Monday, January 30, 2017

Back on the Soap Box Again....

I’m supposed to be writing.
I have several projects in the works and a novel that’s due fairly soon. These are paying gigs.

And yet….

So here we go. Again.

The President of the United States, Donald Trump, is allegedly about to put a new executive order in place: This time discriminating heavily against LGBTQ persons. I wish I didn’t think it was going to happen, I wish, God, how I wish, that this sort of shit was in the past. I don’t normally like to use profanity in online writings, but sometimes you just have to. The sad fact of the matter is that less than two weeks into his career as the POTUS, this man is doing everything he can to foster fear and hatred as a way of life and it seems that he’s even succeeding to a certain extent. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU for short) is putting up one hell of a fight, so are the four million plus protesters who have made their opinions known. Stop and think about that for a second. 4,000,000 plus people have gathered already to say enough is enough. This man (I use the term to point out gender. He is not much of a man in my eyes) had FOUR MILLION protesters before he’d been in office for a week. He’s had more since because of his asinine policies and his massively egotistical belief that he is above the law.

Okay, first the link to the article that I’m responding to. Please understand something. I am again writing about something that technically doesn’t affect me. I know this causes people to scratch their heads from time to time so I’ll spell it out. I’m not trying to offend anyone I’m just clarifying here. If I were walking down the street and I saw a man punch a woman in the mouth, or I saw someone backhand a child, I would not walk past it. It’s not the way I was raised. Once upon a tome I had a neighbor who was beating his daughter so violently and screaming so loudly that I could actually hear the sound of his fist hitting her through two brick walls. They lived across an open air corridor and one door left of us.

I heard the noises, I knew what they were, and I called the police, who promptly came and handled the matter. I was ten years old. My mother was horrified. Not because she hadn’t raised me to do exactly that sort of thing but because she was afraid the man I’d called the police on might try to take it out on me. He didn’t but he sure did spend a lot of time glaring at me after that. His daughter, a friendly acquaintance of mine, was very grateful. She got out of it with only a few bruises, you see, and that was a bonus for her.

Her getting the bejesus knocked out of her had no direct impact on my life. Still, I couldn’t very well let it go on. I did what I could as a kid who was still a few years away from puberty. If I saw someone kicking a puppy, there’s a very real chance that said someone would get a kick from me. It’s the way I’m programmed; it’s the way I was raised.

A little background for you. My mother was raised during WWII. She was born in Germany and the war ended by the time she was fourteen. She was a staunch Republican when it came to economics. She also firmly believed that each and every person had the same rights. When my father left, I was still in the womb. She raised six of us on her own, Two of my sisters dropped out of high school and basically spent their days raising the four younger siblings so that my mother could make a living and keep a roof over our heads. She was a very strong woman in a lot of ways. Not a saint, to be sure, but a very strong woman.

One of her weaknesses? She never wanted to accept that the Holocaust happened. It wasn't that she didn’t think a lot of people died, it was that she was profoundly horrified by the notion that the nation where she was born and raised, no matter what the flaws it suffered from, could have ever reached a point where MURDERING millions of people was acceptable.

She believed that Nazi Germany had many flaws, by the way. Her brother, who was a soldier, made that clear to her. At one point in her schooling she won first or second place in a swimming competition. Her reward was a bronze bust of Adolf Hitler. During one of the bombings that happened frequently, as the Allies decided that Germany had to be taught a few manners, the bust feel from the shelf it was on and hit the floor. The nose of the bronze bust broke off, revealing the plaster underneath.

My Uncle Ralph, whom I never met, sadly, made my mother break the bust with a hammer. He did not feel that lies should be kept as trophies.

There are a lot of stories I remember, more I’ve likely forgotten, about the horrors of my mother’s childhood. There were good times, of course, but aren’t there always when you are a kid? Christ, I hope that’s true for every child even though I know it isn’t.

She was actually quite fond of Donald Trump, back in the eighties when he first joked about running for president.

I think she’d be properly horrified now.

You see, back to my mother, she didn’t believe that people should be judged by their beliefs. We were raised in a family where we had access to the World Book Encyclopedia (and the children’s version of the same, the name of which is currently eluding me) several unabridged dictionaries, a copy or two of the Bible and an open encouragement to ask questions and actively seek answers.

We were raised to believe that each person should be judged as a person. Not by color, or gender, or sexual preferences. In a time when it really wasn’t done that much, my mother managed to make her way to executive housekeeper at several hotels and even at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Having come from what would eventually be Eastern Germany, a Communist country (and there are plenty or horror stories about THAT, too) my mother was even seriously considered for executive housekeeper at the White House Yes, that Whites House, where President Trump currently resides. The only reason she lost out was because the person who got the job had worked with the man doing the hiring on a previous occasion. And yes, she was heavily vetted by the Secret Service before she was seriously considered. Believe me.

My mother believed even back then in hiring without discrimination. You see, as a female, she had already been discriminated against and as a German with a green card (That’s former Nazi Germany AND Eastern Germany, so TWO strikes before she started) my mother was all too familiar with how discrimination tasted. My first experiences with Hispanics, blacks, gays and lesbians were all people who worked for my mother, the staunch Republican.

The staunch Republican who taught us that discrimination was wrong. Period. End of discussion. The staunch Republican who raised us to make up our own minds about religion, faith and God. My mother believed and so do I, that religion has no part in the governing of a nation, because there are too many religions, you see, and forcing your beliefs down somebody else’s throat was not right.

My mother, by the way, eventually became an American Citizen. It was the proudest day of her life. She cried when she took her oath and she smiled as much as any person who’d ever won a lottery.

She would have hated what Donald Trump has become. Not because of his business beliefs. She would have probably agreed on a lot of those. No, she’d have hated his obvious contempt for anyone who is not like him. I suppose some of my siblings might disagree with me. They are entitled to their opinions. I go solely off the discussions I had with the lady in question, who was, you may rest assured, very much a part of my formative life.

My mother, who had no problem stating her opinions on what the Middle Eastern rulers who replaced the Shah of Iran could do with their ruling through religion, could do with their philosophies, would be appalled at the way the POTUS has tried to block off access to this country.

My mother, who took in complete strangers on several occasions when emergency situations called for it, would have been disgusted by his actions. My mother, who was as proud as any patriot ever born in the USA, would have had a few choice words for the president and for the extreme right wing Republicans who are currently in charge of the Senate and the House alike. (She’d have had a few words for President Obama as well, but they would have been different words, though likely just as critical of some of his actions.)

My mother, who was often surprisingly calm in the face of national adversity and was an avid follower of American Politics, would have, pardon my vernacular, flipped her shit the very first time the now POTUS talked of internment camps. She’d have gone through the roof in her outrage if she’d heard him talk about grabbing any woman’s privates.

My mother, who was absolutely confused by the very notion of homosexuality, would have ground her teeth and made more than a few comments about the POTUS and his level of contempt for the people of this country if she heard about his plans to use “Religious Freedom” to allow people to deny any service to anyone. Ever. Gays, Lesbians, Transgenders, Bisexuals…My mother might not have understood their choices (and to her, they were choices, I heard many debates) but she would have been outraged by the very idea that anyone should be refused service. She would have pointed to the world before the Civil Rights movement. She would have gone on about her absolute hatred of the KKK in any and all incarnations. She would have pointed out that she grew up in Nazi Germany and saw good people dragged from their homes. She would have pointed out that Eastern Germany was just as bad when it came to people who spoke out.

She would have, once again, gone off about the news channels and their endless need to preach, instead of actually keeping up with the news.

I was raised by my mother to think for myself. I was also raised with many of her beliefs instilled in me via endless questions and countless discussions. When I asked about God we talked about the different faiths. She was raised Lutheran. My father was Methodist and I can count five Bishops of the Methodist Church from his side of the family, including the man I was named after, my great grandfather, the Bishop Arthur James Moore. I was raised to consider all faiths as valid, but especially those that preached peace and balance. The Dalai Lama fascinated my mother and Gandhi was one of her heroes, as was his daughter.

Common sense was my mother’s religion, but it was also tempered with compassion and empathy. She taught us to love debate, not arguments. She taught us that the best way to know anyone was to discuss everything. She warned against discussing religion and politics, because both end friendships. I decided not to listen on that last part, but that’s on me.  

Equal rights was a given for me. I heard constantly about how uneven those rights were, and long before the term White Privilege came around I was aware of the concept. Full disclosure here, I wasn't really in agreement with the concept when I was younger, That had a lot to do with moving all over the country, going to seventeen different public schools and being the short, fat, new kid with glasses who got his ass kicked a lot. Didn’t feel like privilege then, but with age comes perspective. My mother would have fully understood the term.   

When I was growing up my sister’s best friend was a young man named Gordon. Gordon was gay. Through several states and decades, my sister maintained a friendship with Gordon and through him made other friends in the LGBTQ community. Much like my mother, when I was younger I had trouble wrapping my mind around the entire concept. It didn’t stop me from hanging around with my sister and Gordon and several other people who were not exactly heterosexual. It never bothered me. They were people. They were good and some of them were less-than-good, much like with everyone else I’ve met in my life. Just like everyone else, actually. What an amazing concept: the LGBTQ community is made of people! Just like Soylent Green, only not meant to be used in your casserole recipes. Instead they are meant to be treated like, gasp, people. It’s actually very easy when you leave it at that.

Open minded thought processes, it seems, are easier when you leave religion out of it. Not always, heaven knows, but too damned often. Religions sometimes have the silliest notions, like that people should be considered property. Like it’s okay to knock the crap out of your wife, or your child if you feel the need. Like gender should make a difference or that if someone doesn’t think like you, they must be a sinner. Most of that, by the way, is open to interpretation. Most of that, unfortunately, gets interpreted in the dumbest possible ways by a lot of people. Not all. Still that old line from the song One Tin Soldier pops into my head, “Do it in the name of heaven, you can justify it in the end.”

Or as I like to think of it: the Philosophy of My God Is Better Than Your God. Just in case it slipped anyone’s mind, all of the aforementioned faiths share the same deity. It’s how they share Him that seems to cause most of the problems. It’s all about how the words are interpreted. Old Testament, new testament, that stuff that got edited out over time and the stuff that came later.

One upon a time there were people who followed the Hebrew faith. Later, after a disagreement about whether or not a man named Jesus Christ was the prophesied Son of God, there was a split in the religion. Along came Christianity. It went through a lot of changes over the course of time (as religions are wont to do) and branched out. A lot. Somewhere along the way another group branched off, convince that a man named Mohammed spoke for god and just might be the prophet of the Lord. Obviously, there’s a lot more to it than that, but I am neither a historian nor much of a follower of any religion. I have my beliefs. They are between God and me. 

Time has made changes to facts, and interpretations, and a lot of hurt feelings have come up as time has gone on. A lot. Now, the new POTUS seems to be using those hurt feelings to drive a wedge into the country that my mother was so proud of, that my mother loved more than, well, basically any other nation that ever existed.

My mother, by the way, was an avid viewer of the nightly news. When I was growing up Walter Cronkite told us the way it was. The facts, and only the facts. On incredibly rare occasions an editorial. 

There have been a lot of comparisons made to what The POTUS is doing and what Adolf Hitler did when he was in charge of Nazi Germany. They may or may not be accurate.

I know this: A great deal of what Donald Trump is doing has nothing to do with a government for the people and by the people of these United States. Many of his actions seem, as I have already said, determined to drive wedges between people. He has shown a tendency toward racism, toward nepotism, toward misogyny, and an elitist philosophy. He has used fear as a catalyst to explain why we must ban people from this nation. He has determined that a massive wall is the best way to defend ourselves from our southern neighbors, and in less than two weeks has managed to enrage or terrify people and nations alike.

If you’re guessing that I did not vote for the current president, you are not mistaken. He made too many comments (look them up, folks. I have a novel to get back to) and taken too many actions that back the last paragraph, and like that short dictator with the Charlie Chaplin mustache back in the WWII, he has telegraphed his actions. Sweet Jesus, he even told people he what he was going to do and for some insane reason that made a lot of people very happy. Enough that he somehow managed to win the election, though not the popular vote (Say what you will, that’s still a crock of feces for me).

Some of them aren’t as happy now. A lot of the people who voted for him and now shaking their heads and wondering what the hell just happened. Not all of them, but a decent percentage.

My mother said to me once, “Mark my words. The US has never had a serious terrorist attack from another country, and no one here knows how lucky we are. But someday that will change.” She told me that after one of the embassies in the Middle East got attacked.

My mother passed away mere months before 9-11. Sometimes I think about that and I’m grateful that she didn’t live through the grief and fear that came as a result. I think she managed to keep a bit of optimism and I know she continued to love this country.

Those words stuck with me. A lot of her words stuck with me. A lot of her actions and beliefs stuck, too. I am my mother’s son, after all.

My mother was a Republican. I understand and can even appreciate some of the beliefs held by that party.

I cannot understand the need to generate fear and hatred. I will not accept that being LGBTQ, or Muslim, or female, or African America, or Hispanic, or Native American or, (Insert your Target for Hatred/Fear Here) will ever be a just reason to have someone’s civil rights crushed under the government’s heel. It is supposed to be a “government of the people, by the people, for the people,” at least according to Abraham Lincoln in his Gettysburg Address.

I like to think that he was on to something there. I don’t believe the current administration would agree with me, if I’m being honest.

What a damned shame.

So it’s like this. I’m supposed to be writing. I might have to set that aside from time to time. I might even have to join in on a few marches. You can bet I’ll stand by the rights of everyone I see getting the shaft here.

My mother taught me that fear is to be overcome, and anger is best used as a motivational tool to reach your goals.  Terrorists win if we let fear rule our lives. Anger can focus you, make you remember what you are supposed to be fighting for when mostly you'd rather just give up.

And a reminder, seriously, that there’s another election in under two years and a lot of seats in the whole of Congress will be up for grabs.

You can bet I’ll be voting, too.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Am I a Bleeding Heart Liberal (Or even a special snowflake?)

That’s a recent accusation and one I can understand. So, I’m going to answer that question to the best of my ability. Ready? Here we go:

I believe in political accountability: Politicians are elected to serve We the People. If they are negligent in their duties there should be consequences. If they try to bend the rules or break them, they should be held criminally accountable. Hell, if I had my way they’d be regularly sued for breach of contract, when they go against their political promises. If you are in service of We the People, you should get regular reviews and your pay should be docked when you fail in your duties. I believe that any politician who abuses their position (by, say, flying off to Aruba on the taxpayers dime) should not only be fined but should face criminal charges of embezzlement.

I believe in facts. I believe that facts are more important than opinions. Scientific proof holds more value for me than faith in any religion. That said, I respect the rights of others to disagree with me.

I believe that the news should not be called the news unless it is backed by facts. I believe that editorials should be clearly labeled and held until the end of new articles both written and recorded.

I firmly believe in the separation of church and state. The two do not mix. Your faith and mine are likely not the same. Why then, should I be dictated by your faith and yours alone?

To that end, I believe in pointing out on my Facebook page and in other locations, what I see as screw ups. If I think a politician is doing something wrong, I’ll post it. As always, I welcome fact checks and debates. I do not welcome name calling. I tend to delete heated posts, because I believe in being civil.  If I am wrong, I’ll admit it. If you can sway me with logic and facts, cool. I love learning new things.

I believe that hate crimes should be dealt with harshly. I believe that rapists and pedophiles should be dealt with harshly. I believe that violent crimes of any nature should be dealt with harshly. I am a firm believer in punitive damages for the families/survivors of violent crimes. You crippled someone for life? Hard labor and whatever monies you night get paid go to the victims. Maybe pay minimum wage for services. That way the bill can be paid off faster.

I believe in equal rights for everyone. A few clarifications for people. I believe in the right of everyone to live their lives peacefully. No one should be targeted because of their race, their sexual orientation, their color, their gender or their religious beliefs. Gay? Don’t care. Not my business. Transgender? That’s okay in my book and use the restroom of your choice, because, and I mean this part, I work under the assumption that whatever your gender you are not automatically attempting to create a criminal situation.

I’ll go one better here: Rapists and pedophiles are rapists and pedophiles and should be dealt with as such (Which is to say, HARSHLY). If anyone believes that a male putting on traditionally female garb and going into a womens’ rest room is there to find easy prey, they give too much credit to the evil genius. Sadly, most women are very aware, of necessity, of their surroundings. Most children need to be protected. But I do not believe for one instant that getting dressed in woman’s garb makes a person a sexual deviant. Should women be protected? Yes. So should transgenders, who are extremely likely to get beaten down or worse if forced to go into the male restroom at your average honky tonk or sports arena. I believe statistics back me on the number of attempted rapes by transgenders, by the way. Doesn’t happen much.

I believe in family values. By that I believe that families should have values. Husband and wife. Husband and husband. Wife and wife. As long as they all love each other it’s none of my business. I also genuinely don’t give a care one way or the other about polygamy as long as everyone’s happy with the arrangement.

I believe that far too often religious fears complicate what should be a simple situation. Homosexuality is not the same thing as pedophilia. To that end, I have no problem with gay or lesbian couples raising children. I have a problem with pedophiles raising children. Or abusive parents being allowed to raise their children simply because they are blood related and that somehow makes the abuse right. If I didn’t know of cases where this sort of mentality still existed, I wouldn’t bring it up. Abusive parents are abusive parents and should have to be a) monitored and b) given therapy before ever seeing their child again. Sound harsh? Go do some time with a grand jury and hear a few of the horror stories, then come back to me.

I believe in freedom of religion. All religions. I firmly believe, however, that the laws of these United States supersede the religious values of any and all religions. So if your faith says it’s okay to beat your spouse and the law says otherwise, you can’t beat your spouse. Want to have a human sacrifice? That, too, is against the law here in these United States.

I believe in a criminal justice system. (This one might be flawed, but I’ll explain.) If you do the crime, you should, in fact, do the time. I also believe that white collar crime is just as bad as blue collar crime and that all participants should be doing hard time. If dealing two ounces of pot is enough to get you hauled into the general population for 2 years, then stealing ten thousand dollars through computer fraud should also get you thrown in with the gen pop. Insider trading? Welcome to hard labor with the drug dealers and the rapists. It’s not supposed to be easy. Break the law and suffer the consequences.

Clarifying: I don’t believe in victimless crimes. Steal money? Someone is being stolen from. There is a victim. I don’t care if that victim is a corporation or your aunt Gertrude. Someone just had money stolen. There’s a victim. I believe that violent crimes, however, deserve higher rates of penalty. A murder caused in the passion of the moment is still a murder. Hard time and maybe a mandatory visit from the prison shrink. (I believe we should have prison shrinks, by the way, and that there should be more than one and that they should be regulated.). Insanity pleas are mostly a cop out. There are exceptions, thus, prison shrinks.

I believe that marijuana should be legalized. It’s not a gateway drug any more than alcohol or tobacco. There’s no proof to back that. So legalize it, regulate it and tax the crap out of it, same as booze and cigarettes. By the way, I don’t smoke the stuff and have no desire to start.  I believe that anyone who causes a death through driving under the influence should also be locked away. Criminal negligence is criminal negligence.

I believe that healthcare should be affordable. It isn’t in this country. I believe that this should be fixed immediately and I don’t much care how it’s done as long as it is, in fact, done. I believe that the insurance companies have managed to screw us all over for a long time and that they will continue to do so. Side note: with the exception of restorative plastic surgery I do not believe that cosmetic surgery should be free. I am not opposed to socialized medicine, but there are limits. Want a boob job? You’re on your own, medical restoration aside. Liposuction? Out of your pocket.

Clarification: I do not believe that the only people getting free healthcare for life should be the Congress of these United States. Last I checked they were supposed to work for We the People. Why do they get special privileges denied everyone else? Seriously? Not cool and I’m still thinking it’s against the actual laws that they are supposed to be following. 

I believe in a fair minimum wage. I believe that forty hours a week should be survivable financially. I don’t think it should get you a mansion, but at least enough to cover rent/house payment, food on the table and, of course, that medical insurance we need in this country to survive a broken arm without going into bankruptcy.

I believe that the Electoral College is flawed and should be removed. In this modern era I don’t care where you live, each vote should count. Not everyone in California votes the same way, so that nonsense doesn’t float with me. Live in Minnesota? That’s your choice. You should still get one vote. Local politics would still be handled the same way in any event, but as we can see by the difference between the popular vote and the electoral vote, something is rotten in the state of electoral numbers. That’s my opinion and I sincerely doubt you’ll change my mind. It’s always been a goofy system in my eyes.

I believe that this country is too litigious. We are, as a nation, “sue happy.” I believe that every citizen has rights, to be sure, but one of the reasons insurance rates climb is bloated litigation. There is no easy fix for this, because, honestly, if someone accidentally takes my arm (God forbid) in a car accident, and the insurance company wants to pay me 500 dollars, take it or leave it, you can bet I’ll be seeing someone in court.

I believe in term limits for politicians. If we can’t have the same person in charge of the executive branch for more than eight years, why should there be a different standard for the Administrative or Judicial for that matter? The system is flawed and should be fixed. As it stands there is too much chance for hardcore corruption.

I believe that “Citizens United” should be repealed immediately. Corporations are not people. They should not have a say and even if they DO have a say it should be no larger than the same amount allowed for individuals to offer to politicians in the past. What we have right now is too easily used to influence political sway. It’s called bribery, folks, and I firmly believe that anyone who is offering millions of dollars to the political campaigns has undue influence. But please, by all means, feel free to prove me wrong. Show me solid numbers that the money is having no undue sway over the politicians who are supposed to be working for the people.

Oh, or have the corporations making those deductions use the same tax form as the rest of us. If they are one person, they should get one standard deduction.

I believe in the First Amendment. I also understand the need to regulate and make changes to that amendment to better serve the original intent. I believe in the Second amendment in the exact same way. Some of the things I would suggest? Enforced gun safety. Limits on the sorts of bullets that citizens can employ. No one needs a talon, an armor piercing, or a glaser bullet. Ever. Violent criminals and felons should not have access to firearms, unless and until they can prove they are no longer a threat, and probably not even then. That’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it.  Everything gets registered and the owner is held accountable for the use of that weapon. If marijuana found in a car is automatically assumed to belong to the car owner, then the weapons used in crimes should automatically go to the gun owner. Lost a gun? You didn’t control it properly. Go do the time. Your kid picks up your gun and kills Uncle Billy? You get to go to jail. No, I don’t feel that you’ve suffered enough because your uncle is dead. You obviously didn’t pay attention to the mandatory gun safety courses I believe in, or to the news for that matter. Go to jail. Remember what I said about vehicular homicide while under the influence? Same thing. It’s called accountability. If there are special circumstances leave it up to a court of law. I also believe that anyone found using an unregistered handgun or rifle, or stolen weapon, should be treated to a minimum of 30 days in jail and the expense of a weapon trace to see if, where applicable, that weapon may have previously been used in a criminal case. They should be prosecuted for those cases if evidence links said weapon to a crime. See my earlier point regarding ownership of cars and criminal matters.

Back to equality for a moment: I do not believe that any race is superior or inferior to any other. That said, not everyone agrees with me. I am appalled by the number of people who I thought otherwise perfectly rational who told me that Barrack Obama was a horrible president but couldn’t give me solid reasons aside from “just because.” We the People should be better than that. I am a white male. There’s a certain amount of privilege that goes with that. I can’t change that. All I can do is stand by my previous statement. Race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, these are not things that should be considered. I believe we are all equal. We are all human and should be treated as such.

I believe that the United States should have the best educational system in the world. We do not. Student loans should not cripple a person financially. I have not chosen to go to college. I have two jobs and I get along, but if I had student loan debt on top of my current bills. I’d likely be working a third job.

I believe we need less tax loopholes.

I believe that our military is big enough. I believe that veterans who served in the military should be respected and, when necessary, receive help n adjusting to life after the military.

I believe in welfare within reason. Everyone needs an occasional hand up. Not a hand out. Limits to benefits should apply and if that means that people have to fill out extra forms, and accept that sometimes the benefits have tapped out, then there it is. My family was on food stamps when my mother was doing her best to take care of four kids and my dad left and failed to do his part via child support. Sadly, equal pay didn’t exist then (or now) and my mother was paid substantially less than her make peers (remember that equality part I talked about earlier?). When she no longer needed food stamps, we no longer got them, but for a short time they were necessary.

I believe that illegal aliens should be deported. I know exactly how fortunate I am to have been born here. I know that many are not as fortunate. I also know that there are right ways and wrong ways to get things done. Exceptions can certainly be made under the right circumstances and for refugees, but I believe that illegal aliens should be deported.

I believe that anyone who takes advantage of illegal aliens is actually pond scum and should be prosecuted for any acts that violate the rights given to every citizen. Why? Because if they are punished for their crimes, maybe they won’t try pulling that nonsense. Want to pay someone pennies on the dollar for what a citizen would make? Pay the horrifically exorbitant fines. They aren’t horrific? Make them so. It’s a criminal act that borders on slavery and we don’t allow that here, not for a very long time. We’d all like to save a few pennies. None of us have to do it on the backs of other people. Sorry, that’s just the way I feel about it.

I do not believe in judging through fear. I refuse to be afraid of anyone because of their faith, gender, sexual orientation, race or place of origin. I judge the individual by the individual. Profiling does no good.

Do I think I’m a bleeding heart liberal? Not in the least, though I’ll grant my leanings are to the liberal side.

Monday, January 23, 2017

"Westeros too quaint?" THE LAST SACRIFICE: A new review

Just ran across another lovely review and thought I'd share it here along with a progress report.

I've broken the halfway point in the first draft of FALLEN GODS, which is the second book in the TIDES OF WAR series. Guess what? Things get darker! More news on that soon.

In the meantime, here's the latest REVIEW.

"The Last Sacrifice Is a First Among Gritty, Grimdark Fantasy Books."

Nice, I love that!