Category Archives: News

The words are not the problem

Since the tapes of Trump talking about abusing women has come out there have been a number of odd responses from the right. And in my opinion they miss the point. They point to lyrics in songs, and other uses of the word pussy in popular culture. Then claim since there hasn’t been a reaction to the examples, any reaction to Trump is hypocritical.

For example, recently Madonna told a crowd she’d give out blow jobs to people who voted for Hilary. On a brief aside, I find such language to be vulgar*. But there are a couple important points to be made. One is we are not talking about the candidates own words. Madonna is not running for the office of president (and she can’t.) You can call out Beyonce as someone did on a news show. But she isn’t running for office. We are talking about the words which came out of the candidates own mouth.

Okay, what about when Obama was filmed saying “you got to have pussy, and ribs too…” You may have seen the video on YouTube. Or rather part of the video. It still isn’t the candidate, but as the sitting president and the leader of the same party as Clinton it could be germane. The first problem is the video takes the quote out of context. Obama was reading from his book to an audience, before he was president. The words which have been highlighted were spoke by another person in the story.

But the problem isn’t Trump saying the word pussy. Madonna can talk about blow jobs, Obama and his friend can talk about wanting pussy. And they would still not compare to the real problem with Trumps conversation on the tape. What Trump is talking about is sexual assault. None of the previous examples clearly dismisses the consent of the other party. What Trump does in the tape is dismiss the consent of all women as un-necessary. The closest example would be Bill Clinton and the accusations made by women against him.

One Trump defender pointed out the part of the tape where Trump says, “and they let you.” The person suggested this meant it wasn’t forced sexual contact. But consent is one person agreeing with another. While it is true, no means no, and no means there is no consent. You have to understand consent is deeper. Not only does no mean no, silence means no. If you know someone is unable to consent, then it isn’t consent. No one expects someone to grab them by their genitals. If the response wasn’t a kick in the balls – like it should have been. Or if the response wasn’t to scream and yell or run to the police. The response may have been a deep shock and uncertainty about what was going on, and what to do next. Maybe their first thought was just to escape the situation.

In some ways his defenders upset me the most. And this is where the accusations against Bill touch Hillary. I personally believe Bill Clinton sexually assaulted women. And in all likelihood Hillary was aware and defended him. If she had confronted the problem years ago, would it have saved the women who followed? We are nearing a point where we can’t be honest with ourselves in politics. It would be better if Trump supporters just stated: we believe his actions are indefensible, but we choose to support him because fo what he can do for the country. I feel like Democrats said something similar about Bill Clinton. Republicans can point at Democrats and say they don’t have solid standing to be condemning Trump. And they would be right. What they don’t have is a good reason for not looking in the mirror and asking themselves why they don’t condemn Trump’s words on the tape and refuse any defense.

If you want to know what consent is, it is this: yes means yes. Only yes means yes. Anything less is assault.

*Then again we are talking about Madonna.

I’m sorry

I’ve lost my pace, and I’ve lost my focus. My life story is nearing a point where I can’t say much more. Clearly it isn’t over. But it is easier to write about things years ago. And I’m not sure what else to write. I’ve been working, and eating, watching Netflix and working out with a friend. Then it is time for bed. Like right now, it is time for bed and I should already be sleeping. Then I think tomorrow. But I think tomorrow again and again. And it is always today. Maybe tomorrow.

Watch Out Everyone

Today is Friday the 13th.

But I think 13 is a lucky number. There are 13 full moons in a year. In the pre-Christian calendar of Europe there were 13 months of 28 days. But there was an extra day, this was Halloween. Since it was an extra day, it was a day between the worlds. As such it was a day were you could talk to the dead. The spirits of those who had passed on were said to be closer. It was also their New Years Day. It was a day when the normal rules did not apply. So, 13 is about the cycles of the moon and the earth. Of course it is lucky.

My questions for today

I was at work watching TV. It was some Law and Order show. They mentioned a person who had a total break from reality. And I thought to myself. How do I know I’ve not had a total break from reality? I mean really. It scares me a little to think about if I would even know. I’m not suggesting I’m really tied up in a bed somewhere, like in The Matrix. Though of course this is possible. But even worse. What if none of the things I talk about make any sense to anyone else in the world. What if the people around me humor me the way you would a child. How do I know anyone actually likes me as a person? And they’re not just being nice. At the one end of the range everything we think we know to be true could be a lie. And in some ways it would be okay. And on the other end, everything we think is true is 100 percent true. But I have strong reasons based on experience why I know this isn’t true either. There have been too many women I thought were interested in me – and they were not. So, I am stuck with a world where somethings I believe are true, and some aren’t. And this is harder. Because if it was all a lie, there would be no truth to worry about knowing. But is a world where our minds fail as often as they get it right. You have to figure out what is real and what isn’t real. And the only took you have to do it is your mind. Which is a tool you have no accurate way of testing to see how well you can trust its results. I could check my scale by standing on another scale. But I can’t look at my mind from another person’s mind. While a friend may tell me, “no, it is okay,” I don’t know their motive do I? And it doesn’t have to be a bad motive. How do we know what is true and what is false in our worlds? Again, I am not worried about the big things. I want to know about the little things. The things which are the hardest to look at and the hardest for people to be honest about in life.

And if you could be sure you’re sane. Is there any way to know for sure you wouldn’t lose it at any moment. Some organic or chemical trigger inside your brain. Or a mental, emotional, spiritual, physical trauma. Like a light switch you go from being you, to being someone else. Someone lost in their own mind.

Another Sad Day

Well it looks like we have another sad day in the world. The forces of evil have struck out. And if we are not careful we will feed the flames of hate and violence in response. I’m not sure what we do to stop this terror. I believe you cannot use terror and violence to counter terror and violence. But, at the same time we aren’t going to hug this out.
There is not enough love and compassion in the world. What we can do is create as much love as we can. And maybe it won’t end the violence. We can’t end violence in the world all at once But maybe a smile and a friendly word can change hearts one person at a time. It is in the human heart where acts of hate and love are born. It sounds trite to suggests terrorists blow up airports because no one loved them. It is clearly more complex. But what are the hearts who turn to hate? And are they given the choice of love?
There must be a path which leads us away from doom. One person at a time. We don’t know the people we meet on the street. The people we cross paths with on the subway. Smile and send loving energy into the world. Offer everyone a spirit of warmth. If one person can smile and bring some peace to a persons souls. Maybe two people can bring love to their heart. Three people, or four people, or five can chase the darkness out. We are one human race. The clear message of events like this is we cannot isolate ourselves. We are not islands living within our own perfect worlds. We are souls living together in a troubled world. A world which needs healing. What can we do to bring healing to the world today.
Striking back with bombs, terror and violent acts will not heal the pain in our world. Even if not a single innocent person was killed. But in every war inoocent people are killed and hurt. Families are torn apart. Communities left without working men. The bombs falling after one attack become the seeds for the next. We have to find a way to love each other more.
We are talking about people who choose to die. People who go to their deaths to kill others. If we believed we were one? And we made everyone feel a part of the whole. How could anyone choose to blow themselves up? Who would choose to die if they could choose to live? Who would choose hate if they could choose love? Would you?
We are living in a rapidly changing world. On ourside of the map we have Donald Trump. He has became the face of what people fear. Many people who are afraid of the changes in our world turn to him. For them he has become a guiding voice. But he has blamed the others for our problems. It is the fault of rapists from Mexico and terrorists from the Muslim world. On the other side of the world things are also changing. Cultures are being overturned in part by western influence through the internet. People over there like over here may be questioning their place in this new world. Their leaders blame the west. The evil imperialistic west has caused their problems. The bombers who blew themselves up in Europe were puppets. Their strings being pulled by people with their own agendas.
I believe it is isolated, lost, hurt and lonely people who turn to terror. They are being led and direcred by people who fear the changes in their countries. Maybe they believe if they could stop the tide of change the world would return to the way it was before. But they can’t turn back the clock in their countries. Anymore than we can turn back the clock in our country. They like us need to find ways to adapt to the new world we are living in today. And it isn’t going to be easy for any of us.
We have a choice to make ourselves in this world. We can choose more hate and anger. Watching events on the news makes these easy options. But if we think in our minds about how evil “those people” are, we are not going to be sending them loving energy. Not in the abstract – and not in the concrete daily one on one interactions. If we can try to understand, and have compassion, we are moving in the right direction. Maybe we can see how they struggle in the same world we struggle in to survive. Then we see them as brothers and sisters on the path. And we love our brothers and sisters even when they haven’t made the best choices. It will take a total change of our own hearts and minds away from fear and hatred. To love and understanding.
Love and fear cannot exist in the same place at the same time. Remember only love is real. The Course in Miracles tells us everything is either an act of love or a call for love. It isn’t easy for me to explain how these acts are calls for love. But I believe it is true.

GOP

So lets look at the field.

Jeb Bush: I never thought I’d say I hope he wins. He is one of the sane ones. Along with Chris Christie and John Kasich. Bush has an optimistic solid message. His focus is on small government.

Ben Carson: Has little chance. And has done nothing to show me he could be president. He also goes off the deep end.

Chris Christie: Would be a strong second choice. But haunted by scandals. I believe he could work with people. Make deals with both sides. I’m not sure I trust Christie. Defunding Planned Parenthood doesn’t win my vote.

Ted Cruz: One of the crazy four. I don’t trust Ted Cruz. His trick in Iowa was a theft of the election. A lot of rhetoric and extremism. Cruz like a couple of the others are too negative. He is focused on attack.

John Kasich: A friendly guy. I am sure he would make a good president. But on the one hand he comes across weak. On the other he leans towards the crazy side of the party. He best stance is immigration and economics.

Marco Rubio: Is inexperienced. Is too extreme. Is a slippery politician. More than anything I don’t trust him. I disagree with her stands. He focuses to much on Obama.

Donald Trump: Wrong on so much. I doubt he would be a good leader. His stand on immigration is wrong. And what he said about Muslims is wrong. Trump would be bad for America. He would harm our standing in the world.

I am growing more conservative. But not on social issues. When it comes to gay rights. Candidates like Carson, Rubio, Cruz lose my vote. Them plus Trump are the crazy four. On social issues Bush and Christie are better. On abortion, I don’t agree with anyone.

RIP David Bowie

David-Bowie-Heroes-Quote

We have lost a great artist. A great mind. A humanitarian. A dreamer. A lover. A hero. A true legend. Take a moment to reflect on everything David Bowie has given the world. Now ask yourself, what did David Bowie have, which you lack.
The answer is courage. Be a hero today, in honor of David Bowie. Anyone can create something unique. We all have the same creative potential sleeping inside. Take it out, once. The best way to honor his death, is to honor the way he lived.

Read: U.S. attorney statement on Oregon standoff – Chicago Tribune

The evidence at trial convinced the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that the Hammonds were guilty of the federal crime of arson; that is, maliciously damaging United States property by?re. The jury was neither asked if the Hammonds were terrorists, nor were defendants evercharged with or accused of terrorism. Suggesting otherwise is simply ?at-out wrong.

Source: Read: U.S. attorney statement on Oregon standoff – Chicago Tribune

Based on this document a lot of misinformation has been put into this discussion. The criminals who took over the wildlife refuge aren’t standing up for the Hammonds. But trying to lead a revolt against all federal power. The document states the sentences delivered, the longer sentences, were set by congress. If we are to survive as a nation, we need to abide by laws. And we need a national governing body. Armed revolt is not the solution when this body takes actions with which you disagree. There is an electoral process. An imperfect one to be sure. But not one I am ready to  give up in favor of a system established by criminal occupants of public land.

Land Theft and arson

The remote high desert of eastern Oregon became the latest flashpoint for anti-government sentiment as armed protesters occupied a national wildlife refuge to object to a prison sentence for local ranchers for burning federal land.

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I don’t think it is an accident they choose to attack a wildlife refuge. Many of the people behind this movement would rather run cattle on land than have it saved to support wildlife. The government manages the land for the public as a trust. And it is in the public’s interest for species to be protected. Maybe not the ranchers’ interests.

Ammon Bundy posted a video on his Facebook page asking for militia members to come help him. He said “this is not a time to stand down. It’s a time to stand up and come to Harney County,” where Burns is located.

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They are calling for an armed insurrection against the government. We still live in a democracy. A flawed system to be sure. But not flawed enough to replace it with the type of militia rule tearing apart countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. Any number of countries around the world would have responded with over-matched violence and exterminated the threat. I am not suggesting violence is the answer. But these people are criminals. They aren’t using a political process to address their grievances. They are turning to the power of their guns. And in a democracy this is not how things are done.

This is no different than rioters in the streets protesting police shooting. No different than a lunatic shooting people at Planned Parenthood, no different than terrorist who resort to violence to solve problems. This is still a democracy. The land in question is not owned by the government it is owned by all of us. The public as a whole owns the land.

Dwight Hammond, 73, and Steven Hammond, 46, said they lit the fires on federal land in 2001 and 2006 to reduce the growth of invasive plants and protect their property from wildfires.

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Honestly I can understand their concerns. But if I live next door to someone with a ranch. And they never maintain their property. It doesn’t give me the right to go over and set fire to their land. It may be a measure to protect my own land. But it would still be illegal for me to burn their property. This is not the way things are done in a country ruled by laws. The process can be slow and frustrating. Maybe it even needs to be changed. But taking the law into your own hands by burning property which doesn’t belong to you is wrong. It would be wrong if I burned your land to protect my own. And it is wrong for these people to burn out land. Period.

The two were convicted of the arsons three years ago and served time — the father three months, the son one year. But a federal judge ruled in October that their terms were too short under U.S. minimum sentencing law and ordered them back to prison for about four years each.

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This is where I agree with the Hammond’s. They should have been given the longer sentences. But there was an error. Someone made the mistake of giving them the lighter sentence. Well, if they served the time, let them go. It isn’t fair to call them back and force them to serve more time. A court of law gave them a sentence. And they did the sentence. If I pay a bill with a company, and they agree it is settled. It wouldn’t be fair for them to come back later and tell me they made an error. And expect me to pay an extra amount they just figured out I owed. I would expect the company to take the loss. And I expect the court system to accept they made a mistake. And due to the mistake these two criminal got off easy. Now, if there is a repeat of the crime. Then the original sentences should be enforced.

Now for a discussion of what I believe is at the root of the issue.

These people are suffering real losses. They are hurting and struggling in their businesses. I can understand the natural desire to target the Federal Government and public lands. It would be tempting to believe expanded range could save the business. And understandable why people would feel the need to take illegal actions to protect a business already facing so many risks. This applies to this case, but also the Bundy Ranch case in Nevada.

As for the Hammonds, they hope to keep the family business going with help from relatives. Maybe, Dwight Hammond said, when his son gets out of prison, “he can still have a family and a ranch to go back to.”

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I feel bad for these people.