Democrats Proposed Solution to Immigration (not good)

UPDATE: According to THE HILL at this link: http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/393069-schumer-rejects-gop-proposal-to-address-border-crisis#.WyltYRd0tVc.twitter, Senator Schuemer said he would not approve anything and wants to keep the "focus on Trump."  He wants President Trump to use his executive order to alter immigration law.  Folks, that is NOT legal.  E.O.s are to show how to ENFORCE law.  It's the job of Congress to create and modify it.  Immigration is also not one of the enumerated powers of the President.  You can view those easily at the document from the JFK library here:  https://www.jfklibrary.org/~/media/assets/Education%20and%20Public%20Programs/Education/middle%20school%20programs/The%20Presidents%20Job%20According%20to%20the%20Constitution.pdf

ORIGINAL POSTING:

The Democrats have proposed some border legislation (and one of my Senators said he supports it). It can be read at this link: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/3036/text?q=%7B%22search%22:[%22S.3036%22]%7D&r=1 

I find it hurriedly written and ambiguous, downright oddly worded in some places and entirely unacceptable in at least one place

Yet, it does have good points, most of which are actions already in place, but I'm not sure were codified as "required" and they should have been, if they’re not already. 

So, let me give you 3 good things first:

1. All guidance on reunification shall be in both English and Spanish (which it already is, but good to be codified as such). I think it should be in more languages, personally, especially those in altered script (like Cyrillic, for example, or Arabic)

2. There shall be a monthly status report on each separated child's activities. While good, this doesn't say if this is only while in detainee status or even if released to other family in the region, so that needs cleared up more.  It also needs to be less ambiguous as to WHO will make the report and WHO will receive the said report—PARENTS should receive every copy of their child’s file in real time, too, but that’s not mentioned. 

3. Section 7 in its entirely is already in place. However, I liked how simple it was and easy to read. The layout is easy to locate….I wish more bills were like this

Now, here's 3 that I found odd or poorly worded and one entirely unacceptable:

 1. The term "agent" is mentioned here and is defined pretty much as any federal employee. Now, do we really think the IRS agents will know how to properly deal with immigration? That needs cleaned up and better defined, for sure. 

2. Section 2 says, "An agent or officer of a designated agency shall be prohibited from removing a child from his or her parent or legal guardian, at or near the port of entry or within 100 miles of the border of the United States, unless one of the following has occurred:" Within 100 miles OR near a point of entry would make pretty much the same geographic area of over 1/2 of the total area of the USA. That's a HUGE region to discuss. Are we adding lots more of these oddly called "agents" to deal with this? This seems like it either needs tightened up geographically OR clarified entirely as to HOW this is to happen.  

3. THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE PERIOD: 

Section 3b says, “An agency may not remove a child from a parent or legal guardian solely for the policy goal of deterring individuals from migrating to the United States or for the policy goal of promoting compliance with civil immigration laws.”  Now, this REALLY bothers me more than I can say. What this is saying is that we cannot promote COMPLIANCE with the existing laws.  That’s NOT OK with me.  Why not use this document to ALTER the law rather that state clearly that promoting compliance with the law is not ok?  

EXTRA 2 that I don’t care for:  

1.    The document defines “child” as anyone under 18 and no permanent immigration status.  Now, under that definition, ANY child in the US that is a present CITIZEN also has no permanent immigrant status because they don’t need one.  HOWEVER, this does not state “immigrant child” or “non-citizen child” but rather “child.” THAT bothers me greatly here also. I think that needs to be re-written to state one of my suggested options or similar.  

2.    “agent” is defined to include “contractors” of the government.  So, does that mean that any person can be made a “contractor” or can the security agencies we contract in the Middle East be brought here to be “contractors?”  Again, this needs tightened up and/or reworked.

SO, for these reasons, I give this a grade of “F” for not adding appropriate detail, but mainly crafting legislation saying that we cannot promote compliance with the law. THAT is NOT what law is for (to be ignored).  Once this would be signed (which I doubt it will), they could ignore any law based on this by doing the same.  It seems to me that this was written with the express purpose of being voted DOWN. Surely these experienced lawmakers like Diane Feinstein who sponsored this knows how to write better legislation than this.  

 

Grade = F (because our immigrants deserve better)

 

 

 

The OIG report on the FBI and Election2016

I’m in the process of reading the actual OIG report, and I’ve come to the conclusion that every American needs to actually read this rather than rely on the MSM talking heads to “describe” it to you. They’re so indicted in this themselves that there is definitely collusion between some of them and the FBI at minimum. So, read this for yourselves...the link is public on my page. Until that time, I shall summarize what I have thus far that I feel everyone should hear straightaway. I put page numbers for some that I feel many of you will wish to look up for yourselves, but rest assured this is ALL from the official OIG report...not a regurgitation of a news source (from left or right).

By page 366 of the OIG report it became pretty clear that our justice departments (yes plural) truly are not doing their jobs properly. It's also clear that they gave preferential treatment to the media outside the bounds of their stated policies (and there are several charts showing the contacts outside the bounds of policy). It's also crystal clear that they assumed Clinton would win the election. They often speak of not wanting to "delegitimize" her presidency, but they seem more concerned with a fear that heads will roll if they bring up certain facts to an investigation OR if it gets out to the public. There are texts calling her “the president” and other phrases that seem as if they are so assured Clinton would win that they were viewing this as not only a certainty but viewing their own futures through that lens.

I decided to drop down to Chapter 12 on text messages and the like. I was disgusted by what I saw coming from the FBI in how unprofessional it was to be sure, but also how horribly they spoke of the American people in general. Most of them were clearly those of Page and Strzok although they’re titled “Agent 5” or “Attorney 1” or other identifier. Yet, the dripping disdain for anyone who is “not of their tribe” is vastly telling. Apparently the IG thought so also, because he wrote this about Strzok:

(pg 420) “We were deeply troubled by text messages sent by Strzok and Page that potentially indicated or created the appearance that investigative decisions were impacted by bias or improper considerations. Most of the text messages raising such questions pertained to the Russia investigation, which was not a part of this review. Nonetheless, when one senior FBI official, Strzok, who was helping to lead the Russia investigation at the time, conveys in a text message to another senior FBI official, Page, that “we’ll stop” candidate Trump from being elected—after other extensive text messages between the two disparaging candidate Trump—it is not only indicative of a biased state of mind but, even more seriously, implies a (continued on page 421) willingness to take official action to impact the presidential candidate’s electoral prospects. This is antithetical to the core values of the FBI and the Department of Justice. Moreover, as we describe in Chapter Nine, in assessing Strzok’s decision to prioritize the Russia investigation over following up on the Midyear-related investigative lead discovered on the Weiner laptop in October 2016, these text messages led us to conclude that we did not have confidence that Strzok’s decision was free from bias.”

When you read how they attempt to “explain” their messages, you have to read that bit very slowly and probably aloud because they just don’t speak understandably. It’s clear they’re searching for words and phrasing to avoid getting in trouble, but much of it makes little sense overall. It reminds me of a child when they’re lying about who got mud on the living room carpet and they’re trying to blame the dog. I remain convinced that Strzok was “up to a nefarious act” and that he’d convinced Page that his actions would ensure a Clinton win. What he did, however, remains a mystery other than he prioritized the Russia mess (which has been now proven a false flag) over the email scandal.

While that has little to do with Comey, and Strzok is but one player, when you take into account all the “outside the rules” things the agents were doing with the media and how they very carefully use linguistic gymnastics to “not say” something or they use “um” so often, you have to conclude they were operating outside the parameters of the FBI stated protocol. SO….if they’re willing to do this in a presidential election, I ask you……What would they do to the least of us….especially as disparagingly as they talk about anyone who is “not their circle” whom they view as degenerate?

This must stop, but I no longer trust or approve of the FBI. At one point someone I assume is Strzok says in a text that he has started the downfall of the Republic then asks the recipient (assumed to be Page) out for coffee. He plays so loosely with our law that he cares little if he DOES bring down the Republic. He clearly feels he’ll come out on top either way. The FBI lost me entirely and I hope they get their comeuppance over this. They need taken to task, but since they are pretty much above the law and they clearly know that, I don’t hold out hope that it will happen.

I shall read the rest at a later date, but you need to read this yourselves. It truly is damning to THEM, unquestionably.

Korea....is it really over?

UPDATE: I wrote the blog below on April 17, 2018 where I asked if the official division of Korea, and thus the remnants of war, were over.

Just this past Tuesday, our President, Donald J. Trump, went to Singapore to meet with Chairman Kim Jung-Un of North Korea to discuss the potential for a cease fire in North Korea and the disarmament of nuclear weapons.  While much of the world was watching, these two leaders met, acknowledged the sovereignty of each nation to itself, and then set about trying to begin a dialogue.  

Now, some (mostly those who are anti-Trump anyway) fussed about this meeting calling it "a legitimization of Kim as the leader of North Korea, I found that a very strange thing to say.  Reason being:  Kim IS the leader of North Korea....it matters little if we like him, or agree with him, or even want to work with him.  He IS and will remain the leader of that nation.  Yes, he is a human rights nightmare, but that is based on American (Western) standards, and it has always been the policy of the U.S. to do business with other nations IF it helps us as a whole despite that.  I mean, just look at our relationship with Central American, for heavens sake.  They were murdering their own in record numbers while we looked away.  So, don't give me that reason....that is irrelevant to this discussion. 

Some (many of them pro-Trump) were dissatisfied with the meeting saying it didn't go far enough.  However, a man named Jordan Peterson of Canada put it QUITE WELL when he said that Chairman Kim had watched as the previous administration made a similar deals with Gadaffi  of Lybia and swore we would protect him only to have him murdered in his homeland with the assistance of the United States Government.  With that as my benchmark, because Peterson is right about that, I've thought about this for two days and decided that President Trump did what he set out to do--open a door for dialogue.  

This has been compared to Reagan, Thatcher, and Gorbachev when upon meeting Premier Gorbachev, both Thatcher and Reagan said "We can do business together."  That didn't mean they had to like each other or agree, even.  They could WORK toward a common goal each in their own way--and they did.  This was to open a door.  Time will still tell what happens after, but I will leave with this quote "Many men can make war, but it takes special ones to make peace."  I hope President Trump and Chairman Kim are two of those that can make peace.

 


I just read a blog post online that said that North and South Korea are working on arrangements to officially end the war and reclaim the DMZ there. 

I never thought I'd see this in my lifetime, but especially not so quickly after it was proposed.  Additionally, just last year Kim Jung Un was launching ICMBs over Japan and into the sea saying he would bomb the U.S.  

Where did that man go? Now, don't read me incorrectly here. I'm thankful for this, assuming it's made with the best intentions in mind.  However, this guy was a little unstable just a year ago, so can he be believed? 
 

Of course, like most everything else, time will tell, but history is in the making right before out eyes.  It's time to really watch the details of this whole affair.

Weather as history

Here in America, we're experiencing some very unusual weather patterns. January has extended into April and our planting season has not yet begun, although normally it has.

While we don't often think of weather in any type of historical context other than those using the Farmer's Almanac or those who watch it for "climate change" I challenge all readers to discuss weather with the "old-timers" in your community.  It's amazing to talk about weather with them.  

Example: I recently was able to discuss a massive flood event here in my county with others. It happened in the late 19th century, so no survivors remain, but locals remember hearing old-timers of their generation talking about it.  

This flood wasn't caused by climate change, but rather it was caused primarily by deforestation from logging in the area.  The lack of tree roots in the area caused landslides and rushing water as there was little to hold it back.  While the sheer volume of water would have been horrific at best anyway, the fact that flood water flows the path of least resistance did factor into this hellish night.

So, I encourage you to revisit historical events for weather patterns and anomalies.  You may be surprised at what you can glean from it.

Where were they BEFORE?

UPDATE: I wrote this approximately a year ago.  The Democrat Congresswomen have chosen to wear black to symbolically protest sexual harassment. Again, while a worthy cause, I STILL must ask "Where were they before?"  AND NOW I also must continue to ask, "Why are they not pressuring Congress to revisit the ERA that only needs a few states to pass?"  Instead of wearing "costumes" ladies, why not actually attempt to DO something while you are in  a position to do so?  We'll be over here waiting on you to do so.....but not holding our breath.

Where Were They BEFORE?

It is now approximately 50+ days into President Donald Trump’s administration and I’m struck by something that apparently no one else has noticed—or perhaps dared to vocalize before.  The idea has me riled up, frankly, so I decided to blog about it today.

We’re seeing many women wearing white and purple in protest of the “policies against women” mirroring the colors worn by the suffragettes of the early 20th century who stood like Silent Sentinels and endured unimagined abuses to gain passage of the 19th Amendment.   So, where were these 21st century lawmaking women in white BEFORE? Why have they not been pushing for the passage of the ERA to ensure CONSTITUTIONAL equality under the law (especially when they had a Democratic Congress and Democratic President)?  We are one of the only industrialized nations where our women are NOT Constitutionally protected, yet we set about ensuring any new democracy we aid DOES put women into their governing documents.  Having Supreme Court rulings is not enough—they’re too easily overturned.  Yet, these harpies in white as I’ve begun to call them do not fight the good fight for women.  They use women as political fodder and, frankly, I’m DONE with that.  The ERA matters.  IF they want to pick up that charge, I’m all in with them, but until they do, it’s political grandstanding with no substance and that is NOT ok.

We’re seeing women protesting in all manner of horrific outfits mimicking women’s “private areas” to ensure that they are not “discriminated against” or that rape culture doesn’t prevail.  While the cause is just, where were they 65 days ago?  Why were they not protesting music with abusive themes or the gang rape advertisement of Dolce and Gabbana (or the many other advertisers)?  Watch the movie “Miss Representation” and you’ll be STUNNED about the abysmal message we’re sending our daughters.  Where were these protestors a year ago?  Ten years ago?  Twenty years ago? Why were they not outraged over other things that happened BEFORE January 20th?

People are lining up to protest which restroom to use or whether men in a dress can enter a woman’s changing room in a public mall.  They say this is vital to our culture….but transgendered individuals have been around for a very long time. I can GUARANTEE that I’ve used the same restrooms as transgendered people before the past few weeks.  Why were you not working toward this five years ago?  Ten years ago?  Were you on the front lines in the AIDS epidemic in the Reagan years?  I was.  During the time when we didn’t know the transmission methodology other than “bloodborne” I was there, working in a medical science lab working with AIDS patients’ blood.  SO, again…..I must ask, where were YOU three years ago?  What about ten years ago?  During the Reagan years?  Why are you not asking for this language to be added to the ERA and force its passage? 

Let’s move to climate. Climate change is important.  We may disagree on causality, but one thing is certain. We only have ONE world, folks, and we must care for it as if it were our dearest friend.  Despite this, climate abuses have occurred all over the world unchecked.  Can you not look at the massive pollution photos of CHINA and see this?  THAT is just as important as the USA (I would argue more), but where is the outrage?  We are told to be global citizens, but suddenly in the past 50+ days, this has become “more important than ever.”  What about states? Where were you California citizens when no one was fixing the Oroville Dam spillway?  It was clearly evident that it wasn’t being done, and the paper trail proves it.  Why was no one demanding answers?  Both the environment and the citizens were unnecessarily put at massive risk during this misappropriation of funding, yet it wasn’t until now that we see outrage.  Now that it’s out, why are the Berkeley protestors not protesting THIS type of abuse of power?  This is vital!  Where were these citizens during the times the denials of maintenance were being made and how many more environmental disasters are waiting to happen in California over mismanaged funds?  What about abuses of funding your home state?

We are seeing a huge uptick in the idea that anything that can be wrong in our society is suddenly protest worthy because a new administration is in the White House.  This has me very confused because these issues did not magically appear in the past 50+ days, and they’d have been there if Hillary or any other candidate had won.  WOULD you have been in the streets protesting if someone else had been in the driver’s seat?  You should have ALREADY been fighting for many of these causes, but I daresay you wouldn’t have been making this ruckus.  I say this not out of any support for the current administration, but rather because the current administration has put a beacon on this issue for me.


Where have all these protestors been all these years leading up to these past 50+ days?  Seems to me they’ve been collectively ignoring things until instructed to be outraged.  Then, they dutifully stepped into line. 

Now, I realize there are those like myself who HAVE been out there working on the project or two that speaks to you the most, but sadly that is not the BULK of these screaming harpie protestors. They seem honestly clueless as to why they are out there.  Good grief, one of them even said in an independent interview that she’d personally spoken to “Sitting Bull” over this pipeline protest (through her psychic one would have to assume).  Now granted, this was not a CNN interview, but what if she was SERIOUS?  Where was SHE all this time?  Clearly, she was not in a history class.


Look at yourselves honestly folks.  This mess did NOT begin on January 20th no matter how much you were derailed by the election outcome.  The election itself is NOT the issue at all, frankly. The issue is that THESE things did not magically appear overnight and we must all take ownership of the fact that they are here at all.  Hold your representatives feet to the fire, absolutely, but don’t become a useless member of the pussy hat brigade or go talk to Sitting Bull with your psychic, or allow ANYONE to be accosted in a public restroom.  WORK SMARTER!

Therefore, I issue this challenge to ALL of you to “be the change” you wish to see.  Put your polemics aside and take up at least ONE cross you want to bear and bear it well.  Do your research—don’t rely on any talking heads or celebrities to tell you what to believe.  Challenge those things wrong in our society and deliberately SEEK THE COMMON GROUND on which we can build a solution.  We won’t always agree….that would be statistically unlikely.  However, we CAN learn that tolerance goes both ways.  However, tolerance for foolishness and reactionary protests is NOT helping the overall causes moving forward.  Therefore, I’m choosing to further my passions on opportunities in rural Appalachia and the passage of the ERA today—one local/one national.  I hope you do the same.

Alice Paul a mastermind suffragette that suffered greatly for the 19th Amendment said, “The movement is a sort of mosaic. Each of us puts in one little stone, and then you get a great mosaic at the end."  How will you work smarter with YOUR stone in the mosaic?

 

Sexual Harassment: We must include the history of it all

I’m stymied by all these “old” accusations of sexual harassment.  Not because I specifically disbelieve them, but as a victim of it in the workplace more than once, I know the history and evolution of it.  Folks, the dates don’t work for me with many of these, and I think it’s time to talk about it HISTORICALLY since no one is doing so.

I’m frustrated that a 1990s issues just "happened" to come up in an election cycle. Seems to me that seeking to have your house paid off today (the issue with Gloria Alred and her daughter) is NO reason to come forward. Nor is smearing an election campaign for personal gain. That is extortion in my book.

The two women in articles such as the one below from The Hill were among quite a few “victims” in that time period—many of them those of us that are my age will remember well. The 1990s was the era of the Clinton impeachment (“I did not have sex with that woman.”), and that of Clarence Thomas, among others. In that climate, it would have been an excellent time for these two to come forward, but NO....they waited till an election cycle nearly a quarter CENTURY later. I am now forced to ignore the initial event and ask myself, “What is the end game and why NOW?” In this case, for the accuser and the attorney, it seems to have become about money and influencing an election—again a quarter century later—rather than any real feelings of angst running over (not saying they weren’t present).

Although there is NEVER an excuse for sexual harassment, we should also examine any culpability on the female's part in some cases. I suspect there is culpability of SOME of these women (example—Bill Cosby). When you are "flown to the estate/home/hotel room of [insert powerful man here], what do you THINK they want? I have news for you ladies....it's not so you can run their vacuum, cook them dinner, or interview for a job. SO, let's be honest here......if you want to cozy up to powerful players, you MAY get played. Is it right? No, but is it unusual? NO, and it never has been. Why do you think the term “casting couch” has been in the lexicon so long?

The sad reality is that harassment HAS gone on too long and like an octopus with tentacles, it’s reached into many cracks and crevices. People today only want to look at Trump or powerful Republicans for this and forget or excuse the others, but let’s populate a short list because it’s important to do so. Former Presidents John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton, and more recently G.H.W. Bush (and I strongly suspect many more). Should we add Ted Kennedy and Chappaquidick (Mary Jo Kopechne), too? There are many Democrat Congressmen, and a handful of GOP (and I suspect that pool is only smaller due to a lack of present day knowledge, not acts themselves). Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court goes on the list, and I could go on and on. Add to this a heretofore hidden governmental slush fund to ensure silence, and you have quite the “habit” I think. Now, mix in the creep Weinstein and his cronies, and pretty much any power player in Hollywood or ball players, rock stars, and more.

However the one thing I’ve not seen in the media at all is the TIMELINE placed alongside the law. Timeline HAS TO BE a factor in accusations. Not only the timeline alongside an election cycle (Roy Moore, Trump/Clinton), but the LEGAL timeline. Sexual harassment was not even in our vernacular until 1975 when the phrase was coined at Cornell University. Marital rape was also first made illegal that year. It wasn’t until 1978, that incest was universally illegal in America. Date rape wasn’t defined as such until 1985. So, putting some of these claims in context is crucial to the argument—especially when speaking legally.

Until 1977, no woman had ever won a legal battle using sexual harassment as a cause and for quite some time after it was still quite rare. Then, it was battled about in court until 1988 when SCOTUS decided to hold employers FINANCIALLY accountable. SO, essentially, it wasn’t until 1988 when the discussion of any type of sexual harassment really took off, but it was generally inside a financial loss dialogue rather than a women’s rights dialogue

Shortly thereafter, however, Anita Hill came forward (1991) when Clarence Thomas was in the midst of confirmation for SCOTUS. IN 1992, Juanita Broderick accused Bill Clinton, and later Paula Jones did as well among other women (nearly 20 in total) with 1995-96 being the years of Monica Lewinsky’s unfortunate internship experience. Bill Cosby’s incident from the trial was 2004. These dates are important because during the early 1990s, it was the early years of sexual harassment and things were not 100% legally clear. However, following this timeline, it literally becomes “what did the law say and when” whether we like it or not. Things that are unconscionable do not always begin life as illegal, as evidenced by the incest date above, for example.

We also simply must talk about the evolution of the male of our species. How many of these men may still be ongoing abusers? How many of these have served as “roadmaps” or “instructors” or “role models” for other abusers—those from which the current slush fund paid out would be a good example of this. On the lfip side, how many learned the lesson and left that lifestyle behind (thankfully). Who of the above, for instance, may have changed their behavior and learned the lessons needed to be better men and examples to others? Why are we not acknowledging that evolutionary development as we should?

The latter group should be a lesson in “changing behaviors. Men who repented of that, and left that life behind should get credit for changing as a human being and be the example of the change that is possible rather than continually dragging them back into that time in their lives. What about the guy in your town that has become a huge proponent for women’s rights after he learned better? Should all his work be negated because he exhibited poor behavior back in the day when it was pretty much prevalent everywhere? I would say no because to do so would not be dissimilar to continually blaming recovering drug addicts or alcoholics or even anorexics for their previous behavior—and no one wants that.

So, while we are having a plethora of “accusations” out there, I am unsure they’re all “truthful” or perhaps even relevant, especially if lawyers with power and money coerce them into it. There are also just far too many folks out there seeking their 15 minutes of fame and don’t care how they get it….sometimes, that’s jumping on a plane to meet a power player then screaming “sexual harassment/assault” when it doesn’t work out their way. That is also just not ok.

UPDATE: It seems I was correct in wondering about all this since it has now come to light that powerful Clinton donors did pay these lawyers to flesh out these people and attempt to discredit the individuals in question. Also, it seems that one of the Trump accusers tried to get a job with his campaign to “push her male makeup line” and when it didn’t work out, she was unhappy.  THEN, she tried to declare sexual harassment.  Sorry, sweetie, I was sexually harassed.  There is no WAY I would go to my harassers and say, “Hey, how about I work with you closely on [any project].”  That just is not honest.

Here’s the link to the update—it appears on many websites including the New York Times, but I chose this one because it breaks it down in easy to follow timelines and verbiage: http://www.breakinginfoalert.com/2018/01/01/clinton-backers-paid-700k-lisa-bloom-sexual-misconduct-claims-trump-election2/

Here is the original “Hill” article I referenced above.  http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/365068-exclusive-prominent-lawyer-sought-donor-cash-for-two-trump-accusers

As a woman who has been sexually harassed more than once in the 1980s/90s workplace, I felt I had to speak out on this revelation from the article in the link.

Whether these women were assaulted, groped, talked badly to, or whatever, the behavior of Gloria Allred's daughter is despicable, as is Ms. Gloria herself these days. It is clear she is "hitting the bricks" to both smear for the election timeline (by citing cutoff dates and soliciting donor money from these sources) and for her own personal gain.

 

 

INTRODUCING: My newest research project tentatively titled "Remaining Dutch"

I have come to the conclusion that I am a community historian at heart.  This was an odd revelation for me because I went into history wanting to tell larger stories, but along the way I realized that I liked being the voice of those smaller areas that had no storyteller of their own.

Therefore, I am excited to announce my new research project. I’m following the steps of five families from their arrival in New Netherland through their move south and into the region of Randolph County, WV where they remained after the American Revolution.

Beginning in New Netherland in the 1640s, these individuals came separately over a period of decades.  They all had close ties with their church, and somewhat of a dislike for the English takeover of their area.  They kept moving south as the English moved into and populated areas all around them, ending up in the Virginia backcountry where they lived in relative isolation from the world despite the dangers from the Native American population.

George Washington’s diaries mention the early Dutch settlers during his time surveying the Northern Neck Proprietary.  His entry is rather disparaging saying they were more uncivilized than the Indians.  Despite his initial impressions, later on Washington notes that they were part of the early fort and militia systems in place and speaks more highly of them as being reliable, if nothing else.

Those in these family groups who fought in the American Revolution show up as Patriots, and it seems clear that they love their adopted homeland and once they settle in West Virginia they seem to maintain a presence here.  With much of the history of early West Virginia populated with tales of the Scots-Irish or German ethnicities, the Dutch influence is rarely, if ever, mentioned.  Therefore, this is a tale not of the genealogy of these families, but rather a new study in the sense of community of these people who arrived as strangers in a strange land, but who remained together as family for centuries. They made their mark on the land they loved, but did so quietly remaining in the background of history except for a short remark made by George Washington as a young surveyor.

I’m excited to work on this project and plan to update as I can on how it goes as I delve deeper into who these people were.  Their story is begging to be told now, and I have apparently adopted them as their storyteller (or they adopted me—I’m no longer certain).  I can’t wait to share snippets with you.

New Era and Realigning Elections

This month we will enter a new era in American politics.  This new era includes a president-elect who has chosen to use social media rather than the main-stream media.  This new era promises to focus on American citizens and the needs from coast to coast, but of course that has yet to be determined if this will happen or not.  This new era will certainly usher in changes in the Supreme Court and perhaps even changes in the Constitution itself since it was just announced that Senator Ted Cruz has introduced an amendment for congressional term limits.

Regardless how you feel about the elected officials ANYWHERE, there is one thing on which we can likely agree--this was, by definition a realigning election.  "Realigning elections or political realignment describe elections that cause a significant shift in the way voters align themselves, that is, in who they vote for."--Hank Edmonton of Georgia College.

There have been many realigning elections in the past.  Among those were Jefferson, Lincoln, FDR, and some even choose to include Reagan.  These elections, as Dr. Edmonton says, showcase a shift in the way voters align themselves or in who they vote for.   Trump certainly qualifies for that.  

This is also true OUTSIDE the venue of the President.  Many state governments switched to predominately GOP candidates for the first time in a very long time.  My home state did so in the statehouse, but not with our governor.  He is a Democrat.  

However, what has my mind churning is not whether the GOP or the Democrats have any majority or power.  Rather it is that the voice of the American people shouted loudly from the rooftops that they wanted CHANGE.  Not the catchphrase change of politics, but real and MEASURABLE change.  

What does that mean?  Well, I used to teach a concept called SMART goal setting (lesson can be seen at www.roadstosuccess.org).  S=specific, M=measurable, A=achievable, R=realistic, and t=timed.  I believe those currently elected officials have only two years to create SMART change and if they're not specific changes that are measurable, achievable, and realistic, they'll run out of TIME in the end of two years.  

Does that mean they need to toss the baby out with the bathwater and change EVERYTHING?  Of course not.  However, there are people in this country who are in desperate need of a well-paying full time benefitted job.  There are children who need better education than they're receiving, and we need to ensure that healthcare actually BECOMES affordable for EVERYONE--not just those with subsidy payments.

When I discuss this, I often hear things like, "But what about gay marriage?"  Well, in my home state, it's been legal for quite some time now. It was ushered in with no fanfare, no protests, and no gnashing of teeth. Just good legislation and it was done.  I also hear "What about gun laws?"  Again, in my home state, we have some of the toughest purchase laws in America.  We also have had legal conceal carry with no permit for over a year.  NO rise in gun violence has occurred.  So, what makes my state unique?  Nothing other than good ol' common sense.  

We don't need to be splashy or make headlines.  We just do the right thing and move on.  I truly hope this realigning election has brought an end to the oligarchy politics and reinstated some good ol' common sense.  If not, we'll see a new crop of elected officials in two years.  

In political time, two years isn't very long, so let's get it right the first time, OK?

Happy 2017 to all, andI wish you all the prosperity you deserve.

Bullet Journal 101: Saving my sanity one square at a time

Welcome back.  If you read my previous blog post, you are undoubtedly scratching your head wondering what the HECK is a bullet journal and why you need one.  I'm not saying you need one, but I am saying it is the best organizational tool I've ever had and I think it's adaptable enough to help nearly anyone.

So, what the heck is it anyway?  Imagine a bullet list with everything you can think of that needs done in the next week, month or year moving from one line to the next instead of being assigned a specific date on the calendar to be bypassed and forgotten over time.  Sounds too complicated?  Not at all.

A TRUE bullet journal was a bit overwhelming for me, but you can certainly view that here:  Bullet Journal--Getting Started

However, once I modified that technique for my needs, I found it worked very well.  That's the beauty of the system as a whole--it's so flexible to the user.  Here's a mock up of how I COULD use a bullet list.  All names are fake as is the list, but you will quickly get the idea. 

Now, notice how these items are not all similar to one another, and they're not meant to be.  Each bullet point represents a task--something to be accomplished at some point in my life, not necessarily today.  It's something I thought of and knew it needed done.  SO, into the bullet list it went.  From there, here's what happens:

X = task completed

/ = task started but not completed

--> = task moved to the next day's list

-------- = a total strike through means task cancelled or no longer required.

! = task is VITAL or it's an important meeting

* = an appointment I need to make

I also use check boxes and check marks for lists of tasks beneath the primary item that must be done in that specific order to finish the task at hand in its entirety. 

Not only are the symbols customizable, some people color code theirs--one color for work, one for home, one for kids, and one for spouse is usually how I see it divided.  I have no need to do that, so I keep it all in one color.

Once the item is listed it remains on the list until it's finished entirely.  But what if I can't finish my whole list that day? You're not expected to.  That's what --> is for.  You move it to the next day's list where it gets a new bullet point and if it's not finished by day end, it gets --> moved again or cancelled, whichever is required. 

The point is that by day end, EVERY THING ON THIS LIST must be addressed in some way or other.  There is no looking back through a calendar because everything not addressed/completed gets moved to the next day.  Once your day is finished, all tasks are addressed or in some stage of completion.  That's what I love about this.  I don't have to keep up with days and weeks of notes, nor do I have to wonder what I forgot because it's always on today's list until it's done.  

This has absolutely saved my sanity.  NO, I'm not kidding.  This method is amazing.  I get up in the morning and over breakfast, I consult the bullet journal and add things I've thought of since that need done.  Then, as I do the tasks, I open the book and mark them off.  Sometimes, I need to readjust my day, but it's easy with bullet journaling.

My bullet journal lives in my Webster's Pages Color Crush Traveler's Notebook.  Inside that are other inserts for daily calendars, project ideas, inspirational quotes and the like as well.  However, it's my bullet journal that keeps me on track, and I doubt I'll be without it again.  It truly makes me more productive.

I just had to share with my readers just how much I love the traveler's notebook system and bullet journaling.  They're a perfect pair just like peanut butter and jelly. 

Travelers Notebooks--An organizational tool I never knew I wanted or needed

I know this is a bit different for a blog posting, but since I juggle many things all at once, I have often struggled with productivity and organization.  My newest tools in my arsenal are Travelers Notebooks and Planners. 

Now, before you say "I do all that on my phone" you must understand that I am a tactile note taker.  I remember best when I write it down.  However, once I paired these with a modified bullet journal, it became clear to me that this was a great find.

What is a Travelers Notebook?

Designed in Japan, the travelers notebook was designed with a leather cover and removable inserts of paper that the user can use as a journal, scrapbook, sketch pad, or any number of other things. Most TNs, as they're called, can hold up to six notebooks in one leather cover.  The most well known name is Midori.  

These covers now come in a variety of sizes and are made by a wide variety of folks, but mine is approx. 5.75"x8.75" and is by a company called Websters Pages in their Color Crush line.  Here's a photo of my TN.

These notebook covers are closed by an elastic band.  Inside there are four elastics along the spine under which the notebooks slide so they don't fall out.  In this way, you can add and remove at will and change the contents to suit your current needs at any time.  Here's the inside of mine:

The brown notebook came with the leather cover, but the flowered one is a product of the Practical Paper Company.  The brown notebook is being used as my daily planner and the flowered one has lines inside for notes.  Then, I have a third flowered one behind this one for bullet notes of things I need to do for work and tasks that must be completed.  I could put as many as six notebooks in this one cover OR I could add folders to keep loose papers or zip pouches for things like money or business cards, but I haven't found a need to do that as yet.  Notice the left of the leather cover has slots for credit cards and ID, but there are also slots to slide papers or lists into those as well.  You can find all that online, but the idea is that this cover is VERSATILE and I know many who use them as a wallet.

Now, TNs have quite a cult following and it's no wonder due to their versatility.  Many use them as an adult sticker book or an art book, but that's not for me.  I use mine merely as a tool.  Now, that doesn't mean I can't "color it up" a bit.  So, I made my own weekly calendar page with a notes page with some fun stickers from a company in New Zealand called Sugarloop.  Bernadette is an amazing graphic artist and her products and delivery are top tier.

Notice how I have Monday through Sunday in stickers on the right with a horizontal line? You can do yours in cubes, vertically, or however you like, but this works for me currently.  On the left is a "little things" sticker where I put things I need to remember, but not necessarily must do this week, and below that I put a list of things I need to buy.  Out of milk?  Put it in the TN.  Out of cereal, it goes here, too.  Need a new stapler?  Yep, it goes here, too.  That's the beauty of this type of setup.  It is literally a BRAIN DUMP location.  Next week, these two pages will be finished, and I'll begin again with a new set of pages for next week.

In a nutshell, that's a TN setup.  You can find GOBS of photos and videos online about it in much more detail because there is a bit of a cult following, but I wanted to share this here as just a basic concept.  My next blog post will be on bullet journaling and how I've adapted it to my own use.  THAT is where the true magic happens, folks.  It's already increased my productivity and I'm sure it can help you as well. 

Watch for the next installment in a couple of days for "Bullet Journaling 101" and if you want to order anything from Practical Paper with a great discount code, you can use my affiliate code in the checkout box.  Just type in "affiliateFREDA" without quotes in the code box for $10 off $25 or more.  They have all types of paper products, but my favorites are their traveler's notebooks like the flowered one above.   Check them out and check out Sugarloop, too!!