Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Ode to those who go against the flow.....

The trouble with going with the flow is, you might wind up getting sucked down the drain.

I admire those who take a stand against their tribe....the party line and refuse to go with the flow when they think their tribe is wrong.

So this post is a quick “ode to” some of the people who have recently spoken out in opposition to their tribe. I’ve included quite a few links if you feel like reading/listening to more.

Let’s start with Shep Smith….who recently lambasted Trump’s continual whining about the press continual whining about the press and fake news (aka anything that is critical of him or his administration.) Shep also demanded the truth about the Trump administration's ties to Russia, stating that the American people have a right to know.

This is not the first time he’s gone against the Fox News avalanche of right wing opinion. I found a video of him going off on the use of torture (around the time of the Bush presidency) and his opinions about Kim Davis and her anti Sharia law...but okay with Christian theocracy supporters.

And then there is the representative from Hawaii, Tulsi Gabbard, who has shown her courage and integrity several times in the past year or so. She is a veteran who served two tours of duty in Iraq.

During the 2016 primaries, she voluntarily resigned from her position as co-chair of the DNC so she could actively support Bernie Sanders. It was his views on US involvement in interventionist wars and regime changes that she was the most supportive of. (which is, by the way, one of the things I liked the most about Bernie) She did this at great risk to her career….and she was an active Bernie supporter all the way through the convention until the fat lady finally sang and nominated Hillary Clinton.

Recently, she has taken this non interventionist stand farther in the way of a bill she is sponsoring called "Stop Arming Terrorists." She recently gave a quick overview of the bill on the Tucker Carlson show. Tucker, who tends to be rather obstinate, argumentative and surly seemed to like her too and even seemed supportive of her bill that would stop US tax dollars from supplying weapons to the supposedly moderate groups deemed "freedom fighters."

Then there is Chris Wallace. I’ve always liked Chris Wallace and his willingness to ask tough questions. I especially enjoyed an interview where he took Ted Cruz to task about the feasibility of his healthcare plan that Cruz wanted to replace Obamacare. This was also during primary season.  

This time, Chris Wallace is asking Priebus hard questions about Trump’s treatment of the press, his claims the press is the enemy of the American people….Flynn, Russia, Yates, when Pence knew what was going on, the unusual nature of Bannon’s role in the Trump administration. It is not a friendly interview. And I applaud Chris Wallace for speaking out and asking these questions.

For those who want the “alt right” view of the interview check out the Breitbart link. And check out a few of the comments. I am ever amazed at the party that trashes political correctness and champions free speech and how freaking mean they are in their comments. And they think Wallace...and Shep Smith….should go pound sand and end up at CNN or one of those other trash news networks.

And then...this is what Business Insider has to say about the interview.

There there is John McCain and Lindsey Graham. Both are critical of Trump’s behavior, views and actions.

I'm running way, way, way late so I will end this post abruptly. I reserve the right to throw another two cents worth of opinion into the never ending debate...and to edit for typos and clumsy phrases.....

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Please don’t say there is no vetting…..

Please don’t say there is no vetting…..

In conversations (in real life and online) about the 90 day 7 country travel ban...and the indefinite ban on Syrian refugees....I often hear "we are just letting everyone in" without "proper/any vetting." My guess is that many who are calling for extreme vetting have no idea how extensive it already is…...

Please...please educate yourself. If, after reading, considering and fact checking, you still think it’s not enough, then you’ve based your opinion on facts rather than heated political rhetoric from your favorite news source…..

The truth is hard to find because it is buried within an avalanche of fake news and misleading headlines. From my vantage point "in the middle"...neither right nor left, but somewhere in between...I think that both sides are guilty of this misleading, dishonest, click bait type of news.

Let me provide a few links to get you started.....beginning with this one from the Heritage Foundation.

I came upon this link buried deep within hundreds of comments to a Fox News article siding with the ban. Ironically, this article from the Heritage Foundation (a self described conservative site) was posted by a liberal who is against the ban. It describes the vetting process that was in place December 2015..... after the San Bernardino terrorist attack.

It is about the vetting process for refugees. The San Bernardino shooters were not refugees. He was an American born citizen. She came here on a fiancé visa from Pakistan. The vetting process for fiancé visas is different and less intensive than refugee vetting. I believe some changes have been made to that process but I have not researched it.

This article lists the agencies and process involved in the vetting of refugees. It provides an overview of the process, a process that is definitely not "no vetting at all" as I have heard people say many times. Is it enough? Maybe. Maybe not. But it is more thorough than many people believe. Interesting to note that most of the articles on this website express a view that aligns with the right.

In another article in the New York Times entitled Refugees Entering the U.S. Already Face a Rigorous Vetting Process lists twenty steps in the current vetting process. It lists multiple background checks, extensive interviews, fingerprinted three times, checks for communicable diseases, cultural orientation classes, involvement with a refugee settlement agency...and more.

The article claims its information is taken from the State Department; Department of Homeland Security; Center for American Progress; U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants; Refugee Council USA

Another really good article that explains the refugee immigration process is one written by Scott Hicks. Here is a blog post about the article. Here is the link to the article on his FB page.

Scott Hicks has practiced immigration law since 1995 and volunteered for many years before then. He is also Pastor at Red Lion United Methodist Church. His FB page is on top of all the many changes going on in our immigration policy. Changes that are happening every day. Plus he has a really pretty Golden Retriever named "Law Dog" that he often posts pictures of.

And one more….an article in the Washington Post by Natasha Hall. Her short bio says she has worked with refugees and on conflict for more than 10 years, specializing in the Middle East. She currently works on humanitarian efforts in Syria and lives in Istanbul, Turkey.

I am just a regular joe but I refuse to post anything on Facebook or here on my blog without at least a cursory fact check. All the articles I’ve listed above appear to be legit….and while they come from many different sources….they all seem to tell of the same thorough process of refugee vetting…...

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Hypocrisy is Simply Stunning....

Conservatives have accused liberals of “wanting to shut people up” they do not agree with. Just google “reactions to super bowl” commercials to see how pissed off a lot of conservatives are. Threats to boycott products, name calling, insults. Yeah, okay...so conservatives are totally okay with letting everyone have their voice.

Hypocrisy. I see it on both sides of the political/ideological spectrum. I see it all over the place but these three right wing examples come to mind with just a moment’s thought.

Meryl Streep bad. Just stick to acting. That’s what entertainers are supposed to do….entertain.

Matthew McConaughey - good. Refreshing to hear someone from Hollywood speak out about their beliefs. (when they agree with mine) Let’s have him on the show and give him a national platform to praise Trump.
Sally Yates - bad. She needs to do her job. That’s her job. Do your job. It doesn’t matter what your personal beliefs are.

Kim Davis - good. She is just standing up for her sincerely held beliefs. That was not part of her job to begin with. It’s fine to defy a court order from some “so called judge”? And anyway they are stealing Christian freedoms (Christians are totally persecuted in this country you know)
Womans tirade at two Hispanic women in a JC Penney’s department store - understandable. You know, the frustration of the past 10 years under the Obama administration….not really right but understandable.

Man lambasts Ivanka Trump on an airplane - totally out of line. Should have been arrested. Let’s slam his book on Amazon.
If you are on the left applauding the gay guy on the plane but outraged at the woman in the department store…..applauding Meryl while dissing Matthew….thinking Yates should have remained employeed while Davis should have been fired.....well, I call hypocrisy on that too. Now...I lean left. Anyone who has read a single post on this blog knows I lean left. But here are MY sincerely held beliefs

Celebrity opinions - Free country (at least as I write this) Free speech (at least as I write this)  Celebrities are as entitled to speak their minds as the rest of us are. Afterall, isn’t that one of the reasons many people voted for Trump to begin with….because he speaks his mind?

Yates/Davis - do your job. Just do your job or quit. If you won’t quit, expect to be fired. While I admire the courage of one (and deplore the bigotry of the other) I believe if you don’t do your job, you should expect to lose it.  Do. Your. Job.

The twin tirades - flip sides of the same coin of fear/frustration. Woman in department store is afraid and frustrated because she perceives that her rights and tax dollars are being taken away by immigrants. Man on airplane is afraid and frustrated that his rights may be taken away by Trump administration and right wing anti gay sentimet. (he was half of a gay couple)

I started this post yesterday. While I was at the gym reading The Living Bible on my kindle, I came across the following verse in Psalms…..

Let his days be few; and let another take his office.
Immediately followed by verse 9…..
Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.

Does anyone remember the Pray for Obama Psalm 109:8 controversy? Yeah...that was a thing. And many on the right applauded the sentiment and slapped it on their bumpers.

And continuing this “pray for the president” theme, how about the Facebook page based on the following satirical prayer?


There was also a FB poll..."should Obama be killed." Yes there was...if you don't believe me look right HERE and HERE where Fox News covered it. It turned out to be a hoax kind of thing....put on FB by a juvenile....however, it should be noted that hundreds of people responded to the poll.

So please do not get on your high horse when a politician says “he’s not my president.” And don’t be surprised everyone is not ready to play nice on the “Trump is president” bandwagon.

There are so many cognitive biases it is difficult to discern when we are caught up in one (or more) I saw a saying once..."don't believe everything you think." At least not without a thorough look-see.....

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Thanks to Ann Voskamp and Rachel Held Evans for speaking out....about refugees/immigrants

I applaud these evangelical women who are willing to speak out to their fans, members of their faith group...risking reputation and income to share their hearts and speak plainly and clearly. Insisting that that the current direction many evangelical Christians are headed in this country….this political party line they have accepted...no...embraced and celebrated…. is the antithesis to everything Jesus said….!

Rachel Held Evans is one of them. Here’s her recent Twitter feed.

And Ann Voskamp. Canadian author of several well known Christian bestselling books...was at the Prayer breakfast. Outside. Carrying a sign. In support of immigrants and refugees.

Here are two articles about it HERE and HERE. Some of the quotes in the articles….from Voskamp and other evangelicals make both articles worth reading.

Please do...and please read some of the information that gives an accurate facts based look at the vetting process for refugees. It is a much more thorough process than what they are telling you on Fox News. It really is.....