Agent of Change

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

Archive for the category “Politics”

What do we owe each other

I wrote a long essay on the current health care bill and how it’s being sold to us. I dug into why it’s a bad idea, how it will further drive Americans into the haves and have nots, and how it shoves more of the burden of the cost of being a civilized society onto the working and corporate serf class.  I edited it, filled it with clever asides and the personal experiences of people I know and love.

Then.

I deleted it.

No one who reads it will change their mind about anything involved. Every election cycle, we’re told by the polls that Americans want the health care system in America fixed, and anyone who tries anything to do so is ripped apart and may as well go into hiding.

I keep thinking about the phrase “What we owe each other.”

The minute I write that phrase, I hear people, mostly Americans (and mostly a specific privileged subset of Americans) say “Nothing.”

I don’t believe that. I just don’t.  Human beings are a species that is social.  The quickest way to break a person is to remove human contact.  The punishment that narcissists and abusers favor is to remove their victim’s social network (I know, I’ve had people attempt it before).  Our young are unable to care for themselves for years, meaning that we need to parent our young for years, unlike horses, turtles, fish, etc…  That means we have to have tribes, families, cultures and civilizations.

However, there is a growing strain of so-called “individualists” who feel that it’s OK to take without giving. That aggression is to be worshipped.  That ripping people off, exploiting them, and leaving them with nothing is just the way of the world.  They argue we need to remove protections for those who don’t have power because, well, everyone should be able to succeed on their own through rugged individualism.

What about those who are developmentally disabled? What about those whose talents aren’t suited for cutthroat capitalism?  What about those who don’t have the family and intergenerational supports that more successful people do?  What about those who do the necessary, but undervalued jobs that have to be done for our cities and societies to function?

Are they lesser beings? Are they to be left behind in the rat race?

“Those who do not work, do not eat” is tossed around by these folks, and for some reason, we don’t see this mindset as evil.

What DO we owe each other?

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DACA

I am about to do something that many of my friends will be irritated about. I will understand Trump’s DACA announcement.
Hear me out, here, and don’t think I have gone full Rush Limbaugh.
DACA was a Presidential order meant to be in place while Congress put together a comprehensive immigration overhaul. The reason that the Confederate state’s attorney generals brought a lawsuit was partially because the Evil Kenyan Man did it, but also because changes like the one behind DACA are to come from the Legislative branch. I know they are simply using that as cover for what they really want to do (get rid of Brown Skinned people), but there is an underlying legal argument to be made.
Trump promised his voters he would end it, and no matter what else you think, when it comes to his anti-immigrant promises, he’s actually trying to follow through on them. However, knowing that it would be unpopular with the business community and the military, who have both been able to enjoy the consequences of DACA, he did what he has done his whole life.
Dumped the responsibility onto someone else to clean up after him.
This was a no-lose for Trump. He gets to toss red meat to his base and distract them from the fact that his own justice department finished their investigation, and he was lying about the Evil Black Kenyan wiretapping Trump Tower. He can appear tough on brown people. He gets to blame Congress when they are incapable of doing anything. He didn’t even make the announcement so that there is no footage of him saying it to be used against him later. Oh, and bonus, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions get to hate on brown people!
So, what should you do?
Instead of posting memes about Trump, get on the phone with your congresscritter and tell them to pass a permanent version of DACA. Phone calls are what kept the ACA in place, and phone calls will get this passed. Simple tell the poor phone rep that you will not vote for the congresscritter unless they support DACA legislation.
Trump will always do what he is going to do. We need to work around him, like Congress has quietly announced they are going to do.

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Sell the damn hat!

While watching the news, I wondered why the President was wearing a baseball cap with USA on it with a suit. It’s well known that Trump doesn’t know how to dress himself, his suits don’t’ fit, his tie dangles long past his tie, his golf attire is ill-fitting and you would think a man worth Billions of dollars could get clothing that fits properly and doesn’t look like he ordered it from the Sears catalog in the 70’s and figured it was classy then, so it’s classy now.

But the Ball cap.

A quick trip to his website shows the reason he wears it. He has all three of the styles he’s been on the news this week for are available for the low, low price of $40, plus shipping and handling.  And remember, it’s America First, except when it comes to making his merch, which is quietly made in China (like those MAGA hats).  Much like a Kardashian or some other “Instagram star”, he wears the new merch as a way to get people to BUY BUY BUY!

Just like when his important press conferences were sales pitches for his crappy hotel in DC or his even more crappy gold course in Scotland, the carnival barker in him always takes precedent over anything else.

He couldn’t find rubble to stand on, so he climbed a ladder to try to get his “Bush with a bullhorn” moment in Houston. Why? Because it turned around Bush’s image from the early days after 9/11, when he sat stunned and not knowing what to do when informed of the attack, or flying here and there in the aftermath, freaking people out that he kept being shuttled from city to city.

However, as most people who do marketing instead of caring, he flew in, got the photos and flew out, not talking to a single victim. Saturday will be the typical Trump “do over” where he will try to get over his hatred of poor people to be seen with a few of them.  Maybe.  But only if they’ve been cleaned up and look good on TV, but we know that is all he cares about.

We’ll also see that hat every time he’s on TV if he can squeeze it in. Them $40 baseball caps don’t sell themselves, so just like other celebrities, eh has to push the brand, because they brand is all that matters.

 

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Trumpwatch 8/15/2017

Yesterday, the president went in front of cameras and, through gritted teeth and only after being told to by everyone from his daughter to the people he watches on Fox News, condemned the Nazis who held a rally to protest a statue of Robert E Lee being relocated.  The media and his supporters will say that he has corrected a misstatement from the weekend where he said there was hate “on many sides” and (and this is the one that shows his true feelings) “We must cherish our history.” 

Should I remind you that the Nazi were chanting about how their history won’t be erased?  How the essence of the current white power movement is that diversity is erasing the great civilization created by white men?  How Trump has retweeted members of the white power movement? Took over a week to condemn David Duke?

I am reading people who aren’t Trump fans who apologize for him by saying, “He’s doing it for votes and knows they are part of his base.”

Don’t. Be. Fooled. 

As we keep hearing “Why won’t he condemn them?”, I keep asking a golf question.

How many mulligans do we give this guy?  On the day of their rally, he didn’t condemn the Nazis and instead said he was against the hate “on many sides”, which white power websites said shows he’s with them.  And. They. Are. Right.  He condemns them days later, in prepared statements, like a 7 year old who has been told to apologize by his mother.  In his twitter feed, which is the window into his soul, he has no problem attacking CEOs who condemn the Nazis, Rosie O’Donnell, and his own party, but not a peep about Nazis who march with torches chanting “Blood and soil.”

His dad was arrested in 1927 for taking part in a KKK riot in New York.  He’s been investigated for racial discrimination in housing.  He’s called for the execution of black teenagers, later proven innocent and refuses to take it back, still saying they should have been executed.  Said in MULTIPLE interviews he doesn’t like having black people work for him.  And on, and on, and on, and on.

Everyone who doesn’t see this, see that it is intentional, is getting played for chumps.

“We must cherish our history.”

Remember that.  That’s who he is.  That’s what he believes. 

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In Which Our Hero Discusses Comics and Milkshakes

In a Facebook comics discussion group, someone posted a picture of a Marvel publishing employee and her friends with milkshakes and said, “This is the problem with comics” as if we all immediately understood what he meant.  Others joined in and said yes, and I asked what he meant…and was met with snotty responses and name calling. 

I replied by saying, and I will admit I was being snotty, “I was just trying to determine if you were ageist or sexist.”

Which, of course, upset this snowflake, who felt he should be able to hate on women without anyone calling him on it.  They then went on and on about these KIDS are ruining Marvel, these WOMEN don’t know anything about comics and the like.

Never mind that Marvel was pretty much run by people in their 20’s through the 70s and into the 80’s.  Never mind that Marvel has expanded into libraries and schools over the last decade.  Never mind that ALL of publishing has fallen apart, with even major publishers like Gold Eagle and Harlequin having to shutter due to poor sales.

Nope, it’s women.  Young women.  They’ve ruined everything.

I don’t know how to break it to people, but physical media has fallen on hard time.  Borders used to be a multi billion dollar company before people quit buying books.  Blockbuster, Media Play, Musicland, Tower Records, Hastings, your local mall and on and on and on, all of them have been killed by the “new economy.”

The comics industry is trying to diversify, not just its content, but its revenue streams.  Tell me all you want about those icky girls are killing comics and I will gently point at Saga, which has a primarily female audience is making money hand over fist.  Tell me about how kids don’t read comics and I will point you toward the Scholastic book sales and how Marvel makes a LOT of money from them.  As well as library sales. 

I’m betting these He Man Woman Haters read a few comics edited by Karen Berger over the years, who expanded comics in the 80’s and 90’s in a way that grew the audience and made everyone in comics a lot of money.

Blockbuster had a chance to buy into Netflix early on, and passed as it didn’t fit their business model.  For all of the belly aching about Marvel, DC, who has kept a lot of the “old school” way of creating comics, has seen its sales drop as well.  Comic shops are part of a last ditch distribution network, and in many ways, if THEY don’t diversify their product lines and customers, they tend to go under as well.  We talk on the podcast I do all the time that if you shop JUST sells comics, you probably are doomed, since that market is shrinking as digital, Amazon and people abandoning physical media continues to grow. 

I guess those milkshake drinking young women are destroying them as well, which shows just how powerful they are, I guess.

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“Just Joking”

“Just joking” is something we now hear repeatedly from the White House. Trump tells cops to beat up suspects, and the explanation is “just joking”. Ed Butowsky pressures news outlets to run the fake story about Seth Rich saying “The President wants it run” and now says he was “just joking.”

“Just joking” is the excuse given by abusers who know there is no way to cover up what they did and shifting the blame to YOU for being upset. I mean, don’t you have a sense of humor? Don’t you understand a joke?  Are you that clueless that you take it seriously?

“Just joking” is a red flag that lets you know that the person you are dealing with is dangerous and WILL attempt to hurt you.

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To serve and protect

I don’t comment on every tragedy, but here in Minnesota, we’ve had another incident of a policeman using lethal force against someone who was not a danger to themselves or others. These incidents have been happening more and more, and I believe there is a very simple reason why:

We have turned our police into a military force who are trained to kill.

The concept of the “warning shot” is a quaint idea for a long forgotten past. We have been giving military equipment to the police since 9/11 as we’ve been dumping money into “Homeland Security”.  Crime is it the lowest levels since WWII, and yet we are all freaked out about it due to endless media reports and politicians telling us that the US is a war zone and we are surrounded by carnage.  Police leaders tell us that they are in constant danger so that we don’t investigate them too closely.  Officers are trained to empty a clip into a suspect.  When the police kill someone involved in a minor offense, we are immediately shown the most thuggish picture available, and they are presented as a subhuman danger to society.

Police no longer “walk a beat” where they walk the neighborhood and get to know people. They don’t live where they work.  They are taught the military way of looking at the world where everyone is a potential enemy.

41 officers were killed by gunfire last year, a tragic number, but not the “hundreds” our President and his people have said. 1162 citizens were killed by police last year.

Here in Minneapolis, an officer with a history of violence against suspects shot and killed a meditation instructor who had called 911 for help. We won’t ever really know what happened because the officers involved parked their car where the dashboard camera couldn’t capture what happened and they did not turn on their body cameras as required to.

The media is demonizing protestors because THAT IS WHAT THEY ARE TOLD TO DO. However, this doesn’t make their message any less valid.

Our police are to serve and protect, not be judge and jury. We need to demand that they return to their function and if they don’t, we need to demand that politicians force them to return to their functions, and if they don’t?  We need to shut it down, shut it all down.

Our lives are at stake.

 

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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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