The Normalization of Hate

Since the beginning of time, people have disagreed, about anything and everything. J and I can’t agree. B and I don’t always agree on how to approach and handle things. Mel and I never agree on how to approach and handle things. We all suffer from the human condition and this is one of the side effects: strong opinions and a line of thinking that says “this is how it should be done.” This is to be expected, because we are the sum of our experiences. And while these 3 people are the people I am closest to in the real world, they’ve had different experiences than me.

J and I have very different ideas on politics. Sometimes, he gets frustrated with me because I have liberal leanings and I am pro-Socialist Republic and to him “socialism” is a trigger word. Yes, I’m a liberal, I think most artists and creative types are. But don’t get me wrong, I’m all about the second amendment. I was given the right to bear arms in case my government needed to be overthrown.

Yet, day in and day out, I look at my social media pages and see things like “Every Pro-Socialist is a moron.” Really? No, they aren’t. Most of them are like me. They use their brains and see a Socialist Republic (which we already have in the US) as a form of government that assists its citizens. Yes, it comes out of your tax dollars, and no there are things I don’t like about it, but I’d rather accept those things I don’t like then let some poor soul fall through the cracks. What does that mean? It means, I’m not a fan of career welfare moms; the type of woman who can’t seem to keep her legs closed, has 5 or 6 kids and no job because it’s easier to not work. But we shouldn’t punish her children for her terrible decisions. It’s not their faults she gave birth to them. And if we start restricting benefits based on certain things, then how many women and children no longer qualify?

Jude’s mommy is a single mother. She works her ass off. When she moved to Kansas City at the end of January, she was out of work for two weeks. She told us it was the longest time she’d been without a job since she was 16. Yet, there were times when she still wasn’t making enough to feed Jude, pay her bills, and feed herself. When that would happen, she’d go without. She is doing exactly what we expect mother’s to do. Yet, when she applied for assistance, she made $2 too much and couldn’t get it. She is exactly the type assistance programs were meant for. But because of cuts to our social welfare programs, that created higher restrictions, she couldn’t get assistance because of $2. To ensure the people like her get assistance, I will pay taxes to go to the career welfare mom. Not because I like what their doing, but because I know when we start making cuts, it isn’t the career welfare moms that get hit the hardest, it is the mom’s like Jude’s. The mom’s that work every damn day, do the best they can, and are just not making it.

And I’ll pay my school taxes to make sure that a non-verbal autistic child attending a public school can be put into the special classes designed for their needs. Or to ensure that my neighbor kid’s school has enough money for textbooks. I’ll pay them without complaint even though I have not had a need for a public school classroom for 20 years. And I will keep paying them every year, because I know that my taxes ensure teacher salaries get paid and kid’s get to attend a day at school without having to carry $150 in their pockets to give to the school to pay for their day of education.

Yet, I’m a moron. I’m an idiot. I’m a liberal pansy. And so much more. Why? Because I want to help my fellow American. One of the biggest things I’ve seen in the last two years is the normalization of hate. Don’t like Liberals? Blame them for everything. It’s all their fault. Except that isn’t correct. We got here together. It’s not the fault of liberals or conservatives. Those are just labels we put on each other to make our hate agreeable to others. “Oh, I don’t hate Liberals, I just think they are destroying the world and we need to wake up to it, so I shared a post calling them morons.”

That is exactly what hate is. If I can be hated for being a pro-Socialist Republic liberal, without someone even knowing me, that boils down to the other person being so filled with rage that they have to hate someone. The Pro-Life meme you shared calling all Democrats murderers, is it accurate? Who have I murdered that wasn’t fictional? Am I pro-Choice, yes, and while I support a woman’s right to choose, I also believe high school students in this country should be able to walk into the nurse’s office and get contraceptive, because that would prevent some of the need for abortions. Oddly, I have learned that both of those options make me a “terrible person.”

And social media is normalizing that hate. Why am I a bad person because I think high school girls should be given better access to birth control to prevent abortions and teen pregnancies that force them to take on responsibilities for the next 18 years of their lives?

Because we have normalized that hate already. The Pro-Life/Pro-Choice stand off has been raging so long, I think people have forgotten what it was really about. Most Pro-Choice supporters are like me. While they support a woman’s right to control her body, we also see societal problems inherent in the system. Poor access to contraceptive leads to more pregnancies which leads to more abortions. Fix one and fix the other. It makes sense. But I’ve been screamed at by Pro-Life Supporters while getting my birth control from a Planned Parenthood. And those people are not nice. Their words are venomous and vitriolic. It didn’t matter if a woman was there for, they were monstrous baby killers. One-time a pro-life protesters took down my license number and found my car downtown and left me a note telling me I was a baby-killer. She had no idea what I was there for. Not one. But she didn’t care. She so hated everything Planned Parenthood stood for that even those getting birth control and STD tests and treatment were obviously baby-killers.

That is the normalization of hate. It terrifies me. It should terrify everyone. Because that is how concentration camps in Germany got the stamp of approval. Once hate becomes normalized, apathy begins to take hold of a population. We think, incorrectly “well, I’ll never be in a position where I might need services from some place like planned parenthood.” But this is a false sense of security. I never thought I would need Planned Parenthood. And then, I didn’t have health insurance and I had a medical condition that required birth control, and it was so problematic that Student Health couldn’t help me, so they sent me to planned parenthood. Me and probably a few thousand other students, because student health doesn’t cover well women’s exams and birth control at the University of Missouri. We were all sent to Planned Parenthood where we could get reduced price exams and reduced price birth control.

But when was the last time someone thought about a Planned Parenthood clinic and thought “Oh they must be getting birth control?” My guess, probably never. Instead, let the hate flow for all these baby killers. Most of whom are just women in need of birth control. During the 9 years I got birth control from Planned Parenthood, I sat in the waiting room with a lot of other women. Women who were just like me, they were in their 20s and weren’t covered on their parents’ insurance anymore, but still wanted or needed birth control to ensure they didn’t need the other services offered by Planned Parenthood. I’d put the number in the thousands. Do you know how many women came in seeking abortions? Maybe 20, probably less. I know this because those poor girls got different paperwork from those of us getting birth control or those getting STD tests and treatment. Yet, each and every one of the thousands I saw were subjected to the same shouting, the same vitriolic hate that those 20 were subjected to. All because we have normalized hate.

The point is, we continue to normalize hate and we are expanding on it. It’s not just a problem in the US either. I’ve talked to some Brits who say it is happening in the UK too, because of Brexit. It will eventually give way to something worse than shouted words. And when we share those memes calling people names for their beliefs or lifestyles, we are perpetuating the normalization of hate. I don’t share memes proclaiming all Republicans are stupid or all Pro-Lifers are rageful morons. Because while I didn’t enjoy being called a baby-killer every time I had to get a Depo Provera shot, I refuse to spread hate. I didn’t unfriend a single person during the political battle that ensued after Trump became president. Not because I agreed with them, but because “friendship” should transgress politics. Friendship is a form of love and only love combats hate. And while I despised the protesters, they had a right to be there and I would fight for their right to be there, even though I think they fail to understand the women they verbally abuse are not their real targets.

And god forbid the day a tyrant takes control of this country and begins the internment camps, I will stand up for my fellow Americans whether I agree with them or not, because next it could be me. That is the future I fear with our current normalization of hate.

A Poem From WWII

My soul is saddened because we Americans have never been so divided during my lifetime as we are now. So I’m sharing this as a reminder that we should always speak up for those that may not be able to speak for themselves.

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

The poem is titled First they came for the Socialists and it was written by Martin Niemoeller a Lutheran Pastor German living in Nazi Germany.

Think about it, if you let your neighbors be punished for believing differently from you. When you find you are in opposition with those in power, who will speak for you?

Socialism in the US

There are currently a lot of anti-Socialism posts on social media. Especially in the US. This is because people don’t realize how much we benefit from socialist programs. Does your child attend public school? Do you ever go to the park? As any of your family served in the military and now gets free health care through the VA medical assistance program for vets? You can thank Socialism.

Before 1930, in order for a child to attend a day at school, it cost money. Not like School taxes money, but physical money. The child had to show up with it that morning. It was usually between 10 and 50 cents per day. I’m not talking about lunch money, a child had to pack their lunch every day for school unless a parent was planning on bringing lunch in. I’m talking about a daily fee that was required to attend school. If a kid showed up without that money, they were sent home. This is why more kids worked than attended school. Most families couldn’t afford to pay to send their kids to the 3rd grade or 6th grade. Especially in rural areas where school fees were often the highest because of the small size of the school.

Do you visit National or State Parks? Ever seen the beauty of Yellowstone or taken pictures at the Grand Canyon? These places only exist because of Socialist programs that encouraged “free public use areas” that could be enjoyed by anyone, not just the rich who could afford to own those lands.

Over a million men returned from WWI suffering a disability whether that be a missing limb, shell shock, or shrapnel lodged near their spine removing their ability to walk. You know what they were given? A thank you. That’s it. Veteran’s benefits didn’t exist at the time. If you went to war and were disabled when you came back, shit happens, good luck with the rest of your life. The department of Veterans Affairs was created in 1930. And it oversaw death benefits as well as disability for veterans. It too is a product of Socialist thinking.

The idea of a Socialist Republic (which is what most “advanced” countries in the world are) was applauded for their progressive thinking and ideas of society not abandoning its citizens to the wolves should something happen to them. It only became “bad” in the 1950s, when the Cold War between the US and the USSR began. But here’s a secret the USSR wasn’t a socialist or even communist government system. It was an elected dictatorship.

Here’s what gets me. Americans want to talk about how generous we are, but they want nothing to do with socialist programs that benefit everyone. At some point, the life of every American will benefit from the Socialist Republic they live in. Yet, Socialism is “evil”. If you think you won’t, then don’t drive a car because the building and upkeep of roads is a Socialist program. As is public transportation.

If we want to remove Socialism in the US, here’s a short list of things that will go away. Transportation (roads, public transport), free education, disability for the disabled as well as Veterans. Death benefits paid to a spouse if their spouse dies. Free parks. Oh and the big one FIRE DEPARTMENTS! Prior to the adoption of socialist programs, you had to pay for Fire Security Insurance. If your house caught fire, there was a good chance it would still burn down, because only your company would respond. This means that six fire engines might respond, but only one would be from the company you paid for, so if it took a long time for that company to arrive, your house would burn down before they arrived, even though there were 5 other fire trucks there that could put it out. Our police force is also a Socialist program. You don’t pay a detective to take your robbery case, because it’s paid for by taxes. But prior to the adoption of socialist programs, if you were the victim of a crime, you had to pay to have it looked into. Also, our military is a Socialist organization. It is paid for by tax dollars, you do not have to pay for it individually. Meaning I don’t have to send a cash payment to Whiteman Air Force base every week to make sure that if Missouri is invaded I’ll be protected from the invaders by the military.

If you want to bash socialism, that’s your prerogative, but you should at least understand it completely. In the US there are more than 100 programs that benefit society that are based on socialist ideas. Other Socialist Republic countries are Germany, Canada, France, Australia, Italy, Russia, Spain, Mexico, South Africa, Japan, (nearly all of Europe). The UK is a Constitutional Monarchy that has adopted a Socialist Republic policy.

Socialism is about taking care of citizens, regardless. Even you’re vacation days from your job, is the result of Socialism. If you still think socialism should be removed, that’s fine. My tax dollars don’t need to pay for your child to go to school and if you become disabled and unable to work, well then you’d better hope your relatives can afford to take care of you, because disability (SSI) is a socialist program. And you may have to make some tough choices, because if you give birth to a disabled child (a child who will probably never pay into SSI in the US), you had better be prepared to pay for everything that child will ever need for their entire lives, because they won’t get disability payments, Medicare/Medicaid, or job training. Considering disabled children are often far more expensive than non-disabled children, we are talking about millions of dollars. And you can’t let them go into foster care or an assisted living program, because both of these are Socialist programs.

The Truth About UFOs

Everyone says they want the truth when it comes to UFOs. And everyone suspects world governments are covering it up. It’s a great theory, but the truth may not be the best idea when it comes to aliens.

If intelligent aliens are visiting the Earth, I’m not sure people can handle it. Since 6,000 BCE when the Sumerians rose to build the city of Uruk, humans have been having issues with ethnicity. The Sumerians, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Celts, Vikings, Vandals, Mongols, Assyrians, Russians, Germans, Americans, Indians, English, French, we have all had periods of intense racism.

Humans can’t get past genetic differences that cause skin tone differences, do we really think we are civilized enough to handle a totally different and new race? I don’t think we are.

And I’ve heard the arguments that it would bring mankind closer together, as they united against something decidedly not human. But again, I think it would highlight our differences and create more divisions. You’d have those that were pro-alien and those that were anti-alien and that division would probably continue to start wars.

Think about how Americans dealt with abolition. Decades before the Emancipation Proclamation, we human beings were fighting over whether we should or should not support slavery of other humans. Those that were pro-slavery were known to burn down the homes of abolitionists. Free blacks would be captured and taken to the plantations, even if they had never set foot in a southern state. During WWII, Americans who spoke out against the internment of Japanese-Americans were risking their necks.

Why would humans react better to aliens? And humans who wanted to extend rights to extraterrestrials?

The only way aliens unite humanity is if they are hostile, like in Independence Day. As of yet, if aliens are visiting Earth, they are doing it in the same way that Douglas Adams discussed in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, buzzing lesser developed planets and beings.

Unfortunately, this means that if I’m in a position of power and know aliens are visiting, I keep that shit as quiet as possible. And I ensure other world leaders are also keeping that shit to themselves… because the last thing I want is for journalists at the Washington Post or New York Times reporting to Americans or Brits or anyone else that reads their papers, that Kim Jong-Un just brought out a UFO, some alien bodies, and proof of extraterrestrials. That is something I would take quite seriously, like nuclear attack imminent serious. However, since aliens would create mass panic that resulted in toppled governments, if I’m Kim Jong-Un, I’m also not sharing that information for my own protection, which is a fairly good motivator to not break the agreement that says aliens do not exist.

Next week, I have a post about UFOs in the Soviet Union.

Put Another Brick in the Wall

Several of my blog posts of late have dealt with historic walls and yes, it was leading up to this post. The US government has entered a partial shutdown because neither Republicans nor Democrats in congress really want to fund the border wall. I could have taken a cultural look at the efficiency of walls, but chose the militaristic side for a specific reason.

Here’s the deal, the border wall between the US and Mexico will not stem the tide of illegal immigration from Central America. It won’t even stem the tide of drugs, people trafficked for sex, or illegal guns. There are two main reasons pouring 30 billion into a border wall is basically flushing money down the toilet. 1) desperation doesn’t care about physical obstacles and most of the immigrants nowadays are from areas of Central America where violent conflict, corrupt governments, and poverty rule the land. They are desperate to settle anywhere but where they are. 2) There is an army constantly working to defeat all security measures put in place by the US to secure the border between the US and Mexico.

In the decades before the Black Death swept through Europe, there was a devastating famine on the continent. Tradesmen built a freaking tunnel under the walls of Paris to get inside where they hoped richer citizens would pay them more for goods… even though they knew the famine was affecting the cities just as much as the countryside. A similar thing happened in Medieval Moscow, citizens tunneled under the walls of Moscow in order to search for food and money during the famine. Desperate people are willing to do whatever it takes to relieve their situations. People spent 40 years crossing the Gulf of Mexico during Hurricane season in what amounted to row boats to escape Cuba. No wall will ever keep the desperate out.

I focused on the military aspect more than the cultural because Americans seem to forget there is always an army working to defeat every security we put in place; those are not armies of immigrants, they are well paid and usually well trained mercenaries hired by the Cartels. Most Cartels are large, well funded, well oiled machines that churn out drugs and slaves to be sent out for consumption. And as long as there are Cartels in Mexico, no border wall will keep them from moving their goods into the US. This means at this very moment, Cartels have plans prepared to deal with a chain link fence spanning the 1,954 miles of the US/Mexico border.

In other words, before the wall is even built, there are plans to undermine its capabilities. That is literally no different than accidentally securing the gates of Rome after the Vandals have gotten inside. And the Cartels have people on the inside, people who are US citizens whose sole job is to ensure that the Cartels continue to have access to the US.

No border wall is going to stop them. And if we can’t secure it from the armies of the Cartels, we can’t secure it from illegal immigrants. A breached wall might as well not exist. Because the Cartels already use Drug Tunnels to move people if the money is good enough. Even if we build it with reinforced concrete, it won’t matter to the Cartel. No wall in the history of the world has ever been known as effective. Even the Berlin Wall which was one of the more effective was defeated by desperation.

Wouldn’t that 30 billion dollars be better spent here in the US to fund the ATF, DEA, FBI, ICE, border guards, Homeland Security, and any number of other defenses that actually work? And defeating the Cartels is more important than trying to stop illegal immigration. But as history shows us again and again, there is no wall that can be built that is big enough to deter an army of any size. So other solutions must be explored because our border wall is already compromised.

The Berlin Wall

August 13, 1961 construction began on the Berlin Wall. The massive project was the brainchild of communist Germany backed by the Soviet Union. In total, it was 96 miles long, 27 of those miles ran smack dab through Berlin. The other 69 miles encircled parts of West Berlin so that it would not have contact with the East German countryside.

The 27 miles that ran through the city was actually a double wall construct. The inner wall was 3 feet wide, made of reinforced concrete. The inner wall was 12 feet tall. The outer wall was also 3 feet wide and stood 15 feet tall and again was made from reinforced concrete (essentially concrete with rebar in it). Between the inner wall and the outer wall was an area known as the Death Strip which in some places was only 18 feet wide and in others was as much as 380 feet wide.

Not 35 miles from my house is a 32 feet long section of the outer Berlin Wall that stands as a memorial at a local college’s museum dedicated to Churchill. I have seen in person there as well as in Berlin where sections were saved, reconstructed and now stand as a reminder to how terrible it was. It is imposing. It makes one feel small to stand next to it and have it’s shadow engulf you.

However, it wasn’t the Wall that kept people from hopping between East and West Berlin, it was the death strip. The inner wall had gun turrets, guard towers, and armories. And all that firepower was aimed at the death strip. It was also lovingly boobytrapped with mines and things. The death strip is where people died trying to cross the Berlin Wall. Both inner and outer walls were manned, not just check points, but people who actually did nothing but walk along the top of the wall and shoot at people trying to illegally cross it.

The DDR quickly realized after constructing the Berlin Wall that they would have to commit to it in order for it to work at keeping Westerners out of the East and Easterners inside the confines of the poorer section of Germany. And that commitment would require bloodshed. As far as we know, there were no successful escape attempts across the Wall once the death strip was put in place.

One of my professors once told me that the DDR had CCTV aimed at the Death Strip and in the early days of the Berlin Wall, they would air footage on TV of people dying as they tried to illegally cross the border wall. And those clips also helped deter people from trying to cross illegally.

It only stood for 36 years (from completion to destruction). In 1989, the DDR in an attempt to pacify it’s citizens agreed to release a certain number of VISAs to cross from the East to the West. But the announcement became garbled between headquarters and broadcasting and suddenly there was a rush at the checkpoints to get the VISAs.

At that point, desperate, enraged, and surrounded by hundreds of their fellow East Berliners, a few brave and daring people took matters into their own hands and overwhelmed the guards in the checkpoints. Guards from the top of the Wall had to come down as reinforcements and they too were soon overwhelmed and the security of the Berlin Wall was compromised in less than a day. By that night, people from both sides were climbing on top of the Berlin Wall with sledgehammers. The announcement aired on the morning of November 6, 1989 and by November 15, 1989, the East German government announced they would begin allowing free travel from the East to the West, a complete contradiction of the ideals they supported.

A few thousand people had toppled a government in just nine days. And they had wrecked the symbol of division that had arbitrarily governed them for 36 years. It was a powerful and emotional event. I still have memories of seeing people stand on the Berlin Wall, leaning on sledgehammers or wielding them over their heads to bring them down again on the ghastly thing.

Walls have never been effective deterrents, it is the death that lays at the base of the walls that deter people from testing them. The same was true of walled cities and walled castles centuries before the Berlin Wall was built. It will still hold true six centuries from now. A wall is only as good as the violence that can be rained down on those that test it, whether that be with landmines, boiling pitch, arrows, or bullets, that is the deterrent, not the physical wall.

WWII UFO Moments

As some of you may remember, my history degree is actually in the cultural and political history of WWII Europe. This means I can tell you what the average German thought of WWII as well as what the British and French were doing to combat Nazism and add a dash of what the Soviets thought of Hitler and Germans as a whole, and on a good day, I can remember details about the Battle of Stalingrad and other important battles. Which is why I didn’t get a career related to my degree… I didn’t want to teach and I couldn’t figure out what else to do with said history degree.

Writing novels is more in line with my passions anyway and it allows me to disseminate a little history to the masses who read my books and blog posts. WWII is generally thought of only in terms of Nazis. Don’t get me wrong, Nazis and the Holocaust were the most important parts of it, but it was also filled with head scratching moments for various reasons. This post will touch on some of those head scratching moments.

We’ll start with pre-War moments. In 1937, a UFO reportedly crashed in northern Germany and the wreckage was recovered by the Nazi government. This would lead to two things during the war, A) the funnelling of money into a top secret project called Die Glocke and B) Nazis developing the jet engine.

Hitler got the plans for Die Glocke from a medium involved in the Vril Society, a secret society that concentrated on spiritualism. Hitler himself was very interested in the paranormal and his right hand man, Himmler married a woman who proclaimed to be a medium. Despite massive funding and having the top scientists of Nazi Germany working on Die Glocke, the project would ultimately fail and the weapon to end the war would never take shape. Some think the weapon was a flying saucer, others think it had something to do with radioactivity.

However, it was while working on Die Glocke that Nazi Germany perfected the jet engine and by the final years of the war, Nazi Germany had the most advanced air force on the planet. Despite these advancements in aeronautics, ultimately, even the jet planes of Nazi Germany were no match for the tenacity of certain members of the US and Royal Air Force and experienced daredevil pilots would ultimately decide air combat battles in the favor of the Allied Forces in the European theater. So, the jet engine was created thanks to a theoretical UFO crash, Hitler and Himmler’s interest in the paranormal, and accident.

However, this would not be the only UFO encounter during WWII that would gain some notoriety. Foo Fighters would quickly join the lexicon of WWII. Seen by hundreds of air servicemen during WWII from every country to put up an airplane during it, they were either described as metal balls or glowing balls of light that often shadowed aircraft. There are dozens of photos taken from planes of Foo Fighters. Although, that hasn’t helped us figure out what they are and we haven’t had sightings of them since the end of WWII. One reportedly shadowed the Enola Gay for a short time on it’s fated flight to Japan.

The final one happened in the US. After the massacre at Pearl Harbor, many cities on the Pacific Coast had huge military installations put near them. The goal was to not be hit by another Pearl Harbor. Several of these installations even noticed the horrible balloon bombs Japan tried to send to the US (only one actually arrived on the mainland and while it did kill 2, it wasn’t very effective). A few things collided to make the perfect storm that would become known as the Battle of Los Angeles.

The first attack of the mainland US took place the day before the Battle of Los Angeles. February 22, 1942 (two and a half months after Pearl Harbor) a Japanese submarine surfaced off the coast of Santa Barbara, California and proceeded to launch artillery shells at the US. Unfortunately for the Japanese, they didn’t have their location correct and they ended up firing hundreds of shells on an oil field and refinery. There were no casualties and only minimal damage done.

Los Angeles was on the brink of panic, because it was obvious a Japanese submarine was just off the coast and it had disappeared from radar and it had attempted to bomb LA and failed. Records show the submarine did think it was bombing LA when it bombed the oil field in Santa Barbara. So in that respect, the panic of the Angelenos was justified. On the night of February 23, 1942 a contact did appear on radar that appeared to be a plane nearing Los Angeles. Battle stations were put on alert. People began reporting to emergency services they could see strange lights over the ocean heading towards the city. It didn’t take long for the radar contact to disappear, as it flew over Los Angeles air space. More people began to call emergency services about the lights that they reported had now disappeared.

The order was given to fire at the unknown craft. And all Hell broke loose. Military installations around Los Angeles fired hundreds of thousands of rounds. There is a famous photo of search lights scanning the black sky as heavy artillery rounds can be seen exploding in the area search lights are aimed at. Angelenos were told to head inside, pull down their curtains, and snuggle with loved ones. It is the only time a blackout order has been issued in the US.

The following morning, Angelenos could pick up the spent casings from the artillery rounds from their yards and streets. In the days and weeks that followed, the army stated several times that the alert was real and not a drill or the invention of an overactive imagination. If there was a craft, it either wasn’t hit by any of the rounds or it wasn’t reported as downed. And it holds the record for the only air battle to happen over mainland US. More shells were fired in the Battle of Los Angeles than by US forces in Pearl Harbor.

Pearl Harbor and the Battle of Los Angeles would actually lead the US to invest significant resources into research of radar technology to improve it. Germany and the US weren’t the only places where UFOs played a role in WWII, there was one report that surfaced in 1995 (after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991) that claimed several members of the Soviet army’s upper echelon took note of a UFO a few days before they recaptured the city of Stalingrad and that they found the weakness in the German defenses of the city, as a result of their encounter with the UFO.

As a side note, these all predate Roswell (1947) and the Kenneth Arnold UFO sighting (also 1947) both of which “started the UFOlogy movement.”

What Accosta’s ban from the White House Really Means

No US president has ever said being president was easy and most would say it isn’t fun.  They have to answer some very tough questions put forth by the press and the American public.  Reagan had the Iran/Contra scandal, George Bush Sr. had the Gulf War, Clinton had Lewinsky, Bush Jr. had Iraq, Obama had the Affordable Care Act.  They all answered questions about it.  They didn’t love every reporter that sat in the gallery of a press conference.  And they certainly didn’t love every question.

However, not once do I ever remember hearing a President respond by telling the reporter it was a stupid question or by calling the reporter stupid.  Most have accepted that’s the way it goes in a country with free press and free of speech.  Yet, President Trump continues to act like the White House is the stage of the Apprentice where he can say and do anything he wants and no one is going to tell him any different.

When I first heard President Trump had banned Jim Accosta from White House press conferences, I shook my head, the tantrum had finally happened.  Tomorrow or the next day, Accosta would be back asking the president questions he didn’t want to answer.

Then the days dragged on and the ban become a more serious and real problem.  This is the action of a despot, a dictator that doesn’t want the people to know what he’s up to.  Especially, considering he banned CNN while talking about how much he loved Fox News.

I’m seeing parallels between this behavior and the behavior of leaders like Vladimir Putin, who despite being elected democratically, still only talks to state sponsored media.  State sponsored media is the very antithesis of our founding principles of free speech and free press.   Something that requires free access by members of the press that supports both conservative and liberal news oriented organizations.

And while I thought the replacement of Accosta with a different White House reporter was the answer, so far, President Trump has done nothing but belittle these reporters.  Calling them stupid, calling their questions stupid and racist.  And he gets away with it.  Why should he stop until only Fox News is left in a position to report on events in the White House?  When Fox News becomes President Trump’s state sponsored media outlet and everyone else is wrong, fake, false, and subversive?

Love or hate him, it’s hard to deny that President Trump is setting it up to enforce a state sponsored media similar to what they have in Russia.  Of course, if you point this out to him, he’ll point out how stupid you are for bringing it up.

No one has demanded he like every reporter or every question that gets asked of him, that’s unrealistic.  But is it really so hard to act like a person and deal with those he doesn’t like as if he were attempting to be an adult?  If you told everyone they were stupid or that was a stupid question every time you got asked something you didn’t want to answer, how long would you keep your job?

Voter Fraud

I’ve drafted this post about a dozen times and deleted it every time.  But with recounts happening once again in Broward and Palm Beach counties in Florida, let’s talk about how voter fraud works.  Because it isn’t easy.  And it’s rather illogical.

And there’s only 3 ways it can be done.

Method One:  You steal someone’s identity.  In most states, this requires you to buy a fake picture ID, appropriate someone’s address, because you can’t go vote at your local poll using two different identities, that’s going to arouse suspicion.  Doing this you get to vote twice, maybe.  As long as you don’t screw up.  In some states, not only do you need picture ID but your voter registration card.  This would require you to sit and watch the mail of the appropriated address so that you can surreptitiously pull out the voter registration card that you had sent there.

Method Two: Absentee Ballot, you apply for and get approved to do an absentee ballot.  Then you also go vote at the polls or you once again pay for a fake ID and get hold of a voter registration card that matches said ID.  And like the method above, you are out a some cash (most forgers do not accept debit or credit cards for their services and the price is dependent on what state you want the ID to be from.  Some states are easier to forge than others.  In Columbia, MO a forged picture ID is going to run you around $500 for a Missouri ID.  Plus, you’ve spent this money so you can vote twice.  I know we like to pretend every vote counts, but even if you vote twice, you probably aren’t doing your candidate a huge favor with your two votes.  I have never seen an election won by 2 whole votes.

Method Three: You somehow manage to get hired by the elections office in your county and you throw away or negate votes for the candidates you don’t want.  This requires you to either be slick enough that others in the room where the votes are counted do not notice you pitching votes or no one double checks your work when validating signatures on absentee ballots.

Method one and two aren’t very good.  Those two votes probably aren’t worth the cash you spent to get them.  Method Three would be more effective, but realistically…. How do you get 12 people feeding ballots into machines to miss that you are throwing ballots away or hiding them under the machine?  Because votes are not counted in a vacuum, there are usually multiple people feeding the ballots into the machine.  As well as some supervisors.  And I talked to a volunteer several years ago that said there was always a police officer in the room when they feed the ballots into the machines.

There is a 4th method that gets mentioned when talking about voter fraud, but it’s much like Method 1 and Method 2.  You somehow manage to get people who are not legally allowed to vote (illegal immigrants, convicts who have not applied to have their vote reinstated, etc)  the proper paperwork that allows them to vote.  But this is usually a fake ID.  There was a case in Georgia a few years ago where a woman voted using her friend’s ID because they looked enough alike that no one questioned it.  She had been convicted of DUI and had her right to vote revoked for the felony conviction and hadn’t applied to get her rights back.

This isn’t happening in large numbers though.  If it was, we’d have to redesign our election process from the ground up.  Because if millions of people were pulling this off across the country every election, it would prove our system flawed, even in states where picture ID is required.

The day before this posted, someone gave me a new method… Method 5: Personal belief – Someone pointed out to me that if you want to believe voter fraud is widespread and rampant, then no amount of evidence gathered by bipartisan research groups or critical thinking on the matter is going to convince you it isn’t.  In the same way, no one is ever going to convince Girgio Tsoukalos  that ancient aliens didn’t further the evolution of mankind or help build some of it’s more incredible engineering feats.

Amendments, Details, Medical Marijuana

I don’t normally check my private/direct messages with my phone.  I prefer typing at my computer keyboard.  The other day, I got a private message via Facebook, basically calling me a moron.  But I checked it on my computer and by the time I got to it on my phone, it was gone.  If you change your profile or something after sending a private message, it deletes said private message.

I first noticed this oddity when I was accused of stealing some guy’s script because I had an unpublished novella called The Dysfunctional Mob and apparently he has a screen play by the same title, that hasn’t been copyrighted or appeared in film form.

Anyway, the writer of the private message told me I was an idiot who didn’t understand how the government worked and I needed to take some history classes because the 14th Amendment deals only with birth right citizenship, not the other stuff I mentioned.  Event though said writer managed to get the message removed before I could get a screen shot, the jokes on them.  I have a history degree and was unable to avoid taking classes in US government and history.  And Amendment 14 deals with a whole lot more than just citizenship.  Even Wikipedia is fairly correct on it’s inclusion of passages from said amendment and the explanation of the 14th amendment.  I know because when it first came up in the news, I couldn’t remember what the 14th amendment was and had to Google it.

Anyway, I’m not here for the 14th Amendment today.  The State of Missouri votes today on Medical Marijuana.  But because everything is either feast or famine when it comes to voting in Missouri, we aren’t just voting for one amendment – there are 2 of them regarding medical marijuana and a proposition.  Now both amendments might pass, but the one with the most votes technically wins.  The proposition and either amendment could also pass.

I’m fairly sure the 2 amendments are meant to confuse people.  Because Amendment 2 is much, much different than Amendment 3.  And the language is super important.  Why do I think it’s meant to confuse people?  When the amendments were presented to our state government, the biggest complaint was about how this would make marijuana easier for teens to get.  The whole “we must protect our children at any cost” stance.

Amendment 2 has a much longer list of conditions allowed to use medical marijuana.  It also allows people to personally grow it, you pay a fee, send in a prescription, and they send you six plants and a license.  The list of conditions though is part of the really important bit, Amendment 2 has more than 20 conditions allowed to be prescribed medical marijuana and creates jobs.  Amendment 3 has much higher tax rates and says the extra goes to research, but if you read it closely the “taxes” go to a guy in Springfield, Missouri who’s a lawyer and on the board of a research institution and where the “research money goes” is at his discretion.  Also the list of treatable conditions includes just 9 medical conditions.

Amendment 3 doesn’t help many people, it does seem to help the guy who wrote the amendment, the lawyer Brad Bradshaw – who I have heard described by numerous people as an ambulance chasing lawyer.  I’ve never met him, but I picture Leo Getz as played by Joe Pesci in Lethal Weapon when I think about it.

Several of my friends that live in Springfield have been debating the amendments on Facebook (which is where the ambulance chaser comments) have come from, because one of the adverts paid for by Brad Bradshaw said it would create 10,000 jobs in Springfield.  Now Bradshaw is claiming he doesn’t know why the advert says that because it will probably only create a couple hundred jobs.  Meaning Amendment 2 would create more and while the taxes on it are lower, it will also generate more revenue because more people could be prescribed it.

And Amendment 2 clearly states that the taxes will go towards helping the problem of homeless vets as well as medical research into cancer, but it is not at the discretion of a single person and his board of cronies, the funds get divvied up by a board made up of doctors who work at research hospitals and Missouri’s veteran’s affairs department.

Amendments are long and boring and full of legalese.  They are hard to read and difficult to understand.  But reading and understanding them are vitally important.  Because there are always things hidden in them that don’t appear to fit with the amendment – just like the whole “it’s a 4% tax rate, but the money goes to help homeless vets and cancer research”.  What?  How and why is assisting homeless vets included in an amendment regarding medical marijuana?  I haven’t seen any pro-Amendment 2 advertisements because I try not to watch TV with commercials in it.  But I did see one anti-Amendment 2 advertisement and it was all about how doctors in Missouri don’t support medical marijuana, but they support Amendment 3 because it allows for more medical research into treating cancer.

In the last 17 months, I have yet to meet a doctor who doesn’t support medical marijuana in my state.  Even my 74 year old primary care physician has told me if I moved to a state with medical marijuana treating my CRPS would be easier.  These two commercials are important because both have been mentioned in the online discussion among my friends.  What wasn’t mentioned was that states with medical marijuana have fewer opiate related deaths and fewer patients that need opiate prescriptions.

Despite the boring nature of amendments, it’s important to read them in their entirety because you never know what might be hidden in them.  Also, just listening to adverts or spokespeople talk about them can be misleading.  I still haven’t figured out what Missouri Doctor’s Association doesn’t support medical marijuana because from what I can tell, the Missouri medical community is good with it, across the board.  Most likely it’s a ploy, if people think their doctor doesn’t believe in medical marijuana then there’s no need to vote for it, because even if they have one of the conditions on the approved for treatment list, their doctor won’t prescribe it.  I live in a very liberal city that has a large pro-medical marijuana stance.  I have yet to see a single sign that says vote no on Amendment 2.  One of our law firms in town has a banner on their building that does say vote no on Amendment 3 and gives a web address on where to get more information on the two amendments.  I didn’t go check it out because I figured it’d be skewed towards Amendment 2 since the law firm is obviously not in favor of Amendment 3.

I have kept an eye on the Facebook debate simply because I like reading the comments on why someone thinks everyone should vote this way or vote that way.  It shows people exorcising critical thinking skills, and is a nice change from the normal political stuff that shows up on Facebook.  I often fear we are a country losing our ability to critically think about things and are likely to just follow the crowd and take the word of a political official as gospel truth.  In the end, we are all going to go to the polls and vote as we believe, but it will be informed voting.  None of my friends in this discussion are going to get into the polling booth and go “I have no idea whether this is a good idea or a bad one, so I’ll just randomly decide to vote no or yes on it, based on advertisements I’ve seen,” which is a terrible voting practice since all adverts are skewed one way or the other in an attempt to get someone to do what they want.  That’s why the anti-amendment 2 commercials have stressed the low tax rate and the expanded medical treatment list as awful and going to put drugs in the hands of our teens.  It leaves out that Amendment 2 requires someone to be 21 or older to obtain a prescription for medical marijuana and it doesn’t mention that about half the tax money raised goes towards helping veterans.  Why because these two things would help push amendment 2 through the polls.  I’ve seen a few posts that were like “I’m not pro pot, but I am pro helping vets, so I’ll vote yes, because I don’t care if other people use it, and the money will help veterans.”

As a PS: normally when I write a political post, like I did with the removal of the 14th amendment, it’s not about taking a side (although about half my readers take it that way), it’s about dispensing information.  It doesn’t matter to me if you are pro-birth right citizenship or anti-birth right citizenship or where I stand on the matter, what I do care about is that you realize this amendment doesn’t just deal with birth right citizenship and the removal of it could be used to subjugate or abuse US citizens, the ones that have been here for generations, because it like so many other amendments isn’t about just one single thing, there are clauses in there that have nothing to do with birth right citizenship.  And I feel like before anyone takes a die hard, unmovable stance on anything related to our government they should be working with all the information and not just what they read in news articles or hear come out of the mouths of our political leaders, who all have an agenda.

Now, go forth and vote…