Wednesday, September 21, 2016

I am Afraid

I am afraid.
Afraid for my country and the road that we are slowly, steadily, joyfully walking down.

On Monday, a bomb went off in New York City’s Chelsea Neighborhood injuring 29 people.  Thankfully, reports are that no one was seriously injured.

Trump (and Hillary as well) has used this event to cast more aspersions on Muslims here in America. He called to close the border to Muslims, again, and to propose greater security on the members of that most maligned and misunderstood of non-Christian sects.

Never once did I hear him say that oh, by the way, the accused terrorist is a naturalized American citizen. That a closed border would have done nothing to stop this particular tragedy. Or that, quite possibly, the accused was radicalized after becoming a citizen. No! He simply continued to show his hatred, prejudice, and ignorance against a religious sect whose vast majority of members simply want to live in peace.

Instead, his followers, a staggering 42% of the US population (according to the latest New York Times poll) are calling for a total ban on a religious sect. When will they call for the same against Christians because of the Westborough Baptist Church I ask you?  The result would be the same.

How long before they decide that all of “them” and “their kind” need to be watched or maybe forced into abandoned walled up cities?  Detroit anyone?  They all seem to like walls so much.

Or maybe forcing all of the Muslims into camps would be easier on all of us.  “Arbeit Macht Frei”?

Am I being unfair to 42% of my countrymen by jumping from proud American to Neonazi so fast? How do you think it started in Germany all those years ago?  Financial crisis, followed by ultra nationalism, followed by scapegoating. Sound familiar?

Yes, a Muslim made and set off the bomb, allegedly. (Innocent until proven guilty, right? It’s a fundamental human right and has been since Roman times, but we seem to forget that here in the land of fundamental human rights.) But does that make all Muslims culpable?

So yes, allegedly, a fellow American who happens to be a Muslim is accused of the bombing and Trump is complaining that since he was shot during his arrest, that the accused is not allowed to have basic health care. In fact Trump said "Now we will give him amazing hospitalization. He will be taken care of by some of the best doctors in the world. He will be given a fully modern and updated hospital room. And he'll probably even have room service knowing the way our country is.”
Let's analyze this quote for just a second and see it for what it really is.

The accused  (not convicted, and so presumed innocent, for now) will be taken care of and have the best doctors, which is his privilege, as an American. In a fully modern hospital. Unfortunately not everyone in America has that. Some of our inner-city hospitals are lacking, but they are still far better than what you would find in the 3rd world. But I digress.
“And he'll probably even have room service knowing the way our country is.” Are you kidding me?

  1. He has a gunshot wound.
  2. He's most likely handcuffed to the bed since he is under arrest.
  3. Who has ever been made to get up out of their sick bed, and walk to the hospital cafeteria for meals?  Answer: Nobody!

How else is he supposed to eat? Trump has got to be one of the most ignorant and asinine people I have ever heard of, and 42% of my fellow Americans are mindlessly agreeing!

“Ya! He’s getting special treatment!” As if they have ever been in the hospital and been made to walk to the cafeteria for meals. How often does that happen?

So yes, I am afraid.
I am afraid of what this country is becoming.
I am afraid that 42% of the voting public are so mindless that they would vote for a buffoon like Trump.
I am afraid that 48% of the voting public are so mindless that they would vote for a criminal like Hillary.
I am afraid that if Trump gets in, he’ll have my children spying on me and reporting my statements to the secret police (I guess that they could just read my blog).
I am afraid that soon there will be camps for the unwanted, the undesirables, the "other.".
I am afraid that soon there will be an entire generation of PTSD victims from our endless wars.
I am afraid that there is nothing I can do about it.

In his book 1984, George Orwell wrote:

War is Peace
Freedom is Slavery
Ignorance is Strength

I think that my next post will be about how true these words have become.

Monday, September 12, 2016

My view on Kaepernick

It seems that everyone has an opinion about Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the National Anthem.  Any quick google search of “Kaepernick” in the news feeds will reveal extreme opinions on both sides of the debate.
Some see him as a traitor to his country and condemn him in the strongest possible terms. Others support him and agree with his protest.  And still others, do not agree with his protest but understand that he is simply exercising his right to free speech and expression as guaranteed by the first amendment of the constitution.
It’s funny, though, that those who are condemning him as a traitor are, usually, the same people who are the first to proclaim the constitution as being divinely inspired and absolute.
Strange how things work sometimes.
As for me, I will willingly take a knee with Kaepernick.
I have been silently protesting the Pledge and the National Anthem by non-participation for 5 years now.  Why?  You can read more about my protest Here.
It’s pretty simple.
I will not pledge allegiance or give honor to a country that cares nothing for its people.
I will not pledge allegiance or give honor to a country that actively denies the right of solemn franchise to many of its citizens.
I will not pledge allegiance or give honor to a country that actively disrespects and discards its veterans.
I will not pledge allegiance or give honor to a country that routinely sells its influence to the highest bidder or highest donor.
I will not pledge allegiance or give honor to a country that harasses and guns down its citizens because of their race and color.
I will not pledge allegiance or give honor to a country that will tax its middle class into poverty while giving the top 1% (ie. themselves) a pass.
I will not pledge allegiance or give honor to a country that strives to keep the masses uneducated and deceived by making college education expensive and therefore unattainable by a vast majority of the populous.
I will not pledge allegiance or give honor to a country that gives greedy corporations a pass on price gouging life saving medications to its people.
I will not pledge allegiance or give honor to a country that has turned its back on God, whatever God may be.

What frightens me the most, is the anger heaped upon Kaepernick and those of us who agree with him or maybe think like him.  It’s an instantaneous thing that seems to ignite with furious force.

"If you aren’t going to honor the flag then you'd better get out of my country!"
"If you aren’t going to honor the flag then I’m going to kick your ass."  

It reminds me of a grade school game we used to play where we would change the words to songs to make them funny.

“This land is my land,
It isn’t your land,
I’ve got a shot gun,
And you ain’t got one…”

So on and so forth.  Isn’t very funny anymore. Is it.

Those of us who conduct our silent protests by not standing for the National Anthem are well aware that there are consequences to not conforming to the nationalistic norms around us.  That there are consequences to exercising our rights of free speech.  We do not intend to demean or  disrespect the sacrifices made by the men and women of the armed services.  On the contrary, we hold them in the highest regard, we only want to make their sacrifices mean something by bringing awareness to the problems that the US has, and seems unwilling to fix.

The first step to fixing any problem is in recognizing that there is a problem to begin with.
Phrases like “The USA is the greatest country in the world,” “Land of the free and home of the brave,” and “The shining light on the hill,” are all denials of the problems faced by this country. 
Maybe if we could let the nationalistic pride go for just a few minutes and humble ourselves enough to recognize that the USA has some significant problems, that we are no longer the shining light on the hill, and that we are not the greatest country on the planet, then maybe we could actually fix a few things.
And maybe, if we actually took some time to consider our votes, that we actually voted for someone instead of against the other.  If we disregarded party and elected good people who would actually roll up their sleeves and work for the good of their constituents instead of the corporation with the largest check-book.
Maybe if we all worked for the good of the country instead of the good of ourselves, maybe we could relight that shining light on the hill.
Until then, I will sit through the national anthem and take the abuse from the flag wavers.

Friday, September 09, 2016

I’ve been reading back through my posts as of late, and realize that I haven’t written anything hopeful lately.
But I ask you, is there anything to be hopeful about?
I look at the four candidates for President, (two of whom have a snowball’s chance of getting in, and the other two are a combined disaster) and I ask, “What have we become?”
Forget the President, what about the Congress?
Fools and liars so embedded with the big corporations that they could care less about the people they supposedly represent.
Yesterday, my daughter went in for her middle school checkup.  She has a strange allergy to chocolate, and we are supposed to have an epipen for her.  We had to tell her doctor, that we would not be filling that prescription because we could not spend $200 out of pocket to fill the prescription (my insurance would cover the other $400 or so, luckily).
A life saving medication and device that reportedly costs $30 to manufacture and place on pharmacy shelves, marked up to $600?
Greedy Bastards!
Congress says, “There’s going to be an investigation!”
Right, there will be a pretend, dog and pony show of an investigation, the drug companies will write large checks to congressional incumbents and super-pacs, drug prices will continue to go up in order to pay for those congressional bribes (er, I mean, donations) and the American people will continue to take it in the shorts.  Life will continue to go on it’s merry way and nothing will change.

And you wonder why I am so disgusted with my country?
You wonder why I don’t recite the “Pledge of Allegiance?”
You wonder why I don’t stand for the National Anthem?

Why should I?  Why should you?
Am I the only person in this God-Forsaken country who can see the corruption?

So, I’ll tell you what.
You go ahead,
Wave your little governmental logo and sing your little national theme song.
Go on pretending that the USA is still the greatest country in the world.
Me? I’ll do what I can to make real change, even if I have to turn my back on the rest of you.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Cola Wars Dedux

By the time I post this, the Republican National Convention (Republic-Con) will be over and the Democratic National Convention (Demo-Con) will have started, and I have a few things to say about these two pretenders to the throne.

I was a teenager in the 1980’s and as such I was subjected to a nightly barrage of “cola war” commercials.

Most young people today won’t remember the cola wars, so I’ll tell you what they were.  Toward the end of the 1970’s and on into the ‘80’s, Pepsi Cola started an ad campaign that they called “The Pepsi Challenge.”  It involved a blind taste test, where participants drank from two cups of cola, one filled with Pepsi and the other with Coke.  They were then asked which tasted better.  In the commercials, of course, they always showed that the participants chose Pepsi.

The point of this is, that the idea of the Pepsi Challenge, that there are only two choices, is flawed.  The Cola War assumed that Coke and Pepsi were the only two cola-like soft drinks.  They banked on the assumption that you, the American consumer, were unaware that there were and are other options.
Shasta, makes a pretty good cola, and it will cost you about a dollar less per bottle.  RC Cola, bottled by the Dr. Pepper company, (also a very fine choice, by the way), has a very unique flavor that I almost prefer to Coke or Pepsi.  Although not truly a cola, per se, Moxie is probably one of the oldest cola-like soft drinks out there and has a flavor that is probably more different than anything you have ever tried.

Some of these other cola brands may be a little hard to find.  You may need to do some research, look around, walk into specialty stores rather than your local mega-mart, be informed, but once you find one of these smaller brands, the experience and rewards will be so worth the effort.

I hope that you are understanding my analogy here.  If not, let me be very blunt.

Last week, while listening to my local NPR station, they were interviewing some Republican hack from the floor of Republic-Con and he kept saying that the American People have two choices.  That they can vote for, either, Donald or Hillary.



To my way of thinking, the American People have at least four choices (although it’s probably closer to six).
Americans can choose between Donald and Hillary, of course.
But they also have Gary Johnson from the Libertarian Party and Jill Stein from the Green Party.

That’s way more than just 2 choices!  But do the American voters know that?  No!
Why?  Because the two major parties don’t want you to know about the other candidates.  That’s why.

It’s the Cola Wars Redux… American politics style.

What if the political taste test (We’ll call it the Demo-Challenge) comes up with a “neither” answer.

Unbiased poll taker: “Which do you prefer cup ‘A’ or cup ‘B’?”
Average American Voter: “Well, they both are pretty nauseating, but ‘A’ totally made me toss my cookies, so I’ll choose ‘B’.”
Unbiased poll taker: “Did you know that there are two other choices? Why don’t you try cups ‘C’ and ‘D’?”
Average American Voter: “Wow! ‘D’ is very tasty! But ‘D’ has no chance of winning, so I’ll stick with ‘B’, the one that can win, and didn’t quite make me throw up.”

Where is the logic in that?

Republic-Con, just ended, and the hall was filled with people who like Trump & people who don’t like Trump, but who will vote for him because he’s not Hillary. There were also a few people there, the Utah delegation comes to mind, who do not like Trump, and because of that, they got death threats.  I’m not even joking about that.

Donald Trump’s acceptance speech was dark, designed to make us afraid.  Now, I’m not one to sit here and tell you that the country is all full of wine and roses.  We have a lot of problems, but Trump didn’t offer a single policy idea that would change things, all he said (in a nutshell) is that America is circling the bowl and the people who flushed it are the immigrants, Muslims, and the Democrats.

Donald is banking on your fear, and so will Hillary.  I guarantee it.

It is time for Americans to wake up to the dog and pony shows that are Republic-Con and Demo-Con.  It is time for a 3rd and 4th party.  It is time to force the major media to cover the campaigns of down-ticket candidates, and inform American voters of the other choices for president.
It is time for Americans to take back their country and to reject the two major parties.

Vote 3rd party!  Your satisfaction guaranteed or return for a full refund.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Time for a Third Party?

I’ve found that there are quite a few Americans out there who feel trapped by the political process and have no idea which of the two underwhelming candidates to vote for this November.  If they vote for the Republican, they will be voting for a blow hard bigot and if they vote for the Democrat, they will be voting for an untrustworthy uber-politician.
There are many Americans who just can’t stomach either one.
I could be one of those undecided voters who just don’t know who to vote for and may just stay home this November.

For years we’ve been saying that it’s time for America to have a third party but the rules and policy changes that would allow a third party are constantly being blocked by the two major parties.

If a third party were ever to get a foothold, the two other parties would lose power and influence, and that would be like a nightmare to them and something that they just can’t allow to happen.  So, they create laws and policies to keep other parties from getting on the ballot, the major news outlets, in thrall to the two parties, create policies to keep the smaller parties from getting into the debates and give only minimal coverage to their campaigns, thus giving them no exposure, and no chance that they will make any kind of a difference to the country.  When they do cover any of the 3rd parties, the stories have a condescending “oh how cute” feel to them.

Recently, I received an email from one of the third party candidates informing me that they were trying to get on the ballot in Georgia and that in order to do so, they needed $30,000, the reason was that Georgia doesn’t recognize 3rd party candidates, so, in order for the candidate to be on the ballot in Georgia, the party needed to collect 15,000+ signatures, and then the state had to verify the signatures and would be charging the campaign $2 per signature to verify.
That is beyond ridiculous!  Who set up those rules?  State elected officials who are more beholden to the party they belong to than the country they are supposed to serve.

In a country that says that it honors free and open elections, any legitimate political party should be able to get their chosen candidate on the ballot.  To do otherwise is a disservice to the laws and traditions that made this country great.

Until the two major parties get punched in the nose by the American people, nothing will change.

For years, I have touted the idea of never voting for an incumbent with the idea of firing the career politicians.  I’ve modified my ideas on the subject.

NEVER vote for a republican or a democrat, ever, unless there are no other choices.  Let’s not just fire the career politicians, let’s fire the oppressive parties that back those do-nothing politicians.

Those who remember back to when Ross Perot ran for president back in 1992 as a third party candidate will recall that he ended up splitting the conservative vote, and putting President Bill Clinton in the White House.  Since then, voters worry about doing that again, and so, instead of finding a candidate (from any party) that best reflects their ideas, they plug their noses and vote against the candidate that least reflects their ideas.  They vote for the lesser of two evils.

Well, voting for the lesser of two evils is still voting for evil.
Those of you who plan to vote for Trump because you can’t stomach Secretary Clinton, or vice versa, are voting for evil.  Plain and simple, you are perpetuating the problem.  So you have a choice:
  1. Vote for evil and perpetuate the problem
  2. Stay home and not vote at all.
  3. Find a 3rd party candidate who best represents you and your ideals.

This year there are two perfectly viable candidates for president who are not Republican or Democrat, and who, represent conservatives and liberals better than the two major parties.

Gary Johnson is from the Libertarian Party.  He’s a former Republican Governor of New Mexico.  I really don’t know much more about him other than he seems to hold up the traditional conservative values without being a lunatic (I’m looking at Trump when I say that.)
You can find out about him at

Jill Stein is the candidate for the Green Party.  If you were a Bernie Sanders supporter, like I was, Stein should make you all kinds of happy because she stands for just about everything that he did.  I like Jill Stein, and I plan to vote for her this November.
You can find out about her at

By throwing my hat in with Jill Stein, am I throwing away my vote on someone who cannot win? Many will say that.  The way I look at it is this.  I am voting my conscience. I am voting the way our founders envisioned our elections.  They didn’t design this system to be a sporting event, all of us sitting in front of the televisions with beer and pizza watching the states fall to blue or red, cheering our side.

Every year I watch Utah turn red with 0% of the returns counted, because Utah is a traditionally Red State.  This year, Mormons just can’t stomach Trump, but without another candidate, they may just stay home, leaving the conservative wack-jobs to vote for Trump.  If my fellow Mormons would just get out and vote for Stein or Johnson, the news outlets wouldn’t know what to do!

Wouldn’t it be great if on election night, the news people called Utah Red, and then later that night had to back off their prediction?  Oh my gosh that would be so awesome!  I would love to see Utah go Green, or whatever color they decide to make the Libertarians.  If it’s going to happen, this is the year to do it.

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Enough of the Rah-Rah

The 4th of July is Tomorrow, and this is the one holiday of the year that I do not look forward to in any way.  In fact, for anyone who is not proud to be an American, the 4th of July is downright painful.
And the fact that I’m a Mormon makes it just that much worse.
In the LDS church (in the US, at least) the sunday closest to the 4th is dedicated to talks about the wonderfulness of the USA, patriotic hymns, and the divine origins of the US Constitution.
And while the rest of the congregation seems to be feeling the spirit testify the truthfulness of such statements, I feel nothing.  Nothing at all.  In fact, all I really feel is sadness for the direction that our country has taken.
240 years ago, I’m sure that the men who signed the Declaration of Independence felt a nervous optimism about where this new country would be going in the future.  I’m sure that they never anticipated the corruption that they were actually releasing on the world.
I’m sure that they hoped that there would be no career politicians.  No rich old men and women who would spend most of their lives in Washington selling their votes to the highest bidder; or evil oligarchs (ie Congress) who would care more for the power of their political party than the needs of their constituents.
I’m sure that they would have never expected that the people of this country would play along with Washington corruption, content to wave the flag and support their political party and demonize the opposing party as long as they have a job and food on the table.
Last night, my family stopped at the Riverton City Park to watch the fireworks.  It was a fun time, but all night I sat feeling only contempt for my countrymen cheering the national anthem like it was their team’s fight song.  Cheering the USA as the greatest country on the planet, all evidence to the contrary.
The thing that makes me the most sad, is that, if we as Americans keep cheering our country as the greatest in the world, nothing will ever change for the better.
So on this 4th of July, I’m going to tell my countrymen a few things that I’m sure they do not want to hear.
  1. The USA is a fallen empire.
  2. There is only one thing that the US is the greatest at: Incarceration.
  3. We used to vote people into office who cared about the people more than their own personal power.  That hasn’t happened in a long time.
  4. We are selling our children’s future to the highest bidder by not balancing the national books.
  5. Come this January we are going to have one of two people on the White House.  Who will you be voting for?
    1. The narcissistic criminal
    2. The narcissistic nazi
    3. Does it matter which one we get?
  6. Your freedoms are being taken away, but like the frog in a slowly warming pot of water, you fail to notice.
  7. You no longer live in a democratic republic.  As long as you continue to vote for the incumbents, you will continue to be ruled by an oligarchy.
  8. We have turned our backs on God, and as long as we continue to do so, we will never again be the shining light on the hill to the rest of the world.  Without God, we will only continue to fall into chaos and tyranny.
  9. We all need to wake up and realize that the USA is not the greatest country in the world, but that it could be again, if we just change our thinking.  Stop cheering our side, roll up our sleeves, and get to work changing things.
  10. Nothing will ever change until all primary elections are free and open.  Political parties should never be able to tell citizens who can and cannot vote in their primaries.  It’s just this kind of closed elections that gave us the two presidential candidates that we have.

That’s all I have to say.
Have a safe and happy 4th.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...