The Rights We’re Fighting For

The Rights We’re Fighting For Are Yours Too
The First Amendment

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

I have recently made a comment about a meme I saw in which it compared the women at the Million Woman March and sister marches all over the world to women in the military. It was belittling the women of the marches. It struck me as a complete fallacy and I pointed it out, to which the poster completely missed my point. She was one who doesn’t want to hear anything contrary to her own views and got defensive immediately. I wasn’t insulting her; I was merely stating that it was comparing apples to oranges. The reasons for the two groups marching are completely different. The soldiers are sworn to defend the Constitution, yes, but their marching is a part of the job they signed up for. The Million Woman March was about the rights our own government is trying to deny us under this new administration. So the only comparison I see is that they defend the very rights we are exercising. You would think they would feel good about the fact that we’re actually using the rights they defend instead of letting them lie dormant and unused. If we do that, we will most surely lose them. The rights we’re fighting for are yours too.

I will state that no, I don’t understand conservative thought patterns any more than they understand liberal ones. I don’t understand how any woman could support donald trump when he has been very vocally anti-woman and has even bragged about committing sexual assault and getting away with it. Did you not learn at any point in life that sometimes a man just says what he thinks you want to hear to get you to do what he wants? To listen to what someone says and not pay attention to what he does is putting yourself in a vulnerable position to be taken unfair advantage of. And of course when that happens, you get the blame for putting yourself in that position. That is where rape culture was born. And chalking it up to “locker room talk” encourages the behavior because they got away with it, so they’ll continue to do it. And believing that something never happened because they told you so and ignoring that fact when someone shows you video proof is willful ignorance. You become the victim of gas-lighting when you do that because you’re buying into the illusion of innocence. The rights we’re fighting for are yours too.

I see so much out there that is critical to the protesters in that they are being judged. Another commenter said that half the people out there didn’t even know why they were there. I was there and everyone there except perhaps the little ones knew exactly what they were doing there. Even some of the little ones did. Between signs, conversations, t-shirts, buttons and chants, everyone had a valid reason to address during that march. There were many, but all of them were born of the acidic vitriol that came out of the trump campaign. There is much fear and rage out there over the things that he promised his followers that put us all at risk. The rights we’re fighting for are yours too.

To assume that the marchers were all out there for the same reason is to make an assumption with no facts. Try a Google search of the protest. There are literally hundreds of signs posted on Facebook alone that were at the actual protests that address a multitude of reasons for protest. All of those signs all boil down to one thing. The protesters fear that they’re losing rights under this administration. More than just reproductive rights. More than just equality. More than just one issue. I alone made signs for multiple reasons. All of our concerns should be addressed. All of our voices should be heard. Not just by the new administration but by the supporters of it as well. Pay attention. The rights we’re fighting for are yours too. You might think we’re fighting for something we already have but you’re not paying attention if you think there is no threat to them. The truth is, trump has threatened the first amendment multiple times already. If we allow him to attack a primary constitutional right specifically mentioned first in the Bill of Rights, they will slowly pick away at the others as well. The rights we’re fighting for are yours too.

I know the first argument will be that his threat to the media is only those reporting lies, but the ones reporting lies are not the ones he’s attacking. He is attacking the respected media outlets that have earned their place as respectable reporting entities. He is attacking those who report anything he dislikes, even if there is documented proof of it. And 6 reporters have been arrested and charged with a felony for rioting because they were on protest sights reporting on those protests. We can’t allow this to happen. (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/25/business/media/journalists-arrested-trump-inauguration.html?_r=0) that’s the NEW YORK TIMES ladies and gentlemen, not just some fly by night organization that just popped up over the last few years. Not just some tabloid on tv organization. The New York Times….The rights we’re fighting for are yours too.

The first amendment gives us the right to free speech, free press, peaceful assembly and the right to petition the government for redress of grievances. All of these things are involved in our protests. To arrest people for exercising our first amendment rights is a violation of the Constitution of the United States. Yet there are states that have bills on their agenda trying to criminalize the right to peaceful assembly and petition the government for redress of grievances. (http://www.snopes.com/lawmakers-criminalize-peaceful-protest/) Yes, Snopes is a legitimate source. They are a fact checking organization. And the article does say they are definitely on the agenda, but that none have passed into law. These are the things we need to pay attention to. This is a FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHT they’re trying to criminalize. They’re trying to chip away at the foundation of the Constitution ladies and gentlemen. The rights we’re fighting for are yours too.
Yes, we have a problem with the right trying to criminalize and ban abortion. You can’t legislate morality because morality is subject to individual interpretation and some of us believe it to be more moral to spare our offspring a short and extremely painful death than to force it to feel that pain. YOU DO NOT KNOW what leads a woman to the decision to have an abortion. You don’t even know when you see a pregnant woman going to a Planned Parenthood office if her fetus is even viable. A D & C is also performed at Planned Parenthood. This is done after a fetal demise, yet people who insist on judging these women stand outside of Planned Parenthood offices and brutalize these women for their decisions without knowing the first thing about them. Stop judging when you don’t know what’s going on. And stop supporting legislators who want to force these women to risk their lives to carry out a pregnancy without knowing the circumstances either. These decisions need to remain between a woman and her doctor, NOT her legislator. The rights we’re fighting for are yours too.

Stop trying to force your beliefs on everyone else. Science is real. Scientists have made a career of studying their choice of scientific field. They have devoted their lives to it. Just because you don’t know the difference between a theory and a scientific theory does not give you the right to discredit their research and make assumptions about it, much less to allow lawmakers to make laws governing it. Science is responsible for every advance to improve human life. Open a book. Not just any book. Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly don’t know anything but their right wing propaganda. Open a book by A SCIENTIST. The rights we are fighting for are yours too.

Open a medical Journal. Learn about genetics. Explore how genetics works and learn that there are genetic variations that people might find to be odd but they recur in nature more commonly than you might think. Like genetic mutations that cause a human being to be born with more than one set of reproductive organs. If that can happen, then being born with a male identity in a female body and vice versa is also not only feasible but occurs often. Quit making assumptions and do some research. The rights we are fighting for are yours too.

Ask yourself this question. Look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself if you think everyone you meet sees you the same way you see yourself. If you have any critical thinking skills whatsoever, you know that they don’t. So do you want people that don’t know you making assumptions about you and condemning you for it and stripping you of your rights based on an assumption? That is exactly what is happening. Pay attention. The rights we are fighting for are yours too.

Stop assuming that because it gets cold, Global Warming is not real. ALL scientists agree it’s real. The only people that say it’s not are politicians. And if we let it go and continue in the direction we’re going, we will kill ourselves when we kill our planet. The rights we’re fighting for are yours too.

Multiple species of animals are dying due to the actions of humans. This is not natural selection; this is human beings becoming the cancer that is killing the whole planet. We have to do the right thing for all of us, for our children and future generations. The Bible doesn’t defend your denying what’s happening. We’re supposed to be stewards of our planet. The rights we’re fighting for are yours too.
Start paying attention….before it’s too late.

The Disconnect in Understanding

The day after Dark Friday and my like-minded friends and I loaded up and headed to Atlanta for the protest for social justice. The highest office in the land is now occupied by the noxious donald j trump; A man who ran a campaign of hate, misogyny, racism, xenophobia and lies. As we traveled through torrential rain toward the College Park Marta station, we got better acquainted and discussed our compatible political views as well as the events taking place at the dawn of this nauseating change in direction of our beloved country. One thought is prominent over all others in my mind. The fact that our conservative peers think we are just sad and defeated that our candidate lost. They couldn’t be more wrong about what motivates the majority of the protestors participating in the events of the day. While yes, we are sad and feel defeated, these emotions are not nearly as petty as that, they go much deeper.

In all of my discussions with people during the election campaign process through completion, I find that there is one thing that they fail to understand about us (Us being all of us). It’s that we do not think the same way. We are ‘wired’ completely differently. This is not just our team lost and the other team won for us. We feel this dangerous to our country. They don’t seem to grasp why we feel that way. That’s not to say they are all incapable of understanding, I think some are if they’re willing to listen. Whether they are willing to accept the information that might make them see things differently is another story. Some will stubbornly hold on to their beliefs and refuse to hear any new information. I have to hold on to the belief that there are conservatives out there open to new information. I hope that human nature is still similar enough on both sides that some are open minded and accepting of new information. We can’t change the core of who someone is. That would be a waste of time. However, we can educate each other and I believe there is something to learn from each and every person one encounters. It’s just a matter of whether or not you’re open to learning it. These are the people I write to.

So what I propose to do here is to present a bit of who I am and why I see things the way I do. Perhaps this will give someone a better understanding of where these protests are coming from. There are so many issues that brought protesters to these events. Yes, some were Hillary Clinton supporters who felt that she was cheated, but we cannot change the views of those who hate her whether their reasoning is legitimate or not, will not be changed by that demographic. Consequently, I will not even address that. It would be a waste time. So I’m going to address my views that many people like me share whether they supported Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders or any other candidate on the ballots of the 2016 election.

While I am an amateur journalist who blogs without pay currently, I am still a journalist. My first amendment rights are deeply important to me for this reason. The Founding Fathers said of the Bill of Rights in its preamble, “The Conventions of a number of the States having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best insure the beneficent ends of its institution.” (1) Their intention of the Bill of Rights according to this preamble was essentially to protect the rights of the States but also the rights of the people from the overreach of the Federal Government. While Republicans have repeatedly claimed to be the ones protecting the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, the actions of the new Administration immediately attacked the 1st amendment. While those who support trump will say this is not true, and that The Washington Post is not a dependable source, their article, found here https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/02/26/donald-trump-vows-to-open-up-libel-laws-to-make-suing-the-media-easier-heres-how-he-could-do-it/?utm_term=.f07068986fe6 released an actual video of him making the threat to “open up the libel laws” so that the media can be sued. The first thing Adolph Hitler did in 1933 was very similar. They bought out the newspapers in order to control the media so that the people only heard what the Nazi’s wanted them to hear. (http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/nazi-germany/newspapers-in-nazi-germany/ ) To make such a threat is to slowly start to chip away at the people’s trust in the media so as to eliminate any news that is contrary to what they want you to believe. So if they deny the legitimacy of news organizations long in business and long been considered revered sources and want to control what we are told, why should we trust them? And if they succeed in suppressing the voice of the media, what will they suppress next. This is exactly what the Founding Fathers intended to avoid when including the Bill of Rights. I was raised that when someone tells you something, first ask yourself what the person telling you thinks they have to gain from telling you.

While this is one of the more important aspects of progressive views to me, it’s not my only concern. In viewing the signs carried by protesters at the Atlanta march, I found that many of my concerns are voiced by many others. I have worked in the business end of healthcare for nearly 24 years. Having done so, I have long believed reform was needed. I did support the ACA but recognized that it was not by any means perfect. However, repeal is not the answer. Adjustments are desperately needed in many aspects of the law, some of which were excluded from the law that were actually in the original bill. I saw many of them there when I read much of it for myself and absent from the version that passed which I also read for myself. I’m not saying I have read the law in its entirety, but I have read a generous amount of it. I saw much that we needed that should not be eliminated by anyone claiming to be compassionate. For most of the law was created in order to protect consumers from abusive business practices and its elimination leaves the most vulnerable completely vulnerable to those abuses once again. Copies of the ACA can be found on PDF downloadable https://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/about-the-law/read-the-law/index.html at least for now. More can be found at https://www.congress.gov/bill/111th-congress/house-bill/3590 . I found in my research both before and after the law was passed, that the ideas addressed by the bill and what passed as law had many differences and the original bill was much better in my humble opinion. I found flaws in both the bill and the law however, and know why its opponents didn’t like it. I did not agree with most of what they didn’t like but I could see where they were coming from on some of their reasons for opposition. I just felt that the law was a step in the right direction. As with most laws, once on the books, they can be adjusted to improve their effectiveness and correct problems. That being said, I disagreed with the exclusion of the public option and other aspects of the law, but repeal is not the answer as it reverses the protections provided by the law leaving the most vulnerable citizens unprotected. So that is also among my top reasons for protest. Having worked in the healthcare field as long as I have, I saw people suffer at the abuses of the healthcare business for myself. I processed applications for financial assistance for people who were uninsurable and who exhausted their benefits or lost their jobs because of their illnesses. I saw the abuses first hand. Nothing can erase that from my memory so my mind cannot be changed about the benefits of the ACA. Every argument I’ve been presented with could have been corrected through amendments, not repeal. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.

Other signs I saw that I agreed with were those on climate change. Those who don’t believe in science are simply willfully ignorant. There is no other excuse. We all took science classes in school no matter what we decided to do in college or even if we didn’t go at all, we at the minimum had science classes throughout our standard grade school education. To buy into the idea that Scientists don’t know what they’re talking about is naïve and foolish. They dedicated their lives to the study of their branch of science and they are the experts. Why would anyone buy a politician’s idea of facts on Climate Change over that of those who studied it their entire career? That makes no sense. The fact is, this is our home. We have nowhere else to go if we destroy our resources. There is this fantasy that we’re going to find another planet to go to should we destroy our own, but that’s just a fantasy. We as a people need to wake up to the reality. That being said, all the 2016 candidates supported the space program. However, Mars has been the planet that has been most talked about as far as an alternative to earth. It’s foolish in my humble opinion to think we could build colonies on Mars as it appears to be a dead planet for the most part. It would take a tremendous amount of development to create anything artificial that could sustain human life. But if Scientists lie about climate change, why would we trust them to create a way to sustain human life on another planet? It’s an idea that contradicts itself when these questions are raised. I choose to believe scientists who know their trade better than the rest of us. They know what they’re talking about. Someone such as donald j trump who has repeatedly denied the reality of climate change is dangerous to our planet with policies that allow big business to abuse our home by poisoning our environment.

There were many other signs I agreed with during the protest. There is a lot of fear out there over this administration. I’ve been told that trump is not who I think he is, but I’ve seen video of his speech that I found deeply disturbing so if I have an impression of him that is incorrect, he created that impression himself. It was NOT created by the media but by his insistence on tweeting and speaking the things he has about this country and his views etc. He doesn’t seem to grasp that threatening the media is a threat to the Bill of Rights. He doesn’t seem concerned that the threats of Kellyanne Conway made about watching what you say about him is a threat to the 1st Amendment. The Bill of Rights is the cornerstone of the Founding Fathers plan for this country put in place to protect the people from the overreach of the Federal government and these kinds of threats are federal government overreach. In these threats if they succeed in carrying out his promises, they eliminate our protections as citizens. As I referenced before, this kind of action is the first step on the road to fascism. For a country so afraid of socialism, I would think they’d be even more frightened by fascism, but it seems those most vocal about how Bernie Sanders was a socialist are the very same people that support trump’s brand of fascism. Perhaps they need to refresh their understanding of forms of government. The new administration is a threat to national security, whether you agree with me or not. I just hope those who don’t, see it before it’s too late.

Doomed to Collapse

It frustrates me to sit and listen to people who don’t make enough to live decently argue against a minimum wage hike. For people who make less than $15.00/hour to argue against raising it to that level is a shame because they don’t see that it not only helps people out of poverty but actually helps them too and that they’re arguing against their own best interests. But in my experience, when asked why they don’t think it should be raised, they say something along the lines of “why should someone who just started working here make as much as I do when I’ve been here 5 years”? I understand that they’re saying seniority should mean something. But what they don’t realize they’re saying is “I’m not worth $15/hr if it means someone who has been here less time does too.” How does this make sense?


Then there’s the age old argument of “if they raise the minimum wage, prices on everything else goes up too.” This is a ridiculous argument too, considering that the minimum wage hasn’t gone up since 2009 when it was raised from $6.55/hr. to $7.25/hr. Before 2007 it was stuck at $5.15 for 10 years. (http://www.raisetheminimumwage.com/pages/qanda) However, just from 2000 – 2012, the cost of childcare, housing, higher education, healthcare and retirement have gone up by more than $10,000/yr. (https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/economy/report/2014/09/24/96903/the-middle-class-squeeze/) Household income, however has been stagnant. And even in instances where income was raised, it was countered by costs increasing so that it did not help to meet expenses. I have even personally known people whose income did not go up over the past 5 years yet their insurance costs have gone up each year, giving them less in their budget to meet other expenses. So how does arguing that raising the minimum wage will cause everything else to go up make sense when everything else is going up WITHOUT raising the minimum wage? Do you want to continually be left behind making it increasingly more difficult just to meet living expenses? And if you consider yourself ‘doing okay’, where is your compassion for those who are not? Do you call yourself Christian with this belief that those who don’t make enough to survive ‘deserve’ to struggle because they’re not doing enough? Do you know how many of those people work two jobs? What happened to “Judge not lest ye be judged?”


Let’s look at healthcare for a moment. In 2009, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Acts were passed, looking to regulate the healthcare industry to protect the people. However, that was not before the acts were manipulated to the point where we could still be abused in some ways. For instance, certain groups of Senators insisted on an extended grace period for insurers and businesses (i.e. employers) to conform to the law. This was, in my opinion, included so as to circumvent another part of the law which kept insurers from jacking up premium prices too fast. It gave them more time to increase premiums to the maximum allowed for each time period. As an example, when I started working in the healthcare business, the average deductible amount was $250-$300/yr. Now, its $2000.00. That is just the deductibles. The actual premiums were not something I had access to from the part of the business I was working in at the time, but I know what I paid and I pay at least 3X what I paid back then for my family of 4. Only now, I’m paying only for myself. The majority of that increase happened since the passage of the ACA. Now I know some of you will automatically jump to the conclusion that the government or President Obama is to blame, but who do you think had a hand in forcing these changes in the ACA to allow for such increases? Why lobbyists for the industry itself of course…..and the congressional representatives that supported these changes are the very representatives that still are outspoken against the ACA….their reasoning? The very things they forced; that the cost is too great. Only it’s not the average citizen’s cost their complaining about. It’s the cost to the businesses that are paying the lobbyists to manipulate the laws in their favor. Of course they want you to believe that it’s you they’re more concerned with. But if that were true, they’d have passed bills to grow the economy by creating jobs to improve infrastructure and clean energy and clean environment thereby improving the general welfare of all. But no, they’re stagnant.


The first house I rented in 1988 was a 3 bedroom house at $280/month. At the time, my pay was 4.95/hr and I did have a full time job. That calculates to about 35% of my gross income. Now, granted, I was making a little more than minimum wage at the time. So while it was 35% of my gross income, it would have translated to 52% of the gross income for someone working minimum wage in 1988. If we look at the cost of the same size house in 2015, we’re looking at something drastically different. The average rent for a 3 bedroom house today is about $1112.00 on average, which translates to 95% of the gross income for someone making minimum wage and working full time hours. Even the low side of the rental range for this area presents a problem. The low side of rental costs for a 3 bedroom house in the area is $700/month. That figure still translates to 60% of the gross income for someone working minimum wage full time. Keep in mind that these figures are on the gross income. But when you take taxes and insurance costs from that income, it doesn’t leave much to pay utilities or groceries, much less if there are daycare expenses or diapers. So it’s just not feasible to think a minimum wage is enough to survive on.


Now the first argument that comes to the surface when this information is generally presented, is that they should get an education and a better job. This isn’t reasonable either. The reason I say this is that after what use to be a 4 year degree; though with today’s requirements, it takes 5 years as a full time student costs anywhere between $40K to $120K just for initial student loan costs. And this is at public colleges for a Bachelor’s Degree. This is not advanced degrees or private colleges which run into much higher debt. We all know this translates to much more considering how much the interest has increased on student loans over the years.


According to http://www.thesimpledollar.com/best-student-loans/ :


“Federal student loan interest rates
Interest rates on undergraduate Direct Loans recently fell from 4.66% for the 2014-2015 school year to 4.29% for the 2015-2016 school year. Rates are higher for graduate Direct Loans (5.84%) and Direct PLUS Loans (6.84%). These rates are locked in for loans first disbursed between July 1, 2015 and July 1, 2016. Remember, even though rates can reset each year, the rate you receive when your loan is first disbursed remains your rate for the life of the loan.”


In a small city like mine, most of the job growth over the past ten years has been in the restaurant or retail industries. We’re talking hundreds and maybe even thousands of jobs, more than 2/3 of which pay minimum wage. These are NEW jobs now. And considering the jobs available that pay better than minimum wage are few and far between, there are not enough jobs that do pay better than minimum wage to employ all college graduates at a decent rate. Many of them find themselves working two jobs just to make ends meet and aren’t able to make enough to pay their student loans and afford to survive with the basic necessities even then. There simply are not enough jobs that pay well enough to survive comfortably so its illogical to assume a college education is going to solve the problem; illogical, and unreasonable. This is not a problem that only exists only in my small Georgia city. It’s rampant in smaller cities across the country. For more student loan data, check out https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/higher-education/report/2013/06/27/68237/a-comprehensive-analysis-of-the-student-loan-interest-rate-changes-that-are-being-considered-by-congress/ .


With all this taken into consideration, anyone that isn’t born into the elite families is doomed to fail. No matter what they try to do to move out of poverty or stay in what they consider to be the middle class, everything going on in the US economy is working against them. And the middle and lower classes make up at least 98 to 99% of the citizenry. So why do so many of them continue to believe that raising the minimum wage is a bad idea?
All of this just scratches the surface. This is not taking into account the rising costs of food, clothing, utilities etc. And its seems every attempt to lower energy costs are met with attempts to thwart the success of clean energy by heavily taxing purchases of solar panels or charging people for selling power back to the power company (how insane is that?) Utility companies are even going so far as to lobby for laws against going “off grid”. (http://america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/the-stream/the-stream-officialblog/2014/2/25/florida-court-challengesoffthegridliving.html ) Now granted my search turned up only progressive and/or liberal publications, but there is a good reason for that. Right wing media doesn’t want you to know these things. But it’s as easy as looking into local public records to verify that it happened. Not only do they want you to pay outrageous cost of living expenses, they try to make it impossible to lower your cost. Doomed to fail.

Observations on the President’s Press Conference in Turkey

I don’t have to start off telling you that I’m a writer. You know that if you follow me on twitter.com or WordPress.com or have befriended me on Facebook. My first dream being a writer was to be a journalist, more specifically, a photo journalist but a journalist all the same. As a person with that mind set, I tend to pay attention to journalists and how they comport themselves and how they pose their questions and even the content of those questions. I did so while watching the video of the President’s press conference in Turkey and have a few observations I want to express.

First of all, many of the questions obviously had a political bias. The Constitution of the United States ensures the freedom of the press in the first Amendment. It states in its entirety, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” In studying the history of the establishment of the United States and its government, we learn that freedom of the press was intended to establish one of many checks and balances to keep our government honest. (If you didn’t learn this, you need a civics and history refresher course) Journalists are meant to question, it’s their job. However, in my own observation, I see a couple of trends that I find disturbing. First, the political bias of the questions asked in this particular press conference and in many others I’ve watched during President Obama’s presidency are, in my opinion, decidedly one sided. Second, the reporters asking the questions in this press conference don’t appear to be paying attention to what is being said.

Every human being has bias in one way or another. That’s understandable because its human nature to react to what happens around them and it’s only natural that these experiences affect how they interact and view the world around them. However, I know by my own experiences and views that this country is not represented by these journalists equally. Because the questions all had a conservative media bias, this means no checks and balances are present. They appear to be there only to OFF balance the President and critique how he answers their one-sided questions. I see this because I’m of the opposite view and would not, as a journalist, have asked some of the ridiculously immature questions asked because I already knew how he would answer them. He answered them the same way I would have had I been asked.

The questions this predominantly conservative viewed group of journalists asked seemed not well thought through. By this I mean it seems as though these journalist assumed the president was making all these decisions on how to approach the situation at hand without the benefit of the many advisers and counselors he has on hand at any given time. They fail to grasp that as president, President Obama has access not only to intel that the general public does not, he also has access to the top personnel in the field to advise him on military strategy and the benefit of their experience. If they truly don’t know this, they have no business being political journalists. If they do know this, they are using its exclusion to either drive their own agenda or to try and catch the President off guard to make him look bad, feeding their conservative base what they want to see. The president’s answers to these types of questions included informing them of their missing piece.

Another observation, beyond the not fully fleshed out questions and their conservative bias, is that it appears none of the journalists who asked the subsequent questions appeared to have paid attention to the previous questions nor the answers to said questions. It’s as though they prepared their questions to be posed as though they expected theirs would be the first question and they didn’t bother to adjust it to ask for new information not given in previous answers. A good journalist should be paying attention to previous questions and their answers and adjusting their questions accordingly, otherwise, we get no new information and time is wasted with the President having to repeat himself.

I have asked myself how a journalist keeps a job approaching it the way these journalists have. But, the answer is simple. They have guidelines set by the corporations who pay them and those guidelines include only the agenda of said corporation. If that agenda is to provide credible news and they approach it in the way they did, they wouldn’t retain their job. However, if the agenda is to try and trip up the President by rewording the same questions and never getting new information with them, they’re not required to think of new questions by using previous questions as a springboard. And if this is the case, they’ve done the job they were meant to do even if they don’t succeed in tripping up the president. The success is in the frustration they caused the president by making him repeat himself over and over again with the same old, worn out questions, reworded.

These observations are disturbing because if the media is meant to provide checks and balances to keep the government honest, it’s not doing its job. Therefore, they’re not giving us the honest truth. They’re giving us their skewed version with their agenda in mind. This can be, and in my opinion IS a dangerous thing for the well-being of the country as a whole. It has a huge impact on the country because if those with the most money control what we know of the world, they can get us to support any agenda they want to regardless of who it hurts. We cannot afford a one sided media. We must demand that the fairness doctrine be reinstated!

My final observation is this. If the journalists at this press conference are pushing the agenda of the corporation with the knowledge of the things they asked that they should know as citizens, their sole purpose is to push that corporate agenda. However, if they don’t know these things, the failure is in their education. And if we don’t address the missing aspects of our educational system to include how our political system and government work and what the role of its citizens and its media in it, it will only decline more. Either way, we’re in trouble as a nation.

The Hidden Message in the Events of 9/11/2001

I woke up on 9/11/2015 knowing what day it was. I didn’t watch a single tribute. I couldn’t. I can’t. I need to focus on positive things. But I did read something that really made me think and reflect, and remember. The article was on Tickld(sic), entitled How 9/11 Was Displayed In Non-American Countries. This Is Eye-Opening.


It has always been my nature to try and see the good in people. It’s been my downfall more than a few times as well. I still choose to believe human nature in general is the same. We all want the same things, a roof over our heads, food on our tables, education and a better life for our children, peace, freedom, and love.


I know many of you might be thinking yeah, this peace freak, tree hugging, uber liberal is just naïve and doesn’t see the evil in people. Oh, but I do, much more than I get credit for. But I don’t see evil in people until they show it to me. And I am very observant in looking for their true colors. I’ve learned to trust my instincts. I’m cautious but I’m also open and slow to trust.


When I saw the coverage on that horrible day, I was working in Triage Registration at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Jacksonville, Florida. We could see the lobby television from the triage station and watched as the second plane hit the tower. I avoided it as much as I could until I got home that day. I’m very empathetic and I know how I am. I waited until I got home to watch, and sobbed as I did. I couldn’t allow myself to do that on the job.


The article was short statements from people in multiple countries who spoke of their experience when they learned of the attack. While I have no way of verifying their stories, these stories struck a chord in me. They reaffirmed my belief that those who naturally react with sympathy and empathy in the face of such events still far outnumber those who act and react with violence. It even had a statement from an Iraqi citizen who states they had candlelight vigils for those lost in the attacks. Some of the very people many Americans consider the enemy held candlelight vigils to honor our dead. They were horrified by the attacks, as anyone with a conscience should be. They were not celebrating in the streets and expressing their joy at the loss of thousands of innocent people any more than we celebrate the deaths of innocents anywhere else in the world. And those who do should be ashamed. Human life is precious, no matter where that human lives.


What I fail to understand about my country is that there are a lot of people who don’t want to hear that their “enemy” is human too. They don’t want to think that those people want safety and peace for their families. They also don’t want to hear that they are not all the same. They don’t want to know that the extremists of any “enemy” culture are not the norm. But then I also have a problem understanding how people can see any innocent human life as expendable in what they consider a ‘war for the common good’. I don’t how killing the innocent people of your enemy’s country is for common good. If anything, covert operations are preferable over air strikes because you can narrow the targets to the real enemy and not the innocents around them. Not that I’m pro-war, very much the opposite but I am realistic and sometimes the extremists must be stopped or more innocents die. The problems come in when we have very pro-war people controlling what we know about the military action we take and manipulate what we know to support their agenda, something I know my country is guilty of. And it infuriates me that they do so and act in my name and the name of others who believe as I do then lie to us about it. But the bottom line is war is not always the answer. It’s almost never the answer. And realizing that people in ‘the enemy’ country are much like us. Things are being done by their countrymen that they don’t agree with and they are often lied to about it as well. More of us oppose war than support it and those who close their eyes and ears to that fact and support it anyway are acting against their own best interests. I’ve come to see that my country is often the aggressor because of those in my government who believe that war is the first and only answer and who make huge profits on every war. They’re so focused on their profits that they put money over human life, something I am VERY MUCH opposed to. It hurts me deep to see people shrug off the lives of other human beings in support of these people.

When Good Legislation Goes Bad

Yes, it means exactly what it says. Legislators can put forth a great piece of legislation, beautifully written and fair and thorough; a piece of work that the people would love. But then its submitted for perusal by their peers in the Senate and the House of Representatives, where its beaten, tortured, slashed, twisted and manipulated into being nearly completely useless. Or perhaps it sounds good on the surface, but when you dig into its depths it becomes clear what its real purpose is. Or perhaps it renders yet another good piece of legislation useless.

Take, for instance Georgia Senator Josh McKoon’s submission of his Religious Freedom Bill. Like so many of the bills submitted for a vote, it sounds like it could be a very good thing. But, when you start digging, you realize that it could circumvent the effectiveness of the first amendment right to freedom of religion. However, this bill, if passed would nullify freedom of religion on the whim of any business owner. It essentially allows them to deny their employees their rights by claiming it goes against their own religion. This is a slippery slope ladies and gentlemen. This opens the door wide for discrimination wrapped in the very constitutional rights we already have, disguised as something new. Well it’s new alright, a new way to put the whims of the wealthy ahead of the rights of the working class.

Think about how you would feel to know your freedom to live as you choose were eliminated in favor of your boss’s idea of how you should be living. On a small scale, for the sake of understanding, suppose your boss were a tee totaling Christian who disapproves of anyone drinking and he saw your vehicle parked at the local bar. You could be given your walking papers because you’re not the kind of person he wants working for him, all for doing something you enjoy on your own time.

Consider this. You are a skilled worker with 20 years invested and all the best certifications as evidence that you’re the best at what you do. But your job was outsourced to China. Along comes a new company that’s going to give jobs to a community that’s starving for them and you and your co-workers have a good chance of working again at less than what you were making, but more than the average joe. You put in your application but you never hear anything. Come to find out months later that the owner is Jewish and decided only other Jewish people should work for him because they’re the only ones who would be a credit to his company. So he filed your resume in the old familiar file 13, the tin bin at the corner of his desk. But don’t worry, the company recycles. Not fair? Neither is this bill.

Now you might say these things will never happen to you. You’re a white, American male Christian and this kind of thing is not acceptable in the great United States of America. But you’d be wrong. You’re mistakenly thinking that your legislators and people with money value you. They don’t. They will throw you under the bus for a buck. This bill is specifically designed to do two things. As a Republican, the author of this bill is looking to make it okay for his patrons to discriminate against women (via denying them their own healthcare choices) and LGBTQ individuals. But this law opens the door for ANY kind of discrimination; they only need call it against their religion. And the only thing you need do to get caught in their sights is to offend them in anyway, whether intentional or not.