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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

If Trump Really Was... Racist, Russian, Mobster, etc.. What Would He Be Doing Different?

I think the press and general society keep giving Trump a pass on many things, because they assume that he couldn't POSSIBLY be as bad as he is portrayed, and that is his excuse to be even worse.  The country needs to wake up and start asking a question, if he WAS ...any of those things..what would he be doing any differently?

For example, we are talking this week about Trump's words defending the White Nationalist violence against the public.  You know... running a car over groups of people they didn't like...the VERY same act that he declared as "terrorism" when it was done by a Muslim in UK but is justifiable in the US, because I guess..they are Christian and they victims deserved it?

So, the news of the day is that Trumps OWN business advisory councils made up of CEO's of businesses had resigned from his councils, after his words, citing BOTH racism and their lack of expectation that Trump will accomplish ANY positive change in business.  Get that?  We elected Trump to be President, because he was good at business, but his own BUSINESS leaders on his councils resigned saying he is a failure at getting anything accomplished.  So, why is he President, again?

But, to get back on point....the public seems to think that Trump couldn't possibly be a ...racist... fascist....Russian implant....sexually harrassing...gangster, even when he is defending acts of violence against blacks (who his justice department authorized police to abuse without repercussion), when he defends NAZI violence, when he gives Putin EVERYTHING he wants of America, when he says sexually harrassing statements of wives of heads of state, and when he encourages his followers to beat up his enemies and takes them out of office, himself.  Indeed, when he is under investigation, he fired THREE FBI directors that were investigating him and said the next one better not.  What exactly DOES it take for the public to GET IT?

So, just ask youself.  If Trump REALLY was not guilty of all of these things, why would he be acting against himself, and why are YOU more apt to believe the words of a liar than acts of one?  That just makes you an accomplice, and you will stand guilty of all that follows.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Labor Pains

It has been a busy and stressful couple of weeks, but I expected that it would be this way.  Women understand a concept, as relates to the birth of a child that I don't think tough guy men think about....labor pains.  This is directly applicable to where my family is in this moment.

Basically, labor pains happen after a period of expectation and before the new reality to come.  The woman has spent 9 months of preparation and expectation of waiting for things to change, and it has been accompanied by periods of difficulty or being uncomfortable.  Then, those periods increase to the point that something NEEDS to change, and the change happening takes over all attention and demands primary focus.

Thus begins the period of labor pains.  The woman, drawn into full focus on the coming reality, experiences intense waves of pain, until there is great joy at seeing the reality of their hope in their arms.

Similarly, I believe, the reality of my wife and I's lifestyle pregnancy started upon our marriage to each other and even before it.  As each month passed, we faced one element of the prior life falling away after another.  Things that USED to be important to us (just like a pregnant woman's previous party lifestyle) were not as important as the reality that is NOW before us, namely each other and the love that was standing in front of us on every date and event. 

Then, we got to this summer, and my career focus change provided us with the perfect focus change....step away from the past and into the future, and it has been a liberating experience.

Yes, we have DEFINITELY experienced difficulties in the last few months, from criminal behavior on the part of the apts we left to ex's to finding a new place to live and the expenses related to all that.  However, as these labor pains of change happened, we have found ourselves pulling closer to each other and more liberated to be longer required to be as people of the past wanted us to be but, now, ON OUR OWN away from controlling relatives and situations that defined us from our past, so we could define our future.

However, it is definitely good that those labor pains from the change are passing, and it is nice that we are FINALLY feeling the beginnings of the foundation of the new, ahead.  I am definitely looking forward to the days ahead, as we step out into the new realm of our own potential.  Full spead ahead.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Modern Racism

As evidenced by the white nationalist rally and the violence that has followed, there has been a revival of racism and hatred that has risen up in the last decade.  Last decade you ask?  It has been around for centuries in these regions, you would say.  And, while I would agree with you that every place that we are seeing this pro-white, Republican racism in this day, it used to be legal to OWN black people (and in fact this protest was about the removal of the tribute to that slave owning culture)... I do have to say that it didn't used to be this way in the last half century.

I grew up in a midwestern southern state, and while I did a post about their moral failures (to counter their superior morals claims) in a recent post, I do have to testify in the other direction on their behalf with regards to racism.

I grew up in the 80s in Oklahoma, and above are a collection of just a few of the black artists and shows that we watched as kids.  I learned how to moon walk with Michael Jackson and do all kinds of break dancing.  I knew every word of several of Prince's tunes.  I watched every episode of Different Strokes, the Cosby show, and didn't just watch Coming to America but ALL Eddie Murphy movie.

Indeed, it wasn't just limited to black culture, but I raised my kids on the popular movies about an Arab called Alladin, as well as all color of Disney character diversity.  Robin Hood Prince of Thieves was a HUGE hit at the box office with a Muslim called azheem, played by the man that Christians would call "God" in several movies, Morgan Freeman.

But, ten years passed and suddenly they are all supposed to be greedy and angry races intent on our destruction?  Or, we were so easily swayed that we let a small faction of rich white guys tell us who we were supposed to hate to be truly American or Godly.

Well, I don't know about you, but I don't like anyone telling me who to hate, and I definitely don't like my OWN history and culture of inclusivity suddenly called into question by narrow minded a-holes.

We are better than this, and we should DEFINITELY be more evolved than slave owners were 200 years ago, or have we given up convictions and love in pursuit of war and power?  It's a question that everyone needs to consider.  As for me, I believe we are better off with a wider culture than any one of us can provide with our narrow perspectives, and adding to that diversity is the key to real strength.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Midwestern "values" from Experience

We hear a lot about "midwestern values," especially with the most recent election, but I think it needs to be explained what, exactly, that means, and who better to describe that than myself that grew up in the midwest and have spent most of my life over the decades, here.  So, here is a little about my own experience growing up in the midwest.

I moved to the state of Oklahoma in the 80s in 4th grade.  Most people don't like their experience growing up in schools, but I had a LOT to experience in my life in Oklahoma in that time that would set the foundation for what it means to be an Okie.  Of course, it began with my dad that had grown up, himself, in Oklahoma...and we had moved back to his home town, there.  Well, my dad's "midwest" values included whipping me with a belt at times, constantly scowling angrily in his chair at home...yelling at us if we even changed the channel before he was done with it.  He would NEVER say he loved me or congratulate me on my many accomplishments but, instead, would guilt me into going HUNTING with him or working on his construction site, neither of which I liked to do, telling me it was to toughen me up.  Then, there was my grandma that I recall standing on my front lawn and telling my mother that I was going to hell, because I was attending a Methodist church rather than her Church of Christ church.

School was definitely not a break from this kind of abuse, as I was picked on a LOT growing up, being called "4 eyes" or "thunder thighs" or being de-pantsed on the front lawn of the school.  Indeed, I remember riding to a baseball game, one time, and was woken up to find a starting player of the time holding his penis in front of me in the presence of the other players and asking me to suck it.  I didn't, and they just laughed, but that was the "values" that I lived, growing up. Don't think that boy was a crude nobody, either.  He was son of a public school teacher of a respected family in town.  As I entered high school, I hung out with my cousin a lot, who I think is a great guy.  I ended up spending more time at his house than my own.  He was starting pitcher on the baseball team, and he was classy and fun.  I learned a lot of my dressing style to impress the lady's from him, and I learned to appreciate rock music and horror movies at that house.  However, I did, also, experience my first pages of porn at his house among the other popular baseball playing guys.

But, don't think that was out of character for the midwest.  Indeed, as seen in the pic at the top of this post, I recall that the most popular shows was Dukes of Hazard (popular show about people running from cops), Porky's about people spying on naked ladies, the Best Little Whore House in Texas (played annually on the Oklahoma station), and of course....even to today watching the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders.  Football's crushing of one another continues to be a leading "value" of Oklahoman's as well, as people side up with being a "Sooner" or "Cowboy" of state schools.  A sooner, by the way, is someone that broke the law of settlement.

From my own experience, I can tell you that midwestern values include drama at school bondfires, teenage pregnancy, judgement and condemnation of anyone that is different, bullying, fights, off-roading (illegal use of vehicles) on other people's property, killing animals in hunting that is not for food, drugs and alcohol use, pornography, and....then, proclaiming themselves morally superior to the rest of the nation that DIDN'T do these things in other parts of the country.

So, the next time that someone is preaching about midwestern values, I wanted you to know what that REALLY means and how they REALLY grew up.  It wasn't only in the recent as last year, my daughter was called a "baby killer" and attacked, just for supporting a democrat.  My experience is not moral superiority on the part of the midwest, but self imposed ignorance and abuse.  God help us from that kind of "morals."

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Watch Actions, Not Words, to find Happiness

Three is a scene in We Bought a Zoo, where the zoo owner's son was talking to the lady zoo manager, and she asking him how things are going with the girl that liked him.  He said he doesn't know how to talk to girls, and the manager said...

"...talking to girls is easy. They'll tell you everything. The secret to talking is listening"

Now, what she MEANT was not listening to words, as Lily had said nothing.  She meant....ACTION.

Over the course of the last few years, I have made a change in my life to stop spending time and energy upon those that did not do the same to the mother and sister who had not visited my home in 3 years, despite living nearby or emailed to ask how I was doing... or even expressed any concern or assistance in my visits to them. Or, there is the older daughter that crashed at my house for 2 years, without ever contributing in chores or finances, even as I was spending two hours a day taking her to college for her classes....yet she never once texted me to ask how I was doing or inquired about my job or made any concessions for my schedule.

So, when both of these groups got upset because I no longer were there for them (having pulled back to give myself time), it was time to break the contact, rather than let them emotionally abuse me to their own ends.

Family is not about blood, and friendship is not a social media contact. Both are defined in actions, not words. Always remember this. Someone can say that they care about you, or they can show that they care about you.  If they show it, they don't need to say it; but, if they say it without showing it, it is twice as bad. However, the truth is found in what you can see. 

Now, there are people of faith that are telling you at times that faith is believing without seeing. However, that is not true and not biblical.  Faith must be based in what is real, and what is real can be seen.  Like God, I may be able to see love, but I can see the effects of it. And even in scripture, it cautions us faith that without works is dead... which is an old language way of saying if you can't see it or the effects of it, it isn't real. Also, Jesus told us that we are to judge people by their fruit, which is actions.  Many that call themselves Christians should consider that. If they hate instead of love.

So, if you're in a situation where you're just not sure how to think about someone, plug your ears and watch their actions.  If the actions do not justify your response, stop giving it. You deserve that. Respect yourself, even if they do not give you that respect.  That is a human right, and THAT is a truth you need to apply, if you would make your life happy.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Imaginary "Gender" and Being "Natural"

I have a hobby of searching out family tree history, sometimes.  It is kinda pointless, because after all the months of searching out this family tree line, you conclude...yup, I was born and had parents who had parents and so on.  It doesn't change who YOU are at all.

However, I remember one thing from it that is applicable, here.  In one of my family tree lines, I saw that this generation of one family tree line was from "Tennessee" and the prior generation was from "Georgia."  I remember thinking ah..what caused them to move from this state to that state in those years, until I realized that it was the SAME TOWN, and my ancestors had not moved...the state line had moved.

This is a great examples of "gender" to me.  We, in this country in this time period, have the arrogance to say that THIS is what defines "men" and THAT is what defines "women" for all people of all times.  However, is that really true?

First, let's consider other cultures.  Over in Scotland, it is appropriate for men to wear skirts called kilts.  In Europe, it is appropriate for men to like the arts and be passionate about love, culture, cooking, and fashion.  Indeed, as we walk through department stores in America, you will find MEN names at the head of many women's purses, shoes, clothes, jewelry, and perfume....meaning that those men had CREATED the designs that women love...which would be hard to do if the men of those names didn't share the interests and designs.  I, recently, walked through the Dallas Museum of Art with my wife, and I was noticing what I already knew to be the case...we were looking at paintings of who not only liked the arts but DEFINED it to generations.

But, that is another time, and that is another point.  We arrogantly defined what it means to have specific genders upon our time period, when history betrays us.  Shakespeare is perhaps one of the greatest love and romance writers of all time, and he was a MAN.  All of his performers were MEN.  Indeed, for thousands of years, almost all theater performers were men, but we determine that those who do the arts, today, must be "feminine"...upon our current day definition of that word.  Also, if you are talking about the "feminine" characteristic of wearing jewelry, having hair done, and wearing makeup, I hate to disappoint you but, before the recent centuries, that was done by not only MEN but MEN of POWER.  Have you SEEN the gold that the Egyptian Pharaoh would wear or the robes....not calling them dresses..of the ROMAN Caesars and such?

Indeed, if you look at nature, you will see that this is actually common.  It is usually the MALE animal that is the most colorful or decorated, and the male lion has the mane, while the female lions were rather plane...and in fact the female would do the hunting.  Notice I said ANIMALS, also, because most plants are BOTH male and female in one plant.  So, when people are condemned by conservatives for not being "natural" by not being a male extreme or female extreme in our current definition of those words, they are actually being more true with NATURE than the conservative.

I think the problem is that our current age...and conservatives specifically...have a problem spectrums or the color gray.  They LOVE to speak in black and white and put people and things in boxes; however, they define those boxes by their prejudices and the center of the bell curve for that thing.  For those that don't know, a bell curve is a graphic tool that shows how, given the statistical sampling of how things are, they often fall into a curve that begins at the bottom, rises to a peak, and drops to a bottom, in a smooth line.  Then, conservatives take that center point and define EVERYTHING by the center point, even if that is not actually true.

So, like my geography lesson at the start of this, GENDER (just like race and party and religion) have had their definitions changed over time, and people that have lived in the same way and location without moving have found themselves defined DIFFERENTLY in a world of shifting perspectives.

If you are out there and you are feeling that you just don't fit into the bubbles that they have set for you, and you feel you must be strange or unnatural, just dismiss the critics.  The fact is that by being yourself you ARE NATURE, as nature created you.  Be yourself, like who you want, and follow your bliss.  Just FORGET gender definitions that always seem to change and are only created by those wishing to control and, instead, just fall in love with being yourself.  THAT is a path to happiness.

Living in a Careless Culture

Over the course of the last week, I have had more personal examples (as well as seeing news examples) of something that I have said in the past in my blogs and feel it needs to be said, again.  A lot of people see what is happening on the national stage or see others short changing, mischarging, or just being unfair to them and take a defensive response to it, suggesting that they are being "attacked" by someone or something.  In rare cases, this is true....when someone truly wishes you harm and wants to maliciously make that happen to you.  However, most of the time it isn't their desire to do you harm that is the cause, it is JUST NOT CARING what happens to you.

In the course of my most recent move, I have had a couple examples of that, where someone double charged/ overcharged me or under paid me.  When pressed on it, they finally admitted that they had made a "error" but blamed others or defended themselves by saying it wasn't intentional.  That sounds very familiar.  When I used to deal with my ex (before I finally cut off communication), I used to hear that a LOT..."I didn't MEAN to do you wrong, I just didn't think about it" would be her defense...again and again and again over the same things.  That is the defense all of these type of people give...that it wasn't malicious only careless, as if that makes it all the better.

As I used to say to my daughter, if I carelessly hit someone with my car, they are still dead.  If I carelessly fail to pay a utility bill, they still shut off my power.  The fact that it is careless doesn't make it better, and I have suggested that it makes it worse, because they have failed to acknowledge you as a person, at all.  When someone intentionally does you wrong, they KNOW you deserve more and wish to deprive you of it.  However, when someone carelessly does you wrong, it means that each time it was done, they didn't CARE how it impacts you.

But, that is the culture we live in, and I think that how it gets political is when people intentionally put others in that state of mind, by keeping them in the fight or flight mentality of having an enemy.  Abraham Maslow created a Pyramid of Human Need in 1943 that has been a cornerstone of human psychology.  It states that if people do not have their physiological needs and safety needs met, they will not progress unto love or self actualization.

I believe that is what is happening with the segment that is currently supporting Trump, but it does not originate with him.  They are already prepped for him by way of conditioning in the church, which I will blog about in a few minutes and post to my magic blog for a spiritual / religious focus of this.  I believe that the Republican Party has realized this way of motivating others above their sense of ethics and empathy by keeping them in a constant state of FEAR ..with loud alerts by Fox News and speeches talking about the threat of Islamic terror on our country, when since 911 the rate of deaths by Islamic terrorism in the USA is one person per year (see a previous blog on this).  So, the sheep are being led by the shepherd out of fear of the imaginary wolf, much like the movie The Village, which I would recommend to anyone to see.

By keeping them in a state of fear about their safety (needing a WALL to shelter them is a great clue), they keep them from even THINKING about the loss of others.  So, when they tell them that we must cut the social aid programs or healthcare of the poor in order to fund PROTECTION from this threat, they have used Maslow to create the careless culture of which I speak.  It isn't that they WANT the poor to die or suffer, they have just been conditioned to JUST NOT CARE.

Obviously, we can't fix this by pointing it out to them or telling them to care.  Their minds are fixed in fear and stuck in the stage that prevents them from even USING logic or empathy.  All we can do is spead the message of love and questioning the imagined demons around the bend and reminding them that life can and is being lived in happiness by some.  Maybe, then, they will choose to step past fear into freedom.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Republican Zombie Apocalypse

I have been thinking for over a year that we must have crossed over into a diversion of the species, via evolution...and the mutated species doesn't even believe in evolution...ha.  They walk around thinking that they are completely normal...all the while attacking the norms as perverse.

At least, it seems that we can isolate the diversion into one  political party and...even religious faction... the Religious Right of the Republican Party.

Now, why do I say that they have crossed a line into an evolutionary diversion?  Well, if there is one case of something here or is a minor glitch...a hereditory hiccup, and that has happened many times.  However, when you see an entire culture become affected, it is a larger could indicate a species change.

What really brought it out to a reality for me was the last election at the start but MUCH MORE in the year to follow.  Now, I don't believe it was possible to get all the way to the election, without knowing how Trump is....if there is ONE PERSON in this country with absolutely NO filter on his mouth or twitter account, it is this man.  What he believes...he says, eventually.  Even during the election, we knew that he was an adulterer, having cheated on each of his wives with the next one, and he openly bragged about the claim that he was pursuing a married woman and that being a celebrity allowed him to grab women by their sexual parts.  Further, it was known that he didn't have a plan on HOW to run the government or even pay for his wall, all of which has been seen after the election.

And, that is where I come to my point.  AFTER the election, Trump has hired and fired his cabinet, passed a total of NO policies he said was priorities, been exposed for espionage on behalf of a foreign government who he is still benefiting with his policies, failed to reach out to the other party despite winning less than half the country's votes, passed policies that step us back on racial reconcilation, rejected the world as unworthy to enter our country, amped up several wars, promoted cutting aid for the poor and elderly, and STILL his party supports him, even though no one else wants to be known for being associated with him.  That is why I say it is genetic.  LOGIC would dictate that they must know he is heartless and greedy and angry, but they support him, anyway, as evidenced by a Washington Post story you will find on my Twitter profile.  Why?  Because they are like him.

The press keeps trying to wake conservatives up to  how Trump is, when what they are missing is that he has not deceived them....he is their DREAM and ROLE model of choice.  Trump didn't cause the evangelical churches to stop donating to the poor and to get them to oppose social aid...that has been happening for decades, as they dance to Pat Robertson's CBN and FOX News drum...both of which are run on profits and have very rich executives off these gullible viewers that donate at the drop of the hat to anything GOP, leaving nothing for the needy.  In fact, rather than GIVE to the needy, they take it from them...or did you think the rich pastors got their suits, cars, planes, and houses from the rich...or is it from donations of the POOR?

And, that is where I get to this post title.  Society has evolved into two groups...those that STILL care for the poor and needy and willingly GIVE to support them, and ZOMBIES that survive and grow by devouring others.  They don't want to think about the fact that there is limited money in the country and that all their riches MUST come from making others poor....but they explicitly let you know they don't want to pay for the poor out of their own pockets in taxes.   It is survival of the fittest and they have determined that THEY are the species that must survive.

But, there is no way to lose friends faster than to bully them, take their money, and refuse to listen to them, and the GOP have definitely displayed their nature to the rest of the world that has rejected them, right along with the President those conservatives love.  So, a comfort in all this is that the majority that rejects Trump, today, will vote Democrat in the future election, and this term will have served as a generational anti-virus to help us know what to fight in the future....which just might save our nation.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Life's an Adventure ..Explore a Little

I'm the kind of person who likes to have things worked out. I like to have a plan and know where things are leading.  At least that's how it's been. Don't get me wrong. I like a diverse world and like being diverse myself, but I always wanted to know that the path that I was on was leading to where I wanted to go. That's changing a little.

Now , I still believe that you should not be on a path that you know does not lead you where you would want to go or leads you somewhere you know you would not want to be.  However, how can you know what you want without exploring a little? Also, it takes a little while for things to develop. I know what I know now, but I don't know what I'll know tomorrow. Its kind of arrogant for me to make decisions on days I have not even seen yet.

I think we all have parts of our soul that we know we have never fully fleshed out. It could be, because they were not popular ... Or, it could be that we just didn't have the time or want to spend that money on it.  Or,  maybe we just didn't believe in ourselves.

In Finding Forrester, Jamal was lecturing his teacher in one scene. He says...

"Yeah, and what's the reason in having a file cabinet full of writing and keeping the shit locked so nobody can read it? What is that man?"

Do you have things locked up in your imagination or your soul that you have yet to develop? I for one intend to take the next year to develop those things I like, so that I know where I want to go.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due...To Yourself.

What a month. To say that the last month has gone smoothly would be to lie and to say it was difficult would be an understatement.  But, thanks to my own smarts and efforts, we have made it through the roughest patch on the way to a happy life. And no, that's not ego. That's honesty, let me tell. And then you decision.  

To really tell the story I have to back up a couple months to when I was working as an accountant at an oil and gas contract accounting company.  It was a new company to this industry and, aside from the archaic system that they were using for the job, their management was completely untrained and unprepared. As the company moved to a deadline that I knew they were not going to reach, I had to look out for my own professional career.  So, knowing that their untrained and irresponsible management would blame those under them for the failures of this transition, I knew I had to exit.

Of course, this put a financial strain on the family, and, even though I was driving Uber and working at what I could work while I was applying for new jobs, it caused the strain of financial being underemployed. 

Finally, I got an offer.  However, that job was not going to start for a month. But, I planned it out, gave my notice to my apartment complex (30 days)  We were going to pay the rent at the beginning of the month, travel down to where I was going to be working in the middle of the month, get a place, and then transition over to it.  It all would have went very smooth, and that's when the difficulty began. 

First, we got to the beginning of the month and on my bill was 4 months worth of rent due on the first of the month.  They had charged me the full move out fee, prior to us having actually moved out, even contacting the apartment complex resulted in no answers.  I knew that we did not have the money for that kind of fee, so I had to make the only fiscally possible choice of taking that rent check money and using it for hotels, down in the new location until we find our new place to move.  But, choosing to do that meant moving some stuff into storage and taking some stuff with us and living out of a suitcase on very little money, since there was no paycheck until a few weeks after I begin that job. However, I found an amazing place with a great move in special. Then, I started attending my job working at my job and got approved for the new location; but, they said there was an old apartment bill unpaid on my credit report from 5 years prior. I knew nothing about this bill, but I contacted the collection agency about it who proclaimed that this bill had never been paid.  Well, I contacted the apartment complex about it, but, their only contact at the apartment complex was an email address for the accounting office who took a while to respond to emails.  I needed to get into my new apartment, so I paid the fee out of my limited amount of money to the collection company.

Within a week of having been approved for my new apartment, I get an email back from the accounting office at the old apartment office. As it turns out, that bill had been paid in 2012.  I contacted the collection company about that. They said that they won't accept the email from the apartment complex and needed to hear it from them themselves.  So, I contact the apartment complex to have their accounting office send a message to the collections company.  However, even upon hearing from the apartment complex that the bill that they were collecting already been paid, they refused to refund the money to me.... yes, I have contacted the state attorney general about this fraud. The apartment complex did eventually agree to refund their money, but not until next month and so that money is not useful.

On to the next challenge. Near this time I had a charge suddenly appear in my bank account for U-Haul after we had already paid our bill. Upon looking at the details of the bill, I saw that, after we paid the bill, they charged me for an extra day, more equipment, and a late fee for not having paid the extra charge.  This...also...took many phone calls and weeks, but I did at least get THIS refunded.  

Then, the new apartment complex that had said, "don't worry about the pet fees....we can put them off till the next month or longer" were suddenly like..."Well, there is the 30 dollar fee for our discount off your deposit that we are giving you, and we will need 200 of the pet deposit, now....after we were already moved in so, of course, we kinda have to do it.

So, to make up for this we decided to get a car tag loan to help in the moving costs of this very strained month.  I asked my work if I could get a few hours off to take care of that, and the manager said..."why don't you take 4 hours for it" I agreed.  What she failed to share is that it would be UNPAID leave, so when I got my first check it was 100 dollars less than normal.

However, one thing did come through for us.  When we were in Tulsa, we got on food stamps to go along with Uber.  I just assumed that because I had moved to another state, we could not use them.  However, in desperation, I gave it a shot and called them to ask.  They informed me that, in fact, I COULD use them in the new state, until I could get setup in that state.  Finally, some good news.

And, here is what inspired this post.  Upon telling my co-workers about my financial struggles for weeks and hearing about the food stamps, one of my co-workers says, "That's great.  I like hearing things like that, because I believe there is someone up in the sky that takes care of us."  

Now, I am sure she meant it in a positive way, but I couldn't help but note that in weeks of having told my co workers about my struggles, none of them had offered me a single dime.  However, they certainly had criticism of the manner in which I solved the problems.  When I mentioned the car loan, I was informed that those places were outlawed in many places and were not a great idea.  AGAIN, I note that not one of them said, "Do you need a few hundred dollars"...even as in the same day the one that had criticized the title loan bragged to another co worker, "I always carry a few hundred dollars in my pocket...just in case."

And, people wonder why I have a problem with conservatives.  I mean...they are not being intentionally mean...just intentionally careless...not caring for others by choice to enhance themselves.  It is not just true for my office but has been a ringing truth among Conservative Christians in almost every place I have found them.  Indeed, conservatives EXPLICITLY are engaged in elections to CUT food stamps and the very means that I had just fed my children, while I have YET to see a single Evangelical church with a food pantry for the poor in it.  They condemn Planned Parenthood, but none of them have funds for single mothers.  But, hey, at least I got food stamps by the grace of GOD, so I guess that means God works for the department of human services, which would make the church opposed to the work of God.

I kid, of course, because God DIDN'T help me this month.  Yes, I said that ... God didn't help me.  I know that it has become the default thing to say..."well, praise God" or "I am blessed" or such.  However, I look at facts, and the FACT is that God's people on earth gave me not one dime of support in all my months of struggle, and the ones that DID help me are the very programs the Religious Right want to end.  No one walked up to me and said, God told me to give you this, and there were no unwarrented funds that appeared in my bank account.  No, every dime I had this month I earned by work...and the reason it lasted was because I was wise in spending it and budgeted effectively to last.

Look at your own life, and ask the question...honestly.  The good in your life, what is the literal source of that good.  Honor those people that fit that bill, as they are a great treasure in your life.  Similarly, don't blame the devil for every evil but ask the question...WHO was it that took my money, cut me off in traffic, disrespected you, used you, or harmed you and make sure THEY, not the devil, gets the blame for that.  Only, when we look at the source of good and evil in our lives can  we make decisions of who to trust and surround ourselves with toward a better tomorrow.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Speak Up for Your Happiness

I shaved my beard, tonight.  Funny way to start a blog on speaking up, but you will see the point in a minute.  But, first, a little background.

I grew up in a little backwoods town in Southeast Oklahoma.  To say that I didn't fit in that well would be an understatement, but who fully does.  However, I knew I wasn't like your average boy.  Yes.  I did like to explore and got hurt enough times to definitely qualify, but I was just not into the same things that other boys were into.  I avoided the football games on the lunchtime playground.  I didn't like to wrestle or any form of violence.  So, it didn't help when my dad was always trying to get me to go hunting with him or help him build buildings.  I am pretty sure that all of that was meant to make me be like him.  However, I didn't let that difference define me.  I just found places that I could fit in NEAR what they wanted.  So, for example, by my senior year I was the bookkeeper in basketball or baseball, and I was the sports photographer for the yearbook.  I excelled in my studies and got a lot of awards in many subjects, and that caused my critics to pretty much leave me alone...especially if they wanted good stats for their plays or good pictures or such.  However, I found myself being happy with taking a good shot or making friends and school achievements.

Indeed, achievements made it pretty easy for me to distract myself from being different than most guys, all along the way, and ....because I was very friendly and supportive, I had a lot of friends that liked to have me as a friend.  Even as I was at work and starting a family, there was always those that I could relate to....and a lot of time they were women.  No, I am not saying I am gay..stay with me, though.  If you thought that was what I was about to say, this post is for you.

I joined the military and served with honors, along the way.  However, I must say that being around a bunch of guys that talked about their trucks and football and shooting and using women only made me feel very different, again, and I was back in that school in my mind or with my father in the woods hunting.  Then, as I was leaving the military, my ADHD daughter was having issues with her schooling, and they were isolating her.  My ex (we were married then) wasn't about to give up her management job, so I took the initiative of homeschooling her.  And, it provided me with years of self exploration.  As I schooled her, I also did everything that went along with it at the home, and I wrote freelance and read books and had LOTS of time to think and along the way, I learned that I LIKED myself, as I was, even if others around me were still determined to make me fit their mental mold.

But, I was still confused, and here is where we hit the meat of this blog post and how it relates to both society and recent news from the President and the military.  I knew I wasn't like most men, and I felt pressure to just force myself to be like them.  However, I chose to start loving MYSELF for who I was.  It wasn't a clear path, and I didn't have anyone with which to discuss all of this so I questioned things like my sexuality...I felt that if I wasn't like the majority of guys then I must be gay...only I wasn't sexually attracted to men, only women, which made me all the more confused.

Now, I will pause my story to ask you to participate.  In your lives, do you know people that might fit this struggle?  Do you know others (or perhaps yourself) that do not like doing the things that the stereotype of that sex does?  Do you know tomboy girls that hate wearing dresses, or do you know guys that would rather go to an artistic event or go to a coffeehouse or walk in the park over going to a football game and who never say anything when you talk about who will win the next major fight that will be on tv?  That is called...GENDER, and it doesn't mean sexual attraction.  And, most people don't understand the difference, so when...for example...the President commands that all men who are not like the other man or women that are not like the other women should be expelled from the miliary, it only reveals their ignorance.

So, I resume my story.  As I learned to love myself and make myself happy, I found those that resonated with that person and those that wanted to change me.  I chose to cut off those that didn't support me and surround myself with those that do, and in the process of that surrounding, I met my wife...who GOT me and loved me for who I was.  We connect BECAUSE I am not a man's man...if I was, she wouldn't like it, and if she wanted me to be different, I wouldn't like her.

But, every now an then, I still fall back into the temptation of thinking she would like that kind of man, so I do things like grow a beard or act more directing and being the "hard working man" figure that I am told in the media that she must like...and in so doing becoming less of the man that she fell in love with and less of the man I had learned to love, myself.  But, eventually, one of us will start a conversation that leads to open discussion about how we feel (we both like these conversations to help us work it out mentally), and we go...oh, right...duh, and we make shaving a beard.

So, I know it is hard to not be influenced by the world around you, but I would recommend that you take the time to keep yourself centered in remembering what YOU LIKE about being you and what you do not like....and then communicate that to others, around you.  Only then, will you be able to filter out those who really like YOU for YOU and give them enough feedback to know what you really like.  Only then, will you be able to find true happiness.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Patriotic Freedom

I served in the military for 6 years in the Army National Guard, and then I served for 2 years in the active duty Army. In that time, I earned the Army Achievement medal , two battalion coins, and soldier the month for my battalion which was a self propelled artillery unit. 

There are a variety of reasons for why someone joins the military. Some join it, because they want money for college. Some join it, because they have nowhere else to go. Some join it, honestly, because they want to kill somebody. So, there are noble intentions and selfish intentions and noble people and selfish people in the military just as in every area of society.

For myself, I joined for deep convictions of American ideals, not for any specific president or any specific war. Specifically, I believe in defending freedom, both at home and abroad. Many people, in fact, not only join the military but fought in wars for that exact reason. Many of our leaders have lost the sight of that today, and if you ask them why it was that we fought a war in Korea or Vietnam, they would have a hard time answering you short of responding in a very crusader, we win every victory and take over the world mentality. The fact is that we fought those wars, because we believed that people should be free, it's why we have the statue of liberty...It's why we have songs of patriotism singing about keeping our country free and spreading freedom to all the rest of the world...which is what the crown on the statue of liberty represents. And, then came the mishmash of current wars. Some of these wars were indeed fought for the freedom of those that were suffering oppression.  We went into countries where aggressive brutal dictators were oppressing people, and we liberated them from their oppressor.

What bothers me... And I think bothers many Americans today... Is that the current wars fought by this president are less about spreading freedom from oppression and more about oppression and hatred of entire groups for how they freely choose to be different from America.

But this war on differences is not simply being waged outside of our borders but within as well. It is being waged by those praising freedom but taking it from their neighbor every time they differ from them in religion, politics or even how they choose to love.

So to the conservatives that scream that liberals are unpatriotic, I want to say as a veteran that we are loyal and patriotic to the very things you are fighting for.  I invite you to stand for what our what our fathers died for ...Freedom. To do otherwise to me seems very unpatriotic.

America is getting Scrooged.

Every year, as we get near Christmas on multiple channels and many times, is the classic a Christmas Carol.   The story has been bit different ways from perspectives.  The ghosts of Christmas past present and future took on different formats and acted in different ways.

However, central to the character of Scrooge in the story is someone who was all about business and the bottom line and dollars, and that's why he was making a man with an injured son and depressed family work on Christmas day.

I feel that America is getting royally screwed right now in the health care debate. You have one party that is all about the dollars and the bottom line and what they can afford (they specifically); and they explicitly are saying they don't want to pay for things that they themselves are not going to use.  They are saying they don't want to pay for women's health care, for example, if they are a man. They are saying that they don't want to pay for the health care of those who can't afford the benefits, which is kind of the point of giving at all.

In fact, that is kind of the point of health care coverage and insurance, in that no one is paying the full cost of their medical bills.  They are unable to afford them, and they are receiving help from other people. But, in this debate, we have an entire party that is saying they don't want to give their money to someone else who needs care, which is a cold and heartless thing to say and reminds me very much of Scrooge..

What makes matters worse? Is that the party that is doing this is proclaiming themselves to be "God's party."  Yes, God.. The one who fed the 5000 that was hungry and healed the sick has suddenly got in the business of being a banker saying we can't afford to help you please go away, so we can have a tax cut to build our new building.... It's gonna be HUGE.

Of course, that's not God, and this is not God's party. It's greed and selfishness and hate and the things that God himself warned us about.

It's time to call Congress and the President and remind them that a nation that has a soul must first have a heart.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

If You See Something, Say Something

I remember when I worked in Boston for a year that all along the subway and train stations was plastered the phrase "If you see something, say something." It was meant as a means to stop terrorists from terrorism in our midst.

Well, today, that is more important than ever but for catching terrorists from within our own industries and politics.  We have developed a system of homegrown bullies that feel it is their divine right and Destiny to gather to themselves by denying from others.

The fact is that there is a limited supply of money.  It is literally not possible to become richer than average without forcing others below average.  That is just basic math.  But, right now, we have an entire political party that is ADVERTISING their RICHES as the american dream and elected a President that is supposed to be qualified to manage the country, because he was able to overcharge and under cut his customers from what it actually cost him in order to make a huge profit on the backs of others.  And, the religious right says... Praise God.  Pass the collection plate for our new building.

It is time for this financial terrorism to stop and for those wronged to ... Say something. 

Speak up.  If you have been short changed, say it.  If someone is being unethical, report it.  If someone is being unfair, require them to have to publicly defend themselves.  Only those doing wrong ask for secrecy, and roaches love darkness.  It is time to shine more lights on abusers to the benefit of all.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

A Good Foundation is Everything

Some people look at the here and now...what do they have right now or not have right now.   However, I am here to tell you that doing such is self deception and destructive.  It's similar to how I say that actions always beat words.  If the words are true, you will see it in their actions; but, if you do not see the actions the words are all the more malicious.  Well, having a good day or a bad day is FICTION, when it comes to determining if something is good or bad.  It is more important to look at not only the history of those actions but where they are leading.

Recall the Wizard of Oz.  In the story, it was very important that Dorothy stayed on the yellow brick road to get to the castle.  Aside from the fact that the entire Wizard of Oz story was written as political satire on the vanity of following a "road" made of GOLD and expecting that to fix everything in their life (spoiler it didn' was a false hope given by the one that ran oz), the story does say one thing that is important... where you ARE is not as important as where you are GOING.  Where does that road take you or not take you.  If you are taking a golden road that is based in a false hope, you will end up as deceived as Dorothy, so it is important to determine if the road that you are on takes you where you want to go.

And, that is the other side to it...where do YOU want to go....YOU...not someone else.  There are far too many out there chasing the dreams of of others and making others happy.  Then, years down their road, they stop and say, "How the hell did I end up HERE...I don't even LIKE it, here."  That is because no one else is responsible for how you respond or where you go, and they know much less than you what it is that you desire.  If you don't stand up and speak your desire and say NO, sometimes, you will find yourself in servitude to others happiness and filled with regret of your own.

I have said to my wife, several times, and to others that I don't KNOW where I am going in my life.  Indeed, how CAN you know all the steps that are ahead of you.  And, knowing all of that would take all the fun out of life.  As Jack Sparrow said in Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides...

"Better to not know which moment may be your last. Every morsel of your entire being alive to the infinite mystery of it all."

Exactly.  It is an adventure what lies ahead.  However, you CAN and SHOULD take note if the path you are on CAN lead you to happiness or just misery.  If you are in a miserable job or relationship, and since people don't change and management doesn't change at the top of companies but rarely, to sit in misery and expect happiness would be fulfilling the definition of insanity to repeat the same process and expect different results.  However, if you can look around you and see the POTENTIAL for serendipity (happy surprises or happy accidents as the movie says), well...THAT is LIFE.

So, take an honest stock of where you are and the natural progression of events and make your life decisions based NOT on what you see today but what you expect, tomorrow....and THAT is the key to a happy tomorrow.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Forward to Respect

The last few months have capped off my exit from a very selfish and destructive area... Tulsa, ok.

Now, I hear you saying that i should not judge an entire city, and i get it... I dislike people that do that, too... Like conservatives that judge those in California or New York.  Yet, all I can base my judgement on is my own experience.  So, let's talk about that experience, working backwards, of Tulsa and Oklahoma.

Today, I had to spend hours on the phone calling Uhaul, because after I used their truck two weeks ago for 4 hours and paid on the spot for it, i got another charge, today, for the additional costs of having the truck for 2 DAYS and paying late... Neither of which were true.  Yet, upon being informed of this...NO ONE wanted to take the responsibility of refunding the money.

The reason for having to use their truck in the first place is the next point... Leaving my Broken Arrow apartments, the Heights of Battlecreek.  To say this complex messes up some things is to give them undue credit.  The fact is things were always messed up.  In the time I lived there the gates were broken more than they were working, which was true of the washing machine at the complex, also.

But, that is just the tip of the iceberg.  They took 2 separate summers to come out 15 times each summer to "fix" the a/c and that would only stay fixed for a few weeks.  During Christmas day, last year, they put stickers on cars throughout the complex threatening to tow cars that had low tires.  However, we renewed our lease in January, which included a rent discount for renewal.  Yet, I noticed i was paying more.  So, I began inquiring and being told they were right.  So, I asked for a detail of my charges (they never sent receipts) and confirmed a few months into my renewed lease that we were being overcharged.

But, we stayed on there, till I got a job offer in Texas and gave them a 30 day notice.  Upon getting the notice, the apartments sent me a document with two choices... Either pay back your rent concession and 3 months rent or keep paying for the apartment till they got it rented out.  I chose the second option.  Yet... 1 week later and still within the month notice (we had not reached move out date) we were charged 4000 dollars.  Of course we could not afford that and had to rush out (thus the uhaul), leaving many of our things behind.  The apartments response..... Why did you leave?  I don't know... The 4k dollar bill? 

But, that lack of taking personal responsibility for screwing you is, unfortunately, common in Oklahoma, whether it be a uhaul or an apartments complex or a job where the managers take no time to learn the duties of the employees under them and assume no responsibility to train them but push all the blame for anything not done down on the least experienced people to handle advanced tasks affecting millions of dollars.  My time in Tulsa was working for two such companies... IBM and Sutherland Global Services.

But, my experiences are not limited to those.  Indeed, I also...

...had my sister that lived there break into my house and cart up my things to her house without asking me.  When I asked for my things and an apology, I got my things and a note that said "have a nice life"

...I had the preacher that was going to perform my wedding go onto my page on Facebook the week before my wedding on my birthday to post that he hoped i find Christ, even though I had told him days before that I not only was a believer but had a Bible degree.

...yet, that kind of careless response was not new to me from Oklahoma churches.  A few years ago, my daughter was in the hospital for pneumonia for a week.  I texted the church where i served as a greeter for a year... Lifechurch... To explain my daughter was in the hospital and that i would have to miss some services.  Yet, at no time did anyone visit that hospital, and upon my return, no one even brought it up in the volunteer circle prayer meeting.  But, that doesn't shock me that much, now looking back, because most Oklahoma mega churches are only going there for their own ego and concerts... The concept that they would have to actually CARE for the hurting would be a real downer for their mood.

But... Thank God we did get away from that place, and just a few weeks in Texas has already shown me people that are interested in your life and my new apartments were offering to SAVE me money, rather than see what they could take.

I find myself saying, "Oh yeah... This is what normal is like," and I look forward to very happy days, ahead.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Path Forward to Happiness May Take a Few Dirt Roads

The Bible says..

"wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."  Matt 7:13-14

....and that is the subject of this post.  Namely, that the path that leads to life will often not follow the well beaten paths taken by the masses but will follow the narrow dirt road few have taken.

This is a reality that I am well familiar with, and I have followed many an unpopular path over my days, from the choice to divorce a non empathetic user to cutting off my spoiled oldest daughter to teach her responsibility to, recently, walking away from a steady paycheck in an accounting job that was working for an unstable company with poor management...BEFORE I had another job lined up and moving my family across state lines to another job, before I had an apartment lined up or a financial cushion to absorb it.

However, one think I am very good at doing is planning, long term, and that requires a focus NOT on how you feel at the moment but looking ahead at how you would feel in a future time and planning backwards.  A result of this is that sometimes, you may ... for example... walk away from immediate financial stability, when you see that the job will lead to financial instability and employment history black marks for having stayed where you were.  Also, it makes it easier to be sleeping on an air mattress in a new apartment with most of your stuff a state away, if you can look around you and see all the framework in place for a VERY happy future, long term.

I like to do fitness, and anyone that has exercised understands this concept, because exercise is hard and may hurt in the short term.  However, it is an activity that leads, naturally, to a better you.  The same is true for any choice to step away from immediate stability, if it is a stability that does not lead to happiness.  You will lose that stability in the shot term, but it is ONLY from that risk and venture that you create the vacume for better choices to follow.

As has been the case for all of my choices to step away from negativity, you will find few supportive from the crowd of others that, themselves, choose stability over happiness, as well as a little jealousy.  But, then, you are not living your life for them, and they do not have to live your days following their advice.  The only one responsible for you is you.

So, step out from the crowd and take the path that leads to life, no matter how obscure and original it may be.  It is an adventure that will leave you with stories to inspire others on the journey, and adventure is the point of life.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Why Following Christ Led Me To Leave The Evangelical Churches

It won't take you long to see that I have a lot of criticism of the Evangelical church leaders, but don't mistake my criticism as that of an atheist or someone uninformed.

First, a little about me.  As I grew up, my faith was a major part of my upbringing.  Indeed, as my father was very un-involved and cold in my upbringing, I sought out a church to fill that void of love that was absent from within.  Further, as a person that was sensitive and caring, it gave me an outlet to love others...or at least attempts at doing that.

I was always very much a bible reader, and I read it with a passion.  Then, there was a period, after I left the Army, when my oldest daughter was having ADHD issues with her school.  She was being isolated by a school that didn't know how to deal with it at the time.  So, I homeschooled her for 7 years.  I am not sure if I would make that choice, today, with the school systems being more sensitive and perpared for it, now.  However, I was there for her in that time, and it gave me time to finish my bachelor's degree, online, which I did at Liberty University in their Bible Studies B.S. degree program.  I picked that program, because it was focused on study of the Bible without all the "religion" and church structure courses to go along with it, and that study inspired me to write many books, as I studied the Bible which was put out online for sale and download, as well as my own engaging in online evangelism being inspired by the charismatics and evangelicals.

Most of those books are not, now, for sale at my OWN choice to withdraw them, as I began to realize the things that I am putting in this blog post about WHY I left the evangelical circles. 

You see, after the homeschooling ended, I was able to start work, again, which I did in Accounting and business in which I had undergraduate and graduate study leading to an MBA.  If there is one thing that you can know about accountants, it is this... they want facts.  You can't do a budget on... they said they WANTED to pay me or I HOPE that I make enough or etc.  Being the kind of person that would do this career, I have always been a person that looks for how things ARE, not how they are said to be.

And...then... I began to apply that to the church at large, and it began a process of evaluation and discarding of one fallacy after another that people in the church just do not challenge, and the reason that they don't challenge it is this.  They feel that... being a new to the church, they have no right to know what is "christian" and that any objections they see in the Bible to it must just be from not having read it, enough, not realizing that the Bible is either True or it is NOT, regardless of how long it has been repeated by a cycle of new believers and those collecting money from them.

What I found is that those church leaders are the LEAST interested in Bible exploration or questions and the most interested in re-inforcing the status quo, and it makes sense why that is.  The entire charismatic / evangelical structure is built around their ego and their income.  They don't even hide it.  They hold entire prayer conventions and "revivals" about their need to get a bigger building, while there is little to NO mention of programs to say .. feed the poor, give shelter to the needy, provide healthcare to the elderly, or ANY other physically ministerial program, IF those programs exist in the church at all.

Of course, this is at odds with the Bible that I studied saying, Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress" (James 1:27)  Indeed, while Jesus was telling the rich man to "sell all that you own. Give the money to the poor" (Matt 19:21) to be saved, the Evangelical pastors were driving up in their fancy new cars or putting their new private jets on the cover of their newsletters they mailed out to their donors in which they asked for more money.  They don't hide it...they straight up FLAUNT their wealth.  Have you SEEN the TBN Paul Crouch show and the GOLD and WEALTH that adorns the set, as they talk about all the travel they have done, right before they ask for MORE money, and sure as anything, the drones that watch the programs GIVE, even though they can see with their own eyes where that money is going, so that a few people can be UBER rich, paid for by taking money from the very ones in need, under the DECEPTION of the "promise" that if you make THEM rich, that God would make you rich, as well. 

But, remember that I am a factual person.  So, as I was seeing LARGE churches built and seeing the community around them crumble faster than the areas around gambling casinos, my eyes could not bypass the truth.  People in those congregations were getting POORER, while the RICH in the church were getting richer.  Rather than following the words of Jesus, who rebuked the rich as being unable to enter heaven and told the rich man to sell his goods for the poor, what we are seeing ACROSS THE BOARD IN ALL EVANGELICAL CHURCHES, no matter the denomination, is the POOR selling all that they have to give to the RICH in direct contradiction of Jesus, Himself.

Then, we got to the last election, and that was the absolute last straw for me, as we saw entire religious groups defy the very foundational principles of their "faith" to not only vote for but to promote a RICH man, spending none of his own money, running for President, who not only was not giving to the poor but was a self confessed adulterer (having cheated on each of his wives with his next wife), who never repented of his sins (a condition Jesus put on salvation), someone that preached war (instead of being a peacemaker Jesus promoted), and running in a party whose platform was cutting benefits from the POOR to enable tax cuts for the RICH....but, as we saw above, they were brainwashed and conditioned for just that.  So, why WOULDN'T they give all their money and support to someone that was taking from THEM to make himself RICH so they could feel they were doing GOD a service in doing it.

So, yeah.  I am not a member of any evangelical church.  For that matter, I am not a member of ANY denominational church, any more, as the protestant denominations in America are not much better.  Just think back to commercials you have seen or buildings you pass on the side of the road for the poor and needy....shelters, food pantries, clothing distribution, crisis pregnancy centers, etc.  Are ANY of them done by a CHURCH or one of the groups the evangelicals are condemning, today (United Nations, United Way, Planned Parenthood, or other "liberal" groups condemned for being too  ... "bleeding heart" for society).

Am I believer in the love of Jesus?  Yes.  Am I believer in religion to carry it out?  Well, not until my eyes see evidence of that love, and right now those eyes see those churches seeking riches more than opportunities to serve and self-glory rather than self-sacrifice, and that is to me....very un-christian.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

After 6 Months, Is America GREAT Again or Failing Americans?

So, how is that whole... "Make America Great Again" campaign promise going?  After all, that was the GOP campaign slogan.  They said that President Obama had failed the country's common man, healthcare, and security.  Well, let's look at how those things are doing under a GOP President and GOP Congress.

According to a new Pew Research report, the rest of the world no longer trusts us as leader of the free world...

"According to a new Pew Research Center survey spanning 37 nations, a median of just 22% has confidence in Trump to do the right thing when it comes to international affairs. This stands in contrast to the final years of Barack Obama’s presidency, when a median of 64% expressed confidence in Trump’s predecessor to direct America’s role in the world."

 Indeed,the only reason that it stands at 22 percent, instead of less, is that RUSSIA has over half of it's people trusting TRUMP to do the right thing, while countries like Sweeden, France, Germany, etc fall near 10 percent.

So, at least in terms of whether America is GREAT in the eyes of the world, that answer is a resounding NO.  And, why should they respect him?  Since Trump has become President, he has withdrawn from MANY international agreements to which we had pledge our support, and he has threatened even our ALLIES with retaliation, while he holds hands with dictators on camera and praises the North Korea leader as a smart man, as well as giving Russia American land, after it was confirmed they hacked our election. 

Ok, so that is the rest of the world.  What about the common man at home and healthcare?  Well, if you are a common man, you are not going to be included in the Tax Cut for the rich, and you may be one of the 26 million that will either lose your heathcare either directly in changes to the plan or indirectly, when the employers are no longer required to subsidize your insurance.

Also, if you are a common man that uses public schools, goes to state parks, watches PBS, or attends plays or concerts, you might be sh** out of luck, as Trump is proposing cuts to each of those American Industries.

Indeed, for a President that is supposed to be all about jobs, jobs, jobs, we should take a second to consider all the jobs he has affected so far.  When he came into office, he immediately froze hiring of vacant and needed government jobs, while forcing existing people out of their positions, either through early retirement or... as was the case with ALL of the US attorneys.... just firing them.  However, within the budget and healthcare plans working their way through congress, he will be eliminating entire government branches of employees, drastically cutting healthcare money upon which the industry's employees are built, cutting money for the arts and humanities, which is one of the lifebloods of local theater, and cutting education funding across the board, which will reduce school employees and resources to teach your kids.  How... GREAT....

Anyone that still thinks Trump is interested in making anyone but himself great is as deluded as his extended Trump Campaign Public Relations team at Fox News, who recently went from Russia is fake news to Russia Trump is a great thing for America with the speed it took for Trump to admit it in a tweet (the new GOP talking point feed).

So, in the span of only 6 months, Trump has reduced us from a global leader in many industries and supporter of the common man at home to an unempowered and broken land, ripe for him to build his new fascist fatherland, with the public poverty and golden GOP palaces to boot of himself to boot.  Hiel Trump. 

Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Blasphemy of Reason, Age of Reason by Thomas Paine $5.99

The Blasphemy of Reason
Age of Reason Complete Text by American Founder Thomas Paine $5.99
Or, Buy Print book on by clicking HERE or Kindle HERE (coming soon)


“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” ― Edmund Burke. 

As you leaf through the pages of this book, you might think it was written by someone in our day, viewing our political climate.  However, it was actually written 200 years ago by one of the founding fathers of our country, Thomas Paine.

Paine was author to two works that would inspire the revolutionaries to break from England and inspire them to fight a war of independence: Common Sense (which sold up to 150,000 copies in 1776) and The American Crisis series, being brought over by Benjamin Franklin for inspiration for that quest for liberty.

However, the themes of that day are, to me, particularly relevant to our current society, where we have a rise in far right religious nationalism, similar to the day in which Paine lived when he wrote the book Age of Reason in three parts in the late 1700s and early 1800s.  As with then, large religious groups that are aligning themselves with patriotism have their own agenda and, after promoting "freedom" to gain that power seek to take that freedom away.

And, so I am putting out this printing of this book for your review, without annotation.  I do not claim to agree with all of his statements, but I find his reasoning compelling.  The fact that I present something that I don't fully accept for review is exactly my point in presenting it and the reason I most think it must be read.  REASON, by it's very nature, does not preceed a question with an answer, but it listens to answers to inspire questions.  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote in the tales of Sherlock Holmes...
"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts." 
Indeed, our children know this lesson much better than we do, as they BEGIN their journey of learning by asking why, and they end it when they are told to stop questioning and "just because," which is how I find myself daily having to question things I have always believed that have proven false.  Yet, I accepted them on the words of those that accepted them from others, who accepted them from others and so on.

So, I ask you to approach this work with the open mind of Sherlock to listen... just listen .. to an independent mind of Paine free of institutional or peer pressure, as he questions and reflects on the facts of faith, freedom, and government, as well as the intersection of all three, being a published and recognized participant in all 3 (as reflections of a founding father that was a believer in God and recognized authority and influence of the freedom we, now, enjoy.  He can't be all wrong, and wouldn't you rather understand what you believe, rather than being told you have no right to ask contemporary questions to answers given by those who were not alive to see life as it has become?  

We can either promote darkness or light, and years ago I learned to illuminate my path, again, by asking why.   


In this work, Paine (and all of his generation and prior generations) had been subjected to the establishment of religion by those in government power, and, as they were creating the new government they were concerned about reviving this error.  It was why they put the establishment clause in the First Amendment and why Thomas Jefferson warned so forcefully about the needed Separation of Church and State.  However, Paine felt that established religion needed challenged with the same independence that the government had just faced.

From Paine's profession of faith...

"I believe in one God, and no more; and I hope for happiness beyond this life.

I believe the equality of man, and I believe that religious duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavoring to make our fellow-creatures happy.

But, lest it should be supposed that I believe many other things in addition to these, I shall, in the progress of this work, declare the things I do not believe, and my reasons for not believing them. 

I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church.

All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit. 

I do not mean by this declaration to condemn those who believe otherwise; they have the same right to their belief as I have to mine. But it is necessary to the happiness of man, that he be mentally faithful to himself. Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving; it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe.

...The adulterous connection of church and state, wherever it had taken place, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, had so effectually prohibited, by pains and penalties, every discussion upon established creeds, and upon first principles of religion, that until the system of government should be changed, those subjects could not be brought fairly and openly before the world; but that whenever this should be done, a revolution in the system of religion would follow. Human inventions and priest-craft would be detected; and man would return to the pure, unmixed, and unadulterated belief of one God, and no more." 

So, as you leaf through this book's pages, take the time to reflect not only on what has happened in the past but what may happen in the future, if we leave this alliance unchecked.  Paine wrote this book so that future generations, such as our own, would not repeat the horrors to which they so violently broke free.

Blog Focus Changes

I am making a few changes to my blogs, due to time limitations and life realities.  Up to current, I have had a Lifestyle blog, a magic blog, and a fitness blog posts on the lifestyle page, as well as instagram's and twitter's for each, and a Pinterest that has gone very very neglected.  Here are the changes...

1.  Ending fitness blog.  It was kinda a stretch for me to have a fitness blog at all, as I don't have any certifications in the area and run at most about 3-4 miles.  I did and do like sharing my activities with others, and I will continue the fitness Instagram and Twitter as I find time to post there, but the blog focus will dissipate.

2.  Lifestyle blog.  When I began the lifestyle blog under the name Forward to Happiness, it was from lessons learned in dealing with narcissistic people and having the self respect to move on from those that would bring negativity into your life toward those that bring you happiness, and it was my intention for it to be a temporary blog leading to focus SOLELY upon being happy with your new life.  However, as I began that movement, I discovered two things... 1.  SOME of those that hold you back can get a foothold in your life to require continued interaction (such as an ex with custody sharing issues) and 2.  There are a lot of a**holes in the world, and the likelihood of you having to re-experience the issues again and again is high.  Plus, there will always be new readers on here that can benefit from my lessons learned.

Therefore, I plan to dedicate more time to this focus and divide it between the messages of dealing with those that cause us harm and bringing back MORE of the positive posts that, previously, were on my Living First Edition blogsite, before I migrated that to this domain, as well.  So, some will be FORWARD (dealing with the negative) and some will be HAPPINESS (keeping your center on those things that give life meaning).

You will have undoubtably noticed that my criticism of those that cause us harm has moved from my ex as main focus to Trump, and that will continue for two reasons.  I believe that ALL narcissistic users share many of the same characteristics, and most things I say about Trump applies to my ex as well.  Second, I believe Trump and the GOP are a threat to the entire NATION and the WORLD, as evidenced by the elimination of protections of the environment, healthcare for the sick, food for the poor, and protections for the economy.  So, his Presidency and Congress, while on a national level, will cause suffering by neglect and abuse to millions on an individual level.  So, desiring to move us as a COUNTRY to happiness, I will continue to illuminate their abuse and neglect, until we have a more stable and empathetic path to the happiness of us all.

3.  Finally, I am going to be doing more product ads.  It's a fact of life that we all need money to survive, and I plan to be doing fitness, fandom, and magic product ads to that end (though the magic products will be on the magic blog, instagram, and twitter, as well as the shared Pinterest for this page.  There will be Tarot card readings offered on those pages, as well.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Why the GOP would fail pre-school (social skills)

For the time being, I am a rideshare driver, until my new job starts next month.  Doing this job, I have experienced a LOT of types of people and have had a good sampling of how people can be, both IN and OUTSIDE the car.  And, just driving through Tulsa on a daily basis and seeing what I have ALREADY seen a lot of but see now more widespread, I can say that this GOP Religious Right community would fail preschool, and it is just a microcosm of what we see from the GOP at large.

From PBS's page on grade by grade page for preschool's Social Studies section...

"Understanding how to get along with others can often take up the biggest part of a preschooler’s day. Children learn how to resolve conflicts and practice skills like sharing, taking turns and cleaning up. They figure out how to express their feelings using words. The class may also explore its community and the people in it by taking short field trips around the neighborhood."

 Do those sound like things conservatives are known for... getting along with others, sharing, taking turns, cleaning up, resolving things with words, exploring the diversity of what is around us?

Getting Along With Others

Well, we know the conservatives fail this one, because rather than negotiate with the Democrats, after winning the Presidency by less than a majority, they fired everyone they could in the government, are hiring only those willing to do loyalty oaths in top positions, defunded entire government branches they didn't like, and crafted the healthcare plan without allowing ONE Democrat into the meetings to see it or to help.  Indeed, if there is ONE thing that Trump is known for, it is his barrage of tweets CONDEMNING others, whether that be his own citizens or other world leaders, not to mention the plans to ban entire religions from being present and plans to start new WARS with other lands.


All you have to do to see this failure is look at the proposed budgets from Trump and the GOP.  In them, you will see tax cuts for the rich and less aid for the poor and suffering.  Indeed, one of the HALLMARKS of not only the GOP but the Religious Right is their protest AGAINST social programs to feed, shelter, and care for the poor and sick, BECAUSE they don't want to pay for it.  As I type this, Oklahoma that I have had the misfortune of living in (until next month) is almost LAST in the country for Education funding, because they don't want to have to pay a few cents of their taxes for others (explaining this post's education failures), and in Congress we had MEN saying they didn't want to be taxed to pay for WOMEN's health needs.

Taking Turns

This is the one that I see the most in traffic.  On almost a daily basis, I see the following.  Cars are lined up in one lane, because the other lane is closed ahead with an arrow and lights warning people to change lanes.  I bet you can guess what I am going to say, as even YOU know how society is turning.  Well, from a half mile back, cars see the signs and, rather than merge into the slow lane, they rush up to the very last space they can get in the closed lane and FORCE their way into the slow lane at the end.  I watch this happen, daily, and not just by one car but many.  Then, there is speeding.  We DO have speed laws, and those laws are punishable by fines.  However, in this religious right community, I was taking the Broken Arrow expressway, today, and noticed that EVERY car on it was speeding...every one.. by at least 5 MPH.  If you want to get over in traffic, what do you do?  Well, according to the law, you put on your blinker and the cars behind you will let you over, right?  Not here.  HERE, you put on your blinker, and they rush up quickly from behind to get ahead of you.  Indeed, if you want anyone to speed up, all you have to do is act like you are going to pass them, and the very idea that you would beat them causes them to increase their speed.

Cleaning Up

One word...environment.  I really don't have to say anything else.  The capitalism party that CREATES the most pollution is at present pulling out of agreements that make them clean it up, because they don't want to spend the money to do it.

Resolving Things With Words

By this I don't mean they express ANGER with words, because I think Trump and the GOP have a corner on that.  Trump will go down in history as an ANGRY man, as will anyone that follows him.  But, now.... RESOLVING things with words is another thing, completely.  As soon as Trump became President, he and the GOP RUSHED to get us out of United Nations peace negotiations with muslim countries and North Korea and Afghanistan.  What did they do instead of TALKING to other lands?  Why.... several dozen cruize missiles in Syria, the Mother of All Bombs in Afghanistan, threatening full war in North Korea, and I type this.. they are putting together war plans to fight Syria and Iran national government troops.  And, the GOP WONDERS why the world hates us, when we cast out their people and attack their lands.

Exploring the World and Diversity

Conservatives are really not much for getting outside of their bubble.  I recall the Pace Picante sauce commercials in the past that would have them mocking others for getting salsa in "NEW YORK CITY?"  Ha.  Indeed, when I was growing up, I had one of my father's friends say, "You are just a city boy, aren't you?"  I said yeah and was happy.  Then, my father explained that wasn't a compliment.  Conservatives retained the "Southern Heritage" pride from the civil war to believe they are better than others, and that has only grown in time.  There is no professional NFL team in Oklahoma, because they are too proud of their college teams and don't care about cheering for other states.  As we speak, they are also pushing legislation that would like them completely re-write education courses to teach the Bible in classrooms and NOT to have to say things like... evolution, climate change, birth control, etc in the classrooms and not have to teach about the values of the cultures of say.... Arabs or Chinese or any other that is not like their own.  And, God forbid if someone is gay within 50 feet of them, because I guess that would infect them and give them the homosexual plague, so that must be kept quiet, as well as ballet, theatre, and art, if the messages in them might be something the conservatives wouldn't want others to see, as they already wouldn't be buying tickets.

So, for all the political comics that compare Trump to a 3rd grader, I don't think the GOP has, yet, mastered the social skills to even be a first grader, and the whole country is paying for that Education failure.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Deaths by Terrorism and Guns Compared

Deaths by Terrorism and Guns Compared

I shared the above image, side by side, on my Instagram page this week @livelifekwc to illustrate a point.  On the left side, you see a Channel 4 news story about Muslims participating in providing disaster relief to those injured in the fire in London, while on the Right side is the statistic of  how many lives are lost on average to gun deaths.

Let's look at this comparison a little more.

Business Insider magazine reports that "Since 9/11, however, foreign-born terrorists have killed roughly one American per year."

ONE per year.  Not surprisingly, the cite notes, "Americans are more likely to win a lottery jackpot" than die by terrorists.  One in 45,808 people will at SOMETIME in their life die by terrorism by the odds, while it says that one in 358 will die by a gun assault.

Get that.  One out of every 358 people walking around right now will die in their life by an assault with a gun.  So SURELY these same people that are standing for SECURITY and SAFETY are amping up their fight on guns, as well, right?  I's just logic and numbers.  Surely, they have your interests at heart.

Well....not exactly.  The GOP that is always preaching the need to build walls and ban entire COUNTRIES and RELIGIONS from our country is actually fighting for MORE guns on the streets. 

This last week, a "gunman" attacked US congressional members with an assault gun.  So, they must have been outraged that someone could get a gun in that state without a background check and fire upon them.  Wrong, again.  The GOP response was that there should have been MORE guns on location, there.

So, given the numbers, the GOP would rather allow 11 thousand people a year to be injured from guns, so they can restrict travel and suspend American freedoms to prevent ONE person from dying from terrorism per year.

Indeed, Trump and the GOP was QUICK to announce plans to recind school zone bans on guns, after Trump was elected.  So, think about just how level headed your kids are right now.  Feel safer?

Forward to Happiness / Godwitch / Run My Own Life Pinterest