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Baitball Blogger

Profile Information

Gender: Do not display
Current location: Seminole County, Florida
Member since: Sun Mar 18, 2012, 10:16 PM
Number of posts: 28,643

About Me

I am interested in homeowner issues in Central Florida. What I have observed living in a Republican county is that a lot of what Republicans claim to support, is not how they live. For more information, see my website at www.keystoneworksite.com

Journal Archives

A lesson that Democrats can learn from our military generals.

If there is one thing that military generals continually harp on whenever the US is attacked by insurgents or a foreign power, it is to strike back swiftly and decisively. Every Democratic president who failed to take this route was taken to the woodshed for this reason: Generals know that if you don't stand up to these hostile actions, they will only escalate. If history is a lesson, any escalation is put on the shoulders of the president who did not retaliate.

Clinton was reamed for this for the Black Hawk down incident, even though he tried to bring it to the attention of the public. When he tried to point our attention to that side of the world, the Republicans diluted his resolve by launched a wag the dog strategy, claiming that Clinton was just trying to take our attention from his Lewinsky problem. Clinton buckled, because he did tend to wait for public opinion from both parties. He was a Centrist president. And for that measured response, history, as it will be remembered by Republicans, is that Al Qaeda were given an early, hidden victory.

Eight months into the Bush II presidency, we were hit with 9/11. Who got blamed for this? Clinton, because the Generals claimed that he did not put Al Qaeda down earlier.

And, here it gets interesting. What did Bush II do? He made a decisive attack -- against the wrong people! But that didn't matter. He was applauded for taking action.

The sad truth is that Republicans don't know one dark people from another. I know this personally, because I know someone who lost a son in 9/11. It was a massive loss. There is just no way that I can give proper due to what she felt, and how she overcame that loss, if she did at all. However, decades later, when we discussed the military response from the U.S., and I mentioned that Bush attacked the wrong country her response was, "At least he did something."

That's when I understood how Bush had used the loss, sorrow and pain from the 9/11 survivors for his own purpose. He took us into a wrong-minded war, and Republicans would applaud him for it and demonize the rest of us for questioning his decision. They just do not have a cultural reference point to differentiate between one dark skinned country from another.

Bush II would never be held accountable for his massive mistake -- or from interfering with a proper vetting that would have helped us focus on the Taliban and bin-Laden earlier. The Bushes were allowed to protect their Saudi Arabia alliances, and the division in the American people grew because the facts were never laid out clearly for everyone to see.

Lean Forward. That was the policy that President Obama would use in relation to the Iraq War. He walked away from holding Bush-Cheney responsible. Yes, at least he got bin Laden, but the division between the American people grew because we were allowed to walk away with a different set of facts.

It should not be a surprise that we have great divisions in our country. Simply, Republicans can create their own reality. Democrats just go along with it. It has been that way since the Fairness Doctrine was abolished. Republicans will change the rules where it suits them, and ignore them when they can't and the Democratic leadership does not hold them accountable. The right will cheat, spread propaganda to their supporters and the Democratic leaders always, always opt for civility in response. It is a pattern that has set in because we have not decisively retaliated with a massive counter-offense to stop them. That is the lesson we should learn from our military generals.

For better or for worse, the counter-offensive seems to be generating from the grassroots. Democratic voters all across this county have finally given up on the leadership to lead. I see this because there is a noticeable uptick in the number of ordinary citizens who are standing up to Republican public figures like McConnell and Sanders. They are standing up to them because no one in the Democratic leadership seems to do it. These ordinary citizens see the unfairness that is going on, and they are saying, Enough.

I suggest that we make it very obvious that we know that Republicans have crossed the line. We should pitch in money for a campaign ad that will highlight the facts as we see them. We need a new way to get our point of view through the red firewall of the right-wing media. The message we send should be clear: No, the end does not justify the means in our Republic. When we catch you gaming the system, anything that is decided by your Republican triumvirate is not valid.
Posted by Baitball Blogger | Wed Jul 11, 2018, 08:30 AM (0 replies)

The things I learned, living in America. Or observations of a Right-wing community.

I'm not originally from here. I was an American born in another country. I moved here to attend college and stayed to live out the adult years in Central Florida, where I watched the last few decades unfold. So, appraising my childhood indoctrination and expectations as an American child living abroad, these are the things that my parents taught us that have not served us well in our adult life:

(1a) We were taught that no one is above the law. It's not true. There are some people who have learned to use donations and networks to cement good relationships and associations with the right people. It not only helps them get out of trouble, but it may also encourage them to push things outside the boundary of civility. This has been going on for so long that now we can see the next step develop as they feel emboldened to codify this right into law for the president.

(1b) A corollary to the first observation is that you can steal things. But you have to learn how to steal it fair and square. In other words, you have to have people that you can count on to vouch for you and watch your back. It helps to hold a prominent position on a community board because most people will refuse to believe that you'll use your position for personal gain, since surely, someone in authority will remove you if you abuse your position. But it never happens that way. No one comes. There is no 24th cavalry, or no self-regulating law organization that will step in to protect us. What we find is that there is a segment of the population who believes that abuse of power is a perk of the position. In this climate, a corrupt leader can always count on support in this population because these people know from experience that there are benefits to becoming willing soldiers. This is how co-conspirators are created. They become handy, because they can ward off criticism by vouching for your stellar reputation and mention your military service to remind everyone that your word and reputation is above reproach. At a local level it is easy to get away with the "stealing things fair and square" because no one takes fiduciary responsibility seriously.

In case you haven't connected the dots, this social dynamic is happening on the national level. A small percentage of the public is supporting and vouching for a crooked leader, and the majority is helplessly watching. I have only seen this dynamic broken once at a local level. It required filling up city hall and a new face came to the mic and called the good ole boys on their bullshit.


(2) Protect your children from the neighbors. Many of us grew up ready to pay the consequences if a neighbor found fault with our behavior. Of all the things that my parents taught me, this is the one I regret the most. We would have faced severe punishment from our parents if a neighbor tattled on us. It may have made sense when we lived in a nurturing community, but in a right-wing community you are making your family vulnerable. I would tell young parents who live in hard right communities that you need to be prepared to stand up to anyone who disciplines your child without your permission. The reason is obvious. The world is getting more hostile, and people may take advantage of this antiquated, old village community concept, where everyone was forced to take the adult's version of what happened. Autocratic right-wingers know you're moving into their communities with these social beliefs and will take advantage of that indoctrination. The worst of them will take out their aggression towards you on your children. This is something that most people won't understand if they're under 55 years of age, but it was very different when we were growing up. So, especially if your neighbors are hard right, give your children the benefit of the doubt.

(3) In a right-wing community, people do discriminate against those they cannot control. It seems odd that every American claims they are fighting for the Constitution, but the social structure that controls local community decisions is not democratic and could not withstand a sharp audit of the Fourteenth Amendment. It's appalling. Equal Protection and Due Process of Law are nuisances which the right ignores on a local and state level. And now we're seeing the right brutalizing the Fourteenth Amendment with Trump policies.

In essence, America is a little less American than the way I viewed it back when I was a child. Our parents should have taught us to be less trusting, and to recognize that there are two tracks in America. The fast track has access to backdoors, where the powers that be use inducements or bribery to curry support for their causes. It is a profitable shortcut and once they are in, they're in for life.

I often think of the children who grow up in these households. Why would they ever show any tolerance for a fairly functioning government when they know there are rewards in the back channels that intentionally skirt procedure? They grow up learning how to be devious, feigning shock and dismay when they are not received with civility from the ordinary populace while they co-conspire with like-minded souls in private meetings. In essence, Republicans.

Revision History:

First revision to include Observation 1b.
Second revision to tie in the parallels between local right-wing communities and what we're seeing on a national level.
Posted by Baitball Blogger | Mon Jul 2, 2018, 09:23 PM (3 replies)

Looks like the boom finally hit in my right-wing community.

I was here in the nineties when the final stage of the community I live in was processed through the city. The process was so corrupted that I couldn't understand why no one else saw it or reacted to it in the same way I did. I tried on several occasions to try to bring attention to the issues and was gaslighted and defamed for my efforts. It took another 16 years before I began to understand that what I had witnessed was the kind of government that you get in a Republican backwater in Florida. This is what happens in a community where people are anti-government by nature and work to dismantle the process that was meant to protect us all, because they're only interested in profiting from the chaos. And, of course, we can't forget how everything grew geometrically worse by having attorneys who thought they could serve in both public and private capacities.

The details of what went wrong are something that has always been an objective of mine to write about as soon as my calendar clears up. Not sure that I will get to put it all down on paper before the coming lawsuit finally hits the courts. Nevertheless, it does appear that the other development has finally decided to take action, blaming our community for a poorly built retention pond structure, and all that goes around with that. Actually, I think they just want us to pay costs based on contracts between the two developments, for infra-structure that was poorly engineered and poorly installed.

Jesus. Where do I begin.

None of this makes me feel any kinship or sympathy to my own Association. This was long overdue. Anyone could see it coming, and most left the community because of it.

However, just to keep everything honest, I would caution that in case of a lawsuit the first thing one should remember is to include all the co-defendants. In that case, this Association should be able to list the following:

The City: Dear God people. Just show the picture that the THOA printed in their monthly in the November or December issue of 1997. It clearly shows this city's mayor, deputy mayor and commissioner involved with a ground breaking of the property months BEFORE we had the first public meeting. Wake up. The city co-opted your development. Yes, it does appear that there were people living in my own community that took part in backwater meetings and, in turn, advanced their cause by misleading - or outright lied to the rest of us in order to stifle dissent and expedite the approvals for a competing developer. That's how I see it.

And if that's not enough to seal our fate, let's remember how the Orlando Sentinel helped the sitting officials win another term by endorsing those elected officials. I plan to write how that extra term hurt us even further because the city manager had time to bring two critical players together in one of those seemingly innocuous board meetings - i.e. the arbor committee. Not long afterward, another, more ironclad contract suddenly emerged between the two communities.

The original contract was a ridiculous scribble that did not list specifics, like broken pipes or drainage. But the second contract was more firm, and I don't believe it would have ever come about if those public officials had not served a second term. So, thank you, Orlando Sentinel. You gave them time to cover the loose ends. Always serving the community.

In sum, I hope my Association thinks to ask the lawyer if it's not in line to add the city as a co-defendant. I'm not a lawyer, but it does seem to fit in with what I learned when I received a B.A. in legal studies.

Oh, and don't forget to look who was listed as board members of your own newly formed development in those early years. At least two of them helped to cut my nuts off when I tried to bring attention to the city's backwater agenda and its methods.

Let's see, did I forget anyone? I'm sure that I did.

For now, I will try to post whatever comes out of this legal scuffle, because I do believe that all of this is a product of governance from a Republican leaning good ole boy community. Good government process is not their thing. Backwater deal making is. I for one am glad that this is finally going to see its day in court. It may be painful to us, but the future residents of these communities will thank us for it, especially if the city finally accepts responsibility for allowing this to happen.
Posted by Baitball Blogger | Thu Jun 14, 2018, 03:23 PM (0 replies)

Throwing my hat in regarding the Wypipo controversy.

The following opinion was originally posted on Effie Black's thread and DQ suggested I repost it as its own thread.


I haven't been following these wypipo threads too closely because of time constraints, so I may be going on a tangent. But, from my personal view:

For forty of my <mumble> years, I was very much entrenched in mostly white environments and I can definitely see why minorities would group Caucasians into a wypipo category. Seriously people. Do you think we would be where we are today if minorities felt that they could count on a vocal number of white people who understand their problems and will have their backs? Nothing in what I have seen in college and out of college suggests that Anglo-leaning cultures understand or care about offering a helping hand. No matter who they are. Well, except for a large percentage of those who are Liberals, but certainly not all.

The response from most of the people in Caucasian groups is silence or they side with the white people who respond to us with admonishment for voicing our opinions. "Who are you?" That's the kind of reaction we get when we stand up and point out facts that question their decisions or decision making process. All the "decent" white people look at us like we're the cautionary tale. This is what will happen to them too, if they agree with us in public venues. So they remain silent and their silence legitimizes whatever aggressive behavior is directed at us.

Jesus. I have had a woman, who I thought was a friend, look uncomfortable when she saw me coming her way on a sidewalk. She was with two other white women and she avoided looking in my direction. I didn't even hear a friendly greeting as they walked passed by. I couldn't have been more than twenty feet away, since I gave them space because I was walking the dog. But this was in an open area where there was nothing taller than grass to block the view. Compare that when the next time we crossed paths when she was alone. Open smile and ready to talk, but for me, it was too late.

For me, all these little collisions have left a large scar where all the nerves and feelings have been stripped. You just can't be subjected to this kind of behavior and leave unchanged. So, in sum, "wypipo" definitely expresses a perspective that is valid. We are being excluded out of certain social circles, especially the circles where decisions are being made that affect our personal lives. Our worlds are split or divided where they count the most. Division exists, it's a reality and it didn't happen by our choice. So, why are you blaming black Americans for finding a term that communicates what they see? Asking them to be silent because it makes white people uncomfortable is just as bad as shutting down minority opinions before an election because you don't want to turn off the racist Southern Democratic votes. Yes, that happened.

I agree with those who say that it will get worse, before it gets better. How can I put it? If you are opposed to the term, maybe you don't see the problem from a minority point of view?
Posted by Baitball Blogger | Fri Jun 1, 2018, 04:02 PM (72 replies)

I haven't been following these wypipo threads too closely because of time

constraints, so I may be going on a tangent. But, from my personal view:

For forty of my <mumble> years, I was very much entrenched in mostly white environments and I can definitely see why minorities would group Caucasians into a wypipo category. Seriously people. Do you think we would be where we are today if minorities felt that they could count on a vocal number of white people who understand their problems and will have their backs? Nothing in what I have seen in college and out of college suggests that Anglo-leaning cultures understand or care about offering a helping hand. No matter who they are. Well, except for a large percentage of those who are Liberals, but certainly not all.

The response from most of the people in Caucasian groups is silence or they side with the white people who respond to us with admonishment for voicing our opinions. "Who are you?" That's the kind of reaction we get when we stand up and point out facts that question their decisions or decision making process. All the "decent" white people look at us like we're the cautionary tale. This is what will happen to them too, if they agree with us in public venues. So they remain silent and their silence legitimizes whatever aggressive behavior is directed at us.

Jesus. I have had a woman, who I thought was a friend, look uncomfortable when she saw me coming her way on a sidewalk. She was with two other white women and she avoided looking in my direction. I didn't even hear a friendly greeting as they walked passed by. I couldn't have been more than twenty feet away, since I gave them space because I was walking the dog. But this was in an open area where there was nothing taller than grass to block the view. Compare that when the next time we crossed paths when she was alone. Open smile and ready to talk, but for me, it was too late.

For me, all these little collisions have left a large scar where all the nerves and feelings have been stripped. You just can't be subjected to this kind of behavior and leave unchanged. So, in sum, "wypipo" definitely expresses a perspective that is valid. We are being excluded out of certain social circles, especially the circles where decisions are being made that affect our personal lives. Our worlds are split or divided where they count the most. Division exists, it's a reality and it didn't happen by our choice. So, why are you blaming black Americans for finding a term that communicates what they see? Asking them to be silent because it makes white people uncomfortable is just as bad as shutting down minority opinions before an election because you don't want to turn off the racist Southern Democratic votes. Yes, that happened.

I agree with those who say that it will get worse, before it gets better. How can I put it? If you are opposed to the term, maybe you don't see the problem from a minority point of view?
Posted by Baitball Blogger | Fri Jun 1, 2018, 10:21 AM (2 replies)

Privilege walks.

Just watching Katie Couric's report on the new racial sensitivity exercise where everyone gets lined up, then based on a series of questions you either take a step up or back. If the group is diverse, the individuals who are of ethnic backgrounds usually end up where they began. And it's the white people who are leading the pack, having to deal with ambivalent feelings of guilt and feeling lucky.

This has got to be one hell of a depressing experience for those who are stuck on the line, because, once again, their whole existence in that moment is to help white folk understand their privilege.

I know this from experience as a minority who came up through the social advances made in the sixties era. If you started at the same time I did, assimilation was a priority. The objective was to blend in, at the same time that you hoped that your presence was creating opportunities for others to learn from you, too. But, in the end, you realize that it was only the common civilities and courtesies that you extended to them that they were responding to. There is no real connection or awareness outside of the Cinco de Mayo celebrations where alcohol seems to help make the day of recognition in someone else's culture a little more appealing.

After decades of friendship, it's usually a slip of the tongue that brings it home. For me, it was when a close friend told me that she explained to her children that I was the "crazy aunt." In other words, someone who needs to be tolerated, despite our political divide. The realization sank in slowly. Holy shit, I have been nothing more, but their token minority friend. They never did see my perspective, because there was too much superficial "common ground" from the common civilities. They expended nothing in their personal lives, and they learned nothing.

I hope that the generations that follow can have better discussions with people of vast cultures and find more solid ground in their relationships. Remember not to get too comfortable in your social circles. Broaden your base of friends whenever possible.
Posted by Baitball Blogger | Wed May 16, 2018, 09:12 AM (18 replies)

Trickle-Down economics over-simplifies how money gets redistributed in red counties in Florida.

Rich people will always be a factor in business, but in Central Florida, we have a strange social dynamic going on that influences the distribution of wealth - and not in a fair way. I saw this process for the first time in the nineties. It may have started as inherently, good ole boyism, but it evolved and embedded itself into traditional organizations, until if finally took over.

Back in the nineties, our local government was seeking support for large public works projects and reached into the civic and professional organizations where they knew they would find the loud-mouths in our community. At the time the two groups were engaged in a headlock over a land development issue. The local government infiltrated the private groups and tapped the ambitious and the most fluidly ethical. Those people got the nod and became community leaders.

They didn't even have to ascend to positions on a board in a proper fashion to control what happened in our communities. As a newcomer, I saw how their authority was established. The word got out that they had special access to the city leaders. We were lied to and told that we didn't have any leverage in an important zoning matter that directly affected our Association, so our only option was to rely on this one person in our community. So, we ended up with two leaders in our community. One that was a named president, and the other was the good ole boy "ambassador" to the Mayor.

I was victimized by this process. I never had any preparation for this, no warning that something like this was even possible. There was just no known or shared history for the things that were occurring in my community. Over the years, I saw firsthand the dysfunction and favoritism to others that would tarnish my American Dream. So, I researched and studied public records and came up with an understanding.

What I found were networking circles that defined and eroded just about every institution that is supposed to provide a fair process. I can tell you, without blinking an eye that THIS IS THE RED FLORIDA COUNTIES ACHILLE'S HEEL. They have two parallel lines of leadership running concurrently in a community. And the one that always wins, is the one that has jobs opportunities or other inducements that can be used to seduce just enough of the population to squelch dissent in the others. WHEN A LOCAL GOVERNMENT TAPS INTO THESE GROUPS FOR THEIR OWN PURPOSE, THIS IS WHAT SYSTEMIC DISCRIMINATION LOOKS LIKE.

These networks run through-out Central Florida and hits just about every profession. The only way to break it, is to bring in outside legal professionals who will start filing Civil Rights lawsuits.

Posted by Baitball Blogger | Sat Jan 6, 2018, 11:22 AM (0 replies)

The average Republican isn't just a middle class to wealthy class white male voter.

Though poor whites may have had a past history of voting the Democratic ticket, I think we have seen a shift in voting patterns when Unions stopped being a factor with job security. The factor that is changing everything is an over-reliance on the so called trickled down system. It creates an environment where small businessmen must rely on the patronage system in order to survive. That's my observation from living in a good ole boy community.

The trickle down effect in small towns creates a very strange relationship between white residents, based on class. White males who are scraping to make a living find a way to hitch their wagons to the wealthy, hateful authoritarian types. Look at it from their small businessman's point of view. He knows that he's getting a steady check for one reason. He has passed his employer's purity test. The two have a political perspective that they agree on. And they reinforce those beliefs by spewing every hateful stereotype about minorities and Democrats. That's a reality in a small red town.

It's really hard, not to get defensive when you know that jobs are being dispensed in a way that reinforces a lifestyle that is intended to block you out of every basic right that you are entitled to in this country. There is no limit to their hubris because the legal authorities will do nothing to stop it. So, rank discrimination goes unchecked and the price of living the American dream in these communities is that you get victimized, not just by the old guys who use their military, ex-officer positions to justify their entitlement, but their grandchildren as well. There is no end to their hubris and, as a homeowner, you will be excluded in ways that defy the written law. There's nothing you can do about it because the system that exists in the community, is stacked in their favor.

So, if anyone can find some way to find a term that separates poor white males who are aligned with this political patronage, from poor white males who would walk away from a job where the employer expects a white purity test, please let us know what it is. I will use it.

Keep in my mind, that my section of the county is mostly white and Republican. Things might be different in more diverse neighborhoods.
Posted by Baitball Blogger | Thu Nov 9, 2017, 10:17 AM (0 replies)

Papadopoulos - the coffee boy is right out of the good ole boy playbook.

He was a necessary conduit and didn't need credentials for the task he was supposed to perform. In fact, credentials would have been too much of a lighting rod for questions and criticism.

They do this in city government all the time. If there is a private development matter that the city might have some desire to push through, they will make sure that there are no city professionals available at the meetings. For example, at a Planning and Zoning board meeting where a complicated retention pond was planned for a small community, the city did not provide a licensed city engineer to answer questions from the panel or for the residents. Instead, the Land development coordinator, who had no engineering license to risk, was there playing the role of Papadopoulos, using his ignorance to the city's advantage to push the meeting over the bumps and obstacles that would have slowed down the process.

In fact, the only reference to the city engineer was when the Land development coordinator stated that the engineer had approved the plans. This wasn't entirely true. Through a public records request it was found that there were quite a few letters exchanged between the city engineer, his boss and the developer's engineer. Nothing was set and changes were being made to the retention pond even after the last Commission meeting had taken place. It was a mess because the city commissioners and mayor had co-opted this private development for their own purposes and they had more than a few ordinary Papadopoulos types in the city government, as well as in our community to help them.

Same thing when the City went through a major beautification project. The board was manned with a lot of the good buddies who used the city platform to bully neighbors who got in the way. The strong words that were picked up on tape were incredible to hear. The city, instead of involving their own people to contact residents who would be impacted by their decisions, they instead handed it to civilians to make those contacts. They didn't even provide a lawyer to ensure that the board meetings were held with a civil understanding of private property rights.

Don't be fulled by the coffee boy label. You would be surprised at how willing an ordinary person would be to cross the line if it would make the people at the top happy. They need to be held accountable in the same manner.
Posted by Baitball Blogger | Fri Nov 3, 2017, 09:15 PM (5 replies)

Have you figured out the pattern yet?

They shut down protests from Black Americans by claiming they are disrespectful to soldiers when black NFL athletes kneel, instead of stand for the National Anthem.

They shut down calls for gun control by claiming this is not the right time to talk about it because it's disrespectful to grieving victims and family members.

It's a ploy. Can you see it? Everything about our society is set up to resist change. Or more to the point, conservatives have figured out how to push the right set of buttons to keep their people in a state of incurious inaction.
Posted by Baitball Blogger | Wed Oct 4, 2017, 09:55 AM (3 replies)
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