Shenanigans

I am voluntarily watching C-SPAN today because I want to see the supreme court hearing on Kavanaugh. I am finding it difficult to stay quiet as I sit at work listening to such bullshittery. Even if you didn’t do any personal research on the man, even if you think he should get confirmed, you can’t deny that the way this hearing is being conducted is not on par with the processes in place. The double standard is clearly evident. I’m not watching democracy at work. I am watching democracy being spit upon, being mocked, and it makes me furiously sad.

Watching republican senators get angry about the public using their right to free speech should be concerning. Refusing to acknowledge or vote on motions that have been seconded should be considered a failure on the part of the chair. Continuing to conceal thousands of documents even after releasing thousands of documents last minute with no time to review them prior to the confirmation hearing doesn’t show “transparency” like the republicans are claiming they are doing.

As the week goes on and more and more questions are asked of Kavanaugh, if we get no real answers, if we get no real transparency, and this confirmation gets railroaded through without following the path of integrity it will forever taint the role of SCJ. It will set a dangerous precedent that goes against democracy and the very principles this country was founded on. This needs to matter, otherwise what is the point of American freedom?

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America Dies in Apathy

It’s been said that democracy dies in darkness, but America is more than just a democracy. It’s a country, albeit stolen, that was founded on principles of freedom, tolerance, the melding of different cultures, and balancing forces.

As I’ve watched the country I was born in, and mostly took for granted, slide downwards on the same slippery slope Germany did when they let authoritarian tactics gain legitimacy, I fell into a depression so deep I pulled back from everything.

In the past I’ve been very clear on how I feel about the current president and his administration. I never shied away from stating that I think we (collectively) all need to do better, stop letting fear dictate our actions, and be willing to embrace the differences in one another. Yet as things have gone from bad to worse in America I stopped speaking out. Part of that was the depression, part was because of the personal drama I was dealing with, but part of that was just the idea that my voice doesn’t matter so there wasn’t a point to continually rallying people against the actions of Trump and his supporters.

Except that’s the trap. Feeling like there’s no point in trying.

As each new story broke many Americans felt like they should be outraged and something needed to be done. Except, nothing has been done, save for the desensitization of the general population about actions that were priorly unacceptable. People cry out “that’s not right, that’s not ok” and congress ignores the will of the masses. Democrats are virtually impotent in their ability to stop anything, therefor there is no ability to check or balance anything. For everyone who doesn’t like the direction the country is going in, there’s the very real danger that we let things get too out of hand already and that only makes it harder to believe we can do anything about it.

At this point some of the horrifying realities Americans already have to face are that we have a Muslim ban the Supreme Court just upheld, we have hateful racists called “fine people” by our political leaders, we have been pulled out of the Paris Climate Change as well as some trade pacts which only causes the rest of the world to be far less willing to want to work with us, we are told not to believe our own eyes by Trump and his administration, we have people in the same administration brazenly engaging in unethical behavior, allies are insulted and ruthless dictators treated with respect, and now we have concentration camps for children and the people running them have no desire to help reunite the families torn apart.

WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK PEOPLE!

How do we come back from this? Can we vote our way out of it, because I am not sure we can. However, we can’t continue to sit back and hope that someone will come save us.

This shit isn’t ok. I don’t care who you are, if you think what is happening in America is acceptable and doesn’t need to be stopped right now then you’re an insecure coward with no empathy and no investment in a sustainable future and I am not afraid to state that. If we’re picking sides than I am on the side of democracy, of decency, of truth and of a future I’d actually want to bring the next generation into.

Those that don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it and I don’t particularly want to repeat WWII. I’d rather there be a whole new civil war.

 

 

 

Throwback Thursday (The New “Middle Class”)

I questioned who was benefiting from this shallow society we now live in. Pondered what the cushion between the haves and have-nots was, now that the middle class has all but disappeared. As I was debating this topic with another person the answer suddenly presented itself.

The new cushion between the rich and rest of us is the entourage and handlers who make their living suckling at the teat of wealthy individuals. Take for example one of the major players, Jonathan, of Village Green Properties. He is a millionaire (he has an F150 Ferrari hanging from his ceiling…just because) who continually makes poor design decisions and wastes money on ill-advised projects. He has an entire executive staff who will stomp down upon one another to get in his favor or impress him so they can climb ever closer to him on his corporate ladder. They refuse to say no to him out of fear he will cast them aside. They do not share the valid concerns of lower employees about issues that arise at his properties. They will ignore cost-effective/ethical solutions brought to their attention by anyone lower on the totem pole than they are. They would rather chew people up and spit them out in a pattern of failure than address the idea that the process Jonathan has put in place, or their own terrible ideas aren’t successful. Anyone who appears to be willing to offer Jonathan a different opinion/option is seen as a threat and kept at bay or let go. The hard workers who would ensure continued revenue at rental properties are continually sacrificed to balance mismanaged budgets and take the fall for mistakes of the entourage.  I have seen it happen at several companies I work for as well.

This isn’t only applicable in the business world. Society in general treats wealthy people as if they deserve more respect and less accountability than non-wealthy people. It usually has nothing to do with a winning personality either. It is the hope that by being nice to, and doing favors for, rich people, they will bestow some of their wealth and protection to the people surrounding them. It is the collection of people hoping to get close enough to the money tree to break themselves off a branch or two that form a protective bubble of delusion around those rooted in prosperity. They are the ones who keep the rich safe from the outrage of the poor.

As the pool of super wealthy consolidates to a smaller and smaller number, will the entourages of each rich person left also dwindle? At what point will people stop chasing the almighty dollar and open their eyes to the dysfunction of planetary management. Money has an arbitrary value which means we ultimately control what it is worth. The fact that so many people sacrifice ethics, integrity, time and even lives for a made-up commodity is pretty ridiculous if you stop and think about it. Greed has already been the downfall of many people and civilizations, yet it appears that too many people have not learned the lessons of our past. If we don’t stand up to greed and put an end to its reign it will also be the downfall of our entire population.

Throwback Thursday (Manifesto of Sanity)

In a society that is increasingly parting ways with integrity, honor, ethics, standards and logic, the opportunity arises for chaos which will tear apart the fabric holding our population together. As a member of this global society you should view it as your duty to help ensure the continuation of the freedoms so many others have fought and died to provide you. Turning a blind eye only gives consent for the behavior that is destroying our collective intelligence and engaging in the destructive behavior should never even be considered an acceptable option. Although the majority of the masses may already have fallen prey to this addiction to drama, the rest of us must stand strong and ever fight to restore the values that are necessary to survive in a world where you do not have to be afraid that every other person around you will either frustrate the hell out of you or screw you over for their own selfish purposes. We must help the contaminated population remember the benefits of living in a world where you could count on your neighbors to have your back, where you actually wanted to spend time with your family, when you were proud of your friends, your house and your job. We need to take back the times where a person’s word meant something and you could trust strangers. A world that is tolerant of other people’s creativity, sexual orientation and religious/political views does not have to be a world that also allows pandering to the lowest common denominator, a denominator that continues to plummet each day to new and more disturbing lows. Regardless of your personal preferences, laziness and wickedness are not justified by any logical argument. Each person is responsible for being responsible for themselves, if you are an able bodied person of reasonable age you should contribute in a positive manner to the society in which you reside. Be kind to others, offer assistance to those who are no longer able bodied, uphold standards, develop a work ethic and a desire to continue growing intellectually. Take pride in your actions and honor your commitments. Accept any limitations you may have and instead of denying or crying in indignation, work to overcome them. Think about the long term effects of your decisions before you act on them, choose healthy options and encourage the same of those around you. Lead by example and always strive to live a life that inspires others. If we make the effort to hold on to honor, integrity, ethics, standards and logic we can have the best this world has to offer. We will have the freedom to go out and enjoy ourselves with the added benefit of knowing we can safely walk down the street. We can go to work and know our tax dollars will be going to maintain the infrastructure of our country and not to corruption. The entertainment industry will once again provide actual story lines in movies and television and not just slap some reality star up there to act like an asshole over and over again. Technology will advance at an increasingly rapid rate because large corporations will no longer supress new inventions just because they may take away from their finite and outdated goods and services. Right now we are circling the drain and if we continue to allow this crazy chaos to thrive our society will crumble past the point of repair. Do not take the quickly declining population of responsible people for granted, if they are not replenished and maintaned then we are doomed. Help restore sanity to the mass actions of this world, believe that you can make a difference and never stop fighting for a planet worth living on.

Throwback Thursday (Disconnected)

*Wrote this back in November of 2013, more apt than ever…

Have you ever met a person whose reality just didn’t click with the majority of others? They are in their own little world and completely unable or unwilling to notice that what they are saying makes no sense to anyone else. I have discussed before how perception is reality and I am starting to wonder if the trend towards individual realities is contributing to the societal disconnect that has spread like a poison throughout much of the world.

Husband has a friend who, more and more, I am starting to dread having to interact with. He has no regard for the rules of my house. When he visits he constantly drinks all our beverages (bottles of alcohol/entire boxes of K-cup coffee), eats all our food, hogs the computer, leaves the toilet seat up after getting piss all over the floor and has even lit cigarettes inside knowing full well this is a smoke free household. I woke up at 6 am because I heard someone in the kitchen and it ended up being him helping himself to several peanut butter sandwiches in the dark. He dominates the conversations but never makes any sense and isn’t willing to listen to any input from others. When I hear he is coming my first instinct is to hide my coffee and make plans to be out of the house for the duration of his visit. If you ask him he will tell you there is nothing wrong with him and it is the rest of the world that is wrong.

He is just one of the people husband or I know that are really disconnected from general society. There is another guy who spends all his time holed up in his apartment watching questionable documentaries and playing Xbox…his ability to socialize with others without conflict has dramatically decreased over the years. One lady I know drifts through life naively refusing to see the world for what it is and won’t listen to anyone unless they are devoutly religious or famous in some way. There is no way to have an educated discussion with her without getting so frustrated that you just have to walk away. They both are absolutely positive they are perfectly fine and it is everyone else that has a problem.

Even within my family people raised by the same people took completely different views on the same lessons. Some of us practice responsible lifestyles where we don’t spend outside of our means, exercise regularly and eat a relatively healthy diet. We are always willing to help out others and are always there for our family members in need. Others went the opposite direction. They think there is nothing wrong with maxing their credit cards and then begging the rest of us for money. They bitch about how they feel like shit but have no interest in exercise or eating healthy and we should just be sympathetic to their complaining. They are always busy if we need something but we need to drop everything if they need help.

Their reality is so different from ours and it causes a disconnect between us. The further the divide, the shakier the bridges between us becomes. I foresee a time in the future where I won’t be willing to meet them halfway on a dangerously fragile bridge and it will be set on fire in a sweet release that leaves me with less stress but possibly more guilt. I wonder if this is the same feeling many other people have when they encounter someone whose reality is so far away from theirs. I wonder if the same questions run through their heads. Is it worth building a bridge to cross the divide? Do you have the time and patience you need to build and maintain a connection? Is the other side going to put any effort into it too?

As less and less people are willing to put forth the effort to make those connections the realities pull even further apart. It is a ripple effect that is turning into a wave of disconnect.

Lesser of Two Evils

As this shitshow of an election process continues it’s march towards the finish line I hear more and more people say things like “Trump is horrible, but Clinton is no better” and while I’m not here to persuade anyone to vote a certain way I simply can’t agree with the above assertion.

That would be like saying a deer tick with lyme’s disease is just as horrible as a non-disease carrying deer tick. That a mosquito carrying malaria parasites or Zika is just as horrible as any regular old mosquito that won’t transmit anything to you. Sure they are both blood-sucking parasites but one is inherently more destructive than the other. Yes Clinton has demonstrated a penchant for secrecy and selective communication, a willingness to bend some rules and there’s a real possibility that significant donors are going to pressure her to help them later on. Not sure how that’s different from pretty much every other typical politician though. It’s pretty par for the course when you look at it rationally. I’m not saying it’s ok, I do believe the US government has gotten too big and too corrupt. I’m just saying if I have to be bit by a blood-sucking parasite I would rather deal with a typical one and not one with the potential to cause significant permanent damage.

Trump’s behavior, his words, his actions, his lack of general decency and knowledge of serving the public are far more troubling to me. Sure he’s not a “corrupt politician” but he is a “corrupt businessman” and I don’t see how that’s any better. It definitely doesn’t mean he’s a good fit to be president. Who knows who he’s going to hire to advise him, they could all have their own agenda with no interest in actually helping the general population. Yes something has to change but not like this. Electing Trump reminds me of the plan to get rid of Sudam Hussein which resulted in a much greater problem. Sometimes the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t. Can we afford the learning curve?

I’m still very annoyed that Bernie Sanders didn’t get the nomination. I want to see the government change and do better, but I firmly believe that Trump will not help that to happen. I really don’t understand how anyone can think he’ll do anything but divide this nation even further. Divided we fall.

“There once was a crass politician, who often screamed about terrorism, to rile up the crowd, of their lies they were proud, spreading hate seemed to be their sole mission.”

The Next Great Reality Show

As I watched the GOP debate last night I got to thinking about the ridiculous line up of candidates squawking at one another. They are all perfectly suited towards one section of the Republican party but none of them represent the party as a whole. The problem of how divided the party is has been, and continues to be, brought up on tv, print and in blogs. What if they are trying to unite the party by pretending to divide it first?

Think about the GOP presidential race through the lens of a reality tv show competition. There are a dozen or so contestants starting out. Each member of the audience identifies with one right off the bat and roots for them to win the whole thing. Slowly though, as each contestant gets eliminated, the viewers are forced to reluctantly  move their alliance over to a new contestant until they reach the end. Very few people stop watching a show if their preferred contestant gets booted off. Americans have been conditioned by so many reality shows that they won’t even realize why they are suddenly ok with a candidate they previously didn’t want to vote for when the time comes. By the time the GOP nomination is selected the entire party will fall in line even if it ends up being Donald Trump.

My other thought was that watching those GOP debates create an opportunity (besides raising your blood pressure) for a great drinking game. Every time a candidate skirts a question and instead plugs themselves you take a drink. Every time they blame Obama for something that is really their own (or Congress’) fault you take a drink. Every time they blatantly lie about a topic or event you take a drink. You’d be pretty drunk 10 minutes in.

No matter what your political views take a moment and really think about the state of the country. Do a little research and don’t take a single thing that comes out of any candidate/politician’s mouth at face value. Think about what your life was like 10 years ago, 15 years ago, 20 years ago. Compare American society against other countries, compare America’s economy against other countries, get multiple sources, question everything. Look at the plans each candidate has created and really think about if they make any sense or not. Just because someone says they want to do something doesn’t mean they can actually make it happen. Together we stand and divided we fall. If you really want America to be a great country, a strong country and a country you can be proud to live in everyone needs to stop focusing on differences and start focusing on how we can work together to move forward into the next chapter of humanity.