to be what drives and guides Trump. The Tea-Party insurgency into the GOP has finally won.

IMO this campaign, lead by this man, has confused the term “Nationalist” with “Patriot”. A nationalist is someone that is proud of his country no matter what it does and a patriot is proud of his country for what it does. If that is the case, there are a lot of nationalists around the GOP, and not a lot of patriots; however it’s the kind of nationalists that surround the GOP and the soon-to-be administration that concern me and that is the White Nationalist. No race is superior to another, period.

This shift in nationalism vs. patriotism is what is currently fueling the civil unrest in our country and what will ultimately lead to more upheaval. We should be united because we are Americans that want to see equality and liberty spread through our nation, not because we are simply all born in the same place. If we are going to embrace nationalism, then we need to be embracing Civic-Nationalism and not the current views of White or Ethnic Nationalism that are circulating in our country.  My ultimate fear is that the views that Stephen Bannon has, along with the Communist propaganda tactics he uses, and the fear and anger it generates that do motivate groups like The KKK, neo-Nazis and neo-Confederates will plunge this country back into a Jim Crow like era for both people of color and the LGBTQ community.  Maybe I am just looking at this is a pessimistic way, but (with everything that I have seen and read about the guy) it’s hard to see the silver lining. (Especially when the other guy that is in a place of power is a radicalized christian that has almost ruined the state the he was governor.)

But, what do I know. I am just some “libtard” with a blog that a handful of people read.

 

Let’s Get This Out of the Way.

Now that I am done with being depressed and anxiety ridden, let’s talk about Trump and this election outcome.

Grab a snack and soda, this may take a minute.

First, let me be clear, I didn’t vote for the guy. My initial support was with Bernie Sanders but the DNC decided to anoint a different candidate for the primary. I did flirt with voting 3rd party but decided to choose the more logical choice of backing the candidate that had a shot at actually winning (Sorry, but until 50% or more decides to become a Libertarian or a Green; they just aren’t going to win).

Now, the biggest issue with him winning is “what now?”. The Republican Party platform is filled with horrible ideas and policies that they are wanting to make into law. The NY Times has called it “The Most Extreme Republican Platform in Memory” because it includes such things as:

making no exceptions for rape or women’s health in cases of abortion

requiring the Bible to be taught in public high schools

selling coal as a “clean” energy source

demanding a return of federal lands to the states

insisting that legislators use religion as a guide in lawmaking

appointing “family values” judges

barring female soldiers from combat

rejecting the need for stronger gun controls

The platform also wants to gut Medicare. Instead of having Medicare done at the federal level, each state will receive a “block grant” and the State’s will decide on what to do with Medicare. And the entire platform is heavily Anti-LGBTQ and was even called so their own party’s LGBTQ community, The Log Cabin Republicans. Of course there are promises of walls and deportations as well. The platform also wants to make Christianity the official US Religion and English the official language, along with a few other shitty Tea-Party wish list items.

This platform and the election along with the appointment of a known “white nationalist” as an advisor and a evangelical zealot as the VP has spurned not only protests across the country (Even some here in the “deep red” state of Texas) but a rise in hate crimes not seen since the day after 9/11. To prove my point, the KKK has planned a “Trump Victory Parade”.  Now on top of all of this, you have his VP that is so radicalized by his faith that he caused a major HIV outbreak in his home state when he was the governor. He let this happen due to his “moral stance” on needle exchange programs. When he quit funding and took those programs away, the use of opioids and heroin didn’t stop as he thought they would, but the sharing of dirty needles started. It wasn’t until the caseload reached outbreak proportions and that there was so much pressure from local and national agencies (including members of his own party) that he “prayed about it” and let the program continue in affected areas. On top of this he has been quoted as saying:

“Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.”

Now, Pence has never come out and said “I support Gay Conversion Therapy” but that is pretty much what he just defined in the quote above.  Remember, Mike Pence is the same governor that signed the 2015 Religious Freedom Act into law for the state of Indiana that started the whole “Religious Liberties” debate across the nation and almost cost Indiana thousands of jobs and millions in revenue due to boycotts and relocation threats from companies and groups like Angie’s List and The NBA. That same year, the following month actually,  a bill was passed that gave protections to LGBTQ  “customers, employees and tenants” but the original bill still stands as law in Indiana.

So, the separation of Church and State is a little foggy with VP Pence.

We also have another election that was fucked up due to our voting system. The Electoral College is outdated and needs to be abolished. It’s overdue and the system isn’t needed anymore due to the increased population and expansion across the country and also the fact we have forms of  communication that our forefathers never dreamed of. These advances in technology and social evolution have made the Electoral College irrelevant.  Even Trump says that the popular vote should prevail in his recent 60 Minutes interview when asked about the Electoral System:

“I would rather see it where you went with simple votes,” he said. “You know, you got 100 million votes, someone else gets 90 million votes…”

– President-Elect Donald J. Trump

[NOTE: To be fair, he later tried to CYA and add that he “respected the current system”, since it won him the presidency and all.]

But let’s talk about election influence.

The Trump campaign had/has ties to the Russian Government. It was found that Trump has a “secret server” of his own that was in communication with a Russian business called “Alfa Bank”. The server was shut down when investigated and then re-activated under a different server name a short time after it was found.  Now this has been “unproven”, but is still a bit sketchy since it is known that Trump has done business in Russia and has business ties to them; however, server or not, when a Russian Diplomat states that his government has been in contact with the Trump campaign, that should be a huge red flag (no pun intended), but the Russian Foreign Ministry cleared things up (or performed CYA) and stated that they:

 “…had been referring to American politicians and supporters of Mr. Trump, not members of his campaign staff.”

The FBI stated that they found no evidence of “hacking” or any “financial connections” between Russia and Trump.

Speaking of the FBI. Let’s talk about their influence on this campaign.

Director James Comey needs to be fired, at the very least. His action violated FBI Protocol and The Hatch Act. The “new evidence” found was nothing more than CC & BCC emails from the original investigation that was concluded. That should have been investigated thoroughly before making any form of an announcement. The FBI doesn’t have to give Congress updates regarding ongoing investigations. He used his position to influence this election and this was found to have seriously impacted the Clinton campaign. Don’t get me wrong, she made the mistake of setting up a private email server all for the reason of not carrying two phones and basically being lazy. This was a bad judgment call on her part. I didn’t see it as a “crisis” or anything, but it did call into question her work ethic; however I will take a person that finds ways to work smarter that maybe a bit sketchy that someone that drags a radicalized theist into one of the most powerful offices in the US and spouts off nothing but hate and ignorance on Twitter every 5 seconds any day of the week.

But now we come back to my original question: “What Now?”.

Now we let the guy try to be president. We hope that he goes with what he said in 1998 ( Not the Republicans are dumb thing, he apparently never said that) but that he was liberal on social issues. If that’s true; then when something that he doesn’t agree with comes across his desk, he should veto it.

We progressives/liberals/democrats (or whatever we are) also have to organize. We have midterm elections in 2 years. That means we have to get out and vote. We have to talk (constructively) about politics in with people that don’t agree with us. We have to find commonality with “the other side” and try to spread reason.

“But I got out and voted!”

Yeah, a little over half of us did; however the other 45% of us stayed at home and even some of the 55% that did vote jerked-off their vote and did some form of write-in or voted for a political party that no one has even heard of (and no, I am not talking about The Green or Libertarian parties); however it is up to the Electoral College to actually elect the president and not us. So, we ALL need to get organized and go vote this midterm. Why the midterm? Because enough seats for both the House and the Senate come up for grabs and we can get those put in more progressive hands. We can get more Democrats (and if you want to try to get a few Greens or Libertarians that’s fine too) in the Senate and the House that can affect policy and legislation.

For the most part, I say we see what the GOP can do and when (or if) they fail miserably then I think everyone will have learned their lesson. Right now, they have no Democrats to blame as opposition. They control the whole show.  So the what now is plan to vote in mass for the midterms and hope for the best.

Right now, I am now going to sit back and watch  “America Become Great Again”; because that’s really all I can do at this point.

 

 

(And if you didn’t vote at all, then you don’t get to say shit. STFU)

 

Dallas.

Less than 24 hours ago I posted about how my anxiety is partially fueled by when I see violence, specifically police violence, in the news. My reasoning is that I am in a biracial marriage and that I fear for my wife’s, niece’s and nephew’s, brother-in law’s and practically all of my family’s safety with all of the non-sense that I see going on with the police. This one factor has made me understand what white-privilege is all about. When I get pulled over by the cops, I don’t worry about getting killed. I’m a white guy.

But that’s not what I am here to talk about today.

Last night at about 9pm my phone started going off. Message after message started pouring in. At first I ignored it as I was trying to get an early night’s sleep; however finally it started to annoy me enough that I opened up Telegram to see what the hell was so damned important and read the first message:

Just confirmed one DART [Dallas Area Rapid Transit] officer dead.

4 shot

The conversation then went on about how there were snipers in downtown Dallas shooting police officers during a peaceful protest regarding the recent police related shootings of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, & Dylan Noble.  Before the night was over it ended up with 12 people being shot, 5 dead (4 police officers and 1 civilian) and the other officers wounded. 4 suspects were found 3 are in custody, one was negotiated with and eventually “neutralized” via a bomb disposal robot with a bomb attached to it.

Dallas Police Chief David Brown said one suspect is dead after a long standoff with police. Negotiations were underway when Brown says the suspect told police he was angry over #BlackLivesMatter and was mad at white people. He wanted to kill white people, especially white officers.

He also mentioned “the end was coming” and that he was “going to hurt and kill more” officers. He said bombs were planted all over the garage and downtown.

After negotiations went sour and gunfire was exchanged, Chief Brown says officers had to use a bomb robot to detonate the area around the suspect and kill him.

From what I have seen in the news this morning, none of the suspects in custody are talking.

This has been called the largest assault on law enforcement since 9/11.

And of course, people have offered their thoughts and prayers for the fallen officers and there will even be a statewide moment of prayer at noon today.

So, now we’re back to the question of what to do about the gun violence in America. The NRA’s stance of “More Guns” obviously isn’t a logical solution because EVERYONE HAD FUCKING GUNS. We’re an open carry state here in Texas! So, even if people in the march had guns to help the police out (or help the snipers out, depending on where their moral compass was pointing that day) that obviously wouldn’t have solved the fucking problem, but made the whole situation more problematic. Hell, one man that was exercising his 2nd amendment rights and carrying his (unloaded) AR15 openly in the anti-violence march was a POI  (person of interest) and he had surrendered his weapon to police when the first shots rang out to make sure he wasn’t considered as a suspect, but guess what? His picture was plastered all over social media, and the TV as a suspect. So, again, more guns doesn’t help.

What about no guns? Well, if no one had any guns (other than the snipers obviously) then the cops would have been even more screwed and that definitely would not be a logical solution. What about less guns? Well, apparently our lawmakers can’t fucking figure out what to do about that one because some people think that the 2nd amendment is chiseled in fucking stone. So, we are back to square one with in the on going gun debate in America.

Just for clarification:

amendment

[uhmend-muh nt]
noun
1.

the act of amending or the state of being amended.
2.

an alteration of or addition to a motion, bill, constitution, etc.
3.

a change made by correction, addition, or deletion:
So, the 2nd amendment can be altered or changed by adding ANOTHER AMENDMENT.  At one point we had articles in the constitution that allowed and regulated slavery (the three-fifths compromise, the slave trade clause, and the fugitive-slave law); however we got rid of all of these with the 13th Amendment! Now some people say that we would be entering a slippery slope if we start editing the bill of rights with new amendments, but I don’t think that our Founding Fathers, nor The Framers of the Constitution really meant for us to use the 2nd Amendment for gunning down innocent people and police officers in the cold blood. I am pretty sure if it were possible to travel back in time and bring them to this time period, they would shit themselves, take a shower, and then go and beat the living fuck out of each and every member of our legislative branch of government (possibly the supreme court as well).
I will be curious to see what the political vehicles do with this latest breakout of gun violence and what, if anything, that will come from our geniuses in DC. Because now it’s not a mass shooting of High Schoolers, or College Kids, or a Military base, or Elementary Schoolers or LGBT Club Goers but our police. Maybe now this will make them act. Maybe now we will see some form of common sense gun laws passed and see some results.
Maybe now this will be enough.

Texas Our Texas.

*sigh*

I knew that this would come up.

With the “Brexit”, it has stirred up the whole “Texas seceding” talk again (Just search #Texit on Twitter). People thinking that Texas would be better on it’s own and that we don’t the Federal Government up in our shit, taking our tax money and giving it to those Damn Yankee Liberal Socialists States, yet fail to remember that Texas is the quickest state to cry out for Federal Aid when any disaster hits and bitches the loudest when we don’t get it, or don’t get it quickly enough.

The problem is that we can’t leave the U.S. legally; however there’s a multitude of people here that think we can. The popular theory meme is that we can legally leave the union and split into 5 separate states. This is false.

It’s time for a history lesson.

When Texas won its independence in 1836 it was in shambles. No infrastructure, no monetary system, no schools and no industry. It was all farmland and everything had to be imported from the US. Basically, Texas was broke as fuck; however because Texas originally expanded through parts of New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Wyoming:

Texas1836map

It blocked the U.S.’s  westward expansion, it was also an insertion point for any still ambitious European powers that wanted to come back into North America through the Gulf of Mexico. The main reason why Texas wasn’t quickly annexed in as a State is that the U.S. knew the moment that they did, it would start a war with Mexico. So, in 1844 the US Senate rejected an annexation treaty with Texas and then later in 1845 accepted it. In 1846 we had the Mexican-American War. Now, here is where that divide into 5 states thing comes in. When we were annexed in on 3/1/1845 we jacked up the Missouri Compromise because we would be adding another “slave state” (despite the fact that 90% of Texans were neither slaves nor slave owners) and our northern border crossed  the 36°30’N line of latitude which had been established as the demarcation point between free territory and slave territory by the Missouri Compromise. So, the powers that be came up with this:

New States of convenient size not exceeding four in number, in addition to said State of Texas and having sufficient population, may, hereafter by the consent of said State, be formed out of the territory thereof, which shall be entitled to admission under the provisions of the Federal Constitution; and such states as may be formed out of the territory lying south of thirty-six degrees thirty minutes north latitude, commonly known as the Missouri Compromise Line, shall be admitted into the Union, with or without slavery, as the people of each State, asking admission shall desire; and in such State or States as shall be formed out of said territory, north of said Missouri Compromise Line, slavery, or involuntary servitude (except for crime) shall be prohibited.

Basically, the states that would have been made above the line for the Missouri Compromise would have been “Free States” and the ones below it would have been “Slave States” because Texas was a lot bigger at the time; however we SOLD THAT EXTRA LAND in 1850 for $10 million dollars in the Compromise of 1850 and we used that money to pay off our debt to Mexico. Also, we kind of fucked off any real chance of dividing into any number of states when we ACTUALLY seceded from the US in 1861 and joined the Confederacy. We were then formally re-admitted to the United States after 1865 (1870 to be exact) when the 13th Amendment was passed and abolished slavery and informally made us a state again due to the Confederacy’s surrender. Article IV,Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution already says specifically that we cannot divide into multiple states:

New states may be admitted by the Congress into this union; but no new states shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other state; nor any state be formed by the junction of two or more states, or parts of states, without the consent of the legislatures of the states concerned as well as of the Congress.

When were re-admitted back into the US by Congress, there was no, repeat NO annexation treaty which reserves the right to secede from the Union without the consent of the U.S. Congress. Even before Texas formally rejoined the nation, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that secession was not legal, and thus, even during the rebellion, Texas continued to be a state. In the 1869 case Texas v. White, the Court held that individual states could not unilaterally secede from the Union and that the acts of the insurgent Texas Legislature — even if ratified by a majority of Texans — were “absolutely null.”

That’s the history of it.

Let’s get a little more current though.

“If there was any constitutional issue resolved by the Civil War, it is that there is no right to secede.”— Antonin Scalia, late Supreme Court Justice

So, while some Texans may want to secede and others may want to see us go, we simply legally cannot. The United States isn’t the EU. The EU is a group of countries that have agreed to be together and actually have protocols for leaving, where we are a group of states that make up a country and only have protocols for adding new states. It’s a different concept.

My advice to Texans that want to secede: Become an immigrant to another country and start a new life there. It’s like secession, only on a more personal level.

My advice to people that live outside of Texas that want to see us go: Come down here and head to Austin. Then go to Trudy’s and have a couple of Mexican Martinis, go hit up 6th street and just see the town. The next morning, head over to Juan in a Million and have a Don Juan. You’ll see that Texas can be an awesome place. (Just stay the fuck out of Houston).

So, we’ll keep seeing y’all. We ain’t goin’ nowhere.

 

Justice (Revisited).

“I think offence is the collateral damage of freedom of speech. But just because you are offended doesn’t mean you’re right.

– Ricky Gervais

 

I have a confession to make. I go on Tumblr and I am not a SJW. Matter of fact, I cannot stand 90% of the SJW posts that I see…well, anywhere. This doesn’t mean that I am pro-MRA, anti-feminist, anti-LGBT, transphobic, xenophobic, racist, or a bigot. This means that I hold my own views and stand up for what I believe in without giving into the current SJW movement and into the current Outrage Culture.

Why am I bringing this up?

Because I just went through my Tumblr and cleaned up my feed and eliminated some followers.

Look, if you have views that you believe in then that’s awesome. I would love to have an open and rational discussion about them (preferably over coffee); however ,when & if I do not agree with you, it will not be OK to shout “PATRIARCHY” at me or go on a tirade of how I am wrong and a horrible person that needs to check my privilege.

If you don’t have any idea of what the fuck I am talking about let’s get caught up:

2 definitions of Social Justice Warrior (SJW) that I found that pretty much sum it up.

Social justice warrior is a pejorative term for an individual promoting socially progressive views; including feminism, civil rights, multiculturalism, political correctness, and identity politics

social justice warrior
A pejorative term for an individual who repeatedly and vehemently engages in arguments on social justice on the Internet, often in a shallow or not well-thought-out way, for the purpose of raising their own personal reputation. A social justice warrior, or SJW, does not necessarily strongly believe all that they say, or even care about the groups they are fighting on behalf of.
(pejorative: expressing contempt or disapproval.)

Apparently the term was once a positive title used by progressives until its decline between 2009-2012.  The term “social justice warrior” was first used as a pejorative in the blog “Social Justice Warriors: Do Not Engage”, launched by Will Shetterly on 6 November 2009. Its further decline has been accredited to “Gamergate” (I have no idea) and to the rise of Men’s Rights Activists (MRAs). Its perjoration is also due to the SJWs themselves.

One “issue” that SJWs took up that lead to their decline was to combat “manspreading“. Apparently some men were on buses, subways and other forms of public transportation and sitting with their legs open wide and taking up too much space, like an asshole. Now, the campaign was not only because guys sitting with their legs spread can take up more room, but because it is a form of sexual harassment.

Because, in case you hadn’t noticed, it is women, not men, who are constantly being harassed and assaulted — by men — on the bus. It is women who must spend their entire commute to work in a panic because some man has decided to sit next to her with his hand purposefully touching her thigh, it is women who have to worry about being flashed or groped by a man who is sitting next to them on the bus, it is women who are sexually harassed and “chatted up” by men within a confined space from which they have no escape.

Now, I refuse to even dismiss the fact that women get sexually harassed EVERYWHERE; however if I am sitting on a bus or a subway or whatever, I am not going to cross my legs (mainly because I can’t) and no amount of leg crossing (since it doesn’t reduce the size of my hips and thighs) is going to significantly reduce the amount of space that I take up. Now, I do think that it is a dick move to just get on public transportation and take up as much space as you possibly can, no matter what your gender is. I think in general everyone needs to respect personal space and just be respectful to one another, period.

I have read posts on Tumblr were SJWs were dogpiling on a white girl that got braids and claiming cultural appropriation. SJWs call back to the days of colonialism and talk about how “privileged white people” just take from other cultures. Apparently, these SJWs don’t understand how cultural integration works. Cultures meet and share things. We share food, art, fashion, technology, knowledge and literature.  So, when I read another similar post regarding white people eating Mexican food as appropriation and colonialism, I just blew off the whole SJW movement. It’s misguided, uneducated, and has an almost segregated, totalitarian view which I find hilarious since a lot of SJWs call others facists. Basically, SJWs usually take shit WAY out of context and create their own outrage, like this:

This little “Patriarchy Smasher” took a quote from Emmeline Pankhurst during the women’s suffrage movement in the UK and equated it the US Civil War. This caused such a backlash that Time Out London had to print this statement regarding this matter:

For a recent photoshoot to document ‘Suffragette’, the first feature film to tell the story of the violent and historic struggle of women in the UK for equal rights including the right to vote, Time Out London invited the lead actresses from ‘Suffragette’ to wear t-shirts with the slogan: ‘I’d rather be a rebel than a slave’.
This is a quote from a 1913 speech given by Emmeline Pankhurst, one of the historic British suffragettes whose fight for equality is portrayed in the movie. The original quote was intended to rouse women to stand up against oppression – it is a rallying cry, and absolutely not intended to criticise those who have no choice but to submit to oppression, or to reference the Confederacy, as some people who saw the quote and photo out of context have surmised.
Pankhurst’s full quote was: ‘I know that women, once convinced that they are doing what is right, that their rebellion is just, will go on, no matter what the difficulties, no matter what the dangers, so long as there is a woman alive to hold up the flag of rebellion. I would rather be a rebel than a slave.’
Time Out published the original feature online and in print in the UK a week ago. The context of the photoshoot and the feature were absolutely clear to readers who read the piece. It has been read by at least half a million people in the UK and we have received no complaints.

They didn’t receive any complaints because they know their history. How does my Texas born ass know it too? I watched “Horrible Histories” on Hulu. Yeah, a kids show from the UK with a puppet rat on CBBC, but this SJW had an overwhelming sense of self importance on US History, that a movie or anything else couldn’t possibly be made about another country’s history. I think it’s even more hilarious that this SJW was actually leading a campaign against a movie that was telling the story about the women’s suffrage movement in the UK (The Suffragette Movement).   Funny thing is, in the barrage of tweets that the SJW sent out, a guy actually told her this:

@FergusMason1 Feb 3
@OpinionessWorld It’s about middle-class Englishwomen in 1912. How many “women of colour” do you think were involved, you fucking plank?

Of course, he probably would just be dogpiled for mansplaining things anyway.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there is a difference between an activist and a SJW. One has an educated viewpoint and can eloquently skillfully debate their views the other cannot and just starts outrage on social media. Activists are people like Malala Yousafzai, Joan Baez, or Medgar Evers. People that ACT to make change in their world. Not cause outrage in the hivemind that is Twitter, Reddit and Tumblr. Then there are people in between that have their own views and are not going to give in to the Orwellian INGSOC ways of the SJW and the current Outrage Culture that has spawned forth from them and honestly are too scared to go to a protest rally and face arrest or violence. I am one of those “In Betweeners” and I am a feminist, I believe that there is a gender wage gap, that women are not treated equally in this society, they are objectified, and (IMO) psychologically tortured by being made to think that their worth is based on their appearance and that does need to change immediately. I do believe we live in a Patriarchal society brought on by the dominance of Abrahamic religions around the world and that mindset also needs to change. I believe that LGBT people are also not fairly treated, protected and represented in this country, they are a target of violence and that definitely needs to change now; however  I will be damned if I am going to be bullied by what I believe is the liberal/progressive version of the fucking Tea Party into believing in things and following mindsets that I do not believe in or agree with.

Some of the SJW points that are made are relevant ( a lot are not), but their methods are not constructive and they just fuel the outrage culture that is in America today. Outrage Culture kills dialogue and closes minds. If we silence the voices of people that hold different views from us, then we kill our ability to learn and our ability to teach. New viewpoints, and being challenged is what makes us smarter, makes us (actually) tolerant, and helps us learn to thrive and survive. The definition that we have of tolerance now days is “get on board with my ideals or fuck off”.  President Obama even talked about this at a college speech that he gave. Between the SWJs of the Left and the Fundamentalists of the Right, it’s no wonder why we can’t get anything done around here about the major issues that plague this country today.

Why am I writing this? Because when I see some SJW post that is beyond stupid, or smug, it pisses me off. It pisses me off almost, if not more than when I see some conservative nonsense that gets posted. I mentioned earlier that I have my own views. Want to know how I got them? By listening. I listened to the SJWs, and to the Conservatives, and to everyone in between and then I thought about what was said and then I came to my own conclusions. When the topic would come up I would express my views and would either get into an argument, a debate, or a discussion and if it was a topic that I was passionate about, I would look into activism and see what I could do to influence change. No matter which of those occurred, my viewpoint either was reaffirmed or changed in some way.

Having an ideology and sticking to your guns for what you believe is never a bad thing. Jumping to a conclusion on a subject that you have no knowledge on is always a horrible idea.

Just remember that new information can become available at any time.

 

 

A Broken Watch and Civil Disobedience.

So, I am currently sitting here, trying to fix my smartwatch because it’s constantly powering off and not wanting to reboot.  Let’s just say I learned that you can crack into a bootloader of a device that only has one button.

Anyway, that’s not why I am here.

Again I am watching a battle being fought on C-Span, well the part that wasn’t cut off by the current speaker of The House of Representatives, Paul Ryan when he ended the session with a motion on the floor and killed the video feed.

Right now 75 democratic members of the US Congress are literally sitting on the floor of the House of Representatives in protest of there not being a vote on any form of gun-control legislation today. When the cameras were cut-off by Paul Ryan, they took to Twitter, Periscope and Snapchat to keep the message going. At the time of this post, the protest is going on it’s 11th hour. At 10pm ET, Paul Ryan tried coming back to the floor with the GOP reps and moving forward with “business as usual”…

Yeah, that didn’t go over well.

There was chanting, songs from the civil rights movement were sang and general civil misconduct ensued. Which makes perfect sense, because they have a civil rights icon leading this occupation. Rep. John Lewis (D – GA) was one of the “big six” leaders of the civil rights movement during the 60’s. He organized sit-ins at segregated lunch counters, organized voter registration drives, and helped lead 600 marchers in Selma, AL on the day that would become known as “Bloody Sunday”. He took a billy club to the head that fractured his skull and before he could seek medical treatment, he pleaded on camera to then President Johnson for help in Alabama. He still has those visible scars to this day.

So, rallying 75 fellow Democrats to sit on the floor and chant and sing is a walk in the park for this man.

While Republicans say it’s a publicity stunt and that they want to move forward with a bill to combat Zika (To protect pregnant women as one GOP member stated) and a veto proposal before they all go on summer vacation. The real matter is, this is something that should have been addressed after Columbine, or after Aurora, or after Virginia Tech, or after Fort Hood, or after Sandy Hook. You have had plenty of fucking time to get this fixed. To debate, and to look into it, and to talk. Instead, you give us “thoughts and prayers”.

Fuck your thoughts and prayers.

It’s time to put down the golf clubs, quit taking the NRA’s money, and fucking do your job. It’s time for all of you tea party fucktards to start thinking like rational humans and work with your fellow representatives and find a solution that will offer some form of protection for the people. Because what we have now, isn’t working and what you are doing now, isn’t considered working. It’s time for you to also get down on the floor and get to work. Because thoughts and prayers are no longer enough.

It’s time for these GOP douche-nozzles to either put-up or shut up.

See you at the polls.

[Post-Note: I know that I have been writing a lot of political stuff lately; however it’s an election year and also people are getting shot with large guns over here. So, it’s kind of been on my mind. Hey, at least I don’t support Trump, right?]

Thanks For Nothing.

Monday afternoon going into evening I read the news that made me exclaim “You have to be fucking kidding me!” in my living room in a volume that startled my wife and dogs.

“Senate rejects series of gun measures”

“Senate Rejects 4 Gun Proposals Inspired By Orlando Attack”

“Senate Rejects 4 Measures to Control Gun Sales”

That’s right our senate after another mass shooting, the worst in our history, failed to do fuck all about anything. Just like they did with Virginia Tech, just like they did with Sandy Hook, just like they did with Charleston, and now with Orlando. The only thing that they are doing  is the one thing that they have done after every mass shooting, and every failure to pass any form of legislature that would prevent this type of senseless bloodshed: point fingers and blame each other the failure.

The most baffling part is that these collective asshats, this gathering of 100 useless idiots, could not do what the public is already telling them that want them to do:

…support for specific gun control measures was very strong, with 92% saying they wanted expanded background checks, 87% supporting a ban for felons or people with mental health problems and 85% saying they would ban people on federal watchlists from buying guns. Among Republicans, that number is even higher — 90% say they favor preventing people on the terror watch list or “no fly” list from buying a gun. That number is at 85% for Democrats.

Damn near the entire country is saying that we want stronger gun control. That we want stronger regulation and background checks. We are basically saying that we wanted what was up for you all to vote on yesterday and you failed. Why did it fail? Don’t these people have common fucking sense? So what happened?

“Partisanship and the power of the gun lobby played a large role in the amendments’ failure.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/21/us/politics/gun-vote-senate.html?_r=0

The measures Monday each went down in succession on largely party line votes. The 60-vote threshold required for passage prevented even Republicans, who control the chamber, from pushing through their favored measures.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/20/politics/senate-gun-votes-congress/

Republicans and their allies in the NRA gun lobby said the Democratic bills were too restrictive and trampled on the constitutional right to bear arms. Democrats attacked the Republicans’ two proposals as too weak and accused them of being in the thrall of the NRA.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-florida-shooting-guns-idUSKCN0Z61BS

Legislation to protect a population from violence shouldn’t be a team sport with a booster club. The only losers are the people,  and the families that lost their loved ones. So, while these asshats continue to point fingers, more guns are going to get into the hands of the wrong people and we will all just wait around for the next headline. Once that happens, this will all repeat in the same fucked up cycle that it always does.

Enough is enough.

The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

However, in 2008 there was a Supreme Court case “The District of Columbia vs. Heller” that redefined the 2nd amendment:

The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home…The “militia” comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense. The Antifederalists feared that the Federal Government would disarm the people in order to disable this citizens’ militia, enabling a politicized standing army or a select militia to rule. The response was to deny Congress power to abridge the ancient right of individuals to keep and bear arms, so that the ideal of a citizens’ militia would be preserved.

Basically, because history shows that our forefathers didn’t want a disarmed population, it was interpreted that anyone can carry a gun despite being in a militia because guns are needed “for defense of self, family, and property”.  Unless you are an ex-con or mentally ill, then you don’t get to defend anything of yours.

…prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.

Here’s what they are talking about:

When the bill of rights was ratified in December of 1791, not even a year after (May, 1792) an act was passed detailing what standards the national militia would go by:

[E]ach and every free able-bodied white male citizen of the respective States, resident therein, who is or shall be of age of eighteen years, and under the age of forty-five years (except as is herein after excepted) shall severally and respectively be enrolled in the militia…[and] every citizen so enrolled and notified, shall, within six months thereafter, provide himself with a good musket or firelock, a sufficient bayonet and belt, two spare flints, and a knapsack, a pouch with a box therein to contain not less than twenty-four cartridges, suited to the bore of his musket or firelock, each cartridge to contain a proper quantity of powder and ball: or with a good rifle, knapsack, shot-pouch and powder-horn, twenty balls suited to the bore of his rifle, and a quarter of a pound of powder; and shall appear, so armed, accoutred and provided, when called out to exercise, or into service, except, that when called out on company days to exercise only, he may appear without a knapsack.[117]

Now, obviously, this wouldn’t hold up by today’s standards because of obvious reasons; however this act clearly shows that the militia was set up to be what we would look at as the National Guard and also a police force (which didn’t exist at the time). The point is, the right to bear arms  in order to maintain “A well regulated Militia” was created for just that. For qualified people to keep a gun (notice I used “a” meaning single and not an arsenal) in order to defend the country. At the same time the founders believed that an armed population was the best natural defence against tyranny, domestic and foreign.

Because of this case we can all carry guns and the ruling is based on historical interpretation, but what about common sense? There are laws that need to be implemented to make sure that guns are only used for “traditionally lawful purposes” and that only “well regulated” people can access them!

We also need a new, more relevant, definition of “well regulated”. Because, if we are all the militia, we the people, then we need to be regulated because right now we are in chaos; however this debate has apparently been going on since the late 1700s, just the names of the debaters has changed.

Hopefully, it won’t go on another 225 years.

 

See you at the polls.

 

Square 1

Last night a group of 40 Senators took to the floor of the US Senate and held their ground for 14 hours and 50 minutes to keep the issue of gun control alive and in the forefront of every Senator’s mind. A vote will be coming soon on this issue and we all expected progress today as the Senate started session at 10am EDT.

As I scan the news today for headlines of that progress I come up short.

All I have found is a volatile orange windbag going to talk to the NRA, some of the most idiotic arguments that I have ever heard, and more white noise over an issue that should have been resolved 4 years ago.

Basically, we are back to square 1.

You have the Democrat’s measure which has the No Fly, No Buy legislature in it and is worded that if you are mistakenly on an FBI watch list/ No Fly for terrorism, you can take your grievances to court to be removed.

You also have the Republican’s No Fly, No Buy that prohibits the sale of a firearm to an individual on an FBI watchlist/ No Fly List “if authorities can prove they have probable cause to do so within three business days of the attempted sale”.

So, basically one puts the burden of proof on the individual and the other puts the burden of proof on the FBI and within a strict time limit.

*sigh*

Democrats also want to expand background checks to gun shows and online sales, there is also an amendment to deny sales of firearms/explosives to anyone that the U.S. Attorney General is also investigating or has suspected of terrorism.

Right now there are 2, possibly 4, measures up for vote in the Senate. If one of these are decided on or a new one is drafted ,and agreed on, it then has to go to the House of Congress and then be debated, possibly revised and voted on again to pass on to the President.

Meanwhile,  the gun shows and the shootings will continue.

A Republican Senator actually said this about the entire issue and I actually agree with his statement:

“This is not rocket science to figure this out,”

Sen. Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa.)

Because at the heart of the GOP argument is the fact that it’s not a constitutional right to get on a plane, but in the other circumstance it is a constitutional right to purchase or own a gun.

Republicans argue Feinstein’s legislation doesn’t do enough to protect the Second Amendment rights of individuals who might be labeled suspected terrorists by mistake.

So, the GOP is worried about stepping on the NRA’s toes and damaging  hypothetical 2nd Amendment rights of people that could be mistakenly put on a No Fly list or another form of FBI watch list and be denied their rights to buy a gun; however people that are or were on watchlists or investigations are now able to buy guns and kill 49 innocent people that were probably never on a watchlist.

Sen. Cory Booker (D- NJ) did an interview with CNN host Ashleigh Banfield over this topic (Sen. Booker was one of the Senators from last night’s filibuster and was pretty much Sen. Murphy’s “wingman” through the entire ordeal).  In the interview a scenario is given about this “mistaken labeling”:

“If a single mother who lives in a rural area and wants a gun to protect herself is mistakenly put on that watch list, and thus cannot buy that gun, that this is where the Republicans want that extra layer,” she said, referencing legislation introduced by Senate Republicans on Thursday that would do just that. “So is that extra layer, is that problematic to you?”

Now, let’s look at probability here. As of 2013 the largest of all of the multiple databases that the U.S. Federal Government keeps (Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment, AKA: TIDE) had 1.1 Million names on it. Only 2.3% were U.S. citizens or residents. So, out of 1.1 Million names, 25, 000 were U.S. citizens/residents.  Now the FBI’s database is  the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB), which is “commonly referred to as the “Terrorist Watchlist” (This is created from TIDE). As of 2014, 800, 000 names were on this list. In 2013, it was reported that 5% were legal US citizens/residents (which was a 2010 statistic). So, by these numbers, 40,000 people are US citizens on the Terrorist Watchlist; however the No Fly list is a subset of the TSDB table. Of the names on the “No Fly” list, only .08% are U.S. Citizens/Residents, which is about 6,400 people. AS of 2014, the population of the U.S. was 318.9 Million.

So, let’s do some math. We will average out the TIDE and TSDB numbers (25,000 + 40,000 /2 = 32,500 / 318.9 Million) and that number is approximately 0.0101% of the current U.S. Population. So, the probability of that poor rural housewife doesn’t seem too high.

Until you then see things like this and that’s when the panic starts.

Now, honestly, the 3 business days thing is bullshit. The GOP knows it’s bullshit and so does anyone with a brain; however I would be interested in seeing the “baked in” due process elements of the democrats measure. I am interested in not selling guns to terrorists, but I think we have stumbled onto another system that needs overhauling: Our terrorist database system and how someone can be linked into it.

The one thing that doesn’t need any argument is the gun show issue. Background checks should be done at gun shows, period. When terrorists are instructing their recruits to head to the nearest gun show so that they can purchase their guns and ammo without any safeguards, that’s an issue of national security.  You are basically having a local city host a free lance arms dealer expo to any terrorist that has the cash.

But, then again, how do we flag the background checks? Are back to No Fly/No Buy? Only past felons?  Are we going to start a national database of people with mental health issues and restrict their 2nd amendment rights? Oh wait, we kind of already do that.

The Gun Control Act of 1968 prohibits gun sales to individuals who have been committed to a mental institution or “adjudicated as a mental defective.”

After the Virginia Tech shootings, Congress offered additional funds to any state that would share at least 90% of its mental health records to the NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) database. 30 States share their your data with the federal database, 8 keep local data bases, and the rest do not have any kind of central database at all. Mind you this is only if you were found “defective” by a court or involuntarily committed.

 

Privacy issues aside, I don’t believe we need to start tagging the crazies with GPS chips. People with mental health issues are 10 times more likely to be a victim of violence than to cause it. If the NRA and the GOP wants to address the mental health issues crisis in this country, then start by helping the 56% of adults and the 80% of adolescents and children that cannot get access to affordable mental health care in the U.S. and help make treatment more affordable to the ones that can/do get treatment. I shouldn’t have to save up for my psychiatrist appointments and therapists visits by applying for food stamps and visiting the community food pantry. Here’s why the mentally ill make a horrible scapegoat. We can’t afford medication, doctor’s appointments or therapy; so what makes you think we can afford  hundreds to thousands of dollars worth of guns and ammo?

 

Yeah, don’t blame us crazy folks for this bullshit.

But I am digressing. So, let me wrap this up.

This whole gun control thing is still a work in progress; however I just hope that these overpaid asshats keep trying to do just that: make progress. If not…

Let’s vote the fuckers out.

 

See you at the polls.

 

 

Enough

Right now, I am listening to the ongoing filibuster being ran by Senator Christopher Murphy (D – Connecticut) regarding the issue of gun violence in the United States. Currently, this filibuster is going on it’s 14th hour. He is joined by another 40 Democrat Senators to add 2 measures to legislation that has been in talks by both party leaders in the Senate that did not come to vote by the end of session today. These two measures are to close the terrorist loophole by not allowing people that are on any form of watch list or investigation to purchase a firearm and to also force background checks at gun shows and close the deregulated sales that occur there.

These make sense, and it is completely mindblowing that it takes 40 senators to filibuster for 14 hours (at the time of this post), 10,000 phone calls, a top trend on Twitter, and multiple social media campaigns to even get this debate going in our government. Deeper than that, it takes the senseless violent act of one man and the deaths of 50 people to even get this much action going. It takes all of this for us to finally get 40 Senators to say “Enough”.

We have had more high-profile mass shootings than I care to remember and while watching this filibuster I have done just that. I have remembered the Amish Schoolhouse shootings where a gunman walked into a small Amish schoolhouse and gunned down 5 young girls. I had to relive the mass murders that occurred in Charleston, Sandy Hook, Fort Hood, Virginia Tech, Aurora, and some others that shamefully I had forgotten about. Yet, when we have this recent shooting that was the worst in our history, we finally say “Enough”.

Sorry, I said “Enough” about 4 years ago and I think it’s fucking idiotic that it’s taken this long for people that we elect to office to catch up. The funny thing is that only part of the elected idiots are there right now. The republicans clocked out on time. My Senator, the majority whip for the republicans, is asleep right now while these 40 Senators are putting in some serious OT.  My Senator is also the other party leader that was in talks about this subject today. He called this filibuster “filling dead air” and also stalled the talks to make sure that this legislature would be OK with the NRA.

Late Wednesday afternoon, however, Feinstein signaled that her talks with Cornyn were unlikely to bear fruit.

“I don’t think that’s gonna work out,” Feinstein told reporters. When asked why, she responded: “I was told he gave it to the NRA. Now, that would do it.”

I have sat here for 4 years since Sandy Hook and watched the entire Legislative Branch of the US Government do jack shit about gun laws. Meanwhile, they have done all kinds of things about trying to regulate vaginas, keep “the gays” in line, and make sure that the rights of bible-thumpers were defended (and thankfully failed to all of these). We have sent these unusefull idiots to D.C. to do nothing and collect huge paychecks for it.

I suggest that we finally say “Enough”.

See you at the polls.

Re: Orlando

I have been fairly disgusted with the human race the majority of the weekend. If you are wondering “Why Jeff? Why have you backslidden to your misanthropic ways? You were doing so good?” Then you obviously haven’t seen anything on a TV screen, the Internet, Reddit, Twitter or in a newspaper in the past 72 hours regarding Orlando, FL.

If this is the case, then I actually envy you.

Other than the senseless & tragic loss of life that occurs when these events happen, I loathe another vile event that always occurs when some deranged religious zealot decides to take up arms. That is the launch of the political vehicle.

This juggernaut of misinformation, bigotry, uselessness, and selfishness roars forth and leaves a trail of slime behind it wherever it goes and the truly horrible thing is that there isn’t just one. There are at least 2. They are cheered on by worshippers who shout out the words that fuel the political vehicles and the whole thing is delivered to you via broadband.

Now, hyperbole aside, we all (hopefully) know what I am talking about. When the Aurora shooting occurred, this argument sprouted up. When Sandy Hook occurred, again this argument sprouted up.  Now with Orlando, we have this argument here again and the political vehicles charge forth.

What do we do about the gun violence in America?

You have all of the Conservatives saying “MORE GUNS!” and you have all of the LIberals saying “NO GUNS!”. Then the media comes in with people on both sides and facts and figures fly left and right like cannon fire and then…

Nothing happens.

No laws get passed to prevent this type of thing. People just end up unfriending each other on Facebook. People hate a certain candidate more and strengthen their resolve to vote this way or that. People’s xenophobia gets strengthened, their religious belief get confirmed, and people mourn.

Personally, I am fucking tired of hearing “Our thoughts and prayers go out to…” when this type of thing happens. I am also tired of hearing mental illness being blamed for every fucking tragedy that occurs in this country, or being Muslim, and I am tired of nothing getting done.

In 2015, according to the Gun Violence Archive, 36 Americans were killed by guns per day. That figure excludes suicides. In 2015 there was an epidemic that toddlers were accidentally shooting themselves or others at least once per week. Globally, we are half the population of all the other 22 high-income nations and we account for over 80% of all the gun related deaths worldwide. We are 10 times more likely to die from a gun related death than people from these other countries and our gun related murder rate is 25 times higher. Matter of fact you can go to this site and see an up to date map and breakdown of the gun related death toll in America!

Now, there’s the data that I was talking about. Some of it is solid, but old. Some it (the stuff from the GVA) also includes incidents including Airsoft guns.

AirSoft/BB Guns

We collect incidents where Airsoft or BB guns are used AS weapons, not where they are used in general vandalism or delinquency. Those collected ARE NOT included in our Incident Totals on the Daily Summary Ledger

However, even though their data may be a little “padded” I still think it’s fairly accurate or as accurate and up to date as you are going t get and I do applaud their transparency. The other side also has data that it throws. Conservatives and the NRA would have everyone believe that we “have a violence problem” and that it is mental illness that is the real issue and not guns.

…people with mental illness are more likely to be the victims of violence.

According to NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) fewer than one-third of adults and half of children with a diagnosed mental illness receive mental health services in a given year and acts of violence by people with mental illness are usually the result of lack of needed mental health services. NAMI also grades states on their contributions towards their mental health care budgets and to expanding medicare/medicaid. To my shock I saw that Texas and quite a few other states was in the green. Then I read the “fine print”:

This is NAMI’s third annual report on state legislation enacted during the course of the year. The reports (2013-2015) have coincided with recovery from a devastating economic recession in which states cut $4.35 billion from the overall mental health care system. At the same time, public awareness of mental illness increased dramatically…

The reason mental illness awareness increased dramatically was because of its demonization through mass shootings and celebrity deaths. Because of these, States starting spending more money on their health care instead of cutting their budgets.  But, the Conservative’s have a plan to “restore sanity” to our mental illness care system.

Return the primary responsibility for such services to the states.

Yeah, return the power over my mental health care to the States that cut 4.3 billion from their combined budgets is a great idea! Also, the governor of my state takes advice on mental health care legislation from Scientology, so I think I would like someone as an overseer for the state level. Thanks.

Then there is the other horn of the conservative argument: MORE GUNS!

Donald Trump gave an interview with Alisyn Camerota of CNN and actually said that the mass shooting wouldn’t have happened if the people at the club were armed with guns (despite the fact she tries to tell him that there was an armed security guard in the club). Despite the arming of the populace, there is only one city that has not had a mass shooting since 2013 (and I was shocked when I read where it was): Austin, Texas. I was also kind of shocked when I found that since 1993, we actually had a sharp decline in gun violence, by 50%!

“Researchers have studied the decline in firearm crime and violent crime for many years, and though there are theories to explain the decline, there is no consensus among those who study the issue as to why it happened,”

I can understand the lack of consensus. In 1993 The Brady Bill was passed that requires background checks making sales of firearms more difficult through gun stores; however between 1991 and 1996 and additional 16 states passed legislation allowing the sales of concealed handgun permits, theoretically putting more guns in the hands of citizens. So, we restricted guns and also made guns more accessible at the same time and the rate of gun related violence dropped 50%.

Now gun related violence has maintained its stats since 2009, and you can now get a concealed carry permit in all 50 states.

So, what do we do? Get rid of all of the guns? Get rid of all of the mentally ill people? Continue the war on terror? Continue to create buzz words like assault rifle?

Apparently, no one knows.

No matter what data you see on TV, the Internet, this blog or wherever, it doesn’t erase the fact that people died in a senseless horrible manner for a stupid reason and that’s the part that really matters and that’s the part that gets me mad and makes it to where I don’t enjoy going outside anymore.

Oh well.

Hopefully, things will get better eventually.