Facts from feelings

With all the things going on in America, with all the people who are in need of assistance, why is the president so deeply invested in the NFL protests?

I understand that some people feel that kneeling during the national anthem is disrespectful.  I understand that some people feel that this is a slap in the face to the men and women who protect this country as well.

Let me let you in on a secret.  I’m one of those who work to protect this country, and I also protect the NFL player’s right to peacefully protest.  I’m not hurt or bothered by their actions.  I don’t intend on joining any boycott either because of their actions.

This all started over Colin Kaepernick’s protest last season.  He wanted to bring attention to police abuse, which I feel is something that needs to be addressed by everyone, feelings be damned.  He didn’t set out to dismiss the sacrifices of military personnel, and there are numerous vets and currently serving members of the military who support Kaep.

In my opinion, a good bit of the backlash is from the old hit dog effect.  Many people want to act like America is perfect, when we do have areas where would could improve to make our society better.  Many of us use our biases and stereotypes as crutches to walk through life instead of challenging ourselves to tackle things on without bias.

In the beginning, I was supportive of Kaep, and along the way he lost me to an extent.  I still support his right to protest, but I don’t agree with some of the things that he has NOT done while protesting.  That’s a different story for a different post.

Back to the tweets above.  For Trump, and anyone else who is offended, hurt, or otherwise triggered by the protests, I have a question to ask you.  Were you the same way when the flag was mistreated between 2008 and 2016?  Read the US Flag Code and you’ll understand what I’m saying.  Here’s a few examples:

4 US Code Chapter 1 Section 8(d):  The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free. Bunting of blue, white, and red, always arranged with the blue above, the white in the middle, and the red below, should be used for covering a speaker’s desk, draping the front of the platform, and for decoration in general.

4 US Code Chapter 1 Section 8(g):  The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.

4 US Code Chapter 1 Section 8(j):  No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.

Now, there’s disrespecting something which is a personal opinion, and there’s breaking the law.  There is no law for disrespect, so there is no legal recourse if someone feels disrespected.  It is a personal feeling, and what makes you feel that way may be totally fine with others around you.  We have to get away from our selfish outlook on life because we’re a nation of more than 330 million people.  We’re not always going to be happy about things, and we’re not going to always get our way.\

The president, of all people, should be the one setting a tone to bring people together, not a tone of inciting a riot.  When Obama offered his opinion on the Trayvon Martin shooting and the Skip Gates arrest, many on the right felt that he overstepped his job as president by getting into small, personal incidents.  Who could ever forget this diagnosis of Obama here:

So, if Obama was way out-of-bounds for the comments made then, what should be said about the current president calling a  football player a “son of a bitch”?

Time is up for allowing a certain segment to own and direct the conversation.  No matter how loud or whiney things get, ALL sides need to be heard and given equal opportunity to express themselves.  Let’s remove emotions and feelings from the conversation and deal with the facts at hand.  Imagine Obama calling one of the Duke lacrosse players a “son of a bitch” live on national TV.  Do we honestly think that he would have been cheered?

I used to think we were better than this, but I guess all good things come to an end.  We are no longer in Kansas, Toto.  Regardless of whether we like Trump or not, we cannot allow the standards of behavior for the office of the president to be lowered.  If he’s not capable of maintain the high standards, then he needs to leave the office to allow someone with standards to fulfill the duties of the office as they should be carried out.

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Senate Joint Resolution 49

Lt. H. Jay Cullen, Heather Heyer, and Trooper Pilot Berke M.M. Bates all lost their lives in events surrounding the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, VA.

Yesterday, the US Senate voted to pass S.J.Res.49 which has the very long title :

A joint resolution condemning the violence and domestic terrorist attack that took place during events between August 11 and August 12, 2017, in Charlottesville, Virginia, recognizing the first responders who lost their lives while monitoring the events, offering deepest condolences to the families and friends of those individuals who were killed and deepest sympathies and support to those individuals who were injured by the violence, expressing support for the Charlottesville community, rejecting White nationalists, White supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, and other hate groups, and urging the President and the President’s Cabinet to use all available resources to address the threats posed by those groups.

That’s a long title, and I feel bad for whomever had to read the title aloud during the processing of this resolution.  That person needs a vacation and likely an award for doing that.

Resolutions are passed all the time, and given the nature of the events of Charlottesville, it’s not a surprise that members of Congress put such a resolution to a vote.  The thing is, a resolution is just that.  It has no bearing on laws or any ability to be enforced.  Resolutions are a feel-good thing to make it seem like they’re doing something when they really are not.

Honestly, the most striking part of the resolution, in my opinion, can be found here”

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That Congress—

(6) rejects White nationalism, White supremacy, and neo-Nazism as hateful expressions of intolerance that are contradictory to the values that define the people of the United States; and

(7) urges—

(A) the President and his administration to—

(i) speak out against hate groups that espouse racism, extremism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, and White supremacy; and

(ii) use all resources available to the President and the President’s Cabinet to address the growing prevalence of those hate groups in the United States; and

(B) the Attorney General to work with—

(i) the Secretary of Homeland Security to investigate thoroughly all acts of violence, intimidation, and domestic terrorism by White supremacists, White nationalists, neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan, and associated groups in order to determine if any criminal laws have been violated and to prevent those groups from fomenting and facilitating additional violence; and

(ii) the heads of other Federal agencies to improve the reporting of hate crimes and to emphasize the importance of the collection, and the reporting to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, of hate crime data by State and local agencies.

Have we sunk so far as a nation where our Congress, in the year 2017, has to actually write out a resolution stating this for the president to sign?  Here’s a link to the full text of Senate Joint Resolution 49 which passed both houses by unanimous consent and is awaiting a signature from the president.

Edward Gibbon has to be chomping at the bit to get reincarnated to write about this fall as well.

The president America rightly deserves

I had to take a vacation from writing this summer.  Work was a bit more hectic.  Life in general picked up a bit of speed.  But mostly, I grew sick and tired of President Trump’s ability to suck the oxygen out of the atmosphere and manage to be THE attention whores of all attention whores.  So, instead of posting daily “tributes” to Trump, I unplugged and refocused on my personal well being.  Silly me for thinking that would solve everything.

Love him, hate him, or indifferent towards him, Donald J. Trump IS the president that America rightly deserves now.  In the seven months that he has been in office, he has simultaneously energized and angered the masses.  He has worked hard to change the definition of what’s presidential in terms of actions and behavior.  His administration and governing position is the living, breathing definition of chaos.  And, in my honest opinion, he is the embodiment of the worldwide perception of America, Americans, and Americanism.  He is famous, attention getting, controversial, wealthy*, and arrogant all wrapped up in one package.  *true amount of his wealth is not known

One of numerous political cartoons about Trump. Click to open a Google Image Search to see others.

Trump is what America deserves because we rightfully need to have an open and honest dialogue about who we are and what we stand for.  In the 1940s, our parents, grandparents, and even great-grandparents went to war against Nazis and the belief of white supremacy abroad while we openly engaged in the same practice at home.  We’ve always considered ourselves to be a society where anyone can achieve that “American dream”, but we’ve continually fed into a political and business class that continually make that dream more impossible to achieve by each passing generation.  We love to tout our society based on freedom that every other country should emulate while constantly fighting to curtail the freedoms of those we don’t agree with.

Based on what we claim to be about vs what we actually practice, America is a fraud.  What better way to perpetrate a fraud than to elect one to run the fraud?

Now, before I get accused of being anti-American, I am not.  I am 100% red-blooded American as it gets.  I work to defend the country of my birth, and I take my oath to defend the Constitution very seriously.  I simply call things as I see it.  America preaches one thing and practices something altogether different.  Sometimes, it is for the better, and sometimes it is not.  It also varies from person to person based on their beliefs and perspectives.  That’s just how life operates.

The reason for me writing this is because of the Charlottesville fiasco.  I’m of the belief that he blew a serious chance to get America into a discussion to heal animosity and racial strife.  I also believe that he did not intend to lead America down that pathway as he showed himself and his beliefs on race in the words he chose.  His history has shown his racial attitudes, and I doubt very seriously that you will get a 71-year-old man to suddenly change now.

That said, this does not prevent the rest of America from engaging in that dialogue on our own.  We don’t need the president, a rabbi, pastor, or even a parent to give us the permission to start that conversation.  We can do it on our own.

At some point, we have to be honest that America was founded on the belief of White Supremacy.  It was written into the Constitution as a compromise to get slave dependent states to ratify it.  White Supremacy drove America’s westward expansion as well as our world expansion of influence as well.  Some people may not agree with that, and that’s their right to do so.  It does not change the history that has already passed.  None of us can change that.  We can only change the future.

Destroying statues and memorials does not erase history.  History is only lost when it is not taught and passed down in its entirety.  We have to learn to love our warts as much as we love our exceptionalism.  We are not a perfect country, and all of our actions in the past were not honorable.  That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t learn from the past in order to better shape the future.

I’ll go on record as being one that believes the statues and memorials in question still have a relevant place in our society.  They simply do not belong on public grounds or areas where our current government operates.  We do not erect any remembrances to the British, French, Spanish, Mexicans, or Native Americans who previously ruled lands that now belong to America.  We should be the same across the board for all nations.

Private property and museums should be free to display any and all remembrances of their choosing, without controversy, so that we can study and learn from history.  There will always be someone who will feel hurt by such displays.  That is unavoidable.  What we should be doing is ensuring that we understand and empathize with that hurt so that history does not repeat itself.

If we cannot talk openly and honestly with each other about this, then we will never learn the lessons of the past and will continue to repeat them time and time again.

 

#Covfefe

Because sometimes, posts just write themselves…

That’s cold.  That’s also funny.  🙂

Hehehehe…

The Urban Dictionary was quickly updated.  Folks don’t play around with humor.

Doggone it Joe!!!  You’ve really gone too far with the practical jokes now.

You too Bill???  C’mon man.

We are all covfefe now.  Thanks Obama…

Kudos George.  I’m sure the twins will get covfefe scholarships to cover their college educations.

Geez, now we’ve opened up a portal for wizards and stuff.  Destruction of the world in 3.. 2… 1…

Sorry Tiger, you have to use covfefe in moderation and under strict guidelines from your primary doctor.

Yes you do.  You’ve come close to breaking Twitter today.  Thanks for the laughs.

America needs an enema

That was one of many great lines delivered by Jack Nicholson in Batman.  At one point, I would have suggested that Washington DC was that town.  Now, I think this entire country is constipated.  Just look at the way people interact with each other.  Check the differences in how media is disseminated or viewed.  We are in a state of utter chaos, and much of it is of our own doing.

For starters, VOX ran a very interesting article on the difference in news coverage on the Trump/Russia issue between the right-wing media outlets and everyone else.

The past week of Trump scandals for people reading mainstream news outlets has gone something like this: President Trump fired the FBI director who was investigating his campaign’s connection with Russia — and then the next day, Trump shared classified information with Russian officials.

But on conservative news outlets, the narrative was very different. It was about an FBI director whose firing was long overdue, and a liberal media desperate to take down Trump.

You can find the entire article here, and it is well worth the read.  The gist of the article shows that we are living in two different realities.  People who only get their news from one source or from within their own safe zone are talking entirely different incidents with people in other news circles.  When you hear Trump supporters dismissing the news reports, it’s not a defensive measure in as much as they believe something totally different because of what their media is telling them.

Then, there’s the sheer flood of “leaked” information.  As a federal employee, I find it difficult to believe that my colleagues have suddenly found it impossible to do their jobs without potentially violating the law by discussing classified information or other things.  When administrations change, the appointed positions change.  The rank-and-file workers don’t.  I was hired in under GW Bush, and if I remain until retirement, there’s no idea of how many other presidents I’ll serve.  That said, the person sitting in the WH doesn’t change my work ethic one bit.  I still try to do my job to the best of my ability now as I did when I was first hired.

The amount of the leaks makes part of me think it’s intentionally done to sow discord.  Let’s face it, there is enough discord in America right now to circle the world about a dozen times.  People are literally at each other’s throats.  A right-wing white supremacist killed two people on a commuter train in Portland after hurling slurs at two passengers who were thought to be Muslim.  There’s all kinds of crap going on everywhere, and it seems like it will only get worse.  The pejoratives fly out of people’s mouths like breath on a cold winter morning.  We’ve found out that even the FBI had false information that was meant to disrupt the system.

This country needs to take a massive dump.  We need to purge all the bulls**t out of our system.  Some of us need to be reminded that, regardless of ideological beliefs, we are not enemies.  I cringe whenever I hear Americans referring to fellow Americans as enemies.  I don’t even refer to football rivals as enemies.  That word carries powerful and dangerous connotations.  Someone needs to find an equivalent to a giant bottle of Fleet, shove it up the figurative ass of America, and squeeze that mofo until it turns to powder.

We’re full of sh*t, both figuratively and literally.  We cannot continue as a country like this without doing damage to our society as well as relationships to our allies.  If we don’t unclog the system, something is bound to happen.  We’ve gone from being an example of democracy to looking like a disturbed red ant hill.

I don’t like it.  I don’t like it one bit.  I honestly hope that the investigators take thing seriously and act appropriately on their findings.  If nothing has occurred, then everyone should be able to see the information from the investigation to see where that conclusion was drawn.  Likewise, if there was any bad behavior between Americans and outsiders to influence the election, there should be no sparing of the powers of the judiciary to give America the justice we deserve.  That’s the only way we will begin to remove this sh*t from our system in order to recover to what we were before.