Black ‘Truthers’ and why Black Lives Matter

It’s hard for people to understand how other people live. We can empathize, we can give support but to actually understand how the neighbor lives is difficult. When there is something we don’t understand, in a lot of instances we tend to belittle, dismiss and reject opposition opinions. You can find die hard conservatives who will defend their way of life to the bitter end and will portray supposed enemies with the vilest of portraits. Liberals do the same thing to conservatives, many times giving equally vile representation of the opposition.

People don’t take the time to listen to what the other side has to say, to imagine that maybe their strongly held beliefs might be in error. What both sides love to do is find someone, especially someone who was vocal on one side, who has switched sides and reveals the ‘secrets’ of the opposition. David Brock, at the time of the Clinton Administration, was a right wing darling. During that era, he was on all the conservative talk shows, was a fixture on television because he was one of the lead people who talked about the evils of the Clintons. At some point, he had a ‘come to Jesus’ moment and now he is a defender of the Clintons. Now he is famous for supporting the Clintons on television and in print. A reviled figure in the 90s by liberals, he is now someone welcomed on those shows, while like Moses in the movie The Ten Commandments, in conservative media his name has been stricken from every tablet, every bit of media; a pariah to those who feel the Clintons are evil.

Larry Elder, Jesse E Patterson, Mia Love, Herman Cain

Larry Elder, Jesse E Patterson, Mia Love, Herman Cain

There is a group of writers and pundits, even a few politicians in the past few years, who have made a good living for themselves as being what I call ‘black truthers.’ These are black people who have made a good living in conservative circles by proclaiming to be the antidote to, and let us not mince words on this, uppity Negros. People like Larry Elder, Walter E Williams, Jesse Lee Peterson, Mia Love, Stacey Dash, Herman Cain, Dr. Ben Carson and others are the black personas used to counter the argument that conservatives have little interest in catering or listening to the concerns of Black America. These folks support the notion that America isn’t a racist country, that if blacks would only work hard and not use race as a crutch, black people can make it. They use their own stories of struggle to prove that black Americans don’t need to be slaves to the Democratic party. When looked at deeply, it isn’t ironic that that in the last Presidential election Herman Cain was a leading contender for the Republican nomination, nor is it a surprise that Dr. Ben Carson is gathering even more support on this election cycle from conservative voter.

The folks I mention cement their reputations, and monetary gains, by telling their followers that the stereotypes they foster about black people are true, but they, through the grace of God and the Republican way, have broken the chains of government slavery. Dr. Ben Carson said this about Obamacare at the Value Voters Summit on October 11, 2013.

“the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery, and it is, in a way, it is slavery in a way because it is making all of us subservient to the government, and it was never about health care. It was about control.”

Conservatives eat this up not just because they have a hatred about Obama and Obamacare, but it was said by someone who is the same race as Obama. Carson and others like him aren’t radial Negros like the President, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and many other ‘Negro leaders.’

Just as a side comment, I’m very insulted with the idea of a leader for a race or minority group because those people designated as leaders are normally convenient representatives used my media outlets. You always hear about black, Hispanic and homosexual leaders. This very small group of individuals become the de facto spokespeople for their particular groups yet they are seldom elected or bestowed this honor by the people they represent. I’ve said for years while I can admire the work that Jackson, Sharpton and others have done, I’ve never met them or voted for them to be my representative. They don’t speak on my behalf and it shouldn’t be assumed they speak for me.

The same can be said of the black conservatives. They don’t know my life or how I live. I find it insulting they would paint a picture of me to people who don’t know me and who already have negative opinions of people like me. From what I’ve seen in coverage of this election cycle, there are a lot of Republicans and conservatives who have little regards for Black Lives Matter. Some seem to think that Black Lives Matter is akin to the Black Panthers of the 60s. What I find fascinating is when the Tea Party Movement was at its height, when their rallies had a good number of signs and protesters who defiantly were promoting a racist narrative, this was dismissed in the conservative press. They didn’t believe a picture of the White House with rows of watermelons was racist, or pictures of Obama in cartoonish ‘African’ garb with a bone through his nose, or thousands of other derogatory comments and images. However, if there is a chant against the police for a few moments at an otherwise peaceful Black Lives Matter rally, well then those ‘uppity Negros’ need to be smeared as racist thugs. We need to register them as a hate group. We have to dismiss the grievances they talk about.

The conservatives don’t feel guilty for having ill will against Black Lives Matter because they can point to Dr. Ben Carson who has said about the movement that it is ‘foisting itself on people, rather than engaging in dialog, and bullying people’ and to other conservative blacks and whites whom have dismissed the organization as un-American. For years, before fate stepped in and tarnished his career, Bill Cosby made a post-Cosby Show turn around and started talking about the problems of black America. He said young men needed to ‘pull their pants up’ and other statements that seemed like the rantings of a grumpy old man, but those comments rang true to conservatives. Years of Reagan’s ‘welfare queens,’ of ‘wilding’ even to ‘twerking’ there are many in this country who see black Americans as people who will always be dependent and not worthy of the bounties of America until they learn their place.

The slight problem I see with the Black Lives Matter’s movement is something they can’t control, because the initial growth of the movement and the nature of people will not allow people to step back to look at the real reason the protests are happening. When a black person is shot by the police, the first inclination of many people is to assume the person had to do something wrong to get shot. If they have on a hoodie, if they resist arrest, if they ran away, they have to be guilty. Even when prominent Professor Henry Louis Gates was arrested in his own home, for getting into his own home after a long trip, the conservative media demonized him. When the President said it was wrong what the police had done, it was the opening conservatives needed to smear the President as the ‘black President’ only looking out for the needs of ‘his people.’ The Black Lives Matter movement tries to illustrate the injustices that can happen to all but it is very easy to turn people away from the movement by simply playing to people’s stereotypes.

An image of peaceful demonstration is boring on the news, but have a picture of a black student with ‘wild hair’ punching the air, that will be replayed over and over again. If later reporting shows that the same student comes from a privileged family, then the question arises about what discrimination has that student really felt?

When people think of racist and racism in America, they think of black and white images of Bull Conner, George Wallace, police dogs and fire hoses. They think of something from the past, something that we have grown past. Stacey Dash, Larry Elder and others talk about that to their conservative crowds. They talk all the time about how racism isn’t a thing anymore and if people would stop talking about it, it wouldn’t exist. Just like the CF20151124bMizzou student who was so prominent in so many videos on national newscasts was dismissed when he didn’t fit the image of the downtrodden, ghetto living black male, people throw out examples of black entertainment stars and sports athletes who make millions of dollars. For them, it is proof that people don’t care about race, because they made it. By that set of logic, the thousands of white Americans, like Donald Trump and Bill Gates, shows that white America shouldn’t protest about inequalities they face, because they have examples of people who have triumphed.

Americans want in your face, scary racism. If that isn’t presented, many feel racism isn’t a factor. From my point of view, as a 51-year-old Gen-X black man living in America, yes there is racism in America. Do I think racism is everywhere? Not from the sense of the Bull Conner sense of racism, but I see the people who are afraid of me when I walk down the street, or go into a store. I was reminded a few weeks ago of when I first walked into a local bar and the comments I got, not because I was a stranger to the bar but because I was a ‘strange black man’ that entered the bar. I still go to that bar, and some of the people who initially treated me with leeriness now treat me well. Of course, that brings up the other side of the racism picture. There have been numerous times when people have felt so comfortable around me that they felt OK to tell me a ‘black joke’ or share their story about ‘I don’t mean to be racist but . . .’ I’ve been places where Obama was called a coon and worse. I have even been asked a question about ‘my people’ such as ‘I don’t mean to be racist but why do so many black people aren’t grateful for the stuff America gives them?’

You know why I can understand the anger and pain that the Black Lives Matter people feel? Because more times than I care to admit, when I’m asked the dumb question, when I’m told the racist joke, when I have to walk slower than I like so I don’t seem like I’m scaring someone, when I have to do all those things to ‘get along,’ I get angry. It reminds me how far we haven’t come. It reminds me that even though I’m a good person, that I’m a nice guy, that I’m intelligent, that I like my cat, that I do all sorts of good and wonderful things, I’m going to be a black guy to most people. I hate it when I’m somewhere in public and I see kids being kids, with all the fashion trends and surging energy of kids, and I see people look at them as thugs and potential criminals. I hate it that if I’m at a buffet that I don’t get watermelon because I don’t want to feel like I have to look over my shoulders wondering if people are going to stare at me. You might think that’s funny but it has happened to me. Again, it doesn’t matter if I’m this cool Star Wars fan, my outer skin is going to define me to most people.

So yes, the Black Lives Matter movement is important because in the example of the guy who was in that video clip, before people knew he came from wealth no one assumed he might have money. No one assumed that as a ‘privileged’ black man in America he might face the same slights, injustices and dismissive looks as a kid from ‘the ghetto.’ Being defined by skin is the reason we need Black Lives Matter.

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Sweet Potato Confession

Early this morning I saw a story on the morning local news show a story about James Wright Chanel. It was one of those stories that only happens in America where we will bestow the words ‘viral video’ and ‘instant celebrity’ to anyone with a phone camera and a cheap gimmick. This guy essentially made a commercial for Patti Labelle’s sweet potato pies, which are exclusively sold at WalMart. In his YouTube review, he channeled his inner diva to expound on how wonderful Patti Labelle’s pie was. As he continued to eat the pie, he belted out parts of the diva’s tunes. Considering you had a large black man who did a spot on Labelle, ingredients guaranteed to get you noticed, it was no wonder that our local station, and I’m sure local stations across the United States, would highlight this man and his review of the pies.

It definitely helped in the sales department at WalMart. Many stores reported shortages of the pies as the popularity of the video grew. I watched, kind of laughed at the whole thing and moved on.

Look, as far as Patti Labelle throwing down in the kitchen, that ain’t no secret. C’Mon, this is the woman who made the famous prune cobber for Dwayne Wayne on A Different World and she had a pretty good selling cookbook, which has the recipe for the pie. AnyCF20151117a real diva worth their salt can throw down in the kitchen. It goes hand in hand with singing in the church choir. My surprise was the numbers put out by WalMart as to the number of pies being sold. For most of America, the Sweet Potato Pie is the awkward step cousin to pumpkin pie. Everyone has heard of pumpkin pie for any of the fall holidays but you have to be ‘down with the cause’ to know about the distinction between pumpkin and sweet potato pie. I remember one year when I went back to UCLA with one of my mother’s sweet potato pies. People assumed it was pumpkin and I didn’t correct them. The looks of utter joy on their faces when they had a slice of the ‘pumpkin’ pie was priceless. I had a lot of people who thought it was the best ‘pumpkin’ pie they ever had.

I have a rule about the few sweet potato pies I’ve bought. There is a price point I won’t go over. If I get a pre-made pie crust, I can make a mean sweet potato pie for about $3.00. It takes time, but I can slam down in the kitchen with some pie. It just takes a lot of prep and time to make it, so for the holidays if I can buy one for a reasonable price, I would do it. When I first came to Phoenix, I found a Soul food place that did make a very good sweet potato pie. I thought about buying a pie from them at the time for Thanksgiving, but they were charging $20.00 for a pie! Oh, hell no! Every once in a while I come across a pie that I can get for a little under $5.00 and those pies will make me think about getting one. This year, since this is the first time in a long time I will be home for Thanksgiving, I thought about making a pie, but things changed.

When I went on an errand today, where I wasn’t planning on going to WalMart, but circumstances had me at WalMart. I was there to look at the Star Wars: The Force Awakens display at the store. After the fun experience I had last night at Target, I thought WalMart would have something comparable. Oh, how disappointed I was. It just looked terrible, like the picked through remains of a carcass cleaned by vultures. The less said about it the better, but I did go into this particular WalMart and they had a good amount of the Patti Labelle sweet potato pies. On TV, they didn’t give the price but at the store they were selling for $3.49, well within my margins. So yes, with all the hype, I decided to buy one for my Thanksgiving celebration.

So WalMart and Patti, yes I did succumb and bought a pie. Yes, the price point was spot on. I will say there were generic pumpkin pies on the display that were $3.99 so I’m not sure if they were trying to push out the Patti pies or what, but I’m glad I was able to get something to try for the holidays that I hope lives up to the hype. Also, the pie is in the freezer and I will thaw it so I can have it fresh on Thanksgiving.

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Reluctant Job Applicants for President

Ben Carson at the Republican Debate - 11/10/2015

Ben Carson at the Republican Debate – 11/10/2015

People who know me know I am an honest person – Ben Carson 11/10/2015

Guess what, Mr. Carson, I don’t know you. I haven’t met you, I haven’t bought your book, I don’t have a clear understanding of who you are, your stance on the issues or where you would lead this country. You are a blank slate to me. Let me be very clear who you are to me. You are an applicant for a job. Just to be even more clear, you and all the candidates running for President, on all sides of the political spectrum, are asking me and the American public for a job. You are asking me to vote for you, to hire you for President of the United States.

So, I’m not hiring you for a job as a clerk at the local McDonalds, I’m not hiring you to be a tech analyst in a startup company, and I’m not hiring you to be a CEO in a Fortune 500 company. I’m hiring you and all the people who are running for President to protect this country against foreign invaders, I’m hiring you to protect my liberty and freedom, I’m hiring you, heaven forbid, to send the treasure of this nation, our sons and daughter, to possibly go off into foreign lands to possibly sacrifice their lives for our freedom. Dr. Carson I am interviewing you to have your hand on the nuclear trigger that can launch missiles at an enemy and destroy them.

I’m sorry Dr. Carson if you are uncomfortable with the question the press is asking you but this is something that has been pointed out too many people who have been upset with the questioned posed by aggressive reporters. If you cannot handle questions posed by reporters, how will you handle the scrutiny of a vicious and tenacious foreign press? How will you deal with foreign leaders with their own agenda they are more than willing to defend to the death if you find it ‘offensive’ when reporters ask you uncomfortable questions?

I don’t care if people who know you think you are an honest person, Dr. Carson. You personally know how many people? Maybe 100? 1000? How many people have read your book? If I am to believe the sales report, it is reported that your book One Nation: What We Can All Do To Save America’s Future sold a little over 355,000 copies of your book. Let’s say every one of those people votes for you, because they all read and supported every single word you said in the book. In the city of Phoenix AZ there are over 1.5 million people. Tucson AZ has a population of a little over 525,000 as of the 2013 census. That means, from my math, if you took all of the people who could possibly know you right now, you might win an election in Tucson but you might possibly loose in Phoenix. If, by some miracle, you were able to have 1.5 million people who know you from books, personal contact and people who know someone who knows you or read your book, you still have to win over a majority of the 300 million plus people who live in the United States. That doesn’t take into consideration the Electoral College. You could win all the states in the South by a huge margin and still win the election because of Electoral College votes. That’s why we didn’t have President Gore because while he won the popular vote, he didn’t win the states needed to secure the Electoral College vote.

I’m sorry you hate the pesky questions from reporters asking about your past, your record and your political positions. Every politician running for office is asking me and every other citizen to hand over the keys to the White House and this country to someone. That being the case, I’m going to want a lot of information on the people who are applying for the job. I’m sure when you hired people to assist you on surgery you did a full background check into their lives. I would hope you and other candidates would appreciate we the American people would like to do more comprehensive study of the person we elect as President as you would in hiring an assistant in the operating room.

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Leave it to Beaver’s friend Chuey for President

The Republican Party is at a very odd point on the road to their political convention and if they are incredibly lucky, the White House. When I see the list of contenders, the way the Republican electorate has embarrassed some and rejected others, and comparing this election to other Republican nomination processes, I see a campaign that reminds me of the old sitcom Leave it to Beaver.

The Republican electorate is the 50s television viewing public. Their viewing taste other than Leave it to Beaver, are shows like The Burns and Allen Show, Lawrence Welk and if they are feeling modern, Happy Days. They live in a bubble of Americana that never existed except on TV. It’s an America where the neighbors all looked alike, went to the same churches and the only minorities you saw were domestics. If you look at the last national election cycle, Romney was the establishment choice for President and ultimately the Republican electorate, after courting a number of candidates, went to the caucuses and voting booths and went for the classic American presidential candidate.

Romney looked like Ward Cleaver from Leave it to Beaver. He had the hair, he had the family and he had the story Republicans of all social income levels love; the guy who was born on second base who has other people bunt or sacrifice hit so he can get to home base in life. Of course to the mind of the Republican electorate, the Romney life model is the one they look at as being one they can aspire to, even though many don’t have rich parents or connections to prominent schools and institutions that can prop them up to succeed.

George HW Bush and Ward Cleaver

George HW Bush and Ward Cleaver

The Republican electorate mind-set is always looking for a candidate that fits the Leave it to Beaver model of Americana. The electorate might flirt with other possible candidates, yes I’m talking to you Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, etc., but when it comes time to actually caucus or vote, the one that looks and acts like Ward Cleaver will win. The problem Republicans have not wanted to deal with is the past few candidates that actually occupied the White House have been a little too much like the Cleaver family. First, after the Regan Revolution, think of Regan as Ward Cleaver’s father, we got Ward Cleaver in the body of George H.W. Bush. He wasn’t Reagan, but he a very Ward Cleaver vibe to him. His wife Barbara even had the June Cleaver pearls. Unfortunately for the Republicans, keeping with the TV analogy, Bush was Ward Cleaver in a Norman Lear world. While the first Gulf War did boost Bush’s popularity, that Southern rascal named Bill Clinton, whom the Republican figured would be easy to defeat, won. The jarring thing about the loss by Republican was another Southern, by way of Texas, took away votes from the Republicans allowing Clinton to win.

For the next eight years, the Republicans vowed to get their revenge on Clinton. With television in the 70s, when Norman Lear had his rise with shows like All in the Family, Maude and Good Times, there were huge numbers of people who felt Lear was corrupting the youth and the Christian values of the country with his shows. We think of those shows as classic now, but during their time conservatives tried in vain to get those shows off the air. Republicans smeared the Clinton’s in the eyes of their conservative voters. Even with a strong economy and relatively good times for many, the Republicans managed to paint the President (and to be honest he did give them apple ammunition) as an evil person who would ruin the morals of the country.

In the election of 2000, the Republicans saw an opportunity to win the Presidency, but the Leave it to Beaver model took a wrong turn. In the years leading up to that political cycle, Jeb Bush was expected to run for President. He was Wally Cleaver, the clean-cut, steady and responsible brother. We ended up with Beaver Cleaver in the face of George Bush. Beaver Cleaver may be someone you might want to have a drink with, hang out with, but would you want him to be President?

George Bush and Beaver Cleaver

George Bush and Beaver Cleaver

Less than a year after being sworn in as President, the country faced its worst national crisis. The persons at the helm of the ship of state were Beaver Cleaver and Vice President Eddie Haskell, who was Dick Cheney. By the end of the Bush Presidency, and he was reelected in 2004, the good times we had built-in the Clinton years had been squandered and decimated. The economy was terrible, unemployment was close to 10%, gas prices were at an all-time high.

Still the Republican felt they had a chance to win the White House again. The main Presidential candidate on the Democratic side was a name from the past; a name that had been conditioned in the Republican electorate to have them react with fear, with anger and disgust. The name was Clinton, Hillary Clinton. Republicans were ready to pull out the old talking points about Clinton and her husband. They were fairly confident they would get the White House with John McCain; Vietnam veteran, Senator and the classic Leave it to Beaver family.

Remember how I said Republicans have a 50s television mindset and liked shows like Beaver and Happy Days? Well while focusing on their white whale Hillary Clinton, they didn’t notice Sticks until it was too late. Who is Sticks? In season 3 episode 12 of Happy Days called Fonzie’s New Friend, Ritchie Cunningham needed a new drummer for his band. Fonzie know someone perfect for them, his friend Sticks. Well his friend is black and in the America of the 50s, blacks and whites seldom mix. By the end of the episode, with the help of cool Fonzie and straight-laced Richie Cunningham, the gang accepts Sticks and his girlfriend. The party goes on and racial harmony, for one night, is solved.

Obama kind of surprised the political narrative in the early stages of the 2008 campaign, but ultimately he convinced established politicians and the Democratic voters to support him and not Clinton, ultimately beating Grandpa McCain. In 2012, with the Republicans presenting a candidate with the look of a President from a Hollywood casting call and the persona and family history falling in line with the Leave it to Beaver narrative, Obama won again.

Jeb Bush and Wally Cleaver

Jeb Bush and Wally Cleaver

The Republican establishment has a unique challenge this election cycle. The main issue they have is the establishment has little sway over the Republican voters at this point. With Hillary Clinton becoming the de facto nominee for the Democrats, Jeb Bush, the Wally Cleaver of the Bush clan, was expected to have fairly smooth sailing to the nomination, much like Mitt Romney in the last cycle. While Bush has amassed a lot of money, polls have shown him losing a lot of ground, registering in single digits in months of polling. The disaster predicted for the bombastic Donald trump hasn’t materialized despite the abrasive tone of his campaign. After years of having ‘Sticks’ in the White House, as the moment it seems the voters are willing to nominate Eddie Haskell. Right now Ben Carson, Donald Trump and to a lesser extent Carly Fiorina are the candidates the Republican voters are gravitating towards. As each one gains in the polls, the press focuses on their narrative, which for these non-office holders has exposed major character flaws. When Fiorina started rising in the polls after her debate performance, questions about her time at HP and her failed senatorial bid exposed Judy Hensler side. Ben Carson has been caught in so many fabrications about his life and then tries to deflect when caught, exposed his Larry Mondello side. With the unconventional candidates making points with the Republican electorate, those who are in the establishment of the Republican party are seeing the bubble created years ago has sheltered and blinded the constituents so much they are out of touch with the majority of the country who have been watching 21st century television shows. With the defeats in the past two Presidential election cycles to Obama, instead of reflecting and looking for ways of inclusion the polling Republican public have dug in their heels and have embraced familiar characters who will have a hard time in a one on one debate with Clinton.

The Republicans possibly have one hope in gaining the Presidency, and at this point it is a risky long shot. If Bush somehow wins the nomination, the sins of his brother will be visited upon him and he will have a hard time defending the George Bush administration. The most of the other establishment candidates, like Rand Paul, Chris Christie, Lindsay Graham have been languishing near the bottom of the polls for so long, and in numbers under 3%, makes their possible rise to gain the nomination close to impossible. To me, the hope of the Republican Party in winning the Presidency will rest on the shoulder of Marco Rubio. In the Leave it to Beaver world, he would be the obscure (appearing in one episode) character of Chuey. Chuey appeared in the season 2, episode 4 Leave it to Beaver show titled Beaver and Chuey. Like the Sticks episode of Happy Days, this is an episode when the person who is way different from anyone else from the show becomes a good friend by the end of the episode, never to be seen again.

Marco Rubio and Family

Marco Rubio and Family

Marco Rubio, the water gulping Senator from Florida, is whom the establishment is moving front and center as the hope for the party. He has risen in the polls of late and he has the narrative of a person of modest means who has risen to Senator which fits into the Obama biography. The Senator has a wife who is a former cheerleader (brownie points for that in the good old boy football South) and has four young kids. When you look at his family portrait compared to Hillary Clinton, you are looking at old, tired past and establishment against young, aspiring and the future. It is a formula that bested Clinton against Obama and I am willing to bet there are some Republican political thinkers who are hoping the formula will work for them.

Being very crass here, the best thing Rubio has going for him is he’s Hispanic. Look, I’ve read the stories where some pundits have said just because he’s Hispanic doesn’t mean he will automatically get the Hispanic vote. I would like to remind those who say that to check out articles written just as Obama began his Presidential run. There were many established leaders in the black community who believed Obama wasn’t the right type of black person to run. Andrew Young and Jesse Jackson, just a few, didn’t think he could win against Clinton and openly mocked him. My own parents, in the beginning, weren’t supporters of Obama. As his popularity grew and the possibility of having the first black President became within reach, a lot of people like my parents abandoned any reservations they had and supported Obama. I’m willing to bet if Rubio can rise in the polls and if he can the establishment to really support him, the Republicans will see a tide turn with Hispanic voters who will be willing to put aside any differences they might have to elect the first Hispanic President of the United States.

If Rubio pulls off a miracle and becomes the nominee, here is one thing that will be a pain for Democrats to fight. When Obama got nominated, some Republicans resorted to racial politics to undermine his campaign. From Jeremiah Wright to the birth certificate, there was an open campaign to paint Obama as not the right guy to be President. While it was denounced a lot, the honest fact is the general public expects Republicans to be racist. Look at the support Trump is getting with inflammatory statements. The man was on Saturday Night Live, protesters were in the streets and that episode of Saturday Night Live got the highest rating the show has had since 2012. Look, if Clinton is the nominee for the Democrats, and she probably will be, there is going to be a nasty fight from the Republicans bringing up every Whitewater – Benghazi scandal they can. We as the voting public expect that. Can you see a smear campaign, like the one done against Obama, being done by the Democrats on Rubio? Any Democrat that does that would be committing political suicide. If they aren’t denounced quickly and surgically, it will poison the political well. What Republicans can do to Democrats they can’t do to Republicans and Rubio.

Ted Cruz isn’t a viable option for the Republicans. Cruz has too many issues that would hurt the Republican chances and Democrats could attack him without tainting themselves as racists. Cruz has all the negative Obama issues Republicans tried to smear him with except with Cruz you have verifiable proof of the allegations. Cruz wasn’t born in the US. It is verifiable he was born in Canada. People may have had issues with Rev Wright but Cruz’s minster father has said many hateful things. It would be tough, when forced, to disavow your father. Look how much difficulty Jeb Bush has in moving away from his brother’s policies.

Looking at the political landscape for the Republicans Party and the 50s landscape bubble they have created for their voters, to me their only hope for winning, if he continues to do well in polling and in votes, would be Marco Rubio.

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Fear Is the Mind Killer

Next year is a Presidential election year, so there will be a huge focus on issues and strong voter turnout. The conventional wisdom is that when there is a large turnout at the polls, conservative measures and candidates suffer. When there is lower turnout, such as in off-year elections, liberal measures and candidates lose. Of course there are exceptions to that tried and true statement. When Obama won the Presidency in 2008 and overwhelmingly won California, the same state approved Proposition 8 with 52% of the vote. That proposition eliminated the right of same-sex couples to marry, making it illegal. That win energized many who were opposed to same-sex marriage in getting other ordinances on the books in other states, while those in favor of marriage equality worked through the courts and legislatures, as well as the ballot box, to plead their case. The struggle lead to the Supreme Court ruling in June of 2015 allowing same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

A disputed factor in the win for Proposition 8 was black voters. The black vote, especially elderly black voters, are highly sought out in election years. When I went to church in San Diego, I used to joke that you knew it was election season when white politicians would show up a week or two before an election and be at the front of the church, pretending to care about black needs and issues. As soon as the service was over, they raced for their vehicles to get out the community. I can’t say that the tactic worked on me, but to some of the older voters, just the gesture of a white politician going to church once every four years was enough for them to support the candidate.

Supposedly those in favor of Proposition 8 got flyers in predominately black churches and communities stating that defeat of Proposition 8 would have led to an acceptance and perversion in the state. Since a good number of religious leaders of all faiths consider homosexuality a sin, from a strategy point of view it made sense to target black communities and exploit their fears into a win for the proposition. It was a target rich environment and factoring in many blacks were encouraged to vote for Obama, the logic at the time was that the black vote that was mobilized for Obama would vote their fears and vote yes on Proposition 8.

Fear is the mind killer is a famous line from the book Dune. Fear is also a logic killer because fear allows us to accept as knee jerk reactions to things we don’t understand. Fear allows us to think the worse, to not investigate other opinions. When in the true grip of fear, it is difficult to get someone to think through an uncomfortable situation. Despite that a couple of reports that came out soon after the Proposition 8 win that tried to dispel the idea that religious black people overwhelmingly voted in favor of Proposition 8, it is undeniable that those in favor of Proposition 8 saw a target rich and very accepting audience for their cause in the black churches of California. It was an effort that paid off with the win.

A similar tactic was used in the recent off-year election in Houston Texas. Proposition 1, the Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance, or HERO for short, has it passed would have barred discrimination on the basis of race, age, military status, disability and 11 other categories. Of course it was the barring of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity that became the wedge issue with those opposed to the proposition.

Who are the people Proposition 1 would protect. From the website in support of the Proposition.

Who are the people Proposition 1 would protect? From the website in support of Proposition 1.

Those in favor of the proposition had a well-organized website, community leader (translation: Hispanic and black civic and cultural leader) who were front and center of this, as well as national figures and companies who were in support of this bill. On paper, it looked like an easy win for the proposition considering all of the support.

The proposition as it appeared on the ballot. From the site for those in favor of Proposition 1.

The HERO proposition as it appeared on the ballot. From the website in support of Proposition 1.


This is where fear comes in. Even though people opposed to the proposition were heavily outspent, in courting votes the opponents of the proposition went for the fear factor. Instead of a measure that would broadly protect the rights of every citizen, the opposition referred to the proposition as ‘the bathroom ordinance’ and used the slogan ‘No men in women’s bathrooms.’ The television commercials used were brilliant from a messaging point of view. Stark black and white images of a women’s bathroom. A female narrator talking about the fear of men being able to ‘claim’ being a woman that day just to use a women’s restroom. The worry of sex offenders and perverts being able to prey on women in an area that should be safe. The best part of the commercial for me was when the very young girl enters the bathroom, goes to a stall, then the creepy man comes out of his stall, opens the little girl stall and we see her face with concern and fear just as the commercial ends with dramatic music.

The closing of the ad for those against the HERO proposition.

The closing of the ad for those against the HERO proposition.

Another commercial shows Lance Berkman, labeled in the commercial as a Houston Baseball Legend, appeals to the good old boy protection of faith and family in opposing the proposition. He claims in the commercial that passing of the proposition would allow ‘troubled men who claim to be women’ to enter women’s bathrooms, showers and locker rooms. At the end of the commercial he urges people to join him in stopping the ‘violation of privacy and discrimination against women.’

On so many levels the commercial are so wrong. A lot of people still think orientation is a choice or something a sick mind would do. That’s why the ads use terms like troubled men, or makes people believe a man would just decide to claim to be another gender just to molest little girls. There is a huge amount of issues the proposition addresses, but the opposition focuses on one aspect, twists the agenda, makes a simple slogan from it then recruits a local star athlete to support their view. A few scary commercials later and the big spending, star powered and ‘liberal agenda’ Proposition 1 is defeated by the good old God-fearing folks of Houston.

This is what concerns me. This story will get little mention in the liberal press. It was a stunning defeat, but what the liberal press will focus on is that it was in Texas and you know, those country folks in Texas are a backward group of people. They will believe the ruling won’t stand because they can go to the courts and the courts will fix the issue, just like what happened with Proposition 8 in California. The loss will be considered an anomaly in the wake of the progress that has been made on issues like this.

The little press given to this by the liberals will be exploited by the conservatives. It will be trumpeted for hours on conservative radio as a sign that Christian values aren’t dead in America. It will be heralded as a win for the conservative movement. It will build up the war chest of the conservative movement with money and eager supporters who feel they are fighting for the heart and soul of America.

I don’t think the defeat of Proposition 1 is a turning point. It is very possible that the ruling will ultimately be decided by the courts. The rub I have is the long-term picture that comes up with cases like this. This issue landed on the ballot box because the Proposition was originally passed by a narrow margin by city officials, but the court said it had to be brought to the people. Many judges are elected so if the people don’t turn out to elect judges, especially when conservatives consistently vote in off-year elections, then ordinances that are voted on by legislatures or by the people can be taken into court and overturned. It has become a tired yet true statement that Presidential elections are less about the person in office that it is for the Supreme Court. The next President will probably seat 2-3 judges on the high court. Those new judges could shape law for the people of this country for decades. You have to factor in state legislatures, school boards and other government bodies that affects our lives in so many ways. We like to believe we have overcome major hurdles in our country but the reality is there has been progress but we are a long way from eliminating discrimination and fear in the voting booth. The good people of Houston voted down a proposition because the argument was reduced to the fear of men going into women’s bathrooms, not for protecting the rights of a broad range of citizens in the community.

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The Chaotic Fringe Response to Those Who Disagree with #AssaultAtSpringValleyHigh

To the conservative people out there in social media. I have seen a lot of you commenting on the SC throw down by Officer Ben Fields. Actually, a better representation of what I have seen is people who believe the student was in the wrong or had it coming referring to a National Review article by David French. The article I wrote this morning isn’t a direct response to the David French one, but reading that article after I wrote and posted my piece for Chaotic Fringe got me thinking about how when people have a certain view of the truth, what people now like to call their truth, only items supporting ‘their truth’ will be believed. They will cling to that truth, will find things to support that truth, without considering the possibility their truth is wrong.

Instead of taking the time to consider other possibilities, in fact, instead of even trying to other articles outside of the right wing world, or in the case of this incident finding another source to support your position, the one article by David French has become the de facto standard bearer for those who feel the girl had it coming and the officer was correct in his actions.

Oh, sorry, you don’t like the way I put that sentence? Well, that just proves my point. When you take away the cushion, telling you that you feel the officer was correct in forcibly yanking a teenager, yanking her out of her seat, dragging her across the floor then pinning her down while handcuffs are put on her, if you feel this is acceptable, then you and I have a vast difference of opinion about what it means to be disruptive in class.

If you feel the officer was right in what he did, I don’t want to hear you bitch and moan about draconian school policies again, because what has been clear in all of the sources about what happened in this case was that the student initially pulled out her cellphone, then refused to leave the class when the teacher and school administrator asked her to.

Lott has said that he isn’t sure race was a factor in what happened in the video, adding during a press conference that Fields has been dating an African American woman for quite some time.

Lott has said that he isn’t sure race was a factor in what happened in the video, adding during a press conference that Fields has been dating an African American woman for quite some time.

She didn’t do anything violent. I will allow for the possibility the student mouthed off to the teacher. I will allow that she could have cursed off the school administrator. By the way, if that had happened you know damn well when the Sheriff Lott came out with his press conference, where he made sure that the press knew that race couldn’t be a factor in the officer’s conduct because Officer Fields has been ‘dating a black woman for some time’ would have made sure the press knew the girl mouthed off at the school official and teacher. He definitely made a point of saying the girl took a swing at the officer, which I will admit did occur when the officer when up to her surrounded her and picked up her chair and bent it back. Yes, she was swinging as the chair went back but curiously doesn’t take another swing at the officer once he had her on the ground. No kicking, no swinging as she was being dragged across the floor. That seems a bit odd to be, but then I’m giving both sides benefit of the doubt.

But, yes, from now on I should expect you are perfectly willing to follow the rules set up by authority figures on school campuses. I would love it if I could use in all situations but I’ll give you baby steps. Let’s start with schools first. So when a kid makes a clock that a teacher says looks like a bomb, then let’s arrest that kid. OK, good, that has been done. So the next time a child brings a plastic knife to school, that child should be arrested. The next time a kid points their finger like a gun at another person, that child should be arrested. If a teenager defies the lawful request of a teacher to put away a cellphone, that child should be arrested.

That is what you’re asking for, and before you claim this incident was different, I bring you to what everyone has agreed upon. The student was considered disruptive to the class because she pulled out a cellphone. Let’s say she was talking on the cellphone; I still maintain talking on a cellphone in class doesn’t resort of a police officer being called in to take down the student. However, if that is the country you want to live in, where you should lawfully follow the rules, then don’t bitch when rules you don’t agree with are challenged, either innocently or deliberately. To challenge rules is to challenge authority, so the kid bringing the plastic knife to school is defying the rules and should be punished, no questions needed. The kid that wears the Confederate Flag to school should be arrested, since the school has a dress code.

I know that you aren’t going to stay quiet and let this incident be your come to Jesus moment. You will continue to use a fluid method to decided whose side your on in discussions like this. The kid with the plastic knife at school and detained will still be championed by you as an example of draconian laws going too far. You will still defend the student with the Confederate Flag T shirt to wear his Southern or rebel pride proud because as an American he has the freedom of speech. In contrast you will still be in favor of police dragging a teenage girl in class because she had the nerve to disrupt the classroom with a phone and didn’t show deference to authority figures. You will also support the school authorities and police officer who had another girl in that same class arrested because she verbally questioned why force was used by the officer.

That’s why I say we will agree to disagree on this matter, because the person who doesn’t question the use of force by authority figures will be the one who will have force used on them and no one will be there to stand up for their rights.

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Resistance Is Futile

The case of another officer roughing up a black teenager, caught on a smartphone, has caused the usual hand wringing, racial confrontation and other reactions that are becoming the typical responses to these incidents. Social media, which I have to admit should never get looked at in these situations if you don’t have a thick skin, have more than their share of moronic responses by people who believe they will never be in a situation like that. They talk about how if the teenager had only complied she wouldn’t be in the situation she was in. These would be the same people who will talk about how the rights given to them by the Constitution, some might even say there are their God given rights, should be defended.

I’m going to do something unthinkable in talking about this incident; I’m going to take race out of the picture. Let’s look at the situation, as we know it at this point, that caused the throw down. The words I have heard in the media have been the girl was disruptive in class. When you do a YouTube search for disruptive behavior in school, you see students duking it out, fighting like they are in a MMA competition. I believe when most people hear disruptive, that is the image they have. They replay the number of violet videos they’ve seen of teenagers throwing objects at one another, smashing each other down to the ground and other violent acts. When they think of a disruptive student, in light of the reaction they saw from the officer, you will get people who will think the video doesn’t show the incident before the altercation, thus will claim we don’t know all the circumstances.

I would ask you to look at the video again, this time looking at the students around the girlCF20151028 - Resist 01 before the take down occurred. I would also ask you to take a good look at the girl. Before the officer manhandles her, do the students seem scared? Do they seem like they are fearful of the girl? Look at the girl, does she curse at the officer? Is she lashing out before the take down occurs? If the girl was disruptive to the class, in the way we have seen in a lot of violent school videos, why are the other students and the girl in question so calm? I would ask you to think about another videos that ended in tragedy, such as the case of Sandra Bland, where she is shown on a dashcam arguing with a police officer and, in the view of some people, questioned his authority. How about the video of the campus police officer in Cincinnati who shot and killed Samuel DuBose? You can argue that DuBose argued with the authority of the officer and when the officer attempted to detain him, the struggle occurred.

There are a lot more incidents I can bring up, but the issue I see in watching the video, even if we don’t see what happened before, what we can deduct from common sense is nothing is suggested by the body language of the officer, the teachers, the students or the girl give any indication that she was so disruptive that the actions of the officer was warranted. Even if you assume, which I think would be a stretch, that the officer was told the girl has been violent, what action did she do in the video before being dragged out of her seat warranted his violent action?

The news has recently mentioned the story being spun by either the officer or police spokepeople is the girl struck the officer. Guess what? That part is true. If you look at the video when the officer starts to drag the seat back, the girl flails her arms and her hand hits the officer in the face. Again, don’t take assumption, take logic to assess the situation. The officer moves close to her. He has to remove her laptop, closes it and places it on another desk. He walks up to her, puts one hand on the desk and another on her. As he moves the desk back, that’s when she moves her arms and hits the officer. Think about this, if you are falling in a chair your first reaction is to try and stop your fall. You are going to move your hands and if someone is in your way, you might just hit them. When the officer lifts the chair and moves her back, that is when she hits the officer as she falls back. You could question the hit, much like the police sheriff who is trying to focus attention on her hitting the officer, but I will be like other people on the opposite side of this, and we have a video tape to support this, watching the video before there is no aggressive action by the girl towards the officer. When she is lifted and pushed back, that is when she reacts. I would dare say many people would do the same thing in a similar situation.

If we go with the premise the news reports have put out that she was a disruptive student, follow the actions. The officer takes her laptop away from her and places it calmly on CF20151028 - Resist 02another desk. Let me be real honest here, if someone closed my laptop, took it away from me and placed it on a desk near me then came back and went into my personal space, I’m sorry I’m probably going to start swinging. I’m just saying that is a reaction I would probably do, if I’m going to be honest here. I would think if I was a disruptive teenager, funky hormones racing through my system, I would figure the girl would have done a beat down on the officer. That didn’t happen. She didn’t react until he tilted her in the seat then she reacted to the fall. When the officer dragged her across the floor, taking her to the front of the classroom then attempted to pin her down, did she kick and flail to get the officer off her? Not a lot from what I could tell.

In bringing up all of this information from the video, I neglected to mention a key piece of evidence, one that everyone in the room has agreed did happen. The incident started because the girl had her cellphone out. The disruption that caused the teacher and the school administrator to get the officer to the classroom that caused the throw down was because the girl has her cellphone out. Oh, then she refused to leave the class. She didn’t draw a gun, she wasn’t beating up other students and from all accounts, other than not leaving the classroom she wasn’t verbally or physically assaulting the teacher. The official words used is that she was disruptive in class when in actuality she brought out a cellphone. For that she was thrown out of her seat, dragged across the floor, pinned then handcuffed.

A cellphone caused all that violence by authorities.

Pay attention to another thing seen in the video. It’s may be hard now because a lot of news stations have blurred out the faces of the other students, but when it first aired, once the take down occurred those students were scared. They all tried to bury their heads in books and computers, not making eye contact with the scene. In the early part of the story, it was reported another girl was arrested, which gave validity to the early narrative that the girl was disruptive. The suggestion was with the arrest of the other girl there must have been a fight between the two. It was later reported that the other girl was arrested because she questioned why the first girl was roughed up by the officer. Officially she was charged with disrupting the school.

CF20151028 - Resist 03I find the video disturbing, but to be honest there have been so many instances of police brutality I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a non-story in a week. The story has become focused on race and police relations. The funniest thing I’ve seen on the story, on the racial focus, has to be what I read on the New York Times website where Sheriff Leon Lott thought that race wasn’t a big factor in the incident because the officer has a black girlfriend. He’s also trying to peddle the notion that the girl hit the officer so it could be possible the reaction the officer had was justifiable. Of course she hit him when he picked up her desk and pushed her back. It seems the default reaction of authorities when video shows disturbing images of police action is to claim two things. We don’t know what happened before the incident and to portray the victim as causing the action put upon them. Yes, a girl with a cellphone in school was such a threat that the officer, when said student didn’t comply with his order to leave the desk, felt the best way to solve the issue was to toss the girl out of the chair. When she ‘resisted’ we are supposed to believe anything the officer did after that was justifiable because she defied his authority.

What I’m concerned about is what this incident says about authority. While some students have come before the cameras to talk about the incident, how many students do you think will make sure to keep their heads down and not look at the injustice going on around them? The video has been seen by millions, and the takeaway a lot of students and adults might take from this is never question authority even when you see injustice happening. Even when another student spoke out about the brutality, she was arrested. Because of many incidents like this, people are going believe the mantra resistance is futile.

People blindly accepting the word of authority figures because they are in authority isn’t a world I want to live in, but I see it every day. I come in contact with people who are so slavish to who they feel is an authority figure they can’t make a decision in an emergency, at least what they perceive as an emergency, without approval by someone in authority. When you hear stories about workers who will get a call from someone they believe is an authority figure who tells them to smash a window in their establishment, detain an employee or other odd behavior, those people do those things because they, we being conditioned not to question those we think are in power.

Think about the incident in Round Rock Texas where a high school assistant coach is accused of ordering players to hit a referee during a game. The students did this without question because they call him Coach. In know, there were claim the referee used the N-word and it has been alleged that there was a lot of tension on the sidelines, but someone in authority, someone who is an adult, shouldn’t tell students they should try to injure someone else because of a word. The football incident and the random acts of chaos focused on convenience and fast food workers illustrates the problems of blindly following authority figures. The South Carolina incident will have people talking but the conversation of abuse of authority and the willingness of some people to unquestionably follow authority is a discussion we need to have.

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Chaotic Fringe TV Review – Supergirl

I obtained a copy of the pilot episode of Supergirl early in the summer, so what I watched last night was my second viewing of the Supergirl TV show. This show got a lot of attention this weekend when Presidential candidate Jeb Bush was asked about his favorite Marvel character at a political forum. Not only did he confuse Supergirl and Batman as Marvel characters, he said of the Supergirl TV show that while he was working out he saw the commercial for the new show and thought the show might be good because Supergirl looked hot.

That comment might be an issue that will surround the new show. When word went outSupergirl TV about Supergirl becoming a series on CBS and when the first trailer for the show was released, it had the unfortunate timing of coming out right when Saturday Night Live did a skit about Black Widow having her own stand-alone movie but it was presented as a Rom-Com, complete with the popular music/ clothes changing montage, the overtly gay friend (portrayed by Thor) and a focus on her love life and not fighting skills.

Well, the clips that came out for Supergirl had all of those elements, which had what I would portray as purist, he man woman hating comic book fans up in arms. I understood what they had problems with, but a seven-minute clip wasn’t going to be the story of the whole show and, like a lot of comic book shows, there is a greater audience the producers and studios have to look for. Female friends of mine who aren’t comic book fans were looking forward to the premiere of Supergirl because of the seven-minute clip. Supergirl represents the first major character female superhero on television since Wonder Woman, and Supergirl comes at a time when comic book shows, for the most part, are ratings hits for networks. There have been misses (Constantine comes to mind) but when a show like iZombie can be a modest hit for the CW, and the same network has a powerhouse punch with The Flash, Arrow and probably a hit in the wings with Legends of Tomorrow, the future looks good for Supergirl if it hits the right balance of comic book insider nuggets and general audience accessibility.

Rom-Com trappings aside (and yes I did groan with the ‘let’s find me a costume set to music with my questionably gay friend helping me out’) Supergirl fits into The Flash sensibilities of superheroes, which is having a sense of humor and wonderment about being a superhero. It makes things easy when Supergirl is relearning her abilities and is visibly excited about being a hero. A question people had early on was why the network didn’t use or say the words Superman. While I’m sure there are some legal, world building reasons for this, the takeaway I got for not saying the word Superman was so Supergirl could make a name for herself. When you think about it, if you take the premise that Kara is the cousin of Superman, the man everyone knows around the world, Kara is something of a second fiddle or a lesser representation of her more famous cousin. If the show constantly referred to Superman and Clark Kent, I’m sure critics would argue Supergirl isn’t her own woman. There is a scene where Kara doesn’t like the fact she is called ‘girl’ instead of woman. It’s a nice quick little bit of dialog but as Jeb Bush illustrated, there are going to be a good number of people who will judge the show on how ‘hot’ the actress is rather than for story.

I do think the Melissa Benoist, who plays Kara/Supergirl, took a page from the Grant Gustin book on how to play a superhero. Most icon DC characters, like Superman and Wonder Woman, are comfortable being heroes and in a way enjoy it. On The Flash, the tone Gustin gives to Barry Allen is someone who feels the responsibility of being a hero but also thinks it’s pretty cool to be one. After her first public appearance, Kara is incredibly happy about using her powers. It’s a liberating moment for her, since she has hidden her talents for most of her life. Obviously, the parallels can be found in women how suppress their skills to the world at large. Themes of liberation and empowerment should play well into the success of the show.

I’m going to give the pilot a break on the villains. It will probably take some time to develop characters with some depth and nuance to them. Both Flash and Arrow had their stock villains of the week before laying groundwork down for better antagonist to the main characters. The same should hold true for Supergirl.

I believe Supergirl has the possibility of being a hit for CBS. Unlike Constantine, Supergirl has a lighthearted feel that can attract viewers who aren’t traditionally comic fans.

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The Verdict is In

After two months of back and forth with AZ unemployment I received my answer back from them yesterday. After a quick talk over the phone to get clarification of a few points in the letter, I have been denied receiving two weeks of money from when I left that one-week training at a terrible company to starting work at a more respectable company. If I’m to believe the woman I talked to over the phone, this was looked at by people who know the law backwards and forwards.

Well, good for them. I love how it takes two months to read the law for my case. I love how my leaving a job before it made me suicidal isn’t cause enough for me to get unemployment for those two weeks going back to look for a job. Thankfully I was in a vegetable broth period, out of necessity, so I could survive long enough to get my new job.

In hindsight, if I had only lied about getting that first job I would have received unemployment long enough, for two weeks, until I got my new job. In hindsight, if I hadn’t experienced the reaming I got when the unemployment office cut off funds for a month because I wanted to keep on schedule and I filed while I was in San Diego, I wouldn’t have been so eager to get off unemployment that I would have taken a job that in my gut I knew was a wrong fit but I took because of the bad experience with the unemployment office.

I’m not too angry because I have been dealing with the unemployment office for 2 monthsForlorn Economics on this, but here is something that concerns me. If I hadn’t found a job that would have meant for two months I would have had no income, and the result of leaving a job before I lost my mind would have meant, if I hadn’t found a job, would mean that I would be ineligible for funds until I got a new job and earned over $1200. The issue I had to clarify was that really translates into being eligible for funds in the future, not reimbursement for income not given in the past.

I’m not too angry because I have come to expect nothing less from the bureaucracy. Setbacks I have experienced with government agencies for a year, be it with Obamacare or Arizona unemployment, makes me understand why people can be anti-government. I can understand the anger people have with political leaders, as they are representatives of the government. I can understand the appeal people can have with an outsider like a Ben Carson or Donald Trump. If you pile on the experiences I’ve had these past few months and pair that with incidental observations of people I’ve seen whom I feel have gotten great assistance while I’ve had none, I can see how someone could look at ‘those people’ from other countries and ‘the other.’ I can see how people who see others bending and breaking the rules and getting away with it would be angry. I could see how they could be swayed by slick talkers who promise to bring back ‘the American dream.’

What does anger me, and it has been something I’ve been angry about for decades, is how people in suits, who can’t begin to understand our plight, can claim to understand how we feel and what we are going through in rough times. Many times I had called the unemployment office trying to get an answer as to why it was taking so long to process by claim. I would get frustrated with letters coming in asking for more information that had to be mailed or faxed in.

As a side note – have bureaucrats not heard of the phone. They had joked on a number of talk shows today about how this is Back to the Future day and one of the predictions they said they got wrong in the film was its depiction of the proliferation of fax machines. Maybe in our everyday lives the fax is obsolete, but using the mail and fax seems to be something government agencies are going to cling to.

Politicians, people in government and even the lowly case workers have forgotten what it is like to depend on those services in time of need. I for one found it hard to accept the aid. I take it because I need it but I never wanted to live off of unemployment forever. Even that dreaded job I took that screwed me over was taken because I hated being on unemployment and they would pay be $25 more a week than I was getting in unemployment. I felt so embarrassed and frustrated at getting unemployment I talked myself into selling myself cheap and accepting the job. All because I didn’t want to be a burden to the taxpayer. All because I wanted to hold my head up high as a responsible citizen. So, when I saw that job lied to me and everyone else walking through their doors, I still went through their training program because I was stubborn. I didn’t want to be thought of as a burden to the system.

Months later I realize how stupid I was! Sometimes doing the honorable thing can be the wrong thing. Sometimes being the good person, being the responsible person, can make you conscious rich but cash poor. Had I lied I would have had the money, probably would have had the job I have now and life would go on. If I had told that company where to stick it when I first saw how manipulative and deceitful they were I would have still gotten the money. I didn’t do that. I did what I thought was right at the time and I paid for that decision for two months. I hate trying to relive past mistakes or decisions because in hindsight you can always pick the right answer. I can’t dwell on what would have happened if I picked box B. I will learn from this and apply it to the future.

What I wish could happen is that the suits would put themselves in the shoes of the people they are helping. Don’t make assumptions and don’t claim to be sympathetic when deep down you are thanking whatever deity you believe in that you’re not in our shoes. Listening to countless people at Arizona unemployment sympathize that they can’t help speed the process along when it means someone is without income for a month or more is inexcusable. If you cut off my funds so I can’t pay my bills or get gas to look or get to a job, how does withholding funds for a month help me get a job? Oh, that’s right. When I talked to one case worker early in the process I had to explain to her numerous times I wasn’t in the military, wasn’t a veteran, hadn’t been in jail, didn’t have a wife nor did I have kids. I didn’t fit into her categories so please stop giving me suggestions that put me in categories I don’t fit in. I wish that pundits would stop trying to sell me on how they understand my economic position when they don’t know where I stand. I heard a lot about cutting corners and budgeting my resources. What wasn’t acknowledged was how many cuts and sacrifices I have made. I’m at barebones. I had one caseworker tell me some people have to adapt to unemployment by getting rid of luxuries like a car. They said maybe if me and my wife could survive with one vehicle the income from the sale of the vehicle could tide over.

Observation 101 Sherlock. My ring finger has no indentation on it suggesting a missing wedding ring. I don’t have a car, not even one. Oh, not married or seeing anyone so no partner to help out financially or emotionally. Maybe if you asked and listened instead of assuming you wouldn’t look like such an ass.

Wow. OK, guess I did have some anger I needed to work out. I guess the important part is this drama is over for now, I got declined but I have a job and I can focus on that.

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The Struggles of The Force

It amazes me no matter how popular people know an event is going to be, the people who have the most at stake of promoting the project continue to underestimate the popularity they generate and get egg on their faces when the systems fail. Trying to get the Star Wars tickets was like getting San Diego Comic-Con tickets. It turned out I had to go to a work sponsored dinner. I had a feeling the rush for tickets would be large, but I had this delusional feeling, probably because of the ling day I had, that I could get online by the time I got home and still get Star Wars marathon tickets. That was my foolish thinking.

I was conveniently seated with my back to the bar, no windows were in front of me so I couldn’t see a reflection of the bar. The people who were looking at the bar were normal types, so they didn’t react with glee when the trailer came on. I had no clue the trailer had run. As dinner closed out, people were pulling out their smartphones to talk and I figured, what the hell, I’ll try and see if I can log on with my phone. Someone asked me about how I would get the tickets and I joked that I would probably multi-task with three of my computers at home until I got through.

At first I didn’t think too much about the error messages I got logging into Fandango. I figured OK, lots of people on and it would clear up soon. Foolish me for not thinking it meant those few choice Star Wars marathon tickets would sell out. It took a few moments for me to get nervous so I pulled out the tablet and tried surfing. I tried getting on Fandango and the site for one of the theaters I knew was showing the marathon. I was met with Internet clog. I wouldn’t say I was panicked but I was concerned.

The dinner ended, I went home and warmed up my computer. I figured between Fandango and some theater websites I could pick up some tickets in 15 minutes. Oh, was I wrong. At first I couldn’t believe the marathon was sold out until I did the math in my head. I quickly switched to trying to get 3-D IMAX tickets. I was going to shoot for opening day instead of Thursday because I figured seeing it at 9am, which the IMAX theater showed as an opening, worked for me. I found out, that Fandango and the theater had conflicting information on availability.

Before I could get positive confirmation on tickets or purchasing, I went into media hacker battle mode. I warmed up my editing laptop, opened up a few browsers on the big machine and the laptop, and went mad crazy looking and trying to secure tickets. All of the servers for Fandango and the theater chains were slow. I would get close to getting tickets then something would crash or I would go into a loop for the payment. I got so crazy I even attempted looking for movie tickets in San Diego while trying to see about airfare there. I took me longer than it should to realize that was a dumb idea.

Confirmation for preview tickets for Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Confirmation of my preview ticket for Star Wars: The Force Awakens

After 45 minutes of trying I found a theater on Fandango and on their site that had tickets. The theater website put me in a loop and Fandango had me stuck on Friday and wouldn’t pull up Thursday. After another ten minutes I got the tickets secured for Friday morning at the theater through Fandango. At this point my mind got nervous, thinking with all the problems there could be a glitch and I wouldn’t have tickets, I refreshed both sites and tried getting tickets for Thursday. Ten minutes later, through Fandango, I got Thursday tickets.

I was going to check my email for the tickets when my big computer decided to pull a missing control screen. Before I could fully realize the consequences, I restarted my computer. I didn’t write down the verification information and I had shut down my laptop. I checked my email and there was nothing from Paypal or Fandango. I hoped everything would work out, but I had a sinking suspicion something would go wrong.

The good news is, the time it has taken to write this article the Paypal and Fandango verifications have come through. Yes, I have tickets for Thursday night and Friday morning. Seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens twice in under 24 hours. Who am I trying to fool? I would have probably will see the film another time during the week even if its terrible. Now that I have gone through the gauntlet and secured my tickets, I can watch the trailer.

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