Ted Cruz Reconsidered: How Stupid Does He Think I am?

Ted Cruz recently referred to one day last week as,”… some of the darkest 24 hours in our nation’s history.” I started down a path to find several sets of 24 hours that were almost as dark and bleak.  It was very difficult. Any day on the trail of tears.  The Alamo (ok maybe it wasn’t OUR country yet.) The assassination of President Lincoln.  Pearl Harbor. Black Friday.  The assassination of President Kennedy.  Kent State. Sandy Hook.  Super Storm Sandy. The 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake. Any devastating tornado in the Midwest.  What Fox did to Firefly.  The Immaculate Reception. (Yes Virginia, Lee was a Raider’s fan in his Youth.) The Giants choking in the 2002 World Series.   Clearly all of those pale compared to the havoc wreaked by the affirmation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, aka ObamaCare) and the validation of marriage between any 2 people across the entire US.

As I started down this path, I reread an article, which I’m sure you will find distasteful.  Ted Cruz has some wonderful opinions and I really believe we need to discuss them.  I understand why some people find Cruz delightful and erudite.  He’s well-spoken and Christian.  Both pluses in this wonderful country of ours.  Of course, being one of those “well educated Liberals” that I’m sure he despises (or at best tolerates), I find much of what comes out his mouth pure nonsense.  Let’s review some of the quotes in the aforementioned article.

And from the top:

“This week in response to both of these decisions, I have called for another constitutional amendment — this one that would make members of the Supreme Court subject to periodic judicial retention elections,” said Cruz.

Well golly gee Ted! What a grand idea.  I know the constitution you were so found of had appointees to the Supreme Court given lifetime appointments.  I think that might have had to do something with being able to be fair and balanced and follow their minds, not the whims of voters.  The intent was for them NOT to need, like you, to cow tow to a base to be re-elected.  Is there anything else in the constitution you don’t like?  Why is the Constitution only acceptable when you get your way?

“The court’s views are radically out of step with public opinion,” said Cruz. “The Supreme Court follows the opinions of Manhattan and Washington D.C., but it doesn’t follow the opinions of America.”

Really?  I’m in California and I like many of the court rulings. Even when I disagree, I agree with the fact that they are ruling and it’s the law.  Oh wait, Manhattan is code for liberal.  Yes, I am that.  But do you really believe that taking away the health insurance from 6 million people based on a typo is a good idea?  Do you honestly believe denying people equal protection under the law makes sense based on you (and let’s be honest, your religious beliefs) inability to understand that some people are different?  Who are you to say that two people can’t be in love and share a life because they don’t fit your stereotype of “normal?”  Why is it when the Supreme Court finds the way conservatives want, “it’s the LAW!” but if they rule in a more liberal way conservatives scream “break up the court!”, “Obama is blackmailing Roberts” or other subversive verbiage?

Courts in over 70% of the states found marriage to be civil right (no need to label it).  Is your assertion that the remaining 30% are the only ones that know what is true and legal and we should ignore the other 70%?  Which side of this argument are you on?  Clearly not both.  Why are you set on denying a significant portion of our country their civil rights?  I understand it makes you uncomfortable.  I really get that.  But, do you tell your kids, “when something makes you comfortable, fight, ridicule and hate till it’s changed?”  Nope as adults we deal with uncomfortable situations all the time.  We deal with it.  Grow the fuck up. Please.

The court is not supposed to follow the lead of the country.  It’s the entire point of making them independent.  Next you’ll want to 86 the Electoral College. A key foundation of the constitution is that some people know more.  If a majority of your constitutions want you to vote one way, and a big business donor/lobbyist needs you to vote the other way, I’m sure you follow the money.  Do you take a vote of your state and ALWAYS follow their wishes?  No SIR, you do not.

Perhaps you believe the only good ideas come from you and are based on hate and intolerance.  It appears that way to this humble author.  Perhaps you’d be happier in 14th Century Italy.  The church ruled everything and the decided who could and couldn’t be married.  And taxed their property.  And were the real power behind the rulers. Do you secretly wish your name was Medici?

I think you should put forth a proposal that we eliminate the separation of church and state and allow some Evangelical Minister to make the rules and laws.  I get the sense that is what you really want. Doesn’t it ever bother you how many of them are TV, taking money from the elderly and simple minded so they can live lavishly?  Oh wait, that would be you, wouldn’t it?    If you want silk suits and diamonds a la Oral Roberts, or sexually adventurous secretaries to be more like Jim Bakker, I say you earn them yourself on your simple Senator’s salary of nearly $200k (plus perks from your PAC and SuperPAC).

And then there is beauty of logic

“It’s very easy for Republican politicians to stand up and say they oppose Barack Obama. That’s not hard to do,” he continued. “I think the question Republican primary voters should ask is, ‘When have you stood up against the Washington cartel? When have you stood up against leaders in our own party?'”

Really Rafael? (I think you make a better Theodore or Beaver, but what do I know?)  The Washington Cartel?  Aren’t you part of it?  I get the views on taxes and smaller government, but you’ll have to go a long way to show me that you are not part of the establishment.  Are you now “going rogue” like Sarah “the Alaskan Brain Surgeon” Palin?  Are you forming your own party because the concept of Ketchup as a vegetable doesn’t go far enough?  Are you standing up to say that those that don’t follow your religion should only get 3/5ths of a vote?

What lame ass things are you planning on doing?  Shutting down the government didn’t work. Oh wait, after you did that, you said you didn’t.  Did you (fact) or didn’t you (lie)?  You do have the innate ability to be confusing. That’s political GOLD Beav!   When you were a sad little boy, did you take your ball and go home because the other kids thought you looked funny?  I’m guessing you threw a lot of tantrums.

If the few quotes from this recent interview doesn’t turn your tummy, here is another article detailing some of Cruz’s most ridiculous quotes. Of course that was a few months ago, most of those are now superseded.  You should read those and educate yourself on the Senator who wants to be the most powerful man in the world.  Free speech does not mean you can say anything you want and not be held accountable for saying it.  I’m sure when you go to bed at night you often think, “Did I really say that?  Will people think it is inane?”  Yes, you did and yes, we do.  There are a few clichés in this world.  One is that the most of the people who seek public office are power hungry and totally devoid of the skills needed to hold that office.  Describes you pretty well, don’t you think Ted?

The more I read and the more I learn, the less I like what you stand for.  I’m just one man and this is just my opinion.  I think that’s why my name is on the byline.  I think it is great you are comfortable with your religion.  I think it is wonderful that the citizens of Texas seem to believe in what you stand for.  But to this simple Jew, I see you pandering to the religious right.  It appears that you are following the golden rule to an extreme.  Well, if the golden rule is “treat the people who believe and act like you as you want to be treated; fuck the others and stick them in a deep, dark hole.”  I’m not Christian, but I don’t’ think that’s the golden rule.  I don’t’ study scripture but didn’t Jesus preach tolerance?  What changed?

Let me give you a few more dark blots on our country’s history:

Jim Bakker. Oral Roberts.  Jimmy Swaggart. Bob Larson. Ted Haggard.

See a pattern?  I’m guessing the people they lead astray and effectively stole from are the people you are reaching out to.  Are you just another Charlatan?  Seems like a very valid question to me.

Maybe I’m wrong.  But I think if you ask nicely, Donald Trump will slide over and make room in his clown car for you.  Right, you already yelled shotgun! taking your rightful, appropriate seat.

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Politics, Lies and Hate Oh My! Trump that!

A common meme on the Internet this week is that the Confederate Flag has lost its fight with Skittles.  Cute, but in a sense it diminishes the two major sea changes we’ve just seen.  As a nation, we’ve recognized that the Confederate Battle Flag is a demeaning reminder of slavery and treason (Yes Virginia, secession was treason. I’m glad we can cut the “Northern Aggression” bullshit).  Voices have been heard and it has come down.  If you want to fly it, great, it is your right.  But let’s be honest — most people will see your flag in the same vein that they view Swastika tattoos.  It is not good.

And the Supreme Court verified a few key things this past week, all “Jiggery-Pokery” aside.  The affordable care act was not struck down for the umpteenth time.  Turns out that intent is key.  A misused word should not remove the health care of millions of Americans.  I know it does not affect you, but it affects many.  Get over it.  It is the law and it makes sense.

Speaking of making sense, marriage makes sense, if you want to be married.  There is no gay marriage, there is just marriage.  And while my religious friends may be having a heart attack that their religions are being forced to perform weddings for people they find unfit, they have totally missed the boat as usual.  Marriage started as a religious act so that the Catholic Church could access and control wealth and property.  End of Story.  Today, marriage is as much a legal necessity as anything else.  If you are not married, benefits can’t be had.  Want to visit your lover in the hospital?  It’s a crapshoot.  Want to inherit?  That will better be iron clad.  And those of you that are very religious, calling same sex relationships every nasty name in the book?  They don’t want you to marry them.  Please take your fear mongering to the bunker under your house.  That’s where it belongs.

I was struck this past week by the extreme amount of hate speech I saw this week.  A few key item included:

  • OBAMA Comes of the Closet!
  • Obama is Blackmail Judge Roberts!
  • Obama has corrupted the government – all 3 branches are now legislative!
  • Obama Wants to Take Your Guns Away!
  • Churches are now required to perform wedding ceremonies for same sex couples!
  • Obama is a Dictator with more Executive Orders Than any Other President!
  • Mexico Sends Rapists to the US! (Trump says what everyone is thinking)
  • Our Leaders are Stupid! (Thank you again Donald Trump)

I don’t know about you, but I felt like I was reading The Weekly World News at the check stand.  All that was missing is Michelle Obama is Bigfoot’s Love Slave!  Was there ever any better entertainment than the WWN?

Freedom of speech and civil liberties are cornerstones of our country, I’d never deign to suggest otherwise.  But freedom of speech does not allow one to yell FIRE! In a theater or remove the responsibility for not engaging in slander or libel.  You might not be arrested for your words, but they do have consequences.  You might lose your job. You might lose your friends.  There could be other issues.  Freedom of speech is not a silver bullet.  And yes the Holocaust was real, not matter what the deniers say.

That brings us to my friend Donald Trump.  I’m not sure if I’m more appalled at his bombast, his gall or his belief that people will buy into what he says.  He tells us in his presidential announcement that Mexico sends the US its drug dealers and rapists. And then he’s surprised that the largest Latino network wants to cancel its contract with him.  Good for them.  His threats of lawsuits shouldn’t matter.  His behavior crosses well over the line of decency and there must be consequences.  OJ went free.  I’m pretty sure that Univision, may have to go to court, but they’ll win.  Happily.  The good will they will receive from their audience will far out way the threatened $15 million law suit Trump threatens.

Of course I have another idea.  If I ran Univision, I would show Trumps beauty contests.  Of course I would also send interns to film it.  I’d hire catty mean girls (14-16 years old, of course) to announce it.  I would also run it at 3am, with commercials for the Hot Belt (!) running every 5 minutes to add to the drama.  Perhaps allowing viewers to live tweet pictures of Trump with donkeys and tequila to show on the bottom crawl.  I would accentuate the side show it is.   I think creatively fulfilling this contract might be a better statement than the current pullout.  The opportunity for satire is here, by the burro full.

But back to my main point.  Why do we hate?  Why do we tell ourselves that it is ok to twist the truth into pretzels and then get offended when rational minds question and debate the illogic that is so pervasive today?  I’m not trying to be politically correct.  I am far from PC.  I believe giving every kid who participates a trophy has its roots in a good idea, but the results suck.  I’m tired of hearing “but I tried” as an excuse for failure.  Sometimes it is very clear when people don’t try.  Let’s not be PC.  But can we be responsible? Politically Responsible.  I think the current environment allows too many people to believe they don’t need to be responsible. There are no consequences to their words and attitude.

Today the world is both larger and smaller.  The internet is helping to create a new type of isolationism and it is harmful.   Take a good hard look at what you say, what you promote, what you inspire.  Is it good?  Do you still believe there is a black conspiracy to take down police departments everywhere?    Do you still believe, what you are saying is right and justified?  Perhaps you should stop lying to yourself.

I think it is time to rethink our behavior and attitudes.  It is past time.  I believe we need to differentiate between the political and religious hate mongering that is taking place and freedom of speech.  Take Donald Trump’s latest vomit of hate.  How can we in good conscious not label him as racist? Not hold him accountable for his unsubtle call for others be racist?  Maybe it’s a publicity stunt?  I can’t imagine anyone would vote for him for president.    Honestly, I can’t believe anyone does business with him and I hope every Latin owned or themed business chooses not to do business with him, his businesses and his family.  I bet Ivanka loves burritos.  No Burrito For YOU!

This is the land of opportunity, where all men are created equal.  Where we take in immigrants that others reject (you know The New Colossus), “yearning to be free.”  Let’s be free.  But let’s be responsible.  I don’t recall anyone saying that George W. Bush made a deal with devil to gain the White House.  Nor did I ever hear anyone say Dick Cheney is evil – wait strike that, it is hard to argue that one.  If we are to fulfill our potential and truly be a great nation, a great melting pot of various ethnicities, beliefs and skills, we need to differentiate between what we believe, what’s a lie and what’s inflammatory.  I believe we have too long allowed hate to permeate our way of life and that both taints our achievements and impedes our ability to succeed.  If we are to improve and reach new heights, I believe this concept must be considered.

Allowing this behavior and these lies in the name of free speech are hurtful.  It’s a very nebulous line sometime.  For instance, if Bill O’Reilly believes something it must be true.  He was adamant there is not systemic racism in the US.  It depends what your definition of systemic is.  After all, if Fox, the arbiter of news laden with fair and balanced facts, says there is no racism there must not be any.  It is Fox News, not Fox Opinions, right?  Of course perhaps this is their way of hiding the racial divide that many are trying to breach and close.  Or its ratings.  And yes, there is still systemic racism.  I know it can be hard to see with your head in the sand, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

Perhaps the noted diplomat and renowned healer of our times, Donald Trump can help us fix these issues.  You are right, I don’t think so either.  But what the fuck is his endgame?  I he really that egotistical that he believes he can win?  Even Marco Rubio’s kids don’t think so.

Footnotes:

All three branches of government have a hand in determining, making and validating laws.  It is that whole checks and balances thing.  Civics people, High School Civics.

Everyone wants to take your guns away.  This is not the 18th century.  We don’t need guns in every home.  There are exponentially more murders and crimes with citizen owned guns than there are justifiable shootings.  This isn’t the Wild West, no matter what Texans think.  The NRA and its lobby have way too much power.  But everyone else want’s your guns.  Seriously.  Of course the NRA can have too much power here, but does that mean that every other country has it wrong?  Fucking Europeans and their socialistic gun laws.  No wonder every American hates to vacation in London, Paris, Germany.  Not enough guns and shootings. Wait.  L

Obama not only has made fewer executive orders than almost any president of the 35 years, he has the fewest per year of all.  Bush 41 shouldn’t be ignored because he only got 4 years, not 8.  And let’s be honest, Obama didn’t make torture (I’m sorry – enhanced interrogation techniques) legal.  He didn’t stop medical research to appease the religious right.  (By the way, I fully support avoiding certain activities that are contrary to your religious belief.  But since it doesn’t offend mine, please don’t tell me how to live or act.  Impeding medical research on YOUR religious belief is wrong.  You don’t like abortion? Great, don’t get one. I respect that.  But don’t tell someone she can’t because YOU don’t believe in it.  That’s not too neighborly; it is preachy.  I won’t knock on your door to tell you are wrong.  Don’t impact how I can live or act.  It is my right.  Just as your religion is yours.  I may not agree, but I respect it.  Please respect my beliefs and the beliefs of others.)  Of course Obama did sign an order so that we can prepare for climate change.  How does that effect your ability to say “It’s all LIES!” and impact your life?  That’s right it fucking doesn’t.  Ignore climate change.  Ignore what you want.  But don’t get in my way of making this world better.  I’ll let you stay and share.  Remember when you thought lead in the gasoline was a good idea.  I thought not.

A Flag Over South Carolina: Your Pride, My Outrage

I sit here, feeling doubt creep in.  Who am I to write this?  I am no one.  I’ve not been elected, pushed forward to lead or showered in celebrity.  I might be smarter than the average bear; then again I might not be.  Who am I? I am you.  Not all of you, because if I was, this would be unnecessary.  Yesterday, last year, last century this was necessary. And we did nothing. Today it is necessary to act.  Change is never easy.  And bluntly, it is rarely welcomed.

In the employment sphere, I tend to be tasked with driving change.  Processes, systems and paradigms – the wheels progress rolls upon – have been my tools for years.  People resist it.  Corporations sometimes fight it.  If you look, it won’t be hard to find the company that squashes new ideas that work, because it doesn’t fit it the current ideology.  You think business is about making money? Not really, business is generally about people holding on to what they have, working hard to keep things the same and not rock the boat.  The boat rockers are often tossed to the sea.  It doesn’t matter if they are showing others a better, more productive, more profitable way to do things; there is always someone who wants to resist change and maintain what is the status quo and THEIR happiness.

For the last 25 years, I’ve held on to one key phrase. One tenet that makes sense to me.  No, not “perfection is the enemy of the good.”  That one is the paean to mediocrity, permission to accept less than the possibility of success.  I am referring to the always ignored, “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”

You can eat ice cream for every meal.

You can ignore the drought in California and save your lawn.

You can drive drunk, ignoring the consequences.

You can enable increased corporate profits (and your bonus) by outsourcing middle class jobs overseas.

You can ignore the issues and not vote.

And you can continue to believe that racism doesn’t exist because it is not your problem.

Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

The mind space for racial change has come to a head over the last few years.  I believe we – not just you and me, but everyone – need to do what we can for a positive change.  I don’t to come to this lightly and I am not a sudden Johnny-come-lately bandwagon jumper.

In 1980 I made a conscious decision to move away from a group of friends.  It was made easy because I was away in college and they were still in my hometown.  On my first or second trip home I was appalled at the reactions of my friends when they found I was dating a black girl.  It was uncomfortable and I pulled away from them over the next several months.  Did they over react? Did I?  Being Jewish, I was the minority in my High School. In the 70’s the area of San Jose I grew up in was as white bread as could be.  At least it was to my mind.  Did I say this is “racist!”?  No, but it was not in line with where my mind was and I shifted friendships.

In 1992 we saw several white cops beat Rodney King.  Was this racist? No, it was another criminal being beaten by the police.  He probably deserved it.  If he didn’t, it was probably an isolated incident.  I’m sure many of you thought similarly.

I assumed Oscar Grant in some way put himself in a position to be the victim of a sad accident.

Then George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin.  A horrid mistake.  It couldn’t have been on purpose.

Then came Ferguson.  And Cleveland.  And NYC.  And Baltimore.  And the cop sitting at the teenage girl at the pool party in Texas, ignoring the Caucasian teenagers.   Not accidents, but a pattern

And now Charleston.  He even announced how he wanted to kill African Americans.  He was proud.  How many times must we see the same thing to realize that we have a racial problem in our country? Even if Fox News tells us that shooting a man of the cloth is an attack on Christianity, we know it was not.  It was completely racially motivate.  And the gunman told us so.

We could ignore the evidence and keep our heads in the sand.

Just because we can doesn’t mean we should.

My friend Shay writes a fantastic blog Black Girl in Maine.  I don’t always read it, but I am always glad I did. It makes me think.  Her plight is not my fight.  Right? But it is.  She has written on white privilege several times, which used to confuse me.  There is no such thing, right? I don’t’ feel privileged.

I know that last month I was outraged (or worse) because I was given a warning from the water company due to a complaint from a neighbor.  What I had I done?  Nothing.  On deep reflection I realized that MAYBE my sprinklers were on 5 minutes past the 9 am end point for allowable watering.  I can’t describe the rage I felt and I screamed to the water company’s voice mail.

That’s the worst thing that has happened to me in several years.  Let’s compare that to how African Americans fear the police.  We are taught the police are our friends and there to help.  Really?  If you are black, you can get stopped, arrested and hassled because of the color of your skin.  I cried the other day when I read one woman’s twitter feed.  Her 13 year old son was riding his bike in HIS NEIGHBORHOOD when a woman who didn’t recognize him (because he was black) called the police.  The police came and hassled him.  Shook him up.  More than rattled his family.  He was afraid to leave the house. My empathy overflowed.  Sadly, I know this is not uncommon.

That’s white privilege.  I don’t’ have that worry about being stopped and arrested just due to the color of my skin.  People don’t look awkwardly at me when I go into a nice store.  Neither my sons nor I nor most people I know or grew up with worry about this.  You follow the law, be a good person and life is good.  Sadly, this is not the case for everyone.  Wasn’t this country founded on equality?  Words and actions often differ.

I’m not naive.  I know that most stereotypes are rooted in some reality.  I know people that focus on the looting that took place in Ferguson and ignore the underlying issues.  But there is an underlying issue.  There are racial issues that divide this country.  Hundreds of years of abuse (lynching, Jim Crow Laws, segregation, discrimination, elimination of opportunities for starters) have reinforced and increased the racial divide.  While many people speak out and protest others look and destroy. It doesn’t matter what ethnicity you are.

In the 60s the country protested the war.  Protesters didn’t differentiate between soldiers and the leaders that put the US in war we shouldn’t have been in.  Later we protested the Iraq war.  We learned and didn’t blame the soldiers.  We blamed the leaders that lied to us to get the approval to invade a country we should never have been in.  We grew.

It is time to grow again.  This is the United States of America.  A country founded on the premise that “all men are created equal.”  This is not the United States of America, and a few ex Confederate States that believe

“… its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition.”

I know in my soul that most of us do not believe these words.  Yes, some people still do.  It is their right to be ignorant and hold on to outdated racial beliefs.  I believe we must stop allowing them to believe it is OK to believe this.  Free speech is a right in this country.  I will defend it.  I believe Nazis can assemble and march.  I defend that right.  I believe racists can believe what they want

But I also fucking believe that it is NOT OK.  .  I believe it is my right to protest and decry all they stand for.  We, as a majority, need to stop cow towing to the few.  Symbols of oppression and discrimination are not acceptable.  They may not be illegal, but they should be not encouraged to be used with impunity.  Of course the Federal Government can’t ban the Confederate flag (or battle flag as the hair splitters want to call it).  But we can.  We can and must take action.

The federal government can and should ban any Confederate items from being flown at national, state, city and municipal locations.  Would we allow any city to fly the Nazi flag with pride?  No, we wouldn’t.  We have power and I don’t mean violence.  Encouraging racism and hate must stop. Now is the time to act, for our outrage to be heard.

Protest. Be vocal.  Post in social media.  It is not OK to be racist, discriminating or hateful.  Stop pretending the symbols of slavery are a source of pride.  You want pride, do something prideful and throw down these symbols. Enable change, and release our shameful past.  We shouldn’t forget, we don’t forget.  But I’m not celebrating the holocaust.  Are you?  Do something worthy of pride.  The fact that you live in the land that fought to keep slaves is should never be a source of pride.  Perhaps consider a move to Qatar.  They encourage modern slavery.

If a store sells Confederate merchandise, I won’t shop there, neither should you.  If a state like South Carolina believes the Confederate Flag is a source of pride, we must remind them constantly that their pride is in discrimination and racial hatred.  That is wrong. There should be protests, Op-Eds and outrage daily, without violence.  We speak with our will, our voice and our spending power.

If I owned a business, I wouldn’t do business with people in Confederate insignia. I won’t spend money where I believe it benefits racists or those that enable racism.  And I’ll protest any network that shows Dukes of Hazzard reruns.  General Lee might have been a great leader, but I will not glorify his war to ensure blacks remained slaves.

Change is never easy. I’m going to offend many people with this.  Good.  Get angry, but fucking think for yourself.  If you really believe there is nothing wrong with flying the Confederate Flag, rethink your values. I’ll defend the right for free speech, but that doesn’t mean I won’t use my right to let you know that I believe, that WE believe you are wrong.  I’m not going to any place that flies swastikas. Why do we allow states to fly the reminders of slavery above African Americans in the South?  It is insulting and increases our national shame. We insult a good portion of country daily with this behavior.  It is unconscionable and we MUST not allow it to continue.

It is 2015.  We shouldn’t hate people for the color of their skin or continue to turn blind eyes to the subtle forms of oppression.  The time to act is now.  I will.  Will you?

This time, just because we can we should. We must.

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