Bullies, Protests, and Politics: An Analogy

Image is linked from Scoutlete.com. Copyright remains with the copyright holder.

Image is linked from Scoutlete.com. Copyright remains with the copyright holder.

An opinion by guest blogger Kristofer James

I want to think that analogies may help people understand who truly don’t. This is my simple analogy for anyone who keeps wondering “why in the heck are these people protesting?” This is only my opinion, and it is very simplified, and it does not represent everyone who protested…. This is only my opinion–maybe even an alternative fact…

I think of all the strong women descendants of Luella Biler who have made an impact on me when I write many of the things I do. I see their faces as I type. They give me strength, and it is a proud strength. They are my family, and I love them.

So…My analogy…

The classmate who has been known for being a bully (maybe he’s changed, maybe he says he doesn’t even bully anymore, maybe bullied only in the locker room) gets elected to class president. He is inaugurated.

The next day, those who have been bullied by him are maybe joined by others across the land–maybe even the world–who have experienced being bullied, and they rally together, just to remind everyone, especially the newly-elected class President, that they will not put up with bullying anymore. They have been united because of something they have experienced together. They believe that the experiences they share are important on a human level, and want to try to do what they can so that they, and future generations, may be able to live without being bullied. They have that fundamental human right to do so.

And let’s say that for most of the last 100 years, those who have been bullied have not always been protected under the law (maybe the first law to try to protect them was enacted in 1920).

Maybe there are some who were never bullied, so maybe they don’t understand it on the level of those who have been bullied. But to just dismiss it as nothing important is just not very insightful, or empathetic, yet we have grown up in a society that says we should be empathetic and insightful.

But I digress…

They rally because it gives a voice. It makes sure we move forward, not backwards…It lets those who have bullied, or who currently bully, or who are inclined to bully, know that bullying is understood and that it will no longer be tolerated. It lets those who endure bullying know that they are not alone.

They know that it is quite possible that bullying will never be completely eradicated, but at least they rally together to ensure it is not forgotten. They keep in in the light. Awareness.

Maybe some of those who have never experienced bullying first hand know someone who has, and they stand proudly beside them.

Please don’t dismiss them. You know someone who has been bullied, so don’t act like you don’t. And if you have been bullied, don’t act like you haven’t been.

The opinion of an individual blogger does not necessarily reflect that of all members of The Loveshade Family.  Kristofer James has worked in the entertainment industry including work for Inland Stage and as a director in the MSJC theatre department.  The original Ĕk-sĕn-trĭks Cluborguild, which created the Order of the Pineapple and led to the creation of the Discordian Division of the Ek-sen-triks CluborGuild, began at MSJC.  The most recent honorees of The Order are named Here.

“Don’t bully…be a friend” image is from http://newsroom.scoutlete.com/bully-no-more-how-to-stop-bullying

America’s Last Righteous War

The USS West Virginia and the USS Tennessee burn on Dec. 7, 1941, after Japanese aircraft attacked Pearl Harbor. | REUTERS/KYODO

The USS West Virginia and the USS Tennessee burn on Dec. 7, 1941, after Japanese aircraft attacked Pearl Harbor. | REUTERS/KYODO

Seventy five years ago today, the United States of America declared war on the Empire of Japan. America had what was widely recognized as a very good reason; the day before, Japanese forces bombed the air base at Pearl Harbor in the then territory of Hawaii.

That’s the last time America had a clear and present danger to itself as justification for declaring war.  So why has America gone to war several times since?

The Korean War of 1950-1953 was a colossal failure.  The United States got involved in an internal conflict when North Korea invaded South Korea.  North Korea today is widely accused of having one of the worst human rights records in the world.

The Vietnam War of 1959-75 was between North and South Vietnam. Again, there was no “clear and present danger” to the United States.

In the 21st century, it could be argued that the terrorist attack on the United States on September 11, 2001 was an act of war; the headline on some newspapers named it so.  But the War in Afghanistan didn’t begin because of an attack by that nation, but by a group of al-Qaeda and Taliban supporters.  America didn’t declare war on Texas because of the Fort Hood shooting of 2009, or on the University of Massachusetts because of student participation in the Boston Marathon bombing of 2013.

The Iraq War began with the United States leading a “preemptive strike” (unprovoked attack) on the nation of Iraq in 2003.  This was because the nation supposedly might pose a threat to the United States at some future point in time if certain things happened.

So why has America gone to war so many times in the last 75 years?  I consulted with a friend who’s an expert on American military conflicts. I asked how many wars had America declared in the last 75 years that proponents didn’t believe would benefit American corporations?  Without hesitation, he answered, “none.”

An opinion of an individual member of The Loveshade Family does not necessarily reflect the views of the entire family.

Donald Trump Sees Women as Sex Objects: So What?

Donald Trump on cover of Playboy. Cover is linked and copyrighted and appears here for illustrative purposes.

Donald Trump on cover of Playboy. Cover is linked and copyrighted and appears here for illustrative purposes.

Some of Donald Trump’s most prominent supporters are now backing away because of a 10-year-old tape in which he jokes about kissing women without asking and grabbing their genitals.  Why?  Haven’t they been paying attention?

The three-time married Donald Trump had an affair with his then future-second wife while married to his first, and impregnated her.  He’s bragged about his womanizing in both speech and writing.

In addition, he promised to water-board terrorist suspects (which could include women) and do “more than that” even if it meant violating international treaties against torture.  He promised to bomb fighters in Syria and “take our their families,” killing innocents including women and children in acts which could well be treated as war crimes, and then take their oil and sell it.

Then he wanted to violate the Constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion by barring all Muslims (including women) from coming to America.

His primary campaign slogan is “Make America Great Again,” which literally means he is saying that America, which certainly includes women, is not a great nation.  (If you don’t believe that’s what it means, ask an English teacher.)

What happened with his continuing statements that were so outrageous they could be considered increasingly Anti-American?  His popularity in America increased.

Now a 10-year-old tape of him making crude comments about women to another guy surfaces.  So what?  These are the same sort of comments probably millions of American men say to other American men when there aren’t any women around.  But suddenly many of his supporters are shocked at Donald Trump’s morality in regard to women.

Why?  Haven’t they been paying attention?

This blog borrows from Time Magazine’s Person of the Year: The Short List, No. 3, Donald Trump

The opinion of an individual member of The Loveshade Family does not necessarily reflect the views of the whole family.

Five Years After Troy Davis Execution: The Problem Remains

I Am Troy Davis was published on the anniversary of his execution in 2013. (Cover under copyright used to raise awareness of the book).

I Am Troy Davis was published on the anniversary of his execution in 2013. (Cover under copyright used to raise awareness of the book).

Troy Anthony Davis was executed five years ago in America among international controversy for the slaying of a police officer.

There was controversy over whether there was enough evidence to convict him.  Many people, including Former FBI Director William Sessions, said there was not. And there was controversy over whether or not the death penalty was appropriate to a free nation in the 21st century.  Put a man in jail, and if you made a mistake you can release him. Kill him and it’s over.

Most witnesses against him recanted; one of the two remaining allegedly said he, not Davis, was the killer of police officer Mark MacPhail in Savannah, Georgia, in 1991.

The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, passed in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing, made it much more difficult for a convicted person to get appeals.  Proponents claim it makes it harder for the guilty to postpone their execution with appeals; opponents claim it makes it harder for the innocent to postpone their execution and to show their innocence.

It largely comes down to a matter of priorities over life: would we rather let the guilty postpone their death, or the innocent be killed?

 

Dangerous Dogs, Untrained Handlers, Native Americans

democracy_now_jonni_joyce_dog_attack_native_american_pipeline_protestors

Image of video of dog attack incident and interview with Jonni Joyce.

Dangerous Dogs, Untrained Handlers, Native Americans clash in protest over pipeline.There’s a big debate about a pipeline going through Amerind land where it could impact on both sacred ground and the availability of clean water. A federal judge has temporarily halted some construction. But I’d like to focus on the dogs brought in to “handle” the peaceful protest.

I’m not an expert in this kind of dog training like Jonni Joyce, who is interviewed in the video by Democracy Now. But I am familiar with it as a journalist who covered crime for many years and I have worked with animals including dogs for quite a few years. It’s obvious to me in this video that the dogs, the dog handlers, or both have not been properly trained. That is completely inappropriate and is, as can be seen in the video, dangerous. Several people and apparently a horse were bit.  I’m sure heads are going to roll because of this.

Here’s a shorter Facebook version of the video.

An opinion of an individual member of The Loveshade Family does not necessarily reflect the views of the entire family.

 

U.S. Marines Enter 21st Century

This is still a rifleman.

The U.S. Marines is following orders.  U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus told the Marines to start making titles more female friendly, i.e,, more genderless.  This is especially important as the first female has signed up for the Marines as an Infantry trooper.

Some people will no doubt lambast this as political correctness gone awry. “What difference does a word make?” As I’ve been a journalist, an investigator, and have some very basic training in psychology, I can tell you it makes a world of difference. All of these professions are trained to listen very carefully to the exact wording a person uses.  The precise choice of words is key to understanding a person’s thinking–especially those things that they’re hiding from you or from themselves.

I still struggle after all these years of knowing nurses that were men, even being friends with one and acting with another, to think of one as a nurse and not as a “male nurse.”  Younger people who grew up hearing nurses of both sexes called “nurses” likely don’t have that problem.

See terms that are changing (and those that aren’t, such as “rifleman”), here.

Link is at http://www.military.com/daily-news/2016/06/28/marines-keep-rifleman-rolling-out-gender-neutral-job-titles.html

Thanks to Herr Bookmonger for providing the link and suggesting a form of the title.

America is Better than Everybody Else

If you haven’t noticed, we’re moving close to the Fourth of July, the American Independence Day.  While the phrase is rampant all the time, this is especially the time to hear, “America is the greatest country in the world.”

Ever stop to think how that sounds to non-Americans?  (Of course if you aren’t American, you have).  What does it literally mean?  It means Americans are better than everyone else.  In other words, every other country in the world is inferior to America.  It’s an insult to the world.

Do an online search for “Greatest country in the world” and (as of five minutes ago) you’ll see articles either saying America is the greatest or America is not the greatest.  They’ll almost all be about America.

America is a superpower.  Russian President Vladimir Putin recently said America is “probably the only superpower.”  But the “land of the free, home of the brave” is consistently not listed as the greatest in personal freedom, in economic freedom, in freedom of the press, in education level, in medical care, or in having law-abiding citizens (instead it has the highest prison population rate in the world).

But America is the greatest country in the world.  So is Russia.  So is China, and the United Kingdom, and Israel, and Egypt, and Iran and Iraq and every other nation in the world to someone.

If you want to praise America on the 4th of July, by all means do so.  But consider saying, “America is the greatest country in the world–to me.”

An opinion of an individual member of The Loveshade Family does not necessarily reflect the view of every member of the family.

Ted Cruz Resigns from the Presidential Race–Why?

Ted Cruz leaves the race.

Once again, I am astonished. Ted Cruz has resigned as a candidate for the U.S. presidential nomination. Why?

Yes, Donald Trump, whom I originally predicted had almost no chance, is well ahead. Yes, there’s a chance Trump could get the votes necessary to virtually secure the Republican nomination before the convention. Yes, Cruz lost Indiana, a key state.

But Ted Cruz was expected to lose Indiana. And there is a reasonable chance Trump would not gain enough delegates to secure the nomination with both Cruz and John Kasich still in the race before the Republican National Convention. Without enough delegations, the nomination would have been up for grabs.  It could have gone to Cruz, Kasich, or even someone else.

I can understand why Kasich dropped out of the race.  He was trailing a very distant third, and it was highly unlikely he’d get enough delegates to have a chance.  With Cruz out, Trump virtually has the Republican nomination.  Probably only Cruz could have stopped it.

So why did Ted Cruz resign?

Three Republican Candidates, Three Republican Parties

Republican Party logo upside down.

The Republican Party is in serious trouble. OK, so that’s hardly news. An NPR commenter said that both Donald Trump’s political career and the Republican Party can’t survive this election. Right now, Donald Trump is thriving.

Each of the three candidates seems to represent different Republican Parties. There’s Donald Trump, the business conservative in the tradition of wealthy and powerful white non-Hispanic male businessmen who aren’t afraid to step on people’s toes. He spouts off what he thinks, even calling his political colleagues dummies.

There’s Ted Cruz, the Texas social conservative, who represents “traditional American values.” He also threatens to virtually eliminate the IRS, and is seen as radically conservative by many liberals and moderates.

And then there’s John Kasich. Kasich is the only remaining Republican presidential candidate who represents the traditional Republican Party (“Traditional” here means the party as it was recreated after the resignation of Vice President Spiro T. Agnew and President Richard M. Nixon in the 1970s). He’s conservative but moderate, and remains relatively non-confrontational. Ten years ago, 20 years ago, 30 years ago, even 40 years ago, he is the only candidate who would have had anything close to a reasonable chance of gaining the Republican nomination or of being elected President of the United States. He’s trailing a distant third.

Now Cruz and Kasich are “joining forces” to stop Trump. Ten years ago, 20 years ago, 30 years ago, even 40 years ago, that would have been completely unnecessary. Trump, whom even his family have said is not coming across as presidential, would have eliminated himself.

Time will tell if the Republican Party will do the same thing to itself.

(And by the way,for those who’ve been keeping track, yes I was completely wrong when I said almost a year ago I thought Donald Trump had almost no chance of becoming the Republican nominee for president).

See the Time magazine report.

An opinion of a member of The Loveshade Family does not necessarily reflect the views of the whole family.

Donald Trump for President NOT

Trump2011“It’s great to be at Trump Tower. It’s great to be in a wonderful city, New York. And it’s an honor to have everybody here. This is beyond anybody’s expectations.” — Donald Trump, June 15, 2015

What was beyond most of our expectations was that Donald Trump would run for president of the United States.

But why not? The odds stacked against him won’t stop him. He even tried and failed to get “You’re Fired!” trademarked.  (Let that sink in–trademarking “you’re fired”–and see more odd trademark attempts here).

Well, the reality show where he used that catch phrase is on hiatus (translation: the network doesn’t want to actually say it cancelled the show in case something extraordinary happens that could bring it back–like, say, its star running for president?)

I heard an opinion on NPR (sorry; I didn’t catch the name) who said this is a win-win situation for Trump.  If he wins the presidency, he wins. If he doesn’t win, he get the publicity he craves so he still wins.

Unless American politics has gone completely hair wire, Donald Trump has about as much chance of getting the Republican nomination for President of the United States as I do.  Hmm….

Hear Donald Trump announce his candidacy for President of the United States here.

An opinion of an individual member of The Loveshade Family does not necessarily reflect that of the whole family.