Thursday, December 15, 2016

Why should we listen to your lies and half truths?

Good morning,
As I sit here working on tasks I need to complete today I found myself a bit outraged.
Part of my day is spent reading through certain forums I am a member of and responding to posts in which  I feel I can add value to the conversation, or at least a little humour.

Earlier today someone posted a YouTube video that was published by Unite for America. Even the name of the organization is a joke since they just seem to be creating more division in this country.

Here is a link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mi7MGM_xFC8

In this video a number of actors and actresses appeal to the representatives to the Electoral College to not vote for Donald Trump. This is the last ditch effort of a defeated group of people who feel that their thoughts and beliefs are more important than the votes of millions of Americans. They even state in the video, "I am not telling you to vote for Hillary Clinton". No, but you are all on camera as saying, in this same video, "Don't vote for Trump." What other choice do they have if not Trump?!?

Dear God, have we as a people really sunk to the point that these self absorbed liars, for that is actually what an actor is, a liar, people feel that they are so important that they can go on camera and tell the nation that the results of the election should be changed because it didn't go their way.

Let me break down a few things I saw in this video.

  1. They claimed that the representatives to the Electoral College (I am going to start calling it the EC for sake of my poor fingers) have a Constitutional right to vote the way they want. Actually... they don't. Although some states do not require the designated representitves to the EC to vote a particular way, many states do have laws in place that state that the representative MUST vote the same as the state voted so this is completely untrue.
  2. The EC is the last defense against an unqualified candidate being put into office. Kinda true, but only in that it doesn't tell the whole truth. No surprise there, standard operating procedure for politicians. In truth, the President was originally designed to be elected by Congress but as discussions went along people began to realize that this really gave a LOT of power to a very few men so it was decided that the EC would be created so the people would elect the President not a small cabal of men who decided to control the country. Remember, these were the same people who had just fought against a tyrannical King and wanted to insure that their descendants stayed free rather than return to servitude to a government that controlled their lives. The EC is there also to give the smaller population states, like Nebraska, Wyoming, or Montana a way to be represented and not let the likes of New York and California run the whole show. Of course with the entertainment industry being based in both those states they tend to feel they do anyway. But that is a whole different blog.
  3. The EC was created to ensure that the office of the President went to someone where was "to an eminent degree, endowed with the requisite qualifications." and Donald Trump is not that person. Hillary Clinton is that person, at least that is what they are saying, but not saying as they don't tell the EC rep to vote for Hillary not Donald. Apparently, they, the entertainers in this video, are far more qualified to determine who is more qualified to be President than the 62 MILLION voters who selected Donald Trump as their candidate of choice. The thing to keep in mind is that although Clinton won the popular vote, the EC systems states that just because you win the biggest states, the ones with the most population, it doesn't mean you represent the majority of the country. Go back to point 2 for more on that topic. ;)  Either way, who are these people that they feel qualified to determine which candidate is "to an eminent degree, endowed with the requisite qualifications"? Just because you played a role in West Wing, M*A*S*H, or The Librarians does not mean you are the best judge of whole is qualified. The millions of people who voted are the ones who make that determination... with their votes. Sounds like the qualifications were reviewed and accepted.

Ultimately, this little outburst on my blog is really not going to make a big difference, but hopefully you, my few readers, will take the time to realize that we need to stop letting others determine our opinions and instead think for ourselves. Do we really want the voice of an actor to determine whether we should be able to defend ourselves when attacked; have the ability to eat meat whenever we want; drive cars using fossil fuels; or live in a country that is energy self-sufficient? Or instead should we let the voices of a few hundred people who have the money to buy air time decide that we should be defenseless when our homes are invaded by thugs; have to eat soy proteins because farming is a violence against the cows; and drive cars that can only go and average of less 100 miles before needing hours of charging again. Yeah, that's going to work out there in the Sand Hills of Nebraska where there is a charging station around every corner. Yup.

File:Nebraska Sandhills NE97 Hooker County 3.JPG - Wikipedia, the free ...

I guess what I really want to say to these actors who stood up to ask for people to break the law and change the course of an election (something they chastised the Republicans for doing to a lesser degree not that long ago I might add). I am sorry. I am finding more and more that I don't really want much to do with your entertainment because you just can't seem to keep your opinion to yourself. Although I respect your acting ability, more and more I just can't respect you.

Shut up and act.

For a review of how the votes actually went last November take a look at this page: http://cookpolitical.com/story/10174

Thanks for listening.

- TT

Monday, October 3, 2016

Thoughts on Bullying - part 2

In part 1 of this 2 part series I talked about how I was impacted as a child and my thoughts on how to get handle on being bullied. In this episode I want to talk about bullying in the modern era.

Let's see what the Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary says the definition of bullying is:

bully verb  bul·ly
Simple Definition of bully
: to frighten, hurt, or threaten (a smaller or weaker person) : to act like a bully toward (someone)
: to cause (someone) to do something by making threats or insults or by using force
Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

These days there is still plenty of bullying and there are lots of people calling it out. But there is this new type I am seeing where people are more actively becoming a bully to silence others who do not agree with their beliefs regardless of the presence of logic.

 A recent Facebook post by Ian Soliterman featured a video that shows how this works. In the video we see a young man wearing a hat with the words "Make America Great Again" which happens to be the slogan for Donald Trump's Presidential campaign. Regardless of your affiliation or beliefs, it is rather hard to belief that this phrase can be interpreted as hate speech in anyway since it is really just saying that America isn't as good as it was in the past and the speaker/wearer believe that we should work to make America better than it is. It says nothing about race or political/sexual preference. And yet a young lady begins to demand that he remove his hat on the grounds that it is hate speech.
She has the right to tell him this, whether she is right or wrong, but he also has the right to wear the hat. If it had an obscene image or phrase then there would be grounds to remove the hat, but alas, it is all about a 4 word statement. However, that isn't the part that makes her a bully. That comes when she begins to tells him that if he doesn't remove the hat she will go to the president of the school, because she has a meeting with him already, and the president will punish this young man for not removing his hat. The bullying is even more amazing in that this is a person who tells everyone they have to practice tolerance and yet obviously has none.

Sadly the video ends with someone actually being all happy that they ran over and stole his hat. The victorious look on their face for just stealing a hat is sad in so many ways. It honestly looks like teh punchline in a Saturday Night Live skit.

Just because you believe something doesn't give you the write to coerce others into doing what you want and to observe your beliefs. Bullying happens when people don't know how to communicate and also don't know how to negotiate. If they can't handle not getting their way then they resort to the aggressive mode and start forcing others to do what they want by physical or mental force.

The right way to handle the solution? Discuss the difference. Many times the real problem is that you don't agree with them and one of you is operating under the misconception that you are the only correct. Sometimes you are both right... to a degree. Sometimes you are wrong and they are right. Sometime they are right and you are wrong. Figure it out and come to an understanding.

Once it reaches the point that this video shows, then the right thing to do is either walk away and get assistance or stand up for yourself. Many times they only bully because they feel empowered when you don't resist. The young man in this video would be best served to take the video and show it to school authorities. Although in this day and age that may actually do nothing for him.

But how should you, dear reader, behave?
- Treat others with respect and don't push your views on others.
- If others don't agree with you, discuss it.
- If others result to violence either escape or stand. The situation will have to determine the choice you make, but you have the right to defend yourself.
- Don't allow yourself to me made the victim... stand up for yourself and others.

- TT

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Thoughts on Bullying - Part 1

This post has been a long time in writing and so is probably one of my longest to date.  Mostly because this is a subject that hits very closely for me. I actually wanted to start writing this back in 2012 when a story was released on MSNBC about a woman who was on Facebook and ended up forgiving her bullies because of the conversations.  I would link it but apparently MSN doesn't keep news articles that long.

The topic of bullying has has been very popular in the past few years and I can honestly say that I understand some of the victims feelings. Some, but not all. As a child/pre-teen I suffered through a great deal of bullying. So much so that I spent the last year of my grade school education finding a different way home from school each day to avoid getting my butt kicked by kids that were mocking me.  I avoided catechism classes because I would have to venture back into their territory, and even share the class with some of those bullies so I found ways to avoid attending that as well. I begged my father to take me out of school so I didn't have to suffer the abuse. He really didn't understand what I was going through and so told me I had to stay in school. Period, end of story. Not that there were really any other options in the late 70's and early 80's anyway.

For me, the worst part was that the abuse wasn't just physical but also verbal and mental. If I wasn't getting beat up I was getting called names and being threatened on a very regular basis.  For a young boy who was just starting to find to his place in the world this was a horrible experience.  Don't get me wrong, I had friends and had a great time, but I hated going to school. I loved school itself, but hated the going to and coming from school as well as the abuse I faced from other students.

One that stands out for me was shortly after my father and I returned from Japan. He was in the military and we had been stationed over there for 30 months. Since my parents had divorce not long before he was reassigned oversees and he had custody of me but not my sisters, I had a great time with just my father and I.  However, when I returned I was called all kinds of slurs, many of them not making any sense at all, such as Chink. Trying to logically explain that I wasn't Asian didn't help, and if anything only encouraged them. I was not allowed into any of the cliques or to hangout with anybody there because I wasn't acceptable.

My escape was books. I read a LOT of books. So many that I won awards for reading books. But to be honest that really didn't help me because I still heard the voices of those attackers and had to learn to deal with the pain it caused. My way of dealing with it was to bury it deal inside. After many years I tried adopting "I feel no emotions" type of approach. That only made it worse when the emotions finally filled up the jar in me and started flowing over.

Don't get me wrong, I did have friends around the apartment complex where we lived, but there weren't in the same grade I was in so I didn't get to see them at school. Those friends were great and I had a great time hanging out with them. I don't think any of them ever realized what I was going through though.

I don't have a solution for how I could have been helped back then, other than maybe being put into counseling to help me work through the feelings and how I can get through that season of my life.

Funny enough, probably the biggest breakthrough for me came 3 years later when we had moved to Germany. Very shortly after I started school I was verbally attacked by another student on the bus. He was very determined to abuse me verbally and finally tried to fight me. He stated in no uncertain terms that we were going to be fighting when we got off the bus. When we got off the bus I tried to walk away but he was going to have none of that and got in my way to prevent me from walking away. I faced off against him and when he took his first shot he bloodied my nose. Unfortunately for him, I actually have a fairly high pain threshold so he hit me and I looked at him and asked him if that was all he had. The fight was quickly broken up by an adult who saw us from their balcony so he didn't get another shot, but I had learned that I could face these guys down instead of taking the abuse. No longer did I have to take the verbal and mental abuse. No longer did I have to cower when they attacked me. I didn't become someone who looked for fights, but I didn't have a problem if a fight came a calling.

That level of confidence helped me begin to repair myself and start relating to others. I still didn't have a solid confident self-image, but I was doing better than before. Fast forward to today and I can safely say that I am much better than I was then, but I still don't like big crowds by myself or situations where I am not in complete control. I am still working on my attitude and self-image, but I know who I am, the strengths I have, and in whom I trust.

For those who are being bullied I can only tell you that you do not have to keep to this yourself. You CAN'T keep this to yourself. To try and bottle it up inside will only hurt you more and enable your abuser to be empowered to abuse others. Stand up for yourself and if you can't do it, get help doing so. Others have no right to abuse you and you do not have to accept the abuse either. Seek out help with dealing with the issues, including help with your mental state as well. You are a valuable person and although you may not realize it you are of great worth to others regardless of what your abusers say to you.

This is the end of Part 1. Part 2 will be released soon.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Two years later.

Huh, I was looking at my dashboard for Blogger and realized that it has been a full 25 months since my last post and a lot has happened.

Several trips to visit friends in Montana, two changes in position at my job, my Mother-in-law moving in with us, and so much more. All things that I could have posted about but none that I did post.
I have had many ideas for posts and I think it is about time I followed through on those ideas.
The first up will be a series of posts written specifically to my nieces and nephews, but can easily be for any one else as well.

I will try to get the first in the series out by the end of this week, but we will see how this goes as I also have a major gaming event I am volunteering for this week as well.

In the meantime, please enjoy this picture of my niece when she was just a little pipsqueak. I was wearing my Scott EVest and it had a big pocket on the back that she fit in just perfectly. Such a cute. If only she hadn't turned into a such a cute teenager. Now her momma has to deal with all them boys.
Thank fully they both have brains as well as looks. ;)