Why Hello there

Sylar and I ran into this little guy while taking a walk today. He allowed us to get very close while staying just out of reach. Squirrels are smart critters. They drive Sylar nuts. I’m not sure what he would do if he caught one. I suppose he would have to learn the hard way that the real ones, unlike his stuffed toys, bite back.

Denice and I are sitting down to listen to our illustrious President’s address to Congress. Should be entertaining. I’ll catch up with you chaps tomorrow.

Til then.

Not Today!

There are a lot of different kinds of people in the world. Our differences are many. Some of us are large, some small. Some have pale skin, some a darker shade. We have many different hair colors and textures. Our eyes have many diffrent pigments. Some of us are hairy, others not so much. We differ in our thinking and culture also. The ideas and beliefs that we hold are many, and do not always mesh so well with the ideas and beliefs of others. It’s true, we are a diverse species.

However, the traits that we hold in common are primal and undeniable. We are all children of the earth, with the same needs. We all need clean air, water, and food. We all need shelter and warmth. We all need safety and belonging. We all need to be needed and to have our contributions valued. We all need each other.

There are things about the Islamic religion that I do not agree with. The whole idea of believing anything on faith and without evidence is backwards to me. I reject this concept entirely. With that said, I still consider every Muslim person my sister or brother. Their blood flows in my veins, it flows in yours. We are all one human family, sharing one beautiful and fragile planet. When I heard the news that our President had issued an executive order to ban an entire branch of my human family from free travel into this country I  was filled with disappointment and shame.

I am well aware that there are dangerous people out there who are motivated by religious ideology. I have no problem acknowledging this fact and fully agree that there should be measures in place to protect the general population from these individuals. However, a total blanket ban of hundreds of millions of people, just because of their ethnicity, is exceptionally foolish. The abhorrent behaviour of a microscopic fraction of the total population of Muslims is not just cause to isolate and entire race of people. It’s tantamount to poisoning the ocean to kill one shark.

This decision will not only effect individuals and families, it may also work to stifle the progress of science and human advancement itself…

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Yes, my friends, the scientific community is spread across the globe, even in Muslim countries. Maybe the cure for cancer is locked inside the mind of someone who resides in one of the banned contries? Suppose there are people in these contries that have pieces of the puzzle to understanding the mysteries of the universe, and all they need is to mix their knowledge with the knowledge of others on the outside? Isolationism hurts us all in the long run.

I feel that with the recent election and the resulting political shifts, America is in a slide backwards. We are losing ground instead of progressing towards a safer and more connected world. All this talk of building walls and banning people should not be tolerated. At this time more than ever we should be coming together and putting our differences aside. We have a real shot at becoming something beautiful and amazing, but like a butterfly that’s trapped inside it’s chrysalis, we must break free. We must not turn back because there is nothing to go back to.

It’s time to draw a line in the sand. We must not allow the powers that be to divide us against one another. It’s time to stand up and let it be known that we are one, and we will not take this laying down. If you want them, you have to go through us.

First official Trump rant

Watching the news tonight. President Trump (that just doesn’t sound right), in less than 48 hours has managed to piss off our neighbors to the south, argue the benefits of TORTURE, lose the entire senior staff of the State Department, give the OK to rape Native American lands in the Dakotas, and crack down on climate scientists causing a mass revolt across the nation. Now that was a hell of a run-on sentence for a hell of an unqualified person who really has no business being the President of the United States.

I’m sorry if this offends anyone, but it is now painfully obvious that Donald Trump does not know what he is doing. Build a massive multi-billion dollar wall on the southern border? Really? I don’t know in what parallel universe it is where he gets Mexico to pay for such an obomination, but it sure isn’t this one.

The thing that rubs me the wrong way more than anything else is how he constantly has to caress his own ego. It’s always about crowd sizes, or how long he had a standing ovation, or this meaningless crap, or that meaningless crap. Who cares? A person with a strong character doesn’t say things like this. This is not the way a leader behaves, much less the leader of the free world.

I have tried to keep an open mind, I have, but this getting ridiculous. Donald Trump is embarrassing me personally. He’s embarrassing all of us. I used to like him when we was just the rich guy on TV with the goofy hair, but now he’s dangerous. I don’t know how this is going to end, but with any luck it will be with a swift impeachment.

Work the System or this means Nothing

In 1979 over 100,000 women took to the streets in Iran, protesting being forced to wear a headscarf. Yes, my friends, Iran was once an up and coming secular civilization. They made the mistake of thinking that making noise in the streets is the same thing as working the political system. It isn’t. We all know what happened. Iran was taken over by religious nut jobs who for all their non-sense and mumbo jumbo knew how to work the political system.

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Photo via: @jimfryVOA

Yesterday our nation’s capitol and locations all over the country and the world were marched over by the furious feet of pissed off women and men. Yes, it was awesome to behold so many people taking to the streets to voice their displeasure with what the political system had produced in our new President and Congress. I thought many of their signs were clever and thought-provoking. However, I’m afraid it all pretty much amounts to jack squat. The powers that be are not threatened by this sort of thing because they know that most of these people have no clue how or no inclination to work the political machine. Denice and I tried to do it for Bernie Sanders. It’s complicated (intentionally), inefficient (also intentionaly), and exhausting.

Unfortunately The Women’s March on Washington, like the Occupy movement and many similar movements before it will be little more than noise if it’s energy cannot be converted into coordinated political action. I really hope a decent portion of these well-meaning people figure this out, because then and only then will something like this have the power to actually change something.

It’s D day

Well, it’s official. Donald Trump is now the President of the United States. By the look of things his administration will probably be as bad as everyone fears. Hell, he and this new Congress may end up completely erasing the progress that we have made over the past decade. He may even get us into a new war or wars. Are worst nightmares may come true because of this one guy with a bad spray tan. So, what are we going to do? We are going to take it like a Stoic.

Question one: Can I as an individual replace Donald Trump as the President with someone much more qualified, like Bernie Sanders for example?

Answer: No, that is outside of my control.

Question two: Can I prevent any fucked up actions that Donald Trump or Congress take in the years to come?

Answer: No, that is outside of my control.

So, what can I control?

Myself. I have complete control over my thoughts and actions and how I respond to the actions of others. And, I can influence people who give me this power in their lives.

I am not going to lose one minute of sleep worrying about Donald Trump. Why would I inflict this extra harm on myself? No, I am going to keep doing what I do. I am going to be the change that I want to see in the world. I may not be able to change the whole world single handedly, but I can change myself and the small portion of the world that I inhabit. If enough of us commit to doing this, we will see a better world.

The Bern Lives Inside

I’ve been watching Bernie Sanders as of late. The guy has been on the attack ever since Donald Trump won the election. He has been involved with marches, protests, standing with Standing Rock, and now wearing out Trump’s cabinet picks. I thought to myself, “Bernie really does have some kind of force inside of him, something that compels him to stand up for the downtrodden. The Bern, my friends, is real. It is something that I feel on the inside. It is a burning desire to make the world a better place.

I know Hillary Clinton is still out there, somewhere, but I can’t help but notice her silence. She lost, I know, but she still has a voice. She could still help lead the opposition against Trump and the conservative hoards. But not a peep. I guess that’s the difference between someone like Bernie Sanders and someone like Hillary Clinton.

If you’re a Hillary fan, I do not intend to offend you. I would certainly rather have her at the helm that this megalomaniac. Sure, Hillary was a status quo candidate, but at least she would have known how to do the job. I have almost zero confidence in Donald Trump’s ability to be the President of the United States.

Anyway, I just wanted to remind you to keep the Bern burning. We need a little light to get us through the darkness.

Another Bernie Rant

This is one of those nights that I I don’t really feel like writing. I had a pretty good day, but I am exceptionally tired now that I’m home. My body is used to eating around now, so it’s waging a protest. It will fail. Going a day without eating is a small thing. I am going to exercise my will and be just fine.

Tomorrow is Friday and there is just one more day until the weekend. Oh what debauchery awaits. I’m going to have to do a junk run tomorrow after work.

Denice and I are sitting here watching the news. The nightmare administration of Donald Trump is preparing to get kicked off. I am watching the MSNBC talking heads lament the various horrors that await. They are talking about how close Hillary Clinton was to winning. “If only her economic message has been more clear. Yada, yada, yada…” Well, you know what? We could be getting ready to inaugurate Bernie Sanders as President of the United States right now. We could be on the verge of a modern age progressive enlightenment, not staring down into the abyss. Donald Trump would not have stood a snowball’s chance in Hell against Bernie. Every poll demonstrated this fact. But no, the DNC could not allow that could they? Well, you crooked creatures,  you made your bed, and now we all have to lay in it.

Sorry for the rant. Good night friends.

Democracy Trumped

Well it’s official. Donald J. Trump is now the President Elect of the United States of America. The voters of the archaic Electoral College have not opted to sway fate today. We are stuck with him, for a while.

This whole presidential election has made one thing crystal clear. We desperately need to update our “democratic” system. And, we desperately need a better and more accessible education system in this country. The political “leaders” are just a symptom of a much deeper problem. In a democracy where we are masters of our own fate it is a necessity to have a high level of education across the board. We simply cannot afford to have the levels of ignorance that we seem to have.

I know I sound like I’m ranting, but I’m really not. I am disappointed, but not surprised. I was hoping that maybe, just maybe the electors would put the best interests of their country first. Alas, it was not to be. This just got real.

So, what are we going to do now? Glad you asked. First, we’re going to take it like a Stoic. There is absolutely nothing that can be done to change it, so the only option is to accept it. Then, we are going to reaffirm our progressive values. You know… equality, compassion, love for our fellow human beings, and the unyielding drive to protect the enviroment that we all depend on (even the ignorant ones). Sure, we may have to hunker down for a while, but Donald Trump will fail at destroying this country. He will fail because his ideas (few as they are) are weak and do not serve human needs. Ideas that promote the highest good of all will prevail in the end.

So don’t lose heart. There have always been egomaniacs in power, or so they appear to be. In reality the true power lies with the people as it always has. They can do nothing without our consent. It is those who give it who trouble me more than those who demand it.

PORP to the Rescue!

Reading the latest news about President-elect Trump’s desire to back out of the Paris Climate Agreement is not bolstering my optimism for the future. Sure, I didn’t really expect our new president to take the impending global disaster of climate change seriously, but I was secretly hoping that maybe, just maybe, Donald Trump wasn’t as hardened against reason as everyone seems to think. I hope that is the case. He isn’t sworn in yet, so there is still time to reach him.

I just wanted to take a second to examine exactly why President-elect Trump thinks that climate change is a “hoax.” If you think about it, it’s really the most natural thing in the world. It’s the same reason why Mike Pence thinks that the allowing of same-sex marriage will somehow negatively affect opposite-sex, “normal” marriages. He only allows himself to look at ideas and supposed facts that support what he already believes. We all do this to varying degrees. We see the hits and ignore the misses. This is most likely the default setting for the human mind.

Skepticism and critical thinking are not common skills, but they are absolutely indispensable for high-level governmental leaders to posses. It really doesn’t matter much that Joe Blow down the street who thinks that the earth is 10,000 years old and participates in purity balls with his teenage daughter believes that climate change is a bunch of hooey. But, when the President of the United Fucking States of America won’t listen to an overwhelming scientific consensus about a phenomena that may very well mean game-over for civilization… that’s a problem.

porpA few days ago I became aware of a new organization: The Party of Reason and Progress (PORP). The Party was founded by secular activist, David G. McAfee, and has as its mission the implementation of “effective and rational policies through educating the general public and supporting reasonable and logical public officials and initiatives.” I just finished reading PORP’s Platform, and am really impressed. This is exactly what the political universe needs right now. There are several doomsday scenarios looming over our collective heads. We don’t have time to be swept up in ideology. We need evidence based facts, and we need leaders who are willing to take action based on those facts for the highest good of all. PORP couldn’t have emerged at a better time.

http://partyofreasonandprogress.org/

https://www.facebook.com/PartyofReasonandProgress/

https://twitter.com/TheOfficialPORP

https://www.reddit.com/r/porp/

 

I finally get it!

Over the past few months I have seen Christian friends of mine go through a transformation of sorts. I have witnessed them going from people who absolutely despise Donald Trump, to people who tolerate Donald Trump, to people who make excuses for Donald Trumps inflammatory and vulgar statements, to finally people who accept Donald Trump as the will of God, and viciously defend him.

trump-signOne of my Christian family members posted this photo on Facebook today. I was meditating on these words, thinking that they seem very familiar. Then it hit me. This is the story of Jesus Christ. These people believe that Trump is a sort of Jesus figure who has come down from his glory to save us lowly humans. Just look at these verses from the Bible:

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. (Philipians 2:5-8 NKJV)

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich. (2 Corinthians 8:9 NKJV)

There are many other verses like these, but they all basically say the same thing. Jesus, being God, left his glory and power in order to save the world. They believe, really believe, that Trump left his billions and lofty tower in order to save the world. He was willing to be mistreated and misrepresented in order to lay down his life in the service of his fellow Americans.

So, when I insult Donald Trump I am basically insulting their God, and they take it personally.

This realization was a shock to me. I’m not sure how I should approach people who hold these strong feelings for the Donald. In all sincerity, I don’t want to offend their religious beliefs about the man, but I must call out things as I see them.

trump-rainbow-flagTo be honest with you, I am trying to keep an open mind about our new president-elect. I have been seeing a lot of headlines that lead me to believe that he may be a lot more liberal than everyone is thinking. His latest policy proposal (aparently inspired by his daughter) is to guarantee six weeks of paid maternity leave for all workers. That is a policy that would make Bernie Sanders do a double take. Who knows… maybe all of his campaign rhetoric was just WWE style posturing to impress his base. Maybe there’s more to Donald Trump than meets the eye. I hope so. Time will tell.