Out From Under the Umbrella

playing in the rain


7 Comments

Anybody got a match?

Capture

This is the kind of false flag, ridiculous, argument that drives me to write posts like this one.  Does anyone have a match so we can burn this straw man down?

One of these things is not like the other two.

Since when are corporations, banks, and organizations equal to individuals?  Most of the amendments to The Constitution are set up to protect individual liberties.  Corporations, banks, and organizations like the NRA have a lot more money and wield a lot more power than an individual.

That’s the difference.

Yes, corporations and banks can refuse to do business with the NRA.  The NRA can refuse to do business with corporations and banks.  That’s called leverage.  Whoever has the most wins(usually).

A lot of business establishments I know of have a sign that reads, “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.”

Still, that doesn’t give them the right to refuse service to a protected class of citizens based on that criteria alone.  Regardless of what your sign says you many not refuse service to individuals based on gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation.  If you want to be a bigot you’ll have to come up with some other reason excuse to refuse service.

 

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48 Comments

Collateral Damage

I’ve been loathe to write about this subject.  It’s been written about adnauseam.  Yet, not enough has been said.

Seventeen students were gunned down with an AR-15 military style weapon on Valentine’s Day.  SEVENTEEN STUDENTS WERE GUNNED DOWN WITH AN AR-15 ON VALENTINE’S DAY!

Across my newsfeed I have a cacophony of messages being sent.  Many of them in support of the student survivors who are being brave enough to challenge the status quo.  Some of them mocking them.  Some of them accusatory in nature.  Why, these seventeen and eighteen year-olds are secret plants.  Actors who are paid to talk about gun control.  Or they’ve been hi-jacked by the left or the media or both since they’re essentially the same thing.

Never mind the politicians who are paid to be gun advocates by the NRA and it’s supporters. Sigh…

No, these young men and women can’t possibly be intelligent enough to formulate their own opinions or talk about politics or policy.  Or what is even good for that matter.

I hear people saying, “It’s the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution.  Nothing we can do.  People have a right to buy guns, whatever kind they want.”  Some even advocating that those weapons that are illegal for average citizens to possess be made legal.  We need to fight like fire with like fire, after all.  In case we need to stand up to the tyranny of our government.

What do we need to stand up to the tyranny of the gun lobby?

Why am I seeing bullshit memes about ‘librals wanting to ban all guns’?  Why am I seeing my conservative friends being maligned as heartless even though they agree with sensible gun legislation?  Why is this a liberal or conservative issue?  It isn’t.  It’s a societal issue.  It’s a people issue.  It’s a you and me issue. Stop pretending compromise and finding common ground are dirty words.

Why am I seeing grown men and women act as if these students don’t have a right to their opinion?

Why am I seeing Americans attacking one another, eating each other alive, because we disagree about the best course of action?

Why can’t we agree that there are some things we agree about?

Why can’t that be a starting point?

The thing is, I don’t anticipate ever seeing a ban on the AR or any other gun that is legal to possess in this country.  I’ve heard arguments for and against a ban on AR’s.  Some compelling on both sides, though I see no valid reason an individual should own such a rifle.

Infringement of rights is what I’m told, the reason against.  Here’s a cold hard truth:  If we want to prevent mass shootings such as this someone’s rights must be infringed upon.

To have stronger background checks, ones that would really do any good, would infringe upon the rights of the mentally ill.  For background checks like that to work there would have to be a networking of Psychiatrists, mental hospitals, substance abuse treatment facilities with the FBI to alert them of anyone who has been treated, admitted, or taking any kind of mind-altering drug.  Relying on the honor system clearing does not work.

In addition to that, those who have been reported to the police for domestic violence would need to be logged.  Waiting for a conviction for a violent act takes too long.  Someone can go out and by a gun in the meantime.

Why can’t we find common ground on this issue?

Why are there people advocating for fences, metal detectors, and armed guards at school?  Or even more frightening, arming teachers?  Are these learning institutions or prisons?  Don’t get me wrong, I’d rather my child be safe.  And if it takes fences and metal detectors and armed guards to keep them that way then I’d rather that than nothing.  But is that what it’s come to?

Schools are not the only places these violent acts of terror take place.  Are we going to fence in everywhere?  Have armed guards on duty at every place of business? Every place of leisure? Every place? I don’t think the victims of the Las Vegas massacre would believe a fence and an armed guard would do the trick.  There were armed security personnel there.  Some of them shot dead.  There wasn’t a fence tall enough.

With regards to schools.  What happens when a shooter finds a vantage point above the fence line, who doesn’t go past the metal detectors, opens fire on students outside on break?  What then?  Will they no longer be allowed to go outdoors?  Will we infringe upon their freedoms to protect the freedom of those who want to keep their toys?

If I weren’t living it I’d think this was all taken from the pages of some dystopian novel. If I weren’t hearing hit with my own ears and seeing it with my own eyes I would never believe that anyone in America would ever say, “People being killed are collateral damage.  Children dying at the hands of someone with a gun are the price of freedom.”

 

 

 


26 Comments

Trump Supporters are Loud and Proud

Sometimes I have a hard time deciding whether to engage or not when someone posts idiotic nonsense like this on social media:

Make no mistake. If President Trump is impeached on false charges. We will rise en masse and you will see the likes of a civil war. Everday AMERICANS will take to the streets we will withdraw our money from banks, close our 401k’s, pull our kids from school. We will rise against the the Democrats, RINO, NeverTrumpers, and shadow government. You will have showed us our Republic is a farce and democracy is dead. We will riot.

This quote is being shared readily on social media.  I have no idea who to attribute it to.  Several people have posted it with no citation as if it’s their own.

More often than not I choose not to engage.  There would be no point as no one in the situation would change their position, including me.

Of course, if he were impeached on false charges I would be very much in disagreement with that. I just find it hard to believe that he would or even could be impeached on false charges.

The comments that follow are big, “Hell yeah! Count me in! I’m ready!!!”

The question is:  If and when President Trump is brought for impeachment how will these people be determining whether the charges are false or legitimate?

Who didn’t already know that our Republic is a farce and that democracy is dead?  Capitialism, lobbyists, and crooked politicians have ensured that fact.

The best the I can tell from those who espouse this point of view, no amount of evidence would convince them that Donald Trump has done anything wrong.  Even his admission of such isn’t enough.

I believe he was right when he said he could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue and he wouldn’t lose his supporters.  They’re die-hards who will not budge.

These same supporters seem to be offended at the suggestion that they are uneducated, racist, or misogynist.  Yet they post ignorant, racist, objectifying memes and expect to be taken at their word that they aren’t the very things that they find agreement with.

I’m very thankful that these die-hards seem to be in the minority but they are quite loud.

I haven’t said much about our political climate here in the States because I, quite frankly, haven’t quite known what to think of all this, between the news media and the crazy train running through the White House.

The haze is lifting and I have some very distinct opinions but I don’t think the Republican nor the Democratic parties would be particularly thrilled with them.


25 Comments

Sadness, Anger, and Sympathy

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A friend of mine posted this a bit ago. She frequently posts these types of messages and prayers. They fill me all at once with sadness, anger, and immense amount of sympathy.

Let me give you a bit of back story.

She and her husband are in their early fifties. They were young, vibrant, active, and adventurous.

Her husband had always been a tall, strong, imposing figure. Yet he was really just a giant teddy bear of a man, always at the ready with a hug and joke.

In the blink of an eye that changed for them.

He was riding solo on his Harley Davidson when someone turned across traffic in front of him. Unable to stop he slid underneath the vehicle. After days of touch and go, not knowing if he would live or die, he pulled through.

She was awash with relief and sang the praises of her God.

Then the devastating news came that the brain damage would be permanent and also the paralysis.

That has been some four years ago now. The longer it goes the more desperate she becomes. She loves her husband and takes very good care of him but it is now more of a mother/child relationship. She has amply displayed her commitment. Yet she longs for that husband/wife relationship that she once had. She would never verbalize this but she can’t even move on. It isn’t even as she would want to if she could, but she can’t have her husband back either. Neverland.

And while all of that fills me with a great sadness it also fills me with sadness that in order for her to come to terms with her situation she must do these mental gymnastics.

She prays to the God she believes caused her situation to thank him for it. Thanking him for causing her circumstances in order to bring about her dependence on this invisible entity that cannot give her an embrace, cannot kiss her lips, cannot hold her hand – this invisible entity that cannot carry on regular conversation but is only voices in her head.

Yes, it is indeed sad.

It makes me so angry to watch as she struggles day after day with his pain management. She has long given up praying for healing. She believes her God’s answer is, “no,” that her husband must suffer and she along with him for some greater purpose. And that purpose is a desperate need for dependence on the very being that caused the pain in the first place. She will sing his praises and glorify him for breaking her down.

On Earth we call that abuse.

It’s like watching a parent beat their child until everything in them is broken and watching that child beg the parent to do it all over again. Stockholm syndrome doesn’t even begin to describe it.

The anger that wells up inside of me is visceral.

And at the same time I’m filled with so much sympathy and so much understanding of why she needs this to be so. It might all be too much to bear if it doesn’t serve some purpose. She needs to believe that all of this has some meaning or else she might just throw in the towel. It would likely break her mind to believe otherwise.

This is why religion persists, why it will likely always persist. And who could be so cruel as to even attempt to take the one thing that is holding it all together for her away?


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A Humdinger of a Humbug

I am soooo not in the Christmas spirit this year.  I normally love to do all the things.  You know, decorate everything that can have garland wrapped around it, Christmas Tree up Thanksgiving(American) weekend, baking, gifting, more baking.

Not so much this year.  It doesn’t even feel like it should be here.

TheBrit and I did go weekend before last and bought a real tree.  I haven’t had one in ages.  Years ago I bought one of those pre-lit deals.  Swore I’d never have a tree I’d have to put lights on again.  But I thought, what the heck, maybe the smell of the real deal will put me to rights.

It stood in it’s stand bare for a week.  Finally  this past Sunday I decided perhaps I should put something on the Frasier Fur that has been sacrificed for my pleasure. So there it is:

 

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I’ve bought one gift. A Star Wars Planetarium for my nephew.

We decided that since we’re not in the jingliest of moods we’d do some things for other people to get outside of ourselves.  We saw a panhandler sitting on the corner in nothing but a undershirt, a pair of trousers, and shoes.  As we were headed to that hell on earth, otherwise known as Wal-Mart, we decided to get him some boxes of non-perishable food and a hoodie.

We handed it to him, still in the bags, through the car window along with a little cash and wished him a Merry Christmas.  He said, “It’s Christmas?  I didn’t even know it was.  I don’t keep up with it anymore.”

At first TheBrit was a bit concerned as to what he might purchase with the cash.  “I don’t care what he does with it,” I said, “If I lived on the street like that I’d probably want a drink, too.  Plus, many homeless people who do drink only drink beer as it’s an appetite suppressant and it’s cheap. They don’t necessarily drink to be drunk.  The drink to not be hungry.”

Then we went by a local restaurant to pick out a child’s name for the local Tree of Giving campaign.  The wish lists are supplied by local school system social workers, The Children’s Advocacy Center, The Methodist Home for Children, The Local Battered Women’s Shelter, The Local Recreation Center and The Sheriff’s Boy’s Ranch.  There were only a few names left.  We picked one and purchased everything on the child’s list plus a little something extra, wrapped them, and returned them to the drop off location.

I should be more thankful, I know.  I have so many reasons to be.  I’m still having a humdinger of a humbug. Bah!

I’ll count my three biggest blessings and cuddle with them.  Here I am with two of them doing just that(the hubs doesn’t want his countenance published):

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35 Comments

Class Warfare

 

These are the words of a “white trash hillbilly from the holler.”

He and his compatriots are not looting.  They are not vandalizing.  They simply know the score.  Their coal jobs are gone.  They were unhealthy occupations when they had them.  They need a living wage and they know they aren’t going to get it from the incoming administration without a fight.

They are realists.  Pragmatists.  Even without an education Nic Smith is thinking critically about the promises made and the outlook for his future.

You don’t have to have a college or university degree to see what’s plain in front of your face.

The last time I bought a pair of blue jeans was about a year and half ago.  They came from…*gasp*…Target. They are made by a company that is a staple in the denim industry, Levi Strauss.  They used to be a symbol of Made In America.

When I look at the tag it says they were made in Bangladesh.  Or possibly Brazil.  I’m not sure which because both locations are on the label.  They were not made in America.

They might have even been made in a sweatshop by a seven year old who was paid ten cents.

I don’t know.

What I do know is the manufacturing of Levi’s jeans isn’t coming back to America.

Manufacturing and mining as we knew it fifty years ago isn’t coming back to America.

People need a living wage and everyone can’t be a white-collar worker.

We are going to have to be innovative and creative.

Clean energy would be a great avenue to explore but the incoming administration seems loathe to explore that.  They jettison climate change and EPA regulations in favor of “clean” coal, whatever that is, and fossil fuels.

Welcome to 1950.  Except it’s nearly 2017.

I would say that I feel discouraged.  Except I don’t.

I know that there are enough of us, the us that wants positive change – not just change at any cost – to come up with new and better ways to sustain ourselves.

The government is not the United States of America.  The people are.  People like Nic Smith give me hope.

We don’t need to cut and run.  We need to dig in and fight.