Charlottesville: When Apathy and Confusion Collide

It’s moments like these that seem to be our toughest.  We can’t see straight, or want to see straight, or care.  We don’t find ourselves attached to carnage on television.  And it’s with that apathy that the media finds a way into our minds, perhaps even our hearts.  And their version of the events becomes facts, ultimately undisputed.

In this case, it appears that Governor Terry McAuliffe is using a media pulpit to try and shout down far right conservative organizations, who he has a personal ax to grind with.

The media has climbed onto to the narrative from the governor, and are accepting it without asking questions.  And it turns out that the media itself had no reporters on the ground, instead relying on some questionable sources for the information they using to prop up their coverage.

But as we reach the 48 hour period after the incident that claimed the life of one and the eventual injuries of 19, as well as two law enforcement officers killed while responding by air, it turns out that McAuliffe’s version is not accurate.  Not even close.

More first hand accounts are coming forward of BLM, Antifa, and KKK members causing property destruction and violence, which was left unchecked by local police, for what reasons we don’t know yet.

However, there was a large group of Constitutionalists who were attempting to facilitate free speech, rather than allow violence.  And it has been verified that they were attempting to intervene with whoever the violent instigators were, no matter what their views were, to try and keep the protest peaceful, and about each group’s message, rather than violence.  Their efforts failed.  And they became the target of McAuliffe, because the only thing he can do is turn this political, because that’s all McAuliffe ever does.

It’s time we as Americans got serious about a problem we have in our country, that we are contributing to:  apathy.  Because we refuse to be truly engaged in events like these, we give people like McAuliffe a platform to lie, and accept his ideas as legitimate because of title, rather than actual work.  There are hundreds of politicians like him, and we legitimize their lack of true work by accepting them verbatim.  We have to stop this.

We have to get engaged on these issues, and we have to use our pursuit of information to demand that news organizations actually do the job of reporting fact, rather than revisions of history as it occurs.

One stance we should all have, is that Antifa has no business being anywhere in our country.  Antifa is an armed wing of the Anarchists in the US.  Antifa is their “dark ops” group, renamed.  And their entire effort is cause violent outbursts to further their efforts, of unraveling our Constitution and our form of government.  All of us should unite in not accepting them or their stance.

The KKK is another group we should roundly rebuke.  We should not have a problem uniting and not accept their ideas at all, and scare them out of existence.  I don’t see how either of these stances can’t be universal, but yet if you listen to the media right now, they’re tell you that you have to accept one or other.  Aren’t you getting tired of these massive organizations telling you to accept one pill or the other?

The BLM is yet another group we should not accept.  As much as they’ve had people come forward who speak and articulate points, the results have been nothing but violent events, businesses being torched, innocent people being hurt, and key witnesses in criminal and civil cases being assassinated.  BLM, for all it’s legitimized grievances, has nothing but violence attached to their activities.  It’s a very short history, but it’s been substantiated enough that none of us should accept the existence of this group either.  Their efforts are no better than the previous two I’ve talked about.

If we truly want to expunge hate, then we have to expunge all of it, you can’t pick sides, and you can’t choose which one has interesting points.  These three groups caused the problems in Charlottesville, no one else.  As I write this, the driver of the vehicle, James Fields, has been identified as member of an unidentified democrat party, and a possible member of the KKK.  It stands to reason that regardless of his affiliations, violence can’t be accepted, and the groups that are inevitably involved violence need to be removed from our way of life.

But more so, we all need to get engaged, and we need to unify in not letting these groups cause these problems.  We all have to rebuke their existence together.  That’s how America comes together, right now.

Update:  Since I wrote about this incident, the reporting of Mr. Fields’ party affiliation has changed again, and the sources reporting on this detail now are not what I would consider reliable.  Good thing that detail has nothing to do with refuting violence.

Cubs Sunday: 1st Place in the Division

So a lot has changed yet again on the Northside.

The Cubs are a game above in the division, and have hit a few win streaks that are causing them to separate from the rest of the pack.

Their last ten has them losing more than winning, but don’t mind that.  Manager Joe has a theory that we need to be playing more night games, and get away from the typical day time shuffle that has been a signature of Cubs baseball since before most of us were born.

Wilson Contreras was on a serious tear.  And then he seriously strained his hamstring.  The Cubs had been riding his stellar plate defense, and his incredible bat for awhile.

Rizzo is batting .262, and band-wagoners are swaying back to whatever rocks they came from.

People are saying this is as good as they’ll get, and they’re going to start descending again.

Have no fear.  I have none.  These guys are real terror, and while they look a bit toppled, they’ve only just begun.  They have less than 50 games left, and they’ve picked a great time to band together.

Some things that have stuck out to me:

Addison Russell isn’t getting better offensively.  He’s not merely in a slump, he’s competing in every at bat, for his skill level, but he seems to be tailing off, making less quality contact with each day.  It’s not improving in any situation.  It’s not improving when facing any count.  It’s not improving when dealing with a certain pitch.  It’s simply not improving.  It may be time to deal him while he still has value.

Ben Zobrist is in hang-over city.  That’s it, nothing else to say about it.

Jason Heyward is settling into what the rest of his career is going to be:  Defensive dynamo, who can hit .250 plus.  I’ll take it!

We need more Albert Almora Jr.  We need more Jon Jay.  With experience these two are going to be clutch contact hitters, with spark plug influence on the line-up.  Put ’em in coach!

John Lackey is going to retire.  There’s no way he’s going to keep pitching at this rate.  It’s sad to think about.

Jose Quintana has become more effective pitch to pitch with the Cubs defense behind him.  It’s amazing what the confidence of routine catches will do for a young hurler.

Hector Rondon is done.  That’s even more gut wrenching than Lackey.  Rondon is a young pitcher who had so much promise, ripped from him through two major injuries, and now he battles minor setbacks in the wake of recovery, along with limitations his body now places on his natural form.  He’ll finish his career as a Cub this year, and that will be it for him.

Eddie Butler has presented himself as an interesting puzzle piece.  We’ll need a bit more tape to sort it all out, but optimism says he’ll find a spot at the tail end of the rotation.

There’s far more in Wrigleyville than my synopsis, but let’s watch the rest play out.  I know I will be!  Eamus Catuli!

Order Walk with Warriors

Hey, another quick note about Walk with Warriors, order yours today, and very soon I’ll be making appearances to discuss my contribution to this veteran project, at which point I can sign your copy.

This is the first installation of an on-going project intended to support veterans, giving them a voice to their stories of service.  Even if you’re not a fan of me, I urge you to support this project, and help veterans express their stories, while giving the rest of the world a chance to understand them better.

Order Walk with Warriors right here.

Friday Night Opinion: Seattle Mayor Ed Murray Must Resign

I know most people are living in or near Seattle.  Mathematics and statistical distribution says it’s not possible.

But I must comment on one of the worst scandal-not scandal’s I’ve seen in some time.

Ed Murray is the embattled Mayor of Seattle.  The reason he is embattled is because it has come to light that his adult past may not be as “clean” as we’d all expect of a mayor.

First, some men that are younger than Mr. Murray came forward alleging that when they were teens, he paid to have sex with them by offering them drugs as well as cash.  Allegations like these never look good in public, but I would agree that these allegations alone are not a reason to resign.

But, those allegations started gaining traction in the form of court hearings.  Murray, continuing to run for re-election, boldly said that these allegations were part of a “right-wing conspiracy” aimed to take him down.

And that’s the point that I had to raise an eyebrow about his involvement in these alleged past discretions.

If you know anything about Seattle politics, they haven’t had a conservative, or “right-wing” anything in the city since James Braman, who last served as mayor in 1969.  Since then it’s been an onslaught of progressively aggressive left-wing ideologues, with Murray being the most recent iteration of that group.

Murray, along with support of the majority of current Seattle City Council, has ushered in the left’s economic scourge of raising minimum wage to $15.00 an hour.  They’ve made a mess (yet again) of both the drug and homeless problems in the city, they’ve gone after property owners in Seattle, who in their opinion, are charging too much for rent for certain apartments – going so far as naming a law after a landlord which is prompting a legitimate lawsuit, and the final piece of Murray’s tenure, instilling an income tax against what his council has defined as the “wealthy” of Seattle.  In case you’re not catching the theme, these are all examples of major pillars of the far left argument concerning their version of economics, which is suppose to place the common person first, ahead of those that are high earners and innovators.

And for those that are further perplexed, here’s the straight dope:  These kinds of moves within any government, can’t be accomplished by the first group in support of them that has achieved a majority of office.  It takes years, upon years, upon years to get the right kind of momentum going.  Usually, somewhere between 40 and 50, and we’re at 48 years of progressive liberalism in Seattle.

There certainly are conservatives in Seattle and Washington State, but to think that they could organize such an effort to take down an openly gay mayor is comic relief at it’s finest.

The fact that Murray uses that reasoning for these allegations only helps solidify them.  Though it will take a court to sort the mess out.

But, if that wasn’t enough, more problems with Murray’s past came to light, to include a very damning report from his life in Oregon, where he had adopted a child.  In the report, the investigator who was looking into accusations of child abuse, made clear statements that the adopted child Murray had should have been removed from the home by the State of Oregon, and there was a strong likelihood of both physical and sexual abuse occurring in the home.

It’s this revelation of fact that causes me to put my foot down and state loudly that Ed Murray must resign.  He’s argued that he won’t leave office, because it would cause more problems, with a power vacuum occurring within the council.

The main problem with this, whether the media mentions it or not, is that Murray is failing to respect the desires of the citizens of Seattle.  Despite politics, despite ideals, no citizen in any citizen wants a child abuser as a mayor, nor should they have to accept that.  Murray effectively makes the argument that citizens don’t care enough about their own city to work to remove him, which is essentially the only option, since it is clear the council is not going to take action to remove him.  These issues with Murray started to break publicly around February of this year.  It’s August now, and the council has verbally said they’d like him to leave, but they’ve done nothing to remove him, which they have some power in.  But more to the point, if they truly stood for children’s rights, which they’ve invoked about four dozen times over the last five months, you’d think the first thing to do is begin removal proceedings.  There’s no legal grounds for Murray to sue, he serves at the pleasure of citizens, and there’s nothing in law that stops council members from energizing the cause.

And considering that Kshama Sawant, who is the biggest liability on the council, if you read the link news story, you would think this is a no-brainer for them to get started, since she stuck her nose in the business of the City of Seatac, which also had a push for a $15.00 an hour minimum wage.

But of course, while the council has strict rules on their members getting involved in other municipalities politics, they didn’t enforce it with Sawant then, which then allowed the politcally-motivated Seatac judge to dismiss the criminal charges on the worst legal grounds ever uttered in a court of law. 

And since it’s clear they’ll let a council member act criminally, then it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they’ll let a mayor, whether or not the statute of limitations has been reached.  But this is why the citizens of Seattle need to take this effort on.  Because until they do signal their supreme interest in having ethical leadership, this kind of terrible circumstance is going to continue to visit this fair city multiple times.

On a side note, this might be the reason that voting down party lines is a bad idea.  It gives people the chance to fast-track themselves, despite their inability to maintain a proper life.  Of course, that idea can be used subjectively, but I think this example states it very well.  While there is no question that no one helped Murray do any of the despicable things he’s been accused of, or been found to have done, it is clear that due to a liberal-friendly media, a liberal-friendly citizenry, and delegates, advisers, business leaders, really a whole apparatus of political “clergy” who were friendly to a politician like Murray that has allowed him to serve as long as he has without anyone digging into his background.

It ought to be concerning to citizens that it took until May 2017 for the child abuse investigation to be made known, seeing as Murray has served in as a State Representative in Washington State for several terms before becoming mayor.  Those findings were made in the 80’s.  How was the press not capable of finding this out?

All the more reason for citizens to take over their own cause, which is the city, and forced Murray to resign, or face recall.

Character Development: How Should you Write Someone

Writers have a lot of avenues to collect advice on how to write characters.  I’m not the kind of person that tells people how to write.  I come from the Charles Bukowski school of writing:

Just write.

That being said, I was talking with a few people who have some of my business affairs at heart, and as I was discussing a particular character for a book I have in development (not list on here by the way, so you’ll have to wait), they said “Matthew, you really need to discuss your insight into writing people, because you don’t have the same information to provide, you don’t from a purely academic background in writing, and you have experience with real world characters.”

I thought to myself the same thing I always think:  No one cares what I think about writing, they only care about what I write, because that’s all anyone has ever cared about.

But they pushed me about this, so I thought I would give a little bit of advice about writing characters that I find useful.  This isn’t necessarily universal truth, so don’t think you can apply it to all characters.  In fact, that’s the first thing to remember:  if you think it’s something you can apply to all characters, you’re wrong.

No one in this world exhibits the same kind of characteristics as another, to a complete T.  Even identical twins have differences if you pay attention.

And in a novel, it’s no different.  In fact, it can be even worse for the writer.  Because your reader has that book to read, over and over again.  Or more likely, re-read that one paragraph, over and over again.  If they start to notice cracks in your character, it’s likely because you applied some “universal truth” to all of them, and it’s made one of your characters seem unrealistic, or at least illogical.  So don’t apply the same thing to all your characters.

Motivation can be tricky.  You may think that your character is motivated to only one thing, or at least, common writing logic says your character should be motivated to one end.  Is that true in real life?

I highly doubt it.  I know some real life “characters” that seem to think that they can get high all the time and still effectively work.  Sure, one is going to win out over the other, but that doesn’t mean that either motivation for them is any less real.

If you try to force your character to choose between motivations, it seems unnatural.  Now, if your character gets to a point where they have to choose one over the other, that’s a ‘moment of truth’ situation.  In order to get there, your character would have had to analyze pros and cons of the two motivations, and internally come to a conclusion.  Then you can reveal that result in that moment.

But by and large, characters should have multiple motivations.  You yourself are likely motivated by six or seven hobbies, and two are pursued heavier than the others, but that makes them no less valuable to you when each opportunity to pursue them affords itself.

And a third thing, never, ever, never, should you end a story with any character eating a slice of cake.  That is ridiculously decadent and not the sort of thing you should be aiming for!  Cake?  Seriously?  Why don’t you have Marie Antoinette make an appearance while you’re at it.

When it comes to writing, I tend to talk with two truths and a lie.  I dare you to figure this one out.

Update: Hope in Varnell, Georgia

In a very strong showing,  in the small town of Northern Georgia we discussed a few weeks ago, Varnell, citizens showed they were done fooling around with the city council nonsense, and told their sitting council that it’s time for them to resign.

To recap, Varnell Police responded back in June to an incident at Sheldon Fowler’s residence, who was then a city council member.  It turns out that Fowler is sexually aggressive with his daugthers, and also makes fun of one for having learning disabilities.  I don’t want to review the whole situation, but for your own benefit, here’s where you can read about Dad of the Year.

He refused to resign in lieu of the arrest, but then eventually did.  The city council, in response to “one of their own” getting held accountable, decided that disbanding the police department was the correct action.  The citizens had one word for it: wrong.

Not only was this not a popular move by city council, they also violated sunshine law requirements, because they misadvertised the special meeting where they took action.  For one, the City of Varnell prior to this had a rare distinction for being a open, transparent city government, achieving the highest award given with the State of Georgia for the effort to be transparent.

This whole episode places that entire reputation in jeopardy, which was likely built by many council members and mayors prior to those currently serving.  What a bad move by the current council.

At a special meeting called on July 25, 2017, the council could not achieve quorum, because as it turns out, one of the currently sitting council members who voted to disband the police department, doesn’t even live in the city limits, which is required.

Funny how following the rules seems to be so hard for this crop of city council members.

The person resigned prior to the meeting, because it’s been documented that they’ve lived outside of city limits since last year, and they cite being threatened, but it’s more likely they don’t want to face an ethics investigation that would have been carried out.

As far as the special meeting, the only council member in support of the police department was gone on a family emergency, so because there is no quorum, they had to postpone the meeting.

The two remaining council members left in shame, and rightfully so.  They’ve tried to grind a political axe that no city council members are supposed to have, but sometimes are given for very stupid reasons.

I can’t tell you how wonderful it is that this has played out this way.  My theory is that the two council members in favor of disbanding will eventually resign.  There’s no way they’ll be voted back in, and there’s no reason for them to stay in office now, since it is clear the citizens are going to take action to keep them from conducting any business.  The citizens don’t trust these people.  Nor should they.  They want a police department they can trust, and they want to feel safe.

And they should have that piece of mind.

Military Nude Picture Scandal: Where are we today?

It’s been several months since we first heard of the disgusting military nude picture situation.  I know a lot of people call it a scandal, but that word is overused in my opinion.

The last known status on this investigation was that a joint task force of FBI and NCIS agents have a small office a Quantico, where they sit eight to ten hours a day, scouring through photos on several sites, trying to capture the roots of photos, identify victims, and locate where the people distributing them are.

At the same time that update went out, several self-identified victims came forward, some who had nude photos shared, others who did not, stating they were upset by the photos being sent, rightfully so.

As a veteran, I find the whole thing appalling.  It has ruined unit and branch cohesion in a way that only the service would ever be capable of doing to itself – implosion.

That’s not to say that the leadership of our armed services caused this problem, because they didn’t.  That’s not to say they contributed to this problem, because they didn’t.

The problem has been the acts of about four dozen members of various branches of service, who have since disseminated all of these photos and videos to tens of thousands of others, who in turn have re-posted them to tens of thousands, and so on.

I have always said that our military, and the things service members do while not in combat, are a direct reflection of ourselves.

While these photos were being hung around the internet, many of these female victims were serving bravely overseas, some were preparing for overseas assignments, some where in the States, getting equipment and personnel ready for war-fighting.  And yet, they were being victimized, over and over and over again.

If you are a veteran, or actively serving, be it on active duty, reserves, or national guard, and you support the dissemination of this material, you should do yourself and everyone else who does or has served a favor, and ask your unit command for discharge right now.  We don’t have room for people like you in the service.

When I served, masculinity abounded in the service, as it should, and certainly there was varying degrees of womanizing.  The most terrible thing I can gather from this is that it’s that casual pervalence of looking at women as a conquest is what was used by these few bad apples to support the actions they took.

I can tell you that nothing could be further from the truth.  It’s understandable that people would link these two things together, because it appears quite easy.  But in reality, in order to turn your interest in the opposite sex into victimization speaks to a entirely different reality that the perpetrators are working from.  It’s called narcissism.

True, we all experience levels of narcissistic behavior within ourselves, but the level this group of criminals are at is sociopathic.   Their actions show that not only do they think they are superior, but that their idea of women is that they are merely here for their convenient delight.  That the only purpose they serve is when they themselves have an itch to scratch.  And that’s why guys like them post this content.  They have a momentary need, they solve for it, and then they don’t think about it ever again.

The idea that you can take whatever you want from a woman, is not an idea that ever come up in the passive womanizing I was aware of in my time of service, nor was it something I ever explored.  Did I find certain women “hot?”  Absolutely!  And I don’t feel bad for having my own opinion of what is attractive and what isn’t, and I never will feel bad for that.  But what I do know, is regardless of how I may have felt about a particular woman in my dating past, is that I never decided to embarrass her for being who she is with me, and no one else.  I always took that as my experience with her, and no one else will learn of it from me.

You can call it what you like, but I think the difference between civility and barbarianism is when you experience something raw and potentially filled with emotion, you shouldn’t be looking to exploit that experience, or any person involved.

Heck, even barbarians have a level of civility when it comes to this, so maybe that comparison is insulting.

But more to the issue at hand, is the male role as protector.  Too often, we as men avoid that role.  I say too often, and don’t misunderstand the use.  When I say that, I don’t mean by and large, men all over are devoid of responsibility.  I’m saying that sometimes in the most crucial moments of decision making, collectively, we as men miss the mark of what we should be doing.  If we considered our role as protectors in every decision we made, I think our society would be a lot safer in general, and we wouldn’t have as much fodder for news and blogs to cover, because risk taking behavior would be cut by third overall, and literally all deviant behavior would be cut in half or more.  As I’m getting older, I know this is becoming a larger part of my process, and I can only hope it would be installed by many other men.

Before the investigation opened, I was sent a link on a certain social media site (which I won’t reveal), to view photos that were undoubtedly part of this investigation.  I didn’t think twice, and didn’t click the link.  I knew something was wrong, because it’s a social media site I’m on, but I have no activity, so I figured it was spam anyway, and that the title was some attempt at click bait.

When I heard of the problem being exposed, and the speech given by General Robert Neller, I instantly thought of that link.  I looked at it, and even clicked on it, and it confirmed my suspicions.  The people sending it were looking for anyone with a military background.  For whatever reason, they thought we were all interested.  I guess we might all be interested, but we all have a very different take on this.

What I saw really brought this issue through my front door and right in my face, where I had to sit and think about my past as a man, and how I’ve related to women over the years.  I can’t say I’ve been perfect in my relationships.  I can’t say that in my relationships that I would do it all the same again.  I know I have misstepped, I know I have done things wrong.  But I can be sure that I’ve never done anything remotely like this to any woman, and wouldn’t dream of it.  But I do wonder what it takes for someone to reach their level of depravity.

Prior to writing this, I looked to see if that link was still active, and it sadly is.  But it has been receiving far less traffic than before, and I’ve noticed most of the users who posted the material are now deactivated, probably either by their own doing, or maybe a sign that these accounts are slowly being dealt with, and so are the things they’ve done.

There’s been no updates that I can find on this investigation since May of this year, and that’s most likely because law enforcement agencies have taken the correct stance in not discussing active investigations.

In one sense, it can’t be done fast enough.  But on the other hand, having investigations experience myself, I would hope it goes as slow as investigators need to make as many defense-proof cases as possible.  Because I don’t want a single one of these perverts getting to claim honorable discharge and reap benefits of service they betrayed.