Friday, February 03, 2017

Look over here... it's a non-political post

I've been fairly political as of late and I figure it is time for a little bit of a change in scenery here.  It has been fun as of late sitting down and writing.  I'm not very good at it, but it's still a lot of fun and gives me a mental exercise that I don't often get at work.  Work has, at least for me, become somewhat of an auto-pilot endeavor as of late.  There has not been a large amount of change lately and because of that I feel that the message I deliver is the same each and every time I train or travel.

DO NOT get me wrong.  I like my job, I like the concept of what I do, I like the people I work with and for the most part I like the travel (I've always liked to travel, I feel that somewhere in my past biological history there must have been some nomads).  However I feel that I have become stagnant.  This is where the writing comes in.

I have been making myself attempt to write about a thousand words a day.  Those thousand words could be any number of things.  It could be a short story, or the attempt to start a book, or this blog for instance.  It's a bunch of stuff that for the most part no one will ever read, but I feel good while doing it.

As I stated a few paragraphs up, I'm not a very prolific writer.  I tend to shift tenses constantly, my grammar and punctuation leave a lot to be desired.  I tend to write in a very disjointed narrative, shifting back and forth between thoughts and ideas as I shift between paragraphs.  It's somewhat how my mind works.

Many years ago I named this blog Captain Non-Sequitur (I've actually had this much longer than I've had any other form of social media, I think I've always liked this form better anyways) because to me that is exactly what I was (not that I am a captain of anything) but my tends to be very non-sequitur when I think.  It is not linear.  It does not have a purpose.  I believe this is why I could never be successful at writing.  I'll follow a plot point for a while and then take a very weird turn and end up somewhere totally different than originally intended.  However unlike someone who is skilled at putting pen to paper, my path change won't make for good reading, it'll just confuse and render the reader unable to continue...

I think what I currently do is suited to my mind set.  I can present things in a logical way, and then take a turn and present them in a different logical way.  I'm good at taking more complex issues and topics and making them much more approachable.  So either I'm suited to do what I do currently... or I'm suited to do stand-up.  The only issue with the latter option is that I'm not at all funny!  Maybe one day I'll find a nice fun history or introductory biology class that I can teach, and then I know I'll be much happier in my work environment.

I'm an introvert who likes to talk with people...

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Hypo what?

Let's have a frank-ish discussion about hypocrisy...  (We've all been hypocrites at one point in our lives).

I'm going to throw out a totally hypothetical situation here and I'm curious how you all would score...

So let's say we have a Republican controlled Congress and a Democratic President, and that Democratic president decides to appoint a new justice to the supreme court, we'll just call this person M Garland.  The republican held congress decides that they don't want to do any of their jobs and they don't sit with or talk with this candidate at all.  He languishes for a while and basically fades to oblivion because well that's what happens.

Did you praise said republican congress?  Did you say that they were right to ignore anything from the Democratic president?  Cool... don't worry I already know your answer (you totally praised the shit out of them).

Flash forward a few months to a Republican President (sort of... I don't agree that Reagan would have anything to do with this person, but whatever) who has a Democratic Senate that is enough to stop the president's current candidate for the supreme court.  Would you praise these Democratic members of congress?  Would your answer be the same as it was for the question above?  Oh it's not?  Then congratulations you are a hypocrite!

One month saying Mitch McConnell is a hero because he stood up to Obama's moderate supreme court nominee, and then just a few months later complaining that the Democrats are doing the exact same thing that your beloved republicans just did is pretty much the definition of hypocrisy.  I'm sorry based on the actions of the republican congress during Obama's reign I see absolutely no reason that any democrat should consider anything that the president now says.

And just for fun... the president has already posted paperwork to run for re-election in 2020, so he is technically campaigning... so I think any of his nominees should be treated in the same way that the nominees during Obama's last year were treated.  It's not my fault the president decided to turn the next four years into an election cycle.

I want to wrap this up... I'm tired.  I'm tired of trying to fight people who don't actually pay attention to anything except those sources that only support their rhetoric (see the white house spokesperson's latest statement about how white house aides will only go to news sources that push their agenda... I won't even being to tell you what is wrong with that, if you don't know you are too far gone).

Lastly.  Never again tell me anything about checks and balances.  IF you are paying attention you would start to realize that all of those are starting to go away.  The next time someone tells me not to worry because there are "checks and balances" in place I am going to give them a multi-hour lecture about how they are wrong and understand nothing about the way the government works.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Alarmist I Know... but aware as well.

https://medium.com/@yonatanzunger/trial-balloon-for-a-coup-e024990891d5#.npqk2enpu

This link is somewhat alarmist, and somewhat conspiratorial... you're going to have one of three reactions to it :

1.  You are the extreme left and you'll say "Oh I've been saying this since last year when the president decided he was going to run..."

2.  You are somewhere in the middle (middle right and middle left) and you'll say "This is a little too conspiracy minded for me, but I may pay more attention"

or

3.  You are extreme right and you'll just deride this as fake and continue enjoying breitbart (also fake, and now technically in power).

I like conspiracy theories.  I always have.  I've held an almost fanatical devotion to reading and trying to understand what other people believe.  I frequently comment on conspiracy subreddits, because I like to engage the beliefs.  The problem is that for the most part I'm not a conspiracy theorist.  When people start talking about Free-fall speeds and jet fuel I tend to comment on the side of reason.  When people talk third gun-men or aliens making the pyramids I tend to ignore that for sanity sake.

With all that being said sometimes I wish I was the Fox Mulder.  I want to be the "I want to believe" guy.

I'll tell you that my favorite airport is Denver International airport because of the ridiculous theories about it (when the real reason is that they have the best craft beer bars out of most all of the airports in America, I should know I've been to a lot of them).

Okay enough about my idiosyncrasies and back to that link up there.  It is after all a tad conspiratorial, but with a hint of truth behind the words.  Here is my take on the whole thing.  A few posts ago I talked about the direction that the country was headed and how I pulled some parallels from stories that my Grandmother had told me in the past.  Today I find articles and opinions like this that are backed up with facts from the newly inaugurated presidents stances.  I find that a lot of this is frightening and while I am not truly sold yet, I believe that within the next week to 6 weeks another executive order will be announced and signed that will (using flowery religious pre-text) attempt to take away the rights of anyone in the LGBTQ community.  This religious liberty executive order will put me over the edge to accept a lot of what this article believes and states, I believe that is when we will begin to see a little more problems for under-represented minorities in the US.

Now we are still a democracy of sorts, and we still have our voice, since January 22nd I have emailed and called (I called during the weekdays) the two senators of the state of Texas.  I have not had any success getting a hold of either and I have only gotten rhetoric filled copy and paste replies, and Ted Cruz decided that since I have contacted his office for the last week and a half that he would fill my inbox with his news letter.  I reply to each of his newsletters and say what I think is un-American about each and everyone of his stances.  I reply in the kindest of terms, and make a point using logic and reason.  I don't reply back to his emails and tell him that he is indeed the Zodiac killer... it has also been noted that a lot of republican representatives have been un-responsive and hiding from their constituents...

Okay.  I've been fairly negative for the past few weeks, let's look at some positive stuff.

The incident is still being investigated so no true correlation can be made, but this makes me happy to see American's rising to a cause http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/burned-down-mosque-texas-islamic-centre-victoria-rebuild-americans-donate-800000-one-day-a7553256.html?cmpid=facebook-post&ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000090 - Especially when there is so much negative rhetoric in today's world.

I'll leave you with a joke.

 https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/01/30/the-aclu-says-it-got-24-million-in-donations-this-weekend-six-times-its-yearly-average/?utm_term=.9fd3a46c0833 - After reading this I can only assume that the president has some sort of vested interest in the ACLU.  I mean look at how much money he is making them...

Friday, January 27, 2017

History

I'm a lover of history.  Starting at a very early age I would read (consume) as much history as possible.  All history, any history.  I did however have a fairly voracious appetite for European history (it could be that it's where a large amount of my ancestry comes from).  Today is Holocaust remembrance day.  It should be a day of reflection on how evil the human race can become, and how easy it is to get wrapped up in blindly following something.

We have a sitting President who opted to neglect mentioning the Jewish people when briefly talking about Holocaust remembrance day.  I hate to say this, but I am fairly certain that his anti-Semitic lap-dog (sorry I can't quite recall what Steve Bannon's actual title is, and I really don't want to google him to look it up) wrote it for him (much like the America First inauguration speech which hauntingly had a lot of groupspeak from certain white supremacist groups).

"Give him a chance" people will say.  I have.  We have.  In the 7 days since the inauguration only 1 thing has been okay coming from the White House, and that was the symbolic signing away of the TPP.  My only issue with this as being the only beacon of a decent action is that both Clinton and Sanders would have done the exact same thing, I also call it symbolic because it was never going to make it past congress anyways.  Past that our next 4 years continue to look bleaker and bleaker.

We're about to go into a trade war with Mexico.  Will we win?  Of course.  That's not a concern.  However I do happen to live in a state that has a massive border with Mexico (sorry walls won't do anything) and while we have a trade deficit with Mexico it is a fairly tiny portion of our GDP.  While a lot of people will disagree with me, it's a bad idea to economically ruin a country you border, poverty makes people desperate.  While this may never happen, a Mexico that is screwed by the US may just go to China instead.  Sphere's of influence are important for a reason.

I'm not paying for a wall.  A possibility of a 20% import tax would have consequences for me the consumer.  I think in general a lot of people don't want to think about that, and are ignoring that fact that ultimately we will pay for a damn wall, that will stop nothing.

Muslim immigrants and refugees have to go through stricter vetting to get into this country.  This is that kind of scary first step to vilifying an entire group of people and leading out country down a very dark path.  Fun fact (actually its not even remotely fun) Anne Franks father tried a few times to immigrant to the United States and was turned away because of very strict immigration rules.  If we are so worried about Radical Islam, why aren't we worried about Radical Christianity?  If it were to ever come to it, I'd no doubt register for an Muslim database.  Fear mongering will never make America great.

The Mexico City policy reinstatement will have far reaching problems around the globe.  Anti-choice laws have nothing to do with being pro-life.  If pro-life was really pro-life we would stop talking about the death penalty.  If pro-life was actually pro-life we would care for those children who were born.  Now once they are out of the womb they are somebody else's problem.  Pro-life is nothing more than pro-birth, anti-choice.  The hypocrisy of the legislators who want to be anti-choice, you must have that baby, but once you do it's your own damn responsibility, don't come to us for help or insurance.  I'm pro-choice, I always have been, but I'm also pro-education.  The sex education in the United States is a disgrace.

Torture doesn't work.  

Read this : it's short and has some interesting parallels - https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005141 




Wednesday, January 25, 2017

It's 2017... why is this even a thing?

Warning : I'm basically going to insult everyone in this post.  Ignore if you don't want to be insulted.

I'm the grandson of a German immigrant.  Now this German immigrant was basically leave a worn torn Germany where there was no food, jobs or anything really and coming over to the United States were her sister already lived.  I exist because someone was leaving a war torn country to find a life that may be a little bit better than what they had, or what they could have had.  I must be a bad person, that's the only thing I can think of in this day and age.  Anyone coming from a refugee or immigrant background must not be a true American and should not be here or be allowed to come here in the first place.

People are going to make a pretty thin argument about how this is different and people are being monitored because of their religion and the place they came from.  It's not different.  As stated above my grandmother came from a country that we had actively been at war with.  This was not many years after peace has come after the second world war that she was in this country.

There is no reason that in freaking 2017 that any of us should have to stand up for the rights of others.  I'm a member of an under represented minority in the US (I know, I'm white and male how could that be), as it currently stands am I am not allowed to run for public office in the state of Texas because of something as trivial as my belief structure.  I have no voice.  The more and more that we get into the current regime I realize that I will have no rights come the end of this term.  NONE.  Alright.  I got a little over zealous there, but the part about it being illegal for me to run for office in Texas is true... no one in our current government speaks for me...

Alright a list of thoughts... I love lists:

Voting is a not a privilege its a right.  If you restrict (by adding things required to vote) then you have to make those things available for everyone in the United States.  If you were to say that you are required to have a license to vote and you make that license cost $50 then you are restricting citizens form voting.  RIGHT not a privilege.  If you think it's a privilege you may be what's wrong with America.

If your Christian and excited for restricting refugees from this country.  Shame on you.  You are doing the opposite of anything that Jesus told you and you have chosen your false golden god.

This is our future : http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/turkey-coup-erdogan-academics-ban-leaving-country-government-crackdown-latest-a7146591.html - if you want to see what the creation of an authoritarian regime looks like.  Silencing science in any capacity is your first step towards a really bad life.

I am almost to the point where I believe that the United States is on the course towards another civil war.  I really wish this was conspiratorial, but the more and more I see the more I believe that the repressed majority will eventually rise up.  Just remember without California and New York the United States dips down the second largest economy of the world (I'm proud to be a Texan, but California does happen to be the 8th largest economy in the world, it's a little bit larger than Texan economy).  Also just to shut your stupid argument down (that you'll try and make) California is 46th for federal aid.  If you want to look at the states that take the most from the federal government you should look at the ones like Mississippi, Alabama and much of the southern red states.  Tell me how conservative governance leads to less federal aid

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Rare form...

I'm in a rare form as of late.  I feel as though more and more that I am finding my voice, and having a little more inspiration.  A lack of inspiration to create or do can be depressing at times.

This weekend I participated in the Women's March in Austin (it was a sister-march to the Women's March on Washington).  Participation at all levels is a very important part to our democracy, and what ever your beliefs are being complacent is a problem.  It was an amazing experience and something that I'll remember for a long time coming.  The people were friendly and kind.  There were messages of peace and equality.  Something that we need right now and something that a few of us feel are not being presented by the current political climate.  I'm sorry that I will not fit the mold of "quiet and complacent".  I will not just fall in line and get over it.  If I told anyone of my more conservative friends and family members eight years ago to get over it, I would have had an earful.  I would have been called some very bad names and probably been told to go and "fuck myself" for my opinion.  

To those that would tell me "to get over it", I say this to you "get over it".  I listened to eight years of vocal disagreement and some very negative things, we've seen many years of obstructionism to the detriment of the american people.  And if you feel that we with opposing values and opposing views should just shut up and fall in line, it won't happen.  People fall in line in North Korea.  People do not fall in line in the United States.  We are a country based in principles that don't just go quietly away, and fall in line.  Imagine if George Washington went up to Thomas Jefferson and just told him to fall in line.  You may disagree with literally everything that the marches stood for (hell you may disagree with literally everything I stand for), but telling people to shut up and get in line is the opposite of what this country stands for.  Marches and protests are why this country exists...

I did not in any way shape of form tell you to stop complaining and deal eight years ago.  You were vocal and I stood by your ability to be vocal.  You don't like my message, don't read my words.  You don't like what I like, unfollow me on social media.  It does not hurt me.  It saddens me that you are offended by a fairly moderate viewpoint.  I'm not attacking your way of life, I'm just giving you a viewpoint from someone outside of your bubble.


Now... I'm done being reasonable for a second.  Ignore this last part if you would like..

Alternative truth.  Alternate truth is nothing more than a fancy way of saying propaganda.  I have a large amount of liberal guilt in my life because of my pedigree.  My grandmother was a German who lived in Germany in the 20's, 30's and 40's (you can guess what that means).  I've heard many stories about Germany in those times, and the word Alternate truth is very scary concept, it's something that played a huge part in the creation of a superpower that would go on to do unspeakable things to the world and quite a few groups of people.

Know this... The first amendment exists for a reason.  It is to maintain our voice as a populace against things that we see are becoming an issue with the country.  When the first amendment starts to become eroded away, the other pieces will fall, once you lose your ability to speak out and question those in power it's real easy for them to start taking away your second, then the fourth then the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth (all at the same time).  Am I being a tiny bit alarmist?  Yeah... fair I am.  But I'm a history buff and have read about regimes rising and falling for all my life.  I've spent a lot of time reading history, for fun.  History has a really fun way of coming back to bite you, a populist rise occurred in the 30's and that was one of the lead ins to the second world war.  Be wary.  Question and allow the questioning of those in power over you.  When you lose your power to question it's already too late.

I don't care if you are right, left, green, blue, red, purple, being silent to any form of authoritarianism hurts all of us.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

         I am a product of the public education system of the United States, most all of my friends and family are also products of the public education system of the United States.  I have friends who are teachers in the public education system and are undervalued for what they do.  Right now we are at the precipice of the possibility of major change in the way we think about education.

      People will argue that there are issues and concerns with the public education system in this country, and they may be right.  Where they tend to stray from being right is who holds/shares the blame.  Instead of looking at their state run board of education they instantly assume that the Federal government is the blame.  So when someone tells me that they feel the public education system of the state of Teas failed them, they tend to find fault at the national level and not the state level.  It's 2017 and there are currently discussions about creationism as it relates to science for public schools in the state of Texas, members of the state board of education want to present creationism as a scientific fact and have a judeo/christian bias towards science education.  Do you want to know why the second largest state in the union is in the lower half of the states for quite a few education statistics?  The SBOE of Texas is a good place to start looking for those answers, not the federal government, or the department of education.  I hope for the sake of the future of our state and country that Texas makes the right choice and does not become the Tennessee of the 1920's...

        I'll step down off of my soap box now... but I will talk about my experiences with public education.  I went to a fairly culturally diverse school, and financially diverse school as well.  There were some of us who grew up living in a upper-lower class environment and some of us who grew up in a more upper-middle, or lower-upper class (yeah I know... lower-upper and upper-lower seem silly).  I feel as though I am a better person, no, I AM a better person, for having the experiences that I did have in my public school education.  I was able to escape the confines of what would have been a white bubble or a christian bubble by being educated through the public school environment.  I am not scared of people that are different than me, I embrace cultural differences and LOVE to experience culture in all of it's forms.  I feel that my public school education brought out the better side of curiosity in me towards people and their beliefs.  It was a wonderful place to step out of any comfort zone that I may have had growing up.

        Okay... back on my soap box for a second...

        Public School Teachers are underpaid and under-appreciated - teaching is one of the more difficult jobs that you can do.  Without Teachers and without proper education we as a people lose.

        Science education needs to stop being debated by people who don't understand science.

        Evolution is a fact.

        There is no useless vocation.  The world needs all types.  If the subject that you excel is art, and that is what your degree and studies are in.  Great!  Create art.  If someone tells you you have a useless degree just retort back that the rest of us couldn't major in being an asshole.  Okay I'm kidding, if they say your studies were useless, just shake their hand and thank them for their opinion.  Then go ahead and remove them from your lives.

        If you don't understand something, that's fine.  However if you don't understand something and you are afraid of it and believe that it should not be present in education, that's not fine.

        All people should have the right to education.


       Thanks for stepping out of your bubble for a few minutes and reading my ramblings.  I promised to focus on writing more and already I've lied... this will be my second post in like three months.  One day I'll be inspired again...