From Behind Enemy Lines

Rumors and Lies

I make no bones about not liking Trump. I have many reasons for disliking him, and while many are “feeling based,” they’re concrete enough to be discussed. I can tell you WHY I don’t like him, and why I don’t think he’s the right President for this country, at least right now. My dislike doesn’t descend into hatred or vitriol, though.

I don’t like Biden, either. I have many diverse and concrete reasons for not liking him. I believe that another four years of Biden would cause irreparable harm to America, both as a country and as a people. My dislike, as with Trump, doesn’t mean that I hate him or that I spew nonsense about him.

The problem I have with the current political climate is that there doesn’t seem to be any middle ground. On one side, we have Trump, defender of the American Way, making America Great Again, looking to please the Republican voter base. Along the way, Trump is alienating undecided voters, pissing off a lot of Democrats, and pissing off a number of Republican ones, too. On the other, we have Biden, who is just plain incompetent. He’s not capable of deciding what to eat, never mind the direction a failing country should be going in. He’s just signing whatever people put in front of him, and that’s leading to a ridiculous level of decay. IMO, of course.

When I talk to people who support Trump, I often hear about how awesome he is, how great he is with money, and how he understands the downtrodden. I also hear about how Biden is a pervert, a traitor to the country, and that he’s invested in seeing that abortion is available up to and after birth. When I talk to Biden supporters, I hear about how “at least he’s better than Trump,” and that things haven’t been “too bad” with him. And then I hear about how Trump is a horrible person, how he’s a rapist, how he wants women to be caged like animals in the home, and that he wants to get rid of all the gay and trans people and put them in concentration camps.

What I hear, in the random flow of words that surround me on social media, is untruth. It’s rumors and lies. I hear as many about Biden as I do about Trump. If we could prove Biden was a pervert, he’d have been impeached by now and we’d be rid of  him. If he was a traitor and it could be proven, same. I haven’t seen any proof that Trump wants to push women back into the stone age, or that he wants to ban gay people, or round them up. This hysterical anger, these flashy words, aren’t truth. They’re nothing but rumors and lies.

I still don’t like Trump. I still don’t like Biden. I don’t think either of them are going to take my country in the right direction right now. They and their voter bases are too polarized, too opposite. Anything that includes the two of them is going to be another toss of the coin. I don’t think America should have to deal with yet another toss of the coin. That’s not how our government is meant to be chosen.

I am terrified that Biden’s people are going to successfully get rid of the Electoral College. I’m afraid that Trump’s people will be able to get abortion banned in all states, for all reasons, with no exceptions. I’m worried that Biden’s Democrats are going to allow innocent children to do surgical and hormonal changes to their bodies before they are old enough to make decisions about themselves. I’m concerned that Trumps Republicans are going to make birth control (and other women’s medical concerns) harder to get, or impossible to get. I’m scared that both sides are more interested in lashing out at one another, that they aren’t going to actually work on making things better for the country, as a whole.

There is no one else who’s even remotely likely to get onto the ballot at this late date. We’re looking at another toss of the coin. And it’s wrong. This is not freedom to choose, nor is it freedom to live. This is a sham that offers no real choice. I wish it were different. I want it to be different. I don’t know how to help make it different. And frankly, I’m aware that attempting to make it different means that pretty much everyone will hate me.

This is very truly a “behind enemy lines” post, though not from the Democrat side. Not from the Republican one, either. I’m in No Man’s Land, watching the war go on, knowing that the people fueling it aren’t the ones who’ll TRULY pay for the outcome of this next battle. The People, WE the People, will pay… and the price is too steep.

Hagar the depressed

Words Have Meaning

BLUF: Words have meaning, and while that meaning can change over time, we need to take the time to understand. This means looking at words in context, at the time they were written, while still using a modern eye to examine them.

A number of years ago, I was attending a local church service, and the pastor alluded to the idea that shepherds were dirty social outcasts who everyone thought poorly of. His proof for this was that, when Samuel called David in from the sheepfold, he was filthy when he arrived, that David was, “just a shepherd.” I was a bit taken aback by this, because that’s not what history (or Biblical literature, btw) teaches us. I first learned about this from a Jewish scholar named Joel Hoffman, author of And God Said: How Translations Conceal the Bible’s Original Meaning. I went to a talk he was having at a local synagogue, and the history of shepherds was the first thing he talked about.

Shepherds were tasked with protecting their flocks of sheep, out in the wilderness at the edge of the farmland surrounding their cities and towns. So you had a social center, a city or town, and outside that was farmland, and outside that was grazing for the sheep. Out there, shepherds had to contend with wolves, panthers, hyenas, feral pigs, foxes, jackals, and lions. Today, when we face up to those kinds of odds, we go armed with an AR-15 or other firearm. They had, and I kid you not, a stick (shepherd’s staff) and a sling with whatever rocks they could find (and the shepherd’s staff became the king’s scepter, and the rocks became the orb, later in history). That was it. Shepherds were, to say the least, bad ass.

In Biblical times, shepherds were seen as a form of superhero. They were the combat veterans, the first line of defense in case of an attack (by animal or human enemy). They had to defend their sheep with their lives, because those sheep were literally their livelihood. They were, indeed, dirty fellows because they lived out in the fields with greasy and filthy sheep. They slept in the open. They didn’t bathe often. So yes, when Samuel called David in to proclaim him the new leader of Israel, he was probably stinky and dirty. When the High Priest of your people summons you, you don’t stop long enough to grab a shower and a change of clothes; you hightail it to his presence, at all speed. No one thought David was stupid or idiotic. He was just young, the youngest of all his brothers, with a lot less life experience.

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TikTok Turmoil

Some of you may have heard that the House voted to ban TikTok. It now goes to the Senate, and if it passes there, to the President.

I will admit, I don’t understand some of the finer points involved in this fracas. As someone who stepped into the World Wide Web as an adult, I knew that this particular form of media would save everything. If I put it onto the web, into an email, on a video, then it would be saved forever. I instilled this knowledge in my children, though I have been somewhat less successful in making them understand it. For them, there has ALWAYS been an World Wide Web. Regardless, I know that if it’s online, then people have access to it. That’s why I don’t store credit card info or personal information online. So how is TikTok any different than other social media?

After talking with people who are more “in the know” than myself, I believe that the only real difference is that it’s China holding onto the information. It was pointed out to me that if anyone with a security clearance has TikTok, then it’s possible for the Chinese to put two and two together to make classified documents. That seems like a fairly reasonable reason to keep TikTok out of government and military offices… but then again, I can’t think of a reason why a General or a military scientist would be indulging in TikTok on base anyhow. Still, that doesn’t mean the general public should have their toy taken away.

The information that TikTok contains in its gizzards is available from many places. While it may not be as easy to pull the pieces together, it’s still all there. If it’s online at all, then everyone has at least potential access to it. This is why I don’t have a problem using Temu. I know that the information being gathered by Temu is much the same as the information being gathered by Amazon and other places. If China really wants to sift through 170 million users’ worth of information, mining for a gold nugget, then let them. Maybe it’ll keep them too busy to do other obnoxious things.

More important than all of the above, though, is the knowledge that if TikTok is axed, then other social media platforms won’t be long in joining them. Whether it’s Truth Social, or X, or Facebook, someone will get their panties in a knot and court will happen, and the TikTok ban will be used as precedent. This is 100% a case of those unintended consequences we often talk about. Republicans need to NOT shoot themselves (and the rest of the country, thank-you-very-much) in the foot by passing this along. The American people, in droves, have decided they like TikTok. I happen to like it myself, though that’s not germane to this discussion. If our government “takes it away,” there very well might be hell to pay, and there absolutely will be unintended consequences galore.

Bad Optics and Negative Views

TCK, one of the responders on my post about Democratic Candidates for President, made this comment:

The only thing Trump did wrong was not marching soulless inhuman demonrat filth into mass graves where it belongs.

My response was a simple, “Not cool.” I felt that anything I had said in response would put me in danger of being seen as “the dick” that we mostly try to avoid. I want to talk about why this comment bothers me so much.

My kneejerk response was of this:

There are lots of ways for us to express ourselves. Some I find distasteful, and I just walk away. You guys like to swear a lot more than I do, and use invectives that I think are inappropriate. They do not, however, come even close to the line of, “Don’t be a dick.” Whether TCK intended it or not, the words they used immediately brought images to mind of people being marched into mass graves… or into ovens. With current political climes being what they are, the thought seized my brain. Hence, not cool. So very not cool.

But WHY is it not cool? Why isn’t that statement one I just walk away from, like so many others? After all, I didn’t even flinch over “demorats,” which is something that normally makes me cringe (as you regulars know so well). It’s because I have come to love this place. I talk here about things I can’t talk about anywhere else. I learn from you, and I get the impression that you all learn from me, even when (or perhaps especially when) we disagree.

I worry that this type of comment, quoted in a public forum elsewhere, is enough to get GFZ tossed on the burn pile, banned on places like Google, and avoided even by good quality Right folk. The implication of killing off the competition, the innuendo that leads one to think of concentration camps and death to everything Not Us, is a big deal in the States right now. I will be very honest, and say that I really don’t want to be associated with a site that doesn’t find that kind of implication offensive.

It’s a random comment, probably made off the cuff. I doubt TCK intended to give the impression that they wanted to actually murder anyone not of their belief. But I don’t KNOW. Their follow up response didn’t make it any more clear, to me at least. And so I’m left wondering. Is TCK actually suggesting that we should commit genocide against people who don’t agree with the Right? Are they saying that we should kill those who label themselves Left or Democrat? Or was it a figure of speech, done to evoke an emotional response?

Why does it matter? For some who come to this site, it really doesn’t. This is one of a handful of places you visit, and what people on the outside think doesn’t matter at all. While I don’t care if people think I’m posting to an alt-right site (hell, maybe I am… the definition is so shifty that one can barely tell), I DO care if people think I’m posting to a pro-Nazi site, or a place that advocates for unnecessary violence against any who disagree with a political view.

I don’t even care so much for myself, per se. I care because it’s the kind of thing that gets you banned in so many other places. I do go to FB and TikTok and Instagram and those other sites, for a variety of reasons. I sometimes carry out messages and quotes from GFZ because they are so insightful that I feel like they must be shared (with proper attribution of course). If I can’t do that, if this becomes another insular community with no ability to interact with the rest of the internet, then it loses so much of what makes it special.

Does this mean I think we need to cowtow to the public? Not entirely. I try not to get my panties in a wad over too much. The few times I’ve had issues, I’ve walked away. Until this one. This one I brought up to AWA because I thought it had gone over the line, and I was looking for guidance. What he said is between he and I, but he suggested I write about it, and so I have.

I don’t want to kill those who don’t believe as I do. I don’t want to associate with those who do believe that. I don’t want to censure those who believe differently. I want, in fact, to learn from people of differing beliefs. It’s the only way for me to grow. When I talk to most of you, I feel a door is opened. I may or may not like what’s on the other side, but it’s an open door, and you graciously allow me to learn from you. TCK slammed a door in my face, figuratively speaking, and denied me (or anyone else) a view of what lay beyond. What was left was … well, the picture I posted above, quite frankly. An open door would have been much better, because it would have left space for questioning, for learning, for expanding knowledge. Now, though, I’m left muttering to myself.

It’s the kind of commentary that makes me want to walk away. That puts me in a crap position, because I really don’t WANT to walk away. But I find myself questioning whether it’s safe. If that makes any sense. sigh

Hagar the Frustrated

Democratic Candidates for the Presidency

One of the topics that was suggested I write about was the idea of who was running on the Left. Here’s what I found out.

Joe Biden

He’s the sitting president. I’m not a fan. I firmly and sincerely believe that he has some form of dementia, and that his current use by others as a puppet amounts to elder abuse. I’m not joking, and it’s not snickering. While I didn’t like him before, I thought he was relatively well spoken and somewhat amusing. Today, I am concerned that having him as a sitting president makes me an abuser. For real. Whatever platform he’s running on, Biden is not actually actively a part of it. He’s a figurehead, and at this point, not even really that. I could outline that platform, but I don’t feel the need. It’s more of the same that we’ve already had, and we all know it’s not a good plan.

Marianne Williamson

She ran in 2020, but didn’t get far. She’s far Left in her words. She specifically wants “free” college, “free” healthcare, “free” childcare. She also wants a “living” minimum wage. I know that’s a lot of quotation marks, but I really don’t think she understands what the word “free” means. None of those things are OR CAN be free. The people providing the services have to be paid. That money has to come from somewhere. And a minimum wage that is country wide will never work because of the economic disparity between the various states (for instance, $9 an hour is enough to live on in many parts of the South, but isn’t even enough to get a nice box for under the motorway in New York). She talks much about “…ending the unjust system…” (from her video on her website). She does have a handful of decent ideas, such as giving corporations less power, but they’re so scattered that they simply are not viable.

Dean Phillips

He appears to be Biden Mark II. His big statement is he agrees with most of Biden’s policies, but Biden said he’d be a “transitional president” and step down after one term. Since Biden hasn’t done that, he’s standing up. He spends most of his videos talking about how other Dems don’t like him for rocking the boat or challenging Biden. Like all Dems, he wants universal health care and a minimum wage that pays well. He wants to “fix” the cost of living (but has no definitive plan on how to actually do that). He wants to cut military overreach, though I’m not really sure what that means. Basically he wants to audit them, and says that fixing the military is “simple.” He wants to reform education, but thinks that doing so is achieved by paying more to teachers. He doesn’t talk about any other ideas for reforming education; it’s all just because teachers are underpaid.

That’s it. That’s the whole Democratic field. Biden, who we already have ample experience with to know he’s bad for the country. Williamson, who is even more Left than Biden, and is also 74 years old. And Phillips, who is all pumped up and younger (54), but really has no idea about things. If I had to vote for someone on the Left, I’d vote for Phillips, only because he’s not as extreme as Williamson, and hopefully his handlers would be able to talk some sense into him.

I wish there was a strong Left candidate. I really do. I am firmly of the opinion that Trump, while not the demon the Dems would paint him as, would do more harm than good to the country if he were re-elected. I don’t think it’s the right thing to do for the United States of America, even if my beliefs aligned perfectly with his. He’s too polarizing, and I fear that it would cause an even larger schism. Because of the cult of personality that’s developed around him (both positive AND negative, btw), he cannot effectively lead. He would be stymied at every turn. When I look at the Left field, though, there is no one who could carry the country right now.

It’s been a while since I looked at Left runners for President. The last decent runner was Hilary Clinton. Not because I like her, because I do not, but because she’d at least have been effective. That’s part of what scared me so much about her, quite frankly. She would have made a difference, and it probably would have been a horrendously bad difference. But she’d at least have done it on purpose, and with her intellect intact. Biden doesn’t have that. If he wins, it’ll be only a micron less divisive than if Trump won, and the country will go down the shitter.

So there you have it. A “more left” view of the Left candidates.

TLDR: They all suck.

Our Children

There’s so much going on with kids right now. I’ve had numerous conversations at the dinner and breakfast table, with friends, when out and about, about the state of children, and what’s going on in schools.

Kids are being insane at schools. There are children who are so badly behaved that they are holding entire schools hostage because of that behavior. Be it throwing rocks at cars and breaking windshields, wrecking classrooms by tossing around desks, or biting teachers and swearing incessantly, it’s 100% out of control. I often comment that these brats could use a good beating, but of course I don’t mean it the way it comes out. Unfortunately, I’m also very strongly of the opinion that I’m right.

Teachers are no longer allowed to touch students. They have to get permission slips to hug kids or hold their hands in the hallways. Recently, a teacher got written up by HR because she walked her (IEP “low” intelligence/skill) kids to the bathroom and waited for them to take them back to class. Never mind that at least two of her students had that very accommodation in their IEPs. I know of a teacher who, in a fit of absolute desperation, took a picture of a child doing something bad and threatened to tell the parents about it. The TEACHER was written up, and had to go to a mandatory meeting with her union rep, and all that stuff. It was seen only as “threatening the child”, and not as anything positive. I kid you not. There’s a reason that teachers are leaving the classrooms en masse. At this point, our school district has unlicensed people in doing teaching, because they cannot find the staff.

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The Right to Bear Arms

A long time ago, AWA and I were talking about gun rights. Keeping in mind that I am originally from Canada, and therefore have some canalized thinking about firearms that harken back to those days, I was shocked to hear that he was okay with people getting back their guns coming out of jail.

I want to unpack this, because being a convert to 2A stuff, I think I have an interesting view on it. Perhaps my process will help you understand the Left a little more.

I grew up in a place where guns were considered terrifying. Only the police had guns, and guns were considered something only criminals would have. While there were hunters up north, where I lived in the suburban areas it was considered “odd” to own a gun, even if you had some need for one. This was pushed onto us, brainwashed into us from an early age.

To give you an idea of how much it messes with you, I’ll share a story. When I was a young adult, I went to live with my Hungarian grandparents to help take care of them. I had a kid at the time, and a boyfriend. I took care of them until they became unable to function at all, and were a danger to themselves and others, at which point I found a wonderful home for them where many of their friends were, and the kitchen staff allowed my grandmother to continue cooking. As I was cleaning the house up and out after they left, I ran across my grandfather’s gun. My boyfriend (who was from Michigan originally) told me it was a 22, but I honestly have no idea. It was packed in this dense, icky stuff which I now am pretty sure was cosmoline or something similar. It was behind the washer and dryer, in a spot where no one would have ever found it had I not been moving furniture around.

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