Tag Archives: politics

A look behind the scenes of the dysfunctional Mental Health System

Reblogged from takingthemaskoff.com

This is an excellent post on one scenario of how two people, simply due to the circumstances of their birth, end up on two separate paths. I know that sounds trite and like every other story, but please read this one

A look behind the scenes of the dysfunctional Mental Health System.
A look behind the scenes of the dysfunctional Mental Health System
November 30, 2014 125 Comments

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“You know in this hotel room they have food every day and I knock on the door. Every day they open tha door to let me see the party, let me see that they throwin’ salami, throwin’ food around telling me there’s no food. Every day. I’m standing outside tryin to sing my way in- “We are weak, please let us in. We’re weak, please let us in.” After about a week that song is gonna change to, “We’re hungry, we need some food.” After two, three weeks it’s like “Give me some of that food! I’m breakin down that door.” After a year it’s like, “I’m pickin’ the lock, comin’ through the door blastin.” It’s like, “I’m hungry”

– Tupac Shakur

It is my hope that we have a silent army building. The revolution will not be televised. But I see the replies I get, and it gives me hope.

I saw an article in the New York Times basically saying there would be less shootings if the mentally ill had less privacy and were more easily forced to be hospitalized. This is the New York Times! Who are the sick ones?

I’m going to tell a story. 2 stories, of 2 different people. They are both true stories. Then you can see how this all begins and becomes a problem. I’ll go back and forth between the stories until their paths meet.

Here’s Dusty, I don’t know, age 3 to 5. Happy kid, plenty of love. Just loves everyone and loves the world. He doesn’t see color, sex, religion. He has nokind of discrimination, all he sees is love.

Here’s the second story. This is my cousin Donald. The man he is with is my father. Donald also loves the world, he sees no race, sex, and discriminates against no one. He is a very loving and giving kid.

Dusty gets older. He still loves everyone and everything. However, Dusty grew up in a home that was infested with cockroaches, and had been condemned 2 to 3 times. There was about 7 or 8 kids living there, they had no food. Dusty was the kindest of the group. He got beaten by his brothers, picked on, and thrown around. He was told “You are a loser, give me your money, do my work.” He did not understand, he gave whatever he had to others.

When I met Dusty he was about 8 or 9 years old. He had 4 brothers and sisters, they all smoked pot, drank, and never went to school. Everyone walked around this place with almost no clothes. They had only 2 bedrooms. The house was full of smoke.

Cockroaches were all over. They had no shower, and a bathroom with only a curtain covering it. The old guys would come around drinking, smoking weed, and getting physical. The older kids were getting worse also.

There was something special about Dusty, his heart. He was born with an amazing heart. He loved everyone, and gave all he had. To tell you of this kids strength, words won’t do it justice. As a 9 year old, he was growing up in a house in which every adult was punching, smoking weed, drinking, and stealing. Also, the gangsters knew where the weed was. THE house, that’s where they were. But Dusty, at age 9, he refused to smoke weed or drink or do any of that. However, being sweet and sensitive, he was an easy target. He did not stop loving though, he still loved them all. He saw through it, through everything, even as a kid. So what happens when you are extra sensitive, caring, and loving? You get pushed down, forced to create a mask, his was the goofy guy. This is the same house where I met Joe. Dusty and Joe were cousins and best friends.

Here is Donald. He is my cousin. He was a great kid. His father was a doctor in a small town, he made lots and lots of money. That doesn’t make Donald bad, and he is not bad. In fact, he’s a wonderful human being. I know this story puts him in privileged category. But, that is not his fault, he is still a caring, kind, and considerate human being. His father, my uncle, was once in jail for stealing cars and grew up to be a doctor. The thing about Donald was, he was born gifted, and extremely smart. He was above the genius level. He may have skipped a grade, I can’t remember. He was and is not a bad person.

However, while Dusty was seeing what he saw, Donald was going on trips, and getting the best life had to offer. He worried for nothing, he could be a kId and thrive.

Thrive he did. He is a talented, smart, and funny guy that had charisma. He didn’t have to worry about gangsters, getting food, getting raped, or having mice and cockroaches sleep on him. He had a huge bedroom, went on vacations, had all he ever wanted. He had great parents. Now another thing I noticed about Donald was that when I went to spend 2 weeks with him when I was 12, was that in this small town everyone drank, and did drugs, at age 12. Which is common for a small town. They were 12 and flung this. All of his friends.

One time we went to his friends house, the kid was sleeping and the kid woke up, and lifted his pillow and there was jack daniels. They all smoked and drank, except Donald. His parents taught him this.

Dusty did it on strength of character. Donald friends said “man your dad is always getting thanked in the paper.” That was true, small town legend.

Donald’s pressure was to follow his father, and that is a different kind of pressure. One that is often not considered a problem, the gifted child.

However, that is just as hard as raising a troubled child. People don’t want to hear that, but it’s true. What they both had in common was they were gifted.

Dusty then ended up going away for a while after missing so much school. His brothers would go just enough to not get sent away. Dusty was the extra sensitive one, he didn’t care. Me and Dusty and Joe had a bond, we all loved each other and saw behind each other’s masks. One time, on the phone, Dusty had called his mom and said, “tell mike I lo, well never mind,” he wanted to tell me he loved me, but he was afraid. I stopped hanging out there.

That’s another story, this isn’t about me. Dusty eventually surrendered and started using drugs. Then, they had a guy from Arizona living at the drug house, his name was Carl. He had packages of drugs delivered to the house all the time. The police got involved, and a sting was set up. So the package is delivered, they all have Dusty answer because he is kind and wants to help. So he always does, and he did on this case as well.

Well, he signed, and he gets arrested, and now he has a felony. They knew it was not him, he gets interrogated, and interrogated. Does he give Carl up?, nope, never. This was when Dusty was 19. That’s his booking photo. He went to jail, then he just got off probation recently.

This is someone you may see in jail, or at the shelter, or with the dirty clothes. That’s what you see, but this is what you’re missing when you make that judgement. These are the kids that come into our neighborhood, come to school, to church. We say get them out, those dirty kids with no manners. We don’t want to look at them, it’s like clutter in our clean house. We don’t want to deal with it, we want to pretend it’s not there. Then we may have to do something. So we ignore them and label them and call them losers or dirtbags. That’s much easier, isn’t it?

But that is how we all are part of the problem and we ask are co responsible for the inequality. You see these kids, these people, and no action is am action. Silence is consent.

Here’s Donald at age 19. He had a child. Now that’s a disaster if he’s in Dusty’s situation. However, Donald had great supports in place. His mom and dad helped the teenagers adjust, made sure everything was taken care of.

Donald was able to go to school and while Dusty was in jail, Donald was excelling. He finished college in 3 years and went on to medical school and finished. He’s a doctor. Now again, he’s not bad, not a superstar yet, I don’t think.

He is now starting to isolate, he is on a different level than others and he gets told that alot. So he believes it, so does his wife. So now the good doctor moves and starts dominating the medical profession.

They told me his iq is 156. I’m sure they told him too. He then joined the army like his father and got lots of medals and accolades.

Which is not bad. This is simply to show how we start to label and separate.

Here is Dusty taking care of his dying mother. He gets out of jail, meets a girl, and they have kids. He didn’t know how to have a relationship, he is on his own with no college, no skills, no understanding of life. Just love.

Then you have Donald with his 500 thousand dollar house that got egged.

How do I know this? Well his wife posted on Facebook that someone egged their 500 thousand dollar house but she wasn’t worried because they had security cameras all over the house. You know, to keep the “bad criminals out.”

Like clutter, she didn’t want to see that.

I also saw her post once that she was very upset with the mayor in the town they live in because he allowed a Wal-Mart to be built by their house. Her quote was “who else has to look out their 500 thousand dollar house and see a Wal-Mart, someone needs to stop this guy, do not vote for him.”

See as the separation is almost complete. What did dusty do to be placed below donald?

Nothing. But we see them each walking down the street and we treat them differently. That’s how we all contribute.

Dusty getting older, he split with his kids mom. He suffers from depression, severe depression. He feels rejected all the time, he smokes weed to forget, to not be himself.

He talks about suicide all the time. He misses Joe more than anyone. His heart is broken. Dusty and Joe spent all their time together. They even moved 2 blocks down from me for 2 years. I would drive by and wave. Really? Yes. I was no better than Donald. Even worse, because I drive by, and we still talked from time to time, but I was trying to get my life together. I could have said hi.

The doctor and his family. Now this is not an attack in Donald at all. It is about how we create separation. He worked hard, he’s caring, and he is a good man. He just started to believe he was different and better. He got told lies.

Lies we all believe, like, you need this huge house, cars, medals, and everyone to see how awesome you are.

So he fell in the trap. Here we are, the “look at us” photo.

You know how the native americans defined mental illness? They said anyone who lives in excess of what they need is mentally ill.

The doctors wife at the ritz.

Dusty and his kid at the laundromat.

The doctor and his boat.

Dusty at the playground. Having fun.

The doctors daughter with one of her trophies, she had special tennis lessons, beauty pageants, and she going to Oxford college on scholarship.

Same thing as Donald, smart talented kid. No fault of her own, the cycle continues. She is being brainwashed like he was.

He had a mask on as well. Still does.

Dusty being a dad and loving. He never knew life would be so hard when all he wanted to do was love.

The doctor is now continuing to serve and get accolades. To bad it’s all a lie.

Now this part is not real, but an example of what would likely happen from what I’ve seen in my years being in both worlds……

Now what happens if Dusty walks into Dr. Donalds office? How in the world can the doctor understand what Dusty is saying. Dusty says “Life isn’t worth living, I need to smoke weed.”

The doctors response is usually, “He just doesn’t care, he doesn’t want to work, he wants disability.” The thought process I’ve seen a million times. All the time, it’s the rule, not the exception.

So, let’s say Dusty had attempted suicide 2 times, and keeps coming back. He has to in order to get benefits and to get housing for himself.

The doctor is frustrated, in his mind he’s trying hard. That’s what life is, you just don’t behave like that in his opinion. In his world, you get up, work hard, and get it done. He can’t understand why Dusty complains that no medications work, yet continues to use drugs, and goes to the hospital.

He thinks Dusty has children, and he’s not taking care of them, he’s a “Predator” or a “Manipulator” or “Gamey.”

This is when I hear things like, why do they get free healthcare and we don’t. Almost a resentment at the patients. This is something that I see daily. The caring staff keep their mouths shut in fear.

So now Dusty has to be forced to take meds. He doesn’t get it, we have to help him. So we will put him on meds, and we aren’t going to listen to his side effects stories. We are going to force injections if he doesn’t comply with orders.

He can’t take care of himself. We have to in the doctors opinions.

Oh and, let’s charge insurance about 1500 dollars a day to do this. If the drugs give him diabetes, that’s too bad because he needs to be safe.

Good job young doctor, you’re saving the world.

Now Dusty has not been without weed for years, so asking him to stop is asking him to feel all these feelings that he has never felt before. Forcing him to take his mask off without support. The feelings he had been told to block his whole life, the feelings that have made him an outsider and not accepted.

Then give him a med that makes him feel no better for at least 6 weeks. Then it might not be the right medication, so we may have to start all over.

He will have side effects like drooling, sedation, diarrhea, and tremors. That occurs right away. Plus feeling all these emotions. Then when he sleeps too much we say that he is lazy, or non compliant with his treatment.

So we force him out of bed, and we make him go to groups with someone explaining all these “skills” he needs to use. Then he can’t participate due to the meds, the side effects, being off drugs his brain had coffee to rely on, and now having to freak with all these suppressed emotions.

So he is said to be non interested. So we need to give him more medications.

Of course we do.

Now he’s angry. No one listens, he’s sensitive, but he has had enough. He explodes from this and other patient’s likely taking advantage of him, and staff telling him when he can shower, piss, and treat him like a criminal.

Because, we say, look at his record, he is a felon. No one asks why or what happened, and they won’t believe him anyways, he’s a “manipulator.”

True story…

We had a young man admitted to our place the other day. I’ll call him “kev.” Abused age 1 to 3. A ward off the state at age 3. Picture a 3 year old being abused and taken from home, then a 3 year old in a privileged home, they’re is no difference, why do we seem to think as adults that there is? He was in foster homes his whole life, sexually abused, and beaten.Then at age 19 he committed an armed robbery, and he was shot 3 times. Then he Went to max security prison for 7 years. In prison, he cuts himself enough to need surgery, he has been known to swallow glass, and toothbrushes requiring surgery.

The assessment by “the team.” Is that he is “smooth, and manipulative.” He swallowed these things to get to go to hospital, a trip out of jail.

This is dangerous to call him manipulative. If I think you are manipulative then everything you do I take as a con. If we instead think of him as this kid who has a desparate need for acceptance and love, you will treat him differently. Then he will react differently. Then he gets better treatment. Our staff are young, impressionable, and eager to learn about psychiatry since it is romanticized on the media at times.

However if you work in government, they need to save the taxpayers money, they don’t want us spending “their” money. We have to hire inexperienced staff, because they are cheaper. We train them by what they see. The cycle continues.

So why would someone like Dusty shoot his doctor? It’s not so black and white if you look deep enough.

What’s the difference between…

This 19 year old young dad.

And this…

This young dad? (This is Joe and Anthony from last post)

The answer is nothing. Until we divide them. When we divide, we create class, uppers and lowers. When really we are all connected.

It won’t end. It can’t. Until people start fighting back. The battle is not going to be easy, we won’t see the end. We won’t see the victory. That will come after we’re gone.

But there is going to be a fight, we know that there is going to be a fight because we are going to start it. We will lose some, as we lost Joe. We won’t stop. Love always wins. Always.

If I’ve made you mad, then I’ve done my job. Happy people don’t create change. You have to be angry, you must have discontent to create change. So be angry. Then do something about it.

If 1 person reading this gets 1 thing and does something, that’s perfect. The ripple effect will be huge.

Love you Dusty.

The end.

If you want to see this in video.
Here it is..10 minutes I think.

 

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FIFA–Russia 2018



What is FIFA thinking? Have any of their members watched or read the news? Here are some quotes of what FIFA are saying, as read in the BBC News Online. Let me back up: they need to have something to respond to, in this case the deputy prime minister of the UK:    

“Russia should lose the right to host the 2018 World Cup as part of tougher sanctions following the plane crash in eastern Ukraine, Nick Clegg has said. The UK deputy prime minister told the Sunday Times it was “unthinkable” that Russia should host the football event.” 

FIFA’s response?

“World football governing body Fifa has rejected calls to change the 2018 host. Responding after some German politicians also called for Russia to be boycotted, Fifa said the 2018 tournament could be a “force for good”.

and also:

“Fifa said the World Cup could be a “powerful catalyst for constructive dialogue between people and governments, helping to bring positive social developments.”

“Fifa believes this will be the case for the 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia,” it added.”

Mr. Clegg may be voicing what others feel but are afraid to say, as is often the case with bullies:

He [Putin] can’t constantly… push the patience of the international community beyond breaking point, destabilise a neighbouring country, protect these armed separatists in the east of Ukraine and still have the privilege and honour of receiving all the accolades in 2018 for being the host nation of the World Cup.”

He added: “You can’t have this – the beautiful game marred by the ugly aggression of Russia on the Russian-Ukrainian border.”

Does this seem even slightly familiar to anyone? At all? [clue: 2014 Winter Olympics] Given what has happened since then, what a “force for good…[and] powerful catalyst for constructive dialogue between people and governments, helping to bring positive social developments” they were, does that make FIFA think twice? Don’t force people to make a decision to boycott, make a responsible decision, unlike the International Olympic Committee, and move the 2018 World Cup now.

In fact, given all the kerfuffle, I think an interesting place to hold it would be the United States, somewhere along the West Coast. The biggest cities are Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego. Other cities might jump at the chance. There are plenty of people here who play and watch, contrary to some pseudo-journalists’ reports.




Realigning Priorities

This is based on my observation and perception. I have not done vast research as I normally would. It is something I mentioned in a post quite a while ago and then didn’t really think about keep calmuntil a couple of thoughts collided. The first was all the press given to bakeries refusing to make cakes for same sex weddings. The second was a visit to the Facebook page The Republican War on Women. Okay, wait, three. The third was watching Panti Noble’s Call at the Abbey Theatre and thinking about oppression. All right, a fourth as well; how much effort I have spent arguing for, writing letters for, advocating for, the LBGT community, and against Putin’s policies in Russia.

All of this bubbled around together a little for a while. I remembered reading an article about how more straight women allies advocate for DefendEquality_ShepardFaireygay men than some gay men do at times, and feeling a little ticked off about that at the time. Then another article simply asking, straight women have advocated for gay men for their rights, where are they in terms of advocating for our rights? Then I started to think about oppression, and what a huge deal has been made over the past congressional year over gay marriage, gay rights, gay people being refused service. I have written congresspeople about using this issue as a way to avoid other issues such as the economy, unemployment, the state of our schools. Yet I have been ignoring the one thing that is one of the most important things of all, to me. My rights to what happens to my body. Yes, that makes me feel oppressed, and it pisses me off, too. I’ve been so distracted fighting for the rights of other people, I haven’t been paying enough attention to my own: as states pass rights for same sex marriage, my rights to what I can and can’t do with my own body are being stripped away. How’s that for inequality for you?

While same sex couples argue over the right to have a bakery make a cake for them, women have finally gotten the right to buy the morning after pill without a prescription at a pharmacy. For those who don’t know, gay men included, this is a marvelous thing for women who, for any reason–condom failure, forgetting to use birth control, maybe even a rape they didn’t report, but for whatever reason that is none of that damn pharmacist’s business–want to take this pill because it pretty much, almost 99% guarantees you won’t get pregnant, that pharmacist, who is a practitioner of, one could say, a medical profession, can decide, if he or she wants, not to sell it to you because of their religious beliefs.

Now, I’m sorry, but when you balance a cake vs. a pill that could alter the course of a woman’s life by keeping her from getting pregnant, I’m with the woman. That woman could be me. It roe graphiccould also, unfortunately, be a woman who is lesbian. It could be a 16 year old girl. So go to another pharmacy, says the voice of the person who hasn’t had to go through the humiliation of having your sex life judged by some holier-than-thou professional. You think it’s just gay people who get their sex life judged? It’s not.

But let’s think about the incredible hypocrisy here for just a second. That pharmacist that won’t sell you a pill because you are killing a life GOPcrush(and honestly, if there’s anything there at the moment, its a few cells forming a blob) will be the same pro-lifer yelling at you for getting an abortion two months later because they wouldn’t sell you the pill. The pill that would have acted so soon after the fact there really wouldn’t have been time for anything to have happened “life-wise,” it would simply have kept you from getting pregnant in the first place, negating the whole need for an abortion.

The right to make sure that pharmacists always sell that pill is a little more important than a cake, I’m sorry. I will always fall on that side. Pro-lifers want women to have the children, but will they take them when they’re born? No. They cut the money for WIC to make sure the kids can eat right until they’re at least three. They cut the money for the programs to take care of the children so the mother can work. They don’t question whether the woman wants children, whether she’d make a good mother, whether there’s a father involved for their perfect idea of a little American family. They want to make the woman have the baby, and then push her into poverty because all they care about is that the baby lives, that’s all.

And what choice does the woman have in this, that’s being taken away state by state, by rich white men in suits who couldn’t find their way around a woman’s anatomy to save their lives?  woman-propertyAnd those are the married ones. None. Her body, apparently, doesn’t belong to her. Her reproductive system belongs to the State and then, BAM, after 50 apparently women no longer have health care needs.

What I want to know is, woman have been advocating for equal rights with fervor for the LGBT community. Are you advocating for us? Byprochoice this I mostly mean the generations younger than mine (the 1960s-1970s). Gay men around my age or older seem to have a different sense of responsibility. Again, just my observation. Yes, love is love, I believe that with all my heart. But equality is equality, and that means equal rights for everyone. Jesus God (did I forget a comma?) has no place in the hands of the religious self-righteous to force into the shape they want solely to interfere in the lives of groups they choose to harass because the RS-R are mean-spirited, their heads aren’t screwed on quite right, their shoes are two tight, and their hearts are…well, I’m sure their are hearts there somewhere. Anatomically they have to be.

My beliefs haven’t changed. It is simply that some things on their own are heinous, and still are. But when compared to other, more heinous things, they pale a little in comparison. The thing is, the HUGE thing is, is that it is the same people who are doing this; the same religious fanatics who want to call members of the LGBT community demons and pedophiles are the So you still think homosexuality is sinfulsame ones who want to call women who want control over what happens to them (what a concept) whores and sluts. For being such pious people, they really do have quite the vocabulary, don’t they? I think they’ve been reading a few too many of the hardcore Urban Paranormal Romances. When they start talking about Azagoth and his minions then we know we’re in trouble.

Just remember that others helped get the LGBT community where it is, and when you see yet another story about whether Jesus can tell a store owner whether or not he or she can discriminate in selling a wedding cake, or whatever it may be, think about the morning after pill and that pharmacists do the exact same thing, not because of sexual orientation, but simply because women happen to be the gender who gets pregnant, and other people think they have the right to control our lives because of that. And if you’re gay and think that doesn’t effect you, think again. Do you have a sister, a female friend, a female coworker, a mother? Yes, moms do still have sex. Sorry, as icky as it is to contemplate.

While states are being added to the map of same-sex marriage friendly, women are losing ground. It makes me angry. Angry that I wasn’t paying closer attention. Angry about the apathy in the groups I advocate for in political issues. Angry with friends who want to make their safe little comfort bubbles and meditate. Angry that this couldn’t have been done, in my opinion, the right way.  If a law had been passed making same-sex marriage legal in all states, across the board (which probably never would have happened, but still, I can dream in my ideal world–we are supposed to be the United States, after all), and the same for women’s rights–how much time, effort, and money have been spent on things that have no place in court? In Congress? These are basic human rights. I’m not rich, not male, don’t wear fancy suits or have the power to shut down the government because gods forbid everyone should have healthcare. I don’t really care what people think of it. It’s the first real attempt someone has made at universal healthcare, which is so f*cked up in this country anyway the whole system needs to rebuilt, but that’s a different, lengthy post.

And here’s another thought. Some people seem to be making LGBT friendly business directories. Why not start bakeries who specialize in wedding cakes for same sex weddings, and be the ones to show they can be the most mature. Don’t discriminate. Well, unless it’s obviously provocation. But you get the idea. The other bakeries will regret the business they’ll lose, and in some cases better than equal, a step above, is the only way to pull people up to your standards. Make the standards. Set the new bar. If other people won’t do it for you, do it for yourself, only better. I would buy a cake there, without a doubt.

A great name for a bakery would be Love is Love. Or, I suppose, if you wanted to thumb your nose a little, Not All Cakes are Equal. Seriously–do a search on cakes and fondant, add a few words of your choice and see what you come up with. I’ve never tried to make anything with fondant, but I think it must be the wonder of all wonders when it comes to cake making. Is there anything it can’t do? And look at some of the cake toppers–they are made with such love and care. Why have a second rate baker who doesn’t want to make a cake in the first place make one when there are people who can make things like those! One even includes the dogs! I like bakeries, and I’m getting off the subject–and there’s a whole portion of the population out there who have to have things gluten-free; if I had the talent, this is something I would seriously consider. All right. My getting goofy over cakes changes nothing about how I feel about this issue. There are alternatives to closed-minded, small people.

For women, this clamping down on rights is dangerous and possibly deadly, if women are forced to resort to back alley abortions: that’s what this means:

Back alley abortions www.worldchanging.com

Back alley abortions
http://www.worldchanging.com

Women should never have to resort to this again. If you have questions about it, look it up on Wiki; I’d rather not discuss it here.

But let’s try to help each other. There are too many important things going on for all of us. Human rights are equal rights. All of us are due some big changes.

tumblr_mz6vk65LWf1rqpa8po1_500images

marriage equality

I apologize sincerely for any errors. It’s been a long day and my eyes are tired.

Taking the High Road–Pretty Much

I was not happy earlier today. In fact, I was furious. I have no idea what is happening to this country, but it is wrong: morally and ethically. People in positions of power are abusing it to such a degree it leaves me feeling I am living in a surreal alternate reality created by Terry Gilliam. Ironically, also in a Terry Gilliam movie, Time Bandits, at the end of the film all that is left are charred, smoking remains. “Don’t touch it, it’s evil!” Kevin, the little boy cries out. But, as adults tend to do, they don’t listen to children, and… Well, that would just spoil the ending, wouldn’t it?

Why don’t people listen to children more? Quite often they’re much more clever than they’re given credit for, but that’s not how they’re treated. They’re talked down to. Patted condescendingly on the head and told to run off and play.

I hope the children see what’s happening, what the so-called adults in political and religious positions of power are doing, the way they’re behaving, and questioning why, if Jesus preaches love and tolerance, why are adults spewing such hatred and vicious words simply because two people of the same gender love each other. Love is love. Children are born loving and kind. Innocent. They are taught to hate.

The only thing I am keeping from the other post is this, because I think it, in some ways, defines the ideology of how blind hatred makes people.

Misology: a hatred of argument, reasoning, or enlightenment.

In this case, argument doesn’t mean the yelling and vileness occurring right now, the self-serving agendas; it means argument in the sense of a philosophical argument. To actually have a civil debate that is rational, thought out, with reasoning behind it. Is it a democracy to threaten to kick people off a committee if they don’t vote the way the Speaker of the House wants them to? Sounds a little more like petty tyranny to me. You won’t play by my rules, you can’t play with us any more? What is happening? Where has the reason gone, and, most importantly, why isn’t anyone stopping it?

I have two questions:

Where is the ACLU?

Where is the United Nations?

Where are the people that are supposed to keep things like this from happening? No one in this country helped prevent the shutdown, proving the system is broken. The system of democracy we had is gone. If ordinary citizens off the street said what some of these representatives are saying, they’d be jailed for hate crimes. So we now have two sets of laws? One for the rich and one for the poor? Deflecting the economic situation by terrorizing a segment of the population that is easy to target and really gets the religious right riled up along with the GOP. Clean your own houses. Another set of two books of laws?

And honestly, churches had best start making a lot of photocopies of sheets to fill out for when business owners hear the voice of Jesus telling them not to sell their wares or services to someone because of sexual orientation, preference, anything along those lines. What does it take, three miracles for someone to be eligible for sainthood? I thought Jesus was a little pickier who he chose to speak to, frankly. So if all of these people are hearing Jesus I can only think of a few explanations. Either there are a lot of miracles going on in your state and you are going to have a whole bunch of people eligible for sainthood in, what is it, 250 years or something like that? The grain should be tested for ergot, because that could be another possibility. That’s very likely the cause behind the Salem Witch Trials. Hm. Witch Trials, Witch Hunts…              Oh, nothing, just thinking aloud. Well, on paper. Most people who hear voices, generally labeled by the DSM-5 as “auditory hallucinations,” tend to happen to people who are diagnosed with some sort of mental illness.

I feel I can say that because I have mental illness. I have been delusional twice. The first was when, ironically, I thought I was Joan of Arc, and I was here, (that happened when I lived in California, so there, technically) to save people from, of all things, the tyranny of the government. And that was years ago! I happened to have a cold with a very bad cough at the time, no one ever reads about Joan of Arc being ill, and because it was the middle of the night, I forgot to write down at what times I was taking the cough syrup, so I took more than I should have. I was also on Prozac for depression. It turns out the combination of those two drugs have been found by pharmacists not to play so well together, and they are now contraindicated. So was I Joan of Arc? No. It was a bad reaction from medications. I could have heard the voice of Jesus. Would it have been him? No. I was still me, just with a really bad headache, and still with a cough. The other time was again medication related, just a dose that was too high and I was having some hallucinations. Mostly shadowy people that would disappear. Not as exciting as the Joan of Arc story.

So, then, are we to believe that 1) everyone believes so ardently in Jesus that he’s just going to pop frantically all over the state from store to store telling people not to sell something to someone because they are gay or lesbian? I truly think he’s got better things to do. What about the rest of the states? Does State Law tie Jesus strictly to your state 24/7 in order to inform clerks, grocery store attendants, pharmacists, someone selling an icee, the clerk at the pet shop… Is there a rider anywhere in this bill that Jesus can outsource? Maybe hire some minor gods from other countries to help him out here? He’s going to get burned out really quickly. But personally, I don’t think he’ll take the job. That’s not his M.O. He has better things to do, don’t you think? Heal the sick, comfort the suffering, aiding the poor, what Christianity is supposed to be about? Loving thy neighbor? Stop. (if that were a telegram). No ifs, ands, ors, or buts. Love everyone and spread love in His name.

I honestly didn’t mean to write this much, that was the whole point of rewriting the post, just put in a few sentences, the pictures/quotes I found, and leave it at that. There are some things in the world I really don’t like. One of them is being stabbed in the back by someone you thought you could trust. I’m a patient, for the most part, loving, and somewhat gullible person, which makes me a great target, because I’m also honest and I don’t lie, which I have definitely felt the repercussions of. One of the other things I really dislike is hypocrisy. In the past few months, the Constitution has already been twisted up like re-bar in a trash compactor. Of course people want to get their way, but in the normal, pre-shutdown world, it didn’t work that way. Representatives had to compromise, to reach an agreement. No longer. I lost any real faith I had in this system still working then. The checks and balances were set up that way for a reason.

Read this slowly: the church and the state are supposed to work separately. Apart. Not together. A representative of any faith, of course, would still be influenced by that, but it should not be the whole reason behind a decision. That is wrong. Why? Read the first sentence again. It has gone too far and it needs to stop, because things are out of control and many representatives sound like whiny, rich brats who have no experience with the real world, what it feels like to be poor, or on food stamps, or not to have health insurance, to skrimp through the month and live check to check–because they have never had to. Those people do not represent me. They represent themselves and the others like them,  and for them to tell my friends who they can and cannot marry, or that they don’t deserve equal rights, is the ultimate hypocrisy. Every single individual in this country deserves those rights. Those are the beliefs this country was founded on. But how many groups have had to fight for them? Enough is enough. One human being should be able to marry another human being. End. Of. Story. The NSA is already shoved in our faces and our lives. Big Brother is here and living with us, and Obama says it’s okay.

Hate is not the way to fight this idiocy. It’s easy to get caught up in the melodrama, which is what they want. They don’t want rational, clear, intelligent thinkers, because they aren’t. I don’t think they know how to deal with logic, they are fueled by pure emotion. Hate. And Fear. They use children to try to scare others. I think it’s because it makes them wonder, deep down, what if? People fear what they don’t understand, and possibly sometimes, I think, see a little of themselves, so they have to act extra tough and speak extra loud to prove they aren’t. Former bullies?

I am angry, confused, and a little lost at this point regarding what to do. I can’t donate money, I don’t know where the best place to volunteer time would be, and I’ve been feeling a bit agoraphobic. Another fine mess we’ve gotten ourselves into, Watson.

You can’t make the intentionally blind see, the ignorant suddenly understand with a flash of clarity.

Promote what you loveMark Twain Argue Stupid PeopleWe are not history yetBest Way to predict the futureAnd thus armed with this knowledge, we can try our bests to do these things, to love, not to hate. I am not even a religious person. At all. Yet I see the logic in that. Jesus is not a character from Mortal Kombat (although now that I’ve said that, I can’t really get the picture out of my head–what would we end up with? Jesus vs. Gandhi?). He spread love. I don’t  know what to do about these laws, these bills, these who think Jesus is telling a gay couple that he really can’t sell them the licorice allsorts. Unless Jesus adds, “The one on the left has a gluten intolerance, he just doesn’t know it yet. Tell him to go get tested.” That I might believe.

First Post of 2014

“A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five.”

–Groucho Marx

I hadn’t posted for a while before the end of the year. Personally, I felt I had said what I wanted to, needed to, and while it wasn’t necessarily the most cheerful thing in the world, I wanted to say it. Other things took over my life for a while. Dealing with other life changing things took over, leaving both blogs bereft for the remainder of the year.

It made me consider, what is the role of this blog in the first place? It started out to be a blog on writing and reviews. Other things crept in. I never thought I’d become so frustrated with politics and equal rights. With abuse of power. In this country, not elsewhere. Well, and elsewhere as well. What politicians choose to attack to divert attention away from whatever they’re trying to hide is astonishing. Something that hurts no one.

For example, a former Sheriff in Utah is going on a hunger strike in Utah until there is an uprising against same sex marriage, John M Becker of The Belerico Project comments:

When a former county sheriff thinks the law he used to work under is a higher authority than even state law there’s some serious misinterpretation of how the flow of power works.
I think this is a much more appropriate “Uprising:”

I’ve gone on and on about this, hundreds of people have. It’s no one’s business but the people involved whether or not they want to get married. Make it a Federal Law and quit this state by state ridiculousness. Just do it. Concentrate on the things that are really making the country fall apart, not the ones you’re pretending are to distract everyone. Get your priorities straight. It isn’t that equality for everyone isn’t important, because it is, and the sad truth is that it should have been a right years and years ago.

I like this, reblogged from the Give a Damn Campain, which sums up what I mean by my above statement:

Reblogged from Give a Damn Campaign

I don’t mean to end on an off note. I doubt anyone who reads or sees my blog are any of the people who need to see the above picture. I’m still, obviously, frustrated with the way things are going in politics, in the US and around the world.

Folks, being gay or lesbian or trans* isn’t something that can be cured. Could we make 2014 a year for really starting to believe that? After all, Amazon actually pulled a book on “turning your “confused” child straight.” Reparation therapy is child abuse. It doesn’t matter who does it, you, your church, a “program” you found listed in the back of God Today… Let me say that again. It is child abuse. You may think you have your child’s best interests at heart, but you don’t. You’re going to end up with a really screwed up adult who will most likely end up with depression and a higher likelihood of killing themselves than the average person with severe depression. If you think that’s a better alternative, get therapy. Now. Recognize that your child is still your child, still the same person, with the same sense of humor, love, and personality. Nothing is different except who they prefer to be with, that’s all. Your son or daughter is still a person who deserves the same dignity, rights, respect, consideration, and love they always hopefully had. Love is love, and that goes not only for whomever your child chooses to be with, but for the relationship between you and your child.

Thank you, Theo Fenraven, for reblogging these graphics where they’d be seen. I just thought I’d throw this in for a change of topic:HeatingAid_0

Poverty Levels in the United States

http://www.nytimes.com/newsgraphics/2014/01/05/poverty-map/?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20140106

 

What’s the Gov Got to Do With It?

Once upon a time, the GOP found thisclinton so heinous, so horrific, they wanted to impeach the president over it. No families were forced to empty their bank accounts to pay for food and childcare and other daily necessities, hundreds of thousands of workers weren’t effected. America pretty much amused the rest of the world.

Yet now, where are the GOP’s ethics and morals at this?

Screen Shot 2013-10-06 at 3.15.09 PMYes, I will concede the headlines are colorful and attention grabbing. As well they should be. Some other news sources are acting as though it is not the GOP that is holding this up (and I can’t forget to give credit where credit is due, the Tea-Party has their share of blame in this as well–see below for that).

I wonder if the GOP and the Tea Party understand the ramifications of what they’ve done.

Democracy as we have known it in this country–will it still exist? Did the GOP intend to destroy that on their way to destroying the most hideous of bills, one that supports health care for all Americans. See, they don’t know what it’s like to not have health care. To have to worry about pre-existing, life-threatening conditions that you know you’ll get turned down for by an insurance company for coverage because “they don’t take people with pre-existing conditions.” Medicine, along with politics, is another area in the country that could use some reform. It’s disgusting that a country like ours doesn’t have health care for everyone, regardless of income, full or  part-time status…  Health seems to be a pretty inalienable right as well. President Obama has the right idea, and it’s something that should have been done years and years ago. There’s another section of the Huffington Post devoted to people writing in about how “Obamacare” has saved their lives because they were unable to get the healthcare they needed.

This is what the GOP wants to tear the country apart over? Keeping people healthy? It doesn’t concern them, why should they care? It just concerns their constituents. Oh, right, them… The GOP keeps forgetting the little people that put them into office. I support the Congressional Representative from my district, the 4th, in Oregon, whole-heartedly. He’s a good man. He listens to the people who put him into office, and I follow his voting record. He does what the people want. He thinks. I still emailed his no doubt overflowing office and said I didn’t think they should be getting paid during the shutdown. I think I should also mention that quite a few members of the Republican party, over 20 at last count, have abandoned the jackelope and said they will vote on a clean bill–they just want to get the country moving again. Huzzah on brains that still work.

I don’t think I need to go on and on. The above headlines say a lot. Check out the Huffington Post if you want to read the whole articles. They also have a “Good News” section you can go read after being inundated with all the bad news. I think that’s an awesome idea, and something the news in general forgets–while there are many bad things, things you don’t even want to think about, happening around us, there are still shining spotlights of humanity that break through the haze and show us that average, everyday, people you walk by on the street can be inspiring beacons of hope, and reminders that it doesn’t take a person in a special suit to be a hero. And that it doesn’t even always need to be a person.

A “Tea-Party”

teaparty1

I’m sure there are people coming to fill the empty places.

This is where my lack of keeping up completely with political news (I did at the time of the elections, especially where Sarah Palin was involved, because she’s stark raving mad). I know they hate The Affordable Health Care Act as well.

I’m not entirely sure why anyone hates this. Do they not see how ridiculous it is, when compared with other nations of our “league” (sorry to anyone who takes offense), we look like Victorian England when it comes to health care? In fact, maybe the Tea Party could pick up some pointers from the 19th century. We could institute poorhouses for all the students who have defaulted on their student debts as they’ve been unable to find the jobs they were told waited when they finished their degrees. What would be profitable for the government? They could have a business where undergrad students who hadn’t written their papers yet for particular classes could put in a request a it would be assigned to one of the over-educated but unemployable inhabitants of the poorhouse. That’s too unpleasant a name, though. How about the “Dickens’ Home for Overachieving Underperformers?” They could possibly also house a Think Tank consisting of MBAs, accountants, actuaries (is that the same thing? I like the word) for when time to work on the budget rolls ’round every year–let these people work on it along with congress. Students are used to deadlines. Their GPAs are important to them. They’ll get it done on time. That reminds me of something I wanted to do at the end of the post. Thank me for reminding me. It so rarely happens I have to thank myself in the hopes it happens more often. And less than three days later, because by then it’s considerably too late. There are endless possibilities here.

There are endless jokes as well. Enough said.

There seems to be some confusion about what is closed and what isn’t, as what is closed in each state varies widely. The Tea Party made the grand statement that only a small percentage of the government was shut down. Well, here’s the list of each agency’s shutdown policy (hopefully the links still work

Agency-by-agency shutdown guidance

Monday – 9/30/2013, 1:13pm EDT

The Office of Management and Budget requested agencies provide details about their plans in the event of a government shutdown. Below are links to each agency’s shutdown guidance.

    • Department of Agriculture
        • Office of the Secretary PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Agricultural Marketing Service PDF (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Departmental Management PDF (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Farm Service Agency PDF (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services PDF (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Food Safety and Inspection Services PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • U.S. Forest Service PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration PDF (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • National Appeals Division PDF (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Natural Resources Conservation Service PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Office of Budget and Program Analysis PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Office of the Chief Economist PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Office of the Chief Financial Officer PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Office of Communications PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Office of Ethics | PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Office of the General Counsel PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Office of Inspector General PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Research, Education and Economics PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Risk Management Agency PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
      • Rural Development PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
    • Department of Interior
        • Departmental PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Bureau of Indian Affairs PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Bureau of Indian Education PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Bureau of Land Management PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Bureau of Reclamation PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Fish and Wildlife Service PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • National Park Service PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Office of the Inspector General PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Office of Insular Affairs PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Office of the Secretary PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Office of the Solicitor PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Office of the Special Trustee | PDF (September 27, 2013)
        • Office of Surface Mining PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Policy Management and Budget PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
      • U.S. Geological Survey PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
    • Department of Treasury — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Departmental Offices PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Bureau of Fiscal Service PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Financial Crimes Enforcement Network PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Internal Revenue Service PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Special Inspector General, Troubled Asset Relief Program PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
      • Office of Inspector General PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)

jackalope copy.jpg.2013_10_05_21_49_23.0Sometimes the information gleaned from the pages says nothing more than the site is shut down. Others, like the Department for Health and Human Services, have to keep some things in order because they are in charge of so many services and programs so many people use. Even their pages aren’t all that helpful. I would definitely call first. If you happen to be a parent of a child with a disability in one of the Head Start programs that is shut down and don’t have childcare, see if there are any organizations (of course the parents always have this stuff figured out the best) for individuals/children with disabilities who can help you. Also for Head Start parents, as I read one article about concerns about food in one family–check out your local food banks and see what they can do. While the Federal government is shut down, it doesn’t mean your local one is, and organizations like food banks are typically volunteer operated.

You may also be able to find community information at your library. If there is no help from what is open and you really are struggling with rent, you might want to check at a shelter–they don’t want you homeless any more than you want to be, they might have resources as well.

I’m just trying to piece together what I know from what friends have done in the past, just so no one regales me with “what nonsense are you trying to pawn off here?” That was when the government was as functional as it gets. I do know the frustration–I opened the envelope when I received it months ago for my beginning COBRA information, which I needed but had been dreading at the same time, knowing it was going to be an outrageous amount. There was a flyer stuck inside, though, that said something along the lines of, “Can’t afford your payments? We might be able to help” and it gave a web address. I went there, feeling a little more cheerful, only to find a sentence reading: Due to budgetary cutbacks, this program has been discontinued. This shutdown has affected so many things across the board that we don’t even think about–the CDC, food safety under the Dept. of Agriculture, the FDIC, HUD, National Council on Disabilities–the Peace Corps. I don’t know what did happen, but I read in their plan (my parents were volunteers ages ago so I was curious) that in the event of a shutdown they would all have to be evacuated and returned back to the address given in their application packets. At roughly a cost of $3,500 a volunteer. I remember it was a fairly tumultuous time when my parents were in Peace Corps in Costa Rica, and volunteers during that time in Central and South America from both Nicaragua and Chile were evacuated. I don’t know if they were just moved somewhere else or brought back to the US. I didn’t really pay attention. I was probably 11 and I didn’t really understand at the time what was going on, other than volunteers in Costa Rica were moved further from the Nicaraguan border because it was unsafe. I knew some of those people, so that made more sense to me.

Another thing I noticed while going through the names of the departments, given the pressure President Obama is giving the Redskins to change their name, is that it may be time to update the names of a few departments as well. The Bureau of Indian Affairs, perhaps? The Bureau of Indian Education? That’s a bit of an oxymoron, considering it should really be, after all the education we’ve been giving on not just political correctness but for acknowledging people as they would prefer to be known, as the Bureau of Native American Education. Personally, I like the way the Canadians have worked out the whole situation, with the Native Canadians being called the First Nations, comprising all those tribes/people not related to the Inuit or the Métis. Yes, I did have to Wiki that because I didn’t remember it entirely. I’ve only been to Canada once, so please cut me a little slack, here. Interestingly, according to the same source, the Canadians first interactions with the native peoples in Canada were not nearly as combative (although it did happen) as those in the US, which allowed the First Nations and other tribes’ cultures to be assimilated more into the growth of the country. Now, I consider myself ethnocentric now that I’m older, because when I was a child living on the Navajo Reservation, which is a large reservation, I thought the only Native Americans that existed were the Navajo, the Hopi, the Pueblo, the Utes, and the Paiutes. That was it. In a way, it was strangely appropriate. For anyone who has ever watched a John Wayne movie that takes place anywhere looking something like this:

monument-valley-utah_29853_600x450

Monument_Valley_06

Monument Valley 1

I realize that the top and bottom one are practically the same other than the snow. The two formations on the far left and the middle are known as “The Mittens.” All of the formations have names, I just don’t remember all of them. The one on the right might be “Train Rock,” but I’m truly not sure. The one in the middle of the above photo has something to do with a chief, I’m fairly sure. I took all this for granted because I grew up with it. Monument Valley, home to I don’t know how many Westerns and car commercials. Nothing like having an SUV airlifted in and dropped on top of a mesa to show how tough it is. Where I lived was just past Monument Valley. Now there’s a high school along the way, but the Oljato Trading Post, where I spent many hours, is now closed. When I lived there, it was a working Trading Post. Then it was a tourist attraction, selling rugs and jewelry and baskets, as it had always done, then it closed completely. It was a huge part of my childhood. We would “trading post sit” and I remember spending hours in either the store after it was closed reading Tales From the Crypt comic books behind the counter, or sitting in the rug room surrounded by beautiful baskets, jewelry, rugs–literally piles of rugs, and a loom set up to show tourists what they looked like, settled into a comfy chair reading Fate Magazine. I think back on how unusual that was, and how I took it completely for granted, because that’s what children do.

But one of the many great lies of the Westerns is that the Apache, the Cherokee, the Sioux, whoever was the great evil enemy of the day, if the movie was filmed in Monument Valley, it was far more likely they were Navajo.

I spend four more years in Chinle, Arizona (Monument Valley is in southern Utah). Chinle is right next to Canyon de Chelly, which has an unsettling history of its own, but many say is more beautiful than the Grand Canyon, it’s just the Grand Canyon is bigger so it gets all the attention. I found a photograph, quite unexpected, by Ansel Adams. It’s not of a huge sweeping vista (I am impressed with their amazing quality and technical detail, but for some reason have never really liked him as a photographer, until I found this photograph).

Navajo_Girl,_1941

It was taken in 1941 in, as the photograph is labeled, Canyon de Chelle.

For this photograph, the National Archives and Records Administration request to be listed as the original source.

http://www.archives.gov/research/ansel-adams/

She’s standing in the doorway of a hogan, a traditional Navajo home. She’s not old enough yet to have all the silver jewelry she’ll have when she’s older, although it does look like the buttons on her collar are silver. The necklace looks like it’s made of shell beads, just guessing.

How did I get on this topic? Oh, right. The Bureau of Indian Affairs. And changing names of sports teams. To Westerns.

Do you think John Boehner watched a lot of these growing up? I realized he is emulating, to a degree, someone who isn’t a very good role model, someone whose pride literally led to his fall.

“You ask me if I will not be glad when the last battle is fought, so far as the country is concerned I, of course, must wish for peace, and will be glad when the war is ended, but if I answer for myself alone, I must say that I shall regret to see the war end.”

George Armstrong Custer

A Review of the Political Structure–A Coup in Our Midst

I sometimes am a little rough on the way things work–I won’t admit how long it’s been since I’ve studied the political process. There is a very good article in the Huffington Post, which now I can’t find other than the small quote I’d already taken out. Odd. I did go digging up some diagrams on how the political process is supposed to work. One of them, I think it was the search about budgets, brought up lots of pictures of scantily clad women with somewhat voracious expressions. I’m not sure whose side they’re on. A new third party?

separation of powerI propose a new emblem for the GOP. Elephants are intelligent, caring animals who grieve for their dead and care about each other. That’s not the GOP. I present my proposal, which I believe is much more appropriate.

jackalope copy.jpg.2013_10_05_21_49_23.0

As you can see in this diagram (and I did remember this from school), there’s a system of checks and balances in place. Note specifically how there is no negotiating between congress and the president on the budget. That’s something for the Legislative Branch to do themselves, and then present it to the president. No keeping hundreds of thousands of Americans on furlough while the GOP holds up the political process. They seem to be throwing around the document our nation was founded on, the constitution, as if they wrote it and actually understand it–the first of which is blatantly untrue (unless they’re vampires), and the second of which I think they’re overestimating their knowledge of and twisting it to their own devious–sorry–political purposes. Diabolical might be a better word. They don’t like “Obamacare,” as they’ve christened it, because it “sucks.” (That supports the vampire concept, by the way).

So, we already have the GOP refusing to negotiate the budget in the way they’re supposed to–with fellow members of congress. But as several Democratic and a few Republican members have noted, the GOP holdouts can’t even negotiate within themselves. They are a breakaway, incomprehensible, non-sensical, group of thugs operating solely out of pride.

If the GOP, who are violating the constitution with their demands— “If he [Obama] wanted to avoid economic ruin, Republicans said, Obama would submit to a delay of health-care reform, plus tax-rate cuts, enactment of offshore drilling, approval of the Keystone pipeline, deregulation of Wall Street, and Medicare cuts, to name but a few demands. Republicans hardly pretended to believe Obama would accede to the entire list (a set of demands that amounted to the retroactive election of Mitt Romney), but the hubris was startling in and of itself—” and are not interested in getting hundreds of thousands of people back to work and getting the country moving ahead, in Star Trek speak, one of their prime directives, they are not doing their jobs. If they would rather keep the wheels of government silent because the needs of the few (who would that be?) Are more important than the needs of the many (who live paycheck to paycheck—but that’s all right, they can eat cake instead), they are not doing their job.

What are they doing? Helping the people who voted them into office and put them where they are. No.

The GOP responsible for this, have, in essence, taken the American people hostage. Isn’t that what it’s called when you issue a list of demands to be filled before you’ll negotiate any further? This sounds a little, teensy bit, if we were watching it happen in another country, like a coup. Something that might even be considered treasonous. Should these men be allowed to continue to hold America in their clutches because they aren’t getting what they want, aren’t behaving in a manner the constitution says they should, and get away with it unpunished? Their behavior is worse than any of the people recently labeled “traitors.” Those people didn’t furlough hundreds of thousands of people, close Head Starts so their parents, most already struggling to make ends meet (sorry, they have more to worry about than ‘making payments on their nice houses,’ they have to worry about putting dinner on the table and feeding their children), now have to pay for childcare. Childcare they didn’t have to worry about when their children were learning at Head Start. Parents already working 2 to 3 jobs now have most of the money taken up with childcare, food becoming the balancing act between paying the rent on their homes. Should the men responsible for this be allowed to sit around not working and collecting a sizable paycheck while there are people struggling because of the men using, let’s see, threats and ridiculous demands verging on, hm, extortion, get away with this unpunished?

These men have betrayed their country, and they have betrayed the people who put their trust in them when they voted for them to represent them. They are tricky men who use deception and language to obfuscate the answer to the simplest question into a garble of psychobabble and key words to keep peoples’ minds spinning. All they are doing is stringing a bunch of words together that make absolutely no sense.

These men from the GOP are not your friends, they are your worse nightmare come true, drunk (literally) on power. They have overstepped their bounds by grand proportions, thinking their positions make them invincible and answerable to no one. They seem unresponsive to the fact the actions they perform give them the appearance of petty tyrants.

How can we successfully deal with terrorism outside our country when we can’t deal with it in our own congress? No, we’re not a dictatorship, to simply get rid of the few obstructing justice. But this isn’t a Democracy anymore either, when a small group of individuals can put forth an illogical agenda from which they won’t withdraw on the basis of pride, despite the fact our nation is suffering. Because of them. How much less of a conscience can you have to allow that to continue? Enough is enough. Take these men of the almighty GOP and treat them as a man off the street would be treated had he done the same thing. See how law enforcement feels about it. See how judges feel about it. Under the letter of the law. The third branch of the system of checks and balances. That’s their purpose. Let’s let them get to work.

The Landfill Harmonic

I joined this site to follow, The Upworthiest, and they have some of the coolest things. I don’t watch TV and generally tend to miss some of the more interesting things on the news (well, truthfully, some of the more interesting things tend to not make the news).

This is one of their most recent stories, a project started on Kickstarter to make a documentary in Paraguay:

http://www.landfillharmonicmovie.com/

The Recycled Orchestra

The Recycled Orchestra

The Recycled Orchestra--Violin Detail

The Recycled Orchestra–Violin Detail

The Recycled Orchestra--Sax Detail

The Recycled Orchestra–Sax Detail

What about Straight Pride?

This came up in group I’m in and a member kindly posted this link:

http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/13/opinion/granderson-straight-pride/index.html?eref=mrss_igoogle_cnn

I looked at some of the comments following the article, which is always a dangerous thing, because that’s where all the interesting people start climbing out of the woodwork. I should mention the post before this one was one talking about “religious bigots raising their children to hate everyone, such as gays, and perpetuating their irrational christian beliefs.” Normally I stay out of religious arguments completely. I’m not religious. I come from a family (stopping at my parents) of Southern Baptists. I see the kind of “love” they preach. Love everyone unless they’re different. Love everyone who follows all our rules. Put on a good show in public, but in private it’s not so important. I truly don’t understand the comment below, and I don’t understand how someone could be so ignorant of the world around them. I find it hard to believe that anyone could make the statement in the second sentence and truly believe it–I think I can fairly safely say that it isn’t an accusation but a matter of fact that bible centered churches have and actively do preach hatred and the denial of rights toward individuals who are gay, and that many christian groups have taken a strong negative stance against gays and gay rights.

“What Christian organization are you speaking of? Because NO Jesus centered and Bible centered Church that I have attended has EVER preached hate or the denyl of rights. What it DOES teach is love and acceptance. I may not agree with their life choices but that doesn’t mean I hate them. What they choose to do has nothing to do with me. I may not agree but I still love. Just as Jesus did for me. The people who you are speaking of would be ignorant, hateful, and practice bigotry whether they were “Christians” or not. Just because they call themselves a Christian doesn’t make them one. I can call my self a Muslim but if I dont follow the teachings of the Koran and Muhammad I am not a Muslim.

Edit: I took out a section of this post in which I used a more extreme example of hate and violence to try to “win” this “argument” I apologize and retract the former. Homosexuals that experience hate and violence are no less important because some other groups may experience more.  Eric Truman 

My response:

“Have you taken a look around and read the news lately? Why is it the religious groups that believe that reparative therapy is possible? I’m afraid that there are more religious groups against equal rights for people who are LBGTQ than for them. 

For those of you who believe it’s a life choice, think again. People are born the way they are, already oriented the way they are. This makes them no less equal, no less worth loving, gives them no less right to chose who they want to love, than any of the rest of us. 

Who are the groups who are keeping them from having the rights they should already unquestioningly have? Religion, and the government. Two groups who should have no voice in a persons’ sexuality or who they love. 

Anyone who says that religious groups only teach love and acceptance are looking at the world through rose-colored glasses, and seeing what they want to see. 

God made everyone in his image, correct? Does God make mistakes? I don’t think so. Would a religious person agree to that? God made people who are straight, who are gay, who are lesbian, who are all gamuts of that spectrum. They are not aberrations. There is absolutely nothing wrong with them. They are perfect the way they are. 

Step out of your box and truly look at the world around you. Say hello to someone with a disability who uses a wheelchair. Use tolerance. Practice patience. Love. Treat others as you would want others to treat you.”

The thing that I think stands out most jarringly to me is the statement in the “Edit” section of Mr. Truman’s post–he mentions “winning” the “argument.” I’m not sure if he’s retracting that as well or if he still means it. Equality isn’t about winning an argument. This is a fight for rights, yes, but only because the rights which are duly owed haven’t already been given as they should have been.

While not religious, I still think the above postulation does make sense. I also believe that religious groups and politicians should mind their own business, once they’ve straightened out this mess and given equal rights, legally, to everyone who should have have. Not deserve to have them, although they do, but should have them as human beings just like anyone else. As a basic and fundamental right. We’re past the days (I thought) where children had to be protected under animal abuse laws because there were no laws protecting children from abuse. Aren’t we?

This country, in it’s attempts to escape oppression for freedom, has done a fine job emulating that oppression. Oppression against people of different races, beliefs, women, LBGTQ individuals, children, people with disabilities…

I went to my SO’s daughter’s 8th grade graduation last night. She had been attending a Charter School loosely based on Waldorf principles, which emphasis creativity, individuality, the ability to work together (they don’t adhere so strictly to the Waldorfian principles because, quite frankly, they were written over a hundred years ago and they haven’t changed with the times). These children, approximately twenty of them altogether, have grown up together. They’ve had the same teachers, the same classes. All of them gave short speeches. For those children who entered later on, in say, 5th grade like my SO’s daughter did, they were suspicious of the methods of the school and the curriculum because it was so radically different from those of a regular public school. (This school has a waiting list, we were lucky she got in). But these children gave the wisest, funniest, most heartfelt speeches. Some of them said they’d hated school until they went there. For some of them, it was their last chance school, they’d tried every school in the district and been unsuccessful. They all mentioned the school being like a family to them. These kids have it together, and are much more mature than I was when I was fourteen. They’ll need it, because now they’re going on to public high schools around the district, and she’s going to the biggest high school in Eugene, but is also a very good school. They have values and ethics some adults are lacking. Her mother is lesbian, with a partner who’s known her since she was 5, so she’s grown up used to differences. I’ve known her since she was 8. She has changed so much, and I know that she will be a kid who won’t bully other kids in high school. She’ll help them. It’s in her nature. I am incredibly proud of her and her tenacity for standing up for what she believes in. I hope there are more young adults like her, or who will follow her example, and help fight against bullying and prejudice. I’ve talked to her about it. She’s very receptive–unlike many fourteen-year-olds, you can have conversations with her about pretty heavy things.

So, in a way I suppose it will be a fight, although I think it’s sad that someone who isn’t gay thinks it’s something that needs to be won. To me, it’s not a matter of winning or losing, it’s a matter of long deserved reparation that should never have had to be asked for, and should never have been withheld–basic human rights.

SF Signal-MIND MELD: LGBT Themes in Fantasy and SF – Recommendations

I found this in the fanzine SF Signal, which I was unaware of (shamefully), and the recommendations are really good and interesting. Definitely worth checking out!