The Voices of Women – Meaningless? And the Erosion of Democracy…

Apologies to the length of this writing (this is TL;DR for some) but Trump, Kavanaugh, McConnell, Flake, Collins, Hatch, Graham, Manchin and injustice is making life, well, Topsy-turvy to be polite…

Well. It appears that the voices of women mean nothing where it is most important – in sexual assaults (and in every day life to be fair). Even if an event happened 30+ years ago, the voice and statements of a woman are still important.

As of today, Saturday – Oct 6, 2018, America has voted onto the Supreme Court an individual with more divisiveness; with a more controversial background than Clarence Thomas had.

I’m a guy and what women say IS important, always!

That is, until it is proven it is not true. But, where it is ambiguous and no concrete evidence can be found, many of us will side with the woman – not just give lip service and say ‘we believe her’ as certain members of Congress have done (so the congressional members can retain their positions of power in their home state/district). What a woman says can make a difference. In many of the sexual assaults it is primarily a crime not witnessed by others and that is why the victim does not come forth and the guy gets away with it. (Sometimes, sometimes, yes indeed – there are women who also commit sexual assaults, it is just not that many.) And Trump – making an outlandish tweet that young men should be scared is ridiculous. No young men should be assaulting women in the first place (that goes for older men as well).

In America, or rather parts of America – certain Americans have decided that a man with a blemished background and temperament can be put into a position of significant influence and power. Certain Americans have placed an individual with what appears to be a highly tainted past onto the highest court, a court which now will be looked at for every decision it makes for the next 30 years with a jaundiced eye.

All because an individual who was put into the White House due to many electoral college members deciding that this person was the best choice for America in 2016. Trump.

If this Supreme Court vote turned your stomach, you had best “get your butt off the couch and go vote” in the NEXT SEVERAL voting turnouts, for the next couple of decades! The mid-terms, primaries, all of them. This will be the only way to restore some semblance of sanity to America.

Because if you do not, we, America, will be doomed and damned!  Are you one of the people looking to return to the ‘Dark Days’ of yesterday when only the males of one race had the power to lord over everyone else of a different color and all women? Do you really want to return to the days of suppression and repression…?

More and more pieces of democracy (not talking about the democratic party here, just democracy) will be chipped away as they are being done today. More “socialist” programs will be lost for years, if not decades until we can return to the path of growth and equality that we were on until Trump was put into the White House. And what I mean by socialist programs are:

  • fire departments (think you don’t need this socialist program when your home catches fire)
  • libraries (not everyone has high speed internet or even computers at home)
  • police departments (what happens when your local police department is gone and you need law enforcement)
  • schools (everyone needs to seriously consider removing Betsy D. from the dept of education…)
  • hospitals
  • social security (what are you going to do when you are older and have no money to rely on)
  • should I go on….?

Socialist programs, today, in 2018, are meant to help everyone, not just the poor and downtrodden – the programs are meant to make the lives of everyone easier,  better and safer.

This is how Hitler grew into power. Think about that – think long and hard – do your ‘own’ thinking. Over several years, Hitler and the people around him whittled away at more and more programs until they gained power – a vise grip on EVERYTHING! (There are some who say this erosion actually started right before Hitler came into the picture – but we all know for fact, Hitler destroyed democracy in Germany.) And what was the result of that, guess! Extermination of massive numbers of the Jewish race, in multiple countries (Poland, Germany, France, Austria and more). The Holocaust was the ultimate disgrace to democracy. Things started out small in Germany and many of the Germanic race were happy and fine that Hitler was looking out for them. Hitler was going to “Make Germany Great Again!But then when it was too late to do anything, such as removing Hitler, Himmler, Goering and others of the SS and the Nazi party – it was far, far too late.

Now, this is not saying Trump is a Nazi but – he is providing a helping hand in the destruction of the American way of life and all of its democracies. Trump has enabled the worse of the worst to come forth (recall the nighttime ‘Tiki Torch’ parade). Trump has unleashed the hounds of hell, to put it mildly, to come out of the wood-works and raise pure hell. Look at:

  • early February 2017 where the House and Senate voted to repeal the so-called “stream protection rule”- Coal companies now have a freer hand in dumping mining pollutants into streams
  • the white nationalist rally incident in Charlottesville, VA where Heather Heyer was killed
  • Chris Collins and his insider trading on the lawn of the White House – how brazen was that?
  • Many of the cabinet members Trump installed and the self-aggrandizement these individuals did while in power – sound-proof phone booth in his office (guess who that was);
  • Expensive furniture, what was it, ~$31,000 for his office – you know who this was, the man qualified to run HUD because he grew up in the projects (I grew up in the projects too)…
  • Zinke of the Interior Department and his sell off of federal lands
  • The black protestor who was sucker-punched by a white man in the stands at a Trump rally in Fayetteville (and trump said he would pay the legal fees for the puncher)
  • we could go on and on with this list…

The point is, if Americans do not come to their senses and stop this extreme political partisanship, we will continue going down the rabbit hole of more:

  • hate crimes – racially & religiously motivated
  • individuals like Michael Gerard Grimm, former congressman & former FBI, who threatened to throw a reporter off the balcony – a reporter who was doing his job (after his prison term for that, Grimm had the audacity to try running again for public office)
  • corruption – how can people follow the law when the law makers and peace keepers are the ones causing this corruption and excess to continue – so they can feel powerful and make money in many cases for doing so
  • erosion of public lands for corporate revenue – oil exploitation, so that oil companies can continue to make large pools of revenue before the clean energy wave really kicks in and fossil fuel use will be a money pit
  • inequalities – women and racial – women and those of different skin colors doing the same job as men of a certain color “SHOULD BE PAID EQUALLY” for doing the same job
  • anti-discrimination against new immigrants to America – and we all know this is how America started
  • to name a few….

What do we need to do people? You all have to use your head and think!!!!

You have to perform research and think and talk about your actions before you do them! You cannot just listen to unqualified individuals who spout hate and conspiracy theories. You must do your own thinking, it is what makes you “you”!

So, what are you thinking? Are you thinking things in the political environment are going in the right direction?

Are you thinking Trump is making America great – when he raises tariffs, the ultimate cost is on you, the American citizen because you will be the one paying more for the products with the tariffs. 

Do you think the tax cut he instituted was wonderful? Well – continue thinking about that when your local services (any or all of them) are cut or eliminated due to your city budget does not have enough revenue – ‘because of that tax cut’.

What about clean air and clean water? Think your kids are going to be able to run around as you did years ago but now the air and water are more polluted (remember, the coal mine dumping above and the Trump administrations’ attempt to relax car emissions letting car makers off the hook…)

Use your brains. Think about the future. You cannot just think about yourself because you do not like gays or dark skinned people. You cannot say “hey, my religion is the foremost important thing in the world” when other people believe in a different religion. Do not make a mistake, as an American and a global citizen – I. DO. NOT. WANT Sharia Law anywhere near America.

Ultimately, what is being stated here is that Americans need to be better.

  • Give women their voices – it is hard enough to come forward publicly as it is
  • Think about unity, amongst all Americans (i.e. why do we still have Sundown towns in parts of America? Why do we still have so many skinhead/white nationalist/white supremacist groups around the country?)

Because America has to come together again and be a “United States” and grow stronger and be better as a country for itself. As well as in the face of rising problems with:

  • Russia’s Putin doing the meddling he is doing globally and
  • China doing what they are doing – attempting to force people / countries to kowtow to them; giving China hemispheric power to do what they wish, such as build man-made islands in the South China Seas and claim more of the region as belonging to them (we could discuss the Uighurs and the police state they are living under as well as the great firewall of China as well as internet and public censorship so the Chinese citizens have no voice and are unable to vote politicians out of power – these are big stories on their own…)

We are losing the luster of being a world leader because we do not have any serious diplomatic power. Who do we have that is a shining star in the world of diplomacy? Our ‘leader’ in the White House is not one who has great powers of diplomacy. He is continually causing America to devolve into a laughing stock of the world every time he utters a sentence or disseminates a tweet.

We are a country where it is now up to the states to institute clean air and clean water and equality for all. That is, those states with a forward looking mindset for the next 10 – 30 years…

 

 

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Trump Fallacy & Mueller’s Tasking = Uncover Alternative Facts, Collusion and Obstruction of Justice

Very sorry in advance. This paper started out as a brief half-pager but the more thinking put into this paper regarding Mueller’s investigation and Trump himself, ummm, errrr, the paper grew a bit… The two areas are too intertwined. This is not a ‘dog whistle’ but a thought paper, one for which it is hoped that those few people who do read even a small part of it will start their own expanded thought process and create a cascading effect within their circles (filter bubbles or not).

 

Well, whaddaya think…?  Here we are, still, at the crossroads of historical significance with the current American president. And no, we are not using the term United States, because we are not united – there is too much divisiveness in America, too much selfishness. Coming together only during disasters and shootings is not nearly enough to say the country is united. We have to think about everyone; from the rust belt, to the mid-west – in addition to the west and east coasts, from the farms to the cities, from the poor to the rich.

We are here with Trump and his merry gang of, ???, others?  Not sure what to make of these folks and really do not want to just parse out any puerile knee-jerk name-calling.

The ‘Trump Fallacy’. Yes, there it is, the Electoral College missed the boat on “believing” they were voting in who the American people wanted as the next American president. As many people who did their own research and thinking know, the Electoral College was wrong, many of the Electoral College members just voted too soon and did not wait for more vote counting. (Or, and these are only guesses here: a) they voted on Trump out of fear of some of the more rabid Trump supporters or b) a really wild guess here, some of the Electoral College voters were paid to vote for Trump {let’s hope this really was not the case}). The American people voted for the other presidential candidate by ~2.9 million more votes. Simply put, more Americans voted for Hillary Clinton than any other losing presidential candidate in American history… {Clinton’s votes = 65,844,954 / Trump’s votes = 62,979,879}

The Trump fallacy is that too many people believed Trump was their salvation. That Trump was going to restore a dying industry (coal) to its former black lung and asthma inducing glory. That Trump was going to make America the single greatest power on Earth. That Trump was going to put a chicken for every pot in America (do your research please, this is a Truman reference) while at the same time; putting in unqualified individuals in the nation’s highest offices, individuals who really had no business being placed in these positions. America was actually growing prior to Trump being selected by the Electoral College. As a result, Trump put in place individuals who wanted to take America backwards or did not know how to move America forward:

Ben Carson – HUD Secretary, installed because, as he stated, he used to live in the projects (so did this writer)

Betsy DeVos – Education Secretary, installed because she ran some Charter schools and since taking office, never visited some of the worse national school districts (ask Michigan if DeVos even contacted them) – DeVos wants to have more charter schools and leave the public schools to die off – that is the image we perceive. The problem, public schools are important and they need funding and improvements (too many teachers are buying their class supplies with their own small amount of money they earn)

Scott Pruitt – EPA, installed because he is a friend of the oil industry…? (what EPA secretary ever attempted to obtain a sound proof phone booth in their office, or bullet resistant office furniture and seats in bigger armored limousine…?) This individual also wants to continue making oil a dominate energy source when green energy (Wind, Solar, Ocean waves, etc.) is continually growing, even energy companies are buying up 10 – 20-year green energy contracts (but not making much noise about it).

Zinke – Interior, a person who claims to be a geologist but did not go the complete route a real geologist takes to gain that title of being a geologist (yes, he did take geology courses as an undergraduate but that is not all it takes)

Let’s just stop here, you get the picture. Right? RIGHT….??

But, as many people are now fully aware, not just across America, but across the planet – Trump never was qualified to sit in house of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Many people have known that since the 1990’s. Many of his base have been finding out the painful way over the past 17 months that the current president is not and never was qualified and is incapable of being qualified. Now, the remainder of his base, for whatever reason(s), they may never recognize that fact – but they may, after America goes through more harm, damage and ridicule over the next 12-24 months…

Just because someone has the loudest voice or biggest bull-horn, it does not mean that person has the right take or the best solution on anything. Listening to someone like that may just take you on a very bad bus ride… People have to learn to keep an open mind with the possibility that someone else’s opinion may be better or even right. People have to be better and learn to adapt to a changing global landscape by keeping an open mind and boosting their own intellect rather than relying on others to spoon fed what may be contrarian information (i.e. egregious or little lies).

What we appear to have in the American psyche now, more than ever, are a lot of individuals who for some reason have subconsciously (or consciously) given up their prerogative to do their own critical thinking. We have more people in America (and other countries for that matter), who seem to prefer to let other, less informed and ill-meaning people do the thinking for them.

Not really clear why so many Americans do not do their own critical thinking, AFTER they do their own research of course. So many Americans seem to relish listening to whisper campaigns, conspiracy minded talkers (many of which appear to not do their own due diligence prior to trotting out their various topics/dialogues) or flat-out liars. And to put an icing on the cake, these narrowly focused individuals spread the untruths on social media, in their own filter bubbles or other venues, therein causing a feeding frenzy using the bad information.

What happened to the thinking process of these people along the way of their life? What is wrong with dissent and conflict in a civil manner? People do not have to physically attack others who do not agree with them but some do. All you have to do is go to some colleges where speakers are attacked, by thrown objects and even physically. This harkens back to those Salem days of witch craft and hysteria arose – all because the person being accused of being a witch had a physical disorder or thought differently. It is as if the control mechanism in the brains of so many people is in a state of permanent shut down and they do not know how to turn it back on… Is America going backwards because free thought is being shut down.

— Hate speech or racial supremacy speech or bullying does not count as being healthy free speech.

The Trump fallacy has lowered the bar for ethical standards and personal integrity. Too many people around the American president are picking up the bad role model habits of this president. For example, early last year, January 2017, we had a woman go on live television and tell the American public about ‘Alternative Facts.’ By now, nearly everyone on the planet should know that alternative facts are just lies. For those that do not believe this, hint: an alternative to truth is a falsehood, or a lie. Many of us do not know of any other alternatives, so if you do know of something concrete to describe or define ‘alternative facts’, please let the rest of us in on that little-known tidbit.

Or worse still, we have public officials in congress and the senate who knowingly and unabashedly spread falsehoods because they believe it is something the president desires. And as a result, we have deepening political partisanship, worse than ever (no, not pointing a finger at just one party).

 

Now, getting to Mueller and his investigation of collusion (Russians), his team is outstandingly quiet on what they have to date. That is the way it is supposed to be. No lawyer or prosecutor in their right mind is going to give up valuable information in advance of the conclusion of their investigation or prior to the convening of a court case.

What many are not thinking of is the possibility that Mueller, in his role of special prosecutor, may have quite a bit of evidence at hand to make a significant blow to those who mistakenly believed that they could do what they want with the political system and the constitution. Think about ‘fixing by your neighborhood fixer’ and flat out ‘bribery’, basically, think about corruption. Mueller may have extraordinary data to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. Mueller ‘may’ also have an abundance of data in regards to ‘obstruction of justice’. The obstruction of data ‘may’ be aimed at those surrounding Trump, now and in the past – all those folks who have spat out and are currently spitting out lies, misleading information or other diversionary tactics, with the single goal of getting Trump out of hot water.

What is happening to ethics and integrity in the world? It seems a person’s word and bond are not as valued today in some certain circles. It seems that various people, highly educated people to boot, seem to have willingly and completely lowered the bar for their personal standard and do not mind the occasional bit of lying in the workplace or political/justice systems or even outrageous acts of corruption that we all see every week in the news in some city.

  

 

Disheartened yet? No, chew on this then. Here is something that some/many people may not talk about or even think of. There are so many Americans out there, in all levels of society and various positions of power who only think about pleasing themselves and those around them and to hell with everyone else.  This is where discrimination kicks in or continues to spread… And no, you do not have to go and do any copious and deep research on this, just look around and listen to the conversations of other people – on the train platform, in bars, at any sports venue, etc.  Especially when the talkers believe no one else is listening to them.

There are a large number of Americans who refuse to listen to other arguments and opinions, just because those arguments come from someone else. It does not matter if the other person making the argument is a highly educated expert in their field, or that other person may not have advanced degrees but is a well-known specialist. Or, it could just be a neighbor down the road. And please, do not let it be a valid argument from someone of color, or a woman, or someone from a different religion – because then, the one who refuses to listen to a different opinion digs in even more and is blinded by their personal discriminatory beliefs instead of considering that other opinion and having a dialogue.

The sad news for those kinds of thinkers is that we are all in this together, Americans cannot continue to have discrimination and keep putting in place, demarcation lines, visible or otherwise (you know, where people of one race moves out of a neighborhood because ‘certain’ kinds of other people move in…). We have to eventually “all” come together and recognize “others”. People of all colors are important. People of both genders and now, adding trans-gender folks to the mix are “all” important. Young and old alike are important to any society. The poor and the middle class are also important to any society, not just chattel to cast aside when the wealthy or the well-off are finished with them for the time being.

Enough people in America, and around the world, have been suppressed for too many centuries (yes, centuries) – we have to boot strap and bring everyone up, to improve standards in America and around the world.

 

So, work on thinking for yourselves and what is important to all of us. We cannot continue to have siloed (discriminatory) societies when we all breathe the same air and travel the same roads – doing so just makes it that much more expensive just to maintain all the various silos of – we need this or they (others) do not need that (this or that). Doing so only brings back (or keep in place) inequities that many of us want to see go away once and for all.

Let’s all think about actually draining the swamp of corrupt individuals who only want to aggrandize themselves and line their own pockets and do something real. Like vote out those who are corrupt and vote in others who want to help everyone, not just people who look like them…

If people out there choose to not think for themselves and continue listening to others who erroneously and intentionally misled them, we are all in trouble. We will continue to see this uptick in Fascist talk and actions; more talk and activity from white supremacists who believe the world (or certain portions of it) belongs only to them; more talk from nationalists/populists who only promote ideals that ‘appear’ to make their followers happy (think about Hitler).

Seriously, work on raising the bar on your personal ethics and integrity. Those two areas alone are something that would bring America back again instead of sliding down the magic rabbit-hole of lies and corruption in all areas and levels of government (and all other areas of life to boot). Seriously, again, stop condoning things that you know are wrong. i.e. there was one individual who stated “”You get a mulligan,” said Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council” in talking about the immoral behavior of Trump. Grabbing women by the “pu_ _ y” is not something one gets a mulligan over… Nor was the situation when Melania Trump had their child and Trump was galivanting around…

Would you rather have a role model with poor moral standards, who knowingly lies (i.e. in 1980 Trump agreed to turn over to the Metropolitan Museum of Art the gilded 20-by-30-foot nickel grillwork of interlocking geometric designs and a pair of 15-foot-tall Art Deco panels “depicting stylized, partly draped female nudes, from the Bonwit Teller building he was tearing down to build Trump Tower – but then reneged on the promise and destroyed the art work), and encourages physical attacks (recall the sports arena incident where a white guy, as he was walking up the steps to leave the stadium, went out of his way to punch a black guy who had stood up to wait his turn to leave) or would you rather follow a sanitation worker (or home care assistant) with a big heart, higher ethical and integrity standards as a role model to live and grow your lives…?

Hint: some of us would rather follow the latter role model and not someone who wants to perpetuate the past where honest public officials are cast out for working on the straight and narrow rather than allowing certain illegalities go unnoticed and unpunished (remember Sally Yates who was ousted from the DoJ and Preet Bharara formerly of the Southern District of New York)…

 

Lastly, please, for many folks out there – try to stop being malleable, weak-minded and easily manipulated individuals. Do not just jump on the very first thing you see or hear, look for corroborating information to make a more informed opinion. Try to think for yourselves and for the future of America, all of the Americans, not just certain groups of people or certain colors…

We need to bring America back from the fringes of becoming a true international laughing stock, for which we are to a small degree, thanks in no small part to what has been happening over the past 17 months.

Our Society… Our People… Our Country… Our World… Are We Doomed or are we treading on thin, dirty ice…?

Even though I am an eternal optimist, I am nevertheless heartbroken and wearily saddened of so many things unjust and wrong in our society, here in the “United” States and around the world. Also, this piece is for those who want to read a somewhat serious discourse on various topics.

The few things (of ever so many) that I write about here are nothing new. Many thousands and tens of thousands of others have written and are writing about some or all of the same things. I only want to add my voice and hope that maybe just one person will read this and hear, clearly, what I say. Maybe that one person will be an even better carrier to spread the message, the message of equality and fairness and respect to and of others.

It is not just up to leaders to provide guidance and direction but it is also the individuals in our society who can lend their voices to reflect winning words of: forward thinking, encouragement, equality, respect, collaborations and moving in the right direction. With all the many, many voices out there – some of which have very little meaningful things to say, while there actually are others out there who ‘do’ have good, strong and constructive things to say but are drowned out by the mean, snidely sarcastic and ill-meaning people all around the country.

It is up to someone who is magnetic, energetic and has enough of an audience to concentrate all the good messages into a good platform.  

Are we becoming a stagnant group of people, heading in the direction of the Romans, towards a failing society? No, not in the way of being decadent but rather in the way of just, well, dissolving into a meaningless group – wait, no, into meaningless ‘bunches’ of groups of people scrabbling over things that really should not cause the conflict, ignorance and suffering we are going through as a nation.  

Yes, I will say it, I am a bleeding heart and at times I do wear it on my sleeve. At the same time, I am an eternal optimist and have been for many years. As well, I am a pessimistic pragmatist at times and because of that it causes a conundrum for some people are going to say “You can’t be all of those at the same time!” But therein lies some of the ignorance of some people – you actually can be those, it just takes some judicial balancing at various points in time.  

Look around; you don’t need me to give you specific examples of where we are failing many in this country or where things are just flat out wrong. You just need to open your eyes in your neighborhood, your workplace, your gym. You can see these things in your daily lives – if you would only remove your blinders and open your eyes and your mind.

Look at folks in wheel chairs or those who need to use crutches – those devices do not diminish their mental abilities. Some of these folks also have brilliant minds but so many firms will not hire them. This makes me angry to no end that so many handicapped (or disabled) individuals are simply blocked out of being hired. 

I am saddened that so many women are being treated as less than equal:

  • In earning less than their male counterparts in doing the same job
  • Not being as readily considered for leadership as their male counterparts who have the same experience
  • Because they have breasts and nothing dangling between their legs
  • Not being allowed to drive and/or obtain a job and/or education because they are women
  • AND being raped, around the world, while large numbers of men do not place much emphasis on this as being morally, physically and legally wrong (in some parts of the world, men believe the women deserved it…) – women are NOT chattel nor cattle
  • Or the coordinated moves against abortion, where many men are attempting to make decisions for pregnant women that is arduous enough as it is and for sure will drive many women to their deaths as they attempt self-abortions or those infamous ‘back alley’ abortions of years past.

Basically it is about the lack of respect that so many women should be receiving… 

I am saddened that people of different races are being treated as less than equal, solely because of the color of their skin.

This is a topic I could really go to town on because racism is still alive and well. It may not be as noticeable (overt) as it once was, it is just more covert today. But here is a tidbit on racism for some of you; many people do know they actually are racist because it is likely at their subconscious level just below their conscious awareness of how they interact with and treat others of different races. I’m not only talking about blacks and whites but all races.

Many people, not just in this country but around the globe, believe that ‘some’ races are inferior and should never have a voice in anything and are only worthwhile as cheap labor.

When a people (pick one from the past couple of centuries) are suppressed, kept ignorant (uneducated in school, politics and society) and not paid (adequately) for what they do – for what they are worth, then we should never be surprised that people of those ‘other’ races do not do as well as others who have been privileged to gain a) better educations, b) better jobs along with c) much better pay.

Massive discrimination is one result… Simmering resentment is another result…

Skin color is only skin deep. Just because your skin color and the skin color of your closest peers are the same – it does not make you and your peers the better person(s).

As well, good looks or less than good looks are only skin deep. Just because you look better than someone else, it does not make you the better person we would necessarily want to stand side by side with in moments of stress and hard times. We all sweat and bleed the same.

Repression and/or suppression of others, just to retain your place in life or your power is not the way it should be. That is wrong in all aspects.

I am saddened that people of various religious faiths treat those of different religions as somehow being inferior to them OR treating people of no religion as being flat out wrong in their view of a godless life. And yes, there are many of those kinds of persons in the different religious faiths – you know that. And yes, I do recognize that there are many in the various faiths who ‘do’ look at others as equals, so don’t get me wrong, I am not chastising all religious individuals.

Buddhists, Muslims, Catholics, Baptists, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witness’, etc… MANY in each of these groups believe their god to be the ‘one’ true god. And the more extremely religious groups/individuals wholeheartedly believe that if you disrespect or ridicule or profane or disbelieve their god (you pick the religion here) – then you deserve to be ostracized (or killed) for failing to follow their faith.

Then too, many individuals of these same extremely strong religious treat women as secondhand, as chattel, fit only to work in the kitchen and in the bedroom, all the while remaining subservient to the men, even to boys. Some (many?) religions do not allow women any positions of equality or authority within their particular band of religion – because their bible, in so many words, states it as being wrong (I don’t get that)…

Discrimination… Stupidity… Ignorance… Education…

Backward thinking

Look, here’s another sample of backward thinking, gays and gay marriage. Are people just ill-informed or undereducated and are not aware that homosexuality and bisexuality has been going on for thousands and tens of thousands of years around the world – in Africa, in Asia and in Europe, long before the U.S. became a country.

Being gay is nothing new and nothing to be afraid of. If you’re not gay, then you’re not gay but don’t try to force those people who are gay that they are wrong in believing in that lifestyle and for feeling that way. Your hatred ‘and’ fear is of your own making and of your own possible feelings of inadequacies and insecurity or whatever other label you might wish to give to that.

I am willing to bet that you likely know a neighbor / co-worker close to you whom you believe to be straight, is actually gay. And on top of that, I am also willing to bet that you believe that that person is a “great” person to boot…

Why do so, so many people in this country (and around the world), here and now in the 21st century continue to live in the past or want to go backwards to days of unjustness, such as:

  • Witch burning
  • Exorcisms (because someone is epileptic)
  • Crucifixion
  • Separation of the races (because it is heresy for them to mix)

to name but a few…

Why aren’t more people stepping up and becoming forward thinking individuals? Is it because our education system is failing us? Is it because our political system is allowing religion to creep in where it should not and actual science be damned?

Are more people content to remain isolated in their own small self-filtered world, head ‘constantly’ down, peering into their smart phone or tablet with their earpieces inserted instead of looking up and around at those nearby?

The old ways of life are gone.

Our society and jobs

Because of the economy and confused state of employment, we need to pull together – in a much better fashion than the current state of bickering in political circles… Thanks to outsourcing and offshoring, which really started ramping up in the late 80s, it kind of took the wind out of our American sails. And so, because of that, the availability of lower cost labor in other parts of the world, we saw our jobs and old American way of life taper off, or disappear.

But today, as labor costs around the world continue to increase, as well as transportation costs, some jobs have come back to the U.S. but not nearly enough. Many have written on this topic(i.e. www.economist.com/news/special-report/21569574-offshoring-has-brought-huge-economic-benefits-heavy-political-price-story-so The story so far – Offshoring has brought huge economic benefits, but at a heavy political price Jan 19th 2013)

On top of that, automation, sophisticated computing and now robotics are taking away additional jobs, forcing more people to acquire to obtain more than high school education. And advanced education is no longer inexpensive.

I include this segment on the economy and society because this planet is becoming ever smaller every year due to some better living standards and access to traveling anywhere at any time. We need to be better. We need to treat each other better. We need to act better. 

Forward thinking

When are ‘more’ American’s, and others around the globe, going to wake up and start judging others by the character and content of that person’s heart rather than going by anyone’s superficial outward appearance (skin color, handicap, speech)???

YOU have to look at the whole individual and value the individual in that light. YOU cannot simply judge others by their outward appearance and/or by the way they talk. You have to take into consideration the totality of that person to judge that person and of course that means you will need to get to know that person to discover that, rather than making uneducated or baseless flip / snap judgments of others. Malcolm Gladwell talks about some of this in his 2007 book “Blink,” a book in which I recommend others read. You do not need to read the whole book to gain better insights, but I would recommend that you do. But be sure to read the part discussing “unconscious prejudices.”

You should strive, in your moments of snap thinking (or “slice thinking” ala – M. Gladwell), to do a better job when thinking of others and what you think about them. Go beyond superficiality – look beneath the surface, look at the sum of the person, not at the individual component of a person’s life.

Go deeper!

Earlier I mentioned that there are some great folks in wheel chairs or on crutches, here I expand on it. There are many phenomenal people who come from multiple diverse backgrounds, whether it is with a silver spoon or from the depths of poverty. There are many strong and amazing people today who can make a difference, regardless of their gender or race or upbringing, look at past people (and a few of the present) of influence:

Women – Rosa Parks, Ida B. Wells, Harriet Tubman, Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma, Golda Mier of Israel, Joan of Arc and the young Pakistani – Malala Yousafzai

Men – Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King Jr., Mandela, Gandhi, Galileo, Booker T. Washington, Ralph Nader and Lincoln

These women and men refused to give up, they stood their ground and of course this is an incomplete list… I only hope if confronted with a difficult situation, you and I can be like them and stand our ground. And no, I do not mean like the stupidly written Florida ‘Stand Your Ground’ nonsense.  

Then too, there are the older senior citizens and the youngest amongst us – don’t just cast them off and push them to the side just because ‘you’ think they are too old or too young to offer any fulfilling and informative thoughts and/or solutions to problems and issues of the day. They have valuable input too, sometimes they do not but don’t just discount them right off the bat. Listen to them, process their info and THEN make a “conscious” decision on whether to use or not use their information.

Remember, you do not know everything. Only those who think they know everything believe that, while those around them may disagree…

Our society, the infrastructure to the air we breathe…

As it stands, some people in our country (and around the world) want to have clean air, clean water, access to better living conditions, access to better medical care and access to vastly improved transportation. But we have so many in authority (or not) who seem not to care as much. Some of these people believe that it should only be their way that should be the norm (vouchers for medical care and education is a joke, even to me).

Some of these people in authority (or not) believe that the poor or unemployed should not have as much help financially as they are (or were) receiving and hence – their support should be cut.

Some of these people in authority (or not) believe that there should be more voting restrictions (and even more rigid gerrymandering – pick your group here, I’m not singling out any one group) in order to knock out any votes that could strip them of their position.

We should be conducting free and fair elections in every city, in every state – not reducing the days of voting, or the locations of voting, or even the requirement to show birth certificates or passports to prove citizenship (which of late is popping up in some states) because the threat of voter fraud is so worrisome.

Our society and humanity and fairness

So, why does it take disasters to bring us together, albeit for a brief time? That is probably the most disheartening of all in that it takes something of such an extraordinary measure for us to come together…

You know, when Rodney King stated “Why can’t we all just get along?” – many people derided that statement then and still do to this day. But, that is a very valid statement!  

What is happening to us? For many years, I have continued on in my life trying to improve myself and becoming a worthy role model for others to emulate. As we know, you cannot make anyone follow you and what you do. You can only show them the way and hope they pick up on the good that you are doing, whether it is in the work you do, the way you handle yourself in your social life or in the way you treat others.

The way you treat others shows a great deal about what kind of person you are – and many of you know it. Do you treat a poor, undereducated person as less than your equal and become patronizing or condescending to them?

How do you actually know that person is not your equal, do you really know that person? That person may have a masters’ degree, or even a doctorate from where they came from but due to bad luck, or the U.S. not recognizing that person’s advanced degree – you ‘might’ feel that person is not of “good” caliber or breeding. Is it because:

  • Of the way the ‘other’ talks?
  • That person has an accent that you are not used to?
  • That person just never had ample opportunities to learn better diction or oratorical skills?
  • Even better, is it because that ‘other’ is not as good looking as some are fortunate to have been in life?

These are all superficial things, what about the person inside – that is what counts. Does that ‘other’ have great integrity, ethics, kindness and/or generosity that YOU do not have and are jealous of having a lack of?  

There are far too many people among us who do not really care about others around them. All they seem to concern themselves with is the lining of pockets, primarily their own. And yes, some of these individuals make noise as if they ‘really do’ care about others but covertly, they just want to keep on lining their pockets, in any manner or fashion – even if it turns out to be illegal and the rest of us can just fuggidaboutit…

Note: You can watch a piece on the CBS Sunday Morning with Nancy Giles talking about TIPS where she is talking to the cab driver on that topic. The cabbie told her of a recent fare of two guys in the back with one on his cell phone as they are leaving the airport. The guy on the phone ends his call, tells his passenger buddy “I just made $6 million.” But after arriving at the passengers’ destination, the cabbie only receives a $1 tip… [www.cbsnews.com/videos/tipping-points-when-and-when-not-to-pay-extra/ Tipping points: When and when not to pay extra (Sunday Mar 23, 2014)]

We have too many people in power and leadership positions who want to retain power, by any method possible with complete disdain and disregard for those with a less fuller and rich life. And this is inclusive of people in public firms, private corporations and in government.  

People, we/you, need to get out more and talk to others. You need to talk to others WHO ARE NOT LIKE you so you can see and understand the differences amongst all of us and what makes this country what it is today. Maybe then, we can start making progress of building up all of us and making America the leading country of the planet again and not be the schizophrenic, indecisive, squabbling country that we seemed to have become.

There are many people who have something to say but do not say it because of so many others who instead of offering serious debate, discussion and/or constructive responses, they want to shoot the other person down with snide, sarcastic, rude, insensitive, offensive and threatening language.  

Are we doomed to become a stagnant and dying society, of Americans, of humans? Or are we going to continue growing, once we lift up everyone in getting everyone the chance to get an education and access to better health care? People can no longer seek out enclaves where they can live and be with others who look like and act like them, free of any real diversity.

Diversity is what is going to make our country, our world grow. Not religious growth. Not racial exclusion. Not gender bias. Diversity, collaboration and treating each other with respect and fairness are the answers to a bright and growing future.

Otherwise, we are doomed…

When College Students Lose The Right To Vote

Originally posted Aug 1, 2013 at & moved from: http://patrick642.wordpress.com/
Change. Improve. Innovate. Be better.
~ Pressing issues, from cyber security, to strategy, to innovation, to improvements (self, others, organizations)

Montravius King – congratulations on your winning that unnecessary N.C. state Board of Election (BoE) gathering and voting last night (Tues Sept 3).

You should not have had to go through that as N.C. put in these unrealistic NEW laws which are illegal. They do not supersede federal laws. As students, you all have the right to vote.

When you were first introduced on The Rachel Maddow Show and I saw what was going on with “a certain” group of students of college campuses across N.C., I had thought this would be quickly done away with and you all would continue to vote as the law allows. Little did I know how painful the BoE would make things….

Keep on pushing, keep on winning. The way you’re going, you’re likely to be the next Martin Luther King Jr. (coincidence you having the same last name….). We need someone like him yet again, maybe it is you. You are a brave sole and you had a very uphill fight and you were right to keep your resolve.

Keep going Montravius, keep going. Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Fairness… Equality… Respect…

Originally posted Aug 1, 2013 at & moved from: http://patrick642.wordpress.com/
Change. Improve. Innovate. Be better.
~ Pressing issues, from cyber security, to strategy, to innovation, to improvements (self, others, organizations)

This piece is long, it was meant to be long due to this grouping of topics being so deeply and greatly fundamental to me.

Will we ever get to a point of more equitable fairness, in our lifetimes, for anything? Will we ever see respect accorded to each other, on a massive basis, as we go through our daily lives? What about equality, do you believe we will see that truly happen in our lifetimes?

Oh and when I say lifetime, I don’t mean in the next four or five years, I mean in the next 10 – 20 or even 30 years. Because at the rate we’re moving along, it appears these things will not be easily gained in a more equitable timeframe, will it…? Women and their right to vote (Suffragette movement) – how long ago was this? Blacks got the right to vote (emancipation / civil rights act / voting rights act) – how long ago did all these take place? After decades of fighting for and winning the right to do anything, it should mean things become easier, not more difficult. And it for sure does not mean we go backwards as we witness what is occurring in N. Carolina (the new massively restrictive voting rights issues taking place – check out The Rachel Maddow Show site (http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/) for more info, or better yet, check out the NAACP site (http://www.naacp.org) as they are squarely in the middle of it).

I was raised in the north and the south so I have a pretty good perspective of how things are for both sides of the track. I went to black grade schools (in the south & the north); then in junior high, I went to a black school but also attended a Jewish junior high (over two years) as part of an exchange program (that is before Nixon cancelled the program, for whatever reason, maybe budgetary) and then to a predominantly white high school, in the south.

All my life, and I do mean from the very earliest years (don’t ask me how I knew what I did but I did) I had high expectations of things becoming better, much better for everyone to live together – not just in America but around the world. We would all become better citizens of the planet. Effusive? Schmaltzy? Maudlin? To you maybe it is. But, it is my effusiveness and I believe it is worthy. I could never understand the hatred, on both sides, until later in life. I could not fathom why people cannot just learn to be better around each other, until later in life. Maybe I was naïve for years but it was my dream and still is, to see more harmony amongst more people – especially as the world becomes ever smaller and resources (jobs, water, etc.) start to become more difficult to obtain. Are we going to revert to an even more selfish society as jobs dry up? As clean water dries up? Are we going to see more squabbling, in our own country, as the air becomes more polluted and deadlier from all the pollutants clogging the atmosphere (name it – methane, CO2, and on and on…).

Yep, call me maudlin for wanting a better society for all to live in. One where you actually can walk down the street without hearing car doors lock. One where you see people talking to each other as they pass each other on the streets, instead of having their heads buried in their cell phones or smartphones.

Yep, call me schmaltzy for wanting to see the day when one does not patronize or cast aspersions or judge others by the color of the others’ skin or by the: a) Way others talk, b) Partner one is with, c) Gender of the partner they are with, d) Religion others believe in – or do not believe in, e) Job they hold, even if they are a sanitation worker, a mail clerk or a mom.

Yep, call me effusive for my dream, for my promised land – not in any biblical scene but one rooted in the physical, tangible world. My promised land is one where all people, men, women, boys and girls, of all races, of all religions or no religion, of all shapes and sizes, of any sexual preference can freely live their lives. One where they can: — Go to school without fear of having acid thrown in their faces or being shot. — Drive a car without having a male relative present. — Walk in public and have a good time without fear of discrimination or be shot for it. — Work and earn a good living and work their way up the company ladder and earn the same pay as all others in the company, regardless of gender.

If we continue to have persecution, suppression and discrimination – now, in the 21st century, did, we as a people, not learn anything over the past 148 years (slavery)? Or for that matter, over the last several thousand years (Christian crusade and religious tyranny / regional & global war – domination by suppression and genocide). Why does it take disasters and calamities to bring us closer together? Why can’t we be closer every day, everywhere? Are people afraid of others doing better than they are? If so, people have to work on being/doing better themselves, to move ahead. Because ultimately, it will mean some sacrifice to become better – many of us have done so.

We should not be looking at and judging others by the color of their skin (and cast that unfair aspersion on an entire race) or what gender they are! 2013 and we still have discrimination against others, for no real reason, other than to suppress and dominate the other.

We SHOULD be looking at the integrity and character of others and judging them on who they are.

But most of all, I continue to wonder who the next Martin Luther King, or Rosa Parks, or Mahatma Ghandi or even an Abraham Lincoln will be. Who will be the one to step into those kinds of shoes…?

Society: Bigotry, Gender discrimination & Stupidity

Originally posted Aug 15, 2013 at & moved from: http://patrick642.wordpress.com/
Change. Improve. Innovate. Be better.
~ Pressing issues, from cyber security, to strategy, to innovation, to improvements (self, others, organizations)

Society What is happening to us? Are we losing our minds around the world or what? And no, this will not be a diatribe; it is a soliloquy of frustration at what is happening in the world. This was somewhat long but it is a big deal to me, all of the following.

We have so many people who only want things their way and no one else’s. We cannot do that, not anywhere in the world. The world’s population is growing and it ‘ain’t’ gonna stop, not in our lifetimes and as such, we cannot afford to say, okay, this part of the world, we’re only going to have Sharia law where women are 2nd class (or less) and girls cannot go to school. Here, in this part of the world, it is only for the white race and no gays. Are you serious? ARE YOU BONKERS!!!! We have men and women; we have blacks, whites, Chinese, Arabs, Latinos; we have atheists and Christians and Muslims; we have gays and lesbians and heterosexuals; we have older and younger; and on and on and on. We have got to stop treating people like they are not welcome in any part of the world. But in order to do so, we have to get more people to realize that their way is not the only way – and I mean this for those religious groups who have one way of life or for those who believe that their race (skin color) is the superior race…

America What is happening to us? We, here in America, are supposed to be the leaders of the free world and we STILL have all these racial, religious, class issues here in this country. We cannot lead the world if we cannot first learn to live and work together!!! Yes, conservatives have their say, just as liberals and other parties have their say or thought process. But whatever happened to helping each other? We need to help each other up even if it means getting our own soft hands a bit dirty to ensure everyone is being pulled up. However, when you become polarized and antagonistic towards other different groups JUST because they are different – then you slow down or even halt progress. Just because you, hypothetical you in this case, grew up in a nice neighborhood and your family had a decent income to live off of, it does not mean that others who did not have that same luxury are beneath you. They, these lower class individuals whom you look down on (if you even notice them), just never had the same opportunities as you did. And on top of that, if you continue to suppress them, errr, deny them opportunities to grow – they will remain in that economic miasma. What are you afraid of, the other person’s skin color? Religion or lack of? Gender? Sexual preference? Dearth of education? Why?

Sacrifice Many people have to go through sacrifice to get to where they are today. It may mean breaking a glass ceiling for women. It might mean someone of a different skin color going through agonizing periods of time to attain a spot in society that means middle class or better. It might mean someone hiding their homosexuality in work environments that are strictly homophobic – for years! All of these people have to suffer through the same bloody things. To become equals in society, they have to endure emotional humiliation and even physical pain every day. They have to endure stupidity from those around them and these individuals spewing stupidity may not be the best and the brightest our society has to offer – even though, sometimes it is our best and brightest (who years later may say that they do not recall ever doing horrible things to others). For many of us, sacrificing multiple things in our lives for a period of time to reach a milestone is a fulfilling thing. However, many people should ‘not’ have to suffer needlessly and foolishly to achieve any goal – but really, NO ONE SHOULD HAVE TO SUFFER needlessly and foolishly to grow in their lives. We all will need to sacrifice something in order for the world to grow as one.

Commonsense Just because you believe in one thing and only act in one manner, you are not on this planet alone. You are amongst hundreds of millions of people who want a better way of life. Or who just want to live a peaceful life, one where you can walk the streets without people locking their car doors as you approach. It might be a world where you can be a woman without every single guy in the world hitting on you just because you smiled back out of niceness. Some want a world where they do not care if you practice a different religion from them but that you allow them to practice their religion in peace without being castigated for it. Each and every single one of us has to look out for the others, especially the weaker. We have to protect those who have a difficult time protecting themselves or cannot. We have to get past the notion that skin color means something. It does not really and I mean that respectfully. It only means your ancestors were born in a different part of the world at a very, very different and difficult time. And I’m not talking about the religious 6,000 years ago when the world was created. I am talking about the scientifically recognized time of millions of years ago as humans evolved and developed (if you disagree, I am sorry and that is your right). Many people today who believe they are of a pure race would be shocked to discover (if they underwent a DNA genetics test) that they are not as pure as they believed. When are we, as a collective race of people, going to start recognizing as a whole that we should not be letting skin color separate us, marking us as totally different? Or in the case of some misguided groups, that skin color or religion marks you a lower class individual (Hitler and the Jews, KKK and blacks, etc.) When are ‘more’ of us going to start recognizing that mixed race marriages or relationships are going to continue to grow and there is nothing wrong with that? Is it wrong in your eyes?

Today! Personally, I’ve been waiting for decades for the world, but America specifically, to grow and appreciate the possibilities of synergy of mixed races and to get past stupid and meaningless racism. I continue to believe that we are getting better but watching the news seeing some individual in Norway (2011) blow up a building and shoot up an island summer camp because of racism – it makes me saddened. Then you read about some nut jobs who want to join some group but need to track and target gays or blacks and kill them, just because they are different and as part of the groups’ initiation process. I cry when I see these kinds of stories in 2013, I cry because I still have that little bit of optimism in me that says we will get better, we will be better. What is happening to us, are we devolving to lesser peoples, only concerned with little old me?

Harvey Fierstein was on “All in with Chris Hayes” (Wed., Aug 14, 2013) in regards to Russia and that country’s anti-gay laws. Harvey was fired up about this and equated it to Hitler and how the people of the time, over time, let the little things continue to go by until they became big things, and well, you know how that ended. Jews were massacred. Well, it is the same with gays this time, the Winter Olympics at Sochi 2014. How can an entire country, or most of the population still have such a difficult time moving forward into the future, here in 2013? How can so many people be so conservative that they allow gays to be beaten in the streets and arrested? How can this be? Iran is the same, recall Ahmadinejad stating that there are no gays in Iran. Something has to be done, around the world as a hold in getting countries to change their regressive ways of thinking and beliefs. And it means that the people of the world have to unite.

I recall, during the week of Martin L. King Jr.’s death, my being asked to give his “I have a dream” speech to the student body. I have held the same thoughts ever since, about his dream, but adding the inclusiveness of gays and people of all religions, or no religion. I still harbor these desires…

Lastly, it does not matter to me what your skin color is, how old/young you are, what your gender is, what religion you are nor your sexual preference. What matters to me is your character – your integrity and ethics, these are what matter to me. Can you reciprocate?