to the GOP – grounds for our divorce

Reince,

Consider this the official announcement of my divorce from the Republican Party. It’s clear the RNC and the GOP do not respect the voice of conservatives or of the delegates duly elected by the people of this country. This party has been using us for years to elevate their political power and control. But you don’t really care what we think, do you? You are out of touch with the grassroots of your party, and you refuse to allow transparency and accountability of the RNC leadership. You authorized strong-arm tactics in the rules committee and allowed the delegates to be threatened with political reprisal by your own thugs and by the ones employed by Trump. You are afraid of dissent. You are afraid of alternative voices. This is not a healthy party. The party of yes-men will continue to shrink its base. This should bother you if you care at all about the party’s future.

Your betrayal of conservatives can no longer be excused. You used us, your conservative base, to gain power and win elections. All along we have swallowed hard and accepted the lesser of two evils because we believed it was for the greater good- that the Republican Party was the vehicle for our values and principles to be represented in policy implementation and discussions. We have given you more than enough chances to come correct, to acknowledge our worth and value to the party, and at the very least, to respect our right to be heard in the rules process and the convention proceedings. This shouldn’t be too much to ask.

What does the Republican Party stand for right now? Limited government? Let’s see the evidence. Do its representatives embody any principles we formally endorsed in the Republican platform such as: sanctity of life, protection of marriage, and religious liberty? Do you all even actually believe what you claim to believe? Rule of law? Please. You and your gangs of RNC / Trump thugs broke convention rules, stifled dissent and debate, and threatened delegates for opposing your new savior. You have shut out the conservative base, and chased Democrat, independent, and socialist voters at the expense of the conservatives you already had. You allowed vicious personal attacks on Ted Cruz, and helped orchestrate opposition to him simply for calling you phonies out and speaking truth to the country. The general election voters would have to be blind not to figure out that this party is a corrupt and dishonest fraud which has nominated a man who is a con artist and a charlatan.

The Republican Party in its current state is broken. It is sick. It took this election to lay bare the flaws and fraud for all to see. It has now become the party of Trump, and I don’t see a place for conservatives like me in this new evolution that embraces social liberalism and promotes big government involvement in the economy and in social policy. These are my reasons. There are many others like me who are making a clean break from a party that boos Ted Cruz for speaking of principles and values, yet embraces the failed policies of the Democrats, including their social liberalism. I’m done with this party. It is now your job alone to douse the dumpster fire you could have avoided months ago after it costs you the election in November. Enjoy Trump. Own this massive failure. It is all on you and the Republican Party.

burning the straw men

There will always be political agendas.  There will always be those looking for an excuse to stomp on the rights of our fellow Americans. This was quite clear from the rapid responses to the terrorist attack in Orlando. We must stand up to all of this and refuse to be bullied into surrendering our liberty for useless government promises. The solution is not the denial of Constitutional rights for law-abiding citizens, nor is it a indiscriminate bombing of the Middle East. We need to stop with our knee-jerk answers, our expected blame of political opponents, and our reflexive desire to tear down Constitutional boundaries to have some illusion of security.

All lives matter.  It makes no difference who you are, what you believe, or what political party you support. Christians believe this. That’s why we will fiercely defend the lives of our brothers and sisters in the LGBT community in Orlando, because the strength of our culture is respect and tolerance for all of our people. It is possible to disagree on issues such as gay marriage while recognizing this basic principle.

You know who doesn’t subscribe to this idea? ISIS. ISIS, as we all know, is a terrorist organization whose members indiscriminately kill those who are not Muslim. If you wanted to call out a group whose hatred for gays has reached unconscionable levels, there’s your enemy. It makes no difference whether the Orlando shooter was straight or gay. He claimed allegiance to ISIS, and that cannot be ignored.  Terrorist sympathizers and committed terrorists are coming for us here in America, and not just ISIS. They are already here.  Now we must deal with them.

Freedom and liberty are under assault in this country.  Our Constitution, which protects the rights of all of us to live free in the greatest country in the world is being trampled on by this current administration and some of its enablers in Congress.  Those who have been tasked to protect it are more concerned about scoring political points than actually solving problems. In this case, I’m referring to those in both political parties who are trying to use tragedies such as San Bernadino, Sandy Hook, and now in Orlando, to pass even more useless gun control legislation.  All these measures do is to keep law-abiding citizens from protecting themselves and their families. Criminals don’t obey gun control laws, and terrorists don’t restrict themselves to weapons containing bullets.
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still #nevertrump

As most of you are probably aware, I have supported Senator Cruz for the GOP nomination. I have also strongly opposed Donald Trump. I am one of those ‪#‎nevertrump‬ people, and have been for quite a while now. These are my biases, and I’m admitting that up front.

While I realize that there may be some awesome patriots and great Americans who support Trump, my experience with his fans has not been as pleasant. I have been personally attacked for expressing my negative views of him on twitter, and while their criticisms weren’t especially biting, it still speaks to the kind of people he attracts in his fan club. This alone would not steer me away from supporting Trump, although his current calls for GOP Unity fall flat when conservatives are still being disrespected by Trump himself and by what some of us refer to as ‪#‎TrumpCult‬.

In my view, we currently have two bad choices for president – Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. You may be perfectly fine with either candidate, or you pick Trump because you think Hillary is worse – or, if you’re in my position, you can’t vote for either one of them. I don’t know what I’m going to do when November comes. Maybe I’ll vote third-party. Right now the future of the GOP doesn’t concern me because I’m done with them. A party that doesn’t stand for the principles and values I stand for, and one which has surrendered to its internal corruption is no longer a party I can support.

Here’s what I believe. Trump is a man with questionable personal character, as we all are. But we acknowledge our failures, and try to learn from them and not repeat our mistakes in the future. Trump has shown no willingness to admit mistakes. He nicknames other candidates “Little Marco”, “Lyin’ Ted”, etc,etc, and ascribes his own personal flaws to his opposition. He flat out lies and spreads tabloid smears about Cruz, and that’s a serious character flaw in my book.

He also surrounds himself with thugs who have shown limited ability to run a competent campaign, to represent him in a positive light, and to handle the day-to-day operations of a presidential campaign without personally attacking other campaigns. He is a sore loser when he loses and a sore winner when he wins. This should bother you in a general election if you support him.

But maybe you are attracted to Trump because WALL, or some of his other policy proposals. You should be aware that even now, he is moving leftward to attract Democrats and indys to his cause. Either he doesn’t really believe the policies written on his website, or he doesn’t care enough about them to commit to following any of them as the nominee or as President. Either way, Trump is a total wild card when it comes to anything he says he wants to do, and this includes the all-important Supreme Court picks. We know who Hillary is, and what she will do. We can’t predict what Trump will do, and I believe everything for him is negotiable. He’s already proven that.

With all that said, I don’t expect anyone who has already picked a side to join me as #nevertrump or to suddenly change their mind about either candidate. This is more for me to clarify for myself where I stand. I don’t have to settle for the lesser of two evils, or for any evil at all, and NEITHER DO YOU. But it’s up to you. Your vote is yours. You don’t owe it to any political party, and now, neither do I.

choose cruz

America is in a very dangerous place right now. Our country is broken and fractured as a result of the past eight years. Its citizens have lost faith in everything, but especially in its two political parties. My expectations of Democrats are very low to begin with, so when politicians from that party break promises and continue to grow our government spending and federal overreach to ridiculous levels, it’s hardly a surprise.

Here’s the truth – both parties are broken, but no party is more broken than the Republican Party. They continue to ignore the will of the people and not only break promises, but also disrespect those who want us to stick to the original principles of this party – limited government, free markets, strict devotion to the Constitution, and responsible spending of taxpayer dollars. They have betrayed us, and the anger of the American people is largely due to the failure of this party to keep its word and be a responsible caretaker of the trust we gave them. This is where we are as a country, and it’s frightening what remedy our fellow citizens have chosen to address this massive Republican failure. I will get to Trump shortly, but this is about fixing the immediate problems we have in this political process.

Let’s start with this admission: Ted Cruz is not likely to win any beauty contests or popularity contests. Noted. One could of course argue the same is true of Trump. This should not be important to determining who can be the leader of the free world, and based on what we have seen so far, it is not. It is my contention that we need a change agent who will drastically modify the broken status quo within the limits of our Constitutional system, as well as someone who understands the current mood of the country and our hunger for governmental reform. That man is Senator Cruz.

If we believe that government is broken, and a large majority of us do, based on all the Trump / Cruz votes – then you can’t elect someone who will continue to break promises to the voters with bad deals / bad legislation. The only true outsider willing to stand up to his own party and say, “What the hell are you doing?” is Cruz. That’s a quality I want in a President – someone who knows exactly what time it is.

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dark swan review – spoilers

It is time once again to return to the magical beautiful world of Once Upon a Time and do some reviews of Season 5 part 1, in which Emma takes on a new role. Emma is now the Dark One, and there are more than a few consequences to her choice at the end of Season 4. These we will be discussing here in depth, so there will be spoilers. Armed with that knowledge…here we go…

As we begin the episode, even younger Emma is watching the Sword and Stone animated movie at the theater and she steals a candy bar. She is about to indulge when Merlin (as an usher) shows up and gives her a warning not to mess with Excalibur. Love the foreshadowing in the beginning, but I’m not sure that scenario in the best way to set that up.

We then pick up the story from when Season 4 ended, just after Emma becomes the Dark One and vanishes. Hook is crushed and angry at the same time when he is unable to summon her with the dagger. The heroes enlist the help of the Apprentice and after tricking Zelena to open the portal with the Apprentice’s wand, they are able to get to Emma. Even after becoming the Dark One, Emma still unites the heroes in a common cause – but this time she’s the one who needs saving.

Another new thing is the connection of Excalibur to the Dark One’s dagger. This is something I didn’t expect, but it sets up a connection between the heroes’ world and Camelot, which we need to justify the purpose for being in that world and the new characters that we meet. Jennifer Morrison is absolutely killing it as the Dark One, and her scenes with Apparition Rumple were brilliant. I love how Emma’s inner struggle is displayed visually by the devil on her shoulder(Rumple), which he portrays with his awesome evilness.

The new characters add more than a little spice. I can’t point to any miscast characters in the whole history of OUAT, and season 5 brings even more examples of this. King Arthur is just how anyone could have pictured him, although there is an unwelcome surprise as we delve deeper into the Camelot story. Merida is very strong and she was the perfect first opponent for Emma’s first test. This time Emma’s family saves her, and Killian leads the way. It’s amazing how the relationship between Regina and Emma has developed to the point where they understand and trust each other. That she gives Regina the dagger shows a shift in their roles. Standout moments include the expected snark between Regina / Zelena, and the delicious one-liners with Hook and Regina. Regina’s all over this episode and that’s a great thing. All the plot twists and turns almost make you forget about the convenient loss of memory device that has been completely overplayed at this point.

why this all matters

America isn’t easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, ’cause it’s gonna put up a fight. It’s gonna say “You want free speech? Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who’s standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours. You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country can’t just be a flag; the symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then, you can stand up and sing about the “land of the free”.
-President Andrew Shepard in “The American President”-

This is a quote. From a movie. Written by a screenwriter who was / is probably on the opposite side of the political aisle from me. This was a brilliant speech given by President Andrew Shepard in The American President. At the heart of this nation, at the start of our founding, this is who we were. Do we believe this still? Or do we now live in a country where dissent is not only discouraged, but condemned by those who we have unconscionably given the right to tell us what to think and what to believe. Whether you agree with gay marriage or whether you don’t, both opinions should be respected, and no one should be forced by the government to violate your own beliefs. It’s a legitimate fear in these modern times to believe that this is starting to happen for those who hold strong religious beliefs. Check the daily news. There are more and more stories of religious persecution happening HERE IN AMERICA. It needs to stop. We need to stand up for the rights of free speech and freedom of religion for all, not just those who agree with what’s currently popular. If not now, when?

Respect everyone. Love everyone. But don’t be afraid to stand up for what you believe, no matter how unpopular your opinion may be. Once we surrender to political correctness, we lose our individuality. We lose our souls. Most importantly, we stop fighting the fights that NEED to be fought. We can’t give up. The freedoms we have here in America only exist when they are guarded and passionately defended by each and every one of us. Will you take up this challenge? I will.

once upon a time season 4 finale

Obligatory disclaimers ahead – there will be many spoilers because there is much to discuss about the detailed plot points involved in the Season 4 finale of Once Upon a Time. (Have I mentioned lately how much I adore this show and the way the writers tell these stories?) I’ll give you a minute to escape from this post.

Still here? Good.

First of all, all the OMGs. What the writers did here with the flipped script (heroes acting like villains) is nothing short of brilliant. Some transformations worked better than others, such as Regina playing as the fairytale land version of Snow. I enjoyed watching that version of Regina, and the costume really worked for her. On the other hand, the evil Snow and Charming were truly terrifying. Snow White, in her original bandit role, was a character to be respected for her outlaw skills, but when paired with no moral compass, that made her truly feared as the Evil Queen character.

It was an interesting strategy to make the Author a villain.  This wasn’t something I expected, simply because the heroes and villains in the original book were so accurately depicted as the characters we saw play out in the past few seasons.  Snow / Charming – good.  Regina / Rumplestiltskin -bad.  But the character development was never quite that simple.  We saw Snow temporarily embrace the dark side.  We saw Regina and Rumple display some positive qualities that made them appear worthy of redemption, even though the goodness never quite sticks to the Dark One.  Let me add to that thought – THIS IS AS IT SHOULD BE.  Rumple should never be completely redeemed.  If that happens, Once will be ruined for me.

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i have some ideas about smartwatches

Dear makers of wearable technology-

Listen up and pay attention. I have some words of wisdom to impart to you regarding “the next big thing”, which should bear some resemblance to previous attempts that you all seem to have ignored on your way to smartwatch perfection. So the following is for you, Apple, Google, Samsung, LG, and all current makers of “wearables” that tell time digitally.

This is part of our smartwatch past. Remember this one? It’s called an Abacus WristNet. There’s even a vintage Amazon page for it here.fossil smartwatch

 

This was a marriage between Fossil and MSN Direct (which provided the data service to push important data DIRECTLY TO THE WATCH). No Bluetooth available and no phone connection required – and yet data was received by the watch. This is truly revolutionary stuff (#sarc). It had its own data plan, and you could get sports scores, weather, and even national news. It’s a good-looking watch. The monochrome display is nothing to write home about, but it does the job.

You may ask, what is the point of mentioning vintage technology long abandoned as a commercial failure? Good question. The answer is that this ancient attempt nails many of the features today’s smartwatches should have to be truly useful to the average person.

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