Toxic Comments: Normalizing Atrocities, a Resistance Post

Bomb-Cool-iconHave you ever been in a public place minding your own business when a stranger makes a rather loud offensive statement?  They didn’t make a statement pertaining to you, but it was a sexist, prejudice, or propagandist statement.  It’s a statement so offensively toxic that it even offended you!

Words were on the tip of your tongue.  You wanted to tell them their rhetoric was hurtful, wrong, and disrespectful of those around them.  Yet, you didn’t say anything.  You think they had a right to voice their opinion.  Besides, if you confronted them, something bad could happen.  Then you have the worst thought of all:  It wasn’t your problem.

Guess what.  It was your problem.  Furthermore, if you’re an American in the age of 45, it’s most definitely our problem.

As it happens, I heard an educator (unrelated to my academic institution) talking at a Starbucks and she made a horribly disagreeable comment:  I make students stand for the Pledge since my husband fought in Vietnam for their right to say it.

I forced myself not to comment, and yes, it was the worst thing I could have possibly done.

Bio-hazard-icon

In the current climate of highly charged hateful rhetoric and actions, I’m learning from my inaction, and I encourage people to calmly and logically shut down ignorantly toxic comments.  Call them a gateway drug to homegrown terrorism (or for a man to stab their fellow countrymen and call it Patriotism).

~Continued after video~

While the educator’s comments aren’t hate speech per se, it’s still a dangerous comment specifically for pure ignorance, which happens to lead to dangerous nationalism, authoritarianism, indoctrination, and even brainwashing.

Paraphrasing from the above Huffington Post video, Americans let those comments slide, we are helping to normalize such thinking.  Kids who hear it will think that toxic perspective is fine, or normal, and we encourage those few of like, small-minds to voice the same opinions.

Here is why that educator’s comments are so disagreeable.

First, the part claiming her husband fought in the Vietnamese war so American students can say the Pledge of Allegiance is revisionist history and has absolutely no basis in fact.

France-Flag-iconThe Vietnamese War had nothing to do with American freedom nor the Pledge of Allegiance.  America entered the war to help the French retain control of their Indochina colony.  When the French lost control and Communists took over Northern Vietnam, the American government found the situation disagreeable and stayed to help Southern Vietnamese take back the North.

Second, anyone who claims they, or their spouse, fought for the American right to say the Pledge drank the crazy people Kool Aid.  Our government’s Enlightenment Era Creators in the American Revolution were those who truly fought for our freedom.  They fought for the colonists’ right to have an equal say in government as part of a living document that also includes instructions for two methods of revolting against those in power.  Not of the idiocy to say a simple Pledge.

Hypothetically, in some bizarre dimension the Vietnamese War had been about American freedom, that freedom would encompass a wide range of freedoms we enjoy in the real world.  They would include the freedom to choose to say or not to say the American Pledge of Allegiance.

As Americans, we take pride in our First Amendment:Paper-icon

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

These days, Americans refer to the First Amendment as freedom of speech or freedom of religion.  In the 80s and 90s, I remember it was referred to as freedom of the press.

The original Thirteen Colonies were formed on the promise of religious freedom and a haven from political upheaval.  Basically, their own countries persecuted (i. e., imprisoned or penalized) them because of their beliefs either in religion or politics.

Even today, there are countries – a few more liberal than America – that still penalize people for criticizing their leaders.  Here are twelve of them:

  1. Azerbaijan
  2. Lebanon
  3. Venezuela
  4. Poland
  5. Turkey
  6. Netherlands
  7. Cameroon
  8. Bahrain
  9. Kuwait
  10. Thailand
  11. Iran
  12. Indonesia

The American Constitution was written so all American citizens have governmental say without the threat of persecution, which is also covered in the First Amendment (…to petition the Government for a redress of grievances).

We have the right to protest peaceably.  If Americans wish to take a knee during the Pledge of Allegiance, they can without penalization.  Hell, even in the 20th Century, people burned the American flag at protests without legal repercussions.  Why?  Because that is also covered under the First Amendment.

When I substitute in a classroom, I don’t force the students to stand and recite the Pledge.  Any students who choose to sit, respects the rest of the class by staying quiet through the Pledge.  Those who choose to say the Pledge, respects the classmates who choose to sit – as in not shaming those who sit through the Pledge.

Personally, I stopped saying the Pledge because I disagree with the under God part, which wasn’t added until the 1950s as a convoluted way to combat the political concept of Communism.  (Anyone else confused by that?)  Plus, I don’t recite the Pledge as a protest against the current political stupidity in the White House and Congress.  Although, I still stand and face the flag out of respect for my family history.

(By the way, anyone else think it’s overkill to say the Pledge everyday in school?!  Why don’t we say it once at the beginning of the Academic year or each semester?).

Typically, I resume working after the Pledge and ignore the moment of silent reflection.  I think taking a moment to silently reflect – which is code for pray – is a waste of time when people should do that in the privacy of their own home before going to school or work.  In addition, the Pledge of Allegiance is a prayer since it incorporates under God and was originally written by a minister.

I’m not saying the misguided educator was a follower of the Far Right, but I’m going on the assumption based on her comment.  Aside from the confusion over the term freedom, the Far Right (who proclaim themselves Patriots) get a lot of things wrong.

The Far Right likes to take their Nationalism to the extreme.  Perhaps, they believe the Pledge was always recited by school children at least once everyday across the country dating all the way back to America winning independence from England.

bag-books-iconActually, the Pledge wasn’t a classroom ritual until 1892, and America didn’t have an official pledge until the first half of the 20th Century.

It was not until 1942 that Congress officially recognized the Pledge of Allegiance. One year later, in June 1943, the Supreme Court ruled that school children could not be forced to recite it. In fact,today only half of our fifty states have laws that encourage the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in the classroom!

Forcing children to say the Pledge in school is not Patriotic since it’s considered a form of authoritarianism in a country that’s supposed to be a Republic.  While forces are attempting to change the foundation of our government to an oligarchy and 45 treats his position as a dictatorship, I believe wholeheartedly that this country will always remain a republic, one nation, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.

I wish I would have said something to that educator, yet I would have done more harm than good.  Unfortunately, I would have yelled at the woman instead of calmly explain to her the wrongness of her statement with logic.  Perhaps, it would have been a futile attempt.  At least, I would have demonstrated that there are Americans who won’t stand for a dictatorial revisionist history.

However, I’m mainly writing about this experience to encourage other fellow Americans with cooler heads to curb both hateful and blind nationalist propaganda.  The more we make these comments abnormal, the less we have to deal with open hate, Patriotic stabbings, and the fear of homegrown terrorists.

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A Resistance Post: Is anyone else scared?

star-trek-the-next-generation-iconFrom people displaying memes of the character Jean Luke Picard from Star Trek the Next Generation that reads “Every morning I wake up, I’m like ‘Damage report'” to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s epic Trump burn saying if he were president, maybe most Americans can once again sleep at night.  There is truth in both those statements.  Since Mr. Trump has taken office, the sale on sleep aides has likely skyrocketed.

Tea Partiers always seem angry and negative.  Before the inauguration of Mr. Trump, they spent most of their days listening to blow-hards peddling false news to an audience who lapped up every word.

Then there are other Americans who simply spend their lives in a constant state of negativity.  Unfortunately, that is life.  Unless they find the courage to change it, negativity will always be a part of them.

So far this president has worried Muslims (Americans and immigrants alike), refugees (at home and abroad), Latinos (legal and illegal), most women, the LGBT Community, and other American’s for various reasons.  Unlike some of my fellow Americans, I can still sleep at night, but reading the daily news keeps me in a near constant state of anger and worry.  An American president, his cabinet, and Congress should not cause the American people sleepless nights, anger, worry, sadness, and any other strong, negative emotions.

dazzled-iconI am sure that past presidents have caused these emotions.  Former President Andrew Jackson creating the Federal Banking System likely caused some American negativity along with Abraham Lincoln overseeing troops during the Civil War, or Franklin D. Roosevelt prior to World War II.  Have they done it to this heightened extent, or to so many American people?  It seems the only people who are not worried are apathetic Americans and Tea Partiers.

Monday (February 13,2017), I gained a new, intense negative emotion caused by Mr. Trump:  Fear.

America has come close to nuclear war before.  There was the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 and close calls with the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) now known as Russia.  How many times have we come to nuclear annihilation by our own missiles?

As a former GOP candidate, Mr. Trump stated he would not take vacations.

“There’s just so much to be done,” Trump said after winning the presidential election. “So I don’t think we’ll be very big on vacations, no.”

Not only was the weekend before last his third straight weekend taking a vacation, his trips cost the tax payers $3 million dollars each time he travels via Air Force One to his Mar-a-Lago golf resort.  I do not care if he calls it his “Winter White House,” he is playing golf, which – to me – definitely counts as a vacation.  Perhaps he thinks it does not count because he brought the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe with him.  Although, dragging a Prime Minister around a resort to show off to his Super PAC mega donors, schmoozing with his one-percenter pals, and rubbing elbows with other CEOs willing to “pay to play” for a top government position (Betsy DeVose anyone?) is known as a huge conflict of interest.  Do not forget the $200,000 membership to Mar-a-Lago includes an up close and in person view of Mr. Trump being “president” on the weekends.  They can pull Mr. Trump aside to have a say on policy and who he should choose as a Cabinet Member.  If they are super lucky, Mr. Trump will ask their advice on how to cheaply build his pointless wall.

Real estate executive Bruce Toll told the New York Times that he does occasionally discuss national policy issues, particularly when it comes to Trump’s plans to increase spending on infrastructure projects, when he sees Trump at Mar-a-Lago. According to Toll, Trump sometimes receives advice from other club members about what to do policy-wise.

Developer Richard LeFrak, a close friend of Trump’s, recounted a discussion at Mar-a-Lago last weekend during which Trump asked him for help with the proposed border wall between the United States and Mexico. Trump was unhappy with the projected cost of the wall, wanted to come up with a way to build it more cheaply, and suggested that the head of the Department of Homeland Security would give LeFrak a call to talk about it.

And according to an audio tape obtained by Politico from one of Trump’s New Jersey clubs that was also published on Saturday, Trump has asked his club members for their guidance selecting his cabinet appointees.

Smilie-money-iconA member can even take pictures with his cabinet members out on the scenic patio.  If a member is really lucky, they might watch Mr. Trump handle a National Security crisis usually requiring the White House Situation Room, or a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF).

SATURDAY EVENING, NORTH Korea launched a ballistic missile that traveled over 300 miles before crashing into the Sea of Japan—far enough to hint at the ability to drop a nuke on one of the US’ closest allies.

Naturally, President Trump discussed the matter with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was visiting the US, and National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. But here’s the problem: He did so in full view of guests at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, with smartphone cameras and flashlights pointed at presumably sensitive material.

It was perfectly fine for Mr. Trump to discuss matters of National Security with the Prime Minister of Japan since it does involve his own country, and we are allies.  What is not okay are the Mar-a-Lago civilian guests who were present with their cell phones, flashing pictures, and possibly capturing sensitive material for the world to see.  That is correct.  Not only are there pictures, but they were posted to Facebook.  I will give my readers a moment to reread that last sentence.  If that was not bad enough, a guest also posted a picture of him and someone who should never have his picture posted on social media let alone his name.

…Mr. Trump’s military aide responsible for carrying the nuclear “football” — the briefcase that contains codes for launching nuclear weapons.

So there is now a picture of the guy in charge of carrying our nuclear weapons codes floating around the internet.  It does not matter that the photo is now “sanitized.”  When it was first posted, it was not.  What is placed on the internet will always be on the internet.  Several media organizations and – I am sure – nefarious people likely took plenty of screen shots of the original picture.  (Anyone else notice that it was an old rich white dude who posted that picture to Facebook?!)  I do not know about you, my dear readers, but after reading the above quoted line I turned white from shock.  Later, I definitely felt a fair amount of fear and extreme anger.  I am not even afraid to admit I cried over the egregiously blatant disregard for our Country’s wellbeing.

Mr. Trump appears to enjoy presenting the spectacle of his presidency to those at his privately held club…

Mr. Jackass Trump is basically putting us all in danger to make a buck.  I feel completely justified in my fear when an idiot and his rich (also morally questionable) cronies are leading the country.  (I guess you have to be severely stupid and greedy to have more money than most of the globe).

Smiley-grumpy-2-iconWhat makes my blood boil are the aides, cabinet members, Secret Service, National Security Members, Speaker of the House, other members of Congress, and even the civilian guests.  None of them thought this was a problem?  Not one person spoke up.  No one said, “Gee, this is a national security issue, those documents and the whole scene I’m witnessing seems serious so I really shouldn’t take a picture”?  Not one security member or aide thought to mention to Mr. Trump, “Hey, this deals with the security of the American people.  Maybe we shouldn’t discuss these things outside?”  How about the aide carrying the nuclear “football?”  Why did he not say, “No you cannot take my picture because of National Security” and perhaps, “I don’t want to die”?  Whatever happened to the power of a simple “No”?

More and more people are losing respect and trust in Mr. Trump.  Those last two quotes I presented are from the New York Times.  Notice they use “Mister” as Mr. Trump’s title and not “President?”  It is not just corporate print media (excluding Faux Fox News) have little to no respect and trust in Mr. Trump.  Neither do American Intelligence agencies.  We are talking the spy community, people.  They alert us to potential threats so we can be ready.

There is more consequential IC pushback happening, too. Our spies have never liked Trump’s lackadaisical attitude toward the President’s Daily Brief, the most sensitive of all IC documents, which the new commander-in-chief has received haphazardly. The president has frequently blown off the PDB altogether, tasking Flynn with condensing it into a one-page summary with no more than nine bullet-points. Some in the IC are relieved by this, but there are pervasive concerns that the president simply isn’t paying attention to intelligence.

Everything I have laid out is worse than a horror movie or a particularly chilling thriller.  If this does not make most Americans more concerned, apathetic Americans start to get concerned, or raise a flag or two to the white supremacist Tea Partiers, maybe a nuclear fallout with our own weapons will.  That is, if anyone other than the one-percenters survive.  (Seriously, people might have found money to build bunkers in the 50s, but who can find that kind of cash laying around these days)?

Furthermore, there is the issue of the potential Russian ties to Mr. Trump, his cabinet members, and the Republican party.  On Valentine’s Day, Michael Flynn was “forced to resign” (a. k. a., fired) from his National Security post for calling the Russian Ambassador the day former President Obama placed sanctions on Russia for hacking an American election.

Mr. Trump blamed news media leaks for Michael Flynn’s dismissal.  He might think media leaks are bad, but in this budding “worse than Watergate” situation, media leaks are my new favorite thing in the world.

This whole circumstance brings up one big question:  How many of America’s top government officials are involved in the Russian conspiracy?  The government is controlled by the Republicans who, I suspect, also have ties to Russia.  The Senate did launch an inquiry into the Russian hacking allegations, which will take a while.

Republican leaders are not promising a quick turnaround.

Burr surmised that it would take months to “aggressively” comb through all the intelligence pertaining to the suspected hacking, given that the scale and extent aren’t yet clear. And Republican leaders are clearly waiting on the intelligence panels to take the lead.

As for the Michael Flynn case, Senate Republicans are oddly reluctant to investigate.  Now, the American people are starting to ask who knew about Flynn’s Russian involvement.  Enter Rep. John Chaffetz (R-UT).  Last post I mentioned his accusations that his town hall meeting constituents were replaced with liberal organization paid rabble rousers.  Their main purpose was to bully him.  Surely, none of his constituents would be disappointed in his work?

House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said Tuesday that his panel won’t investigate the circumstances that led to Michael Flynn stepping down Monday as President Trump’s national security adviser.

Instead, Chaffetz deferred to the House Intelligence Committee, which is already investigating Russia’s attempt to influence the presidential elections, a scope that includes campaign communications with the Russian government.

“I think that situation has taken care of itself. I know that the Intel committee is looking into the hacking issue,” Chaffetz told reporters.

Since the House Intelligence Committee is already looking into the Russian hacking case, why not give them more work?  Where is the passion and drive?  Where is the righteous indignation that Russia might have a big influence on top officials within the American government?  No worries, “that situation has taken care of itself.”

What does Senator Rand Paul have to say about the situation?  Surely, he would have something scathing to say about the Trump administration and demand swift action?

Republican Sen. Rand Paul said Tuesday an investigation into the resignation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn would be excessive and it would not make sense to investigate other Republicans.

I guess not.  Lately, Sen. Paul has been going against his Libertarian leanings by voting for Sen. Jeff Beauregard Sessions as Attorney General.  Sessions is for the “War on Drugs,” and he is a staunch supporter of mass incarceration (which means he is likely being paid by the private prison industry), and Libertarians are generally against the War on Drugs and mass incarceration.  I thought they would also be against a Russian influence on the American Government.  Apparently not.

While growing up, American children learn a lot of things:  Respect the flag, American military service members are heroes (even though the government does not treat them as such), and Russia is bad (even though the Cold War ended in 1991).

Now we have a president who ignorantly endangers the safety of the American people for money, has possible ties to Russia, has aides communicating with Russia, Republicans obviously unwilling to investigate any of these travesties appearing to aid and abet these treasonous people, and people staunchly supporting Mr. Trump.  None of them see any reason to “Drain the Swamp” the 99-percenters live in.  Please tell me I am not the only one concerned.

The argument against apathy in a time of Resistance.

anger-iconIn the past, I have had problems regularly writing a blog post for my readers.  It was due to lack of passion and motivation for any topic that entered my mind.  Lately, it is too much passion and far too many words crowding my reeling mind.

Since the Oval Office Orange (changed from White House Orange because alliteration is cool) started his dubious dictatorship, my anger has been inspiring as it has been for millions of Americans.  I am not the only one inspired by his questionable leadership.

Saturday Night Live has made an impressive come back from comedy that rarely inspires a chuckle to laughter that leaves a person gasping for air.  The Orange’s administration has helped Trevor Noah fully integrate into The Dailey Show.  While Jon Stewart retired from the show because – face it – politics was frustratingly depressing topic, he appears sporadically with Stephen Colbert to make us laugh.  The passion of these comedians is felt in their jokes (especially Alec Baldwin), and they are fueled by the same anger that fuels me.  Furthermore, comedy is their entertaining way of protesting.

Most other Americans have the ability to march, protest, and literally stand against the fascist pigs in the process of tearing our government down from the inside out.

In my last post, I stipulated some people were not able to get out and physically protest for various reasons (i.e., job, physical disability, children, etc.).  They are people who want to help, but do not know another way other than walking the streets with a sign.  I used my own experiences and readings to provide a handy list, which I would like to add a little something to that list now.  Every little chance to resist helps the greater cause.

If it seems like I am writing about a war, I am.  It maybe a metaphorical war, but it has all the makings of a vicious fight.

USA-Flag-iconWritings from the 18th Century Enlightenment Era Founding Fathers exist to emboldened the reader as they are the very foundation of our country.  It is important to hear their voices when we need them most and learn from them.  I always thought and felt their patriotic passions and beliefs flow in the veins of all Americans whether they are natural born or naturalized.  The words life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness echoes in our hearts because it is our right.

Apparently, that was most Americans.

There are some Americans (e.g., Matthew McConaughey) who do not seem to feel that calling, who are not angered by the actions of our government.  Those particular Americans are not happy about it, and they only seem to care about anything that pertains only to their existence.

At least the Oval Office Orange’s base, The Tea Baggers Partiers, are patriotically passionate albeit woefully misguided and embarrassingly undereducated.  I can find a sliver of admiration for that despite their crazed white supremacist attitude.

What I cannot stand are the clueless Americans who – in my livid and most valid opinion – stand aside and simply do not care to understand because of their indifference.  Either that or they think that skimming the surface of American life is fine.

Apathetic Americans are the people who compare the Muslim Ban to locking the doors of a house at night.  Not to keep people out, but to keep your loved ones safe (per some deranged meme going around Facebook).  They never bother to look at the exact details or realize that “Muslim” is a religion and not a country, which makes the ban obviously unconstitutional (1st Amendment).  Apathetic Americans must also think that the Ban will solve our terror problem most of which stem from American terrorists.  Furthermore, they do not read enough news to realize that Muslim Americans are not the only ones who are targeted by this administration.

Illegal immigrants from Mexico who have lived here for a few decades are targeted.  Then there is the issue of an environmentally dangerous wall proposal that will cost billions and be paid for by the tax payers – not Mexico.  The Mexican President pretty much told the Oval Office Orange to f**k off (in the most diplomatic way possible).

Apathetic Americans breezily wonder why their fellow Americans – in their opinion – needlessly leave their homes almost every weekend to protest these horrifying changes the administration’s attempting to enact.  They ask why people do not work with the Oval Office Orange rather than fight against him (see the link attached to Matthew McConaughey above).  Apathetic Americans do not want to understand that working with him is equal to allowing a near treasonous administration the right to create an American style Nazi Regime.

For those fellow Americans, I give you the words of Patrick Henry who said it best in On the Resolution to Put the Commonwealth into a State of Defense, which was delivered before the Virginia Convention on March 23, 1775.

They tell us, sir, that we are weak, unable to cope with so formidable an adversary.  But when shall we be stronger?  Will it be the next week or the next year?  Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house?  Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction?  Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?  Sir, we are not weak, if we make a proper use of those means which … nature hath placed in our power.  Three millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us.  There is a just God who presides over the battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave…

It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter.  Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace, but there is not peace…  Why stand we here idle?  What is it that gentlemen wish?  What would they have?  Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to slavery?  …I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

UK-iconFirst, note that this was written in the 18th Century Enlightenment Era.  It was a different world not only for the obvious lack of electronics, but for the blatantly unchecked patriarchal mentality and racism.  Most of the written works of the Founding Fathers (and the Constitution) are white dude centric since the Founding Fathers were – ironically – rich white dudes.  They were amazing Enlightenment visionaries when it came to building a government, yet unsurprisingly short-sighted in other areas (product of the times).  While the Founding Fathers were painfully aware they were all from mostly European immigrant and outcasts, people of color were not considered as a factor and slaves were PROPERTY.  Besides, the landed gentry considered themselves British citizens until Benjamin Franklin was laughed out of Parliament.  Then it became painfully clear that New Englanders (us) would never be afforded the rights of citizens from the Mother Country.

Second, the most published and read book at the time was likely the Bible.  I would not be surprised if 18th Century children learned to read from it.  The Founding Fathers were very much for the separation of church and state, but still have reference to God in their writings.

Third, America was gearing towards a battle with the British (for those of you who attended a school where Social Studies was considered “expendable”).  In the 21st Century, we call the epic underdog story the American Revolution.  At the time they referred to it as a Civil War between England and New England (us).

As we have grown as a country, our Constitution (a living document) has grown to be inclusive of all sexes and races.  I would like to think our Enlightenment Era Founding Fathers would be straight forward thinkers – despite being rich white dudes – if they were alive today, and I will interpret their writings as such: inclusive.

They tell us, sir, that we are weak, unable to cope with so formidable an adversary.

In this section of Patrick Henry’s speech, he says the people are not as weak as, likely, some of the world – including the British – believed they were.  Today, this nation is still not weak.  The Oval Office Orange and his Legion of Doom (i.e., Cabinet Members) believe most Americans are weak because they equate power with wealth.  The more money in the Cayman Islands account (the one they all have to avoid taxes), the more political power.  Additionally, the Galactic Empire (i.e., Republicans) that currently controls the House of Representatives and Senate are using the Orange’s antics to ram through governmentally corrosive and populace-hurting legislation thinking no one will notice.  (I am channeling comic books and Star Wars as an analogy.  Sue me).

Henry goes on to tell people to not be fearful or apathetic.  Sitting down and watching events unfold will not make anything better, having their fellow country people march and cry out in their stead while they shrug it off makes the Apathetic American, in my livid opinion, an awful person.  I would go so far as to call Apathetic Americans, Un-American.  Unfortunately, it is their constitutional right to be a jerk.  While I disagree with their idiotic mentality, like I said – our Constitution gives them that right and I must defend it as I denounce their idiocy.

Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house?  Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction?  Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?

agt-runit-iconHe likens inaction to submitting to slavery, which still holds true since the Orange and the Galactic Empire are interested in Right to Work legislation.  This law is known as the Union Killer, or Right to Work for Less.  Unions are responsible for the wages we currently earn, decent working conditions, and weekends.  Without unions to arbitrate, employers could lower wages and demand their employees work weekends.  Why do you think fast food workers want to unionize?  Because, among other things, they want to put in a 40+ hour work week and not rely on food stamps and Housing and Urban Development assistance.  Either way, without the protection of Unions, we would be very close to slaves.  It also does not help that the Orange’s Secretary of Labor pick CKE CEO, Pudzer, is known by his employees for wage theft and sexual harassment.  He also has law suites pending from those hard working employees.

As Henry so passionately states, we are not weak.  Already, the Galactic Empire has temporarily backed away from repealing the Affordable Care Act (famously known as “Obamacare”) because of the public backlash.  Although, that backlash is continuing since the Galactic Empire still vows to “repeal and replace,” which every replacement idea sounds exactly like the system we had before the Affordable Care Act.  They insist that Americans should have access to healthcare.  As the lovely Sen. Bernie Sanders (I – VT) stated, every American has access to healthcare we cannot afford.  What we need is affordable healthcare.  Fortunately, most Americans are not accepting the Galactic Empire’s dog and pony show anymore.

Bully-Scholarship-Edition-1-iconThe Republican Congressmen have full voicemails from angered constituents.  They are canceling or running away from Town Hall meetings because they cannot face those angry constituents.  Even though, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R – UT) is convinced the angry town hall attendees are not his constituents, but pretenders who were paid to bully him.

For a short time in December, the Native Americans convinced the government to stop building the environmentally dangerous Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).  Then Orange took office and ordered the immediate easement for the pipeline violating more laws.  These are admittedly small victories, but they are still victories which can lead to bigger victories.  The American people will have a long hard road to get those big victories, and some of us may feel a little fatigued yet we will keep fighting.

The American Revolution was fought with muskets and cannons.  Our war is fought with protests and social media.  We are using the Judicial system as our front line, and we are pouring money into the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) – who are recently getting impressive donations – for that purpose.  This is the beginning of our fifth week of fighting, and we will not back down till we win.

It is clear the Orange and the Galactic Empire would like us to lay down so they can peacefully trample us and enslave us.  Yet, we refuse to make anything easy.  Some of the American people may remain apathetic.  I choose to fight with the weapons of sharp words and vicious rhetoric.

I will not abide a president who is worse than a child, one who is obviously illiterate and lead by an undereducated white supremacist who walks around with a never-read pocket Constitution.  Even if he tried to read it, he would not understand it.

It is repugnant for billionaires, Congressional Republicans, and spineless corporate Democrats to expect the American people to stand aside as they ruin our air, drinking water, and the ground beneath our feet.  All for the corporate bottom line and appeasement to their so-called friends.

Last, the efforts of the Galactic Empire in attempting to force women into, or maintain, a subservient role is beyond disgusting.  The “men know best” attitude is harmful to the women of our nation.  They refuse to realize that while women’s bodies have a few things in common with theirs, there are still vast differences.  They specifically shut down women for having an opinion like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) on the Senate floor when Struggle-iconshe attempted to read Coretta Scott King’s letter in opposition to Sen. Jeff Session’s U.S. Attorney General nomination.  Meanwhile, two other white male Senators who read the letter were allowed to do so without reprecussions. 

This is why it is more important for women to lead the charge, especially women of different races and ages and transgender women.  We should be seen as equal and not be defined by our sexuality and race for we are all Americans.

Alternative names for Trump (More fun than Alternative Facts)

Want more?  HERE is a site that lists much more and nicknames for his friends, family, movement, etc.

For the People Who Cannot March: A Guide to Resistance

orangeAs so many reporters, columnists, bloggers, and (I am sure) some representatives have said since Friday, Welcome to a new world.  Although, it is not a new world.  This is the exact same world it always has been and the exact same country we have always resided.  The only difference is the American people have a misogynist, racist, and xenophobic Orange with a bad combover in the White House.

I can understand why it feels like a new world to most Americans who oppose an Orange representing America.  He has already issued executive orders impacting mortgages, international reproductive issues, and a hire freeze for the Federal Government.  That is only in the last few days.

If you happen to like the Orange (I refuse to call him by name nor will I call him President), than this post is definitely not for you.  Now, some of my fellow Americans of like mind or semi-like mind may feel a little despondent.  They have no clue how to resist the upcoming changes that may negatively affect their lives.

While marching is a great way to show solidarity and dissidence in our country (it seems Struggle-iconlike it is the favored way), not everyone can go out and march.  I feel your pain because I could not join the throngs of people that marched this weekend.  Unfortunately, I did not have the money to go to Washington DC nor could I take off work since I am paid hourly and have no benefits.

Instead, I thought about what I could do to show my objection to the current governing body or any law they would like to pass.  This is the information age where the answers are literally at our fingertips.  Here is what I came up with:

  1. Call or e-mail your representative to let them know what you think.  Are they passing laws you hate?  Are they repealing your right to affordable healthcare also known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA)?  Let them know!  It is relatively easy if you have access to the internet.  (If you are reading this, you do).  Simply Google Who’s my representative.  Fortunately, I did the dirty work for you.  Just click HERE and you can even contact the White House HERE.
  2. You can use social media.  The Orange is always blowing up Twitter trolling whoever sneezes in his direction.  If you have a Twitter account and use it regularly, why not troll him and your disagreeable representatives?  Do you follow news organizations on Facebook?  I do.  Facebook is where I get all my news conveniently condensed into one convenient app.  I read through the news titles, click on the ones that interest me, and read the article.  If it is something that makes me angry and I think my friends should know, I share it with them.  You can do the same.  With the dog and pony show that has been going on through former President Obama’s years and the circus we currently have, the media is all over it.  Although, I would suggest making a specific friends list for anything political unless you welcome an all out verbal fight with your friends who just so happen to like Oranges.
  3. Start a blog.  Writing is a great way to help feel better.  If you want to feel better AND express your opinion in a public forum, I suggest blogging.  Getting a free blog is easier than you think.  If you are not picky about the details and find all the pesky personalization tedious, then pick a template and start writing.  I would suggest at least setting up the social media aspect of your blog page so a notice automatically goes out to your friends and family every time you post.  Plus it gives them the opportunity to like and share your posts through a myriad of social media options
  4. This next suggestion is more being a decent human being than resisting an authoritarian regime.  Remember your fellow Americans that will be affected by future government policies are those who are the most vulnerable.  No matter what their political preference, try to help them out.  Sometimes cooking a little extra food and sharing a meal with your neighbor is a big help.  Other times, it’s being there to listen or offer a hug.  There are small gestures that can make a big impact.  Depending on your perception, being nice to strangers is a type of resistance to a government who refuses to do the important duty of caring for the people.

Now these are things you can easily do at home or in your neighborhood.  What you should never do is talk politics in the workplace.  Frankly, it’s unprofessional.  I know that not all coworkers adhere to this one solid rule and it will piss you off.  Trust me, I had to live through it January 20th when a few of my coworkers just couldn’t keep a lid on their unwelcome political and insulting opinions.  I could not walk away for some of it so I zoned out, which is the advice I give you.  If a coworker decides to express their unwelcome political opinions, pretend to listen and zone out their voice.  I also do work through their diatribe so I can use the excuse that I am super busy.  Sometimes, my coworkers will get the hint I am not interested and walk away.

Most important, we must remember that this crappy government (even the Orange) works for us.  If they do not do what we say, we can oust them next election.  Food for thought and a note of positivity in this questionable time.

Articles of Interest

Newspaper-iconThe Morning After

How to Survive Trump

How to survive and resist in the Trump era: practical things you can do now

Your survival guide to living in America under President Donald Trump

 

Being Out Grinched by Hate

zombie_santaIn previous years, I have been inspired to write a Grinch post.  Despite all my attempts at not writing one this year, I find it a lesson in futility.  Unfortunately, the abundance of hypocrisy from most American Christians galls me into spilling my grievances onto my blog.  Most of this post contain things I have ranted about in the past and feel the need to continue ranting.  (At least, I feel it bares repeating).  It is my wish the end of this post will be less Ginchy and more preachy.  There is altogether too much hate rippling through this country without adding the bah humbug aspect to an already tense situation – even though that is exactly what I am doing.

When I see most Christians, I see overly hyped religious insanity.  These are people who celebrate the birth of a fictitious guy who practices magic in the name of a God who may or may not exist.  Their zealotry worsens in the last three months of the year.

It starts with October and Halloween.  They decry a pagan holiday by calling it evil and a day for worshiping the devil.  After all, witchcraft is insidiously practiced by immoral people who believe in false Gods (and the devil).  Of course, we must forget that these baseless accusations come from people who worships a dude who practiced magic.  Though, Christians do no find this brand of magic evil because the man is named Jesus.

Then there is November and Thanksgiving.  American Christians feel a little more giving than usual.  They donate food to organizations who voluntarily cook a Thanksgiving meal to homeless people, or they are the volunteers.  While dishing out overcooked vegetables, they feel an inflated sense of self-importance because they were generous with their time and money (in the most frugal sense).

As the Christians sit around their Family Values perfect Thanksgiving table, they can be assured they did a good deed.  Perhaps they do it to forget the skeletons in the familial closet or to get a good nap in front of a sports game after stuffing themselves silly.

What about that perfect Thanksgiving table?  What about the family members that would rather be elsewhere than attempting to engage in conversations uncommon to them or uncomfortable small talk?  How about all the family fighting that starts at the Thanksgiving table?  It must be an epidemic this time of year especially when writers felt the need to publish articles on how to avoid conversations involving politics at the family gathering.

Why take pride in a traditional family gathering that does not promote togetherness, but how to be in the same room and separate?  After the meal, do all the family members clean up then play boardgames?  It is actually the opposite.

The female members clean up after the meal while strategizing their Black Friday shopping.  The male members go into the living room, turn on football, and free their bellies from the confines of their pants.  The kids do not go off and play.  They pull out their various electronic equipment and pretend the real world does not exist.

Finally, there is December.  Through most of the year those American Christians sneer at poor people and call them lazy thieves.  In their mind, what else can they be?  Poor people thrive off the backs of the rest of the country through government handouts.  Since they get money for free, why would they ever want to work?

First, the last question makes me angry.  Poor people want to work.  They do not want a handout.  They are painfully aware of the opinions from their fellow misinformed American citizens.

Second, the poor do not choose to be poor.  They got that way through circumstances beyond their control.

Third, most cannot get a job because of several reasons.  Some include an aging workforce or lack of a physical address.  Employers do not want to hire someone above a certain age.  This is called ageism.  There are also employers who will not hire someone because they lack an actual address.  When a person is homeless, they have no address and cannot work.  It is a circular problem with little to no way out.  There are very few programs that are designed to help the poor find a job let alone a home.  In some states, the programs are set up for homeless veterans only.  While it is admirable to take care of our vets, not all homeless Americans fought in a war or served.

Despite most American Christian views of the homeless being lazy thieves, December is a time for them to be generous to all people they consider to be degenerate lowlifes.  It is the Christian thing to do in December and not any other time of year.

stop_religionWhile they are practicing their piousness and putting aside their baseless biases, they are shoving Christmas and their religion down the throats of everyone in their vicinity despite the religious beliefs of their neighbors.  Personally, I view crosses as signs of torture and the nativity scene an obviously flawed myth I am constantly forced to view this time of year.  If I say anything against these symbols of Christianity, they scream that I am stifling their religious freedom and I am shoving my beliefs down their throats.

I find most Christians barely tolerable through the year.  Seeing quotes of the bible, their abundance of liberally displayed religious paraphernalia, and hearing their insincere have a blessed day are like nails on a chalkboard.  They get downright annoying from the end of October to the end of November and entirely insufferable in December.

Regardless, I wish the status quo of all that religious tripe back instead of the hate riddled uncertainty of this year.

Americans are a people of oppression and greed.  Our ancestors stole land from the indigenous people and later attempted genocide.  They brought slaves from Africa and other countries and they considered it their legal right.  Our ancestors fought a war among each other because of their many differences instead of resolving those differences peacefully.  Finally, we are willfully destroying the environment to the detriment of future generations and citing religion as justification.

That is only a small list of our flaws.

We should be a country that learns from our history and the history of the countries our ancestors came (sometimes ran) from.  As a nation, we should come together to make a better place for people to live, we should be an example of human decency.  Tolerance should be our mantra.  Our children should be learning empathy along with fact-based materials in our homes and schools.  Workers should be paid fairly to support their families.  We should have the best healthcare system with affordable drugs and a single payer option for all.

Yet, we are and have none of these things.  We are a country where hate wins.

We allow the most degenerate sludge of society ruin our country with their abundantly greedy natures, lying tongues, and thoroughly false beliefs.  This should be a safe country for immigrants attempting to find a secure place to live away from war, poverty, and injustice.  Instead, it has become a hostile country for immigrants where the truly illiterate lemmings and equally illiterate demagogue forget they are ultimately descended from immigrants.

This country has egregiously wronged the Native Americans in the past and they are still suffering from our most greedy citizens and leaders.  The indigenous people of this country should be the most respected and listened too.  Yet, our country showers them with water cannons in freezing temperatures.  Meanwhile, armed miscreants privileged by their gender and color of their skin can safely desecrate a wildlife refuge with no resistance and little consequence.

Struggle-iconI hear my fellow decent Americans view this with a weary sigh and say they are tired of fighting.  Honestly, I am tired of fighting too.  Yet, my weary country people and I will not stop fighting.  Someone has to step up and push back against the hate.  The decent American people who sat out the multitudes of fights should get up and help.  Perhaps, if we fight long and hard enough, this will be a great peaceful country.

The benefits of releasing your inner child.

img_0001At the beginning of the year, I found a passion in adult coloring. I admit there are people who laugh at me when they see me coloring or when I tell them I color. Those people simply can’t fathom a childish hobby having any adult health benefits. I color to reduce stress, which actually works. Coloring also has some other side benefits I never imagined.

Some people think that coloring would actually be stressful. You have to make sure to color inside the lines, pick the correct color, and the picture is finished perfectly.

If I was making a sign to show in public or attempting to impress Picasso, those things would cause me considerable stress. When I’m coloring in my personal coloring book, I have no deadline. I don’t want to impress anyone and I don’t have to adhere to specific coloring guidelines. In this activity, I’m the boss. Who cares if I make a mistake or use an unconventional color?

Sure, there are few people in the world wired like me. My brain goes 100 MPH thinking of at least three different things at the same time (six at most)and I have a penchant for reading a good book while watching TV simultaneously.

I can read your mind, dear reader. You’re thinking that such things are impossible. One person’s impossible is another woman’s daily life.

As you can imagine, meditation is impossible. I’ve tried it and all I showed for it was frustration. In a surprising twist, the act of coloring can cause a meditative state. It helps clear the mind. Being an active person, I should have known my type of meditation would require me being involved in an activity.

Coloring can also help people who suffer from anxiety.

Just like meditation, coloring also allows us to switch off our brains from other thoughts and focus only on the moment, helping to alleviate free-floating anxiety. It can be particularly effective for people who aren’t comfortable with more creatively expressive forms of art, says Berberian, “My experience has been that those participants who are more guarded find a lot of tranquility in coloring an image. It feels safer and it creates containment around their process,” she adds.

It can also be a solace for people grieving a loved one.

For Ledger and others, coloring books offer a real elixir, a way of getting past hurdles — mental, physical or both — that can’t be replicated by more-traditional approaches.

Joanne Schwandes, a 67-year-old Silver Spring resident, says that coloring books have boosted her confidence in fine motor skills weakened by a tremor in her arm. A Virginia mother says that coloring has helped her stay calm in the face of her son’s violent behavior. On one Facebook coloring group, members share their creations along with their stories of healing — using coloring as a tool against self-harming or as a way to manage the effects of physical illness or fend off depression and other difficulties.

img_0002Adult coloring books are considered a fad just like the many different diets that come and go. People roll their eyes and say it’ll never work when they’re really secretly trying it out in the privacy of their home.

Fads, or bandwagons, generally have negative connotations, an implication that a person should be ashamed to try the fad. When it comes to adult coloring books, the first reaction I get from most people is Coloring is for kids.  Young Adult books are considered for teenagers, but I see a number of adults unabashedly reading them (including me). What’s their point other than their rigid need to label activities and limit their imaginations?

So coloring books are not for everyone. Good thing there are other childish pastimes that are mentally beneficial for adults. Happy playing!

Book Review: Witch’s Pyre (The Worldwalker Trilogy Book #3) by Josephine Angelini

51mq7tagogl-_sx331_bo1204203200_I have been waiting forever for this last installment of The Worldwalker Trilogy. As my readers know, I usually read a book in twenty-four hours. I decided to take this all in and experience the journey at a leisurely pace.

(It did not help that I also had work last week and could not stay up twenty-four hours with the hope of functioning the next day).

The writer did something that I absolutely abhor with her second book, she ended on a cliffhanger.

Lily Proctor and her coven were dropped off somewhere on the West Coast by the creepy bee Woven. They should have been dead, it was what the characters expected, it was what the readers expected (not that I wanted them to die, but it was looking dire).  Yet, that is not what happened. This forced the readers to suffer moths before we discovered why they were spared.

The coven is ushered into a seemingly prosperous city where not everything is as it appears to be. After all, it was run by the bee Woven, which readers know people and Woven of any kind do not mix.  The Governor of this prosperous city, Grace, is highly suspicious since she is the only one who has an “understanding” with them.

I like how Angelini explained the mystery of the Woven, and exactly why they are a problem.

Lily did not disappoint throughout her journey. She stayed strong and did not cross that all important line that would cause the decimation of the human race through the use of nuclear bombs.

If there is anything to learn in this trilogy, it is to not keep secrets – no matter how they might shatter the other person. Although, Lillian keeping a secret from Rowan is why we have a trilogy.

Rowan disappointed me a little from the second book into the third. He does make up for it and at least he realizes his mistakes.  However, Lily’s Tristan does not learn from his mistakes, which is the very reason he ends up dead.  At least his alternative self makes up for his shortcomings, and I was a little sorry that Lily’s Tristen died (even though it was his stupid fault).

The book did not have an “ending” per say. It was more like keeping it open for a spinoff? If this is true, I look forward to whatever the author creates next for the Worldwalker environment.