Sunday, May 15, 2016

A force of nature or the chicken coop?

Have you ever wondered what makes the perfect relationship?  Yea, me too.  It's like patches of clover in my yard. I've seen other people successfully pick four leaf clovers out of the clover, so I know they are there.  But damned if I can find one.  I could stand there all day looking and that "perfect" relationship is about as hard for me to find as that damn fourth leaf.  Admittedly, I really haven't tried very hard to find either.  I have the attention span of a gnat.  I've got better things to do than hunt through clover.  Likewise, I typically have a lot of far more interesting things to do than wait on a man to find me or me to find a man.  So it's probably no surprise that anyone I've dated has usually hit on me first, been the one showing the initial interest, and then me doing one of two things--showing interest or not.  More often, not. 

For my friends that have known me for years, they will point out that I probably have a tendency to jump ship as soon as possible.  First sign of bad weather and I'm steering the rudder in the direction of calmer seas.  It's not that I can't handle a storm; I've been through quite a few.  Sometimes I'm a force of nature, so I have no qualms at steering head on into the eye of a storm.  Taking on a storm is exhausting though and it takes time to recharge.  Even a force of nature has to have calm seas.  Tsunamis are only around for one season out of four.  So I just cannot see constantly driving the rudder into a storm that someone else keeps creating.

The other problem is I have always had a lot of priorities.  A relationship has really just never been one.  My boys always came first.  My career always came second.  My personal life was and still is about my friends--especially the friends that are like family or that are very close to me.  Of course, that's not to say that I haven't had a couple of relationships that I look back on and think maybe I should have stayed there.  But the reality is that there is only one relationship total that I look back on and cannot justify the mistakes that I made, giving up on it, going absolutely crazy trying to figure out how to make it work, and then finally residing myself that it was never going to work.  And, the one thing I'm sure of is that I never want to have to rack my brain like that again.  

A very good friend of mine just found his soulmate.  She's perfect for him and from what I have observed, he is perfect for her.  That seems to make a very happy relationship and they aren't the first couple I know like this as I've stated in previous blogs.  But for him, well, this always seemed like it would be a toss.  He had some very rocky relationships in the past and it was sometimes how he acted in the relationships as much as it was how the women acted.  Yet, some way out of seemingly nowhere, he's in the perfect relationship for him.  So there has to be hope for all of us, even ones like me that are absolute hard cases.  (Laugh, it's funny.)

Friends over the years have joked that I'm like that white tail deer you just spooked that takes off into the woods.  I used to joke that I was "nothing but cottontail"--in reference to a spooked rabbit.  When I was younger I was engaged and I probably would've married him and lived my life as a teacher--quiet little patch of land somewhere in God's country.  But, a big argument and I never answered his calls again.  The wrong words.  Of course, we were super young and the reality is that I always wanted something.  Just never knew what that something was.  The impetuousness of youth I suppose.  By the time I figured out what I wanted, I thought I had the "perfect" relationship.  Another impetuous fancy of youth.  Perfect for me is so much more complicated.  I used to joke that I could have my stupid conversations with my friends.  Yet, most of my friends are pretty smart, so I can have my "smart" conversations with them too.  The only thing I really need from a man is, well, my Grams raised me better than that.  Go figure.  

Of course, I have a lot of male friends and have even dated one or two of them.  There's even one in there that I look back and think God didn't make one more like me than him.  Should've stayed there too maybe.  But, well, we don't have a lot of common hobbies so yea, maybe not.  My best friend is a guy.  I mean if we talk about the friend that I've known the longest, can talk about absolutely anything, and all that.  Forty years plus knowing someone makes a pretty deep friendship.  Of course, he's not my type and I'm not his type.  Just fact.  But if I really want real advise about a relationship, I'm calling him.  This probably will not excite my many girlfriends that have listened to me gripe about relationships over the years.  But the truth is that if he hasn't heard the guy's name, then the guy just isn't getting very far.  And if he's hearing it because I want advise, the guy is on his way out--as many of my girlfriends know.  He never even met my ex--because well, maybe my ex just wasn't really "it"--whatever "it" is.  Of course, he's a bit more steady than me.  I'm a bit flighty, as Grams would've put it.  If it weren't for my boys, I'd be living on a Caribbean island, serving mai tais, riding my Harley around in circles and working on the never ending novel while listening to the waves rolling in.  Okay, maybe not a Caribbean island, I think that circle thing would make me dizzy--flighty is bad enough.  

So what was the point of this blog?  Wow.  Really, sometimes these things have no point at all other than to clear my head and maybe make a little break in your day.  Do I want a real relationship?  Maybe, maybe not.  OK, probably more maybe.  But do I want to argue over ridiculous sh*t?  Or be told what to do?  If you've actually met me then you know that is literally like trying to control the wind.  The best anyone can hope for is just enjoying the breeze.  I cannot stand the idea of being controlled.  Hmmm, I can probably blame a couple control freak ex-boyfriends, but hey, that friend of mine who has found his "perfect"--well, there's still hope.  Okay, maybe not.  Funny how quickly that works....I'm happy just like I am right now and given everything I've done or had done to me in my life I'll take it.  Happy and alone is way better than with someone and miserable.  I'd rather be a force of nature than a chicken in a coop.  

Sunday, May 8, 2016

We all make mistakes--not taking a second to LOOK TWICE should never be one of them

Yesterday was a motorcycle run, what we bikers call a Poker Run, although several states have tried defining them as "gambling" and illegal.  This isn't about that.  It was a run for the "LOOK TWICE, SAVE A LIFE" campaign.  On the way home, as I came up on the neighborhood Walmart, a little silver car never even paused coming out of the parking lot, flying at about 20-25 miles an hour--this is pretty fast in a parking lot and to be not even pausing onto a major 4 lane road.  Of course, he saw the cars behind me.  The guy didn't see me.  His hurry was for nothing.  We were stopped by the red light 75 feet away.  I was along side, because he had flown across into the left lane on top of it.  I beeped my horn, looked at him and mouthed "Thanks, Thanks a lot for looking first."  Okay, I didn't mouth it only but he had his windows up.  What pissed me off wasn't that.  For me, I had enough time to react; a few feet more--maybe, maybe not.  What actually pissed me off even more is he had a kid in the car with him.  Sitting in a center booster in the man's backseat.  The "Look Twice, Save a Life" campaign focuses on motorcycles, but since he was blatantly not paying attention and going too fast to stop coming out of that parking lot, he and more importantly, the boy--assuming his child, could've been injured had I been in my truck or car instead.  A motorcyclist has a minor advantage that if we can see it soon enough our vehicles can stop faster--but that isn't an advantage when we have a vehicle behind us.  Because they can't!!!  So this guy, in a split second, decided it might be okay for him, his son or anyone else to be injured or even killed.  He decided it might be okay for his son to witness someone die because of his poor decision.

Yes, I've heard the arguments about helmets.  Yet study after study shows that the frontal portion of the biker is where the most damage occurs.  Most helmets do not cover the front portion of the face--and that protection is not near as much.  But why frontal damage?  Because we are hit from behind or someone pulls in front of us and we are thrown....FORWARD.  If we had been closer, I may or may not have been able to react fast enough, but the vehicle behind me, an large SUV, she wouldn't have been able to.  So this guy made a decision that not only affected him, his son, me and now this lady behind me and whoever was in her vehicle.  I was fortunate she was not riding right behind me and allowed herself plenty of reaction space between our vehicles.  But had she been where I was when he did this, she may have hit him.  He didn't care that he didn't stop to see me.  But he didn't think that between her and me might not be enough room either.  He couldn't be sure.  He came out of nowhere in the parking lot and flew into the road.  He had no time to gauge how fast she was going even if he didn't see me.  He definitely saw that there were about 5 cars and SUVs around me, but hey maybe not.   He came out of nowhere.  I was watching for him....That was the only difference and it might not have helped if he were only a couple of seconds later coming out of that parking lot.

I know, so I'm responsible, but you're sick of those motorcycles that are going too fast and zipping between traffic lines.  All bikers know that some of the younger people riding some bikes, and even some of the older, are not as responsible as we would like.  But they typically are not the norm.  Of 66.7M bikers on the roads in the United States, we know that less than 20% are sport bike riders--that group that most people equate with doing the stupid tricks on the freeways, flying way too fast, cutting between lines of traffic.  The average age of these riders is 28 years old.  They are young and sometimes impetuous, and yes, sometimes their speed plays a big factor not because someone didn't pull out in front of them but because they had not allowed themselves a reaction time.  But they are someone's child, someone's friend, someone's heart.  They mean something to someone and you wouldn't want someone to disregard someone that you care about.  The other point is that most of us are responsible for the most part.  We all make mistakes, but the mistake that we make shouldn't be something as simple as not taking a couple of seconds to take a second look.

In spite of that show by Peggy Buddy and her husband, the truth is 99% of bikers are just like you.  They have jobs.  They pay taxes.  They bitch about the same politicians.  They have to pay bills.  They have families.  Many of them are just going through a mid-life crisis and will ride for 2 or 3 years and then sell their bike for a boat or a vacation site.  Some of us are life long bikers.  I grew up with motorcycles.  My uncle dragged NRHA in the 60s and 70s.  My father worked as a structural engineer on my uncle's bike.  They were both mechanical engineers.  My uncle worked in the US auto industry.  My dad was a structural engineer that worked all over the country.  I rode the tank when I was a toddler--to my Grams' dismay.  Some bikers are teachers, construction workers, quality assurance techs, hair dressers, CEOs.  We are just like you, only our hobby is an iron horse.

LOOK TWICE, SAVE A LIFE is not just about motorcycles.  When you come up to a stop, you cannot assume anything.  You need to look twice.  Not just for motorcycles, for anyone.  I have a bright orange truck, and I've had plenty of people pull out in front of my truck.  That truck sticks out like a sore thumb, yet time and time again, I've had people put their lives, their passengers' lives, my life and my passengers' lives in danger, because they can't take a couple of extra seconds to look twice.  It's not just motorcyclists' lives that you might save.  It might be yours or someone you love.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Zealots make it complicated.... But it really is pretty simple

Let's face it.  If you know me, personally--in person, then you know I won't lie and I pull no punches.  I'm a walking encyclopedia--if I've heard anything that sparked my interested, I've researched it.  Now, that doesn't mean that I know everything.  There is plenty of stuff I could absolutely care less about, and there are some things I've gotten curious about and may know a good bit about but not everything.  For example, I love to cook, because Grams taught me to cook by taste and I love to try and recreate stuff I like.  Cookbooks only get you part of the way there.  Anyone can cook, but making something amazing is relative to who you're serving it to and to a little thing called talent.  I can cook, but I'm no chef.  Of course, when you're a walking encyclopedia compared to the average person, well, suffice to say I know a lot of superfluous stuff that other people have no clue.  So as of late, I've gotten pretty annoyed by the religious right.  Don't get me wrong.  The far right religious right has always annoyed me a little.  I'm pro-choice--just like my Grams and First Lady Nancy Reagan were.  I believe that our religion needs to be kept in our own churches and our own homes, and if you truly believe it is your role to spread your religion, then you do so with an open heart and only by saying what your religion has done for you.  Unfortunately this is not how the far right religious right behaves and they are like an infection sometimes spreading their dis-knowledge and hate.

Oh boy.  I know it's a huge can of worms talking about religion, but this isn't about your religion or religions.  Yes, some people actually follow multiple "religions" or religious beliefs and in the United States of America, this is supposed to be fine, perfectly acceptable--thanks to a thing that we call the First Amendment.  No, I'm not trying to get you to give up your religion.  I'm just trying to point out that your religion, even the interpretation of your own religion, isn't always the same as others that practice your religion.  

The far religious right has made the arguments against abortion.  Often these conversations, when I have been willing to venture into them with someone, have ended with them wanting to "save babies".  Do you realize how many unwanted children are out there?  Needing real homes?  Are these "babies" that need saving going to end up as those unwanted children?  Let's skip the religious arguments.  Look up how often women died of "unknown" abdominal bleeding in the early 1900s through the 1960s.  The counts were actually massive.  Yet, after Roe v. Wade, those numbers dropped drastically.  That's why Nancy Reagan, my Grams and others of their generation were pro-choice.  My Grams had explained to me how one of her college sorority sisters died from a back room, coat hanger abortion because she didn't want to tell her family she had gotten pregnant.  Grams explained to me that her friend could've gotten an abortion in a hospital, money talked, if she had told her family.  They had the money.  But she was so ashamed and she ended up bleeding to death because of the botched effort made by some scam artist in a backroom.  Now, I have heard the far right religious argument here.  She deserved to die.  Seriously.  Sometimes, these people blow my mind.  No one deserves to die for a mistake.  These people cast stones like its going out of style, and yet one of the primary tenements of all the Abrahamics is to cast no judgement unless you want to be judged yourself.  The far Christian right actually offends almost all other Christian beliefs when it really comes down to it.  The majority of American Christians, regardless of which sect, do not believe it's okay to kill a woman that is thinking about getting an abortion, blowing up the Atlanta Olympics or killing a doctor or nurse.  Most Christians are totally mortified by this, but they let the far Christian right be their voice.  Even more eerily, they allow the far right arguments to win them over without all their own religion's facts. 

The next argument that I get is that God says or God tells you or God says it in the Bible.  Well, no, there's actually nothing about abortion in the Bible.  Nothing.  Not a single word.  What does the Bible actually say?  It doesn't actually say anything about conception.  That's actually a falsehood.  Some man added that to a sermon and it's a lie that took on a life of its own.  He probably added it because backroom abortions have been taking place for centuries prior to this argument that takes place now.  What does the Bible say?  It actually tells the story of the beginning of life in Genesis and it says is that life began when God breathed the living breath into the first being (human being).  By that, then life begins when you take your first breath.  Control of the churches up until the last 100 years has been primarily by men.  Female ministers are only a more recent--last 50 years or so--anomaly.  Men have dominated the religious make up for the Abrahamics and still continue to.  And that's fine, but it's not going to change that the Bible doesn't say anything for or against being pro-choice.  What it does say gives most Christians a reason to be pro-choice.  Life begins at your first breath.

That's not to say that any of Christians need to change what their beliefs are.  Just a reason to analyze what a minister told you may or may not be a reason to believe what you believe.  Which always brings me to my most amazed discovery over the years.  How many Christians have never read the Bible.  In recent studies trying to reduce Islamic extremists in the Middle East and Africa, they have discovered that many of the extremists cannot read, so they have never read the Quran for themselves.  They have listened to someone else, someone else's interpretation and often have been mislead as to what a section means or even what it actually says.  This is called Brainwashing.  We have seen it over and over and over.  Neo-nazi recruiters in the 80s used it.  Charlie Manson used it.  I'm not saying that a minister is intentionally misleading his or her flock if they teach that abortion is wrong, but there's really not an idea in the Bible that conception is where life begins.  So Christians are free to decide what they believe, and not have someone dictate to them what they should or shouldn't believe.

What's even more important is that it means no Christians, far right or otherwise, should be cramming their own personal belief down anyone else's throat.  Using myself as an example, I believe life begins before a baby take its first breath.  While I was raised Christian and I follow many of Christ's teachings, I am Taoist.  I follow many Buddhist beliefs.  Most Buddhists believe that life begins when the soul enters the body, so at that point, the fetus becomes a baby to me.  When the soul enters the body is all debatable.  However, science has proven that a fetus cannot survive outside of the womb prior to a heartbeat and there are no brain waves until a couple of weeks after the heartbeat begins.  Whether you believe in reincarnation or not, this suggests that once the brain waves start, the fetus becomes able to respond and begins developing as its own entity, separate of the mother.  Most religions believe as Christians do in a soul or something similar, some greater energy than just our body.  I believe after some undetermined amount of time after the brain is capable of working a soul enters the body of the fetus, transforming it from a fetus to a baby.  At this point, abortion to me is no longer viable.  However, this is my belief.  Intentional baby responses, such as kicking when the mother pushes the baby's foot, take an additional couple of months after.  I'm sure it could be debated that the soul waits until a certain amount of brain capacity has been developed.  Not sure.  I have a scientific based point in time that helps substantiate my belief. 

So I know some people would disagree with my opinion, because it's an opinion.  I have no proof one way or the other when the "soul" enters the body.  But in an interview, the Dalai Lama was once asked "what if science could prove there's no such thing as reincarnation?". His response was "we (Buddhists and Hindus) would simply stop believing in it, but how will they prove it?". Some things we simply go on faith.  I have faith that there is reincarnation and that there is karma. We could be wrong, but science cannot prove we are wrong.... At least not yet.  My opinion is based on that faith.  Science has proven when a fetus's heartbeat starts, when the brainwaves start, but how would they prove when a soul is present?  There's no definite God's word.  Each of us is free to form our own opinion based on our faith and other sources.  But it's time we start respecting that each of us forms our own opinions based on something none of us can ever know for sure.  I am loathe to have the audacity to tell anyone that they have to live by my belief, so I am equally loathe of people that would tell me that I have to live by their religious based, personal faith based, opinion.  

The fact is that over 80% of Americans do not have an issue with abortion during the first trimester.  And while my timeline is a little shorter, I think what most of us can agree we need to leave this issue and move on.  The Founding Fathers thought Freedom of Religion was so important that they included it right away as part of the First Amendment.  My opinion based on my faith should not dictate what anyone else can or cannot do, and neither should yours. It really is just that simple.  It's the zealots that have to make it so complicated.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Immigration: A real issue or smoke and mirrors for a power hungry jerk?

Immigration...So many sheep in this country have completely forgotten that they are the descendants of immigrants.  Let alone what it means to our economy.  Oh I've heard the arguments that they "take" jobs from "hard working" Americans.  The wonder excuse that they are "taking over our country" and/or that if they refuse to speak "our" language and be "like us" that they don't belong here.  I don't know how many times I've tried to talk sense to people about how ridiculous hating on the immigrants, illegal or not, is just sheer stupidity, but it generally falls on deaf ears if not hostile ears.  The problem isn't that their opinions don't count or matter.  The problem is that they are so misinformed it's nauseating.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm all for people finding out facts and forming their own opinions, but thanks to the internet, what I'm finding out is that many people simply find the first site that backs up their own pre-formed opinions.  It's not hard to find out these sites are bogus or that they are "far right" tripe sites.  But even something more important that so many people seem to be bypassing anymore is that to form a truly valuable opinion on something they need all the facts.  Joe Blow sitting next to you at work or the bar might have his opinion and he may or may not have formed his opinion with all the facts.  Odds, though, are that he formed his opinion the same way they did.  A couple of the facts that have been skewed by the media or by some other person, presented as all the facts, and they've processed all this into their limited opinion.  Immigration, or more correctly, the immigration issue, particularly the illegal immigration issue is the best example of so many people repeating half-truths, some facts and even more bs that somewhere along the line someone added to make the "story" sound better.  It's like a children's game of telephone gone horribly wrong.

What are the facts?  The fact is illegal immigration to this country is dwindling.  Yes.  That's a fact.  Donald Trump claimed that there are 30 million "illegals" in this country.  Why anyone would vote for him astounds me because any flaming moron could look up that this number is so out there in the o-zone layer that this man knows nothing about fact checking.  Which is fine if you are Joe Blow at the bar--annoying but fine, but this man wants to be the most powerful man in this country.  In a job interview, you'd better know your facts and he simply doesn't take the job seriously enough to research while flying around in that fancy plane he likes to brag about.  So what are the real numbers?  Just over 11 million in the USA right now.  It varies depending on which creditable source you review.  DHS, Department of Homeland Security says 11.4M and Pew Research says 11.3M.  The facts are that illegal immigration into the USA peaked in 2007 at about 12.2M and has been on decline over the last decade.  Even they know Obama has been a disaster.  Okay, my opinion.  See how easy it is for me to write that and if I didn't you might actually take and repeat that like fact but it's not.  It's a joke out of my opinion.  That's it.

So let's put this in perspective.  We'll use the DHS number of 11.4M (current estimate).  In 2014, there were 318.9M people in the USA legally.  Most illegals avoid being counted now because of paranoia.  They don't trust the authorities in their previous countries, let alone here.  But let's say that 318.9M actually counts them, even then they make up 3.5% of the population.  Seriously.  That's it.  So what?  They still are a lot.  Really?  As of 2014, there were 42.4M legal immigrants in this country--20M of whom are counted even though they are now legal citizens of the USA--aka. naturalized.  The other 22.4M are legal immigrants with sponsors, on work visas or student visas, and the like.    Student visas make up about 1M people in this country.  Even though they are not actually immigrating, they are counted in the immigration rolls.  Likewise with work visas, they aren't necessarily staying.  Many people come here because their jobs require it, but like anyone that has ever moved away from home can tell you, sometimes the experience of living elsewhere just makes you homesick enough to want to go back and never leave.  So while those numbers may seem high, they are not completely accurate as far as the actual immigration, those people who come over here with the intent of staying.

The naturalized citizens shouldn't be counted at all in my opinion, but now here's the interesting thing.  No matter when they became naturalized, they are included in this count.  If your grandmother immigrated after WWII and has been a naturalized citizen since 1954, they still count her in that 20M.  When does a naturalized citizen actually not get counted?  When they are dead, and even then, think about the voting fiascos where dead people have been included in voting rolls for decades after they die.  I'm not sure we can guarantee that all the naturalized citizens they are "counting" are even still alive.  Once they are naturalized, they are just like any of us that are natural born.  They don't have to renew this or that or keep up with their visas, passports, et cetera.  Would you in their shoes?  Maybe, maybe not.  They might be more likely to keep up their now USA issued passports if they still have family or friends overseas, but even that is not guaranteed.  Regardless, think about the fact that when people talk about the legal immigrants they are still counting American citizens.  

Well, the numbers prove nothing.  Immigrants in general are running rampant on our streets.  The numbers show that there are plenty of legal immigrants and they should come legally.  Well, not exactly.  What the numbers show, the legal immigrant numbers, is that we have legally allowed 22.4M immigrants (not all immigrants--some are just on extended stays for school or work) into this country.  Now the ones that are staying have been here for no telling how long.  Just like the grandmother example I used earlier, they may have been here for decades.  We approve approximately 1M legal immigrants to enter this country each year.  That's it--globally.  Almost half of those are family visas--wives or husbands and children of approved visas.  Refugees make up about 70K...that's right 70,000--of the 1M we approve visas for--7%.  So when people scream about how terribly risky it is for us to take in refugees running from religious extremists in a part of the world very few of us have seen other than on television, it seems almost laughable that 70K is a number to scream about compared to the 320M Americans here.

So what?  Those numbers are massive.  Really?  Between 1910 and 1915, 13M, that's right 13 MILLION immigrants entered the USA.  So what, your point?  My point is that the population of the USA during the 1910 census, and remember the census didn't care if you were here legally or illegally so people didn't avoid being counted, was 92.2M people...92,228,496 to be exact.  Now there were likely some babies born prior to that being completed and some people that moved into the country as it was being completed, so it's not really 100% accurate, but neither are our numbers today.  The census attempts as good as it can to be a snapshot to predict population over the next decade based on it and historical data.  Okay, but to my point,  The percentage in just 5 years an hundred years ago:  14.1%   So let's review.  We allow legally 1M a year right now.  Just 1M per year, which is 0.3% compared to our current population.  Do you see how ridiculous worrying about immigrants is?  But that's only the legal ones.  Yes, but how many illegals do you think enter this country each year?  That 11.3M is how many total.  Estimates are that 700K, aka. 700,000, illegal immigrants enter the country each year.  Donald Trump has all these crazy people in a tizzy over 0.2% of the population.

One risky immigrant is too many.  Okay.  The most devastating terrorist attacks in the 1990s were the Oklahoma City Federal Building bombing--American, the Atlanta Olympics bombing--American, the Unibomber--American, Columbine High School--American kids.  We have plenty of our nutjobs here to worry about, so we don't need anymore.  You might have a point, but as the Land of the Free and the Brave--it sounds awfully like cowardice to be afraid that immigrants legally or not would cause more pain than we can handle.  Cowardice is not the America that my grandparents instilled in me.  We are the greatest, not because of might or right or religion.  We are the greatest because we are made up of all the greatest of every immigrant we have absorbed into our society.  We aren't just German, Polish, Irish, French, Italian, Greek, Lebanese, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, et cetera...We are not just Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Wicca, Atheist, Shaman, Buddhist, et cetera...We are as whole ALL of it.  Everything and everyone.  We are the world and that is what has made us great.

Fine, but they are taking our jobs.  The largest influx of immigration was the late 1800s to early 1900s.  My grandmother's parents immigrated right at the turn of last century.  Most of the jobs and small businesses grown during the 1910s and 1920s came from immigrants.  That's right.  A large part of the "Roaring Twenties" were because of immigrants.  Even now, as we argue over increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour, we forget that hard working immigrants would take the current minimum wage very gratefully for flipping burgers while they learn our language, can go to school, save to start their own businesses like many of grandparents and great grand parents did just a century ago.  I'm super opposed to raising the minimum wage and most conservatives are.  Financially any idiot can remember that when minimum wage was $3.35/hour and a "value" meal cost about $3 and some change.  Then minimum wage was raised to $5 something and the "value" meal went up to $5-$6.  Now it's $7.35 and a "value" meal average price is $7.  It was a little higher, but most of us if we have to spend $7, may as well spend another 2 or 3 dollars and eat in a better restaurant.  Well, that's my logic anyway.  No conservative is for raising the minimum wage--yet so many get tizzed up over immigration.  Yet, every single immigration boom has resulted in a financially and globally stronger USA.  Immigrants built the railroads, immigrants created or were the workforce for the economic boom of the 1920s.  Immigration historically has always worked in our benefit.  It's just a fact historically.  The "boom" in the late 60s and boom in the 80s.  I know there's a very complicated explanation based on some obscure economic theory that someone probably won the Nobel Prize in Economics or Mathematics for, but that's not something average Joes get.  What we get is immigration boom in the 1910s, followed by financial boom in the 1920s.  Immigration boom from 1965 to mid-late-70s...followed by financial boom in the 1980s.  That's what average Joe gets and that's what immigration has meant over and over for this country.  The truth is that immigrants are willing to take the jobs that we have groomed our kids to think are below them and that they should get paid for shit jobs better than shit job pay.  Flipping burgers was never meant to support a family.  Period.  It's a crappy high school job or the job the old retirees took because they were bored.  Not the job some idiot with 3 kids was supposed to be working--unless in between jobs and just trying to make ends meet temporarily.  Immigrants would work for the $7.35 and manage to send half their paychecks back to family or saving it to pay the fees to bring their families here.  And they wouldn't complain that it was shitty pay and they need more for flipping burgers because in their previous countries they wouldn't even have a job.

Which brings me to the point that most Americans, hell even most Europeans or western countries as we are referred to as a whole, people that are immigrating away from their countries are normally running for their lives or running towards hope of a better life.  I heard a fine lady that I admire a lot say just yesterday to someone that "hope is everything.  We have nothing if we have no hope."  How true.  Many Americans equate hopelessness to depression now.  I know I'm even one of them.  I have friends that suffer from depression and it's hard to watch how miserable they can be.  What we forget is that some people in this world live in hopelessness based on the country they are living in.  The Olympics are in Brazil this year.  Rio de Janeiro.  It's one of the most beautiful cities in the world.  Yet, in Brazil, the education system is extremely limited.  If you fail a class, you are out of school whether 3rd grade or 11th.  That is the education that you get and you get no second chances.  The USA is one of the only countries in the world that we are the great believers in second chances.  Even a kid can fail a class or even a grade.  We still give them the opportunity to try again.  Not in Brazil.  Not in most of Central and South America.  I served in the Navy with a guy from Colombia.  He made it through high school but he didn't make a high enough score to go to college.  Yes, even if you graduate high school and want to go to college, if you don't score high enough, you're not going.  Well that sounds like the SAT or ACT?  Sort of, but there's a number of slots in colleges the governments run, and you either score high enough to get one of the 100 openings or you don't.  It's got nothing to do with you being capable.  And these tests they have to take test everything from day one of school.  They study for a year before taking it in the hopes of one of those precious appointments.  Picture every kid in this country looking for an appointment to one of the military academies and no other options in the country.  That's the world they live in.

Bullsh*t, you say?  The 2014 World Cup in Brazil was the first time that the Europeans got to see what Latin America is like.  We Americans, unless we have caught the soccer bug, still for the most part have our heads in the sand.  Those people who have no or minimal education live like the pictures below and try to keep in mind they have no choice.  None.  This is it.

 Do you think anyone living like this doesn't dream of a better life?  Hell yes they do.  We are a country where you can get a GED.  They don't have that opportunity.  They failed once; they are failures forever.  We are the country of hope.  Conservatives that speak against immigration say they will take our jobs.  These people would take any job--even the jobs we as Americans think we are too good for and deserve $15 for.  They would take them, they would strive to get a GED, unlike a stereotype, they would be trying to learn English.  For those of you that don't know, English is one of the hardest languages in the world to learn.  Too, two, to?  One, won?  Will, will, will?  Will the noun, will the verb, will the other noun that can also be a verb?  (You're racking your brain on which will is that and you grew up speaking English all your life.)

Which brings me to the final ridiculous argument:  All immigrants should have to learn English.  Okay if they want to become permanent citizens, but oh my God.  English is literally one of the hardest languages to learn.  Most Americans butcher the English language horribly just because it is that difficult to keep those words that are pronounced the same but spelled different straight.  Add those words that are spelled and said the same and have multiple, completely unrelated, meanings.  Geez  Heck, every American knows what "geez" means but if you look up the definition it doesn't actually convey the whole of the meaning.  We have those words that just express emotion unlike a lot of other languages.  How annoying is that?  Well, not to us, because we use it constantly, but just imagine trying to follow our discussion when we throw a lot of those type of words in.

When we talk about building a big fancy idiotic wall to prevent 700,000 people...oh right, almost forgot.  Only 60% of illegal immigrants come from Mexico, so that's 420,000 people.  That idiot Donald Trump wants to spend $8M to build that damn wall to prevent the equivalent of 0.1% of the US population from coming into the United States.  Really.  Immigration is not our problem.  It's such a tiny little drop in the bucket.  Idiots that want power try to make idiots out of us by making us focus on something that is so tiny we will forget all the really big issues that need to be addressed.

Anyway, at this point, you may or may not agree with me, but if you remember nothing else, remember these things:

  • Historically, immigration booms have been financially and globally good for the USA over and over and over.  
  • Immigration numbers actually include naturalized citizens, even the government numbers.
  • Annual legal immigration is less than 0.3% of the population.
  • Annual illegal immigration from Mexico is 0.1% of the population.  

Then really think how important this issue is to you and how important it should be.  Is it smoke and mirrors for some rich boy brat and his immigrant whore trying to make a grab for the White House?  Is it really that big of an issue that it is truly affecting your everyday life?  Is it really bad for the United States as a country?  Or is it just that politicians were looking for someone to blame instead of taking the blame themselves?

Monday, April 18, 2016 might be all on you...

This blog has been difficult for some reason.  Friendship changes over time, but the truth is that if you complain about how few friends you's on you.  I've got a lot of friends.  Good, great, best friends.  I'm a dedicated friend and the only time I used to give up or "lose" friends would be when I realized that they were backstabbing POSs.  When people have your back through thick and thin, that is what real friendship is about.  There are layers of friendship.  Friends are better than acquaintances.  Good friends are better than friends.  Great friends are better than good friends.  Best friends are well the best of the friends you can have.  But the different levels have nothing to do with whether you have friends or don't have friends.  Everyone can find at least one or two people that are as honest or as deceitful or as whatever as they are.  That's just a fact.  Honest people might only have one or two.  Dishonest people might only have one or two.  Shallow people can have a slew of "friends" but no one that trusts them or that they trust.  Why do any of us only have a "couple" versus those of us that have several good, great or best friends?  I've got enough good, great and best friends that I can tell you what they all have in common.  True friendship is there no matter what and true friendship is through thick and thin.  

What isn't true friendship?  Well, true friendship expects nothing in return.  If you want something for being someone's friend, expect them to be at your beck and call, expect them to like who you like, dislike who you don't like, expect them to always agree with you, then you probably don't have any friends.  Sorry, just true.  If you have ever screwed one of your "friends" significant others--boyfriend, girlfriend, wife, husband, even currently dating but not all the way there yet--yes, you.  You are not a friend, let alone a good or great or best friend.  You're a sleezoid and the only "real" friends that you have are other sleezoids.  I know.  You think they are your friends.  Nope.  In the back of their minds, subconsciously, they know you're worthless and they are probably equally worthless.  Grams used to say "birds of a feather flock together".  It's not always true, but when you talk about sleezy people, it's spot on.  Good people just don't hang out with people that might screw them over on a regular basis.  Of course, most true friends don't have to be up each other's butts to still be friends.  True friends don't monopolize their friends' time.  They don't try to manipulate them into doing what they want to do.  It takes some time to realize when someone does try to manipulate you, so don't beat yourself up if you happen to find out that someone you thought was a "good" friend turns out to not be.  True friendship is precious, but true friendship accepts you the way you are.  Unless you're one of those backstabby or unpredictable people or clearly might sleep with someone's spouse.  Then, no one with any sense is accepting you the way you are, except other whore bags, and there's an irony there.  Even they don't trust you, so that's not going to be true friendship either.

Oh, I know, I'm being harsh.  It's not harsh.  It's just fact.  Too many people are not trustworthy anymore, but then seem shocked, and offended in many cases, that someone drops their @sses like hot potatoes.  Why so shocked?  You get out of friendship what you put in...Like in any relationship, everything might be 90%-10% today, 10%-90% next week, 30-70, 40-60, 80-20, but it all equals out to 50-50.  If it doesn't equal out, and I'm not talking about financially but personal investment--after all "normal" people have friends to have friends, not to gain, so someone who you find seeming to "gain" or trying to gain from your friendship might be less than a friend than you thought.  Likewise, if you happen to be one of those people that seems to always shove your way or no way down everyone's throat, then you're probably an asshole, not a friend.  Don't get me wrong.  Sometimes, you might have to remind even a true friend to respect you, but true friends are there when it counts not when it's convenient for them.  

Convenience isn't about friendship.  It's about having what you want and not really caring about anyone else.  I've known plenty of people that are all about their own convenience but not really that great at being friends.  Well, they're not, because they think you owe them something for being your friend.  No one should owe you anything for your friendship and vice versa.  If you don't put forth any effort to check on your friends and expect them to constantly be the ones checking on you, well, that's another sign you're a lousy friend.  It's all on you.  No, I know that isn't nice, but I've tried to write this blog as sugar coated as possible and it comes off as fake and like it's missing something.  It's been missing the truth.

And the truth is what every friendship, true friendship, is based on.  You tell your true friends your real thoughts and if you can't, then they aren't really as good of friends as you thought they were.  Levels of sharing come with levels of friendship--friend, good, great, best--more truth and sharing with higher levels.  No truth at all--acquaintance or less.  Friendship has to have some amount of trust and without truth there is no trust.  

I'd love to tell you that I have never been screwed over and how to avoid being disappointed by someone that you think of as friend.  But here's the thing:  Friendship is not a two way street sometimes.  The trick is to downgrade someone that you thought was a great friend to just a friend when you realize that's where they put you.  If you can't, then well, part of it is on you.  It doesn't mean that you are a bad person for degrading them, and it doesn't actually necessarily mean that they are bad person for not being as good of a friend as you thought either.  It just means true friendship can only be sustained when the friends are putting the same investment in the friendship.  If you're putting in too much--back the f*** off.  BAM.  Don't whine about how they didn't put in as much as you.  So what?  Put in as much as they do.  If that happens to be nothing, don't beat yourself up over it.  Move on.  There are actually people that are good at being friends out there, and it's not your fault you are a better friend than someone you are "friends" with is.  Leave it at that.  If they come back wondering where you've been, they might just want something--using you--or they might have been too busy for a little bit.  Life does tend to get in the way.  

Oh what do I know about friendship?  I've got a best friend that he and I have been friends for over 42 years.  I've got 3 other best friends that I have been friends with for over 25 years.  I've got several great friends that I've been friends with for years too.  I make friends and I'm loyal.  True friends are genuinely loyal and everyone of my friends that I've been friends with for years are just as loyal as I am.  Loyalty and trust make a long time friend, and sometimes even long time friends will screw up.  But how much they screw up is the sign of where you stand with them and where they should stand with you...slide down a level or out the door altogether.  Friendship is all on you.  What you will put up with, what you won't, and who you choose to call friends.  All on you....

Sunday, March 6, 2016

I wanna be President....

It's ridiculous that most people have no idea what they are or aren't voting for.  Seriously.  I talk to so many different people all the time, and lately people that have no idea about why or what they are voting for seem to be voting.  I am always very for the idea that more people get involved, understand the process, and make an effort to have their voices heard.  The only thing that I totally never expected was the onslaught I was hoping for to be of people that would listen to one liner sound bites and the extent of their involvement would be to the most shallow level of following cartoon character, reality television--"I'm not here to make friends"--type so faithfully...and blindly.  Worse yet, I didn't expect that I would be more concerned about some narcissistic moron than a man who was not "natural" born.  Who knew?  So a few months ago I was doing a Bill of Rights series.  Yet, now, we have the ultimate "Manchurian candidate" running for President and professing his absolute love for this country and yet somehow oblivious that he should not be running for President.  That would be fine, except for the fact that he's considered one of the finer attorneys in this country so how could he not know???  So let's not mince words.  Ted Cruz wants to be President, but why?

Ted Cruz has used utterly nasty political tricks.  He wants it bad.  His father, former fighter for Castro, somehow now has found God and runs around the country like some great evangelical.  I'm always leery of anyone that wants to be an "evangelical".  They are self proclaimed and I'm not sure how that works.  For all the religions that I've been exposed to, the "evangelicals" always seem to be almost cult like.  So Ted Cruz's father has definitely helped pull some far Christian right votes for his son.  But here's where it gets strange.  His father was a "freedom fighter" for Castro...aka. a communist.  When he supposedly fled Cuba, let's assume that's actually true, he loved the USA so much he went on to Canada and became a Canadian citizen.  He married an American and they had a child in Canada, at a Canadian hospital, and that allowed that child duo citizenship until he was 18.  Ted Cruz has served the people of Texas pretty well overall.  Not as well as Rubio served Florida, but Rubio was the son of two immigrants and born in the USA.  There's no question about his eligibility.

So some novice told me that Cruz running was the same as McCain running.  "Really," I inquired. "How so?" Because the Constitution would allow McCain so therefore it would allow Cruz.  I laughed.  He was serious.  I asked him if he knew what the Constitution said.  He said that any citizen could be President.  No, that's not what it says.  Then he said it said had to.  No, that's not what it says either.  It was obvious he was guessing.  He was going on the little sound bites.  So I looked up on the internet what it states and read it to him word for word.  He looked at me dumbfounded.  That's not what it says, he kind of said under his breath.  I showed him.  It's too easy wording.  Yes, it is; the Founding Fathers wanted anyone with an 8th grade education be able to understand it.  It's not that complicated.  What does it state?  Well, within Article II Section 1, it states:

"No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President;..." 

The first part applies to all persons after the Constitution applies--the red part.  The only allowed exception was when the Constitution was first adopted--that's the black part.  The blue part is well self explanatory.  The red and black apply to who can be President of the United States of America.  "Natural born".  McCain was born to a US Naval Officer and his wife, also an American citizen, on a US military base in a US military hospital.  By definition, a US military base is considered US soil and thus "natural born".

So, last time I checked Canada is still a different country.  Born in another country does not apply to the above statement.  A liberal Supreme Court might, and I think this would be a huge stretch even for a liberal court, to allow an American citizen born in another country to run for President.  A conservative court would most likely not allow it.  Justice Scalia's death, the most conservative Justice on the current SCOTUS, becomes kind of timely for Ted Cruz.  The Court could split 4 to 4 and he could be President before anything is decided.  By then, it would be too late.  However, I don't believe liberal or conservative Justices will side with Ted Cruz on this one.

Why?  I explained to the guy sitting there.  If Ted Cruz becomes President, then it means anyone in the world, born to an American parent, even if born and raised in China by a Chinese parent or a Russian born and raised in Russia, could be President.  Yes, that's what that decision, the decision to allow him to be President, would create.  The media could care less.  They are more worried with ratings and creating as much conflict as possible.  Plus, the majority would prefer another Democrat in the Presidency.  That's not any kind of secret.  Conflict and a Supreme Court decision against Cruz would supply plenty of ratings and guarantee a Democrat wins.  So, is there a possibility that SCOTUS would vote in Cruz's favor he asked?  I would think he would be more likely to win the liberal Justices--liberals tend to give a more expansive interpretation.  The conservatives would be more likely to bend the rules for a proclaimed "conservative".  Not someone like Scalia.  A far right conservative Justice would be very vocally opposed to bending any rule, even for someone of the Republican party.  His death, and in Texas, seems awfully timely.  Coincidence?  Maybe.  I'm not much for conspiracy theories.  So it probably is a real possibility.  There's little secret that a large portion of people in power, both here in the US and globally, would like to create the New World Order.  Ending the Constitution of the United States would have to happen for the NWO to become a reality.  The first step to that is side stepping one of the major clauses in the original Constitution.  Making it so anyone in the world could become President.

He looked at me sheepishly.  Then said boldly, that's why he voted for Trump.  No, I said to him.  He had voted for Trump because he appeals to the angry white man in him.  He looked at me and said that it wasn't and that it was because Trump says what he thinks.  So do I, I told him.  But I'm not arrogant enough to think that makes me qualified to run for President.  He then admitted that he was embarrassed by Trump egging on people to hurt protesters.  He couldn't believe a veteran was videoed slapping a young woman and pushing her.  Now he was thinking he should have voted for Cruz.  And now that we talked, I inquired.  He didn't know.  He all of the sudden was worried that he didn't know enough about how everything worked.

Perhaps, no absolutely, he did not know enough about how the system was designed by the Founding Fathers.  He had never actually read the Constitution.  No one had ever told him that it was written in fairly simple language.  He thought it was super complicated.  I told him that it wasn't and it isn't even that long.  The Founding Fathers weren't trying to make it difficult for the average American to understand and the average American in the 1770s could usually read and understand simple language.  The Constitution was written for all Americans, not just the educated or the rich.  Do I think he'll read it?  I have no idea.  I imagine since he and I converse every month or so that I'll eventually know if he does or not.  If he does, I expect he'll want to discuss it and see if I agree with what he thought it said.  And that is exactly what I hope for.  Then he can have his own opinion and decide with a better idea of who he really wants leading the process and the Nation.

All that being said, he now was a little concerned that Cruz was running for President.  And we are on the same page.  Why is Ted Cruz, who supposedly loves this great Nation, running for President?  He has to know the risks that would follow.  I suspect Ted Cruz is a true "Manchurian Candidate".  He opens a can of worms if he wins a nomination, Republican or Democrat.  And there will be no putting those worms back in the can; he has to know that too.  Hell at this rate, I want to be President.  If anyone can be President, why not me?  As if.  And Daffy Donald and the Cruzanian Candidate don't belong there either.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Start paying attention rather than jumping on the bandwagon...

I put off writing this.  I had faith that Americans are not that stupid.  I'd love to tell you that I'm thrilled that South Carolina didn't want Trump to win the Republican nomination.  At 32.5%, I can't.  I'm just as angry as anyone is about how Obama has screwed up my health insurance.  I'm just as angry about him apologizing to various portions of the world, tanking the private jet industry with no consideration the effect it would have on the economy or American jobs, Benghazi, his lack of respect and protocols when he first took office, the fact that he pretends like he had nothing to do with the gridlock in Washington.  The list just goes on and on.  

But the truth is that it's time to stop and I mean stop being entertained by Trump and start thinking about what you are doing when you think about casting a vote for him.  Donald Trump is the biggest liar of all the candidates out there right now and that includes Hillary Clinton.  

What is Presidential about:

1.  Saying Jesus was a loser?  Seriously for those of you that are Christian, you should really be doing your homework.  

2.  Saying a woman was bleeding because she disagreed with him? 

Just his record on women all the way around:

"Schlonged" really?  Is that Presidential?  Can you see Reagan saying something like that?

3.  Refusing like a two year old child to participate in a debate?

4.  Using veterans to raise $6M and putting it in his own bank account?

5.  Attacking an American War Hero who voluntarily stayed with his men in a Vietnamese POW camp even though his family had the political clout to get him out?  (Senator John McCain)

5a.  Being a draft dodger?
5b.  Insulting every American soldier, sailor, Marine, airman, and veteran by claiming his little prep school was more military than anything we went through?

Definitely not, moron.  

6.  Using the word "pussy", let alone encouraging someone to say it multiple times?  Can you actually picture Ronald Reagan or FDR doing this????

7.  Screaming during a debate over another candidate?  Maybe he didn't want you to hear them because he actually has no plans himself.  

8.  Defrauding thousands of people of $40M in California and New York with "fake" college degrees?  This is still in litigation.

8a. Being investigated for possible criminal charges associated with that fraud?

The good news is that if he's President all that criminal investigation will go away (because he can make it as President by pardoning himself)...

9.  Being a racist?  Think about that hard for a second.  If a racist appeals to you that much, what does that say about you?  

10.  Threatening to have journalists killed?  Joking?  Because Putin is a "great leader"....Someone else threatened journalists...

And you don't get less American President than that...

10a.  Having to "clarify" statements like threatening to kill people?  Really shouldn't a President be thinking before he talks?

If that finger pointing in the air like that looks familiar, it should.  Hitler used to do it all the time. 

11.  About literally having a to claim bankruptcy for casinos?  How exactly does that happen??  Casinos literally make their money by getting people to give their money away with little to no chance of winning.  

12.  Not knowing anything about the GNP?  How does he actually think it's below zero?  How stupid is he really?

13.  Attacking a woman because she doesn't look Presidential in his mind?  Really, because he looks Presidential with that fake tan?

14.  Attacking a woman for breast feeding in front of him?

I don't particularly care for it either, but let's face it....I'm not running for President of the United States.  And neither are you.  He is.  How Presidential are any of the things he says....Read on...

15.  Bragging constantly about how much money he has?  Money doesn't make a good man.  

Hell, this statement doesn't even make sense...he just likes to brag about his money...

16.  Incest?  Really he said this:  

17.  Claiming bankruptcy at all?  How exactly is that Presidential?  Well, not taking ownership of that Presidential?

Of course, according to him, he didn't go bankrupt, because America, we bailed him out 4 times....

18.  Bragging that literally that he is smarter than everyone else?  Ronald Reagan said "I'm not a smart man."  This moron tweeted this:
19.  Thinking people are so stupid that you just have to flash a "nice ass".  Wow.  Just think he really thinks this about the people who are supporting him.  We're looking at the next Monika Lewinsky fiasco right here.

20.  Not even knowing who actually ran for the Presidency???  That was Romney.  What a moron.
By the way, Senator McCain's support of veterans and our military has always been unwavering. Seriously, this is the biggest liar out there.

21.  Not even understanding what the word "immigrant" means?  
Yes, actually they did make it all the way here as immigrants to find jobs and the American Dream...imagine that....

21a.  Is going to be hard on immigration?  

Yea, sure, and I bet you still believe in the tooth fairy, right?

22.  Praising Putin for killing reporters?  

Sure he is.  He's been murdering his opposition in Russia.  He ordered attacks on Georgia that resulted in a commercial airliner being shot down and over 200 innocent people's murders.  NATO wants to stop Putin's expansion plans.....How is it Presidential to want to praise this Stalin wanna-be? 

23.  Offending all of our American Allies?  

UAE:  "The Trump name was stripped off of a multi-million dollar golf course located on the outskirts of Dubai...Dubai business mogul Khalaf Al-Habtoor,..., “I had to admit I made a mistake in my supporting Mr. Trump.”"

Turkey: “We are assessing the legal dimension of our relationship with the Trump brand,” a statement from Kural said." 

France:  French Prime Minister Manuel Valls via Twitter: “Mr Trump, like others, stokes hatred: our ONLY enemy is radical Islam.”

Israel:  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced Trump's racist comments, resulting in Trump cancelling a scheduled visit to the country.

Pakistan:  “This is the worst kind of bigotry mixed with ignorance. I would imagine that someone who is hoping to become president of the US doesn’t want to compete with an ignorant criminal-minded mullah of Pakistan who denounces people of other religions … "

New Zealand: 

While our biggest ally is calling for him never to allowed in their country again:
Britain:  "Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron said the call to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. is “divisive, unhelpful and quite simply wrong,” while “Labour’s home office minister Jack Dromey called Trump a dangerous fool who should not be allowed within 1,000 miles of British shores.”  Meanwhile, a petition to ban Trump from the UK received over 300,000 signatures in just one day."