the world through rainbow eyes

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Who Killed the Bill?

So the proposed health care bill from the GOP is DOA.

Which feels like a win. And it is. But there is a deeper story here that is troubling. I really want you to think about this.

This happened yesterday. “This” being the Koch Brothers (and a few other high donor players) saying they will not back legislators that pass it.

Now while we all have known for quite a while that we are living in a plutocracy, this is an absolute confirmation of it. I really want you to consider that this bill was slated for more tweaking. That it was a campaign promise from Trump (who has been very swift in attempting to fulfill campaign promises). That it was a planned for and expected thing for seven years now.

And the Koch Brothers simply killed it with one fell swoop.

So, while I’m happy that this iteration is dead, this is a disturbing way for it to be killed.

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I’ve spent the last four days listening to many different opinions about this elections.

I don’t think most of this is getting it right.

It’s worth thinking about the fact that Trump got about the same amount of the conservative vote that has been voting for the last 4 elections. More than half of registered voters didn’t vote at all.

Most people aren’t actively supporting Trump. They aren’t supporting anything. They’re passively giving consent for everything to just continue on as it is, get worse, get better, and no willingness or belief in an ability to get better.

So I want to talk to those people. For real. Why didn’t you vote. This isn’t a statement piece. This is me asking some questions. I’m not going to listen to a lot of equivocation. Just state your reason and move on.

Because those of us that did vote, and lost, want to know what we can do better next time.

We can not afford your passivity. This is your country.

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I’m Here From the Future

I’m going to tell you something that I find personally embarrassing and shameful. It’s not a thing I generally discuss, and when it gets brought up in discussion I generally talk around it rather than admitting it.

In November of 2000 I was 28 years old, and I voted for George W. Bush.

I had floated into Libertarianism for a while and was steeped heavily in the values there that big government was a big bad. That the Federal government was overreaching, and that it kept people from acting in their own best interests.

I wish I could explain how I got there, but I’m not entirely sure I could recreate the twisty logic that led me to there. I know what led me out, and maybe I’ll talk about it some other time. Suffice it to say, when I was Libertarian D.C. “business as usual” was a deeply upsetting thing to me.

I found politicians as a whole duplicitous and absolutely not concerned with people like myself, nor most average US citizens.

To my distrustful and cynical eyes, George W. Bush looked somewhat refreshing. He looked kind of aww shucks. His words seemed unscripted, and genuine. I didn’t like all of them, but at least he seemed to be saying what he wanted to say rather than what had been passed to him by various speech writers and spin doctors.

I felt sure that if he made it to the White House, he would shake things up, at least. He wasn’t in the pocket of Washington, despite his own familial ties. Everybody everywhere has a father, but not all of us agree with our fathers, and he certainly did not seem to be echoing his own father.

At the time I had no idea who Dick Cheney was. I knew a bit about politics, but I didn’t research that much. I just had my own ideas and felt like I had a logical head on my shoulders to interpret the information I had without too much additional delving.

This was not really pre-internet, mind you. I was on the internet in 2000, but the 24 hour news cycle had not really gone into full swing yet, and being able to research a candidate, their legislation, and their history more fully was not a thing easily done by non journalists. Most of political talk on the net in 2000 was homegrown usenet style debate and discussion.

So Dick Cheney was pretty much an unknown to me, and just a guy who was picked as a running mate, without a lot of news cycle time devoted to him.

I’m pointing all this out for a reason.


It’s 2016 now. My 20’s, and even my 30’s are behind me. As the internet has grown, so has my ability to do my own research. I love reading legislation first hand. Love reading deliberations. The vast majority of news has gone from journalism to opinion rags. So my opinions have longer legs, for sure.

Here we are again at that same type of crossroads, though. A presidency is winding up. A new president will take his place and make it their own. Once again we were given the decision of a career politician who seems to represent “more of the same,” an upstart crusader who wanted impossible social justice, and a guy who seems to be an outsider that is ready to shake things up.

In 2000 it was Gore, Nader, and W. In 2016 it’s Clinton, Sanders, and Trump. Sanders has been eliminated and his platform has been integrated into Clinton’s. So what we have left are Trump and Clinton.

One represents a lifetime of politics. One represents an outsider who says what he wants to say and is poised to shake things up.


I want to travel back in time and tell my 28 year old self to look behind the man who is talking in such ludicrous ways that I take it for honesty. Look at Cheney. Cheney was everything that I thought W wasn’t, so why did I not see that W’s choice of Cheney was simply a continuation of the policies of the GOP. I know that because I can look at Trump and see Pence behind him.

Trump doesn’t seem truly interested in the work that goes with being the President of the United States. Other than the ego boost of saying “President Trump,” the man doesn’t seem to care at all about the actual issues. He certainly hasn’t researched any of the myriad things he makes daily gaffes and attacks on. No more than he was interested in actually doing any of the work of any of his businesses. He sticks his name on it, makes some deals, then walks away leaving others to manage or mismanage.

Pence, on the other hand, seems deeply interested in the GOP platform. He also shows it’s serious shortcomes and pitfalls.

One in three Hoosiers families live at or below the poverty line.

Pence’s record investment in education was made by finally making a pre-k program for the state. Not one that serves all children, but some, at least. Pence turned down federal funding that would have served all of the children.

Indiana does not feel thankful in that lack of concern for their future citizens and workers. Indiana ranks 40th in adults getting an education beyond High School.

Indiana had a budget surplus. It created this surplus through a complete lack of investment in social services and infrastructure. Such a complete lack that when the infrastructure critically failed, the surplus had to be tapped so deeply to aright the crisis that Pence is now also claiming out of the other side of his mouth of a record investment in infrastructure.

That investment never would have reached the penny wise-pound foolish point if the Pence administration had been invested in infrastructure slowly and surely along the way. You can save a lot of money on your household budget by not getting maintenance or repair work done on your car, too.  Eventually that bill will come due, and it will be larger and more critical for the care you neglected along the way.

I see the echoes of Cheney, down the halls of history, in Pence. Pence will not focus on foreign policy, though. Pence wants to focus on domestic affairs. With his abysmal record in Indiana, that makes me worry greatly for the US. We are already in a critical state with infrastructure, and the US educational system is quickly falling behind in a global market that is expanding it’s reach. Innovation comes from education, and we are not educating.

The educational policies begun under President Obama have not been in place long enough to take root and produce new results. We must push forward now, and Pence is not looking forward. Trump surely isn’t either as he has said that the Department of Education can largely be eliminated.

Ask a hiring manager how they look at applications from people who have attended non Federally accredited schools. A system of regulating and ensuring that a standard benchmark is true of a graduate from any state of the Union is precisely why we have a Department of Education.

So I want to go back. I want to shake my 28 year old self. I want to tell her to look at the man behind the man who speaks so outrageously that he must be “shooting from the hip.”

I want to show her sights from her future and tell her what came of an administration with that fool as the figurehead. It’s not enough that she won’t repeat her mistake in four years. She needs to understand the deep shame she will feel that she ever made that mistake to begin with. That she will feel she has blood on her hands. That she will have blood on her hands.

I want to tell her that in just a few short months the worst foreign attack on US soil will happen and that buffoon was utterly bereft of the ability to soundly engage in the subtleties of foreign policy that would limit the loss that will reverberate for decades to come. That we are still suffering, 16 years later, from a man who didn’t understand the difference between fear of threat and reasoned threat.

I want to tell her so much.

I can’t. She’s gone.

Instead the wheel has come round and this time it has spiraled yet tighter. As it does. Trump is not just a fool. He’s a fool with a temper. Pence isn’t just an opportunistic warhawk. He’s a deeply flawed fanatic.

Clinton may represent business as usual to many, but to what is left of the 28 year old in me I can also see Hillary as the continuation of policies that were going right back then. Of policies that are going right now.

The deeply cynical hunger for upheaval that led me to longing for the outsider that W seemed to be led me to starvation.

It took me years to see the outcome of that bad decision. Please do not repeat my mistakes.

I’m here from the future and I have to tell you something. Look to the man behind the man.

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Compromise and Compassion

Never before have politics, both social and electoral, been as engaging, enraging, and divisive as they have been this year. Not in my lifetime.

It seems clear that social media and the easy click reading of the internet is to blame for it, too.

Parts of that are fantastic. Small grass movements can become massive and up-end the status quo in a way that is both terrifying and exhilarating. It’s truly engaging to know that little voices can potentially have as much impact as big voices.

It’s a tightrope walk, though. While there is much hopeful about knowing that you are not alone in feeling like the things that you particularly care about are particularly cared about by others, it is also isolating to know that those you care about have views that are harmful to you.

When people say “unfriend me if you think/will do xyz” it’s a stark contrast line in the sand of “support me and what I say that allows no compromises, compassion, or empathy.

Which is not to say that some views or actions are not so divisive themselves as to invite a lack of compromise.

I’m not going to repeat the many things that you shouldn’t compromise yourself on. All over social media and the internet those things can be found.

Much harder to find are calls to compromise, and intense compassion. A movement is not made by a line in the sand that divides sister from sister, brother from brother, child from parent, friend from friend. Those things are more likely to be in line with self-identity.

I won’t go into self-identity and the many strong things social media and the internet have done for that, either. You can find them. Everywhere.

What a movement is made up of are thoughtful and compassionate discussions. Find the common ground and work from there. If we are to bridge the gaps that are wedging between so many of us in our lives, these discussions must happen.

The divisive memes and rants are an easy device to turn to when someone uses one that is rejecting the things you hold true and dear. Snark is an easy answer when you feel pain or fear.

Dividing yourself when someone takes an action or stand that divides you from them is easy. Much harder is to hear their thoughts and ask them why. Show your pain. Attempt to understand why someone has a different point of view, and allow yourself to consider that their point of view has merit.

Don’t abandon principles, but respect people and their experiences even if they are completely foreign to you. You don’t have to agree with them, but you don’t have to reject them, and the slow growth of healthy compromise can arise from nothing else.

Compromise is our bridge forward, and we must find it. We must make bridges between us all or the gaps will engulf us all instead.

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The Wolf Is In The Valley

I used to listen to tons of conservative talk radio. I guess it was a habit I picked up when I was Libertarian.

After 9/11, when Libertarian Atlanta talk radio turned into Libertarian, but naw, actually Conservative talk radio, and I slowly started rolling more and more liberal, it became something of a reminder of why I’m not a Libertarian any longer. The periods of time I could listen to the hateful speech coming from the speakers got shorter and shorter.

They were punctuated by an interesting growing awareness, though. I noticed more and more that what I was hearing was propaganda.

More and more, that the very things the pundits accused the Left of doing, the conservatives were doing.

They would make these outlandish accusations and it would be followed up in a few days, weeks, or months time with literal proof that that was actually something that was happening on the Right.

I was washed in an awareness listening to the listeners that were calling in that what was happening (whatever topic it was for that show) was a product of the leftists! That they actually fully believed every word and more that was said.

Like… like the ACA is making healthcare absolutely unaffordable (actually that was lobbying and legislation passed under GWB and coming into effect several years after his term ended).

It literally didn’t matter. The reality didn’t matter, because the pundits had set the stage for whatever Big Lie was being told.

It got to the point where reality seemed subjective as hell to the listeners and followers of the Right pundits. I eschewed Left pundits for worry of similar happenings and started following direct legislation publication. Direct sources. Science journals rather than news about science. Looking directly at studies rather than the stuff about the studies that was released.

What I had learned is that you can habitually cry wolf so many times that the village has no idea how to tell a wolf from a house cat. Hell, they are so primed for “wolf” that the house cat literally looks like a wolf to them. It’s a predator, no? It slinks about in darkness, no? Well then obviously it’s a wolf.

Except, no.

Each year the Big Lies have gotten bigger and bigger and nobody knows at all what a wolf is, or what a cat is, or if this thing “wolf” even exists.

But dammit if this isn’t the damn wolf right the fuck here, right the fuck now.

The actual most likely scenario of Donald Trump coming into office is that he will mostly do a whole lot of nothing and really screw some diplomacy for a while. Pence will be doing the practical work of it, and he is enough to be worried about on his own if you take a gander at Indiana. We can live through that. Or at least some of us can. I can tell you for sure a lot of us can’t. You might want to look closer at Indiana again to see what I mean.


For absolutely sure, though? Trump will appoint between 2-4 Supreme Court Justices. Poor RBG will try her damn hardest to outlive Trump and maybe she’ll succeed. She’s tough as nails and has eaten worse than Trump on the daily for breakfast. So I wouldn’t bet against her succeeding.

But it’s not really a thing for her to decide, either. Death will unfortunately come to her when Death chooses to (and I’m sure RBG will have a nice pat for Binky at that point, too).

Those Justices will be enough to completely tumble the Court into Conservative hell for the next 20-50 years. Literally. Which means that the rudder to the ship that is the US will be damn broken off.

And that’s absolutely letting go of the worry that Trump’s famous impulsive temper and ego doesn’t just decide to push a button and nuke a country to prove he can. Which is a real worry, btw.

So I know we’re used to hyperbole being used in every political discussion for the last ever, and it’s gotten so bad that none of us know the difference between a house cat and a wolf when the cries of wolf come ringing in the valley.

But sometimes the wolf is real. Forgetting that would be awfully dangerous.

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Why Your Protest Vote is Wasted and Dangerous


I blocked out the person’s name and image to prevent anyone from finding them and harassing them. These are their feelings and their statement, and they have a right to them without people bullying them over it. Here’s my reply.

Here’s the thing.
With much compassion and respect: a vote for a third party candidate for POTUS without any third party being built throughout the country does not create a third party.
There are four years to every election cycle, with elections that are local and federal in every single year.
Create a viable third party throughout the country. It’s quite possible. You can effect change within your local elections pretty handily, and if you do it with coordination (something that should be possible considering how the Sanders support coordinated online through Reddit, Facebook, and other online resources), then you can create a national grassroots uprising that elects senators, congress people, and even presidents.
The push every four years for a third party candidate is a push just to get heard on the debate floor, and frankly that isn’t what creates a third party at all.
There are local elected positions within nearly every county throughout the country that are ran for unopposed. It would be a simple thing to note these, and strongly work towards running for these positions.
So the stated purpose of supporting third party viability when choosing a third party candidate for POTUS instead of the “lessor of two evils” isn’t really a thing.
Instead we are left with the very real choice of either Donald Trump for office, or Hillary Clinton for office. One of those things will for sure happen. No way around that. No amount of wanting something else will make that something else happen, and voting for a third party will not make that not happen.
You can leave the country, or you can vote third party, or you can write in Bernie Sanders, or Ted Cruz, or Mickey Mouse, or choose to not vote at all. Nevertheless, either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump is going to be elected President of the United States.
When making ethical decisions they must be firmly rooted in the facts of reality as they truly stand. Not as we want them to be. As they are.
Donald Trump is a dangerous individual who lies not in part, but in whole. He does not have the ability to hold his temper in check whatsoever. He is impulsive with his temper and bullies without regard to consequences. He wants to literally create a holocaust for immigrants documented and undocumented. He wants to literally register every Muslim within the US. His GOP platform wants to roll back civil rights liberties for the LGBTQ community. He is violent and uses violent rhetoric. He has said, literally, that parts of the actual Constitution may need to be adjusted because of the “danger of the times.”
He is danger. Literal danger. Present danger.
The other option that could really happen is Hillary Clinton. Clinton was not alone with the tough on crime policies. NOR DID SHE EVEN WRITE THEM. She did not run for political office until 2000. These policies are largely overturning throughout the country, and Hillary Clinton prolifically denounces them. You can talk about tacit approval of things left undone, but Trump literally approves of warfare and dictatorship.
By and large Hillary Clinton has mostly been a politician who is opportunistic and yet still progressive. Her voting record is one of supporting progressive policies and legislation again and again. One of the literal strongest progressives to have been in major office in the last two decades, frankly.
Do I like everything she’s done? Nope. I wish she had supported marriage equality. I wish she had not supported war in the Middle East after 9/11 (though nearly everyone did, and it was a horrific time).
Again and again the things she’s supported that I don’t agree with are largely things that were going to happen anyway. Because, again, she is largely opportunistic while still largely progressive.
This can actually bode well for the country because if the social zeitgeist is there to uphold her progressiveness, she will ride that way.
And yes. Yes, I will gladly have a rational conversation about it, with compassion and empathy with people who have been victims of her few unjust policies, or lack of action.
I strongly believe that while Hillary Clinton may not be the best candidate that exists for POTUS, she is the best one that is capable of winning. That she is not morally equivalent to Donald Trump. Or ethically equivalent.
I believe voting for a third party candidate instead of Hillary Clinton is a lot like choosing to not get chemotherapy or radiation when you have cancer because you want research to be made for a better therapy that is less dangerous, and more thorough, so why not just let the cancer kill your body?
Yes. Donald Trump is a cancer. The things that you are against and are railing to change are not going to be changed by not voting for Hillary. If she wins, something may or may not happen to change those things. If Trump wins all of those policies are doubled down on plus, new and more horrific policies and legislation are passed. Because that’s literally what he wants and what he says he wants. That’s what the GOP platform says.
You can vote for Hillary Clinton and change the US system to one of viable third parties. Or you can put your protest vote in, and hope that your vote wasn’t the swing vote that voted for not changing anything but making everything worse.

I don’t think you’re a horrible person for wanting better. Or more. You are clearly a compassionate person.

Rage and rail against the machine and create change within the next four and a half years. I think we can do it. The Tea Party didn’t manage to create a third party so much as take over one of the two, but they did it in rather short order, and we can, too. They also didn’t do it by lodging protest votes. 

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Can we please stop with the mentally ill comments about the Orlando massacre?
The mentally ill are far more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators of it.

Legal competence and mental illness are a wholly different thing than the mental illness with which you’re trying to label people who do these abhorrent crimes.
We have a culture that is absolutely driven by bigotry and violence. It is absolutely not surprising (though still always shocking) when someone is susceptible enough to that messaging that they do something horrific.
That most people do not is testimony to the overwhelming triumph of compassion and empathy in most humans.

Look around and you will hear and see so many examples of bigotry and violence being encouraged and lauded. You will see people, under the banner of their god, claiming that other people are unfit to exist.

Don’t pin it on Islam, either, because I can pull far more headlines about Christian leaders who have called for the punishment or death of those who are LGBTQIA than Islamic leaders.
I know that’s because we’re in a Christian nation, so it’s more likely to be Christians here than Islamic people, but in this the two faiths are fairly united.
Yes, large swaths of Christianity are now or have been already accepting of LGBTQIA people, but that is also true in Islam. Just as there are gay pastors, there are gay imams. Just as the gay imams are hated by some within their own faiths, the gay pastors are hated by some within their own faiths, too.

This is our culture. You feel the need to repudiate it. YOU SHOULD. Don’t pin it somewhere else, though.

I will not name the gunman, because he should be forgotten though his deed will not, but you should know that he was not a foreigner.

He was a US citizen. He had been to the nightclub several times prior, according to witnesses. He had used Grindr to chat with at least one of the witnesses.
His ex wife says he was abusive. His coworkers thought he was overly violent in his comments.

This was definitely someone who was deeply troubled, and used the banner of religion to attempt to make his cowardly actions noble.

Don’t give him excuses. Don’t explain away his actions.