Friday, May 27, 2016

an annoying season

For those who might not know, I also write romance novels (contemporary, historical, and paranormal). That tends to sometimes keep me busy enough that covering my blogs (Rainy Day Thought and Rain Trueax) is all I can do while editing or writing the books. 

Then there is the frustration I feel with this political season. I have probably mentioned before that I am a moderate. I have some very strong ideas, but they don't fit in boxes thus it's easy for me to offend right and left with my viewpoints. 

This political season has made it especially difficult for moderates as we aren't really happy with anybody. In Oregon's primary, I voted for Bernie mainly because I feel he's an honorable man, not owned by anyone but I don't agree with him on all his policies. He was just head and shoulders over Hillary for me-- and being a registered Democrat (because in Oregon you have to be one or the other if you want to vote in the primary), it was him or her. I'd be an Independent otherwise as frankly I rarely agree with the Democratic party's platform. Hillary is not remotely someone I want to see in the White House and I haven't admired how the Democratic party has worked to make sure she's the only one who can get the nomination. Her stand on issues doesn't suit mine and I don't really trust her to do what she says given her donors and her past shifts.

Frankly some of what Trump says doesn't offend me as it does other Democrats. For instance when he said he wouldn't allow Muslims to immigrate here until it could be determined which ones had ties to terrorist cells. That's extreme? It just seems commonsense to me, but it riles up Democrats when I say it as they want to see Trump as totally bigoted. That doesn't mean I see him as President. His seeming mental instability, the way he is so easily tweaked, his statements that sometimes seem nuts-- like we should go back to oil and not solar or wind. And who would he appoint to the Supreme Court? That alone will probably make me have to vote for Hillary.

Anyway in a political season like this one, a person wants to bury their head in the sand if they aren't extreme on either party. I could go on with the reasons, but it would only annoy the few readers this blog has!

I hope we get through this political season without violence as it's certainly being stirred into being-- and that by both sides. When someone blames Trump for the riots around his speaking events, I can only say-- and who's rioting and throwing rocks at police, firing off guns, attempting to block attendees, yelling to drown out the speech, waving Mexican flags? Not someone who believes in freedom of speech, that's for sure.

See I knew I could annoy someone here ;)

Friday, March 18, 2016

seriously-- this is what we have come down to?

It might seem that I'd be writing something here regarding the primaries but frankly its been dispiriting. I just cannot get excited about any of the candidates and worse is how I feel about most of them. We're down to two on the Democratic side and three on the Republican, but only two of the candidates can probably win given the numbers needed. 

That is unless shenanigans come into play. I listened to the news last night where a Republican establishment guy said the voting in primaries is meaningless-- only delegates count at the convention. In short, you fools who bothered to vote, get real. We control it all!

The right and left are stirred up that one candidate will be Trump but if you studied the issues on all the Republican candidates this year, there wasn't much distance between them for what they wanted to do. Mostly it's they believe in freedom but not when it involves women and fertility issues or gays and marriage. Their idea of freedom is no environmental regs, lower taxes on the rich, and more wars (Although neither Trump nor Cruz favor another war or so they say). 

Anyway when we finally end up with two candidates, I might get more interested in putting down my viewpoints. For now, I am settling for distractions in terms of Netflix-- i.e. Skinwalkers, an old series based on the Tony Hillerman books and most recently Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which is light and enough action to keep it interesting. I always liked Coulson on the Avengers so glad he got resurrected. Dumb move to kill him and wise move to bring him back. It's nice to watch something where the good guys win.

Writing is of course high on my daily list of things to do and right now that has meant picking up images for the next series of books. I am not sure if I am being influenced by the political mood but this is one I just got ;)


Besides paranormal type images, I've been collecting nice looking homes where my characters might live... so from magical solutions to creating a cozy nest. Think there is a pattern here? ;)
 

When we have more sense of the issues that will be in play this year, I'll be more into writing about that. I am so hating the negativity that is on both sides that it's pretty difficult right now to watch cable news.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

more on the Harney County story

More on what's happening in Harney County and what has become an occupy movement led by another Bundy, this one the son of that Nevada rancher who wanted to graze his cattle for free. The article below gives the government's side regarding what the Hammonds were accused of in that trial, and it wasn't terrorism. It was poaching, which meant killing a herd of deer probably to get them off their land, and then using a fire to hide the evidence. There were witnesses who testified. The publicity has led to a new entrant into the story.


What bothered me was for Bundy (the Hammonds did not request the Bundy entrance into this-- It would appear that Nevada family and those gun toters saw a chance for 15 minutes more of fame) to say that for a refuge to be created is to take the American people's land, that's not so. 

Wildlife refuges are created to protect habitat for wildlife, especially migrating birds,who cannot survive if those kind of places are all gone. Migrating birds are part of an ecosystem, but I get it that some don't like that word or even understand what it means. My point is-- refuges are something most Americans approve being done. 

Furthermore, ranchers who believe they own land simply because their family settled in the area aren't exactly on the side of the American people. They are on their own side. Fair enough but don't pretend it's being done for the rest of us.
 

Recently I've been reading about the effort by ranchers to get all wild horses removed from BLM or Forest Service land so that the ranchers can graze more cattle there. Killing those wild horses after rounding them up is perfectly fine with those ranchers, who don't own the land but act as if they do. 

These are the same people who want no wilderness or if there is, it's accessed through their land and they charge fees to enter or hunt on it. They are the same ones who want no zoning so that mining, ranching, resorts, and any moneymaking endeavor for the local owners can be done. 

Zoning is not always government takeover (not to say it can't be sometimes). It can be what government has been directed to do by citizens, who have a differing set of values. Yes, government can overreach. It can be bought by oligarchs to take land they want. It was not though what happened in Nevada where Cliven Bundy didn't want to pay the federal government for the leased land his cattle were grazing on. Basically he was stealing it and then competing when he sold his beef with those landowners who paid for the grass their cattle ate. 

Oregon has gone through this on many levels. As ranchers ourselves, we have seen the benefit of zoning in keeping our taxes low on this place because it's taxed at farm use. Yes, it means we cannot subdivide it into multiple housing units. But it also means we can afford to continue to raise crops or in our case grow livestock providing grassfed beef and lamb for consumers and a good life for the herd and flock that we have on the land we own and that we lease.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Irritation 'tis the season

I get how there have been abuses by police and some feel each one has been racist. I read the stories and see how some in our country feel abused and angry. Others take on the grievance to have a cause that can make them feel righteous. Well where it comes to the latest, which led to blocking airports and malls to show that some lives have not been valued enough, I'd like to say--

If you are so concerned about violent deaths of your people, why don't you start in your neighborhoods? The likelihood of a minority being killed by a police officer is far less than being killed by gangbangers or someone angry over a drug deal gone bad and shooting the wrong people. Crime of minority on minority is far greater than white on minority. So why not start with valuing your own community and trying to get your kids to get an education where they can get a job that doesn't involve crime or drugs? Don't bother telling me it's harder for you as that's a cop out. Make sure your kids do their homework. Keep them in school. Watch your neighborhood for behavior that threatens others. Maybe the police reacting as they have has a reason. Don't give it to them.

Comparing a movement that has hands in the air, using a phrase that was never used by the one the crowd is supposedly mimicking is not remotely like Martin Luther King and what he did. He didn't just shout a few words. He had arguments he brought to bear. He didn't stop airports. He had peaceful demonstrations not intended to mimic terrorists but intended to speak truth. A few words, based on a lie to begin, don't remotely resemble King, who was a philosopher.

The media loves this movement. They follow up on every story intended to increase rage. Any minority doing something violent is excused as though they could not help it. That is not showing respect to the minority or anybody else's intelligence. The media is doing all they can to create the current drama-- they and a few leaders who want to profit from it and become important at least in their own eyes by leading others to anarchy.

Terrorism is not a valid political tool. It was not for Occupy and it's not for this one. Political tools come with facts and getting leaders to run for office who have the agenda you value. One person said by causing disruption during the holidays, they will get people to listen. Terrorists have the same argument. I've heard it during the Vietnam War, from other activists for various causes but it's no more valid to blow up a building than to try and destroy a merchant's economic year. This won't win anything but enemies and increased cracking down.

Rather than concentrating on one policeman killing one minority, look at the whole record of the law enforcement. Bring up facts regarding why something happened and whether it was one misjudgment or a pattern. Right now the whole effort by anarchists, whatever color and whatever purpose, turns off most of those needed to make real change. Anarchy doesn't in the end profit anyone. That was not what Martin Luther King was about. Get back to that and you have something!

Christmas is a season to remember what the season could be about, instead of what it too often is-- religiosity, consumerism, ostentatious displays, greed, anger, disappointment, and competition. 

Too many in this country are not having good times right now. It's not just a minority issue but one of misplaced values. Driving across the country from Tucson to the Oregon Coast Range, I saw a lot of what this country has let happen. It's time to get serious about changes but incidents like blocking malls or airports might seem satisfying to those who like chaos. It won't make the changes we really need. More thinking of what Christ, no matter who you think he was or wasn't, actually taught might...

Friday, December 04, 2015

again


My home is in the region that today would be considered part of the gun culture-- actually it always has been if we take it back to pioneer times. The home where I grew up was pretty much the same. From as far back as I can remember, I've had guns in my home. When I was twelve, I asked for a .22 for Christmas. With it came a gun cleaning kit. I wanted that rifle as a tool, not as a macho symbolism but as something I needed. My parents raised sheep. I had seen the sides of ewes torn out with their entrails trailing after neighbor dog attacks (coyotes kill-- dogs play). I took that .22 for walks over our 80 acres, hoping I'd see those dogs before they got to our sheep. Kind of silly as I think back as they were German shepherds and most likely a .22 would not have killed them unless I hit them just right. Still I had a reason for the gun and have had various reasons ever since.

Here on our Oregon farm, we raise cattle and sheep. I've been out multiple times with my rifle looking to kill a coyote before it can kill one of our lambs. A few times I have gotten off shots before the sheep got killed. I always missed though. A zigzagging, fast moving target isn't easy to hit. Coyotes are good at broken field running. Each time, a shot was all I got as to take more would have risked the neighbor's home. Reasonable gun owners are careful that way. That shot though chased off the coyote before it could kill the lamb it was chasing.

Twice I have saved a lamb from a coyote when I had no time for finding a rifle. I ran straight at the predator just as it got the lamb down and I screamed the mad mama yell, and the coyote looked as though a banshee was after him and ran for its life. One lamb had a neck wound but survived, the other I stopped before the teeth got a hold. A gun is a more reliable stop. and my husband has killed several when he did get the right shot with a coyote trying to go back to a lamb it had already killed and was planning to eat more than the hindquarter.

Many people on the right or the left do not see a rifle as a tool. Some think they need it to defend the country against its own military and police. That's the argument for owning an assault rifle. There is no other argument that makes any sense. The thinking, that their own government will need to be overturned,  goes back to the Revolutionary or Civil Wars. The idea is ridiculous considering today's military but the thinking is pushed by those who profit from it. 

As a gun owner and one who has had a concealed weapon permit ever since my state allowed them, I favor meaningful background checks. It would not stop all of these attacks. If we look at the most recent assault rifle attack, that guy likely had the legal right to purchase the weapon. Although I have read he didn't buy them (assault rifles of that level are very expensive and not possible to buy in California). The FBI is looking for the person who may have gotten them the rifles. The truth is though that with their interest in bomb making, they could have killed who they wanted anyway.

We should have a meaningful background check similar to what it takes to get a concealed weapon permit. Next, would be accountability for gun ownership. That means if my gun is used in a crime, and they trace it back to me, I could face legal and civil acountability for how that happened. These parents who buy their mentally sick offspring a gun need to know they are going to be held as an accessory with a criminal penalty. In the Roseburg killings, the mother should be held responsible as it seems she got the guns. The mother in Sandy Hook should have been, but she got her accountability when her son killed her.

I also would ban all assault rifles of the type only intended to kill humans or blow apart targets and buildings. A rifle that can penetrate police armor and go through walls really does not belong in private hands. Along with that would go extended magazines. Seriously, in a home invasion, you can't get the person with 6 shots? Maybe you should not have a gun.

Given our current level of violence, I would also have all schools with limited access and metal detectors to enter. We think we should protect airplanes but not schools? They say it would create the wrong atmosphere. So fear is a better atmosphere? Seriously, there is something wrong with a culture that doesn't see their schools as a first line of defense. When nothing was done after Sandy Hook, it was clear to do anything is going to be difficult. When Congress recently refused to even ban those on the FBI terrorist watch lists from buying a gun, it was clear the NRA and a small percentage of gun owners are dominating the conversation. I say small because most gun owners are like my husband and I-- favoring realistic gun regulations.

Listening to Rush Limbaugh this week, he deliberately or stupidly misstated what the left said after the latest mass murders. He implied lefties were putting down prayer. They weren't. Many of them likely pray. What they were saying was when we can do something but have not, it's maddening and pointless to say we'll pray as if that's enough. It's fine to pray. Also do what is possible to at least make the next attack more difficult.

Unfortunately, it seems we live in a time when none of that will be done. Seeing guns as tools is limited today with a culture that espouses violence. I have said many times that this concept, that we can fight wars overseas, with some naive attitude of avoiding blood being spilled here, ignores reality. With Vietnam the blood came back  and with every war we fight somewhere else, we see increasing instances of violence here. 

I don't know if there is a solution with the current mood here where each side seems unable to see the other side; but we should stop calling ourselves an exceptional people when we don't even try and when we allow dollars to rule our laws. That can be changed. I don't know that it will! 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

poverty

If you have been reading the stories regarding the recent Paris attacks, with more promised, you probably have also seen the discussions regarding how poverty is part of what has led to this whole problem-- worldwide poverty on a level often we can't even imagine in the United States. I don't have answers for the problem, maybe nobody does, but I posted a huge comment in someone else's blog where she was writing about this book:  '$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America' by social scientists Kathryn Edin and H. Luke Shaefer. My comment, which virtually was a rant, ran over the limit. I decided  not to cut it down, not post it there, and instead bring it here with a few modifications--

A beginning answer to the working poor in the US is to up the minimum wage to $15 an hour but also understand that some will not then be able to hire the help they used to hire. This is particularly true for senior citizens who might want to hire some assistance, but their own income has not risen with the cost of living. 

Likewise farm laborers will lose some work-- where often the owner of the farm doesn't make a lot of money for the many hours he/she puts in (I know my husband would not want to figure out what he actually makes for his many hours with the cattle and sheep. I don't think it's $2 a day though because we often don't break even by the end of a year, and he puts in a LOT of hours. By the time ranchers pay for feed, fencing, etc. etc., they are doing it for the love of the animals and to provide healthier meat for other families. But if that small rancher had to make a living wage from it, it'd likely not be an option, which explains the growth of corporate farms with far less healthy meat-- but it can make money

Small operations like ours would often like to hire extra help but as the wages rise, it becomes out of the question. In our ranching/logging community, I know many people who don't make much and what they do is sometimes off the grid-- i.e. they are paid in cash and nobody reports any of it. We convinced one man that we had to pay him on the grid and it would be better for him. Because he had skills, we paid him $20 an hour. He hadn't wanted to do it on the grid  because of paying taxes and some other complications. Once though he did, he then got other jobs and more steady employment. His off the grid work looked good but in the end limited him by no 'record' of what he was doing.

Having a niece who was on welfare back when the rules changed gave me another insight. She actually benefited from the law change, as back then they gave her work for I believe two years and training. That enabled her to get a 'real' job when the two years ran out. She has worked since and has a job with respect attached.


Recently, I have gotten a view into the minimum wage economy when our home vacation rental here in Tucson needed to find an agency to clean between renters. Living in Oregon most of the year, we can't do it ourselves. We already had this season's renters or we might've just plain quit renting it with the complications of using an agency where we don't know the people and the house is full of art, books and gourmet cooking tools. With the new system, we aren't sure what we will end up paying per cleaning, as it's done with a minimum but no maximum. Two will come in, each getting $22 an hour with the agency, of course, getting part of that. The workers also have travel time between jobs; and of course, this is all on the grid. 

Tucson has enough wealthier retirees, some with plush pensions or who invested well, that there are a lot of agencies that do cleaning. Not so many probably where I live in Oregon (I had never hired anybody to clean any home of mine until we got this vacation rental). 

When we have come here to do the maintenance on the house, we've hired what we can using those who work from job to job, independent contractors-- most of whom are on the grid. Talking to one of them this time, my husband said the guy told him he has a hard time getting workers. Too many people in this area don't want to work or lack any skills. The contractor said he would hire more but instead has to do it himself. If someone does not want to work and can get money for doing nothing, how do you make them?

America has many tiers to its culture and I think it's hard to evaluate what anything means today. Ethics vary from community to community as well as era to era. My mother worked, in her middle years, as a home cleaner for wealthy ladies, coming in once a week. My dad had worked with his muscle all his life but when he couldn't do the heavier work, he became a school janitor. They didn't ever ask for government assistance and that means no food stamps either. They considered themselves middle class as I always saw them too. But that was maybe based on things other than income.

There at least had been a respect for work in our culture even among the poor. I am not sure we will be ahead to form a guaranteed hand-out society even with problems like this Homeless in LA huge problem. We know that many homeless don't want to work or be tied down to a job. That is just a fact and some of it based on mental problems but some just their personalities. 


The thing is though-- working a job for 40 hours a week should mean you can live on it with enough to cover food, clothing and shelter. Guaranteeing that higher minimum wage though isn't simple. How do we find those who can afford to pay the salaries if more want $15 an hour jobs maybe with no skills or work ethic. We can guarantee the handicapped are given enough to live on. Should we guarantee those, who could work but choose not to, also get one?

It's a bigger problem than words will solve. Seeing again the fear from the right wing and their resentment of the poor, Seeing the working middle class's anger at those they believe are sucking at their tit, and I think it's going to be hard to get any of this fixed. The right fears the poor getting money for nothing, but for some reason don't worry when it's the rich.

Most recently, when I saw the maps of the states that are trying to refuse any Syrian refugees, even when well vetted, it doesn't look like this is going to get fixed soon. Those states mostly have Republican governors and it looks from that map that the country is turning strong right. (Oregon's governor said we'll take them for which I am proud of her). Logic though is missing on votes like Kentucky's recent turn to a right winger for their governor. And if any of the Republicans get in the Presidency, and I mean any of them, it'll be worse and maybe worldwide with their big mouths on war with total ignorance (willfully so) of history. :( They know where they want their tax money to go, that that they are willing to pay, and it's for wars and war machinery not the poor.

All this worries me with grandchildren coming up into the world and what kind of world is it going to be? My granddaughter says they'll fix what we messed up. My generation thought that once too...

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Isn't there one good person running for the GOP nomination?

It used to be Fiorina and Huckabee topped my list of worst possible candidates on the right wing side. Well, the more I learn about Ben Carson, the Republican rising star, the more he worries me. There have been several statements he's made that have created some of my concern but also articles regarding his past and present.

Give these a try: 




Here's the thing, this guy might be someone with the kind of mental illness that lets him function quite well in many arenas of society but as President? With that kind of power?

As the middle article indicated, the concern goes also to those who vote for someone like Carson, those who want this country run by a dictator from their particular religion, which half the time they barely understand themselves. He says a woman who is pregnant is like a slave owner if she wants to end a pregnancy, but guess he'd let her do it with the morning after pill if she knew in time she might be pregnant... or will he change that too?

This is the guy who said he wouldn't have let the killer in Roseburg kill so many without rousing his fellow students to fight back and uses as an example how he faced a gun once and dealt with it by saying-- you don't want me. You want the guy behind the counter... And he didn't even seem to realize what a cowardly thing he was bragging about.

Because he's quiet, because he's a religious person, because he's black, because he's an extreme right winger, the Republican religious types like the idea of him. It would prove they were not bigoted in their hate of Obama. Or would it?

Carson is a man who profited from all the social programs he could avail himself of but now says they keep people down and should be eliminated for everybody else. Again he seems to have no actual clue what he's saying. Some would vote for him because of his claim that he dragged himself up by his bootstraps. Except he didn't. He was pulled up by the social network that offered him a chance to better his life. Now he sees that network as bad. I mean he has his, doesn't he! 

There are those though who will vote for someone based purely on similar religious values or at least so they think. Carson claims his views on abortion come from his religion. He's a Seventh Day Adventist, who have a very different view on things like the Trinity; but what they say about abortion is it is wrong but should be a matter between a woman and God. This doesn't sound like a Carson, who would push it into back alleys and punish women and abortion doctors. 

Carson is a religious extremist but of what religion?