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35 Days. . .(and counting)

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President-elect Donald Trump likes present himself as a wildly successful businessman; someone in possession of uncanny abilities, and possessing such rare insights as to be able to best the brightest and most accomplished competitors at the negotiating table.

Mr. Trump also likes to emphasize the magnitude of his intellect by repeatedly exclaiming, he “has the best words” and that he “knows more about ISIS than the generals.” He attributes these amazing faculties to the fact that he’s “like, a smart person” with a degree of disingenuousness that is simply stunning.

All that being said, one could be pardoned for thinking Mr. Trump’s vocabulary lacks depth or breadth, owing to the fact that during and after his campaign his language was more appropriate to an elementary school playground than anything resembling an adult conversation. Those “best words” he alleges to possess must be some words because he is loathe to use them (at least in public) for fear of alienating his worshipful followers. Besides, “The Donald” loves “the in-(under)-educated”; stands to reason he would use language better suited to their limited intellects.

As for Mr. Trump’s much vaunted (by his own account) knowledge of ISIS, the source of this intelligence remains a mystery. Perhaps his varied business dealings in the Middle East have provided rare insights into the inner workings of the ISLAMIC STATE. Could ISIS be controlling the construction industry in Dubai? It’s known they control the flow of oil from their captured territories. Could ISIS be using the sanitation industry as a front for their nefarious schemes. Both the construction and sanitation industries are heavily involved in the real estate business; something Donald Trump knows a great deal about; that and “branding”. Perhaps he has sources in these industries feeding him inside information. Or maybe he just sat through a couple of screenings of LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (although that’s highly unlikely, Mr. Trump isn’t known for a long attention span). One can only hazard a guess as to where Mr. Trump’s information originates. One thing’s certain, though, it isn’t coming from his own government’s intelligence sources.

And speaking of intelligence sources, how could someone as supposedly brilliant as Donald Trump fail to recognize the danger in inviting a foreign government — one that admittedly does not have the best interests of this country at heart — to spy on his competition?  If the last of the three pigs opened the door for the wolf, the wolf would be an idiot to insist on huffing and puffing instead of simply walking in. Does Donald Trump believe Vladimir Putin is an idiot? I think not. Mr. Trump sees Mr. Putin as a friend. (A friend, by the way, who spent his entire adult life in the espionage services of his country on his way to absolute power). After all, Mr. Putin complimented “The Donald”, calling him “an amazing fellow” (in Russian, the same way you or I would say, “Isn’t that squirrel on a surfboard amazing?!” or “Isn’t that bear on a unicycle amazing?!”) I’m sure Mr. Trump is of the opinion a friend wouldn’t do something as crass and underhanded as spy on the opposing candidate and swing the election in his favor. What would he have to gain? What indeed.

During the Cold War, anyone who openly promoted reductions in nuclear weapons or the expansion of Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) was labelled “a dupe of the Kremlin”. In the run-up to the first Gulf War, anyone who advocated for continued diplomatic efforts to avert the war was labelled “a dupe of Saddam” and accused of “giving aid and comfort” to the enemy. I think, in the present circumstances, that label can (and should) be assigned to Donald Trump, a man who invited an adversary to spy, denied do so and, when faced with the fact that spying took place, said, “It could’ve been anybody. It could’ve been China. It could’ve been Korea. It could’ve been a 400 pound fat guy in his bed in New Jersey.”(Chris Christie?)

Come on, Donald! You know you’ve been punked. Admit it.

It’s the smart thing to do.

Revisiting an old post. . .(kinda, sorta)

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Find your PassionFive – nearly six – years ago I wrote a post entitled, “You Have To Know the “Rules” . . .(before you can break or bend them)”. It was a not-all-that-subtle attempt to explain how to approach the interview process; how to dress appropriately combined with an attempt to advise job-seekers on the (then touchy) subject of tattoos. The job market had tanked and I felt there was a need for information about finding work, and the various problems that arise during the job search. There are a lot of them, and not all of them have to do with “pounding the pavement”, submitting resumés, etc. . . There was nothing new in the post, nothing that shouldn’t have been “common knowledge” or “common sense”. Still, the article seemed a “good fit” so I posted it, and then promptly forgot about it and moved on to different topics. Then a funny thing happened.

Of all the posts I’ve written on this blog (and I’m the first to admit there haven’t been all that many), “You Have To Know the “Rules” . . .” is the one post most often referenced by people stopping by this blog.  I began to wonder why. I’ve written on a variety of topics, not all of which have to do with job-hunting.  Many have been (at least to me) humorous or autobiographical; some have been straight fiction.  So why did this one post elicit so much popularity after so many years? Are there still people “out there” who need help job-hunting, or dealing with the interview process? Or was it something else?

Were people looking for some “magic bullet” that would allow them to find the perfect job, the most satisfying career, the most blissful life? Was the title of the post misleading? Were my readers referencing the post in hopes of finding some “inside track” that would magically supply them with the key to finding happiness? Is that why people were reading “You Have To Know The “Rules”. . . ? God, I hope not!

Because the simple truth of the matter is, there aren’t any. There are no one-size-fits-all “rules” for anything. In fact, the only “rules” are the ones you make for yourself. Everything else is a “guideline”, a “suggestion”. Sure corporations large and small have “rules” for how the work gets done, how the employees should behave, etc. . .(but they’re the corporation’s rules, not yours) and you can accept them or reject them, along with the job. That’s entirely up to you.

What it comes down to, in the final analysis is this: “Rules”, whether they’re set up by your parents, teachers, pastors, employers or friends are really their expectations of how you should behave, or what you should learn, or what you should believe, or what you should do to try to fit in and nothing more. It’s up to you to decide those things, not someone else.

You have your own ideas of what constitutes a good life, a happy life. You have your own dreams and plans and hopes for the future. It’s up to you – and you alone – to make those plans and dreams and hopes reality. You’ll never get there if you spend your time (and it’s a very limited amount of time) trying to live up to someone (or everyone) else’s expectations, or “rules”. (Image courtesy of gapingvoid,com)

 

 

 

 

Written by stevewthomas

May 9, 2016 at 11:55 am

“Yeah, I’m thinkin’ I’m back . . .”

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It’s been 2 months since I posted anything on this blog. I’m not apologizing, just stating the facts. Two months. And it isn’t “writer’s block” that’s kept me from posting. The thing that’s kept me from writing on this blog has been my anger. Yes, anger; anger that I’ve been suppressing for the last two months out of fear. I was afraid that, if I expressed my anger, I would disappoint my family and friends (a few of whom would likely read my post), or that people I do no know wouldn’t like me because of what I wrote. I know it’s pathetic. Why should I care what people I don’t know and will likely never meet think about what I have to say?  Actually, I shouldn’t, but there it is. I was afraid. And the fear allowed the anger to fester and intensify to the point I became fearful of my anger; an anger I felt was justified if not rational.

 It’s taken me two months to come to terms with my feelings. There was the anger I’ve already mentioned, and the fear but there was also a feeling of disappointment and I guess, betrayal. The last, the sense of betrayal,   I think has a lot to do with my anger. John F. Kennedy once said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what can you do for your country.”  A lot of us back then took those words to heart. I know I did. I went overseas to defend my country (at least I thought I was defending my country; turns out it was something else I was defending, but let’s not go there now), came home, got a job, paid taxes, and tried mightily to grab my piece of the “American Dream” which I was still naïve enough to believe in. I always thought — erroneously as it turned out — there was a “quid pro quo” implied in Kennedy’s message; that if I did what I could do for my country, my country would do for me. Turns out that’s not really the case.

I was frustrated and a little angry, manageably angry. After all, I knew it took money to “grease the wheels” of government and those that had the money could apply the most grease. “Things would change with the next election cycle”, I told myself, hoping but not really believing. There wasn’t any change in the next election cycle, nor in any of the succeeding cycles. The government has turned its back on “the will of the people” in favor of the will of the rich people, the ones who can afford to send armored cars full of money and legions of lobbyists to “grease the wheels of government” and have them turn in their favor. It’s now at the point where I can’t contain the anger any longer. What angers me the most isn’t that I feel abused and betrayed by a system of government that, in truth, was never designed to serve “the people”, only made to serve the people, and then only when there was political advantage to be had. What angers me most is that I was complicit in my own betrayal and abuse. I believed the rhetoric, the obfuscations and the outright lies of those who were (and are) in power and those who aspire (or is it conspire?) to that power.

Donald Trump, multi-millionaire (there are doubts about his billions), gold-plated huckster, reality TV personality, megalomaniac with a messiah complex, who is so convinced he will win the nomination (and the presidency) he thinks he could win even if he shot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue, or is it Times Square? (probably the former, Trump wouldn’t be caught dead in Times Square — not “classy” enough). His prescription for how to make America “great” again? Get rid of all the “losers”; the immigrants, Hispanic and Muslim first and foremost. Throw the ones that are here out and build a wall so they can’t come back. Oh, and while he’s at it, let’s not forget the gays, blacks and women; they’re all “losers”.  He’ll put them “in their place”. It’s gonna be great! Great!On the international front, Trump’s idea of how to deal with terrorists is even more repulsive; “You gotta go after the families”. He’ll deal with terrorism by committing “War Crimes”! And I wouldn’t hold out much hope (none, actually) for the economy under Trump. The Donald has made no bones about the fact he’s “all about the money, all about the money.” He’s made much of the fact that his campaign is “self-funded”, that he’s so rich he doesn’t need financial backers like the other candidates. Actually, he’s in a position to make a very tidy profit from his campaign, even if he doesn’t win the presidency or even gets the nomination. You see, “The Donald” lent his campaign — his own campaign — more than $11 million dollars, so even if he loses, he wins. That loan will be repaid out of any leftover campaign funds, and you can “bet your bippy” there’s a hefty interest rate attached to that loan. If Trump does, by some perverse twist of fate- or- whatever, become President, you can kiss whatever surplus is left in the budget good-bye. It’ll become Mr. Trump’s personal “Gold Card” account. After all, he’s “all about the money!”

The other two contenders on the Conservative (I wouldn’t call any of them Republicans) side are worth mentioning only in passing.

Ted Cruz, the Canadian-born (don’t hold that against him, though. Canada is also known as, “America Lite”) Senator from Texas is so despised by his colleagues in that “august” body he hasn’t managed to garner a single endorsement from among them. In fact, fellow Senator, Lindsay Graham, of South Carolina has said if he shot Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, nothing would happen. How’s that for “bringing folks together”? Ted Cruz’s nickname should be “Mr. Obstruction” or “Senator Destruction”. Anything he doesn’t like, he obstructs. If he can’t obstruct, he destroys. I saw an article on the Internet — it was on either the AlterNet or Salon website, I forget which — that reported Sen. Cruz was working to block efforts in the Senate to do anything about the water crisis in Flint, Michigan; a crisis that resulted in the poisoning by lead contamination of hundreds of children, CHILDREN! And Senator Cruz thinks it’s not something the Senate should be involved in. How’s that for “Compassionate Conservatism”?

Florida Senator Marco Rubio is still in the race only because he has the backing, for what it’s worth, of the Republican “establishment”, and the only reason they’re backing Rubio is because they can’t stand Cruz and they don’t believe there are enough bigots who are registered Republicans to win Trump the nomination. I wouldn’t count on that being the case. In any event, Mr. Rubio is out of his depth here, as he is in the Senate.

The “slug” at the top of this post is a quote from “John Wick” the recent Keanu Reeves movie. He says this after his one-time employers stole his car and killed his dog. I can empathize with his feelings.

Written by stevewthomas

February 29, 2016 at 8:31 pm

Posted in changing careers

Donald Trump . . .why is he still a “thing”?

with 6 comments

I’ve been away for awhile. Awhile. Four months to be exact. I’ve been trying, more or less successfully, to deal with some “personal issues” which have made it pretty nigh impossible for me to be polite in mixed company. I’m talking (typing, actually) here about the continued presence of Donald Trump in the media. I first wrote about my feelings for this jackass back in August (which was, if anyone is keeping track, the last time I posted anything on this blog). Back then I likened the prevailing republican campaign atmosphere to that of the “Mad Tea Party” from “Alice in Wonderland”. Since then it’s gotten worse . . .much worse. And I have to ask myself, “Why?”

Why hasn’t anyone — the media, the other Republican “candidates”(I’m talking Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio & Jeb! Bush(league) — called this narcissistic a**hole out? Are they so afraid of losing their “base” they’re afraid to confront a demagogue who’s running roughshod over their party?  They’re afraid, terrified they may lose a vote; after all, if they don’t win the nomination they (Cruz and Rubio, anyway) have to go back to be being senators and they’ll need the votes to stay in office and continue being insufferable, obstructionist jerks on the public’s dime. And Bush will have to go back to being bush-league; an ex-governor and one-time “smarter” Bush brother. Somebody should sit these yahoos down and explain to them that they can’t hope to win anything if they’re not willing to risk everything. But they’ve convinced themselves they can win their party’s nomination by risking nothing, and thereby losing everything.

There was a time when the leaders — the supposed leaders, and the aspiring leaders — of political parties actually led their parties. That is no longer the case. The wannabe leaders of today’s Republican party have abrogated their right to be called leaders. They have relinquished that right (or any right they may have hoped to gain) to the ultra-conservative fringes of their party; instead of leading, they’ve chosen to be led and forced to jump through ever smaller, ever tighter hoops.

Of course, there’s still hope. Primary season hasn’t actually begun yet. No one has cast a vote, for or against anyone in the race. Polls can be manipulated — an outrageous claim spoken at the right moment and the polls swing this way or that — but voter tallies can’t be so easily manipulated (well, they can be but it’s unlikely anyone will try that particular trick anytime soon). Sooner or later, “The Donald” will be forced to make some sort of serious policy statement, take a real position on matters of national import instead of telling us what to be afraid of (gays, Muslims, “terrorists”, etc. . ), assorted ad hominem attacks on his competitors, and how unfair the media is to question anything he says.

Sooner or later (and the sooner, the better), the public is going to come to the realization the Trump “campaign” is a joke, and one not worth repeating.

 

 

 

Written by stevewthomas

December 22, 2015 at 1:45 pm

Posted in changing careers

Double Vision . . .

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I haven’t done any of the exercises for the Photo 101 course; didn’t do many of the Blogging 101 exercises for that matter. I’m happy with my blog page(s) and I really  don’t want to distract viewers from the words with a lot of fancy “jimcracks”.

Anyway, I’m having the devil’s own time trying to come up with an interesting subject for a new post so . . .I thought I’d do one of the assignments for the Photo 101 course . . .and it may as well be the last one, so here goes . . .DSCN0852DSCN0847

I thought these two were appropriate to the theme of this assignment. Whaddya think?

 

Written by stevewthomas

July 2, 2015 at 4:45 am

WHAT IF . . .?

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There was a moment, in the aftermath of the obscenely tragic events that occurred in Charleston, South Carolina last week, when things could have turned out very differently.

In the hours after his arrest, during which time Dylann Roof admitted killing 9 members of a prayer group at Emanuel AME Church, he is alleged to have said, “I almost didn’t do it . . .because they welcomed me.”

In the media avalanche — the news stories, the media spin, the anger and the grief — those words stuck in my mind, and I wondered, “What if. .  ?”

Dylann Storm Roof is a poster child for white supremacist, racial hatred.  Possessed of a minimal education — he’s said to be a school drop-out — and with few (I’m guessing here) friends, if any; he, in all likelihood, never experienced any personal interaction with anyone of color. He had nothing of personal experience against which to gauge the validity of the hate-mongering, racist garbage that formed — that he allowed to form — the lens through which he viewed the world.

But there was a moment — maybe only a heartbeat of time, a nanosecond — when the lens cracked; not enough to shatter, but it cracked. And maybe, just maybe, if Dylann Roof had chosen to let that ‘heartbeat of time’ continue, things would have ended differently. But he didn’t, they didn’t. Dylann Roof chose, instead, to slaughter 9 innocent people; people who had welcomed him into their midst.

As I write this, somewhere (maybe a lot of somewhere), in some dank cellar meeting room or some abandoned building, men with an even greater hatred than filled Dylann Roof are holding up his picture and hailing him as a “hero”. And that fills me with a sense of shame.

I don’t know the answer to the Dylann Roofs of the world, and I doubt anyone does. I do know that taking down a piece of cloth from the South Carolina statehouse won’t do anything but allow some people to feel as though they “did something”. They didn’t. There will always be a Neandertal, white supremacist scumbag chumming the internet with bigotry and hate, waiting for the next under-educated, lonely, disenchanted boy to nibble his garbage.

Like I said, I don’t have an answer. I wish I did, I really do, but I don’t. All I have is this deeply felt, lingering sense of shame.

It’s enough to make me almost sympathize with Rachel Dolezal.

Written by stevewthomas

June 24, 2015 at 12:15 am

Posted in changing careers

Blogging 101: First Assignment — Introducing Myself

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This is my first attempt at learning about blogging from an established tutor (or group of tutors) so I’m a tad nervous.  never know if I’m doing it correctly or not

Here goes. My name is Steve and I’m an essayist (of sorts). Actually, I don’t know if ‘essayist’ is the proper term; I write whatever appeals to me at the time. This covers a wide variety of subjects and topics of interest (mostly to me). I’ve been blogging, off and on, for about four years and have not been consistent in the practice. That’s one of the reasons I signed up for this course. . .consistency. I have none.

To give you some idea of how I view my efforts on this site, I encourage you to read “About Walking the Cat”. I think it’s pretty clear on what I do and why I do it.

That’s about it.  BTW, to those who read my blog on a more or less regular basis, I apologize for intruding with this assignment.

Written by stevewthomas

June 7, 2015 at 11:07 pm

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