Long Time Coming

“What is broken cannot be long ignored without consequences.”

Every single day we deal with the consequences of our collective actions. While many people have chosen paths of inclusive positive productivity to help make this world better for everyone on it, there are also people whose thoughts, words, and deeds stem from their fear, insecurity, and greed. The helpers and the hurters are often at complete odds with one another, and there are many people who flit between the two sides depending on the issue/event at the time. Individual context and ingrained ideology define each person’s perception of what group they see themselves in and that flexibility helps keep the very real issues facing the entire world from being resolved.

My context/beliefs regarding what makes someone a good person/helper is a person who leaves the people and places they encounter better than they found them. A person who judges people on their character, words, and actions but not on things such as skin color, gender preference/sexual orientation, and economic status.  A person who refuses to engage in the oppression of others based on things like skin color, gender, sexual orientation, or economic status and will also fight against those that would encourage it. A person who thinks that the safety of people and the environment are more important than amassing vast amounts of wealth. A person who thinks power comes from being able to inspire others, not through intimidation and brute force.

Unfortunately my definition is not everyone’s definition. There are a lot of people I would classify as “hurters” who think they are just the best people ever, and that the ones fighting for things like social justice for all are the ones trying to destroy everything. People who think they need to keep someone else down in order to feel like they’re worth something have too long had the ability to shape laws and policies that affect everyone, and it needs to stop. Too many people suffer, and have suffered, unnecessarily just to keep a select few in positions of power.

Somehow, despite thousands of years of “society”, we still haven’t learned how to just be the human race.

The peaceful protests and angry riots that have spread across the country (and world) were inevitable. Too many BIPOC people have died, unnecessarily, by the hands of supposed officers of the peace. Those deaths are a consequence of the system that allows these actions to go unpunished. The damage caused during some of these events are also a consequence of the same system which creates/maintains conditions to keep a significant portion of society in a constant state of lack and fear. This system may be functioning as designed (to keep only certain people in power) but it is most definitely broken. These consequences come because not enough people have worked to resolve the root cause of the issues. These consequences cannot be resolved through military force (not for long, not permanently) or through apathy. We (helpers) need to take accountability and then do the work to start repairing the damage that allowing this system to remain broken for so long has caused.

There will be a lot of push back from those who currently benefit from the existing system. There will be deflections, false narratives, intimidation tactics, and assertions of dominance. They (hurters) do not want change to happen. They want to avoid the consequences. They are doing everything they can to ensure they can stay in power.

It is up to the rest of us to hold firm and refuse to back down on our demands of justice.

It is up to the rest of us to acknowledge the false narratives for what they are, to ignore the deflections and distractions aimed at diverting our attention.

It is up to the rest of us to see these events through clear eyes and learn/understand the historical context behind them.

It is up to the rest of us to use our written words, voices, and actions to support those who are unable to defend themselves against the tyranny of the broken system.

It is up to the rest of us to use any tools at our disposal to help enact the changes needed to stop the reign of oppression, hypocrisy, and injustice currently in existence.

If we don’t act now we may not be able to divert the direction we’re heading towards under the current administration and it will only get worse for everyone.

Hate may have won a lot of battles lately, but love can still win the war.

NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE

 

 

PSA: Unethical Company Alert

Next time you find yourself in need of a car rental, under no circumstances should you rent from Green Motion. They may bill themselves as an eco conscious car rental company, but they have a long history of screwing over their customers.

I rented with them in early Oct of 2019, they were a mystery company assigned after I selected the rate on one of those travel comparison sites. My initial search of them didn’t prompt the slew of negative experiences I later found when I added more than their name to the search bar. The experience waiting for pickup, combined with the very unhelpful (bordering on rude) front desk person didn’t endear me to the company. I got a dented/scratched up 2018 Nissan Versa and eventually, after much longer than normal, was able to leave with my rental car and start my vacation.

Early into my vacation, while the car was parked in a police patrolled lot for less than an hour, apparently someone attempted to break into the vehicle (which was empty of all belongings and should not have been enticing to anyone) and slightly damaged only the exterior door handle of the drivers side door. (Side note: I had been told that the additional insurance one can get from the rental company only covered collision damage, not vandalism, by the front desk clerk) I flagged down an officer already dealing with another rental car break in nearby (oddly enough it only seemed to be rental cars that had been broken into, not any of the expensive non rentals parked in that lot) and filed a report on it. I contacted Green Motion (took a long time to get anyone on the phone) and they told me to bring the car back and switch it out for a new one.

As I waited for someone in the rental office to help I looked up repair costs for an exterior door handle replacement on a 2018 Versa. Found numerous vendors who could replace it, same day and would come to where you were, for all under $220 including parts and labor. Apparently this is a common thing down in Miami and they are prepared for such things. After having the Green Motion employee look over the car and compare it to the original status sheet, he confirmed the only new damage was to the exterior car door handle. I asked if I could just get it repaired and the employee told me even if I did they’d still charge me for damages and it was better for them to have it repaired in house. He said they would need to keep the $500 deposit and when I pointed out that the repairs were clearly cheaper than that he told me they would reimburse the remainder  of my deposit within 6 weeks. I made sure to file a claim with my insurance company about this, just to be safe, and then left with a different Nissan Versa in even worse shape than the first one. The whole process took most of the day and pretty much ruined part of my vacation.

More than 6 weeks later I never did see any reimbursement. Called my insurance company about the claim and they said they’d been having the hardest time getting in touch with anyone who could help them at Green Motion. I assumed I was never going to see my $500 deposit back and was annoyed about that.

Then 6 months later (late mid March) I notice another charge from Green Motion on the credit card I had originally booked with. It was for almost $800. No explanation from the company and no one answering the phone when I called. Contacted my insurance company to see if anything had ever happened with that claim. They informed me that Green Motion had submitted a $2100+ repair bill to them for reimbursement. My insurance company couldn’t find a legitimate reason for the cost and sent them a check for the highest amount it should have reasonably come to. Combined with the $500 of mine they had already kept, the company had over $1300 to repair something that cost usually $150, but definitely less than $220. I asked for a copy of the estimate and noticed the image they added looked different from my pictures of the damage and they had listed repairs for what could only be preexisting damage on the vehicle. They had also added extensive “out of service” fees and 16.8 hours of labor on a repair that should take no more than 1.5 hours to complete to the bill they sent. I was pretty annoyed that they felt such behavior was acceptable. I asked when they (my insurance) dealt with Green Motion and it was in January.

So now, now that the world is facing a pandemic and there’s economic uncertainty, they suddenly start in with the secret credit card charges. I went back online and started researching to see if anyone else had similar experiences. It was like a floodgate had opened on my search results. They have a reputation in the UK as being shady as fuck. There are countless horror stories from people all over Europe dealing with bogus charges, shit customer service, canceled reservations where GM kept the money despite being the party that canceled, and even investigative stories that found Green Motion employees are paid a bonus to make up fake damage on returned vehicles and Green Motion is known for billing customers for preexisting damage.

I am, of course, going to continue my endeavors to retrieve the money Green Motion has stolen from me. I just wanted to warn people that they should NEVER FUCKING RENT ANYTHING FROM THIS UNETHICAL COMPANY!

Shitshow: the current world status

You’d think that the current pandemic spread round the planet would be a uniting factor for humanity. A common “enemy” that forces us to put aside our petty differences in the interest of general perseverance. A forceful reminder that people are more important than profit. A highlight of who actually props up a functioning society when it comes right down to it. A painful lesson prompting changes to so many broken systems, unless of course you’re the current president of the US.

I am staying (and working from) home. I am washing my hands. I am sanitizing surfaces regularly. I have cancelled my vacation(s) for April. I have not purchased Covid-induced low priced airfare because I suspect traveling will be encumbered for an indeterminable amount of time and I am not going to pretend otherwise. I have not panic bought any supplies nor have I hoarded toilet paper or hand sanitizer. Yet, lots of people are going about daily routines, being selfish, believing obvious lies, endangering others, and spreading the damn virus all around like idiots.

The US federal government’s response to this pandemic is abysmal. Luckily there are plenty of state governors and officials, responsible businesses, and citizens willing to ignore the bullshittery coming from the president and his men. These people are working to help slow the spread, regardless of any negative impact to the stock market/economy. However, there’s only so much they can do, and if they are being contradicted by a soulless conman and his cronies, the devastating impact of this virus will continue to increase. How anyone can look at Trump and still claim he is doing a great job and has their best interest at heart is either extremely wealthy and determined to protect that wealth and status no matter the cost to others, or they are beyond delusional and clearly have a death wish.

The situation is going to get worse before it gets better. What is it going to take to make people wake up and realize that we have FUCKED SHIT UP by allowing special interests to dictate priorities and shape laws that do nothing to protect the planet or people on it? The whole “got mine now and fuck the future” mentality is corrosive and an offense to the potential of humanity. If this doesn’t incite real systemic change, I fear nothing will. Normally I would say if society can’t learn how to do better than they don’t deserve to continue, but there are so many wonderful people that contribute in such a positive way to the environments in which they reside that it’s just not fair a smaller percentage of shitty people get to ruin it for the rest of us. We might need to practice social distancing for now, but when the pandemic has passed we need to unite and stand against all the destructive systems in place that allowed this to occur and make sure that we don’t keep repeating our mistakes.

Goodbye Democracy

On January 31st 2020 one party of American government decided they gave ZERO FUCKS about their constitutional duty and voted against having witnesses at the Senate trial. That they aren’t disputing the actions of the president, but instead are saying that they’re fine with what he did, while several are also in conflict by voting and one of the counsel for the president was also in conflict as they themselves are witnesses should really be a giant red warning flag to every American citizen.

FUCK YOU and FUCK YOUR ASSAULT on DEMOCRACY!

I’m not surprised but I am very disappointed.

I will not forget and I will not forgive.

Happy Impeachment Day

As I’ve listened to the arguments from both sides for/against impeachment of Donald Trump, the long-standing question I have is how is it legal for elected officials to stand there during the committee hearings (and now in the house) and blatantly lie with zero compunction?

Even if they want to dispute the facts from the investigation based on “intent”, they are still definitely lying about things Trump has literally said on camera to the public. They lie about dates (timelines) that are easily proven and well documented. They lie about events that were witnessed by the nation. They break the oath they have taken to side with the country over party. Still don’t understand how this is acceptable in any way.

The Argument So Far

One side says there is irrefutable evidence.

The other side says wait longer and use the courts so that you don’t open up dangerous precedents.

Me in my car screaming at the radio how frustrated I am by all the deflections, lies, and misleading rants.

No one changing their minds.

And why would they? If the people complaining that this is all a hoax were willing to take facts into consideration (instead of ignoring them because they don’t support the narrative they tell themselves) there wouldn’t even be the constant argument/debate happening. Since facts and honor don’t matter to certain people there will be no way to convince them there is a valid reason for impeachment. They can’t understand that the only reason anyone suggested it right off the bat in 2016 was because he committed impeachable actions before he even became president, and he continues to do so. You can tell yourself whatever bullshit you want, but the rest of the country has said it won’t lower the standards to suit your interests. It has nothing to do with just not liking him, and everything to do with him being the worst person to ever hold the office of the presidency based on his words and actions that divide a nation, jeopardize national security (and our elections) and reduce our standing on a global scale. Basically he has done the opposite of what a president is supposed to do.

If a democrat had conducted himself this way, impeachment would have already taken place.

Stop pretending. Stop ruining things for everyone just because you’re worried you won’t get to control everything anymore for your own befit, others be dammed. I wish you embraced compassion. I wish you were unable to block yourself off from empathy. I wish your unwavering nature was one of kindness, decency, and generosity. I wish I could call you honorable. I wish your goals were to protect the planet and advance scientific endeavors that benefited the population as a whole. I wish you lived a life of love, instead of fear. I think that would be the worst punishment I could ever inflict upon you.

 

A Call to Reality

My first thought was he lied in every word, this orange-hued grifter devoid of soul. Like a poison spreading across the land, breaking apart what once was whole. Family turning against each other, friends dividing across party lines. A country torn apart by words, lies so abundant they become the norm.

Delusionality on television screens, in printed articles and media feeds. The illusion of our stability fading with each “breaking news” that chips away at our democracy. One narcissistic liar alone could not achieve such impact, but tho many could look at him and see the decency he lacked, there were enough who wanted to be fooled.

With his ever changing message wearing down logical discernment of the masses he sits in his room laughing at the destruction. Players who think they’ll profit from him do his bidding against sworn pledges. In regards to performing as a leader he lacks in basic functions, and spends time yelling in front of hedges.

How then do we defend these opinions claimed as facts, as we struggle to comprehend if it’s just common sense his believers lack. Can it simply be that they’re just fooled, or are they truly filled with hate, thinking this man is worthy to rule, never realizing their mistake.

The emperor who has no clothes and everyone is cheering as if he’s fully dressed but this is no story in a book. His words, his actions, impacting millions. This man with no shame who is a villain and crook. Yet I should not even call him a man, for he has no honor nor wisdom. He is but a spoiled child who never grew up, yet somehow now rules this kingdom.

For that is exactly what he wants this to be, a place he can rule without the checks of democracy. With him as the supreme ruler above common toils, making illegal deals to line his pockets. Instilling his family in positions of power and demanding they all stay loyal.

This dangerous path we tread will lead to darkness and ruin, if we can not find ways to defend against the alternate versions of “truth”. We must figure out how to unite the divide that’s amassed cross the world, or else we’ll lose more than our nation as the destruction unfurls.

 

 

Does It Break Your Heart?

Watching so many people blatantly disregard facts in lieu of stubborn denial breaks my heart.  The idea that there are countless individuals who have zero regard for common decency, zero interest in preserving our planet, and zero desire to assist anybody who is even the slightest bit different from them breaks my heart.

How do you wake up each morning, full of so much hate and be ok with that?

How do you fall asleep at night without realizing you’re a cancer on civilized society and this planet?

How can you remain so fucking oblivious to the hypocrisy and corruption you live and breath and defend each day?

How can you look at what is going on in America, hell across the planet, and not understand what side of the line you’re on, and if you do know that you’re on the side of bigotry, hatred, destruction, and corruption, how do you live with that?

I don’t want some deflecting, self-righteous, gaslighting response either. I challenge you to state your case using logic, truthful facts, and justifiable morality.

The idea that my country is playing chicken with an authoritarian agenda fucking BREAKS MY HEART.

The possibility that even after irrefutable proof has been obtained and presented that there are still numerous people who refuse to acknowledge it, and refuse to put the wellbeing of their country over their allegiance to an epitome of vileness BREAKS MY HEART.

If there continues to be a divide between reality and delusionality this democracy won’t survive.

 

Hard to Watch

Trump held a rally near my city the other day and I debated going to the protest for it. Ultimately it didn’t work out for me to attend (several mitigating factors) but as part of my decision making process I had to take into account the possibility that my attendance at a Trump protest rally could expose me to a dangerous situation. I could be hit, pepper sprayed, trampled, run over, or even shot at. As I contemplated that, it made me sad, and angry, that I had to even consider that in my decision to attend. Fear is a tactic weak people use to try and intimidate others from speaking up.

I also know that if the protest remained peaceful the entire time supporters would claim everyone was paid to be there, or that the protesters weren’t very energetic/enthusiastic/authentic, that it was a “weak” turnout, etc. If there were any moments of violence, it would be used to as fuel to portray them in a very negative fashion. Thousands went, I watched live streaming of it, I messaged with people during it and for the most part it was peaceful. Until the supporters started to exit the rally. That’s when there started to be issues. Immediately there were portrayals of the protesters being the aggressive ones, and I sat in my house wondering just how accurate that message was. I’m not saying I believe that only Trump supporters would/could be violent and protesters would/could only be peaceful, because when you get a crowd together violence is always a possibility and there are always people (no matter what political affiliation they have) who will escalate a situation and ruin it for the rest of us. The difference is in the actions, cumulatively speaking, in the overall rhetoric of the majority, in what they allow and condone as acceptable behavior. Before the rally ended and the protesters started getting pepper sprayed I had already been observing the general opinions being posted on the old social media sites. While it sure seemed like each side was convinced that the other side was the violent delusional ones, I found significantly more negative comments from Trump supporters (disparaging the Minneapolis mayor, and/or any protesters) than I did from protesters or protest supporters. One comment even talked about needing “ethnic cleansing” of democrat supporters. Right there, with no shame. I took a screen shot to remind myself how much society has back peddled. While I don’t discount the existence of an equally troubling comment from a protester somewhere, I never found one that was vicious or hateful like that.

To also see so many thousands of Minnesotans embracing Trump’s message of hate and being stubbornly oblivious to the hypocrisy, corruption, and destruction of it all was absolutely painful. For a brief moment I had been hopeful that the stipulation of the city of Minneapolis and the statement from AEG requiring Trump to pre-pay for costs associated with rally security and road closures might actually hold, but as per usual, he refused, there were no consequences, and he used it as more fodder in his constant efforts to divide the nation. I will not hold my breath waiting to see if his campaign eventually pays the bill, especially after his “twitter fight” with the mayor. As to the argument about the bill being much higher than Obama’s back in 2009, not only has the cost for everything increased in the last decade, the propagation of hate and violence towards others that has been encouraged by Trump leads to needing way more security as well as more street closures since the level of protesters are higher, plainly put, it’s comparing pomegranates to bananas…just because they are both fruit doesn’t mean they cost the same. Not that anyone’s going to point that out.

Every single day it gets harder to watch this shit show go on. I don’t understand how anyone who thinks they are a decent person could support him, and if they aren’t claiming to be decent people I would be really scared, because then it just means they are super ok with no accountability, mass destruction of the planet, zero regard for other people’s lives if they happen to be even slightly different, alienation of our allies, the reverence of authoritarian dictators, personal gain over everything and everyone, racism, sexism, and the degradation of liberty. I seriously hope they impeach him, and Pence, because this cannot go on, not if we want America (as a land of the free, home of the brave) to survive.