An open letter to Trump voters – congratulations, you won.

Congratulations to all my friends, family, and others who voted for Trump for reasons other than his hate rhetoric during his campaign. You are the ones who are not his publicized supporters, or I would not be writing this for I cannot believe this hate resides in the hearts of all who voted for him. I know you are not the ones who are xenophobic, racist, or feed into the rape culture by making statements such as we have heard courtesy of the media. While I do not understand the choice you made and can only assume it is because you are fed up with lifetime politicians or really believe your guns were going to be taken away or you really felt his business ‘expertise’, I know you are not aligned with the hate groups which have backed him through this whole process. So please hear me out on what I am going to say next.

Based on the behavior of many of those hate groups and of people who have harbored that same hate deeply but left unspoken until now, many of your friends and family not only feel unsafe but are unsafe. Hate and race crimes have increased in the past year, as well as the hate speech. As I know you are not the kind of people who would participate in this kind of behavior (otherwise you would not be reading this) I am addressing you personally to take action now.  Help keep your friends and family safe. If you see someone acting in a racist way or making racist comments, you MUST step up and stop it. If you see a woman being berated or spoken to or acted upon in a way that is belittling or aggressive, you MUST act. If you see someone targeting another because their skin or religion is different than yours, you MUST protect them. You may be asking why I say you must, I’ll tell you why.

This behavior is not just a side effect of your vote. It is the consequences of it. You cannot pretend that the hateful speech of your chosen president did not have the effect, but the proof is plain as day. With black churches/synagogues/mosques being targeted, people already feeling they have the right to denigrate women openly in public, people in stores already acting out against people with different skin color than their own, the writing is on the wall. The election of a man, who despite so openly using hate speech has risen to our highest office, has given license to anyone who holds this same hate in their heart to begin acting on it. And since you chose to vote for him, for reasons I choose to believe have nothing to do with his hateful speech, it is now up to you to protect those who his speech has put in harm’s way. There have been and will be consequences for your choice, you have to accept that. There are always consequences to our choices.  But real men and women, decent human beings, take responsibility for the consequences of the choices they made. If you are the kind of people who I believe you are, you will too. Therefore it is now up to you and I to protect the people his hate speech has put in harm’s way by given credibility to this hate – by making him president.

So congratulations on your win. Now protect those you know and those you love from the people his hate filled campaign has given license to behave in deplorable ways.

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My Heart Broke a Little Today.

My Heart Broke a Little Today.

Not because of the time of year it is, though many would understand that. No, it was a different kind of loss. It was the loss of hope which caused my heart to break today. No, not the hope one has for their life, their plans and dreams, though I do suspect those plans and dreams may eventually be shattered by what is now breaking my heart. It was not the hope you hold out for your children, hoping they will make a good life for themselves, though I suspect that will be affected as well. No, my heart broke today because of my loss of hope for our nation.

I do not say this lightly. As most people know, I am not a doomsday – all is lost – kind of person. But with this election cycle, it is hard not to be. When you look at the mud being slung, that has been slung for so long, between the two parties, it can be no surprise that this election cycle has been one of the most volatile in recent history. When people’s minds have been twisted by hatred and fear for so long, is it any wonder people are willing to make irrational choices to try and change things? No, it is not a surprise to me that many people have turned to someone, anyone, outside our traditional political structure to try and save the day for them. What does surprise me is the desperation to make that change which has grabbed ahold of people I thought were rational and could take a real look at the facts and understand that this election cycle – with the only outsider running being so vile a person, being such a poor businessman, with his misogynistic tendencies that he has displayed for years, who himself once said these kinds of people do not change – is not the time for it.

Sure, many of them reference the constant talking points Republicans’ have used for years, despite the fact that so many of them are now coming forward to indicate their charges were all trumped up.  They point to things like the constant investigations into Benghazi (which they have found nothing on and have even admitted was not her fault), those pesky emails (none of which have actually proven she has done any wrong) going on about how she should have been using a secure government server (though at the time she was in office it was common to use private servers and it was in no way illegal), calling her Killary though there is no evidence that she has had a hand in anyone’s death, including Benghazi. These things and more have been so engrained into the public’s brains that it is no wonder so many people still believes these lies, even while those who had previously attacked her are now recanting their efforts. They try to use things her husband did, or is accused of doing (despite no lawsuits other than the one for lying about an affair) as an excuse not to elect her. They will look at anything but the real track record, which indicates a good person who will fight for the rights of all. Is she flawed? Yes. No one is perfect. She stood by a man, and still does, who cheated on her regularly, hoping to believe the best about him. This is no more than the majority of women who have been cheated on have done at one time or another. And she is unfit for president because of that? No. People feed into all the other hype that has been spread for years about her, even though these things have been proven time and time again to be false. But this is still not why my heart is breaking.

My heart is breaking because today I saw a post from a young lady who I love dearly; someone who I always thought of as a strong feminist, a rational intelligent human being, who could never get drawn into the kind of lies that have been spread for years, and especially this election cycle. But she has. She has aligned herself with people who think racism is fine, treating women as less than is perfectly normal, that grabbing someone unconsensually is what men do. She has aligned herself and chosen to vote for a man who has a child rape case against him, who has peeped in on teenaged girls as they got ready for a beauty pageant.  The list of disgusting things this man has done is so great I won’t even go into them all. But beyond that, even if his crimes against women were not an issue (and believe me when I say they are) she has chosen to ignore the facts about her chosen candidate.

Business facts which clearly show he has never been out for anyone but himself by refusing to pay the kind of people he now says he will protect: by running business after business into the ground, by bankrupting not only his own companies but those of small businesses which have done business with him, by alienating everyone, even those other billionaires who know him. His ties to other countries, countries which are NOT our allies, are blatant by the sheer fact that everything he makes is made in another country. He wants to lower wages for those who are already scraping by.  Experts say his financial plans for our country would add 14.5 trillion dollars to our deficit (while his opponents would only add 200 million, a vast difference). The fact that other countries have said flatly they want nothing to do with him, they won’t deal with him as a president, and that they may even bar him from their countries. He wants to withdraw us from the UN, a peace keeping union, so that we can blatantly go about the world killing off those who are possible terrorists AND their families (something the US could easily be accused of if this plan come to fruition).

She, and so many others I know, are either choosing to ignore facts or really do not understand the consequences of having this man become president. I am quite frankly shocked at the lack of critical thinking, especially from people who I know are taught how to think critically in college.

But it was not these others who broke my heart, it was her. It was this woman who I always thought of as a fierce feminist and strong woman who has decided to vote for a man who would strip her rights away if he can and make her nothing but the subject of men’s unwanted aggression. I just can’t wrap my head around it. It was her who broke my heart, and I am weeping for our country as a result.

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My Netflix experience and ratings

We have had Netfix for exactly one month and one week now. For the first month, we had absolutely no issues with our ability to stream with them, the free trial ran perfectly. I loved it, with a lot of shows I could not get anywhere else, quality of streaming, ease of access. But the moment we got home from a trip and realized our free trial had ended, because our cards had been changed during our free trial and we forgot to update it in our account, that all changed. Ok, all updated and ready to go. Or so we thought. The moment we updated our payment info and had access again, we began to have streaming issues. What does one do when one has issues streaming? Call your service provider (our ISP that is).

After testing that and rebooting our modem here, and checking that all our other streaming programs were working perfectly fine, I then went to Netflix web site to do their trouble shooting. As I am the techy in our house, I did this … and I did it again the next day, and the next, and … for a whole week I have done this multiple times a day. Disconnecting our account, rebooting our Roku devices, logging back in, unplugging the box, plugging it back in – over and over and over. Finally, today, I logged on to their live chat.

Mind you, any other service I have had an issue with has been able to walk me through the steps and when that did not work, (sometimes before even trying that) check their systems for any ongoing issues. They have been able to admit they were having issues and give an estimate as to when those issues may be resolved. But not Netflix. Their tech support – who obviously had never used their own product on the Roku, nor had proper training to identify what the so called message should have been, based on their inability to understand how it worked – had me jump through the same hoops I had been jumping through all week, exactly the same trouble shooting they provide in their support page with nothing new at all. Once I explained I had been doing all that for a week already with no effect, the tech support indicated he had ‘already spent enough time on’ me, and please follow these steps, giving me a link to the page I had been using for days to try and get it to work. I then explained I had done this repeatedly with no results. His response was, and I kid you not, “just use these steps, they work every single time, they do.”

I just left chat at that point as it was obvious he had drank the koolaid or was going from a script (badly I may add) and was never going to admit the issue was on their end or give me any idea when the issue might be fixed. There is a chance that Netflix tech support is never even given proper information on any issues with their own systems. While I knew that if we cancel our account we would not get a refund (despite the issues beginning the minute we paid for the service) and they would allow us to continue using the service until our billing was due again. But I decided to check out their warranty again anyway. This is what it says about the quality of their service:

“NETFLIX DOES NOT GUARANTEE, REPRESENT, OR WARRANT THAT YOUR USE OF THE NETFLIX SERVICE WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED OR ERROR-FREE. NETFLIX SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIMS LIABILITY FOR THE USE OF APPLICATIONS, NETFLIX READY DEVICES, AND NETFLIX SOFTWARE (INCLUDING THEIR CONTINUING COMPATIBILITY WITH OUR SERVICE).”

This is directly from their terms of service, you know, the ones no one ever reads (and they count on that). So they are offering a service that is constantly failing to play (buffering every few minutes at certain points) and expect you to pay when they basically won’t even guarantee any service at all. With this little clause, they are saying that if you pay us and it suddenly stops working, so sad, too bad, we got your money anyway. So why would they ever admit there was an issue on their end? They have no motivation to, as they say right here they are not responsible for the quality or even ability for it to work.

Mind you, I am not talking about an occasional buffering. I am talking about a constant interruption, nearly every few minutes, in my streaming. On a streaming device, I expect that I will get occasional buffering. I do. But what was happening to us was absolutely ridiculous, and for them to not even give their tech support any other skills or knowledge than they put in print on their web site for users to follow on their own is idiotic at best.

My only explanation on why it worked so wonderfully during the free trial is that it was the classic bait and switch with their streaming servers. I suspect that, while on the free trial, we were placed on a server with a higher quality (or fewer users) and once we began our actual payment cycle, our server was switched to one which is overloaded or of a poorer quality. Then again, due to the incompetence of their tech support, I cannot be sure of this.

My ratings on the Netflix experience: 4 stars on shows available, 1 star on their tech support, both in chat and in print, 1 star on customer service due to the snark received by Daniel, my chat tech specialist who knew less about what was going on than I did, 5 stars on quality of streaming during the free trial, 2 stars on quality of streaming once the free trial ended. All in all a 2.6 star service, don’t bother past your free trial.

** update, a few moment after I mentioned I was a journalist (OK, maybe not currently employed as one, but …) and apparently my only solution was to cancel our subscription and write a scathing review, our service is so much better. Hmmm, wonder if the two are somehow connected? Not saying, just saying.

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