Election? What election?

October 10th, 2016

Being faced with the non-choice between two extremely similar and bankrupt candidates in the current election, I have found myself staring down the same talking points being spouted by both the rational, calm political evangelist and the spittle-flinging and red-faced blow-hard who is incredulous that I dare suggest not supporting the ‘lesser evil’. In the midst of this, I’m loosing interest in explaining my opinion and view, particularly to my former-fellow republicans who insist that we share the same values and morals.

If we do, I obviously value them more than ‘winning’.

I’ll not sport with you by even suggesting that our modern-day Jezebel is anything but the soul-sucking, demoralizing, unhung traitor who should be rotting in federal prison and awaiting trial. And of course I don’t support her. Stating that a vote for anyone but Trump is a vote for Hillary is so absurd it’s insulting.  What sane person accepts that? When looking at a menu with meals and 2 daily specials, the Cyanide spinach and soy glass shards, the waiter doesn’t tell you that you have to either have spinach or soy, and if you choose soy you might still get spinach… but if you order a hamburger, you automatically get the spinach, because everyone else in the restaurant is stupid.

In that situation, what do you do?  You do everything you can to not order, not pay, and by no means do you eat anything. If you are forced to make a choice, you choose a different meal on the menu in hopes that enough people are sane with you and choose something non-lethal.

Yeah, we’re at that point.  No, really. Clinton is suicide for the US. (Well… we’ve been killing ourselves for decades: go ahead, ask an average person in any major US city about the constitution, or about the rule of law, or ask them if the founding father’s actually believed in Christ.) But Trump isn’t really different where it counts.  I’m not talking about ‘jobs’ or the cost of healthcare; the US people can come back from all of that. I’m talking about the soul of America: the reason we’re the most charitable nation on earth, the reason we come out and help each other in times of need, the reason we used to hold our leaders accountable for immoral behavior, the reason we have compassion on others, and the reason we’re the only nation in the history of the world who came in and conquered nations in war, two world wars, and simply went back home without taking territory; the reason we’re ‘free’. Morals, values, self-restraint, belief in ourselves and the rule of law - that all men are created equal, our founding documents, Christ; that, and nothing but that, is what makes America great.

So, I won’t even discuss Jezebel. But because it is apparently required, let’s get to the gritty on Trump… and because there’s too much, I’ll only list the top 5 issues on my list:

First; no one is claiming Trump is a good option. They only claim that he’s not ‘as bad’ as Hillary. I’ve even heard that “Yes, he is bad, they all are; so what?” as though willingly swimming in sewage makes it somehow better. So, is he? We’ve known Donald for decades and he has decades of personality on record. Demeaned women? Yes. Lied? Yes. Supported democrats? Yes.Tax evasion? Yes. Uses government against people? Yes. Brash? Yes. Exploitive? Yes.  All documented. All undisputed. And all without a high government office as Jezebel has had. I’m unconvinced.

Second: Ah yes, the second. The Second Amendment: during the first debate he agreed with Hillary on restricting guns while claiming that the NRA was completely behind him. No difference there between them. I assume the NRA is in denial right now.  His ready agreement to remove rights from people who have never been accused, let alone gone to trial, for an uncommitted crime is completely against at 3 of the first 5 amendments. As a champion of the second amendment, he fails miserably.

Third; Trump has positioned himself as the special interest; he’s offensive. He’s offended almost all our allies, whole races, and even genders. It is so bad that they’ve threatened sitting politicians if they don’t get behind him. The US is not supposed to have an aristocracy or a king, but here we are. His, “my point of view or nothing” and “I and my people can do no wrong” behavior has alienated so much of the Republican base… more than the RNC has, which is saying something, that the party gave up on reconciliation and resorted to angry ad hominem attacks on their party base, attempting to bring them in line. But Donald has yet to even attempt unifying anything. (Ignoring that you did something wrong isn’t unifying.) If he doesn’t, then tell me: why should I vote for someone I know is going to ignore me and fail to represent me just as much as the opposition?

Fourth: I am tired of voting for evil. The Republican establishment crushed the grass-roots TEA party movement - which handed them victory in 2010 and 2012; they’ve proven how they treat anyone they disagree with. I bought the ‘lesser evil’ back in 2010 and 2012 in exchange for a few empty promises and hope, and… surprise! Evil. And those things they promised never happened. I cannot stand before my Savior and rationalize; I refuse to vote for evil. At some point, ‘lesser’ is still so bad you can’t conscience it; I have yet to find a substantive point or federal role in which I agree with, or want Trump to preside over. You want to talk about the Supreme Court… we’ll get to that later. Trust me. But now, tell me that you want Trump in charge of the nuclear button. Tell me that you want him in charge of economic warfare with China or Mexico, with unmanned drones, with the CIA, with the IRS, with… the world, really. Donald somehow doesn’t understand that, due to outsourcing, all our businesses have bases, factories, facilities in China, in Mexico, in the world.  Sure. Go to economic war with ourselves in order to save ourselves? How about diplomatic relations? Donald’s shown his ability to finesse a reluctant group with his own party’s base, right? It’s not like he’s got members of the RNC calling for him to step down mere weeks from the election, right?….Right?

Fifth: Supreme Court appointments are going to be done by either Hillary or Trump.  Now, tell me, after looking at Donald’s “all the best people” in his current organizations, do you trust his choice of character, do you think he’ll “make a deal”? His vaunted ‘possibles list’ was produced, and then dismissed by him within a few days of getting one endorsement or another. In other words: there are no guarantees - he’s proven he’ll say anything to get an endorsement or a vote. I have yet to see a substantial difference between what they’ll nominate, who - will be different, but what - I’m unconvinced; all we’ve had so far is platitudes. His positions on what the government’s role is would be deemed radically unconstitutional by any court nomination I’d favor. Donald has shown he works to destroy those who disagree with him, he doesn’t nominate them for high appointments.

Vote for the party? They have ignored the conservative base, broken their promises, rubber stamped Obama’s policies, and worked to destroy conservative movements which handed them victory, while repeatedly asking for money.  Tell me again how they are better than the Dems?

And to restate: Voting for a ‘third party candidate’ isn’t a vote for Hillary, it is a vote against both the DNC and the RNC.  No, I don’t want either to win, and I’m very aware of the possible consequences. I’ll let those willing to accept evil squabble over which one to swallow and cow-tow to. As for me, I’ll witness to my God that I do not accept this, and I trust Him to take care of the rest. Not voting for Trump is my statement to the RNC that morals count, that the constitution matters, that I’m not a slave, and, frankly, that they are not necessary or ‘too big to fail’ - as they’ve proved many times already. The two party system is not part of the constitution and the government functions just fine without it.

So, make the case again as to why I need to abandon my morals, my good sense, my rights, my support for the constitution, and my conscience to vote for something I know I don’t want and will destroy my home. But make the case fully knowing that I’m not voting for you and it’s not what you say, it’s what the candidate says, that counts. If you can quote him, go ahead. But remember that every quote from him/her matters, not just the ones you like. After all, it’s Donald’s place, and no one else, to convince me that he’s worthy of my vote.

Natural Born Leaders, The Spark, and Lunch Money

July 7th, 2015

They took our lunch money

In school. The bullies who needed affirmation that they were accepted.

The ones who needed a group of people clustered around them

Because they felt small. But they weren’t, they were the same as you and I. And some of us were called names; fatty, meany, ugly, stick…   and at times most of us joined in, even though we felt bad. We felt it was wrong; it was better than when we were called names.  So we helped at times. And other times, we didn’t.  We sold our friends; we took their lunch money instead of losing our own, because everyone was up for bid. 

Some were the ‘cool’ kids; but ‘cool’ never meant anything other than they decided they were ‘it’.  They couldn’t create, like the girl with the bent nose in art class who we all secretly admired but pretended to hate. They couldn’t run like the freckled redhead who ran for his life through the bad streets after school, or the little black boy who didn’t make it home to his grandma half-way through the school year; we knew they ran fast, fast as the wind, but pretended not to notice or called them chicken-little. They couldn’t sing like the quiet, pretty girl in the back who still had heart, who still knew how to feel. And they couldn’t see or hear like the “special kids” who only spent a half hour in our room, but knew how to smile at bent-nose, at freckles, and song-bird. It was they who noticed when chicken-little was missing. 

I never lost my lunch money. I was big. I learned to do things I didn’t want; I pretended, I joined in, I was wanted by the ‘cool’, but I missed something they didn’t: I wasn’t ‘cool’.   Yes, I was tall, yes, I was stronger than most my friends, but I was awkward, I was too eager to be accepted to be myself. I was sasquatch, I was stick. But I was big. And from time to time, bent-nose, freckles, hobbit, speedy, mighty-mouse, squints, and skunk would hang with me, on me, hoping to keep their lunch money, because they were hungry. Just like me.

And we’d eat, from time to time, until Chicken Little never came back. The ‘cool’ people kept going, and usually didn’t change.  The same group.  High School came, and the pretty girls got a pass, if they were willing to take other’s lunch money; pretty was cool. Pretty was access.  But creative, smart, heart… wasn’t enough. 

And through HS, I suddenly learned that stick, that Sasquatch, was ‘popular’.  I played on the team, I finally fit my clothes, I was learning to sing, learned that smiling at the not-cool no longer brought the heat, because that’s what ‘the cool’ did. And then it happened; I started getting lunch money. I didn’t take it, it was given.  And I knew they just wanted to be ‘cool’, I knew they were trying to reach higher, but I knew I wasn’t ‘cool’. I didn’t sing like song-bird, couldn’t run like freckles, didn’t smile like nice, didn’t feel as easily, and didn’t love as fast. 

That’s when I knew that ‘cool’ was nothing more than a willingness to take lunch money. Some sell it, some work to keep it; the ‘cool’ take it.  “Born Leaders” - that’s what the teacher called them.  “They’ve got the ‘something’ that others don’t, they were ‘enlightened’, they have ‘The spark’.”   What they have is your lunch money; because you gave it to them, because they took it.

And that’s not all wrong, but the ‘cool’ are just pretending. No one is better at pretending.  Pretending they’re safe, pretending they can make you ‘safe’. Pretending that everyone wants to be ‘them’.  And maybe they do.  But I learned that lunch money buys nothing; it is holding it that makes you ‘something’, Except that ‘something’ is only pretend. You see, you get someone’s lunch money. It’s gone as soon as they give it; disappears when it leaves their hands. And you pretend, pretend that you’ve got it. But you don’t. It’s the smile, the song, the heart, the speed, the power to create something that is SOMETHING.

So I stopped accepting lunch money.  I stopped giving my lunch money.  I was cut from ‘the team’ because coach wanted all my lunch money.  I stopped being a ‘leader’ and became a social landmark. I didn’t go back to ‘stick’, but I did learn to sing.  I wasn’t the team captain, but I did have friends.  They still tried to give me lunch money from time to time, but they didn’t mind when I didn’t take it, and we all ended up with lunch.  Others came, pretty, stubby, freckles, speedy, squints; they came and tried to give me lunch money.  Tried to give my friends lunch money.  Left when we didn’t take it. 

Then we graduated, and I expected the world to change; I expected adults to be “mature”.  I found nothing changed but the ‘issues’ that matter now, if they changed at all.

They haven’t stopped. Upper and lower classmen are now upper and lower class. That they still want my lunch money.  I’m ‘stick’ again, except this time squints, freckles, fatty, and bent-nose have been replaced with ‘hater’, ‘bigot’, racist, player, faggot, conservative, liberal, communist, terrorist; but no one calls the last group, the group that keeps their lunch money, by their name: Free.

It’s time.

July 1st, 2015

When was the last time you thought?  Really thought; gave hours of concentrated, meaningful consideration devoted to one simple topic?  That indolent gray mass of semi-jelly nestled between your ears and covered by a helmet of bone, skin, and hair?  Yeah, that thing. When was the last time that muscle that’s not a muscle was given a true workout? How long since you used it, instead of it using you; using you for a chemical fix, one more hit of endorphins or tragedy or humor?  How long has it been since you stopped shoving “entertainment”, a meaningless parade of mental sedatives and pain killers, through your ears, eyes, and skin in an attempt to silence the screams and denials from ringing through your head? How long since you acted on your own instead of reacting to what others dictate, in the way they dictate?  Do you find yourself tormented and disgusted by the sedated whimpers that only leak through when the music, movies, and games stop?

Well, it’s time to think. A time that is long overdue. Time to listen to that gray mass, and possibly tell it off. Time to listen to those voices, those whispered pleas, and possibly shut them away forever. Time to use those ears and eyes for more than receiving entertainment and instructions.  Because it’s time to accept that eyes and ears, hearts and brains, hands and voices weren’t made to be chains the slave master bind you with, guides you with.  Unchain jiminy cricket and execute your personal demons for the treason they’ve been practicing.  You were made to discover, to understand, to search, to find, to hunt truth, and to expose lies.  

It’s time to live, not survive, to truly exist in the world, not be subsistence for it. You’ve been told what to think about, and how you are to think about it. Been told what to not think and told what thinking is not acceptable, and finally persuaded that thinking itself is wrong.  Do what you’re told.  Be outraged at this injustice, but ignore the rights you’ve sacrificed for a temporary cease-fire on your conscience; no one needs those anyway. Your hands are tied and you’ve been locked in a darkroom and told it is ‘liberty’. Your choices have been removed, for your own good. The work of your hands has been stolen in the name of governance, in the name of humanity, but day by day you see more people on the streets with vacant eyes.

It’s time to look through those empty eyes which have been filled with nothing.  Fantasy ‘reality TV’ robbed you of perspective with choreographed lives that no one lives. News spouts endless streams of another nation’s celebrities and royalty, of the ‘news’ on the ‘news’ on the ‘reality TV’ star, who isn’t, and never was a star, and how they are dressed in clothes no one affords, and shocking news of the arrest at the elementary where a 4th grader pointed a finger at a teacher.  (How. Dare. He.)

It’s time to hear the cries of the racism salesmen, the purveyors of manufactured rage, who convince you that color is something we need to pay more attention to but forget to tell you that as of this generation, ‘white’ is the minority. As if white and black, yellow and red and brown were actually colors and not simply an easy way to segregate ‘mankind’.

It’s time to think.  Time to see the chains as chains. Time to call the removal of your property as theft. Time to understand that freedom is more than the ability to choose, but also getting what we choose. Time to act, and not just react. Time to understand that freedom is something you have to constantly seize, that it can never be given to you. Time to understand that Freedom is owning those consequences, taking all responsibility. Time to stop demanding reparations for imagined wrongs. Time to discover the history that really exists, not what we’re told by others.  Time to fire the ‘experts’ who got us into this mess. Time to demand truth, and time to identify lies, especially the comfortable ones.  It is time to put away those pleasing lies you turn to like a warm blanket. Time to finally get rid of the government’s idea of ‘security’, because it’s like a hospital blanket that’s never really warm and doesn’t cover your feet or your chest at the same time no matter how you stretch it, and costs more than your house… and it’s still not yours. It’s time to question science, because that’s what science is about. It’s time to stop taking instructions from those who repeatedly change. It is time to tell those who demand other’s silence to be quiet. It is time to stop the name-calling, and it is time to listen more than we speak. It’s time we recognized that every right we demand from our neighbor is a right of our own we’ve given away.

It’s time to want truth, to want to be on the side of right, instead of wanting to be right. Time to want to help people, instead of wanting their stuff.  Time to want to help everyone instead of wanting to ensure you have more, no matter the lack.

It’s time to refuse help when it is not needed, and time to see that those allowing us our consequences, our freedom, are helping.  It is time to see that opportunity is aid, and not fake emotion wrapped in government checks. It’s time to stop living off of others and start living for others.  It’s time to stop complaining about or trying to control our neighbors, and time we talked to them. It’s time to let go of the pain and offer healing. It’s time we stopped opening our checkbooks instead of our hearts; time we offered our time, instead of superficial pity labeled ‘In God We Trust’.

It’s time to think.  Time to act. Far past time to realize that there is no ‘time’.  There is now.

Big Brother and GM OnStar?

September 22nd, 2011

Only lunatics thought that hooking a monitored GPS system to your car was insane, that OnStar would be used to spy on the general American populace. You know, the ones we all called and still think are crazy?

…They were right.  Proof, here. Breakdown of intended powers? Here.

Short version: They will collect speed, location, and any other pertinent vehicle data they want and have access to.
“In addition to other purposes set out in the prior version of the Privacy Statement, we may use the information we collect about you and your Vehicle to improve the quality of our Service and offerings and may share the information we collect with law enforcement or other public safety officials, credit card processors and/or third parties we contract with who conduct joint marketing initiatives with OnStar.”
-Taken directly from OnStar’s explanation of the user agreement changes. (Class action lawsuit based on 4th amendment rights, anyone?)

But wait, they go on:
“Unless the Data Connection to your Vehicle is deactivated, data about your Vehicle will continue to be collected even if you do not have a Plan. It is important that you convey this to other drivers, occupants, or subsequent owners of your Vehicle. You may deactivate the Data Connection to your Vehicle at any time by contacting an OnStar Advisor.”

If it were on my car, I’d be digging under the hood to physically disconnect the unit, and then jerk the fuze it’s connected to. (FYI, I did a quick google search and found 366,000 results, all the top ones were links on how to locate and physically disconnect or remove the OnStar box from the vehicle.)

How long until the GPS modules in every single smart phone out there, which are already being used by Apple’s wonderful apps for the iPhone to track users movements, are used to track exactly where you are, not just what cell towers you are connected to, for governmental or commercial sale? (Companies and state governments have already tracked via signal movement.) Are we as a society really comfortable with a company who sells us a product, gathering information about us and our activities, and selling or providing the government with that information? For what purpose? Why would they even want it? (I really don’t want to know… the implications are scary.)

For heaven’s sakes… we’ve become animals; we are not walking around wearing collars with tracking devices, we happily carry the tracking devices around, convinced that we can’t go without them.

What has happened to us?

Brice Bitter

September 11th

September 12th, 2011

I was thinking today about the September 11th attacks, ten years ago, in conjunction with conversations I’ve had with coworkers and friends from other nations and the actions of the United States in the world since 9/11.  And I’m honestly feeling a little down.

It isn’t the nanny-state or the false illusion of security here at home, or the atrocities abroad that have me down, it isn’t the neighbor and friends I have in my neighborhood who have recently returned from a 4th tour in Iraq, the sacrifices or the costs that the U.S. has incurred that have me down, it isn’t even the anti-American protests and claims that the U.S. has lost the war in Iraq and Afghanistan that have me down. 

It is a conversation I had while in college, back in 2005, that has me down; a conversation about freedom.

Today, I hear and think of all the tributes, I think of how the clergy and first responders were denied a place during the 9/11 commemoration in NYC.  I think of the billions of people around the world and countless people through all history who never had the chance of freedom; their lives full of toil and slavery to ideals, to ‘lords’ and ‘kings’, men, women, and children whose lives are worth nothing to their leaders, whose dreams were never mentioned, not even by themselves.  Dreams that probably only held a day with no threat to their lives by their neighbors, a warm bed in a dry home, and the food they’ve worked for on their own table.  I think of the utopian lectures upholding  true ‘meritocracy’, though by enforced theft of government upon death… the most ironic and sad discussions I’ve had to sit through.  I think of the NFL players who wanted to wear patriotic commemorative apparel even if they had to pay exorbitant fines.  I think of the richest nation in the world, the most productive populace in the world, and the most privileged people in the world…   and I see the  most criticized, the most maligned, and yet the  most faithful people.

Freedom?  What is it?  Well… freedom is the choice of a person or people to be ‘free’; free to make their own choices and receive the consequences.  Is America ‘free’?    To an extent.  You see, we don’t do a good job of letting people fail, and we do so on the backs of those who worked and chose not to.  We don’t allow a lot of choices simply because they keep others from making similar choices, like theft, murder, extortion, bribery, etc…   Yes, taking away someone’s property denies them freedom… because you are removing the consequence of their action; their reward.  It is theft.

But we don’t stop you from stealing, or, to an extent, any of the other choices, but we do impose consequences for those who do, as much as we can.  All of that aside, the point is that we also allow people the one choice we can’t take away, whether they want to be free, whether they will have freedom or not. 

This is the choice we provided Iraq, the choice we provided Afghanistan.  The choice, I believe, they didn’t understand. If they did, I weep for them. If not, I simply feel low.  Who has ‘won’ the battle in Iraq and Afghanistan?  The U.S. did, certainly. Why? Because we surely punished those who hurt us, (not a noble cause), and we did provide the opportunity of freedom.  Who ‘lost’ however?   The U.S. has.  Iraq has, Afghanistan has, the people of the middle east and the world have. 

The problem with ‘Freedom’ is also the virtue of ‘freedom’; it, by definition and nature, cannot be given.  It is impossible to grant ‘freedom’ to anyone. They must demand it, must fight for it. It must be paid for, and always has been paid for through all history, with blood, with treasure, with hope, with extreme toil and effort; with lives.

America has, to a great extent, tried to pay for others… but it cannot be so.  I don’t know if you can thrust the choice on anyone, or simply provide the opportunity to choose and have them choose freedom.  But I do know that most of the world’s people have never been offered that choice, never even wondered if they were capable of ruling themselves, and never had the power to create that choice on their own, or been taught to cheer as their trusted leaders remove the choice with promises they can never keep. 

America has proven that it is the most stable, industrious, happy, and prosperous structure of government known to man.  It is also the most generous.  When the world has a disaster, when an atrocity somewhere in the world is being committed, the world looks to the U.S.   Why?  It isn’t because we are the richest nation, nor is it because we are the strongest nation; the world looks to the U.S. because we come, we help.

Yet, our leaders have created an American Empire. Our influence spans the globe, intimidates nation, and earns the sharp criticism of people everywhere. All of Europe owes its sovereignty to the United States, but not their current problems.  Some of the criticism is valid, some is not. Some is generated by envy, and some is justified by hypocrisy. Hypocrisy, ironically enough, which only exists because we try to be better and try to push others to be better.  Truly, any honest scholar of history will be hard pressed to find a gentler world empire, a gentler world power.  But it isn’t enough.

Yet how to fix it?  Freedom?  It seems the only answer; let nations do as they will?  Let ‘freedom’ be demanded and blossom anew?  It is rare to the point of nonexistent that freedom spontaneously blossoms, and in history, it only has ever existed in western Civilization and Judeo-Christian nations.

‘Democracy’, however, exists in spades throughout the world; Saddam Hussein was ‘democratically’ elected time and time again, Iran with all its freedom ‘democratically’ elects the leaders which harshly punish any who speak against the ruling class, Venezuela, etc…  every nation the U.S. would look at and not consider ‘free’.   In that, and according to my definition of ‘freedom’, I include all socialist nations; if you can’t choose to fail, are you free?  If you can’t keep the work of your own hands, can’t choose what to do with what you make, the product of your own time and effort, are you free?   I say ‘no’.  No, France is not free. Canada is not free. England is not free, Australia is not free; disagree with me?  Go buy a handgun. Go buy a rifle.  In London, go try and buy a knife larger than six inches.  And America?  I don’t think we are fully ‘free’ anymore. To prove my point:  Don’t pay taxes on property that you already have legally purchased and own and have paid taxes on for years and years… and tell me who ‘owns’ your property.

Today, I am proud of America. We have our faults, sure; people are imperfect and people run the country. But America has proven, generation to generation, that freedom works. That a group of people can live together and work together and not kill each other under a free society… and even thrive. Thrive more than any other nation in history, and that they are the most charitable, caring, and giving. They are willing to champion the ‘little guy’, willing to sacrifice.  I am even proud that we have a society where you can choose not to be free; where you have to choose to not be free.

I think of those who stand.  I think of how the people stood taller after 9/11. The buildings were just buildings, but they were attacked because they were an icon, because they symbolized the success of freedom.  The buildings stood, sure, as much as any other building does.  The rescuers, the firemen, the police, the patriots who died at the Pentagon and in an empty field, they still stand, and stand larger than life. 

I feel low in my heart for those who have lost so much, for the cost to extend the chance of liberty, of true freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan.  But I am proud of their sacrifice, proud to tears.  

Every generation must make the choice, every person make the choice of whether they will demand freedom, whether they will preserve it.  What will we all choose?  What will the people of Iraq and Afghanistan choose?  The signs are not good so far, but there is time.

But lose?  Free men never lose. They chose to be free, and no tyrant will rule them as long as they live. They can die, but in dying, as with the heroes of 9/11, they die for themselves, for others, and stand tall, taller than life.  They never lose. A choice for freedom has already conquered all else.  Rule is, and always will be, by consent of the governed.  Free men never lose, they conquer.

Republican Debate in Reagan Library

September 8th, 2011

Well… I just finished watching the Republican debate… and I gotta say, I’m not impressed.  Seriously not impressed. My take?

Santorum is much better on issues than anyone will grant him time for, so MSNBC will NOT grant any time for him… he loses due to moderator.

Bachmann is trying too hard and she isn’t getting a fair take on questions or time.  Loses due to moderator.

Perry obviously is the whipping-boy for the media and for the candidates in the race right now. He also doesn’t debate well, and it is obvious. The media is testing him as he appears to be a front-runner, pressing him hard- looking for weakness.  Loses due to moderator and lack of debate poise.

Romney is being played off Perry and Huntsman by MSNBC, and he takes the bait only part of the time. Shamelessly promotes himself and his experience, refers to massive plan he released…  massive.  Lose due to moderator and tone.

Huntsman,  what can I say…  (Full disclaimer: In my opinion, the best thing he did for Utah, which he talked about a lot for his allotted time, was leave and go to China. I don’t believe him a true conservative, but an active progressive. My disclaimer is made)   …he took the bait to be played-off of Perry and Romney every time but once, when he was pressed to name people, face-to-face,  on his own comments.  Divisive moderator and ridiculous questions designed to make him either look good one moment, and weak the next. Lose due to moderator.

Herman Cain,  did extremely well. He did not fight, he did differentiate himself. He butted-in to offer solutions, plans, points.   He was denied much time by the moderator, and was never confronted with race questions peppered at the other candidates.  (wonder why, huh?  blasted racist MSNBC… give those questions to all!) questions directed to him were short and fairly inconsequential  due to answers already given.  Lose due to moderator.

Ron Paul did well… for the five minutes they let him actually talk over the massive time the thing ran… his points were all his strong points, the moderator played into his hands often, due to the fact that he’s already debated all those points and was ready. It seemed like throw-away time for Paul.  Not sure why they did that. Favortism via MSNBC in the middle of a debate is fishy.  They avoided his hot-button points I disagree with him on, namely foreign policy, drug policy, (though they flirted with it), education, and trade issues.   Due to the relatively soft treatment, I’m hesitant. It smells like a setup for later.  I still say ‘loss due to moderator’.   All the internet polls will show him with an insurmountable lead, of course… due to his extremely active and lobotomized-loyal internet following.   Sometimes it is just creepy, you know?

Newt Gingrich; I just don’t know what to make of that man. Moderator’s didn’t give him enough time due to the face that Gingrich didn’t play the moderator’s game, chose what he wanted to talk about regardless of question… he killed the moderator’s advantage.  Gingrich called-out the moderator in the beginning for trying to make the republican’s fight, as well as near the end for harping on a topic that they all agreed on. He stood with confidence and never used filler-words or special rhetoric talking points that others did.  He debated very, very well, as he has in the past.

but still, lose, due to moderator.
The moderator, MSNBC was the only one who ‘won’ in this situation. Seriously.  Focusing on issues where they all agree, when it is a candidates job to  differentiate themselves from the field, instead of looking at the things that really are different; the details on the important issues.
MSNBC held the debate for the ratings, there is no doubt about it. The only question I have is why they decided to when their viewership is so left-wing that there are likely very, very few conservatives who would be willing to watch.  That being said…
<deep breath>.. here’s my immediate response:

MSNBC was a joke as host. The candidates did the best with the rhetoric questions that they could. All of the questions were slanted to force candidates to either fight with each or accept an implied premise and pressure designed to fracture and damage the base.  It was a ‘debate’ right out of a sadistic, hard-left, Obama and democrat socialist/communist worshiping cretin’s wet-dream.  Seriously, what the heck was that?  Having the Huffington Post do “Fact Check” on the candidates and having Telemundo ask questions on immigration?? Yeah, that’s what I said, MSNBC ‘outsourced’ the fact check to the Huffington Post.  Yeah…  I’ll trust that one. Then they bring up and criticizing capital punishment after implying that if we don’t take out dictators, we’re a bad nation…  It was a slander machine, a plastering before anyone even emerges from a primary.  What kind of hypocrites ran this show? Reagan, the ‘great communicator’ who got that name by bypassing the media specifically to avoid this kind of ‘filter’, this exact kind of bias and propoganda machine, is rolling in his grave.

 If Hillary or Obama were there, the questions they would have been asked would have been more along the lines of:  “Shouldn’t cute cuddly kittens, like this one here, be allowed to live, shouldn’t little Suzie, again, standing here holding the kitten, be allowed to eat? Don’t your poilcies provide their food and welfare out of thin air?  How can you stand your own greatness? I just had a thrill up my leg when you deigned to acknowledged my existence!! Can I get an autograph? You’re so hip!”

 And then as a follow-up to the republican candidates: “Isn’t it true that your policies will force little Suzie to strangle this cute kitten with her bare hands and eat it raw in order to survive, only to die of starvation later? How do you justify breathing? Is your soul that black that you would kill the little girl and cute cuddly kitten that Obama/Hillary would save? Everyone knows conservatives and republicans want to starve the world and kill children…  if someone, like yourself were determined to kill as many people as possible, shouldn’t we work as a society to stop them? Why shouldn’t we just hang you now?”

 Bottom line? This was not a debate, this was a tribunal show-trial where MSNBC and the media demanded that the candidates play their game, by their rules, on their time. Gingrich was right, the media is trying to make them fight. I’m waiting for conservatives to wake-up and realize the documented bias of the media. The media isn’t going to give ANY of these candidates a fair show!

Some good solutions and details were bandied about. I liked Herman Cain and Ron Paul on states rights and the economy. I liked Santorum on foreign policy. I liked Gingrich for his candor, his proposed solutions, and his honest challenge of the real threat in the room, the ones bear-baiting; the media. I Liked Perry’s stance to not excuse his own actions and words in the past. I liked Romney’s effort at peace-making, at being Presidential. (Gingrich did it as well, but his came off as more demeaning to the”moderators” than as suggestions to the American people.  I liked Bachman on energy policy, (as well as Gingrich, Perry, Romeny, etc…)  Huntsman was a fairly steady disappointment across the board, but I am biased, so take that with a grain of salt. I liked all of them on fiscal policy. All of them.  Heathcare?  Cain Perry, and Gingrich were allowed to talk about it. THe focus of the moderators on welfare for Santorum was  anear throw-away.

Come to think of it, I should have thrown it out as soon as I saw the ‘moderators’.

Brice Bitter


June 17th, 2011

Without responsibility, there is no freedom; without personal responsibility, there is no personal freedom.

I own my mistakes. I own my problems and the consequences of those. You can offer to help me with them, and that would be compassionate and charitable, but don’t you dare try to take away my consequences or my responsibility; I love my freedom.

One more point:  the ability to destroy at will is the most asinine and juvenile definition and view of power.  While it is a valid definition, only the weak-minded find it attractive for long.  The ability to create, truly create, at will, is power, the ability to be relied on, trusted, honorable, is true power.

Time vs. Good, Better, Best.

April 18th, 2011

The modern, dedicated-Christian, fiction writer’s dilemma, is actually acutely painful to me; how do I write something, a story, that is not simply a distraction from what really matters? Or can I?

You see… there is only so much time in the day, and only so much a person can read or consume in media during the day.  The question now is beyond ‘good’ and ‘bad’.  Now, due to the time constraints and the very enabling powers that mankind has sought for through all the ages which we have now, the simply title of ‘good’ no longer is justification, but can be a distraction from ‘better’, and even ‘best’.   In effect, the question must be asked, ‘does doing ‘good’ instead of ‘best’ qualify as ‘evil’?

Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of evil and bad in the world today, heaven knows that there is. In fact, I contend that there is likely a near equal proportion of evil and good.  I believe that there must be, for mankind to have the option to choose.  I don’t believe that there is a same amount, or even the same severity or power; I refuse to believe for an instant that hell can match anything coming from God. However, I do believe that there is an equal representation, in proportion to each other.  Hence, the world feels full of evil, while there are such intense bright spots all around.   In honesty, I think there is much more good than evil, but that through the media and life we are constantly shown the bad, and not the good… but that’s another discussion…

So, the question remains: ‘Is simply doing good, due to the time restrictions we all have, (only 24 hours in a day, etc.), instead of doing best, constitute ‘evil’?   The ‘best’ thing, I define as what is necessary to progress light and truth in the world and in life.  We all have things that must be done in order to come to Christ, and to help others. Sure, it is a good thing to spend time doing ‘x’, but if it isn’t the best thing to do with your time at the moment, is it a bad thing to do ‘x’ instead? 

Now, I don’t consider my fiction work wonderful, particularly insightful, or even ‘epic’.  All I could accomplish is a pale commentary to the real story, the true story that really matters, the Gospel.  When confronted with it, all great stories are types of Christ, and all fall short of Christ.  Woefully short.  It may be a good story that I write; it may be an uplifting, compelling, even somewhat edifying read that I produce… but it is just a pale imitation of what could be read, what could be done.  The true story has already been written by the perfect author, and I know it.  

So, do I promote myself and ‘good’ on the justification that more good in the world can only lead to a better world?  And yet also know that all that ‘good’ that I am adding to, is simply more distraction from what is best?

With all we can do in this life, especially with our influence and technology today, do we really have time left over from what is ‘best’?   Is there time for anything else, or is there already too little time to complete even what is ‘best’ at this point?

…just a thought.


“Just because you can, doesn’t mean that you should.” The Second Amendment’s Epitaph

January 21st, 2011

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” -Second amendment of the U.S. Constitution.


–verb (used with object)

1.  to commit a breach or infraction of; violate or transgress: to infringe a copyright; to infringe a rule.

–verb (used without object)

2.  to encroach or trespass (usually fol. by on  or upon ): Don’t infringe on his privacy.


It was said that openly carrying guns to make a political statement was not reason enough to carry guns. It was said that the 2nd amendment did not need to be exercised to remain valid.

Well…  they were wrong.
(parent story here)

A citizen, though probably not in the most intelligent display, legally exercised his constitutional right to openly carry firearms. He was known to city police who have run into him three times before, (though the dash-camera seems to show the initial confronting officer seemed unfamiliar), and he was very cooperative, as before.

An officer responded to multiple 9-1-1 calls initially stopped the man at gunpoint.

On dash camera footage released of the incident the man can be heard declaring weapons and offering further compliance to the officer who kept demanding that the man keep his hands visible and above his head; the man his hands visible and calmly complied. “I have a knife in my pocket.” The officer again yelled at him to keep his hands where he could see them. “Do you want me to remove my gloves?” “Do you need me to remove…<garbled>  …I don’t have any ammunition with  me at all.” The officer simply restates his commands and the man continued to comply. The officer demanded identification, (dash cam footage is cut), then handcuffed the individual, removed all his weapons, (dash cam is started form a second responding vehicle), the man is put in the back of the second car, and further questioned,  all  in order to ‘determine that the guns were unloaded,’  which isn’t even part of the law. (The law states that open carry is legal as long as the gun is two actions from being fired. for instance, on a semi-automatic weapon like the ones he had: no bullet in chamber. The magazine may be loaded, but the chamber must be charged and the trigger pulled before the weapon fires.) In fact, if this man is a concealed carry permit holder, he could have had both weapons fully loaded and with ammunition in the chamber and still be within the scope of the law.

The police can be heard asking him where he was going, and what he was doing with the weapons.  

Not only do I believe this man’s 4th amendment rights were infringed, but his 2nd amendment rights were under direct attack. The city police stated that they intend to treat anyone else who open carries in the same way:
“…I don’t think we would change how we did this if it happened again tomorrow. It’s going to be approached the same way.”  -Sgt. Craig Martinez

I agree with the second statement. I have no problem allowing the Police the leeway to do their job and approach a situation carefully in order to defend the peace… However, I do disagree with how this was handled after the initial confrontation. This man was compliant, helpful, and more knowledgeable in the law than the officer.  They had no reason to detain or cuff the man after he surrendered his weapons, nor the right to make him surrender his weapons as long has he was in compliance to the law, which he willingly proved.  The officers had no right to interrogate him on his destination or intent with the weapons; they had no probable cause at that point.  He was peaceful, cooperative, and in full compliance of the law.  The officers, however, did have the right to expel him from Mall private property if the Mall so desired, which they did.  

So, how did KSL report this law abiding citizen? KSL Anchorman Bruce Lindsay commented on the story with worlds of meaning in his words after the declaration of the ’small fine’ levied for ‘disorderly conduct’:

“That’s a slap on the wrist, Sam, he’s done this three times already. Is there reason to believe he’ll do this again?”

Bruce, if by ‘he’s done this three times already’, you mean that he’s complied with the law to the full extent plus more while exercising his constitutional rights, then yes.   But why the outrage that he ONLY got a slap on the wrist, and  still calling for further crack down on this man’s constitutional rights, I don’t understand. He obeyed the law. You don’t have to agree with him, but you do have to respect him. Crazy or not, he is a law abiding citizen who went out of his way to understand the law, and, as an American citizen, you must respect his rights, or face a breakdown of all our rights.  Just “a slap on the wrist”?   That makes me sick.  First it’s a slap, then it’s slap on the cuffs. 

What right will we be fined for expressing next? Freedom to assemble? wait…  we already need permits for political rallies. Freedom from unreasonable search and seizure? …wait.. the IRS already garnishes and seizes whatever they want before you are even tried…  hm…   oh, I know, private property ownership?  wait… property taxes; we already have to pay the government to  ‘own’ what we already own. Freedom of religion? …wait… we can’t profess Christianity or pray in schools without being expelled, prosecuted, and sued.  You can claim the 5th and 6th amendments are violated in Guantanamo Bay and even mentioning the 10th amendment in legal circles brings titters; no one takes that one seriously. You’re called a “tenther” if you believe in the tenth amendment. I guess the founding father’s laughed when they put that one in too… it must have been a big joke. 

Was this the smartest way to invoke the 2nd amendment?  No.  But the argument that conceal carry is a better way to perform the 2nd amendment is also laughable;  do you have to pay your government, register, accept further restrictions, and demonstrate full competency in order to actually have your 2nd amendment rights? Or is that an ‘infringement’ of the 2nd amendment?

I also am shocked that the city of Orem has chosen to punish this man for complying to the law and exercising his constitutional right, while they violate his 4th amendment rights.  It appears that society will no longer tolerate open, peaceful expression of 2nd amendment rights.  

Apparently, we the people have the right to keep arms, but not bear them.  Why? because we didn’t exercise it. Now, everyone calls 9-1-1 when a firearm is sighted…  We only have ourselves to blame. The question now, is how do you fix it? I’m not sure, but I think this bill is a good start.  People are not afraid of guns, they are afraid of death and violence. So, is the answer to unlawful violence and death less personal protection, or more?

 Brice Bitter


Read the full bill of rights here.

City council update

January 21st, 2011

Well… As I suspected, the city council re-addressed the lobbyist contract at the December meeting… the immediate next meeting. Where those who attended learned that the lobbyist came and the mayor called an emergency/special meeting with the lobbyist for monday  night, the day before the city council readdressed the issue. Not all city council members attended, and, though it was assured that the meeting was advertized to the public, no citizen attending the city council meeting had heard of it, and no one but the city council and mayor was reported to have attended this meeting with the lobbyist.

heated speech and debate, with little to no opposition against the measure, ensued for about an hour and a half on the issue, until all but two people had given-up and left the council meeting chambers.  The vote was then taken, 3-2, in favor of the contract.

Public remarks made before the debate started were truncated and misrepresented in the city paper when it did appear, a month later. To be fair, an hour and a half of city council members debate was also harshly truncated… and I also don’t think it was fairly represented either.

I was disgusted, not only at the issue being debated, but more importantly at the conduct of the city council members and mayor. Personal attacks and logical inferences about those who opposed the contract were hurled at citizens and representatives alike. Those who did comment, were informed that their comments were not made in a timely manner, nor were they valid since the citizens did not attend the public/private meeting with the lobbyist, which they did not know about. Further, they were informed that it was their fault for not knowing about it.  Not all the members were uncivil, but those who were made embarrassed that they represented the city.

In response, I wrote a letter to the city council members about their performance. I waited several weeks in hopes that minutes of the meeting would be posted on the city website, so I could settle my thoughts and possibly correct my impressions.  The minutes still have not posted.

In response, at the Jan.  18th meeting, two members called for a return of civility and respect for each other on the council and the public.

One representative stated that he brought his passion to his elected office, that he had no intention of lessening or changing his approach, and, that if anything ever did change, it would be because he was dead.  In fairness, he did say that he apologizes for those who find him offensive, yet affirmed his intention to continue being so.  I do not know if he was responding to me or not, since he did not identify the sender of the message he was responding to, but he did maintain eye contact with me nearly the entire time he spoke.  He claimed that a complaint letter he was responding to  impugned his character and indulged in personal attacks, yet claimed a need for civility and opened with an endorsement of the sender’s intelligence.  The city council member then stated that if the person was so smart, and if they intended to hold him to a higher standard, then they should start holding themselves to it first.

I’ve tried to find a way to understand his remarks differently,  but have only come up with one synopsis:
“I’m sorry you find me offensive, but I’ll stop being offensive when I’m buried. Stop with the personal attacks, you hypocrite!”

I’ve thought that “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” might be a bit more fair as a representation, but it doesn’t adequately cover his statements; it needs more.

I wouldn’t normally be upset or irritated  about this kind of attitude, if it were in defense of the Constitution, which the city council members took an oath to uphold… but this was in defense of conduct endorsing a lobbyist and admitted corrupted governmental system.

I did receive replies from other council members, and I explained my consternation a little better and more succinctly.  I don’t expect to have my representatives agree with me all the time, nor do I expect politics to always go my way. I respect debate, I respect dialog, and I respect disagreement.  I do, however, expect the same respect in return, especially from elected representatives… aka… the ‘public servant’, not the boss.

Politically, I recognize that the pledge of allegiance, (spoken at every meeting), is an oath to the constitution; the founding and supreme law of the country.   I draw the line in politics when it comes to infringing the constitution, no matter how much I want something.  Those who founded this country, those who currently serve this country, have dedicated their lives to the defending and founding of the constitution. We’ve spilled blood to defend it…  I feel it was just sold out to have a better chance at a road which we will not see for another 20 years at least.

Where do you draw the line?

Brice Bitter