Saturday, December 24, 2016

Untitled Unblog Unpost #3

There will not be a blog post from me for the next two weeks (I know, I know: Isn't THIS a blog post?!?) Holidays and all. I'm not alone. Most of the podcasts I listen to are either off as well, or they have something in the can they will play ("Best of 2016" shows).

Thanks once again for all of you. As you are aware, this blog is therapy for me. It's kept the late-night demon from waking me up at night screaming. I so appreciate you being the couch I can pour my brain out on; the therapist that listens and allows me to talk my way to healing. 

May you have a restful, peaceful, and joyful holiday season. Don't focus too much on the calendar change. After all, it's just measuring yet another trip around the sun. Your life is one continuous trip. Make the most of the journey. You'll get to the final destination soon enough.

God bless you!


©Emittravel 2016

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Rest Assured

I dropped my wife off at the Cleveland Hopkins Airport this morning around 04:30. She is spending a week with her parents in Ft. Myers. It's my birthday gift to her. 

For the rest of the week I'll be on my own. It didn't take too long for me to start reflecting on how much I'm going to miss her. 

Even though I'm confident in our love, and have been for a long time, I felt it right to share that confidence with her. The following was written for Sweetest Day a few years ago. It's rather appropriate I share it here. You may want to take a moment to share the confidence of love you have with that someone special in your life too. Nothing like it. -j.p. ©Emittravel 2016

Rest Assured

Sometimes I tell you how much I love you
Sometimes I don’t
But rest assured
At all times
I do love you

Sometimes I hold you close to me
Sometimes I don’t
But rest assured
At all times
I long to hold you

Sometimes I share what is in my heart with you
Sometimes I don’t
But rest assured
At all times
Every heartbeat cries out to tell you what is inside

I love you
I long to hold you
My heart cries out for you
Each and every day

Sometimes I show you how important you are to me
Sometimes I don’t
But rest assured
At all times
I would never want to live without you

Rest assured

J.P. Wiegand
©Emittravel 2007

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Do You Swear to Tell the Truth . . .

A lot of what I write about comes from what seems to overflow from my brain. Currently, it seems that my social media is overcome with something called “fake news", and my brain has just about had enough of it.

Heard of it? It’s a phrase that came about shortly after Hillary Clinton conceded the election (due to the Electoral College - which, to the dismay of those crying over her winning the “popular vote", she actually acknowledges). I’m not exactly sure of the origin of the phrase. Please feel free to comment and give me your suggestions as to where you think the phrase came from. I post all comments - even those I disagree with - as long as they are not spam.

What spurred this post is a movie. Normally, my wife and I go by a list of movies we want to see; made up of movies we own, along with movies that we want to see that were covered on a podcast called “Film Sack", which I call IMDB on steroids and laughing gas. My wife suggested that we go through our movie list alphabetically. Unfortunately, along with the TV shows we are watching, it is taking us quite a bit of time to get through our list. It has been a few years and we’ve only just finally finished the “D"s.

Anywho, the movie that inspired this blog was a movie my wife wanted to watch that was not on our list: “Zootopia". Yeah, and even if it was on the list, can you imagine how far into our retirement it would take to finally get to the “Z"s?

(Note:  We just finished the “D"s of a list of movies over 500 titles long.)

Zootopia". Have you seen it? If you haven’t, you should. It is not only a fun story, the visuals are so amazing that you’ll sometimes forget that they were done with a computer.

However, about halfway through the film I paused the movie and stated that I was very annoyed with all of the propaganda being shoved down our throats, even in a kids/family movie.

For those of you who’ve watched a lot of Disney films, you are aware that there is usually some type of messaging taking place in the films. And this is not new. Ever watch “Mary Poppins"? (another GREAT film, by the way)

Now, I’m not going to complain about “Zootopia", as it was only the push for this blog article. So, if you haven’t seen it yet, don’t worry: no spoilers from me! (But you should see it! It is really good!)

Getting back to “fake news".

I’ve seen all kinds of crying over Donald Trump winning the election due to “fake news" and that places like Facebook and Twitter need to crack down on “fake news".

Part of the issue is the so-called mainstream media (MSM), and the fact that their integrity, as viewed by the general public, is quickly swirling down the drain of the commode of history. “Real" journalists are actually scared that people don’t think they are trustworthy. And I agree with them. I don’t trust them either.

Some of you will stop reading right after that last statement. I hope you don’t. Let me explain.

I don’t think that your local news at 6 is doing that bad a job. The problem I have is the “talking heads" on the MSM news outlets, especially those on cable. And I think it those outlets that are the issue.

As this is getting a bit longer than I had desired, let me get straight to the point: FOX News, CNN, MSNBC, and the like are NOT news channels. They are ENTERTAINMENT channels. They are all owned by entertainment companies. And what do entertainment companies focus on? They focus on ratings and ad revenue. Period. And that is what drives their “news" channels.

To be honest, they are not without news. Each day they give us about 15 minutes of actual news. The rest of the 23 hours and 45 minutes are made up of advertisements and OPINION shows. That’s right. When you are watching Megyn Kelly, Anderson Cooper, Rachel Maddow, or any of those other morons, you are NOT getting news. You are getting opinion.

Or, more accurately, “fake news".

You see, the MSM is against “fake news" unless THEY are the ones delivering it. As a matter of fact, they are against ANY kind of news, unless they are the ones delivering it. And that not only goes for the cable news outlets, but also places like the New York Times, Washington Post, and NPR.

So what IS “fake news"? It is any message not preferred by those with the loudest agenda. And that message is repeated over and over and over until people BELIEVE it to be the truth.

Unless it is delivered by the MSM it is “fake news”. Even shtuff from us bloggers.

But again, I don’t claim this to be news. It is just my humble but accurate opinion.

©Emittravel 2016

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Stuff My Brain Says #79

Maybe what the American people are lacking is not confidence in the electoral process, but confidence in the way the polls were reported. The major discrepancies between what the polls said and what the final election results were are what are driving the recount campaign. It has little to nothing to do with who got the majority of the popular vote.

Besides, even Hillary Clinton accepts the Electoral College, since she conceded the election to Donald Trump based on the results.

©Emittravel 2016

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Current Politi-SQUIRREL!!

“Hello iPhone my old friend
I’ve come to touch your screen again
I know I touched it oh so recently
I have to see if someone tweeted me
And if there is a new meme for me to look
There on Facebook
I can’t put down my smartphone”
(My apologies to Simon & Garfunkel)

What is it about our smartphones that has us checking them almost continuously?

Now, before you stop reading, please know that this is not an anti-technology rant. I love my smartphone. I’ve gone from a Palm pilot, to a Tungsten T3 (awesome, by the way), to an iPod, to an iPhone 4, to a Lumia Icon (running Windows), to my current Samsung Galaxy S6 (running Android). And rest assured, I’ve loved using all of them. Most of the podcasts I listen to are tech related. I love this shtuff.

What I’m trying to write my way into understanding is our apparent . . . “fascination” is the wrong word . . . obsession(?) with our smartphones. It’s not uncommon to see a whole group of people gathered together, but not actually BE together - you find them all looking down at their phones.

I’m guilty of this as well. I love spending time with my wife. Actually, I don’t consider it “spending time", rather more like “investing time". Yet, more times than I like to acknowledge, we will be at a restaurant (even for breakfast) and find ourselves pulling our phones out to check email or Twitter.


I’m not going to focus on the phenomenon that takes place like I described above. What I am going to focus on is the fact that we do it when alone.

And I don’t think the smartphone is the problem.

To quote Pogo (Walt Kelly): “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

As I mentioned above, I listen to podcasts. All the time. Whether music, technology, humor, or political, there is almost a constant stream of “noise" going into my right ear (which is where I wear my Bluetooth earpiece). I jokingly tell people that I listen to podcasts so that those voices entering my head override the voices that are IN my head.

And that, I believe, is the point. We do not like being alone with our thoughts. Ourselves.

Or possibly, we are afraid of silence.

Whether the input is going in our ears or our eyes, we seem afraid of being without a distraction; almost forcing us to be with ourselves.

As I write this I’m realizing I have to admit: I am too.

I’ve found that without the distractions I go on verbal rants. Alone. While driving my Jeep to work or home. And not just rants: angry, loud rants.

And I hate that.

I hate that I do that. Which, maybe, just maybe, is the very reason I NEED to periodically remove the distractions. For without acknowledging what is bothering me, I can never address, and hopefully change, it.

What about you? What happens when you DO experience silence?

I’m not going to challenge you to put aside the distractions for a week or so, so that you can come to a better understanding of yourself. Hell no. I won’t even challenge myself with that. Those AT&T commercials of a family freaking out without the internet are funny and all, but FORGET THAT!!

What I will challenge you with is to try and be more aware of the distractions that fill your time. Just be more aware of them. And maybe, just maybe, you can say, “Hello darkness, my old friend.”

©Emittravel 2016

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Untitled Unblog Unpost #2

I had an appointment with a new massage therapist yesterday. This lady "beat the crap" out of me - in a good way. My former massage therapist had moved too far away for the number of clients she had in my area, so I had to find a new one.

I had my jaw worked over. It's part of my stress-headache-prevention regiment: monthly deep-tissue massages, daily stretches, a prescription to Zolpidem for those nights when I've had a terrible night sleep the night before, and of course, writing this blog.

Along with my jaw she worked on areas to coincide with what my chiropractor has been adjusting the last week or so. I have an issue with a couple of my lower lumbar periodically getting out of alignment. This not only makes the back sore, but it affects the nerve that runs down the back of my right leg: causing pain, cramping, or numbness/weakness. For those who see me regularly in person may have noticed the occasional cane to compensate for the leg.

Anywho. Because of getting "beat up" pretty good, I have decided to take the week off from writing. This Thursday is Thanksgiving Day here in the good ol' U.S. of A. So regardless of whether or not you are an American, take a moment to reflect on those things you can truly be thankful for from this past year. It may be easier to think of all the crap; think about the good things nonetheless. 

I'm thankful for you folks who read my shtuff. Thanks for being there to keep my head from exploding. You are the duct tape I wrap my skull with. 


©Emittravel 2016

Sunday, November 13, 2016

I'm No Political Pundit, But . . .

The 2016 Presidential Election is “finally" over. I put “finally" in quotes, because according to my Twitter feed, it ain’t over yet.

As of today, November 13, 2016, Donald Trump won the election with 290 electoral votes, to Hillary Clinton’s 228. Now, according to the U.S. Constitution, Donald Trump won. But, according to my liberal friends, Hillary Clinton won because she got the most popular votes. They think that the Electoral College should either go away, or that the Electoral College should ignore the states and vote for Hillary Clinton on December 19.

Now, I’m not going to go into a long dissertation on why we have the Electoral College. I may save that for a “It’s Broke . . . Time to Fix It" article. Or, you can just go ahead and read the U.S. Constitution. What I do want to do is hopefully give everyone something to grasp that is positive, and allow everyone to finally move on.

To start, let me remind you that I voted for Gary Johnson. You can go back through some of my recent posts to get an overall picture of why. Let’s just say if you think I voted to spite the parties, you are wrong. If you think I threw my vote away, you are also wrong. If you think that my vote gave your opposing candidate the win, you can stop thinking: you are also wrong.

The reason I voted for Gary Johnson was that, based on his policies and record, I believed he was the best person for the JOB we the people were hiring for. And that’s it in a nutshell.

I say that to make sure you understand that I am NOT a Trump supporter, and I am NOT a Clinton supporter. I’m a registered Independent, so I don’t have a party line to hoe.

I’d like to say this was the nastiest election ever, but from what I’ve read, our earlier Presidential candidates were barrel-scum flingers. And that’s far before our lifetimes. So, nasty elections are nothing new in our history. It’s unfortunate that this process cannot be handled with the same decorum as the Office of the President is supposed to present.

(Maybe that should be a criteria for winning?)

As far as Clinton winning the popular vote is concerned, let’s look at the numbers. More than 40% of registered voters did not participate in this election. You can scream voter intimidation if you want, but the truth is, many people that I talked to felt that neither “major" candidate was worth voting for. (Most people had no idea about any third-party candidates, since their 24/7 news channels gave them so little free advertising, compared to the Republicans and Democrats.) Many people - over 40% - decided not to vote. THAT is a major declaration by the people. Either run a candidate that they would hire for the JOB, or they aren’t voting. Not voting is as much a statement as voting.

As far as voter intimidation is concerned, I’ve never seen it. I’ve been voting in elections since 1984 and I’ve never seen it. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen. I’m almost positive it does. If the elections of old were as nasty as this one was, I’m sure voter intimidation took place. I am saying that I’ve never seen it. Maybe that means I’ve lived in areas that are just too wholesome for the practice, or more likely, I’ve lived in areas where the electorate is considered of no value. But this election was filled with screams of Trump supporters intimidating voters. I remember cries over alleged Black Panthers intimidating voters in the previous two elections. So, it either is happening, or the concept gets a lot of press.

So, subtracting the over 40% of voters not participating, the remaining popular votes were almost evenly divided between Clinton and Trump. Clinton DID receive the mathematical majority of popular votes. But since NEITHER candidate was able to break the 48% mark, you need to accept that Clinton was .2% (that’s point two percent) LESS UNPOPULAR than Trump. That’s not a majority, that’s splitting hairs. And if you are making the popular vote your argument, maybe you should just stop.

As a side: If Clinton had won the Electoral College but lost the Popular vote by the same .2%, would liberals be shouting that Trump should have won? Maybe it’s time to stop whining.

As far as the people who did vote for Trump: The media has been harping most of this election that he is a bigot, womanizing, pig (amongst many other derogatory adjectives). Because of this, the same descriptors have been placed upon those who voted for him. This needs to stop, people. Do you honestly believe that the majority of people who voted FOR Trump are bigots? I’m sure you do see in the media (social and otherwise) instances showing this to be true, but like the “man on the street" portions of late night TV shows, those are selected instances for impact. NOT the norm.

I saw two maps of the country showing you what it would look like if certain groups had voted. One was hysterical. It represented what it would look like if 3-year olds had voted (completely covered in crayon scribbles). Look for that one. It was the best!

The other map showed the actual results of this election by counties. The majority of Clinton voters were in urban counties, whereas the majority of Trump voters were in rural counties. Now, the media likes to divide that between educated and uneducated. I like to look at it as if those in urban counties live in their own bubbles. Why? Because maybe, just maybe, those in rural counties cared more about the fact that many are either without jobs (never returned to the workforce since the last recession), or are under employed (making less money, or working in jobs that pay less than they had), than whether or not a trans-gendered person used a certain bathroom (if you look at the stories in the media over the last four years or so, the emphasis on such stories was abnormally high). And it’s not that rural folks are bigots against transgenders, it’s that when it comes to their lives, those folks are a minority of a minority of the population.

Maybe, just maybe, those in the rural communities were tired of being left out.

I say this to tell you that I’ve never talked to ANYONE who said they voted for Trump BECAUSE they were bigots. If you think that is the reason why people vote in elections, maybe you need to go and talk to someone . . . professionally.

So to close:

Donald Trump has been elected President of the United States. If you were electing a President, you have nothing to worry about. If you were electing a King, be afraid. Be very afraid.

©Emittravel 2016

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Still Living in Believeland

The 2016 World Series has come and gone and what a great year of baseball it has been. Unfortunately for some Clevelanders, the loss has almost been debilitating.

It is for those that I write this blog today.

Like I said, the World Series has come and gone. I really doubt I'll ever catch up on the lost sleep over this playoff season. But that is okay. It was well worth it.

Let me first start off by saying, “Congratulations Cubbies! The 108-year streak has ended for you.” And if you are a Chicago diehard, please remember that this is baseball. There is nothing like it. When things are going your way there is nothing like it. When things are not going your way there is nothing like it. Why? Because it is BASEBALL!! And over those last 108 years, you have seen your share of both. So have we in Cleveland. And that is okay. Again, we're talking baseball.

When catcher David Ross hit that home run in the sixth inning, knowing that it was his last career game, I stood up, took off my Indians hat, and congratulated him (followed by a tweet doing the same).  I saw a Chicago double play that had me applauding it was so well executed (almost like a dance).

And I'm an Indians fan.

But that's baseball. And that's okay. You can root-root-root for the home team, but there is no shame in acknowledging when the opposition does something truly . . . baseball.

Would I have preferred that the Indians had won the World Series? You bet. But I'm not depressed. And here is why you shouldn't be either:

If you watched the game on FOX, you know there was no hesitation by the announcers and post-game commentators to tell us of how superior a team the Chicago Cubs were. Every chance they had they reminded us viewers that this team was built to win the series. They were the best in the league. Hell. They were the best to play the game. Even Kyle Schwarber was the reincarnation of Babe Ruth.

Cleveland, on the other hand, was missing two of their starting pitchers and one of their hitters due to injuries. The loss of starters forced coach Terry Francona to do some fancy footwork with rotations to try to give them at least a little rest between turns on the mound. And I'm not going to bring up Trevor Bauer's “Dronegate".

Please understand. Cleveland was supposed to finish towards the bottom of the division. And yet, despite all odds, they made it to the World Series.

And what happened?

It took not only all seven games, but an extra inning for the best team in the league to beat the Cleveland Indians. In that tenth inning Cleveland had the tying run on base, and the winning run at bat. It took two outs, one strike, and some good Chicago infield work to end it.

Don't you understand? Not only were the Cleveland Indians NOT supposed to be in the World Series, the Chicago Cubs should have SWEPT them in the first four games and didn't.

That is why I'm not depressed. That is why I still wear my Indians gear with pride. And that is why I STILL live in Believeland.

So thank you, Cleveland Indians, for a great year of baseball. For all of it. Every pitch, swing, catch, and miss. You have given us a wonderful year. And we can't wait until Opening Day.

©Emittravel 2016

Sunday, October 30, 2016

You're Offended? I'M Offended!!

As I write this, the Cleveland Indians are in the midst of the World Series with the Chicago Cubs. It's an exciting time in baseball for both clubs.

Me? I'm very excited. I love baseball. I'm not much for playing the game; I enjoy watching it. To be honest, I'm not much of a “gamer" in any sense of the word. I once was asked to join a company softball league. I declined by telling them, “Softball is seven innings long. My attention span is an inning and a half.” But to watch the game? Nothing like it. My motto is that football (or basketball) is what you watch when there is no baseball. And baby, we got baseball!

Of course, along with the excitement come the haters. Now, one topic of hatred is the official mascot of the Cleveland Indians: Chief Wahoo. Usually, the only time you hear the gripes are at the beginning of the season, and at the end (and only IF Cleveland is doing well). This year is no exception. And with Cleveland playing in the post-game season, the whiners are in full whine.

I saw one article that said it's okay to root for Cleveland, but if you are an Indians fan, you are racist. Why? Because Chief Wahoo is a racist mascot. I'm not sure if the writer was an American Indian (or a Native American, or of the Indigenous People – whatever they are being called today), but regardless, he, like the rest of the haters, is an idiot.

(Note: For the rest of this article, I'm going to use the descriptor “Indian" when referring to said “Indigenous People".)

Let's start out by stating that the city of Cleveland sits on Lake Erie (lovingly known as the “North Coast"). Erie is named for the Erie Indian tribe and it means “wildcat".

The city also has a river that divides the east side from the west side, called the Cuyahoga River. Many of you may recognize it as the river that caught fire. True. But with our Cavaliers basketball team, and Indians baseball team, the city itself is truly “on fire". (As of this writing, the Browns have a perfect record in football; just happens to be a no-win perfect record . . . )

Another important aspect of the Cuyahoga River is its name. Cuyahoga is an Indian word meaning “winding stream". Cuyahoga is also the name of the county the city of Cleveland (and my home town, for that matter) resides.

Here are a few other Ohio counties:

Ashtabula – “Fish River" in the local Indian dialect
Auglaize – “Fallen timbers" in Shawnee
Coshocton – “Black bear town" – an anglicized version of “Goschaching" or “Goschachgunk"
Cuyahoga – (previously mentioned)
Delaware – named for the Delaware Indians
Erie – (previously mentioned)
Geauga – “Raccoon"
Hocking – “A bottle" – the Hocking River was once claimed by the Wyandot Indians
Huron – the name was given to the Wyandot Indian tribe who lived there by the French
Mahoning – “Lick" or “At the lick" from the Indian words “Mahoni" or “Mahonink"
Miami – for the Miami Indians
Muskingum – “A town by the river" – a Delaware Indian word
Ottawa – “Trader" – from the Ottawa Indian tribe
Pickaway – a misspelling of the Piqua (Shawnee) Indians
Portage – from the old Indian portage path between Cuyahoga and Tuscarawas rivers
Sandusky – “Cold water" – in Wyandot and Huron languages it means “water within water pools"
Scioto – “Deer"
Seneca – for the Seneca Indians
Tuscarawas – “Open mouth"
Wyandot – for the Wyandot Indians

For those counting, that is 20 out of the 88 counties in Ohio. (The above list came from – interesting site.)

Even the name of the state, “Ohio", meaning “great river" is a name originated from the Iroquois.

Let's shift gears. The following comes with help from the Cleveland Historical Society. Please read the article by Cathy Priest and Jodi Rzeszotarski for more details.

Tehotiokwawakon, a.k.a. “Oghema Niagara”, a.k.a. “Chief Thunderwater", a.k.a. “Henry Palmer" was born to the Algonquin nation in 1865. Early in his life Cleveland became his home, where he lived a full and active life (again, see the details of the article) before passing away at the age of 85 (1950).

“In 1948, as the Cleveland tribesmen were about to face the Braves from Boston in baseball's World Series, Chief Thunderwater, in full regalia, offered his benediction: 'May the best warriors win, as long as they are Cleveland's.' And they did.”

Now, the origin of Chief Wahoo can be found as far back as 1932, as a cartoon by Fred George Reinhart in the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper. This was to represent the Cleveland Indians winning an important victory. Originally, Chief Wahoo was known as “The Little Indian". In 1947, Walter Goldbach, working as a draftsman, was tasked with creating a mascot that “would convey a spirit of pure joy and unbridled enthusiasm". The name “Chief Wahoo" was derived from sports writers of the time, though Goldbach stated that he wasn't a chief, but a brave – only having one feather.

The logo has gone through many style changes throughout the years. And regardless of the style, one thing has remained the same: the mascot was always displayed with pride and love. It is a mascot, like the baseball team it represents, that gives honor to those for whom much of our state is named.

So, before you go about trying to change Chief Wahoo and/or the Cleveland Indians, you might want to think twice. For to change the mascot would be the same as changing every Indian name of every county – and even the state – lest they be deemed racist.

And, as I watch my Cleveland Indians play in the 2016 World Series, I too am filled with “a spirit of pure joy and unbridled enthusiasm". Play ball!!

©Emittravel 2016

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Get Out the Get Out the Vote

“Get Out the Vote.” Remember that? It came about a few election cycles ago. The idea was to get as many people to the polls as possible. Now, at first glance that seems a great idea. But when you give it a little more thought, like me, you discover it is not such a good idea. Especially when it comes to this current election.

I've joked that my Twitter feed seems to be all liberal and my Facebook feed seems to be all conservative. My social networking is a bit bipolar. And since I'm the same guy in both networks, the algorithms seem to be a bit . . . off.

Now, in both the emphasis is the same: you have to vote for one candidate to make sure the other candidate doesn't win. And if you are thinking of voting for a third-party candidate, you are guaranteeing the other candidate will win. In all cases, I see very little convincing for you to vote FOR a candidate, only AGAINST the other one. This tells me that people really don't like the candidate they are voting for, but the other candidate is so much worse and needs to be stopped.

As I've written previously, this is a job interview, and we are the potential employers. We are trying to find the best person for the job. When you hire someone, you not only look at their background and opinions, but you look to see what their job qualifications are. You don't have to go much further than the last three Presidential debates, to know that the emphasis of this particular job interview has very little to do with qualifications.

So, if your intention is to vote for someone only in order to vote against someone: DON'T VOTE!

If your intention is to blindly vote along party lines: DON'T VOTE!

“J.P., are you seriously telling us not to vote?” Yup. Absolutely. What's more dangerous than a wasted vote? A vote made in ignorance.

I don't care how many women Trump may have groped. I don't care how many emails Clinton may have deleted. I don't care if Johnson can't find Aleppo on a map. If you can't honestly say you are voting FOR someone because you AGREE with MOST (not necessarily ALL) of what they have stated their POLICIES are, DON'T VOTE!

Now, you'll notice I did not say to stay home. Go! Vote! There are usually local issues and candidates on the ballot, and those you need to vote for. Oh, and as in the above, if you can't honestly say you agree with most of what the candidate's policies are, you don't for them either.

Here is what I do: I read the ballot carefully. If I do not know enough to make an informed decision on an issue, I skip it. A non-vote is not counted as For OR Against. If I cannot say I agree with a candidate based on their policies, I skip them too. I do NOT vote along party lines (to be honest, I'm a registered Independent, so I don't HAVE a party line to vote for). And that includes those situations when there is only one candidate running for a position.

I hear that voting is one of the most important things an individual can do, outside of running for office. I say that is wrong. INFORMED voting is one of the most important things an individual can do. UNINFORMED voting is one of the most DANGEROUS things an individual can do.

So, get out and vote, or get out the get out the vote. This is too important for an emotional decision.

Our democracy depends on it.

©Emittravel 2016

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Is the Game Rigged?

Donald Trump has been all over both (so called) main stream and social media shouting that the whole election process is rigged. You know Donald Trump: the guy who didn't pay taxes in about 18 years. Or did he?

Now that I have your attention, let's try to decipher both of those accusations.

First off, is the election rigged? I've written quite a few posts where I go into the election process ("Does the RNC WANT Me to Vote with the DNC?"; "I'm Bushed: Have We Ben Trumped?"; "What's a Reagan Conservative?"; "Independent Influence"; "Thank You Obama?"; "Stuff My Brain Says #77"; "A Dress or a Pantsuit - Your Choice"; "Vetting - Not Just for Pets Anymore"; "It's Broke. Time to fix it. Article #8"; "It's Broke. Time to fix it. Article #9"; "Stuff My Brain Says #78"; "Repeat After Me"; "What Are You Afraid Of?"; "It's Broke. Time to fix it. Article #10"; and "It Just Doesn't Matter!"), so you can take some time and read those. One aspect I haven't given time to is the “early voting" process. I mentioned previously that I didn't know much about it, but I've done a little digging since. And what I've found seems to support Donald's cries.

Several states have the option to vote early. Those votes are not counted UNTIL election day along with all of the other votes (not including Absentee Ballots). So, what's the point of early voting? Polls, my dear friends. Polls.

Once people have voted, whether via early voting or on election day, pollsters like to ask immediately to whom did a person vote. They are then able to report this information as “news". This is helpful in that people tend to vote for those whom they believe are going to win. If they hear that a certain candidate looks to be winning, they tend to vote for that person (so they can say they supported the winner). Or, if they were going to vote for another candidate, they don't vote at all ("What's the point?")

This is especially an issue on election day, as those in the Eastern Time zone tend to close their polls earlier than those in the Pacific Time zone. Reports of those results have the ability to have an effect on voting results in other states voting later. And the polls don't have to close to be impactful, as pollsters report on what the trends are based on those leaving the voting stations say they voted for.

(Personally, I believe that it should be illegal for any results reporting to take place until AFTER the last state has closed their polls. This would eliminate such voting influence on election day.)

Hillary Clinton has been pushing promoted tweets on Twitter encouraging people to vote early in states that can. The (so called) mainstream media report the polls of those individuals asked after voting early whom they voted for. Why is she pushing the early vote? Because a lot of the reporting says that she is the one winning in those states who vote early.

Now, as far as Donald Trump paying, or in this case not paying, taxes goes…

Donald Trump reported a very large loss about 18 years ago. According to tax LAW, that loss can be written off over subsequent years, especially if the loss amount is far greater than the amount paid in taxes in any given year. And since the U.S. government won't give a refund covering that loss (the government hates having to return any of OUR money), the loss is divided over the number of years it takes in “paid" taxes to cover the loss. More like credit than "cash back".

Hillary Clinton used the legal polling system to show herself the winningest candidate that you should vote for, and Donald Trump used the legal tax code to not pay taxes. Both functioned within the law.

If you want to be mad at anyone, be mad at the (so called) mainstream media who uses polls as news, and be mad at those very leaders in our government who WROTE the tax laws that people can use to not pay taxes.

Is the game rigged? That depends on your perspective. Are you playing the game?

©Emittravel 2016

Sunday, October 9, 2016

It Just Doesn't Matter!

Every time a politician calls for voter IDs, screams erupt over the possibility of disenfranchising people from voting. “It's not fair!” “Poor people won't be able to vote!” “Keeps blacks from the polls!” “Dead people won't be able to vote!”

(Oops. Sorry. That last one was from the DNC.)

Anywho. Having to prove who you are in order to vote should not be something to be alarmed about. You need identification to get a library card for crying out loud. Try taking money out of your bank (from a real teller, not the ATM) without showing an ID. Can't do it.

Whether or not your representatives agree with voter IDs, you have to wonder where are their concerns when it comes to this:

Ever see one of those? I get these every election cycle. And it drives me almost as crazy as the AARP mailers! Want to know why these bother me? Because, unlike voter IDs, Absentee Ballots really DO disenfranchise voters.

The only votes that count are the ones placed at the polls on voting day. (Okay, I may not be 100% accurate about that, as I don't know how “early voting" actually works.) If you vote Absentee Ballot, you might as well have NOT voted.

Regardless of being a fan of the Electoral College or not, a single vote really won't sway the election. Now, getting out there and voting on local elections and issues DO and CAN sway, but not so much when it comes to the Presidential race. Yet, if you vote Absentee Ballot, realize your vote won't get counted at all.

And here's why: The only time Absentee Ballots are even counted are if the total number (100%) of ballots are considered going to the candidate with less votes, AND that number of ballots would change the outcome. If not, those ballots are not counted. Period.

Let's assume Candidate A has three million votes and Candidate B has two million five hundred thousand votes. For those of you keeping score, that's a difference of five hundred thousand votes. Now, in order for the Absentee Ballots to be counted, the total number of Absentee Ballots have to be more than five hundred thousand AND be considered 100% for Candidate B.

For starters, you KNOW the chances of the Absentee Ballots being 100% for Candidate B isn't going to happen. So, the number of them has to considerably larger than the count difference.

Back in the Bush / Gore Florida election fiasco, a number of Absentee Ballots were contested because they came without being postmarked, or postmarked AFTER the election. So, even IF the difference between candidates was small enough to count the Absentee Ballots, a number of them would STILL be disregarded! How many of those were “operator/equipment mismatch" (the person mailing the Absentee Ballot erred) and how many were U.S. Post Office incompetence (got through WITHOUT a postmark or with the wrong date) is unknown. Regardless, if it wasn't for the fact that the election was that close, those Absentee Ballots would not have even been considered.

So, the next time you hear someone get upset over something like having to have identification to vote, ask them if they vote Absentee Ballot. Then tell them this:

©Emittravel 2016