It’s Been a While, Random Rantings

Random Rantings is a segment on this blog where I briefly discuss thoughts and topics that do not warrant a longer 500 words or more post. Today, here is a look at some topics from various subjects that I just felt like talking about so feel free to bring in your own thoughts here.

You Have a Memo, I Have a Memo, We All Have MEMOS!

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That’s right. It’s like Oprah in here right now. I read the Republican memo and then I realized that it was just one guy writing his thoughts like it was the law of the land that we should all obey. If it were that simple, maybe I should say that my blog matters and will really be groundbreaking and everyone will just believe that I am right and awesome just because I said so. Is this really what we have come to today? Where a guy creates a memo that may or may not be factual and sends it out to be released as some sort of vindication? This concerns me. Is this a distraction because Mueller found something and they needed to pull something out of their behinds to distract us from it? Or is it just because people are upset that we were talking about the Super Bowl or the fact that the president may have cheated on his wife Melania. (Shocker, I know. What in his history would ever give us the impression that he would cheat on his wife? Except for every other time he has cheated on a wife…)

Now the Democrats want to release a memo, that in the grand scheme of things will be just as (ir)relevant as the Republican one was. If we really take a logical stand point here, ignoring party lines, are these unofficial documents worth more than the paper they are written on?  The answer is “no”. The memo is set to be decided by the president if he wants to release it, but he needs to. Because transparency. Because you can’t just allow one side of the aisle to do it and not the other. Because if you do let one side of the aisle do it and not the other, there’s a level of censorship there that we should be concerned with. Because if the president only wants us to see one side of things, other questions should be raised. Is there truth to it that he doesn’t want released? Is it just that his precious little ego will be hurt with its release? Does he just want to prove a point that American’s should only see things his way and not the whole picture? If the answer is “yes” to any of these questions, then we have bigger issues to worry about.

The New Book

Now, I probably should have put this above the more controversial political commentary above, but I felt that was a bit more important. My latest work, “A Special Place for Noah”, is a piece that I am really excited for. The story is about a family who is trying to help their son overcome his speech delay. It is told in 3 different viewpoints: Callie, the mother; John, the father; and little Noah himself. I hope that people love it as much as I loved writing it. It is expected to be up for sale on Amazon in both eBook and paperback. You can pre-order now as well. Just visit my Author Page on Amazon, which is posted on the sidebar of this blog.

The Pretty Super Super Bowl

In what was one of the most exciting games in a long time in the NFL, my beloved Patriots fell to the Eagles. Why did this happen? How did a backup beat the GOAT? Well, there are a few simple answers to why it happened. You could point to the missed field goal and extra point by Stephen Gostkowski, though this would only account for 4 points. They lost by more than that. You could say it was because Cooks was taken out of the game for a head injury after a nasty hit. Sure, that hurt but Playoff Amendola was clutch and Gronk finally hit a groove where he was on fire. Here’s the hint: it wasn’t the offense that wasn’t doing their job.

Their defense was horrible. Horrendous. Any awful word that you could put there would be an accurate statement for what happened here. They could not stop anything. Nothing. Were those two touchdowns a little bit questionable? Sure, but I’m not well-versed in the rules even though the casters seemed to also think those were bad calls. But that was 2 touchdowns out of how many other times they scored. It didn’t matter. We couldn’t stop them anyways and I bet that the next plays would’ve ended up touchdowns anyways because of how awful they were playing. Did I mention that their defense was awful? Philly is a hard team. They were good. They were communicating and doing well. Why wasn’t Butler playing? His season may not have been his best this year, but he was always known for his clutch plays.

The better team won. There is nothing more to that. There was nothing controversial about it. The refs didn’t hand them the game. The Patriots didn’t give them the game. They won it and congrats to them. No salt here and I’m not even really mad about it. The Patriots got the loss they deserved and that was that. I love great games, even if my team loses.

The Stock Market

Yesterday the stock market eventually dropped a significant amount. Who’s to blame for this? It’s probably just the predicted market correction that we were told to watch out for despite other people saying “everything’s good”. Is it the president’s fault? Probably not. But just like I said when talking about President Obama taking victory laps when the economy was good, you can’t give the person the blame when it is bad and not give them credit when it is good. The same applies here. You can’t give President Trump the credit for the stocks doing well without giving him blame when they go down. That’s the nature of it. You cannot take credit when things are good without taking the blame when they aren’t. That’s not how it works. Should he have taken credit when it was good? I don’t think presidents really have the much to do with stocks going up or down, so no. But you cannot logically think that there isn’t some level of hypocrisy going on. “Of course the Dems are blaming him for the stock market dropping. They just want to see him fail. He’s not to blame. But he’s totally responsible when stocks are up.” It’s not logical. Both the left and right are guilty of this. Maybe we should all start using a bit of common sense, because then 90% of political arguments would never happen.

 

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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?

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.

But Boy, Am I Tired

I’m tired. I am tired that we live in the world we live in right now. My latest release, a short story, was supposed to make me feel better about the social climate of the world right now. “How Not to Be a Bully: The Guide to Being Kind That We Shouldn’t Need” was inspired by this hatred we seem to have towards each other. It needs to stop. It has to stop. Our future generations are depending on this to stop now. They are going to be poisoned and the future will be full of people who think that a reasonable conversation is one where people hurl insults because the other doesn’t agree. What happened to that time when people could sit down across from each other and say “Well I believe this and this is why” and the other would say “Well, I don’t and this is why”? Is that really so hard?

Over the weekend, my family (I include my husband’s family as my own) took the annual trip up to this gorgeous orchard in the mountainside for apple picking. After having a great time enjoying the Pats game on my phone while picking apples, we went to the car to drop off the apples to sit around the stunning view and enjoy ourselves. (Even living in Massachusetts, the views here never get old.) As we were walking back, we heard screaming then saw a truck angrily pull over and everyone started piling out of the vehicle. I didn’t know what was going on until I noticed the signature red hat that we are all familiar with. That’s right, two grown men got in a fight about politics in a place where families are trying to enjoy their Sunday afternoon. Apparently the anti-Trump person said something to the Trump truck group and the Trump truck group felt the need to pull over, pile out of the truck, and get aggressive back. I told them to please not swear in front of my child and the Trump person turned on me. “It’s that f_ing snowflake’s fault. He disrespected me.” “When you got out of the car instead of ignoring it, you became just as guilty. Grow the hell up.” The very kind woman at the orchard apologized and asked the group to get back in their truck and to leave. The other guy, just as guilty in this for starting it and continuing it, should have also left for being a nuisance. He said it started over the other guy insulting his wife. My opinion: Ignoring people is a lot better for everyone. I again ask “Is being kind really so hard?”

Instead, we live in a world where people are constantly putting each other down. It is easier, I suppose, to lump everyone in with hateful words rather than being open-minded. We all are entitled to having a specific set of beliefs. I really like to hope that people can sit down with each other and have a reasonable conversation without the terms “racist Republicans”, “snowflakes”, or “libtard” ever being mentioned. It’s a foolish dream, but one that I have no less.

The thing is… this is not something that we can’t achieve. It can happen if people learn to put their pride aside, stop thinking that they are smarter or better than anyone out there, and just listen to another perspective. As the expression goes: “God gave us two ears and one mouth, so we ought to listen twice as much as we speak.”

I can start by making this very simple for you. No, not all Republicans are racist, uneducated, misogynistic white men. There are some but that does not mean all of them are. Not all Democrats are “snowflakes”, whiny liberals who are offended by everything. There are many people who are offended by everything, on both sides of the aisle and many “whiny” liberals but not all Democrats are any of those things. Independents are not wishy-washy people that can’t choose a side. These are people who realize that both sides have their flaws and would rather vote on political stances rather than a political party. I am a proud Independent and I know exactly how I feel on every political topic and that is what decides my vote. Not all Muslims are terrorists. Not all Catholics are pedophiles. Not all Puerto Ricans and minorities want to live off of welfare rather than work. Not all cops are corrupt murderers. However, all politicians lie. That is a fact that we can agree with. (Just kidding… there may be one or two out there that don’t.)

The point is that this is getting out of hand. We’re Americans, dammit. We have the right to an opinion without getting insulted for it. If someone is telling you something, you can fact check them. However, that doesn’t mean a person is insulting rather they are just trying to point out that you may be missing some information that can be helpful for making an informed decision on any topic. If you don’t want to listen, that’s your right but in neither case should anyone spend any effort insulting each other. What does that even prove? That the other person is right about their preconceived notion of who you are? We’re better than that. We have to be better than that. (Shameless promotion incoming) This is the whole point of my short story, which is now available in eBook format on Amazon.

Taking the Knee

This may be a controversial stance to take, but this taking a knee thing has gone too far. With healthcare being a mess, a broken government body in place, and a risk of potential nuclear war facing us, we are arguing about how people can peacefully protest. Part of me even fears (the conspiracy theorist in me) that this is the goal to distract us. To divide us. I’m actually just bored with the entire thing. Maybe even a little fearful. But football is the one thing I look forward to and I just want to watch it without people telling me how I’m supposed to feel about it.

I think it’s a dangerous slope to be on when we start telling people how to peacefully protest. Would you rather people riot in the streets, destroying property and potentially lives or some guys kneeling in protest? Personally, I say let them. I don’t agree with kneeling for the anthem but I’m not in the business of telling people how people should use their constitutional right to protest if they are doing so peacefully. This does not determine how I feel about them. They are just football players that are voicing their opinion. I won’t be told how to be felt by anyone, celebrity or otherwise. What they are doing just does not register on “things to care about” list. I know there is racial injustice. I know racism is alive and well. I also know that there is more to it than that right now and if this is how they want to address it, it is their constitutional right. You know, that thing people throw in your face to prove their point but ignore it when it doesn’t suit them.

In fact, before this madness started I even stated that Trump was going to inflame the situation. He did. Now the entire league seems in solidarity just because the guy that is supposed to lead us to greatness and uphold the constitution can’t filter his mouth or Tweets. He’s not leading us to greatness; he is trying to divide and conquer us. Spoiler alert: I was right and it’s working.

Did I have issues with Kaepernick doing it? Sure did. I don’t like the idea of celebrities dabbling in politics and I think that the nation anthem is a moment to silently respect and honor our country. That’s not why I think he shouldn’t be in the NFL. Even before all of this started, I thought he was an overrated quarterback that was way overpaid. Do I think that’s why he’s still unemployed? Absolutely, you can’t want the big millions and not be worth it. Plus, your girlfriend posting pictures that imply racism about a team that was potentially about to sign you to get a contract deal ripped up on you probably doesn’t help matters. If that story is 100% accurate, good luck on that NFL contract. Twitter seems to be the place to upset the masses and ruin careers. In other news, if you are a Patriots fan, feel free to protest their games. I have never been and I would really love to afford a seat for me and my family preferably without having an anxiety attack for being so high up at the stadium.

Then there is the whole Golden State Warrior thing. Brady didn’t go to the White House when Obama was in office. But Obama also didn’t say “well screw all of you then. I’ll just party by myself?” Can you imagine the outrage that would have occurred? There would be a riot. “That was so childish.” They would say. “Dictator Obama is squelching the masses and their freedom of speech. Impeach him!” If you are denying that would be the case, you are really too far off the logic meter to even reason with.

I digress. The point is matters are only going to get worse unless someone can finally get the president managed. People look to him as an example of how we should be. He is (should be) the biggest representative of our country, leading us to even more greatness with grace. Instead, all of this transpired in a single weekend of tweeting and not being able to keep his mouth closed. For all you people who argue that Obama caused this, I ask “But what has Trump done to fix it? What has he done to repair our country and help us come together?” Well, aside from potentially joining everyone together in distaste of his actions.

The constitution doesn’t say “You have the right to a peaceful protest, with the exception of the following: kneeling at the national anthem, protesting at science/women rallies, tweeting opinions about the president, in any peaceful way that really doesn’t hurt anyone, or in any way the president disapproves of.” I’m pretty sure it does say “You have the right to peacefully assemble and protest.” America was built on the right to stand up to oppression and stand for your rights and beliefs. The minute we deny these things, the minute we lose those principles that make America so great.