What About My Freedoms?

 

           Wikimedia Commons

I'm so sick and tired of all the morons whining about their freedoms being taken away by being asked to wear a mask when in public or getting a vaccination. They wear a mask on Halloween or at their local KKK rallies.  They cover their bodies with tattoos without knowing what substances are in the ink.  They eat fast food without knowing what the ingredients are.  They attended elementary and high schools after receiving the mandatory vaccinations against polio, the MMR vaccination, and others. They take drugs intended to rid dogs and horses of intestinal parasites.  They drink bleach and drink their own urine as recommended by right-wing idiots who couldn't pass high school biology. Yet they're terrified to take a vaccine developed by some of the world's preeminent immunologists and refuse to wear a piece of cloth over their face to protect their fellow citizens and even their own family members.

Because of these misinformed, deranged cult members, the pandemic continues to rage.  Unvaccinated people are dying every day and they continue to resist the only remedy available to save their lives. They openly fight, sometimes violently the administration of the life-saving vaccines.  They attack those very people who are risking their lives to save the rest of us.  They have even threatened the lives of Dr. Fauci and his family members, after listening to the lies and conspiracy theories being pushed by low lives like Rand Paul.

And when these miscreants do become sick with Covid, the first thing they do is rush to the hospital seeking treatment from the very people they have demonized.  It's not only hypocritical, but it is almost criminal, denying care and hospital rooms to those people who need help for situations not related to Covid.

Who are these selfish bastards that are so afraid of losing their freedoms?  We all know who they are.   They are the same ones who are fighting against voting rights, especially for Blacks and other minorities. They are the same ones who are fighting to take away a woman's reproductive rights. They are the same ones who want to destroy same-sex marriage and deny rights to the LGBTQ community.  They are the same ones who staunchly oppose immigrants.  Whether they know it or not they are the ones, through their cultish beliefs and behaviors, who support an authoritarian form of government over democracy.  Hopefully, despite their ignorance, we will survive the pandemic. Whether or not our democracy survives their presence in our electorate is another question.


You might want to check out my post, "Time is Running Out on Our Democracy".

I Guess Times Have Changed

 

    Wikimedia Commons

During the time of the American Revolution, our colonial "patriots rebelled against the tyranny of the English King and English Royalty. They believed that no man was above the law and fought for independence from the privileged ruling class. America won that fight and continued to hold that principle, of no man is above the law, in great reverence, until recently.

Today, Queen Elizabeth II, announced that she has stripped all military and royal titles from her second son, Andrew, who is embroiled in a sex scandal involving underage girls.  He can no longer be referred to as Prince Andrew, as he is now a private citizen. Even royals must be held accountable for their actions.

Meanwhile, back in the colonies, members of the wealthy class and government officials accused of sexual misconduct are held in high esteem, by patriots of the day. Hell, one of them was elected President and some sit freely as Republican members of Congress.  Being investigated or under indictment is no obstacle to serving in the government. 

How things have changed!


If I Write a Blog, Will Anyone Read it?

Flickr

I've been blogging for about 11 years and admittedly with little or no success. I started with a blog called "Retired in Malaysia" in which I chronicled my retirement in Penang, Malaysia. I used Google's Blogger to host my blog.  I had quite a few followers and earned about $60, mostly from donations. After living in Malaysia for 6 years I moved back to the US.  I didn't post much on this blog, since I no longer lived there, but I maintained the site for those who might want to retire in Malaysia.

I started my second blog, Steveso Thinks in 2013. Last month I changed the name to Stevesovie Thinks after I unsuccessfully tried to transfer the domain from Blogger to WordPress. I worked for 3 days, on the phone, with GoDaddy to find the domain, to no avail. Trying to work with Google was both frustrating and annoying, as I was unable to speak to a live person.  With a series of emails, they led me in circles, from one Google app to another, and they still couldn't find my domain.  I finally gave up and changed the name of my blog and got a new domain. I most likely lost what few followers I had. So, in essence, I'm starting all over again.

I've attempted to start a couple of other blogs but abandoned the idea after about a year.  I successfully moved a blog about my 2 cattle dogs, Cattledog Kids from Blogger to Wordpress.com a few months ago. I am very slowly getting a little more traffic every month. I have one other personal blog, Stephen Sovie's Blog, which remains on Blogger.

I had toyed with the idea of deleting all of my blogs and quitting blogging altogether and just writing on Medium.com but I became disenchanted with Medium.  I like to write about politics, social and cultural issues, and my dogs, but very few people on Medium share those interests. I have over 14,000 followers on Medium, but I usually never had more than 10 people read or interact with my posts.  I had more traffic on my personal blogs but didn't earn any money.

As I have previously written in a Medium article, As If Anyone Cares, I'm changing the way I use Medium, I've decided to publish first on my blogs and then republish the posts on Medium, under publications of the same names as my blogs.  I know that seasoned bloggers will criticize that decision as it screws up SEO, but hey, I'm no "Huffington Post" or "Billboard".  I'm just a little guy who loves blogging and loves the challenge.

I realize that nothing may change, in regards to traffic or earnings, or maybe no one will read what I write, but I'm having fun trying. If you're bored or curious check out my blogs and follow or check me out on Medium. Thanks for your time.


Should You Monetize a Small Personal Blog?

  Image by Karsten Paulick from Pixabay


I've been writing blogs since 2011 and admittedly have made little or no money doing so.  I never had the intention of getting rich by blogging, but I did hope to make enough money to pay for my domain and web hosting. When you are not selling a product or service there are very few ways of earning money from your endeavors. 

The most popular option for monetizing a blog is through the placement of ads on your blog.  The most widely used of these is AdSense from Google. It is quite easy to apply for AdSense and be accepted.  There are no minimum traffic requirements for AdSense, but Google is very strict and unforgiving.  I had AdSense on one of my blogs in 2011, but it was disabled after a friend of mine unknowingly started to click on my ads daily.  I appealed the decision in 2011 and was immediately denied.  Ten years later I tried again and was once again immediately denied.  When you appeal, Google states that it may take 2 weeks for a decision, but their decision came within a couple of hours.  I'm sure they didn't even read my appeal.

I was upset with the loss of Google AdSense but in reality, since I didn't have traffic numbers in the thousands every month, I wouldn't have made anything more than a few cents. For AdSense and similar ad campaigns that rely on clicks to pay, you would need at least 1000 clicks per month to earn a dollar! There are alternatives to AdSense and other similar companies, but they rely on thousands of visitors a month.

Using affiliate advertising, such as Amazon or eBay, is also very popular for smaller blogs.  I have used Amazon ads on one of my blogs for quite some time.  The ads look very pleasing on my blog, but once again I haven't earned a cent. Infolinks is another popular way to monetize a smaller blog and is quite easy to set up.  I am using Infolinks, but have not reached the minimum payout threshold of $50 yet. The more you post, the better the chances of earning money are.

Finally, if you want to "earn" some money to help allay the costs of maintaining your blogs, you can beg! By this I mean you can come right out and ask people for donations through sites such as PayPal or Ko-Fi.  I have the buttons for both of these sites on my blogs.  I have received several donations from the use of these sites, but nothing to brag about.

It is easy monetizing smaller personal blogs, but it often is not productive.  Unless you have unique content or a unique niche you're going to have trouble drawing a substantial amount of traffic, which results in revenue. As with anything involved in blogging you have to be a prolific writer, but that alone will not guarantee success. I've put many, many hours into my blogs with little to show for it.

If you want to write a blog and not have to worry about domains, hosting, and monetization I would suggest you join and write on Medium.com. For $5 a month you can read and write as much as you want and actually earn money for your efforts. I have been writing on Medium for a couple of years and usually earn enough money to cover my monthly membership fee, plus enough money for a coffee and donut.  The more you put into your writing the more you will get out of it.  You're not going to get rich here, but it's better than breaking your neck over maintaining a blog, unless, like me, you like the challenge.  Check out this link for more information. But anyway, good luck in whatever you do.



                                                     


All Politics is Local, And All Hate is Local

 

                                                                              USA Today

Former House Speaker, "Tip" O'Neil, once said, "that all politics is local".  This was true back in the '70s and even more true now.  Over the past 4 years, we have seen a drastic increase in the number of hate crimes in our country.  In the past year, since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a 150% increase in violent crimes against Asians.  This can be primarily attributed to former President Trump, who insisted on referring to the disease as "the China virus"' in an attempt to blame Asians for his incompetency and negligence that killed half a million Americans. Of course, most Americans are not educated or intelligent enough to understand the epidemiology of this virus and cannot tell the difference between a Chinese person, a Japanese, Thai, Korean, Indonesian, Indian, or any other person from Asia. They react to fear-mongering and blame all Asians.

Trump did not invent racism and hatred, but he legitimized it and used it to divide the country, for his own purposes. Racists, bigots, and haters have always been hiding in the shadows in this country. Up until Trump was elected they were prominent at the local level, but not as evident on the national stage.  They controlled who could vote and who their communities sent to Washington to represent them. 

During the Trump administration, the rights and freedoms of minorities were fair game.  Immigrants, people of color, the LGBTQ community, and Democrats were vilified and attacked. The Republicans in Congress allowed Trump to trash the Constitution and the foundations of our Democracy. They refused to condemn him or hold him accountable for, not only unconstitutional acts, but criminal acts. They refused to vote for his impeachment.

When Trump lost the 2020 election and refused to comply with the will of a majority of the American people, Republicans allowed Trump to continue to lie and spread conspiracy theories about the election results.  They supported him in his attempts to overturn the election and refused to recognize Joe Biden as the legitimately elected President. 

Finally, on January 6th, Trump supporters, with the full cooperation and support of Trump, attempted to overthrow our democratically elected government.  This insurrection caused the deaths of police officers and endangered the lives of the House Speaker and prominent Democrats in the House and Senate.  Trump's supporters even endangered the life of Vice President Pence. 

While Congress was being attacked, Trump and his co-conspirators in the Pentagon purposely held back the National Guard from putting down the insurrection.  As order was finally restored, Congress reconvened and continued to vote on the certification of Biden's electoral votes. Even with the blood and destruction of the attempted insurrection still evident in the halls of the Capitol 147 Republicans voted to overturn the election.

Since this attack on our democracy, many of those same Republicans have attempted to block Biden's cabinet nominees. One successful blockage was an Asian woman. Every single Republican voted against the Covid relief package that gave much-needed relief to Americans suffering from the pandemic. As Republicans in Red state legislatures are busy introducing laws to suppress the votes of Blacks and other peoples of color, they are trying to block bills strengthening voter rights and women's rights.  Republican Chip Roy(Texas) criticized a hearing on violence against Asians arguing that discrimination is free speech. 

The House voted to award the Congressional Gold Medal to police officers protecting the Capitol during the insurrection, but 12 Republicans voted against it.  The bill now goes to the Senate where I'm sure some Republicans will be opposed as they try to trivialize the insurrection and their part in the treasonous act.

Trump may be gone, but white supremacy still rules in the Halls of Congress. It's always been there, but now the Republican Party has made it a tenet of their party. Racism, bigotry, and hatred will be a governing principle in the passage of future legislation if the Republicans are allowed to have their say.  This is not indigenous to Washington.  This is local.

US Senators and Congressmen are our representatives. They represent our views, beliefs, and opinions. They represent us. These racist, bigoted, hate-filled members of congress don't decide on their own to become members of Congress.  Their constituents elect them to represent them. If the local constituents are racists, bigots, and haters they'll continue to send those people who espouse their beliefs to Congress.

If we want to end white supremacy, racism, and bigotry we must begin at the grass-roots, the local community. And that means we must address these issues in our schools, churches, and in our own families.






It's That Time of Year Again to Say, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, or whatever you want to hear!


                                                                 Image by Satheesh Sankaran from Pixabay

 

Christmas is only a couple of days away and for some reason, I feel obligated to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, even if I don’t really know them. I have already sent my Christmas salutations to my family and close friends, so now I must do the same for my followers and anyone else who cares to receive my wishes.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not being a scrooge, but I always feel the same way during the holiday season. Christmas is a special time, with all of the decorations and holiday trappings surrounding almost every aspect of our lives. Holiday movies and television shows offer a variety of entertainment venues that tug at our hearts and emphasize “peace on earth and goodwill to men”. We are encouraged to be charitable to those of us who are less fortunate. Warm and loving feelings and gestures abound. And then it’s all over! Back to the selfish, greedy, hate-filled society that we live in.

Sometimes when I look at the decorations filling our home I can’t help but fantasize about what Christmas was like a hundred years ago. When I look at one of my favorite Christmas figurines, shown below, I wonder what it would be like to be a part of that scene. Then I realize that I wouldn’t have been accepted into that congregation back then. Hell, a hundred years later I’m still not accepted in most churches and communities. Goodwill toward men my ass! The warm feelings of my fantasies don’t last long.


 

This is December 2020 and there are a lot of people in our country suffering. Suffering physically and mentally from Covid-19. Suffering from hunger and homelessness. Suffering from hate and discrimination. Suffering because they’re not one of the privileged in our society. Unfortunately, a great deal of that suffering is unnecessary and preventable. I know many people reading this will be upset because my thoughts to them seem political. Push aside your hate and tribalism and face reality. This is not about politics. This is about being human and caring for our neighbors.

How can those very people who adorn their houses with nativity scenes, raise their voices in praise of “the newborn king” and rejoice in the celebration of the birth of Christ allow this human suffering and support those who perpetuate it? They have no right criticizing those who have materialized Christmas or who don’t celebrate it. There never was a war on Christmas. There’s just a continuing war of the poor, the middle class, minorities, and anyone who doesn't fit into the old America.

To me, Christmas would be great, if it wasn’t so fake. Poor people, suffering people, immigrants, the LGBTQ community, and the less fortunate don’t just exist during the holidays. They are with us every day of the year. We also can care for abandoned pets all year long too. There’s no reason we can’t have the Christmas spirit all year long. That’s what being a Christian is, or for that matter, that’s what a Jewish or Muslim or Buddhist is. Or if you’re not religious, that’s what a human being is.

 

So in the spirit of hope, I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, a Happy Holiday, and more importantly a warm, loving season of caring.

 



 

The Pandemic May Seem Like a Dark Cloud , But I see a Silver Lining

 

                                                       Image by MarciaAnn from Pixabay 

The year 2020 has mainly been overshadowed by the Covid-19 pandemic and most people have trouble finding any bright spots.  I, for one, however, have found a few positives amongst all of the negativity.

Probably the most obvious change in our lives that was a result of the Coronavirus was wearing a face mask. After living for many years in Asia, where wearing a mask to protect yourself and others from colds and the flu is quite common, wearing a mask was no big deal. Masks also are worn to ward off the effects of air pollution in most Asian countries.

But good God, not in America! Wearing a mask was and is viewed as an attack on a man's masculinity and an abridgment of a person's freedom. After all, we all have a right to die by any means possible! Sure, we all wear seat belts and most of us refrain from drinking while driving and driving above the speed limit. But wear a mask to protect others from dying?  That's going a bit too far.

Since the start of the pandemic, I have come to the sad conclusion that a large portion of American society is either ignorant or just plain stupid. I am shocked by how idiotic some of my family and friends have been in response to the suggestions and guidance of the CDC. They have ignored the medical and public health professionals in favor of following a scientifically illiterate, narcissistic, self-centered conman who seeks only to profit from the pandemic. The world has not seen this type of fascist, evil behavior since Germany succumbed to the cult of Adolf Hitler. 

I've faithfully followed the CDC guideline about social distancing and wearing a mask, to protect myself and others. I've done this without suffering any inconveniences or loss of my civil rights.  I have noticed one benefit of wearing a mask other than preventing the spread of Covid-19.  I usually suffer from at least one nasty cold during the late summer and fall, but not this year. Even my COPD and asthma have not been as bad as in previous years. For me, the mask has been a healthy and pleasant side effect of the pandemic.

Perhaps the best thing to come of this pandemic is something that no one is talking about.  Every since the start of the pandemic with the lockdowns and school closings we have not had one mass school shooting. In the previous year, 2019, there were 45 school shootings.  But that's only part of the story. It's not really a bright spot. Unfortunately, even though there were no mass school shootings, there was an increase in mass shootings outside the school setting.  It's almost as if people can't shoot up a school they'll find someplace else to commit mass murder. 

With so many people acting like complete assholes and idiots defying the reality of the pandemic, the goodness of the majority of our citizenry goes unnoticed. So many Americans have stepped up unselfishly to assist their neighbors and strangers who have been negatively affected by the pandemic.  From helping elderly neighbors shop to collecting food and money for those who have lost their jobs, so they can feed their family, Americans have shown what it's like to be American. We have seen ordinary Americans, doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, first responders, truck drivers, grocery store workers, farmworkers, and both the young and elderly become the true heroes of this pandemic. 

Going forward I see these people as the silver lining in the dark cloud of the pandemic and the nightmare of the Trump presidency.  We have all had our complaints and bitching about minor inconveniences, but we're still alive. Some of us have lost family and friends to the Coronavirus, and some are still suffering. We owe it to those people to fight on and endure, to protect each other and defeat the virus, regardless of the selfishness of a few. Our families, our children, and our country depend on us. 




What About My Freedoms?

             Wikimedia Commons I'm so sick and tired of all the morons whining about their freedoms being taken away by being asked to w...