Wednesday, November 2, 2016

#88- Debating 101



Debate

noun

1.
a discussion, as of a public question in an assembly, involving opposing viewpoints:
a debate in the Senate on farm price supports.
2.
a formal contest in which the affirmative and negative sides of proposition are advocated by opposing speakers.




By the summer of 2005 I was done with traveling the world and ready to persue the degree that eluded me.

It was during that time that I attended Miami-Dade College's Wolfson campus in downtown Miami.  It was a wonderful time to be alive.  I was free from the troubles of war and my mind had grown by leaps and bounds after traveling to Europe.

I don't remember how it happened but I was given the opportunity to attend a debate camp in Vermont at the University of Vermont for about 2 weeks.  I could not resist so I signed up.

I remember taking a small plane that landed in Burlington.  When I arrived at the airport I remember hearing the distinct sound of my mother tongue; Haitian Creole.  I remember thinking how we Haitians are EVERYWHERE in the world.  I secretly wondered if there was a Haitian person living and working on the South Pole.  Hearing the sound of your native tongue in an unexpected place is like smelling your favorite food in the kitchen of a foreigner.

The town and campus were lovely.  It was very green in Vermont.  I was not use to such a small town, cozy feel in America.  It kinda reminded me of the peace and tranquility of Austria/Switzerland.  The people of Vermont are very progressive and that was the right atmosphere for me.

We were staying at one of the dorms and I eventually met my room mate.  He was a younger white kid from either Tennessee or the Carolinas.  He was pretty quiet and serious.  It was around that time that I decided to read the book of Revelations which is the last book in most current Protestant Bibles. I remember how the book started and how I imagined it in my mind.  That book was surprisingly captivating mostly because it was so weird.  As usual I walked away from Revelations totally blown away at how different what I learned directly from the book was from what I was taught at church by lay Christians.

As far debating itself goes, I had no formal experience in it.  When we attended the actual courses I was blown away at how much goes into formal debating.  We were given large stacks of files every single day that we had to not sift through but actually read.  I quickly felt discouraged, outclassed, overwhelmed.  The other students stayed up through the late hours of the night reading the files which were the size of phone books.  The information varied from interesting to dry and boring.  We dealt with subjects like international relations with China.

From what I was able to learn I figured that I could just show up and win the debate matches with pure eloquence and gamesmanship.

My roommate and I took part in 4 debates.  We won 3 of them.  I only remember the loss.  We faced a team of 2 females.  I remember walking in the room thinking how cute and harmless looked.  However, when the match started these two ladies turned into what can only be described as vicious pitbulls.

They were relentless and it fell like they spewed toxic acid all over us as they used their words as clubs to beat us down like cruel hunters do to baby seals in the arctic.  At the end I felt like I was molested.  I let my guard down because they were females and I paid dearly for it.

At the end of each match the judges would tell you why you won or lost and why.  I was in a trans when we got our constructive criticism. That loss lingered for me for days and I think I still carry some of the experience with me today.  I went to my room playing the scene over and over again.  I felt as if I went to the debate wearing a skirt with no underwear and my lovely opponents simply lifted my skirt and proceeded to show the judges I lacked any kind of noteworthy genatalia.

#89- Abortion And Christianity: Pro- Life VS. Yahweh

A few years ago I had a few spirited exchanges on Facebook with a man who I found out has a BlogTalkRadio show.  The show has a particular day where they focus on abortion.  He and his wife host the show where they vigorously wage Christian war against this practice.

Many people are against abortion.  Most people understand why.  It takes a special kind of human to dislike kids because they are often seen as innocent, vulnerable, and cute.  Being religious is not necessary when in comes to being anti-abortion or "Pro-Life" as it is more commonly known.



What is strange to me is that the gods of the Jewish and Christian Bibles (Jews currently worship Yahweh while Christians worship Jesus essentially.  The holy book of the Jews is the Old Testament of the Christian bibles) have ZERO problem killing kids.  This includes the unborn in their mother's womb.

If you need examples I will gladly point you to this site.  These people don't mention how their god drowned the entire world in the Noah flood that did not happen in reality.  The god has ordered the slaughter of men, women, and children in order to steal their land.  How then is this a "Pro-Life" deity?

Well, I guess you can follow their show to find out how Yahweh/Jesus went from a nefarious rancid megalomaniac  to a deity who dislikes killing.

As for myself I am not for abortion but I am pro-choice.  I understand that sometimes there are situations where an abortion is best especially when done early.  If these believers were interested in preventing unnecessary abortions or child births you would think that they would champion the latest and effective birth control methods.  But I believe they still espouse the antiquated no sex before marriage technique.

The debate over abortion is still raging on.  It is an issue that some people use to determine who to vote for.  Many provisions made for women after the landmark Roe V. Wade decision have been undermined at the state level.

I've seen people demonstrating in front of the Planned Parenthood near my home.  I find it very curious that believers don't just pray abortions away.  Isn't it their gods that oversees the creation of the fetus?  How do they justify miscarriages?  Do believers have a plan for unwanted children if abortions become illegal?

What are your thoughts on this topic?

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

#87-ACN: A Cult Experience - Part 2

Trump with an ACN video phone
I paid to have my own turn-key business with the company ACN after being convinced by a few visits with "Dynasty International's" head man, Max Knowles.  ACN was referred to me by a young lady who I worked with.  She told me about some company that Donald Trump was promoting on his show "The Apprentice".

I only became interested in the "opportunity" after my break up with a former girlfriend.  I knew that I was being a bit emotional and I tried to guard against making rash decisions.  I also wanted to be more aggressive about the way I was pursuing my dream of financial freedom.

The meeting at the hotel featured a lot of people who were chasing similar dreams.  I remember feeling the desperation and the desire for hope from the crowd.  It was interesting to see these people.  It was disturbing to be among the desperate, but here I was.

In retrospect, this was during the time of the recession caused by the housing crisis.  People everywhere were reeling from the economy.  We were lured in by the promise of "residual income".
I was forced to buy and promote this phone.  Now it is obsolete because of free apps on your cell phone.

Soon I recruited one of my best friends Joel to be my business partner.  We held these "parties" at his house to show the opportunity to other people.  I was alternately nervous and confident in the program but I did notice somethings that bothered me.

I remember my trainer telling me to turn up the music at the end of doing a presentation in order to drown out questions of naysayers.  People who were openly skeptical were treated like negative trolls who just want to get in the way of your happiness.  This bothered me and struck me as immoral.

In June of 2009, Joel and I found ourselves in Charlotte, North Carolina for a convention with ACN. I remember this month because it was at the hotel that I found out that Michael Jackson had died (June 25, 2009).

There were a long line of illustrious speakers there.  The big star of the show however was none other than Donald J. Trump himself.  He sold himself as the smartest business man on Earth.  He was a bombast and cocky as ever urging us to stay on with this company who was on the cusp of something big.  I also got to see the 4 co-founders of ACN.  They seemed like "down-to-earth" guys but I secretly loathed and admired them for their evil genius.  I also remember a segment from the convention where one of the speakers spoke about how ethical the company was.  This was important to me because I was determined to make money without compromising my morals.
Donald Trump and an ACN event.

This trip was a good experience.  I was young and relatively care-free.  But the strains of trying to get people to join caught up with me.  I was desperate to get people to join under me.  I remember looking into the eyes of some other friends that I tried to get to join and saw the same look of concern that I had in their eyes.

Eventually the desire to continue died.  I joined ACN with the understanding that I could always sell the business to someone else.  When I called their headquarters to see about selling my $500 investment I was told I could not do that.  I felt deceived and I also felt like I conned so friends into this mess as well.  This was a very frustrating time for me.

Conclusion:

I had to go through this experience to grow.  ACN gave me an "us versus the world" feeling.  It was euphoric.  We had to go to meetings to learn tips from the leaders of my local organization.  The people were driven and mostly kind.  Even when my sense of skepticism was giving me butterflies in my stomach I was able to turn off my feelings because I wanted this to work sooooo bad.

I think this experience gives me a bit of insight into how some cults work.
The four original co-founders of ACN: Greg Provenzano, Robert Stevanovski, Mike Cupiz and Tony Cupiz.