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Pee wherever you want to––everyone!

Use whatever bathroom you want.

719Lk-kuT0L._SY355_I’m not talking to transgendered people––I’m talking to all of you and because I’m a man, even more so to the male of our species…

Haven’t you ever been frustrated when someone seems to have taken up residence in the men’s room?

As I move ever further beyond age 50 I experience this frustration more than ever. I wait and wait in genuine discomfort while the women’s room goes unused. Still––I won’t violate the sacred boundary. My mother taught me not to.

No more. If I need to go––I’m using the women’s restroom. Why not?

I’ve also decided that I’m going to join the shortest line at the ballgame. I’m going to use the closest facility at the highway rest stop. And if the men’s room is filthy, I’m trying the women’s––I don’t care how many stalls there are or who can see me or who may be uncomfortable with my presence.

In the hyper-emotional battle over transgendered use of public restrooms we’ve lost one coldly serious and important fact:

Our Constitution does not protect any group. It protects individual rights.

If you believe that people should be free to choose the facilities that best reflect their chosen gender identity––so be it. I’m tempted myself to cite gender fluidity as a convenient justification to use the girl’s room when I find myself in desperate straights.

ID-100345484I’m getting too old to stand on ceremony––I don’t have a problem announcing that I’m now gender fluid, non-binary, genderqueer or whatever it takes to save me the the pain and potential embarrassment associated with pissing my own pants.

Yes––my tongue is poking my cheek and I am purposely trying to instigate trouble here––but think about it…

Those on the open borders side of the gender identity restroom debate maintain that you can’t deprive a person of his or her or others civil right to use the public plumbing of his or her or others choice simply because his or her or others chosen sexual identity does not correlate with his or hers or others biologically plumbing.

That’s all fine too––but we don’t protect the “group,” and we don’t grant special privileges to particular groups––not in theory anyway. We’re not supposed to be creating protected classes of people or legislating privileges for a chosen few––on any grounds.

Our system is built on protection of rights for the individual.

The gay marriage issue turned on that very point. You simply cannot say that one individual citizen can enjoy a privilege recognized by the state while another individual citizen is denied the same privilege.

Racial discrimination is illegal on the same grounds. We did not create a special privilege that suddenly allowed black people the right to vote, for example. We simply got around to recognizing that once black people were considered citizens (another terrible injustice that needed correcting by the way) that there was no way their right to vote could be denied. The 15th Amendment does not grant a special privilege to the “group” of black citizens––it prevents the government from using it’s authority to deny the right of an individual based on race or color:

“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”

In the same way, we’ve recognized that if an adult citizen can be “married” under the law, then every citizen has the same right.

It seems only right that if we choose to legally recognize the right of a particular citizen to use a public restroom based on his, hers or others identity––or even feeling of identity on a particular day, then each of us has the right to use the public restroom of our choosing––regardless of the reason.

Seem ridiculous? Well, think of the problem from all sides.

To protect a right, you must consider enforcement. If you’re granting a privilege to a particular group, you must provide a practical means of enforcement.

In the case of driving on the public roads, we issue a license. Is this the solution to the trans-fluid gender restroom issue?

Should we issue special ID cards to transgendered and gender fluid people? Should they be required to show these cards to authorities when someone challenges their presence in a gender segregated area?

That would certainly be a solution. That would prevent me from using the women’s facilities––assuming I don’t qualify for a card.

Well, India, Pakistan, Nepal and Ireland have beaten us to the punch…

In each of these countries the official stand is that gender is nothing more than a declaration of choice and “neither male nor female” is a legally recognized option. And the official ID is anything but a joke, it’s a reality!

Ireland recently celebrated remarkable progress in the state sanctioned free-gender area according to TheJournal.com:

“…Ireland’s trans community celebrated a “historic day” when citizens were given the legal right to gender recognition based on self-declaration.

“It means that people who wish to have their change of gender recognised by the state – in birth certs, passports, driving licenses – will simply make a formal declaration to that effect.”

Still, even Ireland lags a little behind the times. TheJournal.com article continues:

“In this case though, individuals still only have two options; male or female. ‘M’ or ‘F’.”

Well––it’s a start.

We don’t live in Ireland or India and we’re still talking about restrooms and to this point, we’re not, as far as I know, issuing state gender ID cards.

Nor should we.

I don’t really have a solution––frankly, it’s not something I ever bothered to think about much.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I’ve always cherished the one remaining “safe zone” where I could retreat free from the onslaught of the opposite sex––naturally endowed or otherwise. I suppose those days are gone.

Yes, I’ve been annoyed when women jump the line at a concert to pee in my men’s room. Yes, I’ve strained every muscle in my body to keep from losing it waiting for the men’s room to open when the women’s room went unused. On one occasion I was caught off guard when I noticed the young woman washing her hands in the next sink was anything but––a young woman that is. I even dealt with concerns from the members of my martial arts center when it became obvious that a new student’s gifts of nature were inconsistent with her––I mean his choice of locker rooms.

We simply didn’t make much of an issue of it. But lets not flush the main point of this discussion down the toilet.

As I said––our system protects the rights of the individual, not the group.

If gender identity is a choice––

And if that choice is subject to the individual’s feelings on a particular day––

And if there is no requirement to obtain or produce any official documentation of one’s gender…

Then shouldn’t we all just pee wherever the hell we want to?

Another look at it…

Photo of transgendered many courtesy of Frankie42 and FreeDigitalphotos.net

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San Bernadino: Boston––not Sandy Hook

By Jim Bouchard

I have never been more outraged at the reporting on mainstream media than I am this morning.

San Berdo TerrorI am as angry and saddened as anyone about the carnage in San Bernadino. Like you, I’m sick and tired of these brutal attacks and like you, I’m worried about one happening closer to my own home.

But folks––we’ve got to see this for what it is.

As I write, every major network is teasing a segment on the escalation of “mass shootings” in America. Obama has already issued his perfunctory statement about increased gun control.

ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN––even FOX so far is emphasizing the term “mass shooting” to describe the San Bernadino attack. George Stephenopoulos just called this a “hybrid attack…kind of a ‘workplace jihad.”

Wake the f**k up!

This is not Sandy Hook or Columbine. This is exactly the same tactical assault conducted by the Tsarnaev brothers in Boston.

Here’s why we’re so hesitant to make the connection:

#1 There has been no “claim of responsibility” by ISIS or any other terror group.

Well, there isn’t going to be one. That’s not the way they operate. This is the manifestation of the “lone wolf” tactic. I’ll expand shortly.

#2 We just can’t accept the fact that native born Americans there are active jihadists.

There are––and our intelligent community has known this for years. Complicating the matter further is the fact that these are second and now sometimes third generation children of Middle Eastern immigrants and now some with no ancestral ties to the region. This is infiltration of the highest level.

#3 They seemed like perfectly normal people.

Part of the plan. We’ll get into this shortly.

#4 Even their families did not know.

I seriously doubt that in most cases. When you’re building pipe bombs in your apartment, Grandma certainly sees what’s going on.

#5 We can’t imagine how these people got the training to execute a precision attack.

It took me approximately 15 seconds to get the information. You can Google “Safety and Security Guidelines for Lone Wolf Mujahideen.” You’ll have everything you need to get started.

#6 We can’t imagine the level of depravity and insanity it takes to conduct such a senseless killing.

We’ve got to get it through our thick skulls…

Adam Lanza, Robert Lewis Dear, Christopher Harper-Mercer, Dylann Roof, Aaron Alexis…

These people were nuts.

What all these shooters have in common is that they were mentally deranged, there were signs that were ignored, they all had a history of abnormal and anti-social behavior and frankly––we should have been able to stop them.

Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, Nidal Malik Hasan, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev and now––

Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik…

What do these people have in common?

Before you play the Islamaphobia card––no, not the fact that they are all Muslims. This is not the substantive factor.

What they all have in common is that they are all self-proclaimed jihadists. These are the radicalized “lone wolf” terrorists that Al Qaeda and ISIS have been training and calling into action for years.

These are not lunatics––not in the sense we’re used to. These are warriors. They are responding to what they see as a righteous and holy cause.

You’re free to disagree with their motives––but you’re willfully ignorant if you think for one minute that you can deal with these jihad warriors as you would the prototypical psychopathic mass murderer.

Now before I argue the point that this is, whether officially sanctioned or not, a terrorist attack and not a “mass shooting,” let’s be clear that the investigation is ongoing. Could Farook have been a “disgruntled employee” bent on revenge?

It is possible––but not likely. It was reported that Farook allegedly stormed out of a meeting before the attack. It was also widely reported that he had no previous issues or problems in the workplace. More importantly, it’s painfully obvious that this attack was conducted with military precision, required months if not years of preparation and was anything but a spontaneous act of workplace rage.

It’s much more likely that Farook’s outburst simply telegraphed his moment of truth––or even that his outburst may have been cover for his true motives and inspiration.

Crazy idea, eh?

Let’s go to the source. This from “Safety and Security Guidelines for Lone Wolf Mujahideen”:

“You should make sure to not look particularly attached to religion. A man who works on a secret operation should meddle in the general population. If you can avoid having a beard, wearing qamis (Islamic clothes), using miswak (a sort of toothbrush recommended in the hadiths), and have a booklet of dhikr (Islamic devotional booklet) with you, it’s better. Also, you shouldn’t be going to often to places like mosques, Islamic institutes or Islamic libraries. You should also wear western-style cloths to appear neutral and not draw attention to yourself.”

Algemeiner.com offers a detailed report on the jihadist manual:

“The manual also directs jihadists to have plausible cover stories such as posing as engineers, doctors, or tourists, and instructs them not to rush their attacks.

‘The advantage of the lone wolf here is that he is already established in the West, his entire life is a cover story – and a very strong one at that. So use that to your advantage. Be patient, don’t rush anything, put your trust in Allah,’ it says.”

This is nothing new. Intelligence and homeland security experts have been warning about these attacks for years. Unfortunately, the media largely painted these experts as paranoid conspiracy theorists rather than as serious students of an organized and dedicated enemy.

And there have been other books. The Algemeiner.com report continues:

The guide, an abridgment of earlier Arabic instructions to jihadi cells translated into English, instructs jihadists how to conceal their plots from Western intelligence and security services. It repeats instructions found in other jihadi manuals published by al-Qaeda or by the Islamic State in recent years, including “How to Survive in The West” and “Military Studies in the Jihad Against the Tyrants,” the latter of which British police recovered from an al-Qaeda member’s home in Manchester in May 2000. Al-Qaeda member Ali Mohamed, who infiltrated the US Army and CIA in the 1980s, wrote the guide found in Manchester using information he gathered from US government sources.

Shaikh describes the recent Islamic State guide as a new edition of Mohamed’s guide.

“Surprise is half of victory, and to surprise the enemy in both the time and location where you will hit maximizes your chance of success,” the manual says.

As I said, nothing new––but this last attack should motivate us to take a new look at the ongoing an growing threat. It’s well past time to take the jihadist seriously.

Once more from Algemeiner:

FBI Director James Comey told US intelligence officials last month that the Bureau has approximately 900 ongoing Islamic State-related inquiries, most of which involve homegrown suspects…

“I think the manual format gives them sort of a how-to process and therefore it’s another indication of the danger we face in dealing with these self-motivated jihadists,” said former FBI Associate Deputy Director Oliver “Buck” Revell. “I think it shows a great deal of critical analysis at the heart of the movement and that they are certainly knowledgeable, and they are not ignorant of our methodologies and even our technical capabilities, and we would be wise not to underestimate their capabilities.”

I’ll simply repeat the former FBI director’s last thought:

“…we would be wise not to underestimate their capabilities.”

You can treat the San Bernadino attack as another tragic manifestation of what the President calls our “pattern of mass shootings.” You can call for tougher gun regulations and you can be ever more vigilant and suspicious of your neighbors and co-workers––we certainly don’t want to miss the signs.

Or––

You can acknowledge the truth. Whether we like it or not, we’re fighting a global war against a serious and committed enemy––and this enemy has infiltrated our ranks.

This decision determines how we fight this war. How we fight this war determines whether we will win––or lose.

As I finish this piece I’m listening to an ABC radio news report. Once again, the carefully emphasis on the words “mass shooting.” According to this announcer, the worst “mass shooting” since Sandy Hook.

No.

The worst terrorist attack on American soil since Boston.

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On Robin Williams, Suicide and Wanting to Help

ID-100173636All this week social media has been inundated with well-intended gestures from people sincerely wanting to help.

“There’s always hope! If you’re ever feeling like you want to end it all, please reach out- I’m here!”

Or some such foolishness…

Knock it off!

Yes- I said foolishness.

I’m all for you being available to friends in need, especially when it comes to suicide, but play close attention…

Unless you’re a trained professional, the only thing you should be saying when a desperate friend actually reaches out is:

“Let me help you find some help.”

If you’ve never been seriously depressed, addicted or you’ve never actually considered taking your own life, you may not understand what I’m about to say. I’m talking from experience.

When you are close to suicide and you reach out to friends, this is what you’ll typically hear- and none of it helps:

“There’s always hope!”

Oh ya? If I thought that I wouldn’t be sitting here with a knife to my throat!

“Have you ever thought about how much you mean to the people who care about you?”



Well, I’ve thought plenty about how little I mean to them and how they might be better off without me!

“Suicide is stupid.”

F*#k you.

“Nothing can be so terrible that it’s worth taking your own life.”

Walk a mile in my shoes.

Depression is a medical condition…

A suicidal mindset is a critical symptom that requires rapid professional intervention. If someone shares suicidal thoughts with you, or you suspect someone you know is that desperate, here’s what you can do that will help:

#1 Listen…

Don’t judge, don’t offer trite self-help platitudes. Don’t share insipid positive thinking quotes or stories about someone you know who once thought about suicide who then went on to great success. Yup, heard ‘em all.

Most of all, don’t tell this person you know how they feel- even if you do. You may have shared the experience, but not the specific circumstances.

Just listen.

#2 Tell them you don’t have an answer…

Trust me- you don’t.

In an acute state of depression, most of the answers that make sense to you have no resonance with the person suffering. Logic is not part of the equation at this point, you’re dealing with someone who is operating from a primal state of emotion.

It’s OK to admit you don’t know what to do. Being there is enough- and probably already diffused the situation for the moment.

At this point, you may be feeling hopeless- as if there is nothing you can do.

There is…

#3 Connect this person with a professional…

This can be difficult and you’re going to have to be strong. Say that the best possible thing you can do is to help make a phone call.

Call someone this person trusts- you can start with their personal physician. Call any number of available suicide hotlines- ask for available resources in your area.

You can offer to drive them to the appointment. You can sit with them while they make a call to the hotline. You can offer to be available to listen or help them get professional help.

You need to understand that any and each of these supportive gestures can be significant and probably much more effective than trying to play the psychologist.

Robin Williams…

Oh ya, my headline promised I’d talk about Robin Williams.

Here’s what I posted in response to the social media onslaught…

Lot’s of angst and passion about Robin Williams today. Suffice it to say that unless you’ve been there, it’s difficult to understand, maybe even impossible.

Having been there and nearly done that I’ll say- don’t judge, don’t even try to understand- if you’re not there just be grateful. If you can reach out to someone in pain, do it- but don’t expect miracles and don’t feel guilty if you can’t change a mind set on the path of destruction. Strange as it sounds, that path sometimes feels like the path of peace.

And don’t condemn Robin as selfish. His life was his, not yours. He shared some of it with you- for that be grateful. That’s a gift, not an obligation. Unless you’re a personal friend, you weren’t there for him- that’s life…and he didn’t live for you…that’s just the fact.

We sometimes allow ourselves a false sense of intimacy with people in the spotlight. Just enjoy the good moments Robin gave you and do the best you can for you and yours.

Photo of woman courtesy of Marin and FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Richard Sherman and the very real rewards for bad behavior

No harm, no foul. Richard Sherman and Erin Andrews pose for photos following the famous outburst.

No harm, no foul. Richard Sherman and FOX Sports reporter Erin Andrews pose for photos following the famous outburst.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney)

“Richard Sherman could stand to make about $5 million in endorsements — all because of his 15-second rant moments after helping the Seattle Seahawks get to the Super Bowl.”

Well there you have it. But make no mistake- no sponsor would be floating this money like that Colin Kaepernick pass if you weren’t willing to buy what they have to sell.

Personally, I have absolutely no issue with what Sherman did on the field.

I played semi-pro football. For the casual fan, suffice it to say that you should cling to your Disney/Rudy ideals of brightly adorned warriors waging chivalrous battle.

Those who have played the game know what happens on the field is a little different than what you actually see on your TV- even in HD.

Sherman and Richard Crabtree are ballers. These are highly competitive men playing a game with an emotional intensity you cannot begin to understand unless you’ve strapped on the pads yourself.

What happens between those lines is their business.

And…to Sherman’s defense, all he was trying to do after destroying the 49ers last gasp at a championship was offer his opponent a handshake and a hearty “Hell of a game!” It was Crabtree who put up his hand in Sherman’s face and gave him a rather ungentlemanly shove. 

Check out this video…

Richard Sherman Screenshot

My problem with Sherman starts the moment FOX Sports reporter Erin Andrews asks him to recount the final play…

Richard- game over. You have something more to settle with Crabtree, take it to the field next year. You made an ass out of yourself and as you admitted later (and as your coach pointed out to you), your rant showed flagrant disrespect to the other members of your team.

Don’t shed any tears yet- the other Seahawks really don’t have a problem with Sherman’s outburst. Neither do most of you.

And I don’t feel sorry for Andrews either. She’s a big girl; she’s a professional and she knows well the world she works in. Point of fact- that’s exactly the kind of interview that makes NFL football exciting for the audience. Most of the TV folks would not so secretly like to see more of it. (Read: “Erin Andrews on Richard Sherman interview: ‘It was awesome’” from SeattlePI.com)

Remember that for years commentators have been calling the NFL the “No Fun League!”

Here’s the rub…

“Sherman’s agent, Jamie Fritz, told CNNMoney that interest in his clients has boomed since the remarks. While Sherman’s current endorsements amount to just a bit more than his $550,000 NFL salary, Fritz believes there are millions in deals that will be signed soon, — some before the Super Bowl is played Feb. 2.”  (money.CNN.com)

You LOVE Sherman’s tirade…and now you’re going to reward him for it.

I know plenty of people are upset over what they see as at best an unsportsmanlike display- but the fact remains that several key sponsors see dollars here…

…and they’re only willing to pay because you’re willing to buy.

Richard Sherman is a football player. Despite what some people think, he is a very intelligent young man and was an outstanding student as well as athlete in college. Right now he’s applying that intelligence to maximize his opportunity- so be it.

I don’t like what he did, but hell- it’s only football. (Yes- I did just say that.)

If you don’t want to encourage this kind of behavior, don’t support the sponsors that will no doubt be rolling out various clips of Sherman and probably fat middle-aged couch jocks throwing fits in their living rooms.

If you don’t care- keep buying this crap; from athletes, celebrities, politicians and their sponsors.

If you really want to stop bad celebrity behavior…just stop buying it. Unless you’re willing to put your money where your mouth is…or your mouth where your money is…

KNOCK IT OFF!

The Attack on Christmas: KNOCK IT OFF!

Santa Womanby Jim Bouchard

If you’re one of those Grinches who wants to eradicate Christ from Christmas…

…KNOCK IT OFF!

I don’t identify myself as Christian and I frankly don’t give a damn whether you are or not. Still, I acknowledge that Christmas is about the baby Jesus, I enjoy the spirit of the season and I’m definitely not offended if you want to wish me a Merry Christmas.

First of all, Christmas is about Christ. End of story.

Christians celebrate Christmas to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ. The holiday has, over time, come to represent the spirit of charity and giving so essential to those who practice authentic Christian principles.

Merry Christmas is a warm greeting intended only to express compassion in the true spirit of the season.

If you’re offended by any of that, just don’t be.

Next- there is no constitutional basis to prohibit Christmas displays or celebrations in public places.

The separation of church and state as a constitutional issue is a myth. Whether you want to acknowledge it or not, the United States was founded primarily by a group of Christian men who instilled the values and principles of their various sects in nearly every area of law and government.

Being extremely intelligent and farsighted individuals, they also, in order to protect their own religious freedom, codified the free expression of religion for all American citizens.

The 101 version of the separation of church and state comes from a series of debates and letters, largely credited to Thomas Jefferson, who advocated for a strong “wall of separation” between any church and the federal government to avoid the establishment of a state religion- something the founders knew about and feared greatly.

The modern expansion of the idea of a wall of separation started with a lawsuit (Everson vs. Board of Education) over the state of New Jersey using tax money to pay for school bus rides for kids going to private, and particularly parochial schools. At that time, the SCOTUS ruled that the 1st Amendment had not been violated- because transportation was paid for all kids regardless of religious affiliation and because state, not federal funding was involved.

Putting up a Christmas tree, or even a nativity display, doesn’t violate the 1st Amendment in any way shape or form. It would be a violation if Congress ordered you to put up a Christmas tree.

Here’s an interesting viewpoint from Penn Jillette…

I find it particularly interesting that so many groups want to put up purposely offensive displays in public places simply to make a statement in what they perceive as the interest of fairness. This is why we now have Wiccan holiday displays alongside Jewish and Christian symbols of the season.

Frankly- I don’t give a damn if the Wiccans or the Church of Satan want to put up holiday displays, but to do so simply as an attack on their Christian neighbors is, well…

…just plain stupid.

There is no traditional Wiccan observation of the birth of Christ and I could not find any particular Satanic holiday centered on gift giving and acts of charity. If those of you who worship goats, Pagan gods or Old Scratch himself want to join the party, so be it.

If you’re just trying to ruin someone else’s fun- get a life! (And your own holiday! Maybe we’ll enjoy that one too!)

To Christians…if you’re offended that someone doesn’t believe what you believe…KNOCK IT OFF!

You’re preaching tolerance, love extended to all mankind, etc., etc. Well then, get on with it!

I’m not saying you shouldn’t defend yourself against direct attacks, but nobody is throwing you into the Coliseum with a bunch of lions here. If some atheist wants to spend his own money on a billboard that proclaims Christmas is a myth, just get over it! (I was going to say put up your own billboards- but you’ve been doing that for quite a while!)

You’re not going to persuade that guy to believe any more than he’s going to persuade you not to. You’ve got better things to do.

If you believe…then believe.

And finally to the Atheists (capitalization intentional in the spirit of fairness)…

If there is no God- what the hell is the big problem?

Atheism has become to some a cult as fervent as some of the most extreme examples of fundamentalist Christianity or radicalized Islam. Your rights to not-believe are secured by the 1st Amendment; why can’t you just leave the God fearing peoples be?

I’m the first one to get aggravated, though not necessarily offended, by someone proselytizing. My personal beliefs are, well, personal- and I don’t appreciate anyone stuffing their own beliefs in my face.

Having said that, I welcome and embrace any expression of positivity, respect, love and charity in this difficult and challenging world. I appreciate and support the good work of people of faith in many areas of society- as long as they’re respectful and tolerant of others.

Christmas is about love, family- if you’re lucky enough to have one, hope, renewal and kindness. If you don’t want to celebrate- don’t!

But- the next time you want to get your undies in a bunch because there’s a Christmas tree in your town square or someone wishes you a heartfelt “Merry Christmas…”

…KNOCK IT OFF!

####

Jim Bouchard is a nationally recognized speaker, media guest and author of THINK Like a BLACK BELT.

Learn more about Jim at these sites:

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Santa image courtesy FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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