Agent of Change

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

Archive for the category “Politics”

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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Political expressions

What a week.  A presidential candidate who says proof he doesn’t grope women is that they aren’t pretty enough for him, Russian hackers feeding information to a Bond villain holed up in an embassy, wars intensifying with no moral choices, violent attacks on political rivals, rising anger on all sides and people working themselves past exhaustion to make a better life for their children.

It makes you want to unplug from humanity and wait for it all to be over, but when it’s over there will be a series of new challenges and crises demanding our attention and feeding our fears.

All we can do is our best.  Tell people in your life you love them.  Celebrate other people’s small and large victories.  Forgive those who have hurt you knowingly or unknowingly.  Help someone in a way that doesn’t benefit you.  You can’t save the whole world, but you can help the world around you, and that’s enough.  YOU are enough.  You can always change your life, every minute of every day.

Much love to friends old and new, and I hope someone shows you one of these kindnesses today.

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In which I have a quote about the news

I am not smart enough to know what to say about racial conflict and the riots that have been occurring. So, I will turn to Martin Luther King Jr, who said this after the Detroit riots:

Urban riots must now be recognized as durable social phenomena. They may be deplored, but they are there and should be understood. Urban riots are a special form of violence. They are not insurrections. The rioters are not seeking to seize territory or to attain control of institutions. They are mainly intended to shock the white community. They are a distorted form of social protest. The looting which is their principal feature serves many functions. It enables the most enraged and deprived Negro to take hold of consumer goods with the ease the white man does by using his purse. Often the Negro does not even want what he takes; he wants the experience of taking. But most of all, alienated from society and knowing that this society cherishes property above people, he is shocking it by abusing property rights. There are thus elements of emotional catharsis in the violent act. This may explain why most cities in which riots have occurred have not had a repetition, even though the causative conditions remain. It is also noteworthy that the amount of physical harm done to white people other than police is infinitesimal and in Detroit whites and Negroes looted in unity.

A profound judgment of today’s riots was expressed by Victor Hugo a century ago. He said, ‘If a soul is left in the darkness, sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but he who causes the darkness.’

The policymakers of the white society have caused the darkness; they create discrimination; they structured slums; and they perpetuate unemployment, ignorance and poverty. It is incontestable and deplorable that Negroes have committed crimes; but they are derivative crimes. They are born of the greater crimes of the white society. When we ask Negroes to abide by the law, let us also demand that the white man abide by law in the ghettos. Day-in and day-out he violates welfare laws to deprive the poor of their meager allotments; he flagrantly violates building codes and regulations; his police make a mockery of law; and he violates laws on equal employment and education and the provisions for civic services. The slums are the handiwork of a vicious system of the white society; Negroes live in them but do not make them any more than a prisoner makes a prison. Let us say boldly that if the violations of law by the white man in the slums over the years were calculated and compared with the law-breaking of a few days of riots, the hardened criminal would be the white man. These are often difficult things to say but I have come to see more and more that it is necessary to utter the truth in order to deal with the great problems that we face in our society.

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My political observations for today

-Donald Trump will not drop out and anyone who says he will shouldn’t be listened to. Trump is loving this, and his “The system is rigged” is how he will explain his loss.

-Boy, the Clintons are always blessed with incompetent adversaries, aren’t they?

-Local races will be interesting as people try to attack Congresspeople and Senators to the Presidential candidates and they try to run from the association.

-Anyone who says “It’s never been this bad before” should not be listened to. History shows that we have had elections like this in the past, even with the beloved “Founding Fathers”. You want to see a TRUE nightmare, look at the election of 1856, which brought us the disastrous Presidency of James Buchanan.

-I like lists, how about you? They’re fun right? Think I could make this a Buzzfeed article if I titled it “Political Stuff that 90’s kids understand but Baby Boomers will be confused by”?

-Quite bluntly, I have struggled with remaining on social media due to the endless stream of people losing their fucking minds over Donald Trump. I have already dumped Instgram and Tumblr, and if not for my podcasts, I would just get rid of all of it and go into “splendid isolation” mode. I still might. CM Punk was asked about his wrestling career about 6 months before he quit that he would retire sooner than people think and never look back. I understand that feeling.

-Any stats the goes for Trump in November should immediately be given huge Education block grants, because they will obviously need some help.

-On a serious note, with Trump stating that “The system is rigged” already to explain the beating he’s gonna get in November, we should actually be concerned about his followers. There is a reason that, when a candidate loses, he concedes and then talks about how the system works and the peaceful transition of power. In the 80’s, I heard that Reagan would institute Martial Law in order to stay in power, then Bush, then Clinton, then Bush and now Obama. People already feel that the President is a heartbeat away from making themselves King.

People have been whipped into a frenzy by Trump’s rallies, and if you think people who show up screaming about building a wall and locking up their opponents will quietly accept the results of the election, you haven’t talked to any of them. They believe that Trump will show up, burn the place down and give them the country they have always wanted within days.

It’s not like the Obama folks who were shocked that he didn’t do the same thing and got upset that he was a moderate centrist (even though that is how he campaigned). They just stayed home and opted out of the political process. No, it’s more like the Tea Party on Meth and Steroids. I can see them pulling Clive Bundy like stunts to “show the government they won’t be pushed around anymore.” The right wing media has filled their heads with visions of FEMA camps, troops taking away their guns and hordes of non-white people taking all the jobs that are left.

Trump will not go quietly into that good night. He will throw a fit, as he has every step of the way, and continue to incite his followers.

-I don’t have a good closing joke here. Sorry.

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Social Media Grief

I’m not writing about tragedies any more on my social media.

Last week, we had a terrorist attack in Nice, France, an attempted coup in Turkey and police officers gunned down in Baton Rouge.  All three events are heartbreaking, senseless and have lit up social media with people discussing them, mourning the losses, and asking what can we do.

I didn’t write about any of them.

I was upset as each one happened.  I was crushed to see the loss of life, the heartbreak of those who lost loved ones, the hate that drives these events, but I didn’t write about them.  I have written about previous things in the past, expressing condolences, support, and the like.  However, in the end, none of that matters.

Je suis Charlie, remember the fallen, black lives matter, blue lives matter, all lives matter, and on and on and on.

It feels as if these things are happening with more regularity.  I don’t know if that’s true or if it is because we have the 24 hour cable news monster to be fed, and politicians who are using and exploiting these tragedies for their own purposes.  They’ve become political.  If you express sadness for one tragedy and not their other, it makes you part of one group, so you must not like the other group.  Why didn’t you comment on these deaths?  Are some people’s lives worth more than others?  Do you not care about the people with the brown skins or the black skins or the yellow skins or the white skins?

Enough.

I don’t want my social media experience to be that of endlessly talking about the tragedies in the world.  It’s not that I don’t care, or they don’t touch me, but that I add nothing to the discussion, my comments on it are beneath negligible and help no one.

And.

When I see people using these events to attack other people, to call into question their beliefs and demand a kind of emotional consistency, it actually makes it all that much worse.

These things are horrible enough.  We need to stop being horrible about them.

Instead, if you can do something, do it.  And that is what I will do from now on.

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