When the Government Shuts Down

If we are going to be completely honest here, we can all agree that arguing about a government shut down every few weeks accomplishes nothing. How about we try a few things to help avoid this situation in the future, such as:

A Budget. Back when President Obama was in office, the talking points were “every household in America needs a budget, so should our government”. They were right back then and they would be right today if they would care enough to argue that point. We get ourselves into this fight every single year because we do not have a sustainable budget. We may have a budget in place, but it obviously isn’t sustainable if we are worried about going into so much debt every 3 months that our government “can’t run”. We manage to pay Congress and Senate an obscene amount of money to do nothing every day, why not start there when we make budget cuts? You don’t want to do a budget, how about you don’t get paid like everyone else when they decide not to do their job.

Less Blamey, More Workey. In the time that both sides spent having their pissing contest about who’s fault it is, a resolution could have happened sooner. They need to realize the reason people do not trust politicians is because moments like this make us realize that they don’t care about us. Did they take a pay cut so the military could get paid during the shut down? Nope. They care about their money and the power of being a politician and nothing else but keeping both. Instead of making the focus how one side is holding American hostage, how about we keep the focus on our lazy politicians that just want to win?

About that Budget? Did I miss the part about the budget? No, I just felt like this is an important enough issue to be mentioned twice because apparently the politicians don’t get it. And when I say a “budget”, I mean an actual budget. I don’t mean a budget, with whatever special interests that they got paid for to put in a bill so that no one wants a budget and it never gets passed. I mean a line by line budget. “We get in _____ a year, here is how this will get spent.” There will need to be hard cuts that need to be made, such as food stamps and assistance going to hard working people that are struggling to make ends meet or those who are struggling with a disability that makes them unable to get work. I’m also for reducing the amount politicians get paid. For instance, Nancy Pelosi makes around $200k a year. That is insane. Politicians should make as much teachers or police officers. In fact, I would argue that police officers should make more than politicians. Maybe if we reduced their salary, we would get more people that actually care about us. Put more money into the schools, the firemen and law enforcement that protects us, pay our soldiers a livable wage, and funding to help cure cancer/Alzheimer’s/AIDS, etc.

Working Together. Party politics are ruining our country. I have made this opinion very clear. Think about your life at work or in school. When you are working on a group project, you are expected to work as a group towards a common goal. If you don’t, you lose your job or fail the project. “Our” politicians should be working together towards a common goal: improving the lives of Americans. Anytime they fail this goal to play games with people’s lives, they should be held accountable instead of saying it is someone else’s fault.

Those are just some of the ideas that I have to make things better in the coming months. Who’s with me? Who has other suggestions to share?

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It’s an Us versus Them World

I spend a lot of time on social media. When working on my supplemental freelancing career, the articles can be so infuriating that social media drama breaks up this mundane work. What was once drama over people and their significant others or coworkers, which if I’m going to be honest really kept me more amused than it should have, has become something more.

I want to use sinister here because I am starting to believe this political hate is malicious. The people spewing it, purposeful in using hateful language as if it gives them power or shows that they are more intelligent. First of all, at least use proper grammar and spelling. When you say things like, “I may not be smart cuz imma trump fan and such but I get that your a libtard”, I’m not really sure what you are trying to prove. Are you being ironic by purposefully sounding unintelligent while also dismissing someone’s beliefs? No, I don’t think you’re dumb if you voted for someone if you honestly believe that he was going to do great things. I think that if you are dismissive and insulting that your aren’t proving any point but the one that I’m about to make: we are a divided country and if you are on opposite sides of a party line, you are at war with each other.

I may have heard this line somewhere, but I’m not sure where: “United we stand, together we fall”. To be very clear, I know exactly where I have heard it. This motto shaped our country from our forefathers. It wasn’t until now that I saw the truth in it. We are divided and I am very certain that as long as we stay this way, we will fall. People need to open their eyes. At this point I am very certain that Trump could murder someone on live camera and people would use it as a metaphor for destroying the liberals to make America great today. “So what if he killed that guy, I get a tax break for 8 years and stocks are up.” It’s actually become a little insane. I loathe the argument of “but if Obama did ______, the right would lose their collective s****”. However, this is exactly the case. Obama goes golfing, he’s lazy and not doing the job he was elected to do. Trump goes golfing and he’s making America great again. Can’t we just agree that maybe they both should have spent less time doing recreational activities and more time trying to improve the lives of their citizens?

I feel like I’m in a sitcom at this point because none of this seems real. I never voted for Obama or Hillary or Trump. I have long believed that a two-party system is going to ruin America and the animosity that people seem to have for each other right now is beyond ridiculous. Adults can’t have a reasonable or logical discussion. The minute you point out something you don’t agree with about this administration, you are dismissed as a liberal who watches biased news and voted for Hillary. The minute you disagreed with Obama, you were labelled a racist. What ever happened to having your own “grey area” beliefs that come from your own brain and not a pundit on television who is paid to tell people what to think? I don’t care when this started. Some people say Obama started it. Some say Trump. Some say that this has been brewing for a while. It doesn’t matter. If we truly cared enough about stopping it, we would.

Disagreeing with a president does not make you un-American. In fact, I believe there is nothing more American than having real concerns and beliefs that you are free to discuss. What isn’t American is putting people down for it. That is one step away from those political regimes that past presidents fought against to liberate those countries. You are not indecisive for voting 3rd party. You are voting for change and a fresh voice that has seemed to be lost in today’s politics. We need a redo before this country is lost forever.

The Tax Bill to End All Tax Bills?

Last week, I was too busy tending to the sick and being sick to do anything of use here. Yesterday, when I would normally do the post, was pushed aside for personal reasons. So today you get a rare Wednesday post.

Before then, I would like to make a few announcements. One, there will be a slow expansion to the blog. I will be adding a “geek culture” page for posting where I will cover gaming news and other things related to this genre. I love my video games, board games, and hope to even discuss local events relating to this topic (even news about the Overwatch League including the Boston Uprising. Go Team). There will also be a section dedicated to television and movies, another area that I have been wanting to write about. This will all be in addition to this “Random Rantings” blog that I already have in place. Eventually I plan to go further and add an area where I discuss any arts and craft projects that I am doing at the time. I hope that next year I will have more time to dedicate to this, so we will see what happens. I’m crossing my fingers.

The second announcement is that starting next week, I will begin the grueling process of editing and adding to the NaNoWriMo novel. I’m pretty excited about this and I hope that I can get it done in time to enter the Kindle Scout Contest, where I can get my book published if I win. More crossing fingers.

Now to get onto the actual topic of today’s post: The tax bill. I like to do research on things. I really like to learn everything that I can about everything, though sometimes I just blank out in the process depending on the topic. I know how to do basic budgeting for my household, but aside from that I’m pretty useless in anything to do with numbers and economics. I know what I’ve been promised: Your life is going to be so much better with this new tax bill, you’ll see. Will I? I’m a skeptic by nature. Republican or Democrat, I would not just believe this because someone told me it. I need to see numbers.

I found numbers. Numbers say that I will see more money coming back in our paychecks. What does this mean for our deductions at the end of the year that help us build savings or play catch up with bills? Those are numbers that I would love. Because I can always pay off credit cards from during the year and have some extra to put into savings as the taxes are now. That is money that I (and a lot of other people) rely on. Maybe this will be offset by the additional 5% we will see in our paychecks. Maybe not. Only time will tell I suppose.

However, you should be worried about something bigger than this. Corporations get a permanent tax cut while the rest of us peasants only get a temporary one. This tax break for us will only last until 2026, unless they decide to extend the cuts. Will they? That depends on how much this bill actually costs the American people in the long run. If they decide that they are losing too much money off of this, then no. We get screwed over and the corporations get to laugh at us for being so stupid for being excited over the 5% we get back. Do you think that even the Democrats would roll back the corporate tax rate if they regain power? Probably not. They have donors that they need to worry about too.

They don’t care. No one cares about the people that they make promises to. The only good thing that could come out of this is maybe if they lack any money, they won’t be able to fight to take away a woman’s right to choose or a person’s right to marry. I hope that this helps us because rooting for failure only hurts us. I don’t want to see the president fail the country because we would suffer for those mistakes. But let’s not praise this bill for being the savior of the American people; it’s a boost for the whole 8 years that we definitely have it.

 

The Thing to Know about Politics

I hate that I still need to write about this. I hate that people just won’t learn. I hate the political climate we are living in today. We all experience it on a daily basis and we are one step away from being killed over our beliefs, and that is a very scary thought. I thought that we came to America to be free from the criminality of being different. I thought America was built on the principle that everyone had the right to their own beliefs. Wasn’t that was really made America great?

Apparently not. Apparently America needs to be made great again and that isn’t actually happening. We live in a place where people who think everyone should have the right to be married is a liberal with a gay agenda. Gay marriage leads to pedophilia and bestiality, right? (I seethe just thinking about this comparison. Because there are not straight pedophiles that prey on children. Because people are not about to willingly elect an accused pedophile into office.) We live in a world where people who think that transgender people should have the right to live their life without scrutiny are sick people who are enabling a person with a mental illness. We live in the world where if you dare speak against the president, you are considered a lemming that follows the libtard masses and fake news.

Worst of all? We live in a world where people are called stupid because of who they vote for. People are vilified for this. Why? I don’t like the president but I certainly do not think anyone who voted for him is dumb. They are not stupid for not wanting to try something new. The Republican and Democratic way doesn’t work, so why not try a loose cannon who speaks his mind? That is why he won. He won because people were sick of the status quo. (Remember this next election, folks. There is a 3rd option. I’m pro-3rd party choices.)

Case in point about this hateful world we live in: Jimmy Kimmel, who has been championing healthcare lately since his eye-opening moment with his infant son, did a monologue talking about CHIP with his son on his show. People started bashing him for having a cause. What does a rich libtard know about the struggles of real people? Of course he’s championing CHIP, he wants the tax payers to pay his bills. Yes, these are actual comments that I read through and some of the nicest ones at that. First of all, he isn’t in it to get CHIP to pay for his family. He has come out and said “I have the luxury of being able to afford it but not a lot of people can and that’s who CHIP is for.” Secondly, any parent who has been in the hospital with their kids knows the struggle of wanting to be sure that your child is safe and feeling guilty about worrying about the financial aspects of getting care for your child. I have been there and it sucks more than you can think and it wasn’t even a serious or chronic illness that required constant medical care. (Except for Early Intervention, but thankfully my insurance covered the $800 a week for specialists.) People who have a cause that they believe in and fight for it shouldn’t be vilified for doing what they think is right. But because his “agenda” is deemed to be liberal propaganda, he is automatically a horrible human being.

There was no need to call him names or question his intentions. In years long before the insane political divide in our country, people were actually allowed to have these things called “opinions” and “beliefs” without being torn to shreds by other people. I wish people would just start hating me again for being a Patriots fan instead of because I have political beliefs different from them. Things are only getting worse. I don’t care when it started or why, I just care that it does not seem to be getting any better and everyone is to blame for that. At this point it is hard not to think that this is part of a larger scheme to divide and conquer the masses so that we are distracted from the world going down in flames around us.

Next time someone says something that you don’t believe in, try something new: listening. And I mean really listen. They may have some valid points that you have never considered before. Don’t automatically go into the offensive and repeat soundbites that the mainstream media (both sides of the aisle) are trying to push. They only tell half the story and you are not doing yourself any favors by ignoring one side because that’s what other people tell you to. Both sides have very valid points and if we just listened, maybe we can come together to actually make the country a better place.

The Changing World

After a bit of a break due to focusing on NaNoWriMo (which I barely completed but still came through in the end), I have returned. Thursday’s scheduled blog will tell you all about this new project, which I am really excited about. Now, to today’s post.

The fall of Weinstein over sexual misconduct was a change that needed to happen. Most people know more people (I say “people” purposefully because women are not the only ones who can fall prey to this behavior), who have suffered these types of situations than know people who have never had to deal with it. It is a sad reality that people just accepted. They accepted the fact that their boss leered at them and despite the fact that it gave them the creeps and made them feel uncomfortable. They just accepted that this was never going to change. It wasn’t. It is a completely hopeless feeling to know that people could treat you and do whatever they wanted to you without you having any control over it at all. That changed when Weinstein fell.

Now people are finding courage, men and women, to stand up for themselves. One by one, celebrities that fans adored have fallen from grace because of what their lawyers want to belittle as “indiscretions”. These are not indiscretions; these are purposeful acts that are there to make the perpetrator feel powerful and in control while taking away every ounce of control and self-esteem of their victim. I hate to use the word victim though. Some people who go through these things are not even close to being a victim. They find a way to take the power back and overcome. That is not a victim to me. That is a survivor.

That is what makes this Roy Moore thing so awful to me. In a time when things are starting to change, where women are no longer “just making it up” or “deserve what they got”, he may very well have numerous other people too afraid to come forward (because of the awful political climate) that have fallen prey to his power trip. But yet, “a sexual predator is better than a democrat”. This not only highlights the fact that there are still so many changes that need to be made in the world, but it also highlights the fact that voters only seem to care about the letter next to a person’s name and not their beliefs and integrity. This is scary. What this means is that maybe this is a short burst of a revolution that will only be shot down because there truly is no justice in the world for these people who suffered at the hands of more powerful individuals. This is just a passing trend right now that will take some people down, but in a few months maybe people won’t even care. There will be no #metoo movement to save them. Then victims will go back into hiding, too afraid to stand up for themselves again. I feel nauseated just thinking about it.

Another valid argument for my point? Brock Turner. In case you don’t remember that name, let me refresh your memory. He was the guy who was doing whatever he wanted to an unconscious woman, got caught in the act then stopped by heroes passing by, and ended up serving 3 months out of a 6 month sentence, though the maximum for his crimes were 14 years. It outraged anyone with a conscious. It proved a point of why sexual assault survivors never come forward. Why bother if they will just get their names sullied while never getting any justice? Think Emily Doe got justice when her rapist, who will always torture her in the back of her mind, spent only 3 months in jail because of “good behavior”? Now that I have refreshed your memory, wait to be further outraged by the fact he is trying to get the convictions overturned because he “never actually committed any crime”. He just got an unfair hearing because the prosecutor said that he did it behind a dumpster. Because the location of this horrible act somehow makes it a little less horrible because it was out in the open and not “hidden”. I think that nauseated feeling just got a lot worse.

So are the times changing? Are people who suffered any type of sexual misconduct by others finally going to be able to stand up without feeling any shame? Part of me wants to be hopeful, that this is a good sign in the right direction where rapists get more than a slap on the risk for permanently scarring another human being. That a woman can wear whatever she wants at work without being worried about how people are going to treat her. Where men do not have to silently take it because “only women can be victims”. But the rest of me is too cautious and realistic to accept that this may be a time of change. If it were, politicians would be held to a higher standard than Hollywood producers. They would not be elected into office despite the fact that people know that he may have done it. The allegations alone would warrant an investigation that would make the voters call for him to step down and vote another way. Because the idea that this person, who raped an unconscious woman, still has no remorse for what he did and will put his victim through another trial because “why should his life be ruined for 20 minutes of bad judgement”. It’s disgusting. Instead, it shows me that this is a trend that will go stale soon, leaving some ruins behind in the world. It will be like that scar on your arm when you burned yourself that one Thanksgiving. You never remember it’s there until you notice it on your arm and then you think back to how it got there. Then it gets forgotten again.

The Only Legal Monopoly

I like having options. I like going to the store and price shopping to find items that I want at the lowest possible price point. For instance, last year I bought a pair of light blue Beats Luxe for about $70 brand new. Just the other day, managed to replace my guilty pleasure Ugg boots for under $100, though apparently it is impossible to find them in the dark brown I loved so much in my monster foot size. The point is that I like to save money and options are the only thing that can help you with that.

We live in America, a country that boasts not only opportunity but brags about the wonders of capitalism. I personally feel as though options are a part of that and you would think that the government would agree thanks to monopoly laws. It’s a sham. Why do I think it’s a sham? Think about your options for watching television and I mean your real options. You have a cable company or a satellite company. Those are your options. Your city has a contract with a single cable company, which means that this is the only option for that type of service in the area unless you want to deal with the hassle of services from satellite companies. Now the textbook definition of a monopoly is “The exclusive possession or control of the supply or trade in a commodity or service”. Microsoft got in trouble for a monopoly in a very famous case which shows that this is certainly something that is frowned upon by the government. By why are cable companies exempt from giving us options?

The only reason I haven’t switched to a service like Hulu’s live television offering is because they lack channels that the children enjoy, like Nick. But the fact that I pay nearly $200 for sub-par quality internet and cable that breaks up all of the time is actually disgusting to me. I have no options and that is a problem that everyone is having right now. This need is going to be resolved through services like this Hulu offering and people are eventually just going to start a revolution over this. We have to if we want to stop this madness and we know our city politicians are loving the money that they get in exchange for holding their constituents hostage to a terrible cable company.

Viacom, go to Hulu live instead of bothering with this madness with Charter. In fact, all of the channels should stand up for their viewers and make the switch. Let us have options because that is what the whole point of capitalism is. We should be allowed to make these decisions for ourselves because then cable companies will actually have to compete. They will have to provide quality services and amazing customer service. They will have to keep their prices as low as possible to compete and stay in business. Let capitalism do its job and we will all benefit from it. Until then, I’m rooting for Viacom to leave Charter.

Just Dress in More Modest Clothes and You’ll be Fine

Today’s post was originally a light-hearted commentary on things to improve jury duty. It joined the “in case you’re needed” area and was replaced with something more relevant and important: victim shaming. This is a response to the story about Donna Karan saying that women “ask for it”. “The way that they dress, they are asking for trouble.”

The minute I hear those words, my skin crawls. I can’t imagine someone wakes up and says “I think I’ll wear this and I really hope I get sexually harassed or assaulted for it. Boy, that would be fan-freaking-tastic, wouldn’t it?” That is exactly the implication you are making by comments like that. It’s not just insulting; it’s downright vile. Especially coming from a woman who has probably experienced it in her lifetime. If you look at the statistics, somewhere around 81% of women have experienced it as have around 20% of men.

She used the go-to excuse of “words being taken out of context”, a.k.a. what every celebrity says when they realized that their actual opinions could potentially destroy their livelihood. Next will be the very public mea culpa that tends to follow these events. Then people will forget that she ever said it and life goes on without ever addressing the greater problem again.

There is a reason why people stay quiet. This is the reason. I don’t want to call these people (both men and women can experience this) victims. They are not victims. They are survivors of whatever happened. They moved forward. They suffered in silence, which can even be worse than the harassment or especially any unwanted touches/assault. The minute people can start holding the person who did the act accountable rather than blaming the one who experienced this power play, that is when things change.

At the end of the day, sexual harassment and assaults are about the power a person can have over another with very little to actually do about sex. People become more powerful by taking the power away from another. As long as silence is the only solution for those who suffer, this is going going to get worse. We need to start blaming the right people in these matters than the people who have to feel shame or embarrassment. It doesn’t matter what a person wears. It doesn’t matter if they said something flirtatious. It doesn’t matter what the other person did. They do not deserve it. We have to make sure that this is no longer acceptable behavior. We have to stop looking at the innocent party in this to see what they could have done to cause it. Rather, we need to look at the guilty party to see what is broken in them that makes this all okay.