Agent of Change

A Blog by Cory!! Strode, who really should write something interesting here.

Archive for the category “Politics”

You know it don’t come easy

I have said over and over in my little essays that my goal is to “Love everybody and make ‘em feel good about themselves.” Michael Des Barres, who I knew little about until I started listening to him on his Underground Garage radio show, states that he is “Your Humbler Servant” which was something I adopted to put words to how I see my life.  I didn’t come to this easily, and for a portion of my life I was embittered, cynical, and felt that I had been given the fuzzy end of the lollypop.

 

I made the change in my thinking, and I am NOT one of those people who believes “the secret” or that positive thoughts bring you positive results. In fact, the world around me hasn’t changed.  I’ve still had to struggle, deal with financial and emotional upheaval, had people in my life who did me wrong and the like.  None of that changed, and the people who say “thinking positively will always make you rich!” are scam artists just as big as the Nigerian Prince who used to e-mail you about helping him get his money transferred to another bank.

The world didn’t change. I still have been laid off 4 times since 1999 when I made the mental change.  I have had a dear friendship dissolve in a painful way.  I have had five relationships with women I loved end.  I have suffered huge financial setbacks, increased anxiety, family tragedies and the like.  What changed was how I saw it.

With people, I assumed positive intent and gave forgiveness, knowing that they did what they thought was a good idea at the time. With employment, I made sure to keep myself learning and got away from thinking that my job is who I am, and instead see it as how I help others.  With family, I realize that things will be good at times and not good at others.  With my own mental health, I realize that I can do what I can to take care of myself and to get help when I need it, same as I would for an infection or a chronic condition.

I wake up every day knowing that my internal weather determines how I see the external circumstances. That everyone is a person with hopes, dreams, fears, desires and needs and while what they do may affect me, it’s all in how I react to that.

I have also seen people whose lives are defined by who and what they hate, and the more I se4e it, the more I realize it’s not my job to oppose them, but to avoid them and not let their anger change how you live your life. I fail at this, and tend to take criticism much more easily than praise, but I’m trying to do better.

I want to live in a world where everyone gets what they want. Even my enemies.  It ain’t easy, but since we’re all we’ve got, we have to help each other.

Much love to friends old and new and I hope that you learn to live a life defined by forgiveness and hope rather than anger and fear. It may not work for everyone, but it works for me.

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Mr. Trump, I am upset as well

I am about to make some people mad, but…sorry, not sorry.

The Trumps have said that their son was upset by seeing Kathy Griffith picture of Trump’s bloody face. I’m sorry he saw that, and you should be a bit more diligent in what you allow your son to see.  As a single father, I took great care as to what media was son was exposed to, which is hard in the days of the internet, but it is possible.

My son is upset that his health care is going to be taken from him. As an asthmatic who works a low wage starter job he enjoys, the ACA has brought down costs for him that he can afford the medication that helps him breathe so that he’s not in and out of the emergency room.  He’s also upset that you’ve rolled back protections for safe water supplies, as he would like to not be subject to pollution and water borne diseases in his drinking water.

He’s also upset that your cavalier sharing of intelligence information has made it easier for the people who want to do us harm economically, internationally and physically to know classified information. He’s also upset that your administration is looking into removing protections for LBGTQ people much like your Vice President attempted to do and that he can be fired if he happens to date someone of the same gender.

He is also upset that you have thrown in with white supremacist hate groups by retweeting their messages and endorsing their statements. You have even appointed people with ties to their organizations into your administration.  He is upset that you only seem to recognize minority terrorism and when white people commit acts of terrorism, you ignore it until days or weeks later, giving the appearance that you only get upset when minorities commit crimes, which is a lifelong pattern with you.

He’s upset with your past business ties to mod bosses like Anthony “Fat Tony” Salerno and Paul Castellano, your use of illegal immigrants and the long history of illegal and corrupt business dealings. He’s upset with your lifelong poor treatments of women, including the sexualization of your daughter Ivanka starting when she was 12.

But that’s just MY son. YOUR son is the scion of a President.

I guess only the children of Presidents should be shielded from upset.

However, I’m betting that Obama’s children were upset that you claimed their father was not an American citizen. That your detectives in Hawaii had found blockbuster evidence that we are still waiting for to their day.  That their father was such a poor President that America will never elect another African American.  That you are trying to destroy everything he did in office, that you lie about your accomplishments to diminish and delegitimize him.

Then again, your son may also be upset in how you treat his mother, ignoring her at events, berating her while cameras are running, mocking her looks after she gave birth to him, your sexual advances on other women while you were married to her and other ways you show that she is just another of your possessions.

What Kathy Griffith did was failed art and in poor taste, but I think stating that your son was upset by it doesn’t hold a lot of water for me. That’s on me.

Guess I have a long way to go before I am as empathic and caring as you are.

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Just checking

Let me see if I understand this. Republicans hold both the House and the Senate as well as the White House, and we may get a government shut down because they are having trouble passing the bare minimum of bills to keep the lights on.  One of the big hangups is the fact that Trump is demanding that we start funding his border wall.

That he said Mexico would pay for.

And both former and current presidents of Mexico have said publically, and this is a quote, “We will not pay for your fucking wall.”

Oh, and those pictures your Trump loving friends are sending of a wall on Mexico’s southern border are from Israel. The southern border of Mexico is not a desert and you’d know that if you had any knowledge of geography.

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I told you not to be stupid, you moron

What can we learn from Ardian Syaf’s mistake putting in anti-Christian and anti-Semitic messages in his X-Men comic art? A lot, really:

  • Getting there is only part of the battle. Once you get to where you want to be, treat it the same as you did on your way up.
  • As Aretha Franklin sang in “The Blues Brothers”: Think! Make sure that you are willing to answer for what you put in EVERYTHING to you. In the zombie novel I am writing now, a child is going to die in a pretty horrify way, and I didn’t just DO it, I thought about how it fit into the story, WHY I am doing it, and what is the best way to write it. Is that “inside joke” worth it if the meaning gets out?

People walking around everyday, playing games, taking scores

Trying to make other people lose their minds.

Well be careful, you’re gonna lose yours.

  • Don’t lie about what you’ve done. Mr. Syaf said that he didn’t do it, then that it didn’t mean what it meant. In doing so, he made it so his employer can’t trust him. If you have a franchise you are trying to rebuild, you want people on your team you can trust.
  • Do NOT cost your employer more money than they can make off of you. A hard, cold fact fo life in the capitalist world is that your employer needs to make money off of you. If you cost more than you possibly bring in, you’ll be gone in a gnat’s heartbeat.
  • THINK!
  • Are your political beliefs worth losing your job over? Social Media, interviews and the like are powerful promotional tools, but putting out controversial statements will alienate parts of your audience. Just ask the Dixie Chicks, Bill Maher, the ghost of Bill Hicks, various comics creators and others who put their politics front and center and saw audiences turn on them. I do not believe in the “shut up and sing” crap, but I DO believe that if you are going to be controversial, pick the time, place, audience and venue.
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A little about me so that Homeland Security has something to arrest me for

I read over the weekend that the Border Patrol was taking people phones and looking at their Facebook posts to determine if they were a risk or not, and it is alleged that the Trump Administration is looking for the authority to read people’s Facebook statuses to see “where they are, politically.”

So, since I want to be a good citizen, I am going to make it easy for those tracking me, so here are the main things I like or believe in:

  • Pizza is one of the best foods on the planet
  • Pie is the best food on the planet
  • I’m a friendly atheist, after going through an angry atheist period.
  • I’m a liberal in the mode of Paul Wellstone, Harry Truman and Bartcop. Not a Democrat, a liberal.
  • I am a friend to creative people. Artists, writers, dancers, singers, anyone who does creative stuff
  • Christina Hendricks is darn pretty. As is Kate Micucci.
  • I like-a da comic books.
  • No, really, I love pie. Pie is great
  • I do not wish they all could be California girls
  • I think the current “President” is a short fingered vulgarian and have though that since 1988.
  • Diet soda makes me go. Hot Tea is my favorite drink.
  • I drink rarely because I work all of the time. In fact, not a day goes by that I am not asked to take on more hours and more shifts.
  • I mean, have you seen the picture of Christina Hendricks in a corset? Great Googley Moogley, the only picture I’ve seen that takes my breath away more involved a chef in a bikini.
  • I help people because I feel we are in in this together and the only thing that can fix the state of the world is us, doing small things to help each other.
  • I need pie as soon as possible.
  • I believe in punching Nazis. Nazi ain’t got no humanity. They’re the foot soldiers of a Jew-hatin’, mass murderin’ maniac and they need to be dee-stroyed. And the Nazi won’t not be able to help themselves but to imagine the cruelty their brothers endured at our hands, and our boot heels, and the edge of our knives.
  • OK, I won’t do any of that stuff, but damn but I love Quinten Tarentino’s writing.
  • I like crime novels, detective novels, literary novels and pulp stuff. I don’t read much SF and Fantasy any more because it seems like everything is part of an on-going series.
  • I like professional wrestling, art films, TV shows like Justified and Deadwood, comedies like Kimmy Schmidt and The Good Place and Dawn of the Dead and Blue Velvet are my favorite movies.
  • That bikini pic? Best Work of Art ever.
  • I judge people by their e-mail service. AOL?  Really?
  • I like kind people. I will put up with selfish people, I eliminate narcissists, racists, and users from my life.  We’re all flawed, but when those flaws become hurtful to myself or the people I care about, I walk away.  I forgive everyone, and have been willing to pay the price for that.
  • I also judge people on how they treat wait staff and if they wait for people to get OFF the elevator before they try to get ON.
  • Really, if you want me to be your friend, send me pie. I’ll do pretty much anything for pie.  Everything the things I won’t do for love.

Hopefully, this is enough for our new Russian Overlords to know me and I am not brought in for “enhanced interrogation*. If not, can any of my foreign friend hide me in their attic for a few years?

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Today, we do the tell

This you know:

the years travel fast, and time after time I done the tell. But this ain’t onebody’s tell. It’s the tell of us all, and you’ve gotta listen and to ‘member, ’cause what you hears today you gotta tell the newborn tomorrow.

I’s lookin’ behind us now into history back. I sees those of us who got the luck and started the haul for home, and I ‘members how it led us here and how we was heartful ’cause we seen what there once was. One look and we knewed we’d got it straight.

Those what had gone before had the knowin’ and the doin’ of things beyond our reckonin’ — even beyond our dreamin’. Time counts and keeps countin’, and we knows now: finding the trick of what’s been and lost ain’t no easy ride, but that’s our trek. We gotta travel it, and there ain’t nobody knows where it’s gonna lead.

Still in all, every night we does the tell so that we ‘member who we was and where we came from. But most of all we ‘members the man who finded us, him that came a-salvage. And we lights the city, not just for him, but for all of him that are still out there. ‘Cause we knows there’ll come a night when they sees the distant light and they’ll be comin’ home.

-Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome

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“Fake News”

OK, I’m going to say a bit about the whole “Fake News” thing that is going around and my feelings on Trump‘s connection to the story last night.

Donald Trump started in 2011 questioning if Obama was a US citizen. He lied about sending out “teams of investigators”, that he had “shocking evidence”, and we are STILL waiting to hear about the researchers he had in Hawaii who have a Bombshell Announcement they were about to deliver in 2012.  He said that Ted Cruz’s dad was involved with Lee Harvey Oswald, that Hillary Clinton is “terribly sick”, that thousands of people cheered the call of the World Trade Center, cited the National Enquirer repeatedly and said they should win a Pulitzer Prize for their reporting, that he would release his taxes after the election, that he had a Big Announcement last week on the Russian Hacking, and on and on and on.

Now, there is a report that the intelligence briefing said that there is information being discussed that he has financial ties to Russia, and that Russia has blackmail material on him. He has, as is typical, gone off on twitter as if he’s commenting on a You Tube video and immediately went to “What is this, NAZI GERMANY”?

First off, the nest story just said “This is what was in the intelligence report”. Not “This happened”.  So, that’s not fake.  Second, the report was given to Trump on Friday.  He is weaseling around it and saying that they never told him the information, but….let’s just say time has shown that The Donald doesn’t read his homework. Third, the scumweasels at 4chan are claiming they trolled everyone with this, however that story falls apart when you start looking at it (http://gizmodo.com/4chan-idiots-claim-they-invented-the-trump-piss-report-1791067589) and when you remember that it’s been floating around out there for almost a YEAR in various forms.

So, is it fake news? Nope, the report that he was given a briefing with this information is true.  Now, is “Golden Showergate” true?  Dunno. But with Trump spreading so much fertilizer, he shouldn’t be shocked that some of it gets on him.

Oh, and just so you know the difference between Fake News and poor reporting, Trump did not tweet “What is this, Nazi Germany?” He tweeted “Are we living in Nazi Germany?”  And the answer is, no, Nazi Germany ended in 1945.

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#AndThatsWhyYoureImportant

#AndThatsWhyYoureImportant is trending today. There are all kinds of things I can write that are uplifting, things I believe about how everyone is important, my belief that I need to Love Everybody and Make ‘em Feel Good About Themselves, and unconditional love. I could put in the quote from the West Wing about the man who falls in a hole and how I will always jump om that hole with you, no matter how long it’s been or what has passed under a burned bridge.

Instead, I will tell you what I do at my part-time job.

I work at a group home for developmentally disabled adults part-time. I do this for a number of reasons, some financial, some personal and some because MY BACK UP PLANS HAVE BACK UP PLANS (proof that your children eventually do know you well) but a big part of it is that I want to have a job that does some good. Since we gotta earn, might as well earn in a way that makes someone else’s life better.

We have a resident who is on hospice care. She’s non-verbal, can no longer walk and her sight and hearing are poor. She stays in bed most of the time as we work to keep her comfortable. Every time, when I come into work, I go into her room, check on her, and if she’s awake, I hold her hand. She grabs on tight and shakes her hands in the air, waving her hand around and sometimes “singing” as she does so.

When she could walk, she would dance by stomping her feet, waving her hands in the air and “singing”. Sometimes, when I do a sleeping shift, if I come in and she’s agitated, I’ll go into her room and hold her hand until she either calms down or her pain meds take effect and she goes to sleep.

It’s a little thing to me. Just 5 – 10 minutes on a normal shift or up at 30 minutes on an overnight sleep shift. I’m just holding her hand and being there, and sometimes I put in a CD for her to listen to and sing along in my VERY deep voice (which has a tonne of bass in it) and she can feel the vibrations.

Guess what? You can do something like this too. Open a door for someone, pay it forward at the coffee shop, call a friend whose facebook posts make them sound sad or lonely, help a co-worker, bring a glass of water to someone who can’t get away from their desk, have extra cough drops in your pocket, text someone you haven’t heard from in a while and ask them how they are doing, send a joke to someone you care about, forgive everyone, pick up that trash someone accidentally dropped and throw it away, give someone in your neighborhood cookies, whatever. You can do a little thing to make it better for everyone.

SO many people on my feed are upset about political things, social things, economic things…I get it. I do. But if you can’t change the macro, change the micro. Why are you important? Because every day is another chance to make things better.

Much love to friends old and new, and while it’s a cliché, you CAN be the change you want to see in the world.

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The Lack of Jobs Of The Future

A number of factors are going to change employment in the next few years, but the biggest one I am not hearing anything about from the people who do political analysis is the effect of self-driving card. WE all think it means cabs will be self-driving or we can just putz around on our daily commute, but there is something HUGE going to happen.

Rural American is very reliant on trucking jobs. The farming economy has shifted from family farm to factories, so many of the people in rural parts of the country rely on trucking jobs. They pay well, as opposed to the minimum wage jobs at factory farms and Wal-Mart, but once the self-driving cars show up, the first massive use of the technology will be to eliminate driving jobs in trucking. People drive too long to make miles, get paid a lot compared to the upkeep of a system, and the self-driving tech is showing to be safer and will only become better with time.

And of the last sources of good income for rural America will be gone. The people who are already mad that their way of life is “under attack” will get the rub ripped out from under them AGAIN, as they did with Reagan, Bush, et. al.

What sort of jobs will there be for them? Yes, the Baby Boomers are finally leaving the work force, but will there be enough jobs for people? And when it happens that there Just Aren’t Enough Jobs, not everyone can make their own business selling quilts and cleaning houses. We are looking at another revolution, just not one with guns like has been talked about since Clinton. The revolution will be of the industrial sort.

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What I am thinking about today.

This morning I asked people “IN a world that doesn’t seem to reward being kind, why be kind?”

I got some very good answers (and wish I would have gotten more, you slackers), but I said that I have my own reason for being kind:

First: I don’t believe in any supernatural beings, gods, or the rest. I believe what I see and experience, so… I think that we are all we’ve got. We’ve made it to the top of the food chain, and the only predators that threaten us are each other. We can make this brief existence good or bad, and I choose to do what I can to make it good (as best I can and to my abilities) because We Are All We’ve Got.

Second: The good we do can outlive us. If I plant a tree, I may not get to read in its shade, but someone will, and I want to help that future person. When I do a kindness that has branches in the future, I feel good that I am not contributing to the further degradation of the planet or those of us that live on it. I can’t very well fight for the environment, human rights, etc… if I am an asshole, now can I? OK, I can’t without a lot of cognitive dissonance.

Last: In my 20’s and early 30’s, I was a bitter sarcastic person due to the things that had happened to me growing up and as a young adult. I felt the world was out to get me, people were terrible and it was a dog eat dog world. In 1999, I decided through a series of things that I didn’t want to be that person any more, and I hung my hat on the Kurt Vonnegut quote: “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be.” I decided I would pretend to be kind. I would pretend to be open to change and improvement. I would be open to unconditional love, no matter the cost (and the cost has been pretty damned high, let me tell you). I would pretend to be the kind of person I wanted in my life, so that if no one ever came into my life on a deeper level, I would at least have me.

Yep, shitty things happen. Good people get ground into paste by jerks. But….

“The world is like a ride at an amusement park, and when you choose to go on it, you think it’s real, because that’s how powerful our minds are. And the ride goes up and down and round and round and it has thrills and chills and it’s very brightly colored and it’s very loud. And it’s fun, for a while.

Some people have been on the ride for a long time, and they begin to question: ‘Is this real? Or is this just a ride?’ And other people have remembered, and they come back to us and they say ‘Hey! Don’t worry, don’t be afraid — ever — because… this is just a ride.’ And we kill those people.

‘Shut him up! We have a lot invested in this ride! Shut him up! Look at my furrows of worry; look at my big bank account, and my family. This has to be real.’ It’s just a ride. But we always kill those good guys who try and tell us that — ever notice that? — and we let the demons run amok. But it doesn’t matter, because… it’s just a ride, and we can change it any time we want. It’s only a choice. No effort. No worry. No job. No savings and money. Just a choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your door, buy bigger guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love, instead, see all of us as one.

Here’s what we can do to change the world, right now, into a better ride. Take all that money we spend on weapons and defense each year and, instead, spend it feeding, clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would do many times over — not one human being excluded — and we can explore space together, both inner and outer, forever. In peace. “ – Bill Hicks.

 

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