Everybody Makes Mistakes, Even Me

Screen Shot 2018-10-18 at 8.24.49 PMFrom time to time everyone is known to make mistakes.  If someone tells you they are perfect you should run screaming in the opposite direction because they are lying…and they are an asshole.  Everyone makes mistakes but when we do we should try to learn from them.  Today, I was lead down a little bit of a rabbit hole and I jumped.  Then, I realized I was wrong.

See, what had happened was….

My best friend sent me a text because her hair was ablaze.

Have you ever heard someone say, “a good friend is someone you can call to bail you out of jail.  Your best friend will be the one with you in jail.”

That would be a good way to describe us.  And when one of us finds our hair on fire by reading something stupid someone wrote, especially when politics are concerned, we send it to the other.

She sent me a link to something published in The Brunswick News.  The piece was titled “Abrams rally shows differences between candidates.”  After reading the first two paragraphs my hair was on fire.

I was thinking “what in the holy fuck is going on right now?!”  I have read articles before that appeared to hold accurate information.  I was personally at the first rally held by Abrams in Brunswick and read the article the paper wrote about it.  The article was very accurate.  Completely different from the above article.

After reading the rest of the article I was really seething!  It was completely false with incorrect facts throughout the entire piece!

The author of the piece, which turns out was a Letter to the Editor, pointed out three “stark differences between her [Stacy Abrams] rally platform and a typical conservative platform.”  I will point out how her three “stark differences” are actually inaccurate. They are, in fact, true representations of what fake news really is.

  • There were no American flags which means the rally has “no connection to patriotism or country allegiance.”

Just because there isn’t an abundance of American flags at any event, especially a political rally, does not then mean the candidate has no allegiance to America.  The simple fact that we, Americans, can run for office and hold political rallies, even counter-protests, means we are American, proudly American, and are participating in the very American institutions such as “free political elections.”  Having free and open political elections that citizens of this great country can participate in is absolutely American and patriotic!

Furthermore, anyone who was actually at the rally standing in from of Abrams would know there were small American flags stuck in the ground.  The same kind that is used to wave during the 4th of July.  Just because the candidate was not draped in an American flag with huge American flags waving around the crowd does not mean she is not a patriotic American.

  • Religious Freedom

The writer of the piece says Abrams said religious freedom was a policy issue and Holms (the author of the letter) continues to say religious freedom is in the first amendment of the constitution and “cannot be dismissed or legislated away by policy changes executive decrees.”  Besides the missing comma and the missing word ‘or’ that I’m assuming she meant to but between the words “changes” and “executive” – because I don’t know what “changes executive decrees” are other than a type – she is correct.

She is correct insomuch as the First Amendment does give us religious freedom insomuch as it says Congress cannot make a law respecting the establishment of a religion, nor can prohibit the expression of religion.  It does not mean people can use their religion to discriminate against people.  That is what Abrams believes: you should not be able to use religion to discriminate against your fellow Americans.

  • “Abrams has an inability to distinguish between legal rights afforded to citizens and non-citizens of this country.”

This is probably the craziest of them all and it is the one that makes me know Holmes was probably not at the rally and is only listening to talking points coming out of Brian Kemp’s campaign.  If she was at the rally she was not paying attention.

Abrams has never said illegal immigrants should be able to vote!  A quick google search will not only tell you that but will lead you to this article and video where she talks about this being something Kemp has been saying and which is a complete lie!

In her closing paragraph, Holmes says “Abrams shows no outward allegiance to faith or country…” which is another lie that people try to attribute to Stacey Abrams.  If you listen to any of her rallies or any of the videos posted to her social media you will repeatedly hear this is something the Democratic candidate for Governor of Georgia continues to talk about.  She talks about how her faith in God continues to give her courage and shapes what she believes in and what she believes is fair for all Georgians.

Now, after going crazy and thinking The Brunswick News lost all sense of reality and honesty, after posting several things to my Facebook page, and after sending a message directly to the paper via their Facebook page I realized that this was not an article written by the paper.  I should have realized that when the email address of the writer was not at the top of the article and a picture of the writer wasn’t at the bottom of the article, both things that usually appear.  I should have also realized this when I looked at the link of the article and saw the word “opinion” in the URL which means this was posted not as a regular news article but as a Letter to the Editor.  You can go to this section and read a bunch of different letters they have received.  Once I realized this and realized what I said on Facebook about them writing this ridiculous, false, and defamatory article was wrong I went back to my Facebook page and publically admitted the information I had put out was wrong.

I could have simply deleted all of my posts about the subject and pretended “I didn’t do it” and pretended nothing had happened, but I didn’t.  I publically said to everyone, “I made a mistake.”  The reason I did this was two-fold.

First, so many people like to jump to they are right, and are nothing but right, and nothing they say is wrong.  One person that came to mind when I just typed those words was the President, but it’s not just him.  People seem to no longer be able to admit when they make a mistake and that is a detriment to this country!

Second, while I have no problem with the paper posting Letters to the Editor, I do think they should say something when they are posting a letter that is blatantly false and misleading!  You can still have freedom of speech and point out when someone is saying something that is obviously incorrect!  We are all entitled to our own opinions, but we are not entitled to our own facts!

Trump: A New Mafia Wants to Destroy Freedom

Screen Shot 2018-08-25 at 2.31.29 AMI’m reading this book by John Hohenberg called Free Press/Free People: The Best Case.  Hohenberg wrote this book in 1971 and he details the history of peoples and nations struggling for freedom and to have a free press, because without a free press you cannot have a free people.  With the current political climate in the United States, I am struck by a sentence on page 2 of the book.

“The power of written language was used primarily by the rulers of men to glorify themselves as super-beings…”

When he penned that line he had just told of the story of Hammurabi, a Babylonian ruler who did attempt, though end the end not honestly, create a law that basically said people should be good to one another and the powerful should not take advantage of those without power.

Ever since he started saying it, I have been struck by how Trump calls so much of the media, and the stories they write, “fake news.”  When, as we now know, he plants headlines in the National Enquirer that read

  • “Hillary Clinton Brain Cancer Drama”
  • “Hillary: 6 Months to Live”
  • “Revealed at Last: Hillary’s Full Medical File”
  • “Hillary Hitman Tells All”
  • “Hillary Framed Trump Family”

he calls none of those of those fake news.  The people and news stories he is calling fake news is anything he disagrees with or that is negative to him.

Another term for fake news could be propaganda.

John Hohenberg had a long history in newspapers, was a Professor of Journalism, and became an Administrator of the Pulitzer Prize.  He wrote this book in 1971 and like he states in the beginning, there has been a long history of people attempting to have freedom and having it ripped from their clinching grasp and struggling to get it again.  There is a long history of the powerful trying to deny people freedom by shutting off the flow of accurate information.  Trump and his team, along with most republicans, are just the latest members of the mafia trying to do the exact same thing.  If people are silent and torpid about what is going on he will win in this quest.

Why Trump Hates the Media

There is a clear and simple explanation for why Trump hates the media: they refuse to stay silent.  They refuse to not investigate and fact check.  They refuse to not do their job.

Part of the job of the press is to inform the public about what is going on, and the background for what is going on, with regard to our government and elected officials. Without an informed electorate (that’s us) the country is not a democracy.  Trump has said many times that he wishes we were less of a democracy and had a government that resembled that of Russia, North Korea, and China. He has even said he is glad China now has a President for life and thinks we should maybe give it a try one day.

What do these countries not have?  A free press. China doesn’t, North Korea doesn’t, and there have been many people who turned up dead when they wrote things that were negative about Putin.

Investigative reporting is crucial to an informed public!  Without it we only will find out what they want us to know and that is not a democracy.  Every American should be outraged when an elected official calls the news media and “enemy of the people.”  The only thing that is an enemy of the people are lies that are never found out.

Let’s take a quick look at some things the news media have found by their investigative reporting:

  • The first big one everyone should know about is Watergate. Nobody would have known what Richard Nixon was doing – orchestrating the break in – had it not been for the reporting work of Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward who looked into a story and uncovered the facts.
  • McCarthy and Communist – Senator Joe McCarthy said in the 1950s that there were over 200 people working in the United States State Department who were communists.  Murrey Marder, a reporter for The Washington Post started covering the hearings that McCarthy had on the subject and the people he was accusing and charging with espionage and found out…it was all false!
  • Vietnam – While President Kennedy was trying to send a message that everything was going well in Vietnam a reporter by the name of David Halberstam said that his job was to report what was happening in Vietnam…even if it did not look good for the U.S. because it was the truth. What did we find out?  The story coming from the President was not the truth.
  • NSA Surveillance – Reporters from The Postand The Guardianinvestigated and wrote about the NSA conducting illegal surveillance on both the American people and foreign officials.

So why does Trump hate the media so much?  Because he is afraid they will find out exactly what he has really been doing and been involved in.  He calls everything he doesn’t like or that is against him “fake news.”  No, Mr. President, that is not the definition of “fake news.”

And reporters have investigated stories and situations for years and not just things that republicans are doing!  They have done it with democrats, too, and they should!

Random Road Trip: Melbourne, FL Edition – Planning

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I’ve been wanting to get to a beach with water that isn’t brown water.  The beaches at Jekyll are great…but brown.  If you are ankle deep you can’t see your feet.  (I have a funny story about this that I will save for later.)  I want to go back to Sanibel Island, FL and I would like to go to Clearwater, FL because I have never been.  I want to go to the Gulf Coast where the water is blue.  But on my last trip to Melbourne when I went for an airshow I stopped around Cocoa Beach and went to the beach and the water was green.  I’ll take a little green.

During the same trip I said it would be nice to come back and check out the area when I have more time and no airshow to attend.  The area reminds me of quintessential old Florida.  It reminds me of a time in the past when Space was a thing and the area was it.  I want to explore what is and what was.  I feel as though I’m being called to the area so now is the time to follow my sail and go where the wind blows me.  Hopefully, it is also blowing me to nice water.

On Monday I started thinking I should take a weekend road trip.  I have actually been thinking about it for a week or two.  So I get the idea to go to Melbourne on Monday and I start planning on Tuesday.  This is actually a nice little heads-up compared to some of my trips in the past where I get the idea to go at noon on a Friday and have a room booked by 2 and leave after work that night.  You know, once you plan a destination if you’re not too picky it only takes 2 minutes to book a room.

Get out and see the world!

Why?

Why hot!

Since I said I wanted to go back and decided this week to go I went online looking for a few things to do:

  1. The beach – One the way back home the last time I drove from Melbourne to Cocoa Beach on A1A and not only was it a nice drive but I quickly stopped off at looked at the ocean.  It was green.  Non-brown ocean water is one of the things I’m looking for on this trip.
  2. Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum – While googling for things to do in the area I found the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum in Titusville, Florida and since I love everything about planes and history I really want to check this place out.
  3. The Brevard Zoo – Someone told me this was a really good zoo.
  4. Pelican Beach Park – Well, this is a beach, which is the main goal of the trip.

Those are just a few of the things that I found that I thought might be interesting.  And I’m sure there are other things I will find when I get there.

So the hotels are booked, now I just need to make a semblance of a schedule of things I would like to do and see while I’m there.

 

A Christian who Should Not have Children

(I wrote this back in 2013 because of a news article I saw, but I think this is a timeless piece so I’m posting it now.)

I realize I’m often harsh on religion but stories like this are a perfect example of why someone could be harsh.  I would also like to say up front, I realize not all “religious” people are this crazy.  Still, in my humble opinion far too many of them are.

When I pulled up the Yahoo.com page today (7.3.13) I scrolled through the stores listed; they usually have some interesting stories.  Just such a story popped out at me today.

Court upholds parents’ convictions in prayer death

Like I said, I am often harsh on religion, “Christianity” in particular.  I realize some people will find that astonishing, but with stories like this, and people like this, I would think it would be difficult for them to protest much.

I think a while back I heard something about a court case relating to the death of a child because their parents did something stupid based on their religion.  I didn’t follow the story, it’s just something I think I remember hearing.  Well, this might be the story.  I guess they tried to appeal the original guilty verdict and it seems they lost again.  This is just a family that keeps on losing.

So here’s the story, and what I think about it.

There is a mother and father, Leilani Neumann and Dale Neumann, and there was a child named Madeline Kara Neumann.  They were a family.  I’m not sure if they have other children, but something tells me they probably do, or will soon, because they are clearly crazy “Christians.”  You know the “I-need-to-populate-the-world-with-the-Lords-people” “Christians,” but I do hope they don’t!

Anyway, the kid was sick with something much worse than just the sniffles and they took to “prayer.”  Yes, that’s right, like a lot of “Christians” they started to pray.  But, for some strange I-thought-God-was-perfect-and-knew-everything reason, the kid did not get better.  No, she got worse.  She got so much worse that, yes, that’s right, she died.  After the child stopped breathing they called 911.

Now, I have to stop here for a moment because already there is something that just doesn’t make sense.  Maybe you were thinking the same thing, but we’ll see.

So, their child is getting sick and weak.  She is getting so weak that she can’t talk, eat, drink, or do anything.  And this isn’t an infant, she’s an 11-year-old child.  If a child who can normally do all these things you would think you really might start getting really, really concerned.  And I’m guessing these people didn’t just start praying, they were probably already doing it.  Praying is probably something that a family like this does all the freaking time.  So, again I know I’m thinking like a “normal” person, but you would think a normal person would say, “Ok, I have been presented with a problem.  I have come up with what I think is an adequate solution.  I have implemented said solution, but to no avail, the problem is not correcting itself.  The problem isn’t getting any better; in fact, it is getting worse, much worse.  Therefore, it is clear that my proposed solution is not working, so I need to do something different.”

“Pray harder” would NOT be the second solution I would come up with.  I know that’s not the answer and I don’t even have kids.  And while I don’t have kids, I am smart enough to know they aren’t something you play with and not take seriously.  Especially an 11-year-old child who is normally a functional human being!

So they called 911.  I don’t know what they thought 911 could do since God couldn’t fix this problem.  I mean, if they don’t want to use a doctor, why are they going to use 911?  That just doesn’t make sense.  I would really be curious to find out the details of why they called 911.  I know, probably not the most important part of this story but it is something I’m curious about.  Strange things make me curious.

As the kid got sicker the grandparents suggest they take her to the doctor or at least give her some Pedialyte.  In other words, it doesn’t sound like the grandparents are completely off their rocker.  Nevertheless, Mommy-Crazy-Pants said, “that would take the glory away from God.”

Ok, clearly with a statement like that, you can’t possibly argue with these people and try to get them to see an alternate view.  It would be more productive to argue with paint to get it to dry faster.

Oh, and the parents also said that having a doctor look at the child would be like worshiping an “idol” rather than worshiping God.  For whatever reason, the idea that their child could die never entered into their mind.  I’m not sure why, but that’s what they said.  I guess it’s simply another one of those “God” things I just don’t understand.

We haven’t gotten to the most bizarre part yet.  No, that’s coming up.  The mother, who I have duly, and I think accurately, named Mommy-Crazy-Pants, told the police, according to her testimony, that “God would raise Kara from the dead.”

Again, if I were writing a story and came up with this kind of dialogue, people would say it is just too outlandish.  To use a phrase everyone likes to use in bizarre situations like this, “I just couldn’t make this shit up.”  I mean, seriously!

Later in the article their attorney said, “They’re still mourning the loss of this child….”  Again, I think this is crazy.  What they should be “mourning” is the realization that their beliefs are seriously outlandish.

But the real problem I have isn’t with this particular case, per se, but with these types of people.  While we don’t hear about the extreme groups like this often, and this particular couple isn’t part of an “organized” religion or group – according to the Supreme Court’s decision – I do find it hard to believe they are truly alone.  And what is more alarming, there are probably more and more people coming to the same conclusions as this particular couple.  In other words, I fear this type of extreme belief is becoming more popular.  And by “extreme belief” I’m not saying specifically people who feel going to the doctor is wrong, but people who are becoming more “extremist” in general.  I know, you would think that in and of itself is an outlandish claim, but considering the current state of the country, and the Republican party, I could be right.

And granted, I’m not saying all people who are like this are necessarily “Republican,” but I also find it incredibly hard to believe people like this are Obama-approving Liberals!

Compound that with the current venom a lot of people have against our current President, an amount of venom we did not see directed at the Bush administration, and I am beginning to worry a little about what we, as a country, are coming to.  And no, we are not headed toward a bad place because of things like gay people being allowed to get married, much to the chagrin of many “Christians,” we are headed in the direction of a bad place because of the hatred and animosity many people have.

Now, based on a lot of what I have said in this post, some people are going to say that I am one of those people who have a lot of hatred and animosity toward people who are different than me, people who are not liberal atheists.  I do not share that same view and I will tell you why.

Yes, people like this, people who have no regard for science and facts, are people who I do not feel should be able to have children. I realize that is harsh, but these people have shown a complete disregard for logical thinking.  They have demonstrated they will not properly care for anyone who is supposed to be in their “care,” therefore; these people should have their rights to have children revoked!  If they do have other children, they should be removed, placed in protective custody, and placed for adoption!

However, with that being said, they do still have the right to believe in a higher power.  They even have the right to believe that prayer can overcome anything and God can fix every problem.  I do not share that same opinion, but they can believe whatever they want.  What I have a problem with is people like this, and even most “rational” thinking “Christians,” who push their opinions and beliefs on others.  But more importantly, people who actually believe they should not seek medical attention when sick should not be in the position to care for others, because part of “caring” means seeking medical help in the case of an emergency!

Additionally, people who believe that God can heal them and going to a doctor is (insert some crazy word they would use) don’t have to go to a doctor when they are sick.  Once someone with this belief becomes a legal adult, fine, don’t go.  But until then the parents of these children should not have the right to keep their child from getting the medical attention they need!  Especially when they are in as grave a situation (no pun intended) as this child clearly was.

A Quick Example of How We’re Doomed

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This is why I think the world is doomed: I just heard a guy tell his child, I couldn’t tell how old, “if you touch it one more time I’m going to break your fingers.”  He was messing with some business cards on a counter.  A little while ago while I was at lunch I saw a lady, who was youngish but walked slowly everywhere she went, listlessly as if she couldn’t be bothered with anything, wearing a t-shirt with the Braking News logo that read, “Breaking News I DON’T CARE.”

Now, as I type this it dawned on me that maybe she doesn’t “not care” about “breaking news,” and the shirt was only supposed to be a funny shirt that basically meant “I don’t care what you think” or “I don’t care what you have to say,” etc.  And maybe she didn’t mean anything negative by the shirt.  Maybe there isn’t supposed to be an underlying message read into the meaning.  Maybe I’m taking it the wrong way.  But the reason I’m taking it the wrong way is because there is, without a doubt, a general disinterested attitude that so many people have about what is going on in the world.  When so many people don’t know history, don’t know – or care – who their elected officials are, don’t know – or care – what their elected officials are doing when less than half the population votes in an election you cannot argue that people – as a whole –  do care.

I really don’t want to be that guy.  I don’t want to be that old guy who is always complaining about people and is always saying the world is going to hell in a handbasket, but when it’s true it’s really hard not to be.  It’s hard not to be that guy when you care about and worry about where we are going and what the future holds.

The anger people have, that people feel, especially southern straight white men, is overwhelming.  How can you sit back and say “this is normal” or “this isn’t a problem?”  The anger that so many people have is not normal!  Do people not see it?  How can people not see itWhy does nobody see it?